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INFORM


WORDS MOLLY DYSON


DFT CONSIDERS NATIONALISING NORTHERN RAIL TO TACKLE ISSUES


THE GOVERNMENT IS REPORTEDLY weighing up the possibility of nationalising services operated by Northern Rail following “poor performance” from the company. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said he has requested proposals from the firm and the Operator of Last Resort (OLR), saying Northern’s performance “cannot continue”. Shapps was giving evidence to


the Commons’ Transport Select Committee on his priorities as the new transport secretary. He said it was unacceptable to “carry on just thinking it is okay for trains not to arrive, or Sunday services not to be in place”. The Department for Transport (DfT)


agreed Northern has faced challenges on its franchise, but that the request for proposal submitted to the operator “enables the


department to examine whether the contract is properly aligned with current operating challenges in the North” and to “determine whether the franchise owner or an OLR would be best placed to tackle these issues and deliver for passengers”. Northern was impacted by disruption


following the introduction of a new timetable last summer, which saw commuters facing last-minute cancellations and delays for weeks. The franchise has since seen passenger numbers fall. Shapps said the company “has failed to recover”. In response, Northern managing director


David Brown said: “It’s on record that the Northern franchise has faced several... challenges in the past couple of years, outside the direct control of Northern. The most significant of these is the ongoing late delivery of major infrastructure upgrades.”


‘MAJORITY OF PROGRAMMES’ USE CORPORATE CARDS


NEW RESEARCH SHOWS 67 per cent of global organisations use corporate cards when it comes to expenses, with travel managers also using virtual cards to manage spend for infrequent travellers. A global study conducted by ACTE in association with Mastercard and the NAPCP also found 60 per cent of survey respondents are “very” or “extremely” satisfied with their chosen corporate card while 63 per cent said it is their preferred payment method. However, on a regional level, lodge cards are the most commonly used payment method in Europe at 84 per cent, followed by corporate cards at 68 per cent. The report, Evolving Payments in Corporate Travel, shows that while adoption of virtual cards or single-use accounts for business travel is still low at 14 per cent, 28 per cent said they plan to adopt them in the future.


18 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2019


Norwegian partners with Jetblue


LOW-COST CARRIERS Norwegian and Jetblue will form an interline agreement so passengers can book flights from Europe to destinations across the US. Under the plans, customers would


be able to book transatlantic services and connecting flights to points within the US in one transaction, with the airlines hoping to launch the partnership for the summer 2020 season. According to Norwegian, the


agreement would connect more than 60 US and nearly 40 Caribbean and Latin American cities to its network via JFK, Boston and Fort Lauderdale airports. The carrier currently offers more than 20 non-stop routes to the three hubs from Europe. Jetblue also plans to launch flights


from New York and Boston to London from 2021.


buyingbusinesstravel.com


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