JetBlue, Aer Lingus plan to codeshare
JetBlue and Aer Lingus filed a codeshare plan at the Transportation Department, seeking authority to place the EI code on JetBlue flights that connect with Aer Lingus at Boston and New York beginning April 1. The agreement includes Aer Lingus flights to Ireland or any point in the E.U. Under the plan, JetBlue would carry the Aer Lingus code on flights linking the two gateways with 29 U.S. points, 10 from Kennedy and 23 from Boston Logan. The carriers requested DOT approval to expand the pact in the future to any U.S. point.
Operations begin at new Quito airport
Quito, Ecuador, opened its new international airport Feb. 20. All operations ceased at Quito's former Mariscal Sucre International Airport on Feb. 19. The code remains UIO. The new airport is 23 miles east of the city center and is designed to handle up to 6 million annual passengers. The airport offers 60 check-in counters, a special area for Galapagos Islands passengers, 20 immigration counters for arrivals, 45 parking spaces for aircraft and a 13,451-foot-long runway, one of the longest in South America.
Starwood brings Meridien to Atlanta
Atlanta's first hotel under Starwood's Le Meridien brand reopened in what had been Starwood's W Hotel Atlanta Perimeter. Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter, which received $20 million in upgrades from owner RockBridge Capital during the past year, has 275 rooms and 10,000 square feet of meeting space. The property is near the Atlanta Zoo and the city's Buckhead shopping district.
Shangri-La hotel opens in Toronto
Shangri-La opened its first hotel in Toronto, a 202-room property featuring Asian-inspired decor such as silk wall coverings and replicas of Chinese antiques. In-room amenities include free WiFi. A newbuild on University Avenue, across the street from the Hilton, the hotel offers an indoor pool, health club, yoga studio, spa and sauna. The hotel is participating in the Virtuoso hotel program as a Preview property.
Wyndham adds Germany hotels
Wyndham inked a deal with Germany's Grand City Hotels to rebrand 41 properties in Germany, plus one each in Belgium and the Netherlands. The agreement will introduce the Wyndham brand into Germany and put a third of Grand City's 120 hotels under various Wyndham flags. Beginning next month, eight properties are to don the Wyndham or Wyndham Grand names, 10 will become Wyndham Garden and 17 are to become TRYP by Wyndham. The remaining eight are to join the Days Inn chain.
SuperClubs sheds Hedonism II resort
SuperClubs completed the sale of the 280-room Hedonism II in Negril, Jamaica, according to SuperClubs Chairman John Issa. The new owner and manager, Marshmallow Ltd., is an investment group headed by financier Harry Lange that includes the John Issa family and Kevin Levee, the resort's general manager. Hedonism II will keep its brand name and continue to operate without interruption. All reservations and tour operator contracts will be honored. A $10 million room renovation is planned.
Friends & Colleagues
Radius, the global travel management company, appointed Portman Travel CEO Michael Hare chairman of the board. Hare replaces Bill Tech, president and CEO of Travel and Transport, who has served as Radius chairman since 2001. Tech will remain as a member of the board. • • • Contiki Vacations has hired Melissa da Silva as president of U.S. operations. She replaces Greg Fischbein, who left the company in December after four years in the position. Da Silva joins Contiki from student-travel specialist STA Travel, where she was vice president of sales. • • • Patrick Birchall was named general manager of the Willard InterContinental in Washington and regional director of operations for the Mid-Atlantic. Birchall has more than two decades of experience with InterContinental hotels. Since 2008, he has been G.M. for the InterContinental Atlanta and before that held the same post at the Presidente InterContinental Mexico City. • • • Sharon Flax-Mars has been appointed director of tourism for the British Virgin Islands Tourist Board. Flax-Mars formerly was director of human resources at Rosewood Little Dix Bay resort on Virgin Gorda and served as a member of the BVI Tourist Board for a number of years. • • • Mark A.G. Brantley is the new minister of tourism for Nevis. Brantley has served as a senator in the Nevis Island Assembly. • • • All-Inclusive Collection appointed Ash Tembe as vice-president of global sales for the company's Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. Tembe most recently served as director of North American field sales for Palace Resorts. Prior to that post, he was with Bimini Bay Resort and Marina in the Bahamas. The company also announced that Kevin Edmunds has been named vice president, meetings and incentive sales for its Hard Rock Hotels in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. He previously served as West Coast regional sales director for the luxury brand.