Weekly News Roundup


FAA bans U.S. flights over Iranian airspace
The Federal Aviation Administration has banned U.S. airlines from flying over Iranian airspace in the wake of escalating tension over the two nations.

All flights above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman are prohibited for U.S. carriers “until further notice due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions in the region, which represent an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations and potential for miscalculation or mis-identification,” the FAA wrote in its advisory.

The FAA Threat Analysis Division wrote that though “the exact location of the attack is not yet available, there were numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the intercept.”

The decision comes after an Iranian surface-to-air missile shot down a U.S. unmanned aircraft system over the Strait of Hormuz on June 19. Iran said the drone was on a spying mission and that it violated Iranian airspace. The U.S. has denied the charge.

The ban is forcing many airlines to alter their routes or cancel flights.

United Airlines had already canceled its flight from Newark to Mumbai on Thursday.

“Given current events in Iran, United has conducted a thorough safety and security review of our India service through Iranian airspace,” United said in a statement to CNN.

Foreign carriers such as British Airways, Lufthansa, Etihad Airways, and Qantas have said they would re-route flights. They don’t have to abide by FAA orders but often take guidance from them.

OYO plans to expand U.S. hotel presence
India hotel startup OYO Hotels & Homes plans to invest $300 million over the next few years to open more hotels in the United States.

The company, which is known for its affordability and “comfort design,” has more than 50 hotels in 10 states and 35 cities in the U.S. right now.

The goal is to open an average of one hotel per day, the company said in its announcement.

“As a full-scale hotel chain, we strive to bring real value to both owners and guests – and we’re convinced there is unlimited potential for rapid growth in our newest home market, the United States,” said Ritesh Agarwal, founder and CEO of OYO.

Agarwal was just 19 years old when he started the company in 2013. Since then, OYO Hotels has attracted investors such as Airbnb, Sequoia Capital and Hero Enterprise.

There are now 23,000 OYO hotels and 46,000 vacation homes around the world. Many of its properties are in Europe, India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Japan, and the Middle East.

In the U.S., OYO has properties in cities such as Dallas, Houston, Augusta, Atlanta, and Miami. It plans to expand to New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“We promise to bring new-age hospitality experience at a price point you never imagined. Select service hotels are finally going to be fun and beautiful,” said Abhinav Sinha, COO of OYO. “We are in the largest country in the world when it comes to the hospitality industry and there is a definite need here for chic and comfortable hospitality experiences at prices never thought of before.”

Delta Air Lines buys stake in Korean Air
Delta has acquired a 4.3 percent equity stake in Hanjin-KAL, the largest stakeholder of Korean Air, which has been a joint venture partner with the airline since last year.

Over time, the airline plans to increase its equity stake to 10 percent, pending regulatory approval.

Since launching the partnership May 2018, Delta and Korean Air have expanded their joint operations in the trans-Pacific to more than 1,400 codeshare flights. The flights go to more than 290 destinations in the United States and 80 in Asia, including the Seoul-Incheon (ICN) hub.

“Together with the team at Korean Air, we have a vision to deliver the world’s leading trans-Pacific joint venture for our shared customers, offering the strongest network, the best service and the finest experience connecting the U.S. with Asia,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a written statement. “This is already one of our fastest-integrating and most successful partnerships, and experience tells us this investment will further strengthen our relationship as we continue to build on the value of the joint venture.”

The carriers have integrated their sales and marketing activities and enhanced their mutual loyalty program benefits, with members being able to earn and redeem more miles.

Since the partnership was launched, Delta has had its first year-over-year growth in the Asia Pacific region in seven years. This year, Delta, in partnership with Korean Air, launched new service between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Seoul, as well as Seattle and Osaka. Korean Air also debuted service between Boston and Seoul.

Both airlines are founding members of the SkyTeam airline alliance.

Nancy Trejos is covering industry news for GBTA. She has been a journalist for more than two decades, covering various subjects and traveling all around the world. She was a business and leisure travel writer at USA TODAY from November 2012 to January 2019, writing about destinations, business travel, hotels, airlines, rental cars, and the sharing economy. Previously, she spent 13 years at The Washington Post covering travel, personal finance, education, and the war in Iraq. She is the author of the personal finance memoir "Hot Broke Messes: How to Have your Latte and Drink it Too." She has also worked for the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press and was a contributor at Latina magazine. She graduated from Georgetown University and lives in New York City.

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