News Briefs, Week of Jan. 4, 2010

AirTran designates Milwaukee as a hub
AirTran is boosting its presence in the Midwest, opening a secondary hub in Milwaukee. By April, the airline plans to base 50 pilots and 50 attendants at the hub, which will include a maintenance station; regional human resources, sales and community relations staff; and an airport station consisting of more than 200 customer service agents and other personnel. AirTran has recently added new Milwaukee routes, including nonstops to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Four Palace resorts get Wyndham flag
Wyndham is raising its flag over four Palace Resorts properties in Mexico: the Xpu-Ha Palace, Isla Mujeres Palace and Playacar Palace in Riviera Maya and the Beach Palace in Cancun. Palace Resorts said it will continue to own and operate all four oceanfront properties, but with the added benefit of Wyndham's reservations system and distribution network.

Orient-Express acquires Peru hotel
Orient-Express Hotels acquired its fifth property in Peru, the 21-suite Hotel Rio Sagrado, described as a "rustic" property in the Sacred Valley near Ollantaytambo, a stop on the rail line to Machu Picchu.

Sonesta rebrands Orlando Sheraton
Sonesta Hotels plans to open its first franchised property in the U.S. on Jan. 17, converting a 341-room Sheraton to the Sonesta Hotel Orlando Downtown. The hotel, owned by Glenmont Capital Management and Resolution Services, recently completed a $10 million renovation.

Delta, Northwest to meld operations
Delta confirmed that it expects to begin the new year with a single FAA operating certificate covering both the Delta and Northwest systems, a move that is seen as the final step in merging the two airlines. Since acquiring Northwest in October 2008, Delta has been working to integrate the two airlines' FAA-approved safety procedures, covering maintenance, flight operations, training, crew scheduling and other matters, to be reflected in a single FAA certificate in Delta's name.

Hyatt set to open five hotels in India
Hyatt arranged to double its presence in India, opening five more hotels there between mid-2010 and early 2014, in a deal with DB Hospitality, an Indian real estate developer that will develop and own all the hotels. The deal calls for a Park Hyatt Mumbai, Grand Hyatt Goa, Grand Hyatt Pune, Hyatt Place Pune and Hyatt Place Mundra. Hyatt already manages five properties in Mumbai, Goa and elsewhere in India.

Argentina adopts $131 entry fee
Argentina on Dec. 20 began collecting a $131 entry fee from U.S. visitors, payable upon arrival at Buenos Aires Ezeiza Airport. According to a notice from the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires, "the fee permits multiple entries into Argentina for 10 years in accordance with United States visa reciprocity." Argentina does not require visiting U.S. citizens to have a visa, but the U.S. requires Argentinians to obtain a visa, for which there is a $131 fee.

Friends & Colleagues

Kevin Schwab has been named vice president and general manager of the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino as well as Marriott's Aruba Ocean Club and Marriott's Aruba Surf Club. Schwab has been in Marriott's employ for more than 25 years, most recently as its vice president and managing director in Asia. • • • Nicholas Stafford has been named senior vice president of marketing at Radius, a corporate travel management company providing global travel solutions. Stafford joins Radius from TUI Travel, where he led Moorings and Sunsail. • • • Latour, a tour operator to Central and South America and a division of IsramWorld, hired Arthur Berman as its managing director. Berman is the former president of Vacation Travel Concepts, one of the largest wholesalers to Latin America. • • • Costa Cruises named Diana Riel business development manager for the North Broward, Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties of Florida. Riel has spent the past two years with MSC Cruises USA as regional sales director and previously was with Costa for nearly nine years. • • • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide has appointed Jim Curtis area director of sales and marketing for the Caribbean. Curtis will also manage sales and marketing for the Westin St. John Resort & Villas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Curtis boasts 23 years of hospitality experience, including 18 years at Starwood. • • • Desires Hotels named David Lopez general manager of the Cassa NYC Hotel and Residences in New York, set to open this spring. Lopez brings more than 16 years of experience in the hospitality industry. He joined Desires in 2006.


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