News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: February 2010

  1. Flat out in Economy

    On January 26 Air New Zealand unveiled a lie-flat seat for economy passengers. The Kiwi airline revealed prototype designs of the Skycouch - a specially designed row of three seats - at its innovation centre in Auckland.

    The seat goes on sale in April and will be installed on Air New Zealand's Boeing 777-300 ER from November. However the new product will not be available on the London-Auckland service until April next year.

    Source: ABTN - full story by Martin Ferguson

  2. Third Premier Inn opens in Dubai

    Premier Inn has opened a property at Dubai International Airport following two other successful openings in Dubai over the last 18 months. The budget brand's Middle East expansion also follows Premier Inn's debut in Bangalore in India late last year.

    Premier Inn Dubai International Airport is opposite Terminals 1 and 3 and features a free shuttle bus. The 281-room hotel also offers a restaurant, bar and Costa Coffee Shop and swimming pool.

    Source: e-Tid - full story

  3. High speed rail wins out over airport expansion

    Most UK business travellers favour investment in high speed rail over expansion of airports, a new study by the Guild of Travel Management Companies' shows.

    A poll of 1,240 corporate travellers found that 70% feel a high speed rail network should be the priority for government investment over expansion of capacity at UK airports. Sixty per cent said high speed rail when asked what infrastructure would make the biggest difference to them. But the survey revealed that any shift from air to rail would not happen unless a high speed train system was put in place.

    Criticism of trains included high fares; particularly those booked closer to the day of travel.

    Source: TravelMole - full story by Phil Davies

  4. Want a first class seat for Business Class money?

    Qatar Airways' business class passengers are being invited to upgrade to first class for free on some of its services to the Middle East.

    The offer - the latest attempt by the carrier to boost its market share - is valid on services from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai, Kuwait and Muscat via its hub in Doha as the airline targets' competitors' routes.

    The Qatar deal is only available to A-class passengers (the most expensive bracket in business class), with the upgrade booked at the same time as paying for the flight.

    Seats are limited and subject to availability. Flight restrictions and blackout periods apply for travel. Bookings must be made on or before March 31st for travel on or before March 31.

    Source: ABTN - full story by Sara Turner

  5. Spring 2010 Forum

    Discussions are in hand with Speakers and Moderators for the Spring MS-UK / ACTE Global Forum with the support of BCD Travel, Lufthansa, HRS.com, NH Hesperia Hotels and Buying Business Travel.

    So far confirmed are
    Ian Heywood, a Former Head of Consumer & Agency Sales at British Airways
    Mike Toynbee, Managing Editor of Buying Business Travel magazine

    Buyers and senior members of the travel supply industry are also being lined up as we go to press, please visit our website for further details www.ms-uk.com/travel-forum.

    So please make a note in your 2010 diaries and block off Tuesday 20th April for our Spring Forum which will be held at the NH Hesperia-London Victoria Hotel. To have a look at our previous Autumn event please click here

  6. Irish regional name change

    Aer Arann has announced it is to operate flights on behalf of fellow Irish carrier Aer Lingus from Dublin and Cork to 12 destinations. The franchise services will be branded as Aer Lingus Regional.

    The agreement will increase Aer Lingus' presence in the UK market, as Aer Arann will operate several of its routes from Dublin and Cork under the new Aer Lingus Regional brand, to cities including Bristol, Cardiff, Blackpool, Doncaster/Sheffield and Durham.

    The services will be operated using Aer Arann crew and the carrier's ATR 72-500 aircraft, with Aer Lingus receiving a franchise fee "in recognition for providing its brand and product suite to Aer Arann".

    Source: ABTN - full story by Mark Caswell

  7. Tuesday 9th February The Business Travel & Meetings Show 2010

    One week to go, 200 world-class corporate travel and meetings suppliers and 6,000 industry professionals will descend on Earls Court in London for the leading industry event in Europe. To be among those taking advantage of supplier meetings, high-end educational opportunities and networking events.

    Register for free. When you complete the name and address boxes you will see a box below with the instruction: "If you have a show invitation code please enter it here" - then just type in this Free entry code: 112036

    Looking forward to meeting up with you at the show; Management Solutions can be found in Booth 13 of the Advice Clinic.

  8. World gets bigger

    One of the leading groups for independent hotels worldwide, WORLDHOTELS, is proud to have welcomed 54 new affiliates to its global portfolio, which is an increase of 12% on the number of hotels admitted in the previous year.

    In total, 318 hotels applied for affiliation, demonstrating the strong demand for the comprehensive range of services offered by WORLDHOTELS. The small percentage of acceptances clearly represents the group's specific requirements for affiliation. In line with its ambitious expansion plans, WORLDHOTELS plans to add a further 100 properties worldwide in 2010.

    WORLDHOTELS particularly expanded its portfolio in the UK with the addition of the renowned brand City Inn, which has properties in the UK business hubs of London, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham.

    New properties in Europe include additional hotels in several key destinations, such as Budapest, Rotterdam, Berlin and Helsinki. Further hotels of particular note include the brand new Grand Majestic Plaza in Prague, the historic Park Hotel in Amsterdam, the Manhattan Hotel Rotterdam, and the recently opened Atlantic Congress Hotel in Essen.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  9. More points for Starwood stays

    The decision in the last few days by Starwood to launch a promotion offering between double and quadruple Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points for stays is a clear indicator of the challenges the business hotel sector is facing.

    Like all business hotel groups, the hotel company which counts the Sheraton, W, Westin and Aloft brands under its umbrella, has suffered huge drops in occupancy in the past year.

    Under the terms of the deal, guests who stay two nights get double points, those who stay three nights get triple points and those who stay four or more nights get quadruple points.

    The promotion, which runs until 15 April, makes the decision by Hilton to raise the number of Hhonors points to get free rooms seem more out of step with reality.

    Business travellers have had to put up with ever increasing hotel rates and difficulties in getting rooms in busy cities at busy times for years and it is time to reward those guests who have been loyal in the good times.

    With a recovery potentially around the corner (or so we are led to believe ed) - 35% of company travel buyers in a survey of 1,400 for the Business Travel and Meetings Show said they expected to book more trips in 2010 than 2009 - hotel chains should remember that business travellers have long memories.

    Source: Timesonline - full story by Mark Frary

  10. Radisson Blu inaugurates new hotel in Madrid in a swanky avatar

    The countdown is over! The curtain is about to rise! Let's indulge in unprecedented New Year delight! Yes, taking its well-wishers by surprise, Hotel Radisson Blu has decided to launch one of its much-awaited new luxury hotels right in the heart of Madrid, assisting customers to enjoy inspired travel experience.

    Nestled perfectly in the prestigious area called the 'Golden Triangle of Art' and sharing closeness to some great places of sheer curiosity, the new Radisson Blu Hotel, Madrid Prado combines modern aesthetics, coupled with hi-tech amenities, groundbreaking deals and packages.

    The new wonder hotel features 54 beautiful rooms, which have been designed as a celebration of individuality, with playful elements of photography and modern aesthetics and colour selection. The rooms are both striking to look at and delightful to live in, with big, king size bathrooms and high-tech amenities including free high-speed internet, flat screen television, mind-blowing music system and flexible ultramodern conference area respecting business traveller's taste and preference.

    Source: Hotel & Resort Insider - full story

  11. BA cabin crew start strike ballot

    Unite launches attack on BA training volunteer cabin crew. Unite the union has started re-balloting its BA cabin crew members on a proposed strike.

    A walkout had been planned for December, but the ballot was ruled illegal by a high court judge. The new vote opened on January 25 and will close on February 22.

    In preparation for any strike action, BA plans to train some of its non-cabin crew staff as volunteer cabin crew, as ABTN was the first to report.

    Source: ABTN - full story by Sara Turner

  12. Faster East Coast service faces challenge

    Plans, which have been unveiled by transport secretary Andrew Adonis, would speed up East Coast services and bring London - Edinburgh down to under four hours.

    Grand Central maintains the proposals from Lord Adonis favour franchised operators, and particularly state-owned East Coast. GC, however, would face having its journey times extended by 12 minutes between London and York and 24 minutes between London and Sunderland.

    A GC spokesman said no options had been ruled out, including court action, although the company will first lodge its objections under the established consultation procedure.

    The DfT said the proposed May 2011 timetable for the East Coast Main Line, which also includes more Anglo-Scottish services, would be 'in the best interests of all passengers'.

    Source: Railnews - full story

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