TASMANIA--The Island State of Australia

The Island State of Australia is a famous tourist destination for visitors from all over the World. It was first discovered by a Dutch explorer "Abel Tasman" and originally named as Van Diemen Land.

Tasmania is also called "Tassie" for short, by many Australians. The other names are "Apple Island", "Treasure Island". Because of its delicious apples and historical and natural heritage.

Location and Connection: Tasmania is 240 km south of the Australian mainland. It is located between 40 and 43.3 meridians of the southern hemisphare surrounded by the Southern Ocean (to the south and west),Tasman Sea (to the east) and Bass Strait (to the north). Bass Strait is approximately 30-90 metre deep.

It takes 55 minutes fly from Melbourne (most southern city) to Launceston (second largest city after Hobart) and 90 minutes to Hobart (capital of the State). So the shortest and the cheapest flight connection (usually) from the mainland to Tassie is Melbourne - Launceston.

Size and Landscape:Tasmania is comparible in size with the Republic of Ireland, West Virginia (USA) and Hokkaido (Japan).

Despite being a small island, Tasmania boosts eight mountains that are greater than 1,500 m in heights and 28 mountains that are more than 1,220 m. high. Tasmania has more variation in landscape over short distances than any other part of Australia and New Zealand due to topographical variations such as mountains, hills and valleys.

Tassie is a gifted island with many rivers, lakes,wildlife and World Heritage listed National Parks. www.parks.tas.gov.au/natparks/index.html

It has its own unique flora and wildlife different than the Australian mainland and the bright blue sky (well, when not cloudy of course) that you might not have seen before as well as the cleanest air in the World. Hobart has the longest daylight in Australia.

Despite its size, Tasmania has different landscapes in the different regions-Eastern and Western regions are quite different, Midland plateau, Huon Region (south),Tasman Peninsula, North are all different which also affect the climate.

Food:Tassie is also well known for its fine food,locally,grown produce, cherries, orchards, crops, deliciously baked breads, salmon, trout, oysters, mussels, cheese and award winning cool climate wine.

First agricultural fair, in Australian history, was held in Ross, a midland village which is famous for its carved stone bridge, Wool Centre,colonial buildings and historical Ross Bakery.

Delta joins transpacific fare war.

"Delta Air Lines has joined the airfare war that has been building on trans-Pacific routes, offering return fares on its Sydney-Los Angeles service from A$777, excluding taxes.

Delta intends to launch service on the route in July, and will face stiff competition from Qantas, United and V Australia.

Passengers on Delta will be offered the option of flying beyond Los Angles for an additional A$200, to destinations including Atlanta, Boise, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Salt Lake City and Seattle.

Until 9 April, Direct Flights is offering fares, with the new Delta service, from A$1105 return, inclusive of taxes, from Sydney to Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York, Detroit, New Orleans, Seattle, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, Memphis, Orlando, Indianapolis and Boise.

The special launch fare for Business Class travel starts from $7785 per person.

These Direct Flights US special fares are valid on departures from 3 July 3 to 31 October 2009, making it possible for Australians to enjoy the American summer at low season prices.

V Australia recently defended its decision to provide service on the hotly-contested trans-Pacific route as a way of challenging the domination by Qantas and United for many years."

(Delta Airlines)

Royal Air Maroc will order six new planes this month

"Morocco's flag carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) will order six new planes this month despite the bleak outlook for business travel during the global economic downturn, its chief executive said on Thursday.

Royal Air Maroc, one of the most profitable airlines in North Africa, has plans to beef up its Boeing-dominated fleet to 50 jets, RAM chief executive Driss Benhima said.

It is benefiting from the government's policy to increase tourism to 10 million visitors by 2010 from 8 million in 2008. The government is also encouraging the expansion of air transport, including low-cost flights.

Morocco signed an Open Skies agreement with the European Union in 2006 allowing new airline competitors, including low-budget carriers such as Ryanair and easyJet.

"We will put an order for six planes. We will sign the order deal by the end of this month," Benhima told a business conference in the North African country's commercial capital Casablanca.

He gave no more details on the order, but said RAM is looking beyond this year's economic crisis to develop its business and survive the competition from European airlines."


Cathay Pacific boosts services to Paris, Shanghai and Jakarta

Cathay Pacific announced that it will increase the number of flights it offers to three key destinations – Paris, Shanghai and Jakarta – in response to sustained customer demand. The service enhancements will be introduced in the airline’s summer schedule, which comes into effect on 29 March 2009.

An additional four flights a week will be added to and from Paris – departing Hong Kong every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – meaning the airline will provide a double-daily service to the French capital.

In another change effective from the summer schedule, Cathay Pacific will add two more flights each day to Shanghai’s Pudong International Airport, with early- and late-afternoon departures from Hong Kong, taking the airline’s total to three flights daily.

For Jakarta, the existing twice-daily service from Hong Kong will be supplemented by three more flights a week, departing Tuesday, Friday and Sunday and departing from the Indonesian capital late the same day.

Cathay Pacific Director Corporate Development Ian Shiu said: “We are pleased to be able to strengthen our services to these three cities and I’m sure passengers will appreciate the additional choice and increased convenience when planning their journeys. Overall, Cathay Pacific’s capacity will grow at less than 1% this year – a significant reduction on our original plan as a result of the current financial crisis – but we will take whatever opportunities we can to strengthen those routes where demand and revenue potential remain high.”

" Singapore Airlines is increasing flights to the Gulf Arab region to tap growing demand despite the global downturn, its regional head said on Monday.

Earlier this month, the Straits Times newspaper quoted an airline circular issued to travel agents as saying Singapore Airlines would reduce the numbers of flights to China, India, Australia, London and Zurich in response to falling passenger numbers.

Meow-Seng Lim, the airline's Gulf general manager, said the flag carrier expected to boost its passenger load factor due to a surge in tourism to and from the Gulf because of lower fuel costs.

The airline is launching flights to Kuwait in March and is increasing its weekly flights to Abu Dhabi to seven from three, he said. The airline operates 21 flights to Dubai per week.

"With the expansion, we will be operating 38 flights a week to the Gulf, of which 28 are to the United Arab Emirates alone. We are seeing growth in demand due to the growing trade links between the Gulf countries and the Far East," Lim told reporters."


Aer Lingus and United Airlines Announce Transatlantic Partnership

"Aer Lingus and United Airlines (UAUA) today announce an innovative extension of their relationship on select long haul services between Europe and North America. This partnership will capitalize on the growth opportunities presented by the Open Skies agreement between the European Union (EU) and the United States (US) by opening new transatlantic non-stop services.

The partners will launch service between Washington Dulles and Madrid, which will be available for sale from April 2009, and will commence daily operations from March 2010. It is anticipated that additional routes may be made available for sale during 2010 to commence operation in Summer 2011.

It is intended that both carriers will equally share the commercial and operating benefits and risk, with Aer Lingus managing the operational aspects of the new partnership services and United Airlines taking responsibility for managing revenue generation. The Partnership route structure will be operated and sold under both Aer Lingus and United Airlines codes and will leverage both parties' network capabilities."

Lithuania's FlyLAL suspends operations

"VILNIUS, Lithuania (AP) — Lithuania's troubled FlyLAL airline said Saturday it has suspended its operations after a buyout deal by Swiss investment firm SCH Swiss Capital Holdings failed.

Airline officials said it terminated a preliminary agreement with the Swiss company after it failed to pay $1 million (euro756,000) that would have cleared FlyLAL's debts and potentially saved it from bankruptcy.

Company Chief Executive Vytautas Kaikaris said the suspension was one of the few options left to try to save his company.

"We believe that the decision to suspend the operations is the most appropriate at this moment. We are doing this trying to stem further losses and prevent further deterioration in creditors' situation," Kaikaris said in a statement.

The Swiss company, which previously announced it would restructure and modernize the airline, was not immediately available for comment.

Since it was privatized in 2005, FlyLAL has struggled with large debts, primarily to Vilnius International Airport, where it is based. Carrier's debts now total some 90 million litas ($26 million).

The suspension left many passengers stranded and seeking either reimbursement or alternative routes.

Some 30,000 FlyLAL tickets had been sold and were still valid before Saturday's announcement."

"South African Airways Vacations is offering U.S. travelers a cheap vacation package to South Africa.

The package starts at $1,799 and includes airfare from New York or Washington to Johannesburg and Cape Town, four nights stay and breakfast at the Commodore Hotel in Cape Town, and a full-day Cape Peninsula and Table Mountain tour.

The South African Airways vacation also includes a half-day tour and wine tasting session at the Wineland Region in Cape Town, dinner and entertainment at the Gold of Africa Museum, two nights stay and breakfast and dinners at the Bakubung Bush Lodge in Pilanesburg National Park and two game drives to view Africa's Big Five.

The price of $1,799 is based on double occupancy and does not include taxes and surcharges.

Packages must be booked online with South African Airways Jan. 31 and travel must take place between February and May.

"We're pleased at the opportunity to offer this nine-day, air-inclusive vacation at this unheard-of price, fully $200 lower than our least expensive luxury package," said Lucille Sive, President of South African Airways Vacations.

"We understand the need to save, but we also understand the need to live and enjoy life, which is why we strive to offer luxury packages at low rates that travelers would be hard-pressed to find elsewhere." "


The beautiful tourist City - Orlando

OrlandoOrlando is a beautiful city, located in central Florida, USA. The county seat of Orange County, Florida, Orlando is the sixth largest city in Florida. Set off for an exciting Orlando trip with Orlando you family for an unforgettable vacation. Your kids would love visiting the famous Walt Disney World Resort, located in the exotic Lake Buena Vista. Also visit the famous Sea World and Universal Orlando Resort. Orlando is home to other popular attractions such as the Cinderella Castle

At the beautiful Magic Kingdom. While in Orlando, don't miss visiting the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Downtown Disney. Sea World Orlando is an exciting large adventure park that has numerous exciting zoological displays and marine animals. You must also spend some time at the famous Holy Land Experience theme park and museum and the International Trolley and Train Museum. Orlando's other popular attractions include Ripley's Believe It or Not! Wonder Works funhouse, World of Orchids, Wet 'n Wild - Orlando Water Park and many other famous places.

Set aboard a direct Orlando flight to give your family the most memorable holidays. Your kids would surely enjoy a visit to the famous Walt Disney World Resort.

US Airways plane crashed into the Hudson River

US Airways plane crashed"A US Airways plane crashed into the Hudson River on Thursday afternoon after striking a bird that disabled two engines, sending passengers fleeing for safety in the frigid waters, a government official says. Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown says the US Airways Flight 1549 had just taken off from LaGuardia Airport enroute to Charlotte, N.C., when the crash occurred in the river near 48th Street in midtown Manhattan. Brown says the plane, an Airbus 320, appears to have hit one or more birds."

See the BBC Picture
US Airways emergency landing"US Airways pilots executed a dramatic emergency landing Thursday on the Hudson River near midtown Manhattan, saving the lives of all 150 passengers and five crew members aboard Flight 1549.

The Airbus A320 twin-engine jetliner -- enroute to Charlotte, N.C. -- landed at 3:31 p.m., a few minutes after leaving New York's LaGuardia Airport. The water landing of a large passenger aircraft without fatalities is a feat rarely seen in 50 years of commercial jet travel, according to air-safety experts.

Passenger and witnesses described a smooth landing on the Hudson and then a scramble for emergency exits. Within minutes, ferry boats surrounded the aircraft as it floated in 40-degree water and helped pull passengers from the wing. The U.S. Coast Guard dropped life vests and divers.

US Airways officials said Thursday it was too soon to determine the cause of the accident. The crew reported flying through a flock of geese, which were sucked into both engines, said a person at the Federal Aviation Administration familiar with conversations between the flight crew and air-traffic controllers. The damaged engines continued to run but weren't generating enough power, this person said."

Delta eyes 2,000 job cuts via early retirement

"TOKYO (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines, which merged with rival Northwest Airlines last year, said it expects to let about 2,000 staff go this month through an early retirement program as it aims to trim capacity as much as 8 percent this year.

In December, Delta, now the world's biggest carrier, said it would offer employees severance packages, but it didn't say how many jobs it aimed to cut.

"We are expecting a number of around 2,000 because the capacity reduction is going to be around 6 to 8 percent," Delta CEO Richard Anderson told reporters in Tokyo.

"We will know more toward the end of this month, because we gave employees a wide window so that they can make the right decision."

Major airlines, battered by sagging travel demand and losses on fuel hedging costs, have been working to bolster their profitability by cutting capacity and finding new revenue streams. Capacity reductions affect the number of seats for sale and are achieved by cutting flights or replacing large planes with smaller ones.

Delta said last month its domestic capacity would fall 8 percent to 10 percent in 2009, and international capacity would fall 3 percent to 5 percent as travel demand wanes. Systemwise, that would mean a reduction of 6 to 8 percent.

Delta told reporters on Thursday that it sees a 10 percent decline in industry revenue in 2009 as the economic slowdown hits travel demand.

The airline said, however, it expects to save $5 billion this year from the plunge in oil prices since last summer."

Shrish Pandey


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