Thursday, 25 April 2019

MCR Acquires the Hilton Garden Inn near Las Vegas

Seeking a respite from The Strip? The stars shine brighter than the neon at MCR’s new hotel in the A-list desert oasis of Henderson, Nevada.

Photo Hilton
A big change sees MCR, the sixth-largest hotel owner-operator in the United States, acquiring the 139-room Hilton Garden Inn Las Vegas/Henderson.

Located less than 15 minutes from McCarran International Airport, the hotel is a quick drive from the frenetic Las Vegas Strip, but feels worlds away. The sophisticated desert metropolis of Henderson is home to stars from Celine Dion — her heart goes on right here in the state’s second-largest city! — to Mike Tyson and Marie Osmond. With its upscale shopping, dining and recreation options, it’s no wonder the city is considered the Beverly Hills of Nevada.

Indeed, Californians are ditching Hollywood for Henderson in droves. Henderson’s population has jumped 20% over the last decade — with more than half of new arrivals between 2013 and 2017 coming from the Golden State, according to the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles. Even the Oakland Raiders football team hustled to score a relocation to the area in time to kick off the 2020 season.

Norwegian reports increased revenues, reduced costs and big losses for the first quarter

One of the World's most popular low-cost airlines, Norwegian issued its first-quarter results this week which showed that whilst the firm reduced its costs and increased its revenue it still racked up a net loss of  NOK 1,489 million!

The airline said its total revenue was up by 14%  to NOK 8 billion, which it claims was primarily driven by intercontinental growth and increased traffic in the Nordics.  More than 8 million passengers flew with the airline during the quarter, up around 9% and it achieved load factors averaging 81%.

Perhaps the most important issue for passengers after safety is an airlines punctuality and Norwegian improved on that issue, indeed its punctuality increased significantly from 73 to 81.3%, while its 98.7% of flights operated.

Norwegian’s key priority is returning to profitability and it is doing that through a series of measures, including an extensive cost-reduction program, reorganised route portfolio as well as selling off some new aircraft. 

UK updates travel advice for Sri Lanka - the FCO advise against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka

The United Kingdom's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has updated its travel advice to British Nationals on Sri Lanka.

Following the terrorist bombings that have killed over three hundred people in recent days as well as the chaotic security situation in the country, the FCO changed its advice today.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advise against all but essential travel to Sri Lanka.  Tourism is the third largest industry in Sri Lanka and thousands of British people go on holiday there each year. It's been estimated there are currently around 8,000 British people on holiday in Sri Lanka at the moment.

Allegiant Travel Company first quarter 2019 financial results

Allegiant Travel Company 
has issued its latest figures for the first quarter of 2019, which saw it continue its long profitable run.

 "I’m happy to report the first quarter of 2019 was Allegiant’s 65th consecutive profitable quarter," stated Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr., chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Company. "This quarter demonstrated the earnings potential of our all-Airbus fleet"

Malaysia Airlines announce new partnerships to offer a one-stop solution for student travel.

Malaysia Airlines partners with Expedia, Grab and Maxis to offer a one-stop solution for student travel

Photo Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines  announced on Wednesday, April 24th a partnership agreement with Brand Expedia, Grab and Maxis to offer further benefits to its MHexplorer product, the airline’s fully digitalized student travel programme. MHexplorer offers students 20% fare discounts all year round, with additional 10kg baggage allowance for all classes, one complimentary travel date change, special friends and family promotion and Enrich miles.

Via this partnership, MHexplorer has been expanded beyond just flight tickets:

Lufthansa promotes the European elections

Photo Lufthansa
The German airline Lufthansa has added special decals to one of its aircraft to encourage Europeans to vote in the upcoming European Parliament elections.

The expensive elections usually have a very low electoral turnout and are scheduled to take place on 23-26 May. To encourage people to come out and vote Lufthansa will brand the slogan “SayYesToEurope” in large letters across its fuselage in place of the usual Lufthansa titles. With this initiative, Lufthansa is actively promoting a higher voter turnout for the European elections.

“With their vote in May, the citizens of Europe will decide the future of the European community. Now more than ever, it is a question of taking a stand, taking responsibility and strengthening the idea of a united and free continent. As a genuine European company with roots in several countries in the heart of Europe, our airlines, such as Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, Brussels Airlines and Air Dolomiti connect the continent’s countries with each other and connect Europe with the world. For this reason, Europe is very close to our hearts,” says Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr.

AirAsia introduces new santan celebrity chef series meal

Photo Air Asia
AirAsia has unveiled a new Celebrity Chef Series meal, Chef Hong’s Korean Sweet & Spicy Chicken, the latest addition to their Santan inflight menu.

The new ‘Korean Sweet & Spicy Chicken (Dakgangjeong)’ served with fluffy jasmine rice and vegetables, a first collaboration for Korean TV personality and successful restauranteur, Chef Hong Seok-Cheon with AirAsia.

Pictured AirAsia Resident Chef, Chef Calvin Soo introducing the new Santan Celebrity Chef Series Meal - Chef Hong’s Korean Sweet & Spicy Chicken flanked by AirAsia cabin crews.

Its key features include juicy chicken bites glazed in sticky, sweet and spicy Korean sauce, topped with crispy fritters - everything you expect to fall in love with in a Korean superstar.

Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport opens

Hyatt Hotels has opened its first Hyatt hotel in Algeria, The Hyatt Regency Algiers Airport. The hotel is operated under a management agreement with Société d'Investissement Hôtelière EPE SPA, the hotel adds to Hyatt’s growing brand presence across Africa, joining Hyatt’s existing seven properties in Africa including Hyatt Place Taghazout Bay and Hyatt Regency Casablanca in Morocco, Park Hyatt Zanzibar and Hyatt Regency Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Hyatt Regency Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt, Hyatt Regency Johannesburg in South Africa and the recently opened, Hyatt Regency Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

The Hyatt Regency brand designs seamless and personalised experiences, serving as the ideal choice for Hyatt to mark its introduction to the country. Addressing the needs of both business and leisure travellers, the brand creates a stress-free environment for guests, strengthened by empathetic service.

Spirit reports its first quarter 2019 results.

Spirit Airlines, the US budget carrier, reported its first quarter 2019 financial results earlier this week which shows the airlines operating revenue was $855.8 million, an increase of 21.5% compared to the first quarter 2018. This was driven by a 16.0% increase in flight volume and increases in both passenger yields and load factor.

Total operating revenue per available seat mile ("TRASM") for the first quarter 2019 increased 4.1 percent compared to the same period last year.  During the first quarter 2019, the Company's results continued to benefit from its ticket and non-ticket revenue initiatives.

Icelandair agree to Par Capital share deal

On Wednesday 24th April, the board and shareholders of the Icelandic airline, Icelandair took just fifteen minutes to unanimously approve its the company's share capital to sell to Par Capital
Management Inc, the Boston based hedge fund.

The airline also recently won an award as the Best Major Regional Carrier in Europe at the APEX Passenger Choice Awards which took place in Dublin on April 16th. Icelandair also received an accolade for Best Inflight Entertainment in Europe and Best Wi-Fi in Europe. 

Garmin celebrates first flight of G3000 in a supersonic tactical aircraft

Garmin International recently celebrated the maiden flight of a Garmin integrated flight deck in a supersonic F-5 fighter aircraft. 

In just under six months, Tactical Air Support, Inc. (Tactical Air) completed the engineering design, installation and first flight with the G3000™ integrated flight deck and dual Garmin touchscreen controllers (GTCs). The G3000 in the F-5 is expected to be ready to perform adversary training for the U.S. Navy in Q2 2019. This commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) Garmin solution allows Tactical Air to take advantage of reduced development time, lower life-cycle costs and reduced operational costs, through highly reliable state-of-the-art designs.

Emirates runs on a date.......Ready for Ramadan

The Dubai based mega-carrier will serve 
1 million dates during Ramadan 

Emirates’ signature Ramadan service is expected to begin on 5th May to coincide with the start of the Holy month. During Ramadan, the airline expects to serve 1 million dates to customers during iftar and suhoor, both on board and on the ground in Dubai. Emirates’ Ramadan service consists of specially crafted iftar meals on board, relevant programming on its ice inflight entertainment system, and the distribution of dates and water on the ground.

Customers breaking their fast on board will be offered iftar boxes with a nutritional meal. Each box consists of couscous salad & grilled chicken or moudardara & roasted chicken, sandwiches, spinach fatayer or tomato and onion fatayer, assorted sweets, dates, laban and water. Over 150,000 iftar boxes will be served during the holy month, ensuring customers are well catered for in addition to the usual Emirates meal services on board. The iftar box menus will be refreshed mid-Ramadan.

WestJet unveils its 787 Dreamliner maintenance hangar

WestJet unveils its 787 Dreamliner maintenance hangar

Photo WestJet
WestJet today celebrated on Wednesday, the opening of its new Dreamliner maintenance hangar at its hub at Calgary International Airport (YYC). Member of Parliament, Kent Hehr, City of Calgary Councillor, Jyoti Gondek, Calgary Airport Authority President and CEO, Bob Sartor, 1500 WestJet employees and members of WestJet's executive team were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony. WestJet also welcomed members of the Tsuut'ina Nation who led a blessing of the hangar at the end of the ceremony.

"Today marks another significant step in WestJet's journey as a global network carrier," said Ed Sims, WestJet President and CEO. "This state-of-the-art facility provides the perfect environment for our highly skilled aviation maintenance engineering teams to continue to ensure the safety and comfort of our 25 million annual guests."

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

New Airbus A321neoLR 'Private Jet' for Four Seasons

Photo Four Seasons
The world’s leading luxury hospitality brand, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts has confirmed it was taking another step in its top class offerings with an all-new Four Seasons Private Jet that will take flight in early 2021.

The company promises the jet will evoke the bygone era of glamorous air travel coupled with thoughtful, guest-centric design.  A new A321neoLR aircraft is being fully customised by Four Seasons and tailored to the continually evolving vision of its industry-first Private Jet experience.  The concepts embodied in the current Four Seasons Jet, with its luxurious comforts and amenities, are being taken to the next level with even more space for Private Jet guests and staff to mix and mingle, or simply relax and enjoy the ride.

Currently, Four Seasons Private Jet uses a Boeing 757 fitted out with 52 flat-bed seats in sumptuous Italian leather in a 2 - 2 configuration. 

Watch a video preview of the jet

Passenger numbers up for Aeroflot

Aeroflot 777                          Photo Aeroflot
The Russian airline group, Aeroflot say passenger numbers rise by more than 16% during March, the latest figures from the Moscow based airline revealed.

In March 2019, Aeroflot Group carried 4.6 million passengers, a year-on-year increase of 16.9%. Aeroflot Group’s passenger load factor was 80.3%, representing a 0.3 percentage point increase versus the same period a year earlier. The passenger load factor at Aeroflot – Russian Airlines increased by 0.5 percentage points year-on-year to 78.8%.

According to the latest results, in the first three months of 2019 the Aeroflot Group carried 12.8 million passengers, up 16.2% year-on-year. Aeroflot airline carried 8.5 million passengers, a year-on-year increase of 14.3%.  Group and Company RPKs increased by 16.7% and 11.0% year-on-year, respectively. ASKs rose by 17.5% year-on-year for the Group and by 12.0% year-on-year for the Company.  The passenger load factor decreased by 0.6 p.p. year-on-year to 77.9% for the Aeroflot Group and decreased by 0.7 p.p. to 75.8% for Aeroflot airline.

Emirates are scheduling its game changer 777 to Male

Emirates has announced the deployment of its latest Boeing 777-300 ER aircraft fitted with the ‘Game Changer’ First Class suites on its Dubai- Malé route from 1st June 2019. The Maldivian capital will become the first destination in the South Asian region to be served on a regular basis by the new aircraft.

Passengers travelling to and from the idyllic archipelago on Emirates flights EK658 and EK659, one of three daily non-stop services* connecting Malé, with Emirates’ hub in Dubai, will be able to experience the fully-enclosed First Class private suites inspired by luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz.

“The Maldives has become an increasingly popular destination for Emirates, attracting premium travellers, honeymooners and families from around the world. Introducing the new Boeing 777 with the state-of-the-art First Class suites on this route reaffirms our longstanding commitment to Malé. It’s also a testament to our ongoing efforts to provide our travellers across the network with an unparalleled experience, demonstrating what Emirates truly means when it invites customers to Fly Better,” said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, West Asia & Indian Ocean.

Park Inn by Radisson Tashkent City Hotel & Apartments in Tashkent coming in 2012

The Radisson Hotel Group, is adding a new location for the Park Inn by Radisson portfolio of hotels with the signing of Park Inn by Radisson Tashkent City Hotel & Apartments in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. 
The newly built hotel and apartment project is due to open in 2021 in the capital of Uzbekistan.              Photo Radisson Hotel Group

Elie Younes, Executive Vice President & Chief Development Officer, Radisson Hotel Group, said: “We’re excited to bring the Park Inn by Radisson brand to Uzbekistan, a country where tourism is growing rapidly. In 2018, Uzbekistan welcomed five million tourists – with Tashkent being a popular choice among travellers as the country’s most cosmopolitan city. We’re delighted to be bringing a new brand to such a vibrant region and offering this market something fresh and exciting.”

The Hyatt Place Dubai/Wasl District opens

Photo  Hyatt Hotels Corporation
The Hyatt Place Dubai/Wasl District has now officially opened marking the third property under Hyatt’s select service brand portfolio in the United Arab Emirates. The hotel joins Hyatt Place Dubai/Al Rigga and Hyatt Place Dubai/Baniyas Square in increasing the number of contemporary yet affordable hospitality offerings in the city. The opening of the property brings Hyatt hotels in the UAE to 10 properties.

The Hyatt Place brand is rooted in the provision of stylish, comfortable and seamless experiences for guests, accommodating guests’ needs through purposeful service and an overall uncomplicated stay. Located in the heart of Deira in Old Dubai, the property places guests in close proximity to key landmarks such as the heritage and diving village, the Creek, the famed spice and gold souks as well as numerous retail, dining and entertainment outlets. Furthermore, connectivity is yet another strong suit offered by the location, as Hyatt Place Dubai/Wasl District is close to key metro, dhow cruise and taxi stations.

SpiceJet and Emirates set up codeshare deal

Emirates and SpiceJet have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enter into a reciprocal codeshare agreement, which is set to open new routes and destinations for passengers travelling between India and popular destinations across Africa, America, Europe and the Middle East.

Subject to necessary government approvals, the partnership will enable Emirates’ passengers to enjoy seamless connectivity on flights to India, leveraging SpiceJet’s strong domestic presence and adding six new destinations: Amritsar, Jaipur, Pune, Mangalore, Madurai and Calicut - to the nine existing cities in India served by Emirates. This will bolster Emirates’ already-extensive network adding a total of 67 weekly connections between Emirates’ hub in Dubai to these six fast-growing destinations in India. This includes increased domestic connectivity from Emirates’ nine Indian gateways to points such as Goa, Hubli, Guwahati, Vishakhapatnam and Tuticorin which would allow for a greater variety of travel options between both Emirates and SpiceJet flights.

Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese to open the 1st of July

Extensively renovated by Jean Philippe Nuel

Rome Villa Borghese                                       Photo Sofitel

Situated in the heart of Rome, Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese will reopen on July 1st, unveiling extensive renovations by contemporary architect and interior designer, Jean-Philippe Nuel. Modern luxury voyageurs are invited to eat, sleep, enjoy, travel, stay, celebrate and live the French way at Sofitel Rome Villa Borghese.

Situated on a quiet street in the epicentre of Rome, this former 19thcentury Roman palazzo lies within walking distance of some of the city’s best-known cultural landmarks and parks, including the Trevi Fountain, Villa Medici and the Spanish Steps. Evoking the feel of a Roman home, guests will appreciate the hotel’s relaxed and laid-back atmosphere and the sense of being truly immersed in the essence of this picturesque Italian city.