Newsletter - June 2008

  1. Oil Prices signalling Financial disaster for the Aviation World

    Jean-Cyril Spinetta became the latest airline ceo to warn that the rising cost of oil will hit his carrier's profits.

    The chairman and ceo of Air France KLM said that profits could fall by up to a third and that fares would go up as carriers passed on their extra fuel costs.

    He acknowledged that rising fares could deter people from flying.

    American Airlines, one of the world's largest carriers, announced swingeing cuts in its fleet and capacity because of the soaring price of oil. The Texas-based carrier said it would "retire" at least 75 mainline and regional aircraft and reduce domestic capacity by 11-12%. The moves came as crude reach a record $135 per barrel although it later fell back to $129.

    In the same week, Finnair has warned that the price of oil will hit profits while SAS has written to its suppliers asking them to cut 10% off their prices.

    The effects of the world economy on air transport are already evident as a trend that will decrease passenger demand.

    The reason for this is that fuel prices have risen by 100% since 2007, at the same time as we have experienced an economic slowdown with declining air ticket prices as a result.

    Source: Travel Europe; full story by Stanley Slaughter

  2. Heathrow Express goes ticketless

    Customers buying Heathrow Express tickets from Saturday 31 May will be issued with a barcode that can be scanned on the train, eliminating the need for queuing for tickets.

    The barcode can either be sent by text to the traveller's mobile phone or they will receive it by email.

    International corporate account manager at Heathrow Express George Fripp said: "Heathrow Express is introducing the e-ticketing system because of feedback from clients. Most of our customers are busy professionals who use our service because it is the most convenient way to get to and from Heathrow Airport with a journey time of 15 minutes to Heathrow Central (Terminals 1, 2, 3). This removes any queuing at ticket machines or ticket desks. All you need to do is book online and board the train straight away."

    Source: Travelmole; full story by Dinah Hatch

  3. Ryanair extends priority boarding charges

    Low-cost carrier Ryanair is to start charging online check-in passengers for its priority-boarding service.

    Until now, passengers checking in online had enjoyed free priority boarding, but from June 3 they will be charged £4 for the service, the same as those checking in at the airport.

    The carrier says that the move is being made to ensure there is sufficient priority-boarding tickets for those wishing to purchase them at the airport.

    This comes after last month's announcement to raise baggage and airport check-in fees to encourage passengers to check-in online.

    Source: Business Traveller; full story by Mark Caswell

  4. MS-UK Corporate Travel Forum News

    If ever there was a success story - this was it!

    Here follow some genuine comments from a few of the Buyer delegates that attended this event on the 13th May - incidentally. Buyers made up more than 60% of our audience.

    "Most useful interesting and an informative forum on any subject I have attended as long as I can remember" AT of P

    "Very good format with relevant information in today's market" AD of BOSH

    " I found it a great structure which I thought made it a lot easier to absorb the information provided." A SB of OFT

    "Excellent & Look forward to the next one - very informative and the chance to network was also first rate" KG of K.

    "Probably the most interesting forum for a seminar that I have experienced for years, enjoyed the format - highly informative." AH of NA of W

    The next event is only three months away and will take place at the London Hesperia-Victoria hotel on Thursday 4th September - this is a slight change from the previously announced date.

    If you missed this event you can register now for the ACTE-Global supported MS-UK Autumn event, the sixteenth Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum that is scheduled for Thursday the 4th September 2008 by submitting an email to admin@ms-uk.com

    To get an idea of what our Forum looks like click here

  5. Supersonic could be back by 2014

    US-based Aerion Corporation - an advanced engineering group formed in 2002 to reintroduce commercial supersonic flight - says that in the six months it has been accepting orders for the Aerion supersonic business jet, the company has received more than 40 Letters of Intent, backed up by refundable deposits of $250,000.

    At a price of $80m per aircraft, the order book now stands at more than $3bn.

    Aerion has an exclusive agreement with Pratt & Whitney for the use of a new variant of its JT8D-219 engine, and the company expects to certify the supersonic jet in 2014.

    Source: Air & Business Travel News; full story

  6. Rail Operators loses the plot - again!

    Train operators are changing ticket restrictions and creating 'unfair price rises' as the network takes a step towards a simplified fares system, according to the national rail watchdog Passenger Focus.

    From 18 May all pre-booked tickets are now called 'Advance' and are available at discounted rates using all railcards (previously some railcards did not apply to advance fares).

    But Passenger Focus is now lobbying Virgin Trains, National Express and Cross Country - and reviewing other operators - after they altered certain ticket restrictions.

    Virgin Trains plans to restrict the use of Saver tickets on some services, CrossCountry no longer accepts railcards on Saver fares to obtain a further discount at peak times, and National Express East Anglia has hiked up its most expensive fares - Standard Open Returns - for the second time this year on some routes and barred One Day Travelcards on trains leaving London Liverpool Street between 16.29 and 18.34.

    Source: ABTN; full story

  7. ACTE Connection

    At last week's Association of Corporate Travel Executives Global Education Conference in Washington, DC, the organization launched ACTE Connect, a free resource for intellectual capital, research and best practices documents. Access to the online research center is open to all, without respect to their membership -- or lack of membership -- in the Association.

    ACTE Connect currently houses nearly 500 white papers, reports, presentations, surveys and other documents relating to business travel management.

    Source: Business Travel Executive Redline News; all the stories; click here to learn more about ACTE Connect

  8. Recession fears crunchung costs

    A UK survey of 500 PAs reveals 59% of bosses are rapidly taking steps to reduce their businesses' central costs as the credit crunch begins to bite.

    Commissioned by hotel chain Travelodge, the feedback is that business travel is the first major policy to be reviewed - with two thirds of companies introducing "budget only" travel. Flights and rail travel (45%) were most scrutinised, closely followed by personal expenses (39%) and hotel costs (37%).

    "It's clear that business is taking rapid action to control costs," said Travelodge chief operating officer Guy Parsons. "We have secured more than expected corporate accounts in recent weeks and other major companies want to discuss budget business travel with us."

    The company obviously aims to benefit from any such trend, and it says its research is supported by global hotel and meetings and management specialist BSI.

    BSI declared that budget operators had seen the biggest gains so far with Travelodge generating a bookings increase of 20% on last year.

    Source: ABTN; full story

  9. Good News for some London Tube travellers - at last.

    Transport for London (TfL) will invest around £1.4bn ($2.8bn) in the next year - almost £27m a week - now that it has taken control of London Underground (LU) maintenance firm Metronet.

    It is targeting new trains, and signalling and station revamps on the eight Tube lines it now controls - the first carriages will be on the Victoria line and will feature CCTV, wheelchair access, better ventilation and audio-visual information screens.

    Air-conditioned trains are due to enter service from 2010 as part of the upgrade to the Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines - 190 are being manufactured by Bombardier - but a TfL spokesman told ABTN they will not be rolled out across all other lines.

    "Some lines have had their fleets upgraded anyhow - Central line has done in the last ten years - so they won't be replaced straight away, but some of the deep level network we can't do anyway - like the Victoria and Northern lines - because we are restricted there by the height of the tunnels the trains pass through."

    Source: ABTN.com; full story

  10. Canary Wharf's newest venue

    The 2nd June will see a prestigious new venue opening up in Canary Wharf which will be the only dedicated conference, meeting and training centre in the Docklands area.

    The new De Vere Venue is in the heart of one of London's premier business destinations with fast links to central London by Westferry DLR station and the Jubilee Underground line just minutes' walk away.

    It benefits from plenty of natural light and the latest high-tech facilities, with 12 flexible business meeting rooms and seven syndicate rooms, a Steam, Bake and Grill restaurant and free internet access throughout.

    Source: Executive PA online; this and the other articles; to learn more about De Vere Venues click here

  11. BA denounces EC carbon trading plan

    British Airways boss Willie Walsh has warned that airlines already reeling from high fuel prices will face "massive extra costs" from Europe's plans for an aviation carbon trading scheme.

    Walsh has written to the European Commission and MEPs asking them to change their stance. He registered his protest as the European Parliament's environment committee voted to introduce the scheme a year earlier than planned.

    BA is now calling on the commission to reject the parliament's scheme, which Walsh said would unfairly penalise European airlines and lead to passengers travelling on cheaper non-European carriers.

    Source: TTG Live; full story by Adam Coulter

  12. Gatwick Airport in a state of flux

    A soothing voice on the North Terminal transit used to proclaim Gatwick as the British Airways "hub without the hubbub". Less than a decade later, London's second airport has changed radically.

    Step onto that same transit today and the message is still from BA, but it has changed to one about the attractions of checking in online, not about Gatwick's importance as a major BA hub.

    In many ways, this year ought to be one of celebration for Gatwick. In June, the airport marks its 50th anniversary, but the rise of the no-frills airlines, the decline of charter flights, 9/11, Open Skies with the US and BA's restructuring have led to the airport becoming a very different place.

    Source: Business Traveller Online; full article by Gary Noakes

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