News in brief from Travelport GDS, BSI, BAA, British Airways, Tallinn's Solaris centre and CWT
Travelport expands in Abu Dhabi
Travelport has launched a new direct operation for its Galileo agents in Abu Dhabi.
The operation, in a new office officially opened last Friday (October 9), will provide Galileo-connected agents with the GDS's services as well as training, sales and help staff.
Faris Azzee, Travelport's country manager in the United Arab Emirates, said the launch underscored Travelport's commitment to Abu Dhabi.
BSI consolidates under one brand
UK online hotel booking agency BSI is to consolidate its various services under one brand.
The new grouping will include the hotel booking business, its meetings procurement service and Olive 360, its event management business.
The new company will be called BSI Meetings and Event Management Service with specialist offices in London and Cheadle, Cheshire.
Paul Hussey, director of business development - MICE, said: "The clarity of adopting a single brand identity ensures that technology innovations can be rolled out seamless and efficiently, preventing brand confusion in the marketplace and positioning BSI as an expert on converged cost control and creativity in the MICE arena."
BAA sees signs of recovery
UK airport operator BAA has reported a group-wide 2.6% year-on-year drop in passenger traffic in September.
But BAA said traffic across all of its airports had fallen 11.3% in March year-on-year suggesting "some signs of recovery".
Traffic in July and August also saw similar declines to September, BAA said.
Traffic through UK hub airport London Heathrow remained steady last month after seeing only a 0.3% year-on-year drop.
London Gatwick saw traffic growth in its European and domestic markets, up 8.7% and 5.8% year-on-year respectively.
Edinburgh Airport saw its sixth consecutive month of traffic growth while Glasgow and Aberdeen suffered 8.9% and 5.3% year-on-year drops respectively.
BA all-business flight to go twice daily
British Airways' all-business class London City to New York JFK service is to fly twice daily from this week.
A second late afternoon service will now depart London City at 1600 and arrive in New York at 2025.
In addition, a second return flight will leave New York at 2150 to arrive back in London at 1025 the following morning.
BA's all-business Club World London City service was launched earlier this month.
Estonian capital set to host major events
A new 1,830-delegate conference centre in the Estonian capital Tallinn has opened its doors ahead of its first international event next year.
The Nokia Concert Hall-branded Solaris centre is set to host the European Film Academy Awards in 2010.
Solaris hailed its facilities as "the most modern conference hall in the Nordic and Baltic countries".
The new centre features a main hall with space for 1,830 delegates, new "state-of-the-art" 20x10m video screens and an interpreter's balcony.
There are also 12 seminar rooms - three in a classroom-style and nine with a theatre-style lay out.
Solaris hopes the centre will host 200 events a year such as large conferences and high-profile music events.
CWT warns clients of 41% APD hikes
Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) has sent a letter to clients warning of the rise in costs linked to increases in UK Air Passenger Duty (APD).
The UK government's APD increases could cost CWT's clients an extra £9m a year reaching £30m by 2011, the TMC warned.
According to CWT, clients will see their APD payments rise 41% overall based on current travel patterns.
"CWT believes that the proposed rises in Air Passenger Duty will impede economic recovery without delivering environmental benefits and we will oppose them vigorously," said Andrew Waller, CWT's executive vp UK and Ireland.
CWT has also called on its 1,400 UK staff to sign an online petition protesting the APD increases.