American Express recently announced it had acquired Mezi, a personal travel assistant app that helps consumers plan and book trips. The Mezi app allows travellers to simply message their requests for flights, hotel or restaurant reservations, and Mezi provides recommendations and makes travel arrangements at the customer’s request. Founded in 2015, Mezi uses artificial intelligence (AI) and human expertise to personalise the online travel discovery and booking experience. We caught up with American Express, VP, Travel Strategy & Partnerships, Johnny Thorsen to get an update on the acquisition.

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easyJet reported (17-May-2019) the following outlook for FY2018/2019:

  • easyJet's headline profit before tax expectations for FY2019, ending 30-Sep-2019, remain unchanged and in line with market expectations;
  • easyJet continues to implement its strategy to secure leading positions at primary airports to drive profitable growth, returns and cash flow;
  • Forward bookings for Q3FY2019 are down 3ppt year-on-year at 72% and flat at 34% for Q4FY2019. easyJet's capacity growth in H2FY2019 is forecast at 7%;
  • Revenue per seat at constant currency in H2FY2019 is now expected to be slightly down, affected by the ongoing negative impact of Brexit related market uncertainty as well as a wider macro economic slowdown in Europe;
  • easyJet estimates that at current exchange rates and with jet fuel remaining within a USD600 per tonne to USD700 per tonne trading range, easyJet's unit fuel bill for FY2019 is likely to increase by between GBP25 million and GBP60 million compared to FY2018;
  • Total fuel cost for FY2019 is estimated to be GBP1.4 billion;
  • Exchange rate movements are likely to have around a GBP10 million positive impact on headline profit before tax compared to FY2018;
  • easyJet is targeting to consolidate its stronger positions delivered over the past few years and as a result capacity growth in FY2020/2021 will likely be at the lower end of its historic growth rate. [more - original PR]

Far Eastern Air Transport (FAT) announced (18-May-2019) the cancellation of international services on 18-May-2019 due to the carrier approaching its maximum 1350 flight hour per month restriction set by the Taiwan Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA). The carrier will cancel another 31 frequencies through to the end of May-2019, including to Borocay, Palawan, Da Nang, Niigata, Fukushima and Jeju. The CAA said FAT must properly handle refunds of fares and ensure that affected passengers are able to travel or it will face a fine. The CAA also requested FAT submit a flight adjustment plan and adhere to the 1350 flight hour limit. As previously reported by CAPA, Taiwan CAA imposed flight restrictions on FAT in Mar-2017 due to its ageing aircraft and safety record. [more - original PR - Far Eastern Air Transport - Chinese] [more - original PR - Taiwan CAA - Chinese] [more - original PR - Taiwan CAA - Chinese - II]

IATA reported (17-May-2019) increasing tariffs on trade are damaging the global economy and prospects for 2019. The association reported international trade volumes stopped growing in 1Q2019, following a "sharp" slow down in growth in 2H2018. IATA said air cargo "suffered disproportionately", with a 2% year-on-year decrease in 1Q2019, and attributed this "substantial weakening" in trade to the imposition of tariffs by the US in 1H2018 and retaliatory tariff increases by other countries. The most recent round of tariff increases by the US and China in May-2019 "could lead to a trade deal but negotiating positions seem to have hardened", according to IATA. The association commented: "If tariffs are extended further they will include smart phones and computers, which will damage air cargo". IATA stated GDP growth in 2019 will be 0.2ppt to 0.4ppt lower than previously expected, according to estimates, if tariffs are applied to all US-China trade. IATA stated: "This all points to a very tough year for the air cargo business, but reasonable though slower GDP growth should keep passenger traffic growing only a little below trend". [more - original PR]

Brazil's Ministry of Tourism announced (18-May-2019) Air Europa Lineas Aereas registered an enterprise based in Brazil, the first time an international carrier has established Brazilian operations. Brazil's Minister of Tourism Marcelo Alvaro Antonio stated: "It consecrates the opening of the Brazilian market to foreign investment". Brazil set a target of increasing foreign tourists from 6.6 million to 12 million by 2022 and increasing international tourism revenue from USD6.5 billion to USD19 billion. [more - original PR - Portuguese]

Airbus announced (17-May-2019) Japan Airlines' first A350-900 aircraft operated its maiden flight. The aircraft will now enter the final phase of production, including cabin completion and further ground and flight tests prior to delivery. Japan Airlines has ordered 18 A350-900s and 13 A350-1000s. [more - original PR]

SAVE SpA and ENAC convened (17-May-2019) to evaluate the ongoing 2012 to 2021 master plan at Venice Marco Polo Airport. EUR507 million of the EUR900 million master plan is completed. Phase three commenced on 01-Apr-2019, requiring investment of EUR135 million. It includes reconstruction of pavement and the main runway systems, modernisation of the existing taxiways and construction of new high speed taxiways between the main and secondary runways, with the main runway reopening on 01-Jul-2019. Overall phase three completion is due in Sep-2020. [more - original PR - Italian]

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