News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: November 2004

1  Amex forecasts travel and costs continue to increase

American Express has published its much-respected Global Business Travel Forecast for 2005, which indicates a continued steady revival of international business travel.

Although the pace varies significantly by region and country, published air and hotel prices are expected to rise incrementally next year as demand recovers, outpacing the growth of supply in several markets.

For 2005, American Express forecasts that global economy/short haul fares will rise by 0-3%, and international business fares by 2-5%.

On the hotel side, room rates for both midrange and upper-range properties will increase by 1-3%. Budget carriers will continue to impact the airline industry in 2005. Attempts by European legacy airlines to significantly increase fares, however, are likely to be dampened by competition from low cost carriers, a trend that has gathered momentum over the past two years.

Source: airguide online.com

2  But airline losses continue to grow!

Even though airline passenger numbers are on the rise, collective airline losses could exceed $4 billion this year due to high fuel costs.

IATA, releasing traffic date for the first nine months of 2004, called on all sectors of the industry to help combat rising oil prices.

“With oil in the $50 a barrel range it is critical that our industry partners join these efforts in earnest. In particular governments, air navigation service providers and airports need to co-operate to optimise flight operations and reduce fuel consumption,”  said  IATA director general Giovanni Bisignani

Revealing that IATA carriers are on course to achieve a 14% rise in passenger carryings this year over 2003, Mr Bisignani warned: “The sad story is that despite these improvements, the bottom line is worsening with the extraordinary price of fuel.

Source: Travelmole

3  Suite News for Gatwick’s Virgin

Virgin's business passengers flying out of Gatwick can finally enjoy the airline's Upper Class Suite.

The Suite has a leather seat that can be reclined for take-off and once in the air offers the longest fully flat bed, according to Virgin, as well as a proper mattress for a good night's sleep.

Another bonus of the Suite is that you are able to dine, restaurant style, with a companion at a large foldaway table that stretches between the two seats.

Upper Class passengers on flights from Heathrow have been enjoying the Suite for about a year now. It has been fitted on one 747-400 aircraft operating from Gatwick, and will be fitted across the fleet by the end of March next year.

Source: Business Traveller online

4  Growing in Soho

The stylish London Firmdale Hotels group have added a third Soho property to their group.

The Soho Hotel is minutes from the fashionable Soho Square making it walking distance from restaurants, bars, theatres and shops.

The 91-room property opened at the end of September after undergoing a complete transformation from its previous life.

It has six apartments with a separate entrance for longer stays and two suites. Rooms have high-speed internet access, flat screen televisions, DVD and CD players. The granite bathrooms have walk-in showers, double basins and toiletries from London perfumer Miller Harris.

The hotel has a gym and two beauty treatment rooms as well as a personal trainer on-site for those lacking in motivation.

Rates start at £235 for a superior double room.

Source BusinessTraveller online www.sohohotel.com

5  On-demand Rail ticketing On-line

HWT’s Travelpack Online were demonstrating their on-line booking and on-site ticketing system non stop to an enthusiastic audience every day at the Birmingham Business Travel Show.

Jonathan Reeve, Director of Corporate Sales at HWT was quick to confirm to us last week that Travelpack Online is a direct booking product and does not utilise a third party’s system as alleged by a competitor!

“This product has been researched and developed expressly and exclusively for Harry Weeks Travel” Jonathan explained “and currently there is no other system capable of delivering what Travelpack Online can in the way of on-site ticketing or data management”

6  South Bank’s new attraction

Park Plaza Hotels new property on London’s South Bank is beginning to take shape.

Opening early 2005 - this promises to become London's most stunning 4-star deluxe, new build, hotel to open for many years! The impressive Riverbank Park Plaza will be situated on the south side of the River Thames, opposite the Tate Britain art gallery, and providing stunning views of the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and the London Eye.

7  Continental's Carter steps down

Continental Airlines has appointed Bob Schumacher as its UK and Ireland senior director, replacing the popular Mike Carter who has retired after 11 years with the airline.

Schumacher is currently sales director UK and Ireland. Carter is also standing down from his position as chairman of the UK's Board of Airline Representatives.

Source: Travelweekly online

8  ACTE Produces Results for the Future of Corporate Travel

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives Annual Global Conference in Stockholm captured the importance of bringing together representatives from various segments of the business travel community by giving attendees the opportunity to view an instant snapshot of their industry.

Hundreds of delegates participated in two live surveys covering a variety of topics, from outsourcing and GDS deregulation to low cost carriers and online travel management firms.

Source: ACTE

9 all the way with BA

British Airways has confirmed that it can now offer interline e-ticketing (IET) with all other members of the Oneworld alliance, following a cut over with Cathay Pacific.

The UK carrier and US partner American Airlines are for the time being the only two airlines in the world to offer this customer convenience with all their global alliance partners. With Lan Chile and Qantas linking up in September, IET is now available to more than 90% of all passengers transferring between the alliance's member airlines.

All Oneworld interlining should be by IET by the year-end. Amongst the many advantages of interline e-ticketing passengers can rebook between airlines without having to obtain a paper ticket first, saving time and hassle. There is nothing to lose and the often embarrassing search for paperwork at airline counters is eliminated. As BA points out e-tickets and interline e-ticketing also save millions a year by removing costly paper tickets and the processes to support their use

Source: ABTN online

10  Autumn Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum

Speakers are being lined up to take part in the AirPlus sponsored Corporate Travel & Expense Management Forum that we are organising in conjunction with the Institute of Travel Management.

This will be held in the Gallery of the Thistle Victoria Hotel which is situated in Buckingham Palace Road and adjacent to and accessible from London’s Victoria station.

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