For week ending September 30th
Autumn has officially sprung in the UK and, while we prepare to say farewell to September, there was plenty of travel industry news to catch up on over the past week: we heard a lot of rumours about British Airways and its decision to ditch free meals and sell Marks and Spencer food on all short-haul flights, but we were also very surprised to discover that Air Berlin has taken the dramatic step of downsizing its operations and delighted to see Accorhotels launching a very cool and innovative brand.
Accorhotels launches Jo and Joe brand
Accorhotels has launched a new brand Jo& Joe to combine the power of three different hospitality concepts: hoping to appeal the Millennials, the brand “blends the best of private-rental, hostel and hotel formats.” It aims to have 50 properties by 2020, including popular locations like Paris, Bordeaux, Warsaw, Budapest, Rio and São Paulo. In general, Jo and Joe properties are described as “a vibrant living space, a home that is open to the external world and designed to meet the expectations of Millennials and all those who value sharing, spontaneity and experience”. Rates are expected to start at EUR 25 per night.
Air Berlin to downsize
In a bid to stem its losses Air Berlin has taken the dramatic step of downsizing its operations.By next year, Germany’s second largest airline will have transferred up to 40 Airbus A320 aircraft to rival Lufthansa. Some 1,200 staff face redundancy. Air Berlin (which is 30 per cent owned by Gulf carrier Etihad) has been a loss-maker for years. It would appear that Etihad has decided “enough is enough.”
British Airways launches Buy on Board with Marks & Spencer
The decision means that in the economy cabin on all short-haul and domestic flights from Heathrow and Gatwick from January 11, 2017, passengers will have to pay for all food and drink supplied by Marks & Spencer. The food provided will be selected from existing “M&S Food on the Move” range and all items have been priced under £5. The drinks (including soft drinks and alcohol) will also be chargeable. Short haul business class (Club Europe) will continue to retain complimentary menu and receive free food and drink.
American Airlines Begins free preferred seat access for corporate travellers
American Airlines launched a website last Monday giving corporate travellers access to economy cabin preferred seats at no charge regardless of status. The website enables corporate travellers to reserve window and aisle seats usually set aside for frequent travellers.
Brussels Airlines launches Armenia service
Brussels Airlines will launch flights to Armenia from March 31st next year. The new route will be served by an A320, flying from Brussels airport to the Armenian capital city Yerevan once a week, with a second flight to operate in July and August.
Qatar Airways and British Airways announce joint business agreement
Doha-based Qatar Airways and our own British Airways have announced they will work together and co-operate on schedules via their respective hub airports. It’s a way in which Qatar Airways can develop the number of transfer passengers using Doha. It will enable it to better compete with local rivals Etihad of Abu Dhabi and Emirates of Dubai.
Heathrow plans to squeeze additional 5% capacity from existing runways
Heathrow claims to have the potential to expand by adding up to 5% more flights on its existing two runways. This would allow up to 25,000 additional air traffic movements on the current runways in early 2021, if the London hub is granted government permission for a third runway.