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What Accor’s Interest in Air France-KLM Means for the Travel Industry

Nothing is official yet, far from it. Or as AccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin said Monday: “A bit too early” to speculate. But the possibility of Accor buying up the French government’s 14.3 percent stake in troubled airline group Air France-KLM is garnering plenty of industry interest. This potential investment, first reported on Sunday, suggests that travel brands are increasingly looking to complementary businesses — either to invest indirectly or to partner with — to increase the engagement they have with travelers and to become experience platforms, and not just travel brands.

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American Not Ready to Resume Commercial Ties With Etihad and Qatar Airways

American Airlines is “pleased” with the results of recent U.S. government negotiations with the United Arab Emirates and Qatar over Open Skies agreements, but has no plans to restore commercial partnerships it canceled with two of the Gulf’s most powerful carriers during the height of the drama, CEO Doug Parker said Sunday at a briefing in Sydney. “We are grateful for what the U.S. government was able to accomplish,” Parker said during an occasionally testy briefing on foreign affairs at the IATA Annual General Meeting, a conference of airline executives.

“We haven’t had enough time to make sure that those resolutions actually have the effect we hope for.”

Even as relations between U.S and Gulf carriers became acrimonious in recent years — the U.S. airlines have said their competitors receive unfair subsidies from their governments — American retained codeshare agreements with Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways.

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Hawaiian Airlines CEO on Staying Small While Withstanding Competition

To thrive as a full-service U.S. airline, a carrier must be all things to all people, taking customers everywhere they want to go, on their own aircraft or through partners, with enough frequency to satisfy business travelers. At least that’s conventional wisdom. It’s espoused by big carriers, like United Airlines, as it adds capacity and grows its hubs, and smaller ones, such as Alaska Airlines, which acquired Virgin America so it could better fight for West Coast passengers. That was a blow to mid-sized JetBlue Airways since it coveted Virgin America for the same reason.

But one U.S. airline doesn’t seem interested in bulking up. It’s Hawaiian Airlines, the niche Honolulu-based airline with robust service within Hawaii and a network that extends as far as Sydney, Beijing, Tokyo and New York.

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If Qantas flies nonstop from Sydney to London by 2022 as it hopes, it wants to revolutionize the travel experience, possibly using new seat designs, even in economy class, and perhaps installing berths in the cargo hold or adding onboard bars and other amenities, executives said Monday at a briefing in Sydney.

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