WestJet #19 safest airline in world, Air Canada 25th ... Jaunt.ca deal of the day
The folks at JACDEC, the Jet Airliner Crash Data Evaluation Centre, based in Germany, have issued their 2012 safety report for the world's airlines.
As reported in this space the other day, the centre said flying was safer around the world last year than in some time, with 23 accidents and 475 fatalities in 2012. The 10-year average was 34 accidents and 773 fatalities a year.
More interesting for us in Canada, perhaps, are the safety numbers for our two biggest airlines. JACDEC's 2012 report put WestJet 19th in the world out of 60 airlines rated, which means they can boast of making the top third. (Which is a lot better than screaming, 'We're number 19,' I think.)
Air Canada came 25th, which allows them to say they were in the top half but, again, probably not something we'll see marketing campaign built around.
Still, there's some solace in the numbers for Canadian flyers. We could be doing a LOT worse.
Porter Airlines wasn't included in the JACDEC survey, just FYI.
As for the top five, they were, in order: Finnair, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates and Etihad. Worst five? Glad you asked: Korean Air, GOL (Brazil), Air India, TAM (Brazil) and China Airlines (Taiwan).
Not so great for Brazil. Maybe I should rent a car if I go someday ...
The only North American airline that finished ahead of WestJet was JetBlue, which was the continent's top-rated group at #14. Southwest was 21, between WestJet and Air Canada. Other North American notables: Delta 28; United 31, American 42 and US Air a not too pretty 44.
ENGLAND GETS SMALL BOOST FROM OLYMPICS
I covered the Olympics for the Star off and on for more than 20 years, and I've made this point many times. So forgive me while I make it again.
Time after time after time after time, tourism and business types backing Olympic bids from cities around the world stand up in front of banks of tv cameras and microphones and talk in dreamy tones about how staging the Games will bring in hordes of tourists.
It almost never happens. People get scared to death of the Olympics. They fear security hassles and nightmare traffic and, for the most part, the numbers never come close to what folks boast about in those fancy press conferences. Oh, they do fine. But they seldom if ever do as well as the boosters insist.
What you CAN do by staging the Olympics, if you do it right, is boost your long-term standing in the travel world. Barcelona was a relative backwater until they spent gazillions on public works and beaches and fancy art work and now it's a HUGE player in Europe. Sydney, on the other hand, didn't seem to do as well. Ditto for Vancouver and certainly for Atlanta.
A report on travelmole.com today says Britain suffered a three per cent drop in tourists during the third quarter of last year when London hosted the 2012 Olympic Games.
Despite expectations of a bookings bonanza for the capital during the Olympics, London received 200,000 fewer overnight visits from overseas residents over summer 2012 than a year earlier. Visits to the rest of England and Scotland also fell, but not those to Wales.
However, there were benefits overall, so perhaps the boosters had it somewhat correct. It turns out that while overall numbers were down, spending by overseas visitors rose eight per cent. You could make the argument that total spending is more important than actual bums on the planes, so good for them.
VisitBritain said November was the best for five years, with visitor numbers up nine per cent year on year, keeping the country on track for 31 million visits by the end of 2012. It said spending for the 11 months of the year reached a record 17.2 billion pounds.
However, spending associated with overnight visits to London increased by 13% from £2.8 billion to £3.1 billion. Spending on Olympics and Paralympics tickets will have accounted for a part of this increase, said the Office for National Statistics.
No doubt the Queen's Jubilee and the royal wedding helped, too.
The point here is that the Olympics aren't a short-term panacea for tourism. But if you do things right, you can expect reasonable long-term improvements. Not to mention a great party and a morale boost for your city or country. Whether that's worth the enormous, multi-billion dollar costs of these things is, of course, up for debate. I think Canadians don't mind at all that we spent a fortune on security for Vancouver. It was a coming out party and a huge source of pride for us to win so many medals and I doubt many of us regret the money spent. Ditto for London, I suspect.
THIS AND THAT
Good item in today's Star Business section by reporter Vanessa Lu, charting recent problems with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The new planes should be coming to Air Canada in the next year or two, and they're supposed to allow AC to use its older planes on the new, discount Rouge carrier they just launched. It's possible that delays, if there are any, in delivering the Dreamliner would impact on Rouge. But it's pretty early to speculate. Besides, Boeing says everything's great with their new product. So it must be true. Right? Right? ... Aeroplan is again offering an exclusive invitation for CIBC Aeroplan Cardholders. They've 100 per cent of the seats for cardholders on two Air Canada flights from Toronto to Orlando for March break. Book now to take advantage ... StatsCan says tourism spending rose 1 per cent in the third quarter of 2012, up from 0.1 per cent in the previous quarter. The agency says higher tourism spending by Canadians at home more than made up for a decline in spending by international visitors. The Canadian Tourism Commission says its efforts to market last year's 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede lured thousands of visitors to Canada. It says more than 8,900 travellers booked trips to Canada in the six months leading to the centennial celebrations and that spending by those visitors injected more than $9.2 million into the Canadian economy. The Stampede received a record 1.4 million visitors, up 20 per cent from 2011.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal for a coach tour of fabulous and historic Turkey with Transat.
Priced at $2,049 plus $458 in taxes (for a total of $2,07), the tour includes many of the highlights of this fascinating and popular country. Here are the highlights:
- BONUS: $150 Future Travel Voucher per person
- BONUS: Extend your flight for up to 30 days at no additional cost (accommodations extra) and return from anywhere Transat flies in Europe
- 16-Day, 14-Night Tour of Turkey including visits to the Grand Bazaar, Ephesus, a walking tour of Antalya, sightseeing tour of Ankara along Salt Lake, and more!
- Includes return airfare from Toronto to Istanbul on board Air Transat, and airport/hotel transfers in Turkey
- 14 nights' accommodation in 4-Star hotels and a Special class Hotel with private facilities (double occupancy)
- Includes transportation via an air conditioned coach, services of an English-speaking licensed tour guide, and all sightseeing and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Meals include 14 buffet breakfasts, 13 lunches and 12 dinners, including a farewell dinner with wine
- Hotels are in 4-star or special class hotels with private facilities
- The wide variety of sights include historic ruins, markets, natural wonders, battlegrounds and more
- Discover both the European and Asian sides of Istanbul
- Valid for travel on the following departure date: June 2, 2013
- Pricing (per person, plus tax):
- Valid passport and visa (not included) required for travel from Canada
- Other Turkey packages available with Transat Holidays. Call 1-855-GO-JAUNT to book!
- This offer is refundable until 5PM EST on January 16, 2013. After that time, this offer is 100% non-refundable