Newsletter - May 2008

  1. Silverjet secures new funding

    Silverjet, the all business class transatlantic carrier, has secured up to $100min new funding from a United Arab Emirates-based investor.

    The investment comes in the same week rival all business class carrier Eos Airlines went bankrupt after failing to raise a $50M cash injection.

    Silverjet, which operates services between London Luton and Newark New York and Dubai said it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU)with the investor for an initial $25m. This will be invested to ease debts and give the investor a stake of $8m in thecarrier. The agreement also enables the investor to inject a further $75m in the airline for the development of Silverjet and its roll out in new markets includingthe Middle East, the Far East and Africa. Silverjet said its working capital had "deteriorated and its residual reserve limited because of rising fuel process and the tightening of credit conditions.

    Source: BusinessTravelEurope.com; full story

  2. Free Rail Travel

    Train firm National Express East Coast (NXEC) is trying to woo Anglo-Scottish travellers from the "high road" by offering free tickets.

    In a bid to show off what its trains can offer, NXEC has begun handing out free first class return tickets between London Kings Cross, Edinburgh and Glasgow (or vice versa) to air travellers who have, or are intending to fly, between March 24 and May 31.

    As reported in the May issue of Business Traveller the train firms now have a fighting chance of winning market share back from the airlines thanks to a better product, environmental concerns and the chance to avoid airport stress. Train travel also allows executives the chance to work during their journey.

    Qualifying air travellers are those taking flights between any of the London airports (Luton, Stansted, Heathrow, Gatwick and City) and Edinburgh or Glasgow.

    Passengers need to produce a valid flight boarding card or airline e-ticket receipt. NXEC says it is making 10,000 free tickets available for this promotion. These special rail tickets are valid for use until July 30.

    For more information, click here

    Source: BusinessTraveller.com; full story by Alex McWhirter

  3. Ryanair increase Check-in Costs

    Low-cost airline Ryanair has announced last week (28 April) it will raise baggage and airport check-in fees to encourage passengers to check-in online. The checked in baggage fee goes up from £6 to £8 while airport check-in fees increase from £3 ($6) to £4 from 5 May.

    Passengers travelling only with hand luggage - the carrier has a 10kg (22lb) limit - and checking in on the website before they arrive at the airport will avoid these charges.

    The carrier says 40% of its customers currently avoid queues at both check-in and boarding by doing this.

    Source: ABTN.com; full story

  4. MS-UK Corporate Travel Forum News

    We are delighted to announce that this ACTE-Global supported MS-UK event is now fully sold out with over 60% of Buyers registered.

    If you have not been able to book for this event you can register now for our next Forum, the fifteenth Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum that is scheduled for Monday the 8th September 2008 by submitting an email to admin@ms-uk.com

    To get an idea of what our Forum entails click here

  5. Airline Trilogy?

    British Airways has released a statement saying it is "exploring opportunities for co-operation with American Airlines and Continental Airlines".

    The announcement came after Continental said earlier this week that it was not interested in a merger at the current time. At the same time, Continental added that it was reviewing its membership of the Skyteam airline alliance.

    The announcements will give rise to speculation that Continental may leave Skyteam to join Oneworld, of which the other two airlines are members.

    Source: BusinessTravelWorld; full story

  6. New easyJet flights from Gatwick and Manchester

    EasyJet introduced four new routes from London Gatwick and two from Manchester last week.

    Services to Mykonos will operate twice weekly (Sun & Thu), while daily flights to Montpellier started 2nd May.

    From 4th May, easyJet also started a weekly service to Ajaccio and to Bastia.

    Meanwhile, from Manchester easyJet begins a daily service to Malaga, and a twice weekly service to Crete with a Manchester-Alicante service is to be started by September.

    Source: Travelmole; full stories by Bev Fearis and Phil Davies

  7. Lufthansa goes for Business

    German airline Lufthansa is to launch its all business class product to Dubai and Pune (India) over the coming months.

    Flights will be operated by 48-seater Airbus A319s with angled lie-flat seating in business class.

    The planes are chartered from Swiss carrier Privatair. It is a similar concept to the transatlantic flights which Lufthansa has operated for several years out of Germany.

    Services to Dubai will be operated six times a week from Munich.

    The Munich-Dubai route is currently served by Emirates using Airbus A330s featuring a traditional first, business and economy class layout. So Lufthansa will be aiming for the top of the market.

    The new service from Frankfurt to Pune gets under way on July 1. This will be a useful service for business people because, as there are no direct flights, the only way to reach Pune from Europe is to route via Dubai. And the single Dubai-Pune service, operated by Indian Airlines, operates just four times a week.

    Source: Business Traveller.com; full story by Alex McWhirter

  8. BA reaches double figures in the City

    British Airways is to launch their tenth service with a three-a-day service between London City and Dublin from 1 June.

    The airline will also increase its London City-Nice flights to twice daily and add extra services to Edinburgh from September.

    Source: The Times Online; full article by Mark Frary

  9. Birmingham lounge for Virgin customers

    Virgin Trains First Class customers can now use an exclusive new lounge at Birmingham International station.

    Opened 30th April it has seating for more than 40, providing a quiet refuge for business travellers. Free wireless internet will be available shortly for those who need to catch up on work and emails, and there is a self-service facility with hot and cold drinks and light snacks.

    Virgin Trains operates 34 trains each way on weekdays on the Birmingham-London route, but from 2009 this will increase to more than 50, providing more than 1.5m extra seats. Average journey time to the capital will be 1hr 12mins.

    Source: ABTN.com; full story

  10. IATA seeks rethink on UK Aviation Duty

    The International Air Transport Association has called on the U.K. Government to abandon its proposed Aviation Duty. The call came in the Association's response to the U.K. Government's request for consultation.

    The proposed Aviation Duty is nothing more than a blunt revenue instrument. It has no credibility as a driver of improved environmental performance. And the revenue will not be used to support environmental objectives," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's Director General and CEO in a letter to Chancellor Alistair Darling.

    Air Passenger Duty was doubled in 2007 and now collects GBP 2.0 billion pounds annually. From 1 November 2009, the proposed Aviation Duty would replace this with a GBP 2.5 billion yearly collection. By 2011/12 this would grow to GBP 3.5 billion.

    Source: Airline Travel News; full story

  11. New shining light in Mayfair

    The Connaught, the legendary Mayfair hotel built in 1897, has gently opened its doors on Carlos Place after a £70 million restoration and renovation programme.

    The detailed work includes a magnificent redesign of the guest rooms, suites and interiors, and has brought together some of the world's finest designers and craftsmen.

    The Connaught has also announced Michelin-starred French chef Hélène Darroze, as the Chef at the helm of the landmark hotel. One of France's most distinguished chefs, she currently holds two Michelin stars at her restaurant 'Hélène Darroze' on the Left Bank in Paris. The Connaught is located on Mount Street in the heart of Mayfair, an area experiencing a recent renaissance, with some of London's hippest shopping and restaurants, including the much talked about Marc Jacobs shop, and the newly opened Balenciaga and Christian Loubotain boutiques.

    Source: Hotel Travel News; full story

  12. HBI Meetings Management Report

    Similar to the 2007 edition, this report contains over 200 colour pages of articles featuring the key meetings procurement trends in the UK and internationally, and provides HBI clients with reliable UK & Europe-wide statistics and data, supported by case studies.

    MS-UK are delighted to inform our readers that they can download a free copy of this report by clicking here and following the instructions. This Report sells for £95.00 + VAT per copy.

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