News Briefs, Week of Aug. 25, 2008

US Airways to add Tel Aviv in 2009 
US Airways received Transportation Department approval to launch a nonstop route from Philadelphia to Tel Aviv. The carrier said it plans to start service on or about July 2, 2009, using new Airbus A330-200 aircraft set for delivery next spring. The carrier plans to continue to codeshare with Star Alliance partner Lufthansa in other U.S.-Tel Aviv markets.

Carnival to shorten San Diego cruises 
Responding to a trend toward shorter getaways, Carnival will begin offering three- and four-day cruises from San Diego starting Feb. 12 on the Carnival Elation, which has been operating four- and five-day cruises from the city. The cruises will call in Ensenada, Mexico; the four-day cruises will include a stop at Catalina Island, Calif.

U.K. ship to move closer to home
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines will pull one ship out of the Caribbean in 2009-2010, citing the high cost of operating air-sea programs from the U.K. The British cruise line said the Boudicca, originally slated to homeport in Barbados and St. Lucia that winter, would instead operate from England. The Braemer will stay in the Caribbean but cruise from Barbados instead of Miami to reduce costs, the line said.

Two cities to get AirTran service 
AirTran plans to bring two more U.S. cities into its system this fall, adding Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 6 and Harrisburg, Pa., on Nov. 20. Both state capitals will get service to Orlando, and Columbus will also see nonstops to Fort Myers, Fla., and Atlanta.

Korean firm buys European shipyard
South Korean shipbuilder STX took control of Norway's Aker Yards with a $635.5 million investment that raised its share of Europe's largest shipyard to 88.4%. STX, which acquired a 39% stake last year, plans to rename the shipyard STX Europa during a shareholders' meeting next month. Aker is building Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class ships, the world's two largest cruise vessels, as well as NCL Corp.'s 150,000-ton F3-class ships, and five MSC Cruises ships under contract.

Wyndham brands developing in Japan 
Wyndham disclosed plans to add nine hotels in Japan during the next five years under the Ramada and Days Inn brands. The hotels will be developed by Green Hospitality Management, a subsidiary of the Green House Co. Ltd. Wyndham has three Ramada hotels in Sapporo and Osaka.

Luxury resort eyed for Samoan island
Honolulu-based South Pacific Development Group is planning a $500 million luxury resort on the Samoan island of Savaii. The Sasina Village Resort's first phase will feature a hotel, timeshare units, championship golf course and cultural center. Later phases will include additional hotels, private residences and a marina.

Montego Bay to get Chicago nonstops 
American plans to start nonstop service from Chicago to Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Jan. 31, marking what the carrier calls the first nonstop service in that market. Five weekly flights with 757s are planned.

The next Marco Polo
The 39-year-old Maxim Gorkiy will be the next ship to sail for Orient Lines, and it will be named the Marco Polo II when it begins operations in April, following a two-month drydock. The 25,000-ton, 650-passenger ship, originally named the Hamburg, was purchased from Star Cruises; Wayne Heller, Orient's CEO, said the ship was in "meticulous" condition. It is best known as the vessel that hosted an international summit in 1989 between then-President George H.W. Bush and then-Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev.

Olympic star Phelps swims for Hilton
After racking up a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Summer Olympics, swimming star Michael Phelps swam one more lap in the Chinese capital, this time at the Hilton Beijing hotel. Phelps' lap was part of the "Hilton Swim to Beijing Relay," a multicity relay swim to benefit the USA Swimming foundation and fund swimming programs across the U.S. At right, Phelps shook hands with Hilton Hotels & Resorts representative Kirk Thompson after receiving a ceremonial check for Hilton's $50,000 donation.

Friends & Colleagues

NCL Corp. appointed Kevin Sheehan to the position of president, effective immediately. NCL's current president and CEO, Colin Veitch, will retain his CEO title and focus on corporate strategy, new building and other long-term projects for NCL's domestic and international development, the company said. Sheehan will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the business, NCL said, and will also retain his post as CFO. Sheehan spent nine years with Cendant. He was chairman and CEO of its Vehicle Services Division, which included the Avis and Budget companies, PHH Corp. and Wright Express. Before that, he was CFO of Cendant Corp. and president and CFO of Avis Group Inc. He left in 2005; before joining NCL as CFO in 2007, he consulted for private equity firms. • • • Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has appointed Andrew Kam to head up Hong Kong Disneyland as the new managing director. Kam had been deputy general manager and the marketing and sales director for China Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import and Export Corp., where he was responsible for the Coca-Cola business in 14 markets across China. • • • Cruise Planners, a South Florida-based, national cruise agency, has tapped Tom Kruszewski to fill its CFO position. Kruszewski most recently served as CFO of Miami-based Rally Manufacturing. • • • Vail Resorts has hired Derek Koenig as senior vice president and chief marketing officer. Koenig comes from Discovery Communications, LLC, in Silver Spring, Md. • • • Peter David is Grenada's new minister of foreign affairs and tourism. David is a member of Parliament who was appointed by recently elected Prime Minister Tillmann Thomas.

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