Saturday, 23 June 2012

Virgin America Named Official Domestic Airline of SF Pride Parade's ... - MarketWatch (press release)

SAN FRANCISCO, June 22, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Virgin America, San Francisco's hometown airline, today announces its partnership with SF Pride, the nation's largest LGBT event, for the fifth year in a row. As the "Official Domestic Airline of SF Pride," Virgin America will once again partner with the local LGBT Pride Celebration Committee for the world-famous, one-of-a-kind SF Pride Parade and Celebration - complete with a contingent of hundreds of Virgin America teammates celebrating the long tradition of inclusiveness in San Francisco on the airline's "The World is Your Runway" themed float. In addition, Singer and San Francisco native Aubrey O'Day - formerly of Danity Kane and most recently, Celebrity Apprentice, will take to the 'runway' to help Virgin America teammates celebrate atop the airline's float in the annual parade. The float will also include a live DJ with music spun by local San Francisco DJ, Fifty Pound Note.

SF Pride Parade-goers will also be able to join in the fun by striking a pose in a Virgin America aircraft window cut-out for snapshots that will be featured on Virgin America's SF Pride photo album on Facebook. The airline is also inviting its followers around the country to tweet the airline a photo of their interpretation of Virgin America's "The World is Your Runway" theme using the hashtag #VXPride.

"We've worked with SF Pride ever since our launch and this event is always one of the most popular with our teammates," said Luanne Calvert, Vice President of Marketing at Virgin America. "As San Francisco's hometown airline, we couldn't be more proud to continue to be part of the incredible tradition and celebration that is SF Pride."

As the Official Domestic Airline of SF Pride, Virgin America has welcomed onboard those traveling to San Francisco from all over the country to take part in the festivities. Virgin America offers hip moodlit cabins and touch-screen personal entertainment systems (with 700 hours of entertainment content, on-demand food and beverage ordering, shopping and more). With WiFi on every flight, parade-goers can update their Facebook status or tweet about their journey on Virgin America - and even chat up fellow Pride-Paraders on their flight at 35,000 feet, via the airline's seat-to-seat chat system .

"SF Pride is the celebration of the best that is within us - the diversity and depth of the LGBT community," said Brendan Behan, Executive Director of the LGBT Pride Celebration Committee "We are excited to welcome back Virgin America as our official domestic airline sponsor. Virgin America's commitment to make flying good again goes hand in hand with their partnership with the world-class event that is San Francisco Pride."

This year marks the 42nd Anniversary of SF Pride, which will be held this weekend.

Since its launch in August 2007, Virgin America has created 2600 new jobs and grown to serve multiple destinations across North America. The airline has a fleet of 52 A320 Family Airbus aircraft - with 60 additional aircraft slated for delivery from 2013-2019. Virgin America flies to San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Washington D.C. (Dulles), Seattle, Las Vegas, San Diego, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Dallas-Fort Worth, Los Cabos, Cancun, Chicago, Puerto Vallarta, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Portland and Washington Reagan National (as of August 14, 2012). Known for friendly service, beautifully designed cabins and inventive amenities, like touch-screen entertainment at every seat, Virgin America has swept the major reader-based travel awards since its launch, including "Best Domestic Airline" in Conde Nast Traveler's Readers' Choice Awards and Travel + Leisure's World's Best Awards.

About Virgin America: Headquartered in California, Virgin America offers guests attractive fares and a host of innovative features aimed at reinventing air travel. Virgin America was named "Best Domestic Airline" in the Conde Nast Traveler 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 'Readers' Choice' Awards and "Best Domestic Airline" in Travel + Leisure's 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 'World's Best' Awards. The airline's base of operations is SFO's sleek and sustainable Terminal 2. The airline's new aircraft offer interactive in-flight entertainment systems and power outlets near every seat. Virgin America was the first airline to offer Gogo(TM) InFlight Internet on every flight and hosts the largest in-flight entertainment library in the U.S. skies, via the touch-screen Red(TM) platform. For more, visit:

SOURCE Virgin America

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved


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United Airlines expects its first Dreamliner this year -

CHICAGO — United Airlines reportedly expects to take delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane in September.

United, which will be the first North American airline to receive the long-awaited and highly anticipated plane, has long said it expects to take delivery in the second half of 2012. A spokeswoman on Friday repeated that statement.

However, a Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper blog on Friday cited internal communications at United specifying September as the anticipated delivery month. United and Boeing are both headquartered in Chicago.

The Dreamliner, the first of which was delivered last fall to Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways, is a twin-aisle plane that offers the best fuel economy and range for a craft its size and offers passengers greater comfort while flying. The plane is also well known for incurring lengthy production delays. Boeing delivered its first 787 about three years late because of design and construction problems.

United, the most dominant airline at Chicago O’Hare and in the region, has said in the past that it would “likely” use a 787 on routes through Chicago, possibly as soon as the fourth quarter of this year. However, it hasn’t announced a flight schedule for the aircraft.

LOT Polish Airlines was the first airline to officially announce that it will offer a Chicago O’Hare flight aboard a 787. LOT will begin service in January 2013 between Chicago and Warsaw, Poland.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Global Executive Appointments @ Etihad Airways

Etihad Airways has restructured its global sales division and made several new key appointments across Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Jean-Marc Crescent has been appointed as Vice President, Global Account Sales, while Joost den Hartog will take up the post of Vice President of Europe based in Berlin, where Etihad Airways will locate its new regional and German offices.

Adam Phillips, who is currently General Manager of France, has also been promoted to Vice President - Asia Pacific North and the Indian subcontinent.

All three senior executives will report directly to Daniel Barranger, Etihad Airways' Vice President Global Sales.

In other staff developments, Robert Chad will move from General Manager Abu Dhabi to become General Manager France, reporting to Joost den Hartog, while Joseph Chamoun has been appointed as the new General Manager Abu Dhabi Sales, reporting to Hareb Al Muhairy, Vice President UAE, after four years as General Manager Lebanon.

The airline has also announced Judith Crompton, Head of Global Account Sales, will return to Australia after two successful years in the position. Ms Crompton has been overseeing the airline's multinational accounts worldwide from London whilst managing a team of 12 sales specialists across Etihad Airways' fast-growing network.

We are moving into an important phase of our growth as a truly global airline and these new appointments will be critically important to building on the tremendous success that has been achieved so far, said Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Commercial Officer. Along with our continued investment in product, service and network development, we are confident that this highly experienced team will drive the implementation of our sales and distribution strategies to even greater heights in the coming years.

Hotel Prices in London Drop Slightly Ahead of Olympic Games

With just over a month to go until the world's top athletes descend upon London to compete for gold, the latest figures from show that travellers planning to visit London to watch the games, but who have yet to book accommodation, are better placed to find value for money, than they were two months ago. has reported that the average price of a London hotel room during the Olympics has risen by approximately 93% year-on-year to HK$2,525 per night. However, historical data from shows that the average price has actually decreased by about HK$138 a night, when May is compared to March this year.

Jessica Chuang, Senior Marketing Manager, Greater China, said, It's inevitable that prices rise in host cities during major sporting events. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, saw hotel prices in Cape Town rise 71% compared to the corresponding period in 2009 ... In London, hotel prices have come down as there are still good deals and availability during the Olympic period. That's not to say prices will continue to drop further so travellers are advised to book now if they see a good deal and not to wait for bargains at such a busy time of year.

The online hotel booking website found that rates on accommodation vary greatly depending on how close the hotel is to the Olympic action.

The most popular nights for hotel bookings are for the Opening Ceremony on 27 July, and the first day of the athletics on 3 August.

On the night of the Opening Ceremony, travellers can get a four-star hotel in Central London for around HK$1,813. In West London, travellers can stay in a three-star hotel for around HK$1,288 per night and there still seems to be plenty of budget accommodation available.

Interestingly, search figures from shows demand for hotel rooms reflects the top of the medal table from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Searches are up a whopping 300% in China and 206% in Russia, first and third on the 2008 podium of best-performing countries. Searches are up 92% in the US, which ranked second on the 2008 medal table. Searches among Hong Kong travellers are up by 54% too.

Multiple Maintenance Approvals for Hongkong Jet

Civil aviation authorities for Mainland China, Macau and Canada have accepted Hongkong Jet as an approved aircraft maintenance organization.

The company has also been awarded 145 maintenance approval by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands.

The recognition of aircraft maintenance standards from the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD), General Administration of Civil Aviation of China (CAAC), Civil Aviation Authority of Macau (AACM) and Transport Canada, enables Hongkong Jet to extend its maintenance services to Mainland-China-registered aircraft, Macau-registered aircraft and Canada-registered aircraft.

Meanwhile, Hongkong Jet's Cayman 145 maintenance approval is recognition of being a qualified maintenance organization approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Cayman Islands after thorough inspection of maintenance capabilities and safety management systems, allowing the organization to provide maintenance services to Cayman-registered aircraft.

?I am very pleased that we have achieved the recognition of various civil aviation authorities so soon after receiving our HKAR-145, said Chris Buchholz, CEO of Hongkong Jet. This further highlights that Hongkong Jet's world-class standards and five-star service have been internationally recognized. Being able to provide maintenance service for aircraft under various registrations in parallel with being able to operate aircraft registered in different countries, truly consolidate Hongkong Jet?s special advantage in the region. With the strong growth in business aviation in Mainland China and customers' increasing level of sophistication, more and more customers on the Mainland are requesting maintenance services of international standards and as they travel to Hong Kong and beyond. Our dedicated 24/7 AOG GO Team (Aircraft-On-Ground GO Team) is ready to provide maintenance services whenever and whenever it is needed

Qatar Airways to Launch Mozambique Flights

Qatar Airways will expand its African operations on 31 October 2012 with scheduled flights to Mozambique.

Thrice-weekly flights will operate from Doha to Mozambique?s capital city of Maputo via Johannesburg, becoming the 20th African destination served by the airline.

The Maputo service will be operated by the airline?s flagship long-haul Boeing 777 aircraft.

This truly is the year of an African adventure for Qatar Airways with the introduction of four new routes on this Continent of diverse landscapes, diverse peoples, diverse cultures and diverse natural attractions, said Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker. Mozambique is a great example of a market that we believe has great potential linking up with key feeder markets in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

The former Portuguese colony in southern Africa is Qatar Airways fourth new route across the diverse African continent to be launched during 2012.

Bordering the Indian Ocean, Mozambique has an economy based on natural resources, largely agriculture. Chemical manufacturing, aluminium and petroleum production are significant growth sectors, attracting investment from around the world. Maputo is a city steeped in colonial architecture reflecting its strong Portuguese heritage.

Tiger Airways Launches Promotion

Tiger Airways has launched a promotion that offers travellers up to 50% off its fares.

 Fares to 15 popular destinations across Asia, including Bangkok, Guangzhou, Haikou, Hanoi, Hong Kong, Phuket and Manila are now on sale until 25 June 2012.

It's a double celebration for us. We want to showcase the best of Asia to mark the annual Great Singapore Sale that is now a permanent feature on everyone's calendar. We have also been performing consistently well in our flight punctuality, and we want to celebrate this with all our customers, with this incredible offer,? said Tiger Airways Singapore's Managing Director, Stewart Adams.

The travel period for the promotional fares varies with the route. Terms and conditions apply.

World's Largest Holiday Inn Hotel Launches Promotion

The world's largest Holiday Inn hotel, the Holiday Inn Macau Cotai Central at the Sands Cotai Central integrated resort, has launched a very special promotion with accommodation for two in a King Superior Room starting from HK$488 for stays until 12 July 2012 inclusive.

The Holiday Inn Macau Cotai Central has 1,224 guestrooms and suites, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and offering all the latest facilities, amenities and services that travellers today demand.

 The ample Pool Deck and fully-equipped Health Club are among a host of services and facilities readily available to guests, with convenient access to Sands Cotai Central?s luxurious and relaxing spas.

Holiday Inn Macau Cotai Central provides fast, convenient and complimentary shuttle bus service to all major points of entry into Macau and is just a short trip to major attractions in the territory, including UNESCO heritage sites.

Wyndham Signs Four New Ramada Hotels in China

Wyndham has signed franchise agreements for four new hotels in China under the company's Ramada brand.

The properties will join Wyndham Hotel Group?s 46 Ramada hotels already in operation in the country.

The 293-room Ramada Plaza Chengdu West, set to include 24 suites, is located at Xingfu Town, Dujiangyan, Chengdu City, which is part of a large scale commerical complex and a major tourism attraction in China. Featuring a fitness center, gift shop, eight meeting rooms as well as three restaurants offering varied dining options, the property is owned by Dujiangyan Bailun Investment Co., Ltd. The hotel is due to open in 2013.

The 289-room Ramada Huizhou South, set to include 39 suites, is located near the world-class Dayawan Petrochemicals Industrial Park and is approximately an hour drive from the Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport and a two-hour drive from the Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. Due to open in 2013, the hotel, owned by Huizhou City Hongye Investment & Development Co., Ltd., will feature an outdoor pool, sauna, a gift shop, a ballroom and also six meeting rooms totaling 2,000 square meters of meeting space.

The 179-room Ramada Kunming North with 24 suites will be situated as part of a mega-sized real estate development area totaling 428 hectares, including a horse racing club, two 18-hole golf courses, a conference center, luxurious residences, shopping and entertainment facilities as well as a natural wetland park. Owned by Kunming Shining Star (International) Club Co., Ltd. the hotel will feature an indoor swimming pool, fitness center and gift shop as well as a grand ballroom, five meeting rooms and six boardrooms totalling to over 1,000 square meters of meeting space. The hotel, due to open by 2013, is approximately an hour drive from Kunming city center and an hour drive from the Kunming Wujiaba International Airport.

The 150-room Ramada Hotel Pingtan, set to include 42 suites, will be situated in Pingtan Comprehensive Experimental Zone, which acts as a free port to attract investors from Taiwan and other countries. Located approximately 65km in distance from the Fuzhou Changle International Airport, the hotel will feature a fitness center, a gift shop and four meeting rooms totaling 500 square meters of meeting space. Owned by Fujian Pingtan Wandefu Property Development Co., Ltd., the hotel is due to open in 2013.

As China remains an important market for us, we continue to look for growth opportunities in new cities and provinces, said Frank Trampert, managing director for Wyndham Hotel Group in Asia Pacific. We are thrilled to announce the signing of these new properties with four different, esteemed and respected Mainland developers. We are confident that our collaborations will not only help cement the Ramada brand?s position in China but strengthen the greater Wyndham Hotel Group portfolio in the region.