Merger partners to meet with DOJ

The Justice Department and merger partners American and US Airways jointly agreed to meet with a mediator as suggested by the court that is overseeing the government's antitrust case against the merger. Reports circulated that the carriers were actively working on a plan to divest slots at Washington's Reagan National Airport as part of a proposed settlement.

Air China to offer Beijing-Hawaii
Air China disclosed plans to launch Hawaii's first nonstops from Beijing on Jan. 21. The carrier said it plans to operate three weekly flights to and from Honolulu using A330 aircraft. In addition to meeting what it called demand for China-Hawaii service, the carrier said the flights will offer an additional connecting route for Hawaii-bound travelers from Europe and the Middle East.

Austrian Airlines to add Newark
Austrian Airlines, which flies daily from Vienna to New York Kennedy will add five weekly flights to Newark on July 2; it also plans to add capacity on its routes to Chicago and Washington next year.

JetBlue adding Caribbean routes
JetBlue is adding more routes from Fort Lauderdale to the Caribbean next spring, opening the books for daily services to Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, beginning May 1, the same day the carrier plans to start daily nonstops to Port of Spain, Trinidad.

Ritz-Carlton opens in Bangalore, India
Ritz-Carlton opened its first hotel in India, a 277-room hotel in downtown Bangalore, the hub of India's IT industry. The hotel includes seven dining venues, a rooftop lounge and 18,000 square feet of event space, including a 6,400-square-foot ballroom.

Extended Stay IPO could raise $682M
Extended Stay America plans to offer about 14% of the company in an initial public offering that could raise as much as $682 million. Extended Stay owners Blackstone, Centerbridge Partners and Paulson & Co., took the company private three years ago. The firm operates nearly 700 North America properties under its flagship badge as well as under the Homestead Studio Suites, Crossland Economy Studios and StudioPlus brands.

Starwood's Aloft opens in Orlando
Starwood brought its Aloft lifestyle brand to Orlando, opening the Aloft Orlando Downtown in a building adjacent to City Hall. The brand's sixth property in Florida, the 118-room hotel offers 7,000 square feet of meetings space.

Grace Hotels buys landmark property
Luxury hotelier Grace Hotels acquired the 58-room La Margna hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, and will upgrade and reflag the 107-year-old property as the Grace St. Moritz. La Margna, which takes its name from the nearby mountain Piz da la Margna, has been owned and operated by the Schweizer-Pitsch family since the 1960s.

Friends & Colleagues
Air France-KLM has promoted Marnix Fruitema to senior vice president, North America. Fruitema has been with KLM since 1985 and subsequently Air France-KLM following the merger in 2004, most recently as senior vice president, Asia/Pacific. That role will now be filled by Patrick Roux, the former head of the Americas area. In other moves, Antoine Huet was named vice president, commercial, North America, and Roderik Rodermond is Air France/KLM's new commercial director, USA. • • • Corinthia Hotels named Roderick Micallef vice president of operations for its hotels in Malta and mainland Europe. Micallef returns to the company's head office from Portugal, where he was the general manager of the Corinthia Hotel Lisbon. • • • Associated Luxury Hotels International has named Jim Schultenover president. David Gabri, the current president and CEO, will continue to serve as CEO. Schultenover brings more than 30 years of hospitality industry sales and marketing experience to the job. He served as president of Krisam Group for the past nine years, and before that was chief marketing officer for Ian Schrager Hotels. He has also held executive positions with Ritz-Carlton and with Omni Hotels. • • • The San Francisco Travel Association has hired Howard Pickett to be its executive vice president and chief marketing officer. Most recently, Pickett worked for five years as chief marketing officer for Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California. He has also served as chief marketing officer for Kerzner International and in several marketing posts with the Walt Disney Co. • • • Sunrise Airways, a startup airline based in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, appointed Rodolfo Cueto Guerra director of ground operations. A native of Havana, Cueto formerly was with AeroCaribbean for 15 years.

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