Qantas cuts 2,000 staff as ground handling is outsourced | News

Qantas has notified around 2,000 employees that it will move to outsource ground handling operations at ten airports across Australia.

The decision comes as the flag-carrier works to recover from the Covid-19 crisis.

In August, the airline announced its reasons for needing to restructure its ground handling operations, which includes baggage handling and aircraft cleaning, and commenced a review of external bids from specialist ground handlers and in-house bids from employees.

The Transport Workers Union (TWU) submitted a bid to keep the service in-house on behalf of employees in accordance with terms in the enterprise agreement.

However, the bid was, by their own admission, “theoretical” with no roadmap of how projected cost savings would be achieved.

It also did not meet the objectives relating to capital expenditure on ground services equipment nor matching the ground handling services (and their cost) to fluctuating levels of demand, the airline said.

While proposals from employees at various ports did include detailed plans that would save around $18 million, there remained a significant gap compared to what was offered by third party providers.

A number of external bidders, some of whom already provide these services at 55 airports across Australia, were able to meet

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Travelodge retains virtually all hotels following landlord dispute | News

Travelodge has retained a network of 578 hotels following an acrimonious company voluntary arrangement deal with owners.

The brand said the remaining hotels accounted for more than 98 per of its 2019 UK hotel EBITDA.

Steve Bennett, Travelodge property director, said: “While the Covid-19 situation has created unprecedented challenges for the whole UK hospitality industry, we have worked closely with our landlords to try to find the best possible path forward. 

“With the overwhelming support and commitment of so many landlords across the country, we now have a strong, diversified and well invested network that leaves us well positioned for the recovery.

“The group would like to thank its landlords for their overwhelming support and will continue to work closely with all its stakeholders over the months ahead.”

The voluntary arrangement included a break clause allowing landlords to terminate leases and re-let the hotels without penalty with an initial deadline of November 18th.

With the deadline now passed, fears an exodus of hundreds of landlords have proved unfounded.

AGO Hotels secured nine Travelodge leases and Premier Inn owner Whitbread took up two further properties.

The low-cost brand had a portfolio of 590 hotels in the UK, Spain and Ireland at

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Virgin Atlantic to launch pre-flight testing at Heathrow | News

Virgin Atlantic customers flying to Barbados or onwards to Antigua and Grenada on selected flights will receive a free, rapid, point of care, pre-departure lateral flow antigen test at Heathrow.

Launching on December 9th, the move is part of an airline-led trial to gather vital data on the logistics and effectiveness of pre-departure testing.

Virgin Atlantic continues to lead the way with industry in calling for the introduction of a robust pre-departure regime, to swiftly and safely replace the new UK ‘test and release’ scheme commencing December 15th.

The trial initiative, six weeks in duration, will further demonstrate the deliverability of a pre-departure testing regime at scale, offering real-world data for these popular leisure routes as UK travel restrictions for non-essential travel ease as of December 3rd.

Industry-led trials at London Heathrow support the latest independent analysis by Oxera and Edge Health which shows that all forms of passenger testing would be more effective than the current 14-day quarantine.

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, said: “The new UK test to release scheme is a vital first step in re-opening the skies, but we must now move rapidly towards a single test pre-departure regime in order to ensure the

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Maldives leads global winners at World Travel Awards | News

World Travel Awards – the international initiative to recognise and reward excellence in travel and tourism – has unveiled the 2020 winners of its global titles.

Winners include Maldives, which cemented its reputation as the definitive secluded sanctuary to win ‘World’s Leading Destination’ for the first time.

Portugal also performed strongly, with Madeira voted ‘World’s Leading Island Destination’, Lisbon named ‘World’s Leading City Break Destination’ and the Algarve picking up ‘World’s Leading Beach Destination’.

Russia’s imperial splendour was recognised with the award for ‘World’s Leading Cultural Destination’, and its cities emerging with top honours: Moscow was voted ‘World’s Leading City Destination’ and Saint Petersburg collected ‘World’s Leading Cultural City Destination’.

Greek Ministry of Tourism/GNTO was voted ‘World’s Leading Tourist Board’.

In the hospitality sector, Armani Hotel Dubai fended off a tough field to emerge as ‘World’s Leading Hotel’, while Sardinia’s Forte Village Resort claimed the trophy for ‘World’s Leading Resort’.

The blissfully remote Amanpulo, Philippines was named ‘World’s Leading Dive Resort’, and the St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort took ‘World’s Leading Luxury Island Resort’.

Vietnam’s InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort gained recognition for its eco-credentials with ‘World’s Leading Green Resort’.

Royal Penthouse @ Mandarin Oriental Jumeira, Dubai was named ‘World’s

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Delta to launch Italian quarantine-free testing trial | News

Delta Air Lines, the Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have joined forces for a transatlantic Covid-19 testing program.

It is hoped the scheme will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy, in accordance with a decree expected to be issued soon by the government.

“Carefully designed Covid-19 testing protocols are the best path for resuming international travel safely and without quarantine until vaccinations are widely in place,” said Steve Sear, Delta president.

“Safety is our core promise – it’s at the centre of this pioneering testing effort and it’s the foundation of our standards for cleanliness and hygiene to help customers feel confident when they fly Delta.”

Delta has engaged expert advisors from Mayo Clinic, a global leader in serious and complex healthcare, to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed for Delta to execute a Covid-tested flight program.

“Based on the modelling we have conducted, when testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection, including mask requirements, proper social distancing and environmental cleaning, we can predict that the risk of Covid-19 infection – on a flight that is 60 per cent full – should be nearly one in a million,” said Henry Ting, chief value officer at

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Mandarin Oriental to manage Savoy Baur en Ville from 2024 | News

In a busy day for luxury tourism in Switzerland, Mandarin Oriental has announced that it will manage and re-brand the historic Savoy Baur en Ville hotel in Zurich.

The property will join the portfolio from 2024.

The hotel, which first opened in 1838, is a landmark property on Paradeplatz, the main square in the city centre.

It is located in the heart of the old town, within the main business centre, close to the leisure attractions and a short walk from the shores of Lake Zurich. 

The hotel is currently managed by Credit Suisse.

In 2022, the hotel will close and undergo a comprehensive two-year renovation to reposition the property as the market leader in the city.

The hotel will have 80 guestrooms and suites and three dining outlets, comprising an all-day dining venue, a speciality restaurant and a lobby lounge.

The property is ideally placed for meetings and gatherings, and the renovation will enhance conference and event facilities, including a grand historic ballroom.

In addition, a state-of-the-art fitness centre will be installed.

French interior designer, Tristan Auer, Paris has been appointed to oversee the full design.

As a key global financial centre, Zurich is well known as a business

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