Delta Air Lines this week entered into a definitive agreement with Airbus to buy 50 widebody aircraft during the next several years,
according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Under the agreement, Airbus will begin delivering 25 Airbus A350-900 aircraft in 2017 and 25 A330-900neo aircraft in 2019. The A350-900 craft will replace Boeing 747-400 aircraft largely on long-range routes between the United States and Asia. The A330-900neo aircraft will replace Boeing 767-300ER aircraft and will be used on "medium-haul transatlantic markets as well as select routes connecting the U.S. West Coast and Asia," according to Delta. Financial details were not disclosed in the filing, though media reports have priced the order at about $14 billion, not taking into consideration discounts usually offered on orders of that size.
Amadeus is partnering with Brazil's Tam Airlines to launch a mobile tool that handles flight disruptions,
the companies announced on Tuesday. The Amadeus Personal Disruption Companion would handle flight cancellations or delays by analyzing data about travelers and their preferences, their destinations and ancillary purchases to "automate the entire disruption management process from end to end." Using this data, airlines can send alternative travel options to a traveler's mobile device, which also might include such personalized offers as upgrades, a free hotel room or relevant airport services. Through the partnership with Tam, Amadeus plans to make the tool available on a white-label basis next year.
October air transactions processed by mega travel agencies and settled through ARC rose 4 percent year over year,
according to ARC data. The average roundtrip fare with taxes in October rose 1.4 percent year over year to $869 among mega agencies, which include American Express, BCD Travel, Carlson Wagonlit Travel, Egencia, HRG and Omega World Travel. Meanwhile, "online" agencies experienced a nearly 6 percent decline in October air transactions settled through ARC. For travel agencies in the "other" segment, aggregate transaction volume in October rose around 4 percent year over year, according to ARC.
Business travel spending in India this year will increase 8.6 percent year over year to $26.2 billion,
to be followed by a 9.2 percent increase in 2015, according to a forecast by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation. The organization earlier this year forecast
a 2.1 percent increase in 2014 spending but significantly shifted it upward thanks in part to "renewed optimism for the Indian economy on the heels of new pro-business leadership," according to GBTA vice president of Asia/Pacific operations Welf Ebeling. GBTA projects domestic business travel spending in India will grow 9 percent this year, to be followed by similar growth in 2015. International travel spending from India, meanwhile, will grow 4.8 percent this year because of slower trade growth in the first half of this year but then will pick up to a 9.7 percent increase in 2015, GBTA projects.
Basic Wi-Fi access now is free across the Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces portfolio,
the company announced this week. Guests at Taj properties are able to connect on up to three devices at no charge, while guests at Vivanta by Taj and Gateway Hotels can connect on up to two devices, according to the policy. The hotels will offer higher-bandwidth connections for a fee. The Taj group consists of 93 hotels, largely in India as well as 16 properties around the globe, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.
Total revenue for Serko increased 50 percent year over year for the six months ending Sept. 30,
the New Zealand-based online booking and expense software provider announced Thursday. Revenue increased to NZ$4.7 million (US$3.7 million), with revenue from travel bookings, Serko's "core revenue growth engine," up 36 percent year over year. Online transaction volume rose 32 percent. Serko's net loss widened to NZ$3.6 million (US$2.8 million) from NZ$347,000 (US$272,000) for the prior-year period, which CFO Tim Bluett attributed to "the planned investment we have made in growing our organization and operational capacity to support the pipeline of growth for the business."
Virgin Atlantic as of Friday will require a $40 fee for advance seat reservations on all long-haul flights besides Tokyo routes,
though many corporate bookings will be exempt from the fee, the carrier announced this week. Among those exempt from the seat-selection fee are corporate travelers using negotiated corporate fares, premium and premium-economy passengers, tickets in the B and Y economy-fare codes and Delta SkyMiles or Virgin Flying Club members with at least gold status. The carrier also noted that travel agents will be able to assign seats in global distribution systems for travelers in the premium and premium-economy cabins and Y and B classes, but that all other exempt categories would have to request specific seats through the Virgin Atlantic website. All travelers still will be able to pick their seats without charge when checking in within 24 hours of their flight.
MasterCard and Conferma globally expanded their existing integration,
Conferma announced Tuesday. The partnership, first signed in 2011 and dubbed In Control for Business Travel, previously was available only in Europe. With In Control, clients can create virtual card numbers for individual transactions and reconcile booking data. The integration gives In Control clients, including corporate clients and issuing banks, access to Conferma's network of travel management companies, global distribution systems, self-booking tools and online travel agencies to "streamline and modernize [clients'] travel payment and reconciliation processes" regardless of the booking platform used and across all payment categories, according to Conferma.