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The event theme, “Go for Launch,” was a nod to the Port’s key role with the U.S. space program and Port Canaveral’s new terminal with its futuristic design, which was inspired by nearby Kennedy Space Center. The $163 million terminal project – the largest in the Port’s 65-year history – is scheduled for completion in May 2020 and will be ready for the arrival of Mardi Gras to her year-round Port Canaveral homeport in October 2020.
At a space-themed ceremony today, the Canaveral Port Authority and longtime cruise partner Carnival Cruise Line officially broke ground for construction of Port Canaveral’s new Cruise Terminal 3 complex. The new terminal, dubbed the Launch Pad, will be the home of Mardi Gras, the cruise line’s newest and most innovative ship, beginning in 2020. Port Authority Commissioners and the Port’s leadership team joined Carnival Cruise Line executives for the ceremonial groundbreaking at the project site as NASA’s “Spaceman” planted a Carnival Cruise Line flag on a simulated lunar landscape.
“Today’s groundbreaking is a historic milestone for our Port and underscores the long-standing partnership we have with Carnival,” Port CEO Capt. John Murray said. “The trust and confidence we’ve earned with our great cruise partner has been the foundation of success and we are excited for what the future holds. We’re building a great new terminal, for an innovative new ship, and looking forward to welcoming home Mardi Gras.”
Added Carnival President Christine Duffy, “We began our operations from Port Canaveral nearly 30 years go – coincidentally with our original ship of the same name. We’ve had a great relationship with Port Canaveral during that time and we’re proud, honored and excited that our newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, will sail from the new Terminal 3. We are pleased to be the port’s number one cruise line and Mardi Gras promises to be a spectacular addition to the Space Coast.”
CT3 ceremonial first dig (L-R) Scott Bakos, Bermello Ajamil & Partners, Inc; Jerry Allender, CPA Commissioner; Wayne Justice, CPA Commissioner; Christine Duffy, President Carnival Cruise Line; Capt. John Murray, CEO Port Canaveral; Micah Loyd, CPA Commission Chairman; Rocky Johnson, Ivey’s Construction, Inc.
Port Canaveral and Carnival Cruise Line executives held a “pre-launch mission” news conference complete with a mock countdown, then grabbed shovels on the terminal construction site for the ceremonial first dig to officially kick off construction. Participants included Wayne Justice, Canaveral Port Authority Commissioner; Christine Duffy, President, Carnival Cruise Line; Capt. John Murray, Port Canaveral CEO; Micah Loyd, Canaveral Port Authority Commission Chairman; Jerry Allender, Canaveral Port Authority Commissioner; Rocky Johnson, Vice President, Ivey’s Construction Inc.; and Scott Bakos, Partner with Bermello Ajamil & Partners Inc., a Miami firm providing architecture and engineering design work for the project.
“We are proud to be building this state-of-the-art facility and looking forward to providing Carnival’s cruise guests with a first-class guest experience,” Port Commissioner Wayne Justice said. “Building the new cruise terminal, like each of our construction projects at Port Canaveral, is an investment in building our community.”
The contract to build the two-story, 187,000 sq. ft. terminal facility and adjacent six-story parking garage was awarded to Merritt Island, Florida-based Ivey’s Construction. The terminal will feature a high-tech baggage processing facility and a state-of-the-art check-in and security area on its second floor, with kiosks and seating for 1,700 guests. The six-story 692,000 sq. ft. parking garage will accommodate 1,800 vehicles.
Construction of the cruise terminal’s marine facility got underway last year with a contract awarded to Titusville, Florida-based contractor RUSH Marine to remove the existing pier structures at the site and build a new 1,309-foot-long berth for Mardi Gras. Substantial completion of the project is scheduled for December 2019.
Port Canaveral’s Launch Pad will be homeport to Carnival’s largest and most innovative cruise ship, Mardi Gras, which will be powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) – part of Carnival Corporation’s “green cruising” platform. Mardi Gras will be the first cruise ship in North America to be powered by this clean fuel technology. Port Canaveral has worked with federal, state and local public safety and regulatory officials to ensure the Port’s safety readiness for the ship’s arrival. Fuel providers will employ widely used and proven safe best practices of a ship-to-ship “bunkering” refueling, which is regulated by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Currently under construction in Meyer Turku, Finland, Mardi Gras will arrive at Port Canaveral mid-October 2020 and will feature BOLT, the first roller coaster at sea, 20 passenger decks and six distinctive theme zones of fun, dining and entertainment: Grand Central; the French Quarter with Emeril’s Bistro 1369, the first restaurant at sea created by famed New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse; La Piazza; Summer Landing; Lido; and the Ultimate Playground.
After a special eight-day cruise to the Caribbean on Oct. 16, 2020, Mardi Gras will commence year-round seven-day cruises on Oct. 24, 2020, alternating weekly to the Eastern and Western Caribbean. Eastern voyages will take Mardi Gras to San Juan, Puerto Rico, Amber Cove, Dominican Republic, and Grand Turk in the Turks and Caicos, while Western sailings will travel to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico, and Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan), Honduras.
First-day bookings for Mardi Gras in January 2019 broke opening-day sales records for a new Carnival ship, according to the cruise line.
Carnival named its newest cruise ship after its first cruise ship. The original 27,000-ton Mardi Gras, a converted trans-Atlantic liner, entered service in 1972 and popularized cruise vacations in the United States, helping Carnival become the largest cruise company in the world today. In March 1991, the 1,241-guest Mardi Gras became one of the first Carnival ships to homeport at Port Canaveral, where she offered three- and four-day cruises to the Bahamas until she and sister ship Carnivale were replaced by the Carnival Fantasy in October 1993.
Mardi Gras’ arrival in Port Canaveral in 2020 will mark 30 years that Carnival Cruise Line has been sailing from Port Canaveral, the longest of any of the Port’s cruise partners. The Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a long-term operating agreement with Carnival in August 2018.
Today WestJet announced that following Transport Canada’s safety notice closing Canadian airspace to Boeing 737 MAX aircraft until further notice, the Federal Aviation Administration’s temporary grounding order and Boeing’s decision to suspend all MAX deliveries to airline customers, it is suspending all 2019 financial guidance provided on December 4, 2018 and February 5, 2019. The financial guidance provided with respect to earnings per share (EPS), return on invested capital (ROIC) and cumulative free-cash flow over the period of 2020-2022 remains in place until further information is known.
Through proactive planning and preparation for a variety of scenarios, including grounding, WestJet enacted its contingency plan immediately and grounded all thirteen of its MAX aircraft within 55 minutes of Transport Canada’s order with only three MAX aircraft outside of its Canadian jurisdiction. WestJet continues to implement and execute its contingency plan to minimize guest disruption and any financial impact. For the remainder of the first quarter WestJet expects it will be able to protect approximately 86 per cent of guests booked on MAX flights and cover approximately 75 per cent of the flights that were intended to operate on the MAX with other aircraft.
Oman Air has landed first place in the latest Heathrow “Fly Quiet and Green” league table, due to its use of ‘Continuous Decent Approach’ which helps to reduce fuel burn and minimise noise by arriving aircraft. This achievement builds on the strides made in the previous quarter (Q3) which saw Oman Air leaping up 26 spots after phasing out their older aircraft and replacing them with the ultra-quiet and green 787 Dreamliners. Oman Air’s drastic improvement shows the impact technology can have on an airline’s environmental performance and the importance of the “Fly Quiet and Green” league – the UK’s first in advocating sustainable action.
The latest Heathrow “Fly Quiet and Green” league table publishes the top 50 busiest airlines at Heathrow on seven noise and emission metrics from October to December 2018. The results show Heathrow airlines have a clear commitment to modernising their fleet and working to adopt techniques which will help to reduce the airport’s impact on local communities. In addition to this public ranking, Heathrow encourages new technology through environmental pricing incentives, which reduce landing charges for airlines operating their greenest and quietest aircraft at our airport. The top environmental performers such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliners and Airbus A350s now make up over a tenth of planes at Heathrow.
Other airlines at the top of the League rankings included British Airways (short haul fleet), which jumped up to second place due to its improved punctuality benefitting both local communities and passengers alike. SAS placed third, moving up three places in the latest table due to the introduction of A320 neos to their fleet. Icelandair earns most improved airline, jumping an astounding 40 places to take the 11th spot. The airline has worked to improve its use of Continuous Decent Approach, whilst sticking more closely to the designated flight paths set for pilots, which assists the provision of predictable respite for local communities.
This news comes shortly after the conclusion of Heathrow’s eight-week Airspace and Future Operations consultation during which local residents were given the opportunity to share their views on the airport’s future airspace design – both for the existing two runways and as part of the proposed expansion. Heathrow’s consultation is part of a nationwide move to modernise the country’s airspace for the first time since the 1960s, potentially boosting punctuality for passengers by reducing the need for routine stacking as well as providing guaranteed respite for the airport’s local communities and reducing airplane emissions.
Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s Director of Sustainability, said:
“As we prepare to expand our airport, we’re working with airlines to encourage fierce competition for the top spot of the ‘Fly Quiet and Green’ league table and it’s brilliant to see more airlines vying for pole position. As airlines modernise their fleets, we’ll also be engaging with local communities to modernise the UK’s airspace, enabling aircraft to more efficiently use the skies around us, increasing punctuality whilst reducing emissions and noise in future.”
Abdul Aziz Al Raisi, Chief Executive Officer, Oman Air said:
“We follow Heathrow’s Quiet and Green league table very closely and it is indeed gratifying to see Oman Air rank first for the fourth quarter of 2018. Moving to the quieter, more efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner has had a positive impact and shows our commitment to operating the most environmentally friendly aircraft across our growing international network. This is indeed a proud moment to see our efforts recognised by one of the world’s leading airports.”
High officials representing various agencies, members of the tourism-trade and other stakeholders met again on February 1, 2019, three-months following their last assembly in October 2018.
The first multi-sectoral meeting of the year, which took place at the National House, was presided by Minister Didier Dogley, Ministers for Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marine.
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The meeting saw the presence of his counterparts Minister for Employment, Immigration & Civil Status, Myriam Telemaque; Minister for Environment, Energy & Climate Change, Wallace Cosgrow and Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning Maurice Loustau-Lalanne.
The agenda included presentations from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS), and the Seychelles Land Transport Authority (SLTA).
The presentations by the NBS kept the participants of the meeting abreast with the latest figures including tourism earnings and expenditures. The NBS team mentioned that the aim of the surveys conducted by its teams at the airport and the port aims at having accurate information on every market. They reported that for last year, $563,9 million was earned form the tourism industry, the country’s leading economic pillar. This represents a 16.7 percent increase from 2017’s earnings.
Seychelles ended December 2018 with 361,231 visitors that disembarked in the island nation, a figure which is four percent above that of 2017. The tourism industry is already seeing an increase in visitor arrivals for 2019 as figure have increased by 16 percent when compared to the same period last year. Since the start of 2019, over 33,700 tourists have set foot in the country.
On its part, the CBS reported on the balance of payment. They stated that Seychelles is primarily a service-based economy, where tourism accounts for more than 25 percent of the country’s GDP.
While the Department for Finance presented a brief on the operating cost in Seychelles, during his short intervention the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning Maurice Loustau-Lalanne mentioned that the department is actively working towards reducing business costs related tax considerably.
The two authorities explained the methodology of how data was collected and requested all stakeholders to collaborate in order to be as correct as possible.
The SLTA provided an update on the Road maintenance plan including all the development work on roads and their timeframe.
The Risk Management Section from the Tourism Department circulated their latest figures regarding the crime issues affecting the tourism industry in 2018, showing a 61% decrease in crimes as compared to the same period in 2017.
In his address to the press Minister Dogley expressed his convictions that the Multisectoral meeting adds to the benefit of all stakeholders, he confirms that various issues have been addressed through the meeting and other issues are being taken care of through the continuous meetings.
“What the country wants to see is meaningful and real growth in the industry in general. It is important that the meeting continues on this positive note and that all stakeholders engage in discussions in an effort to jointly identify and implement tangible solutions.” said Minister Dogley.
The aim of the multisectoral meeting is for the public and private sector, involved in the tourism industry, to continue to work together as partners. As a result, the tourism sector can be strengthened for the country to be able to draw more out of the industry and prosper.