Newsletter - February 2008

  1. British Airways service London City to - New York

    British Airways is to launch double daily business class-only flights from London City airport to New York next year.

    The service would operate with just 32 business-class seats on what is usually a 107-seat aircraft.

    BA aims to attract executive traffic between the City of London and Wall Street and believes the short commute to London City and avoidance of Heathrow will compensate for the longer flight.

    A spokesman confirmed the airline is considering where on the route to refuel as the Airbus A318 it will use does not have the range for the outbound journey from London City, although it could make the return flight non-stop direct.

    TravelWeekly Online; full story from Ian Taylor
    Airline Travel News; full story

  2. Radission SAS - First Hotel for Madrid

    The Rezidor Hotel Group, the Brussels-based hotel management company, announces the first Radisson SAS Hotel to open in Madrid, Spain’s capital city.

    Slated to open in late 2009, the Radisson SAS Hotel Madrid Prado will add 54 guestrooms to the Rezidor portfolio. By 2009, Rezidor will open 20,000 new rooms in total.

    The Radisson SAS Hotel Madrid Prado will be located in a prime spot in front of the famous Prado Museum and next to CaixaForum-Madrid, the new cultural center in the city; offering visitors to Madrid a wealth of art and culture right at their footsteps.

    Source: Hotel Travel News; full story

  3. London debut for A 380

    March 18 will be the launch date for Singapore Airlines A380 flights to London.

    The superjumbo will feature on flight number SQ308, departing Singapore at 0900 and arriving in London at 1505. The return leg SQ309 will leave the capital at 1855 the same day, landing in Singapore at 1535. Tickets for the inaugural flights are now on sale at

    After March 18, the aircraft will ply the London-Singapore route daily under flight numbers SQ322 (London-bound) and SQ317 (Singapore-bound).

    Source: Business; full report by Mark Caswell .

  4. High Speed Network for UK Rail needed now!

    Britain must build a network of high-speed rail lines by 2020 to prevent existing services from being overwhelmed by demand, and provide a greener alternative to air travel.

    Iain Coucher, the Chief Executive of Network Rail is proposing three new lines operating at up to 200mph: from London to Glasgow via Birmingham and Manchester; London to Edinburgh via Leeds and Newcastle upon Tyne; and London to Cardiff via Bristol.

    He will commission a detailed study soon into possible routes for a network that is likely to cost more than £50 billion to complete. Network Rail has decided to take a lead after becoming frustrated by the Department for Transport's lack of progress on the issue of high-speed rail.

    Despite admitting that existing lines will struggle to cope with demand, the Government has said that it will not make a decision until 2012.

    Mr Coucher fears that this could be too late because high-speed lines take a decade to plan and build, and capacity on most intercity routes is due to run out by 2015.

    Source: The Times Online; full report from Ben Webster.

  5. Ryanair effort to speed up check-in

    As part of its drive to encourage passengers to use their free online check-in service, Ryanair has increased fees on new bookings for airport checking-in to £3 and £6 for each bag checked-in.

    The airline will continue to persuade its customers to travel with hand luggage only and use the free internet check-in service to avoid queues at the airport.

    Source: Business Travel Net; details

  6. MS-UK Spring Forum Plans
    Following requests from our readers we are pleased to announce that have been able to move the date of our next Forum to Tuesday 13th May so please make a note of this date in your Diary.

    We will shortly be announcing the new website for this year's Forums which will have an automatic sign-up page so that bookings and payments will be able to be made online with no delays.

    Speakers are currently being approached to take part in the Agenda that was chosen from the suggestions put forward by the participants of our last forum, as follows:-
    1. Domestic Rail - What is Fact and what is fiction - Can costs really be reduced by over 30%?
    2. Self Booking Tools - are they the Holy Grail and how can they be best used in a well managed travel programme.
    3. How should you book that accommodation, via the TMC - the HBA or an Apartment specialist?
    4. Corporate Credit / Charge Cards why are they not universally adopted and can the objections be overcome?
    "There are so many of these types of events that you can attend, so I am very careful and selective about the subject matter to ensure I get the most out of being out of the office. The day you organised was truly excellent in it's format, structure and content."

    This is a transcript from a letter we received following our day in October.

    Photographs taken on the day can be found here ... and selecting Autumn Forum.

    If you want to make sure of your place for this event that has sold out for the past two years please register now by emailing your interest to - we are endeavouring to keep the price below £100.00

    More news will soon be available on this site.

  7. E-Tickets for Interline journeys coming soon

    APG Global Associates has launched a solution for airlines that are struggling to meet IATA's deadline to switch to interline e-ticketing.

    IATA's 'Simplifying the Business' initiative means that from May 31, only e-tickets will be settled via the 81 IATA Billing and Settlement Plans (BSPs) worldwide.

    The deadline also applies to interline tickets involving more than one carrier on the same ticket.

    APG has therefore launched an interline e-ticketing programme, giving any scheduled airline that is e-ticketing capable access to interline e-ticketing via any GDS with the airline partners of their choice.

    Source: TravelMole; full story by Bev Fearis

  8. Valet Parking online in Manchester

    Manchester Airport has introduced a new valet service to provide fast access to both Terminals 1 and 3.

    In recent months car congestion has been a major problem at Manchester and with this new service, the airport is confident that it will cut the number of cars and drop offs.

    Customers can now pull up in a dedicated VIP enclosure outside Terminal 1 and drop their keys to a team of valet parkers before going on holiday or a business trip.

    Valets then park the cars in a secure carpark known as ‘ParkMark’ and deliver the customer’s car to the VIP area ready for collection on return.

    The cost of this service is £7 ($14) a day with an 8-day trip coming in at £56.

    The average taxi fare from around greater Manchester to the airport would be around £66.

    The new service can be booked through

    Source: Air & Business Travel News; full story

  9. Ebbsfleet opens

    Eurostar launch a major marketing campaign last Friday to promote its new Ebbsfleet International to travellers across southern and eastern England.

    The rail operator said its TV, online and outdoor advertisements will highlight the fact that a centre-to-centre journey from Reigate or Chelmsford via Ebbsfleet International to Paris takes just over four hours.

    Eurostar says this is significantly shorter than flying via Heathrow and Charles de Gaulle airports and generating one-tenth of the amount of carbon dioxide produced by an equivalent flight.

    Ebbsfleet International is off junction 2 of the M25 close to Bluewater shopping centre.

    The station has 2,500 parking spaces, all within five minutes' walk of the station and with a daily charge of £11.50.

    Source: TravelMole; full report by Bev Fearis.

  10. Thistle Rebrand under way

    Thistle Hotels will invest more than £100 million this year on rebranding 25 of its 32 UK hotels by May.

    The first three hotels to be rebranded will be the Atlantic Tower in Liverpool, and Kensington Gardens and Trafalgar Square, in London. The group is positioning itself as the “informal upmarket hotel group” and will now simply be known as “Thistle”.

    A new user-friendly website will also be launching in April with four times more information than the present one.

    Bedrooms, public spaces and restaurant offerings have all been updated.

    Guests will notice the change as soon as they enter the new Thistles. The reception areas are being scrapped and replaced by stand-alone check-in

    terminals with chairs and plasma screens. BT Openzone is available throughout the hotels, and 32-inch plasma screen TVs have been installed in all of the new bedrooms.

    Source:; full story by Felicity Cousins

  11. Unique Airside check-in for Europcar

    Europcar has launched a ‘unique’ airside service providing fast-track vehicle rental for customers travelling from Gatwick and Edinburgh into many of the key UK airports.

    Once a reservation has been made at the departure airport the renting location will be contacted to confirm the customer’s requirements and verify pre-qualification, making sure the service is smooth at the destination airport.

    Customers with a pre-filled rental agreement can go straight to the Europcar location and collect their vehicle, making sure there are no delays to their journey.

    Now customers can check-in for their car rental before they board the aircraft, safe in the knowledge that the rental agreement will be pre-printed and the vehicle will be allocated before they even take off.

    Source:; full story

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