News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: July 2012

  1. Heathrow's Future 'must be considered' by government

    Leading UK airlines and airports have urged the government to "consider all options" when it comes to drawing up its new aviation strategy for the UK.

    The government is due to unveil a consultation document on its new airports strategy in the next few weeks - all options are currently on the table apart from a third runway at Heathrow.

    But the Aviation Foundation, which includes British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Heathrow owner BAA and the Manchester Airports Group, said all options including a new Heathrow runway had to be considered by the government.

    The Aviation Foundation has set down four key tests that the government's aviation policy should meet:

    1. Deliver a clear policy conclusion that can be progressed without further delay
    2. Aim for a cross-party consensus and a commitment that lasts beyond the term of one parliament and ensures the policy will be implemented
    3. Achieve cross-departmental consensus and support Britain's economic growth, consistent with trade, tourism, transport, environmental and climate change strategies
    4. Be based on a policy process that has considered all options rationally and objectively on their merits


    Source: ABTN - full story by Rob Gill

    This single item should be treated with the maximum urgency for the future of Great Britain as London's airport is seen as the gateway to the hub of Commerce that London has evolved into over the years. However it should not be viewed as a sole issue - this country has cried out for an integrated travel structure for years and is losing ground to other European cities who have addressed this issue head on.

    If we can bulldoze down streets, homes and businesses to accommodate the Olympics surely we should be able to take the same approach for the long term benefit of the Country as a whole?

    If you would like to have your say on this single most important item on today's agenda please email admin@ms-uk.com and let us hear your take on the whole subject.

  2. 30 years of London City

    On Sunday 27 June 1982 Captain Harry Gee landed a Brymon Airways DHC Dash 7 at Heron Quays in the heart of London's dilapidated docklands. It made the main TV news that evening and national newspapers the following morning. The fact that a 50-seat transport aircraft could land in what is now the heart of the Canary Wharf complex startled everyone.

    That day was made possible by the vision of the late Reg Ward, Chief Executive of the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC), construction company Mowlem's quest for transport links, and in practical terms cancelling a Brymon Heathrow - Plymouth service.

    The flight proved the concept for London City Airport. Ward had other ideas for Heron Quays, but he also had another disused wharf up his sleeve in Royal Docks, one that would need a little work on before turning into an airport.

    Ward's dream has been realised 30 years on (Wednesday 30 June) to the tune of three million passengers annually, and even flights to New York. From the first experimental flight to its actual opening took just over five years. It could be argued that Docklands would not be where it is today without London City Airport.

    Source: BTN - full article

  3. Crossrail submits plans for Farringdon station

    Crossrail and development partner Cardinal Lysander have submitted a joint planning application to the London Borough of Islington and the City of London Corporation for an over-site development above the western entrance of Farringdon Crossrail station.

    The 207,000 sq ft development, located at the corner of Cowcross Street and Farringdon Road, will comprise six storeys of high-quality office space, with retail units at street level. The building has been carefully designed to integrate with Crossrail's operating station and will also improve local views of St Paul's Cathedral.

    Farringdon is at the heart of the Crossrail route and will be a key link in bringing passengers directly from within Greater London and beyond to the business hubs in the City and Canary Wharf. Located at the only intersection between Crossrail and Thameslink, Farringdon will directly connect with three of London's five airports, providing a railway connection between Heathrow and Gatwick. When complete, over 140 trains per hour will flow through the Farringdon interchange.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  4. Indigo to Earls Court

    The Barkston Gardens Hotel close to Earl's Court tube station is to be rebranded under IHG's boutique Hotel Indigo offering later this year.

    Hotel Indigo currently operates two properties in London's Paddington and Tower Hill districts, and according to IHG's website reservations are now open for the Hotel Indigo London Kensington - Earl's Court from October 15.

    The hotel will be housed within the current Barkston Gardens Hotel, located just off Earl's Court Road and a few minutes' walk from the station, with direct links to Heathrow in the Piccadilly line.

    According to the hotel's website the property is currently undergoing a refurbishment programme, and IHG's website says the property will offer 101 guest rooms across seven floors.

    IHG recently announced plans for the first Hotel Indigo in Wales, and has opened properties in Edinburgh and Newcastle this year.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full story by Mark Caswell

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

    Definition of Success = our 23rd Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum, which was held on the Wednesday 15th May in the Lion Suite of the elegant 5 star City Grange Hotel.

    Now the immediate task for our Planning Committee is to try and compete with that as we prepare for our Autumn event which will now be held on Tuesday 18th September in the Bell suite of the superb Grange City Hotel.

    Our Committee have reviewed the evaluation forms and the proposed agenda looks like this:-
    • Session 1 - What is the real value of business travel and meetings?
    • Session 2 - Identifying total trip and meetings costs.
    • Session 3 - Dealing with changes in traveller behaviour and the evolving role of travel management.
    • Session 4 - The 'Buyer Speakeasy'
    Full details of these sessions will soon be 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 our it has been approved you will also be able to view film of our Spring 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. An IHG 2-4-1

    Intercontinental Hotel Group officially opened a joint Holiday Inn and Staybridge Suites property within the Westfield Stratford City shopping centre next to the Olympic Park in June.

    The only other hotel within what is now Europe's largest urban shopping centre, is the Premier Inn London Stratford, which opened in September last year at the same time as Westfield itself.

    The two hotels form part of a mixed-use building, with retail outlets on the ground floor, staff facilities on the second floor, the reception of the Holiday Inn on the third floor, and that of the Staybridge Suites on the 12th floor

    Guests enter via the same main entrance, where there is a manned desk advising which of two separate lifts to take to the relevant hotel. The public spaces for each hotel are located on their reception floors, with both hotels having terraces looking out towards the Olympic Stadium. The view from the Staybridge Suite terrace is particularly impressive, with a vista taking in the Olympic Park, Canary Wharf, the O2 and Excel.

    Source: Business Traveller Online - full report by Mark Caswell

  7. Wyndham accused of lax security over customers' personal details

    An official complaint has been filed in the US against Wyndham Hotels after hundreds of thousands of its customers' credit card details were posted on a Russian website.

    The US Federal Trade Commission alleges that this is the third time in less than two years that the group's "lax" security policies have allowed hackers to access sensitive customer data, including credit card numbers and personal information.

    In court documents filed in the US District Court of Arizona, it is claimed that Russian hackers were able to access more than 500,000 customer accounts on three separate occasions between 2008 and 2010.

    The information was then used to rack up around £6.8 million in fraudulent credit card transactions.

    According to the FTC, the hotel chain and three of its subsidiaries had failed to put the security measures in place, such as firewalls and complex user IDs and passwords.

    In a statement, Wyndham's worldwide director of communications Michael Valentino said the chain would vigorously defend itself against the accusations.

    Source: Travelmole - full story

  8. Planning to drive in France - don't Drink!

    The majority of Britons travelling to France remain unaware of new regulations requiring them to carry breathalysers with them while driving in the country, according to a recent study.

    From Sunday,1st July all drivers must carry two official "NF" (Norme Franšaise) approved breathalysers, which can be purchased from ferry and tunnel terminals for £2, in their vehicle at all times. Those who fail to do so could be fined, although a period of leniency will be in place until November 1.

    However, a survey of drivers heading to the Continent at Dover suggested that 59 per cent of Britons did not know about the new rules.

    The poll also highlighted ignorance about other motoring regulations.

    Around one in 10 drivers were not displaying a GB sticker, while one in five did not have headlamp converters attached to their car. Both are compulsory in France: travelling without them is punishable with a fine of up to €100.

    French law also requires vehicles to be equipped with a warning triangle and a luminous safety vest. The vest must be kept inside the car and not in the boot.

    And since January, drivers have been prohibited from carrying any device - including satnavs - capable of detecting speed cameras, even if the device is not in use.

    Although car hire providers are obliged to provide all necessary equipment, those taking their own car must ensure that their vehicle complies with overseas regulations.

    Drivers should also be aware that the alcohol limit in France is 50mg per 100ml of blood, less than the 80mg permitted in Britain.

    Source: Daily Telegraph - read the story online

  9. Avis to the Max

    Avis Europe has appointed Maxymiser as its online customer experience optimisation partner.

    Maxymiser will work with the car rental giant to optimise the reservations process across its EMEA websites to increase the number of bookings, improve the overall experience and enhance customer retention.

    By partnering with Maxymiser, Avis will have access to a full portfolio of online testing, personalisation and multichannel optimisation solutions.

    Using the MaxTEST solution, Avis will initially use testing across the four stages of its reservation process to identify the variants of content, placement and design that drive the greatest number of bookings.

    Initial testing will take place on the French website and will then be rolled out across five other territories by the end of the year.

    Source: Breaking Travel News - full story

  10. Ryanair flights to America?

    Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary intends to use a takeover of Aer Lingus to launch ultra low-cost flights across the Atlantic, it is understood. Long-haul flights are a long-held ambition of Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary

    Aer Lingus's long-haul connections to New York, Boston and Chicago are believed to be one of the key attractions of the flag carrier, which Ryanair is hunting for a third time.

    Ministers in Dublin will meet next Tuesday (3rd July) to discuss the surprise €1.30-a-share offer by Ryanair, which Aer Lingus has dismissed as too low.

    Gert Zonneveld, of Panmure Gordon, said a merger with Aer Lingus would allow Mr O'Leary to "experiment" with cheap transatlantic flights.

    The flamboyant aviation boss has hinted in the past he would like to spark a revolution in long-haul travel by offering seats to America for as little as €10 (£8). Aer Lingus is the third biggest holder of take-off and landing slots at Heathrow, with 23 pairs.

    Many in the City believe Ryanair's chances of clearing competition hurdles to buy Aer Lingus have improved.

    Source: Daily Telegraph - read the online story by Nathalie Thomas

  11. Orbitz on a roll for iPhone and iPod Touch

    Orbitz announced last week a re-launch of the popular Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars for iPhone App, adding major speed improvements, powerful sort and filtering capabilities and new mapping tools that better highlight exclusive, mobile-only hotel discounts.

    The completely rebuilt Orbitz app is the only fully native, streamlined in-app search and book experience for flights, hotel rooms and car rentals. The new Orbitz app is available for free from the App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/orbitz-flights-hotels-cars/id403546234

    A consumer usability study also released found the newly updated Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars for iPhone App to be the fastest and easiest way to search and book an entire trip among leading travel apps, mobile websites and desktop sites tested.

    In the new study, consumers were able to search and book an entire trip (three separate bookings for a flight, hotel room and car rental) in just over seven minutes, twice as fast as the average of all other competitors tested.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full article

  12. Pssst, Wanna room in London!

    The cost of a London hotel room during the Olympic Games has dropped sharply, as an expected surge in bookings has failed to materialise.

    As part of the bid to stage the 2012 Games, Locog had reached agreements with hotels to provide it with more than 40,000 rooms, representing more than 600,000 room nights during the period. Part of the deal was that the organising committee promised to return any unwanted rooms back to the hotels so they could sell them in time for games.

    Tourism chiefs confirmed the fall, which comes after Locog, the games' organisers, released thousands of unwanted hotel rooms in the capital and hoteliers began to abandon minimum stay rules, allowing tourists to book one or two night stays.

    The average rate for rooms in London during the main Olympic period of July 27 to August 12 has fallen from £213 to £160 - a drop of 24 per cent - the new figures will reveal next week.

    The price cuts mean a double room at the four-star Britannia International, at Canary Wharf, will cost £259, compared to previous rates of £395, while a double room at the three-star London Ealing Hotel, on Ealing Common, will cost £121, down from around £150.

    Last month the four-star Radisson New Providence Wharf Hotel, three miles from the Olympic Park, was showing the cheapest rate of £594, for a double or twin room, for the Games period.

    But similar rooms are now available during the Olympics for between £210 and £306.

    Source: "Del Boy and Rodney" or rather Patrick Sawyer in the Daily Telegraph - full story

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