News Briefs, Week of April 25, 2011

Another lawsuit: US Airways v. Sabre


US Airways sued Sabre, seeking monetary damages and an end to what it called "anticompetitive and anticonsumer practices." US Airways said Sabre engages in "a pattern of exclusionary conduct to shut out competition, protect its monopoly pricing power and maintain its technologically obsolete business model." US Airways alleged that Sabre's actions "hurt consumers through higher prices, reduced innovation and fewer choices" and suppress the ability of agents to use airline direct connects. The move follows a suit by American against Travelport making similar claims. Sabre said it was reviewing the suit.

L.A. Live to get two more Marriotts
Marriott disclosed plans to add two more hotels to the L.A. Live sports and entertainment center in downtown Los Angeles, which already has a J.W. Marriott and a Ritz-Carlton. The company said a partnership led by Williams/Dame and Associates will develop a 22-story, 377-room hotel tower adjacent to L.A. Live that will house a Courtyard by Marriott and Residence Inn by Marriott.

CLIA adds course for agent managers
CLIA added a cruise agency management certification to its educational program, intended for agency leadership personnel who are not full-time selling agents. The Accredited Cruise Manager designation, developed in response to member requests, blends a course study with hands-on experiences. CLIA said completion of the Travel Institute's CTA, CTC or CTIE designations contribute toward ACM requirements. The enrollment fee is $70.

DHS introduces new alert system
The Department of Homeland Security replaced its color-coded alerts with a new terror alert system that includes Facebook and Twitter postings with advice on steps that can be taken in response. The DHS said alerts will include a "clear statement on the nature of the threat." Threats will be defined as "elevated" (warns of a credible terrorist threat against the U.S.) or "imminent" (warns of a credible, specific and impending terrorist threat against the U.S.).

Southwest, AirTran set closing date
Southwest set May 3 as the date for closing on its acquisition of AirTran, at which point Bob Jordan, Southwest's executive vice president of strategy and planning, will become president of AirTran Airways. Full integration of the two lines is planned for 2013.

Silversea ship dons new moniker
Silversea's Prince Albert II expedition ship starts its summer European program from Portugal next week with a new name, the Silver Explorer. The ship has been in drydock in Setubal, Portugal, undergoing routine maintenance prior to starting its summer program focusing on Northern Europe.

Wyndham to grow Microtel in Canada
Wyndham inked a deal with MasterBuilt Hotels to build more than 75 Microtel Inns & Suites in Canada over the next 25 years. The brand has two hotels in Canada, with 10 others planned. MasterBuilt is a joint venture of Superior Lodging, master developer of Wyndham's Super 8 brand in Canada, and JWI Investments, parent of a top Canadian homebuilder.

Friends & Colleagues

Bill Smith, Crystal Cruises' senior vice president of sales and marketing, will join Virtuoso in May as its vice president of cruise sales and exclusive product. Smith, a well-known figure in the luxury cruise industry, joined Crystal in 2004 as its top sales and marketing executive. Previously he served as president and COO of Silversea Cruises and has worked for Costa Cruises and other lines. • • • Christopher Rynd has been appointed commodore of the Cunard Line fleet, which comprises the Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria. Rynd assumes the title held by Bernard Warner, who retired April 19. Rynd joined Cunard in 2005 when he took command of the Queen Elizabeth 2. He has since also commanded the QM2 and the Queen Victoria and was at the helm for the QM2's maiden world voyage. • • • SkyTeam has appointed Michael Wisbrun as its new managing director, replacing Marie-Joseph Male. Wisbrun joins SkyTeam from KLM, a SkyTeam member, where he has held a number of executive posts. He is currently executive vice president of KLM Cargo, chairman of the Air France-KLM Cargo Joint Management Committee and member of the Air France-KLM Group Executive Committee. SkyTeam also announced the appointment of Su Liang as deputy managing director. He joins SkyTeam from China Southern Airlines, where he is currently the chief economist.

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