News Briefs, Week of April 3, 2006

Hooters Air calling it quits

Hooters Air, which featured two scantily clad Hooters Girls on every flight, confirmed it is ceasing its public charter flights April 17 and will offer only private charters for large groups such as sports teams, according to the Sun News of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Hooters confirmed the newspaper report but declined to elaborate.

Hooters Air started service three years ago and, at its height, flew to about 15 destinations.

In the Sun News story, Hooters Air founder Robert Brooks was quoted as saying: The flying industry is in a terrible mess. Ive got a fair amount of money, but I dont have enough to fix this animal.

Eos offer targets BA, Virgin flyers

Eos, the new airline offering premium-only service between London Stansted and New York (Kennedy), is offering a discount and a money-back guarantee to certain British Airways and Virgin Atlantic business travelers willing to try Eos for the first time.

Eos advertised the offer in an open letter in major newspapers, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

PSAs smile returns to US Airways

US Airways dedicated the first of its special throwback aircraft, painted in US Airways livery but in the style of PSA, including the famous smile under the nose.

US Airways CEO Doug Parker dedicated the aircraft to the current US Airways employees who joined our airline in 1987, when PSA merged with the former USAir, and who still exemplify our catch-our-smile spirit today.

Qantas returns to San Francisco

Qantas returned to San Francisco after a 12-year absence, offering three weekly nonstops from Sydney on 747-400 aircraft. Qantas started San Francisco service in 1954 but pulled out in 1994.

Bill aims to ease border crossings

Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) introduced the Common Sense Cross-Border Travel and Security Act to reduce document costs for U.S.-Canada border crossings.

Under the bill, children under 18 would not need a passport, and adults would pay no more than $20 for the proposed PASS card for travel to Canada. It also calls for 24-hour free passes for day trips to Canada.

Sandbar snags Oregon river cruise

American West Steamboat Co. canceled the March 26 and April 2 cruises of the Empress of the North after the sternwheeler got stuck for two days on a sandbar in the Columbia River near Portland, Ore. Repairs are to be completed in time for an April 9 cruise.

Passengers spent the final night ashore, missing an excursion, and will be compensated for one lost day. Those on the canceled dates will get refunds and discounts on future cruises.

Tampa firm buys Island Resort Tours

Dynamic Leisure Group, a Tampa firm that offers dynamic-packaging software, acquired Island Resort Tours, a Caribbean wholesaler in New York, and hired its owner, Stephen Hicks, to be its president. It also acquired IRTs sister company, International Travel & Resorts, a resort representation firm.

Separately, the firm named industry veteran Nigel Osborne, former president of Auto Europes vacation packaging unit, executive vice president and chief business development officer.

The big Airbus is cleared for 853

The FAA and the European Aviation and Safety Agency certified 853 passengers as the maximum capacity of the new Airbus A380 after Airbus staged an emergency evacuation of 853 passengers and 20 crew in 78 seconds, with only half of the 16 doors open. One person suffered a broken leg.

Sol Melia offers family concierge

Sol Melia launched a family concierge service at its five Paradisus Resorts in Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Amenities include tyke-sized bathrobes and slippers and juice in the minibar. Parents consult with the family concierge by walkie-talkie to coordinate activities and excursions.

Wash. governor signs sex tour ban

Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law a bill to prohibit the states travel sellers from promoting travel for sex tourism. The measure, based on a Hawaii law, makes it a felony to promote travel for prostitution or to offer to sell travel for the purpose of prostitution.

California agents face jail for fraud

Edward Pio and Kay Burtness of Pio Travel in Salinas, Calif., were sentenced to a year in jail in California after pleading guilty to 26 felonies between 2002 and 2004. Included was a grand theft charge for accepting money from Carnival on the pretense that it would go to a nonprofit group, and two counts of making unauthorized charges on client credit cards.

Pio and Burtness face six additional years in prison if they dont make full restitution of $400,000. The first $170,000 would go to 180 clients who were ineligible to make claims against Californias consumer-protection fund, which has already paid $342,000 to about 300 victims.

Friends & Colleagues

The Doral Golf Resort & Spa, a Marriott Resort, announced the appointment of Tuni Kyi as vice president and general manager of the 693-room, luxury property. Tuni has been with Marriott for 27 years, the past eight as area vice president of Greater China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia in the Marriott regional office in Hong Kong. " " " Andrea Mayer was named general manager of the Hotel Blake in Chicago. Mayer was previously general manager of Chicagos Hotel 71, which was renamed Solis after it was taken over by Solis Hotels & Resorts. " " " Christopher Bond has been promoted to executive director of sales for the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Bond had been director of leisure sales for the property since September 2004. " " " Rosewood Hotels & Resorts announced the appointment of Alan Campey as managing director of CordeValle, a Rosewood Resort, in San Martin, Calif. Campey has more than 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and comes to CordeValle from his most recent assignment as chief assets officer for EBR Holdings, the owners of the Four Seasons Resort & Spa and the Greg Norman signature Golf Course in Exuma, Bahamas. " " " Tiffany Topcik was named president of the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association, a not-for-profit trade association representing the hotel distribution industry. She joins Hedna after serving as vice president of hotel and supplier relations at ABC Corporate Services.

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