Travel Weeklys Europe E-letter: December 7, 2005

AIR FRANCE-KLM posted a surprise 56% second-quarter spike in operating profits and is projecting a 50% increase for the rest of the year. Last years merger between the two airlines is credited for the strong numbers. Iberia Airlines also saw a big jump in net profits -- $438 million for the third quarter compared with about $103 million the previous year -- thanks to its sale of Amadeus. The news was not so good for Alitalia Airlines, which is seeking to sell 1 billion euro (about $1.2 billion) of new stock at below-market prices in order to cover operating costs. And while British Airways saw profits fall 24%, a drop blamed on fuel prices and the strike at Heathrow Airport, the carriers profits beat analysts predictions in its second quarter.

THE HOTEL MARTINEZ on Frances Cote dAzur unveiled a fourth-night-free package timed to coincide with the Cannes Shopping Festival Jan. 5 to 15. Guests who book three nights during the festival pay about $212 per night and receive an extra night free, daily breakfast, VIP welcome and daily admission to the Palais des Festivals fashion shows via red carpet entrance. The hotel is hosting two festival events at its Michelin two-star restaurant, La Palme dOr. For more, call (011) 33-4 9298-7300 or www.hotel-martinez.com.

RELAIS & CHATEAUX added 21 new members in Europe to its 2006 list, bringing its total to 453 luxury international hotels, resorts and restaurants in 50 countries on five continents. The new entries include the Vintage House Hotel in Pinhao, Portugal and the Hotel Daniel in Paris. The group has also elected a new president, Jaume Tapies, owner of El Castel, a Michelin-rated property in Spains Pyrenees. For a full list of members, visit www.relaischateaux.com.

WHO BETTER TO BRING A SENSE OF STYLE to a new brand of international hotels than a leading Italian designer? Such is the reasoning of Rezidor SAS Hospitality, based in Brussels, which tapped couturier Vittorio Missoni to create a hip, new hotel brand featuring elements of contemporary Italian design. The hotels are slated for urban and resort locations worldwide, including Paris, London, Milan, Barcelona and Amsterdam. The first three Hotel Missoni properties are scheduled to open in 2007, with another 30 open or in development by 2010. For more details, see www.rezidor.com.

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