Another China deal for Starwood

Starwood signed a deal with a Chinese development firm to manage a 400-room hotel in Guangzhous central business district opening in 2007 as the Westin Guangzhou.

The deal marks the fifth hotel agreement Starwood has signed in China this year.

A&K local office opens in Beijing

Abercrombie & Kent opened a destination management office in Beijing, its first in mainland China and its 47th globally.

Flight delay for the big Airbus

The A380, the new double-decker Airbus, wont be taking its first commercial flight as soon as expected: Airbus told Singapore Airlines it wont be able to deliver the aircraft until fourth-quarter 2006, six months late, Singapore CEO Choon Seng Chew said.

Chew said much of the delay stems from the difficulty of customizing the electrical system and other elements to meet his airlines specific requirements, but he said he still expects Singapore to launch its first flight in 2006, albeit late in the year. Chew also said hell be seeking some form of compensation from Airbus for the delay.

Trip Manager XE adds Amtrak

Corporate users of Worldspans Trip Manager XE can now view real-time availability and book Amtrak tickets to 39 destinations in the Northeast Corridor.

Worldspan also introduced language enhancements to the online booking tool, adding Brazilian Portuguese, Mexican Spanish and French Canadian dialects.

Swiss and Star tie the knot

The Star Alliance board voted June 2 to accept Swiss Internationals application to become a member -- a widely expected move following the March agreement for long-time Star member Lufthansa to acquire Switzerlands national airline and integrate it into the Lufthansa Group.

The alliance previously approved the application of South African Airways, which means the 16-member alliance should grow to 18 airlines within the next 12 months.

The alliance also is counting on an expanded U.S. network from the proposed merger of Star member US Airways with America West.

Voice of Qantas koala is silenced

The man behind the voice of the famous Qantas koala, actor-comedian Howard Morris, died last month at age 85.

Among his many credits, Morris was Weasel to Sid Caesars Sid Caesar and Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show.

But his most lasting engagement turned out to be the longest continuous ad campaign in the U.S., the Qantas campaign that featured a koala who muttered I hate Qantas! for bringing so many visitors to Australia and disturbing his peace.

The Qantas TV campaign ran from 1967 to 1992.

Kuoni taps Galileo in global pact

European tourism giant Kuoni Travel signed a five-year deal with Cendant Travel Distribution, making Galileo the primary GDS for all Kuoni businesses worldwide.

The deal extends an existing preferred relationship to additional Kuoni operations in Europe and in India.

People in the news...

Mike Julius was promoted to vice president of sales, central region, for Carnival Cruise Lines. Julius, who is based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, oversees 20 business development managers and sales territories in 15 central states ... Presidente InterContinental Hotels and Resorts appointed new general managers at three Mexico properties: Michael Oney at the Presidente InterContinental All-Inclusive Los Cabos Resort, Javier Rosenberg at the Presidente InterContinental Cozumel Resort and Spa, and Sandra Rangel at the Presidente InterContinental Cancun Resort ... Vacation.com Canada named Elvis Fernandes its business development manager to eastern Canada. He is replacing Christine James, who was promoted to senior director, Canadian preferred-supplier relationships for Vacation.com Canada ... Helping to reintroduce and reposition Montserrat in the international travel marketplace is Ishwar Persad, new marketing manager of the Montserrat Tourist Board. Persad was the product development manager for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism ... Steven Sear, Northwest Airlines managing director of reservations services, has been tapped to succeed Fay Beauchine, the carriers vice president of sales and customer care. Beauchine is retiring after 27 years in the industry ... The St. Regis Hotel, Shanghai promoted David Katemopoulos to hotel manager and Mercedes Yao to director of sales. Katemopoulos was director of sales and marketing/executive assistant manager, and Yao was director of sales for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in Shanghai ... Londons Maybourne Hotel Group named Paul Reynolds, a former executive with InterContinental and Hilton, its vice president of  sales and marketing. Reynolds was most recently InterContinentals vice president of sales for Europe ... Ad Rutten will succeed Marike van Lier Lels as COO of the Schiphol Group, operator of Amsterdams Schiphol Airport, as of Sept. 1, and in that capacity will serve on the groups board. Rutten is currently executive vice president of engineering and maintenance at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

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