News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: December 2004

1  Online at 36,000 feet

Singapore Airlines is to offer high speed internet access and live TV on long haul flights.

In-flight broadband access is to be installed on London-Singapore flights in the first quarter of 2005, giving passengers access to corporate networks so they can send and receive emails and surf the net.

SIA plans to further add to its onboard entertainment by providing live international TV, initially showing four international news channels from next summer. Sports are due to be added at a later date.

Source: Travelmole.com

2  Bargain nights at Heathrow Airport

Staying overnight at Heathrow will add less than £60 to your travel expenses following the opening of a budget hotel at the airport.

The Jurys Inn Heathrow, which opened last month, is priced from £59 per night and is the first airport hotel for the brand.
The hotel is hoping to appeal to business travellers with its convenient location next to Hatton Cross tube station, which is two stops on the Piccadilly Line from Heathrow Terminals 1,2 and 3 and one stop from Terminal 4, or less than ten minutes in a taxi.

 
The 364-room hotel also offers high-speed internet access in its guest rooms (£5 for an hour or £10 for 24 hours), pay-per-view movies and air conditioning.

Source: BusinessTraveller.com

3  North’s new Budget look

The North's low cost airline, Jet2.com took-off on the 1st December on its inaugural flight from Manchester - the destination was the cool, exciting city of Budapest. In the biggest single commitment by any new airline to Manchester Airport, the Budapest route is the first of a total of 11 destinations the airline will offer.

Flights to Murcia commenced on Thursday - this Spanish haven boasts its own 'micro-climate' ensuring visitors year-round sun. 

Meanwhile skiers will be delighted with the launch of daily flights to Geneva on December 18th, allowing them to take to the slopes for many low cost, short breaks throughout the winter.

Jet2.com also recently announced a low cost service from Manchester to London Gatwick - the three times a day service has fares starting from £15 one-way including taxes and commences 17th January.

Jet2.com boss Philip Meeson said: "We've already sold more than 100,000 seats from Manchester and are now the number one airline for low cost travel in the North.  "Our recipe is quite simple: we aim to give the people in the regions we serve exactly what they want - low prices, superb service and the best destinations. We look forward to a long and happy future at Manchester Airport."

Transport Minister Tony McNulty welcomed the announcement by Jet2.com. "I am pleased to have been invited to attend the Jet2.com launch, which is a fine example of the increasing choice of routes on offer at airports across the regions."

Source: Internet Travel News

4  CNG add 397 properties

CNG Travel Group plc, the Irish-American leading provider of travel services and technology, announced on November 29th that it has signed distribution agreements with two further hotel chains, Swiss Quality Hotels and Sol Melia Hotels, the world’s largest resort hotel company, Europe’s third-biggest hotel company and 12th largest in the world.

These latest agreements add over 330 Sol Melia hotel properties and 67 Swiss Quality locations to CNG’s inventory of more than 17,000 hotels worldwide, and reinforce CNG’s position as one of the world’s largest merchant rate hotel programmes. CNG’s distribution platform includes its TLC (Travel Lodging Connector) booking solution, a network of thousands of travel agents, 1,200 affiliate partners such as KLM and America West, and the consumer website placestostay.com.

CNG’s merchant rate programme helps hotels drive revenue and market share by providing a proven, popular distribution channel to thousands of agent and affiliate purchase points. Automated processes and seamless connectivity with hotel reservation systems let participating hotels alter room availability and pricing in real time, maintain their own rates, allocations and closed dates, and receive electronic booking confirmations. There are no costs or charges for CNG participating hotel other than offering the best net rates.

CNG chief executive officer Finbarr Power stated: “We welcome Sol Melia and Swiss Quality Hotels to CNG’s growing portfolio of merchant rate hotels, one of the world’s largest. The agreements clearly show that CNG’s business model is right for hotels and for the end customer. Proven technology, an increasing number of distribution channels including agent and affiliate purchase points, and the most competitive hotel rates are a powerful combination for any hotel partner.”

Source: Hotel Travell News

5  On-line Rail ticketing On schedule

HWT’s Travelpack Online will shortly complete it’s accreditation process with the Association of Train Operating Companies ( the official body supervising the administration of the former British Rail network).  This procedure will allow HWT to deliver their Travelpack Online system to their initial customers during January 2005.

The Travelpack Online system delivers complete travel policy compliance together with on-site rail booking and ticketing. Further details available on www.travelpackonline.biz

6  Exclusive: Private jets taking off

PRIVATE jets are experiencing a boom in popularity as both business travellers and holidaymakers seek out the ultimate flight.

Security concerns, the need to save time and the sheer luxury of chartering a private jet mean clients are flocking to travel in them, according to private jet operators who are now buying more private aircraft to meet the expected increase in demand.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel president and chief executive worldwide Hubert Joly said the growth in private jet use for business travel is part of the post-September 11 2001 hangover. Companies worried about the safety and security of their top executives have found private jets are the easiest way to set their minds at rest, Joly claimed.

A spokesman for business jet operator NetJets said next year the company aims to increase the number of its European clients from around 600 to 1,000.  NetJets is spending £86 million on 25 Hawker 400XP jets – the fastest light jet in the world with a top speed of 538 miles per hour and a capacity of seven – to join the 60 aircraft already permanently based in Europe.

The spokesman added: "In business terms, private jets have gone from being seen as the height of corporate extravagance to a useful, competitive business tool. After all, why wait for a bus when you can hire a taxi?"

Source: Travelweekly online

7  Mixed response from airlines to CAA India ruling

bmi is to operate its first-ever long-haul services from Heathrow Airport following the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision to award it four weekly services to Mumbai (Bombay).  The CAA’s decision follows a two-day ‘scarce capacity’ hearing last month, which was called after British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and bmi all applied to operate new services to India.

Commenting on the Civil Aviation Authority’s decision, Sir Richard Branson said on Friday: “The CAA faced the most complex decision in its history with three British airlines competing for 21 services to four Indian cities and their decision to allow Virgin Atlantic to take on BA on Delhi and Mumbai is a good one for consumers in the UK and India.

“We are delighted with the CAA’s decision on Delhi but are disappointed and surprised that we have not been granted a daily service to Mumbai and will appeal to the Secretary of State for Transport against that element of the decision. “We will commence three of the Delhi services immediately and plan to launch daily services from 1 February 2005.

We will launch our new three times a week service to and from Mumbai from 1 February (subject to Indian Government approval under their Open Skies deal).”

“Virgin gives consumers in both countries an immediate benefit from this decision by launching all its new services from February 2005. We will also use this expansion as a springboard for the development of other Virgin companies in India.”

Source E-Tid

8  Two more UK bases for Flybe

Road warriors who are all too familiar with the UK's motorways will welcome a raft of regional routes being launched by Flybe. The UK no-frills airline has announced the launch of flights from Leeds Bradford and Norwich airports as part of its summer schedule for next year.

From the end of March, Flybe will launch out of Leeds Bradford to Exeter and Southampton. This puts it in direct competition with no-frills rival Eastern Airways, which operates on the Southampton route as well as flying from Leeds Bradford to the Isle of Man and Aberdeen.

Flybe will be joining another UK no-frills airline, Air Southwest, at Leeds Bradford when the latter launches flights to Bristol, Newquay and Plymouth (via Bristol) from the airport on April 11 next year.

The two new UK bases are part of Flybe's ambitious expansion plans for next year, which include new routes launching from Birmingham, Exeter, Jersey, Liverpool and Southampton for next summer. For full details go to www.flybe.com.

Source: BusinessTraveller.com>

9  Upgrade BA Style

More than 2,000 customers have used a new facility on British Airways’ website, ba.com, to upgrade their class of travel or upgrade their level of ticket flexibility in the last month.

Benefits include allowing customers to see exactly what they are paying for, the full range of products and services included in the cost of the ticket and a more simplified set of fare rules.

British Airways became the first airline in the UK to enable passengers departing from Heathrow to print their own boarding pass online for flights from Heathrow Terminal 1 to Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle. Passengers travelling from Manchester will be offered the facility on both domestic and international routes.

Source: BA press office

10  Mandarin Oriental Announces Prague Luxury Hotel

Opening in early 2006, Mandarin Oriental, Prague has been designed as an intimate, luxurious hotel featuring a contemporary, yet elegant interior style, with exacting attention to detail, reflective of the Group’s oriental heritage.

The hotel will feature the city’s most spacious and luxurious guest rooms which have been designed in a variety of individual interior styles, taking full advantage of the exceptional proportions of the existing building

Ideally located in the heart of Prague’s rich historic centre, in the Mala Strana district, the hotel is within easy walking distance of the city’s major tourist attractions including Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world, the beautiful 600-year-old Charles Bridge and the many museums and theatres for which Prague is famous.

Mandarin Oriental, Prague will be a chic 98-room hotel, to be housed in an exceptionally beautiful building that began life as a monastery in the 14th Century.

Source: Hotel Travel News

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