News Briefs, Week of Sept. 19, 2011

ARC settles EMD for Sabre bookings

Two weeks after processing the first agency Electronic Miscellaneous Document for American, in a direct-connect transaction, ARC processed EMD transactions from Frosch Travel in Houston through Sabre, on behalf of Air New Zealand. The transactions were for checking a second bag. EMDs enables agents to process fees for ancillary items such as seat upgrades or checked baggage.

Great Lakes to get Cruise West ship
New York-based small-ship operator Travel Dynamics International acquired a former Cruise West ship, most recently known as the Spirit of Yorktown and originally operated by Clipper Cruise Lines as the Yorktown Clipper. The 138-passenger ship will enter service in May in the Great Lakes and along Canada's St. Lawrence River.

Hawaiian Air adds Fukuoka nonstops
Hawaiian plans to open a third station in Japan April 16 with Honolulu-Fukuoka nonstops, to be operated initially with 767-300 ER aircraft, and later moving to larger Airbus A330s. The carrier also serves Tokyo and Osaka. Advance ticket sales await government approval, the carrier said.

Adventure firm gets Cuba license
Adventure tour operator Austin-Lehman Adventures obtained a U.S. license to offer guided tours in Cuba and plans to launch a people-to-people cultural exchange program to Cuba beginning in early 2012. The Montana-based firm plans to launch with one 10-day itinerary; others are in development.

Orbitz to power Amexco website
American Express cut a deal with Orbitz to replace Travelocity as the operator of American Express' consumer travel website during the second half of 2012. Travelocity has powered the site since 2005. Orbitz said it is developing a site that "leverages the unique programs and benefits that American Express provides to its card members, including Fine Hotels & Resorts and double Membership Rewards."

Avis Budget drops Dollar Thrifty bid
After pursuing Dollar Thrifty for more than a year, Avis Budget Group dropped its takeover bid, leaving Hertz as the sole suitor. Avis Budget and Hertz Global Holdings have been in a bidding war for Dollar Thrifty for 16 months. Hertz walked away a year ago but re-entered the bidding this spring with a bid valued at about $2 billion, subject to regulatory approval. Avis, which is also pursuing a consolidation with Avis Europe, cited "current market conditions" for its withdrawal.

Lautner showcase 'motel' reopens
The former Desert Hot Springs Motel near Palm Springs, Calif., reopened as the boutique Hotel Lautner, named after the late John Lautner, the noted California architect who designed the 1947 structure. Emerging from a three-year renovation, the property features four luxury suites in interlocking geometric structures of concrete, redwood and glass. The property was acquired in 2008 by Los Angeles designers Tracy Beckmann and Ryan Trowbridge.

Friends & Colleagues

Neal Jones, who has served as Marriott International's vice president of global sales for Europe since 2008, will now head the hotel company's global sales efforts to intermediaries. Jones, who joined Marriott in 1995, will lead the company's global sales efforts to travel agencies, wholesalers, group tour operators and other intermediaries. Jones replaces Julius Robinson as Marriott's vice president of global sales, intermediaries. Robinson has been named vice president of operations for Marriott's Fairfield Inn & Suites brand. • • • Marilyn Romano is Alaska Airlines' new regional vice president for Alaska. She is the former vice president and publisher of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. • • • The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. named new managers in the Caribbean and Mexico. Carlos Abaunza has been appointed general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, Cancun. He formerly was general manager at the Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa Resort. Bernd Kuhlen was named general manager of the Ritz-Carlton, St. Thomas. Most recently Kuhlen oversaw operations at the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay in California. • • • Thor, a Travelport company, appointed John F. Kennedy managing director. He will be responsible for Thor's overall strategy and operations. Kennedy boasts more than a quarter-century of travel industry experience, including stints at several major hotel companies. Prior to joining Thor, he served as vice president, global supplier relations for Radius.


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