As countries begin to gradually ease travel restrictions, Lufthansa plans to offer three weekly non-stop flights from Toronto to Frankfurt and back starting on June 3, officials with the German airline announced Thursday.
Additional flights to other Canadian gateway destinations, including Montreal and Vancouver, are also being evaluated and planned for later in the summer, said Hans DeHaan, Lufthansa Group’s senior director in Canada.
The first Toronto-bound flight will depart Frankfurt on June 3, and the same aircraft will return to Germany the next day, DeHaan told Radio Canada International.
There is currently a ban on all international non-essential travel into Canada and the European Union, but Canadian citizens are allowed to come back to Canada and European Union citizens in Canada are allowed to return to the EU despite the travel ban, DeHaan said.
“That’s part of the market that we would go after,” DeHaan said.
In light of fewer travellers, the passenger planes will be able to carry more cargo, DeHaan said.
“We can now take high-density cargo that before maybe we couldn’t because of the passenger loads,” DeHaan said. “That helps. The cargo demand is high and not just for us. It’s for most airlines. But we have to start somewhere. We have to get this thing going.”
Before the pandemic, Lufthansa Group offered 64 weekly flights to Canada in the summer and half that number in the winter, he said.
The Toronto–Frankfurt flight will add an important long-haul connection for Toronto-based travel to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India, DeHaan said. These include flights within Germany, as well as to cities in Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland.
Lufthansa Group, which includes Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines, plans to serve a total of 106 European destinations next month, he said.
Flights to Tel Aviv are also being planned, as are connections to the cities of Abuja and Port Harcourt in Nigeria; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Mumbai; and Johannesburg.
Stringent public health measures
As international airlines work to counter the spread of the pandemic, the flying experience will include stringent hygiene and public health measures.
Beginning May 4, the airlines of the Lufthansa Group will require that all passengers wear a mask while on board, DeHaan said.
“Passengers have to feel safe. They have to feel that they can take this journey and that they don’t have to worry that they’re going to catch something while being on the aircraft,” DeHaan said. “That is now a very high priority for us.”
These measures mean masks not only for the passengers but also for the crew for the duration of the flight, he said, as well as a lot more sanitation measures.
“The meals might not be served anymore from a trolley. They might be served covered in a type of lunchbox or a dinner box, just to eliminate some of these risks,” DeHaan said.
Furthermore, due to a decrease in flight demand, seats will be allocated as far apart as possible within the cabin.
“I’m a firm believer that air travel will come back, but it will take a little bit of time,” DeHaan said.
Home sales tumble again as mortgage rates surge – Business News – Castanet.net
Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes slowed for the third consecutive month in April as mortgage rates surged, driving up borrowing costs for would-be buyers as home prices soared to new highs.
Existing home sales fell 2.4% last month from March to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million, the National Association of Realtors said Thursday.
That was slightly higher than what economists were expecting, according to FactSet. Sales fell 5.9% from April last year. After climbing to a 6.49 million annual rate in January, sales have fallen to the slowest pace since June 2020, when they were running at an annualized rate of 4.77 million homes.
The median home price in April jumped 14.8% from a year ago at this time to $391,200. That’s an all-time high according to data going back to 1999, NAR said.
“Without a doubt, rising mortgage rates, rising prices are hurting affordability, but we should not discount that we’re still lacking inventory,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.
Fierce competition for limited properties on the market and ultra-low mortgage rates superheated the housing market the last couple of years, but now its cooling as homebuyers face sharply higher home financing costs than a year ago following a rapid rise in mortgage rates.
In April, the weekly average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate home loan climbed above 5% for the first time in more than a decade, crimping would-be homeowners’ purchasing power at the outset of the spring homebuying season, traditionally the busiest period for home sales.
Mortgage rates are climbing following a sharp move up in 10-year Treasury yields, reflecting expectations of higher interest rates overall as the Federal Reserve hikes short-term rates in order to combat the worst inflation in 40 years.
With inflation at a four-decade high, rising mortgage rates, elevated home prices and tight supply of homes for sale, homeownership has become less attainable, especially for first-time buyers.
Higher rates can limit the pool of buyers and cool the rate of home price growth — good news for buyers. But higher rates can also limit affordability.
For now, the housing market continues to favor sellers as buyers vie for a still tight inventory of homes for sale, which has kept pushing up home prices. Even as sales slowed last month, it was common for homes on the market to receive multiple offers.
Inventory levels have to go higher before multiple offers dissipate from the market, Yun said. Until then, prices are likely to move higher.
“We anticipate, again, a continuing decline in home sales, but not necessarily home prices,” he said.
On average, homes sold in just 17 days of hitting the market last month, unchanged from March or April last year. In a market that’s more evenly balanced between buyers and sellers, homes typically remain on the market 45 days.
As is typical in the spring, the number of homes on the market increased in April from the previous month. Some 1.03 million properties were available for sale by the end of April, up 10.8% from March, but down 10.4% from April last year.
At the current sales pace, the level of for-sale properties amounts to a 2.2-month supply, the NAR said. That’s up from 1.9 months in March, and down from 2.3 months a year ago.
Real estate investors and other buyers able to buy a home with just cash, sidestepping the need to rely on financing, accounted for 26% of all sales last month, down from 28% in March, NAR said.
Homes purchased by investors made up 17% of sales in April, down from 18% the previous month, while first-time buyers accounted for 28% of transactions, down from 30% in March and 31% a year ago.
Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling – Better Dwelling
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- Canadian Real Estate Prices 38% Overvalued, Largest Trend Deviation In 40 Years: BMO – Better Dwelling Better Dwelling
- Consumer sentiment in Canada posts biggest drop since pandemic onset amid inflation The Globe and Mail
- One of the Hottest Housing Markets in Canada Turns into Buyers’ Market Bloomberg
- View Full coverage on Google News
Gas prices in Ontario rising: Best time to fill up | CTV News – CTV News Toronto
Gas prices in Ontario dropped 10 cents per litre on Friday ahead of the long weekend, but the relief at the pumps is expected to be short-lived.
The average price of gas in Ontario dropped to $196.6 per litre Friday, which is a 13-cent drop from Wednesday.
However, President for Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says Ontario gas prices are projected to rise over the next two days.
“We’re going to see a four-cent increase on Saturday and although the markets haven’t settled yet, it’s pretty clear that we are likely looking at about a two-cent increase (on Sunday). In other words, you got the 10 cents off today, it’s going to go up between now and Sunday by about six cents a litre,” he told CP24 Friday morning.
On Wednesday, gas prices hit a whopping $209.9 per litre, and McTeague says gas prices are set to top that in the coming week.
“Next week, the Americans begin their unofficial kickoff to the summer driving season. That’s going to put a lot of pressure on gas prices for us here in Canada. They are really the ones to determine prices for us, they’re a large market. I would expect that we’re going to be back to $2.10 a litre probably within the next week or so.”
Gas prices have been elevated since late February mostly due to fuel supply shortages amid the war in Ukraine and international sanctions that have been imposed as a result.
For the coming summer months, McTeague says the outlook on gas prices is grim partly because of impending weather issues.
“We may see days where we hit $2.30, $2.25 if we’re lucky. American weather problems in the Gulf Coast tend to be a big deal,” he said.
“The summer looks like average prices will get to $2.15 a litre here in the GTA, and right across most of southern Ontario,” he added.
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