All posts on July, 2016

Business and financeGulliver

Lufthansa offers a seat on Airbnb

LUFTHANSA needs a boost. The German airline lowered its revenue forecast last week amid declining bookings, particularly on long-haul flights to Europe, citing “increasing political and economic uncertainties.” Between the Brexit vote, the shadow of which hangs over Europe’s economy, and the recent terror attacks that have raised security concerns, it seems fewer travellers are calling the airline, logging onto Expedia or contacting their travel agents to book flights.

And so the airline has decided to try out a new platform, one that’s been doing quite well with business travellers: Airbnb.

Until now, the San Francisco-based website has been all about the “bnb” and not so much about the “air”. But Lufthansa is hoping that it can convince travellers in search of lodging that they should also consider something at 35,000 feet above…Continue reading

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ApprovedBusiness and financeFINANCEFinance and economics

Three-piece dream suit

JAPAN is not, by nature, a boastful country. Its opportunities for bombast have shrunk along with its population. And its economic pride has suffered many years of deflation, a form of macroeconomic self-deprecation, in which firms and workers continuously discount what they do. In some fields, however, Japan still allows itself some swagger. It is, for example, happy to describe itself as a “robotics superpower”. In a speech early this year Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, praised a “dream robot suit” made by Cyberdyne as a prime example of the country’s technological advances. The robotic exoskeleton can add strength and stamina to healthy limbs and restore movement to enfeebled ones. As a symbol of Japanese ingenuity in overcoming debility, the suit’s appeal to Mr Abe is easy to understand.

Since returning to office in 2012 Mr Abe has strapped Japan into an economic exoskeleton of his own. Dubbed “Abenomics”, his three-piece dream suit includes monetary easing, fiscal pragmatism and structural reform. He claimed it would repel deflation, repair the public finances and revive productivity. Over time, he later boasted, the combination of…Continue reading

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