News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: November 2006

1  British Airways Search for planes

British Airways has launched a competition for new longhaul aircraft by issuing tender documents to aircraft and engine manufacturers.

Airbus and Boeing, and engine manufacturers, Engine Alliance, General Electric and Rolls Royce plus other key component suppliers, have been invited to bid.

The first aircraft to be replaced are the 20 Boeing 747s and 14 Boeing 767s, which will be around 25 years old.

The aircraft being considered for the airline's longhaul fleet are the Airbus A330, A350, A380 and Boeing 787, B777 and B747-8.

2  AMEX spells out Business travel increases in 2007

Air fare, hotel and car rental rates are all forecast to rise in 2007, hiking costs for businesses, a new report warns

The American Express Global Business Travel Forecast suggests international business fare will go up by between 3%-7% while hotel rates in Europe could rise by up to 6%.

A move towards more online bookings and other cost savings such as a reduction in meetings are likely to occur in response to the heightened price of corporate travel.

Air fares are expected to rise a moderate one to three per cent in the UK, France and Sweden. In Germany, the impact of low-cost carriers may push air fares down, and domestic fares may fall by one per cent in 2007.

Hotel costs will increase amid significant business demand and higher occupancy rates. UK rates will rise two to six percent - some cities, such as Edinburgh, will record rate increases as high as 11%. In London, overall rates will climb two to five per cent in mid-range hotels and three to six per cent in upper-range hotels. Many London hotels will see already-high occupancy levels climb to as much as 80%-90% in 2007.

Source: Travelmole

3 Don't kill the Gatwick Express - Airlines message

Board of airline representatives in the UK (BAR UK) has called for the Department for Transport (DfT) to withdraw its consultation document on Gatwick Express.

Plans to scrap the Gatwick Express were announced two years ago, and BAR UK has called for the document to be withdrawn, stating "it is flawed".

BAR UK chief executive Mike Carrivick recently went on record to say: "The response we are seeking is a suspension of the current consultation process, and the postponement of any decisions regarding the Brighton Main Line. Our activities relating to Gatwick Express have just reached two years, and have been strongly complemented by pressures from several international carriers, and some overseas diplomatic sources."

"A fast, regular, non-stop service between Gatwick Airport and London is required for the ever-increasing number of travellers. Proposals that could get rid of it (based on incomplete information) to fix a problem that exists only for a couple of hours at most in peak morning time, is not the way to proceed "

Source: Air & Business Travel News

4 Vanguard re-alignment

Alamo Rent A Car, National Car Rental and Guy Salmon Prestige Rental parent Vanguard Rental (UK) has re-aligned its marketing functions.

Two distinct teams have been created to focus on the consumer and business markets in the UK and internationally.

The corporate marketing area will be led by Vanguard EMEA marketing manager Rebecca Madden who has been promoted to director, EMEA corporate marketing.

Rebecca Madden will be responsible for identifying and exploiting marketing opportunities within the fleet and business travel sector domestically and across EMEA.

Vanguard's senior vice-president John Leigh said: "By adopting this dedicated focus for the consumer and business markets, encompassing both domestic and international marketing, we can fully exploit the expertise already in the business to its greatest effect."

Source: Travelmole

5  Forum update

Our next Forum will be held in London in the Hesperia-Victoria Hotel on Tuesday 24th April 2007

The following is a list of the suggestions we have received for panel discussions. We would appreciate your help by sending us an email indicating the four top subjects you would like to see us discuss.

How to control Travel Budgets
Security & Risk Management
Global TMC's - do they really work or is there a better alternative?
All in one systems
Lodge Cards versus Credit Cards
Video Conferencing - is it a viable alternative?
Carbon costs - how they work
Meetings management
Upcoming changes in Airline / GDS / TMC relationship
What are the really important issues in a Travel Policy
Future products/trends designed to reduce costs plus wish list
Corporate Travel management opportunities
Quality of account management at TMC - does it deliver?

Just send us an email to admin@ms-uk.com listing your choice of subject with a relevant letter against each number.

This way we will be able to tailor make our forum to reflect the choice of subject of the majority.

6  Flybe buys BA Connect regionally

British Airways announced Friday (3rd November) that it has reached agreement in principle to sell the regional operation of its subsidiary airline BA Connect to Flybe.

Flybe has agreed to buy BA Connect's regional operations. This will create one of Europe's biggest regional carriers with nearly ten million passengers.

The enlarged firm will focus on short-haul UK and European major cities. The new entity is expected to generate more than £600 million in revenue

BA Connect also operates from London City Airport and between Manchester and New York. These services will not form part of the proposed sale nor will the regional ground handling business, British Airways Regional Ltd.

British Airways will emerge with a 15% stake in Flybe.

Source: Airline Travel News

7  Resurrection of Rail Continues

Research by The Independent has found plenty of good fares for travellers who delve into the websites of overseas rail networks.

The French site www.voyages-sncf.com has deals for those who are prepared to print out the ticket themselves. For example, a one-way trip from Paris to Lyon, costs €35 (£25) if you book ahead. In Germany, www.bahn.de has "Surf & Rail" tickets for journeys such as Cologne to Munich, for €59 (£42), almost half the usual fare (as a point of interest www.bahn.de is also a very good source for UK rail timings).

Travellers planning trips to and beyond the Netherlands can log on to www.ns.nl for cheap fares to stations outside Holland.

Source: The Independent online

8  Hand Baggage latest

The strict UK airport security measures will be partially relaxed from Monday 6th November.

Under the new ruling from the Department of Transport, passengers will now be able to carry drinks, cosmetics and toiletries through the security checks.

But they will be limited to 100ml containers which must be presented in a single, transparent, re-sealable bag no larger than 20cm x 20cm (8 ins x 8 ins) in size.

Only one bag per passenger will be allowed and it will be x-rayed at the security point.

Liquids in containers of more than 100ml capacity are to be placed in your checked baggage.

Note that an exemption to the liquid rule applies for medicines.

Source: Business Traveller Online

9  Aisle K OK for fast track business class to US

Travellers planning to use the business class-only airlines that fly from London Stansted to the US for the first time need not fear the long security queues that forced hundreds of passengers to miss their planes last week.

Both Eos and Maxjet have an arrangement with BAA for their passengers to use aisle K, to the far left when facing the terminal, for initial paperwork and then to use the fast-track facility. The route then goes through the shopping arcade to the shuttle and on to the departure lounge.

From leaving the check-in area to the gate can take just five minutes, considerably less than at Heathrow where 30 minutes is the norm, even with Fast-Track.

Eos even has a concierge service on the forecourt to guide passengers to check-in.

Source: The Times Online

10  BA Connect has some "easy" competition

Easyjet has decided to compete with former incumbent BA Connect on the Bristol-Paris route.

It's good news for travellers living in the Bristol area, as flights are now more affordable - especially when booked within a few weeks of departure.

BA Connect continues to operate this route up to five times a day with 49-seater Embraer commuter jets. But although BA's value-for-money brand provides convenient schedules, its fares are high unless passengers are prepared to book many weeks ahead.

By contrast, Easyjet's single daily flight, which started last weekend, may not be so convenient. But Easyjet's larger and more efficient 150-seater Airbus A319 enables the carrier to offer better prices.

BA Connect flies five times a day to Paris between 0645 and 1715 returning between 0955 and 2015. Easyjet single flight departs Bristol at 1115 returning from CDG at 1555.

Source: Business Traveller Online

11 "P & Ortman" - One less TMC to choose from

Portman Travel has completed the acquisition of P&O Travel from Carnival PLC.

The deal consolidates Portman Travel's position as the UK's largest independent travel management consultancy, creating a business with an annual turnover of £260 million.

P&O Travel has offices in London, Heathrow, Southampton and Liverpool as well as various client implants.

Portman Travel is a shareholder in global business travel network Radius, as was P&O Travel.

"The acquisition will benefit customers by combining Radius partnership into a larger UK entity which can deliver greater scale, international reach and buying power," a statement said.

Source: Travelmole

12  New double act for VLM

VLM Airlines introduced two new services between Manchester and Antwerp and London City Airport to Groningen via Amsterdam commenced last Monday 30th October.

The Manchester - Antwerp service will offer 2 flights every weekday and 1 flight on Sunday.

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