News Briefs, Week of Jan. 30, 2012

Hawaiian, JetBlue ink codeshare deal


Hawaiian Airlines and JetBlue inked an interline and codeshare deal, connecting their two systems at Los Angeles immediately and at New York Kennedy on June 5, when Hawaiian begins daily service from Honolulu. Hawaiian's New York flights will use JetBlue's Terminal 5 at Kennedy and will be timed to connect with JetBlue flights from various points in the East. The carriers also reached a preliminary pact for frequent flyer reciprocity.

Southwest, AirTran realign more routes
Southwest's AirTran unit will drop service to six cities on Aug. 12 as the carriers continue to align their route structures. On the same day, Southwest will begin new flights from Atlanta to Norfolk, Va., and Louisville, Ky., and from St. Louis to New York LaGuardia and San Antonio, while AirTran will start serving Chicago Midway from Akron, Ohio. The six AirTran points are Allentown and Harrisburg, Pa.; Huntsville, Ala.; Lexington, Ky.; Sarasota, Fla.; and White Plains, N.Y. In addition, AirTran flights at Seattle will convert to the Southwest brand, making Seattle-Tacoma the carriers' first jointly served airport to fully convert to Southwest.

Allegiant builds up Oakland service
Allegiant Air plans to add seven routes to its operation at Oakland, Calif., and to base two MD 80 aircraft there for up to 30 weekly flights beginning April 25. The new cities are Billings, Bozeman, Kalispell and Missoula, Mont.; Medford and Redmond, Ore.; and Idaho Falls, Idaho. The carrier already offers Bay Area air and travel packages from Bellingham, Wash., Eugene, Ore., and Phoenix.

Three-week delay for Oceania ship
Oceania Cruises postponed to May 16 the maiden voyage of its new vessel, the Riviera, because of construction delays caused by strikes at Italy's Fincantieri shipyard. The 1,250-passenger ship had been slated to make its inaugural cruise from Athens to Istanbul on April 24, followed by an Istanbul-Venice sailing. Oceania said affected guests and their travel agents would be contacted regarding compensation and alternate arrangements. The line is protecting agency commissions on the missed sailings. The May 16 cruise is a 10-day Pearls of the Aegean itinerary from Venice to Athens.

Altour acquiring theatrical agency
Altour International, a $1.2 billion agency, is acquiring Road Concierge, a New York agency with sales of about $11 million that manages travel for Broadway shows and performing artists. Altour, which has a film, TV and music division based in Los Angeles, intends to keep the brand, and Road Concierge CEO Lisa Morris is expected to become Altour's vice president of sales. The deal was scheduled to close Feb. 1.

Hyatt wraps up rebranding project
Hyatt completed the rebranding of its Summerfield Suites and Hotel Sierra properties to its extended-stay Hyatt House brand, which now has 53 properties in 16 states. Hyatt House, launched last year, offers complimentary full breakfasts and a variety of accommodations ranging from traditional guestrooms and studios to one- and two-bedroom suites with kitchens.

Friends & Colleagues

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) tapped Robert Morse to be COO of the Americas region. Morse will join IHG next month and will succeed Angela Brav, who has been named president of IHG's Europe operations. The Americas region accounts for about three-quarters of the more than 4,500 hotels IHG manages worldwide. Morse joins IHG after serving as COO of Noble Investment Group and Interstate Hotels & Resorts, which merged with Noble last October. • • • Holland America Line promoted Rob Coleman to vice president of North America field, charter and incentive sales. He had been director of charter and incentive sales. He previously worked at Virtuoso, serving as Eastern regional sales director. • • • Claire Bennett, formerly senior vice president and general manager of American Express Travel, was promoted to the newly created position of executive vice president of loyalty and membership benefits. In her new role, Bennett will still oversee American Express Travel. Her previous position has not yet been filled. • • • Jim Baer is the new vice president of business development at Travelsavers. Baer has 34 years' experience in the travel industry, most recently serving as vice president of national accounts sales for Princess Cruises and Cunard Line.

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