News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: October 2010

  1. UK Government Travel Cuts forecast

    Business travel within UK government departments is likely to be singled out for cuts in the country's forthcoming spending review, Jeremy Broadgate, procurement director for Burley Street Travel, warned.

    He said Francis Maude, the UK coalition government's cabinet office minister, was looking carefully a selected "commodities", two of which were travel and fleet.

    Broadgate, who was speaking at the Management solutions UK/ACTE autumn forum in London on September 14, said it was just a question of waiting until the Chancellor George Osborne review was announced on October 20.

    Roger Peters, senior category manager for travel at Xchanging Procurement Services, told delegates: "Travel and fleet are always the first to be looked at but mandation and discipline is how you would save money."

    Source ABTN: - full article by Stanley Slaughter

  2. Stay with a Virgin

    He's a man who knows a thing or two about the travel industry and, not content with being able to list a global airline, private island and space tourism among his day-to-day projects, Sir Richard Branson has announced his Virgin Group plans to invest around £320 million on a string of new luxury hotels.

    Initially opening in North America, with destinations mooted including cities such as New York, San Francisco, Miami, Boston and Los Angeles, the company says it eventually plans to launch hotels worldwide.

    Read more about this project

  3. Shining in the City

    London City Airport on-time performance continues to exceed the punctuality levels achieved by other UK airports. Statistics published by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) marked London City Airport's arriving and departing scheduled services at 88% on time, 10% above the average for UK airports.

    With its very simple runway arrangement 'planes are airborne normally within 6/7 minutes of leaving the apron, with passengers often landside in less than ten minutes of the touchdown.

    While punctuality declined at all other UK airports monitored by the CAA during the second quarter of 2010, at London City Airport punctuality actually improved

    Source: AERBT - read this and other stories

  4. Southwest change 1 - UK

    Eastern Airlines is to become the new owner of Air Southwest (ASW), the Plymouth-based regional carrier.

    Eastern Airways, headquartered at Humberside Airport, will complete a take-over deal in October. Air Southwest will continue to fly under its existing brand.

    Current owner Sutton Harbour Group announced in May that it intended to sell Air Southwest so that it could concentrate resources on its core business of property regeneration and development. It will retain its lease on Plymouth City Airport, and says it will continue to work with the airport's freeholder, Plymouth City Council, on this strategically important asset for the city.

    The two airlines are very compatible in terms of route structures and having completely different fleets (ASW 50-seat Dash 8 versus Eastern's core 29-seat British Aerospace Jetstream 41)

    Source: AERBT - read this and other stories

  5. Success Story

    The Autumn 2010 Forum was - as they say in the Carlsberg Ads - Probably The Best Ever Corporate Travel And Expense Management Forum.

    Thankfully we had a couple of no-shows on the day because we did theoretically reach standing room only! If you missed this event 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 press also enjoyed the day; three articles can be found here: Make a diary note now to ensure that you don't miss our 2011 events which are already pencilled in for Thursday 12th May and Thursday 22nd September, two dates which we hope you will be able to take advantage of.

  6. BMI Star switch

    Bmi has discontinued its own Company Rewards programme in favour of the Star Alliance Company Plus scheme, becoming the programme's 13th member.

    Aimed at the Small to Medium sized Entreprise market, the programme is dubbed as "the industry's first airline alliance corporate incentive scheme", and now counts Air Canada, ANA, Austrian, Blue 1, Bmi, Brussels Airlines, Continental Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, SAS, Swiss, TAP Portugal and United as member carriers.

    PlusPoints are earned on flights taken on member airlines, which can then be exchanged for free flights, upgrades or cash. Existing Bmi Company Reward members have been given the opportunity to join the Star Alliance programme and transfer across any points.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - this and other stories

  7. Southwest change 2 - USA

    In a slightly more expensive deal over the pond, Southwest Agrees To Acquire AirTran In $3.4 Billion Deal!

    Southwest Airlines says it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of AirTran Holdings, the parent company of AirTran Airways, for a combination of cash and Southwest Airlines' common stock.

    Until closing, Southwest Airlines and AirTran will continue to operate as independent companies.

    Southwest Airlines plans to integrate AirTran by transitioning its fleet to the Southwest Airlines livery, developing a consistent customer experience, and consolidating corporate functions into its Dallas headquarters. Subject to receipt of necessary approvals, its integration plans also include transitioning the operations of the two carriers to a single operating certificate. The carriers' frequent-flyer programs will be combined over time, as well.

    Source: BTE Redline News - full story

  8. Booking rail travel is about to get an upgrade

    Quno, a new web based rail search and booking service due to launch on October 14, aims to make buying rail tickets and planning journeys much simpler.

    Quno will also unveil new ways of keeping passengers informed and engaged offline, online, on mobile and across the most popular social media channels, bringing rail booking bang up to date with the ways modern rail passengers consume information and engage with brands whilst addressing some of the challenges of booking rail tickets. For more details visit the website www.qumo.com

    Quno will address many of the challenges linked with rail ticketing:
    • Dealing with the complexity of rail fares
    • Finding the right ticket with the desired flexibility
    • Cancelling tickets
    • Making changes to a trip online, offline and on mobile
    Quno has been in development for nearly two years and plans to address these challenges and making rail travel search and booking much simpler.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  9. Air France & KLM Launch Mobile Web Sites

    Air France and KLM have each launched their new mobile web sites (mobile.airfrance.com and KLM.com for mobile) in six languages, giving travellers worldwide the opportunity to change bookings at no extra charge with" just a few clicks." Free applications for iPhones are available now; those for BlackBerrys are imminent.

    Before the end of the year, new services will be available - i.e., ticket reservation, modification of most ticket types and rapid-response consultation on frequently asked questions. In the meantime, airline customers can already:
    • check in (for themselves and others flying on the same reservation number);
    • choose their seat on the seat map;
    • book extra legroom in Siège Plus (on the Air France mobile site) or in the Economy Comfort zone (on KLM.com for mobile);
    • purchase additional baggage allowance at a discount;
    • receive their boarding pass by SMS or e-mail, choosing to display it directly on their mobile phone for boarding, or to print it out at the airport;
    • cancel check-in at any time up to the latest allowed check-in time;
    • consult real-time flight information;
    • consult the timetable for the coming year;
    • and access Air France, KLM and Flying Blue contact details worldwide.
    Source: BTE Redline news - full story

  10. 23% year on year air fare rise for UK travellers

    Cheapflights.co.uk, the online international flights and travel price deals comparison provider, has noted a continuing upward trend in air fares, which are moving towards pre-recession levels.

    A year ago, Cheapflights anticipated that increased fuel prices and an equalling out of seat capacity and passenger demand would move air fares higher. These factors have indeed contributed to US air fares rising by 19% overall year-on-year to August 2010 for all destinations and for Europe alone, 27.6% (US Bureau of Labor Statistics).

    Specifically in the UK, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for UK air fares rose by a significant 23.1% year-on-year to August 2010. From July to August the figure rose 16.1% due to seasonal factors (UK Gov CPI). It is possible that the new, much higher four-tier Air Passenger Duty introduced by the UK Government last November may also have helped push the CPI air fare figures into double digits.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  11. Expedia Expands

    Travel management companies in nine additional countries have joined the Egencia Global Alliance (EGA).

    Expedia-owned TMC Egencia set up the global alliance in December last year, after signing network deals with partners in nine initial countries.

    The alliance has now been expanded to include GS Traval in Greece, Travellink AB in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland, Swire Travel Philippines, Variety International Company in Thailand, Netmedia Business Travel in Poland and Travel (Pty) Ltd & XL Thompsons Travel in South Africa.

    The latest additions take the Egencia Global Alliance to 25 countries, bringing the company's overall global presence to 39 regions.

    Source: E-tid - full story

  12. Libyan link for BMI

    An air link between London and the Libyan capital of Tripoli is to be established this winter by Bmi.

    Daily flights from Heathrow are to start on December 1.

    The airline is to use an Airbus A319 in a two-class configuration on the route.

    Bmi is promoting connections from Heathrow with Star Alliance and code share partners Continental Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, United Airlines and Air Canada to the US and Canada.

    Flights will depart Heathrow at 08:55 and arrive in Tripoli at 14:30, with the return leaving Tripoli at 15:15 local time and arriving at London Heathrow at 16:45.

    Source: TravelNews online - full story

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