Snellman re-elected chair of FBTA
Tuija Snellman, travel manager for the Finnish Broadcasting Company, was re-elected chair of the Finnish Business Travel Association at its annual meeting.
Five new board members were also elected: Ms Auni Karekari, travel manager for Kesko Corporation, Ms Elina Mustonen, senior manager head of office services and travel management, Nordic Investment Bank, Ms Arja Kuisma, administrative assistant for the EMA Group, Ms Pirjo Nurmi, director corporate payment solutions for Luottokunta/Eurocard and Mr Jari Oinonen, sales director for Kaleva Travel.
More than 80 members attended the event in Helsinki at which Ms Johanna Ikäheimo, chair the Lappset Group, spoke on her views ands experiences as a woman business traveller.
Travellers switching to UK regional airports - Kite
Delays and queues at London hubs are forcing international travellers to use UK regional airports.
Peter Kite, HRG's managing director for Europe West, said his company's clients were increasingly deserting Heathrow and using other airports. He said the trend confirmed the recent CAA report which highlighted the move away form Heathrow.
"In the last year we have observed changing travel patterns among our clients, with an increase in the numbers of corporate travellers now opting to leave from a closer regional airport when travelling for business," Mr Kite said.
"The addition of daily flights to the US and Middle East, and other business destinations, from regional airports such as Glasgow, Bristol, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester and Newcastle, means that more flights are available.
"The greater choice of departure airport, whether direct flights or via an international hub, the increase in routes and the flexibility of schedules makes life for corporate travellers much easier and has the added benefits of reducing total travel times and potentially reducing costs."
Silverjet reports loss
Silverjet, a British-owned business class only airline, reported a pre0tax operating loss of £13.1m on the first six months of its financial year to September 30.
It compares with a £1.1m loss for the same period in 2006.
But the carrier said it has enjoyed load factors of 80% before it introduced its second daily flight to New York, that there had been "significant increases in yield in recent months” and revenue seats had risen sharply in October compared with September.
Lawrence Hunt, the Luton-based airline's ceo, said: "The results for the period are in line with our expectations at this stage in the business life. We launched an entirely new business model in just eight months from our successful IPO.
"We are capitalising on the opportunities we identified in last year's IPO and our subsequent share placing, in terms of route and product development.
"As our existing routes mature, we anticipate increasing yields and load factors."
Silverjet also announced it was planning to raise £22m with £12m coming from a sale of shares and £10m from a loan.
The carrier also announced a new loyalty scheme aimed at SMEs.
Under The Silverjet Set, companies which sign up can claim a free flight for every ten taken by employees.
The airline said the difference was that once a company had flown ten times, any employee could use the free flight.
Expedia sets up in China
Online agency Expedia Corporate Travel (ECT) is to set up a service in China through a partnership with eLong.
It is the company first move into the Asia-Pacific market.
eLong is the second largest online travel company in China with access to more than over 4,700 hotels in more than 330 cities across China, as well as flights to more than 70 Chinese cities.
Jean-Pierre Remy, president of ECT, said: "Our entry into the Asia-Pacific region is part of our commitment to grow with the needs of our customers.
"Many of our existing customers and prospects already do business in China, so we have a clear opportunity to better service the needs of these clients by being where they need us to be."
Deutsche Bahn to serve Denmark
Deutsche Bahn (DB), the German rail company, is to begin services to Denmark.
It will work with the Danish rail network DSB to provide services from Berlin and Hamburg to Copenhagen and Aarhus from December.
Denmark will be the sixth country to which DB has extended its high speed ICE (Inter City Express) trains.
The others are Switzerland, Austria, France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The move is part of DB's plans to extend its services to 80 cities outside Germany.
Nikolaus Breuel, chairman of DB Fernverkehr, said the aim was to increase turnover from international services from €200m to €300m a year by 2010.
"Rail travel is bringing the countries of Europe closer and closer together. With the ICE, we will gain market share from the airlines.
"Today, Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Zurich and Bern already belong to the ICE network," he said.
UK hoteliers have "healthy" October
UK hoteliers had a good October with increases in both occupancy and room rates.
According to new figures from PKF Hotel Consultancy, London saw a 9.7% rise in daily room rates from £120.67 to £132.42, a 5% increase in occupancy and a 15.2% rise in room yield from £99.97 to £115.14.
Cardiff achieved a 4.3% rise in occupancy and a 19.9% rise in room rates partly due to the Rugby World Cup.
Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, said: "While room rates have driven a lot of the growth in the last few months, it is good to see occupancy levels back up in October. London had a fantastic month.
"While some of the regions still battled to pull in the visitors – namely Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow – rooms yields were still healthy from growth in room rates. “Plus, with the strong figures achieved in Cardiff and also Birmingham, overall the regions had a good month."
* new jobs on BTE's recruitment site www.businesstraveljobs.com