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WORDS MOLLY DYSON


INFORM


RYANAIR TO BUY MALTA AIR


RYANAIR HAS AGREED TO purchase start- up airline Malta Air, opening up the potential for the carrier to grow its presence in Malta.


Through the acquisition, Ryanair plans to move its six Malta-based Boeing 737 aircraft onto the Maltese register and switch 200 crew based in the country to local contracts paying Maltese taxes. Ryanair’s current Maltese fleet will be


rebranded in Malta Air’s colours for the summer 2020 season. In addition, aircraft based in France, Italy and Germany will be switched to the Maltese Air Operator Certificate (AOC), which Ryanair says will allow those crews to pay income taxes locally instead of in Ireland, where the airline currently holds its AOC – an issue that has caused some difficulties for the group in the past.


BLUE CUBE DEVELOPS BOOKER TRAINING


BLUE CUBE TRAVEL has developed a bespoke training programme for executive assistants, personal assistants and travel bookers in an effort to drive adoption of its online booking tool. The programme consists of eight one-hour


modules delivered monthly by the TMC’s account managers to travel bookers at the client’s premises over the course of the year. The first two modules cover air travel,


ticket types, fare classes, an overview of various airline cabin products and the best options for a client’s specific travellers. Preferred airline suppliers will also take


part in the programme, including Air Canada, which provides virtual reality demonstrations of its cabin products. Subsequent modules will cover hotel-


booking basics with explanations of different rates, bill-backs and best practice; UK and international rail ticket types; and itinerary planning.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


Q&A: FRED STRATFORD REED & MACKAY


INT E R VIEW


Reed & Mackay purchased Hillgate in May, then acquired Concierge Travel Group and teamed up with Munckhof Business Travel. Matthew Parsons talks to CEO Fred Stratford about these latest deals


What attracted you to Sydney-based Concierge Travel?


We’d been working with them for a couple of years, and identified them as a high-end business. Clients were saying we need to be in Australia. Who were the right sort of guys to work with? It was a list of one. We were also starting up in Australia because there was client demand, but it was initially slow. Concierge has given us a platform to fold those clients in more quickly than we would have done organically. And it works for our 24/7 service, which is a really big plus.


Why have you formed a strategic alliance with Munckhof Business Travel in the Netherlands?


The Netherlands was the next key market. We opened an office in Schiphol that’s going to be a platform to target the key sectors: law and finance. The number of calls from prospects has been encouraging. Schiphol is a huge airport; there’s a lot of business coming in. It’s the first office and there will be others as we progress it.


Are more acquisitions on the cards?


For the right businesses. If there’s client demand in a particular region, we’ll take a serious look at how we do that; either through an acquisition or an organic start-up. It’s not sector driven; it’s the demands of the client. Success for us is: are the clients happy?


Why did you join Sabre’s Beyond NDC programme?


We’ve had several conversations with airlines. We support NDC, no question, but the offering isn’t there yet. There’s a marketing message out there, and there’s a reality. It will get there but, as of today, it’s a lot of noise. We’re part of Sabre’s NDC Beyond programme because we all want this to work.


What keeps you awake at night?


Nothing, but what’s on my mind is that we as a business stay ahead of our competition. We’re keen that we can provide a service to clients where we can talk to them before they can talk to us about things. You can’t communcate enough, but it has to be valuable communcation. We’re always looking for ‘what’s next?’. ■ Read the full interview online at buyingbusinesstravel.com


2019 JULY/AUGUST 15


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