Chinese co. simulates Space Tourism in Gobi Desert

Travel and Tour World | May 03, 2019

In a simulated scenario, mealworms wriggle on a shelf in the botanical module of Mars Base 1, ostensibly a Martian habitat on the edge of the Gobi desert in western China.Guo Jiayu, a tourist guide, tells a group of wide-eyed schoolchildren that, mashed up, such larvae could be part of the diet of astronauts should they reach the red planet. Elsewhere in the complex (pictured), neon-lit corridors lead to sleeping compartments and a control centre. Through an airlock lined with spacesuits awaits a rover, ready for exploring the rocky expanse outside.The small installation is near Jinchang, a nickel-mining city in the western province of Gansu. It was built last year at a cost of around 50m yuan ($7.5m) by Bai Fan, a garrulous British-educated entrepreneur with the backing of private investors. For now, Mr Bai is mainly using the base to teach students about travel to Mars. Eventually, Bai hopes the facility will become the centrepiece of a resort. His company has secured the right to develop 67 square kilometres of the surrounding desert—an area bigger than Manhattan.

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AIRLINES AND AIRPORTS

Vietnam Airlines extends long-standing relationship with Sabre as the carrier continues to play significant role in Vietnam’s tourism resurgence

Vietnam Airlines | September 06, 2022

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), a leading software and technology provider that powers the global travel industry, today announced an extended distribution agreement with Vietnamese flag carrier Vietnam Airlines. The new deal means that Vietnam Airlines will continue to distribute its content to the large network of travel agents through Sabre’s extensive travel marketplace. The agreement further strengthens Sabre’s presence in the Vietnam aviation marketplace and the relationship between Sabre and Vietnam Airlines. In addition to Sabre’s Global Distribution system (GDS), the Hanoi-based carrier also uses a comprehensive suite of SabreSonic Passenger Service System (PSS) technology including reservation and ticketing, inventory and departure control solutions. Vietnam Airlines also leverages Sabre’s Revenue Optimizer to maximize revenue using near-real time network partner and comprehensive passenger revenue performance data as well as further Sabre solutions to enable the carrier to provide travelers with a premium personalized experience. “The aviation industry has evolved rapidly in recent years, and we highly appreciate Sabre’s wide-ranging, robust, scalable technological solutions for having brought significant value to Vietnam Airlines. Sabre’s robust global marketplace has supported Vietnam Airlines efficiently in reaching travelers worldwide following the easing of travel restrictions in Vietnam, We also appreciate the commitment of Sabre in supporting the recovery and growth of Vietnam Airlines as well as the Vietnam travel industry during and after Covid-19 pandemic. Today, we’re very happy to reaffirm our long-standing partnership that our two corporations have enjoyed for over a decade, and look forward to new successes in the future.” -Le Hong Ha, CEO, Vietnam Airlines. The expanded distribution agreement between Sabre and Vietnam Airlines was signed between Mr. Trinh Ngoc Thanh, Vietnam Airlines’ Executive Vice President and Sabre’s Vice President, Regional General Manager, Asia Pacific, Travel Solutions Agency Sales, Mr. Rakesh Narayanan at Vietnam Airlines’ headquarters in Hanoi. Operating across dozens of domestic and international destinations, Vietnam Airlines continues to ramp up operations following the re-opening of Vietnam’s borders to international travelers earlier this year. The carrier is playing a key role in Vietnam’s aim to push tourist arrivals to five million this year, including attracting tourists from key markets including India, the US, Europe and the Middle East. “The fact that we’re able to be in Vietnam to meet our valued partners at Vietnam Airlines and sign this agreement in person is testament to the strong recovery we are seeing across all sectors of the travel industry, This agreement demonstrates our clear commitment to supporting the rapid recovery and future growth of the Vietnam travel industry. We’re excited that Sabre will continue to bring significant value to Vietnam Airlines at this critical time for Vietnam’s aviation market and we look forward to continuing to enable the carrier to connect the world to some of Asia’s most exciting destinations.” -Sean Menke, Chair of the Board and CEO, Sabre. About Sabre Corporation   Sabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre’s technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. About Vietnam Airlines Vietnam Airlines – a member of SkyTeam Alliance – is the flag carrier of Vietnam and the major carrier in South East Asia. Vietnam Airlines provides air transport services on over 100 routes to more than 20 domestic and 30 international destinations. Operating a modern fleet of more than 100 aircraft, Vietnam Airlines is the first airline in Asia-Pacific to simultaneously operate modern, wide-body aircraft Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. Vietnam Airlines takes great pride in offering its passengers consistent on-time-performance, absolute safety, high quality services embedded with Vietnamese cultural identity. Vietnam Airlines has maintained Skytrax’s 4-star service quality for years and is gradually upgrading to 5-star standard.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY,HOSPITALITY TRENDS

Spirit Airlines Completes Initial High-Speed Wi-Fi Installation, Takes Ultra-Low Fare Air Travel Experience to New Heights

Spirit Airlines | July 14, 2022

Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) has completed yet another groundbreaking investment in the Guest experience. Guests can now binge their favorite shows via Spirit Wi-Fi on flights operated by its Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. The major milestone marks the first time a U.S.-based ultra-low fare airline has offered high-speed Wi-Fi. Spirit partnered with Thales to install the high-speed connectivity solution FlytLIVE to cover Spirit's network across the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. This state-of-the-art system offers access to internet services. Guests can enjoy an at-home level of experience in the air while viewing video from their streaming services, playing games and connecting on social media with their personal devices. As another major milestone, Spirit expects to provide the fastest Wi-Fi service of any U.S.-based airline when all FlytLIVE-enabled planes are connected to the new, very high-throughput SES-17 satellite by September 2022. "This is a real groundbreaking moment in the industry as Spirit adds in-flight amenities and product options that have previously not been available on ultra-low fare carriers, We're continuing to deliver the best value in the sky by providing options that are important to our Guests, like our high-speed Wi-Fi service, while keeping our focus on affordable fares to provide our Guests with More Go." -Matt Klein, Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer for Spirit Airlines. At Thales, we are proud to partner with Spirit Airlines in their mission to enhance the Guest experience and are truly excited to have 100% of their A320 & A321 fleet equipped with FlytLIVE. The system's reliability and performance is getting rave reviews from Spirit's passengers who can now stream to their heart's content," said TK Kallenbach, CEO Thales InFlyt Experience. Spirit Wi-Fi Spirit is the leader in providing customizable travel options that allow Guests to pay only for the options they choose like bags, seat assignments, refreshments, and now, Wi-Fi service will be part of this À La Smarte approach to travel. In addition to purchasing Wi-Fi on the flight, Guests can pre-purchase Wi-Fi at the time of booking on spirit.com effective July 13, 2022, and on the mobile app effective August 10, 2022, for flights on or after August 24, 2022. The voucher codes received from the pre-purchase option are for entry in the online Wi-Fi portal on the plane. Wi-Fi Your Way Browsing: browse the web and stay in touch via email, chat, and social media starting at $2.99 Streaming: stream, browse, and chat on board with high-speed internet that's 20x faster than our browsing option starting at $5.99 How To Connect Turn on your device's Wi-Fi and choose "Spirit_WiFi" Open your web browser and visit SpiritWiFi.com Choose the plan, enter your payment or voucher code information, and enjoy Spirit Wi-Fi Features: The most advanced Ka-band high-throughput connectivity FlytLIVE uses SES & Hughes next-generation aviation satellite network and technology SES-17 satellite built to serve routes across the Americas and Atlantic with Ka-band coverage SES-17 is SES's first satellite to have a totally digital payload, powered by a Thales advanced digital transparent processor (DTP), enabling greater flexibility and efficiency than previously available. Using Thales' FlytLIVE and SES-17, Spirit expects to offer the best availability in the Americas and will be faster than other airlines based on published data. Additional program details: In total, more than 80 percent of Spirit's fleet has Wi-Fi capability with system installations completed on Spirit's existing A320 and A321 sub-fleets. The expansion of Wi-Fi functionality to Spirit's existing A319 sub-fleet will be determined at a later date. Spirit plans to gain 24 brand new A320neo planes in 2022 for a projected fleet-wide total of 197 by the end of the year, and 33 more new planes projected for delivery in 2023. The price of the Wi-Fi options is based on the duration of the flight. While inflight, Guests can enjoy complimentary access to Spirit.com—check your flight status on connecting flights, access your mobile boarding pass, and join Free Spirit to earn points from your flight. More information may be found on spirit.com/wifi. Recognition Spirit continues to garner recognition for innovation in the Guest experience and its commitment to operational excellence. The carrier won "Best Airport Innovation" in the 2021 APEX/IFSA Awards for its groundbreaking self-bag drop system with biometric photo matching, which speeds up the check-in process and reduces face-to-face contact. Additionally, Spirit was recognized by Forbes as one of America's Best Employers for Diversity in 2022. Spirit also received the FAA's "Aviation Maintenance Technician Diamond Award of Excellence" for the fourth consecutive year. About Spirit Airlines: Spirit Airlines (NYSE: SAVE) is committed to delivering the best value in the sky. We are the leader in providing customizable travel options starting with an unbundled fare. This allows our Guests to pay only for the options they choose — like bags, seat assignments and refreshments — something we call À La Smarte®. We make it possible for our Guests to venture further and discover more than ever before. Our Fit Fleet® is one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the U.S. We serve destinations throughout the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean, and are dedicated to giving back and improving those communities. Come save with us at spirit.com. About Thales: Thales (Euronext Paris: HO) is a global leader in advanced technologies, investing in digital and "deep tech" innovations – connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum computing – to build a confident future crucial for the development of our societies. The Group provides its customers – businesses, organisations and governments – in the defence, aeronautics, space, transport, and digital identity and security domains with solutions, services and products that help them fulfil their critical role, consideration for the individual being the driving force behind all decisions.

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TRAVEL TECHNOLOGY

Expedia Group and Bilt Rewards Launch Exclusive Travel Portal

Expedia Group | July 01, 2022

On June 30, Expedia Group, the leading travel technology platform, announced the launch of the new Bilt Travel Portal in collaboration with Bilt Rewards. It will be available exclusively to Bilt Rewards members. Members of Bilt Rewards can use their Bilt points to cover all or a portion of the cost of their next vacation and can book every aspect of their trip directly through the Bilt Rewards app, from flights to hotels and even theme park or Broadway show tickets. Bilt members can access more than 700,000 properties, 500 airlines, 120 car rental companies, and thousands of activities worldwide, thanks to Expedia Group's White Label Template technology. 1 White Label Template includes all of the functionality of the Expedia.com site, as well as tools and customer support to assist Bilt members with questions or bookings. Expedia Group's expert knowledge of the travel industry is combined with a nearly $2 billion annual investment in new technology innovation to meet the changing needs and demands of both partners and travelers. Travel is among the most important experiences to our members, who don’t want to be limited when it comes to using their hard-earned loyalty points, said Bilt Rewards Founder and CEO Ankur Jain. Partnering with Expedia Group enables us to give members a one-stop-shop with access to endless travel options, along with the easy integration to create a seamless booking experience. “We’re excited to power the Bilt Travel Portal, and to help the Bilt Rewards members build the vacation of their dreams simply by paying rent,Our innovative solutions provide Bilt Rewards with technology they need to build a wonderful experience and offer an unparalleled amount of travel options to their members.” -Christian Gerron, senior vice president, Media & Brand Partnerships, Expedia Group. Bilt Rewards members can access the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group by logging into the Bilt Rewards app or visiting travel.biltrewards.com and entering their Bilt Rewards login credentials to view available travel supply and booking options. When booking in real-time, members will be able to see the value of their Bilt points, with 10,000 Bilt points equaling $125 in travel credits. Members will also earn 2x points for bookings made through the Bilt Travel Portal with their Bilt Mastercard, and 1x point for bookings made with another form of payment. Bilt Rewards, which will be available in June 2021, is the first-ever loyalty program and co-brand credit card for renters, allowing 109 million renters in the United States to earn points on their largest monthly expense with no fees. Renters can access the free Bilt Rewards loyalty program by living within the Bilt Rewards Alliance, a network of over 2 million rental units in the United States, or by using the Bilt Mastercard, the first credit card that can be used to pay rent with no transaction fees at any rental unit in the United States. In addition, Bilt members have access to one of the most valuable rewards programs available, with the ability to redeem points for travel, boutique fitness classes, limited-edition art, and home décor, as well as rent credits and even a down payment on a future home. Members now have access to thousands of new options for redeeming their points thanks to the addition of the Bilt Travel Portal powered by Expedia Group, further increasing the value of Bilt's

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