News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: October 2013

  1. Another price rise for British Business Travellers

    Heathrow charges will rise in line with inflation while Gatwick's prices will rise a fraction above it, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has ruled.

    The increases have been revealed in the authority's final proposals for economic regulation of both airports from April 2014 and now go to consultation.

    The proposed levies have come after Heathrow called for a 4.6% annual real-terms increase in its charges over five years while airlines demanded a 9.8% per year cut.

    The CAA has compromised by proposing the prices are kept in line with inflation, measured according to the Retail Prices Index (RPI).

    The figures are different from the CAA's original proposal of RPI minus 1.3%, thanks to an increase in the cost of capital driven by higher debt costs.

    Source: TTG - details

  2. Another reason to travel by Rail

    No sooner had we concluded that Eurostar might postpone through running to mainland Europe came news that the firm would in fact launch a new route to Amsterdam.

    Eurostar says that the earliest date the route would start would be December 2016 and then the schedule calls for just two trains per day.

    Services would be operated by the latest 900-seater Siemens e320 trainsets which would take roughly four hours for the trip. No timings are yet available.

    Eurostar says that after leaving London St Pancras the trains would call en route at Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam and Schiphol Airport before arriving at Amsterdam's Centraal station.

    The Schiphol stop is interesting. Why? Because it means that UK-originating Eurostar passengers intending to fly from the Dutch airport will avoid paying APD. That is, of course assuming that this unpopular tax is still applicable in three years' time.

    The London-Amsterdam route is currently used by three million travellers a year with the vast majority taking the plane. Eurostar's service is sure to capture leisure travellers but what about those of you who are travelling on business?

    One disadvantage of taking the train from the UK is our one hour time difference. It means that an executive boarding a 0700 hour Eurostar in London would not reach Amsterdam until noon which may prove too late. On the other hand, the one hour saving on the way back works in the traveller's favour.

    Source: BusinessTraveller online - full report by Alex McWhirter

  3. IHG plans number three for London

    InterContinental Hotels Group has signed its third InterContinental property for London: InterContinental London The O2.

    The new hotel is scheduled to open in 2015 when it will take its place alongside its sister properties InterContinental London Westminster, which has been open for less than a year, and InterContinental London Park Lane which is a long-established luxury destination in the Capital.

    The 452-room InterContinental London The O2 will operate under a franchise agreement with Meridian Hotel Operations Limited and will be managed by Arora Hotels.

    The hotel will feature a health spa, numerous restaurants, a club lounge, main bar and a sky bar with 180-degree views over Canary Wharf and the River Thames. InterContinental London The O2 will also attract valuable meetings, events and conferences to London with its 3000m2 open-plan hotel ballroom, the largest pillar-free ballroom in Europe.

    The new hotel is located on the Greenwich Peninsula, immediately adjacent to The O2 Arena and at the heart of one of the largest regeneration areas in the UK. The O2 Arena hosts nearly 200 events annually, attracting approximately 7.5 million visitors. The hotel will be six miles from London City Airport and 400 metres from North Greenwich tube station. It is also enjoys good road access to the Blackwall Tunnel and is well connected to the Emirates Airline Cable Car which links the Greenwich Peninsula to the ExCel Exhibition Centre.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full story

  4. Growth Plans for London City Airport

    Planning application submitted for infrastructure expansion to support consented flight increase.

    London City Airport (LCY) has submitted a planning application for permission to expand its current infrastructure to accommodate up to 120,000 flight movements (take offs and landings) per year, a level already permitted under an application granted in 2009.

    The proposals will also allow the airport to double its passenger numbers (to six million) over the next ten years, while continuing to attract inward investment into east London and acting as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area.

    LCY - based in the Royal Docks and predominantly serving the business and political centres of Canary Wharf, The City and Westminster - currently handles 70,000 flight movements and 3 million passengers per annum. The need for enhanced and expanded infrastructure is driven by three factors:
    • The majority of passengers travelling through LCY are doing so for business reasons, and want to fly during the morning and evening peaks - freeing up capacity on the existing runway is the only way to meet demand and achieve the permitted level of movements.
    • The next generation of aircraft, expected to arrive at the airport in 2016, are larger (and quieter and more fuel efficient) and require bigger parking stands.
    • Increasing the capacity of the existing runway to allow more flights at peak, combined with larger aircraft, will mean greater numbers of passengers, all of whom will still want the convenience and time-saving of using LCY
    The £200m expansion planned for the airport # 1 includes new aeroplane parking stands - to accommodate larger aircraft - # 2 a parallel taxilane to optimise runway capacity in peak operating hours and # 3 a terminal extension to ensure that LCY's convenience and speed-of-transit propositions are maintained. Crucially, the airport is not proposing a second runway, or any extension to the existing runway.

    To read more about LCY plans click here

  5. Hoping to see you at tomorrow's Forum!

    Is your Travel Policy hated by the workforce? Does it save your organisation money? Does it guarantee the safety of your travellers? When was it last created, reviewed, amended?

    These are just some of the questions that Buying Business Travel will be addressing on the 8th October at the Grange City Hotel as they take over the role that we at MS-UK pioneered with the Corporate Travel and Expense Forums.

    The Agenda for the next Forum now under the administrative command of Buying Business Travel can be found here

    The Video of the last MS-UK event held on the 30th April 2013 can be found in the Travel-Forum section of our website www.ms-uk.com/videos-2013a.html

  6. Emirates steps up global expansion

    Emirates' expansion reaches new heights with the launch of flights to Clark in the Philippines, the inauguration of a route between Milan and New York, and a brand new A380 service to Brisbane - all on the same day in four different continents.

    Clark will be Emirates' second gateway into the Philippines after Manila. The airport is located 80 kilometres north of the capital, in Angeles City.

    Emirates already serves New York and Milan. The new service addresses an underserved transatlantic link between the two commercially vibrant cities, both in terms of non-stop flights and a premium product offering.

    Through agreements with JetBlue in the U.S and with Easyjet in Europe, customers can easily connect onto flights serving the U.S via New York and Europe via Milan. With the Milan-New York connection, Emirates becomes triple daily into New York, home to the largest Italian community in America.

    Brisbane becomes Emirates' 22nd A380 destination. Emirates will be the only airline flying a scheduled double-decker into Brisbane, a fitting development to mark the 10th anniversary of services to the state of Queensland.

    After launching Warsaw, Algiers, Tokyo Haneda and Stockholm so far in 2013, the airline is preparing for the start of services to Conakry in Guinea, Sialkot in Pakistan, Kabul, Kiev, Taipei and Boston in the coming months

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full article

  7. More Bums on seats!

    Worldwide passenger traffic grew by 6.8% year-on-year last month, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

    Capacity, meanwhile, was up just 5.6%, which helped boost global load factor by 1.3 percentage points to match the record high of 83.4% set in July 2011.

    August international passenger demand rose by 7.5% year-on-year, on capacity up 5.6%, lifting load factor by 1.5pp to 84%.

    All regions recorded growth, with the strongest, 15.1%, achieved by airlines in the Middle East. IATA said their results were positively biased from the timing of Ramadan, which fell in July last year. Capacity expansion was held to 10.8%, which pushed up load factor by 3.1pp to 82%.

    European carriers' international traffic climbed 5.4% in August, on a 3.7% rise in capacity, pushing load factor up 1.4pp to 86.4%. The growth in demand was driven by modest economic improvements, rising consumer confidence and higher business confidence, with increased manufacturing and export activity.

    Looking ahead, the US Government shutdown is not expected to impact airline operations but could dampen demand, IATA said. The 27-day shutdown in 1996, for example, resulted in delays for tens of thousands of passport and visa applications.

    Source: e-Tid - full report

  8. Flybe and South West Trains get together

    Flybe, Europe's largest regional airline, has unveiled a new Rail-Air product in partnership with South West Trains that provides a convenient and affordable fast- track train service for those passengers needing to travel to and from Southampton Airport (Parkway Station) and London Waterloo.

    The option to purchase a Rail-Air train ticket for £30 return is offered via the South West Trains link after a customer's online flight booking has been confirmed at www.flybe.com. There is a selection of other ticket options including one way, first class and children's fares and can be booked in either direction. Those passengers buying a return rail ticket will also be offered the benefit of fast-track access through airport security on return to the airport, at no extra cost.

    It is only 99 steps from Southampton Parkway train station to the airport and Rail-Air offers a choice of up to 50 trains a day with a journey time of just over an hour. The service is expected to prove particularly popular with inbound passengers wanting a convenient, affordable and seamless fast track option for onward travel to and from Southampton Airport and also especially convenient for those passengers travelling on one of Flybe's 106 flights a week to and from the Channel Islands and up to 106 to and from Paris and regional France.

    Upon making a connecting Rail Air ticket train booking, passengers are issued with a unique reference. This is then used to collect their ticket from one of the regular ticket machines either at Southampton Airport or at Waterloo Station. Tickets are not restricted by the time of day and are valid for one month from the first date of travel.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - details

  9. New GLH brand to launch in London

    Hotel company GLH has unveiled a new upmarket brand called Clermont with its first property in London.

    GLH Hotels, which was formerly known as Guoman and runs the Thistle brand in the UK, said the first Clermont property would be a renovation of the existing Royal Horseguards (pictured) in central London.

    The property will be renamed as Clermont London next year when it is due to reopen following the refurbishment.

    It will be followed in 2016 by two further Clermont properties based in new developments in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur which will also both include residential apartments to be known as Clermont Residences.

    Singapore-based GLH said it planned to launch 30 Clermont hotels over the next decade.

    Clermont Singapore will be part of the Tanjong Pagar Centre development which will be the city's tallest building at 290 metres when it opens in 2016.

    During the same year, Clermont Kuala Lumpur is due to open within the Damansara City development in the Malaysian capital.

    Source: BuyingBusinessTravel Online - full story by Rob Gill

  10. Do you know what to do?

    If you need insight and guidance on bringing vision and creativity to your travel programme, then Callisto Training can assist you - the Callisto Training sessions are designed to provide you with tools and supporting materials to make life easier back at the office.

    So far this year Callisto have organised three Training Days in London where they have examined the principles of producing an effective RFP for business travel, a Hotel Programme Workshop to help travel managers build effective hotel programmes and last month they organised a workshop tackling exclusively Travel Technology, and posed the question Is it More of an Art than a Science?

    This Callisto Workshop was sponsored by Amadeus and American Express and held at the RSA House, London. from 09:00 till 17:00.

    To discover more about Callisto training click here

  11. Ryanair changes tune with Amex card deal

    Ryanair has made a move to attract business passengers by agreeing to accept American Express cards on its website.

    The no-frills airline, which earlier last month vowed to improve its customer service, announced the change of policy on September 25th in a move designed to increase bookings from business travellers and corporate travel departments. Ryanair stopped taking booking through Amex cards around a decade ago due to the card firm's "excessive fees".

    Ryanair announced that "more than 20 per cent" of its passengers were currently travelling on business which was why it had reached an "acceptance agreement" with Amex.

    Ryanair's change of policy on accepting Amex cards shows that it is now following no-frills rival Easyjet's strategy of increasing its focus on the corporate market.

    But chief executive Michael O'Leary is adamant that Ryanair will not follow Easyjet on to GDSs because of the costs of distributing flights through these channels.

    Ryanair is charging a €7 fee for passengers using Amex cards on its website plus a 2 per cent commission charge on the value of the booking.

    Source: BBT - full article by Rob Gill

  12. How do smartphones impact travel plans

    The results of a survey on spontaneous travel tendencies conducted online by Harris Interactive in July among over 2,000 American adults age 18+.

    The participants were asked about what spontaneous activities they have done, what last-minute trips they're likely to take, and how their mobile devices play into their travel planning.

    By downloading an app from Expedia, travellers have access to build a spontaneous trip on the fly; and for winners of the Trip-A-Day Giveaway, they'll have a $1,200 Expedia voucher to help make their trip a reality.

    Nearly all U.S. adults (92%) consider themselves at least a little spontaneous. Americans showed this in different ways over the last year: nearly half of U.S. adults went impulse shopping (49%), or "paid it forward" by treating someone else with something kind (49%). Approximately one third of Americans took last-minute trips out of town (30%).

    Booking last minute trips continues to get easier, faster and more affordable as technology evolves.

    Ease of use is even more important today, as Expedia is seeing a continuous increase in mobile bookings across its app and mobile site. The data from the Harris survey finds that there is a large group of mobile bookers: 28% of smartphone owners have used their mobile device to book a hotel, and 34% indicated they haven't yet but they intend to.

    Trips booked via mobile devices can also present more opportunities to save money, since last-minute hotel bookings often come with discounted rates.

    Source: BreakingTravelNews - full article

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