News Briefs, Week of Aug. 18, 2014

Two Queen Victoria cruises canceled

Cunard Line canceled two sailings of the Queen Victoria, saying that a bearing on one of the ship's propulsion units needs replacing before its world cruise departs on Jan. 20. The line canceled a 12-day Canary Islands cruise departing Jan. 3 and a five-day sailing to Amsterdam and Cherbourg, France, departing Jan. 15. While in drydock at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany, the Queen Victoria will receive a multimillion-dollar renovation in addition to the propulsion repair. The refurb will include installing exhaust scrubbers to reduce air pollutants.

Etihad Airways plans Alitalia stake
After months of negotiations, Etihad Airways has become a 49% stakeholder in Alitalia, pending regulatory approval. The Abu Dhabi-owned airline is investing 560 million euros (about $750 million) in Alitalia: 387.5 million euros for the ownership stake, 112.5 million euros to acquire a 75% interest in Alitalia Loyalty (operator of the Mille-Miglia frequent flyer program) and $60 million for five slot pairs at London's Heathrow Airport, which will be leased back to Alitalia. The transaction is due to be completed on Dec. 31.

Revel resort in A.C. third casino to close
The Revel resort in Atlantic City, N.J., will close no later than Sept. 10, as there were no qualified bidders for a bankruptcy auction that was scheduled for Aug. 14. Since opening on the Atlantic City boardwalk in April 2012, the upscale resort has been beset by heavy debt, low occupancy and low gambling revenue. It will become the third Atlantic City hotel expected to close this year.

Cast of 'Love Boat' to name Princess ship
Princess Cruises said the original cast of the "Love Boat" TV series will name the Regal Princess at a ceremony in November in Fort Lauderdale. Princess said the christening will mark the beginning of a series of events to commemorate the line's 50th anniversary in 2015.

Malaysia Airlines to be restructured
The Malaysian government, via sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional Berhad, plans to buy out Malaysia Airlines' minority shareholders as the first step of a restructuring of the carrier. Khazanah already owns 70% of Malaysia Airlines, and it will spend about $470 million to buy out the rest.

T.I. sets 5% pay on charter flights
Travel Impressions is paying 5% commission on charter flights to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Costa Rica. The company branded the flights Dedicated Vacation Flights. Previously, Travel Impressions had paid commission only on the land portion of these vacations. The 5% commission also applies to group bookings on those flights.

Direct Travel buys Maine-based agency
Direct Travel, No. 21 on the Travel Weekly Power List, announced the acquisition of Portland, Maine-based Hurley Travel Experts. Hurley claims annual sales of more than $60 million, with a focus on business travel, corporate meetings, incentive and group travel. It's Direct Travel's third travel-management-company purchase of 2014, following deals for Baltimore-based Travel Destinations Management Group and Nashville-area Caldwell Travel.

Friends & Colleagues
Tony Gonchar has joined Delta Air Lines as director of Pacific Northwest sales. Gonchar was most recently vice president, consumer travel network, for American Express Travel. He has also served as CEO of ASTA and executive vice president of sales and marketing for Virtuoso. • • • CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. appointed Drew Daly to the position of general manager of network engagement and performance. Daly will oversee all agent-facing functions within CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., including training, support services, marketing and business development. Daly joined World Travel Holdings, the parent company of CruiseOne and Cruises Inc., as a travel agent nearly two decades ago. Most recently he served as vice president of sales performance for CruiseOne and Cruises Inc. • • •Gail Grimmett, senior vice president, New York for Delta Air Lines, has been elected to the board of directors of NYC & Company, the city's official marketing organization. Grimmett was elected to a two-year term on the organization's board and has been appointed to the group's executive committee. • • • The Faith Travel Association has named Bill Lawrence to serve as the association's director of sales. Previously, Lawrence served as the director of sales for Travel Market Report. The Faith Travel Association launched in January and is wholly owned by the National Tour Association. • • • Sabre has named Dasha Kuksenko vice president of airline solutions, Asia Pacific. Kuksenko has more than 20 years of experience in airlines and technology, from her previous positions at Sabre as well as with Oracle and Emirates Airline Group. • • • The Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place, set to open in September north of Palm Beach, Fla., named Matt Boris general manager. Most recently Boris held several roles, from director of operations to hotel manager, at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek.


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