Open Skies talks stall again

EU and US negotiators have put back until next March the deadline to implement an “Open Skies” agreement between the two sides.
Talks in Brussels aimed at bringing in the agreement in June broke down.
US Congressional opposition to allowing foreign investors a greater say in running US airlines stopped the EU signing the new deal.
The Americans said they hoped the issue with Congress could be resolved and the deal signed by the end of the year, allowing it to come into force next March.
But the EU warned it would not sign any deal unless it was happy with the extent to which US ownership rules were relaxed.

Marriott to expand in UK and Ireland

Marriott International is planning a “significant” expansion of its Courtyard by Marriott brand in the UK and Ireland.
Mr Timothy Walton, Marriott’s vp for hotel development, said there was a “tremendous opportunity” to open 40-50 new Courtyards over the next five to ten years.
Currently there are 12 in the two countries, most dating back to the 1990s.

FCm appoints new hotels chief

FCm Travel Solutions has appointed Joe McCormack as general manager global and client hotels programmes.
His responsibility will be to provide strategic direction for the travel management company’s corporate hotel programme.
Mr McCormack has 20 years’ experience in the hotel business and has worked for Sheraton, Accor and Radisson. Most recently he has worked for Saville Hotels as regional director of business development.

Alitalia reports first loss of €156.6m

Troubled Italian carrier Alitalia reported a first quarter loss of €156.6m, compared with a €141.2m loss for the same period in 2005.
The airline said that revenues shrank by 3.1% to €965m and passenger revenues fell because of strikes in January.
It was also faced with a 25% rise in fuel costs to €193m.

HRG Europe extends contract with Net Trans

HRG Europe, part of HRG, has extended its contract with Net Trans, the Norwegian company which specialises in the collection of hotel commissions, for three years.

Lufthansa promotes Winkelmann and Bierwirth

Thomas Winkelmann, Lufthansa’s vp the Americas, has been appointed as the new managing director of Germanwings, the low cost airline.
Mr Winkelmann, 46, who joined Lufthansa in 1998, will also become an executive member of the board of Eurowings, Germanwings’ parent company and part of the Lufthansa Group.
He takes over at Germanwings from Dr Andreas Bierwirth, 35, who becomes Lufthansa’s new marketing manager.
His responsibilities will include advertising and brand management, sales and marketing and customer analysis. He takes over the role from Harald Eisenächer.
Both men take up their new roles in September.

Pegasus promotes Kistner

Pegasus Solutions, a Dallas-based provider of technology to hotel and the travel industry, has appointed Mike Kistner as its new chief operating officer.
Mr Kistner has worked for Pegasus for a year as senior vp operations and technology. He has previously worked for Best Western and Cendant.

Luxair posts net profit

Luxair, Luxembourg’s national carrier, posted a net profit of €5.5m for 2005, compared with a profit of €13.4m for 2004.
The airline said the fall in profit was largely due to taking out €15m for a re-structuring programme.
Turnover rose by 6.4% to €325.6m but operating profit fell by 17.9% to €3.2m.

Bishop tightens grip on bmi

Sir Michael Bishop, chairman and owner of bmi, has tightened his grip on the airline by acquiring the minority stake of The BBW Partnership.
Sir Michael now owns 50% plus one share of bmi, the second largest operator at Heathrow with 12% of the slots.
Lufthansa has a 30% stake and SAS 20%.

BSI appoints Dennis

BSI, the hotel and conference booking agency, has appointed Peter Dennis as its new director of e-commerce.
Mr Dennis has worked in the industry for many years and was the founder of Hedna, the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association, head of corporate sales at Worldspan and worked on IT development with the UK and Ireland Institute of Travel Management.


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