News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: June 2004

1  Dornier 328Jet Envoy Executive aircraft order

Bookajet and its partner Club Airways, the world’s first members-only airline, announced an order for seven Dornier 328Jet Envoy Executive series at the EBACE business aircraft show in Geneva last week (see also PrivatAir below).

The aircraft will be used to serve Bookajet’s expanding on-demand charter and corporate business, as well as the scheduled regular business flights it performs for Club Airways whose network includes London City, Paris and Nice.

The first Bookajet aircraft, in 14-seat configuration, will be delivered in August and the second in November

Source ABTN; www.bookajet.com

2  Floating Entertainment centre in London

Exhibitors at  Farnborough and for that matter anyone interested in an unusual (possible moving) hospitality venue in central London, might like to know that “Lord of the Highlands”, a rather splendid purpose-built cruise ship, is to be based at Tower Pier throughout the summer. Able to host a maximum of 150 guests the ship is ideal for a range of events for both the corporate and private markets and has particularly nice accommodation for up to 54 guests in 26 fully equipped cabins. You can charter it for a cocktail party and short river cruise, perhaps for a wedding reception (including an overnight for out of town guests – vastly cheaper than a London hotel) or perhaps a three-day mini cruise to the Continent.

Source ABTN; www.topchart.co.uk

3  Swiss Ends BA Partnership, Won't Join Oneworld

Swiss International Airlines announced on the 3rd June that it is terminating a partnership forged last year with British Airways and canceling plans to join the Oneworld alliance. Speculation in European press reports suggested the struggling Swiss carrier soon may resume negotiations with German carrier Lufthansa that could lead to Swiss inclusion in the Star Alliance or an equity transaction.

Source: BTNonline.com

4  E-visas under consideration by 20 nations

Bahrain has introduced an electronic visa system that should eliminate lengthy queues at airport immigration.European nationals visiting Bahrain would previously need to apply for a two-week visitors visa at the airport. Now they can get a visa through an airline or travel agent as well as through the Bahrainian embassy.

Source: businesstraveller.com

5  Air traffic pledge after chaos

Bosses of the National Air Traffic Services have apologised to passengers affected by the computer glitch which delayed hundreds of outbound flights from the UK on 3rd June 2004.

Massive queues of holidaymakers and business travellers built up at airports around the UK.

Richard Everitt, the chief executive of NATS, is quoted in the Daily Telegraph as pledging: “The system has to be upgraded. We are doing major upgrades later in the year. I would like to apologise to all passengers and tell them that we are doing our best to minimise disruption to them.”

Source: Travelmole

6  Taking it easy

Easyjet wants to cut out check-in desks all together and replace them with kiosks in a bid to cut costs. The no-frills carrier is trialling the kiosks at Nottingham East Midlands airport at the moment.

Last week Easyjet claims to have successfully managed to guide an entire flight of passengers headed to Prague through kiosk check-in. They answered security questions on a touch-screen and were helped by Easyjet staff through the procedure.

Source: businesstraveller.com

7  Manchester gets an Italian Connection

Manchester will get a direct connection to Italy's fashion capital, Milan from July 1.Alitalia is launching the twice-daily service with a special fare of £99 return including tax. The fare is available to book up to June 15. Go to www.alitalia.com  The flight takes two hours and 15 minutes and departs Manchester at 9.45am and 4.15pm.

Manchester is also getting a boost to its longhaul services. American Airlines will launch a daily non-stop flight from the northern city to Miami on November 1. The airline currently serves Boston and Chicago from Manchester. Go to www.aa.com

Source: businesstraveller.com

8  Macdonald announces £150m upgrade

Macdonald Hotels is to undertake a £150m two-year development and refurbishment programme of its 60 properties across the UK. 

The company said the programme formed an integral part of its strategy to develop as a leading four-star brand and would include new hotels and the addition of leisure or conference facilities at existing properties, together with bedroom extensions and general refurbishment.

The programme includes the £30m redevelopment of the Aviemore Highland Resort, which is scheduled to reopen in July and a new £23m 161-room hotel in Sheffield city centre, opening in autumn 2005.

Other hotels earmarked for developments include the Randolph in Oxford, Coventry's Brandon Hall and the Tickled Trout in Preston.

Source: e-tid.com

9  Grub up - up and away

British Airways last week introduced a new improved food service in Club Europe. The move coincides with the completion of a refurbishment of the Heathrow T1 executive lounges including the addition of a premium class check-in area, self-service check-in kiosks, and an exclusive security channel.

Whilst the full English breakfast will remain a popular choice the airline will introduce a new continental breakfast option and a hot panini on its mid-range European flights to destinations such as Frankfurt, Geneva and Lyon.

Source: ABTN

10  Marriott’s ½ Million

Marriott is about to celebrate its half-millionth guestroom with the opening of the new London Marriott Hotel West India Quay and Executive Apartments in Docklands.

The 301-room full service property is part of a stunning steel and glass curved building which faces the Canary Wharf Towers. 47 Marriott Executive apartments occupy three floors above the hotel and the building also includes 158 privately owned luxury apartments. The hotel is about 10 minutes from London City Airport. The West India Quay hotel is part of a Marriott expansion plan designed to add up to 95,000 further rooms during the next three years.

Source: ABTN

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