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IHG re-enters Bangladesh with luxury Intercontinental Dhaka

Md. Atharul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and Chairman, BSL and Air Commodore Lutfur Rahman, Managing Director, BSL and Christopher James Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, South West Asia, Intercontinental Hotels Group exchanging documents after signing the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel. M Faruk Khan, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, was present on the occasion.
Holiday Report

 
Bangladesh Services Limited (BSL) and Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms, last week signed an initial 30-year “Management Agreement” for the ‘Intercontinental Dhaka’.
Md. Atharul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and Chairman, BSL and Air Commodore Lutfur Rahman, Managing Director, BSL and Christopher James Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, South West Asia, Intercontinental Hotels Group signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel. M Faruk Khan, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, was present on the occasion.  The hotel, currently operating as the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, will initially be operated and managed as the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel prior to its re-branding. The Hotel will undergo an extensive renovation and will be upgraded to the Intercontinental brand standards. The rebranding of the hotel, due in 2014, will mark IHG’s re-entry into Bangladesh.
“BSL will make all efforts to rebrand the hotel earlier,” and “IHG is delighted to return to Bangladesh market while BSL is also proud to have the brand “Intercontinental” back,” the two sides said.  The hotel will feature larger guest rooms in conformity with five-star requirement with all modern amenities, an all day dining restaurant, two specialty restaurants, a deli bar and Intercontinental Club Lounge. Business centre, ballroom, convention centre and multiple meeting rooms will facilitate business and social gathering. Guests will also be able to relax and enjoy the hotel’s health club, spa and pool facilities.
Following an extensive renovation, 
Intercontinental Dhaka will take its rightful place in the heart of the city, welcoming business and leisure travellers from around the world.
The hotel with all the modern facilities and amenities will be prepared to deliver its guests with the highest quality of services.  In order to make this an iconic hotel, IHG is committed to assist BSL in doing the renovation in compliance with their brand standard, sources said.

 

Comment

Md. Atharul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and Chairman, BSL and Air Commodore Lutfur Rahman, Managing Director, BSL and Christopher James Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, South West Asia, Intercontinental Hotels Group exchanging documents after signing the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel. M Faruk Khan, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, was present on the occasion.
Holiday Report

 
Bangladesh Services Limited (BSL) and Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), the world’s largest hotel group by number of rooms, last week signed an initial 30-year “Management Agreement” for the ‘Intercontinental Dhaka’.
Md. Atharul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism and Chairman, BSL and Air Commodore Lutfur Rahman, Managing Director, BSL and Christopher James Moloney, Chief Operating Officer, South West Asia, Intercontinental Hotels Group signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel. M Faruk Khan, Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism, was present on the occasion.  The hotel, currently operating as the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, will initially be operated and managed as the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel prior to its re-branding. The Hotel will undergo an extensive renovation and will be upgraded to the Intercontinental brand standards. The rebranding of the hotel, due in 2014, will mark IHG’s re-entry into Bangladesh.
“BSL will make all efforts to rebrand the hotel earlier,” and “IHG is delighted to return to Bangladesh market while BSL is also proud to have the brand “Intercontinental” back,” the two sides said.  The hotel will feature larger guest rooms in conformity with five-star requirement with all modern amenities, an all day dining restaurant, two specialty restaurants, a deli bar and Intercontinental Club Lounge. Business centre, ballroom, convention centre and multiple meeting rooms will facilitate business and social gathering. Guests will also be able to relax and enjoy the hotel’s health club, spa and pool facilities.
Following an extensive renovation, 
Intercontinental Dhaka will take its rightful place in the heart of the city, welcoming business and leisure travellers from around the world.
The hotel with all the modern facilities and amenities will be prepared to deliver its guests with the highest quality of services.  In order to make this an iconic hotel, IHG is committed to assist BSL in doing the renovation in compliance with their brand standard, sources said.

 


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 Ocean Paradise Hotel ties up with Pushpita Visuals

Holiday Report

 
Ocean Paradise Hotel and Resort Cox’s Bazar and Pushpita Visuals signed a corporate tie-up agreement in Cox’s Bazar recently.  Atique Rahman, Executive Director of Ocean Paradise and M. Z. I.  Dalton Zahir, In charge Marketing and Public Relations of Ocean Paradise Hotel and Resort and Zahid Hassan, owner of Pushpita Visuals signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides. Some actors were present.
Under the agreement, guests paying name of Pushpita Visuals are entitled to a special package deal which includes discount on room tariff.

Comment

Holiday Report

 
Ocean Paradise Hotel and Resort Cox’s Bazar and Pushpita Visuals signed a corporate tie-up agreement in Cox’s Bazar recently.  Atique Rahman, Executive Director of Ocean Paradise and M. Z. I.  Dalton Zahir, In charge Marketing and Public Relations of Ocean Paradise Hotel and Resort and Zahid Hassan, owner of Pushpita Visuals signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides. Some actors were present.
Under the agreement, guests paying name of Pushpita Visuals are entitled to a special package deal which includes discount on room tariff.

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 Air Australia goes bust

Budget carrier Air Australia went into voluntary administration last week, grounding all domestic and international flights and stranding thousands of passengers.

The news comes a day after embattled Australian flag-carrier Qantas said it was slashing at least 500 jobs, cutting costs and closing two international routes after posting a 83 per cent slump in first-half net profits.
In a statement on its website, the Brisbane-based Air Australia, whose 300 staff have been stood down, said it had appointed Mark Korda of Korda Mentha as voluntary administrators.  “In the short-term, the fleet will be grounded. It currently appears that there are no funds available to meet operational expenses so flights will be suspended immediately,” the administrator said.  “For clarity, it also appears highly unlikely there will be any flights in the short to medium term.”
Air Australia flew international routes to the Indonesian island of Bali, Thailand, and Hawaii, and domestically to Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth, Derby and Port Hedland in Western Australia.  Administrator Mark Korda said up to 4,000 passengers were currently overseas with Air Australia return tickets and advised them to find alternative arrangements.
He told ABC radio the airline was unable to buy fuel at Phuket International Airport, prompting fears about the airline’s solvency.  “Air Australia was unable to purchase fuel in Phuket to refuel the planes so the directors had a meeting at 1.30 in the morning and appointed us as administrators due to the solvency of the company,” Korda said.  “The supplier of the fuel wouldn’t grant any further credit to the company.”
Reports said a flight out of Honolulu was also refused fuel.  The carrier, previously known as Strategic Airlines and relaunched in November 2011 to cash in on underserviced routes, flew five Airbus A330-200 and A320-200 aircraft.
Earlier Korda said he was hoping to find a “white knight” to save the airline.  “Hopefully we can find a white knight, if not the operations will stay suspended and then what we’ll do is we’ll follow up with everybody about how did this all happen?
Qantas chief Alan Joyce, whose own airline has been hit hard by soaring fuel costs and a fleet grounding last year due to labour disputes, said he would do what he could to help stranded passengers.  “If the (Air Australia) passengers come to a Qantas desk, a Jetstar desk, show their ticket, we’ll give them a ticket for the same value they’ve paid with Air Australia,” he said.
Joyce said Qantas was also looking at adding supplementary services. 
—Agencies

Comment

Budget carrier Air Australia went into voluntary administration last week, grounding all domestic and international flights and stranding thousands of passengers.

The news comes a day after embattled Australian flag-carrier Qantas said it was slashing at least 500 jobs, cutting costs and closing two international routes after posting a 83 per cent slump in first-half net profits.
In a statement on its website, the Brisbane-based Air Australia, whose 300 staff have been stood down, said it had appointed Mark Korda of Korda Mentha as voluntary administrators.  “In the short-term, the fleet will be grounded. It currently appears that there are no funds available to meet operational expenses so flights will be suspended immediately,” the administrator said.  “For clarity, it also appears highly unlikely there will be any flights in the short to medium term.”
Air Australia flew international routes to the Indonesian island of Bali, Thailand, and Hawaii, and domestically to Brisbane, Melbourne, and Perth, Derby and Port Hedland in Western Australia.  Administrator Mark Korda said up to 4,000 passengers were currently overseas with Air Australia return tickets and advised them to find alternative arrangements.
He told ABC radio the airline was unable to buy fuel at Phuket International Airport, prompting fears about the airline’s solvency.  “Air Australia was unable to purchase fuel in Phuket to refuel the planes so the directors had a meeting at 1.30 in the morning and appointed us as administrators due to the solvency of the company,” Korda said.  “The supplier of the fuel wouldn’t grant any further credit to the company.”
Reports said a flight out of Honolulu was also refused fuel.  The carrier, previously known as Strategic Airlines and relaunched in November 2011 to cash in on underserviced routes, flew five Airbus A330-200 and A320-200 aircraft.
Earlier Korda said he was hoping to find a “white knight” to save the airline.  “Hopefully we can find a white knight, if not the operations will stay suspended and then what we’ll do is we’ll follow up with everybody about how did this all happen?
Qantas chief Alan Joyce, whose own airline has been hit hard by soaring fuel costs and a fleet grounding last year due to labour disputes, said he would do what he could to help stranded passengers.  “If the (Air Australia) passengers come to a Qantas desk, a Jetstar desk, show their ticket, we’ll give them a ticket for the same value they’ve paid with Air Australia,” he said.
Joyce said Qantas was also looking at adding supplementary services. 
—Agencies

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Crisis-hit Kingfisher unveils new losses

India’s debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines reported last week an almost doubling of net losses in the last quarter of 2011, plunging it further into a financial crisis that threatens its survival.  The company posted a net loss of 4.44 billion rupees (US$88 million) in the three months to December, compared with 2.54 billion rupees a year earlier.

Sales fell about 25 per cent to 13.42 billion rupees from 17.90 billion rupees, while interest charges on its huge debt pile rose to 3.5 billion rupees from 3.4 billion a year earlier.  The company had been due to release figures for its fiscal third-quarter, but it was unable to because of “hardware problems” with its accounting system, it said.
The Bangalore-based carrier has seen its passenger market share slump in recent months to 12.1 per cent.
It is battling a cash-flow crisis that it says has been caused by soaring fuel costs and high local sales taxes as well as a domestic price war.
Kingfisher, owned by brewing magnate Vijay Mallya, has never posted a net profit since it started operating in 2005.  “The company has incurred substantial losses and its net worth has been eroded,” Mallya said in a company statement issued on the day.  The airline called the quarter “challenging” due to the steep depreciation of the rupee coupled with high crude oil prices.  Its aircraft fuel costs rose 37 per cent year-on-year, to 7.39 billion rupees in the quarter.
The carrier’s shares closed up 0.75 per cent at 26.95, retracing from an intraday high of 28 rupees after earnings came in, signalling that investors had feared sharper losses.
Concerns over Kingfisher’s financial viability heightened after it axed the low-cost Kingfisher Red service to concentrate on its full-fare business in September.
Kingfisher has been one of India’s worst-hit airlines in an industry—once a symbol of India’s economic progress—which is now plagued by high jet fuel prices, fierce competition, price wars and inadequate airport infrastructure.
Just one of India’s main carriers is thought to make money, the privately owned budget airline IndiGo.
Indian airlines, the growth of which has been one of the most visible signs of the country’s economic expansion, are struggling to cope with soaring fuel prices, intense competition and heavy debt.  A quarter of Kingfisher is owned by local banks and some have refused to lend more cash to the firm unless fresh capital is raised.  Mallya in November said unnamed investors had shown an interest in putting money into the airline, but a deal is yet to be finalised.  “Nothing will start improving for Kingfisher until they manage to raise fresh capital,” said Sharan Lillaney, analyst at Mumbai-based Angel Broking.
An Indian government panel last month approved a plan to allow airlines to directly import jet fuel, which could ease fuel costs for local carriers.
The aviation ministry is also considering plans to allow foreign airlines to buy up to 49 per cent in local carriers.
Foreign airlines are currently banned from owning stakes in Indian carriers although non-airline investors from abroad can hold as much as 49 per cent. 
—Agencies

Comment

India’s debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines reported last week an almost doubling of net losses in the last quarter of 2011, plunging it further into a financial crisis that threatens its survival.  The company posted a net loss of 4.44 billion rupees (US$88 million) in the three months to December, compared with 2.54 billion rupees a year earlier.

Sales fell about 25 per cent to 13.42 billion rupees from 17.90 billion rupees, while interest charges on its huge debt pile rose to 3.5 billion rupees from 3.4 billion a year earlier.  The company had been due to release figures for its fiscal third-quarter, but it was unable to because of “hardware problems” with its accounting system, it said.
The Bangalore-based carrier has seen its passenger market share slump in recent months to 12.1 per cent.
It is battling a cash-flow crisis that it says has been caused by soaring fuel costs and high local sales taxes as well as a domestic price war.
Kingfisher, owned by brewing magnate Vijay Mallya, has never posted a net profit since it started operating in 2005.  “The company has incurred substantial losses and its net worth has been eroded,” Mallya said in a company statement issued on the day.  The airline called the quarter “challenging” due to the steep depreciation of the rupee coupled with high crude oil prices.  Its aircraft fuel costs rose 37 per cent year-on-year, to 7.39 billion rupees in the quarter.
The carrier’s shares closed up 0.75 per cent at 26.95, retracing from an intraday high of 28 rupees after earnings came in, signalling that investors had feared sharper losses.
Concerns over Kingfisher’s financial viability heightened after it axed the low-cost Kingfisher Red service to concentrate on its full-fare business in September.
Kingfisher has been one of India’s worst-hit airlines in an industry—once a symbol of India’s economic progress—which is now plagued by high jet fuel prices, fierce competition, price wars and inadequate airport infrastructure.
Just one of India’s main carriers is thought to make money, the privately owned budget airline IndiGo.
Indian airlines, the growth of which has been one of the most visible signs of the country’s economic expansion, are struggling to cope with soaring fuel prices, intense competition and heavy debt.  A quarter of Kingfisher is owned by local banks and some have refused to lend more cash to the firm unless fresh capital is raised.  Mallya in November said unnamed investors had shown an interest in putting money into the airline, but a deal is yet to be finalised.  “Nothing will start improving for Kingfisher until they manage to raise fresh capital,” said Sharan Lillaney, analyst at Mumbai-based Angel Broking.
An Indian government panel last month approved a plan to allow airlines to directly import jet fuel, which could ease fuel costs for local carriers.
The aviation ministry is also considering plans to allow foreign airlines to buy up to 49 per cent in local carriers.
Foreign airlines are currently banned from owning stakes in Indian carriers although non-airline investors from abroad can hold as much as 49 per cent. 
—Agencies

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Virgin urges EC to stop BMI-BA  merger

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has lodged a formal complaint against the proposed merger of British Midland International (BMI) with British Airways to the European Commission (EC) on the ground that the merger would create a domestic monopoly resulting in high prices for travellers.

Virgin Atlantic, in which Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group holds a 51 per cent stake, alleges that the deal would affect nearly 2 million passengers, who may have to pay higher fares and have limited choices for flights from Scottish airports to London Heathrow.  It said passengers would be left with a “choice of one” when flying to Heathrow from either Edinburgh or Aberdeen airport.  Virgin Atlantic, which has been opposing the merger since both carriers first started talks in September 2009, added in its complaint that British Airways could also increase fare prices, cut routes and the frequency of flights.
If regulators approve the deal, Virgin Atlantic argues that British Airway’s would have an absolute monopoly of routes from Heathrow to Scotland’s three largest airports - Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.  In December 2011, International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, signed a binding agreement to buy BMI for £172.5 million from Lufthansa. Bmibaby and BMI Regional units were not part of the proposed takeover.  But the proposed takeover would give IAG near monopoly of Heathrow airport, where British Airways holds the highest number of take-off and landing slots, while BMI holds the second-highest.  IAG will get 56 additional taking off and landing slots at Heathrow, UK’s biggest and busiest airport once the deal is approved by the regulators.
British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, has chosen to downplay the opposition by saying that if the deal is approved, British Airways would “provide more than enough capacity” between Scotland and London Heathrow.
—Agencies

Comment

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic has lodged a formal complaint against the proposed merger of British Midland International (BMI) with British Airways to the European Commission (EC) on the ground that the merger would create a domestic monopoly resulting in high prices for travellers.

Virgin Atlantic, in which Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group holds a 51 per cent stake, alleges that the deal would affect nearly 2 million passengers, who may have to pay higher fares and have limited choices for flights from Scottish airports to London Heathrow.  It said passengers would be left with a “choice of one” when flying to Heathrow from either Edinburgh or Aberdeen airport.  Virgin Atlantic, which has been opposing the merger since both carriers first started talks in September 2009, added in its complaint that British Airways could also increase fare prices, cut routes and the frequency of flights.
If regulators approve the deal, Virgin Atlantic argues that British Airway’s would have an absolute monopoly of routes from Heathrow to Scotland’s three largest airports - Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.  In December 2011, International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways and Spanish carrier Iberia, signed a binding agreement to buy BMI for £172.5 million from Lufthansa. Bmibaby and BMI Regional units were not part of the proposed takeover.  But the proposed takeover would give IAG near monopoly of Heathrow airport, where British Airways holds the highest number of take-off and landing slots, while BMI holds the second-highest.  IAG will get 56 additional taking off and landing slots at Heathrow, UK’s biggest and busiest airport once the deal is approved by the regulators.
British Airways chief executive, Willie Walsh, has chosen to downplay the opposition by saying that if the deal is approved, British Airways would “provide more than enough capacity” between Scotland and London Heathrow.
—Agencies

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