Window on Europe
Room occupancy rates for London hotels in May fell by 9.7 per cent, according to the preliminary May 2001 results from PKF's hotel consultancy services' industry surveys.The results from 119 hotels in London suggest that the final occupancy rates for April and March were down 7.9 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively compared with 2000. "This summer, London hotels will suffer from the double whammy of both low levels of City and US business activity and the forward booking impact of the foot-and-moth crisis on tourism," said Melvin Gold, Managing Director of Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF. He added that the downward cycle is unlikely to improve until October at the earliest. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has launched new Business and Economy Class catering products on the greater majority of its intra-European routes. KLM passengers travelling on the airline's European routes, have praised the swift and efficient catering, serving fresh food. Virgin Atlantic has won a Gold Award for its Upper Class interiors and seats in the prestigious 2001 Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEA). The awards cover 11 categories from business equipment to furniture and transport. "We are delighted that we have won this prestigious award. It is an honour to be rubbing shoulders with companies such as Microsoft and Nike that are leaders in the field of industrial design and we are especially proud to be the only airline to get a Gold Award," said Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson. Meanwhile, Virgin has launched daily non-stop scheduled services between London Gatwick and Toronto using a Boeing 747 aircraft. Toronto is Virgin Atlantic's 21st destination. Over the next three years, Eurostar plans to spend £35 million ($50 million) on the overhaul of its entire service including train interiors, ticket offices, check-ins, lounges, signage and staff uniforms. Philippe Starck, famous in contemporary design, has been chosen as the artistic director for the development programme. "It is about making the traveller feel valued. They must feel good in both mind and body. It is our endeavour to fulfil the total expectations of our passengers," said Starck. Flights to Alexandria by British Airways, operated by independent franchise partner British Mediterranean Airways, have started to land at Nouzha Airport which had been closed for runway renovations. The airline's flight schedule will remain the same: flying outbound on Mondays and Thursdays, departing from Heathrow at 2.45pm and inbound on Tuesdays and Fridays, departing Nouzha at 10.50am. "Our return to Nouzha Airport will be a tremendous asset to the fast growing industry in Alexandria which saw us carry 10,800 passengers last year, an increase of 65 per cent from the year before," said Nigel Carey, general manager, sales and marketing. Malaysia Airlines (MAS) and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) intend to intensify their cooperation during the coming years, working towards an alliance on the basis of exclusivity. MAS and KLM will align their marketing, sales and distribution activated, starting with those pertinent to their codeshare flights between their Kuala Lumpur and Amsterdam hubs.The two carriers intend to work towards a joint venture on the Kuala Lumpur-Amsterdam route, sharing costs and revenues.