Qantas, Emirates link up at Dubai hub
Qantas signed a 10-year joint-venture agreement with Emirates under which the Australian airline will use Dubai as a connecting and transit hub beginning next April, offering connections on Emirates to numerous destinations in Europe, Asia and Africa. At the same time, Qantas will terminate its joint venture agreement with British Airways for Australia-Europe traffic, though it will remain a member of the Oneworld alliance. The joint venture calls for pricing coordination and revenue sharing for the airlines, and reciprocal lounge access and frequent flyer benefits for passengers.
Sabre, Alitalia agree on ancillaries
Sabre and Alitalia agreed to enable Sabre agencies in Italy to shop for and book the carrier's ancillary services. The functionality will be available first in Italy and will be rolled out later in the U.K., Spain, Belgium and other European countries. Agencies will use an electronic miscellaneous document to book the ancillary services.
Leisure Pops ends product support
Leisure Pops, a point-of-sale tool that helps travel agents sell preferred suppliers, is discontinuing product support and enhancements on Sept. 30. The company said customers may use Leisure Pops in its current version for free, "for as long as feasible," adding that the business is "not sustainable under the current level of supplier sponsorship." Leisure Pops was launched in 2009 by Lee Rosen, who founded the Trams back-office system in 1988. Sabre acquired Trams in 2007.
Century Plaza plan wins approval
Redevelopment plans for the iconic Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles were approved by city planners, paving the way for an extensive makeover. Developers plan to downsize the hotel from 726 rooms to 394 plus 63 luxury condos and add two 46-story residential towers. The project will include some 100,000 square feet of retail space. The hotel was designed by Minoru Yamasaki, who later designed the Twin Towers destroyed on 9/11.
Kempinski opens Lithuania hotel
After prolonged construction delays, Kempinski Hotels opened its first property in the Baltic States, the Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square in the Old Town area of Vilnius, Lithuania. The 96-room hotel occupies a building that once housed the Hotel New York.
Avis Budget buys New Zealand firm
Avis Budget Group agreed to acquire the assets of Apex Car Rentals, New Zealand's largest independent car rental firm, for $29 million in cash. Apex has some 4,000 cars in New Zealand and Australia. The company expects to close the deal in October.
Seabourn Quest adds Antarctica
Seabourn added Antarctica to its portfolio for the first time in 2013 on the 450-passenger Seabourn Quest, its newest ship. The line will operate a series of four 21- to 24-day cruises featuring Antarctica, Patagonia and South Georgia Island, operating between Valparaiso, Chile, and Buenos Aires starting in November 2013.
Breakaway's hull, by Peter Max
Norwegian Cruise Line last week revealed the hull design of the upcoming Norwegian Breakaway, which was created by pop artist Peter Max. The ship, which will be homeported in New York starting next May, will feature what Max called "a composite of New York City and cosmic imagery," including a skyline and the face of the Statue of Liberty. Norwegian has been distinguishing its ships with colorful hull art for years, but this is the first time it has commissioned art from a well-known artist.
Friends & Colleagues
Gerard Tempest is the new chief commercial officer for Carnival U.K. He will be responsible for all commercial and marketing activities for its two U.K.-based brands, P&O Cruises and Cunard Line. Tempest, who will begin at Carnival U.K. in early December, is currently sales and marketing director of Whitbread's Hotels and Restaurants division. • • • John Volponi is leaving his post as vice president of room operations for Capella Hotels & Resorts to become the general manager of the Capella Pedregal in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Volponi brings 24 years of experience in hotel management to the position as well as four years of managerial experience at Capella Hotels and Resorts. Prior to his position at corporate headquarters, Volponi was the general manager of the Capella Telluride in Colorado. • • • Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has hired Christopher Olivera as corporate director of communications. Olivera formerly was managing director of marketing communications for Le Meridien Group. • • • Palladium Hotels & Resorts named Roberto Paresce as general manager of Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa and Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton Resort & Spa, both in Montego Bay. He most recently served as general manager at Viva Wyndham Playa Dorada in the Dominican Republic. Prior to that, Paresce was with the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach in Grand Bahama.