Today’s news in brief:
Taj status extension (updated)
Taj Hotels has announced an updated status extension for its InnerCircle members, recognising that “the current period is not conducive for travel”.
The Indian Hotels Company had earlier paused the expiration of Taj InnerCircle points until April 30, 2020, but is now extending that to February 28, 2021.
Taj had also communicated that members’ tier status would be assessed on May 1, 2020 - instead you will now maintain your current tier until February 28, 2021.
For the immediate period, cancellations charges are being waived for bookings made for hotel stays up to June 30, 2020. Get in touch with Taj if you hold a booking for this period and wish to cancel or modify the same, or reach out to your travel agent if you booked via a third party.
Indian airlines told to stop selling flights
Indian airlines have been told to stop selling tickets, after the government warned no decision has been taken as to when flight services will be permitted to resume.
As we reported yesterday, Air India had been selling tickets for journeys taking place after June 1, but now all future flights show as “unavailable”.
Other airlines had been selling tickets for May 4 onwards (when the latest lockdown is due to end).
On Sunday, the Office of the Director General of Civil Aviation published a circular advising there has been “no clearance which allows the airlines to start ticket bookings for journeys to be undertaken w.e.f May 4, 2020. In view of this, all airlines are hereby directed to refrain from booking tickets.”
The notice added that airlines would be given “sufficient notice and time for restarting of operations”.
Despite the circular demanding “strict compliance”, some airlines were still selling flights on Sunday evening.
End of the road for South African Airways?
Sadly, it looks as though this may be the end of the road for long-suffering Star Alliance member South African Airways.
The state-owned airline plans to lay off it its entire 4,700-strong workforce, following a failed bid to secure a government bailout.
A business rescue process is underway, but Reuters reported that the airline believes it is unlikely it will be able to continue operating.
Staff at the 86-year-old airline have been told they can expect one week’s pay for each year of service, subject to the successful disposal of assets.
SAA last turned a profit in 2011, though it does hold a highly-prized pair of evening slots at London Heathrow airport.