New Ultra-Low-Cost Carrier Swoops Into Canada

Swoop

WestJet has created a new ultra-low-cost-carrier called Swoop. This is one of its Boeing 737-800s. Swoop

Skift Take: Canada’s newest airline, Swoop, is now up and running with some of the lowest base fares in Canada. While an important milestone, the larger focus continues to be on WestJet’s challenging financial year and ability to execute several big projects at once.

— Kristin Majcher

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Virgin Atlantic Pilots Are Extending Their Holiday Season Strikes

Simon Dawson / Bloomberg

A breakaway union of Virgin Atlantic pilots that called strikes during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays extended the job action to the first eight weekends of 2019, according to an emailed statement. Simon Dawson / Bloomberg

Skift Take: It doesn’t matter that this is only a third or so of pilots: Consumers don’t know the difference. It’s good news for their competitors.

— Jason Clampet

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Air France’s First Female CEO and 11 Other Aviation Trends This Week

Air France

An Air France 777-300. The carrier just appointed a new female CEO: Anne Rigail. Air France

Skift Take: This week in aviation, Anne Rigail will be the new CEO of Air France, an extremely rare appointment in a particularly male-dominated industry. Then we have stories about electronic searches at customs, Real IDs, and how artificial intelligence helps airline news go viral.

— Sarah Enelow-Snyder

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Virgin Galactic Clears a Hurdle in Space Tourism Race

Matt Hartman / Associated Press

Virgin Galactic reaches space for the first time during its fourth powered flight from Mojave, California. Matt Hartman / Associated Press

Skift Take: Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson’s private space company, scored a long-elusive win this week with a successful trip to the edge of space. Branson says in three years he’ll be up there. But given a record of delays, we’re not holding our breaths.

— Sean O’Neill

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Spirit Airlines Wins Best On-Time Performance for Once

JTOcchialini / Flickr

Spirit Airlines planes are shown at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in May 2018. JTOcchialini / Flickr

Skift Take: Spirit Airlines finds itself in an unusual position by winning best on-time performance for October. The carrier has a slightly more modest goal for the longer term — it wants to be in fourth to sixth place consistently — but even that is an improvement compared to a few years ago.

— Hannah Sampson

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South Africa’s Visa Problems and 9 Other Tourism Trends This Week

flowcomm / Flickr

Cape Town International Airport on April 13, 2012. South Africa’s onerous visa regime for minor travelers continues to hobble its all-important tourism industry. flowcomm / Flickr

Skift Take: This week in tourism, we looked at the fallout from South Africa’s prohibitive visa requirements for minor travelers, and how TUI survived the summer’s northern European heat wave by being strategic with its cruise ships and hotels.

— Sarah Enelow-Snyder

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Visit Florida CEO Is Leaving to Join New Governor’s Administration

Skift

Ken Lawson, the outgoing president and CEO of Visit Florida, is shown in an interview with the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Skift

Skift Take: Ken Lawson did what he could to turn the ship around and tried to bring more transparency to Visit Florida. But many in Florida’s tourism industry remain skeptical of the organization and its work.

— Dan Peltier

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