VIrgin Australia board pledges strong focus on costs

first_imgThe Virgin Australia board would be “tenacious” in chasing savings through its Better Business program as it seeks to improve the group’s financial position, chairman Elizabeth Bryan pledged on Wednesday.Virgin  made a net loss of $A224.7m in financial year 2016 but recorded a  profit on an underlying basis and raised $A1.1 billion in equity to deleverage its balance sheet.But Australia’s second biggest carrier has been struggling to stay in the black and its first-quarter  results for the current financial year produced underlying pre-tax loss of $A3.6 million compared to a profit of $A8.5m in the same period last year.Bryan told the carrier’s annual meeting in Brisbane that last year’s net loss reflected the upfront costs of restructuring at the airline in areas such as  fleet and network optimisation and “right sizing’, a euphemism for staff cuts.She told shareholders the company was still growing and had been forced to fight for its right to exist in an industry known for its volatility.“But it’s also a company that has to produce profit and profitable investments for its shareholders,’’ she said.The Virgin chairman said 2017 would be a year in which the Virgin group would maintain an “unwavering focus on improving our financial foundation and ensuring a healthy business’’. Responding to a small shareholder disappointed in the company’s languishing share price and lack of dividends, Bryan said the disappointment was widely shared among the airline’s major shareholders.“None of the shareholders have been happy with the movement of the Virgin share price,’’ she said. “Neither have the board, neither have the management team.“What we can do about that is what John has outlined to you. We are growing this company, we’re investing in this company, we’re reducing the cost base of this company, we’re making this company operate more efficiently, we’ve reduced the leverage of this company.“All we can really do is work on the business and allow the improvement in the business to shine through.’’Chief executive John Borghetti said the trading environment remained  “very tough’’, with domestic consumer sentiment still in the doldrums.“As evidenced by our recent trading update for the first quarter of financial year 2017, industry trading conditions continue to be challenging,’’ he  said.  “In this environment, we are actively managing capacity in our domestic and international network with total sectors flown in the first quarter of FY17 declining 2.3 per cent on the prior corresponding period.’’Borghetti said the airline was already making good progress with the Better Business program, which expects  to deliver a net free cash flow of $300m annually by the end of the 2019 financial year.Progress on plans to reduce the number of aircraft types in the fleet had included the sale of four Embraer 190 jets with a fifth due to be completed this month. A request for proposals for the disposal of leased ATR aircraft and the remainder of the E190s was well underway.There had also been progress in terms of operating efficiencies, maintenance and engineering changes as well as cutting costs in procurement and supply chain processes. The airline chief nominated services to China and the US as among “smart sustainable ways’’ the airline would boost revenue. Two Chinese shareholders, the HNA and Nanshan groups, have invested in Virgin and hold a combined stake of about 40 percent.  Virgin is forging a strategic alliance with HNA to boost its access to the growing Chinese travel market and plans to introduce direct flights between Asia and Australia next year. It is also planning to increases services to North America to 18 per week with the introduction of five return Melbourne-LA services from April.Borghetti said the focus for Virgin’s international airline, which recently won the Airline Ratings award for best business class and crew, was to boost non-stop sector flying to America and Asia over a three-year horizon.“That is our future – Asia and America is our future internationally,’’ he said.Asked about the Trump victory in the ecent US elections, Borghetti said it was not productive to speculate on what the new president would do but he did not believe it would affect US traffic.He also confirmed  Virgin’s low-cost offshoot, Tiger, would retain its name and continue its international expanision.  Tiger is switching from Airbus A320s to Boeing 737s over the next three years and has already started services Bali.“This is a three-year horizon we’re talking about,’’ he said. “There will be a Tiger expansion and it will be a narrow- body operation.’’Separately, Virgin announced Wendesday that it had chalked up a world-first deal to allow investors to earn frequent flyer points when they buy shares in an an initial public offering.The airline’s majority-owned Frequent flyer scheme, Velocity, has teamed up with financial technology company OnMarket Bookbuilds  in an innovative deal that allows investors to earn one point for every $A4 they spend on their investments in initial public offerings (IPOs) from companies listing on the share market.  OnMarket BookBuilds  offers a website and mobile app that plugs into the Australian Securities Exchange’s infrastructure to enable investors of all types to take part in IPOs.There is no limit on the number of Velocity points that can be earned.”We want Velocity members to be able to earn Points in every facet of their lives and we know wealth management is an important consideration for many Australians,’’ Velcoity chief executive Karl Schuster said in a statement.The new deal is one of a flurry of agreements both loyalty schemes have announced this year as they compete  for members.Airb’n’b, major supermarket chain Coles and entertainment company TEG  were just some of the partners airline loyalty signed up as the battle  for frequent flyers heated up.Qantas Frequent Flyer remains the bigger of the two with 11.5 million members at September 30 but Velocity has grown quickly since its launch under former Virgin chief executive Brett Godfrey in 2005 and now has a membership base of more than 6.4 million.last_img read more

China snubs ‘Little Olympics’ opening ceremony in Taiwan

first_imgMOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Fil-Canadians boost PH SEA Games bid in ice hockey Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ It is the first time Taiwan has held the Games, but even on home turf it must compete as “Chinese Taipei” and is unable to fly its national flag or play its national anthem because of Beijing’s sensitivities. The two sides split after a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still sees the self-ruled island as part of its territory and objects to any official diplomatic recognition of Taiwan. FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingRelations have deteriorated since Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) took office in May last year, with Beijing cutting off all official communications. At the opening event, Tsai was introduced as the president of “the Republic of China”, Taiwan’s official name, which China does not recognise. She waved to the audiences but did not give a speech. This picture taken on August 11, 2017 shows a student demonstrating teetotum skills to celebrate the upcoming Summer Universiade in Taipei.Taiwan is about to host its largest ever sporting event, attracting thousands of athletes from around the world, but the World University Games, dubbed the “Little Olympics”, has highlighted tensions with China and Taiwan’s struggle for international recognition. The biennial Summer Universiade will draw more than 7,000 student athletes to Taipei for two weeks from August 19, to compete in sports from basketball to swimming to Chinese martial arts. / AFP PHOTO / Sam YEH / TO GO WITH Universiade-2017-Taiwan-China-politics-diplomacy, FOCUS by Michelle YUNChina boycotted the opening ceremony of the World University Games hosted by Taiwan on Saturday in the latest reflection of deteriorating relations between the two sides.The biennial Summer Universiade, dubbed the “Little Olympics,” is the largest ever sporting event Taipei hosts but it has also highlighted tensions with Beijing and the island’s struggle for international recognition. ADVERTISEMENT Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesterscenter_img Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Thousands of student athletes from around the world donned their team uniforms or traditional dress and walked behind the sign showing the name of their country and their national flags to the cheering crowd in Taipei Stadium. However, no Chinese athletes showed up to walk behind the staffer holding China’s national flag. Local media said China was absent due to the reference of Tsai as president. Taipei’s mayor Ko Wen-je is widely seen to have secured Chinese athletes’ attendance during his visit to Shanghai in July to attend a city exchange forum. But he said he had drawn the line at Chinese officials’ request for Tsai only to be called “leader” at the opening ceremony, not “president”.In the current climate, some expected Chinese athletes to boycott the Universiade entirely. ADVERTISEMENT NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side LATEST STORIES Instead, they will compete in individual events but sit out the team sports, citing a clash with their own national games. Outside the stadium, there were chaotic scenes when dozens of protesters opposing the government’s pension reforms scuffled with pro-DPP groups briefly blocking an athlete’s entrance and delaying part of the ceremony.Protest groups also forced some buses taking athletes to the event to detour. The rest of the opening ceremony Saturday night will showcase Taiwanese culture and lifestyle, including indigenous dance and songs as well as performances using electric scooters.Pop star Leehom Wang is set to perform near the end of the show before baseball player Chen Chin-feng lights the Universiade flame to formally open the games, followed by a firework show.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View commentslast_img read more

Amoguis sisters from Davao dominate in 2019 Batang Pinoy swimming

first_imgLora timed 2:35:06 in the 200m IM and wound up with a silver medal (33.97 seconds) in the girls’ 13-15 50m backstroke won by Gene Heart Quiambao of Bukidnon (33.69 seconds).Lora and Liaa, both scheduled to swim in four more events, have earned spots in the national finals of the Games designed for athletes 15 years old and below.“I’m excited to race against the best swimmers in the national finals,’’ said Lora. “My goal is not to win medals, I just want to beat my time.’’Over at the City Mall in Tagum, Tacurong City reaped dividends with 13 gold medals in arnis led by double-gold performers Althea Charmene Delos Santos (cadet girls individual double weapon and single weapon) and Princes Sheryl Valdez (junior girls traditional individual double weapon and non-traditional individual single weapon).Maria Veronica Ilagan (cadet girls individual single weapon), Jeko Jan Heyres (junior boys traditional individual single weapon) and Cristian Dave Bucio (junior boys non-traditional individual double weapon) also contributed to Tacurong’s coffers.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte TAGUM CITY—Swimmers Liaa Margarette and Lora Micah Amoguis have developed an affinity that translated into remarkable victories at the Mindanao qualifying leg of the 2019 Batang Pinoy Games here.ADVERTISEMENT US judge bars Trump’s health insurance rule for immigrants ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Grace Poe files bill to protect govt teachers from malicious accusations LATEST STORIES Gilas getting better chemistry, but lack of tune-up games cause for concern Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krausscenter_img Oil plant explodes in Pampanga town MOST READ ‘We are too hospitable,’ says Sotto amid SEA Games woes Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Completing the golden cast for Tacurong were the trio of Andrei Alcarato, Jan Vincent Monserat and Heyres in the junior boys team open weapon and Shena May Valdes, Joana Marie Julaya and Stephanie Mones in the junior girls team open weapon.Cagayan de Oro City nailed three golds in taekwondo starring Lee Young Hwan in the welterweight division, heavyweight Carlos Pizana and finweight Von Xedric Faller while Kier Carlos Buico (middle) and Carl Andrew Cagas (light) shone for Butuan City.Archer John Carlo Loreno amassed five gold medals for Koronadal City after hitting the target in the cadet boys’ 30-meter, 40m, 50m, 60m and single Fita events.Precious Micah Basadre continued the Koronadal’s golden harvest by topping the cadet girls’ 30m, 40m, 50m and single Fita while younger sibling Jeremiah Adrian was unstoppable in the cub boys’ 20m, 30m, 50m and single Fita.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Pushing each other to excel, the Amoguis sisters grabbed three gold medals on Wednesday with the younger Liaa topping the girls’ 12-under 100-meter butterfly and 200m individual medley and Lora dominating the girls’ 13-15 200m IM that boosted Davao City’s medal tally.“We motivate each other. When she feels down, I motivate her. Liaa does the same for me, too,’’ said the 13-year-old Lora. “I guess that closeness helps us perform at our best.’’FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesLiaa, who collected six golds in the Davao Regional Athletic Association meet last week, clocked one minute and 11.2 seconds to rule 100m fly and added another mint in the 200m IM in 2:39.“My dream is to beat the Palarong Pambansa record,’’ said the 11-year-old Liaa, a fifth grader from Abba’s Orchard School who also donned the national colors in the recent Bimp-Eaga Friendship Games in Brunei. View commentslast_img read more

WATCH: Serbian player Victor Troicki abuses chair umpire at Wimbledon 2016

first_imgViktor Troicki let the chair umpire – and the rest of the world – know exactly how angry he was about a key call one point from the end of his five-set loss at Wimbledon on Thursday.There was nothing subtle about the 25th-seeded Troicki’s outburst.”Worst umpire ever in the world! What are you doing? Did you see the ball?” Troicki screamed at chair umpire Damiano Torella.And the player was just getting started. (Also read: Venus Williams accuses Wimbledon of sex discrimination over court schedule) Some other choice phrases he lobbed at Torella:”You’re horrible!””What are you doing? Tell me!””What are you doing there?! What are you doing there?!”It all happened as Troicki’s opponent, Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain, served for the match at 5-3 in the final set. At 30-all, Ramos-Vinolas hit a serve that initially was called out by a linesman behind Troicki. It was not clear, exactly, who changed that ruling, but Torella announced the score was now 40-30, crediting Ramos-Vinolas with an ace and pushing him to match point.’NO EXPERIENCE, NO KNOWLEDGE’ Troicki began shouting, “No! No! No!” and went over to retrieve a ball and show it to Torella, saying there was no white chalk left on the yellow fuzz and, therefore, it had not hit a line.Later, speaking to a small group of reporters, Troicki said: “I mean, it was such an obvious call.””He has no experience, no knowledge about anything,” Troicki said about Torella. “He’s just sitting there, calling the score, not trying to watch the ball.”advertisementThe umpire gave Troicki a warning for unsportsmanlike conduct. When play resumed, Ramos-Vinolas hit a serve that Troicki returned long with a backhand, giving the Spaniard a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory and a berth in the third round.’I OVERREACTED’ After the two players met at the net for a handshake, Troicki approached Torella again, waving a hand at him and saying: “Do you know what you did?” three times.He carried on, then headed directly from Court 17 to the tournament referee’s office to explain his displeasure, smashing a racket along the way.Troicki said at his post-match interview that his display “was too much, and I overreacted.””Everyone would get (angry) on such a point and such circumstances,” he said. “It was just frustrating and it was tough to handle such a situation.”Troicki faces a fine for his rant.”He should be also fined, if you ask me,” Troicki said. “He should be the one who’s fined. I’m not saying he cost me the match, but he cost me an important point which could have changed the outcome of the match.”He also made the case that the electronic line-calling review system, known as HawkEye, should be available for all singles matches at Wimbledon. It is not used at Court 17.”I think if we’re playing serious tennis, with such a bad chair umpire,” Troicki said, “I think at least we should have HawkEye.”last_img read more

10 months agoChelsea boss Sarri: I won’t argue against our contract policy

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea boss Sarri: I won’t argue against our contract policyby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea boss Maurizio Sarri says there’s little shifting the club’s contract policy for players over 30 years of age.Sarri pledged to respect the stance of Chelsea’s board when it comes to limiting the length of contracts offered to their older players.When asked if he agrees with that blanket policy, he said: “Oh, it depends. It depends on the single situation I think.”It’s a rule and so we have to respect that, I think.”As you know very well the big problem is the duration of the new contracts. Because, as you know, over 30 years the club offers only one year to renew.”And for a player of 31, it’s a big problem to sign a new contract for only one year. So the problem is only this, I think.” last_img read more

10 months agoArsenal boss Emery explains hooking Lacazette to booing fans

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Arsenal boss Emery explains hooking Lacazette to booing fansby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveArsenal boss Unai Emery accepted supporters’ jeers for hooking Alexandre Lacazette during victory over Fulham.Lacazette had put Arsenal two goals in front following Granit Xhaka’s opener but was substituted for Aaron Ramsey after Aboubakar Kamara had halved the deficit.The decision was booed by a large number of fans, although Ramsey put the game beyond doubt with the third.”I understand the supporters,” he said.”Tactically we thought in that moment we needed to change for more balance. Above all we know (Jean Michael) Seri is coming on and need a player close to him, not to let him play easily with the ball.”Aaron Ramsey can do that and also help us in attack and scored. The reason is this. I need to do my work. And not maybe because every supporter can have a different opinion, tactically.”But I need to do my work, Lacazette his work and he scored also. He helped us and it was a very positive reaction.” last_img read more

9 months agoTottenham boss Pochettino writes off Janssen

first_imgTottenham boss Pochettino writes off Janssenby Paul Vegas9 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has ruled out a recall for Vincent Janssen.After defeat to Manchester United, Pochettino now loses Heung-min Son to South Korea’s Asian Cup campaign.Asked if Janssen could step up, the manager was adamant: “No, he is not in my plans.”On Son, he continued: “Yeah but we cannot change that. That is the risk in any competition, you know. “In football you cannot avoid the risk.”Four and a half years we are playing every week and testing the depth of the squad, not only that period, but I never complain and I am not going complain. I think we are going to recover players from injury and I think we are going to find the way to play in the best condition and be competitive like we were competitive in the last four years and a half.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

Mia Farrow To Return To Central African Republic This Week

first_imgMia Farrow – actor, activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since September 2000 – will return to the Central African Republic this week for her fourth visit to witness and report on the devastating impact of the conflict on women and children.The star will meet with internally displaced families and with children formerly associated with armed groups. She will also be visiting health centres.Terrible violence continues to impact children and their families. Some 90,000 people are currently displaced inside the Central African Republic or live as refugees in neighbouring countries. More than 2 million children are suffering the consequences of the crisis, with many remaining out of school, exposed to disease, malnutrition and violence.Since Farrow’s last visit in November 2013, the situation in the country has further deteriorated. Children have been killed and continue to be directly targeted by violence including rape, torture and mutilation.last_img read more

School looks to fill job openings in Northwest Territories

first_imgAPTN National NewsFinding a job is easy in the Northwest Territories.But finding people to fill those jobs is another story.The mining sector ships workers in to fill the void.But as APTN’s Wayne Rivers reports one area school board has taken it upon themselves to provide area students with the right training.last_img

Mikmaq Chief considers hosting next North American Indigenous Games

first_imgAPTN National NewsCould the next North American Indigenous Games be on the east coast?Chief Leroy Denny from the Eskasoni First Nation says his community will bid to host the next North American Indigenous Games.last_img