News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: September 2009

  1. easyJet to quit East Midlands with Operations also cut at Luton

    easyJet announced on September 3rd that they were planning to end its operations at the UK's East Midlands Airport and cutting its presence at Luton by 20%.

    Europe's second largest low cost carrier said it was moving its flights to "more profitable" airports.

    It said its base at Luton, from where easyJet launched its first flights in 1995, was "no longer competitive."

    easyJet said its operation at East Midlands had remained "stagnant with three aircraft for many years."

    The airline said it expected most of its aircraft from the two bases would be "redeployed to continental European bases."

    easyJet blamed Luton's "failure to recognise the commercial realities of the recession."

    It said airport costs at Luton had risen by 25% in the last three years which "makes the base no longer competitive."

    Source ABTN: full story by Stanley Slaughter

  2. Bmibaby to fill easyJet regional gap

    Support for East Midlands airport has come from locally-based Bmibaby after EasyJet announced it was pulling out.

    East Midlands-based Bmibaby is adding extra capacity across its network to meet the market demand that will be increased by the departure of easyJet from East Midlands.

    As a result of easyJet's decision to leave the airport, Bmibaby will be increasing capacity over their current network over the next 48 hours, so that the east midlands market continues to have the capacity it needs.

    The bmi group has operated from East Midlands since the airport opened in 1965.

    Source TravelMole: full story by Phil Davies

  3. Manchester to reopen in London

    Now under the management of Bespoke Hotels, Ten Manchester Street is set to reopen in London's Marylebone after a £5m refurbishment. The 45-room luxury hotel will launch in early October.

    The property has been a hotel since 1987, but current owner City and Country Hotels (part of Arab Investments) decided to upgrade the property, previously a three-star hotel, in 2007.

    After a 12-month renovation it will reopen with a design-led lounge bar on the ground floor, an outdoor cigar terrace and a bespoke Hunters and Frankau humidor.

    Ten Manchester Street will be the second hotel opening for Bespoke Hotels in London this year, after the launch of the Bermondsey Square Hotel in April. Bespoke is also set to open Cornwall Hotel Spa & Estate later this year. Located at Tregorrick, near the Eden Project, the 65-bedroom hotel is set in 43 acres of parkland and woodland.

    Source BusinessTraveller online: full report by Sara Turner

  4. 50 new hotels within three years as Accor plans major expansion in India

    Accor plans to open 45 new hotels in 15 Indian cities over the next three years.

    The Paris-based chain, which already has five properties on the sub-continent, said the expansion would include its Sofitel, Ibis, Novotel, Mercure and Pullman brands. The group said it has committed $130m to its expansion in the Asian country.

    The expansion plans comes a week after the group reported a net loss of €150m for the first half of the year and the decision by its board to order a review of splitting up its hotel and services operations.

    The first of the new hotels, an Ibis, is due to open next month in Pune.

    Source ABTN: full story by Stanley Slaughter

  5. Bookings for Autumn Business Travel Forum stream in

    Bookings have now reached over 70% for Management Solutions (UK) Limited and the Association of Corporate Travel Executives next Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum to be held at the London Hesperia Victoria Hotel on the 15th October.

    To have a look at the Agenda click here

    If you want to book online click here to guarantee your space and avoid disappointment.

    Buying Business Travel is our forum media partner click here to see part of their coverage of our May event.
  6. Musallam Takes Over the Hotel Prince De Galles

    Molinaro Koger is acquiring Hotel Prince de Galles in Paris on behalf of the Musallam family.

    The worth of the freehold acquisition is Euro 141 million and the Musallam family have further planned to spend Euro 80 million in renovating the property. This will definitely ensure the status of Hotel Prince de Galles as one of the most outstanding hotels of Paris.

    Located in Avenue George V, Hotel Prince de Galles runs under the operation of Starwood Hotels, which is a part of the Luxury Collection brand.

    Today, Hotel Prince de Galles is known as one of the greatest Art Deco properties in Paris featuring marble floors and gold leaf chandeliers. This property was also included on the Condé Nast Traveler's Gold Lists in 2004 and 2005.

    Source HRI: full story.

  7. BA Embraer upgrade ontime

    British Airways' Cityflyer subsidiary has taken delivery of the first of its Embraer jets, which will replace its ageing Avro RJ fleet serving London City (LCY) airport. Business Traveller was at the handover ceremony at Embraer's delivery centre in Brazil.

    Having taken delivery of the first aircraft this week at a handover ceremony at Embraer's centre in Sao Jose Dos Campos near Sao Paulo, BA will quickly replace its entire fleet of Avro RJs, with the rollout expected to be complete by June 2010.

    The first aircraft (named G-LCYD) will make its way back to the UK via Recife, Cape Verde and Tenerife, before going into service on the London City-Edinburgh and Amsterdam routes from September 28.

    The Embraer fleet will reduce Cityflyer's CO2 emissions by 50 per cent, and will lower the carrier's operating costs by around 27 per cent. The jets also have a greater range than their Avro predecessors, giving BA the option to introduce new services from London City.

    Source businesstraveller.com: full report by Mark Caswell

  8. Low-cost airline ceases operations

    Low-cost airline SkyEurope has ceased operation due to ongoing financial problems.

    The airline operated flights from Kosice, Bratislava, Vienna, and Prague to European airports, including London Luton and Manchester.

    It has cancelled all flights and on its website it tells customers: "We regret for the inconvenience that have been caused to you."

    It is believed that thousands of passengers were stranded across Europe as a result of the decision.

    SkyEurope had been struggling financially for some time, but in July said it had found an investor.

    On its website, it warned passengers who had paid SkyEurope direct, without using a credit card, that a refund may not be possible.

    Source Travelmole: full story by Bev Fearis

  9. Thameslink improvement starts

    City Thameslink station is undergoing a major upgrade as part of the £5.5bn Thameslink rail upgrade. Network Rail is investing £4.5m to improve infrastructure at the station, which is a key gateway to the City of London and is used by more than seven million passengers each year.

    Central to the upgrade is work to bring into use the full length of the platforms to accommodate new, longer 12-car trains which will provide a massive boost to capacity with 50 per cent more seats.

    The station will also be made brighter thanks to improvements to lighting on the platforms and safer with an upgrade of station information and surveillance systems.

    Getting in, out of and around the station will be made easier too with the addition of a new ticket gate at the Ludgate entrance and improved signage.

    The congestion-busting Thameslink upgrade will give passengers what they want - longer trains, more seats and better stations. City Thameslink will play an important role both during and after the major investment.

    The work began in August and will take approximately 18 months to complete. Much of the work will not be visible to the public, specifically taking place out of hours and behind hoarding lines to minimise any possible impact on passengers.

    At nearby Blackfriars station a massive £350m redevelopment of the station is under way which will see it become the first to span the river Thames, providing a link to the cultural hub of the South Bank for the very first time.

    At Farringdon, extensive remodelling of the station will see longer platforms, new station roofing, a new entrance and new concourse facilities for tube and rail services, including future Crossrail services.

    Source Thameslink Programme: full details

  10. Mobile Hilton

    Hilton Hotels has launched a mobile service for the UK, allowing travellers to book hotel stays via their mobile phones. The facility is accessed by visiting hilton.co.uk on mobile devices and launched in conjunction with Dublin-based specialist Mobile Travel Technologies (MTT).

    The resource allows users to access and change existing bookings and view hotel pictures and information, such as facilities and directions to a property. Hilton Mobile is integrated with Hilton's loyalty scheme, which is an additional bonus.

    There is a Web App version for iPhone users, and with the GPS capability of the iPhone, the service will also show a list of nearby Hilton hotels and the distance from the user's current location.

    Source AERBT: full story and more details.

  11. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London coming

    Situated in the heart of London's buzzing South Bank with views to Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, the £350 million hotel will feature 2,700 square metres of meeting space including 35 meeting rooms and 1,021 contemporary guest rooms - all under one roof.

    Already, meeting planners who have booked programmes for 2010 and beyond have capitalised on the hotel being London's newest option for major conferences.

    A dedicated group check-in area, 24-hour business centre and seven Park Suites, which can accommodate up to 160 people theatre-style, are grouped together on the first conference floor.

    One floor below, the hotel offers 13 bespoke Plaza Suites, ranging in size from 36 square metres to 235 square metres. The Plaza Suites, which can be combined to create large meeting spaces or separated for smaller syndicate rooms, can accommodate up to 1,200 for a cocktail reception.

    The 1,200 square metre pillar-free Westminster Ballroom, and approximately 520 square metres of pre-function space, is located on the third conference floor. The Ballroom, which is divisible into four, can accommodate 1,400 attendees theatre-style and up to 1,000 for dinner.

    Source BreakingTravelNews: full story.

  12. New Scandinavia air link

    New flights to Bergen from Aberdeen and Newcastle are being introduced this autumn.

    UK regional airline Eastern Airways is starting the services on October 5. Fares to Bergen start at £89 one way.

    The airline is to run daily weekday flights from both UK airports.

    Extra flights are also being added to Stavanger from Aberdeen and Newcastle from October 4.

    Bergen is a key base for the global energy industry, and the services will benefit business travellers. Both services also provide a convenient link for leisure passengers taking short breaks in Norway, north east Scotland and north east England.

    Source Travelmole-: full story by Phil Davies

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