American to add route to Haiti's Cape Haitien
American Airlines plans to launch its first service to Cap Haitien, Haiti, from Miami on Oct. 2. The carrier said the Haitian government already has approved a daily nonstop flight into Hugo Chavez Airport. Formerly known as Cap Haitien Airport, it was renamed last year after the completing of upgrades and a runway extension. The airline continues to offer a daily nonstop from New York Kennedy to Port-au-Prince, one daily flight from Fort Lauderdale and four from Miami, which will drop to three a day in October.
Southwest, SeaWorld end marketing pact
Southwest and SeaWorld mutually agreed not to renew their marketing partnership, which expires at the end of the year. The promotional ties began in 1988 and billed Southwest as the official airline of SeaWorld. The airline painted three aircraft in a black-and-white paint job resembling the coloration of a SeaWorld killer whale, Shamu. The companies said in a statement that they decided not to renew the contract based on shifting priorities, but animal rights activists are taking some credit, citing a number of petitions at Change.org protesting the use of captive whales for entertainment. Some entertainers have also opted out of performances at SeaWorld because of the controversy. The companies will continue to work together through Southwest Vacations.
JetBlue to inaugurate service to Curacao
JetBlue will launch year-round New York-Curacao service on Dec. 2 with two weekly flights, operating with 150-seat Airbus aircraft on Tuesdays and Saturdays. The carrier said it will have New York's only nonstops to Curacao, its 31st Caribbean destination.
Princess cuts deal for third Royal-class ship
Princess is going ahead with a third ship in its Royal Princess class, having come to terms with the Italian yard Fincantieri for a 2017 delivery at an all-in price of some $800 million. The ship will be a 143,000-ton sister to the Royal Princess and Regal Princess, the line's largest vessels, with a lower-berth capacity of 3,560 and a mix of what the line called its traditional "signature" features and "brand-new innovations," the company said.
River operator adds coastal small-ship line
River cruise operator Haimark Ltd. is sprucing up the 220-passenger Sea Voyager for use as a coastal cruiser on itineraries in Canada, the Great Lakes and South and Central America, beginning in May. The vessel, now being refurbished, was built in 2001 as the Cape May Light for American Classic Voyages, which ceased operating after the 9/11 attacks that year. The ship is to be renamed the Saint Laurent and will be marketed under the Haimark Line brand. South and Central American itineraries would offer cruises from Nassau to Cartagena, Colombia; Cartagena to San Jose, Costa Rica; and San Jose to Lima, Peru. Haimark began operations last year, primarily cruising the Ganges, Irrawaddy and Mekong rivers in Asia.
Starwood brings Meridien to Chicago
Starwood opened its first Chicago-area hotel under its Le Meridien brand, converting an Oakbrook property formerly operated under the Marriott Renaissance flag. Le Meridien Chicago-Oakbrook Center, which is managed by Wischermann Partners, underwent a $25 million renovation for the reflagging. The 172-room hotel has over 3,500 square feet of event space, including a 3,000-square-foot ballroom.
Friends & Colleagues
Northstar Travel Media, parent of Travel Weekly, has promoted Bob Sullivan to president of the company's Travel Group. Sullivan had been executive vice president of the Travel Group. He is responsible for Northstar's Retail Group (Travel Weekly and TravelAge West), PhoCusWright, the Business Travel News Group, Your Travel Insider, Mountain Travel Symposium, Web in Travel and the retail travel group in Asia and China, including Travel Weekly China and Travel Weekly Asia. Sullivan will be leading the Travel Group's continued development, as the company diversifies its product offerings and expands further into global travel markets. Northstar Travel Media has made a considerable investment in growth in 2014, acquiring five companies in a span of six months. • • • Roger Dow, the U.S. Travel Association's president and CEO, has signed a four-year deal to remain at the helm of the organization. His new contract begins on Jan. 1. U.S. Travel's chairman, Jim Abrahamson, said, "We want to maintain the course we've set as we watch this terrific organization continue to flourish under Roger's leadership, alongside his hard-working team, our highly engaged board and a vast network of committed association members." Dow took over what was then the Travel Industry Association in 2005. • • • Apple Leisure Group named Fernando Fernandez vice president of development, with a focus on increasing the company's footprint in the Caribbean and Latin America by securing partnerships with hotel owners and developers in those markets. Fernandez previously served as vice president of development for Melia Hotels International in Europe, across the Americas and the Caribbean. • • • CheapCaribbean.com named Steve Dumaine president, replacing Josh Paine, who departed in mid-March. Dumaine most recently served as both the chief strategy and technology and operations officer at Travelocity. Prior to that, he held various positions at Hotels.com and Expedia from 2007 to 2011.