Friday, 6 September 2019

UNITED KINGDOM: British Airline Pilots Association May Halt Strikes Next Week If British Airways Bows

The British Airline Pilots Association says it could call off proposed strikes next week if British Airways agrees to come back to the negotiating table.

A number of pilots at British Airways will take industrial action on September 9th and 10th.

The pilots’ union says it has put forward a new proposal in a letter to British Airways chief executive, Alex Cruz, in a bid to come to a deal with the company.

The strikes, voted in favour by 93 per cent of British Airline Pilots Association’s British Airways members, could still go ahead if the airline continues to refuse meaningful discussions.

British Airline Pilots Association general secretary, Brian Strutton, said: Our members’ resolve is very strong, and they remain very angry with British Airways, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute.

We urge British Airways to join us to discuss the new proposal which shows pilots are willing to be flexible but still stand united in getting a better deal.

British Airways has rejected the British Airline Pilots Association understanding of the situation.

A statement from the airline said: We do not believe the union is acting in good faith by making an 11th-hour inflated proposal which would cost an additional £50 million.

The union was acting cynically by waiting until a late stage when the airline had already made arrangements to manage the industrial action, the carrier added.

Our customers need the certainty that British Airline Pilots Association will call off the strikes for good, not just for two days next week, the airline said.

Another day of strike action is scheduled for September 27th.

British Airways on Thursday dismissed a proposal by a pilots union to avoid strike action next week as unrealistic, leaving it little closer to resolving a dispute over pay with its pilots that could disrupt its services.

Earlier the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) had said that BA pilots could call off proposed strikes set for Sept. 9 and 10 if the airline agreed to come back to the negotiating table.

But British Airways said the new BALPA proposal would cost an additional £50 million and slammed the union’s new and unrealistic demands. No further talks between the sides are planned at the moment.

We remain open to constructive talks with BALPA to resolve the pay negotiations, but we do not believe the union is acting in good faith by making an eleventh hour inflated proposal, the airline said in a statement.

BALPA said last month that the pilots would go on strike for three days in September in a dispute over pay that could disrupt the peak holiday season.

The pilots overwhelmingly voted for industrial action in July and the airline, which is part of IAG, failed in a court bid to stop them.

BALPA has said that British Airways should share more of its profits with its pilots. The union has also given notice to the airline that it will call on its members to strike on Sept. 27.

Our members’ resolve is very strong and they remain very angry with BA, but they also want to leave no stone unturned in trying to find a resolution to their dispute, BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said.

Avoiding strike action and agreeing a deal with their pilots surely must be the desired outcome for British Airways.

British Airways has said the strike action was unjustifiable as its pay offer was fair and that the strikes would destroy the travel plans of tens of thousands of customers.

The airline said in August it was exploring options to supplement its fleet with aircraft and crew from other airlines, a practice known as wet-leasing, and working with partner airlines to schedule larger aircraft to take more customers.

BALPA has cynically waited until we have helped the vast majority of customers with alternative travel arrangements, and our planning for a strike has reached a critical stage, British Airways said.

Our customers need the certainty that BALPA will call off the strikes for good, not just for two days next week.

Tourism Observer

AUSTRALIA: Avani Adelaide Residences And Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences To Open End Of This Year, 2019

Avani Hotels & Resorts will welcome guests to two new properties in Australia.

Avani Adelaide Residences and Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences will both open later this year.

Contemporary, relaxed and imaginative, the Box Hill property will open on the fourth quarter of 2019, while Adelaide will officially roll out the welcome mat from October 2019.

Avani Adelaide Residences, a first for the brand in South Australia, comprises 76 beautifully appointed studios and suites, each with fully-equipped kitchen and laundry facilities.

The hotel also includes a heated pool, cinema, library, AvaniFit gym with steam room and sauna, and even a state-of-the-art golf simulator.

Located in the heart of this cultural capital, guests enjoy stone’s throw proximity to Rundle Mall shopping and cafes, Adelaide Central Markets, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the South Australia Museum.

A convenient alternative to its cosmopolitan city centre sister hotel, Avani Melbourne Box Hill Residences has a prime position in in the popular commercial and academic hub of Box Hill.

With a mix of 75 spacious one- and two-bedroom suites with chef-style kitchens, the hotel facilities also extend to a heated infinity pool, on-site sauna, and rooftop amenities with stunning views of the Dandenong Ranges.

Avani Box Hill offers discerning business and leisure travellers easy access to the city and airport, with diverse dining choices and a vibrant shopping centre on its doorstep.

We are delighted to see the continuing growth of the Avani brand in Australia and New Zealand with these new openings, which follow from our initial openings on the Gold Coast, and in Melbourne and Auckland, said chief operating officer of Minor Hotels & Resorts Australia and New Zealand, Craig Hooley.

Travellers the world over have responded to this fresh modern brand with our upbeat service culture that is rooted in traditional Thai hospitality.

We will continue to identify key locations to grow this exciting brand and bring a new level of service to the Australian and New Zealand landscape.

Tourism Observer

AUSTRALIA: Ritz-Carlton To Open In Perth, November 15th

The Ritz-Carlton, Perth will officially open its doors at Elizabeth Quay on November 15th.

The hotel’s main feature will be the 277 sq. m Ritz-Carlton Suite, which boasts the city’s best views of the Swan River from an outdoor balcony and floor-to-ceiling windows.

A touch of Western Australia’s rugged North West will be evident in the lobby with 10,000 pieces of hand-picked Kimberley sandstone designed to recreate a sense of walking through the Karijini gorges.

The Ritz-Carlton, Perth will also feature a rooftop bar, a restaurant serving locally produced food and wine and an infinity pool.

It will be the only Ritz-Carlton property in Australia.

Perth is currently experiencing a room-boost making it the most affordable city in Australia for hotel rooms.

Since 2012, 32 new or redeveloped hotels have opened in and around Perth, adding 3,306 new rooms to the local market with names such as DoubleTree by Hilton, the Westin, QT, Crown Towers, Alex Hotel, Intercontinental, Aloft and Tribe.

Australian Hotel Association research shows 3,556 new rooms have opened in 32 hotels and serviced apartments across the Perth metropolitan area since 2014.

By 2020, a further nine new or redeveloped hotels will come online.

Tourism Observer

EGYPT: Rixos Hotels To Open Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay In 2020

Rixos Hotels has marked a major milestone in its Middle East expansion strategy after signing an agreement to manage its largest all-inclusive luxury resort on the Red Sea coast of Egypt.

Since Accor acquired a 50 per cent stake in the company, Rixos has identified opportunities including partnering with the Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development to takeover and renovate an existing beachfront property.

Scheduled for completion in 2020, it will be re-launched as the Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay, a 1,636-key mega resort.

The stand-out property will boast a stunning location in a secluded bay on the Red Sea, just south of Hurghada, a hotspot for scuba diving, family getaways and golf breaks.

Resort highlights will include individual villas, an extensive indoor and outdoor spa, fitness facilities, kids clubs, a waterpark, beach lounge, large conference centre, wide-ranging food and beverage options and an expansive entertainment area with an amphitheatre.

It is expected to become the preferred destination for discerning travellers and corporate group business from key source markets such as Europe and the CIS.

This marks a pivotal moment in the growth story of our brand, bringing to market our largest resort globally and offering our most comprehensive range of facilities and unique and dynamic entertainment experiences yet, said Fettah Tamince, founder and chairman of Rixos Hotels.

We are delighted to partner with the Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development to launch this flagship project, which will set a new benchmark for luxury all-inclusive all-exclusive resorts in Egypt and the wider Middle East.

Rixos Hurghada Makadi Bay represents the first project of its kind since Accor joined forces with Rixos in 2017, strengthening the brand’s footprint to four resorts in Egypt where its already operates properties in Alamein and Sharm El Sheikh and eight across the Middle East.

Mahmoud El-Sayed Moussa El-Sharkawy, chief executive, Eastern Company for Investment and Touristic Development, said: Our vision is to transform Makadi Bay into the leading leisure and entertainment destination on the Red Sea.

In this respect, the Rixos brand, with its successful one-of-a-kind hospitality concept and proven expertise operating in Egypt’s resort market, makes strategic sense.It’s the perfect fit.

The renovation plan of the existing development in Makadi Bay will be phased in two stages, each spanning a year, with phase one already underway and including the addition of wings and facilities to uplift the hotel in line with Rixos brand standards.

This unique takeover opportunity strengthens the Rixos offering in Egypt’s Red Sea Riviera and highlights the strong collaboration Accor has established with Rixos team to develop the brand regionally and globally, said Mark Willis, chief executive, Accor Middle East & Africa.

We would like to thank all the parties involved in this landmark project, which offers the right mix of elements in terms of scale of inventory and facilities to embody the Rixos business model and to boost awareness of its exclusive luxury offering in key regional and global markets.

Phase two of the renovation plan will start as soon as the property opens its doors and will include a 23,000-sqm water park, as well as upgrades to the remaining hotel inventory.

Established in 2000, Rixos Hotels is a Turkey-based luxury brand with a global portfolio of 25 hotels in seven countries, 17 of which are operated as waterfront resorts and welcomes more than one million guest annually.

The chain embodies traditional Turkish hospitality and features unique health treatment clubs and entertainment experiences for guests of all ages.

Tourism Observer

AUSTRALIA: Dual Branded Accor Hotel Operating Under The Novotel And Ibis Styles’ Brands To Open 2021

Construction of a brand-new hotel at Melbourne Airport has commenced.

The 464-room hotel, created to serve Melbourne’s burgeoning conference and tourism markets, will be conveniently located steps from Terminal 4 within a new precinct known as The Hive.

The ten-storey hotel will be dual-branded operating under the Novotel and ibis Styles’ brands rated four and three stars respectively, offering guests gym and pool facilities, a cafĂ©, bar and restaurant plus conference room facilities.

Melbourne Airport chief of property, Linc Horton, said the project represents the airport’s latest milestone in supporting the state as it moves toward becoming Australia’s biggest city.

It is really exciting to bring such a great new hotel concept to one of the great travel destinations in Australia – Melbourne, giving travellers more choice and amenity, said Horton.

We believe this new development will bring a much-needed social hub to our space bringing visitors and business colleagues together on the doorstep of the airport with access to more than 650 flights per day.

Importantly, it will also open up around 120 job opportunities for hospitality and tourism staff – a huge boost for the City of Hume.

The dual-branded hotel will open in 2021.

The hotel is the first major development to kick-start the airport’s Hive precinct, which will also feature a childcare facility to cater to the airport’s 20,000 strong workforce as well as office space ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 square metres.

Simon McGrath, Accor, chief operating officer Pacific, said, Worldwide, Accor is an airport hotel specialist and we continue to innovate and lead in this sector.

We are excited to be working with Melbourne Airport on this significant development and thrilled to be embarking on another dual-branded hotel complex with our internationally recognised Novotel and ibis Styles brands.

This newest member of the Accor Group is a vibrant airport precinct development, which captures the essence of Melbourne through its interiors and warm welcome to guests.

Tourism Observer