News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: April 2011

  1. Residence Inn set for UK debut

    Marriott's extended stay brand Residence Inn has announced plans to open a new property in Edinburgh.

    The hotel is due to open this October and will be the second under the brand in Europe, after Residence Inn Munich Orleanstrasse opens this autumn.

    Marriott has said the city-centre property will have 107 suites, with separate living and sleeping areas, and fully functional kitchens.

    It will be located within the new Norman Foster-designed Quartermile development a quarter of a mile from Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Mile.

    There are currently more than 600 Residence Inns in the US, Canada and Costa Rica and has plans to launch in South America next year. By 2015, Marriott hope to double the brand's portfolio.

    Source: ABTN - full report by Sara Turner.

  2. London and Leeds lose air link

    Regional carrier Flybe is dropping its route between Gatwick and Leeds Bradford on March 31, citing Gatwick's policy of limiting smaller, regional aircraft landing at the airport.

    The carrier launched three-times daily flights between the two airports in June 2009, following Bmi's decision to pull off the route. But less than two years later the service is being dropped, with Flybe saying that the suspension of the route is "a direct consequence of the policies being implemented by Gatwick to limit the number of smaller, regional aircraft landing at their airport".

    The carrier said the airport's decision "to raise substantially the landing fees for regional aircraft - while implementing significantly smaller rises for larger, more polluting and noisier long-haul aircraft - will hit hard the regions of Yorkshire and the Humber who rely on air links to the capital".

    Flybe added that more than 50,000 passengers flew the Gatwick-Leeds route in 2010, and added that it "remains committed to operating its remaining routes at both London Gatwick and Leeds Bradford airports".

    The move means there will no longer be a direct air link between London and Leeds. Other routes served by Flybe from Leeds include Aberdeen, Belfast, Exeter and Southampton.

    Source: BusinessTraveller, full report by Mark Caswell

  3. Another fee for Ryanair

    Ryanair is introducing a €2 charge per passenger for all bookings made from Monday (April 4) to cover the cost of cancellations and delays "outside of its control".

    The airline said the extra revenue will help it cover the extra €100 million costs it has suffered due to 15,000 flight cancellations and the subsequent compensation and legal expenses arising from a series of events.

    These include the Icelandic volcano airspace closures, the snow closures of many EU airports last winter and over 15 days of national ATC summer strikes, primarily in Belgium, France, Germany and Spain. The controversial airline said EU261 regulations, which leave airlines responsible for refunds, meals, hotels and phone calls during such events, was "unfair and discriminatory". It said these expenses "cannot be loaded onto airlines without being passed on to passengers".

    But it promised to reduce or drop the charge if the EU261 regulations are reformed, to include an effective right of recovery clause and a non discriminatory "force majeure" clause.

    Source: TravelMole - full report by Bev Fearis

  4. Renaissance Restores London Landmark

    The eagerly anticipated St Pancras Renaissance Hotel London has opened following an extensive renovation. The original building - The Midland Grand Hotel - was designed and built by Victorian architect Sir George Gilbert Scott and opened on 5 May 1873.

    The historic hotel has now been lovingly restored ready for the official unveiling on 5 May 2011, 138 years to the day after the original tape cutting. Once the home of steam trains from an earlier era St Pancras now hosts Eurostar.

    The £150m renovation of the 245-room property consists of the historic St Pancras Chambers that houses 38 elegant and spacious Victorian bedroom suites, and Barlow House, the newly created 120,000sq ft extension that features original artwork and contemporary design.

    The hotel is also home to a 500 capacity event hall, a private club, a gentleman's grooming salon and luxury spa, which includes a swimming pool and six treatment rooms.

    Occupying the original entrance hall and coffee room, the Gilbert Scott restaurant is to be run by one of Britain's most celebrated chefs, Marcus Wareing.

    Guests can continue to re-live the glamour of the Victorian era at The Booking Office bar and restaurant - recreated in the original ticket office. Further details can be found by visiting www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/lonpr-st-pancras

    Source: AERBT - this and other stories

  5. Spring 2011 Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum

    Sakhalin Island is 5,030.13 miles (8,095.18 Kilometres) from London - and we are delighted to report that we have received a booking from a delegate who will making that journey to attend our Spring Forum!

    Can any one beat that?

    With well over 50% of delegates seats already taken we are now forced to limit to one seat per organisation for new bookings from Suppliers.

    The four sessions will feature panels specially chosen to produce a lively debate.

    Our Keynote address for the day "Are You losing control?" will be delivered by Marianne Sammann, the General Manager for UK & Ireland of the Lufthansa Group Airlines, Austrian, Brussels & Lufthansa

    To see the Agenda please click here

    Here you can view a brief synopsis of our speakers and moderators who make sure that the day keeps lively .

    Our sponsors include are BCD Travel, Lufthansa, HRS.com, NH Hesperia Hotel, Traveldoo, London City Airport, Concur and Buying Business Travel to ensure that the MS-UK / ACTE Global Forums continue to set the pace in the Corporate Travel industry in Europe.

    What makes our event different - No Powerpoint No sales pitches - just discussion that involves everyone plus loads of Networking including the opportunity to avoid the rush hour afterwards at the Reception sponsored by Concur.

    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.

    BOOK NOW

    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. United Continental Reaches Milestone In Retrofit of International Fleet

    United Continental Holdings has completed installing flat-bed BusinessFirst seating on 116 of its aircraft used for international service. Continental completed the retrofit on its Boeing 777s in December, and on its B757-200s this month.

    United completed the retrofit of its B747-400s and international B767-300s in 2009, and has just completed installation of the seats on its tenth B777.On retrofitted aircraft, United and Continental offer premium cabin customers flat-bed seats that recline 180 degrees, along with power ports and headset and USB plugs.

    iPod connectivity enables customers to view their personal videos and music. Each seat offers audio and video on-demand and a 15.4-inch video screen.

    Source: BTE - full story

  7. New touch of class for Knightsbridge

    Bulgari, perhaps better known as a jewellery producer and watch maker, is to open a super luxury hotel in London's Knightsbridge in spring 2012.

    Located at 163-173 Knightsbridge (towards The Albert Hall and Kensington) and opposite Hyde Park, the new-build is the third hotel project of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, following the opening of the Bulgari Hotel in Milan in 2004 and of the Bulgari Resort in Bali in 2006.

    The property, with its 85 rooms and suites - including seven extraordinary Bulgari suites, each more than 200sq m large - will offer a unique combination of refined amenities and exclusive services.

    Its restaurant and bar have been designed to become the destination of choice in Knightsbridge. The hotel will also feature a large ballroom, a private cinema and a 2,000sq m spa and fitness centre with 25m indoor pool. For more information click here

    Source: AERBT - this and other stories

  8. An Irish - American link returns

    American Airlines is re-launching daily flights between Dublin and Chicago as part of its summer schedule.

    The non-stop service using two-class Boeing 767s with 225 seats starts on April 6 with the airline moving operations into Dublin airport's new Terminal 2. This will allow passengers to pre-clear US immigration and customs prior to boarding their flight.

    On arrival in Chicago they will be treated as domestic rather than international passengers and make connections without the need to claim and re-check baggage before continuing on to their next flight.

    Travellers will be able to use two American Airlines self-service machines in Dublin that enable a range of transactions including re-printing boarding passes, seat selection and check-in in addition to five regular check-in desks.

    Source: Travel Weekly - full story

  9. Amsterdam to gets first new Place

    Hyatt is to open its first Hyatt Place-branded property in Europe in 2013, a 330-room hotel located in Hoofddorp close to Amsterdam Schiphol airport.

    The select service brand is currently only available in the US, where there over 160 properties, although there are 30 Hyatt Place hotels currently under development in the US, India, Panama and Costa Rica.

    Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport will be located close to the A4/A5 motorway, which connects The Hague, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, and around 12km from Amsterdam's RAI ehibition and congress centre.

    The hotel will feature brand signature facilities including free wifi internet access and continental breakfast, a StayFit@Hyatt fitness centre, coffee and wine bar, and the Guest Kitchen offering made-to-order breakfast, lunch and dinner.

    Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport is set to be the second Hyatt-branded property in the Netherlands, with Andaz Amsterdam scheduled to open next year.

    Source: BusinessTraveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  10. BA cabin crew vote for strike - again

    Hundreds of thousands of travellers' plans could be ruined after British Airways cabin crew voted in favour of going on yet another strike.

    The cabin crew have voted by more than 8 to 1 to stage fresh strikes in their long-running row with the airline.

    Any strike could wreak havoc for what is expected to be a very busy period for British airports, with four Bank Holidays in an eleven day period, because of the combination of the Easter weekend, the Royal wedding and the May Day holiday. An estimated 550 BA planes fly into and out of Heathrow every day at this time of year.

    No strike dates have yet been set, but if industrial action does go ahead it would be the latest chapter in a long-running dispute between the airline and its workers. Last year 22 days were lost to strikes, costing BA £150 million and causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled.

    Source: The Daily Telegraph - full article by Harry Wallop, Consumer Affairs Editor at the Telegraph.

  11. Say Hi to High Speed 2

    The frequency of trains at some provincial stations could almost double once HS2 has opened, according to the transport secretary.

    Mr Hammond was responding to claims from the Taxpayers' Alliance earlier last week that a new High Speed line would mean worse services on existing 'classic' routes.

    He said in fact the opposite was the case: removing longer-distance traffic to the High Speed line would free capacity for more regional and commuter services, not only into London but also provincial centres such as Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, especially once the second phase had been built from Birmingham northwards.

    Mr Hammond is reported to have said: "Our proposed new HSR network would free up a huge amount of space on current railways for more trains to operate."

    Some of the suggested improvements are almost 90 per cent more trains from Milton Keynes Central, 46 per cent from Northampton and 80 per cent from stations on the Trent Valley line such as Tamworth and Lichfield.

    Source: RailNews - full report

  12. Car hire aftershock

    Japan's Earthquake and Tsunami disaster is hitting rental rates for this Easter and could impact on summer prices which are generally 30% up on 2010 prices.

    Affordable Car Hire, Your Car Hire and Holiday Autos have all warned that the slowdown in the supply of components is affecting their supplies.

    Large Peugeot Citroen vehicles and Japanese models are said to be particularly affected by the shortage of parts.

    PSA Peugeot Citroen said it was temporarily halting production at its Slovakian plant this week as car part supply from Japan had dried up.

    In the case of a shortage, car dealers will get preference over rental companies, potentially leaving the car hire market short of vehicles and pushing up prices, as happened last year when lack of finance meant car suppliers could not borrow to acquire new fleets.

    An Avis UK spokesperson said the consensus was that any parts shortages would hit suppliers around the end of April, but that Avis worked with a range of manufacturers to reduce any likely impacts from specific suppliers.

    Source: TTG Live - full report

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