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INFORM


WORDS MOLLY DYSON


VIRGIN TRAINS PLANS RIVAL L IV ER P OOL-LONDON SER VICE


VIRGIN TRAINS HAS LODGED an application to launch an hourly service between Liverpool and London to compete with the new franchise owner from 2021. The operator says its “open access”


application to the Office of Rail and Road would see it offer cheaper fares than competitors, with each ticket coming with a reserved seat – something the company proposed as part of a submission to the Williams Review back in April. Virgin Trains will officially lose the


franchise in 2020 after its partner, Stagecoach, was banned from bidding by the Department for Transport. The company claims it could offer tickets


10 per cent cheaper than the rival service, but including free wifi, complimentary films and TV, and an “at-seat” catering service.


By switching to an airline-style model in


which all tickets come with reserved seats, Virgin says it can combat overcrowding on busy services. However, if there is any kind of disruption


on the line and passengers don’t manage to get a seat on alternative trains, they will receive refunds rather than being allowed to stand during the journey. Virgin aims to run 24 services per day


between London Euston and Liverpool Lime Street, which could also call at Lichfield, Tamworth, Nuneaton and Liverpool South Parkway. The company says it expects the


operation to generate annual revenue of £50 million, with Virgin partnering with Stagecoach, SNCF and Alstom on the route.


New Flybe owner appoints CEO


CONNECT AIRWAYS, the consortium that has agreed to buy regional carrier Flybe, has appointed Mark Anderson (pictured above), Virgin Atlantic’s former head of customer experience, as chief executive as it waits for the deal to complete.


The group – made up of Virgin Atlantic, Stobart Group and Cyrus Capital – is awaiting clearance to complete the acquisition of the struggling airline. It bought the company’s assets for £2.8 million in February and was given the go-ahead from the carrier’s shareholders to complete the sale for 1p per share. It is believed regulators may make a decision on whether to let the deal go ahead in July. In May, Flybe chief executive Christine Ourmieres- Widener announced she will resign from the airline on 15 July.


18 JULY/AUGUST 2019


Jo Layton launches CAP Worldwide


INDUSTRY VETERAN Jo Layton has launched a new serviced apartment booking agency for the corporate market called CAP Worldwide Serviced Apartments. Layton, former managing director


of The Apartment Service, is now director and co-owner of CAP Worldwide, along with Andrew Hopgood, who brings years of experience in the relocation sector and is the “architect” of the company’s “Capture” technology platform. Other leaders heading up the firm include Kate Scott, director and head of global implementation and client management; Francine Migliorati, director and head of traveller wellbeing and services; and Liz Warnes, who has recently joined CAP Worldwide and worked with Layton for ten years during her tenure at BridgeStreet Hospitality.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


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