Top travel agents recognised at national awards ceremony

The UK’s top travel agents were recognised at a presentation dinner and awards ceremony at Birmingham’s spectacular The Vox convention centre last night (24 March).

Organised by travel industry publication TTG and sponsored by some of the travel industry’s biggest names, the TTG Top 50 is the annual celebration of the very best travel agencies in the country.

The awards are split into twelve regional categories for high street travel agents, eight national awards for the best-of-the-best and four ‘special’ categories.

Of the 24 categories, one is devoted to business travel. And it’s for this award – the Best Business Travel Agency 2022 – that Global Travel Management was honoured by being shortlisted, along with just three other companies.

Speaking before the event, Scott Pawley, managing director of GTM said,

From customer comments we receive on a regular basis, we know we’re doing a great job.  In fact that’s why so many customers remain so loyal to GTM; and why we’re heading out of the pandemic with more customers than at any time in our history.  But to be nominated for shortlisting in this category is a huge testament to the work we have put in over the years to make sure GTM is seen as a rightful competitor to some of the biggest, heavily-backed, multi-million dollar businesses in the industry.  

It might be too much to expect that a company the size of GTM could take on and beat the biggest businesses in the UK.  But I am very grateful for the support of our customers and suppliers which has enabled this David to step into the same ring as several Goliaths

In the event, it wasn’t too much to expect, because the judges decided to award Global Travel Management with one of just two places in the categroy Best Business Travel Agencies 2022.

Speaking after the awards were announced, Scott Pawley said:

The recognition we received by being shortlisted is for the hard work and excellence of the team that makes GTM tick – I am very pleased that everyone in our team knows that their contribution to our success has been recognised.

The judges saw that exceptional work GTM put in during the course of the pandemic. From launching new products and services like our Carbon Offset Programme and PinPoint to the work we put in behind the scenes, campaigning for a better deal from the government during travel bans and making our voices heard in Grant Shapps’ Global Travel Taskforce.

We also closed acquisitions and, with new customers coming on board, we now have more customers than at any point in our history.

It’s a great way to mark 25 years as a travel management company.

The event started with an exclusive afternoon tea party for travel agents and, following a lavish dinner, with entertainment, the awards ceremony took place, with the party continuing until 2am.

Evergreen Pop Idol Will Young took to the stage at the end of the TTG Top 50 awards ceremony, involving the best travel agencies from across the UK.
Global Travel Management’s team celebrating the company’s place in the TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies 2022.

Oneworld members to purchase up to 200 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year from Gevo

Members of the Oneworld Alliance plan to purchase up to 200 million gallons of sustainable aviation fuel per year from Colorado-based renewable fuels producer Gevo, in the second such joint commitment by the global airline alliance in four months.

Delivery of the fuel is expected to commence in 2027, for a five year-term. Oneworld members Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Finnair, Japan Airlines and Qatar Airways expect to utilise the sustainable aviation fuel for operations in California including San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose and Los Angeles International Airports.

Sustainable aviation fuel is a core pillar in One world’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050. In October 2021, the alliance committed to a target of 10% sustainable aviation fuel use across the alliance by 2030. 

Oneworld members are partnering to collectively source sustainable aviation fuel, through the alliance’s Environment and Sustainability Board chaired by IAG Head of Sustainability Jonathon Counsell with representation from all member airlines.

In November 2021, Oneworld announced a joint commitment to purchase more than 350 million gallons of blended sustainable aviation fuel from Aemetis for operations at San Francisco – making Oneworld the first global airline alliance to jointly commit to purchasing sustainable aviation fuel.

Gevo’s sustainable aviation fuel is expected to be produced using inedible corn products that will be processed to create ethanol that will then be converted into sustainable aviation fuel.

The sustainable aviation fuel is expected to be produced at three facilities under development in the Midwest of the United States. The entire supply chain will be certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Biomaterials (RSB) standard which is widely recognised as the most robust certification scheme for bioenergy.

Sustainable aviation fuel, which is said to produce significantly lower carbon emissions than traditional jet fuel, is an important part of the aviation sector’s path to decarbonisation, in particular on longer-haul flights.

No changes to current aircraft or airport infrastructure are required for operators to utilise sustainable aviation fuel – making it a feasible and immediate solution to reduce carbon emissions.

However, sustainable aviation fuel is not yet available at scale – underlining the importance of joint commitments like that of Oneworld member airlines. Support from other stakeholders, such as government regulations and targeted investments, will further enable the maturity of sustainable aviation fuel production.

Oneworld Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker said,

As the aviation industry continues to face new challenges, today’s announcement underlines the positive outcome of the multilateral collaboration between industry stakeholders. It reaffirms the leadership of our alliance in supporting the ambitious aviation decarbonisation targets, as well as our active role in driving the use of ICAO recognised SAF at a commercial scale.

Oneworld CEO Rob Gurney said,

Five months ago, we committed as an alliance to a target of 10% sustainable aviation fuel by 2030. Today’s announcement of a second major sustainable aviation fuel offtake among member airlines builds further upon that commitment, while demonstrating the value that can be delivered when our member airlines work together.

Dr. Patrick R. Gruber, Gevo’s Chief Executive Officer said,

When Oneworld member airlines show they understand the importance of reducing fossil-carbon greenhouse gas emissions, they start making real change in the industry.

Eliminating fossil-based emissions from the life-cycle of jet fuel is our mission.

Net-Zero SAF is what we all want.

I’m pleased that Oneworld is on board.

Gevo is focused on sustainability at every stage of production and has developed two alcohol-to-jet pathways that can utilise various feedstocks grown using renewable agricultural and sustainable farming techniques. These feedstocks are then converted, in some cases, to high-value nutrition products and energy-dense liquid hydrocarbons, including sustainable aviation fuel. Gevo’s production processes will incorporate renewable energy, including wind turbines, biogas, and combined heat and power systems to increase efficiency and reduce carbon intensity to net-zero levels, which will then be passed on to the customer through the fuel. This is particularly helpful for airlines seeking to reduce their carbon intensity.

Qatar Airways Introduces exclusive amenity kit partnership with iconic French perfumer Diptyque

Qatar Airways has further elevated the standard of luxury onboard with the launch of exclusive amenity kits and gift boxes from iconic French Perfumer Diptyque.

Qatar Airways Diptyque amenity kits: Nourishing Lip Balm for moisturised lips, Essential Face Cream for a rejuvenated face, Fresh Lotion for hydrated skin and an iconic fragrance for a fresh feel.

The bespoke products will be initially available for First and Business Class passengers on routes across the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to A380 flights to London and Paris.

The new amenity range consists of Diptyque branded bags as well as gift boxes featuring Diptyque’s signature oval branding; customised for male and female passengers. Each Qatar Airways amenity kit and gift box provides specially selected Diptyque products including:

  • Nourishing Lip Balm – enriched with roses and violets to soothe and soften the lips
  • Fresh Lotion for the Body – infused with the scent of orange blossoms, to refresh sleepy skin for all skin types
  • Essential Face Cream – nourishing and replenishing, with prickly pear extract to boost radiance
  • Diptyque fragrance – ‘Eau Rose’ Eau de Toilette – an infusion of the finest damascena and centifolia roses, or the brand’s signature ‘34 Boulevard Saint Germain’ Eau de Toilette with notes of amber, patchouli, cinnamon and rose.

In line with Qatar Airways’ focus on sustainability, the Diptyque bags are made from vegan leather while the eyeshade and socks are made from recycled polyethylene terephthalate plastic.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr Akbar Al Baker, said

We are the world’s best airline due to our constant innovation in elevating passenger’s experience. We are constantly looking at new ways to enhance our customer’s journey and surpass their expectations. Our customers will be delighted to discover a generous number of items inside the amenity kits, including a choice of Diptyque’s signature fragrances for women and men. Through this exclusive partnership with Diptyque, we have further elevated premium travel, having raised the bar for all other airlines.

It is only fitting that two pioneering brands collaborate, and continuing our tradition of ‘firsts’. I am proud to say that Qatar Airways is the only airline that offers Diptyque products onboard, complementing the washroom amenities offered onboard and in our lounges. This partnership further enhances our world-class passenger experience, and will leave our customers with lasting memories of their journey, until we welcome them onboard again.

Executive Director of Diptyque, Fabienne Mauny, said

Travel is an elegance we cultivate. Diptyque is therefore delighted to offer for Qatar Airways’ passengers, wellness and pleasure in the skies. To concoct our precious perfumes, we seek out the noblest ingredients from around the globe. With this exclusive collection, we aim to provide enchanting experience to passengers.

Qatar Airways first entered its exclusive partnership with the French Perfumer, ‘Diptyque’ in March 2021, offering its washroom products on board and in its Premium lounges at Hamad International Airport (HIA). The range consists of Essential Face Cream, Infused Facial Water, Velvet Hand Lotion, hand wash, shower gel, shampoo & conditioner, Fresh Body Lotion and Hand Wash Gel Rinse-Free. The collaboration reflected Diptyque’s celebration of the French art of living and Qatar Airways’ five-star standards of excellence.

The collaboration between Qatar Airways and Diptyque is being facilitated by FORMIA, the leading international airline amenity and hospitality specialist, for an industry-leading first-onboard collection.

Qatar Airways was recently announced as the ‘Airline of the Year’ at the 2021 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’. The airline won the main prize for an unprecedented sixth time (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021).

SWISS Economy Class seats available via auction

SWISS is teaming up with online auction house Ricardo to auction off its Economy Class seats that are surplus to requirements following the installation of its new Premium Economy Class.

SWISS to auction off Economy Class seats for a good cause

The auction proceeds will be donated to the Pigna Foundation, one of SWISS’s long-standing charity partners.

Swiss International Air Lines is currently replacing some of the Economy Class seats on its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with the new seating that has been specially developed for its new Premium Economy Class cabin.

SWISS has now teamed up with online auction house Ricardo to auction off these surplus seats, with the proceeds going to charity.

Three-seat sets of the surplus Economy Class seating together with further items will be sold on Ricardo to the highest bidders.

The seat sets sold will also be provided with a personalised nameplate for their new owners.

Pigna was founded in 1981 in Zurich. The charity promotes, supports, accompanies, looks after, employs and cares for people with disabilities in their working and living space.

All the proceeds from these auction sales will be donated by SWISS to the Pigna Foundation.

SWISS’s long-standing charity partner, which is based in Kloten, offers people with disabilities a place to live and work along with care and support that are tailored to their needs. The work performed by the people at Pigna includes reprocessing the reusable headphones that are provided for travellers on SWISS flights.

It’s gin o’clock on British Airways

British Airways has announced a new partnership with Aviation American Gin with the premium brand launching on board. 

Aviation American Gin is also available from British Airways’ US and UK lounges and to purchase from the in-flight shop High Life.

British Airways customers flying across the pond and all other long-haul routes will be offered Aviation American Gin from the in-flight menu and short-haul customers will be able to buy it from the on-board Speedbird café.

The partnership builds on the opening of a brand-new area – the Aviation Gin bar in the airline’s Club Lounge in JFK airport in October 2021.

Aviation American Gin was founded in Portland in 2006 and is described as ‘a metaphor for taste and adventure’.  The gin is infused with a ‘democratic blend of botanicals’ – cardamom, coriander, French lavender, anise seed, sarsaparilla, juniper, and two kinds of orange peel ‘to create a smoother, softer, more refined take on gin’.

Tom Stevens, British Airways’ Director of Brand and Customer Experience said:

Offering our customers a premium experience throughout their journey is important to us.  Partnering with Aviation American Gin is another great addition to our on-board service.

Gareth Williams, International Brand Director at Aviation American Gin said:

We hope our customers join us in celebrating, with a refreshing gin and tonic. We’re so excited to get on board with the UK flag carrier British Airways and take Aviation American Gin to new heights – the sky! Through this partnership, we’re keen to enhance each traveller’s experience with a deliciously refreshing Aviation Gin cocktail for flyers to enjoy on journeys near and far, offering an American twist on this quintessentially British drink!

Aviation American Gin is the world’s highest rated gin (97 points, Wine Enthusiast) and helped establish a new style of American gin – softer and smoother, with juniper in the background and citrus and floral notes in the front – resulting in more balanced cocktails. Created by a unique bartender-distiller partnership, Aviation is crafted in small batches in Portland, Oregon.

Qatar Airways to resume flights to London Gatwick

Qatar Airways is to resume flights to London Gatwick Airport from 5 June, 2022.

The airline will operate a daily service from Gatwick to Doha using a state-of-the-art Boeing 787 Dreamliner featuring 22 seats in Business Class and 232 seats in Economy Class.

The resumption of the London Gatwick service complements recently launched flights to Doha from Gatwick by Qatar Airways’ Joint Business partner British Airways, meaning the airlines can now jointly offer more options between London and Doha and beyond, earning Avios frequent flyer points as they go.

UK customers will now have access to four gateways including five-times daily services from London Heathrow, 18-times weekly from Manchester and four-times weekly from Edinburgh rising to daily from 2 June.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said:

Our commitment to the UK market has been unwavering and we operated continuously and reliably throughout the pandemic, so I am pleased we can resume our popular service to London Gatwick. We offer excellent connectivity to and from the UK, providing travellers with more choice and convenience. This year is very special for us, not least as it is the 25th anniversary of the start of our flights to London Heathrow in March 1997.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was announced as the ‘Airline of the Year’ at the 2021 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. It was also named ‘World’s Best Business Class’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Lounge’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Airline Seat’, ‘World’s Best Business Class Onboard Catering’ and ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’. The airline continues to stand alone at the top of the industry having won the main prize for an unprecedented sixth time (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021).

Flights from the UK

London Gatwick – Twice daily (one daily Qatar Airways’ flight, one daily British Airways’ flight)

London Heathrow – Five times daily

Manchester – 18 flights a week

Edinburgh – Four flights a week, rising to daily from 2 June, 2022

Impossible Foods featured in new plant-based menu options to debut onboard Delta

From the signature Impossible Burger to Black Sheep Foods’ plant-based lamb meatballs, Delta is introducing five new plant-based and vegetable-packed dishes for Delta One and First Class customers on select flights of 900 miles or more.

Delta is elevating the standard for vegetarian and plant-based meals onboard with unique new dishes featuring products from Impossible Foods, Black Sheep Foods and more locally grown vegetables.

The additional menu options will launch this month alongside the reintroduction of hot meals for Delta One and First Class customers on select flights 900 miles and greater.

Kristen Manion Taylor, SVP – In-Flight Service said,

Not only are plant-based meats like Impossible Burger delicious to eat, but they’re also often better for the environment, using far less land and water to produce. These new options are one part of Delta’s broader mission to promote a wellness-focused travel journey.

Delta is bringing its well-being commitment to life across the customer journey. From plant-based food options with Impossible Foods to a first-of-its-kind loyalty offer with Instacart, to mindful in-flight entertainment with Peloton and Spotify, Delta is introducing more personalized and health-conscious moments at every step to ensure customers travel well.

Impossible Burger

Delta is putting its own spin on the groundbreaking Impossible Burger with a green chili spice-rubbed burger topped with caramelised onion chutney and Manchego cheese served on a brioche roll.

Served on select flights 900 miles and greater.

Impossible Burger is made from plants for people who love meat. Savory, juicy and mouthwatering Impossible Burger handles and cooks like ground beef so you can use it on all of your favorite dishes. You can shape it into patties, crumble it, grill it, griddle it, sauté it and more.

Impossible Foods

Black Sheep Foods Lamb Meatballs

Black Sheep Foods’ juicy, plant-based lamb meatballs are inspired by the highest-quality heritage breed lamb; the Greek-inspired dish is served with spinach rice and feta.

Served for a limited time on select flights 900 miles and greater departing San Francisco in partnership with Souvla.

All of our ingredients are free of antibiotics, hormones, cholesterol, gluten, dairy, and soy.

Black Sheep Foods

Impossible Meatballs

Impossible Meatballs are made by Impossible Foods with a mix of Impossible Burger and Impossible™ Sausage and seasoned with a savory homestyle blend. The meatballs are served in a pomodoro sauce with orzo risotto, pesto cream, spinach and roasted tomatoes.

Served on select flights 900 miles and greater departing New York-JFK and LGA in partnership with Union Square Events.

We took the meaty texture and juicy flavor from our award-winning best sellers and combined them to create irresistibly delicious, nutrient-rich and fully-cooked meatballs. Soy and potato proteins deliver their meaty bite and essential nutrition. The molecule heme is key to our meatballs’ unmistakable flavor while coconut and sunflower oils give that juicy sizzle. Methylcellulose (a culinary binder commonly found in ice cream, sauces, and jams) and food starch bring everything together.

Impossible Foods

Cauliflower Cakes

Delicious pan-fried cauliflower cakes made with riced cauliflower, rapini and parmesan are served with creamy pesto orzo, roasted tomatoes, and toasted hazelnuts.

Served on select flights 900 miles and greater departing Seattle.

Warm Seasonal Vegetable Plate

This vegetable-packed dish features fresh broccolini, roasted button mushrooms, grilled heirloom carrots, grilled red onions and roasted cherry tomatoes, served with herb-scented Israeli couscous and a lemon herb butter.

Served on select flights 900 miles and greater.

How is Gatwick reducing turnaround times?

Aircraft turnarounds are being transformed at Gatwick with a new handheld digital platform that allows ground handlers to update air traffic controllers about changes to the turn process – in real time, direct from the apron – optimising efficiency, reducing delays and unnecessary fuel burn on the ground.

The new AirTurn platform means that information can be communicated quicker on changes to turn events – such as updates on baggage loading, refuelling or other aircraft preparations – giving the control tower a more accurate, real- time departure or Target Off-Block Time (TOBT) to feed into the airport’s overall flying programme.

Without the system, changes to aircraft turn events are updated through paperwork and radio communications – sometimes between several individuals at different locations – before being recorded into the system and communicated to the control tower and EUROCONTROL, the agency that manages air traffic management across Europe.

The AirTurn platform is accessed directly through Gatwick’s Community App which is already widely used by ground handling staff across the airport. It is also used by many other airports worldwide, including airports in VINCI Airports global network, and therefore has the potential to be rolled out across many other airports.AirTurn is the latest in a number of innovative solutions pioneered by Gatwick and highlights VINCI Airports’ commitment to innovation and improved stakeholder and passenger experience.

The innovation is part of VINCI Airports’ strategy to improve airport infrastructure and management, including the dissemination of innovative ideas across its network of 53 airports in twelve countries. Gatwick is an innovation centre of excellence for VINCI Airports and AirTurn is the latest in a number of innovative solutions pioneered by the airport that are now used in other airports in the VINCI Airports network, including the Airport Community App.

Both AirTurn and the Airport Community App were developed in partnership with AirportLabs.

Karl Sulsh, Innovation and Commercial IT, Gatwick Airport said

We are delighted to offer our new AirTurn platform more widely to our partners at Gatwick Airport, in what is a step forward in reducing delays and improving on-time performance. We created the platform after listening to our ground handlers and have delivered a digital solution that improves communication and provides fast, accurate information from the airfield in real time.

Gatwick and VINCI Airports are committed to creating innovative solutions for our partners and AirTurn is one of the key digital building blocks we are deploying to make the airport more efficient as we gear up for a busy 2022.

Keith Fogarty, Chief Operating Officer, Fenix/Red Handling UK said

AirTurn is a fantastic tool which supports our digitisation and sustainability agenda. Instead of radioing in the control room, we can now update the target off block time directly on our smartphones and that is immediately relayed to air traffic control tower and EUROCONTROL. Vitally, we have reduced our carbon footprint by eliminating the paperwork related to turn that would traditionally be printed off and stored in the trip files.

We are sure this will be an important tool for us, especially during the summer peak.

Steven Moore, Head of ATM Network Operations, EUROCONTROL said

In our role as EUROCONTROL Network Manager, we are currently embracing the digital transformation of our operational systems, so it is exciting to see innovative projects from our partners such as this new digital platform at Gatwick. The new app will allow A-CDM communication from the aircraft stand to EUROCONTROL, resulting in more accurate estimates of take-off time being provided to the Network Manager, benefitting the Network and it all its users.

Gatwick is the UK’s second largest airport and flies a range of both short and long-haul point-to-point services. The airport is a vital piece of the UK’s national infrastructure and is also a major driver for both the regional and national economies. In 2019, a new long-term partnership was formed with VINCI Airports which purchased a 50.01% stake in the airport.

Supporting International Women’s Day

Global Travel Management embraces a gender free world of work.

We live what we hope the rest of the world should be able to imagine, ‘a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination. A world that’s diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated’. These words are from the International Women’s Day website and they’re words we strive to ensure we meet, every day, at Global Travel Management.

For us, gender equality is ‘business as usual’. But we recognise that there are women around the world, and in other industries, for whom equality is far from normal.

So we have asked inspirational women leaders in the travel industry around the world to share their insights, what they do right and how they inspire their colleagues. We hope you enjoy, embrace and emulate these words so that, collectively, we can #BreakTheBias.

Bev Fearis
‘Over the years I have worked with some amazing people

Bev Fearis


The Business Travel Magazine

Bev Fearis is the Editor of The Business Travel Magazine, a multi-award-winning, bi-monthly, full-colour magazine – ‘a must-read for everyone involved with booking and managing business travel, ranging from Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants to full-time Travel Managers and procurement personnel’.

Who has inspired you?

The news reporter Kate Adie.

I remember as a child watching her on the TV reporting from war zones around the world and knowing I wanted to be a journalist.

My first job interview was with BBC radio for a position as a news reporter but I completely messed it up. They gave us a test where we had to edit five or six news stories into a two-minute news broadcast. This was back in the days of typewriters. I was so nervous that by the time I’d managed to feed the paper into the type writer, the time was up!

What steps have you taken to support and encourage women colleagues in their roles?

Over the years, I’ve worked with some amazing people – women and men – and when I’ve been able to I’ve taken them with me when I’ve moved to new publications. I’ve also mentored students on work experience who have proved themselves worthy of joining the team and have gone on to be very successful journalists. It’s really satisfying to watch them progress.

If you could offer words of support to women, what would they be?

To women working in business travel I would say how wonderful it is to see so many more women in senior positions in the industry than when I first began reporting on this sector back in the mid 1990s, so keep up the good work.

Revital Kristal:
Everything is possible if you have the right mindset

Revital Kristal

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Revital Kristal has a passion for the travel industry and founded create and combine cutting-edge technologies that help travel companies drive growth through the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to deliver laser-focused marketing messages.

Who has inspired you?

I think my grandmother is the person who most affected my personality and made me who I am. During WW2, when she was just 10 years old, she lost her entire family. After running and arriving to Israel, she found herself all alone and in a foreign country, yet she prevailed. She was determined to make a better life for herself, never give up on her dreams, and live life to its fullest.

I’ve always been inspired by how she kept going, and always had a positive outlook on everything. Every difficulty became a challenge, every challenge became a victory.

What steps have you taken to support and encourage women colleagues in their roles?

Besides being involved in a few women’s empowerment groups, I’m actively mentoring other female entrepreneurs, sharing my knowledge, network and experience.

If you could offer words of support to women, what would they be?

Stay focused, fierce, and never stop at anything. Everything is possible if you keep the right mindset.

Elkie Nicholas:
We are kindred spirits on an important mission

Elkie Nicholas

Chief Tree Hugger and Co-founder


Elkie Nicholas founded Trees4Travel, the leading carbon compensation organisation that enables travellers to remove the carbon of trips by purchasing and arranging the planting of trees in reforestation projects around the world to help restore eco-systems, biodiversity and support local communities. Trees4Travel also always assigns each tree with a share of an investment into a United Nations Certified Emissions Reduction renewable energy programme, essentially doubling their promise – making travel planet and people positive.

Who has inspired you?

My immediate thought is of course the ultimate she/her of us all ‘Mother Nature’ or ‘Mother Earth’ as she’s sometimes called.

She breathes, she grows, she changes, she’s resilient, strong, intelligent, provides us with food and water, always working to achieve and maintain harmony and balance for our environment. Mother Nature heals, nurtures, and supports all life on this planet. Ultimately all life and health depend on her.

She is magnificent, astounding, beautiful – she is my inspiration.

What steps have you taken to support and encourage women colleagues in their roles?

As a start-up and because of the ‘nature’ of our business, ever-changing and fast-moving, our work environment can be challenging at times – continual appreciation and recognition of my colleagues is therefore of utmost importance to me.

Encouraging openness, trust, curiosity and creativity are much needed when you think of the task in hand, helping in the fight against climate change. Ultimately, we understand and accept that we are all learning and growing together and that it is our shared passion to make a difference in our industry and our world that creates a deep-rooted connection between us.

Just like trees in a forest, they appear to be standing alone (we all work remotely and in different countries) but in fact they are members of an interconnected ‘wood-wide -web’ community, above and below ground – we are kindred spirits on an important mission.

If you could offer words of support to women, what would they be?

Women are like trees, every single one of us is a different shape, size, every single one of us is unique and special – so embrace in your uniqueness, stand tall, stand proud, believe in yourself.

As trees, bend in the wind, learn to be flexible and adaptable, stay grounded, remember your roots, and keep growing!

Kelly Packington:
Always aim to build people up

Kelly Packington

Operations Director

Global Travel Management

Kelly Packington is the Operations Director of Global Travel Management and was the most-recent addition to the company’s board, having been promoted from her role within the reservations team at the company.

Who has inspired you?

Many people have inspired me. But, if I were to select just one, without hesitating – and at the risk of sounding ‘corny’ – I would choose my Mum.

Not just because she raised me or for everything she’s done for me, not just for being my biggest cheerleader. But, because the way in which she faced her biggest hurdles, never complaining, never becoming excessively emotional, always providing strength for all of her family. She was a hard-working, ordinary superhuman.

A more widely-known inspirational woman I was lucky enough to meet was Rebecca Stephens. A journalist, a visiting fellow at Ashridge Business School, a trainer in Strategic Influencing, an author and charity fundraiser. And her own personal Everest? Well, that was becoming the first British woman to climb Everest, of course.

What steps have you taken to support and encourage women colleagues in their roles?

Three things spring immediately to mind:

I ensure we accommodate the challenges and pressures that my team members face. Whether that’s child care requirements, care commitments or even childcare requirements for pet dogs. So, typically, we have team meetings after the school runs have finished; work rotas are adjusted to fit in with domestic needs; and the office often has four-legged friends running round the office!

I make sure I surround myself with colleagues so I can hear, understand and appreciate my team’s issues, plans, suggestions and recommendations… and take them to board meetings myself. It’s one way in which I try to ensure everyone’s views are heard and acted on.

And I stick to the simple principle that you should always aim to build people up.

If you could offer words of support to women, what would they be?

I have three quotes I like to turn to, when thinking about women supporting other women:

Maya Angelou said, “My mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style”.

Margaret Thatcher was quoted as saying, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman”.

And, more recently, Malala Yousafzi very succinctly and very accurately declared, “We cannot succeed when half of us are held back”.

Natalie Pawley:
We ensure gender is never a hurdle to success at Global Travel Management

Natalie Pawley


Global Travel Management

Natalie Pawley is the longest-serving board member of Global Travel Management, having been the first-ever member of the board on its launch in 1997.

Who has inspired you?

Like any mother, I’ve been inspired by the development of my first-born child, someone who has matured and blossomed, while facing and successfully overcoming difficult challenges.  I am lucky to have someone so inspirational in my close family. 

What steps have you taken to support and encourage women colleagues in their roles?

We treat our business like a close-knit family group. 

So our natural inclination is to support the women who work for us by making the working environment perfectly suitable to them.  That starts by arranging work meetings for times that accommodate women’s priorities. 

We teach women, we recruit women, we train women, we promote women and we share with women the successes we achieve.  But we do so without discriminating. 

In short, we ensure gender is never a hurdle to success at Global Travel Management

If you could offer words of support to women, what would they be? 

We can only be what we see.  So, as women, it’s vital we see successful women.  That means two things. 

First, seek out successful women and celebrate their successes with them.  And second, share your success with others when you achieve it. 

In short, ‘be the successful woman you would like to see’.

Abby Penston:
Be the woman you aspire to be and don’t settle for less

Abby Penston

Chief Executive Officer

The Focus Travel Partnership

Abby Penston is the CEO of the Focus Travel Partnership, the UK’s leading business travel consortium for Travel Management Companies. Launched in 1999 as a division of the Advantage Travel Group, Focus has a wealth of knowledge as well as industry contacts and, across its central team, has more than 160 years of business travel experience.

Who has inspired you? 

I am blessed to have a huge army of amazing women in my life and feel inspired daily by them, from my girlfriends, family members, my awesome team at Focus and my daughter all of whom inspire and drive me as business woman, friend and mother each day.

Inspiration can come in so many formats but having a group of ladies at home and at work who really are your ride or die family makes the many challenges we all face bearable and over the last two years those challenges have come in hard and fast.

What steps have you taken to support and encourage women colleagues in their roles? 

I would like to think by providing a platform and opportunities to progress is something I have always delivered. I would like to think I am open and supportive when it comes to progression and will always share my career highs and lows as examples, good, bad and the ugly!

To speak freely with my teams I hope in itself is a supportive approach, life isn’t always easy and we all make mistakes but its how we manage those lows as well as the highs that determines the type of leader we chose to be.

If you could offer words of support to women, what would they be? 

Be true to yourself, trust in your instinct and surround yourself with a supportive network. Be in a position to let people lean on you when needed but be brave enough to know when to lean on others as well, it really is ok to ask for help. The people and organisations we surround ourselves reflect just as much on you than you do yourself, chose your company wisely.

Integrity for me is the value I protect the fiercest, be the woman you aspire to be and don’t settle for less, above all else try and have some fun along the way!

Kathryn Wallington:
Never stop challenging yourself, but always be respectful

Kathryn Wallington

Head of Middle East and Africa


Kathryn Wallington heads up the Middle East and Africa regions for global travel platform Travelport, focusing on enabling more content, providing better travel retailing capabilities and driving down the costs of travel and managing journeys.

Who has inspired you?

There are so many inspirational women that have impacted my life, most of all my mother who continues to push me every day; J.K. Rowling whose personal story is inspirational; and one that has inspired me since I was a little girl: Princess Diana. Her life was tragically cut short, but her inspiring work with AIDS suffers and anti- landmine campaigns secured Princess Diana’s legacy. She truly was ‘The People’s Princess’.

To me Diana was a lot more than a Princess standing by the side of her Prince. Like every woman she had a million different roles – of a loving mother of two children, of an independent woman, who became an example and inspiration for millions of people.

One of Diana famous quotes, of which I am a true advocate and I regularly recite to my children, is ‘carry out a random act of kindness, with no exception of reward, safe in the knowledge that, one day, someone might do the same for you’.  

What steps have you taken to support and encourage women colleagues in their roles? 

Being a good example and sharing my experiences where I can.

I am a great listener and have mentored and supported colleagues to place an importance on self -confidence as well as challenging them.

I love to – and always do – celebrate women’s accomplishments and encourage them to do more.

If you could offer words of support to women, what would they be? 

It is important to be confident and secure in who you are if you want to succeed.

I am also a firm advocate in challenging yourself to the extent of being out of your comfort zone, which supports you to grow. Never stop challenging yourself, but always be respectful. Be hungry to learn and always invest in your team – you cannot do it alone.

Enjoy and embrace change effectively, as it’s inevitable. Embrace it.

SWISS to be the world’s first airline to use ‘sun-to-liquid’ fuel

SWISS and the Lufthansa Group have concluded a strategic collaboration with the Synhelion company to bring its solar aviation fuel to market. This will make SWISS the first airline in the world to use ‘sun-to-liquid’ fuel.

The process devised by Synhelion uses concentrated sunlight to produce carbon-neutral kerosene. With this collaboration, SWISS and Synhelion are playing a pioneering role in the production and the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels.

SWISS Chief Executive Officer Dieter Vranckx explained,

Our team-up with Synhelion is founded on our shared vision to make carbon-neutral flying in regular flight operations possible through the use of solar fuel.

We are proud that SWISS will be the first airline in the world to fly with solar kerosene.

In partnering with Synhelion, we are supporting Swiss innovation and are actively pursuing and promoting the development, the market introduction and the scaling-up of this highly promising technology for producing sustainable fuels.

Dr. Philipp Furler, Synhelion’s co-founder and CEO said,

We believe in a globalised world connected by climate-friendly mobility.

Our next-generation carbon-neutral solar kerosene is an economically and ecologically viable substitute for fossil fuels.

The commitment of SWISS and the Lufthansa Group underlines the aviation sector’s keen interest in our solar fuel. And we are looking forward already to the day the first SWISS aircraft takes off with our solar kerosene.

Synhelion has developed a key technology for manufacturing sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from renewable energy sources. The unique procedure uses concentrated solar heat to manufacture syngas which can then be synthesised into kerosene using standard industrial processes.

This sun-to-liquid fuel closes the fuel carbon cycle: when combusted, it will only produce as much CO2 as was used in its manufacture. The new fuel thus makes a major contribution to effectively decarbonising air transport.

Synhelion will build the world’s first-ever facility for the industrial production of solar fuel in Jülich, Germany this year.

The strategic collaboration between SWISS, Lufthansa Group and Synhelion.

SWISS is set to become the first customer for the solar kerosene in 2023. Under the collaboration now concluded, SWISS and the Lufthansa Group will also support the development of Synhelion’s planned commercial fuel production facility in Spain.

Swiss pioneer Synhelion, SWISS, Edelweiss and the Lufthansa Group have been working together since 2020 to help reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of Swiss aviation through the use of solar fuels.

The Lufthansa Group and SWISS have been pursuing and promoting comprehensive measures to minimise their carbon dioxide emissions for several years now, and work closely with their partners to steadily further reduce the environmental impact of their business and operational activities.

SWISS claims it will be substantially increasing its use of sustainable aviation fuels in the next few years to help achieve its climate objectives. In view of the limited availability of biofuels, however, alternatives will be required.

Vranckx said,

This is why we are actively supporting the development of solar fuels. We want to be a pioneer in their use. So our involvement with Synhelion is a key element in our long-term sustainability strategy.