Newsletter - October 2008

HEADLINES

1 Ryanair to roll out inflight mobile service within a fortnight
2 A great Day! - delegate's verdict of our Autumn Forum
3 Cathay cuts fuel surcharges
4 Ryanair views the pond
5 Baggage Fees - are going to happen as Buyers Seek Bag-Fee Fixes
6 The trainline launches new look business site
7 Virgin cuts check-in time to 40 minutes for Upper Class
8 Cathay Pacific opens Hong Kong arrivals lounge
9 Ukraine first for IHG
10 Delta and Northwest Get Approval on Merger
11 Five star property in Birmingham
12 Double U double

  1. Ryanair to roll out inflight mobile service within a fortnight

    Ryanair has announced that passengers will be allowed to use their mobile phones onboard 14 of its 166 aircraft in the next two weeks.

    Passengers signed up to O2 and 3 will be able to use the service.

    Only six passengers will be able to talk on their phones at one time but all on board will be able to send and receive text messages, and use email via a Blackberry.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  2. A great Day! - a delegate's verdict of our Autumn Forum

    If you were one of the 66 attendees of last month's Corporate Travel and Expense Management Forum, or even if you missed it, please take a look here to view some of the pictures taken on the day.

    Click here to read Stanley Slaughter's article in Business Travel Europe.

    We are delighted to announce that we will be continuing our successful relationship with the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and the Buying Business Travel Magazine as well as continuing to utilise the splendid facilities provided by the Hesperia -Victoria Hotel.

    We will be making a few changes but the concept of the forum with the emphasis given to interaction between all delegates, networking, excellent content and value for money will continue to remain our objectives.

    We hope that as you prepare your diary for next year you will pencil in Tuesday 12th May for our Spring Forum 2009 - this will be our seventeenth such event.

    Check out our website to learn about our next forum - when we have something to report it will be on line.

  3. Cathay cuts fuel surcharges

    Cathay Pacific is reducing fuel surcharges for passengers for two months from October 1.

    Passengers on long-haul services will see a 10% reduction to US$106.70 whilst Short-haul services in South and North East Asia charges will fall by 15% to US$25.10.

    Jet fuel costs account for about half of Cathay's net operating costs but changes in surcharges cover only less than half of the increased fuel cost.

    Source: TravelMole - full report from Phil Davies

  4. Ryanair views the pond

    Low cost flights from three UK airports to New York are under consideration as Ryanair considers setting up a transatlantic off-shoot.

    The Irish budget carrier believes the turmoil in the sector which has led to multiple airline casualties following soaring fuel prices strengthens its hand in winning European approval in its bid for Aer Lingus.

    If successful, Ryanair would use some of the 15 long haul aircraft the Irish flag carrier has on order for the new low cost transatlantic service.

    The new arm is also to negotiate with leasing companies about the potential for acquiring new generation Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

    Routes to New York from Stansted, Prestwick and Birmingham have been identified as part of the plans.

    Source: TravelMole - full story by Phil Davies

  5. Baggage Fees - are going to happen as Buyers Seek Bag-Fee Fixes

    Airline fees introduced this year in America, including baggage fees, will account for 3 percent to 5 percent on top of base airfare increases in 2009, said Advito vice president of the Americas Bob Brindley.

    Now that baggage fees are the rule rather than the exception, with Delta Air Lines at press time the only legacy carrier in the USA not to charge for the first checked bag, buyers are reviewing polices to see whether any guidelines should be put in place.

    In a survey released in September by consultancy IdeaWorks, 21 percent and 42 percent of 113 airline executive respondents worldwide said their airline currently charges for the first and second piece of checked baggage, respectively. An additional 12 percent and 32 percent said their carriers plan to add those fees.

    As one buyer asked, "How could you negotiate it? We have to be realistic that airlines are doing this because they're losing millions of dollars on a daily basis. You can't keep screwing them to the floor because they're not going to survive."

    Source: BTNonline - full report by Seth Harris

  6. The trainline launches new look business site

    The trainline.com, an online rail booking engine, has launched a new look website aimed at the corporate buyers.

    One new feature is a Best Fare Finder which helps business travellers find the cheapest fare for their journey.

    The new tools works with thetrainline's ticket alert service which lets travellers know when advance tickets for their trip are found.

    The re-launch will be accompanied by a multi-pound advertising campaign.

    Thetrainline said the aim of the campaign was to let customers know that by booking rail trips ahead, they could save an average of 39% on the fare.

    The new site will also flag up how much has been saved by booking ahead compared with buying tickets at the station on the day of travel.

    It will also give travellers the chance to choose their seats, including ones next to power points or in quiet carriages as well as window or aisle seats.

    Source: Airline & Business Travel News - full story by Stanley Slaughter

  7. Virgin cuts check-in time to 40 minutes for Upper Class

    Virgin Atlantic has introduced a new 40-minute minimum check in time for its Upper Class passengers at Heathrow.

    The airline said the move follows the success of the airline's Upper Class Wing and private security channel at Terminal 3, launched in November.

    Virgin has also launched www.virginatlantic-t3.com - a new interactive T3 microsite which offers information, virtual tours and check-in demos for all passengers who are travelling in and out of its facilities at Heathrow.

    Source: TravelMole - story by Bev Fearis

  8. Cathay Pacific opens Hong Kong arrivals lounge

    Cathay Pacific will open a new arrival lounge at Hong Kong International Airport on 1 October.

    The lounge, called The Arrival, sits in the passage connecting Terminal 1 with Terminal 2 and mirrors the design of Cathay's departure lunges at the airport, The Wing and The Pier.

    The lounge features eight fully equipped shower suites, food and drink, desktop computers with internet access as well as local and international newspapers.

    The lounge is open to first class passengers and members of the airline's Marco Polo Club frequent flyer programme with gold status or above. Travellers with Emerald status in the frequent flyer programme of a oneworld partner may also use the lounge as long as they are flying on either Cathay Pacific or Dragonair and their final destination is Hong Kong.

    Source: Business Travel World - full story

  9. Ukraine first for IHG

    IHG will open its first hotel in the Ukraine this December, when it unveils the Intercontinental Kiev.

    The 286-room hotel is located on the city's St Michael's Square, and will include a rooftop bar, spa, health club, three restaurants, a casino and a conference centre.

    Rooms feature flatscreen TVs, separate bath and shower and complimentary wifi internet access, while the 212 sqm Royal Suite overlooks St Michael's and St Sophia's cathedrals, and includes a separate kitchen and dining room.

    The hotel is due to open in late December, although the spa, health club and swimming pool will not be completed until April 2009.

    Source: Business Traveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  10. Delta and Northwest Get Approval on Merger

    On Wednesday last week Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines announced that their respective stockholders have overwhelmingly approved the pending merger between the two companies.

    Delta in April announced that it is combining with Northwest in an all-stock transaction to create a premier global airline that will be unmatched in the scope and level of services it offers customers. The new company will be simply called Delta and will be headquartered in Atlanta.

    The combined company and its regional partners will provide customers access to more than 390 destinations in 67 countries.

    Together, Delta and Northwest will have more than $35 billion in aggregate annual revenues, operate a mainline fleet of nearly 800 aircraft, employ approximately 75,000 people worldwide, and have one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry.

    Source: Travelmole - full story

  11. Five star property in Birmingham

    Trendy serviced apartment property Staying Cool has been awarded Birmingham's first five-star rating.

    Staying Cool at Rotunda is located on the top two floors of the city's iconic Rotunda tower, and offers 15 one- and two-bedroom apartments. The property opened in May of this year, but has just received its five-star status following assessment by Visit Britain.

    The design-led apartments have floor-to-ceiling windows, specially commissioned designer furniture, sixties-inspired photography on the walls, as well as Apple Macs, iPod docking stations, Gaggia espresso machines and free wifi in every apartment.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - full report by Mark Caswell

  12. Double U double

    You wait years for a W hotel in the UK, then two come along at once. Starwood's trendy W Hotels brand will make its debut in both London and Manchester in 2010.

    W London-Leicester Square, and The Residences at W London-Leicester Square will fill the hole left by the recently demolished Swiss Centre (formerly the headquarters of the Swiss international airline), and will feature 194 rooms and 10 two-level luxury residences.

    Due to open in late 2010, the hotel will include a spa, fitness centre, "world-class destination restaurant", and W's Living Room concept, where guests are invited to "mix, mingle and relax in a stylish social atmosphere".

    The new W properties will form part of a 10-storey mixed use development overlooking Leicester Square.

    Not content with announcing the UK's first W, Starwood has revealed plans for the W Manchester, a 160-room hotel also due to open in 2010. Located in the city's warehouse district, the Ian Simpson-designed property will feature 650 sqm of meeting space (including a 370-sqm ballroom), a spa, fitness centre, retail store and restaurant.

    The hotel will form part of the Origin mixed-use development, an ultra-modern building located on Princess Street, within walking distance of the city's Piccadilly Station.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - full report by Mark Caswell

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