News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: October 2012

  1. Lufthansa will create budget brand to cut costs in Europe

    In a bid to save money on its short-haul routes, German airline Lufthansa will unveil a new budget airline with effect from January 1 next year.

    At a meeting of the carrier's Board of Directors on September 19th it was decided to create a new budget brand which would take over operation of all Lufthansa domestic and European routes with the exception of those services which connect with the carriers twin hubs of Frankfurt and Munich.

    It means that the carrier's current budget airline, Germanwings, will be absorbed into the new entity which is set to carry 18 million passengers a year.

    According to reports on Reuters a decision on what to call the new budget operation will be made within the coming months. And there are as yet no details of what in-flight service passengers may receive. Neither is there any indication of what fares or (perhaps) ancillary fees passengers may have to pay.

    Typical routes from the UK over which the new low-cost carrier will operate include: London to Cologne, Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Stuttgart along with Birmingham and Manchester to Berlin. Lufthansa is currently engaged in a huge cost-cutting programme which has identified savings of over €1 billion.

    Lufthansa is set to axe its Munich-Singapore-Jakarta service and is currently examining the viability of operating to Bangkok. In the case of the UK, Lufthansa has or is about to cancel routes such as London Gatwick-Frankfurt and London City-Munich.

    As reported above, services into Frankfurt and Munich will not form part of the new budget carrier's network. That is because they are considered feeder services and, naturally, Lufthansa would want to give a good impression to connecting passengers, some of whom may have paid large sums of money for their first and business class long-haul tickets.

    What Lufthansa will action from next January is sure to change the short-haul business models currently being operated by its rivals as all airlines are keen to keep operating costs as low as possible.

    Source: BusinessTraveller Online - to read the full story by Alex McWhirter.

  2. Japan Airlines (JAL) and British Airways (BA) Announce Start of Joint Business

    Japan Airlines and British Airways will begin a joint business agreement with the two airlines sharing revenue on applicable flights between Europe and Japan.

    The joint business, which starts on October 1, 2012, will benefit customers by providing better links between Japan and Europe, greater choice of flights to more destinations, enhanced frequent flyer benefits and the potential to launch new routes.

    JAL and British Airways, both members of the Oneworld alliance, have been forging ever closer ties in their evolution to the joint business. Earlier last month, JAL and British Airways began offering codeshare flights between Tokyo (Haneda and Narita) and London (Heathrow).

    The joint business will now see the two airlines cooperating on all non-stop flights operated by JAL or British Airways between Japan and Europe. This will not only include the 19 weekly services between the UK and Japan, but also JAL's services to Paris and Frankfurt. This gives customers the flexibility of using a combination of JAL and British Airways flights and aligned fares on their journey to and from Japan and Europe, significantly increasing their options.

    JAL and British Airways will also be improving flight transfers for customers through enhancing and expanding the codeshare network beyond their respective hub cities. JAL customers will, be able to book seats to the new codeshare destinations of Belfast, Helsinki, Frankfurt, and Gothenburg while British Airways will extend its reach to more points in Japan by codesharing on JAL flights to Kansai, Okayama, Hiroshima, Izumo, Nagasaki, Kagoshima and Okinawa.

    Source: Odyssey Media Group - full story

  3. Accor falls for London's charms

    October 2012 will mark a surge in the Group's development in the United Kingdom, with four new establishments (Novotel, Mercure, ibis) opening their doors in London in the next few weeks. The UK capital's status as a tourist and commercial hub was a decisive factor in the strategic choice of sites for the new hotels.

    From city centre ... Located between the City and St Pancras station, Blackfriars is a district undergoing rapid development. A new complex housing a Novotel and an ibis will open shortly, contributing to creation of over 70 jobs.

    With 182 modern and spacious rooms, the Novotel Blackfriars is a particularly interactive hotel offering the high-tech accessories and services beloved of new technology fans: a virtual concierge service, digital room keys, Apple multimedia corners, Microsoft tactile tablets and a fitness centre bristling with the latest equipment. A host of new services that make the hotel one of Accor's most innovative establishments in the UK.

    The nearby ibis Blackfriars has also opted for modernity, combined with a cozy, intimate ambiance offering special spaces designed to meet the needs of all guests, from business travellers to family groups. The rooms are equipped with the new "Sweet Bed by ibis" guaranteeing an excellent night's sleep, thanks to technology developed in-house.

    ... to outlying neighbourhoods. All the same advantages can be found in the ibis Shepherd's Bush, nestling in a part of the city in full renovation swing. The 128-room hotel is surrounded by a number of upmarket malls including the recent Westfield Shopping Centre. The hotel enjoys the calm, attractive atmosphere of West London, which is continuing to develop.

    The historic district of Greenwich is home to a new Mercure hotel, the fourth major opening in London this fall. It occupies Maurice Drummond House, a building distinguished by an architecture prize back in 1946, and exudes an elegant ambiance with strong roots in English traditions. This fine new hotel takes the number of the brand's establishments in the UK to 72 and will generate 70 new jobs.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full story

  4. Key business group joins air tax campaign

    The Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce has joined the fight against Air Passenger Duty.

    The group, which represents nearly 3,500 businesses, has confirmed its support of the travel industry's A Fair Tax on Flying campaign.

    The campaign is encouraging constituents to email their MP, calling for a review into the impact of APD on the UK economy.

    Other leading Chambers which have also decided to back the campaign include the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    A Fair Tax on Flying, the travel industry's joint petition against Air Passenger Duty, has been backed by 285,000 people since its launch in June.

    Online petition: 100,000 people have signed up to the Fair Tax on Flying appeal

    It was created as part of the Fair Tax on Flying campaign, a coalition of 35 travel brands and bodies, from Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines to TUI Travel and Lastminute.com, which launched last year.

    Please join us in supporting the Fair Tax on Flying campaign. Visit www.afairtaxonflying.org and, if you live in the UK, please take 15 seconds to email your MP to tell them that Air Passenger Duty is now far too high

    Source: TravelMole - details

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

    What a fantastic turnout we had on Tuesday the 18th September, with an audience of 102 turned with over 50% of the delegates coming from the Buying sector the audience were presented with some very interesting perspectives and learned a great deal about new travel management techniques.

    Full details of these sessions can be seen on our website www.ms-uk.com/travel-forum.html

    If you would like to read an independent view of the days' event then read Stanley Slaughter's article

    Our Planning Committee will be meeting early in November to start work on our next Forum - the Spring event which is scheduled for Wednesday 30th April 2013 - make sure you do not miss this event - make a diary note now!

  6. Westminster to welcome first new London InterContinental Hotel in 36 years

    Arriving on London's exciting hotel scene in November 2012, the much-anticipated InterContinental London Westminster will open its doors in the political heartland of Britain.

    The first InterContinental hotel to open in London for over 36 years, the property is located at an outstanding address; a short walk from Parliament, in earshot of Big Ben and within sight of Westminster Abbey.

    The hotel will inject a new lease of life into Queen Anne's Chambers, a former government building, which played host to the Treasury Solicitor and The Brewers' Society among others during its century's long history.

    Behind its townhouse style exterior, the hotel's elegant interiors marry rich furnishings and British finesse to create an intimate sanctuary at the centre of Westminster's urban revival.

    Spread across six floors it will feature 256 beautifully designed rooms including 44 luxurious suites and an imposing penthouse.

    Blue Boar Smokehouse & Bar will sit at the heart of the hotel's food and drink offering.

    The Bar will bring a sense of sophistication to the traditional British pub, offering carefully selected local ales, classic cocktails, and British wines, while the restaurant is set to be a buzzing destination to meet for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    Dark wood panelling and warm tones will nod to the traditional members clubs of London.

    InterContinental London Westminster joins InterContinental London Park Lane as the second InterContinental property in London.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - read the story

  7. What have you lost?

    Europcar the leader in car hire services in Europe for business and leisure users, hires out thousands of vehicles every day. But the variety of weird and wonderful items left by customers never fails to puzzle Europcar staff.

    Unsurprisingly, sunglasses, CDs and loose change are the most common items left in Europcar vehicles. However, some customers carry more intriguing cargo when they travel, as Europcar's lost property department has recently reported.

    Unusual Items Left in Europcar's Rental Cars in 2012
    • A live mouse in a cage
    • Two 610 ft oil paintings
    • Ashes in an urn
    • 30 plants
    • A hedge trimmer
    It was Europcar's Belfast City Airport branch that found an urn of ashes when a vehicle was returned. The ashes of a customer's mother had been brought over from South Africa and the customer was relieved to have them back so that she could scatter them at her mother's birth place.

    And all the glasses that go unclaimed are recycled as part of Europcar's 'Go Green' pledge.

    But probably the best item left behind was discovered by staff at Europcar's Blackpool Station location. It was a life-size dummy, dressed as an old lady and left in the boot of a Ford Focus. The Europcar driver had the fright of his life when he thought he'd found a body!

    "Judging from our lost property, our vehicles have a tale to tell" said Ken McCall, Managing Director, Europcar UK Group. "But our staff always go out of their way to reunite our customers with their forgotten items, no matter how bizarre."

    Source: Businesstravelnews - read the story

  8. Bmi Regional announces new routes and launches website

    Bmi Regional has confirmed its first new routes since becoming an independent airline, with flights launching between Bristol and Aberdeen, and between Manchester and Antwerp.

    Both routes will launch on October 29, operating twice daily. International Airlines Group (IAG) sold Bmi Regional to Sector Aviation Holdings earlier this year), and the carrier is currently operating under a transition agreement.

    The Bristol-Aberdeen route is currently served by Eastern Airways via Leeds Bradford, while Bmi Regional will be replacing Cityjet on the Manchester-Antwerp route, with the Air France subsidiary dropping its service this month.

    Bmi Regional will become a fully independent airline on October 28, and is in the process of moving from temporary offices into a new 8,000 square feet building at East Midlands airport.

    Bmi Regional said it will "soon be in a position to announce the addition of further new services to commence in the New Year", and confirmed a new frequent flyer programme is being developed and will launch "very soon".

    Source: Businesstravelleronline - read this report and others by Mark Caswell

  9. Estonian Air to launch London City route

    Estonian Air is to launch a three times-weekly service between London City and Tallinn in March next year, rising to six times-weekly by June 1.

    The carrier currently uses Gatwick airport for its London services, but a spokesperson for the airport has confirmed these flights will be suspended for the winter 2012 season.

    The new London City flights will initially operate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from March 1, departing Tallinn at 07:30 and arriving into LCY at 08:20, before leaving London at 08:50 and landing back in the Estonian capital at 13:30.

    From May 2, a Thursday flight will be added, and from June 1 the route will be served daily except Sundays.

    The carrier will operate the service with new 112-seater Embraer E190 aircraft.

    Ryanair also currently serves Tallinn from Luton airport, while Easyjet flies to the city from Stansted.

    Source: Businesstravelleronline - full report by Mark Caswell.

  10. Government announces aid for new trains

    The Government has signalled that it intends to make the acquisition of new rolling stock easier, by offering official guarantees.

    The first project to benefit is set to be the new fleet for Crossrail. Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander told the Liberal Democrat conference that the funding for 60 new trains would be guaranteed, so that there would no problems with timescales.

    The Government will contribute £240 million, which is about 30 per cent. The remaining funding must still come from the private sector.

    The contract for Crossrail will be the very first project to be offered a new Government guarantee.

    The parallel but larger order for a new Thameslink fleet, which involves up to 300 trains, is still floundering as a result of the financial crisis in the Eurozone.

    Outgoing rail minister Theresa Villiers said on 3 September that she hoped the contract with Siemens would be signed in 'early autumn', but when the new transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin was giving evidence to the Commons Transport Committee just nine days later, the deadline had apparently slipped to 'the turn of the year'.

    Siemens was named as preferred bidder in mid-2011, with Bombardier in Derby as the second choice.

    The Crossrail contract is being pursued by four firms, one of whom is Bombardier. The other contenders are Siemens, CAF and Hitachi.

    Source: Railnews - full report

  11. Sixt continues UK expansion

    Sixt has announced the opening of a new branch in Edinburgh, which is their second outlet to open in the city.

    The new rental-location is situated at Abbeyhill in the Royal Mile area and near the historic Palace of Holyrood and offers a full range of vehicles to suit both personal and business needs.

    The branch's fleet will feature a range of vehicles for hire, including economy and family cars, convertibles and premium brands such as Mercedes and BMW, to people carriers and vans.

    Paul McLoughlin, managing director of Sixt UK, said: "The opening of a second branch in Edinburgh underlines our commitment to provide greater mobility in a bustling and lively city.

    "We are very pleased to be able to offer a more extensive service in Edinburgh and provide even more convenience and flexibility to our customers."

    Sixt is considered as offering the World's Leading Marketing Innovation by the World Travel Awards.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full report

  12. Ipad Owners Confess to Their Addiction

    iPad owners have an addiction to their device, so much so that they would sacrifice personal hygiene, access to their banking and driving privileges over losing their iPad.

    About 55 percent of iPad owners would rather forget deodorant than their iPad when travelling on business, according to a survey by Brainshark, a cloud-based software company.

    That smell might also be a small fire: the survey also found that 17 percent would rather forget to turn off the oven than accidentally leave the tablet behind.

    Approximately 42 percent would prefer to lose their license instead of their iPad, and 45 percent would rather lose their ATM card.

    Approximately one in three respondents said having a root canal would be less painful than accidentally destroying their iPad.

    Though these choices might seem a bit extreme, many cited positive benefits from the iPad.

    Approximately 64 percent said they were more productive, 21 percent said they were able to close a deal because of the Apple tablet, and 79 percent said they were more connected while travelling.

    The survey was conducted online in August 2012 and had responses from 1,320 iPad owners.

    For more information visit www.brainshark.com

    Source: BusinessTravelExecutive - read this and other stories from BTE

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