Avianca Brasil Is Investing in Food to Help It Leapfrog Rivals

Renato Gizzi  / Flickr

Avianca Brasil is trying to improve its food to help it stand out. Pictured is an Avianca Brasil A320. Renato Gizzi / Flickr

Skift Take: It is lovely that Avianca Brasil serves plantain ceviche in coconut milk with squid and shrimp on some of its long-haul flights. But do you know what will be the make-or-break issue for the airline? It’s not food. It’s the Brazilian economy. If it roars back, profits will come. If not, menus won’t matter.

— Brian Sumers

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Ryan Wolkov

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American Air Is Battling Chicago Over a ‘Secret’ Deal With United

Kiichiro Sato  / Associated Press

Travelers walk in American’s terminal in Chicago. American is refusing to sign a new lease because of competitive issues with United. Kiichiro Sato / Associated Press

Skift Take: Isn’t corporate posturing fun? American won’t sign its Chicago lease because it fears United is getting a better deal. Since we’re pretty sure American won’t close its Chicago hub, we’re betting this gets resolved. But how?

— Brian Sumers

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Hilton Claims Anbang Financial Woes Won’t Impact Management of Waldorf Astoria

Bloomberg

The historic Waldorf Astoria in New York hotel is under renovation, but its owner, Anbang Insurance Group, is facing major financial woes. Bloomberg

Skift Take: While Hilton has emphasized that Anbang’s financial woes won’t impact its long-term management contract at the original Waldorf Astoria hotel in New York, we can only imagine the sighs of relief Starwood employees must be issuing, knowing Anbang could have been their new owner instead of Marriott.

— Deanna Ting

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Bridging the Digital Divide for Meetings and Events

Collision Conference  / Flickr

How much technology is too much at an event? Planners and organizers are realizing that technology should accent the physical experience and not distract from it. Pictured are attendees at Collison Conference in New Orleans in May of 2017. Collision Conference / Flickr

Skift Take: While augmented reality and holograms are the sexy new technologies in the event space, the overall integration of digital tools with physical events is still undergoing a period of transformation.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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AccorHotels to Fund Acquisitions With Sale of Property Unit for $5.4 Billion

Bloomberg

The Accor logo. The company is selling a stake in its property business for share buybacks and acquisitions. Bloomberg

Skift Take: While the deal has been flagged for months, it is an important step in the evolution of the company. Of much bigger interest is what Accor decides to do with the proceeds. A decent amount will be spent on share buybacks but with a multi-billion dollar warchest, we can also expect plenty of acquisitions.

— Patrick Whyte

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IHG Wants a Better High-End Offering

InterContinental Hotels Group

The InterContinental Sydney Double Bay in Australia. Parent company IHG wants to buy a new luxury brand or two. InterContinental Hotels Group

Skift Take: Growing the luxury side of the business is clearly a priority for newish CEO Keith Barr, and IHG does need another high-end offering to truly compete with the likes of Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons. We’re wondering which brands IHG is looking at buying.

— Patrick Whyte

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Virgin Australia Will Not Privatize Despite Sluggish Stock Price

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia has among the world’s better business class cabins. But it only has six long-haul planes, and that’s hardly enough to compete in 2018. Virgin Australia

Skift Take: In the current era, airlines generally thrive when they’re massive in size with global reach. Virgin Australia has six long-haul airplanes, making it tiny compared to Qantas. A transpacific joint venture with Delta Air Line helps, but it’s not enough.

— Brian Sumers

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AirAsia Won’t Always Be Able to Fly More Cheaply Than Its Budget Rivals

Bloomberg  / Goh Seng Chong

An aircraft operated by AirAsia X taxis past a Malaysian Airline aircraft on the runway. The budget airline’s biggest money-saving secret is that it has kept its fees paid to airport fees, ground operations, and air traffic control, much lower than its rivals like Ryanair and Easyjet have. Bloomberg / Goh Seng Chong

Skift Take: For 16 years the Malaysian carrier has grown by keeping its costs lower than its competitors have. But AirAsia may see its wings clipped as it faces a price war led by savvy new regional players, such as Malindo Air, a Malaysian airline launched in 2013.

— Sean O’Neill

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