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Plastic planes will allow airlines to increase cabin pressure

A FELLOW Gulliver, cheery chap that he is, kicked off the new year explaining why 2017 might be even worse for business travellers than the year we have just put behind us. The reasons are largely geopolitical: the fallout from Brexit, the uncertainty surrounding soon-to-be-President Donald Trump, the likely rise in oil prices, the Chinese economic slowdown and the threat of terror. But there’s one trend that could have a pleasant effect on travel, making flying more comfortable despite efforts by airlines to pack passengers in tighter and charge for the most basic amenities. No doubt you’ve beaten me to it: carbon-reinforced plastic composites.

Much of the discomfort of flying—whether reclining in a private first-class suite or jammed into coach—comes from two factors: air pressure and humidity. At 35,000 feet, the air pressure outside an aeroplane is extremely low, so the cabin is pressurised to bring it to a level closer to what we experience on the ground. The trouble is that lowering it all the way to sea-level pressure would put tremendous strain on the body of the plane, which would…Continue reading Click Here For Original Source Of The Article

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Two big European makers of eyewear agree to merge

GIANT, cross-border mergers in Europe have been rare in recent years. Deals fail to happen even when mid-sized companies—such as family-owned and run specialist manufacturers in northern Italy or the Mittelstand in Germany—have the chance to gain global heft. For that blame founding owner-managers, many of whom are reluctant to lose control of treasured companies. Blame too an artisanal culture, particularly in southern Europe, in which firms’ owners say they are content to remain small and relatively obscure. Occasionally, too, nationalist politicians block efforts by perfidious foreigners to snaffle prized local brands.

Now, though, one of the largest-ever mergers in Europe actually looks set to go ahead. Luxottica, an Italian maker of fancy specs that was founded in 1961—it owns brands such as Ray Ban and Oakley—is to merge with Essilor, a spiffy French producer of lenses. The joint entity is set to combine Italian style with deft French engineering. The deal is supposed to be completed by the end of the year, creating a new entity with a market value of €46bn ($49bn), 140,000 staff and annual revenues of €15bn. It will be...Continue reading

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