News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: February 2011

  1. Bmi cease service

    Fans of the Star Alliance will soon have no representative on the key London to Glasgow route.

    In a move which will not come at a total surprise Bmi has now announced it will end flights between the two cities with effect from March 27.

    It means that British Airways will be handed a monopoly on the Glasgow to London Heathrow route which provides Scottish travellers not just with access to London but also with a multitude of connections to destinations further afield.

    Bmi blames the route's demise on the higher airport fees which will soon be levied on domestic passengers at Heathrow. Point-to-point travellers still have alternatives in the shape of BA (to Heathrow, Gatwick and City) and Easyjet (to Luton, Stansted and Gatwick). There is also a Ryanair service linking Glasgow Prestwick with Stansted.

    Source: Business Traveller - read the report by Alex McWhirter

  2. Bmi starts service

    The carrier will operate daily flights from Heathrow to the Norwegian cities of Bergen and Stavanger from April 1, with a four-times weekly service to Casablanca starting also starting on April 1, and three-times weekly flights to Marrakech commencing on April 2.

    Bmi will be the only carrier serving Bergen from Heathrow - Norwegian and SAS both operate flights from Gatwick. On the Heathrow-Stavanger route Bmi currently codeshares with SAS, with Norwegian again operating the route from Gatwick.

    Air Maroc is currently the only airline serving Casablanca from London (from both Gatwick and Heathrow), but Bmi will join a growing list of carriers flying between London and Marrakech. BA recently announced it would begin flights from Gatwick on March 27, and Easyjet also serves the city from Gatwick, while Ryanair flies from London Luton and Air Maroc (and its subsidiary Atlas Blue) operates from both Gatwick and Heathrow.

    At least some of the A319 and A320 aircraft being used on the above routes have been made available by Bmi's decision to scrap its London Heathrow-Glasgow route from March 27.

    Source: Business Traveller - full story by Mark Caswell

  3. I have dropped my glass eye, please could you help me find it?

    Virgin Atlantic has compiled a selection of the strangest, most unusual requests received over the years.

    Read on to find out some of the craziest requests as reported by their cabin crew ...
    1. Please can I have a cup of tea and book a massage for my Barbie doll?
    2. Can you take my children to the playroom?
    3. Please could you fix my hair?
    4. I have dropped my glass eye, please could you help me find it?
    5. Could you turn the engines down because they are too noisy?
    6. Is there a McDonald's onboard?
    7. Please can the captain stop the turbulence?

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full article posted by Caroline Lynam, customer relations manager at Virgin Atlantic on :

  4. Aer Arann to fly into Southend

    Southend Airport is closer to becoming a viable south-eastern hub after signing a deal with Aer Arann.

    From 27 March, the Irish carrier will operate twice-daily services to Waterford and Galway from the Essex base, which uses the full title London Southend Airport.

    The new services will be the first to be operated into Southend by an Irish commercial airline and will open up two of Ireland's major cities to London and the south east.

    The airline and airport say passengers taking the morning and evening flights will be able to have 'the fastest and most direct access from the two cities to central London'.

    Direct flights will operate seven days a week from Waterford, while flights from Galway will operate direct on four days a week and on three days a week will operate via Waterford.

    The new routes between Ireland and Southend are expected to boost both business and tourism travel between the UK and the Irish cities.

    Passengers arriving at Southend will be able to transfer within ten minutes from the aircraft to Southend Airport's new train station, which has fast and frequent trains to Liverpool Street.

    In October, logistics giant Stobart Group said it will invest €2.5m in Aer Arann services at Southend Airport.

    The cash injection aims to strengthen Stobart's business in Ireland, where Aer Arann is based, and boost the transport firm's plans for developing the Essex airport, which it owns.

    Source: - full story:

  5. Spring 2011 Forum

    The Planning Committee for our Spring Forum has been working overtime to deliver another sparkling event and we are delighted to announce that bookings are already rolling in.

    The theme for the next MS-UK/ACTE Forum has changed from "The Corporate Travel Game - are you a Player?" to "Are You losing control?"

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

    Session 1: Technology Divergence
    This session will explore the latest issues in the increasingly complex arena of distribution.

    Session 2: Do you pay a fair price?
    Here we will seeing if you think you pay a fair price for the service you receive or do you think the supply chain and intermediaries (TMCs) try to pass too many costs back?

    Session 3: To Book or Facebook? ... That is the question ...
    Here we will be examining the key questions Who benefits? Travellers, buyers or suppliers?

    Session 4: The 'Buyer Speakeasy'
    In this final session of the day the Buyers will dictate the agenda and speak their minds on the topics that really matter to them.

    Our Keynote address will be delivered by Marianne Sammann, the General Manager for UK & Ireland of Lufthansa and Austrian Airlines.

    Moderators who have been invited to lead the sessions so far include Bob Papworth, Ian Heywood and Mike Toynbee.

    Our sponsors so far confirmed are BCD Travel, Lufthansa,, NH Hesperia Hotel, London City Airport 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.

    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.

    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. Welcome back St Ermin's

    Something to really look forward to, London's St Ermin's hotel is to reopen in mid-April following a £30 million refurbishment.

    The Westminster property, housed in a Grade II Listed Victorian building a minute's walk from St James's Park station, is being relaunched as a four-star deluxe hotel by US company Amerimar Enterprises.

    A hotel since 1900 and most recently a 275-room property owned by NH Hoteles, the revamped St Ermin's will have 331 rooms, including 80 in a new adjoining wing to open by September.

    There will also be 40 suites measuring up to 60 sqm, 18 family rooms and 53 Executive rooms. An Executive lounge will offer breakfast, drinks and canapés.

    Source: Business Traveller- full story

  7. Get approval and book on the move

    European corporate booking platform provider Traveldoo plans to release iPhone mobile and BlackBerry applications that consolidate and synchronize itineraries created through a variety of channels, including company-approved tools and travel management companies as well as supplier websites.

    Traveldoo claims connections to global distribution systems Amadeus, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan; hotel content providers HRS, and BSI; U.K. rail service Thetrainline; ground transport facilitator Business Transport Resource; and suppliers including Belgian, Dutch, French, German, Swedish and Swiss railways; Eurostar; Thalys; and Avis, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt.

    "The mobile application will keep travelers informed about the approval status and the compliance of their trips, show a summary of fare and rate conditions, and display product-specific delivery information such as rail ticket on departure," according to Traveldoo. "It will also help locate hotels, car rental agencies, rail stations and airports, and enable users to email selected itinerary information, e.g. messaging rail seating to a colleague." To view this and similar stories click on this link

    Source: Business Travel News online - details

  8. Travel Green

    If you are concerned about responsible travel and sustainable tourism issues you might like to learn about Sustainable Travel International

    If you or any of your colleagues would be interested in working together, trip by trip, it may be possible that we can protect the environment, preserve authentic cultural heritage, and promote the social and economic well-being of local communities.

    To learn more about the whole Sustainable Travel ethic click here

  9. ACTE - ECTA - the Palindrome

    The Association of Corporate Travel Executives has created a new video to provoke discussion around the role of travel buyers and managers.

    Ron di Leo, ACTE's executive director, said the video was a "call to arms for the industry". He said: "If buyers and travel managers continue managing travel the way they have been for the past twenty years they risk being nothing more than commoditized cost managers rather than the strategic managers they should be."

    The video challenges the industry to literally reverse their view of the work travel managers and buyers do, with the use of a palindrome - a sequence of sentences that can be read in either direction.

    Source: ABTN - this and other articles by Sara Turner

  10. UK Top for Rail Wi-fi

    Rail Travellers in the UK benefit far more from onboard wi-fi than those in mainland Europe, with only a limited number of major routes and train types covered in countries such as Germany and France.

    A map produced by online seller shows the coverage now available on most of the train companies in the UK.

    The latest to join is National Express East Anglia, which will offer wi-fi on its trains from early this year on the London-Norwich route, and on the Stansted Express from May. Passengers on both services will be charged a flat £2.95 fee.

    Mytrainticket said coverage elsewhere in Europe was "patchy". The site claimed that only 10-15 per cent of French TGV trains offered wifi and that it was impossible to predict which services would have it. It found that Germany had the fullest coverage after the UK, but that this applied only to routes from Frankfurt to Hamburg, Munich and Cologne. No trains serving Berlin offer wi-fi.

    Source: Buying Business Travel - full story

  11. What's new on the 'Bloc'

    A new hotel group enters the market this spring, describing itself as a 'boutique budget' brand.

    Bloc Hotels will mark its launch with the opening of a four-floor, 73-guestroom property in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter.

    The brand is the brainchild of Boxbuild which says it has drawn inspiration from Japanese pod-style hotels and uses an innovative construction system that allows for fast construction and improved sustainability credentials.

    Rooms - which will start from £60 a night - will feature an Italian tiled wet room and drench shower, 32-inch flatscreen TV, wi-fi and ambient lighting, but no 'space-hungry wardrobes', while 'space-consuming' formal dining facilities have also been done away with.

    Source: Business Travel Magazine - read the full story

  12. More new routes for London City Airport

    CityJet, the airline that flies from the heart of London, will launch two new summer routes to Avignon and Toulon (St Tropez) from 27 May - 25 September 2011 from its base at London City Airport.

    Outbound services to Avignon will operate on Friday's and inbound services will run on Sundays, prices are from £79 one way, including taxes.

    Flights to Toulon will be available on Fridays and Saturdays with return flights operating on Saturday and Sunday's, fares from £79 one way, including taxes.

    Read more about this new service by clicking here

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