By Sana ElouaziRabat – Royal Air Maroc and Egyptair have signed a business agreement launching a new codeshare route between Morocco and Egypt, which will take effect starting on Tuesday, November 28. The Moroccan flag carrier announced in a recent press release that each of the two companies will be able to market, under its own code, the direct flights operated by the two carriers between Casablanca and Cairo. “This new stage of commercial cooperation will offer passengers who wish to travel between Morocco and Egypt more facilities and transport possibilities, in terms of schedules and frequencies, shorter connections, with the objective of sustaining and developing traffic flows between our two countries,” said Abdelhamid Addou, the chairman and CEO of Royal Air Maroc.The statement adds that the two companies, both members of Arab Air carriers Organization (AACO) and African Airlines Association (AFRAA), will offer to their passengers more choices to travel through the two carriers’ twelve frequencies per week operating at different times, as well as shorter connections.The links between Morocco and Egypt will also benefit from the joint contribution of the two airlines’ distribution networks, which will better promote this service.“We are very pleased to conclude this agreement with Royal Air Maroc,” said Safwat Musallam, President and CEO of Egyptair Holding. “This will allow us to pool the networks and services of both companies to offer our customers a wider choice of frequencies and more convenient connections, knowing that this is only a first step in the perspective of further strengthening this partnership in the future,” he added.Royal Air Maroc already benefits from numerous bilateral codeshare agreements with some of the largest international companies.
by Michael Gormley, The Associated Press Posted Mar 30, 2013 7:42 pm MDT ALBANY, N.Y. – A formal complaint filed with New York’s lobbying board asks it to investigate whether Artists Against Fracking, a group that includes Yoko Ono and other A-List celebrities, is violating the state’s lobbying law, according to the document obtained by The Associated Press.The Independent Oil & Gas Association, an industry group that supports gas drilling, filed the complaint Tuesday with the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics.The complaint is based on an AP story that found that Artists Against Fracking and its members, including Ono, her son Sean Lennon, actors Mark Ruffalo and Robert De Niro and others, aren’t registered as lobbyists and therefore didn’t disclose their spending in opposition to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to remove gas from underground deposits.“The public has been unable to learn how much money is being spent on this effort, what it is being spent on, and who is funding the effort,” said Brad Gill, executive director of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York. “I understand the power of celebrity that this organization has brought to the public discussion over natural gas development, but I do not understand why this organization is not being required to follow the state’s lobbying law.”The group confirmed it filed the complaint but didn’t comment further.Artists Against Fracking, formed by Ono and Lennon, says its activities are protected as free speech. The group was created last year amid the Cuomo administration’s review to determine whether to allow hydraulic fracturing to remove gas from vast underground shale formations in southern and central New York.Gov. Andrew Cuomo continues his review as public opinion has shifted from initial support based on the promise of jobs and tax revenue from drilling in economically depressed upstate New York to mixed feelings because of concerns over potential environmental and health effects.Seven months after Artists Against Fracking was formed, the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute on March 20 found that New York voters were for the first time opposed to fracking, 46 per cent to 39 per cent.“There’s no doubt the celebrities had an effect,” Quinnipiac pollster Maurice Carroll said. “As far as I can tell, they made all the difference.”A spokesman for Artists Against Fracking said the group and its individual members don’t have to register as lobbyists.“As private citizens, Yoko and Sean are not required to register as lobbyists when they use their own money to express an opinion and there’s also no lobbying requirement when you are engaged in a public comment period by a state agency,” spokesman David Fenton said.“If the situation changes then, of course, Artists Against Fracking will consider registering,” Fenton said. “Up to now, there has been no violation because they are entitled to do this as private citizens with their own money.”On its website, the group implores readers: “Tell Governor Cuomo: Don’t Frack New York.” Celebrities supporting the group have led rallies and performed in the song “Don’t Frack My Mother,” also carried on the Internet.Ethics commission spokesman John Milgrim didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday. By law, the commission doesn’t confirm or deny pending investigations.New York’s former lobbying regulator, attorney David Grandeau, said he believed the group and the supporting artists, including musicians Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga and actress Anne Hathaway, should be registered and required to disclose details on their efforts to spur public opposition to gas drilling.“When you are advocating for the passage or defeat of legislation or proposed legislation and spend more than $5,000, you are required to register,” Grandeau said Friday. “Just because you are a celebrity doesn’t mean that lobbing laws don’t apply to you. Your celebrity status does not protect you in Albany.”Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and developer Donald Trump are among the high-profile figures who clashed with the commission when Grandeau was regulator. The biggest penalty for failure to follow the lobbying law resulted in a $250,000 fine against Trump and others over casinos in 2000. AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Gas trade group seeks lobbying probe of Artists Against Fracking over fracking