Today’s news in brief:
Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai offering low rates for post-lockdown stays
I’m not sure how many of us are ready to start booking just yet, but the Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai has been quick off the bat to reduce rooms in order to encourage post-lockdown stays.
Monday, May 4 is currently the first date open for bookings, with rates in the historic Palace wing (not the newer Tower) on sale for around INR 14,000 plus taxes per night (total comes to around INR 17,000/ USD 223).
According to Google, that price is available until the end of June. Guru has stayed at the Palace several times over the years, and this sounds like a great deal considering we’ve never managed to get rates this low.
Keep in mind that the entry-level luxury rooms at the Palace are actually windowless, though still a good size at 33 sq mt. For just a couple of thousand rupees extra, you can upgrade to a luxury grande room city view, featuring Rajput bay windows.
More time to bid for Air India
Parties interested in taking over Air India will have more time to submit their expressions of interest, the government announced yesterday.
The Indian government is seeking to dispose its 100 per cent stake in the national flag carrier, which includes 100pc shareholding interest in Air India Express Limited and 50pc interest in Air India Sats Airport Services Private Limited (a ground and cargo handling agent).
The cut off for submissions of expressions of interest was scheduled to be April 30, 2020, though this has been extended until June 30, 2020 due to the ongoing impact of covid-19.
A government notice read: “The above changes are as per the requests received from the Interested Bidders in view of the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19. Further changes with respect to the important dates, if any, will be communicated to the Interested Bidders subsequently.”
The government had already approved an amendment to foreign direct investment rules, to permit foreign investment in Air India by non-residents Indians up to 100 per cent.
Airbus ‘bleeding cash’ and furloughing workers
European aerospace giant Airbus is "bleeding cash at an unprecedented speed”, chief executive Guillaume Faury has warned.
The aircraft manufacturer is to furlough thousands of its staff, including more than 3,000 workers at its North Wales site alone.
Those staff are to be placed on the UK Government's job retention scheme, which pays 80% of wages up to £2,500 a month. Airbus is expected to top up monthly payments by a further 5-10%.
Airbus, which had already announced a plan to cut its aircraft production rates by around a third, employs around 13,500 people in the UK.
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford has called on the UK Government to support aircraft manufacturing in the country.
He said: “The difficulties facing the airline industry, including airline manufacturers, go far beyond Wales. We will play our part, but we need a solution that addresses the global nature of the problem.”