Airlines Recoup $500 Million in Blocked Funds From African Countries

afromusing  / Flickr

Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, pictured in late 2012. afromusing / Flickr

Skift Take: Accountants at Emirates, British Airways and South African Airways must be breathing a sigh of relief. A combination of economic carrots and airline sticks – smoothed over by IATA diplomacy – has helped international carriers recoup more than $500 million in blocked funds from African governments since the start of 2018.

— Richard Holmes

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Ryan Wolkov

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Video: Why Travelport Is Betting Big on Payments and Mobile Booking

Skift

Travelport president and CEO Gordon Wilson speaking at the Skift Tech Forum in June. Skift

Skift Take: Travelport has worked hard over the last few years to develop new airline merchandising and travel payments solutions on a global level. Next comes the challenge of driving wider adoption in the marketplace.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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KuaiBangXing Links Chinese Travelers With Activities: Travel Startup Funding This Week

KuaiBangXing

The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Canadian Rocky along the border of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. It’s one of the places you can visit on a tour bookable through the agency KuaiBangXing. KuaiBangXing

Skift Take: KuaiBangXing, an activities booking startup, focuses on making it easier for Chinese visitors to North America to sample tours and attractions. It sets up guided transportation between outings, and it lets customers pay with China’s popular WeChat Pay system.

— Sean O’Neill

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Distribution and Personalization Take Center Stage at Biz Travel Confab

Skift

A panel at GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. Now, travel management companies want to play nice with global distribution systems. Skift

Skift Take: Corporate travel is working to solve some of the big problems that have prevented change, although it’s hard to really see foundational change taking place across the sector any time soon.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Six Flags Is Taking Theme Park Loyalty to the Next Level

Jeremy Thompson  / Flickr

Twisted Colossus, a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain, is pictured. Six Flags Entertainment is launching a new loyalty program that rewards its members for visiting parks, making purchases, and even going on rides. Jeremy Thompson / Flickr

Skift Take: The new rewards program at Six Flags is designed to keep its already-loyal members engaged and satisfied enough to stay enrolled in a monthly membership. Will the theme park loyalty idea catch on with other operators?

— Hannah Sampson

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On the Beach Buys Classic Collection for $25 Million as Package Rules Get Upended

Classic Collection Holidays

On the Beach acquired short-haul vacation packager Classic Collection Holidays. One of Classics vacation destinations is shown here. Classic Collection Holidays

Skift Take: Online player On the Beach is making a play to attract the business of offline travel agents by creating a new online dynamic-packaging portal. Got it? In online travel, as in life, it sometimes pays to be flexible, and to buy stuff.

— Dennis Schaal

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Despegar Tripped Up by the Ailing Economies of Argentina and Brazil

Despegar

The waterfalls of Iguazú on the border of Argentina and Brazil are a popular destination spot. Argentina and Brazil have lousy economies, but as critical markets for online travel agency Despegar, they are headwinds for growth. Despegar

Skift Take: Despegar’s profits have been hurt lousy economies in its key markets. But deft management during the recent storms suggests the online travel agency has a promising future.

— Sean O’Neill

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Why Everyone Is Starting to Play Nice in Corporate Travel

Skift

A sign at the GBTA Convention 2018 in San Diego. Big travel management companies are working to develop new paradigms for air distribution, but these things take time. Skift

Skift Take: After years of inaction, the big travel management companies are finally figuring out how to create a better booking experience for travelers. The dream of the personalized and automated future of corporate travel, though, may never come to pass.

— Andrew Sheivachman

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Air France Unions Don’t Want Outsider Ben Smith of Air Canada as New CEO

Bloomberg

Ben Smith hasn’t even been officially selected as the new CEO of Air France-KLM and already the unions are pushing back. Bloomberg

Skift Take: The Air Canada president gets high marks within the aviation industry. But predictably the French unions will put up a fight against his selection as CEO. He’s already getting a good glimpse of what the future holds.

— Tom Lowry

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