News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: June 2013

  1. Accor overhauls upscale Pullman brand

    The Accor hotels group has announced plans to overhaul its upscale Pullman brand and expand its global presence.

    Pullman hotels will be further tailored to the business travel market while focussing on contemporary design and art to enhance its visual identity. And Accor has set a target of growing its existing network of 79 Pullman properties in 23 Countries to 150 hotels by 2020.

    The brand is currently strongest in China - where it has 15 hotels - but expanded into the likes of London (the Pullman St Pancras, previously a Novotel), Bangkok and Sydney in 2012, and there is at least one opening a month scheduled for the remainder of 2013. The 80th Pullman hotel opens for business in Brussels this June.

    The brand's design overhaul has been based on a motto of 'work hard, play hard', incorporating the trend for 'bleisure' trips - the combination of business and leisure. A host of interior designers have been brought in to restyle lobbies and meeting rooms as well as introducing contemporary art displays in its London, Paris and Brussels properties.

    Hotel restaurants, menus and bars will take on a new look, while wi-fi access will be available for free throughout the hotel.

    Source: TheBusinesstravelmagazine online - full story

  2. Megahub could force closure of Heathrow

    Heathrow Airport would have to be closed if the government opted for a single megahub elsewhere, according to the Independent Transport Commission's Flying into the Future report issued this week.

    The report is based on a wide range of submissions received by the ITC and concludes that "if a major new hub is developed at Stansted or in the Thames Estuary, Heathrow will almost certainly have to close".

    It recommends those three sites as the most likely locations for much need increased airport capacity, with the report making clear the crucial importance of good aviation connectivity for the UK economy and jobs.

    The ITC suggests short-haul connections can be improved by developing regional airports, while long-haul connectivity requires "an airport with significantly more capacity than Heathrow today".

    It rejects the idea of two small hubs or connecting the likes of Heathrow and Gatwick as a 'virtual' hub, but concedes any decision will be contentious.

    In addition to warning about the closure of Heathrow, the report suggests that a brand new hub - at Stansted or elsewhere - would also require the urban development of homes, schools and local transport 'on the scale of a new Peterborough'.

    The report also highlights the issue of noise pollution, suggesting whether a package of measures at Heathrow, 'perhaps including moving the runway westwards', would reduce the problem of noise for Londoners.

    The ITC is Britain's leading think tank in the transport sector and will submit its Flying into the Future report to the Airports Commission, chaired by Sir Howard Davies

    Source: TheBusinessTravelMagOnline - full story

  3. Virgin Trains propose non stop train service between Scotland and London.

    This would be the first of its kind since the 1930s and would cut travel time down to under 4 hours from Glasgow to the capital.

    A couple of things standing in the way at the minute:
    1. The West coast mainline speed limit would need to increase from 125mph to 135mph.
    2. There is the need to upgrade the track between Lancaster and Glasgow.
    Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Trains, Chris Gibb announced the news at a business breakfast in Glasgow last week. Should the plans go through, that would make a near-straight stretch of track near Lockerbie the fastest in the UK outside High Speed One.

    Source: Total Rail - read the blog

  4. Emerging markets fuel air travel growth

    Emerging markets are continuing to lead air travel growth, with all regions reporting year-over-year gains, according to IATA.

    Overall passenger traffic was up by 3.2% in April over the same month last year. European carriers recorded 2% growth, down on the March figure of 4.5%, largely attributed to the downward impact of the timing of the early Easter holiday this year.

    Iata director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said ahead of the organisation's AGM in Cape Town: "Passenger demand continued to grow in April, extending the positive trend that has been developing since late 2012.

    "The increase, however, is concentrated in emerging markets. Airlines in Europe and North America reported a modest expansion compared to the strong growth seen in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

    "While economic developments in Europe and the US certainly bear watching, most indicators continue to signal further expansion in air travel."

    "One of our key messages to governments will be that aviation should be treated like any other business. We don't want a handout, but we also don't want to be singled out for special fees and taxes, and commercial regulations that chill market creativity and initiative."

    Source: TravelWeekly - full report by Phil Davies

  5. Delta plans transatlantic shuttle service with Virgin

    Delta wants to start a shuttle service between New York's JFK Terminal 4 and Heathrow's Terminal 3, the airline's CEO has revealed.

    Delta boss Richard Anderson said: "Once we have gained the requisite approvals from the EU, Britain and the US our intention is to operate a joint Delta / Virgin shuttle from Terminal 4 into London Heathrow T3."

    At the JFK end their passengers can use both Delta and Virgin lounges - the new SkyClub and the Clubhouse. If you look at the passenger survey data, the number one rated business product in the US to Europe market is Virgin Atlantic and number two is Delta, so they will join together to offer the very best service to the business traveller between JFK and Heathrow.

    Under the proposed joint venture, Delta and Virgin Atlantic would co-ordinate schedules, network planning, pricing and sales between North America and the UK. The operation would be similar to that already run by British Airways and American Airlines across the Atlantic.

    The two carriers would operate a total of 31 daily round trip flights between the UK and North America, 23 of which would operate at Heathrow. The airlines also plan to implement codesharing, reciprocal frequent flier benefits and shared lounge access.

    The carriers are also seeking anti-trust immunity for five-way coordination on UK-US traffic flows so that Delta can continue to effectively operate its existing joint venture with European airlines Air France, KLM and Alitalia, alongside this proposed agreement with Virgin.

    Source: BuyingBusinessTravel online - full story by Tom Otley

  6. Still getting over it

    On Tuesday the 30th April - MS-UK held their 25th Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum - their thirteenth in partnership with ACTE-Global at the fantastic Grange City Hotel. Grange Hotels picked up the coveted Best Small Hotel Company Award at the Business Travel Awards 2013 earlier this year and it is very easy to see why. Their staff are the most co-operative you will ever wish to meet in any hotel and nothing is beyond their capability and satisfying the customer is their obvious goal whether it is at Check-in, Event Management or in the restaurants or bars.

    Last week the Autumn Planning Committee held their first meeting and have tentatively put together the Autumn event based on the sessions that the Spring delegates put forward, first and foremost is an in depth look at Travel Policies, what works what doesn't and their relevance in today's multi-generation marketplace.

    If you have not yet done so pencil in Tuesday 8th October 2013 in your calendar as BBT and ACTE-Global have established that date in the Diary for the Autumn Corporate Travel & Expense Management forum later this year!

    If you were not one of the 120 who attended our Spring event you can catch up on the news in Buying Business Travel online, and join in the debate started by Ajaya Sodha, the Chairman of the GTMC.

    Pictures and a new Video featuring our Spring event will soon be found in the Travel-Forum section of our Website www.ms-uk.com

    For further information on Management Solutions (UK) ongoing Consulting activities click on this link www.ms-uk.com

  7. Do you ever need Professional advice on Travel Management Issues?

    Today you will come across a lot of people who call themselves Consultants and who have even formed themselves into companies. Unfortunately "Consultancy" is a largely unregulated business and you have little or no way of knowing if those professing to be "Consultants" are in any way qualified to give independent advice - having said that there is one professional body in the UK that grants the Certified Management Consultant status CMC.

    So look for those three letters on their business card would be our first word of free advice.

    Trust and frankness are the most important aspects of the client/consultant relationship. You must be confident that the consultant truly has a sense of the issues. Is there a chemistry there? Does the consultant have a good feel for your corporate culture and how it will enhance or inhibit the process? Has he/she worked on projects with similar elements? Ask for references and talk to other firms for whom the consultant or consultancy has done work. We would suggest asking the following questions:
    1. How broad is the consultant's experiences
    2. Did their recommendations to other firms pay off?
    3. How effectively did they transfer their knowledge in the field to the assignment?
    4. Did the firm come away with all it needed from the assignment, i.e. knowledge, skills, etc.?
    Get competitive quotes and ask how your assignment would be staffed and what the hourly costs would be. For more information click here: www.ms-uk.com

  8. Get Connected

    Sabre's GetThere - the oldest established self booking tool provider - has launched GetThere Connect, providing corporate travelers the ability to shop and book additional hotel, rail and airline content within their corporate travel programs.

    Applying policy and providing visibility into a larger percentage of their companies' travel purchases is a key objective of many corporate travel managers. The solution will connect corporations to leading regional suppliers around the globe, offering travelers more choices.

    This enables GetThere to supplement the broad based of travel content available through the Sabre travel marketplace and other GDSs to which GetThere connects, allowing travel buyers to easily shop and book travel from an even greater selection of travel suppliers worldwide.

    "GetThere Connect allows our customers to access broader content and competitive rates on a regional basis" explains Paul Wiley, chief product and strategy officer at GetThere. "Over time, travel managers will see reduced cost and less program leakage because it enables an even larger percentage of purchases to be made within the program, meaning greater policy compliance, increased usage of negotiated rates, and better visibility into total program spend."

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - read the report

  9. Air France and KLM launch inflight Wi-Fi

    On the 2nd June Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines operated their first inflight connectivity flights with Wi-Fi on board. The new service will allow customers to remain connected with the world by being able to send text messages and e-mails and surf the internet during their flight. On their specially designed inflight website they also offer a broad range of free and up to date services including live television news and sports channels, relevant airline and destination information.

    In partnership with Panasonic Avionics, Air France and KLM will conduct a trial phase throughout the rest of 2013 on two Boeing 777-300s. During that time, customers can connect to the internet using their Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, laptops or tablets at a fixed rate and use their mobile phones for text messages or email, no matter what travel class they are in. The two Wi-Fi equipped aircraft will operate on several long-haul destinations during the trial.

    During the pilot phase they will offer hourly and full-flight fees: EUR 10.95 per hour or EUR 19.95 for the full flight, applicable for all classes. These fees are in line with industry average. Travellers can pay for their internet access by credit card. Mobile phone usage (for text and data) will be billed to the phone users according to their own roaming agreements. Access to the inflight website will be free of charge.

    Wireless service - whether the on-board portal or satellite internet - will commence once the flight has reached 20,000 feet, shortly after take-off.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full story

  10. You've lost what?

    Where can you find £50,000 in cash, a bag of diamonds, a Rolex watch, the key to a Porsche, and a book of signed blank cheques? Aside from Simon Cowell's house ... these are all items from the Lost Property department at London City Airport.

    The popular European gateway has published Top Tens of the most unusual and the most common items left at the airport, to encourage people to take extra care of their belongings when they travel. Top Ten Unusual Things Left at the Airport
    • £50,000 cash
    • Bag of diamonds
    • Signed blank chequebook
    • Adult toys
    • Artificial skull
    • Glass eye
    • False teeth
    • Wigs
    • Designer watches worth £10,000+
    • Adult magazines
    Top Ten Most Common Items Left at the Airport
    • Belts
    • Items of clothing
    • Mobile phones
    • Ipads
    • Umbrellas
    • Cameras
    • Kindles
    • Car keys
    • Laptops
    • Shoes
    The airport's location so close to central London and its quick check-in times makes it popular with travellers wanting speed and privacy. Customers include members of the royal family, British Prime Ministers, high profile sportspeople, and well-known musicians.

    Source: LondonCityAirportNews - full article

  11. Free Wi-fi - you've got to be joking!

    Just four of Britain's 25 biggest airports offer free unlimited Wi-Fi access, new research has revealed.

    Britain's two busiest hubs - Gatwick and Heathrow - both charge £3.95 per hour or £9.95 for a whole day

    Aberdeen, Birmingham, Edinburgh and London City airports each provide air passengers with limitless internet access free of charge - but 21 others, including the country's five busiest, do not.

    The study, by the website Airport Parking and Hotels, found that the most expensive hourly charges are found at Luton, Leeds Bradford and Cardiff. All three airports charge fliers £5 an hour, while visitors to Durham Tees Valley, Doncaster Sheffield and Liverpool John Lennon are charged £4.50 an hour.

    At all six airports, no alternative tariff is available for those who want longer access.

    At Belfast International and Exeter, travellers are charge £5.99 for 90 minutes of internet access, or £9.99 for a day.

    Britain's two busiest hubs - Gatwick and Heathrow - both charge £3.95 per hour or £9.95 for a whole day, although passengers at the former are permitted 15 minutes of free use.

    Meanwhile, Blackpool International offers ordinary passengers no wireless internet - the only option is to pay £16 to enter the Executive Lounge, where Wi-Fi is free.

    Ten airports - Bournemouth, Bristol, Glasgow, East Midlands, Humberside, London Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and Southampton - offer 30 minutes of free access before charges apply.

    Nick Trend, Telegraph Travel's consumer editor, said: "If McDonalds and Starbucks can offer free Wi-Fi to their customers, who might spend just £2 or less on a coffee, why can't airports do the same? "Passengers are already paying to use the airport when they buy a flight ticket, and then pay over the odds for food and drinks while they are there - having to pay again to check your email will leave them feeling understandably frustrated."

    Hotels have also faced growing criticism in recent years for continuing to charge guests for Wi-Fi. A study of 70 different individual hotels and hotel chains by Telegraph Travel last year found that just 24 do not impose fees. Luxury hotels in London were the worst offenders, with several charging £20 for a single day's access.

    Source: DailyTelegraphonline -full report by Oliver Smith

  12. Flybe will not be flying from Gatwick

    Flybe is to axe all of its Gatwick flights, having sold its arrival and departure slots at the London airport to easyJet for £20 million. Flybe announced to the London Stock Exchange last Thursday that it will pull out of the airport, from where it has operated for 22 years, at the end of March 2014.

    It will mean the loss of flights from the London airport to Belfast City, Guernsey, Inverness, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Newcastle and Newquay.

    EasyJet said it would use the 25 pairs of slots it has acquired to launch new routes from Gatwick and to add additional flights on its most popular existing routes. Further details will be announced at the end of this year.

    Flybe blamed its decision to pull out of Gatwick on the airport's pricing regime, which, it said, had led to a 102% rise over the past five years. It said Air Passenger Duty was also a factor.

    The airline launched an expensive complaint to the Civil Aviation Authority in 2010, claiming that Gatwick was acting in an anti-competitive and discriminatory manner, but the CAA ruled in September that Gatwick was within its rights to raise its landing fees for smaller aircraft.

    Flybe said that decision led to Thursday's "regrettable" announcement.

    It said it will continue to operate all its seven domestic routes to Gatwick until March 29 next year.

    Funds generated from the sale of the slots will be re-invested in its remaining 159 routes.

    Flybe's chairman and chief executive Jim French said: "No business can swallow such a massive increase in such a short period of time and it is with real regret and some anger that we have made this decision."

    He said Flybe will work with other UK airports to develop its regional services.

    Source: TravelMole - full article

  13. Cambridge Graduates to scheduled

    Effective from 2 September 2013 Geneva-based Darwin Airline will launch direct services from Cambridge Airport to Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan Malpensa and Paris CDG. Timings will enable worldwide connections to the global networks of SkyTeam partners Alitalia and Air France-KLM under a codeshare arrangement with Alitalia. Darwin has pledged 24 weekly flights to and from Amsterdam; 12 weekly to Paris CDG, eight weekly to Milan Malpensa and six weekly flights to and from Geneva.

    Steve Jones, Managing Director of Marshall ADG Aviation Services, commented: "The opening of this new and exciting base by Darwin Airline is a strategic step in our development of Cambridge as we create a thriving regional international airport, to complement our growing business aviation activity. As an established and renowned regional carrier in Europe, we believe that Darwin Airline is the perfect partner for Cambridge Airport going forward, offering long term expertise, award-winning service and global connectivity".

    A major aircraft engineering and executive travel base, Cambridge Airport has not offered scheduled services for many years. Saab 2000 aircraft are expected to be used on these flights, the fast 50-seat regional turbopops ideal for this type of operation

    Source: the BusinessTravelNews - read the article

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