News Briefs, Week of June 6, 2011

Caribbean airlines finalize merger


Caribbean Airlines and Air Jamaica completed their merger, giving the Jamaican government a 16% stake and a seat on the board of Caribbean Airlines, the flag carrier of Trinidad and Tobago. Caribbean Airlines, which took over Air Jamaica's operations a year ago, will continue operating both brands while converting Air Jamaica's operation to an all-Boeing fleet. Caribbean Airlines will focus primarily on commercial and emerging markets in South America and Latin America, while Air Jamaica will focus on leisure.

E.U. approves 3-way OTA deal
The European Commission approved the creation of a joint venture involving three European online agencies, Opodo, Go Voyages and eDreams. The deal involves Amadeus' previously announced sale of Opodo to AXA PE and Permira, two private equity firms that already own Go Voyages and eDreams, respectively. As part of the sale transaction, which values Opodo at $650 million, Amadeus obtains a 10-year agreement to provide GDS services to the equity partners' sites. The Commission said the deal did not raise competition concerns.

Cipriani family launches Mr. C brand
The Cipriani family, which operates the original Harry's Bar in Venice, launched its Mr. C hotel brand in Beverly Hills, unveiling a renovation of the former Tower Beverly Hills. The hotel offers 138 rooms and suites, all with private balconies, outdoor pool and a Mr. C restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining. Residential bungalows with private gardens are planned. The family has 13 restaurants around the world.

JAL names Boston a Dreamliner route
Japan Airlines will open a Tokyo-Boston nonstop route on April 22, 2012, marking its first new U.S. gateway in 13 years. The route will be operated as part of the carrier's transpacific joint venture with Oneworld partner American and will be served with 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The carrier also began talks with JetBlue about opportunities for connecting traffic.

Rezidor eyes hotel at site of Olympics
Anticipating the Olympics, Rezidor plans to open another Park Inn hotel in London in the second quarter next year, the Park Inn London Wembley. The 235-room property will be on Olympic Way, a pedestrian zone near Wembley Stadium, which will serve as the venue for Olympic soccer. The Olympics begin July 27, 2012.

Benchmark creates luxury collection
Benchmark Hospitality, an independent luxury operator, acquired MTM Luxury Lodging and incorporated the four hotels it manages into a group called Personal Luxury Collection. The group includes eight upscale Benchmark properties, plus the Bellevue Park Hotel in Washington state, under construction and slated to open in 2013.

Hilton debuts in Namibia's capital
Hilton opened its first hotel in Namibia, a 150-room property in the capital city of Windhoek, billed as the city's first five-star hotel. The Hilton Windhoek offers restaurants and lounges, lap pool and fitness center plus meetings facilities.

Friends & Colleagues

Gordon Wilson, right, took over on June 1 as Travelport's president and CEO. Wilson has been in charge of Travelport's GDS business for the past five years and has served as its deputy CEO for the past year. Outgoing CEO Jeff Clarke will become executive chairman. He was also named to Travelport's board of directors. Clarke will remain chairman of Orbitz Worldwide, a company in which Travelport is the largest investor. • • • Travel Leaders Corporate named Linda Oliver-Eckhardt senior vice president of client strategies. Before joining Travel Leaders Corporate, she held a variety of management roles at Carlson Wagonlit Travel, most recently serving as senior director of national accounts. • • • Glen Ceremony was named CEO at Travelzoo, effective June 15. Ceremony joins Travelzoo from eBay, where he serves as corporate controller. He replaces Wayne Lee, who plans to take time off with his family and to pursue other opportunities. In other Travelzoo news, Lisa Oswald was named vice president of customer service. Oswald comes from Priceline.com, where she was vice president of operations and customer service from 1999 to 2010. • • • David Peckinpaugh is the new president of the Maritz Travel Co. The former vice president of business development for HelmsBriscoe, Peckinpaugh will assume his role June 13. Interim President Jane Herod will continue to serve as Maritz Travel's COO. Prior to HelmsBriscoe, Peckinpaugh served as president and CEO of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau and as chief marketing officer of Experient.

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