Today's news in brief:
‘Strongest brand’ accolade for Taj
The Indian Hotels Company, owner of the Taj brand, is having a good time at the moment.
Fresh from securing a place in the 2020 Conde Nast Hot List, Taj has now been named India’s strongest brand by Brand Finance, a leading independent brand valuation consultancy.
In the Brand Finance ‘India 100 2020’ report, Taj achieved a brand strength index score of 90.5 out of 100 and an elite AAA+ brand strength rating, based on factors such as marketing investment, familiarity, loyalty, employee satisfaction, customer experience and corporate reputation.
Puneet Chhatwal, MD and CEO of the Indian Hotels Company, said: “We are humbled that Brand Finance has ranked Taj as the nation’s strongest brand. Our unique service philosophy, which we refer to as Tajness, emanates from the warmth and caring Taj has stood for over a century.”
Incorporated by the founder of the Tata Group, Jamsetji Tata, the Company opened its first hotel, The Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai, in 1903. IHCL now has a portfolio of 200 hotels across four continents.
Hotel pictures show the Taj Rishikesh Resort & Spa - the only Indian property in this year’s Conde Nast Hot List.
Turkish Airlines adds in-flight hygiene experts
As it gears up to restart international flights to a limited number of European destinations on June 18, Turkish Airlines is introducing dedicated in-flight "hygiene experts".
The Star Alliance carrier says they will be responsible for lavatory disinfection, and for enforcing on-board and social distancing measures.
Turkish Airlines’ new Guidelines for Safe Travel require passengers to wear a face and nose covering during the flight - and the masks must be changed every four hours.
Customers will also be provided with a hygiene kit consisting of a mask, an antiseptic tissue and a hand sanitizer (kits for short-haul flights include a mask and a antiseptic tissue, while those issued for long-haul flights also include a hand sanitizer).
There will also be drastic cuts to the meal service, even in business class. Only bottled water will be served on flights of less than two hours.
Things don’t look any better for business class passengers on longer flights. On those lasting between two and eight hours, business class passengers will get a box containing a sandwich, a cold mezze, a salad, a dessert, and water. Crackers will be served on flights of over five hours, though there will be no second meal.
On flights lasting more than eight hours, business class passengers will be served two cold boxed meals.
Bullish Qatar Airways claims ‘world’s largest airline’ title
As global airlines trim the vast majority of their flights, Qatar Airways claims to the world’s largest passenger airline - at least for now.
Bullish Qatar says it will continue operating and growing, despite what it calls an “illegal” blockade by its neighbours in June 2017 (which prevents the airline from flying to major destinations in the Middle East, such as Dubai).
The oneworld carrier said: “While other airlines in the region stopped services during the crisis, Qatar Airways has continued to operate a significant schedule operating over 15,000 flights to take over 1.8 million people home.
“Qatar Airways continues to succeed, demonstrating the airline’s strength and resilience despite the illegal blockade imposed by neighbouring countries on June 5, 2017. The State of Qatar can be proud that it is home to not only the Best Airline in the World but also the current largest passenger airline, the largest cargo airline and the Third Best Airport in the World.”