5 things to know: 14 January 2019
5 things to know: 14 January 2019
14 JANUARY 2019 10:33 AM

From the desks of the Hotel News Now editorial staff:

  • TSA short-staffed in government shutdown
  • US stocks to open reflecting signs of slower growth
  • The impact of opportunity zones on US hotel development
  • Major snowstorm hits mid-Atlantic, kills seven
  • Theresa May continues to push MPs to back Brexit deal

TSA short-staffed in government shutdown: The U.S. Transportation Security Authority has had to close off a terminal at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston for the time being due to a staff shortage because of the government shutdown, The Wall Street Journal reports. The Miami International Airport temporarily shut down one of its concourses over the weekend.

TSA officers are considered essential government employees during the shutdown, meaning they are required to still work even though they won’t receive a paycheck until funding returns. The TSA unplanned absence rate maintained at about 5% last week, but it increased to 7.7% on Sunday, according to the article.

“Airports in certain locations will begin exercising consolidation options during peak periods,” TSA said in a statement to The Wall Street Journal. “These decisions will be made at the local level.”

U.S. stocks to open reflecting signs of slower growth: New data shows a year-over-year drop in Chinese imports and exports during December, setting the stage for a lower opening of U.S. stocks this week, The Wall Street Journal reports.

There were hopes the rebound in the market earlier this month after a difficult December would continue based on potential progress in the U.S.-China trade negotiations and reassurances on monetary policy by the Federal Reserve, according to the article.

“Poor Chinese trade data have given markets an early Monday morning reminder that the Chinese economy, and global trade, are slowing,” Kit Juckes, strategist at Société Générale , wrote in a note to clients.

The impact of opportunity zones on U.S. hotel development: Newly created opportunity zones encourage development in low-income areas through tax benefits, HNN’s Bryan Wroten writes, and while that might present some demand challenges for U.S. hotel owners, there are ways they can take advantage of this program.

Hotel owners and developers would likely be interested in being part of the second wave of development in an opportunity zone, said Jan Freitag, SVP of lodging insights at STR, as that would allow the building of demand generators during the first wave. Another avenue would be to develop in an opportunity zone near an area outside of the zone that has already-existing demand generators, he said. STR is the parent company of HNN.

Major snowstorm hits mid-Atlantic, leading to flight cancellations: A snowstorm that traveled across the Midwest has hit the mid-Atlantic states, canceling more than 1,600 flights on Sunday, Reuters reports. The storm started as rain in Mexico and was forecast “to hit an 1,800-mile swath of the United States from Colorado to the East coast.”

There were 1,624 flights cancelled at U.S. airports, according to the article, with most of them occurring at Ronald Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. The storm delayed an additional 3,113 flights.

Theresa May continues to push MPs to back Brexit deal: United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May has told Ministers of Parliament a rejection of the latest Brexit deal would create “paralysis of Parliament” and cause “catastrophic harm” to politics ahead of the vote in the House of Commons, the BBC reports.

The main issue at stake over the deal on the table is as a fallback plan to avoid physical border checks in Northern Ireland, according to the article. The European Union has said it doesn’t want to resort to a temporary solution, but if necessary, it would resort to the “backstop” plan “for the shortest period possible.” If the backstop comes into play, however, the UK “is indefinitely committed to it” and neither the U.K. nor EU could unilaterally withdraw from it.

“Critics said they fell way short of the firm end date or the unilateral right to withdraw they wanted, with the Democratic Unionist Party saying ‘nothing has changed’ and accusing the prime minister of ‘foolish talk,’” according to the article.

Compiled by Bryan Wroten.

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