News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: June 2010

  1. Easyjet to pioneer ash cloud detector

    Easyjet is to trial in-plane technology that will detect ash clouds and allow pilots to fly round them.

    The ash radar is known as AVOID (Airbourne Volcanic Identifier and Detector) and could spell an end to the chaos caused by Eyjafjallajokull's glacier.

    The airline is the first to use the technology which works like a weather radar and uses infra red technology to send pictures to pilots and flight control centres which allow them to see an ash cloud 62 miles ahead.

    Source: TravelMole - full story By Dinah Hatch.

  2. ABTA calls for APD Tax help

    ABTA is calling for all, representatives of the travel industry, holidaymakers and business travellers to write to their MPs to express concern that the Government will drastically increase taxes on long haul flights later this year.

    Following pressure from ABTA, the new Government has already outlined plans to reform Air Passenger Duty [APD] and to replace it with a per-plane duty [PPD]. ABTA has cautiously welcomed this announcement, but has warned against aggressive and punitive rates of tax which will price average travellers out of foreign holidays, endanger jobs and damage the UK's position as a global aviation hub.

    ABTA's contact with destination governments from around the world, particularly destinations that fall within the existing Band C, has found that international concern from governments such as Egypt, Kenya, and the Caribbean is mounting as previously agreed hikes mean that long haul travel will bear the brunt of considerable increases in November this year.

    ABTA is concerned that APD's misplaced banding arrangements are punishing developing economies. ABTA also believes that APD should be scrapped when the emissions trading scheme comes into force in 2012.

    Currently, each economy class traveller to the Caribbean pays the UK Government £50. From 1 November, this is due to rise to £75, representing an increase of over 185% in APD since it was first implemented. This means a family of four going over to visit friends and relatives will pay £300 just on tax come November. For those who pay for a little extra legroom in premium economy, these rates double.

    Source: ABTA press office - further information

  3. Flat bed from Heathrow via Continental

    As of June 2nd all passengers flying in Continental's business class from Heathrow will have flat bed seats.

    Continental's BusinessFirst seat reclines to 180 degrees, with 1.98m of sleeping space in the fully flat position, replacing the older, cradle style seating.

    Bob Schumacher, Continental's senior director UK and Ireland, said BusinessFirst customers are now "assured of a flat bed seat whenever they choose to fly with us to New York or Houston".

    The airline claims the seat is one of the widest business-class seats in the air, measuring up to 68.5 cm when the adjustable armrest is positioned flush with the seat cushion on the 777 (63.5 cm on the 757-200).

    The installation of the new business class started in November 2009, with 10 of Continental's 20 777s and nine of the airline's 41 757-200s now flying with the new seat. The remaining planes should be complete by the end of the year, said Continental.

    Source: Air& BusinessTravelNews - full story by Sara Turner.

  4. Sheraton Batumi

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts has continued its European expansion with the opening of the first Sheraton branded location in the Black Sea resort of Batumi.

    Operated in partnership with Turkish construction company Nurol Insaat ve Ticaret AS, the Georgia based property will be the first internationally branded hotel in the emerging destination.

    The move is part of the international brand's strategic expansion, which will add approximately 50 new hotels and over 20,000 rooms to the Sheraton portfolio over the next three years.

    Sheraton Batumi is designed with both business and leisure travelers in mind and features 43 suites - including one penthouse with views of the Black Sea.

    The property is the second Sheraton hotel in the Republic of Georgia, joining the Sheraton Metechi Palace in Tblisi.

    Source: Business Travel News - full story

  5. Autumn 2010 Forum

    The Agenda is coming together for our Autumn event so make a diary note now for Tuesday 14th September.

    Theme for the day: i-travel: the benefits and threats of emerging mobile technologies for company travel purchasing and management.

    The proliferation of new 'apps' and social networks focused on the mobile enabled traveller will offer both threats and benefits. Social networks for travellers will begin to impinge upon a company's ability to get buy-in for travel policies but conversely a range of new applications will enable companies to track and communicate with their travellers like never before.

    Session 1
    The distribution of travel products is fragmenting like never before, should buyers try to navigate this minefield or leave it to a third party?

    Session 2
    Understanding social networks for travellers and their potential impact on travel policies.

    Session 3
    What kind of disaster recovery planning and traveller security tools are available in the market currently and what other benefits can emerging mobile solutions deliver for travel programmes?

    Session 4
    The 'Buyer Speakeasy' - have your say and probe for answers on the hot topics of the day! Moderated by Mike Toynbee, Buying Business Travel's Managing Editor.

    Full details of the event will be added to our website as the day's programme develops, to make sure of your place Register your interest on line here

  6. BMI take five to Berlin

    Bmi is to add a fifth daily flight between London Heathrow and Berlin Tegel from June 21.

    The carrier launched its own Heathrow-Berlin services in March, taking over a route it had previously plied on a wet-lease agreement for owners Lufthansa.

    The new flight BD841 will depart Heathrow at 0710, landing in Berlin at 1000, with the return leg BD482 leaving Berlin at 1105, and landing back in London at 1200.

    As with the other services on the route, the flights will be operated by A319 aircraft configured for economy and business class. For more information visit

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - this and other stories by Mark Caswell.

  7. Park Inn takes Radisson name

    Rezidor Hotel Group's Park Inn chain is to be renamed, with properties in the UK the first to undergo the rebrand.

    The group's mid-market brand will become Park Inn by Radisson, with changes beginning immediately.

    Park Inn is a young brand, which was launched in early 2003 and brought to over 140 hotels with over 26,000 rooms in operation and under development across EMEA.

    A dedicated marketing and sales campaign will support the transition of all Park Inn hotels to Park Inn by Radisson, which will be completed by the end of 2011.

    Source: e-Tid - full story

  8. Business Travel Market

    The Business Travel Market is again being held over two days at the Excel venue in London on the 16th and 17th June.

    There are two reasons why you should visit ACTE's stand (No. 132) at this year's Business travel market:
    1. Receive a €100.00 Euro discount voucher applicable towards either ACTE membership or the2010 ACTE Global Education Conference in Berlin, 3-5 October.

    2. Enter into a free drawing to win a complimentary registration to attend the ACTE Global Education Conference in Berlin (3-5 October) - including economy return flights and two night's accommodations.
    If the Conference events or the exhibitors weren't enough to get you to visit there is also the BTM party sponsored by CWT which is being held at Vinopolis.

    Full details

  9. Enhanced comfort for Virgin passengers

    Sir Richard Branson has confirmed that Virgin Atlantic will introduce new economy, premium economy and Upper Class seating on its new A330 aircraft which will be delivered next year.

    The A330s, the first of which will be delivered in March 2011 with a total of five being delivered in 2011 and a further five in 2012 will have "changes in both hard product and meal services" he confirmed in an interview in-flight on the Virgin's inaugural flight to Ghana.

    The first two aircraft will first be introduced on "a leisure" route but subsequent deliveries will be brought onto routes such as JFK and Los Angeles.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full story by Tom Otley.

  10. ACTE Planning For success in Berlin

    The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) has identified five key issues that will be the basis of its Global Education Conference agenda when it convenes in Berlin on October 3 - 5.

    The 2010 conference will take an "unconferenced" approach, according to the association's president elect, Chris Crowley, who described a setting "in which delegates will participate in small, intimate group sessions and work to openly tackle the most challenging issues facing the industry -- locally, regional and globally."

    ACTE's talented team of steering committee members recently met to define the educational content and focus for the ACTE Global Education Conference in Berlin (3 - 5 October).

    They walked away with exceptional ideas and a commitment to creating the best programme possible - but don't take our word for it - hear from the committee members directly by clicking here ... and scrolling down to the bottom of the page to see and hear their comments.

    The Conference will convene at the InterContinental Berlin. More details

  11. Thameslink keeps new Rolling Stock

    The Department for Transport has denied reports that government budget cutbacks have led to the cancellation of the order for new Thameslink rolling stock.

    The Department has already announced that High Level Output Statement(HLOS)-related orders which had not been confirmed with a signed contract would be cancelled in the current financial year, but the major rolling stock orders for the replacement Thameslink fleet, as well as the new trains for Crossrail, are not included in the present HLOS totals.

    A spokesman for the DfT would only add that the new government was considering the implications of all transport policy, and that no decision had yet been made about Thameslink.

    Work is currently underway on extending many Thameslink route platforms for 12-car trains as well as upgrading the line through central London, with major worksites at Farringdon and Blackfriars, but these improvements are being financed by Network Rail.

    The order for a new Thameslink fleet, which would be worth more than £1 billion, had been deferred until the autumn by the previous government.

  12. Qatar unveils Dreamliner IFE plans

    Qatar Airways says it will feature the latest Thales in-flight Error! Hyperlink reference not valid. and communication systems on its forthcoming Boeing 787 Dreamliners, with the first aircraft due for delivery next year.

    The carrier has a total of 60 Dreamliner orders (30 firm and another 30 optional), and says it will feature Thales' TopSeries system onboard, which includes touchscreen displays, interface options for personal electronic devices, and 3D audio technology.

    Qatar says it will also be the launch customer of Thales' new handset controller with "multi-tasking capabilities", enabling passengers to play games and navigate through the in-flight entertainment system using touch screen technology.

    Broadband connectivity will also be integrated into the IFE system, which the carrier says will allow every passenger to access "current news, sports, social networks and other mobile applications"

    Qatar Airways is due to take delivery of its first 787 aircraft in 2011.

    Source: Business Traveler Online - full report by Mark Caswell.

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