News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: February 2004

1 Scandinavian Airlines first with check-in via speech recognition

 2.8 million travellers now have the option of checking in on Scandinavian Airlines with the help of a mobile phone and a speech recognition service called Voice Check-in. Scandinavian Airlines thereby becomes

first in the world to offer customers a reminder by SMS and then the possibility to check in via speech recognition.

Source: GAT News

2  BA signals more cost reductions

British Airways have officially announced plans to reduce staff costs by £300m over the next two years as part of its future size and shape programme. The airline will target improvements to working practices and seek to introduce more efficiencies to lower unit costs. BA envisages the size of the current flying programme being maintained. The airline says that 44% of passengers are now e-ticketed and that 60% of customers who book tickets communicate by email. .

Source: ABTN

3  Worldwide passenger traffic to grow by 7%+ in 2004

An American Express spokesman recently stated that “corporate spending on travel and entertainment grew in the final quarter of 2003 at a year-over-year rate of 10 percent, compared with 7 percent in the third quarter and no growth during the first half of the year.” “The month of December was stronger than the first two months of the quarter,” added Amex CFO Gary Crittenden, speaking last Monday with analysts on a conference call. "Corporations are increasing their T&E-related expenditures, after three years of working to contain them.

Source: btnblast@billcom.com

4  Low cost fares under threat

Low cost airlines were dealt a double blow last week by European authorities over the issues of passenger compensation and airport subsidies.

The European Parliament voted in favour of bringing in compensation of up to £410 for passengers who are denied boarding flights that are full.

A second piece of legislation from Europe will also disadvantage some carriers. The European Commission is expected to rule next week that airport subsidies paid by Brussels Charleroi airport to Ryanair are illegal.

Source: Business Traveller Magazine online

5  Travel Managers attempt to maintain Privacy

Kevin Mitchell, the Chairman of the Business Travel Coalition invites all Travel Managers worldwide to join the stance taken by the Business Travel Coalition in order to protect the privacy of data relating to their travellers.

The Business Travel Coalition invitesyou to be a signatory to a letter to Congressional Transportation Committee Chairmen requesting a Hearing on CAPPS II and travel industry data privacy issues.

6  Club Airways the world’s first members - only  private club airline comes to the City

Club Airways is to launch twice daily services from the Jet Terminal at London City Airport to Düsseldorf on 7 March. One month later they expect to introduce London City – Zurich, also twice daily, and are considering LCY – Paris.

The Jet Terminal is on the access road to the airport, much more private and by lacking the formalities of the main terminal saving time. If the Düsseldorf flights can be made to link with Lufthansa’s PrivatAir Airbus A319 service to Newark New York the routing might prove to be an attractive alternative to either Heathrow or Gatwick.

Source: ABTN; Club Airways can be found at www.clubairways.com

7  New look Holiday Inn

InterContinental is testing a new prototype for its key midmarket Holiday Inn brand. The first property is at Gwinnett Center in Georgia. It is an attempt to breathe new life into a brand first launched in 1952, according to a report in US newspaper the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The new look sees the introduction of contemporary furniture, high-speed internet connections, flat televisions, menus on portable computer tablets and extra-large showers. But it is also back to the future for the brand as it is using vintage photographs from founder of the chain Kemmons Wilson.

Source: www.Caterer.com

8  IT not budgets keeps business people in the office

Company Barclaycard’s annual survey has found that only one in four business travellers were out and about less often in 2003 than in 2002, with technology rather than cost-cutting keeping them chained to their desks.

Source: E-Tid

9  Bird flu warning in Thailand

Hotels in Thailand are being urged to take chicken and egg-based dishes from their menus after the outbreak of bird flu in Asia. The Thai Hotels Association has given the advice to its 400 members until the disease is contained.

Source: www.caterer,com

10  Carnival of Venice - Oriental Express.

Masked Journey on the Silk Road is the theme chosen for 2004 by the artistic director with obvious reference to Marco Polo and his legendary pilgrimage in the countries of the East and Far East.  San Marco Square, and the other main sites as well as the other main sites  will be invaded by sounds, voices, dances, acrobats, street artists coming from the East or whose shows are inspired from the East; part of them will be performed also in Lido, Mestre, Marghera and the Riviera del Brenta.

There are four countries involved in this huge manifestation which will take place for 17 days (February 7th to 24th) on the Canal Grande and in India, Thailand, China and Japan

Source: Business Traveller Magazine online

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