News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: August 2012

  1. Easier to get up and down

    Continuing our opening London theme we are delighted to report that Crossrail and TfL are set to install the first incline lifts in UK public transport.

    Crossrail and Transport for London (TfL) awarded a major contract to Kone for around 50 lifts for the new Crossrail stations as well as five lifts for Bank, Greenford and Hammersmith Tube stations.

    Crossrail will pioneer the use of incline lifts to deliver step-free access at two of the major central London stations. Four innovative incline lifts will run alongside escalators at Farringdon and Liverpool Street Crossrail stations where it is not possible to install vertical lifts. London Underground will also install an incline lift at Greenford station by 2014.

    All Crossrail stations in central London will have step-free access from street to train. The new incline lifts offer an added benefit by allowing groups travelling together to have passengers with wheelchairs, buggies or large baggage to take an incline lift while friends and family take an escalator directly alongside. These incline lifts will allow Crossrail to provide full step-free access at Farringdon and Liverpool Street stations where the platforms will sit below existing buildings, preventing the installation of traditional vertical lifts.

    Source: Business Travel News - full story

  2. A new "integrated" London Airport finally arrives

    Southend airport is officially a London airport after the International Air Transport Association included it in the classification of the Metropolitan Area of London.

    It means international travellers will automatically be offered Southend as an option alongside the other five 'London' passenger airports - Gatwick, Heathrow, City, Stansted and Luton.

    Whilst the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has always classed the Essex airport as 'London', historically IATA has not.

    Airport managing director Alastair Welch, said: "We look forward to even more people discovering our new light and airy terminal building less than 100 paces from our brand new railway station with up to 8 trains per hour into the heart of London.

    "Passengers flying out from London Southend will wait for a maximum of four-minutes for security, whilst those arriving with just hand luggage can expect to travel from plane to train within 15 minutes of their aircraft doors opening (30 minutes if collecting luggage)."

    Source: Travelmole - online report

  3. Air France launches new ground and in-flight initiatives

    Air France has announced a number of new ground and in-flight initiatives, "designed to enhance the customer travel experience".

    Passengers using any of 12 airports in France can now use self-service kiosks to print out their own baggage labels, allowing them to go to Express baggage drop-off areas and avoid check-in counters.

    The carrier has also joined sister airline KLM in offering a paid-for a la carte meal service for Voyageur and Premium Voyageur passengers on long-haul flights.

    Customers can choose from dishes including "a traditional French meal, fresh seafood, healthy organic, Italian or a special dish designed by the famous Lenotre culinary institute", with prices starting at €12. KLM launched a similar initiative last year.

    Sticking with food and beverage, Air France says it has "refined" its Premium Voyageur menu, created by French chef Michel Nugues, and until January 13 next year business class passengers can enjoy dishes by Michelin star chef Guy Martin.

    Source: Business Traveller - full report by Mark Caswell

  4. Meetings event to include business travel for first time

    Meetings and events show EIBTM is to include business travel for the first time at its trade show in Barcelona this November.

    Reed Travel Exhibitions, which also owns the Business Travel Market held annually in London, announced that EIBTM would feature business travel at the show from November 27 - 29.

    Corporate travel activities will include an exhibitor pavilion on the showfloor and education sessions run by ACTE. For full details, click here

    Organisers said that it had decided to make the move after research from last year's show found that 57 per cent of international hosted buyers also had responsibility for business travel within their companies.

    EIBTM, which is celebrating its 25th birthday this year, has also formed a "strategic partnership" with ACTE to provide the educational sessions at the show.

    Source: ABTN - full report by Rob Gill

  5. MS-UK & ACTE-Global Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum

    We are pleased to announce that bookings are coming in fast and furious for our Autumn event on the 18th September which will now be held on Tuesday 18th September in the Bell suite of the superb Grange City Hotel.

    Our Planning Committee are well aware of the task they have before them in trying to improve on our 23rd Forum and judging by what we have seen so far we are well on the way.

    Our Committee have reviewed the evaluation forms and the proposed agenda looks like this:
    • Session 1 : Business Travel - a cost or an investment?
    • Session 2 : How do you prove the value of business travel to your company?
    • Session 3 : Dealing with changes in traveller behaviour and evolving travel management roles.
    • Session 4 : The 'Buyer Speakeasy'. Unthemed to enable Buyers to dictate discussion around the hot topics of the day.
    Full details of these sessions are now visible on our website www.ms-uk.com/travel-forum.html

    You can see a full gallery of pictures taken at our last event and videos of previous Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forums.

    As soon as it has been approved you will also be able to view film of our Spring 2012 Event so please come back and visit our site, www.ms-uk.com whenever you can - in the meantime make a note in your diary for Tuesday 18th September, it is certainly a date to remember - and hopefully it will become a day you won't forget!

  6. New app for visitors perfect for Europe's largest free Wi-Fi hub

    VisitBritain has launched the latest edition of its Mx Great Britain app, a mobile guide to the UK.

    The app is available for free on all major mobile platforms including iPhone, Nokia and Android.

    It includes information on destinations across the UK, along with some bookability for flights, over 11,000 hotels on offer, a range of tours, restaurant suggestions, a guide to attractions, where to shop and the best modes of transport.

    The app will be especially useful to visitors wanting to make the most of their visit. With London's new status as the largest free wireless zone in Europe and the ever increasing number of free Wi-Fi hotspots available around the UK, Mx Great Britain will be a highly popular app, especially for visitors wanting tickets to a West End show or to book tours to some of Britain's best known attractions in between taking in the celebrations going on as part of the London 2012 Games.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full story

  7. Ascott acquires London's Cavendish Hotel

    The Ascott Limited (Ascott), has signed an agreement to acquire The Cavendish Hotel in London for £158.8 million. The company will manage the 230-room hotel from the fourth quarter of 2012 and will subsequently transform the property into a luxurious serviced residence under the premier Ascott The Residence brand, renaming it Ascott St James London.

    Aquisition of The Cavendish London increases Ascott's central London portfolio to seven properties. The hotel transformation and rebranding will mark the expansion of the Ascott brand in London and enhance the company's presence in Europe where it currently manages over 5,000 units across 45 properties in 20 cities.

    Currently in London, Ascott operates Ascott Mayfair, Citadines Prestige Trafalgar Square, Citadines Prestige Holborn-Covent Garden, Citadines Prestige South Kensington, Citadines Barbican and St Marks serviced residence.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full story

  8. Airlines face surcharge legal charge

    A report in the English language newspaper Sur claims that the The Malaga public prosecution office is compiling a list of those airlines which impose a fee to check in luggage, as well as those who charge passengers to issue a boarding card. It is thought that between 15 and 20 airlines would be affected.

    Its case makes reference to the Air Navigation Law of 1960, which states that airlines are obliged to carry a passenger's luggage, together with the passenger, as part of the price of the flight ticket.

    The cost of checking in luggage on board low-cost airlines has increased dramatically during recent years. Ryanair recently temporarily increased its charge to £40 per person per flight on selected services until the end of September. It charges passengers between £15 and £30 per person per flight outside of peak periods for travel.

    easyJet levies baggage charges of up to £31 per person for a return flight, Flybe charges between £10 and £31, depending on the size of the bag, and Jet2.com charges up to £30.

    Last week Telegraph Travel reported that the total revenue airlines received from "extras" such as baggage charges rose by 66 per cent in the last two years.

    Airlines around the world took an estimated €18.23 billion (£14.23 bn) in "ancillary revenue" during 2011, up from just over €15 billion (£11.7 bn) in 2010 and €11 billion (£8.6 bn) in 2009.

    Source: the Daily Telegraph - full online story by Oliver Smith

  9. Opposition grows to ETS

    Seventeen countries opposed to an EU law that makes all airlines pay for carbon they emit on flights to and from Europe reaffirmed they want to keep working on an alternative plan at the U.N. global aviation body, a senior U.S. official said.

    The European Commission has repeatedly said the only grounds for waiving its scheme, which has stirred threats of an international trade war, would be if the U.N.'s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) could come up with an equally effective world-wide solution to rising airline emissions.

    The U.S. State Department and Department of Transportation concluded a two-day meeting of countries opposed to the EU's emissions trading system (ETS) without a joint declaration, but planned to address the greenhouse gas emissions issue within the ICAO.

    "In a nutshell, the meeting confirmed the very solid and strong opposition to the ETS, but also indicated that there is a lot of interest among countries in continuing to work on the suite of activities in ICAO," the senior U.S. official told a news briefing.

    Joining the United States at the meeting were Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

    The talks differed from previous meetings of opponents of the EU scheme in that it did not draw up retaliatory measures and its stated goal was to spur efforts for a constructive solution.

    The countries aim to implement the goals and actions they agreed to at the 2010 ICAO assembly. These include a voluntary target to cap net carbon emissions by 2020, national action plans, improving air traffic management, and an emissions standard for aircraft, the meeting chairman's summary said.

    Source: Reuters - full story

  10. London City extend to the North Rhine-Westphalia

    From 29 October, CityJet will start operating a daily return flight to Munster-Osnabruck, Germany.

    One flight a day will be operated by CityJet's Fokker 50 aircraft, offering passengers free 23kg luggage allowance, free online check-in and seat selection 30 hours before departure with complimentary food and drink on board.

    In addition SkyWork Airlines are set to include an extra midday flight from 28 October on their Bern route from London City Airport. The additional week day service departs from Bern at 12.40 and London City at 13.35. The additional third week day flight will provide more choice for their passengers. Bern is the airlines best performing scheduled route.

    Source: London City Airport News - full stories

  11. Iberia drags BA parent into loss

    'Deep, structural problems' at Iberia dragged International Airlines Group into a half year operating loss of €253 million despite British Airways being in profit.

    The IAG pre-tax loss came in at €390 million against a profit of €39 million in the same period last year.

    The operating loss followed a profit of €88 million in the first half of 2011. The Spanish carrier contributed an operating loss of €263 million while BA made a profit of €13 million.

    This led IAG to revise forecasts and predict an operating loss from the year instead of breaking even as it had previously hoped.

    IAG saw fuel costs in the half year rise by 25% to almost €3 billion.

    Chief executive Willie Walsh said: "There remains a stark difference in the performance of our subsidiaries. British Airways made an operating profit despite rising fuel prices while Iberia's losses deepened.

    Source: TravelWeekly - full report

  12. Sabre launches high-definition video conference booking platform

    Sabre has launched a booking platform that will allow travel agents and meetings organisers to shop and book high-definition video conference meetings globally.

    Sabre Virtual Meetings, the world's first global reservation system for video conferencing, eliminates the hassle of manually booking video conferences with an easy-to-use, cloud-based scheduling system for private and public rooms.

    Sabre will initially unveil the virtual meeting platform to corporations and travel agencies through GetThere and the Sabre Red Workspace, making the product available to millions of business travellers and to more than 220,000 travel agents worldwide.

    Sabre Virtual Meetings connects to multiple telecom and video conferencing providers to facilitate real-time shopping, live scheduling and confirmation simultaneously across different corporations and business units.

    The technology will also be readily available to other travel and third-party distribution channels including global distribution systems, travel management companies, online booking tools, and directly on the Internet.

    Beginning in September, GetThere corporate customers can have access to Sabre Virtual Meetings directly from the GetThere homepage.

    Source: Breakingtravelnews - full report

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