U.S. has detected, numbered FormoSat-5: project head

Taipei, Aug. 28 (CNA) FormoSat-5, Taiwan’s first domestically developed satellite, has been detected and numbered by the U.S. Department of Defense’s warfare command center, the director of the satellite project developed by Taiwan’s National Space Organization (NSPO) said Monday.

The orbit and height of the satellite have met their expectations, added Chang Ho-pen (張和本) at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport upon his return from the United States along with some members of his team and Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Su Fong-chin (蘇芳慶).

The group were in the U.S. for the launch of FormoSat-5, which was taken by the SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California into its 720-km orbit several minutes after liftoff at 2:50 a.m. Friday (Taiwan time).

Chang said that several members of his team remained at the U.S. space center, where they are monitoring the remote sensing satellite and conducting tests and data verification in the hope that the spacecraft can begin operating normally as soon as possible.

At the same time, he went on, the specialists will fine-tune the parameters so that the satellite can run at its optimum capacity.

FormoSat-5, which was entirely developed and built in Taiwan, is expected to begin providing data that can be used for national security, geopolitical, scientific and academic purposes in about two weeks, according to the NSPO.

At the airport, Su told reporters that FormoSat-5’s launch marks the importance of advanced scientific research. “It not only opens an aspect for Taiwan’s space technology research, but also looks after people’s livelihoods in terms of flooding and disaster prevention and homeland maintenance,” he said.

The satellite commences an era in Taiwan’s space industry that can create economic benefits, Su said.

(By Chiu Chun-chin and Elizabeth Hsu)
Enditem/J




EVA Air launches new uniforms, bids farewell to Boeing 747-400

Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) EVA Air, one of Taiwan’s two major airlines, launched its third-generation uniforms in a ceremony that also marked the retirement of the Boeing 747-400, a model which has served the carrier for 25 years.

More than 500 EVA staff, aviation geeks and travel agents burst into cheers when flight attendants strutted onto the catwalk wearing the new uniforms. The ceremony was held in a hangar where EVA positioned its retired jumbo jet as a backdrop.

The new uniforms keep the base color of verdelite like its predecessors, but are more fashionable with color blocks, geometric patterns and streamlined shapes designed to create a professional look with a classical style, explained Wang Chen Tsai-hsia (王陳彩霞), the lead designer, who hails from Taiwan’s Shiatzy Chen fashion house.

The biggest highlight of the uniforms is the use of scarves, the carrier said, explaining that their colorful pattern was inspired by trees, which symbolizes EVA’s continuous development.

“The greatest challenge along the course of developing the uniforms was that we had to make it look fashionable without compromising versatility,” said EVA Chairman Steve Lin (林寶水), adding that the designing process began two years ago.

During that time, the airline arranged for the design team to visit airports to observe how its staff worked at check-in counters and in VIP lounges. The team also had conversations with the service staff about what they wanted in the new uniforms, Lin said.

The outfits will be worn beginning this November, replacing the current design, which was launched in 2003.

The women’s uniforms feature standing collars that convey the idea of flying through the sky, with different colors such as red, pink and light green distinguishing crew members’ ranks.

Uniforms for male staff are built around the three-piece business suit, with aircraft wings formed by green or orange dots standing out against the black ties to represent the idea of EVA’s global network, the carrier said.

Besides giving an enthusiastic welcome to the new uniforms, the company bade a fond farewell to the decommissioned Boeing 747-400.

“We have flown Boeing 747-400s for almost a quarter of the century and used them to create a glorious chapter in EVA’s history,” Lin said.

The decommissioning of the planes is part of a global trend to phase out use of the older model of Boeing aircraft and is also part of efforts by EVA to upgrade its fleet.

Sam Lee (李昱寬) was lucky enough to be one of the 10 fans to win EVA’s online lottery that drew more than 1,000 participants vying to attend the ceremony.

The 13-year-old, who took the High Speed Rail by himself from southern Taiwan’s Tainan City to attend the ceremony in northern Taiwan’s Taoyuan City, said he has been inspired by the aircraft.

“The jumbo jets are beautiful, and I have been longing to become a pilot because I want to fly in the blue, blue skies,” Lee said, adding that however, his favorite aircraft model is the Airbus A321.

Over the past 25 years, EVA has operated a total of 18 Boeing 747-400s — seven as passenger aircraft, three as cargo aircraft and eight for dual use.

Known for its stretched double-deck configuration, the jets enabled EVA to lead the industry in launching a fourth cabin class — economy deluxe — which offered passengers a level of service between business and economy class at an affordable price.

The practice was later followed by many carriers.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)
Enditem/cs




Most Taiwanese in favor of safeguarding cross-strait peace: poll

Taipei, Aug. 24 (CNA) A majority of Taiwanese people support the government’s push for cross-strait peace and believe further exchanges between the people in Taiwan and mainland China will help improve stable relations, according to a poll released on Thursday by the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

The survey found that 87.8 percent of Taiwanese support the government’s proposal that both sides work to maintain peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait, while 84.8 percent believe a healthy exchange between the people on both sides will help improve relations.

Meanwhile, 64.1 percent of those questioned also showed their support for the government to draw up relevant rules and regulations to improve cross-strait exchanges and interactions.

However, the survey found that 75.2 percent of Taiwanese reject China’s use of political means to suppress Taiwan on the international stage.

Maintaining a healthy exchange will help promote cross-strait peace and stability, MAC Minister Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) said during a press conference in Taipei.

The government has always stood by the principle that both sides should respect each other and settle disagreements through communication and dialogue, Chang said.

“We are calling for China to help promote positive interactions and exchanges that seek to optimize the benefits for both sides,” she added.

Beijing has suspended dialogue and contacts with Taiwan’s government since Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) came into office in May 2016 and has taken action to apply pressure on her government. Tsai has refused to accept China’s condition that in order for relations to develop, she must embrace the concept that there is only one China, with each side free to interpret what that is.

The survey, conducted from July 31 to August 2 by Taiwan Real Survey, collected 1,079 valid questionnaires by telephone, and has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.98 percentage points.

(By Miao Tsung-han and Ko Lin)
Enditem/cs




China’s military activities near Taiwan said to be war preparation

Taipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) Recent frequent incidents in which Chinese military aircraft have flown close to Taiwan indicate that Beijing is preparing for a “partial, limited and non-nuclear war” in the Taiwan Strait, a retired Taiwanese vice admiral said Tuesday.

Kung Chia-cheng (龔家政), former head of the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, said at an event marking the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II that the recent Chinese military maneuvers show that China is preparing for a scenario of war in the Taiwan Strait.

Some media reports have described the incidents as a signal from China to the United States and Japan, or part of China’s regular training, Kung noted.

“But personally, I feel that China is preparing for a partial, limited and non-nuclear war,” he said, warning that Taiwan cannot just look on without doing anything.

He said that China is attempting to keep the U.S., Japan and South Korea focused on dealing with the nuclear issue in East Asia, and will then initiate a war in the Taiwan Strait, in which the U.S. would be unable to intervene and which would be difficult for Taiwan to resist.

Amid the changing dynamics in the international community, if the deadlock in the Taiwan Strait continues, Taiwan will face an unpredictable crisis, Kung said.

At a separate news conference that same day, the Ministry of National Defense said that China’s air force has conducted four rounds of long-distance flight training near Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone so far this month. This followed four rounds of similar training in July.

The aircraft involved in the incidents included Xian H-6K bombers and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft.

The ministry said the aircraft were probably attempting to collect intelligence on Taiwan’s military, but it assured the public that the military has taken proper measures to protect its data from being intercepted by enemies.

(By Sophia Yeh, Lu Hsin-hui and Elaine Hou)
Enditem/JTaipei, Aug. 15 (CNA) Recent frequent incidents in which Chinese military aircraft have flown close to Taiwan indicate that Beijing is preparing for a “partial, limited and non-nuclear war” in the Taiwan Strait, a retired Taiwanese vice admiral said Tuesday.

Kung Chia-cheng (龔家政), former head of the Chung-Shan Institute of Science and Technology, said at an event marking the 72nd anniversary of the end of World War II that the recent Chinese military maneuvers show that China is preparing for a scenario of war in the Taiwan Strait.

Some media reports have described the incidents as a signal from China to the United States and Japan, or part of China’s regular training, Kung noted.

“But personally, I feel that China is preparing for a partial, limited and non-nuclear war,” he said, warning that Taiwan cannot just look on without doing anything.

He said that China is attempting to keep the U.S., Japan and South Korea focused on dealing with the nuclear issue in East Asia, and will then initiate a war in the Taiwan Strait, in which the U.S. would be unable to intervene and which would be difficult for Taiwan to resist.

Amid the changing dynamics in the international community, if the deadlock in the Taiwan Strait continues, Taiwan will face an unpredictable crisis, Kung said.

At a separate news conference that same day, the Ministry of National Defense said that China’s air force has conducted four rounds of long-distance flight training near Taiwan’s Air Defense Identification Zone so far this month. This followed four rounds of similar training in July.

The aircraft involved in the incidents included Xian H-6K bombers and Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft.

The ministry said the aircraft were probably attempting to collect intelligence on Taiwan’s military, but it assured the public that the military has taken proper measures to protect its data from being intercepted by enemies.

(By Sophia Yeh, Lu Hsin-hui and Elaine Hou)
Enditem/J




Cross-Strait Taipei Travel Fair suspended due to delays

Taipei, Aug. 23 (CNA) This is the first time in 12 years that the Cross-Strait Taipei Travel Fair will not take place in conjunction with the annual Taipei International Travel Fair due to planning delays, according to the Taiwan Visitors Association (TVA) on Monday.

Since 2006, the Taipei International Travel Fair, which takes place from Oct. 27-30 this year, has designated a section of the trade show the “Cross-Strait Taipei Travel Fair.”

However, TVA Secretary General Wu Chao-yen (吳朝彥) explained to the press that a delay in scheduling and planning has made such an arrangement impossible this year.

The association sent an invitation to China in February or March, he noted, but the first joint planning meeting was not held until July. Even then, the two sides had been unable to reach consensus on the fair by mid-August, at which point it was decided there was insufficient time to meet the October deadline.

Wu mentioned that despite the absence of the Cross-Strait Taipei Travel Fair this year, the association will continue to work with China so cross-strait events will still be a feature of future fairs.

The four-day Taipei International Travel Fair, which in 2016 attracted 950 exhibitors from more than 60 countries, is expected to attract a similar number of participants, according to the TVA.

(By Chen Wei-ting and Kuan-lin Liu)
Enditem/AW




Festival Spasskaya Tower in Moscow

The Tenth International Military Music Festival «Spasskaya Tower» will take place from the 26th August till 3th September 2017. Throughout 10 evenings there will be represented the bright and colorful show in front of the audience and guests on Red Square of the best Russian and foreign military and orchestral collectives “framed” with theatrical elements, light installations and fireworks.
The festival is held every time since 2007 in accordance with an individual Order of the President of Russian Federation, which imposes on the organizers a huge responsibility, primarily in the part of the quality of preparation and content of the project.

The geography of participating countries of the project has traditionally covered all parts of the world. Bands from Russia, Austria, Armenia, Belarus, Egypt, India, Kazakhstan, China, Turkey, Italy, Uzbekistan, Switzerland and also the band of the European Union and the international group will perform at Red Square this year.

In addition to the main performances on Red Square, in the program of the Festival all fulfilled and demanded components by the audience are remained and improved. Further development will be also gained by the children’s program “Spasskaya Tower for kids” including an annual competition of children’s and youth brass orchestras, a review of children’s Honor Guard from different regions of Russia, master classes for children. The important component of the Festival will be the charitable program; due to this event, several thousand of people from the social unprotected groups of the population will be able to see the Festival. Traditionally the Festival “Spasskaya Tower” is held with great success – with a full notice. Only the spectator’s audience of the performances themselves makes 75 000 people. About 300 thousand people on average visit Red Square during the Festival.

In 2016, there was unprecedented interest to the project from mass media. More than 1500 publications were published about the Festival in print and electronic media. The project was covered not only by all major Russian federal TV channels, but also by TV companies from 11 countries. The audience of the project exceeded 120 million people worldwide.

At the same time the Festival doesn’t “stand still”. It grows and develops every year, becomes more large-scale, complex and multi-faceted event, justifying its status as the largest and international cultural project of the country.

This year the Festival with a support of Government of Moscow and the Ministry of Defense of Russian Federation has sharply expanded the number of urban areas, involved in activities with participation of military orchestras during spring and summer period, thereby integrating into urban life and reviving one of the most beautiful traditions, existing in pre-revolutionary time and during the Soviet period, – the tradition of performances of brass military orchestras in parks and squares of the capital.

The Festival pays great attention to the development of children’s and youth directions. This year at the end of the May were held events, dedicated to Children’s Day: show of children’s brass orchestras in Alexander Garden and the concert-procession of Orchestra of students of Suvorov Military Music School at Three Station Square.

The Festival “Spasskaya Tower” is the large-scale project, demanded not only within the country, but also beyond its limit. The Festival became an event and the world-class phenomenon, the unique instrument of cross-cultural dialogue regardless of a political environment. “Spasskaya Tower” is the project, which demonstrates openness of Russia to the world, its great history and traditions.

The festival “Spasskaya Tower” meets its anniversary together with constant friends and partners: Rostec State Corporation, ROSOBORONEXPORT joint-stock, Transneft public joint stock company. For ten years these largest Russian companies give full support to the festival. Organizers of the festival “Spasskaya Tower” thank all partners for the significant contribution to the development and promoting of military music not only in our country, but also around the world.

The official news agency of the festival “Spasskaya Tower” in 2017 is INA “Russia today”.

Tickets to the International Military Musical Festival “Spasskaya Tower” can get on the site kremlin-military-tattoo.ru and in cash desks of the official booking operator Concert.ru and also in all theatrical cash desks of Moscow.




airBaltic Announces First Five New Destinations for Summer 2018

Riga. The Latvian airline airBaltic announces its first destinations for the summer season of 2018, starting on March 27, 2018. Next summer airBaltic will have more than five new destinations added to its route map.

Wolfgang Reuss, Senior Vice President Network Management of airBaltic: “So far 2017 has been an excellent year for airBaltic – already seven brand new Bombardier CS300 aircraft have successfully joined our fleet as we are serving a growing family of customers. We are delighted to share the first glimpse of forecast how our 2018 is going to look, by announcing a wider selection of destinations that our customers have demanded for the next summer. Network expansion is a key part of our Horizon 2021 business plan that enables us to further improve connections between the Baltic region and the rest of the world.”

During the first six months of 2017, airBaltic has carried a total of 1 565 462 passengers throughout its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, CIS and the Middle East, which is the second highest number of passengers in the history of the airline. airBaltic’s improved connectivity, efficient aircraft and low cost base will further enable to continue its expansion as No 1 carrier of the Baltic region.

For the summer season of 2018 airBaltic has added Malaga (Spain), Lisbon (Portugal), Split (Croatia), Bordeaux (France) and Gdansk (Poland). Additional new destinations will be announced in the future. A complete schedule of airBaltic flights can be found on the company’s homepage at www.airbaltic.com.

Destination served

Flight frequency

Start date

Price *,

Basic

Price *,

Premium

Price*,

Business

Riga – Lisbon (Portugal)

2 weekly

March 27, 2018

99 EUR

159 EUR

499 EUR

Riga – Gdansk (Poland)

3 weekly

March 27, 2018

29 EUR

99 EUR

299 EUR

Riga – Malaga (Spain)

2 weekly

March 28, 2018

99 EUR

159 EUR

479 EUR

Riga – Split (Croatia)

2 weekly

May 21, 2018

89 EUR

149 EUR

439 EUR

Riga – Bordeaux (France)

2 weekly

June 3, 2018

79 EUR

139 EUR

479 EUR

*Lowest fare (one way), including taxes, fees and service charges, on www.airBaltic.com, subject to availability

airBaltic serves over 60 destinations from its home base in Riga, Latvia. From every one of these locations, airBaltic offers convenient connections via Riga to its network spanning Europe, Scandinavia, the CIS and the Middle East. In addition, airBaltic also offers direct flights from Tallinn and Vilnius.




Iberia Offers New Premium Economy Class on Boston Flights

  • Already available on New York, Chicago, Miami, Mexico City and Bogota flights
  • Market response to new intermediate seating class even better than expected

Iberia’s new Premium Economy class will be available on the airline’s flights between Madrid and Boston this month. The new cabin is already available on flights between Madrid and Chicago, New York, Miami, Mexico City, as well as Bogota.

Iberia launched its Premium Economy class in May, and the market response has been very positive. Iberia’s Chief Commercial Officer, Marco Sansavini said “We had the highest hopes for the new seating class, but the response from the market has far exceeded our expectations. The load factor beats projections in the US market and also in Latin America, where we were the first airline to offer an intermediate class on direct flights to and from Spain”. He added, “Initial passenger surveys show that customers using the new class give the highest marks to the overall travel experience and to the price/quality ratio.”

 

More Comfort, More Room, More Luggage

 Iberia’s Premium Economy Class features greater comfort, better service and many other advantages:

  • 20% more distance between rows: 94 cm vs. 78.7 cm in Economy.
  • Wider seats: 48 cm
  • 40% deeper seatback recline: 7” vs. 5” in Economy
  • More comfort: adjustable headrests and reclining footrests.
  • Larger, sharper entertainment displays: Full HD, 12” vs. 9” in Economy, plus noise-cancelling headphones, power and connecting ports for electronic devices
  • Special on-board service: complimentary welcome drink, gourmet menu, cloth table linen and a personalised toilet kit.
  • More luggage: passengers booking Premium Economy are allowed to check-in two suitcases and have priority both at check-in and when boarding and leaving the aircraft.

Iberia has so far equipped six aircraft with the new seating class, which will soon be available in a total of 37 of its Airbus A330-300s, A340-600s and A350-900s.

About Iberia: Iberia is the leading carrier on routes between Europe and Latin  America and it flies to 124 destinations in 48 countries in Europe, the Americas, Africa, Middle East and Asia. Together with its subsidiary Iberia Express and its franchise partner Iberia Regional/Air Nostrum, it operates about 600 flights each day with a fleet of some 135 aircraft. It offers easy and convenient connections at its hub in T4 in Madrid-Barajas airport.Iberia was the world’s most punctual airline in 2016, according to Flightstats and has recently been awarded the 4th Skytrax Star. The airline is a member of the oneworld alliance that operates more than 14,000 daily flights to some 1,000 destinations in more than 150 countries. For more information, please visit http://grupo.iberia.es

 




airberlin continues to operate as part of oneworld

airberlin continues to operate as part of oneworld®, following the German airline’s filing to commence insolvency proceedings under self-administration, to enable it to continue with its restructuring process.

Germany’s federal government is supporting airberlin with a bridging loan to maintain flight operations for the long-term.

airberlin states that this means:

  • All flights operated by airberlin and its affiliate NIKI, which is also part of oneworld, will continue as planned.
  • Their flight schedule remains valid.
  • Bookings remain valid.
  • All flights can still be booked.

As such, airberlin and NIKI remain as part of oneworld and continue to offer the alliance’s usual services and benefits.

For airberlin’s statement, see airberlin.com




Hilton Hotels & Resorts Uncovers Passport Holders More Likely To Be Content With Their Lives

Hilton Passport Project Kicks Off, Highlights Benefits of Having a Passport and Encourages Travelers to Get Out and Experience the World

MCLEAN, Va. – Approximately 41 percent of Americans have a valid U.S. passport1, and it turns out, that’s a good thing. Hilton Hotels & Resorts, the flagship brand of Hilton (NYSE: HLT), has uncovered that Americans with passports are more likely to be content with their lives than those who do not have passports. Based on this finding, Hilton Hotels & Resorts is launching the Hilton Passport Project to put more passports in the hands of Americans to help them realize the power of travel.

Uncovering Consumer Insights
A key component of the Hilton Passport Project is better understanding the mindset of Americans when it comes to international travel and putting their passports to use. To do this, Hilton conducted a study2 of 1,000 travelers to explore: could getting a passport be a key to happiness? What motivates people to get a passport? Are most passports being used? What does having a passport say about someone’s personality?

The findings from the study revealed three key themes about American travelers today:

  • Turns out, having a passport is in fact good for you – More than half (53%) of Americans with passports are content with their lives versus just over a third (34%) of those who do not yet have passports.
  • Passports could be used more, and there are now more opportunities to do so – Among respondents who have a passport (but haven’t been abroad in the past 12 months), 18 percent have never used their passport.
  • People are motivated to get out and unlock their world – Six in 10 Americans are motivated to travel abroad and 27 percent already have plans in place to use their passport.

In addition to these key themes, the findings allowed Hilton to create a “Passport Personality Index,” which categorizes travelers into a series of personalities – Globetrotters, Future Explorers and “Maybe Later” International Travelers – distinguishable by key traits such as their motivation to travel, contentment with life, social media sharing habits and even desire to first see all America has to offer before heading abroad. The compelling findings from the study are outlined in a Hilton Blue Paper: The State of U.S. Passport Use, available online here.

“For nearly 100 years, we’ve witnessed the profound impact travel has on the lives of our guests,” said Stuart Foster, vice president, global brand marketing. “With more than 570 hotels in the heart of the world’s most incredible destinations, Hilton Hotels & Resorts makes travel within reach. The Hilton Passport Project is our way of helping more Americans unlock the power of travel and realize the benefits a passport can bring them – whether that’s becoming more content with their lives or enjoying new experiences and opportunities.”

Putting Passports in Hand
To bring the research to life and motivate travelers to pursue that next stamp in their passport, Hilton Hotels & Resorts is partnering with Zach Houghton, founder of Passion Passport. A core mission for Houghton – and the Passion Passport community – is to connect travelers and potential travelers who are seeking new experiences and perspectives. Houghton will team up with Hilton Hotels & Resorts to invite his followers to a live event in New York City this fall, which will guide people through the process of getting a passport, immerse them in cultures and destinations from across the world and give them a chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of those destinations.

Beyond New York, Hilton will be facilitating the passport application process by setting up Passport Project activations at select hotels and locations later this year. Visitors will be able to take their passport photo and receive all the information and materials they need to apply for one – as well as engage with interactive experiences that will whet their appetite for global travel.

Additionally, highly immersive digital videos, billboard installations and terminal takeovers with creative from the brand’s newest campaign, “The World Is Right Here,” will continue to roll out at some of the country’s busiest airports in cities including Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas. The campaign illustrates the value of travel and empowers consumers to travel more – passports in hand – and experience the world around them.

For additional information on the Hilton Passport Project and the Passport Personality Index, resources available to help consumers obtain passports and some destination inspiration, visit news.hilton.com/passportproject or follow along on social via Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hilton), Instagram (@hiltonhotels) and Twitter (@hiltonhotels) using hashtag #PassportProject.


1 https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports/statistics.html  
2
Hilton Hotels & Resorts commissioned a 15-minute, online survey among a nationally-representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adults ages 18+ that have traveled within and/or outside of the U.S. in the past 12 months. The margin of error for this sample is +/- 3.1% at the 95% confidence level. The survey was fielded by Edelman Intelligence between May 30 and June 6, 2017.