News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: March 2004

1  AirPlus launches Visa Corporate Card to complete global offer

AirPlus, the leading international supplier of business travel management solutions, has moved into the next phase of its global expansion with the introduction of its AirPlus Corporate Card. The card will be available from February 2004.

With the introduction of the Visa Corporate Card, AirPlus can provide its British Airways AirPlus Company Account clients with a totally integrated travel management offer. Whilst AirPlus already provides both credit and settlement facilities and data management to its clients, the new corporate card completes the offer.

Source: Travelplus

2  British Airways Developments

2.1 Wireless   British Airways is installing wireless internet connection in 80 of its main airline lounges around the world. The new technology will enable customers to have broadband internet access without having to plug their computer into a modem.

The airline, in conjunction with British Telecom, will start installing BT Openzone technology in all its lounges at Heathrow and Gatwick by the end of April. It is anticipated that more than 80 of the airline’s main lounges will have the technology by the end of May.

Source: Business Traveller Magazine online

2.2 Memorabilia  Concorde fans will be pleased to learn that British Airways is to auction more than 150,000 Concorde items through an online webcast in conjunction with DoveBid Inc.


2.3 Codeshare   American Airlines and British Airways announced a significant expansion of their transatlantic codeshare partnership, bringing the allies closer together in their competition against the SkyTeam and Star alliances.


2.4 Sleepers   British Airways has come over all maternal with a new service that tucks you up with a glass of warm milk and a snug blanket on night flights (bed time story not included).  The airline has been testing a new business class service called ‘Sleeper Service’ that caters for passengers who want to sleep on overnight flights. The service was tested on New York night flights in October and last week was tested on the Dubai flight that leaves at 2am. Drowsy business class passengers can bed down with more luxurious pillows and blankets and a nightcap of a hot or cold drink and snack before bed.

Source: Business Traveller Magazine online

2.5 Self-service   No this does not signify a change in British Airways in-flight programme.  BA has launched a scheme that allows their customers to have their boarding passes printed within their offices or even at home.

This system has been trialled successfully at Edinburgh Airport for the past month and the intention is to roll the programme out at Glasgow, Manchester and Heathrow Airports over the coming month.

3  New Airline Guide

OAG have introduced OAG their new FlightFinder(TM) – a service that provides daily, updated airline schedules to airport websites. FlightFinder draws from the OAG database, which includes more than 1.5m flight records from over 930 airlines worldwide. Developed to assist airports in providing online flight schedule information to consumers, OAG has created 3,500 FlightFinder search engines, one for each airport in the world. FlightFinder seamlessly integrates with an airport website, allowing consumers to view direct and connecting flights from any airport.

Source ABTN;

4  Baby grows

Bmibaby announced a major step in its expansion, with the launch of services from London's Gatwick airport. From 30 April, the airline will launch daily services to Prague and Cork from Gatwick, adding to the eight UK and 17 other European cities it currently serves. Seats go on sale at 10.00 on Friday 13 February 2004, with one-way internet fares to Prague starting from just £19.99 and Cork from just £23.99 one-way.

Source Openjet online

5  As does easyJet

As part of the easyJet expansion in 2004, the airline has announced seven new routes, of which three are completely new destinations. The new routes are:

  • London Stansted to Basel and Ljubljana International
  • London Luton to Budapest International
  • London Gatwick to Naples, Ibiza, & Faro

easyJet also announced that it is establishing Dortmund International Airport as its next European base. As part of the airline's expansion plans for Germany they will introduce eight routes from the aiport. Six of the routes have been confirmed and the remaining two will be announced shortly.  easyJet will operate twice-daily services to Paris (Charles de Gaulle) and London Luton Airport, and daily services to Nice, Palma (Majorca), Alicante, and Rome (Ciampino). Flights will commence at the end of May 2004 and went on sale on Friday February 13th.  These new services  will bring the easyJet network to 145 routes.

Source: Openjet online

6  Growing online threat to business travel agents

A survey recently out shows the growing threat of the internet to traditional business travel agents.

While travel management companies continue to account more than half of all business travel arrangements, online bookings are on the increase. The Company Barclaycard annual Travel in Business survey reveals a 49% rise in overall business travel bookings via the internet since 2000 when only 17% of business travellers booked travel online.

Booking flights and trains online has increased by 8% in the last 12 months, according to Company Barclaycard. The research found that 66% of business travellers had booked flights online and 45% booked rail via the internet.

Source: ABTN

7  ACTE, NBTA Join Forces on Issues

FEBRUARY 24, 2004 - Contemplating what could be their first major collaboration in seven years, the Association of Corporate Travel Executives and the National Business Travel Association announced that they will cooperate on issues "critical to the travel industry and the global economy," such as data privacy.


8  London to get Armani

London is in line for an Armani-branded hotel after the Italian fashion house announced plans to open ten hotels and four resorts in partnership with Dubai-based real estate giant EMAAR.

EMAAR is taking on the real estate, construction and management of the hotels with Armani responsible for all aspects of content, design and style.  The partnership is hoping to open hotels in London, Paris, New York and Milan. A management company for Armani Luxury Hotels & Resorts will be set up in the Italian city, home to the Armani Group HQ.

Source E-Tid

9  Business travellers divided over the use of sky marshals

Business travellers are divided over the use of armed sky marshals on UK-US flights to prevent terrorist attacks.

Just over half of respondents to a security survey by business travel management company BTI UK were against deploying sky marshals on flights from the UK. Instead, business travellers argued for increased security measures on the ground, particularly at check-in.

Half of those BTI clients asked agreed that flights should be delayed or cancelled as a result of a specific terrorist threat – a response which supports British Airways’ recent decision to ground certain flights to Washington and Saudi Arabia. Less than a third of people would prefer that a targeting flight took off with sky marshals on board.

Source E-Tid

10  Ryanair to axe London-Brussels route

Ryanair is to suspend flights between Stansted and Charleroi, near Brussels.  The no-frills carrier is to withdraw its eight flights a day from the route from 29 April, the start of the airline’s summer schedule.

The closure of the route, which claims to account for 360,000 passengers a year, is in direct response to the European Commission imposing a fine on Ryanair after ruling that the airline had received illegal incentives to use the airport. The carrier is appealing against the decision at the European Court in Luxembourg. The cutback in flights will represent a 10% reduction in daily services at Charleroi, according to Ryanair.


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