The European Aviation Safety Agency on Friday updated its guidelines
to allow use of portable electronic devices throughout a flight without switching to airplane mode. Allowing such use will be up to individual airlines, which must first assess their aircraft to ensure transmission signals from the devices will not interfere with aircraft systems. The EASA last year eased restrictions allowing passengers to use their devices gate-to-gate in airplane mode.
Onyx Payments acquired Norway-based hotel commission reconciliation services provider Net Trans Services for an undisclosed figure.
Net Trans claims to automate the hotel commission collection process for nearly 40 million room nights annually on behalf of travel management companies and online travel agencies, and pursues those hotels that fail to pay. Now claiming to be the world's largest payment processor for hotels and travel agents, Onyx until April 2013 was known as Pegasus Financial Services. It then was sold by Pegasus Solutions to private equity investor H.I.G. Capital. Onyx and Net Trans had been strategic partners since 2006. Onyx said the merged business will serve more than 200,000 hotels and more than 200,000 "travel distributors" in nearly 200 countries.
Wireless Internet provider Gogo will install in-flight connectivity on Virgin Atlantic's fleet,
Gogo announced this week. The two companies still are finalizing a partnership agreement but have determined that Gogo will retrofit all Virgin Atlantic aircraft with its satellite-based 2Ku product, which it claims will "deliver unprecedented bandwidth" to the fleet. Gogo president and CEO Michael Small in a statement noted that the carrier's "relationship with Delta Air Lines will also allow us to build a seamless experience for passengers who fly both airlines."
CWT and Amex vet Andrew Winterton joined Certares,
which leads an investor group that owns 50 percent of American Express Global Business Travel, confirmed an Amex spokesperson. "We believe his expertise will be valuable to our overall expansion plans," the spokesperson added. Winterton joins Certares as senior operating partner, according to his LinkedIn profile. Winterton worked for American Express for nine years in senior positions related to distribution, supplier relations and Latin America. He then served from 2009 to 2012 as Carlson Wagonlit Travel's president for suppliers, products and technology.
Hilton Worldwide plans to grow its portfolio in Latin America 60 percent within the next two years,
adding about 40 hotels to its current portfolio of 62 hotels and about 12,000 rooms in the region, the company announced Tuesday. About three-quarters of those hotels will be either Hampton or Hilton Garden Inn properties, according to Hilton. Since the beginning of 2013, Hilton has opened eight hotels in Latin America and expects to open seven more by the end of this year, including a Hilton in Rio de Janeiro; Hilton Garden Inn properties in Iquique, Chile and Barranquilla, Colombia; and Hampton properties in Panama and in Hermosillo, Silao and Los Cabos in Mexico.
American Express Global Business Travel named long-time Amadeus executive Philippe Chérèque its new chief technology officer.
According to an Amex spokesperson, Chérèque "will lead our technology strategy and innovation with a focus on core platforms and critical path products." The spokesperson added that Chérèque's team also will focus on "platform optimization and GDS connectivity, as well as on newer technologies that can facilitate greater mobile and tablet functionality to meet the growing trend of consumerization in the industry." Amex GBT president and CEO Bill Glenn in July told BTN
that following the relaunch of the company as a joint venture it would "aggressively move on the information and technology side." Chérèque had worked for Amadeus between 1987 and 2011, culminating with a role as executive vice president of commercial. He subsequently served as an advisor to Emirates on that carrier's reservations system strategy.