News Briefs, Week of March 10, 2014

House bill would edit DOT's full fare ad rule


Key members of the House Transportation Committee introduced a bipartisan bill to rescind the Transportation Department's (DOT) requirement that air fares be advertised and displayed with all taxes included. The Transparent Airfares Act of 2014 (H.R. 4156) responds to airline concerns that the DOT policy makes air fares appear higher than they are, while obscuring the amount of tax imposed. If enacted, the bill would establish that it is not unfair or deceptive for airlines or intermediaries to advertise or state a "base airfare" if government-imposed taxes and fees are "clearly" disclosed, along with the total cost. The DOT rule also requires that prices include all mandatory fees imposed by the carrier or seller. The bill appears to leave that rule unchanged. The bill was co-sponsored by the committee's chairman, Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), and five other members, including three Democrats.

JetBlue sets routes for its new D.C. slots
JetBlue on June 19 will begin service from Washington Reagan National to Charleston, S.C.; Hartford, Conn.; and Nassau (pending government approval), using some of the new takeoff and landing slots divested by American and US Airways under the Justice Department's merger settlement. JetBlue still has open slots at Reagan National, and plans to announce more new routes later this year.

Saudi airline seeks Los Angeles route
Saudi Arabian Airlines filed plans at the Transportation Department for adding service to Los Angeles on March 31, when it plans to begin operating three weekly nonstops to Jeddah, supplementing its existing services at New York and Washington.

CroisiEurope acquires Mekong River line
French river cruise company CroisiEurope acquired Compagnie Fluviale du Mekong, a four-vessel operator of Mekong River cruises in Cambodia and Vietnam, and renamed it CFM by CroisiEurope. CroisiEurope has chartered one of the ships, the 48-passenger Indochine, since 2011. Two additional CFM ships are under construction.

Amtrak returns to Denver Union Station
Amtrak resumed service at Denver's Union Station after three years at a temporary facility nearby while the historical building underwent extensive renovations for new commuter rail and underground bus facilities and new shopping venues. Construction continues on some elements, including a hotel slated to open later this year.

Denihan brings James to West Hollywood
Denihan Hospitality, which operates James- and Affinia-branded properties in New York, Chicago, Miami and Washington, will open its first West Coast hotel in 2016 with a 286-room James in West Hollywood, Calif. The luxury-boutique hotel, a newbuild, will have 10,000 square feet of meetings space.

Hawaiian Airlines drops two Asia routes
Hawaiian Airlines said it is dropping out of the Taiwan market, operating its last eastbound Taipei-Honolulu flight on April 7. It's the carrier's second market withdrawal announced in recent weeks, following a February decision to suspend Honolulu-Fukuoka service at the end of June. The airline said the A330-200 aircraft used for Taipei service will be redeployed to its Honolulu-Seoul route.

Friends & Colleagues
Geoff Ballotti, CEO of Wyndham Worldwide's timeshare exchange and vacation rental operations, will replace Eric Danziger as CEO of the company's hotels division on March 28. Ballotti joined Wyndham in 2008 after spending 20 years with Starwood. Danziger, who is leaving to pursue "personal interests," also joined Wyndham in 2008, overseeing the company's flagship badge as well as brands such as Ramada, Days Inn, Howard Johnson and Microtel. He'd previously served as CEO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts and president of Carlson Hotels before joining Wyndham. • • • Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, St. Lucia named Jeroen Quint general manager. Prior to joining Capella, Quint served as general manager of the Lough Eske Castle, a Solis Hotel and Spa in Ireland. Earlier, he had worked in management positions at several Ritz-Carlton properties in the U.S. • • • Ski.com named Dan Sherman vice president of marketing. Sherman joins Ski.com from Edelman, where he worked on a variety of brands, including Expedia, Norwegian Cruise Line, Microsoft, and Ski.com. He was based in Edelman's Chicago office. • • • Viceroy Hotel Group named Pilar Rios area director of sales and marketing for the Viceroy Zihuananejo and the Viceroy Riviera Maya in Mexico. Rios formerly was Mexico sales and marketing director for Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts. • • • CSM Lodging named Robert Payne regional sales director for the hospitality management and ownership company. He will oversee and lead the sales programs for CSM Lodging's properties in the Milwaukee and Greater Portland (Ore.) markets as well as its full-service consortium of hotels. Payne was previously director of sales and marketing for the Depot Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, CSM Lodging's flagship property. He began with the Depot as sales manager.

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