9 JUNE 2014

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Africa for Marriott

Marriott International has completed the approximately US$200m acquisition of Protea Hotels and its sub-brands, African Pride Hotels and Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! making it the largest hotel operator on the African continent.  The Protea web sites now link through to Marriott.

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Bombardier CSeries problems

The failure of a Pratt & Whitney jet engine during testing on a Bombardier CSeries test aircraft last week is unlikely to have a significant impact on Bombardier's testing schedule, according to an executive at P&W parent United Technologies.

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Friendly Frankfurt

Passengers passing through Frankfurt Airport can now book a new escort service called 'My Airport Guide'.  Specially trained employees meet passengers – for example, at the long-distance train station – and go with them to the check-in counter while taking care of their luggage.  They then accompany the passengers through the security check and, if desired, all the way to the gate.

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Lost luggage news

Losing luggage in air travel could be a thing of the past with the airline trade association IATA choosing lost property recovery service HomingPIN as a Strategic Partner, in an effort to reduce the millions of pounds that mislaid baggage costs the industry every year.

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Renaissance Hotels expansion

With six hotels launched and three additional locations on schedule to open, Marriott’s Renaissance portfolio will include 162 hotels in 37 countries by the end of the year.

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COMMENT: Qatar problems

Doha last week hosted the IATA AGM, one of the most controversial in recent times.  Whilst those whose native tongue is English muttered in the bars about the World Cup, bribery, and the strange moving of the goalposts (why does Qatar need 12 years to build a few stadiums whilst London put the vastly more complicated Olympics together in just eight years?) a wider band of airlines spoke out about the Gulf based carriers growth model.

Senior representatives of over 200 airlines attended the IATA meeting in Doha, making Qatar the first Gulf country to host the summit, which was attended by its fiercest critics.  Qatar Airways showcased its new Hamad International Airport.

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'A Very British Airline'

The hugely hyped series 'A Very British Airline', all about BA, opened last Monday and follows tonight (9 June) with 60 minutes of product study that for non-industry people might have proved to be boring (or enlightening).  There were some blatant inaccuracies (British Airways did not invent the Premium Economy concept, Virgin Atlantic did) and BA’s Managing Director Keith Williams was once again unseen.  Willie Walsh, the one time shy Chief Executive of BA owner IAG, was very visible.

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Airport wi-fi

Research carried out by Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has been published which compares the availability and cost of wi-fi access across 25 major UK airports.

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Brooklands closed for war

The world’s first purpose-built motor race circuit closed on the outbreak of war in September 1939.  Nobody could imagine 75 years ago that it would never reopen for sports car racing.  Nor that it would become even more famous as the birthplace for some of the most famous air transport aircraft in the second half of the 20th century.  Brooklands was where Concorde was conceived.

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England fly Silverjet

Well sort of.

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Heathrow attracts

The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has issued a report from a survey of more than 1,000 respondents living outside of Greater London and the South East, all of whom fly on business at least three times a year to international destinations.

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Milan ‘Luxury Collection'

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has announced that the internationally-renowned Excelsior Hotel Gallia in Milan will join its The Luxury Collection portfolio.  The property will open in November following an extensive renovation.  It will mark The Luxury Collection’s seventh hotel in Italy, as the brand remains on track to surpass 100 hotels globally in the next five years.

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RunwaysUK

It was former Transport Minister Steve Norris who stole the limelight at last week’s latest gathering in the Runways UK series of debates highlighting the Airports Commission and its quest to solve the London airports problem.

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ON TOUR: Brazilian coach travel

By Norman Bartlett – news editor Buses Worldwide

With the World Cup kicking off this week Business Travel News is focussed somewhat on Brazil.  (see England fly Silverjet)  This might evaporate after 14 June when England face Italy.  In theory at any rate England could play in any of 11 of the 14 different cities staging games in the competition.  If very successful they could play in seven cities although there are only three to which they are certain to play.  Those are Manaus, São Paulo and Belo Horizonte.

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MOTORING UPDATE

On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI Sport


Make Mine A Cabriolet!

British motorists love open top cars to a greater degree than their compatriots living in more temperate climates. Perhaps they are not the ruddy-faced die-hards of a long gone era, more likely the smart set that prefer boutique shopping even if that breath of fresh air interferes with an expensive hair style.

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AND FINALLY: Dangerous children

Kids love to draw and child psychologists even say that it is good for their development.

However, there is a time and place for everything.

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A350 flies passengers

Airbus has completed successfully the 'Early Long Flight' campaign involving two A350 flights with passengers, operated consecutively by Air France and Lufthansa cabin crews on 2 and 3 June.

During the two sorties, 500 passengers, comprising Airbus employees, and some 30 cabin experts from Airbus and equipment manufacturers, were first to experience what the A350 XWB has to offer. During the flights these early passengers were tasked to try out and test the cabin systems, including air conditioning, lighting, acoustics, in-flight entertainment (IFE), galleys, electrics, toilets and water waste systems. 

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Asiana A380

Korean airline Asiana, which serves Heathrow direct from Seoul in competition with BA and Korean Airlines, has taken delivery of its first Airbus A380, the 11th operator of world’s largest passenger aircraft.  To date Airbus has delivered 128 out of an order book of 324.  Rolls-Royce has won orders from 11 airlines and Engine Alliance 7.  The largest A380 operator, Emirates, has a total firm commitment for 140 aircraft, all powered by the Franco-American engine.

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Curio by Hilton

Hilton Worldwide has announced the launch of Curio – A Collection by Hilton, including plans for the first hotels to join the new brand.

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Ethiopian Airlines at West Ham

Some 640 African-originating participants, wearing the colours of 20 African countries, provided a colourful warm up to the World Cup in an event sponsored by Ethiopian Airlines at the West Ham Memorial Grounds.

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Flying burgers

British Airways says that there are few greater culinary delights than a juicy burger.  Customers can now enjoy the airline’s first specially created gourmet burger on flights. That is if you are flying First Class.

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Icelandair for Birmingham

It dates back to 1937.  Icelandair is to introduce the airline’s fifth UK gateway at Birmingham.  The new flights will operate twice weekly to Reykjavik (KEF), Thursdays and Mondays, from 5 February 2015 and connect with the airline's US services.  A three-class Boeing 757 will be used.

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Monarch does not recline

The latest airline to drop reclining seats is Monarch based at Luton.  It says it is fitting its fleet with light-weight new cabin furniture in a bid to create more “living space” on board.  Ryanair has already taken this route (cost saving) and so has easyJet.

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Vienna Hyatt

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has announced the official opening of Park Hyatt Vienna, the seventh Park Hyatt property in Europe and the first Hyatt hotel in Austria.  

Formerly serving as a bank, the property has re-opened under the Park Hyatt name following a two-year top-to-bottom renovation and restoration that preserved the history and charm of the original structure.

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