News Briefs, Week of March 17, 2014

JetBlue agrees to sell in-flight TV subsidiary

JetBlue agreed to sell its in-flight TV subsidiary, LiveTV, for $400 million to French aerospace conglomerate Thales Group. JetBlue said it hopes to "benefit from reduced operating costs and capital expenditures related to running LiveTV as a subsidiary." The parties said the transaction is expected to close in mid-2014. JetBlue, which has offered in-flight TV since its launch in 2000, acquired LiveTV in 2002 and later rolled out an in-flight WiFi product, Fly-Fi. The services operate on some 700 aircraft for U.S. and foreign airlines.

Hawaiian adds flights for 'robust demand'
Hawaiian Airlines moved up the launch date for its Los Angeles-Maui nonstop service from June 1 to May 2, and will add a second daily flight between June 30 and Sept. 8, in response to what it called "robust demand."

FAA issues forecast for 2014 and beyond
U.S. mainline carrier domestic traffic is forecast to increase 0.7% in 2014 and grow at an average annual rate of 2.1% thereafter, according to the FAA's annual aviation forecast. International traffic on U.S. carriers is expected to rise 2.8% this year, later rising at an average annual rate of 4%.

Hyatt Regency project slated for Guadalajara
Hyatt will return to Guadalajara, Mexico, after a 17-year absence, under a joint venture with a Mexican developer to incorporate a 220-room Hyatt Regency in a mixed-use project under way at the Andares shopping mall that will include residential units and retail. The Hyatt Regency Andares Guadalajara, to open late in 2016, will also offer 29,000 square feet of event space.

Azamara renews Steiner spa contract
Spa operator Steiner Leisure said it renewed its deal to be the exclusive operator of spas and fitness centers on Azamara Club Cruises' two ships through December 2017. Azamara is a sister brand of Celebrity Cruises, which recently made headlines by dropping Steiner and signing with Canyon Ranch. Steiner-branded or -licensed spas operate on 155 ships for major cruise lines, as well as at 96 hotel, resort and other locations on land.

Riu to take over Radisson Blu resort
Riu Hotels & Resorts acquired the 252-room Radisson Blu Resort, Marina & Spa on French St. Martin for $45 million. The resort, located in Anse Marcel, will be renamed the Riu Palace St. Martin on June 1 and will operate as an all-inclusive. Radisson reflagged the former L'Habitacio de Lonvilliers resort in 2008 and converted it to the upscale Radisson Blu brand in 2010.

Waldorf Astoria Bali to open in 2017
Hilton inked a management deal to bring its Waldorf Astoria brand to Indonesia in 2017 with the expected opening of the Waldorf Astoria Bali, a 96-room property under development on a cliff overlooking the ocean in the Bukit Pandawa precinct. The 32-acre site will offer several meeting and event facilities, including a wedding chapel.

Starwood Capital buys U.K. hotel group
Starwood Capital acquired U.K. hotel and conference center operator De Vere Venues for $385 million. The company's portfolio includes 23 hotels in and around London.

Friends & Colleagues
Michael "Greg" O'Hara is stepping away from his role as co-chairman of Travel Leaders Group. In making the announcement, O'Hara indicated that he will remain on the board of directors. Michael Batt will continue as the chairman of Travel Leaders Group. • • • Best Western International has tapped former InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Wyndham Worldwide executive Michael Muir as its new vice president of North American development. He previously worked with brands such as IHG's Holiday Inn brand and Wyndham's Microtel Inn brand. • • • Paradise Island Harbour Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas, named Ilyse Prokocimer-Karwoski director of sales and marketing. Prokocimer-Karwoski formerly was sales and marketing director at Magdalena Grand Beach Resort in Tobago. Prior to that, she served as regional director of sales for Driftwood Hospitality Management and was vice president, Caribbean, of Gate 1 Travel, a U.S. tour operator. • • • Ya'lla Tours USA has appointed Michael Walsh sales manager for California and Colorado. Walsh has 30-plus years with major tour operators in the U.S. Most recently, he worked as Southwest U.S. business development manager at Isramworld for four years. Before that, he spent four years as the Southwest U.S. sales and marketing manager for the London-based FIT company Cote Associates. • • • Melia Hotels International named Brandi Ronk director of group sales for its global collection of hotels and resorts, including Gran Melia, Melia, ME by Melia, Paradisus, Innside, Tryp and Sol Hotels. Ronk formerly was director of operations for Maritz Travel, focusing on global clients and meetings. • • • Occidental Hotels & Resorts appointed Inigo Onieva as senior vice president of marketing and global distribution at the corporate offices in Miami. Onieva formerly was senior vice president of marketing and electronic distribution at NH Hotels for nine years.


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