News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: April 2004

1  JTB contract first non-Japanese technology company to provide new travel agency solution

Dublin, Ireland/Tokyo, Japan, March 25, 2004 - Global technology solutions provider, Datalex (ISE: DLE; OTC: DLEXY), has been contracted to supply the new travel agency technology platform for JTB Corp. (JTB), Japan's leading travel agency group. The contract is the first of its kind to be awarded by JTB to a foreign technology company, and represents continued success for Datalex in gaining a foothold in the burgeoning Asia-Pacific market.

2  Low Cost & Regional Carrier Developments

2.1  Belfast The network of low cost destinations continues to expand this month, with a number of new routes being added by the airlines.

Easyjet announced the introduction of four new routes from Belfast International Airport direct to some of Europe's most popular destinations; Alicante, Malaga, Nice and Paris. These new routes are a direct result of the Air Route Development Scheme, the Northern Ireland Authorities initiative to improve the provision of air services in the province. All of these routes are available to book now through www.openjet.com for travel from the end of June.

Source: Openjet Takeoff

2.2  Virgin Express goes from red to black

Virgin Express has said that heavy discounting by competitors, the impact of the Iraq war and Ryanair's now-defunct competitive advantage at Charleroi put the carrier in the black.

The net loss for 2003 came in at 19.6m (£13.1m) compared with a profit of 0.4m (£270K) in 2002. The operating loss for the year was 14.8m. Revenues was 9% down on 2002's at 207.1m (£138.7m).

Overall operating expenses were 1% lower than last year, although this includes 4.3m (£2.9m)-worth of loan repayments. Aircraft lease costs dropped 20%; passenger services dropped 8% while station operating costs dropped 3%.

Source: e-tid.com

2.3  Coventry Airport saw a return of scheduled airline services after more than a decade on Wednesday (31 March) when Thomsonfly, a division of German tour operator TUI and Britannia Airways started a new operation with an early (0635) flight to Jersey. Thomsonfly says that its first day's flights completely sold out with fare paying passengers, taking Boeing 737 flights to Jersey, Rome (Ciampino), Valencia (Costa Blanca), Venice (Marco Polo) and Malaga. Two aircraft are to be initially based at the airport with a further two due later in the summer.

Source: ABTN

2.4  Birmingham

Competition exists now on the Stockholm route with Swedish airline Skyways introducing a service last Sunday, which offers twice daily flights on weekdays and once on Sundays. Embraer EMB 145 jets with 48 seats are used.

Skyways flies to more cities in Sweden than any other airline and currently operate 31 aircraft on 11 international and 18 domestic routes. The airline carried over 1.3m passengers in 2003.

www.skyways.se/english/index.asp

2.5  Edinburgh has got it SAS'd

Scandinavian Airlines has launched direct flights to Edinburgh – its first services to the airport.

SAS is offering six flights a week (excluding Saturdays) between the Scottish capital and Stockholm. There is an offer of £99 return including taxes for tickets bought online from April 7. Tickets are subject to availability.

Source: BusinessTraveller

3  Travelocity Gets A Makeover

In the company’s latest attempt to build brand recognition, Travelocity is giving its Web site a whole new look.

The familiar Web site will undergo a change to include cleaner lines, less clutter and more engaging colours, according to a March 25 release. In addition, the redesigned site will operate twice as quickly as the old one and feature drop down menus on every page, ensuring that customers are always only one click away from what they are searching for.

Source:  Business Travel Wire

4  Budget revamps website

Budget Rent a Car claims to have simplified the car hire booking process by revamping its website. The company is offering additional 5% discounts for people who pre-pay online at www.budget.co.uk.
The site enables users to make bookings in three stages and has been redesigned in time to capture Easter sales.

Source: Travelmole

5  UK train network looks to improve punctuality

The time-poor business traveller will be able to plan their journey to the second if proposals from Britain’s rail network provider go ahead.

Network Rail is investigating adopting a Japanese system for train punctuality that informs passengers about train delays to the nearest second. At the moment short distance trains are not considered late if they are less than five minutes delayed. Long distance trains have a leeway of ten minutes.

Source: Businesstraveller.com

6  Zoom adds Stansted flights to Canada

Zoom Airlines, the low fares transatlantic airline established by former Direct Holidays bosses John and Hugh Boyle, is to start its first Stansted service.
The Canadian carrier is offering £139 lead-in Stansted-Vancouver one-way fares on the flights which start on 15 May.  The weekly scheduled service from Stansted is in addition to Gatwick and Glasgow departures to six destinations in Canada this summer.

Zoom is backed by Scottish travel entrepreneur John Boyle and his brother Hugh who sold Direct Holidays to MyTravel. The airline has been operating in Canada for two years and has a fleet of three aircraft.

Source: Travelmole

7  Crown(e)ing Glory - at last

Crowne Plaza London is finally due to open on the fringes of The City after a three-year delay.

The hotel is opposite Blackfriars station on the banks of the Thames river. It has 203 rooms, some of which will overlook the Thames and Southbank. The hotel is within walking distance of St Pauls Cathedral, the Tate Modern, Oxo Tower and is a short taxi ride from the West End.

 Business traveller doing business in London's second financial heart, Canary Wharf, will be interested to know that the Thames Clipper boat service runs from Blackfriars Pier to Canary Wharf and other destinations like the Tate Modern.

Source: businesstraveller.com

8  easyCar - a fine mess

Car rental specialist Easycar is proving it isn’t easy going when it comes to picking up fines incurred by customers.

A glut of outstanding fines from non-payment of parking tickets, bus lane infringements and the £5-per-day Congestion Charge in London has left the web-based rental car hire specialist with a headache worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Source: businesstraveller.com

Our consultancy has also been involved at the other end where an easyCar client had £65.00 deducted from his credit card last November. The client has spoken to Transport for London traffic fines department, quoted the date and time of the alleged incident together with his registration number of the easyCar rented vehicle and been told that no such fine was issued to that vehicle on that date or at any other time during his rental - he is still waiting his refund from easyCar!!!(Ed)

9  Travel Agent of the Year - seven in a row!

Harry Weeks Travel & Leisure Group has been voted Leisure Travel Agent of the Year for the seventh consecutive year and has received the National Call Centre of the Year title at the 2004 Agent Achievement Awards.

Finalist in three other categories - Best Leisure Training Programme, Business Travel Agent of the Year and Independent Travel Agent Proprietor of the Year – HWT continues to be recognised as a leader in providing the very best in travel services.

These prestigious and highly competitive awards recognise the very best travel agents in the UK and are high honours indeed in such a highly competitive industry.

For details about HWT’s award winning services visit www.harryweeks.co.uk

10  Easier Gatwick Check in

British Airways passengers flying from Gatwick can now check themselves in, drop off their bags and collect their boarding passes on the evening before departure. This is ideal for passengers living near the airport, using a local hotel and particular those staying the night in Le Meridian (north Terminal for BA) or in the recently re-furbished south Terminal Gatwick Hilton. The new facility is available to all those on intercontinental flights and for European and domestic customers scheduled to depart before 0955 the following day.

The service operates between 1800 and 2300

Source: ABTN

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