Friday 30 September 2022, JW Marriott Grosvenor
November 2022, Virtual
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
This week's ABTN news in brief
Aer Lingus vows to cut costs
Dublin based carrier Aer Lingus has vowed to cut more costs in an attempt to stem operating losses.
Staffing cuts announced last month prompted protests from unions but the airline hopes to make further savings by reducing its long haul services and fleet size.
Blaming the Irish air tax and harsh economic environment, Aer Lingus said it expects to break even in its second half with a full year operating loss of €20-30m.
Aer Lingus holds €766.7m in net cash compared to rival Ryanair's €2.1bn.
Ryanair is appealing against an EU decision that has so far blocked its attempts to takeover Aer Lingus.
Delta unveils new routes for 2009
Delta Air Lines has announced it will introduce 15 new routes by next summer.
The routes will cover major markets in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
The expansion takes full advantage of Delta's recent merger with Northwest, with the new non-stop flights from the US to Tokyo-Narita now connecting with flights to Ho Chi Minh City.
The non-stop service to Tokyo will depart from Salt Lake City, New York and Atlanta.
Delta has also introduced new non-stop routes to Sweden, Spain, Czech Republic and Switzerland, as well as adding a second New York-Tel-Aviv service.
In addition, Delta plans to increase connectivity between its US hubs.
Travelocity sells booking service to Expotel
Travelocity Business UK has sold its UK hotel and conference booking service to Expotel.
Specialist hotel booking agency Expotel bought First Option and its hotel and conference clients list for an undisclosed sum.
Lesley Harris, Travelocity's business president, said: "This sale is intended to focus our ongoing operations while providing hotel and conference clients with a trusted UK travel partner.
"As the leading hotel booking agency, Expotel is the perfect company to acquire that part of the business."
Expotel has been steadily expanding its business, acquiring its rival NIS Europe in July 2008.
Hilton expands further into Europe
Hilton Hotels has announced it will open six hotels across Europe in a series of franchise and management agreements.
The expansion includes four new Garden Inn properties in Turkey, one Doubletree by Hilton in the leisure resort of Lecce, Italy, and a property in Wroclaw, Poland.
The hotel openings in Turkey are part of Hilton's agreement with property developers Amplio and the Kosifler Group to develop 40 hotels in Turkey over the next five years.
Hilton's Poland hotel is the result of a management agreement with Wings Properties.
Hilton plans to add more than 150 European hotels to its property portfolio in the next 10 years.
Austrian decides on Lufthansa
OIAG, the Austrian state holding company aiming to sell its 41.6% stake in the national carrier Austrian Airlines, has decided to talk only to Lufthansa.
The German carrier was among three potential bidders for the stake in Austrian which is looking for a "strategic partner."
OIAG said that Air France and S7, a Russian domestic carrier, were "no longer in the bidding process."
Air France's offer apparently did not arrive in time while S7's bid was said not to confirm to EU specifications.
Lufthansa has reportedly offered €360,000 for the stake and asked the Austrian government to take over the airline's €500m debt.
OIAG indicated that talks with Lufthansa would be completed within a month.
S7 said in a statement the OIAG's decision was a "lost opportunity for the Austrian aviation industry."
It added: "S7 Airlines would have protected jobs and built a stronger future both for the airline and for Vienna Airport, which would have been built up as a new hub operation for us.
"The S7 offer was supported by a strong consortium of Russian and international banks."
The airline said it would still pursue its plans for international growth and is "progressing" talks with other partners.
Avis goes paperless
Avis rent a car has gone "paperless" after introducing e-vouchers across a number of GDSs.
The new function is now available to agents using the Galileo, Sabre and Amadeus GDSs.
Similar to hotel and airline e-vouchers, customers can now collect their vehicle without presenting a voucher or email.
Blue Rainbow unveil plans for new serviced apartments
Manchester-based Blue Rainbow Apartments has announced plans to expand across the UK, increasing turnover from £3m to £12m.
Over the next four years, new properties will open in cities including Aberdeen, Bristol, Liverpool, Birmingham, Brighton and London.
The Blue Rainbow Aparthotel is Manchester's only 5-star serviced apartment hotel.
Will Hannah, managing director, said: "The serviced apartment sector is set to withstand the current global economic slowdown with cost saving benefits compared to hotels and demand outstripping supply."
easyJet wins review of Gatwick charges
The High Court has approved easyJet's application for a Judicial Review of process used to increase charges at Gatwick Airport.
The low cost carrier said the decision was a "legal breakthrough."
It said it was the first time the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had been subjected to a Review for a regulatory price decision.
easyJet told the court that the increase imposed by BAA, owners of Gatwick and approved by the CAA was "exorbitant."
It said the increases were 21% this year, from £5.61 to £6.79, and 31% plus inflation by 2013.
The airline said the process used by the CAA to sanction the increases was an "unlawful departure" from the Competition Commission's (CC) recommendations.
It had also treated BAA's late submission unlawfully and had acted unlawfully in disregarding the CC's recommendations that there was no justification for BAA's "bonus" payments for its services.
Rezidor set to open two Paris hotels
The Rezidor Hotel Group is set to expand its portfolio in France with two Paris openings.
A joint venture between Rezidor and Westmont Hospitality, the 296-room Radisson Ambassador Hotel, Paris Opéra, will open at the end of the year.
The second property, the 343-room Radisson Hotel Paris La Défense, will be in the business district of La Défense.
The area has more than 3,600 companies including IBM and Société Générale.
The new hotel will have 1000sqm conferencing and banqueting space.
Rezidor now has 1,600 rooms open or under development in Paris, and more than 4,000 in France.
Travelodge continues to cut prices
Travelodge has announced it will continue to cut prices in an attempt to put mid market rivals out of the picture.
The budget hotel chain will drop room rates below 2007 prices, taking an average of 10% off the rates of hotels in 15 major UK cities.
Travelodge had already announced promotions for holiday periods, offering rooms for between £9 and £29 at Christmas, February half term and Easter.
Guy Parsons, Travelodge's managing director, said: "By taking sales for next year, we are taking next year's demand out of the market now and away from the competition.
"Our mid market rivals will be forced into making sloppy last minute promotions that will fail to take traction."
Ireland sets up Shannon customs post
Ireland is to set up as new customs post at Shannon Airport for US-bound travellers.
Among those who will benefit are passengers on BA's planned business class flights from London City Airport to New York Kennedy Airport.
Noel Dempsey, the Irish immigration minster, said the new facility would allow passengers to speed through JFK after obtaining customs and immigration clearance at Shannon.
The agreement with the US is due to be signed in Washington today (November 17).
Robert Boyle, BA's commercial director, said the move would make flying form London city easier with passengers able to arrive at London city 15 minutes before departure.
BA is due to start the London City flights next autumn.
The airline said it was postponing the roll out of its new first class cabins which had been due to start next year.
A spokesman said there was no new date for the roll out.
He said the airline was concentrating on fitting out the A318s which will be used on the London City flights to New York.