Corporate Traveller

Weekly Travel Round-up December 16th

16 Dec 2016

For week ending December 16th

This has been a crazy week in travel industry with lots of exciting news and updates from the UK and the rest of the world: big news in Airlines industry with Lufthansa acquiring Brussels Airlines and Alaska Air Group completing the acquisition of Virgin America. In hotel news we got to see Sheraton forced to close in Brussels and Four Season open in Kuala Lumpur. All the week's travel news conveniently collated in our travel update!

Singapore Airlines to launch Stockholm service

Singapore Airlines launches a new one-stop service to Stockholm starting from May 2017. The route will be complementing its existing flights to Copenhagen and will operate five times a week via the carrier’s existing service to Moscow.

Stansted airport unveils plans for £130m arrivals building

London Stansted airport has unveiled plans for a new 34,000sqm, £130 million arrivals building, which would support its growth up to 35 million passengers per year. The project, which is subject to planning consents and approvals, would take up to three years to complete.

Lufthansa completes take over of Brussels Airlines

Brussels Airlines will become part of Lufthansa’s Eurowings Group From 2018. Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Deutsche Lufthansa AG, said that after the acquisition Brussels Airlines will operate its 23 long-haul destinations as well as 79 destinations in Europe under the umbrella of the Eurowings Group. Brussels Airlines’ current fleet harmonization towards an Airbus A320 family fleet for the European network will be continued.

Luton airport to add new e-passport gates

As part of its £115 million transformation plan, London Luton airport will install additional e-passport gates at its terminal this month. The five new gates – which use facial recognition technology to provide identity and security checks – bring the total number to 15. They can be used by European Economic Area nationals travelling with a biometric passport. The airport registered a 13% increase in passengers in November, its 32nd consecutive month of passenger growth. The airport is currently the only London airport without an “express-style” rail service offering at least four trains per hour to central London, and has called on the government to change this “through the upcoming East Midlands rail refranchising process”.

Heathrow reports record November

Heathrow airport recorded its busiest ever November for passenger traffic, with a total of 5.72 million passengers over the month. The figure was up 2.5% on the previous year, with growth particularly strong for emerging markets including Mexico, China and the Middle East.

Alaska Air completes acquisition of Virgin America

Alaska Air Group has completed its acquisition of Virgin America, a deal that was signed in April and approved by Virgin shareholders in July. The merger makes Alaska the fifth largest carrier in the US and the largest airline outside of the “Big Four” carriers – Delta, American, United and Southwest –

Cathay Pacific to relocate at New York JFK

Cathay Pacific has announced that it will relocate its operations at New York JFK airport in the new year, from January 15. The move will see the Hong Kong-based carrier transfer from Terminal 7, which is currently operated by British Airways, to Terminal 8. The move means that Cathay Pacific passengers will be able to connect with a number of Oneworld carriers, principally American Airlines for onwards flights, without transferring between terminals.

Sheraton Brussels forced to close

Belgium’s largest hotel has been forced to close due to the bankruptcy of its operating company. The news was announced on the hotel’s Facebook page: “Following the bankruptcy of SBH SPRL, the operator of the Sheraton Brussels Hotel, the property has been forced to close. The closure will be effective Wednesday December 14, 2016 from noon. The forced closure of the hotel is due to the financial situation of the operating company and is not related to the Sheraton brand.”

Four Seasons to open in Kuala Lumpur

Four Seasons announces plans to open a hotel in Kuala Lumpur in early 2018. The hotel will feature 209 rooms and will be located in the Malaysian capital’s financial district. It will be part of a 65-storey mixed-use tower that, alongside the hotel, is set to house 242 Four Seasons-branded residences and 27 serviced apartments. The tower will also be home to a five-floor, 27,900 sqm luxury shopping complex known as the Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur.

Flybe will maybe operate Heathrow domestic flights

Regional Exeter-based carrier Flybe could soon be flying from London Heathrow to Aberdeen and Edinburgh and might be competing against British Airways (BA) from next March.

Hilton Worldwide opens first Garden Inn in Hong Kong

The 258-room hotel is located in Mongkok, one of the city’s most popular shopping districts, and is within walking distance of Mongkok MTR station. The hotel features a 24-hour gym, business centre, and rooftop swimming pool offering views of the famous Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong Island. Rooms have been designed to optimise comfort and convenience, and feature floor-to-ceiling windows, 40-inch flat-screen televisions, ergonomic chairs, laptop-sized safes and in-room workstations.

Cathay Pacific enhances Gatwick and Manchester services

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific will increse its services to Gatwick and Manchester in 2017 and the four-times-weekly service to Gatwick, which launched last September, will increase to a daily service starting June 1, 2017. The expanded service, in addition to Cathay’s existing flights to Heathrow, will see the airline operate more non-stop flights between Hong Kong and London than any other carrier at a total of up to six daily. Cathay currently operates 43 non-stop flights to the UK per week.