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June 2017 - Airfares: Extra charge when booking a flight from a travel agency.

The IAG group, that includes British Airways and Iberia, has announced that, as from November 1, 2017, a GDS surcharge of € 9.50 (£ 8) will be levied on any reservation of an air ticket through a third party (online or physical travel agency) using a GDS system. Only flights sold directly from the web site of the airline are exempted from the extra charge. A GDS system makes it possible to compare flights and book the best deal.

IAG follows the example of Lufthansa and its subsidiaries (Brussels Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and Austrian Airlines) which have applied an extra charge of € 16 on any air ticket booked through a third party since September 2015. Since April 13, 2017, Ukraine International Airlines has also levied an extra charge of € 8.4 on sales completed through a travel agency.

March 2017: Spain - A new low-cost airline.

The IAGroup, that owns British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus and Vueling, announces the creation of Level, a low-cost airline based in Barcelona and specializing in long-haul flights. As from June 2017, Level will offer low-cost flights to four transatlantic destinations and will later develop more long-haul flights. The project aims at facing the increasing competition from Norwegian and the airlines of the Gulf. Several other European airlines follow a similar strategy. Read our article "Low-cost long-haul flights" and know more about this major change of the air transport market.

Early January 2017: Spain, Israel, Cuba, Brazil, Mexico, and India - Tourism highlights in 2016.

In 2016, Spain welcomed 75 million foreign visitors - an increase of 10% from 2015 -, making it the third most visited country in the world after France and United States.

With more than 4 million foreign visitors in 2016 (+ 6% compared to 2015), tourism in Cuba reached a new record and could still grow further in 2017. Visitors to Cuba come mainly from North America (even if several legal restrictions in the United States have not yet been removed) and Europe.

In Israel, unlike most of the other countries in the Middle East, the amount of foreign visitors rose by 3.6% in 2016, to a record of 2.9 million visitors. The rise is related to an increase and a redevelopment of the budget for the promotion of tourism in Israel. Visitors to Israel come mainly from the United States, Russia and Western Europe. Israel has also sought to attract tourists from India and China.

In 2016, 6.6 million foreign travelers visited Brazil. That is an increase of 4.8% from 2015. The increase would be due in a large part to the Olympic and Paralympic Games which took place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

With 9 million foreign visitors, tourism in India increased by 11% in 2016. The increase was much stronger than expected.

Mexico welcomed 35 million foreign visitors (of which 40% from the United States) in 2016, an increase of 9% compared to 2015.

In 2016, Japan received a record amount of foreign visitors: 24 million (including 11 million from China and South Korea), an increase of 21% from 2015.

Early July 2016: Spain - Cancellation of Vueling flights.

Early July 2016, Vueling, the Spanish low cost airline, repeatedly at the last minute cancelled several scheduled flights. On July 5, 65 flights were cancelled, while dozens of other flights were already cancelled on the previous days. For the whole month of June 2016, 325 scheduled flights have been cancelled by Vueling.

The airline imputed these cancellations to various strikes, including the strike of air traffic controllers in France. However, it seems that Vueling actually doesn't adequately manage its expansion (+ 15% in one year), and particularly the huge amount of travelers to Spain this year.

On 7 July, the situation seemed to become normal again. Vueling provides 40% of passenger transport in Barcelona El Prat Airport, which is its main base.

June 2015:  recent innovations in airports.

In Madrid–Barajas Airport (Spain), Iberia launched a pilot project of self-service check-in that enables passengers to obtain boarding passes and to put their luggage directly onto the conveyor belt. 



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