Category Archives: Economy


Stamp prices most likely to rise again

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Once again the U.S. Postal Service board will look into hiking the prices of postage stamps on all types of mail. Prices will be hiked as the losses continue to strike the agency. Mickey Barnett, the chief of the board said that the board has directed the service in order to evaluate the price increases.

However, postal officials fear that the hiked prices might drive customers away. The proposal came after the Postal Service shelved a plan to end the Saturday service when it was clear that it did not have the legal authority to do so. But this time the hike will not be a regular one and will be much higher than it was earlier, due to the rate of inflation.

The hiked prices would affect people who send first-class mail which is the most common type of mail that consumers use, as well as businesses who mail newspapers, magazines, marketing material and periodicals. At the moment, price of the first-class stamp is 46 cents and a one cent increase was effective from January 28, 2013.

Postal Service encountered losses despite the cost-cutting measures taken. The service consolidated 60 processing plants and its roster of career employees fell to the lowest number since 1966.


Air India to reduce free baggage allowance

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Indian airline carrier Air India is all set to lower its free baggage allowance from 20 kgs to 15 kgs in the domestic sector. The airline will start charging a flat rate of about Rs. 200 to 250 per kilo on excess baggage from next week. The latest decision has been taken after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a circular, which allowed the airline to charge for extra services.

The extra services included meals, snacks, check-in baggage, preferential seats, drinks (barring drinking water), as well as sports and musical instruments on their domestic flights. From next week, Air India passengers will be allowed to carry just 15 kgs for free and have pay extra for excess baggage,  which currently varies between Rs. 150 – 400 per kg depending upon the sector.

No charges will be made for handbags  up to 7 kgs. The airline also said that registered frequent flyers will be allowed to carry up to 20 kgs of checked in baggage as it is prevalent now. Air India is also trying to levy charges for preferential seats,  but no decision has been taken so far.

Business class passengers will be charged on this count and will be allowed to carry 30 kgs of free baggage.


UK supermarkets announce diesel price cut

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Supermarkets in the UK have announced cuts in the price of diesel from April 10, 2013,  after a recent fall was noticed in the wholesale prices. It was first reported that the price of diesel would be cut by 2p per litre .

On the other hand, motoring groups have said that pump prices vary depending on the postcode and that there is disparity in the price of fuel overall. The average price of diesel is 143.39p per litre and this year it has peaked at 146.38. While the average price of petrol is 137.75p a litre,  compared to the year high of 140.03 in the month of March 2013.

Though the price cut of fuel was welcome, the question remains as to what extent it this change was reflected in rural areas. There is talk in some circles as to whether it was essential for the country and business as well. Traditionally there has been a springtime fall in the cost of diesel, as the demand for heating oil comes from the same part of the oil barrel.

Mark Todd, the petrol director at Morrison,  said that the cut was the result of a drop in the wholesale prices, which was combined with an improved exchange rate.


Jet Airways offers simple visa services for Middle East

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Indian airline carrier Jet Airways said on April 8, 2013, that it will be offering visa procurement services to passengers who have plans to travel to the United Arab Emirates. The carrier is all set to enter into a partnership with Dnata,  which is one of the biggest travel services company in Dubai.

The latest partnership deal will offer travellers from India to Abu Dubai and Sharjah an option to individually secure the visa prior to their departure. The travel specialists of the Dubai-based companies will assist the guests through the visa process, collect all the necessary documents and submit the visa applications  to the United Arab Emirates government on behalf of the traveller.

Abdulla Tawakul, the SVP Corporate and Regions of dnata said , “This collaboration between Dnata and Jet Airways is a part of our strategic initiative and commitment to ensure travel to United Arab Emirates is as comfortable and hassle-free as possible”. Tawakul added that this will bring greater synergy between Jet and Dnata and will also enable complementary competencies,  which will benefit travellers to Dubai, as now booking marhaba services is easier than before.

This will also ensure that passengers will be able to secure their visas to the UAE before arrival and can look forward to an enjoyable experience.


Japan Airlines to resume Dreamliner operations after US approval

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On March 13, 2013, Japanese Airlines has hoped for a rapid resumption of its Dreamliner operations. The decision was taken after US authorities approved test flights with the help of a prototype battery fix after a global safety scare.

After several incidents Dreamliners across the globe were grounded, due to which their schedules were disturbed, especially in Japan. All Nippon Airways is considered to be the biggest operator of airlines in Japan and has been forced to cancel more than 3,600 flights, right until the end of May 2013.

A spokesperson from the airline said, “ANA, as the launch customer of the 787, hopes its flights will be resumed as early as possible on condition that safety is guaranteed”. The spokesperson added that the approval is a big stepping stone towards resuming operations of the 787 flights. Japan Airlines went on to say that the company believes that it has now entered a new stage.

The JAL spokesperson also said that the company would continue to work in cooperation with the parties concerned to get the fleet off the ground. GS Yuasa, the battery maker refused to comment on the issue. On March 12, 2013, the US authorities approved Boeing’s plan for the 787 batteries and added that the company would carry out test flights with the fix.