Hilton to lead the way with massive electric vehicle charging network for business travellers

In a groundbreaking move tailored to cater to the evolving needs of business travellers, Hilton has announced a far-reaching collaboration with Tesla.

Fueling innovation: Hilton’s EV charging stations in action

Beginning in early 2024, Hilton will embark on the installation of up to 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors at 2,000 of its hotels.

This ambitious undertaking will establish Hilton as the leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure within the hospitality industry, serving the growing demand for overnight EV charging solutions during hotel stays.

Each of these selected hotels will be equipped with a minimum of six charging stations, cementing Hilton as the preferred choice for the ever-expanding community of electric vehicle owners.

This significant announcement coincides with the recent introduction of Tesla’s Universal Wall Connector, a versatile charging solution compatible with all North American vehicle models.

The hotel giant claims that Tesla’s commitment to universal charging aligns with Hilton’s mission to provide outstanding hospitality experiences that seamlessly blend with the routines of their guests.

Hilton’s Chief Brand Officer, Matt Schuyler, expressed the company’s dedication to meeting the evolving expectations of guests:

At Hilton, we are committed to meeting the changing needs of our guests who are looking for hotel experiences that complement their daily routines while offering exceptional hospitality. Through this expanded agreement with Tesla, we are significantly changing the landscape of universal EV chargers in North America in an incredibly short amount of time. Across Hilton’s family of award-winning brands, this network of EV chargers will offer our guests even more value with the convenience of much-needed overnight charging access in more locations.

Hilton’s extensive network of hotels, strategically situated along major routes and in key urban centres throughout the United States, uniquely positions the company to provide scalable charging access for travellers on long-distance journeys.

Rebecca Tinucci, Senior Director of Charging Infrastructure at Tesla, emphasised the importance of convenient and cost-effective AC charging solutions for electric vehicle owners:

A key priority for Tesla Charging is installing low-cost, convenient AC charging anywhere electric vehicles are parked for more than an hour or two. To ensure electric vehicle adoption at scale, our joint industry goal must be to vastly improve upon the traditional gasoline vehicle ownership experience, not just meet it. Installing infrastructure at popular destinations, like Hilton hotels, enables EV owners to charge where they park, meaning no unnecessary refuelling stops along their journey. We applaud Hilton for their leadership in the space and look forward to continuing to ramp this critical program with other industry leaders.

The surge in demand for EV charging options among travellers is evident through the increasing number of searches at Hilton’s website for hotels with charging capabilities. In 2023, the website’s EV charging search attribute experienced the fastest volume growth to date, jumping from fourth to the second highest in converting searches to bookings.

Hilton’s commitment to sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of travel aligns with its Travel with Purpose platform. This initiative offers eco-conscious travellers more convenient options to contribute positively to both people and the planet.

London City Airport elevates travel dining: SSP Group’s contract extension brings fusion flavours to departure lounge

SSP Group extends London City Airport contract, unveiling diverse new dining concepts in £12 million Departure Lounge upgrade for modern business travellers.

Leading global operator of travel location food and beverage outlets, SSP Group, has announced a significant seven-year contract extension at London City Airport.

This partnership renewal accompanies a £12 million transformation of the Departure Lounge, introducing a range of innovative gastronomic experiences tailored to meet the discerning tastes of contemporary business travellers.

At the heart of this development lies SSP Group’s pioneering concept, Hithes.

Making its debut within the airport, Hithes encapsulates the vibrant tapestry of London’s multicultural cuisine, skillfully curated into a menu that traverses the city’s diverse culinary realms.

From the ‘City Boys’ all-day breakfast to the fiery ‘Notting Hill’ jerk chicken and the aromatic ‘Best of Brick Lane’ chicken tikka masala, Hithes promises “a gastronomic odyssey across London’s iconic gastronomic hotspots”.

The establishment also proudly showcases an exceptional array of the capital’s finest beers, spirits and wines, inviting patrons to explore a world of unparalleled taste.

Reflecting the harmonious blend of metropolitan energy and timeless sophistication that defines London, Hithes seamlessly melds the charm of a traditional city pub with the contemporary allure of a London brasserie. The ambiance is elevated by glistening mirrors and an exquisite mural capturing the essence of London’s bustling food markets, meticulously crafted by the esteemed English artist, Edward Bawden.

Journeying through the gastronomic landscape of London, visitors are invited to experience Juniper & Co, an oasis of culinary excellence that seamlessly blends timeless British classics with exceptional specialities.

Embark on a culinary adventure with the decadent Juniper Burger, crowned with Sussex Charmer cheese fondue, or indulge in the exquisite ‘Foremans’ London cured smoked salmon and free-range poached eggs, nestled atop a delicate Paul Rhodes English muffin. The refined drinks menu spotlights locally-crafted gins, vintages and an array of artisanal beers.

Kari Daniels: some of the most exciting foods from across the capital

The centrepiece of the establishment is an elegant marble-finished bar, adorned with a contemporary brass gantry, offering a delightful focal point. Ensuring that all preferences are catered to, seating options span from regal high stools to plush armchairs, guaranteeing a bespoke experience for every traveller.

For health-conscious voyagers seeking nourishing alternatives, the forthcoming summer of 2023 heralds the arrival of Soul & Grain, a haven of freshness nestled on the landside.

This ‘fresh-to-go’ haven pledges a delectable assortment of vegetarian, vegan, and indulgent delights, accompanied by the renowned offerings of London City’s very own Extract Coffee Roasters.

Embracing SSP Group’s commitment to sustainability, Soul & Grain is steadfast in its use of locally-sourced ingredients and eco-friendly packaging, exemplifying the brand’s dedication to ethical practices.

Kari Daniels, CEO SSP UK & Ireland said;

SSP has a long-standing relationship with London City Airport, spanning 20 years.

We’re delighted to be bringing new concepts to London City passengers and have worked in close partnership with the airport to deliver a truly local, London experience.

These concepts will give guests an opportunity to sample some of the most exciting foods from across the capital.

London City Airport Chief Executive Officer, Robert Sinclair, said:

This new investment in food & beverage outlets at London City Airport by SSP will be welcomed by our passengers and we can’t wait for our passengers to experience the new and improved food offerings at the airport, especially the London-focused food and drink brands.

As London City Airport undergoes this dynamic metamorphosis, SSP Group is aiming to confirm its dedication to elevating the travel experience, presenting a medley of culinary delights that capture the spirit of London’s culinary diversity.

This extension and the grand unveiling of these innovative concepts are set to redefine the landscape of London’s international business travel, ensuring that each voyage is punctuated by unforgettable gastronomic encounters.

More movies, more choice: British Airways doubles in-flight content

British Airways has taken its commitment to customer satisfaction to new heights by doubling the array of entertainment options available on its in-flight entertainment system since the beginning of this year.

Aimed at enhancing the travel experience for UK-based business travellers, the airline now boasts an impressive collection of over 70 complete boxsets and 20 beloved franchises across all cabin classes, ensuring a diverse and engaging journey for passengers.

The airline has unveiled a captivating selection of new films, short movies, and more content.

However, the airline’s commitment to improvement extends beyond entertainment. British Airways has made noteworthy enhancements to its product offerings, with a particular focus on its lounge and on-board menus.

This comprehensive approach to passenger satisfaction reflects the airline’s dedication to delivering a seamless and enjoyable travel experience from start to finish.

Complete boxsets: BA now offers more than 70 boxset options onboard

From boxsets to blockbusters, British Airways has effectively doubled its in-flight entertainment content in 2023, encompassing a rich assortment of boxsets, movies, podcasts, and children’s programmes, among other options. This strategic move aligns with the airline’s vision to create a bespoke and fulfilling entertainment journey for every passenger.

Anticipating a remarkable viewership of over one million customers on its long-haul flights this month, British Airways now presents a staggering number of complete boxsets and 20 classic franchises for the month of August.

Movie aficionados will delight in more than 50 new releases, including titles like “Paint,” “Love Again,” and “The Covenant.” And British Airways has fostered an exclusive partnership with Paramount+, treating passengers to unique content such as “Rabbit Hole: The Algorithms of Control,” “The Flatshare,” and “Grease: Rise of The Pink Ladies.”

Cinephiles will find solace in movie boxsets featuring legendary series like Harry Potter, Indiana Jones, and Mission Impossible. Such in-flight entertainment offerings promise hours of immersive entertainment, allowing passengers to indulge in beloved blockbusters while soaring through the skies.

For those with a penchant for auditory delights, British Airways provides over 770 audio options, including the popular “NewlyWeds” podcast starring Jamie Laing and Sophie Habboo. Lovers of British comedy can relish in an array of British Original content, including highlights from the 2022 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, such as “The Fringe, Fame and Me” and “Just for Laughs.”

Calum Laming, Chief Customer Officer at British Airways, emphasised the significance of a diverse entertainment range, stating,

We understand the importance of offering a comprehensive range of entertainment options to our valued customers, elevating their journey experience. Our passengers eagerly anticipate this aspect of their travel, and we have dedicated ourselves to expanding the content available, doubling the choices at their fingertips.

Through collaborations with outstanding brands like Paramount+ and the creation of a dedicated British Original channel, we have curated an assortment that caters to every taste. From newly-released blockbuster films to engaging podcasts, there is something for everyone to relish during their summer flight.

Passengers eager to stream content on their personal devices can make the most of British Airways’ WiFi connectivity, with diverse packages available, including messaging and ‘browse and stream’ options. The airline is progressively equipping both its long-haul and short-haul fleet with WiFi, ensuring most aircraft are now interconnected.

On a culinary note, British Airways is elevating the dining experience for travellers journeying to Delhi and Mumbai from London Heathrow, encompassing both outbound and inbound flights. This enhancement includes the introduction of comprehensive secondary hot meals across all cabin classes. Club World (business class) passengers can savour an array of chilled snacks from the Club Kitchen.

From 9 August, a fresh snack option will debut in Euro Traveller (economy) – passengers can relish a choice between banana cake and a sultana flapjack, available on flights departing from London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

Ground services have not been overlooked in British Airways’ pursuit of excellence. The airline has invested in its lounge menus, presenting an enriched assortment of hot breakfasts, afternoon tea, and Great British Picnic treats at its Galleries lounges in London Heathrow and London Gatwick.

Furthermore, British Airways has revamped its à la carte First Dining with local specialties and a British Original offering at its US lounges. This includes an enticing selection of new cocktails, locally crafted beers, and other beverages.

In a recent development, British Airways unveiled the Whispering Angel bar at London Heathrow Terminal 5, treating customers to the renowned rosé originating from the Provence vineyards of Château d’Esclans. Summer holiday surprises abound, with seasonal menus, complimentary ice-cream for long-haul daytime flights from London Gatwick and London Heathrow in World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy), and the reintroduction of pre-takeoff bubbles in World Traveller Plus.

British Airways remains dedicated to delivering an unparalleled travel experience, catering to the diverse needs and preferences of its esteemed UK-based business travellers. With an expanded in-flight entertainment offering and a focus on culinary excellence, the airline continues to redefine air travel comfort and convenience.

Air France: new summer flavours in La Première and Business

From now until October 2023, Air France is continuing to promote fine French dining with a new series of original dishes.

On flights departing Paris, in the long-haul La Première and Business cabins, the renowned French Michelin-starred chefs Régis Marcon and Thierry Marx, will be working alongside the Meilleur Ouvrier de France pastry chef Philippe Urraca to create delicious dishes for the airline’s customers.

To prepare these menus for Air France passengers in these prestigious cabins, the chefs have worked together with Servair, a world leader in in-flight catering, to create dishes that change with the seasons using fresh, local produce.

The meat, poultry, dairy products and eggs on each menu are sourced in France, and the fish comes from sustainable fisheries. In addition, vegetarian menus are systematically available in each travel cabin on all the airline’s flights.

Thierry Marx: In early 2023, the Chef opened his new gourmet restaurant “ONOR” at 258 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré in the 8th arrondissement of Paris

For the first time, Air France is collaborating with Parisian Thierry Marx, a renowned, two Michelin-star chef, one of the most renowned culinary talents of his generation.

He has created unique dishes for Air France customers, inspired by the diversity of France’s culinary heritage. His dishes focus above all on plant-based ingredients in a flexitarian approach.

Thierry Marx said,

Just like travelling, cuisine brings people together. These are values that I share with Air France for its customers’ pleasure

In total, the chef has created eight dishes, available on board over the next 4 months: 

  • Cream of spelt soup, black olive crumble, sautéed courgettes;
  • Cod, prawns, saffron rice, piquillo coulis;
  • Guinea fowl, carrot, butternut purée;
  • Pork loin, langoustine coulis, cauliflower purée, chanterelles;
  • Pasta conchiglie, pear, Fourme d’Ambert cheese and walnuts;
  • Prawns, risoni pasta with squid ink, crunchy vegetables;
  • Chicken, boulangère potatoes, mushrooms, Jura wine sauce;
  • Beef chuck, Bordeaux sauce, celery ravioli.

As part of the fight against food waste, Air France is offering its customers travelling in the Business cabin the option of pre-selecting their hot dish up to 24 hours before their flight. This service combines the guarantee of availability of the customer’s choice with fairer consumption on board.

Air France’s La Première cabin offers each customer a gourmet dining experience comparable to the finest restaurants. Voted “World’s Best First-Class Onboard Catering” at the latest Skytrax World Airline Awards 2023, it now offers menus created by renowned triple Michelin-starred chef Régis Marcon.

Régis Marcon: one of the greatest chefs of our time

Nature continues to inspire this chef, who draws his inspiration from the Ardèche and Auvergne regions to create his dishes. He has concocted eight dishes to be enjoyed over the coming months:

  • Fillet of beef with cherries, mashed potatoes with smoked salt;
  • Royale of courgettes with oyster mushrooms and truffle, strawberry tomato coulis;
  • Pigeon fillet with apricot sauce, lemon bulgur, mushrooms and butternut;
  • Fillet of sea bass and prawns with chanterelle mushrooms, bouillabaisse style;
  • Guinea fowl fillet with blueberries, roast potatoes and baby carrots;
  • Fillet of sea bream with verbena, sautéed baby spinach and chanterelle mushrooms;
  • Braised veal shank, sage sauce, potato gratin with porcini mushrooms; 
  • Cream of red bean soup with root vegetables.

Philippe Urraca: His reputation has earned him requests in France and abroad to create pastries for ceremonies and other events.

As for the desserts, pastry chef Philippe Urraca, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and a leading exponent of the French pastry tradition, has devised four delicious desserts to choose from on the à la carte menu available on board on a rotating basis:

As for the desserts, pastry chef Philippe Urraca, Meilleur Ouvrier de France and a leading exponent of the French pastry tradition, has devised four delicious desserts to choose from on the à la carte menu available on board on a rotating basis:

  • Délice du sud;
  • Tea, orange and Kalamansi;
  • Le méditerranéen;
  • Le Moka. 

Throughout 2023, Air France is working together with a total of seventeen chefs to promote French culinary excellence. These culinary experts offer exceptional dishes on departure from Paris and certain international destinations in the La Première and Business cabins, as well as in the airport lounges in Paris.

The only airline to partner with so many Michelin-starred chefs, Air France is reaffirming more than ever its role as an ambassador for fine French dining and expertise throughout the world.

Norse Atlantic Airways introduces flights from Gatwick to Los Angeles and San Francisco

Norse Atlantic Airways, the pioneering low-cost long-haul airline, has announced the launch of its services to Los Angeles and San Francisco from London Gatwick.

The new direct routes mark the fifth and sixth destinations to the US from Norse Atlantic’s London base, solidifying its position as the largest long haul operator to the US from London Gatwick.

Bjørn Tore Larsen: proud to offer an affordable and convenient way to explore these two iconic cities

Travellers now have affordable and convenient options to explore the vibrant cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco from the United Kingdom.

With fares starting from £460 return, including taxes and fees, passengers can embark on their West Coast adventures without breaking the bank.

Bjørn Tore Larsen, CEO Norse Atlantic Airways said,

Los Angeles and San Francisco have now become the fifth and sixth destinations to the US from our London base.

With the addition of these two destinations Norse Atlantic is now the largest long haul operator to the US from London Gatwick.

We are proud to offer an affordable and convenient way to explore these two iconic cities and experience the renowned sights and cultural landmarks that make each destination unique.

From the picturesque beauty of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the bustling streets of Fisherman’s Wharf to the magic of Hollywood and the famous Santa Monica Beach, these two destinations have something for everyone.

Flights to Los Angeles from London Gatwick operate daily, with departure at 10:35 and arrival at 14:10 on the same day. Return flights from Los Angeles depart at 14:25 and arrive at 11:00 the following day. Economy fares start from £460 return, including all taxes and fees.

For travellers heading to San Francisco, flights from London Gatwick operate three times a week. Departure is at 10:10, with arrival at 13:25 on the same day. Return flights from San Francisco depart at 15:25 and arrive at 09:50 the following day. Economy fares start from £455 return, including all taxes and fees.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner: Norse Atlantic exclusively operates the Dreamliner

Norse Atlantic exclusively operates modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable travel experience for passengers.

Each seat is equipped with state-of-the-art entertainment, allowing travellers to relax and unwind during their journey. In addition, Norse Atlantic offers two cabin choices: Economy and Norse Premium. The Norse Premium cabin boasts an industry-leading 43″ seat pitch and 12″ recline, ensuring passengers arrive at their destination feeling refreshed and ready to explore.

Passengers can select from a range of fare options, including Light, Classic, and Flextra, which cater to their individual travel preferences and needs. Light fares represent Norse’s value option, while Flextra fares offer additional benefits such as increased baggage allowance, two meal services, an enhanced airport and onboard experience, and greater ticket flexibility.

With the launch of these new routes, Norse Atlantic Airways continues to redefine long-haul travel by providing UK-based business travellers with affordable and convenient connections to key US destinations. Whether it’s for business or leisure, the airline offers an enticing gateway to the bustling cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Book your tickets today and embark on a memorable journey with Norse Atlantic Airways.

Norse Atlantic Airways is a pioneering low-cost long-haul airline based in London Gatwick. With a focus on providing affordable and convenient travel options, Norse Atlantic operates modern Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft, ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable journey for passengers. The airline offers two cabin choices, Economy and Norse Premium, and a range of fare options to cater to travellers’ preferences.

British Airways and Heathrow team up with London Wildlife Trust to enhance nature reserves

British Airways and Heathrow have joined forces in a new partnership with London Wildlife Trust to embark on a significant conservation and outreach project.

The initiative, titled ‘Connecting with Nature in Hillingdon,’ will focus on protecting and improving seven nature reserves and country parks in the Hillingdon area of west London.

This collaboration marks the largest corporate partnership to date for the London Wildlife Trust.

Bisected: Yeading Brook Meadows is a large green open space, divided by the Yeading Brook

The project aims to preserve and enhance the natural habitats within the region, ensuring that Hillingdon residents can appreciate and enjoy the abundant wildlife that surrounds them.

The selected sites for this initiative include Minet Country Park, Cranford Country Park, Huckerby’s Meadows, Yeading Brook Meadows, Ten Acre Wood, Gutteridge Woods, and Ickenham Marsh.

Through their joint investment, British Airways and Heathrow will support the project’s endeavors, which include various conservation activities and community engagement initiatives.

Working closely with Hillingdon Council, the project will also provide volunteering opportunities for individuals to actively contribute to the preservation and maintenance of these sites.

Hillingdon boasts numerous hidden treasures where residents and visitors can encounter fascinating wildlife such as kingfishers and kestrels along the picturesque Yeading Brook and Crane River.

Minet Country Park: 36-hectare park, originally part of the Coldharbour Estate, owned by the Minet family from 1766 to the mid-20th century

As part of the project, the London Wildlife Trust will oversee conservation efforts, including cattle grazing, path and fence maintenance, habitat restoration, new planting, and wildlife surveying.

To ensure effective progress monitoring, the project will recruit a ranger who will work closely with volunteers to safeguard and manage the sites.

Recruitment for these exciting opportunities will be announced shortly.

Additionally, the project will organise regular events, including guided walks and outdoor learning sessions, to facilitate the reconnection of residents with their local green spaces.

Mary Brew, Head of Community Investment and Responsible Business at British Airways, expressed pride in the BA Better World Community Fund. Over the past year, the fund has provided support to over 170 charities and organisations throughout the UK.

Mary Brew said,

This latest partnership with London Wildlife Trust is another brilliant project we’re delighted to support through the Community Fund. We’re looking forward to seeing ‘Connecting with Nature in Hillingdon’ deliver its programme of community engagement activities and volunteering opportunities across the borough.

Becky Coffin, Communities and Sustainability Director at Heathrow, highlighted the importance of supporting the launch of ‘Connecting with Nature in Hillingdon.’

Becky Coffin said,

Helping projects like this is exactly what our Giving Back Programme is all about, helping to make this area a great place to live and work

Richard Barnes, Head of Conservation at London Wildlife Trust, spoke about the significance of this new partnership:

This new partnership will enable us to build upon our 40-year investment in Hillingdon with a more ambitious programme of capital works, volunteering and engagement activities on five of our reserves and two of Hillingdon’s; delivering a step change in connecting communities with these sites.”

This partnership between British Airways, Heathrow, and London Wildlife Trust signifies a remarkable commitment to conservation, community engagement, and the preservation of natural heritage.

The ‘Connecting with Nature in Hillingdon’ project promises to foster a deeper appreciation for wildlife and the environment while providing opportunities for individuals to actively participate in safeguarding these invaluable spaces.

KLM takes business travel to new heights with cutting-edge World Business Class seats

KLM has unveiled its latest innovation for business travellers: the all-new World Business Class seats.

These cutting-edge seats have been meticulously designed to provide unparalleled comfort and privacy, catering to the discerning needs of modern business travellers.

Sliding doors: with a simple slide, the seat can be closed off, creating a secluded space for working, relaxing, or enjoying uninterrupted sleep.

Through extensive customer research and collaboration with renowned seat manufacturer Jamco, KLM has introduced a range of remarkable features in its new World Business Class seats.

One of the standout features is the inclusion of a sliding door, which not only enhances privacy but also ensures a more serene and undisturbed environment for passengers.

With a simple slide, the seat can be closed off, creating a secluded space for working, relaxing, or enjoying uninterrupted sleep.

KLM’s commitment to sustainability is evident in the design of these new seats.

Leveraging various innovative techniques, the seats and their fittings are impressively 10-15% lighter than other business class seats in the market, aligning with KLM’s sustainability objectives. This lighter weight not only contributes to reducing the airline’s environmental footprint but also enhances fuel efficiency, offering a ‘greener’ travel experience.

In addition to the sliding door feature, the new World Business Class seats offer an array of personalisation options and user-friendly functionalities.

Fully adjustable: the seats come with an adjustable lower-back support for optimal comfort and even provide a relaxing setting with a subtle back-massage feature

Passengers can enjoy direct aisle access from every seat, ensuring seamless movement throughout the cabin.

The seats come with an adjustable lower-back support for optimal comfort and even provide a relaxing setting with a subtle back-massage feature.

For those seeking ultimate rest, the seat reclines fully flat, transforming into a luxurious 198cm-long bed.

Recognising the importance of staying connected during travel, KLM has integrated multiple accessible charging sockets into the seats, accompanied by a wireless charging option.

Furthermore, passengers can conveniently store their belongings in a lockable compartment, which includes a built-in mirror for added convenience.

The seats are also equipped with a recessed bottle holder, ensuring that passengers can securely place their water bottles on the tabletop even during turbulence.

The introduction of these exceptional World Business Class seats marks a significant milestone for KLM.

The airline’s Boeing 777-300 and 200 fleet will be gradually fitted with these innovative seats, providing an elevated travel experience to its business class passengers.

Boet Kreiken, EVP Customer Experience said,

Based on extensive customer and competitor research, we improved our World Business Class seats to ensure that customers have more privacy and comfort during their flight.

The new seats are better in terms of design, technology and sustainability features.

KLM meets a wide array of its passengers’ wishes with the new seats in World Business Class, Premium Comfort, Economy Comfort and Economy Class.

We are delighted to offer these new products and related services to our customers worldwide.

Simultaneously, KLM will introduce the latest Premium Comfort cabin, completing the full revamp within the coming year.

While KLM’s World Business Class undergoes a remarkable transformation, passengers can still enjoy the exceptional services that have made the airline renowned.

The renowned catering concept and SkyPriority services will remain unchanged, ensuring a seamless and luxurious journey for business travelers.

Business travellers can look forward to embarking on a new era of luxury and tranquility with the introduction of KLM’s impressive World Business Class seats.

Heathrow Airport announces new CEO

Heathrow Airport’s Board has officially confirmed the appointment of Thomas Woldbye as the successor to John Holland-Kaye, who will step down later this year after nearly a decade at the helm.

Following an extensive recruitment process, Woldbye emerged as the outstanding candidate among a pool of exceptional contenders, both internally and from around the world.

Thomas Woldbye: takes over from John Holland-Kaye as CEO of Heathrow

Currently serving as the CEO of Copenhagen Airport, Woldbye brings with him a wealth of experience and a proven track record in leading a major airport, championing passenger service, sustainability and growth.

His appointment comes at a crucial time as Heathrow recently underwent an £11 billion private investment program by its shareholders, transforming it into the modern, top-rated airport it is today.

During his tenure at Copenhagen Airport, Woldbye prioritised customers and colleagues, leading to the airport’s transformation into a powerhouse transport hub of northern Europe, earning it accolades for its passenger service. His adeptness in navigating complex stakeholder relationships played a pivotal role in his success.

Woldbye forged strong links with the Danish Government, who are part owners of Copenhagen Airport, and fostered partnerships with airlines to drive investment and development, including significant expansions in terminal capacity.

Before his role at Copenhagen Airport, Woldbye spent 27 years at Møller-Mærsk, where he led the global shipping and ferry divisions, gaining substantial success in diverse operating environments and honing expertise in process efficiency.

John Holland-Kaye, the current CEO of Heathrow, will remain in his position over the summer to ensure the airport continues to deliver excellent passenger service until Woldbye officially assumes the role later this year.

In response to the appointment, Lord Deighton, Chairman of Heathrow, expressed the Board’s delight in selecting Woldbye as the next CEO. Deighton emphasised that Woldbye’s accomplishments at Copenhagen Airport align closely with Heathrow’s long-term strategy, highlighting his ability to successfully run a major airport and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve positive outcomes.

Acknowledging Holland-Kaye’s contribution, Deighton commended his unwavering dedication to colleagues and praised his transformative leadership that propelled Heathrow to become a premier global hub.

Holland-Kaye played a pivotal role in developing the expansion plan for Heathrow, securing overwhelming Parliamentary approval. He also adeptly navigated the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and led the industry towards a net-zero future.

Expressing his confidence in Woldbye’s appointment, Holland-Kaye stated that an airport is more than just infrastructure; it is the people who work tirelessly to deliver excellent service to passengers. Holland-Kaye praised Woldbye’s leadership on diversity, sustainability, and his commitment to meeting the needs of passengers, believing that the Heathrow team will be instrumental in Woldbye’s success in delivering the best airport service in the world.

Woldbye himself expressed excitement, pride, and humility upon being chosen to lead one of the world’s most renowned airports on its future journey. He acknowledged the remarkable improvements made by the excellent team at Heathrow in recent years, creating a strong platform for further success. As an important engine for the British economy and intrinsically linked to the success of London and the wider UK, Woldbye looks forward to charting the path for this iconic company. His ambition is to enhance the airport experience for passengers, airlines, the community, and all parts of the UK.

Heathrow Airport, the UK’s international gateway and Europe’s largest airport, welcomes over 200,000 passengers on approximately 1,300 flights daily, serving as Britain’s hub for trade, tourism and investment. With approximately 75,000 colleagues, including airport employees and partners, such as airlines, ground handlers and retailers, Heathrow plays a vital role in connecting the UK to the world.

About Thomas Woldbye

  • Thomas Woldbye assumed the role of CEO at Copenhagen Airport in May 2011. In this position, he is responsible for overseeing the airport’s operations, facilities, and various sectors, including retail, food and beverage, hotels, real estate development, parking, and logistics. Under Woldbye’s leadership, Copenhagen Airport consistently ranks as one of the world’s top airports in terms of customer and retail experiences, efficiency, and profitability. He has successfully collaborated with Danish unions and prioritized customers throughout the airport’s staff.
  • Prior to his role at Copenhagen Airport, Woldbye served for 27 years at A.P. Møller-Mærsk, where he held various management positions across different countries, including Indonesia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, and Denmark. During this time, he played a pivotal role in managing A.P. Møller-Mærsk’s global container business, Maersk Line.
  • In 2004, Woldbye assumed the role of Group CEO at Norfolkline Group, headquartered in The Hague.
  • Woldbye holds an HD in Financing from Copenhagen Business School and has acquired professional qualifications from the London Business School and the IMD in Switzerland.

Norwegian and Strawberry partner to enhance loyalty programmes

Norwegian and Strawberry have recently announced a partnership, establishing a joint company aimed at enhancing the loyalty programmes available to their respective members.

This collaboration brings together the renowned airline, Norwegian, and Strawberry (formerly known as Nordic Choice Hotels), a hotel company with a legacy of challenging traditional market norms and delivering unique guest experiences.

Strawberry growing: Petter A. Stordalen purchased his first hotel 25 years ago. Now, guests are able to enjoy 226 hotels, 122 restaurants and 21 spas

The partnership aims to provide a wider range of services to loyalty programme members and introduces a common loyalty currency and a versatile platform that allows members to earn and redeem loyalty points across various programmes.

With equal ownership stakes held by Norwegian and Strawberry, this joint venture is set to reshape the loyalty landscape, particularly for UK-based business travellers seeking seamless corporate travel experiences.

By replacing the existing point systems used by various loyalty programmes, the partnership revolutionises the way members can utilise their loyalty points.

For instance, points earned through hotel stays can now be used to pay for airfares and vice versa, eliminating the boundaries between travel sectors.

Geir Karlsen, CEO of Norwegian, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, highlighting the opportunity to expand the highly popular loyalty programme, Norwegian Reward, through innovative partnerships. He emphasised the importance of thinking beyond conventional approaches and teaming up with new partners like Strawberry to develop a platform that offers customers a broader selection of services.

A significant development accompanying this collaboration is the recent name change of Nordic Choice Hotels to Strawberry. For over 25 years, Nordic Choice Hotels has been a prominent player in the hotel industry, consistently challenging traditional market norms to provide unique guest experiences. The name change to Strawberry marks a significant shift for the company as it expands its offerings beyond hotels. With a portfolio that now includes 120 restaurants, 20 spas, gyms, meeting places, and arenas throughout the Nordic region, the new name reflects the company’s ambition to represent its diverse range of experiences and services.

Petter Stordalen, founder and owner of Strawberry, explains,

We are no longer just a hotel company. Today, we offer experiences throughout the Nordic region, and therefore, we want a brand and a name that represents the entire portfolio.

While the ambition to deliver exceptional hotel and guest experiences remains unchanged, the rebranding as Strawberry signifies a broader universe of offerings for guests and the 2.4 million members of the loyalty club. This shift aligns with Strawberry’s vision to be the best in terms of hotel and guest experiences while expanding their portfolio to provide a comprehensive range of services to their valued customers.

Initially, the collaboration between Norwegian and Strawberry will focus on their loyalty programmes, Norwegian Reward and Strawberry’s loyalty programme. However, the partnership’s goal is to extend its reach by including additional partners from the Nordics, thereby offering members even more opportunities to earn and redeem loyalty points.

With a combined membership of approximately 7.5 million, the partnership between Norwegian and Strawberry holds great promise for business travellers. As further details about the new company and the loyalty currency are revealed during the launch later this year, anticipation grows within the travel industry.

Business travellers can look forward to an enhanced loyalty experience that provides more frequent and flexible opportunities to earn and utilize loyalty points for their corporate travel requirements.

The partnership between Norwegian and Strawberry not only signifies a new era in loyalty programmes but also reflects the evolving needs of business travellers. By unifying airlines and hotel chains and introducing a common loyalty currency, this collaboration sets the stage for seamless and rewarding corporate travel experiences.

As Norwegian and Strawberry continue to innovate and extend invitations to new partners, their mission of revolutionising loyalty programmes across the region gains momentum.

Bridging Distances: Ferrovial and Milligan unveil ambitious plan for UK business travel

In a significant move, the Airports division of infrastructure company Ferrovial has joined forces with London-based real estate developer Milligan to identify and develop sites for urban air mobility operations across the United Kingdom.

This collaboration marks a crucial step in Ferrovial’s plan to construct and operate vertiports, which will play a key role in the emerging field of electric vertical take-off and landing aircraft (eVTOL) operations.

The partnership brings together Ferrovial’s expertise in transportation infrastructure development and Milligan’s strategic approach to site selection and engagement with local communities.

AECOM and Lichfields, acting as planning advisors, will work alongside the partners to assess potential sites and determine their suitability for eVTOL operations.

The announcement of this partnership took place at a special event hosted by UKREiiF in Leeds in May. Brad Miller, Ferrovial Vertiports Managing Director for the UK and EMEA, and John Milligan, Executive Chairman of Milligan, introduced their joint vision for the future of air mobility, emphasizing the importance of engaging communities and core stakeholders.

By advancing connectivity, this collaboration aims to transform the way towns and cities across the UK are linked.

Brad Miller, Ferrovial Vertiports Managing Director for the UK and EMEA, stated,

Freedom of movement is critical to global economic and social advancement. With a 70-year history of developing transportation infrastructure that helps communities flourish and grow, Ferrovial is proud to play a leading role in transforming the future of urban air mobility

Recognising the critical role of vertiports in enabling Urban Air Mobility (UAM) operations, Miller highlighted their potential to provide sustainable and convenient air connections, revolutionizing travel within and between cities.

Stuart Harris, CEO of Milligan, expressed his enthusiasm for the partnership, stating,

UKREiiF has been the perfect opportunity to unveil the details of our partnership and plans going forward. With an audience of local authorities, central government, developers, and landowners, we are looking into the locations of the UK’s first Vertiports,

To ensure the success of the venture, certain imperatives guide the site selection process. Prospective locations must meet airspace requirements, offer a minimum area of 4,000m2 with access to utilities, and be free from residential or noise-sensitive areas. The sites can be situated on the ground or on existing structures such as rooftops or carparks, with design and fit-out costs covered by the partnership.

Milligan and Ferrovial are currently engaged in discussions with local authorities, landowners, and asset owners across strategically important locations in the UK, aligning with the demand model of Ferrovial Vertiports. This collaborative effort aims to establish the first Vertiports in the UK and set the stage for the future of urban air mobility.

The partnership between Ferrovial and Milligan, along with the involvement of Vertical Aerospace, a key partner of Ferrovial Vertiport and a leading manufacturer of eVTOLs, marks a significant milestone in advancing the accessibility and sustainability of transportation systems in the UK.

As the realm of urban air mobility unfolds, the collaborative efforts of industry leaders and stakeholders will shape the way we travel, opening up new possibilities for businesses and enhancing the overall travel experience for UK-based business travellers.