Newsletter - October 2007

  1. Bmi adds 17 new routes

    Bmi has started selling on 17 new routes following the integration of former British Airways franchise carrier BMed which was acquired in February.

    The new routes being launched on October 28 includes Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Aleppo, Syria; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Amman, Jordan; Ankara, Turkey; Baku, Azerbaijan; Beirut, Lebanon; Bishkek, Kyrgystan; Cairo, Egypt (4 November); Dakar, Senegal; Damascus, Syria; Ekaterinburg, Russia; Freetown, Sierra Leone; Khartoum, Sudan; Tbilisi, Georgia; Tehran, Iran; Yerevan, Armenia.

    Services to Amman and Beirut will be served by daily direct flights, an increase over the previous BA/BMed schedule.

    Coinciding with the launch of the new routes, the airline is to introduce enhancements to its in-flight service.

    Bmi will introduce new lie-flat beds on flights from Heathrow to Riyadh to Jeddah, as well as to the Caribbean and to the US from Manchester.

    Source: Travelmole

  2. only 10 days to go till the ACTE & MS-UK Autumn Forum in London

    Just a few seats remain available for the GetThere sponsored Autumn Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum to be held in London on the 11th of October 2007.

    If you prefer to get involved and take an active part in an informed discussion on Corporate Travel instead of just being part of an audience at a lecture then this is where you should aim to be.

    The event is being organised by Management Solutions (UK) Ltd. in co-operation with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE-Global) with Media sponsorship by Buying Business Travel. This will be the13th forum produced by the team at MS-UK.

    We look forward to seeing you there

  3. London hotels get mega facelift

    The view of the Thames from the Savoy is more cluttered than it was when Monet painted there. It is not just the modern additions to the cityscape, such as the London Eye.

    Soon after the great French impressionist stayed at the hotel at the turn of the 19th century, the balconies were removed from the suites where he worked. Bathrooms and toilets were installed, narrowing guests' perspective.

    Now, more than a century later, the internal clutter is to be shifted, allowing the installation of wider, more panoramic windows, as part of a facelift that will see the 263-room hotel closed from mid-December until May 2009 and is planned to cost about £100 million.

    The Savoy is not alone. Its makeover is one of a clutch of London refurbishment that includes some of the costliest in hotel industry history.

    At least as much is being spent at the Grosvenor House hotel on Park Lane, which has remained open during the first root-and-branch makeover since it opened in 1929. A recently completed upgrade at its near neighbour, the Park Lane InterContinental cost £76 million. Renovating the Connaught - due to reopen in December - cost more than £50 million while £24 million has been spent on the 170-year-old Brown's Hotel. All this investment will make life more comfortable for business travellers.

    Source: HotelResource International

  4. Norwegian expansion

    Lufthansa is to launch flights from London City (LCY) to Berlin's Tegel Airport, the first route to Germany's capital from the central London airport. The carrier will start with twice-daily flights from January 14 2008, rising to thrice-daily from the start of the 2008 summer timetable.

    The route will be operated by Lufthansa's regional partner Eurowings, using a BAe 146-200 aircraft.

    Berlin is currently served by four other carriers from London – Easyjet from Luton and Gatwick to Berlin Schoenefeld, BA from Heathrow to Tegel, Air Berlin from Stansted to Tegel, and Ryanair from Stansted to Schoenefeld. Tegel airport is around five miles from the city centre, while Schoenefeld is further out at around 12 miles.

    Source: Business Traveller

  5. Two hours Paris City Centre to London City Centre

    High speed train operator Eurostar achieved a record time of two hours and three minutes for a run between Paris and its new terminal at London St. Pancras International and s few days later the time of one hour 43 minutes was recorded for Brussels to London.

    The runs were over High Speed 1, the UK's newly completed high speed track from the Channel Tunnel to St. Pancras during which the train reached speeds of up 220mph.

    Eurostar plan to start operations from the new terminal at St. Pancras on November 14.

    Source: Business Travel Europe

  6. Expedia Corporate Travel launches in Spain

    Expedia Corporate Travel is launching its services in Spain.

    Companies doing business in Spain will have access to content, language support and a website providing online booking and travel management tools in Spanish.

    Spain will be its sixth European point of sale, adding to its existing European presence in France, UK, Germany, Belgium and Italy.

    Source: TravelMole

  7. Airline fuel surcharges rise again

    The record price of oil forces four European carriers to increase their supplements yet again.

    Four European airlines – Air France, KLM, Lufthansa and Swiss - have announced their intention to further increase their fuel surcharges in response to the rising price of oil. The price of a barrel hit a record high of US$82 on 20 September.

    Lufthansa will now charge €67 (£47) per sector on long-haul tickets sold from 1 October, a rise of €5, and €14 (£10) on domestic and short-haul services, up by €2.

    Source: Times Online

  8. Swiss link for Manchester

    SWISS is set to increase its network out of northern England with the addition of a weekly direct flight from Manchester to Geneva from Sunday 16 December.

    The new scheduled route, now bookable on SWISS.COM/UK from just £148 return including all taxes, is the first new direct route out of Manchester since the addition of Basel in January 2007.

    The frequency to Basel will in winter 2007 and January 2008 be increased to up to six weekly flights, complimenting the route to Zurich which has already been served out of Manchester for many years.

    Source: Airline Travel News

  9. Fast trains to stop serving Heathrow's terminal 4

    SkyTeam airlines will lose out after the new Heathrow Express station opens to serve BA' s terminal 5.

    Fast Heathrow Express services will no longer stop at the airport’s terminal 4 when terminal 5 opens next spring.

    Passengers heading for terminal 4, which will become the hub for airlines in the Skyteam alliance, such as Air France and KLM, will have to take slower Heathrow Connect services or take the fast service to terminals 1, 2 and 3 and change onto the slower service.

    From the opening of terminal 5, the home of British Airways and its oneworld partners.

    Heathrow Express services will take 15 minutes from London Paddington to reach the station for terminals 1, 2 and 3 before heading off to terminal 5, which it will reach 8 minutes later.

    Heathrow Connect services from Paddington, which stop at Ealing Broadway, West Ealing, Hanwell, Southall and Hayes & Harlington en route to the airport, will take 25 minutes to terminals 1, 2 and 3 and a further 8 minutes to terminal 4.

    Source: Times Online

  10. Air France/KLM finalise UK & Ireland management team

    Air France and KLM will continue to operate separate call centres for the UK and Ireland after finalising a new joint management team.

    The team, based at the head office in Bedfont, near Heathrow, is headed by general manager Christine Ourmières, who took up the role in July, following two years as general manager, Air France, UK & Ireland.

    Richard Oliver, head of commercial, joins from Dubai where he was KLM general manager. He is responsible for marketing (split into direct and mass marketing), pricing, distribution and sales audit, management information, commercial servicing and training. The finance and IT departments remain separate, but having joint responsibility for the management of airport operations.

    Customer relations also remains two separate departments, lead by Caroline Vanhecke who holds the collective responsibility for both halves of the operation.

    A joint team is in place in the HR department, which is now lead by Paul Gilliam.

    Source: TravelMole

  11. West Midlands to Madrid

    Low-cost carrier Bmibaby will begin flights from Birmingham to Madrid from this winter. The airline will fly four times a week to the Spanish capital from December 7.

    The move brings the number of destinations served by Bmibaby from Birmingham to 22, including five other Spanish cities – Barcelona, Malaga, Murcia, Alicante and Palma, on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

    Bmibaby has expanded it operations from BHX in recent months, with new routes to Glasgow, Jersey, Lisbon, Faro and Rome joining established services to Aberdeen, Prague and Nice. Passengers can now also earn points on parent company Bmi's Diamond Club loyalty scheme, with flights attracting between 150 and 900 miles depending on their cost.

    Source: BusinessTraveller Online

  12. Increased security procedures for visitors to Japan

    Visitors to Japan will soon have to have their fingerprints and photograph taken when entering the country. All foreign nationals will be subjected to the security measures from November 23 this year.

    At present only the US requires visitors to scan their fingerprints when entering the country, a move designed to tighten security following the 9/11 attacks. The Japanese embassy says it is following suit in order to "identify persons considered to pose security risks, such as terrorists, and persons travelling with passports that are not their own."

    All foreign nationals over the age of 16 (with the exception of certain permanent residents and those performing diplomatic or official duties) will be asked to place the index fingers of both hands on a digital fingerprint reader, before having their photograph taken. Anyone refusing to submit to the new regulations will be refused entry.

    Source: BusinessTraveller Online

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