This week’s news in brief: BA, Lufthansa, FCm Marine, Crowne Plaza Paris, IHG

BA and Lufthansa reduce active fleet

Lufthansa removed four aircrafts from service last month bringing its total number of deactivated aircraft to 24.

The four MD-11Fs used by LH Cargo have been removed from service in response to a fall in demand.

British Airways is also to sell 11 of its 15 757s cargo aircrafts by 2010 and 2012.

The 757s will be replaced by the smaller A320 family aircraft, better suited for short haul routes.

The remaining four 757s will continue to be used by their OpenSkies transatlantic subsidiary for long haul flights.


FCm launches marine division

FCm Travel Solutions has launched a new division dedicated to providing travel and logistics management in the maritime sector.

The Aberdeen-based FCm Marine will work with shipping companies in the oil, gas and leisure industries.

FCm said that it will provide an out-of-hours service operated, unlike its maritime competition, staffed in-house in London.

FCm staff will have access to a database of around 20,000 specially negotiated marine fares available to shipping crews or offshore fares for oil or gas industry employees.

Paul East, operations director, FCm Travel Solutions, said: “FCm Travel Solutions has handled ad-hoc marine business for several years, but we have now decided to expand this area of our business by setting up a dedicated team in Aberdeen.”


Crowne Plaza Hotel opens fifth French property

The 328-room Crowne Plaza Paris République hotel opened last week, the fifth Crowne Plaza hotel in France.

The new hotel has 18 meeting rooms, a bar and restaurant and is located near Gare du Nord and the République metro stations.

The 162-room Crowne Plaza London Kensington is also due to open later this month after an £8m refurbishment.

Its 271sqm meeting centre will include a 110-seat theatre-style room.

The hotel will also have 31 club rooms, seven junior suites, four syndicate suites, five superior suites and four deluxe suites.

The Crowne Plaza London Kensington will be located opposite Gloucester Road Underground station.


BA drops flights to Europe, India and Africa

British Airways has announced a raft of service changes to its summer schedule following the dropping of several routes last month.

In March BA dropped flights from Gatwick to Dublin and Zurich, and Heathrow flights to Dakar and Kolkata due to “commercial reasons,” a BA representative said.

BA plans to suspend Geneva services departing from Gatwick Airport for the summer, to resume on October 25.

Flights from Heathrow to Riyadh and Jeddah will resume from May 31.

BA moved its daily Atlanta flights and twice daily Toulouse flights from Gatwick to London Heathrow Airport last month.


IHG opens second UK Staybridge Suite

InterContinental Hotels (IHG) has opened its second Staybridge Suite in the UK at Newcastle.

The new extended stay property, which follows the one opened in Liverpool last year,  is set in the north east city’s centre close to its business sector.

The 128-room property is owned by Trinity Hotels and will be managed by IHG for 20 years.

Kirk Kinsell, IHG’s president EMEA, said:  “Having witnessed the popularity of Staybridge Suites amongst guests seeking a home-from-home experience in the US, it is great to see the continued success of the concept in this part of the world since opening our Liverpool and Cairo properties last year.”

“With three Staybridge Suites hotels now open this side of the Atlantic we look forward to bringing a further two properties on board in Abu Dhabi and Russia by the end of the year.”

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