Window on Europe
Virgin Atlantic Airways has announced that it will be the first European airline to introduce cockpit door video surveillance systems across its fleet.The first aircraft is being fitted with CCTV this month and the equipment will be installed across the whole fleet by April next year. The system will provide real-time video monitoring of the cockpit door entry and forward galley and toilet area for the flight deck crew. The CCTV system consists of colour displays with integrated video computer, video cameras and systems controllers. This is in addition to the security measures the airline introduced in November following the terrorist attacks in the USA, which included strengthening cockpit doors and fitting new bars on the doors and a number of other measures Including enhanced screening of passengers and baggage. The airline recently announced that it had achieved its first quarter of profitability since the downturn following the events of September 11. In the three-month, February to April period, the airline group made a trading profit of around £5 million ($7.3 million). This turnaround in fortune follows the quick and decisive action taken by the airline to restructure its operations in the final quarter of 2001, Virgin Atlantic chairman Sir Richard Branson said. Both shareholders, Virgin and Singapore Airlines, are pleased with this performance and have recently agreed between them to inject £25 million of new investment into the airline. This will boost the efforts being made by the company to set aside funds for key projects and accelerate growth and profitability, he said. The shareholders' investment will fund a package of initiatives which are designed to build on the gradual improvement in market conditions and strengthen the company's return to growth and profitability. The package includes R & D funding for new product initiatives, expansion of the route network, expansion of Virgin Holidays' programme to include more worldwide destinations, completion of the new Virgin Atlantic Hangar at Heathrow (which is the only one in the UK capable of accommodating new generation aircraft like the A340/600) and expansion of Virgin Travelstore, one of the UK's fastest growing travel websites. Kempinski Hotels & Resorts, Europe's oldest luxury hotel group, has signed a marketing partnership with Qualiflyer - the frequent flyer programme of Qualiflyer Airlines. From July, Kempinski becomes a partner of the Qualiflyer programme. To celebrate, Kempinski will be offering double miles on all of its Summer Interludes reservations until September. This partnership gives Kempinski access to six airlines (SWISS, TAP - Air Portugal, Air Lib, LOT - Polish Airlines, SN Brussels Airlines and Air Littoral) through one frequent flyer programme. Twenty per cent of Qualiflyer members come from Switzerland, 10 per cent from France, 9 per cent from Germany and 5 per cent from Italy - all of which are key markets for Kempinski Hotels & Resorts. Qualiflyer was founded in 1992 and now has 3.5 million members, 130,000 of which are members of Travelclub and Travelclub Gold, the top tier levels. This partnership gives Kempinski access to Qualiflyer's database of frequent travellers, as well as joint branded promotions and inserts in membership mailings. Thousands of visitors have a treat in store at this year's Holker Garden Festival in Britain, as the leading springtime horticultural event celebrates its 10th anniversary with the help of Kim Wilde and Clarissa Dickson-Wright. The festival, sponsored by many businesses including Catterall Insurance Services, has long attracted visitors from all over the country, who make the short journey to Cark-in-Cartmel, in Cumbria, to enjoy one top events in the British gardening calendar. The festival is a flagship event for Cumbria and aims to demonstrate that the county has resiliently fought back after the ravages of foot and mouth. The event will also bring together the county's best craftspeople and culinary experts.