News Briefs, Week of June 9, 2014

Brazil's Azul sets plan for adding U.S. routes


Azul, the Brazilian low-fare airline, filed plans at the Transportation Department for launching its first U.S. routes, linking Sao Paulo with Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, beginning with daily service in December. New York Kennedy would follow next July. The carrier, founded and headed by JetBlue founder David Neeleman, said it would serve the U.S. from its base at Sao Paulo's Viracopos-Campinas airport using Airbus A330 aircraft, initially configured for 272 seats but later converting to a 246-seat layout. Neeleman, the CEO, founded Azul in 2008. The carrier now operates 870 daily flights with 130 aircraft, mostly regional jets and turboprops.

United inaugurates Heathrow Terminal 2
United consolidated its London Heathrow operations at the airport's new Terminal 2, dubbed "The Queen's Terminal," which will eventually serve as the hub for all 23 Star Alliance carriers now serving Heathrow, beginning with Air Canada on June 18. The $4.2 billion terminal, which has 33 shops and 17 bars and restaurants, will eventually accommodate some 330 daily flights for 26 airlines.

Starwood inks deal for a London pair
Starwood signed a development deal for a dual-hotel project in London that will connect its Aloft and Element brands in a new development in East London's Tobacco Dock area. The hotels are slated to open in early 2017. Aloft London Tobacco Dock will feature 251 "urban-influenced rooms" with loft-like ceilings and oversize windows. Element London Tobacco Dock will offer 77 studios and one- and two-bedroom suites emphasizing the brand's ecofriendly themes. The project will mark the Element brand's U.K. debut.

Hilton to assemble a Curio collection
Hilton is launching a collection of independent hotels called Curio, which will include the new 1,620-room SLS Las Vegas, which is being redeveloped at the site of the old Sahara. Hilton said Curio will include four- and five-star hotels that offer "authentic experiences." Hilton said it has signed letters of intent for Houston's 90-year-old Sam Houston Hotel; the Franklin Hotel in Chapel Hill, N.C.; the Hotel Alex Johnson near South Dakota's Mount Rushmore; and a yet-to-be-named hotel project in Portland, Ore.

SLS Hotels signs up for Baha Mar project
SLS Hotels agreed to manage a 300-room hotel, including 107 residences, at the $3.5 billion Baha Mar development project, scheduled to open on Cable Beach in Nassau in December. The deal replaces the previously announced Mondrian hotel for the site, which would have marked the debut of the brand for the Morgans Hotel Group in the Caribbean.

Manila development to include Hyatt hotel
Hyatt agreed to manage a twin-tower hotel opening in the City of Dreams casino resort complex in Manila this year. The 365-room Hyatt City of Dreams Manila is one of several hotels in the complex, which will also include specialty restaurants and bars, gaming facilities and entertainment venues.

Hotelier to introduce Motif brand to Seattle
Destinations Hotels and Resorts is rebranding the 329-room Red Lion Hotel in downtown Seattle as the Motif Seattle, a lifestyle brand inspired by Seattle's "fashion, arts and music scenes." The reflagging is slated for June 14.

Friends & Colleagues
Wyndham Hotel Group appointed Josh Lesnick chief marketing officer. Lesnick joins Wyndham from Audience Rewards, where he served the last six years as president and CEO of the marketing alliance created by the major Broadway theater owners and national arts presenters to promote the development of new audiences and reward loyal patrons. Prior to that, he spent nearly two decades working in hospitality in executive leadership roles with Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Hyatt Hotels. • • • CCRA Travel Solutions has named Maggie Fischer vice president of marketing. Fischer had been director of marketing communications and brand for ARC since 2006, and before that she co-founded DCM and was the boutique advertising firm's principal marketing and creative director. • • • Frontier Airlines named Bill Meehan as COO. Most recently Meehan served as CEO of Pemco World Air Services, an aircraft maintenance and engineering services firm. Prior to that he spent 27 years in senior positions at Continental Airlines. • • • Wilhelm von Breymann was named Costa Rica's minister of tourism. Von Breymann is a co-owner of several tourism businesses, including Costa Rican Trails. His appointment is the result of Costa Rica's April 6 presidential election in which the National Liberation Party took control of the government. • • • The Belize Tourism Board named Karen Bevans director of tourism, succeeding Laura Frampton, who resigned from the post in March. Bevans formerly was COO at Belize Telemedia, a telecommunications company. • • • Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar appointed Gerald Hadeed as the minister of tourism, replacing Chandresh Sharma. Hadeed previously served as the country's minister of communications. • • • CSM Lodging has named Cynthia Jennings director of sales and marketing for the Hilton Garden Inn Portland Beaverton, Ore. Jennings was most recently sales account executive for the Hilton Garden Inn Portland Beaverton.

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