News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: November 2009

  1. Ticketless International rail travel becomes a reality

    Thalys, the high speed train service between Paris and Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne, is aiming to go ticketless by the end of the year.

    Francois Dodane, its corporate account manager, said the goal was to text ticket details to passengers' mobile phone. These messages could then be read by the onboard train manager. Dodane was speaking at the Global Education Conference of the Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) in Prague.

    Thalys, owned by the French and Belgian national rail companies, is among the first major train operator to introduce ticketless travel. The move comes as the Thalys network is due to expand on December 13 with the opening of the last stage of the high speed link between Amsterdam and Brussels. From that date, Paris will also have a full high speed connection to Amsterdam and Cologne.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - full report by Stanley Slaughter.

  2. Four new routes from easyJet.

    easyJet have announced three new routes to Europe flying from Luton to the following new destinations:
    • Starting today (2 Nov 2009) fly to Tel Aviv from £97.99
    • Starting 3 Nov 2009 fly to Sharm el Sheikh from £109.99
    • Starting 4 Nov 2009 fly to Paphos from £39.99
    • Plus their newest domestic route to Belfast City from only £21.99 starts operating on 7th January 2010.

  3. A hotel costing 20 cents!

    Would you believe a hotel room for as low as 20 cents? The new low-cost Tune Hotel near Kuala Lumpur's airport is the brain child of AirAsia's Tony Fernandes.

    "The no-frills hotel, one of a slew popping up across Asia, is the definition of budget digs and anything above the basics will cost you," say wire services.

    Despite having a no-star rating, a standard room comes with a 5-star queen bed, a hot "power shower" and a ceiling fan.

    Average prices are more like US$3 but there are rooms for less than a dollar as packages.

    But the room is small - to say the least - albeit clean and modern, according to several reports.

    Tune hotels, similar to low-cost airlines, employ a self-service online booking system and the rates are kept low by offering limited service.

    The rooms are also available for three-hour stopovers, which the hotel calls its refresher pack.

    There is no television or refrigerator. Want a towel? There's a cost. Ditto for air conditioning.

    It can get steamy and hot in Malasia but Fernandes thinks bargain-hunters will pass up creature comforts.

    Source: TravelMole - full story by David Wilkening

  4. US Airways quit Birmingham and Gatwick

    US Airways is to suspend flights to Gatwick and Birmingham as part of cost-cutting measures that will see 1,000 jobs go.

    The two services, from Philadelphia, are among five European routes to be axed. The other three are Milan, Shannon and Stockholm.

    Instead, US Airways will upgrade its seasonal services to Brussels and Zurich to year-round in late 2010.

    The cost-cutting exercise will also see 1,000 staff lose their jobs during the first half of 2010.

    Source: e-Tid - full story

  5. Autumn Forum "Best ever"

    83 people turned up for Management Solutions (UK) Limited and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum held at the London Hesperia Victoria Hotel on the 15th October.

    To have a look at the event please click here

    Full coverage of the event will appear in the next edition of Buying Business Travel - you can read an article from the Air & Business Travel News here.

    We received a number of very interesting suggestions for our next event which will be once more held at the centrally located London Hesperia Victoria Hotel on the 20th April 2010.

    More details will be published as the programme develops. For further information click here and check out the rest of our activities.

    You might also like to consider attending ACTE Global's next event in the UK which is to be held in London on 26th November 2009, please click here for full details.

  6. bmi extends free chauffeur service

    BMI has extended its Business Class complimentary chauffeur-drive service to five UK regional airports, plus Dublin.

    Now available to and from Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Manchester - in addition to London Heathrow - the service can be used by those travelling on fully-flexible fares. Up to four transfers can be taken per return flight, with the service available at both ends of the route.

    Silver E-Class Mercedes Benz are used for chauffeur drive within the UK, and equivalent vehicles at the destination. Specially branded parking bays are now available at London Heathrow's Terminal 1, where customers are met on arrival by a bmi concierge, collecting their bags and transferring them to bmi's newly designed Premium check-in zone.

    Source: BuyingBusinessTravel online - original story

  7. IATA warns on 'fragile' airlines

    IATA has used the publication of its latest traffic figures to repeat criticism of the Air Passenger Duty hike, which comes into effect on Sunday.

    IATA's director general and chief executive officer, Giovanni Bisignani, accused the UK government of being 'detached from reality'.

    'What is the UK government doing?' he asked. 'Making travel more expensive will not stimulate the economy.'

    IATA's traffic figures for September show passenger demand increased 0.3% year-on-year, but demand for international cargo fell 5.4%.

    Load factors for passenger and cargo have returned to pre-crisis levels of 77.1% and 50.8%, respectively.

    Source: e-Tid - full story

  8. IHG announces Intercontinental London Westminster

    IHG is to open a 254-room Intercontinental property in time for the 2012 Olympic Games, located in London's Westminter close to New Scotland Yard.

    The InterContinental London Westminster is set to open in late 2011, and will occupy the building of the former Queen Anne's Chambers dating back to the nineteenth century, which is currently office and retail space.

    Operating under a management agreement with the Splendid Hotel Group, the Intercontinental property will be only the second by the brand in the capital, joining the Intercontinental London Park Lane hotel which opened in 1975 and was refurbished in 2006.

    Source: BusinessTravellerOnline - full report from Mark Caswell

  9. Scotch joins Wine for Ryanair

    Ryanair is to launch a route from Edinburgh to Bordeaux a week before Christmas.

    The low cost carrier is also introducing flights from Bologna, Brussels and Porto to the French region on December 17, putting up competition to Air France.

    A spokesman for Ryanair said it was hoped the carrier would roll out the destination to more UK airports but this depended on tax issues.

    Source: Travelmole - full story by Dinah Hatch

  10. Iberia Allows Phone-based Boarding Passes At Madrid's Gates

    Passenger flying on Iberia from its Madrid hub can now use their cell phones as boarding cards. Checking in on-line via the airline's web site, they can select for an electronic boarding pass, complete with a two-dimensional bar code to be sent to their mobile phone.

    They can use this to proceed directly to the aircraft. The service is available for all the airline's mainline flights from Madrid, apart from its Madrid-Barcelona air bridge shuttle. It is not yet available for flights by its Iberia Regional Air Nostrum affiliate to destinations within Europe's Schengen region.

    Iberia also offers the mobile phone boarding pass for passengers departing from Barcelona, Bilbao, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Geneva and Stockholm.

    Source: BusinessTravel Executive Redline News - full article

  11. Hotel Rafayel to open on London's "Left Bank"

    London will welcome a luxury eco-hotel this winter, when the 65-room Hotel Rafayel opens in an area dubbed the capital's new Left Bank.

    Located in Battersea close to The London Heliport and with views of The Thames, the property will be the first in the UK to use only LED lights instead of traditional light bulbs and flourescent lights. The hotel says this will save 400,000kg of carbon emissions oper year, or 17kg per room per day.

    Features include specially commissioned art and sculpture throughout the hotel, and business travel-friendly rooms with free wifi internet access, in-room video conferencing, and a "MediaHub panel", allowing guest to connect mp3 players, laptops and digital cameras to the TV and audio system.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full report by Mark Caswell

  12. Lufthansa re-launches in-flight internet

    Lufthansa passengers, who were disappointed when the technically successful Boeing Connexion system was withdrawn at the end of 2006, can fret no more.

    In partnership with Panasonic it is being re-launched from the middle of next year with a full high speed service.

    In addition, the new service will permit in-flight data transfer. Lufthansa passengers will not only have WLAN internet access but will also be able to send SMS messages by mobile phone and transfer data via smartphones such as PDA, iPhone or BlackBerry devices.

    Source: AERBT - this and other stories click here

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