News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: November 2011

  1. Monarch route expansion

    Luton-based Monarch Airlines continues to develop its scheduled operations.

    From summer 2012 it will launch 14 new routes from London Gatwick, Luton, Birmingham and Manchester covering a mixture of business and leisure destinations.

    The new routes are:
    • Manchester to Dubrovnik, Milan, Venice and Verona.
    • Birmingham to Dubrovnik, Heraklion, Milan, Rome and Venice.
    • Gatwick to Dubrovnik, Heraklion, Milan and Venice
    • Luton to Rome
    Tickets went on sale Friday (November 4)

    The expansion comes after Monarch posted a £45 million loss owing to "turbulent market conditions and high oil prices."

    As a result, the carrier's owners (the Swiss-Italian Mantegazza family) have made a £75 million cash injection to enable Monarch to restructure itself and lessen its dependence on charter flight operation.

    Source: ABTN - read the story by Alex Mcwhirter

  2. Freshen Up, Move Up and Shine

    Intercontinental Hotels Group is to undertake a global repositioning of its Crowne Plaza brand, with a three-phase "Freshen Up", "Move Up" and "Shine" programme.

    The Freshen Up phase, which is already underway and will continue into next year, focuses on "raising product quality and consistency, primarily in the Americas, driving revenue and performance across the portfolio, refreshing the Sleep Advantage programme in the Americas and launching a new brand identity with a modern look and feel".

    The Move Up phase then aims to "elevate Crowne Plaza to focus on a new customer", with initiatives during 2012 and 2013 including "a new global branded service training programme, development and distribution in major gateway cities and resort markets, increasing trial and brand awareness and delivering on key drivers of guest satisfaction".

    Finally the Shine phase will take place between 2013 and 2015, and will launch "new and innovative brand hallmarks".

    Source: Business Traveller Online - read the report by Mark Caswell

  3. Has the Dream started?

    One of the first passengers to step off All Nippon Airways flight 7871, an American aviation buff, gushed on CBS television that it was a "spectacular experience".

    Those travelling from Tokyo to Hong Kong aboard the inaugural flight, on October 26th, will have been the first real travellers to experience what is supposed to make the Dreamliner special: bigger windows, more comfortable seats, softer lighting, higher cabin pressure (and thus a more pleasant atmosphere) and less engine noise. The 787, the world's first commercial airliner to be built mainly from carbon-fibre composites, is also expected to use about 20% less fuel and cost 30% less to maintain than its forerunners.

    The 787 is designed to carry a couple of hundred passengers between long-distance city pairs; its greater efficiency should make more such routes viable. What that means for business travellers is more direct flights, and thus less scurrying to make connections in busy hub airports.

    But the big question is whether Boeing will be able to turn out the planes quickly enough to meet the demand. As the company announced its latest quarterly figures, members of the aviation press were listening carefully for whether its bosses reconfirmed their plan to be turning out ten 787s a month by the end of 2013.

    The company has, however, cut its delivery forecast for this year. Those launch-party-poopers at BernsteinResearch, who have repeatedly been first with the gloomy news about progress on the 787, predicted this week that Boeing will not reach the ten-a-month target until 2015.

    Source: The Economist - full story

  4. United Continental to install wi-fi systemwide

    United Continental has announced plans to install wi-fi internet access across over 300 of its aircraft from next year.

    The holding company for United and Continental Airlines has selected Panasonic's Ku-band satellite technology to provide connectivity on short and long-haul flights.

    Work will begin to start installing the technology in mid-2012, with the entire mainline fleet expected to be fitted by 2015.

    Aircraft that will benefit from include the group's Airbus A319 and A320s, as well as Boeing 747, 757, 767, 777 and 787 aircraft.

    United Continental says that aside from internet access, the technology will enable wireless streaming of video content.

    Earlier this year the group announced a US$550 million investment in its onboard offering, including retrofitting B767 aircraft with fully-flat seating, and adding Economy Plus to more than 300 aircraft.

    Source: Business Traveller online - read the report by Mark Caswell

  5. Autumn Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum


    The Autumn Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum that was held last Thursday at the NH Hesperia Hotel was another complete Full House; to get a better idea of the atmosphere at the forum check out the images below.
    The event was attended by journalists from Buying Business Traveller and Airline & Business Travel News, please click on this link to read their stories of the day www.abtn.co.uk

    Our planning committee will be meeting early in December to discuss the various suggestions proposed by our delegates last week however if you have any suggestion for a subject or a speaker you would like to hear from then please email your idea to admin@ms-uk.com

  6. Sheraton Opening 5 More Hotels In China By Yearend

    Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced that its Sheraton brand will open five more hotels in China before the end of 2011. With seven new hotels already opening in China this year, that will bring the Sheraton portfolio in Greater China to 46 hotels by year's end. In the next two years, nearly half of all new Starwood hotels slated to open in China will fly the Sheraton flag. Starwood has set a goal of operating 100 hotels in China by the end of 2012.

    New Sheraton properties debuted in the region so far this year are in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Zhenjiang, Hainan and Jinzhou. Still to open this fall: Sheraton's first hotel in Hangzhou and Daqing, its second hotel in Xian and two hotels in Changzhou.

    Source: BTE Redline News - full story

  7. CrossCountry to install Wi-Fi on its trains

    CrossCountry announced last Thursday it has signed a contract to install Wi-Fi on its long distance high-speed trains.

    Work to install the system will begin early next year, with the five High Speed Trains (HSTs) being the first to be fully fitted by the spring.

    After an extensive search for the best and most appropriate system to meet its customers' needs, the contract has been awarded to the experienced global supplier of on-train Wi-Fi solutions, Nomad Digital.

    Work to install the system will begin early next year, with the five High Speed Trains (HSTs) being the first to be fully fitted by the spring.

    The larger fleet of 57 Voyager trains will also be fitted out during 2012.

    CrossCountry has been conducting a trial of different Wi-Fi systems throughout 2011 to ensure that the best system was chosen.

    The unique characteristics of CrossCountry services, which travel from West Cornwall to North Scotland and the South Coast to the North West, meant the chosen system had to deliver reliable connectivity for customers on their journeys.

    Source: Rail.co.uk - full report from A.Samuel

  8. A new Take-Off for Ryanair

    This time it's the flight attendants and not the aircraft in the news.

    Proceeds from "The Girls of Ryanair" calendar, which features scantily-clad female flight attendants, will go to DEBRA, which provides support for patients suffering from epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a genetic skin condition.

    The charity was chosen from nearly 400 applicants, and Ryanair said it hopes to raise around £85,000.

    The calendar costs £8.50 and can be purchased on board Ryanair flights, from DEBRA's charity shops in Spain and Ireland, or on the airline's website (www.ryanair.com).

    Stephen McNamara, a spokesman for Ryanair, said that the money raised would be used to take 50 children with EB, and their families, on a holiday to Malaga, where they are provided with support by members of the DEBRA team.

    Jimmy Fearon, DEBRA's chief executive, said: "Ryanair's donation will help us to deliver a once in a lifetime opportunity for 50 families to enjoy a holiday, with professional care and assistance on hand to allow parents and children time to rest and enjoy their precious time together."

    Last year's calendar saw money donated to the German charity Tafel. In 2009, cash was raised for the British charity, KIDS.

    The publication of the 2009 calendar led to Labour MEP Mary Honeyball accusing Ryanair of "sexualising" the airline industry, and called the stunt "a desperate bid for profits".

    Michael O'Leary, the airline's chief executive, responded by describing Ms Honeyball as "anti-fun", before sending her his own copy of the calendar.

    Source: The Telegraph - details

  9. New Hyatt for New York

    New York has a new boutique property with the luxury Hyatt label attached on prestigious Lexington Avenue. Called the Hyatt 48 Lex it breaks the mould with 116 'pied-a-terre' studios and suites designed by renowned architect Nobutaka Ashihara and decorated by Vennie Lau. Guests are greeted at curbside and escorted directly to their rooms, as though welcomed into the Manhattan home of a close friend.

    "We have taken inspiration from the best of New York City and brought it to life in the design, style and service at the new Hyatt 48 Lex," said Mark Wagner, General Manager of Hyatt 48 Lex. "We are very proud to welcome guests to see the hotel this fall, and are excited to be part of this vibrant neighbourhood."

    The Lexicon Lounge overlooks one of the hotel's green roofs arrayed with Japanese Maples and Boxwood bushes. Open daily from 06:30 to midnight, two staff members and the concierge are available for conversation and local advice. A pair of dramatic Penthouse Suites will debut later this fall, each with terraces perched above skyline views.

    Source: An Executive Review of Business Travel - details

  10. Ancilliary Fees - hidden costs

    A study of more than 200 airlines by Amadeus, a company that provides technology to the travel industry, and IdeaWorks, a consulting organisation, reveals that carriers are expected to collect $32.5 billion in ancillary fees this year, for everything from baggage and onboard meals to advertising revenue.

    This represents a 44% increase on 2010's figure.

    North American carriers started pursuing ancillary revenues after oil prices soared in 2008, and have continued the practice ever since. And with spending on jet fuel across the world expected to rise by $10 billion from 2010 to 2011, ancillaries are helping keep North American airlines afloat - to the tune of $15 billion this year.

    The ubiquity of ancillary services is also dependent on the airline you're flying. Those charging the most fees, such as AirAsia, AerLingus and Ryanair ("Ancillary Revenue Champs", in the report's parlance), get 19.8% of their operating revenue from fees. The equivalent figure for the big seven American airlines is 11.9%, while low-cost carriers worldwide get 6.5%.

    At the bottom, traditional airlines such as Air China, Emirates and Singapore Airlines get an average of 2.9%, the same as last year. No matter what business model airlines choose, ancillary fees are here to stay: at least you don't always have to pay them.

    Source: The Economist - complete article

  11. BA move

    British Airways (BA) has officially opened its new home at Gatwick North Terminal, offering what the airline claims will be a faster check-in experience.

    In an attempt to speed up the check-in process, staff at the bag drop desks are not allowed to sit down, manning two conveyor belts per person so that they can alternate between each belt easily and keep both queues moving.

    Cabin crew and ground staff have also been given iPads, to offer a more personalised customer service. The newly purchased tablets will allow staff to quickly access important customer information such as travel preferences, onward connections and loyalty status in order to provide a bespoke customer service.

    BA has also installed new self check-in kiosks for passengers to use, where boarding cards and baggage tags are printed off. At the bag drop area, staff will only check the weight of bags and scan the bar code on the tags.

    Premium passengers have been given a dedicated check-in area, which will undergo a redesign in the coming months, where frosted glass walls will be installed to give the area an added sense of seclusion. The old Fast Track security lane has also been rebranded as Premium Gatwick.

    The new area is part of a £73 million extension to the North Terminal, due to be unveiled fully next month, and is now home to all of BA's flights out of Gatwick.

    BA's first new route to operate from the new terminal will be to Mauritius, which moves to Gatwick from Heathrow on November 1.

    The new facility will allow BA to match its growth targets at Gatwick over the next two years, but with the government's opposition to runway expansion the airline is worried about 2014 onwards.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full report from Scott Carey

  12. Wake up or watch £47 billion disappear from UK plc

    New research published last week by leading economists, FTI Consulting, claims that the 'do nothing' approach to runway capacity expansion in the South East "will stifle UK growth" and could result in lost benefits of up to £47 billion over the next 30 to 50 years.

    The independent report, 'A study on the importance of aviation infrastructure to sustainable UK economic growth,' makes clear that the UK needs to have the potential to connect with emerging markets and warns that "if there is no spare capacity ... the UK could be left behind other European countries that have much more capacity."

    The report also says that "the notion that 'rebalancing the economy' will occur by stifling investment in the South East is misguided and potentially damaging." The report argues that because the South East is the 'engine of the UK, stifling its growth will stifle UK growth.'

    It is the view of the economists who undertook the research that "policy makers should reconsider the current stance of no expansion and the safeguarding plans outlined for seven UK airports in the 2003 White Paper."

    Today, Gatwick operates at 78% capacity so there is room for more flights and we believe Gatwick will grow to carry 40 million passengers a year by 2020 with just the single runway and two terminals. Heathrow is already operating at 99% capacity.

    "The Government must decide how the capacity issue in the South East is to be addressed but it is clear from the report that if we ignore the need for more capacity in the London airports system, the whole UK economy will suffer.

    The report also suggests that passengers will suffer with weakened connections to the rest of the world. Passengers will have to contend with higher costs of travel coupled with a reduction in the choice of travel destinations.

    Aviation infrastructure is important for the sustainable growth of the UK, in particular in connecting the UK with emerging markets.

    Mr Yosuke Kawakami, Japanese Embassy, was interviewed as part of the research and, speaking in his personal capacity, said "I hope the UK government will re-consider the hold on capacity expansion - it is a real threat to the UK. New business may be turned away and some already here may move out."

    Source: BTN - full report

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