News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: September 2011

  1. Bmi to launch East Midlands-Frankfurt route

    bmi Regional is adding a new service from East Midlands Airport to Frankfurt, the world's 9th largest airport.

    The new service, starting on 31 October 2011 will offer the region worldwide connectivity. Over the next few weeks in excess of 70 destinations such as New York, Rio de Janeiro and Capetown will be available.

    bmi Regional will be the only airline to operate flights direct to Frankfurt from East Midlands Airport and onward connections with their parent company Lufthansa via the Frankfurt Airport hub.

    Flights to Frankfurt will operate three times a day from Monday to Friday and also once on a Sunday, using the Embraer 145 with 49 seats.

    The new service to Frankfurt will benefit both business and leisure travellers visiting the German city whilst also providing seamless connections to key business centres across Europe and the world.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  2. London's Sea Containers House set to become Mondrian hotel

    Sea Containers House on London's Southbank is set to become a luxury 358-room hotel managed by Morgans Hotel Group's Mondrian brand, according to a report by Property Week.

    The property was originally conceived as a hotel when plans were drawn up in the 1970s, but the building eventually became office space upon completion in the 1980s.

    Archlane Ltd acquired the property in 2004, and started a public consultation process in May of this year, with plans to refurbish the building as a mixed space for offices, restaurants, bars and a hotel.

    Property Week now reports that the Morgans Hotel Group will manage the 358-room hotel, subject to planning permission, under its Mondrian brand.

    Mondrian currently operates two hotels in London - the Sanderson and St Martins Lane - while Mondrian has existing properties in LA, New York and Miami.

    Source: Business Traveller - full story by Mark Caswell

  3. Chiltern Rail launches premium economy

    Chiltern Railways will instigate "premium economy" seating when it speeds up its mainline London-Birmingham services on September 5.

    Modelled on the airline concept of offering more for the economy traveller, Chiltern's new Business Zone will provide rail passengers with first class comfort but at a much lower price.

    Although Chiltern operates between London Marylebone and Birmingham Moor Street every half hour, the Business Zone will only be found on four "silver train" services, linking the two cities in a best transit time of around 90 mins.

    The silver trains use the same locomotive-hauled stock (dating to the British Rail era) which was previously rostered for the highly-praised but ultimately loss-making Wrexham and Shropshire service linking Marylebone and Shrewsbury, which was axed last January.

    Standard class passengers spend an extra £10 or £20 to access the Business Zone which comprises a separate 30-seater first class coach. You pre-pay for your seat or upgrade on board.

    Catering is not offered free of charge but passengers can pay for 'at-seat' refreshments.

    Source: ABTN - full report from Alex Mcwhirter

  4. American Airlines pioneers "turndown service"

    Pyjamas and slippers are among new bed amenities offered to American Airlines "Premium Class" passengers, the airline announced.

    Travellers in first class between the US and London Heathrow will be the first to be offered the new amenities. They will eventually be rolled out to international flights on Boeings 777 and 767-300s.

    Other bed amenities will include a lightweight day blanket, new premium duvet ad pillow and a kit containing brand-name skincare products and "travel necessities.

    The Consumerist blog says all this "hearkens back to the day of luxury carriers like Pan Am and the high-end airlines favored by international business travellers." But the Economist asks the question: do business travellers really care that much about this sort of thing?

    They point out the main complaint many flyers have about big American carriers is that their service is rotten. "Amenities are an important part of the service experience. But they're not as important as making sure your customers get where they are going on time and happy," the Economist adds.

    Source: Travelmole USA - report from David Wilkening

  5. Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum

    Over 60% of seats already booked for our event on the 3rd November as at Friday 2nd September.

    If you would like to catch a glimpse of the proceedings and see what you missed you might like to view the videos taken at the event.

    We also had a number of articles published on line including this one

    Our sponsors including BCD Travel, Lufthansa, HRS.com, NH Hesperia Hotel and AirPlus are all working hard with our planning committee for our next event so make a note in your diary now to make sure you attend our Autumn MS-UK / ACTE Global Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum on the 3rd November 2011.

    The Agenda for the day reads
    • Theme: Are corporate negotiated deals becoming redundant?
    • Session 1: Deal or No Deal?
    • Session 2: The Fine Art of Negotiation
    • Session 3: Online Booking Tools 2.0. What is around the corner?
    • Session 4: Buyers Speakeasy where our delegates on the Day explore matters of current concern.
    What makes our event different - No Powerpoint, No sales pitches - just freewheeling discussion that involves everyone plus loads of Networking including the opportunity to avoid the rush hour afterwards at the AirPlus Reception.

    Keep an eye on our Forum webpage and online booking details

  6. Starwood to inaugurate 50 posh hotels in Europe, Africa and the Middle East

    From the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. announced that the company is soon going to launch 50 hotels in Europe, Africa and Middle East over the span of next three to five years.

    Moreover, Starwood is also aspiring to launch 70 -80 hotels in 2011, as it continues to fortify its lead as the world's greatest operator of luxurious and high standard hotels.

    The major forthcoming launches include five brand new St. Regis hotels in primary locations such as United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Italy and Mauritius. The list also includes, the inauguration of W Hotels in London, St. Petersburg and Paris - the three prime European cultural and financial regions. Moreover, it also encompasses the debut of Le Meridien in Turkey, a major fast growing market of Starwood.

    Source: HRI - full story

  7. World's safest airlines revealed

    British Airways are one of the world's ten safest commercial airlines, a new study has claimed. Two other European airlines, Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, featured in the report, which was published by the Geneva-based Air Transport Rating Agency (ATRA).

    Six of the ten safest airlines - Continental Airlines, Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, American Airlines and US Airways - are based in the United States. Japan Airlines was also named among the top ten.

    In its "Holistic Safety Rating" report ATRA compared publicly available data on 100 of the world's largest airlines.

    It took into account 15 different criteria, including the age of the each airline's fleet, their pilot training facilities and the number of accidents they have been involved in during the last ten years.

    ATRA, which operates independently of any airline, manufacturer or regulatory authority, says the study was undertaken to "provide the aviation sector with rigorous and transparent information, liable to encourage airlines to track, interpret and discuss any criteria in the organisation contributing to flight safety."

    Each year, the European Union releases list of banned airlines, often considered to be the world's most dangerous. The latest list, published in April, can be seen at http://ec.europa.eu/transport/air-ban/list_en.htm. It includes 37 Kazakh carriers and 43 Indonesian airlines.

    Source: Daily Telegraph - further information

  8. Next generation expense management tool launched

    Concur Friday (September 2) launched a new expense management facility aimed at business travellers frequently on the road.

    The new Concurforce built on salesforce.com's Force.com platform, will provide simple access to Salesforce's travel and expense management tool.

    A statement by Concur said the new tool was aimed specifically at the "heaviest" business travellers who are mostly on the road when they file expense claims.

    The statement said that while the new tool is built on the Force.com platform, it leverages Concur's travel and expense management services.

    Concur said Concurforce allows travellers to collaborate on trip details in Salesforce Chatter, an employee social network, use itineraries form TripIt to create expense reports and review their expense reports from various facilities, like iPhone and iPad.

    Source: ABTN - click here to read the full story by Stanley Slaughter

  9. Avis doubles outlets in huge expansion drive

    Avis Rent a Car has doubled its UK outlets in less than 12 months, thanks to deals with hotels and serviced offices. The rental company's number of locations has jumped from 110 to 220 since November after signing with brands such as Holiday Inn and Old English Inns.

    Cars are delivered by Avis and the handover process later carried out by hotel or office staff, which has provided Avis with a cost-effective means of expansion.

    Head of marketing Nick Mountfield said a decision had been taken to expand Avis away from its traditional airport and business-to-business rental, to services such as providing cars for insurers.

    Plans are afoot to add another 150 locations by the end of the year. 'We had 110 for some time, but what we have increasingly worked on is making off-airport hire more accessible,' he said.

    'There are many more in the pipeline, we will keep going until there is one within a couple of miles of anywhere in the country.'

    New locations include Holiday Inns in Basildon, Bromsgrove, Tamworth and Walsall. Mountfield said Avis currently hired half a million delivered cars a year. 'We will be significantly expanding that capacity,' he said.

    Source: E-Tid - original article

  10. Docklands Light Railway launches Olympics link

    A new line on the Docklands Light Railway in London was opened without ceremony on 31 August.

    The 6km link has added a second DLR route to Stratford, starting at Canning Town and running along part of the alignment of the former North London Rail Line (NLR)between Stratford and North Woolwich, which closed in December 2006.

    Trains on the route continue beyond the main station at Stratford via a newly-built section to Stratford International, where a two-platform terminus has been provided.

    Although still well in time for the Olympics the line is more than a year late, having been due to open in July last year. TfL has attributed this to 'contractual difficulties'.

    The former NLR section has gained three new stations - at Stratford High Street, Abbey Road and Star Lane - plus an interchange with the Jubilee Line and c2c at West Ham, where the former NLR island platform has been widened and modernised for light rail.

    Source: RailNews - full story

  11. Ryanair to allow passengers to amend bookings post check-in

    In a clear attempt to make its flights more appealing to business travellers, Ryanair has announced it is to allow customers to amend their bookings even after they have checked in online.

    The service, which is available from Ryanair's telephone reservation centres at a cost of £15 per passenger, per flight, allows passengers to access to their booking to amend names or change their flight dates.

    The airline said the service would be particularly useful for frequent flyers and business passengers who need to amend travel plans after they have already used Ryanair's online check-in service.

    Changes can be made up to 17:00 on the evening prior to scheduled departure, subject to call centre opening hours.

    Source: Travelmole - full story by Linsey McNeill

  12. New York Speeds airport access

    If you have travellers who fly in and out of New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, make AirTrain part of their itinerary.

    AirTrain connects passengers from their airline terminal to virtually hundreds of trains, subways, and buses. It's quick, easy, and affordable -not to mention the smartest way to and from the airport.

    Here's why AirTrain is a great service to encourage your travellers to use:
    • The AirTrain JFK and the Long Island Rail Road combination is the faster way to the airport. Your travellers can travel to JFK in 35 minutes from New York Penn Station.
    • AirTrain JFK and the MTA New York City Transit and subways are the cheaper ways to the airport.
    • It's convenient, reliable, and eco-friendly.
    • AirTrain service is available at Newark Liberty International Airport, too!
    Better yet, AirTrain is free within the airport - between the airline terminals, parking lots, rental car facilities, and hotel shuttle areas.

    Connecting to or from JFK with AirTrain costs $5 each way (children under 5 ride free). Payment is made at Howard Beach or Jamaica Station using a Pay-Per-Ride MetroCard.

    To learn more, including discounted rates, visit the website at www.panynj.info, or in the USA call 1-877-JFK-AIRTrain (535-2478).

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