This week’s ABTN news in brief

David Brown dies

David Brown, for many years a leading figure in the business travel industry, has died after a long battle against cancer. He was 58.

Mr Brown, vp of sales for Europe for Travelport GDS, died in a hospital in Windsor, UK on Saturday (January 10).

David Brown

He had worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years.

A statement by Travelport said: “David was a native of the state of Ohio but grew up mainly in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1973.

“Early in his career, David held a number of reservations and operational positions at United Airlines before being promoted to area sales manager in Los Angeles and then in San Francisco. 

“He later left United to be the vice president of sales and operations for Westair, a regional carrier based in Fesno, California. 

“In 1994, David moved to the UK to assume the position as managing director for sales & service for Sabre. 

“In late 2005, David joined Cendant as the vice president of sales and operations for GTA and later moved to the position of vice president of sales in Europe for Travelport GDS.”

A spokesman for Travelport said details of Mr Brown’s funeral will be released later this week.


Another new partner for ITP

ITP – International Travel Partnership – has added another new member to its growing network.

It has signed up the Jordanian agency Dakkak Tours International.

It now has partners in 29 countries.

Ian Epps, ITP’s director of partnership relations, said: “Dakkak Tours is a market leader in Jordan with experience in all areas of travel including corporate travel management, meetings, conferences and incoming.”

Omran Dakkak, managing director of Dakkak Tours, said: “Dakkak Tours has been providing comprehensive added value travel services to its corporate clients for more than half a century and understands and values the needs of today’s travellers. We look forward to working with ITP.”


Premier Inn launches self check-in hotel

Premier inn, the UK’s largest hotel chain, has launched its first fully self check-in hotel.

The company, owned by Whitbread plc, said the new technology reduces check-in time from eight to ten minutes to one minute.

The new scheme which has been trialled in the chain’s property at King’s Cross, London, has been introduced at its hotel in St. Mary’s Gate, Sheffield in south Yorkshire.

Check-in there is through a kiosk situated in the hotel reception where guests type in their details to receive their room number and key card.

Sarah Simpson, Premier Inn’s product and service manager, said: “Feedback has shown that business travellers like the time saving benefits that the kiosks provide, whilst leisure guests benefit not only from this but also from the increased accessibility, interaction and level of good service they have with team members at the guest workstation.’


Air Berlin increases revenue 17.6%

German low cost carrier Air Berlin has announced a 17.6% increase in revenue per available seat kilometre.

The “Yield per ASK” figure for December reached 5.35 Eurocents, compared to 4.55 Eurocents in the same month in 2007.

The number of passengers transported for the month fell by 5.4% to 1,806,618, compared to 1,909,137 in 2007, a result of a targeted capacity reduction of 6.4%.

Fleet capacity utilisation over the January to December 2008 period increased to 78.4% from 77.2% in 2007, an improvement of 1.2 percentage points.

Air Berlin carried a total of 28,559,220 passengers in 2008, 1% more than in 2007’s figure of 28,272,967. beats slump in business travel

Online hotel reservation service has reported a 10.7% increase in bookings between October and December 2008.

The percentage increase is equivalent to a growth of €8.4m compared to the same quarter in 2007. Booking volume was recorded at €86.5m, up from €78.1m the previous year.

Bookings in Germany alone, through, rose 14.3% to €50.3m, compared to €44.0m in 2007.

“The company thus clearly outperformed its sector, where business travel has fallen by 20% in some regions due to the economic crisis,” said the website.

Dr Heinz Raufer, ceo of AG, added: “The pace of growth may have slowed in the 4th quarter, traditionally a weaker period, but our strong market position and tangible sales success, especially abroad, have enabled us to maintain our growth course in spite of the difficult market climate.”

According to a study by market research company Nielsen Netratings, is one of the top ten most popular travel sites in Germany.


Net Trans opens Asia office

Net Trans, a specialist in recovering hotel commissions for agents, has opened a new office in Singapore to serve the Asian market.

The new office will be run by Stuart Wines who said that agents were failing to collect up to $20m a year in commission payments from hotels.

Mr Wines, Net Trans first director of sales for Asia-Pacific, said: “Our analysis shows Asia-Pacific agencies book around 2.5m commissionable room nights through global distribution systems alone each year, generating $400m of commissionable hotel bookings.

“That figure should earn agents $40m in commission but only 50% of it is getting through. Recovering the money through Net Trans is an absolute no-lose choice for any agency.”


AEA) has named Dr Ivan Mišetić, Croatia Airlines’ president and ceo, as its chairman for 2009.

Dr Mišetić stressed the importance of the Single European Sky (SES in 1999 to reform European air traffic management (ATM) and ensure the safe and efficient use of airspace. The main goals of the SES initiative were to restructure European airspace in accordance with air traffic flows rather than national borders, to create additional capacity and to increase overall efficiency of the European ATM system.
” class=”lexicon-term”>SES) initiative and promoting an understanding of “the role aviation plays for European citizens and Europe as a region.”

Dr Mišetić, the longest serving ceo of any European national airline according to the AEA, has been a member of the association’s governing board since 2003. In 2008 he was elected deputy chairman.

He takes over from Peter Hartman, president and ceo of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.


London City Airport announces record numbers

London City Airport has seen a 12% rise in passengers numbers to a record 3.3m in 2008.

The figure for December showed 10% growth compared to the same month in 2007.

Richard Gooding, ceo of London City Airport, said: “Our performance and progress has been good this year.

“With a significant investment in facilities, a core emphasis on passenger experience and high service standards, 2008 has proved to be the most successful ever with another record year in terms of passenger numbers.”

Mr Gooding said the airport would “remain cautious” in 2009 until economic stability returns.

“Nevertheless the continued commitment of our partner airlines and our many regular users gives us continued confidence in the longer term,” he added.


Eurostar to offer Metro tickets

Eurostar is selling tickets for the Paris and Brussels metro systems to passengers on board its trains.

Travellers can now buy tickets for the two public transport train systems during their journey rather than waiting until when they arrive.

The move comes after Eurostar, the high speed train service linking the UK to the continent, began selling Visitor Oyster cards for the London Underground and bus network.


Bangkok Airways latest to cut surcharges

Thai airline Bangkok Airways is the latest to announce a reduction in fuel surcharges effective immediately.

The airline said the cut was made in response to the current oil price and to boost tourism in Thailand.

The charge for international flights between Thailand and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam has been reduced from $25 to $15 per sector.

Surcharges between Bangkok and Macau, Xi-an, Singapore, Hong Kong and Guilin are now $25, $45, $25, $32 and $30 respectively.

Surcharges on domestic routes have also been cut. See website for full details.

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