News Briefs, Week of Dec. 1, 2014

U.S., Mexico, agree to update air accord

The U.S. and Mexico agreed to update their bilateral aviation agreement to permit an unlimited number of airlines to serve U.S.-Mexico routes. The existing pact generally allows two airlines per country to serve U.S.-Mexico city pairs, with a three-carrier limit for certain top destinations such as Cancun, Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo. The new agreement does away with those limits, effective Jan. 1, 2016.  

United to double up on SFO-Shanghai
United won approval from the Transportation Department to add a second daily nonstop in the San Francisco-Shanghai market May 6, to be operated with 777 aircraft. The carrier currently offers one daily 747 flight.

Philadelphia-London to get more capacity
The Philadelphia-London route will get a capacity boost next spring when Delta enters the market and American adds a second daily flight. Delta's daily nonstop service starts April 7 with 757-200 aircraft. It will be preceded on March 29 by American's launch of a second daily nonstop, also with 757-200s, complementing the existing A330 service offered by its US Airways unit. British Airways also operates twice daily with a mix of 767 and 777 aircraft.

UAL adds two routes for summer season
United plans to launch two more seasonal summer routes June 4: Newark-Venice and Chicago-Dublin. Venice will be served daily through Sept. 23 with Boeing 767-400ER aircraft configured for 242 seats. Dublin service will run to Aug. 17 on 169-seat Boeing 757-200s.  

Ocean Princess sold, to join Oceania fleet
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings arranged to acquire the 684-passenger Ocean Princess from Princess Cruises for its newly acquired Oceania Cruises unit. The handover is expected in March 2016, after which the ship will undergo a refit before emerging as the Sirena. Oceania plans to reveal itineraries in late February 2015 and to open reservations on March 4. The ship, built in 1999 for the now-defunct Renaissance Cruises, will join three other R-class ships in the Oceania fleet: the Insignia, Regatta and Nautica.

RCCL sends Majesty to Pullmantur unit
Royal Caribbean's Majesty of the Seas, the last of the line's Sovereign-class ships, is transferring to the line's Spanish affiliate, Pullmantur, in 2016, joining its sisters Monarch and Sovereign. The 79,000-ton ship, which joined the fleet in 1992, will make its last Royal Caribbean cruise on April 29, 2016, a three-night cruise from Miami.

Hyatt slates 2017 return to New Zealand
Hyatt agreed to manage a new hotel in Auckland, New Zealand, under its Park Hyatt brand. Opening in 2017, the 190-room Park Hyatt Auckland will mark Hyatt's return to New Zealand, after its Hyatt Regency in Auckland was converted to the Pullman brand in 2011.

Hertz to boost buying of 2015 model cars
Hertz will boost vehicle purchases for the 2015 model year by 60%, acquiring some 350,000 new vehicles, while accelerating its efforts to sell 2014 model-year vehicles. The company had previously said revenue would be below expectations, in part because of fleet shortages.

Friends & Colleagues
Hertz Global Holdings has named John Tague president and CEO. Tague is a former president and COO of United Airlines. Tague replaces Mark Frissora, who resigned in September amid pressure from Hertz investors, including Carl Icahn, who were dissatisfied with the company's management. Tague left United in 2010 after the United-Continental merger. He had served as CEO of Greatwide Logistics Services since 2011. • • • Former CLIA executive Bob Sharak has been named the North American cruise representative for the Hong Kong Tourism Board. Sharak last served as executive vice president of CLIA before retiring last year after a 20-year career with the group. He now heads Bob Sharak & Associates, a consulting firm in South Florida. • • • Hotel industry veteran Scott Gibson has been named CEO of Pegasus Solutions, a hotel distribution technology supplier, after significant structural changes within the company. Gibson, most recently Best Western International's senior vice president of distribution and strategic planning, takes over following the company's acquisition by private equity firm Regent Equity Partners. Former CEO David Millili, who became CEO in 2012, has left the company. • • • CLIA selected Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. President Adam Goldstein to be its chairman. He is succeeding Costa Cruises Chairman Howard Frank, who has held the post since 2010. Goldstein will assume the chairmanship on Jan. 1. • • • Christine Alestra has been appointed the destination partnerships director at Signature Travel Network, tasked with developing partnerships with tourism boards and convention and visitors bureaus worldwide. Alestra brings with her more than 20 years of industry experience: 18 years at Collette Vacations, where she was director of partnership marketing, and most recently, two years at Travel Alberta, where she was director of business development. • • • The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif., part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, named Ian Pullan its general manager. Pullan brings 24 years of hospitality experience to the post. He began his hospitality career in 1990 with Conrad Hotels in Dublin, in his native Ireland. In his most recent role, Pullan served as the general manager for the flagship InterContinental Hotel in Boston.


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