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HOTELS


Accor acquires Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel in US$2.9bn deal


ACCORHOTELS, EUROPE’S LARGEST HOTEL GROUP, has acquired the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel brands in a deal worth around US$2.9 billion. The French group has signed an agreement with the Qatar Investment Authority


(QIA), Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) of Saudi Arabia and Oxford Properties, an Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), for the acquisition of FRHI Holdings, parent company of the three brands. FRHI has 155 hotels and resorts, 40 of which are under development, in 34 countries across five continents. FRHI’s portfolio includes Raffles Singapore; The Savoy in London; Shanghai’s


Fairmont Peace Hotel; The Plaza Hotel in New York; Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris; Fairmont San Francisco; Fairmont Banff Springs in Canada; and the Fairmont Grand Del Mar in San Diego.


LABOUR RELATIONS


Lufthansa avoids strike action after pay deal


LUFTHANSA HAS AGREED A COMPENSATION PACKAGE with 30,000 ground staff, avoiding further strike action that has dogged the airline for the past couple of years. The German carrier said it will make a one-off payment of Ð2,250 to each employee with a 2.2 per cent rise.


AIRLINES


MALAYSIA AIRLINES EXPANDS EMIRATES PARTNERSHIP


MALAYSIA AIRLINES HAS CONTINUED ITS TURNAROUND DRIVE after signing a deal to expand its partnership with Emirates. The two airlines have signed a codeshare agreement that will see Malaysia add its code on flights of Emirates to Europe, Middle East, Africa and the Americas. In return, Emirates will add its code on flights to domestic routes in Malaysia, and across the Asia Pacific region. The deal will also mean Malaysia can abandon certain loss-making routes, as well as doubling the amount of destinations it can offer.


Earlier this year Malaysia was declared “technically bankrupt” with the airline being


16 BBT JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016


hit by two tragic events – the disappearance of MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine. A complete restructure and 6,000 job losses were announced. Malaysia CEO Christoph Mueller, who joined the company from Aer Lingus last March, said the deal would allow it to stop flying to Amsterdam and Paris with its own aircraft and instead book customers on to flights operated by Emirates. It is yet to be confirmed what carrier will now operate the Amsterdam and Paris routes. However, it seems likely that Malaysia’s Paris-Kuala Lumpur route will be operated by Emirates via Dubai from early this year.


As part of the deal struck with union group Verdi, workers have also entered into a “fundamentally reformed” collective labour agreement regarding the corporate pension scheme. The deal covers Lufthansa airport staff as well as catering, IT, freight and maintenance workers.


“With this one-off


payment, our employees will benefit from this year’s anticipated good corporate results. The 33-month term, from April 1, will create planning security and harmony between the bargaining parties,” said Dr Bettina Volkens, Lufthansa’s senior vice president, corporate personnel.


Uber Pool service allows ride-shares with strangers


UBER HAS LAUNCHED A SERVICE IN LONDON that allows passengers to share a ride with strangers for a 25 per cent discount. The Uber Pool scheme allows up to


three passengers to share a ride at a fixed fare, which is 25 per cent cheaper than the firm’s most affordable option, Uber X. Passengers have to select Uber Pool on the app, and it works the same way as the normal service, except you could be matched with another person heading in the same direction either before you’re picked up, or on route. Uber said those sharing will not be


taken “more than a few minutes” out of their way. Under the new booking system, which went live in December, a fare from Clapham Common to Shoreditch could be around £10, and from Soho to Heathrow just over £30.


The passenger pays a separate


fare from the co-rider, is billed separately and emailed their own receipt. The other person also never has access to payment or personal information.


BUYINGBUSINESSTRAVEL.COM GROUND TRANSPORT


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