News Briefs, Week of Oct. 29, 2012

Sabre, US Airways test ancillary seats


US Airways began a beta test of offering its Choice Seats through a "limited number" of Sabre agents, according to US Airways President Scott Kirby. Speaking to analysts about the airline's quarterly results, he said that in the first few hours, agents upgraded two of the first 25 clients, or about 8%. He added, "We're not incentivizing them to sell it at the moment."

American to add international routes
Bankrupt American on Nov. 4 will open reservations on four new routes slated to launch next spring. Dallas-Seoul, a new point, begins May 9 as part of American's joint venture with Japan Airlines. Under its venture with British Airways and Iberia the carrier plans Chicago-Dusseldorf service on April 11 and service to Dublin from New York Kennedy June 12. Dallas-Lima service starts April 2.

Le Meridien opens in Mexico City
Starwood brought its Le Meridien brand to Mexico City with the opening of the 160-room Le Meridien Mexico City, an all-suite property in the city's financial and cultural district.

Southwest converts more AirTran points
Southwest continues its slow absorption of AirTran, disclosing plans to convert AirTran to Southwest service at four more cities on April 14: Charlotte; Flint, Mich.; Portland, Maine; and Rochester, N.Y. On the same day Southwest will add nonstops in the Boston-Kansas City and Houston-Pittsburgh markets.

Joie de Vivre eyes Big Apple market
Joie de Vivre Hotels is coming to New York. The boutique brand, now a part of Commune Hotels, has a project under development for a hotel of about 250 rooms, according to Commune CEO Stephen Brandman, who declined to disclose further details. Commune's Thompson brand has five hotels in New York.

BA Open Skies unit returning to JFK
British Airways subsidiary Open Skies plans to return to New York's Kennedy Airport on March 31 with a third daily transatlantic flight to Paris Orly. The four-year old airline continues twice daily service from Newark.

Trust pays $74M for unbuilt hotel
Real estate investment group Hersha Hospitality agreed to acquire a 205-room Hilton Garden Inn under construction in midtown Manhattan for $74 million. The hotel, at 52nd Street near Third Avenue, is scheduled for completion in Q4 2013. To be known as the Hilton Garden Inn Midtown East, the property will be managed by Hersha affiliate HHM.

Boutique eyed for Covington, Ky.
A newly formed hotel firm, Aparium Hotel Group, arranged to redevelop a 102-year-old landmark in Covington, Ky., near Cincinnati, that now houses the Covington City Hall. Formerly a department store, the building is slated to become a 107-room boutique hotel. Two of Aparium's three founders were developers of the Elysian Hotel Chicago, a highly rated luxury property that became the Waldorf Astoria Chicago.

Friends & Colleagues

Kerzner International welcomed back Helen McCabe-Young as its new executive vice president of sales and marketing for One&Only Resorts. McCabe-Young was with Kerzner from 2003 to 2009, coming aboard as senior vice president of sales and marketing for One&Only Resorts, and later held the post of chief marketing officer for One&Only as well as for Atlantis the Palm, Dubai for the global launch of the destination resort. Most recently, she co-founded Place360 Health + Spa, an integrated health center and spa in Del Mar, Calif. • • • Key Tours International has appointed Nicola Iannone vice president of sales. Iannone previous held management positions at Alitalia, Gate1 Tours, Costa Cruise Lines, and Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection and for the last five years served as the director of national accounts for MSC Cruises. • • • Starwood Hotels & Resorts promoted Mary Casey to senior vice president of the hotelier's North American operations. Casey, who has worked for Starwood for almost a quarter century, was most recently vice president of the company's global corporate sales. Among her previous positions were director of European sales and general manager of the Sheraton Skyline Hotel and Conference Center at London's Heathrow Airport. • • • Signature Travel Network has promoted Alex Sharpe and Karen Yeates. Sharpe has been appointed COO and executive vice president, and Yeates has been named executive vice president, information technologies. Sharpe joined Signature in 2010 and has been responsible for member services, member recruitment, training, marketing, and preferred cruise and tour supplier relations. Yeates' responsibilities include overseeing all technology and digital services.

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