News in brief: Native, Loganair and more…

By Bev Fearis, published 25/11/20

Here’s a round-up of other business travel news this week:

Native, the UK aparthotel brand, has taken over management of Edinburgh’s Kintore House on Queens Street, opening on December 1. Renamed Native Edinburgh, there will be 82 apartments comprising studios, one bedrooms, and ground floor leisure and co-working spaces. Other Native sites under development include Leeds, York, Bristol, Oxford and London’s Soho.

Loganair is switching its Isle of Man-London service from London City to Heathrow from next week after securing runway slots. The airline will operate a six-days-a-week service from Heathrow from December 1, rising to daily on December 19 when a Saturday service will be added. Loganair took over the route from British Airways on an interim basis at the beginning of September.

Focus Travel Partnership has created a new award in memory of Steve Murray, the former head of the TMC group, who passed away in November. Nominations are now open for the Steve Murray Future Leader Award to celebrate the talents and ambition of an individual with a passion for the business travel industry. Focus CEO Abby Penston said: “Steve loved to spot talent, harness it and help it grow, and we would like to carry on this legacy by naming this new award after him.” Voting starts on January 1 2021 and the winner will be announced at the Focus Champions Conference in June 2021.

Reed & Mackay is now offering direct connection with British Airways’ API. This means the TMC’s clients can book all of BA’s content, including NDC, across mobile, online and through their travel team, supported by 24/7 care and global risk solutions, such as Covid-19 intelligence at point of booking and on live itineraries.

The Advantage Travel Partnership has partnered with AirGateway, a German B2B airline distribution company, to provide members with complimentary access to more than 25 NDC-enabled airlines, avoiding GDS surcharges. Advantage members will be charged on a per-booking basis with no commitment to volumes, so they can use the tool as little or as often as required.

Delta has announced it will continue to block middle seats on its flights until March 30 2021, claiming it will be the only U.S. airline to extend the Covid-related initiative to that date. It has also launched a new interactive map on its website giving customers the power to search, view and click-to-book their desired destination all in one place, giving full control and a better understanding of current travel restrictions and what to expect on arrival.

Wizz Air will offer discounted Covid-19 tests and certificates to its customers when the UK’s new quarantine rules come into force from December 15. PCR tests will be available for £85 compared to the usual £110 with specialist Confirm Testing. Kits can be ordered weeks before a flight and kept at home for passengers who require a negative test result 72 and 96 hours before flying.

Visa  and Conferma Pay have signed a strategic partnership to launch Visa Commercial Pay, a suite of B2B payment solutions designed to help improve cash flow for businesses and to eliminate out-dated manual processes. There are three B2B payment offerings for financial institutions and their corporate customers - Visa Commercial Pay Mobile app, Visa Commercial Pay Travel and Visa Commercial Pay B2B.

Emirates has re-launched Dubai Connect, an initiative which offers a free hotel stay in Dubai to customers transiting through its hub. Dubai Connect is available to passengers booked in all classes with a best connection time of between 10 and 24 hours. The stay is for a four- or five-star hotel and includes ground transfers to and from the airport, meals at the hotel and UAE visa on arrival where required.

Moxy Hotels, a brand of Marriott, has opened a 194-bedroom boutique hotel in the heart of Chester. Moxy Chester is within a five-minute walk to the city centre and train station and is themed throughout to reflect its location near the racecourse, including a steel horse installation which greets guests on arrival and a series of murals themed on racing. There are also 24 car parking spaces.