Lufthansa in November will launch its new Premium Economy Class
on Boeing 747-8 aircraft and roll the product out to its entire long-haul fleet through summer 2015. In development
since late 2012, the new seats, "depending on the aircraft type," are up to 1.2 inches wider and provide about "3.9 inches of more room on the side due to each seat having its own wide armrest and a center console between the seats." Measuring 38 inches from seat back to seat back, "passengers have approximately one-and-a-half times as much room as compared to Economy Class," according to Lufthansa. Premium Economy passengers will be allowed two checked bags and access to Lufthansa's airport lounges for an extra €25. Onboard, Premium Economy passengers will be "greeted with a welcome drink and will find their own water bottle, as well as a high-quality amenity kit with practical travel accessories at their seat," according to Lufthansa. "Meals are presented on menus commensurate with the new travel class and served on porcelain tableware." Inflight entertainment screens also will be slightly larger than in standard coach. Lufthansa indicated that pricing will "be closer to Economy Class than Business Class," noting that a flight segment on the North Atlantic will run on average an additional €600 on top of an economy ticket.
Worldwide airline passenger traffic in January rose 8 percent year over year,
according to the International Air Transport Association. Representing a "strong start for passenger demand in 2014," the growth rate improved upon the 6.8 percent year-over-year increase recorded in December 2013. In North America, international airline traffic in January rose 3.5 percent year over year on 2.5 percent additional capacity. Domestic U.S. traffic rose 2.1 percent, with capacity up 0.2 percent. Year-over-year international traffic-growth rates in January were strongest among airlines in the Middle East (18.1 percent), Asia/Pacific (8 percent) and Europe (6.4 percent).
ACTE's EMEA region joined four European travel management associations to form an advocacy group
that will "weigh in on the European debate on all subjects related, directly or indirectly, to the organization or management of corporate travel." According to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives, the network, called the European Network of Associations for Corporate Travel, will not be used for commercial purposes, but as a "joint and open platform initiative to further the industry and act as an advocacy group and a voice of reason" with European institutions. In addition to the Association of Corporate Travel Executives' Europe, Middle East and Africa region, founding members include Spain's La Asociacion de los Decisores en Viajes de Empresa, France's Association Française des Travel Managers, the Belgian Association of Travel Management and Dutch group Cortas.
The parent company of British Airways and Iberia posted a €151 million full-year 2013 profit after taxes,
swinging from a €658 million loss in 2012. Passenger revenue
for International Airlines Group rose 5.8 percent on a 5.8 percent increase in
traffic and a 5.2 percent rise in capacity. Passenger yield, a representation
of fare per mile, remained flat from 2012 levels. CEO Willie Walsh in a
statement noted that “Iberia has made huge progress on cost control as its
restructuring takes shape," while British Airways "continued its
solid revenue performance this year and we’re seeing cost
Australia's Qantas Group by mid-2016 will slash 5,000 jobs, defer or sell 50 aircraft and reduce capital expenditures by A$1 billion
(US$899 million) as part of a A$2 billion (US$1.8 billion) cost-cutting initiative, the company announced. "Qantas will take action to permanently reduce costs in all parts of the Qantas Group through to FY17, including fleet and network changes, productivity improvements, consolidation of business activities, new technology and procurement savings," according to the airline. The move is the latest step in ongoing turnaround efforts
for Qantas. The carrier attributed its woes to, among other factors, a challenging competitive environment in which competitors, bolstered by foreign capital, have "increased capacity to Australia by 46 percent since 2009, more than double the world average," according to CEO Alan Joyce. Qantas on Thursday reported what he called an "unacceptable and unsustainable" underlying loss before tax of A$252 million (US$224 million) for the six months ending Dec. 31, 2013.
Maritz Travel Co. hired three general managers to lead development efforts in "key international markets,"
the meetings management company announced. The new managers will spearhead "focused initiatives" in their respective locations, officials said, including "further helping clients perfect their event experiences, providing enhanced global insights for program strategy and delivery [and] enriching our market presence." Eduardo Chaillo, former director of meetings for the Mexican Tourism Board, will oversee Maritz's Latin America and Mexico region; Ben Goedegebuure, former director of sales at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre, is responsible for the Middle East and Africa region; and Ping He, former director of global sourcing and partner relations at Experient—acquired by Maritz
in 2012—will oversee the Asia/Pacific region.
Luxury hotel group Orient-Express Hotels is changing its brand name to Belmond,
effective March 10. Orient-Express Hotels president
and CEO John Scott in a statement said the name change is designed to
"celebrate the individuality and character of our properties as well as
stimulate increased stays across the breadth of our portfolio from our existing
client base." He added the new brand would help attract property owners as
the company plans to expand its collection via third-party management
agreements. Orient-Express, which includes such properties as the Grand Hotel
Europe in St. Petersburg and the Hotel Cipriani in Venice, intends to spend $5
million over the next year and $10 million subsequently promoting the new
brand, with "new website platforms" and "re-engineered customer
relationship management tools," according to chief sales and marketing
officer Ralph Aruzza.
Air France-KLM posted an adjusted net loss of €112 million for the three months ending Dec. 31,
tax impairments. That is an improvement from the prior-year period's adjusted
loss of €126 million. For the full year, the airline group posted a €349
million adjusted net loss, narrowing 2012's €696 million adjusted loss.
Full-year passenger traffic rose 2.4 percent year over year, with capacity up
1.6 percent. Unit revenue rose 0.8 percent on a constant currency basis.
Passenger revenue last year was up 0.7 percent year over year (or 2.6 percent
on a constant currency basis). The group's passenger business posted an
operating profit for the full year of €174 million, swinging from a €260
million loss in 2012. Air France-KLM board chair
Alexandre de Juniac said the improved results demonstrate progress on a
multi-year turnaround plan
that has included headcount reductions,
business line restructurings and cost-cutting measures.