Newsletter - November 2008

HEADLINES

1 British Subjects Beware
2 10% off at American Express
3 Forum News
4 Lufthansa To Take Controlling Stake In BMI
5 Air Sylhet hopes to buck gloomy airline trend
6 Eastern City flights to Amsterdam
7 Hilton trade a Bentley for a Waldorf
8 EasyJet steps into Sterling Airlines' shoes
9 Air-rail ticketing takes off
10 Stansted and London City expand
11 Delta to upgrade business seating from Heathrow
12 Air France Widget

  1. British Subjects Beware

    If you hold a British passport and are considering travelling to the USA and plan to use the Visa Waiver Programme you have to ensure that your passport clearly shows you as a "British Citizen" and not a "British Subject".

    If your passport lists you as a British Subject then you will have to apply for a visa to visit the USA. This subtle change in the rules is catching out more and more British travellers who assume that even if they have travelled to the US before on the Visa waiver programme that they can still do so - so check out the passport carefully before arriving at the airport.

    Further details can be found on the US Embassy site

  2. 10% off at American Express

    American Express has announced it will eliminate 7,000 jobs or around 10% of its entire workforce. It said the reductions will “occur across business units, markets and staff groups primarily focussing on management and other positions that do not interact directly with customers”.

    Amex also said it would suspend management level salary increases for 2009 and institute a hiring freeze for open positions.    Source: Business Travel World full story.

  3. Forum News

    Preparation is going well ahead of our Forums for 2009. We are pleased to confirm that we have chosen Tuesday 12th May and Thursday 15th October for our Spring and Autumn events next year.

    The final decision on the agendas will be made in the near future and the line up for the days is looking very exciting.

    The actual Agendas will be chosen by our Buyer readers and we will be distributing the list of subjects suggested by our delegates at our last forum for you to vote on in the next couple of weeks so you can actually contribute and decide what we discuss.

    For more information check out our website www.ms-uk.com

    Whilst talking about Forums you might want to check out the ACTE Executive Forum event scheduled for the afternoon of 20th November to be held in Dexter House of the Royal Mint in London, please click here for more details and to register.

  4. Lufthansa To Take Controlling Stake In BMI

    Lufthansa last week disclosed that it will take an additional 50 percent stake in British Midland Airways, bringing its total interest in the carrier to about 80 percent.

    Lufthansa chairman and CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber in prepared remarks to analysts said BMI chairman Michael Bishop on October 10 "exercised an option obliging Lufthansa to buy half the equity plus one share of British Midland PLC." Lufthansa said it has set aside €400 million for the transaction, which "is subject to antitrust approval and regulatory requirements."

    Source: Business Travel News Online full story.

  5. Air Sylhet hopes to buck gloomy airline trend

    Start-up carrier Air Sylhet is to launch services from Stansted and Manchester next month.

    The airline, founded in early 2007 by ex-patriot British Bangladeshi businessmen from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh, will operate from the two airports via its Vienna hub to Dubai.

    Air Sylhet is a registered UK public limited company and has received investment primarily from the UK Bangladeshi community.

    The airline will operate a leased Airbus A320-200 configured for 180 passengers. It promises reserved seating, a 35lb baggage allowance, complimentary in-flight food and drinks and no hidden extra charges.

    Air Sylhet will fly twice weekly from Stansted and once a week from Manchester to Dubai via Vienna.

    Source: e-tid.com full report

  6. Eastern City flights to Amsterdam

    UK regional carrier Eastern Airways will enter the busy London City (LCY) to Amsterdam route early next year.

    The move has been sanctioned by the OFT (Office of Fair Trading). It is part of a deal which will allow the Air France-KLM airline grouping to take control of Belgian airline VLM.

    VLM, the biggest user of LCY, will have to surrender some peak hour LCY slots to the newcomer. “This will ensure,” says an OFT spokesman, “that passengers are not harmed by a substantial lessening of competition on a route worth over £50 million a year.”

    Eastern Airways has permission to fly up to eight times a day on weekdays starting from next January. Four of these services will operate at peak times.

    Source: BusinessTraveller.com full report by Alex McWhirter.

  7. Hilton trade a Bentley for a Waldorf

    Hilton is to increase its London portfolio, by converting the former Bentley Kempinski and Courthouse Kempinski hotels into Waldorf Astoria and Doubletree brands.

    The 64-room Bentley in South Kensington) will become Hilton’s first Waldorf Astoria property in London, the group’s luxury brand which has several hotels in the US and recently debuted in Rome. Hilton says the Bentley will be officially rebranded within the next six months.

    Meanwhile the 112-room Courthouse Hotel will be renamed the Courthouse Doubletree by Hilton London – Regent Street on November 18. Hilton is steadily rolling out the Doubletree brand across the UK, with converted properties already open in Cambridge and Aberdeen.

    For more information visit www.hilton.com Source: Business Traveller online report by Mark Caswell.

  8. EasyJet steps into Sterling Airlines' shoes

    easyJet is starting a service between Gatwick and Copenhagen in the wake of the collapse of Scandinavian carrier Sterling Airlines.

    The daily flight will start on January 15 and run alongside easyJet’s existing Stansted-Copenhagen service, which operates three times a day.

    EasyJet might also add capacity to the Gatwick route in the summer. The new route goes on sale on Wednesday November 15.

    Source: TTG Live full report by Chris Gray.

  9. Air-rail ticketing takes off

    A growing number of high speed rail links to airports are available for booking by the TMC's on the GDS.

    The Heathrow Express in London and the Arlanda Express in Stockholm can already be booked through Amadeus, one of the leading GDSs.

    Three other air/rail links to Gatwick, Vienna and Kuala Lumpur Airports from their respective cities are due to be added next.

    Amadeus has also integrated air and Eurostar bookings from London to Paris/Brussels, and shows some German and Swedish rail routes on the same display as flights.

    Heathrow Express – celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – is also one of the first rail operators to introduce mobile phone ticketing.

    A bar-coded plain paper ticket can be printed at home or in the office, and now a bar-coded e-ticket can be sent to a mobile phone to be read by the ticket inspector’s hand-held device.

    Source: Air&BusinessTravelNews full report by Dave Richardson.

  10. Stansted and London City expand

    Both Stansted and London City airports have been granted permission to increase the number of yearly flights and passengers.

    Following an independent public inquiry expansion plans have now been granted, with Stansted’s limit of movements per year now increased to 264,000 (up just under 10 per cent from 241,000), and its passenger numbers up to 35 million (from 25 million).

    In the case of LCY the increase in movements is even more significant, with a 50 per cent increase in the limit of movements from 80,000 to 120,000. The airport says that passengers volumes rose by more than 20 per cent in both 2006 and 2007, and is expected to rise to around 3.2 million this year (from 2.9 million).

    Source: Business Traveller online report by Mark Caswell.

  11. Delta to upgrade business seating from Heathrow

    Delta Air Lines is to offer 180-degree lie-flat beds in business class on all transatlantic flights from Heathrow.

    The upgrade will take place next summer on departures to New York and Atlanta.

    Services will be upgraded to feature Boeing 767-400ERs with 40 new full flat beds in the aircraft’s BusinessElite cabin.

    The seats recline to 77-inch-long beds in a one-two-one configuration giving every passenger aisle access.

    Delta is reconfiguring seven of its 767-400 aircraft with the full-flat beds.

    International economy class passengers on Delta’s 767-400s also will have on demand digital entertainment, as well as printed menus, free wine with their meal and mid-flight snack. Complimentary amenity kits include eye shades and ear plugs.

    Source: TravelMole full report by Phil Davies.

  12. Air France Widget

    Air France has announced a new and improved version of its Widget, developed in collaboration with Lonely Planet and Trip-Advisor.

    This new version of the Air France Widget includes advice from real travellers supplied by Trip-Advisor - giving customers access to a wider range of information, whilst continuing to supply registered users with the latest special offers, curency exchange rates and maps on destinations of their choice, all direct to their desktop.

    Trip-Advisor, the world’s largest travel community, has supplied the Widget with User Generated Content in the form of reviews, opinions and photography of restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions.

    Thanks to Lonely Planet, the new version also includes destination guides compiled by respected travel writers, as well as professional videos of top destinations.

    Source: Breaking News full story

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