The super-connector airlines face a world of troubles

The super-connector airlines face a world of troubles

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The super-connector airlines face a world of troubles
WHEN a video of a passenger being dragged off a United Airlines flight went viral last month, the American carrier’s Middle Eastern rivals were quick to mock its customer service. Qatar Airways updated its smartphone app to say it “doesn’t support drag and drop”. The ribbing was justified. Over a decade of expansion, Qatar Airways, […]
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Involuntary bumping seems to be a thing of the past

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Involuntary bumping seems to be a thing of the past
IF AVIATION had an astrological sign, 2017 would surely be the Year of the Bump. Most infamously, it was the year that a United Airlines passenger who refused to leave an overbooked flight in April was dragged violently from the plane. There followed airline policy changes to reduce involuntary bumping, a novel system to make […]
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American business leaders break with Donald Trump

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American business leaders break with Donald Trump
“I’VE never known it to be an embarrassment for a business leader to be associated with an American president,â€� declares Max Bazerman of Harvard Business School. Donald Trump, in particular, has positioned himself as a businessman-president, whose corporate acumen would unleash a new era for American business. Investors seemed to believe him—his election prompted a […]
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Airport profits: ready to depart

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Airport profits: ready to depart
WHEN Heathrow airport opened, in 1946, the only retail facilities were a bar with chintz armchairs and a small newsagent’s. The first terminal was a tent, a far cry from the four halls, resembling vast shopping malls, at the London airport today. Retail spending per passenger is the highest of any airport. This summer’s consumer […]
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Airlines want tighter control of alcohol sales in British airports

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Airlines want tighter control of alcohol sales in British airports
TRYING to stop Britons from boozing can be a forlorn task. Drinking has been woven into the nation’s culture for centuries, from the “loose-tonguedâ€� pilgrims of Chaucer to the apprentices who ran amok on London’s streets in the 16th century. According to Susie Dent, a lexicographer, English has 3,000 words for being drunk. Some take […]
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Why the world’s best footballers are cheaper than they seem

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Why the world’s best footballers are cheaper than they seem
A head for figures FOR football clubs, August is often the costliest month, when they make vast bids for each other’s players. This year has been particularly lavish. On August 3rd Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), a French team, signed Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, a Brazilian forward, from Barcelona for €222m ($264m), more than double the […]
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Chasing higher yields, investors pile into risky countries

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Chasing higher yields, investors pile into risky countries
WHERE can you find a 7% interest rate on a sovereign dollar-bond? You would have to take a time-machine to the mid-1990s to find such a yield on a ten-year American Treasury. Alternatively, you could slip back a few days to August 2nd and bid for the $1bn of five-year bonds sold by the government […]
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How do you solve a problem like Korea? Investors are unsure

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How do you solve a problem like Korea? Investors are unsure
EUROPEAN markets have started the day with losses of 1% or so, following a 2% decline in Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and the 1% loss in the S&P 500 index on Thursday. The Vix, a much used measure of market fear, jumped to 16, its highest level since the presidential election. These are significant […]
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Investors are not great at predicting politics

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Investors are not great at predicting politics
FINANCIAL markets are supposed to be the font of all wisdom, weighing up the information available and condensing it into a set of prices. Investors are presumed to have an insight into the future—falling bond yields are seen as a sign that the economy is slowing, for example. But are investors that clever when it […]
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Europe’s no business as usual summer

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Europe’s no business as usual summer
“DON’T you know about our summer?â€� asks a spokesperson of a Swedish multinational, himself presumably on holiday as kids chirp in the background. Almost everyone is gone until September, he says. At a German multinational, “the whole board is away for August,â€� admits a spokesperson. Faced with a slew of out-of-office messages across corporate Europe, […]
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A crucial interest-rate benchmark faces a murky future

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A crucial interest-rate benchmark faces a murky future
EVERY working day, shortly before noon, British time, the London Interbank Offered Rate, or LIBOR, is published. For five currencies and seven maturities, from overnight to 12 months, it is the average, trimmed of outliers, of up to 20 banks’ estimates of the interest rate at which they can borrow from other banks. It is […]
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Dame Helen Alexander, former chief executive of The Economist Group, died on August 5th

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Dame Helen Alexander, former chief executive of The Economist Group, died on August 5th
ROLE models for women in business are still too rare, not least in Britain. Last November an independent review backed by the government urged FTSE 100 companies to raise the share of women on their boards from 27% to 33% by 2020. Sadly, that push this week lost one of its leading champions, Helen Alexander, […]
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The private-equity business learns to be more flexible

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The private-equity business learns to be more flexible
THE private-equity business presents a paradox. Its barons like to boast of revamping the companies they buy. But they themselves have been steadfast to their own business model, centred on funds with a ten-year life. Within this time span, fund managers, known as “general partnersâ€� (GPs), commit to buy, manage and sell a clutch of […]
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Investors prefer airlines with good customer service

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Investors prefer airlines with good customer service
THE trend seems clear. Spirit Airlines became the most profitable carrier in America at the same time that it was the most complained about. Frontier Airlines cut costs, became a no-frills budget carrier, and went from posting big losses to notching big gains. American, Delta and United scrambled to keep up, slashed comforts and amenities, […]
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Bitcoin divides to rule

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Bitcoin divides to rule
COMPARED with Brexit, Bitexit seems a piece of cake. On August 1st, without much agonising or awkward negotiation, a group of Bitcoin activists and entrepreneurs managed to create a second version of the crypto-currency. It immediately gained a following: in less than a day of existence, the value of a unit of “Bitcoin Cashâ€� jumped […]
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A judge rules on the case of the “incredible shrinking airline seat�

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A judge rules on the case of the “incredible shrinking airline seat�
THE airlines are not doing it. Congress could not either. Nor could a petition with tens of thousands of signatures. The Federal Aviation Administration declined to do it, too. But now, a federal judge may finally do what the others failed to, or would not: stop seat rows on aeroplanes inching closer and closer together. […]
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Many business travellers prefer not to interact with others when on trips

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Many business travellers prefer not to interact with others when on trips
AS ANYONE who flies regularly for work can attest, business travellers are not constantly being doted upon. Flights are not all booked by a travel manager, nor are never-ending drinks being poured by dutiful attendants. Indeed, corporate travel might be becoming a more independent affair. According to a recent survey, a growing number of business travellers would […]
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Can data predict fashion trends?

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Can data predict fashion trends?
World of wardrobe IN THE film “The Devil Wears Pradaâ€�, the character of Miranda Priestly, whose role is based on a feared Vogue editor, scolds her new assistant for not understanding fashion. Fashion, she tells her, is whatever a select group of designers and critics says it is. What she does not say, however, is […]
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Climate change might prevent airlines from flying full planes

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Climate change might prevent airlines from flying full planes
THIS summer America has experienced some of the most intense heatwaves in decades. In parts of southern Arizona the mercury has climbed to a sweltering 48°C. That has had an impact on the state’s infrastructure. Last month, a single day’s heatwave grounded dozens of planes. As global temperatures climb higher, such incidents are likely to […]
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An action plan for Uber’s next chief executive

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An action plan for Uber’s next chief executive
IT IS said that Travis Kalanick, who resigned as Uber’s boss last month, has been reading Shakespeare’s “Henry Vâ€�. Prince Hal’s transformation, from wastrel prince to sober monarch, is doubtless one he would like to emulate. But as a guide to the ride-hailing firm’s financial dilemma, “Macbethâ€� is the best play. This line especially resonates: […]
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An overhaul of Brazilian labour law should spur job creation

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An overhaul of Brazilian labour law should spur job creation
IN THE litany of bosses’ gripes about Brazil’s inclement business climate, rigid labour laws vie for pride of place with its convoluted tax laws and its licensing rules (on everything from health and safety to protection of cultural heritage). No wonder: Brazil ranks a miserable 117th out of 138 countries on labour-market efficiency, according to […]
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The power of populists

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The power of populists
WITH the defeat of Marine Le Pen in her bid for the French presidency, establishment politicians in rich countries breathed a sigh of relief. The fortunes of extremist candidates have faltered since the populist surge that put Donald Trump into the White House. But it is hard to be confident that this was populism’s high-water […]
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How Donald Trump is monetising his presidency

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How Donald Trump is monetising his presidency
Golf conflict “PRETTY close to a laughing stock.” That is Walter Shaub’s verdict on America’s standing in the world, at least from an ethics point of view, under President Donald Trump. Mr Shaub’s view counts: he stepped down this week as head of the Office of Government Ethics, a federal watchdog. He is leaving his […]
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The fashion industry pays attention to plus-size women

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The fashion industry pays attention to plus-size women
Hot to trot A GOOD fit is everything, stylists often counsel, but in assessing its market America’s fashion business appears to have mislaid the measuring tape. A frequently-cited study done a few years ago by Plunkett Research, a market-research firm, found that 67% of American women were “plus-size”, meaning size 14 or larger. That figure […]
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United Airlines is testing a novel way to bump passengers

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United Airlines is testing a novel way to bump passengers
IT IS a classic traveller’s dilemma: you are waiting in the boarding area for your flight, and an airline employee asks over the loudspeaker if anyone is willing to be bumped in exchange for a voucher. You like the idea of sacrificing the unimportant meeting you were scheduled to attend in return for a few […]
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An illustrious Hong Kong container firm sells to China

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An illustrious Hong Kong container firm sells to China
Terminal value STONECUTTERS ISLAND in Hong Kong used to be a favoured habitat for poisonous snakes and eye-catching birds such as the white-bellied sea eagle. Thanks to Hong Kong’s rapid development, it is no longer so hospitable. Its sky is full of gantry cranes, stacking 20-foot-long shipping containers in multicoloured tessellations, like giant Lego bricks. […]
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The Big Mac index

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The Big Mac index
THIRTY-ONE years ago, The Economist created the Big Mac index as a way of gauging how different currencies stacked up against the dollar. The index is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, the idea that in the long run, exchange rates should adjust so that the price of an identical basket of tradable goods […]
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