News briefs, week of July 25, 2016

Deadly explosion sinks Amazon ship

At least two crew members died last week after an onboard explosion and fire caused Aqua Expeditions' 12-suite Amazon River ship, the Aqua Amazon, to sink during a turnaround in Iquitos, Peru. Three other crew members and two suppliers were still missing as of press time, and 15 others were injured. No passengers were onboard at the time of the accident, which is under investigation.

Chicago plans major O'Hare expansion
The city of Chicago has announced plans for a $300 million expansion of O'Hare Airport's international Terminal 5. The project will increase the number of gates at the terminal from 21 to 30. It's the first expansion of Terminal 5 since it opened in 1993. Planning for the project is to be completed in 2017.

Airlines get daytime Haneda landing slots
The DOT tentatively awarded Delta two of five available daytime landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda Airport: a new route from Minneapolis and its Los Angeles-Haneda flight. American, United and Hawaiian will also move their existing Haneda routes from night to day.

Four Seasons adds resort in Seychelles
Four Seasons will take over the Seychelles' Desroches Island Resort, its second Seychelles property, and reopen it in late 2017 after "extensive" renovations. Four Seasons Resort Seychelles at Desroches Island will have 40 beach suites and 11 residential villas. The resort, a 35-minute flight from the capital of Mahe, includes about nine miles of Indian Ocean beaches.

SWA glitch leads to 1,000 cancellations
Southwest Airlines canceled approximately 1,000 flights over two days last week after a router failure resulted in a systemwide technical outage. The outage was made far more consequential by the failure of the company's backup system. "We've got some work to do to make sure that never happens again," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said of the breakdown.

Crew error cause of 2015 Ponant ship fire
French investigators said a crew member's mistake in handling a clogged fuel filter was the cause of an engine room fire on Ponant's Le Boreal ship in November 2015 as it sailed off the Falkland Islands. A ship's officer on night watch changed the wrong filter, causing oil to spray onto a hot engine part. All 194 passengers were evacuated from the disabled ship.

Scotland to get first W Hotel in 2021

Scotland's first hotel under Starwood Hotels' W Hotel lifestyle brand will open in Edinburgh in 2021. The W Edinburgh will be part of Edinburgh St. James, a 1.7 million-square-foot mixed-use project that will include retail space and as many as 250 homes. The hotel will have 214 rooms and a rooftop bar.

New Paradise Island resort opens books
The 250-room Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas is accepting reservations for stays starting Oct. 1. Daily rates start at $371 per room, double, for the adults-only, all-inclusive property. The Warwick is the first new hotel to open on Paradise Island since 2007. The beachfront property is the former Paradise Island Harbour Resort.

Friends & Colleagues
Richard Schmaeling has been named Travel Leaders Group's CFO. Schmaeling was most recently the CFO for marketing technology and services company MediaMath. Before that, he was the CFO for Lin Media until it was bought by Media General; at Media General, Schmaeling became a financial consultant. He has held other executive positions, as well, including vice president of finance for Dow Jones. Schmaeling is replacing Willie Lynch, the company's longtime CFO, who is stepping into the role of senior financial adviser. • • • CCRA has appointed Pam Hirsch as its senior director of agency engagement. Hirsch was most recently the program manager for independent contractors and host agencies at Travel Leaders Franchise Group. She also had owned her own agency for nine years. She will lead the new agency engagement division at CCRA and will be responsible for keeping corporate and leisure clients who are GDS-enabled engaged with CCRA.


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