Virgin America inks Hawaiian code pact
Virgin America signed a code-share and marketing deal with Hawaiian Airlines, its first partnership with another U.S. carrier. The deal allows their frequent flyers to redeem miles on either airline. Virgin America also signed an interline agreement with Air China that enables interline e-ticketing and baggage transfer at Air China's New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco gateways.
Delta to keep Haneda access
The Transportation Department tentatively decided to permit Delta to serve Tokyo's Haneda airport from Seattle rather than from Detroit. The carrier, which also has access to Haneda from Los Angeles, requested the move because service from the Detroit hub was "underperforming." Other carriers said Delta should forfeit the rights and filed competing bids, but the DOT said Delta's plan would create a new travel option for the Pacific Northwest.
Austrian to resume Chicago flights
Austrian Airlines plans to resume Vienna-Chicago service on May 17 with five weekly flights, operated under its joint venture with Star partners United and Lufthansa. The airline pulled out of Chicago in 2008.
Boeing increases Dreamliner output
Boeing rolled out the 83rd 787 as it boosted Dreamliner production to a rate of five aircraft per month at its two assembly plants. Eight airlines have taken delivery of 35 aircraft so far. Boeing said it is on track to produce 10 aircraft per month by the end of 2013.
Cruise ships to call Houston home
Norwegian Cruise Line is returning to Houston in 2014. Under a pact with the Port of Houston Authority the line will offer seasonal 7-day Western Caribbean cruises from the Bayport Cruise Terminal near Houston with the 2,374-passenger Norwegian Jewel. Princess Cruises, meanwhile, said its 3,080-passenger Caribbean Princess would begin cruising from the Bayport terminal in November 2013, making it the first line to use the new facility. Norwegian last homeported a ship in Houston in 2007, two years before the completion of the Bayport terminal.
Hertz gets OK for Dollar Thrifty offer
Capping a 28-month courtship, Hertz won final approval from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to acquire Dollar Thrifty for $2.6 billion. As part of its deal with the FTC, Hertz agreed to sell its Advantage division to Macquarie Capital, which owns Rent-a-Wreck and U-Save Car & Truck Rental. With the acquisition, Hertz's share of the U.S. rental car market will jump to about 26% from 19%, according to trade publication Auto Rental News. Closely held Enterprise Holdings accounts for about half of the U.S. rental car market.
Lufthansa reduces stake in Amadeus
Lufthansa Group said it sold 16.2 million shares in Amadeus, reducing its stake in the travel technology company from 7.61% to 4% and raising gross proceeds of about $392 million. Lufthansa said it agreed with other airline shareholders Iberia and Air France-KLM to a lock-up period of 90 days for their remaining holdings.
Friends & Colleagues
Niki Leondakis is the new CEO at Commune Hotels & Resorts, the parent company of the recently merged Thompson Hotels and Joie de Vivre Hotels. Leondakis joins Commune from Kimpton Hotels & Restaurant Group, where she most recently served as president and COO. She spent nearly two decades with Kimpton. • • • Patrick Andres has been named Travelport's new vice president and regional managing director for the Asia-Pacific region. Andres takes the place of Simon Nowroz, who has moved to the role of group vice president, business development, looking after the strategic growth regions of Brazil, China, India and Japan. Andres joins Travelport with 25 years of experience in the travel and hospitality technology industries. Most recently, he served as vice president of Asia-Pacific for Sabre Hospitality Solutions. • • • Benchmark Hospitality International appointed Craig Waterman general manager for Snow King Resort, located in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Waterman was previously general manager for Se San Diego, a luxury hotel and condominium development in the city's downtown financial district. • • • Raffles Hotels & Resorts will promote Peter French to president of the luxury hotelier when current President John Johnston retires in January. French has most recently served as Raffles' regional vice president for Europe, the Middle East and Africa as well as general manager of Raffles Dubai. He'd previously served as general manager of the Mandarin Oriental Hong Kong as well as a vice president of operations for that company. Johnston, who has served as Raffles' president since 2009, joined parent Fairmont Raffles Hotels International in 1998.