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in this issue november 06


  • pg 1
									in this issue november 06
ii    News briefing                              viii   Airport briefing                                              Editorial
      Raising the stakes: SIA’s US$360m                 Düsseldorf: fashionable gateway                               It would appear Europe's business and leisure travellers are largely unmoved by the
      upgrade to stay ahead of the game                                                                               howls of political protest against the aviation industry's contribution to global warming.

iii   Corporate travel costs set to rise
                                                 ix     Destination briefing                                          OAG’s latest figures show that demand for air travel was at its highest October level
                                                        Ankara: capitalising on its strengths                         since 9/11.
iv London legend reopens                                                                                              Worldwide, the number of timetabled flights was up three per cent last month
                                                                                                                      compared to a year ago. However, the number of air services to and from Europe
                                                 x      Airline briefing                                              increased by nine per cent, with airlines operating nearly 7,300 more flights than in
v     Arrivals/Departures                               American Airlines: a case of more                             October 2005.
      Our monthly round-up of new routes,                                                                             Duncan Alexander, the managing director, Business Development, at OAG, sums it
                                                        than just survival
      start-ups, mergers and failures                                                                                 up: “While it may once have been considered something of a luxury, air travel in the
                                                                                                                      21st century has become an economic necessity. Any move towards additional travel
vi    Travel deals                               xi     Hotel briefing                                                taxes, either at national or supranational level, seems certain to be hugely unpopular,
                                                        Leela Palaces & Resorts: the very                             if not commercially damaging.”
      Frequent flyers go further for less with
                                                        essence of India                                              While we are all becoming increasingly aware of environmental issues, the airline
      British Airways                                                                                                 industry is already taking a responsible approach by tackling the problem of carbon
                                                                                                                      emissions. Taxing travellers out of the sky is not the solution.

vii   Travellers’ briefing
      Getting to grips with carry-on baggage

                                                                                   viii Düsseldorf: fashionable gateway               x American Airlines: more than survival   xi Leela Palaces: the essence of India

           ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                       www.oag.com                                                                                                  c ontents page
                                                                                           ii newsbriefing

                                                                            Singapore Airlines is revamping all three classes        New online ‘look and book’ facility
                                                                            in a US$360 million cabin upgrade programme.

newsbriefing                                                                The new products, unveiled last month, feature a
                                                                            new flat-bed in Business, replacing the angled seats
                                                                            currently on offer, and are intended not only to
                                                                                                                                     OAG has added a new online ‘look and book’
                                                                                                                                     service on its travel website. World Choice Travel,
                                                                                                                                     a division of the Travelocity Partner Network,
                                                                                                                                     powers the reservation system.
                                                                            ensure the carrier remains competitive but also sets
                                                                            the new industry benchmark for premium air travel.       The OAG.com hotel booking engine offers
Raising the stakes: SIA’s US$360m                                           From December, customers travelling between              discounted rates at more than 200 major hotel
                                                                                                                                     brands in nearly 10,000 destinations worldwide.
                                                                            Singapore and Paris, and later Zurich, on the
                                                                                                                                     The site features full-colour hotel brochures and
upgrade to stay ahead of the game                                           airline's new B777-300ER services will be the first
                                                                            to experience the new products.                          interactive mapping, and is available in six
                                                                                                                                     languages and in more than 160 currencies.
                                                                            With a width of 35in and upholstered in leather,
                                                                            the new First Class seat is claimed to be the most       “The new service is targeted at both business and
                                                                            spacious ever to be introduced by a commercial           leisure consumers who need a quick and easy
                                                                            airline. Passengers have the flexibility to use the      solution to finding and booking a hotel,” says
                                                                            seat as a daybed for lounging, reading and               Duncan Alexander, OAG’s managing director,
                                                                            entertainment in their preferred postures as they        Business Development. “It makes our travel portal
                                                                            would at home. By night, it converts into a full-sized   an even more useful and relevant resource for
                                                                            flat bed that offers customers the choice of resting     both corporate customers and the travelling public.”
                                                                            in their natural sleeping position. It comes with a
                                                                            sleek 23in LCD screen and a business panel equip-        Emirates adds another lounge
                                                                            ped with USB ports and in-seat power supply.             Emirates' first dedicated lounge at London
                                                                            The new Business cabin flat-bed seat is also             Heathrow, opened on October 27, enjoys
                                                                            claimed to be the widest in its class – at 30in it is    panoramic view of the airport's southern runway.
                                                                            almost 50% wider than most rival products                Located in Terminal 3, the 9,500ft facility is
                                                                            currently on offer. Seats are arranged in a forward      modelled on the carrier's award-winning lounges
                                                                            facing, four-abreast (1x2x1) configuration that          at Dubai International Airport and is part of a $13
                                                                            offers all passengers direct access to the aisle.        million investment programme to install lounges at
                                                                            Every seat has a fixed back shell that extends to        key airports across its global network.
                                                                            the sides for enhanced privacy. The 15.4in LCD
                                                                            monitor also comes equipped with USB ports and
                                                                            in-seat power.                                           Premium Economy upgrade
                                                                            The new Economy Class seat offers more                   Virgin Atlantic is reinventing its Premium Economy
                                                                            personal space and legroom – a 32in pitch and a          cabin in a £12 million revamp which includes a
                                                                            width of 19in in a 3x3x3 configuration. Each seat        new wider seat and additional services to woo
                                                                            is equipped with a 10.6in monitor, USB ports,            business and leisure passengers alike.
                                                                            laptop power supply and the installation of the
                                                                            handset on the seatback in front for easier reach.       The leather upholstered seat, which is currently
                                                                                                                                     being rolled out across the fleet, combines a 38in
                                                                            The new aircraft will also feature the latest the        pitch with a width of 21in. It also features a dual
                                                                            KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system, with           position footrest, lumbar support, adjustable
   “This is by far our most important and comprehensive                     more than 1,000 on-demand options that include           headrest with wings, and a redesigned tray table,
   product and service development programme...our                          movies, TV programmes, interactive games, audio          as well as a laptop power point.
                                                                            CDs and programming, as well as a variety of
   customers' involvement was key to the entire process.”                   learning applications.                                   Dedicated check-in, a separate cabin, priority
                                                                                                                                     boarding and quicker baggage reclaim are among
   Bey Soo Khiang, senior executive vice-president, operations and          In addition, a comprehensive suite of office tools       the benefits enjoyed by Premium Economy
   services, Singapore Airlines                                             that includes spreadsheet, presentation and word         passengers. New, additional services include ded-
                                                                            processing, is provided.                                 icated cabin crew and a redesigned meal service.

       ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                 www.oag.com                                                                                c ontents page
                                                                                            iii newsbriefing

                                                                             A warning that continuing demand for corporate           the wait. Spacious and airy, Bangkok SBIA's
                                                                             travel without a commensurate lift in supply will        563,000m terminal comprises seven storeys of

newsbriefing                                                                 push costs higher across the board next year, is
                                                                             contained in the latest American Express Global
                                                                             Business Travel Forecast. Air fares worldwide are
                                                                                                                                      steel and glass and is claimed to be the largest
                                                                                                                                      single passenger facility in the world. Designed,
                                                                                                                                      optimistically, to handle 100 million passengers a
                                                                             expected to increase – albeit at a slower rate than      year (although only 45 million initially), it has two
                                                                             in 2006 – while hotels rates are expected to surge       simultaneously operating runways capable of
Corporate travel costs set to rise                                           in key business centres around the world.                handling up 76 flights per hour.

                                                                             “Keeping executives on the road while holding            The main access from the city to the main airport is
                                                                             budgets in check will be a challenge for                 via an elevated 10-lane highway which is linked to
                                                                             organisations in 2007,” says Mike Streit, vice-          the outer ring road network.
                                                                             president and global leader for American Express
                                                                                                                                      A 15-mile high-speed rail link from the airport to City
                                                                             Business Travel, Advisory Services. “For example,
                                                                                                                                      Airport Terminal in Makkasan (journey time around
                                                                             the forecast indicates the cost of an average
                                                                                                                                      15 minutes), is scheduled for completion in
                                                                             domestic North America trip, inclusive of air fare,
                                                                                                                                      Novem-ber next year.
                                                                             car rental and hotel stay, will increase by US$46 or
                                                                             4.5% in 2007, while that of an average international
                                                                             trip will rise by US$180 (4.6%).”                        Work starts on Berlin’s new airport
                                                                             Global domestic Economy fares are set to rise            Work began this autumn at Schönefeld on Berlin's
                                                                             between 3% and 5%, with international Business           new Brandenburg International airport, which is
                                                                             fares increasing by between 3% and 7%.                   expected to enter service as the German capital's
                                                                             “Moderate air fare increases are expected as             sole gateway in 2011. Tempelhof is finally due to be
                                                                             airlines pare back fare hikes, corporations focus on     closed next year, and flights from Tegel will be
                                                                             smarter buying and traveller security remains an         switched to BBI with the opening of the new airport.
                                                                             area of concern,” says Streit.
                                                                             G BCD Travel Consulting has also predicted that air
                                                                                                                                      Delta goes flat out
                                                                             fares will increase by up to 10% in 2007. The report
                                                                             estimates that published tariffs will be up by           Delta Airlines is to introduce personal sleeper suites
                                                                             between 5-10% while corporate fares will rise in the     in its Business Elite cabins in early 2008 to coincide
                                                                             region of 7%-11%. Car rental rates are predicted to      with the delivery of two new Boeing 777s.
                                                                             increase between 5%-6% next year.                        Later that year, the carrier will install the lie-flat seats
                                                                                                                                      in the remainder of its Triple Seven fleet, with
                                                                             New airport opens for business                           completion for its 767 aircraft scheduled for 2010.

                                                                             Bangkok's much delayed new airport finally opened        All seats will have direct aisle access, a private
                                                                             at the end of September – overshadowed by a              screen with a pull-out meal table, video monitor and
                                   “Keeping executives on                    military coup which saw the ousting of the Thai          compartment for bags, shoes or blankets.
                                   the road while holding                    prime minister.
                                   budgets in check will                     Four decades after the project was first mooted, the     Out of this world...
                                                                             airport at Suvarnabhumi (pronounced sue-wanna-
                                   be a challenge for                        poom), some 20 miles southeast of the capital, is        A 51-year-old former electrician will be the first
                                   organisations in 2007.”                   up and running – although, inevitably, not without its   person to become an astronaut using his frequent
                                                                             problems. Baggage went astray during the opening         flyer miles as payment. Alan Watts has earned the
                                   Mike Streit, vice-president and global                                                             two million Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles
                                                                             phase and the finishing touches are not expected to
                                   leader for American Express Business                                                               required to qualify for the offer and will be
                                                                             be complete until later this month.
                                   Travel, Advisory Services                                                                          redeeming them on a trip to space with Virgin
                                                                             However, the new airport, which replaces the             Galactic, the world's first privately built,
                                                                             outdated and overcrowded Don Muang, was worth            commercial space tourism company, in 2009.

      ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                   www.oag.com                                                                                    c ontents page
                                                                                   iv newsbriefing

                                                                    The May Fair, one of London's most celebrated           flagship of the Mandarin Oriental group, first
                                                                    hotels, reopens at the beginning of November            opened in 1963 and was for many years

newsbriefing                                                        following a £75 million makeover – the most
                                                                    expensive to date in the UK capital.
                                                                    Originally opened in 1927 by King George V, the
                                                                                                                            consistently ranked among the world's best hotels.
                                                                                                                            Rates range from around HK$3,400 (US$440) to
                                                                                                                            HK$45,000 (US$5,790) a night.
                                                                    hotel, which is now owned by the Radisson

London legend reopens after capital’s                               Edwardian group and located between Piccadilly
                                                                    and Berkeley Square, has undergone a total              Hotel joint venture in Japan
                                                                    transformation, while carefully retaining its           A new joint venture between All Nippon Airways
most expensive makeover                                             grandeur. Highlights of the renovation include 80
                                                                    new bedrooms, a new bar that is set to become
                                                                                                                            and InterContinental Hotels Group has been
                                                                                                                            established to create one of the leading hotel
                                                                    one of the most stylish meeting places in the West      operating companies in Japan.
                                                                    End, and a sophisticated spa.
                                                                                                                            ANA will sign new management contracts with the
                                                                    Its famous Crystal Room, with £1 million-worth of       newly established IHG ANA Hotels Group Japan
                                                                    Baccarat chandelier – the largest in Europe – plus      for its 13 owned and leased properties, with a total
                                                                    London's biggest private cinema, with seating for       of 4,943 rooms. These will be rebranded over time
                                                                    201, also promise to make it one of the most            as ANA-InterContinentals, ANA-Crowne Plazas or
                                                                    sought after venues for functions and meetings.         ANA-Holiday Inns. The flagship ANA Hotel Tokyo
                                                                    All 396 rooms have been refurbished to the highest      will be the first to be co-branded in April next year
                                                                    standards – each features a Bang & Olufsen              as the ANA-InterContinental Tokyo. The remaining
                                                                    entertainment system as well as original works of       12 hotels will be co-branded over the following 18-
                                                                    oriental art – and there are 10 signature suites and    month period.
                                                                    two penthouses, including one with its own              IHG currently operates 11 hotels in Japan (3,100
                                                                    entrance and lift.                                      rooms), which, combined with the properties
                                                                    And, according to general manager Charles Oak,          owned, managed and franchised by the new joint
                                                                    the changes are not confined to the structure. We       venture, gives a combined estate of 42 hotels with
                                                                    have swept away all the stuffy nonsense that            more than 12,000 rooms.
                                                                    5-star hotels have historically felt was so important
                                                                    and which many people today find oppressive,
                                                                                                                            News in brief
                                                                    replacing it with a relaxed service-led determin-
                                                                    ation to make people feel at ease.                      Rocco Forte’s latest stunning hotel, which
                                                                                                                            opened in October in Berlin, is the twelfth in a
                                                                    “We call it luxury without pretension, and that         growing collection of upmarket establishments
                                                                    slogan informs everything we do,” he adds.              which includes Brown's in London and the Villa
                                                                                                                            Kennedy in Frankfurt. The new Hotel de Rome,
                                                                                                                            located in the Bebelplatz, close to the
                                                                    Hong Kong flagship reopens                              Brandenburg Gate, was the former head office of
                                                                    Hong Kong's legendary Mandarin Oriental hotel           the Dresdner Bank. All 146 rooms come with
                                                                    reopened at the end of September after an eight-        discreetly concealed state of the art technology.
                                                                    month closure during which it has undergone a
     “We have swept away all the stuffy nonsense that               £75 million renovation.
                                                                                                                            Hyatt, which has taken over the management of
                                                                                                                            the 267-room Great Eastern Hotel, adjacent to
     5-star hotels have historically felt was so important          With 200 of the 500 rooms complete, the remain-         London's Liverpool Street Station, will formally
     and which many people today find oppressive.”                  der will be phased in by the end of the year. In        rebrand the property in January. Last year the
                                                                    addition to the old favourites, a new destination       group regained a foothold in the UK capital with
     Charles Oak, general manager, The May Fair, London             restaurant – Pierre – has been added, along with        the Hyatt Regency London, The Churchill, in
                                                                    a new state-of-the-art spa. The hotel, which is the     Portman Square.

      ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006          www.oag.com                                                                                c ontents page
                                                                                        v arrivalsdepartures

                                                                         The inaugural flight by Oasis Hong Kong Airlines,       Cypriot carrier to cease flying
                                                                         postponed after a last-minute hitch about rights to

arrivalsdepartures                                                       overfly Russia, went ahead a day later. Claimed to
                                                                         be the world's first long-haul budget airline since
                                                                         the era of Freddie Laker's SkyTrain and later,
                                                                                                                                 AJet, which changed its name from Helios Airways
                                                                                                                                 following last year’s tragic accident that killed 121
                                                                                                                                 people when a Boeing 737 on autopilot
                                                                                                                                 mysteriously crashed into a Greek hillside, is to
                                                                         PEOPLExpress, the fledgling carrier insisted that
                                                                                                                                 cease operations within three months, according
                                                                         the necessary approval from the Russian
Delayed start for long-haul                                              authorities had been obtained.
                                                                                                                                 to a statement by its Cyprus-based holding
                                                                                                                                 company, Libra Holidays.
                                                                         Oasis is currently offering all tickets at ‘hot deal’
budget carrier                                                           one-way prices of HK$1,000 (£75), plus tax, in
                                                                         Economy, and HK$6,600 (£470), plus tax, in              New Bangkok link
                                                                         Business on the Hong Kong-London route.                 Air Astana, the national carrier of Kazakhstan,
                                                                         The delay was an embarrassment for Oasis, which         launches a weekly service between London and
                                                                         had built up a lot of hype over the past few months,    Bangkok from October 31.
                                                                         having sold in excess of 10,000 tickets for the         Flights depart Heathrow on Tuesdays at 17.15
                                                                         service. Among the passengers delayed by the            and arrive at 16.05 the following day. Return fares
                                                                         postponement was the company's chief executive,         start at £425 (€634) Economy and £1,707
                                                                         Stephen Miller, who said: “We’ve had an over-           (€2,545) Business, including taxes.
                                                                         whelming response and our inaugural month
                                                                                                                                 Air Astana became the only carrier to fly non-stop
                                                                         special promotion is a reflection of our promise to
                                                                                                                                 from the UK to Almaty when it launched its twice-
                                                                         make long-haul travel more accessible and
                                                                                                                                 weekly Tuesday and Saturday Heathrow service
                                                                         affordable. And if you're looking for luxury on a
                                                                                                                                 three years ago. A Thursday departure will be
                                                                         shoestring you can experience our Business Class
                                                                                                                                 added when the airline takes delivery of additional
                                                                         service at considerably less than our competitors.”
                                                                                                                                 aircraft this winter.
                                                                         Oasis is operating the service with two
                                                                         ex-Singapore Airlines’ Boeing 747-400s and has
                                                                         announced plans for a fleet of five aircraft by the     News in brief...
                                                                         end of the year.                                        vEmirates      is boosting capacity on the
                                                                                                                                 Manchester-Dubai route from the end of October
                                                                         BMI suspends Mumbai service                             with the introduction of a Boeing 777-300ER for
                                                                                                                                 the second daily departure, replacing an Airbus
                                                                         A long term technical problem on one of BMI’s
                                                                                                                                 A330-200. Both flights are now operated by the
                                                                         Airbus A330s has forced the airline to suspend its
                                                                                                                                 extended range Boeing, adding almost 150 extra
                                                                         daily Heathrow to Mumbai service indefinitely. The
                                                                                                                                 seats a day on the route.
                                                                         airline is in discussions with the manufacturer
                                                                         about the reasons for the technical failure, as well
                                                                         as the length of time to achieve its repair.            vIn a move to streamline its operations, Japan
                                                                                                                                 Airlines has merged its international and domestic
                                                                         BMI has been actively seeking a replacement             businesses, created when JAL and Japan Air
                                                                         aircraft during the prolonged absence of the            System became part of the same organisation
                                                                         Airbus A330, which could extend to mid-
                                                                                                                                 two-and-a-half-year ago.
                                                                         December. However, the airline said it had been
                                                                         unable to locate a suitable aircraft that would
      “If you’re looking for luxury on a shoestring you                  “satisfactorily meet its operational requirements
                                                                                                                                 vQatar Airways introduces a four times a week
                                                                                                                                 service between Doha and Dar Es Salaam from
      can experience our Business Class service at                       and service delivery standards”.
                                                                                                                                 January 9, operated by a two-class Airbus A319.
      considerably less than our competitors.”                           Nigel Turner, the airline’s chief executive officer,
                                                                         stressed the situation was “only a temporary            vAfter a lapse of 16 years, Cathay Pacific is to
      Stephen Miller, chief executive, Oasis Hong Kong Airlines          setback to our long-haul route network growth and       resume flights between Hong Kong and Shanghai
                                                                         we remain committed to the development of that          in December, subject to government approvals.
                                                                         part of our business”.

      ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006               www.oag.com                                                                                c ontents page
                                                                              vi traveldeals

                                                               Flying with British Airways is now even more            Seasonal Choices rates
                                                               rewarding as a result of changes to the airline's

traveldeals                                                    Executive Club programme that allows customers
                                                               to use BA Miles to go further for less.
                                                               Members of BA’s frequent flyer programme can fly
                                                                                                                       Mandarin Oriental has relaunched its group-wide
                                                                                                                       Seasonal Choices promotion which provides
                                                                                                                       travellers with special bed & breakfast rates both
                                                                                                                       during the week and at weekends. Valid until the
                                                               to destinations in 42 countries across Europe and       end of April next year, the B&B rates are available
Frequent flyers to go further                                  North Africa for up to 25% less Miles. Flights
                                                               booked with 'part Miles, part cash and ‘Miles for
                                                                                                                       at all Mandarin Oriental properties around the
                                                                                                                       world, including the recently reopened flagship
                                                               upgrades’ have also been reduced.                       hotel in Hong Kong and the new property in Prague.
for less with BA Miles                                         And those who book and fly before December 27,          Seasonal Choices combines luxurious accom-
                                                               qualify for a further discount of up to 50% on          modation with breakfast included, double
                                                               current Mileage rates for reward flights to more        occupancy at the same rate, late check-out and a
                                                               than 20 long-haul and short-haul destinations           complimentary extra bed for a child under the age
                                                               from both London Heathrow and Gatwick airports.         of 12. All rates are exclusive of local government
                                                                                                                       taxes and service charge, where applicable, and
                                                               Executive Club members can earn BA Miles on
                                                                                                                       are subject to availability and change.
                                                               every BA flight or on those with partner airlines, as
                                                               well as when they book car hire, hotels or use the
                                                               British Airways American Express credit card.
                                                               Additionally, Gold and Silver cardholders also          In brief...
                                                               have access to more than 250 airport lounges            A cheaper option for visitors to the UK during the
                                                               worldwide. Other benefits include priority wait-        Christmas and New Year period is to stay in an
                                                               listing, check-in and boarding, and discounts on        apartment rather than a hotel. Book during
                                                               flights and holidays throughout the year.               November for a minimum three-night stay and
                                                                                                                       Executive Room Space is offering discounts of up
                                                               Triple B value deal                                     to 15% at selected properties in more than 30
                                                               Millennium & Copthorne hotels in Asia have              locations in London, Birmingham and other
                                                               launched a special promotion targeting the              regional centres. Additional offers on apartments
                                                               corporate travel market. Applicable for weekday         elsewhere in Europe and further afield are also
                                                               and weekend stays and valid until December, the         available. Visit www.roomspace.com
                                                               Triple B room packages comprise bed, breakfast          Thai Airways is offering Bangkok-bound travellers
                                                               and broadband internet access – the three basic         from London Heathrow the opportunity to upgrade
                                                               Bs required by those travelling on business.            a class on departure. For an extra US$760, Econ-
                                                               The participating hotels are all strategically          omy passengers can move into Business, while
                                                               located close to Central Business Districts,            those travelling in Business can upgrade to First.
                                                               commercial buildings and exhibition, conference         Buy a full fare Club World roundtrip ticket with
                                                               and event centres, and are therefore ideal for the      British Airways before December 10 and you will
                                                               corporate market.                                       qualify for an automatic upgrade to First on one
                                                               In Singapore, they are the Grand Copthorne              leg of the journey.
                                                               Waterfront Hotel (S$208); Orchard Hotel (S$215          Members of Emirates' frequent flyer club qualify
                                                               weekdays and S$188 weekends); M Hotel (from             this month for a 500 Skywards Miles bonus when
                                                               S$220); Copthorne King's Hotel (S$198 week-             they use either the airline’s online or self-service
       “We are continually looking at how we can make          days and S$178 weekends); Copthorne Orchid              check-in facilities.
       flying with British Airways more rewarding for          Hotel (from S$145). In Indonesia, the Millennium
                                                                                                                       Choice Hotels in the UK has special bed and
                                                               Hotel Sirih Jakarta is charging US$58 for the Triple
                                                                                                                       breakfast rates from as little as £19.50 a night at
       our customers.”                                         B package.
                                                                                                                       more than 100 Comfort, Quality, Sleep Inn and
       Stuart Beamish, head of relationship marketing          All rates quoted are subject to prevailing taxes,       Clarion hotels available until the end of November.
                                                               and certain terms and conditions apply.                 www.choicehotelseurope.com

       ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006    www.oag.com                                                                               c ontents page
                                                                                                                                        vii travellersbriefing

                                                                                                                       Transport advises passengers not to include items            environmentally compatible? Even if they do travel,

Getting to grips
                                                                                                                       capable of containing liquids – bottles, flasks and          they might consider using trains instead of flights.
                                                                                                                       the like – although solid cosmetics are now allowed.         That’s why Eurostar has taken around 60% of the
                                                                                                                                                                                    cross-Channel traffic to Paris.”
                                                                                                                       So, somewhat confusingly, you cannot take a bottle

with carry-on
                                                                                                                       of contact lens solution on board, but you can take
                                                                                                                       a lipstick. As long as it’s not a gloss lipstick, which is
                                                                                                                                                                                     What’s allowed as hand baggage?
                                                                                                                       classed as a liquid. False teeth are permitted on               One item of cabin baggage, maximum
                                                                                                                       board, but you’re in trouble if they fall out. Denture          length 56cm, width 45cm and depth 25 cm.

                                                                                                                       fix has to be packed in the hold.                               But Flybe and airlines at Stansted insist on
                                                                                                                                                                                       smaller bags. Laptop carriers and handbags
                                                                                                                       More importantly, there are now no limitations on               must fit inside the cabin bag.
                                                                                                                       electrical items. MP3 and portable DVD players,
                                                                                                                                                                                       Electronic equipment including laptops,
                                                                                                                       laptops, mobile phones, digital and video cameras
                                                                                                                                                                                       mobile phones, MP3 players, portable music
                                                                                                                       can all be carried into the cabin, but laptops and
                                                                                                                                                                                       and DVD players, digital and film cameras,
                                                                                                                       other large electrical items are all being scanned
                                                                                                                                                                                       video cameras.
                                                                                                                       separately at security. It’s worth noting that a
                                                                                                                       laptop bag is regarded as the one piece of hand                 Liquids, gels and creams limited to100ml per
Despite a recent relaxation of baggage security restrictions, there is still confusion about
                                                                                                                       luggage allowed.                                                container (carried in a transparent, zip-lock
what is, and more importantly, what is not allowed on board. Sheron Crossman reports                                                                                                   bag with a maximum volume of one litre).
                                                                                                                       Furthermore, those faithful suit carriers are banned            Essential medicines for the flight, in solid or
Hand baggage restrictions, first introduced on             smaller (55cm x 45cm x 20cm) carry on bag due to            from the cabin. “Travellers can only take a suit                liquid form.
August 10 following a dawn swoop in the UK by              ‘the limited space on the aircraft’.                        carrier if it fits the cabin baggage dimensions,” a
                                                                                                                       spokesman from the Department of Transport told                 Special foods (such as baby food or items
security forces after an alleged terrorist plot was
                                                                                                                       OAG Executive Travel.                                           for diabetics), larger amounts of which may
uncovered caused widespread chaos and delays at            No liquids of any type (including perfume and
                                                                                                                                                                                       be carried in hand baggage if they are
airport security points on both sides of the Atlantic.     after-shave) have been permitted through the airport
                                                                                                                       For many frequent travellers this restraint is the most         required during the flight.
                                                           security point other than medicines essential for the
The raid resulted in 28 arrests under anti-terrorism       flight, such as a diabetic kit. But, as of this month       inconvenient of all. “Every business traveller worth            Solid cosmetics.
legislation when police claimed to have foiled a plot      it will now be possible to carry on liquids up to           his salt tries to cram everything into a small suit
                                                                                                                                                                                       Books, keys, travel documents, pens,
to detonate explosives on “at least 10” aircraft in mid-   100ml and those purchased after security, following         carrier. Hanging around waiting for bags on a
air. Those raids prompted an immediate clampdown           the relaxation of security restrictions by the              carousel is the single most annoying aspect of
on hand baggage allowances.                                US authorities.                                             travel,” says Paul Tilstone, chief executive of the
                                                                                                                                                                                     What’s banned?
                                                                                                                       UK-based Institute of Travel Management. “At a
Although the restrictions were eased last month by         Since September 26, travellers in the US have been          recent ITM Research Advisory Group meeting, we                  Liquids in excess of 100ml unless
the UK Department of Transport and the US                  allowed to carry through “travel-size” toiletries (that’s   concluded that the airline which could fast-track               purchased after security checks, except
Transportation Security Administration, with a             three ounces/85g or less) that fit comfortably into         luggage through and hand it speedily to the                     special foods required in flight.The definition
further relaxation this month, there are still             one, quart-sized clear plastic, zip-top bag. Drinks         customer would win a fantastic amount of                        of liquid includes gels, pastes, lotions,
constraints. Passengers, however, are permitted to         and items purchased in the secure boarding area             business,” he adds.                                             liquid/solid mixtures and the contents of
carry one standard-sized bag on board (see panel           may also be taken on board.                                                                                                 pressurised containers, for example,
opposite). Other bags, such as handbags and                                                                            Although the new restrictions have proved                       toothpaste, hair gel, drinks, soups, syrups,
laptops, may be carried within the single item of          The TSA in the US has also increased the amounts            inconvenient, most ITM members regard them to be                perfume, deodorant, shaving foam or
cabin baggage.                                             of liquid medications in carry-on luggage. The              valid in the fight against terrorism. But Tilstone              aerosols.
                                                           Administration claimed the easing of restrictions           believes they could significantly change travel                 Cigarette lighters with a flammable liquid
However, even before allowing for what is permitted        was “as a result of the extensive explosive testing to      patterns in the future. “When you combine the new               reservoir.
within this bag, the new measure has been                  get a better understanding of this specific threat”. It     baggage restrictions with increased security and
interpreted differently at airports. All airlines at       says it now has a better understanding of the threat        delays, it’ll make people think twice about making a            Passengers flying to the US need to present
Stansted (except MaxJet and EOS) and Flybe at              and security risks associated with liquids, aerosols        trip. Corporates will question whether they need to             liquids in a separate clear plastic, zip-top
Southampton, for example, insist on a slightly             and gels. In its guidelines, the UK Department for          travel at all,” he says. “Is the trip time-effective and        bag that does not exceed 20cm x 19.5cm.

                     ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                                            www.oag.com                                                                                       c ontents page
                                                                                                                                  viii airportbriefing

                                                                                                                   commercial land. The huge business and office           achieved significant growth in air traffic and more

Düsseldorf                                                                                                         park will consist of buildings ranging from 3,000 to
                                                                                                                   30,000m2 designed by the same architects who
                                                                                                                   drew up the terminal building. Key to the plan is the
                                                                                                                   construction of a congress centre and hotel due for
                                                                                                                                                                           than tripled our annual surplus,” says Dr Rainer
                                                                                                                                                                           Schwarz, the airport’s president and CEO. “The
                                                                                                                                                                           healthy growth in passenger numbers is a result of
                                                                                                                                                                           the high slot productivity that we’ve achieved with
Fashionable gateway                                                                                                completion next year, which will link directly with
                                                                                                                   the airport.
                                                                                                                                                                           the airlines.”

                                                                                                                                                                           Passenger figures for this year are looking even
                                                                                                                   Even without the new City, Düsseldorf is on a roll.     better. During the first quarter, passenger numbers
                                                                                                                   Last year saw more than 15.5 million passengers         were up 6%. The airport expects an increase of
                                                                                                                   pass through the airport, almost 300,000 more           over a million passengers to a total of 16.6 million
                                                                                                                   than the previous year. Currently Germany’s third       by the end of the year.
                                                                                                                   busiest airport (after Frankfurt and Munich), there
                                                                                                                   is plenty of room for expansion, with capacity for      This will be helped by the launch of a number of
                                                                                                                   22 million passengers annually.                         new routes: the summer schedule now features 70
                                                                                                                                                                           long-haul flights a week and some 70 airlines use
                                                                                                                   “The past year was a great success. We’ve               the airport serving 165 destinations.

Rebuilt following a serious fire 10 years ago, the airport enjoys excellent transport
links with the rest of Germany and is growing rapidly. Sheron Crossman reports

Düsseldorf argues with Hamburg and Stuttgart as            perfection. Transport links are excellent, the
to which of them is Germany’s richest city.                terminal has 6,200m2 of retail space, 4,400m2 of
Whoever is right, there’s no doubt Düsseldorf is           restaurants and bars and a 1,200m2 conference
wealthy. This is the country’s leading centre for          centre. Wireless internet access is available via its
foreign trade and home to 5,000 branch offices             50,000m2 hotspot and surfers get to check out the
of international companies. Its state, North Rhine-        free services available at the airport on the pre-      At-a-glance guide                     Annual passenger throughput:         fast-food outlets and full-service
                                                                                                                                                         15.5 million                         restaurants; Observation Deck
Westphalia, generates one fifth of the country’s           programmed home page.
                                                                                                                   Location: 9km (6 miles) north                                              on the roof of Concourse B
GNP and the city hosts more than 40 international                                                                                                        Minimum connecting time:
                                                                                                                   of the city centre
trade fairs annually.                                      Far from being simply a functional gateway, the                                               30 minutes                           Banks/cashpoints: two branches
                                                           terminal is designed with eating, drinking and          Transport links: over 350 trains                                           of the Deutsche Reisebank
                                                                                                                                                         Executive lounges: located in        (departures level); Sparkasse
Düsseldorf sells itself as Germany’s leading               shopping in mind. On level 3 is the Wöllhaf             a day stop at Düsseldorf Airport      the secure areas of gates A and
fashion centre and stages the world’s largest              conference centre. Its 24 meeting rooms are             station, including regional,                                               Bank (arrivals level)
                                                                                                                                                         B. Lufthansa Business Lounge
fashion trade fair. Consequently, its centre is awash      equipped with every hi-tech gizmo going and             express, intercity and high-          and Lufthansa Senator Lounge         Airport hotels: Arabella
with luxury shops and designer names. And, with            there’s space for up to 250 delegates. And for          speed InterCity Express trains        (gallery of gate A); Air France      Sheraton Airport Hotel is located
                                                                                                                   travelling between the airport        Lounge (Level 3 at gate B); LTU      above parking structure 3;
all those models and trade fair delegates flying into      bored participants there’s even an interesting view
                                                                                                                   and a number of destinations in       Lounge (departures C); British       Holiday Inn; Novotel; automated
town, it comes as little surprise that its airport is as   of the airline activity on the apron. Further meeting   Germany. A SkyTrain connects
sexy as its catwalks.                                      facilities are available at the nearby, the Arabella                                          Airways Terrace Lounge (Level        hotel information service with a
                                                                                                                   the railway station and the           2 at gate B); Hugo Junkers           booking facility and list of hotels
                                                           Sheraton Airport hotel which offers function space      terminal building. Underground:       Lounge (Level 2 at gate B)           near the airport available (Tel:
Düsseldorf is one of Europe’s most modern                  for up to 230 and will tailor-make arrangements for     S7 S-Bahn leaves the airport                                               +49 (0) 211 172020)
airports, the terminal (and there is only one) was         specific needs. Airport Arcades, Düsseldorf’s           terminal every 20 minutes and         Facilities: Wöllhaf conference
completed in 2003, replacing the original structure        swanky shopping mall, is home to more than 50           takes 10 minutes to the city,         centre on Level 3; airport-wide      Car rental: Avis, Budget
of 1927 which suffered a serious fire in 1996. The         stores and is located landside, making it               costing 3. Bus 721 runs to            wireless LAN; round-the-clock        Deutschland, Europcar, Hertz,
central terminal building is split into three main         accessible to passengers and visitors.                  Düsseldorf Central Station and        laundry service; prayer room;        National Alamo and Sixt
                                                                                                                   takes 30 minutes. Plenty of taxis     pharmacy; dental practice in
areas, A, B and C, with five executive lounges
                                                                                                                   outside the arrivals hall, expect     Airport Arcades along with more      Website: www.duesseldorf-
scattered throughout.                                      But these facilities will soon be dwarfed by the        to pay 15 to the city centre.         than 50 shops, bars, cafés,          international.de
                                                           airport’s newest expansion plans. Düsseldorf
For business travellers, this is close to airport          Airport City is to be built on 23 hectares of prime

                      ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                                        www.oag.com                                                                                c ontents page
                                                                                                                                    ix destinationbriefing

                                                                                                  tio               Consider places like Canberra, Putrajaya or                climes of a capital originally chosen in the 1920s

Ankara                                                                                       st
                                                                                          De K)
                                                                                                                    Brasilia. Administrative capitals are commonly
                                                                                                                    perceived as boring by frequent travellers, the
                                                                                                                    mental equivalent of just another day at the office
                                                                                                                    or worthy of little more consideration than how
                                                                                                                                                                               by the father of modern Turkey, Kemal Atatürk, for
                                                                                                                                                                               its central location amid the vast expanses to the
                                                                                                                                                                               north, south, east and west.
                                                                                                                                                                               Expanded these days from a tiny area around the
Capitalising on its strengths                                                                                       swiftly you can get into and out of there.
                                                                                                                                                                               old citadel walls of soon-to-be-gentrified Ulus to
                                                                                                                                                                               incorporate the nearby hill town of Cankaya and all
                                                                                                                    Ankara is no different in this respect, over-
                                                                                                                    shadowed in the international fix and fun stakes for       the trappings of a 21st century conurbation,
                                                                                                                    nigh on a century by the far more stimulating and          Ankara remains relatively compact and easy to get
                                                                                                                    carefree Istanbul.                                         around by reasonably-priced metered taxi or
                                                                                                                                                                               metro, largely free of traffic congestion or crowds.
                                                                                                                    Yet this landlocked city on the high plains is still the
                                                                                                                    essential pit-stop and pivot to cementing any              As a university town as well as an administrative
                                                                                                                    sizeable business deal in Turkey beyond the                centre, it offers an admirably diverse but otherwise
                                                                                                                    bizarre or bazaar practices of national repute.            unremarkable range of shops, cafes, pubs, fast
                                                                                                                                                                               food outlets and restaurants; the chief hangout
                                                                                                                    Particularly as the once remote and ostensibly             for foreign business visitors being the more
                                                                                                                    avoidable Ankara is now calling the essential              cosmopolitan strips of boutiques, malls, bars and
The Turkish capital is the focus of political and economic reforms that are the guiding                             bureaucratic shots like never before, the focus of         restaurants clustered between and around the
parameters to the country’s eventual accession to the EU. Johnathan Hart reports

Currency: Turkish lira                24.00 to and from railway station
                                                                          business do’s
(€1= TRL1,882,689/US$1=               (fare around US$9/ 7); metered
TRL1,494,530                          taxis take around 20-25 minutes,    and don’ts
                                      and cost approximately US$35
Tipping: 10%-15% to restaurant                                            Do bear in mind that Turkey is
                                      (€28); a new combined
bills (less in smaller establish-                                         98% Muslim, and that Islamic
                                      international and domestic
ments); round-up taxi fares           terminal is scheduled to open       customs should be observed

Time: GMT +2                          later this year                     Do accept coffee or tea, which
                                      Hotels: 2000 Aniteppe, Best         will almost certainly be offered
Electricity: 220 volts (European-
                                      Western Ikibin, Dedeman, Grand,     on arrival – it is regarded as
style two-pin plugs)
                                      Hilton, Houston, Mega Residence,    impolite to refuse
Public holidays 2006: November        Radisson SAS, Ramada,                                                         political and economic reforms that are the guiding        Hilton and Sheraton hotels in suburban
                                                                          Do remember that Turks say
1; December 30 2007: January          Sheraton Hotel & Convention
                                                                          ‘yes’ by nodding their head               parameters to Turkey’s eventual accession to the           Kavaklidere, site of many embassies and nearby
1-3; February 19; April 23; May       Centre, Swissotel
                                                                          forward and down, and ‘no’ by             EU. No longer riddled with debt, armed with a new          125-metre Atakule Tower lookout.
19; August 30; October 29, 29
                                      Business hours: 08.30-12.30;        nodding their head up and back                                                       ,
                                                                                                                    US$10 billion loan and blessed by the IMF Turkey
Climate: Central Anatolia (Asia       13.30-17.30                         while raising their eyebrows              is a giant in the European wings and in the interim        The whole exudes a predominantly slow-paced,
Minor) is semi-arid, Ankara getting                                                                                 is mooted as a foreign investment nirvana. Ankara,         modern provincial feel with brief historical
around 8in (350mm) of rainfall a      International dialling code: 90     Do be aware that personal                 strictly complying with the new spirit of trans-           references to Turkey’s 12 civilisations – the most
year. Summers are hot, with                                               relationships are important in            parency, is where the deals are sealed in                  impressive cultural hits being the imposing
                                      In emergency: 155 (police);
daytime temperatures reaching                                             this society                              everything from energy and agriculture to                  Atatürk’s Mausoleum and fascinating Museum of
                                      110 (fire); 112 (ambulance)
35˚C (95˚F), although humidity is                                                                                   electronics and mining.                                    Anatolian Civilisations.
                                                                          Don’t worry unduly about
low. Winters can be cold
                                                                          language – English is widely
                                                                                                                    Truth be told, the reputed birthplace of King Midas        What Ankara perhaps lacks in character, it makes
Airport: Esenboga Airport (ESB),                                          spoken in business circles
                                                                                                                    offers little to distract from the pursuit of business     up for with a fresh sense of purpose. Talk to
is 35km (22 miles) from the city
                                                                          Don’t accept food or anything             gold, being largely staid and conservative in              anyone here about living in the shadow of Istanbul
centre; HAVAS buses provide a
                                                                          else with your left hand                  comparison to Istanbul. Alternatively, you might           and they’ll suggest an imminent new order under
half-hourly service from 04.00 to
                                                                                                                    prefer the comparative cosiness, calm and cooler           which the tail will no longer be wagging the dog.

                      ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                                          www.oag.com                                                                                  c ontents page
                                                                                                                                   x airlinebriefing

                                                                                                                   So with the Next Generation business class, what          the best innovation and claimed to be unique to the

American Airlines
                                                                                                                   can travellers on these new routes expect?                carrier, are the interlocking tables which create a
                                                                                                                   Business Class will continue to consist of five rows      sensible-sized work or dining space. Two separate
                                                                                                                   of six seats on 767s, but the star performer is the       tables are available, one dropping from the
                                                                                                                   lie-flat seat. For ultimate comfort it features no        seatback in front, the other lifting from the centre

More than just survival                                                                                            fewer than five separate motors allowing an infinite
                                                                                                                   number of seating positions.
                                                                                                                                                                             console, both of which can be linked to provide
                                                                                                                                                                             sufficient space to work on a laptop and pick at a
                                                                                                                                                                             plate of pasta at the same time.
                                                                                                                   And, unique to American Airlines, the seat can be
                                                                                                                   shifted forwards, giving passengers added privacy         Finally, for anyone who’s struggled trying to
                                                                                                                   and moving them closer to the seat-back tray table        squeeze weighty bags into overhead lockers or,
                                                                                                                   for work or meals. The seats are also surrounded          indeed, anyone shorter than six feet, American’s
                                                                                                                   by fixed shells which stop the passenger in front         redesigned cabin features swish new overhead
                                                                                                                   from invading the space of those behind. American         bins that swing down to make loading a breeze.
                                                                                                                   should be applauded for that alone. But perhaps           Now that’s progress.

Like most US airlines, American has struggled in recent years to stay aloft. But new routes
and its latest Business Class product augur well for the future, says Sheron Crossman

New Year business travellers boarding American            to customers, building a sound financial plan and,
Airlines’ Boeing 777 aircraft will be among the first     in US marketing speak, a ‘pull together, win
to test out the airline’s sleek new Next Generation       together’ team-building strategy. And, to be fair,
business class product featuring lie-flat seats,          American’s financial results have slowly started to
extravagant workspace and a vast amount of                reverse. This year’s first quarter earnings were up
privacy and pampering.                                    US$139 million on the same period for 2005, albeit
                                                          recording a net loss of US$92 million.
                                                                                                                   What you get in                        privacy divider and choice of work    music videos and Reuters news
The new product was originally installed on its                                                                                                           and overhead lights                   channel,
                                                                                                                   Next Generation
B767-300 aircraft earlier this year, but system-wide      So while there is obviously far more to be done,
implementation across its B767 and B777 fleets            progress is being made. Not least on international
                                                                                                                   Business Class                         Cabin amenities: redesigned           On the ground: more than 700
                                                                                                                                                          amenity kit with ear-plugs, socks,    self-service check-in machines at
was delayed until 2007 to allow for fine-tuning and       expansion. Since 2004 American has launched              Seat: lie-flat seats with preset       lotion, toothcare kit, mints and      85-plus airports; kerbside check-in
customer feedback. Furthermore, based on rave             nearly two dozen new routes. Together with               positions to sit up, lie flat or       tissues. Cotton duvet and pillows     facilities; more than 40 Admirals
passenger reviews of its Flagship Suite First Class       American Eagle and AmericanConnection, it now            recline. Separate back-rest, seat      also provided                         Club lounges worldwide
service, American is to roll out this premium             operates more than 3,900 daily departures to 250         and leg-rest extension controls for
                                                                                                                                                          In-flight service: new business       Frequent flyer programme:
product to 20 additional aircraft. Add that to the        destinations in 40 countries.                            fine-tuning, with favourite position
                                                                                                                                                          class menus were introduced in        AAdvantage is one of the longest-
                                                                                                                   memory settings. Seat pitch is 59
spanking new Business Class, and the airline is                                                                                                           January 2006 featuring appetisers,    running and biggest reward
                                                                                                                   inches, bed length 77in and
set to provide what it hopes will be unrivalled luxury    In November last year, American inaugurated its                                                 salads, entrees and desserts          schemes, with 21 airline partners,
                                                                                                                   cushion width 20in (1.5in wider
                                                                                                                                                          tailored to European and              35 hotel chains and seven car
for international travel.                                 longest non-stop service, a 7,500-mile route from        than the current AA 767 business
                                                                                                                                                          American palates. The business        rental companies plus assorted
                                                          Chicago to New Delhi; and the same month it saw          class seat). By dropping the
                                                                                                                                                          class wine list has repeatedly won    financial and retail partners.
The investment is a brave move. Three years ago,          the launch of daily non-stop flights from Dallas/Fort    armrest passengers gain a further
                                                                                                                                                          awards                                Business Class travel attracts 25%
                                                                                                                   two inches, giving a total width of
in common with other US carriers, American found          Worth to Osaka, using Boeing 777s. Earlier in                                                                                         more AAdvantage points than that
                                                                                                                   22in and making it the widest          In-flight entertainment: audio
itself teetering on the brink of financial ruin. Rather   2005, it started flying to Ireland, operating non-stop   airline business class seat on six-    visual on demand; generous            in Coach Class
than resort to the bankruptcy courts to seek              services between Boston and Shannon as well as           abreast B767 aircraft. Power ports     10.6in portable monitor; movie and
Chapter 11 protection, the airline decided to tough       direct flights between Chicago and Dublin. This year     are conveniently located in the        TV programmes refreshed               Website: www.aa.com
it out, unaided. CEO Gerard Arpey’s own                   American trumpeted non-stop flights to Shanghai,         seat-back shell in front of            monthly; up to 14 movies, 10
‘turnaround plan’ was unveiled in May, 2003. Its key      complementing its existing Far East network,             passengers, there’s a useful           hours of TV, 50 music CDs, 15
tenets were lowering operating costs, giving value        which includes flights to Tokyo from six US points.

                      ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                                        www.oag.com                                                                                  c ontents page
                                                                                                                                 xi hotelsbriefing

                                                                                                                 Opening in April next year is the Leela Kempinski        business travellers by providing a secure level

Leela Palaces
                                                                                                                 Gurgaon, Delhi, with 319 rooms and suites, plus 90       designed around their specific needs.
                                                                                                                 serviced residences. And a palace hotel at Lake
                                                                                                                                                                          The Chennai project will coincide with a further
                                                                                                                 Pichchola, in Udaipur, is scheduled for completion
                                                                                                                                                                          investment of US$69 million in a luxury hotel in
                                                                                                                 by next winter. It will have around 80 over-sized
                                                                                                                                                                          Hyderabad, strategically located in the Deccan

& Resorts                                                                                                        rooms, an array of restaurants and lounges, a
                                                                                                                 state-of-the-art spa and extensive conference
                                                                                                                 facilities to meet a growing demand in the area.
                                                                                                                                                                          plains. The 325-room property will welcome guests
                                                                                                                                                                          to an upmarket, central location in the Banjara Hills
                                                                                                                                                                          in 2009.

The essence of India                                                                                             Similarly, in the harbour city of Chennai, formerly
                                                                                                                 Madras, the new Leela Palace Kempinski will have
                                                                                                                                                                          Pune, the new IT hub and the fastest growing
                                                                                                                 a purpose-built 1,600m convention centre when it         second-tier city of India, will see the opening, also
                                                                                                                 opens in 2008.                                           in 2009, of a 250-room hotel close to the airport.

                                                                                                                 The 15-storey hotel, costing US$73 million, will not     All the new properties will have the hallmarks of
                                                                                                                 only be the largest in the city but the first business   5-star luxury, opulence and service for which the
                                                                                                                 property to occupy a waterfront location. It also        group has become renowned, reflecting Captain
                                                                                                                 aims to set new standards for 5-star hotels by           Nair's energy and vision to create something that
                                                                                                                 catering for the growing number of women                 is the very essence of India.
Following the findings of its recent think tank, the hotel group has released fulsome
descriptions of what each of its many brands offers. Jonathan Hart scans the literature

When Capt C.P Krishnan Nair opened his first            udes two additional city hotels, as yet unspecified.
hotel 20 years ago, many people no doubt
                                                        The original Mumbai property, currently completing
questioned the wisdom of choosing the sprawling
                                                        a US$23 million renovation programme, offers
marshland area next to his lace factory on the
                                                        some of the best facilities in the city for business
northern outskirts of what was then Bombay.
                                                        travellers, including plasma TVs and DVD players
Today, it is in the heart of North Mumbai's Central
                                                        in all 400 rooms, a fact reflected in that the revenue
Business Zone, handy for the airport and has since
                                                        per available room (RevPAR) is the second highest
been joined by a number of the international chain
                                                        in Mumbai.
properties. It proved to be the right decision.
                                                        That, however, pales into insignificance when
Now with four of arguably the finest hotels in India,
                                                        compared with the Leela Kempinski in Bangalore,
and a further five in the pipeline, Leela Palaces and
                                                        which is enjoying the highest RevPAR figure in the
Resorts has helped drive hospitality standards on
                                                        country and one of the highest in Asia, with an
the sub continent to new heights. And Captain
                                                        average room rate of Rs20,000 (US$446) a night,
Krishnan, a sprightly 84-year-old with a passion for
                                                        and an occupancy level of 80%.
perfection, has a highly professional management
team in place to ensure the hotels that bear his        The hotel, modelled on the Mysore Palace, is             Royal Club Tower,                      international adapters and other      guaranteed late check-out
wife's name meet the levels of luxury and               about to open India's first Royal Club Tower,                                                   gadgets; ergonomically designed       (18.00); no extra charge for
excellence he and his discerning guests demand.                                                                  Bangalore
                                                        comprising 120 spacious rooms with a lounge and                                                 desk and chair; laptops for use       double occupancy of room;
                                                        fitness centre on the top floor. The 254-room hotel      Tower Rooms: 120 on six floors,        by guests (on request). Business      complimentary use of health
In partnership with Kempinski, which markets the                                                                                                        centre offers Apple iMAC and
                                                        already has arguably one of the largest and best         with lounge, including business                                              club; upgrade to the next
hotels on a worldwide basis, the group has                                                                                                              Microsoft work stations               available room at the time of
                                                        executive lounges in Asia.                               centre, and a fitness centre on
embarked on a major expansion programme. In                                                                      the seventh floor. All rooms                                                 check-in with the room
addition to its existing properties in Mumbai,          The Club concept, launched last winter at the            feature wi-fi connectivity, 42in       Loyalty programme: Members            category booked
Bangalore, Goa and Kerala, new hotels are               Leela Goa, has been an outstanding success with          plasma TVs, business stationery,       of Jet Airways JetPrivilege
planned over the next three years in the Gurgaon        its stylish decor and a lounge and pool for the          state of the art connectivity          programme enjoy early check-in        Website:
district of New Delhi, Udaipur, Chennai,                                                                         cabling, mobile chargers,              (09.00 subject to availability;       www.theleela.com
                                                        exclusive use of Club guests. Here the average
Hyderabad and Pune. The agreement also incl-            room rate has been US$600 and above per night.

                     ii iii iv v vi vii viii ix x xi november 2006                                       www.oag.com                                                                                 c ontents page

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