News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: May 2010

  1. New Standard on Eurostar

    Rail operator Eurostar is introducing a new class of service, Standard Premier, to replace its Leisure Select carriages.

    The "mid-class" offering will sit between the existing Standard and Business Premier in terms of service.

    It is aimed at the "cost-conscious business traveller, but also leisure travellers who want that little bit extra space and service" said Eurostar.

    Tickets for the new class will go on sale from May 5, for travel from September 1.

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

  2. Ash crisis will accelerate video-conferencing

    The ash crisis affected meetings as far away as Malaysia and the US west coast, reports the International Congress and Convention Association. Many smaller events were replaced by video-conferencing, while some larger events were converted into 'hybrid meetings' by combining a live audience with webcasting for those who were stranded by the flight ban imposed after the volcanic eruption in Iceland.

    The survey of ICCA members revealed how the flight ban triggered cancellations, postponements and delegate reductions (see Item 5) in this 'previously resilient' sector.

    The report said: 'Whilst European events were most badly affected - over 70% reporting negative impacts - conferences held in locations as far distant as the west coast of North America and the Malaysian state of Sarawak also suffered, with reduced delegate attendances, missing keynote speakers and frustrated organisers.'

    However, the research found many creative ways in which ICCA members worked with clients to limit the damage.

    Numerous events have been rebooked at no extra charge; cancellation and attrition clauses have been relaxed; and 'massive efforts' have been made to assist and communicate with delegates.

    The ICCA will be organising a seminar on the volcano and its implications at IMEX on Tuesday 25 May.

    Source: e-tid - full story

  3. Online Rail Ticketing set for Shake-Up

    New entrant aims to make buying train tickets online easier and quicker.

    An exclusive partnership with Airmiles now enables passengers to collect Airmiles when they book UK train travel.

    On Monday 19th April 2010 - A new rail ticketing website - - was launched promising a shake-up in the market for rail tickets sold online, currently dominated by

    Now passengers booking their tickets online with can collect one Airmile for every £10 they spend on train tickets. claims that it offers rail passengers a significantly-improved online booking experience. It enables passengers to quickly find the right balance between price, ticket flexibility, journey time and on-train facilities such as WiFi and catering. While price will always be important, passengers place a great deal of importance on these aspects of the journey too - something that is often ignored by other online retailers.

    Further information

  4. easyJet cosies up to GTMC

    easyJet has underlined the importance of the business travel market by becoming a partner of the Guild of Travel Management Companies.

    The low-cost carrier is one of two companies to take advantage of the GTMC's supplier relationship status, which was fine-tuned earlier this year.

    Online train ticket retailer,, has also become a partner.

    The easyJet deal marks the start of a new relationship with the GTMC, which two years ago accused the carrier of 'push-button profiteering' by charging a fee to book via global distribution systems.

    Source: e-Tid - full report

  5. Spring 2010 Forum postscript

    In spite of the Volcanic Ash which closed all the airports in the UK and Europe the MS-UK & ACTE Global forum broke all records for attendance with representatives making their way to the Forum by train, road, tunnel and Ferry.

    As many delegates claimed, this was a first class day for learning and networking. Press coverage for the event will be found in the May edition of Buying Business Travel and possibly other media. Photographs are available on our website by the end of the week.

    We also received a number of suggestions for our Autumn event which will concentrate on dealing with new technology - i-phones and Blackberries for travel bookings and how to maintain policy with these and other self booking tools plus in the wake of the past weeks trials and tribulations a session on Disaster Management and Recovery. Next event is 15th September so register now to avoid disappointment.

  6. Heathrow Lounge upgrade for BMI

    Bmi has unveiled its refurbished lounge at Heathrow T1 for passengers travelling within the UK and Ireland, dubbed The London Room.

    The space "shares key design features" with Bmi's recently opened international lounge within the same terminal, such as black flock wallpaper and black mirrored glass tiling around the entrance and exits.

    There are also images of "unusual London scenes" including Borough Market and Camden Lock, and bespoke wallpaper featuring London symbols such as the Beefeaters and black taxis.

    The work area has been improved with six PCs and free wifi access throughout, and a new food menu offers continental breakfast until 11am, daytime snacks, cakes served from 4pm.

    Source: Business Traveller online - full report by Mark Caswell

  7. Budget expands by borrowing from Avis

    Car rental brand Budget Rent a Car has opened locations at six United Kingdom airports during the past six weeks after borrowing space from sister brand Avis, and is looking to do the same in other European countries.

    As is the case in many European countries, room for car hire operations is often limited at U.K. airports, both for terminal counters and on-airport parking. This led Avis to carve out some of its existing space at Bristol, East Midlands, Exeter, Liverpool, London City and Newcastle for Budget to use.

    Sharing of premises has also started in Germany, where Budget's national franchisee collapsed in summer 2009. Since January, Budget has reopened in a joint branding exercise at key Avis locations in the country.

    Source: BTN Online - full report by Amon Cohen

  8. Volcanic fallout to trigger airfare hike

    New research suggests airfares will rise by 5.2% this year as carriers look to mitigate the impact of soaring fuel prices and the ash disruption. This will cost UK consumers an additional £1.8bn or £48 for every adult.

    The research, undertaken for shopping comparison site Kelkoo by the Centre for Economics and Business Research on 23 April, also suggested that airfares would rise by a further 2.9% next year and 3.4% in 2012.

    This would take the cost of a return economy ticket to New York, for example, from £518 currently to £579.80 in 2012.

    The closure of most of Europe's airspace for six days last month due to the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland had already cost the airline industry £1.3bn by the end of last week.

    Up to two-thirds of this is likely to be borne by European airlines, having a significant impact on their profitability this year.

    Source: - full story

  9. EU liquids on flight ban to end by 2013

    The end is in sight for travellers wanting to carry liquids in their hand luggage, although it may take another two years before all EU airports are equipped with screening equipment.

    The European Union has set a deadline of April 29, 2013, by when all EU airports must have rolled out liquids screening equipment. After this date all liquids will be allowed in cabin baggage.

    The new EU framework has also set a date of April 29, 2011, by when "duty-free liquids purchased at third country airports or on board third country airlines and carried in tamper evident bags will be allowed as cabin baggage and will be screened". This is currently only the case for liquids coming from selected third countries such as the US, Canada, Singapore and Croatia.

    A statement by the European Commission said that EU airports will be "closely monitored through unannounced Commission inspections" during the implementation of these new security measures.

    Source: Business Traveller online - full story

  10. ACTE Unveils Plans For Berlin Conference In October

    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."

    The agenda items, selected by the Association's Berlin Conference Planning Committee, are:
    • Managing Travel Programs in an Environment of Indefinable and Unbundled Vendor Fees
    • Tracking the Best KPIs for Your Program - A Benchmarking Session
    • Managing Multi-Country Travel Programs in a Legally Complex Landscape
    • Integrating Travel Intelligence at the Point of Sale
    • Empowerment of the Business Traveler through Mobile Technologies and Social Networking
    The Conference will convene at the InterContinental Berlin.

    Source: Redline News - this & other stories

  11. BA cabin crew receive pay hike despite strikes and record losses

    British Airways cabin crew received a 5 percent pay rise last year despite the flag carrier making record losses, and its rivals cutting or freezing salaries.

    New figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority show that the average annual salary of BA's 12,000 cabin crew rose to £ 31,400 last year, up 5 percent from £29,900 in 2008.

    The findings comes as the airline has submitted new proposals on pay and staffing levels in a bid to avoid a third round of industrial action.

    BA said that the recent round of strikes cost it £45 million as the carrier scrambled to book passengers onto other flights and hired outside planes and crew to boost services. This also resulted in 200,000 fewer passengers flying with the airline.

    Last year the airline lost £401 million and was forecast to lose a further £600 million this year before the Ash debacle. As part of its cost cutting programme, it aims to reduce cabin crew budgets.

    The level of BA cabin crew wages has been criticised within the industry. Virgin Atlantic's crew had their pay frozen at £14,400, whilst bmi crew had a 6.5 per cent average reduction to £17,200. Thomas Cook and Monarch cut crew pay by about 13 per cent.

    BA's pilots are also amongst the best paid within the industry. Average salaries of BA pilots rose marginally last year to £108,400. This compared with a 10 per cent cut in pilot wages at easyJet, which paid an average of £64,500.

    The CAA salary figures for 2009 include gross basic pay, overtime, flying bonuses and subsistence allowances.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  12. Vueling flies between Edinburgh and Barcelona

    Spanish low-cost carrier Vueling is to start a three-times weekly service between Edinburgh and Barcelona. The route was previously served by the now defunct Scottish carrier Flyglobespan, and has also been operated in the past by Barcelona-based Clickair, an airline which merged with Vueling last year.

    The route will run between June 24 and September 12, with flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, departing Edinburgh at 1350 and arriving into the catalan capital at 1725, with the Scotland-bound leg leaving Barcelona at 1130 and landing in Edinburgh at 1315.

    There are currently no direct services between Barcelona and Edinburgh, following the demise of Flyglobespan at the end of last year.

    The new Vueling route adds to the airline's current UK offering from London heathrow to Bibao, La Coruna and Seville.

    Source: Business Traveller online - full report by Mark Caswell

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