News Briefs, Week of March 26, 2012

Caribbean carrier suspends service

Redjet, a low-fare airline in Barbados that had been operating MD-80s, grounded all flights due to financial problems less than a year after launching service in May 2011. The carrier had served Jamaica (Kingston), Trinidad, Guyana, St. Lucia and Antigua. Passengers with reservations have been offered refunds, Redjet said.

US Airways claims transcon route
US Airways notified the Transportation Department that it will give up a daily roundtrip between Washington's Reagan National and Dallas/Fort Worth in order to claim a long-haul slot and operate nonstops to San Diego from the capital's close-in airport. Among other airlines seeking new slots at the airport, Alaska, Frontier and Southwest have also expressed interest in San Diego.

Airberlin joins Oneworld alliance
Airberlin formally joined the Oneworld alliance, which is awarding double miles to alliance frequent travelers who fly on Airberlin between now and May 15. Germany's second-largest airline, Airberlin serves 162 points in 40 countries with 170 aircraft.

JAL readies for Dreamliner service
Japan Airlines was slated to take delivery of its first 787 Dreamliner on March 25 in preparation for the launch of Tokyo-Boston nonstop, an industry first, on April 22. Nonstops to San Diego are also planned. JAL has 25 Dreamliners on order, with options for 20 more. The first aircraft will come in a two-class configuration for 186 passengers.

Pullmantur to get RCCL's Monarch
Royal Caribbean International's Monarch of the Seas will leave the fleet next year and begin cruising for the line's affiliate Pullmantur, Spain's largest tour/cruise company. The transfer is set for April 1, 2013. The 2,990-passenger ship, which entered service in 1991, will join former fleetmates the Empress of the Seas and Sovereign of the Seas, which transferred in 2008. The move will boost Pullmantur's fleet to five and reduce the Royal Caribbean fleet to 20.

Costa: Fuel removal comes to an end
Fuel from the Costa Concordia was expected to be completely pumped out by March 23, ending a removal operation that began on Feb. 13, a month after the ship ran aground. Costa said it is reviewing several proposals to remove the ship, which could take another 10 to 12 months.

Conrad brand arrives in NYC
Hilton brought its Conrad brand to the Big Apple, opening the 463-room Conrad New York in the Battery Park area near the World Trade Center site. The hotel includes 30,000 square feet of meetings space and a rooftop herb and vegetable garden for the hotel restaurants.

Inn at the Presidio to open on April 1
Wrapping up a soft-opening period, the 22-room Inn at the Presidio, the first hotel inside San Francisco's historic Presidio, set April 1 as its opening date. The hotel is operated by Waterford Hotels and Inns and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.

Friends & Colleagues

Silversea Cruises named Ellen Bettridge president of the Americas, a new position, effective April 9. She will head the company's Fort Lauderdale office. Bettridge is currently vice president of the American Express U.S. Retail Travel Network. She leaves American Express after 22 years with the company, starting as a travel counselor in corporate services. The company said Bettridge's last day there would be April 2 and that her replacement had not been named. • • • Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide named Vincent Gillet the global brand leader for W Hotels Worldwide and Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts. Gillet will oversee the strategic direction of the brands and their combined portfolio of more than 140 hotels around the world. Gillet has spent the past three years as chief marketing officer for Six Senses Resorts & Spas, based in Bangkok, and brings to the job more than 20 years of luxury lifestyle brand management expertise. • • • Ron Fenska is the new director of sales at G Adventures. Fenska joins the company with more than 18 years as a top-selling sales manager and, most recently, as a regional sales manager at Collette Vacations.


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