Great numbers for Air Canada and WestJet for 2012 ... Starbucks in Vietnam
The good times continue for both Air Canada and WestJet.
For the month of December 2012, Air Canada reported a record system load factor of 82.1 per cent, versus 81.0 per cent in December 2011, an increase of 1.1 percentage points. For the full year 2012, load factor was a record 82.7 per cent, versus 81.6 per cent, an increase of 1.1 percentage points.
For the year, Air Canada served more than 33 million customers.
WestJet today reported a record load factor of 81.9 per cent for December 2012. The airline flew 17.4 million guests in all of 2012 which is a year-over-year increase of 8.6 per cent or approximately 1,383,000 additional guests.
Good times for the Canadian airline industry, indeed. And a competitive time. Air Canada last month launched its low-cost airline, Rouge, aimed at Europe and the Caribbean. WestJet this month is expected to outline the cities that will be first up to receive its new regional service, called Encore.
DEAL OF THE DAY
Target Vacations, a division of Torstar, is offering a "cruise blowout March Madness" sale, with eastern and western Caribbean cruises from $982. Prices quoted include roundtrip airfare from Toronto to Ft. Lauderdale on WestJet.
Cruise lines in the deal include Celebrity, Carnival, Royal Caribbean. Holland America and Norwegian Cruise Lines.
GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM!
Vietnamese folks love their coffee, and there's no shortage of good places for it across the country. I saw some fine shops when I was in Hanoi a couple years ago.
Now comes word that that familiar green and white sign might soon sprout up in Vietnamese cities. Starbucks says it will open its first cafe in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) as part of its initial foray into Vietnam and as part of an overall growth strategy in Asia.
"Our prices are affordable for average Vietnamese," an official said.
Still, Vietnam's French past means there's a strong coffee culture, and the American-based chain could find it tough slogging to take on long-time favourites of an independent nature.
MARDI GRAS APPROACHETH
Fat Tuesday is still a ways away (Feb. 12 in New Orleans), but they like to get things started early. The first big event of the official Mardi Gras season is Saturday, Jan. 19, when the Krewe de Vieux and Krewe Delusion kick things off in the French Quarter.
The Phunny Phorty Phellows parade was held yesterday, Sunday Jan. 6. This morning, Mayor Mitch Landrieu was supposed to greet royalty from the Rex and Zulu clubs at histori Gallier Hall, where they were to unveil their official 2013 posters and eat some tasty cake.
ISTANBUL AIMS FOR 2020 GAMES
Officials from the Turkish city of Istanbul today presented their candidate file to the International Olympic Committee. Istanbul is aiming for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
The city has aimed for several Olympics prior to this, including the 1996 Games in a fight against Toronto and the ultimate winner, Atlanta. But this time the city has really progressed and I have a very good feeling about their bid.
They're up against Madrid and Tokyo.
The IOC will visit the three finalist cities this spring, and the winner will be announced at an IOC gathering in Buenos Aires on Sept. 7 of this year.
There was some talk of a Toronto bid for 2020 but it never happened. There's a chance the city will bid for the 2024 Summer Games, and the chances likely would be pretty decent, although competition from the U.S. could prove fierce. Possible American bidders include New York and Chicago, which have bid previously, as well as Dallas and Philadelphia.
With the U.S. and the IOC having finally resolved a nasty revenue sharing debate that went on for years, the time looks good for an American bidder.