Hilton opens third Alexandria property

Hilton has opened its latest hotel in Egypt’s second largest city Alexandria.

The 199-room Hilton Alexandria King’s Ranch is located around 35km southwest of the city centre, in the upscale King Mariout district, and joins the existing Hilton Alexandria Green Plaza and Hilton Alexandria Corniche.

The hotel features 21 executive rooms, with access to a lounge offering complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the day.

Facilities include the largest outdoor pool in the city, as well as a heated indoor pool and Premedion Spa, offering an experience pool, sound-and-light system floatation pool, male and female wet areas, a rehabilitation centre, diagnostics centre, medical beauty centre, male and female spa areas, a hammam and a VIP spa suite.

Hilton Alexandria King’s Ranch

There are six food and beverage outlets including the signature Zaatar Lebanese restaurant, and for meetings the hotel offers six functions rooms and a ballroom, with a total capacity for 1,000 guests.

Alexandria is Egypt’s largest seaport, and a major economic and tourist destination for the country.


Mark Caswell

Emirates to add tenth daily London service

Emirates is to add a tenth daily service between Dubai and London from October.

The new B777-300ER flight to Gatwick will be the fourth daily service to the south London airport, and the tenth in total to the capital, complementing the Gulf carrier’s six daily flights to Heathrow.

The new service will launch on October 1, with EK023 departing Dubai at 0950, landing into Gatwick at 1430. The return leg EK024 will leave London at 1650, landing back into Dubai at 0240 the following day.

The B777-300ER serving the route will be configured for eight first class suites, 42 in business class, and 310 in economy.

The news comes just days after Emirates started its sixth daily frequency to Heathrow, initially operating the route with B777-300ER aircraft but with plans to upgrade flights to the carrier’s Airbus A380 superjumbo from June (see news February 12).


Mark Caswell

French ATC strike causes travel disruption

Travellers heading to France today (Thursday March 31) face delays and cancellations due to the latest strike by French air traffic controllers.

Ryanair tweeted “We regret that due to yet another French ATC strike, we’ve been forced to cancel a number of flights” – a list of around 90 cancelled services can be seen here.

Meanwhile BA said that “in addition to cancelling some flights to and from France, other European flights which use French airspace will also be affected and are likely to experience delays and cancellations”.

“We will be using larger aircraft, where possible, to help affected customers and are doing all we can to reduce the levels of disruption.”

BA customers can check the status of their flight here.

Easyjet said that “We are doing everything possible to minimise the impact of the strike on our customers, and have taken the decision to proactively cancel a number of flights, allowing customers to reorganise their journeys.

“We will communicate to affected customers directly via SMS using the details provided at the time of booking.”

Easyjet passengers can also check the status of their flight by adding their flight number after easyjet.com/

Earlier this week IAG’s CEO Willie Walsh called on British and French governments to intervene over the strikes, which have now seen 43 days of industrial action byu airport unions since 2009 (see news March 29).

ba.com, easyjet.com, ryanair.com

Mark Caswell

Novotel arrives in Ningbo

Novotel Ningbo East lobby

Accor Hotels has opened the midscale Novotel Ningbo East – the first Novotel property in Zhejiang province.

The hotel is located in the Ningbo Eastern New Town, a two-minute walk from the city’s Metro Line 1 station, 20-minute drive from the Ningbo Train Station and 30 minutes from Mingbo Lishe International Airport. Ningbo Culture Plaza, Ningbo International Financial Center and Ningbo International Convention and Exhibition Centre are also close to the property.

Superior Room

There are 258 rooms, all featuring the brand’s eco-designed “Live N Dream” bedding concept complete with a pillow menu. Free wifi and iphone docking stations are also provided.

The Square

Offering 110 seats, the all-day dining restaurant The Square has an open kitchen and serves Asian and international buffets, as well as a la carte specialties. The Lobby Lounge has a large selection of beverages and wines, light meals and refreshments, plus coffee and tea.

Meeting rooms can host up to 300 guests, with standard facilities including overhead projector and video-conferencing equipment.

Other facilities in the property include a gym with yoga room, plus a games room.

“We’re pleased to introduce our first Novotel in one of the fastest growing commercial hubs in the city Ningbo,” said Michel Molliet, chief operating officer, Accor Hotels Greater China. “The launch of this property demonstrates Accor Hotels’ commitment in bringing authentic French hospitality to travellers around the region with a diversified portfolio to meet various needs.”

The opening of Novotel Ningbo East complements the group’s portfolio in the city where it has Sofitel Wanda Ningbo under the luxury collection, and ibis Ningbo Tianyi Square and ibis Ningbo Qianhu in the economy category.

To know more about Ningbo, click here for a Business Traveller Asia-Pacific feature about the city.

For more information, visit novotel.com

Valerian Ho

SIA and Silk Air to codeshare with Air China

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Silk Air have signed a new codeshare agreement with Air China.

Under the agreement, Singapore Airlines will add its SQ designator code to Air China-operated flights between Singapore and Beijing, while Silk Air will add its MI code to Air China flights between Singapore and Chengdu.

Reciprocally, Air China will add its CA code to selected SIA and Silk Air flights to Beijing and Chengdu.

Silk Air vice president, commercial, Ryan Pua said that the partnership with Air China “will enable us to jointly offer enhanced connections, benefiting customers who now have greater flexibility in their travel to and from China.”

The new agreement enhances existing codeshare partnerships between the Singaporean carriers and Air China’s subsidiary, Shenzhen Airlines, for flights between Singapore and Shenzhen.

For more information, visit: singaporeair.com, silkair.com, airchina.com

Marisa Cannon

V Air launches Taipei-Manila route

Taiwanese low-cost carrier V Air has launched a Taipei-Manila route.

The maiden flight departed from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on March 27.

This marks the carrier’s third route into Southeast Asia, alongside Chiang Mai and Bangkok, and makes V Air the first Taiwanese low-cost airline to enter the Philippine market. 

The service offers four flights a week, on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Flight ZV085 departs Taipei at 1700, arriving in the Philippines at 1900. The return service departs Manila at 2000 before touching down in Taiwan at 2200.

Flights will be served by either an A320 or A321, seating 180 and 194 respectively, in an all-economy configuration.

“We at V Air are delighted to witness the 9th scheduled service from the Taipei-Manila route,” said V Air chief commercial officer, Bernard Hsu.

“Our operations in Manila will be significant in securing a strong foothold in the region.”

Launched in 2014, V Air operates routes to Busan, Fukuoka, Osaka, Nagoya, Tokyo (Haneda), Ibaraki, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Manila.

For more information, visit: flyvair.com

Marisa Cannon

Technology now allows travellers to be scored by suppliers

Travel data platform Adara has unveiled its Traveller Value Score, which it says is the “first-ever metric that measures the potential value of a customer based on their travel spending over time”.

The data comes from Adara’s “unique access to billions of search, booking and loyalty data points” from more than 90 of the biggest travel companies worldwide including airlines United, Delta and Rynair, hotel companies Hyatt and Marriott and Hertz car rental.

These data points from airlines, hotel companies and car rental companies are then aggregated to “create and power a comprehensive view of travellers, based on a diverse set of travel related planning and booking behaviours.” The company then comes up with a single number that represents a customers’ capacity to spend on travel. 

Adara Travel Value Score

Adara suggests new applications for traveller providers such as airlines, including

  • Identifying high scoring customers with low loyalty status to whom offers can be tailored to engage and increase share of their travel spend
  • Evolving customer lifetime value models based on knowledge that goes beyond demographic data and customer interactions with the travel brand
  • Analyzing customer acquisitions by applying the score across referral channels – search, OTAs, metasearch, display, email – to determine which delivers the most valued customers.

Adara says that the new score provides:

  • Complete visibility into a traveller’s true revenue potential                                                                                        
  • A new lens for better decision-making based on travellers’ explicit behaviors and implied needs
  • Insight into share of travel spend with customers and the ability to measure their engagement with your brand over time                                                                                                             

Layton Han, CEO of ADARA said, “We are proud to launch ADARA Traveler Value Score, to help travel suppliers gain a much deeper understanding of their customers.  Travel executives and marketers only have insight into their customers to the extent they interact with their own brands; ADARA Traveler Value Score gives them a broader lens into their customers’ revenue potential.”

Elizabeth Harz, ADARA President of Media & CMO said, “ADARA Traveler Value Score is ground-breaking.  This new metric will enable travel marketers to understand their share of travel spend from existing customers and measure the quality of the customer being reached.”


Tom Otley