News in brief from Barclaycard, Ryanair and Lufthansa, IHG, TUI and Travelport GDS, easyJet and Virgin Atlantic

Business travellers fail to claim

Business travellers in the UK are failing to claim as much as £373 (€425) a year on average, according to a survey from Barclaycard.

The 13th Annual Barclaycard Commercial Business Travel Survey has examined the practices of 2,202 respondents, made up of CEOs, chairmen, non-executives, financial directors, executive directors, managers and personal assistants.

Barclaycard said its figures “hint at a worrying trend that employees might not be as prudent with managing their own business travel expenses as they perhaps should be.”

32% of the business travellers surveyed said they fail to claim back all their expenses, amounting to an average £373 unclaimed each year.

The survey showed that older employees lose more in unclaimed expenses. Barclaycard said there was also a clear division of the sexes, with men worse at claiming expenses than their female colleagues.


Ryanair eyes up Lufthansa

Lufthansa could one day make “a nice subsidiary for Ryanair”, ceo Michael O’Leary said this week.

Speaking during a press conference to announce the airline’s full year results, Mr O’Leary speculated about Ryanair’s “plans for global domination”.

Mr O’Leary said no formal bid would be launched any time soon, but of the ‘big three’ European network carriers Lufthansa was the most attractive for a takeover.

He described British Airways as “a pension deficit with wings”, and ruled out Air France outright.

In the same week, Ryanair announced a 9% increase in May volume year-on-year. The airline carried 5.51 million passengers, more than three times as many as British Airways’ UK and EU traffic.


IHG expands in Africa

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) has opened two new propertied in South Africa with plans to open another in Kenya later this year.

The 318-room Crowne Plaza Johannesburg – The Rosebank marks the hotel brand’s return to South Africa after a two-years.  The Rosebank Hotel is operated under a franchise agreement with Hospitality Property Fund (HPF).

Working in partnership with local developers ISO Leisure, the 304-room Holiday Inn Express Sunnypark has also opened its doors.

IHG is also set to open its second Crowne Plaza hotel in Kenya in autumn 2009 – The 163-room Crowne Plaza Nairobi.


TUI signs to Travelport

Travel group TUI Travel PLC has signed a multi-year agreement with Travelport GDS to distribute its extensive car content to users of its Galileo GDS

The content, which will be available through a direct connect to TUI’s car hire platform, will be available later in the summer. 

Travelport, a leading provider of travel technology, said the agreement “marks the start of a broader working relationship between the two companies”.

Galileo users will be able to make, cancel and amend bookings for car hire through their normal GDS booking processes, while offering their customers local car hire content not previously available.


easyJet sees growth in May

Europe’s second largest budget airline easyJet saw passenger volume grow 1.8% in May to 3,948,416.

Load factor, or percentage of seats filled, was also up from 83.2% to 83.5% year-on-year.

On a rolling 12-month basis, easyJet volume was up 9.6% compared to the same period last year.


VA and ANA to code share

Virgin Atlantic and Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA) have announced a new code sharing agreement on routes between Tokyo and London.

Sir Richard Branson, VA’s president, said: “We are pleased to announce a code sharing agreement with ANA in this special year of our 20th anniversary on the London-Tokyo route. 

“This agreement gives Virgin Atlantic’s customers even more choice of flights between London and Tokyo.  We are sure that passengers will enjoy having more travel options as well as the excellent service onboard with both airlines.”

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