News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: December 2010

  1. Competition for Paris Orly

    Competition has been announced by British Airways as after BA announced it would commence to serve Paris Orly with flights from London Heathrow in January 2011.

    BA will operate 12 flights from Heathrow to Orly per week, rising to 14 in the summer, while the Air France-KLM subsidiary flies there up to six times daily from London City (LCY).

    Last month Cityjet announced a new six-times-weekly route from LCY to Florence, to start in January.

    Cityjet is the biggest operator at LCY but BA has been building up the presence of its Cityflyer subsidiary there. Routes announced in recent months include Stockholm, Copenhagen and Chambéry, and all of BA's services are now operated with new "next-generation" Embraer 190 and 170 aircraft. Cityjet operates its 14 London City routes with an older fleet of Avro RJ85s and Fokker 50s.

    Source: Business Traveller online - full story by Michelle Mannion

  2. London welcomes back an old friend

    The Savoy Grill has reopened this time as a Gordon Ramsay restaurant, under Chef Patron Simon Gillies and head chef Andy Cook, with Gordon Ramsay meeting and greeting guests for the opening lunch.

    The new design certainly is an evolution rather than a revolution with the Russell Sage Studio designers preserving much of the room's original table plan. Probably the most noticeable design features are the elegant chandeliers and the panelling of (real) gold leaf backed tortoise shell Lucite.

    On entrance the tables immediately by the right hand wall have been removed and there is a small bar, but the layout of the room will be immediately recognisable to anyone who dined at the Grill a few years ago under fellow Gordon Ramsay protégé (though now they've fallen out) Marcus Wareing.

    The restaurant dates back to 1889 and has had everyone from Sir Winston Churchill and Oscar Wilde to Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe as diners and was the favourite dining room of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.

    Although tens of millions has been spent on the restoration of the hotel, it's good to see they have kept the bullet hole in the window upstairs, which is allegedly was as a result of a failed robbery, or dating from some war time incident.

    Source: BusinessTraveller - full story by Tom Otley

  3. Baby gets big in Belfast City

    Low cost airline bmibaby has announced it will commence flying from Manchester, East Midlands, Birmingham and Cardiff to George Best Belfast City Airport from 1 January 2011.

    bmibaby will transfer its operation from Belfast International Airport to Belfast City Airport, in a move to offer more convenient services to passengers wishing to travel into Belfast.

    The new bmibaby services will add to the bmi's current flights between London Heathrow and Belfast City Airport, meaning that the bmi group will become one of the largest operators to and from Belfast City Airport.

    bmibaby will operate up to 48 flights a week from its four UK bases to Belfast City Airport, with fares starting from just £9.99 one way including taxes.

    With daily departures, the low cost airline will offer a convenient morning and evening schedule suitable to both the business and leisure traveller.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews.com - full article

  4. Business travellers want both online and personal help

    According to a new study American Express (AEBT) there is a clear niche for business travellers who want both online and offline services.

    Business travellers prefer to book online but want 24-hour access to agents when they are on the road and need help, reports a survey by.

    A majority feel services by an experienced and knowledgeable travel agent, and their travel agent having access to the most advanced technology, are the most important service available, AEBT says.

    More than half of business travellers preferred to book their travel online (55 percent), while almost half (46 percent) of travellers said they are more likely to turn to an agent when they need help on the road.

    AEBT says this reveals an emerging demand for a service option that offers the best of both online and offline service. Source: Travelmole - complete story by David Wilkening

  5. Forum Success Story

    Within a few days you will be able to take a look at the new Spring 2011 forum, it will be viewable here

    In keeping with tradition the subjects under discussion are being chosen from the dozens of suggestions we received from our September Forum evaluation forms and fine tuned by our Planning Committee which is meeting again on Tuesday 7th December.

    That said if you have a specific subject you would like to see covered or a comment concerning our 'Forums with a difference' please drop me a line colin@ms-uk.com

    If you missed our event in September you can still get a flavour of the day by clicking through to these pages to see the video interviews and the gallery of pictures taken during the day.

    The Agenda for our Spring 2011 Forum on Thursday 12th May will be published later this week as mentioned above; if you cannot make the May Forum you might like to make a diary note now to ensure that you don't miss our Autumn 2011 event on Thursday 22nd September.

  6. Portugal comes to London

    London can enjoy a taste of Portuguese flair at London's newest hotel - the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel and Spa the 216-room hotel occupies the prestigious position as the flagship of the Chelsea Bridge development.

    Steps away from Battersea Park and within close proximity to Chelsea's many designer shops and restaurants on Kings Road and Sloane Square, the hotel is in the prime location for the discerning business and leisure traveller looking for the optimum London experience.

    For privacy and comfort Club Floor accommodation is available on the 11th and 12th floors with impressive views of the London skyline and private lounge access.

    The Club Floor Lounge services include American breakfast, with tea, coffee and refreshments, evening snacks and full bar service available throughout the day.

    Source: the Business Travel and Meetings Show news - full press report

  7. Wifi in the Sky

    Passengers on selected Lufthansa North Atlantic routes can now access wifi internet, and until January 31 the carrier is offering the service for free.

    Lufthansa had previously offered its FlyNet internet service through the now defunct Connexion by Boeing between 2003 and 2006, but announced it would be reintroducing the service in October last year.

    The reintroduced offering is being provided by Panasonic and Deutsche Telekom, initially on selected North Atlantic routes, although Lufthansa says it will be available on "nearly the entire Lufthansa intercontinental network by the end of 2011".

    The carrier says that the high bandwidth of the service means passengers with WLAN-enabled laptops and smartphones will be able to surf the internet, send and receive email with large attachments, and access their company's Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

    Source: BusinessTraveller.online - full story by Mark Caswell

  8. City is Mint

    City Inn has reinvented itself as Mint Hotel, ahead of opening two new properties. The re-brand is a bid to correct what the hotel group's founders call a "misperception" of the brand.

    A second London property is due to open on December 20, near the Tower of London, with 583 rooms.

    Mint Hotels will also launch outside the UK, with a new 553-room hotel in Amsterdam due to open in Spring 2011.

    City Inns in Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham, London, Manchester and Leeds were re-branded as Mint Hotels over last weekend.

    Source: ABTN - full story by Sara Turner

  9. Travel in London made easier for Motorists

    Transport for London has announced that motorist can now pre-register for Congestion Charge Auto Pay (CC Auto Pay) accounts. Once it has been set up drivers need never worry about being fined again as they will only be charged for the days they travel within the zone and charges will be automatically deducted from their debit or credit card.

    To pre-register for CC Auto Pay drivers will need a credit or debit card and will have to pay a £10 registration charge for each vehicle on the account. The new scheme will go live from 4 January 2011.

    Next year the daily charge for driving within the Congestion Charging zone will increase to £10. For CC Auto Pay customers it will be £9.

    A number of other changes to the Congestion Charge scheme will also come into effect soon, including the removal of the Western Extension. The last charging day for this area is Friday 24 December 2010. The Congestion Charge will be suspended as normal over the festive period. From Tuesday 4 January 2011 the Congestion Charging zone will revert to substantially the same boundaries as existed prior to the Western Extension.

    For more information go to www.cclondon.com.

    Source: AERBT - this and similar stories

  10. Hope rises for better Thameslink trains

    Last week the government announced that 2,100 new vehicles are to be ordered for the National Rail network, including 1,200 for Thameslink, as part of an £8 billion investment.

    Other train operators will receive 300 of the new vehicles, although no details have been given of which TOCs will benefit, because the allocation will now depend on 'commercial negotiations'. The rest of the new rolling stock will be for Crossrail.

    Bombardier and Siemens have been shortlisted to build the Thameslink fleet, and the preferred bidder will be announced in the spring.

    The 1,200 new Thameslink vehicles which have been confirmed will allow the existing Thameslink Class 319 fleet to be cascaded to Great Western as well as newly-electrified lines in the north west, which had already been included in the Chancellor's Comprehensive Spending Review, but the new Thameslink fleet will not be delivered in full until 2019.

    Watchdog Passenger Focus welcomed the announcement, with some reservations.

    Source: Railnews - full story

  11. UK hand baggage liquids ban to be lifted

    The ban on liquids in hand luggage will begin to be phased out from April 2011, the Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond confirmed.

    The change comes after protests from passengers over excessive checks which prevent even tiny bottles of water, cosmetics and perfume being carried through security screening points into airport departure lounges. Even baby food cannot be carried on board unless it is tested in front of security staff.

    The ban on liquids was introduced by the European Union in 2006 after a failed plot to blow up transatlantic airliners with liquids explosives disguised as soft drinks. But the EU announced earlier this year that the ban could be lifted in 2013 after the development of technology to detect explosives in liquids.

    Individual airport operators will propose their own security plans which will then be approved by Mr Hammond provided they meet overall standards.

    Source: DailyTelegraphonline - full story by Melissa Kite

  12. European Air space gets closer

    The creation of a Single European Sky and the cutting of air traffic control delays has come a step closer.

    Six countries have sealed a treaty creating a unified airspace that should triple capacity by 2020, reducing average delays to 30 seconds per flight by avoiding the need for flights to be passed from one country's air traffic control system to another.

    The initiative is led by IATA, which this week oversaw the signing of the proposal by Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

    IATA also claims that a Single European Sky will cut carbon emissions by 10% and costs to airlines by 50%.

    An average flight in Europe incurs air traffic control costs of €771 compared to €440 in the US.

    Source: ABTN - full story by Gary Noakes

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