News Clips for Corporate Travel Management: September 2004

1  South East gets new low cost airline

The latest low cost airline to take to the skies launched this week when Eujet offered its first flights out of Kent International Airport on Thursday September 1 to Amsterdam, Dublin, Girona, Nice and Copenhagen.

Kent International Airport is based at Manston, a five minute taxi journey from Ramsgate station and is ideally situated for travellers based in the catchment area of Tunbridge Wells, Dover and Canterbury.

Eujet claims to have filled 80% of seats on its first morning of flights and says there are plenty of forward bookings well into next year.

Eujet offers flights to 22 European destinations from Kent and is launching a second base at Shannon on September 15 with flights to Dublin, Kent, Murcia, Faro, Malaga and Geneva.

Eujet operates 108-seater Fokker 100 aircraft with leather seats. One of the benefits of flying from Kent, according to Eujet, is the cheap car parking. It costs £5 per day and £20 per week to leave a car within walking distance of the airport terminal. Go to or call 0870 414 1414.


2  World goes to Expedia

Expedia Corporate Travel has quickly made good on it’s promise at last month's National Business Travel Association annual convention to expand in Europe with its purchase of the London-based travel management company World Travel Management for an undisclosed sum.

World Travel managing director Mike Bor confirmed that the sale had taken place and will be announced officially in the next few days.

Source: & E Tid click

3  SAS Revamps Fare Structure

SAS Scandinavian Airlines plans to revamp its customer segments, effective October 31st, and will offer  three levels of service: Economy, Economy Flex and Business.

The remodelled structure is based on market research involving about 4,000 travellers from eight countries.

Economy remains the basic product for the price sensitive customers. It will be competitive with the lowest fares on the market; meals and refreshment can be purchased separately on board. Economy Flex gives greater flexibility including free rebooking and refunds, priority check-in, fast lane security in Copenhagen and Stockholm, advance seat reservation, dedicated seating and a complimentary meal and beverages. Business Class will deliver a high level of comfort, including all the benefits of Economy Flex plus extra legroom, an excellent meal, and lounge access.

Source: askBTE by Businerss Travel Executive

4  Self-booking increase reported

European users of online corporate travel self-booking system GetThere booked a record 36,000 trips in July.

GetThere claims to be the first corporate online travel reservation system to reveal the size of the European market for self-booked business travel and challenged competitors to disclose their own figures.

Floyd Widener, vice president of GetThere and corporate travel at Sabre Travel Network, said: “I could tell you we saw year-on-year booking increases in Europe of 104 per cent in Q1 this year, and 138 per cent in Q2.

“But GetThere has been seeing triple-digit, year-on-year percentage growth in Europe for so many quarters now that it no longer means anything to industry-watchers.

“It’s time to start putting out some hard numbers to help procurement managers, travel managers and travel management companies assess the real growth and potential of these systems.”

Source: click

5  New Nigerian Virgin

Nigeria's aviation minister has said that Virgin Group will invest $24.5m (£13.8m) for a 49% stake in the country's new flag carrier, to be named Virgin Nigeria Airlines.

Wire services report that Isa Yuguda told journalists on Wednesday that the new carrier would have initial capital of $50m, with Virgin paying $24.5m for a 49% stake and Nigerian institutional investors $25.5m for the remainder. Half of the Nigerian stake will be divested at a later stage through an initial public offering.

Nigeria has been without a flag carrier since the demise of Nigeria Airways in May 2003 with debts of $60m. Prior to its bankruptcy, the airline operated just two aircraft, one on domestic routes and the other on long-haul services to London and New York.

Source: E-Tid

6  Gulf Air Suspends Nepal Flights

Gulf Air is suspending its daily Gulf Traveller operations to Nepal through Sept. 2 following the outbreak of unrest in the capital, Kathmandu.

The airline has taken immediate steps to secure the safety of its passengers and crew and closed its offices in the city. An interim ticketing facility is being set up the airport to assist passengers and to provide commercial services.

Passengers with bookings to or from Nepal during this period should contact Gulf Air or their local travel agency for assistance in rebooking their flights.

Source: askBTE by Businerss Travel Executive

7  Rail Booking revolution

Just as thought that they had eradicated all their competition Harry Weeks Travel have announced the launch of their own self-booking solution for domestic rail.  Not content with offering a self booking system HWT’s Travelpack Online can also electronically produce rail tickets on site.

Jonathan Reeve, HWT’s Director of Operations told us  “Travelpack On-line” allows clients to achieve full control of their rail procurement spend. Clients can simply and effectively set and control the framework and policy within which travel is booked. Staff then book cost effective travel against the framework and policies set by the client to generate locally produced tickets. No hassle, no queues, no expenses claims, just a simple, controlled process that enables clients to fully track, analyse and manage their rail spend..”

8  BA, bmi and easyJet announce September Savings

The UK’s two largest full service airlines have cut fares in a bid to fill seats after the peak summer period.

And no-frills carrier easyJet followed suit by cutting the price of 750,000 seats to give a £11.50 one-way lead-in price. EasyJet's discounted fares are available until midnight on September 6 and apply to travel between October 1 and January 31.

British Airways says it has cut fares to long haul destinations by as much as £200 for its annual autumn seat sale.  BA is also offering discounted hotel and Avis car rental on its website in a bid to boost revenues.

Rival bmi is also launching a sale but has restricted its booking period to six days from September 3-8. Its fares start from £28 on its largely shorthaul network. Tickets are for travel between October 1 and February 28.


9  Online check-in arrives

Hotel check-in via the internet is here. Two US hotel giants - Radisson and Hilton - are currently introducing the technology. Radisson, a brand owned by Carlson Companies, is from this week allowing guests who book rooms in the Americas to finalise room booking details up to a week in advance of arrival. Once at a Radisson, the guest identifies themself at the front desk and is then given a key packet.

The Hilton Hotel Corporation variant enables guests to check-in 24 hours prior to arrival. The scheme is to be introduced in late autumn.

The HHC technology has been dubbed OnQ and has been installed at all of the 2,200 hotels in the company’s system. But the online check-in will only be available initially at an unspecified selected number of hotels and then only to Gold and Diamond members of the company’s loyalty scheme.

Another feature of OnQ is that guests will be able to examine charges online, at up to the five last properties under the company’s brands.

HHC is also expanding its range of automated kiosks to number 100 at 45 Hilton properties. It claims current usage is between 10% and 12%, with up to 35% at some hotels. The Radisson scheme is called Express Yourself and is part of a five-year programme to overhaul the brand.


10  A First Class upgrade

British Airways and Gulf Air are offering business class passengers the chance to sample the luxury of First Class when they buy a ticket this autumn.  The upgrade is offered to customers who buy a fully flexible business class ticket on a longhaul route. The ticket must be bought after September 7 for travel up to December 5.

Passengers can choose at the booking stage which leg they want to fly in First, although this is subject to availability.

Another bonus is that Executive Club and On Business members earn the BA Miles and points for the cabin they travel in – this means earning a third more miles for the First Class leg over the Club World leg.

A similar scheme launched last year saw 4,500 passengers get a free trip in the First Class cabin.

Source: Business Traveller online;

Gulf Air is offering a complimentary one way upgrade to First Class for business class tickets bought for travel up to the end of October. Passengers in First Class can sample the airline's eight course menu prepared by an onboard chef. Or if that's too heavy, lighter options are available.

Source: Business Traveller online;

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