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Week in Review

Mergers and acquisitions are all the rage this week! Reuters reports Alaska Air completed its acquisition of Virgin America in a $2.6 billion deal. According to Buying Business Travel, Lufthansa Group completed its acquisition of Brussels Airlines, purchasing the remaining 55 percent of shares for €2.6 million. Financial Times reports car rental company Europcar announced plans to acquire its Irish franchisee Europcar Ireland. The company also plans to spend up to €500 million on future acquisitions.

According to Skift, Iran Air closed a $16.6 billion deal with Boeing for 80 planes, in the biggest agreement Iran has struck with an American company since the 1979 revolution and U.S. embassy takeover.

Last week, USA TODAY reported the DOT put forth a proposal that would allow airlines to allow voice calls during flights, as long as they notified passengers beforehand. GBTA believes the DOT should permanently ban cell phone calls on planes, due to the security threat presented, as well as the potential for disruption and a loss of productivity.

According to The Washington Post, the DOT has concluded that airlines did not price gouge passengers following the Amtrak wreck in Philadelphia last year. Since the wreck delayed rail travel for days, allegations had surfaced that the cost of airline tickets in the Northeast region shot up during that time.

Buying Business Travel reports low-cost carrier Air Seoul signed a multi-year deal with Sabre, making its content available to travel agents via a GDS for the first time.

A new study from the GBTA Foundation, in partnership with Concur, finds direct bookings are becoming increasingly popular, with nearly 40% of managed frequent business travelers regularly booking directly. The study explores priorities and challenges corporate travel programs face and identifies how travel professionals attempt to balance traveler experience and employee compliance. Another GBTA Foundation study, in partnership with AccorHotels, reveals best practices for successful relationships between hoteliers and travel buyers, as well as common barriers to success.

According to The Times of Israel, startup 30SecondstoFly has developed an AI-powered travel assistant called Claire that is capable of learning company travel policies and employee preferences. Using that information, Claire is able to optimize smart itineraries and book and track business trips for SMBs.

TravelDailyNews reports Munich Airport plans to become Germany’s first carbon-neutral airport. They recently adopted a resolution that states they will reduce CO2 emissions directly attributable to the airport’s operations by 60 percent by 2030.

According to HotelMarketing, travel ads in Ontario, Canada will soon have to include all taxes and fees. The new rules, effective January 1, are designed to protect consumers and create a level playing field for the industry.

AviationPros notes Mumbai’s international airport has installed self-bag drop units, making it the first airport in India to do so.

Buying Business Travel reports beTravelwise has developed a safety program for LGBT travelers to help mitigate certain risks.

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