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Good news

It may be difficult to find, but, if you look hard enough, there are still some items of good news in the business travel industry. So, every week, we curate some of the better “good news” stories. We can’t promise green shoots of economic recovery, but we can promise to highlight some of the better, encouraging and happier pieces of news in business travel. After all, we’re all looking forward to travelling again.

And, if you want to share the good news, please feel free to use the share links at the bottom of the page.

Monday, 6 July

This week, the good news came in threes.

First, the government confirmed that there would be a list of countries that will be exempt from last month’s quarantine requirements, starting this week, on 10 July. Read the story here.

Second, the government produced its list of 59 countries – and it contained some surprises. See the full list here.

Third, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office released updated its global advisory against ‘all but essential’ travel, exempting destinations that no longer pose an unacceptably high risk for British travellers. This came into effect at the weekend. You can read about this, here.

Monday, 29 June

This week, there is really only one, big piece of business travel industry news. The government’s lifting of quarantine restrictions for passengers arriving (or returning) from some countries. Click the link below to find out about the government’s intentions, Foreign Office advice changes and the latest information about air bridges. The story is moving forward very quickly, so keep checking back to see regular and ad hoc updates.

Monday, 22 June

A number of airlines announced increased services this week, including:

Manchester Airport introduced pre-booking for security screening and London City Airport re-opened yesterday.

Intercontinental Hotels Group announced the introduction of a new pricing model, Hyatt plans to open a hotel at Gatwick and Ruby confirms plans for a 173-room hotel in Notting Hill.

Monday, 15 June

There was more good news in the last week from the business travel sector, yet again. As the industry prepares for more companies to return to travelling on business, we were able to bring a range of good news items to our Twitter followers.

  • Turkish Airlines launched a discount scheme for health care workers
  • Iberostar plans to re-open several hotels, while OYO and Premier Inns build new ones
  • Japan Airlines and Air Transat re-start international services; Virgin Australia re-starts domestically
  • Austrian Airlines have secured rescue funding, while agreeing environmental commitments
  • You don’t have to wear gloves at Manchester Airport any more…
  • …and you don’t have to keep your distance on Air New Zealand flights
  • And, if you’re worried about losing your tier status on British Airways Executive Club, there’s good news for you, too

Monday, 8 June

In the last week, a number of news items have, again, pointed to recovery in the business travel sector.

But most people’s attention was rightly focused on the 50 Leading TMCs list being revealed by industry publication BTM Europe…

Monday, 1 June

United Airlines is upcycling old staff uniforms into face masks

Hilton is producing 50,000 meals a month for those in need

Iberia will increase flights next month…

…while Lufthansa Group has announced increased long-haul routes

Air New Zealand has opened a number of its lounges as it resumes domestic flights

Monday, 18 May

Lufthansa Group is amongst a raft of airlines announcing schedule increases having publicised 1,800 additional roundtrips per week to its schedules from next month…

…but Delta Air Lines isn’t even waiting that long to restart flights to Heathrow:

Meanwhile, across Europe, steps are being taken to open up borders again:

And Qatar Airways has generously donated 100,000 free tickets to healthcare professionals as a big “thank you”:

Monday, 11 May

In a week where the news mainly concerned messages from Her Majesty the Queen and the Prime Minster as well as celebrations of the 75th anniversary of the Victory in Europe, we also found some good news in the business travel sector.

International Airlines Group – the owners of British Airways – has announced it is planning a “meaningful return” to service in July. However, a number of airlines have announced an increase in flights even sooner than that

  • American Airlines will resume some European and South American flights from 4 June.
  • British Airways will return to Beijing Daxing out of Heathrow from 14 June and several other routes during the same month.
  • Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon will increase their capacity from 21 June.
  • KLM continues to have longhaul flights to Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Mexico City, Toronto, Curacao, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Osaka Kansai, Seoul and Hong Kong; as well as daily flights to Barcelona, Budapest, Helsinki, Madrid, Milan, Prague, Rome and Warsaw.
  • Korean Air intends to resume flights to cities including Washington, D.C., Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Frankfurt, Singapore, Beijing and Kuala Lumpur.
  • Qatar Airways says it will increase flights to 80 cities by the end of June.
  • Forbes has reported that United Airlines plans to “pencil in” four flights to Beijing, Chengdu and Shanghai from June.
  • While Vietnam Airlines plans to resume all domestic flights in June.

Capturing the mood of a nation that is looking forward to the end of “lockdown”, the Daily Mail reported that one-third of Britons will be travelling more than ever, once the restrictions end.

And while the airlines’ planning continued to gather pace, we at Global Travel Management took some time to commemorate VE Day…

Monday, 4 May

In the last week, Virgin Atlantic have shared some of the great stories of how their staff are helping to repatriate British people from abroad, helping to deliver food, helping staff in NHS hospitals, helping to handle NHS 111 calls and lots more. But they’re not just helping, they’re taking time to say thank you – a big, red thank you – to other people and organisations and the work they are doing.

Elsewhere, Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon intend to increase flying capacity towards the end of June.

Business travel is recovering in China. The country’s strategy, which will attempt to restart what was the biggest business travel market in the world, could offer a glimpse of how business travel will recover in the future.

Scott Pawley has posted about the airline industry reaching the bottom of the curve

And these pieces of good news from Asia may reflect some positive changes in airline capacity around the world. Our Managing Director Scott Pawley posted on LinkedIn about a report suggesting the airline world may have reached the bottom of the curve. In short, there has been an increase in flight seat capacity.

It is not only business travel that has seen good news in the last week, because Dubai aims to reopen its tourism by July, according to the Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing.

Wizz Air have recommenced flights from London Luton Airport to airports in Hungary, Israel, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Spain.

And finally, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) has released the results of a poll of more than 5,000 of its members which shows signs of optimism and recovery on the horizon. The study found that most companies are planning a recovery for 2020, with one in three planning for a recovery within the next three months.

Monday, 27 April

A British Airways flight from China, loaded with PPE and other essential kit for the NHS.

Last week, British Airways announced an increase in flights to China to London from 13 a week to 21. The flights will be able to carry up to 77 tonnes of cargo for the NHS, including PPE (personal protective equipment) which is of vital importance to health and social care workers.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive, said: “We are in a unique position to help in the global response to Covid-19, whether it is through carrying UK residents back home, transporting vital cargo back to the NHS, or through our colleagues who are offering their skills to volunteer. We’re proud to be playing our part, and I’m grateful to everyone who is working to make these flights happen in these difficult times.”

The news of BA’s increased China-London flights came the same week that the airline shared details of repatriation flights from India. As our news story shows, the airline has been helping to fly thousands of British citizens home from India. And our tweet, below, shows how welcome the repatriation flights were for the passengers – and how hard the crews are working to make this happen.

How we’re tackling coronavirus for business travellers

At Global Travel Management we are working hard to ensure all clients’ business travel plans run as smoothly as always, despite the ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 

To ensure that trips go ahead with as little disruption as possible, we have implemented a four-point plan based around knowledge, communication, certainty and mitigation.

Knowledge

Our teams of travel consultants are kept up to date on the latest situations on the geographical limitations imposed by airline schedule changes and what special measures must be undertaken when travelling to affected areas.  If you need to tap into this pool of expert knowledge, just ask your GTM Account Manager.

Communication

We will continue to provide relevant, timely communication on the latest situation via emails, news updates on our website and alerts on our Twitter page.  If the situation changes during a trip, we will also provide relevant alerts via Dave, GTM’s traveller-supporting app.  For the latest updates, please see Coronavirus – a guide to the latest travel news and medical advice.

Certainty

Our teams rely on comprehensive, accurate and industry-leading feeds of information, with access to up-to-the-minute data on schedules, changes and availability, so we can ensure the latest, most accurate information on the current situation.

Mitigation

We create and amend itineraries to ensure the most-appropriate and most-efficient use of travellers’ time.  And, when necessary, we can provide alternatives and have back-up plans ready, for when travellers’ schedules have to change. 

If you would like to discuss your travel plans or have any questions about Covid-19 and how it might impact the business trips you are planning, please contact your GTM Account Manager.

Finnair introduces new business class amenities by Marimekko and L:A Bruket

Finnair has introduced a new range of amenities for business class passengers, designed by world-famous Finnish design house Marimekko.

The amenities will be rolled out for all trans-continental flights on Airbus A350 and Airbus A330 aircraft. They are designed to complement the new sleep textiles in Finnair’s long-haul business class, which feature the classic Kaivo print in a dark blue tone on tone colourway, designed by Maija Isola, one of the most iconic Marimekko designers.

The amenity kits and eye shades feature four different Maija Isola designs from the 1960s – Rautasänky, Joonas, Jenkka and Pieni Melooni, with each pattern in two different colourways.

Finnair will introduce two new designs at a time, changing them for another two every six months.

David Kondo, Head of Cabin Interior Development at Finnair said:

We wanted to introduce more patterns more often, so there is something new and fresh for our frequent flyers. The new kits have also been sized so they can live on after the flight for a variety of uses.


Finnair and L:A Bruket are both Nordic brands that value sustainability.

We view this partnership as a great initiative to increase the appeal of our amenity kit. We’re also trying to connect the lounge and in-flight experience more and more for our customers, and offering organic and natural L:A Bruket products both on the ground and in the air is a great step in that direction.

As sleep is such an important part of the business class experience, Finnair has also upgraded the business class eye shades with soft-touch fabric and higher-quality straps and the ear plugs in the kit are designed to be more effective too.

Each new amenity kit comes wrapped in a cardboard band – instead of plastic – with a QR code that customers can scan with a personal mobile device to read more about Isola’s inspiration for the patterns.


L:A Bruket skin care products in lounges, aeroplane cabins and amenity kits

Improved sustainability with recycled plastic, bio plastic and on-demand concept Sustainability in all its forms is key for Finnair, and environmental considerations have played a big part in the product design of the new amenity kits as well. The toothbrush is made from bio-plastic containing cornstarch, and plastic wrappings for the earplugs have been replaced with wax paper. In addition, the new business class slippers are a Nordic-style design made entirely from recycled PET plastic bottles.

As with the amenity kit, each new pair of slippers comes wrapped in a cardboard band instead of the previous plastic packaging.

With these changes, Finnair will be able to reduce plastic waste by almost 4,500 kg per year.

Finnair also provides an on-demand concept for some of the less commonly used amenity items, including razors, socks and combs. Memory-foam pillows are available on demand too, along with shawls made of a modacrylic-wool-blend with a soft and warm feel.

The new amenity kits will have products from L:A Bruket – the natural and organic skincare brand from Sweden. Each amenity kit includes aluminium tubes of almond-coconut lip cream and a chamomile-lavender facial hydrator from L:A Bruket.

Finnair will also offer L:A Bruket hand soap and hand cream in its on-board business class lavatories, as well as L:A Bruket products in its airport lounge bathrooms and shower suites.

Scents of cucumber-mint, lemongrass and grapefruit leaf have been chosen to help customers feel refreshed and invigorated.

Contact your GTM Account Manager next time you need to book a business class flight on Finnair.

Four in five travellers have trouble sleeping

Four in five travellers have trouble sleeping

A global study commissioned by InterContinenal Hotels Group has revealed that a lack of sleep is a primary concern for travellers, with four in five stating they have trouble sleeping when travelling away from home.

The launch of the findings coincided with World Sleep Day, an annual day devoted to tackling important sleep issues.

The findings from the survey revealed:

  • The business traveller loses around 58 minutes of sleep each night when staying away from home, averaging just five hours and 17 minutes of sleep, per night.
  • The biggest causes of a restless night’s sleep for those travelling are:
    • Different environment (44%)
    • Unfamiliar noises (35%)
    • Working late (35%)

Dr. Steven W. Lockley, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School commented:

It’s no secret that travelling can be challenging for our health, particularly when it comes to maintaining our normal sleep patterns. Light is the major environmental time cue that resets the circadian clock in our brains each day, which is easily thrown off when travelling.

Over two thirds (67%) of those surveyed stated they feel more tired when they are away from home. To aid sleep, nearly a half either try listening to music (47%) or watching TV (45%) to try and fall asleep. To help travellers combat a restless night away from home, IHG has piloted the use of portable and versatile JOURNI Mobile Task Light designed to help regulate sleep when travelling.

Dr. Lockley continues:

Light can also be a stimulant, directly alerting the brain, or promote sleep before bedtime, depending on the spectrum and intensity of light exposure. Having greater control of light exposure when travelling can help promote sleep at the right time or wake at the right time, preserving some sense of sleep normalcy when on the road.

Brian McGuiness, IHG’s Senior Vice President of Global Guest Experience, commented:

With so many travellers experiencing sleep disruptions when they’re on the road, we want to do everything possible to make sure our guests at any one of our 16 IHG Hotels & Resorts brands have a restful sleep while staying with us.

We’re excited to be the first hotel company to pilot this technology that uses LED lighting to improve guest sleep, and it’s just one of the many programs we’ve introduced over the years to improve guest experience, such as our Crowne Plaza Sleep Advantage programme with premium bedding and aromatherapy kits and our Holiday Inn pillow menu.

Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport will be the first IHG Hotels & Resorts property to install the JOURNI Mobile Task Light as part of this pilot project. Guests can easily adjust the light from the blue-enriched white spectrum to boost energy and performance when awake, to the blue-depleted spectrum for use in the evening in preparation for bedtime, to promote a more restful night’s sleep.

Contact your GTM Account Manager when you need to book hotel nights at any IHG hotel property, including the Crowne Plaza Atlanta Airport. 

UNITED AIRLINES APPLIES FOR SIX NEW ROUTES FROM HANEDA AIRPORT

United Airlines applies to serve Tokyo from six US airports

United Airlines has announced that it has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Transportation for a total of six daily non-stop flights to Tokyo Haneda Airport from Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago O’Hare International Airport, Washington Dulles International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Guam’s A.B. Won Pat International Airport.

Pending completion of an aviation agreement between the U.S. and Japanese governments later this year, and slots awarded by DOT, the flights are expected to begin service by the summer of 2020.

United has presented a proposal maximised to meet consumer demand: the flights from five U.S. mainland hub cities and Guam will connect Tokyo Haneda with 112 U.S. airports, representing approximately two thirds of U.S.-Tokyo demand, or more than three million annual Tokyo bookings.

With United’s proposed routes representing five of the six largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. mainland and a combined population of nearly 56 million, the new flights requested in this proceeding will provide consumers with more choices and more convenient options when selecting Tokyo Haneda for their travel plans.

United President Scott Kirby said:

If awarded by the DOT, these new nonstop flights would expand United’s best-in-class Japan route network to better meet demand from U.S. consumers and businesses. Tokyo is a hub of 21st century global commerce and innovation. Our proposed flights to Tokyo Haneda will offer an unrivalled experience and maximise choice and convenience for our customers traveling between the United States and Tokyo for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and beyond.

United’s proposed daily flights from Newark/New York, Los Angeles and Guam would supplement the airline’s existing daily flights between those hubs and Tokyo’s Narita International Airport, while United would shift existing daily nonstop Chicago, Washington D.C. and Houston flights from Tokyo Narita to Tokyo Haneda.

In 2019, United is focusing more than ever on its commitment to its customers, looking at every aspect of its business to ensure that the carrier keeps customers’ best interests at the heart of its service. In addition to this announcement, United recently released a re-imagined version of the most downloaded app in the airline industry and made DIRECTV free for every passenger on 211 aircraft, offering more than 100 channels on seat back monitors on more than 30,000 seats. The multimillion-dollar investment in improving inflight entertainment options will benefit the more than 29 million people expected to fly United’s DIRECTV-enabled planes this year.

Business travel to China and South East Asia

At Global Travel Management we are experts in all types of business travel to all parts of the world.  But one area we are finding a lot more demand for is South East Asia.  So, whether you’re making your first business trip to Shanghai or Beijing or you’re a regular traveller to Hong Kong or Singapore, we have the partnerships, relationships and experience to ensure your trip runs as smoothly as possible.  And we can advise on everything from flight planning to hotels, from visas to passports and from lounge passes to frequent flyer rewards.

  • Flights 

It’s easy to find a flight at a good price from the UK to China or elsewhere in the region.  But finding a flight is very different from finding the right flight.  Our team works hard to ensure your itinerary works for you.  So we search every airline and every route while securing the best price in the right class of travel for your flight.  And many times we will find a route you may not have considered.

Want to save money?  We will search the lowest price on the right flight for you.  Want to save time? Let us build you the best itinerary.  Want to make sure you maximise your frequent flyer rewards on the trip?  Leave it to us.

So, if you simply need to fly from London to Beijing, don’t be surprised if we find you an exceptional fare, via the “short route”.  We might find you a great fare in a better class than you had planned for.  And we will “go the extra mile” to make sure your frequent flyer membership gets topped up with every leg of the journey.

Check out our Facebook page for some of the best news from airlines flying from Europe to China.

  • Passports and Visas

Leave us with the hassle of your visas and passports.  We keep your records so we can remind you when you need a visa for an up-coming trip to China or when your passport is due for renewal.  And we partner with suppliers that make the process as easy as possible for you.

  • Hotels 

Do you have a preferred hotel brand?  Let us know and we will book it for you.  Need advice on hotels in a city you’ve never stayed in before?  We can help.  Whatever you need from your hotel, let us know.  You’ll set off knowing your hotel booking’s been taken care of and you can spend your time preparing for meetings, not trying to find somewhere to stay.

  • Anything else? 

Do you need car hire? A train booking?  Ferries?  Let us know – we can get straight onto it.

At Global Travel Management, we have been at the forefront of business travel, worldwide, for more than two decades.  And, as more businesses are needing to travel to China and South East Asia, we are very proud of our ability to provide an excellent service for travel to the region.

If your business needs to make trips to China and South East Asia, give me a call on 01483 227 369.  I will be happy to explain how Global Travel Management will help save you money on your trips and provide a reliable, first-class service to manage all of your business travel. 

Paul Baker 

NATS trials Artifical Intelligence solution for Air Traffic Control at Heathrow

In a move aimed at boosting punctuality at Heathrow, NATS is trialling an Artificial Intelligence solution that could help reclaim the 20% of capacity lost by low cloud reducing visibility from the Control Tower. 

A project is underway, within NATS’ bespoke Digital Tower Laboratory, at Heathrow Airport to test whether a combination of ultra HD 4K cameras along with AI and machine learning technology can be used to help improve the airport’s landing capacity in times of low visibility and improve punctuality.

Heathrow’s 87 metre tall control tower is the highest in the UK and provides commanding views of the airport and surrounding landscape, but its height can also mean it disappears into low cloud, even when the runways below are clear.  In those conditions, extra time is given between each landing to ensure its safety. The result is a 20% loss of landing capacity, which creates delays for passengers and knock-on disruption for the rest of the operation.

NATS is deploying 20 ultra high-definition cameras at the airfield, the views from which are then fed into an AI platform. The platform can interpret the images, track the aircraft and then inform the controller when it has successfully cleared the runway. NATS believes the system will help the airport reclaim all the lost capacity.

Andy Taylor, NATS Chief Solution Officer, said,

Safety is always our top priority and Artificial Intelligence is about supporting air traffic controllers. While they remain the decision makers at the heart of the operation, we can help them make the best possible decisions and improve efficiency and safety.

Right now we’re focusing on when the control tower is in low cloud, where I’m confident we can make a very positive difference, but I am convinced that this technology can totally revolutionise how air traffic is managed at airports around the world.

The trial is part of a £2.5 million investment NATS has made in a ‘digital tower laboratory’ located inside the Heathrow control tower. There, it is working with the airport to understand how technology could support the air traffic operation now and in the future.

Kathryn Leahy, Director of Operations at Heathrow Airport said,

We’re delighted to be working with NATS to bring this pioneering technology to the UK’s only hub airport. Our capacity challenges are unique to our operation and we’re always exploring new and innovative techniques to help us overcome these constraints and improve the passenger experience in a safe and resilient manner.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on this trial, as the technology could have a major role as we prepare for the expanded airport. We will watch how AI and digital towers could be used to monitor all three of the expanded airport’s runways in future.

 

British Airways to celebrate centenary by painting a Boeing 747 in retro B.O.A.C. colours

British Airways has announced it will be painting one of its aircraft in the design of its predecessor British Overseas Airways Corporation (B.O.A.C.) as part of its centenary celebrations.

The livery from the 1964 – 1974 B.O.A.C. era will adorn a Boeing 747. The aircraft will arrive at Heathrow on 18 February, before entering service one day later. This will also mark the 50th anniversary of the first Boeing 747 flights.

British Airways plan to repaint more aircraft with retro liveries, which will fly on British Airways routes.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO, said,

So many British Airways customers and colleagues have fond memories of our previous liveries, regularly sharing their photos from across the globe, so it’s incredibly exciting to be re-introducing this classic BOAC design.

Our history has shaped who we are today, so our centenary is the perfect moment to revisit our heritage and the UK’s aviation landscape through this iconic livery.

Happy anniversary to British Airways, from all of us at Global Travel Management.