News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: January 2012

  1. Kent loses short cut to Scotland

    Flybe to drop Manston-Edinburgh route as they announces withdrawal from Kent's Manston airport at the end of March.

    The carrier currently operates flights from Manston to Edinburgh, and has previously offered services from the airport to Manchester.

    But in a statement the carrier said it would cease operations on March 25.

    Cityjet operates seasonal services from Manston to Jersey, and Swedish charter carrier Tor Air also operates seasonal flights to destinations including Dubrovnik and Naples.

    Located northeast of Canterbury, and around a mile from the Kent coastline, the airport is also the base for several cargo operations.

    Source: Business Traveller online - full report by Mark Caswell

  2. Things are different in China

    Whilst we prevaricate over whether we need an additional Runway at Heathrow or Gatwick or a new airport in the Thames, the Airports Council International (ACI) has said it supports Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) building a third runway in Hong Kong to cope with the tremendous traffic growth in the region.

    According to ACI Traffic Forecast for 2009 - 2029, global passenger traffic will reach 11 billion in 2029 and passenger traffic will grow by 4.1 per cent per annum over the next 20 years.

    Total passenger traffic in the Asia and Pacific region is expected to nearly quadruple from 1.2 billion passengers in 2009 to over four billion in 2029.

    The region is also expected to generate nearly 50 per cent of all new global passenger demand over the next 20 years, a direct challenge to the airports in the region.

    Commenting on the recommendation for a three-runway system made by the Board of Airport Authority Hong Kong to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government, Patti Chau, ACI Asia Pacific regional director said: "An airport is vital to the local economy that it serves."

    UK politicians please note!

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  3. MG cars back on the road with AVIS

    Avis Rent a Car has announced it will begin supplying MG6 GT fastbacks and MG6 Magnette sports saloons to its customers in the UK.

    An initial order of 100 models has been delivered ahead of launch.

    The fleet of cars will be put into Avis' national hire database ready to be chosen for business trips, leisure purposes and other journeys.

    Avis' new cars were designed and engineered at MG Motor's plant in Birmingham, where final assembly also took place.

    Source: Breaking Travel News: click here for the full story

  4. London's Grosvenor Victoria emerges from the gloom

    London's Grosvenor hotel has completed an 18-month refurbishment project, adding new meeting rooms, a business centre, three executive suites and a Cantonese restaurant.

    Refurbishment works have included the reinstatement of gold leaf finishes on the columns in the grand lobby, and the uncovering of original white marble on the hotel's pillars.

    All 346 rooms have been refurbished, and new facilities have been added including a gym, fine dining Cantonese restaurant Grand Imperial, Reunion bar, nine new meeting rooms, a manned business centre, and three executive suites with separate lounge areas, rolltop bath and rainfall shower, Nespresso coffee machine and a complimentary mini bar.

    Now that the refurbishment project has been completed, the hotel has been rebranded from a Thistle property to a Guoman hotel (the Thistle brand being owned by Guoman Hotel Management), joining existing London properties including The Cumberland, The Tower Hotel, The Royal Horseguards and the Charing Cross hotel.

    Source: Business Traveller - full report from Mark Caswell

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


    We are delighted to announce that Tuesday 15th May has been agreed as the date for the Spring 2012 Forum, however there is still doubt over the venue.

    The previous Autumn Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum that was held on the 3rd November 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 and check out the video interviews.

    We have a planning committee tomorrow, Tuesday 10th January to finalise the venue and discuss the various suggestions proposed by our Autumn delegates, 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. Lufthansa prices to rise due to ETS introduction

    Lufthansa has warned that it will have to pass on the costs of the new Emissions Trading Scheme to business travellers.

    The German airline said that it expects ETS, which was introduced by the European Union on January 1, to cost an extra €130 million this year as it has to buy certificates to cover its carbon dioxide emissions.

    Lufthansa said it had no choice but to pass this extra cost to passengers through higher ticket prices due to "tough competition" particularly from non-EU airlines which will not be hit as hard by ETS as European-based carriers.

    The cost of ETS is now being added to Lufthansa's fuel surcharge which was raised from €3 to €10 for European and long-haul flights on December 15. Lufthansa said it had "no immediate plans" to raise this surcharge any further but warned that the charge would now reflect both its ETS costs and future increases in fuel prices.

    ETS has been introduced for all airlines arriving into and departing from EU airports from January 1, 2012, after a ruling by the European Court of Justice on December 21.

    The judgement by Europe's highest court followed a case brought by US carriers United and American Airlines in 2009, which opposed the inclusion of foreign carriers within ETS.

    Source: ABTN - full report by Rob Gill

  7. Major redevelopment of Peterborough Station announced

    A £43m upgrade of Peterborough station heralding longer, more frequent trains, extra platforms and new footbridges and lifts has been announced today by Network Rail.

    More than 4m people use Peterborough station each year and this number is set to rise dramatically, with the number of people travelling between the city and London forecast to double over the next 25 years. Network Rail's investment will provide the extra capacity needed to cater for the forecast growth in passenger numbers on all routes to and through Peterborough and also paves the way for new services to new destinations.

    Peterborough is a major rail interchange, served by a complex mix of commuter and long-distance services travelling both east-west and north-south. Network Rail's redevelopment will increase capacity through the station, with two new platforms constructed on the west side of the station for use by trains travelling on east-west routes, freeing up the existing platforms for north-south services.

    Work has started to clear the land to the west of Peterborough station in preparation for major works to be carried out starting in April 2012. The project will be completed in December 2013.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full report

  8. Guangzhou-Shenzhen high-speed rail service commences

    The G6126 train left Shenzhen North Railway Station at 10.40am on December 26 to mark the opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. In the early phase of operation, the train will operate at 300km per hour, almost halving the commute time between China's third largest city and the fast-developing Special Economic Zone across the border from Hong Kong.

    Much of the station in Shenzhen is still under construction, with facilities such as shops and restaurants still in the works, and it is located further north in the Boa'an District --- a long way from all the popular checkpoints with Hong Kong. But the US$681 million project is being developed as the future interchange station for the Express Rail Link, Xiamen-Shenzhen railway line and Shenzhen Metro lines 4 and 5.

    For now, the train runs from 7am daily, with the last departure set at 10pm. There three stops between the two cities, but the journey still takes just 35 minutes - about 30 minutes less than by the old train between Guangzhou East Station and Shenzhen Railway Station. But according to Shenzhen Government Online, travel time of this section will eventually be reduced to 25 minutes, as the train is designed to run at 380km per hour.

    Other than linking two major metropolises, the new link will also facilitate the industrial development between Shenzhen and Guangzhou, strengthening the city of Dongguan as the manufacturing hub.

    Source: BusinessTraveler-Asia - full story by Peggy Ho

  9. Tune Hotels expands UK presence

    Newly opened Tune Hotel Liverpool Street further strengthens Tune Hotels presence in London, following the debut of Tune Hotel Westminster in August 2010.

    Located close to Liverpool Street station, the property features 183 ensuite bedrooms, which are 20 per cent larger than those at Westminister, as well as a private courtyard garden.

    The budget hotel group, owned by low-cost carrier AirAsia, is expected to add 1,500 rooms across 15 London properties by 2017 (see story here). To date, the chain consists of 19 properties in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and UK.

    Source: BusinessTravellerOnline - full report by Tiffany Sandrasageran

  10. London City expects passenger boost from Olympics

    London City Airport is expecting to see an increase in passenger numbers this year due to the Olympics Games in the summer.

    London City is the nearest airport to the main Olympic venues in Stratford which is just three miles away and is linked to the site by the Docklands Light Railway.

    The airport saw passenger numbers grow by 7.6% last year to just over three million from 2.8 million in 2010 - the first time it has exceeded the three million mark since 2008 when it served 3.3 million people.

    The airport also expects the number of business travellers to increase in 2012 as it benefits from flights from major European business hubs and the British Airways all-business class service to New York's JFK airport.

    Richard Gooding, the airport's chief executive, said: "It's encouraging to see increasing passenger movements in what has undoubtedly been a challenging period for the travel industry.

    Last month there were reports that a new UK-based airline Odyssey Airlines was looking to start new business class flights to New York. But the airport said it was not in negotiations with Odyssey.

    Source: ABTN - full story by Rob Gill

  11. Airline and airport codes on your phone

    It is fine providing you have the battery strength

    Avianet, Munich-based provider for global IT services and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Aviareps AG, has just launched its first app. Having a strong affinity to airline solutions, Avianet's 'Travel Code' also deals with the daily issues of air travel. The app can be downloaded free of charge in the iTunes store and is based on an Apple iOS platform.

    The concept of 'Travel Code' is simple: The app facilitates the tracking of IATA codes. It enables a quick and easy reference by either typing in a name of an airline, airport or country providing the respective two or three letter code within seconds or by entering a code and getting the full name of the airline, airport or country immediately.

    'Travel Code' is designed for industry professionals, passionate travellers and consumers alike.

    Source: AERBT (An Executive Review of Business Travel) - latest edition

  12. Chinese airlines warn they will refuse to pay EU carbon tax

    China's biggest airlines warned on Thursday they will refuse to pay a new EU tax aimed at cutting carbon emissions.

    Beijing said it has deep concerns over the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which came into force on New year's Day and demands all airlines pay a green duty to offset carbon emissions.

    The China Air Transport Association (CATA) was more militant in its response - declaring its members would not co-operate with the ETS and refuse to pay the added tax.

    It also said it would seek legal action and try and attempt to form an international alliance to scrap the scheme.

    China's four major airlines - national flag-carrier Air China, China Eastern Airlines, China southern Airlines and Hainan Airlines - are represented by the CATA.

    China is likely to be able to pull unusually heavy punches in the dispute as its air carriers ferry hundreds of thousands of passenger from Asia into Europe's troubled markets, including the tourist sector.

    The ETS requires airlines flying to or from Europe to obtain certificates for carbon dioxide emissions.

    Most airlines will receive free credits to cover most flights this year.

    But in the future they must buy or trade for credits to cover the full cost of the levy.

    The European Commission has assessed the impact on air fares at between two to 12 euros per passenger.

    But the Chinese airlines' association said if its members agreed to pay the charge, it will cost them £79m in the first year alone with estimated costs tripling by 2020.

    Chinese airlines could be forced to pay fines of 100 euros (£83) for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted if they refuse to pay the duty.

    Brussels has the power to ban airlines if they continue to flout the law.

    The US lost its attempt to have the new airline tax blocked by the European Court of Justice last month. Canada, Russia and India have also criticised the plan - but China is the first to declare it will refuse to co-operate. The ETS was first introduced in 2005 as part of a set of green initiatives launched to tackle climate change. China warned last year of a trade war if the ETS came into effect.

    According to reports, a draft law currently in the U.S. Congress proposes to make it illegal to comply with the EU legislation and Washington has also warned of possible retaliatory measures against the levy.

    A claim the scheme infringes on national sovereignty or violates aviation treaties was dismissed last month by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

    The International Air Transport Association says the EU should negotiate through the International Civil Aviation Organization to reach a global agreement on the issue.

    Source: The Telegraph - full article by Peter Simpson

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