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Wednesday, 18 March 2020
Wednesday, 18 March 2020 23:44

France fines Apple Inc €1.1bn

Apple Inc was on Monday slammed with a fine of €1.1 billion Euros (1.2 billion dollars) by French authorities, for making anti-competitive agreements with two firms in its distribution network.
 
The authorities said Apple had abused the economic dependence of its premium resellers. The products involved iPads but not iPhones.
 
Reports have it that the ruling is in response to a complaint by an Apple trader, eBizcuss, in 2012.
 
“The two firms, Tech Data and Ingram Micro, were hit respectively with fines of 76.1 million Euros and 62.9 million Euros,’’ the French competition authority announced.
 
Apple did not react immediately to the announcement but had previously rejected the accusations.
Published in Bank & Finance
An Indian contractor staff with Dangote Industries Limited has been quarantined for Coronavirus at the Infectious Disease Hospital, Yaba area of Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
 
Management of the Dangote Industries Limited in a statement on Tuesday said its attention had been drawn to a flash report of a suspected case of personnel currently being kept in isolation at the Mainland hospital, Yaba, Lagos.
 
The Company said “We will like to state that an Indian national who is a staff of Onshore Construction Company-a mechanical, electrical and instrumentation contracting firm that specialises in fertiliser construction reported at the Site clinic complaining of high temperature and fever.
 
“His complaint triggered our Protocols which necessitated further screening and isolation immediately. Mr. Akhil Kunyil, of the Health and Safety Environment of the Onshore Company reported the development to the management following which local authorities were contacted. The patient was immediately conveyed to the Lagos Mainland Hospital Center, where he is currently being isolated and undergoing tests.”
 
It stated that “As an organisation, we have taken the following stringent proactive measures across our entire group since mid- January 2020, which are; development of a comprehensive risk identification, control priotization and escalation plan; identification and retention of a competent team of medical consultants and travel ban for all employees to/from high risk countries as per World Health Organisation (WHO) publications of country exposures.
 
The statement said that other measures implemented were “travel tracking of all employees and contractors staff arriving/leaving Nigeria and obligations for completion of medical checks to validate health status; implementation of use of Thermal cameras across our various sites as well as infrared thermometers checking in smaller office locations; identification and creation where applicable of holding, isolation and quarantine areas; implementation of use of sanitizers across all locations: sites and offices and multiple and continuous awareness campaigns on preventative measures to be taken both electronic and physical announcements.”
 
It added that the above measures were continually updated as the situation globally evolved and “we will continue to do so. The welfare of our employees and the nation as a whole remains our utmost priority.”
Published in World

South African state-owned airline SA Express said it would suspend operations from Wednesday until further notice because of recent developments, including the impact of a rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.

The global aviation industry is battling to survive a plunge in demand caused by the virus, with some airlines seeking government bailouts or grounding most of their fleets.

SA Express, which flies to domestic and regional destinations, said it would accommodate customers on alternative flights and non-critical staff would go on compulsory leave.

“The airline will utilise this period to review its current network and streamline operations for improved efficiency,” it said in a statement.

SA Express entered a form of bankruptcy protection this year, after a court battle with a contractor, logistics firm Ziegler.

It is a separate business from much larger state carrier South African Airways, which is also under bankruptcy protection.

 

- Reuters

Published in Travel & Tourism
Amazon.com Inc said it would hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the United States to deal with a surge in online orders, as many consumers have turned to the web to meet their needs during the coronavirus outbreak.
 
With shoppers clearing out shelves in fear of quarantines or product shortages, retailers are racing to keep food and hygienic items in stock and have employees on hand for in-store work or delivery.
 
Like Amazon, U.S. supermarket chains Albertsons, Kroger and Raley’s have sought new hires to staff busy sections and fulfil online orders. They are turning to people in the restaurant, travel and entertainment businesses who are suddenly looking for work because of the coronavirus.
 
“We want those people to know we welcome them on our teams until things return to normal and their past employer is able to bring them back,” Amazon said in a blog post.
 
Major shipper United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) said its trucking and air deliveries were still on despite growing government restrictions on commercial activities. It said Monday it was meeting demand with its existing workforce.
 
The coronavirus, which has led to more than 7,100 deaths globally and prompted mass lockdowns of people, has also led to items being out of stock on Amazon and some deliveries taking longer than usual.
 
Amazon’s headcount fluctuates seasonally, recently peaking for the holiday quarter at 798,000 full and part-time workers. It was not immediately clear how many people Amazon would employ after it hires 100,000 more.
 
To draw new employees, Amazon said it would add $2 to its minimum $15 per hour to U.S. workers’ wages through April. The extra pay for hourly employees in North America and Europe is expected to cost more than $350 million, Amazon said.
 
Meanwhile, other retailers facing long queues are making pitches for talent, too.
 
It was not clear if there would be any impact on delivery operations from new government restrictions. In the San Francisco Bay Area on Monday, officials said people must stay at home except for some essential purposes, such as work for “businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, goods or services directly to residences.”
Published in Business
Airlines are no longer able to comply with current rules on refunds for cancelled or late flights as the coronavirus pandemic hits the aviation industry.
 
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said this on Tuesday in Geneva.
 
“We are asking to soften passenger regulations, IATA chief Alexandre de Juniac said at the industry group’s offices.
 
“These rules are too tough in these extraordinary times,’’ he added.
 
Three-quarters of the world’s airlines have less than three months of cash to pay for their fixed costs such as loan interest, according to IATA.
 
The group that represents more than 80 per cent of global air traffic estimated last week that airlines will lose 113 billion dollars in revenues this year, but IATA economists are working on a new forecast that takes into account the latest U.S entry bans.
 
The Airline, however, called on governments to come to the rescue with all possible means to aid the aviation sector during the coronavirus crisis.
 
On Tuesday, Australian flagship carrier Qantas and its budget airline Jet star said they will cut their international flights by 90 per cent until at least the end of May due to a drop in demand for travel amid the global coronavirus crisis.
 
The reduction largely reflects the demand impact of severe quarantine requirements on people’s ability to travel overseas, Qantas said in a statement.
 
Some 60 per cent of domestic flights will also be slashed.
 
The move will see around 150 aircraft grounded. The decision by Qantas came after several global airlines, including Lufthansa, Air France-KLM, and British Airways, announced huge reductions in their flight numbers due to plummeting demand over the coronavirus.
 
European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said that it is pausing manufacturing at its sites in France and Spain for four days to implement anti-viral measures.
 
“This will allow sufficient time to implement stringent health and safety conditions in terms of hygiene, cleaning and self-distancing while improving the efficiency of operations under the new working conditions,’’ Airbus said in a statement.
 
Across the Atlantic, Airbus rival Boeing is facing new struggles in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to U.S media.
 
A Wall Street Journal report on Monday said health authorities will need to decide whether production can go ahead at the U.S aircraft giant after a number of employees became infected with the virus.
 
According to an internal document, 11 employees tested positive for the virus and another 339 employees are in quarantine with suspected coronavirus, the paper said.
 
Another 87 employees were in quarantine, but have already returned to work, it said.
 
According to a Bloomberg report on Monday, Boeing is seeking U.S aid and support for itself, its suppliers and some airlines due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Additionally, the company has been hit by the grounding of its best-selling 737 MAX that is waiting for clearance to resume services after two deadly crashes.
Published in Travel & Tourism
Delta Airlines on Tuesday announced its plans to reduce its flight operations’ capacity by 15 per cent following the spread of Coronavirus to the country.
 
The airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Ed Bastian, stated this in a statement he issued in Lagos.
 
Bastain said that since the World Health Organisation’s declaration of the virus as a pandemic, it had led to a decline in demands across all entities.
 
He said that the airline was taking the decisive action to also protect its financial position.
 
The airline’s boss explained that the reduction was to align capacity with the expected passengers’ demands.
 
“To align capacity with expected demand, Delta Airlines is reducing system capacity by 15 points.
 
“It is also planning to reduce its international capacity by between 20 per and 25 per cent, and reduce its domestic capacity by between 10 per cent and 15 per cent.
 
“In addition to the significant efforts underway to protect the health and safety of our customers and employees, we are announcing additional steps to address the financial impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
 
“In the weeks since COVID-19 emerged; Delta Airlines has risen to the challenge, taking every possible action to take care of and protect its customers during a stressful time.
 
“Top priority is protecting the health and safety of our customers and employees,” he said.
 
Bastian said that the airline, due to the outbreak of the virus, had made the difficult, but necessary decision to immediately reduce its capacity.
 
According to him, the airline is also implementing cost reductions and cash flow initiatives across the organisation.
 
Bastian added that over the past 10 years, he had transformed Delta Airlines by strengthening its balance sheets, diversifying its revenue streams and enhancing operational and financial flexibilities.
 
He said that the environment was fluid and trends were changing quickly, but it was well-positioned to manage the challenges.
 
The airline CEO said that the management was taking actions to ensure that Delta Airlines continues to maintain its leadership position and strong financial foundation.
 
He said that the company would continue to make adjustments to planned capacity as demanding trends change.
Published in Travel & Tourism
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