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NEWS COMPANIES UPDATE


FOCUS TRAVEL PARTNERSHIP TO CREATE ‘FORMIDABLE BRAND’


Franki Berry, digital reporter


NORWEGIAN AIR’S NEW CHIEF UPBEAT ABOUT TICKET SALES


James Chapple


Norwegian Air’s new boss has sounded a positive note after assuming control of the carrier in the new year, stressing forward ticket sales are “looking good”. Jacob Schram took over as chief


executive from acting chief executive Geir Karlsen, who has returned to his role as chief financial officer. It follows Bjorn Kjos’s decision to step down as chief executive last July after 17 years. Schram will lead Norwegian’s planned transition from growth to profitability, which the carrier, in its December traffic statement, said was going well, with overall unit revenue up 7%. Norwegian’s 2019 carryings fell 3% from


37.3 million to 36.3 million on account of planned reduction in capacity and “optimisation” of the carrier’s network. Load factor for the rolling 12-month period to 31 December increased 0.8 percentage points to 86.6% while Norwegian cut carbon emissions by 4% to 69 grams per passenger. In December, passenger numbers fell


19% year-on-year to 2.26 million on an improved load factor of 83.5%, up 4.9 percentage points. This, balanced against a reduction in capacity of a quarter to 6.4 million seats, pushed December unit revenue up 21% year-on-year. “The company has worked on reducing


capacity in line with demand and worked continuously to set a route structure adapted to the large seasonal fluctuations across the industry,” said Schram.


16 TRAVEL TRADE GAZETTE 13.01.2020


Business travel consortium Focus Travel Partnership has appointed former Business Travel Association chief executive Adrian Parkes (inset) as it seeks to become a “formidable brand”. Parkes – who has also held senior


roles at Etihad Airways, Portman Travel Group and bmi, among others – will join as non-executive chair, supporting Focus’s partners in growing profitability alongside Abby Penston, who was appointed managing director in 2019. Focus, which became a limited


company last year and now has 60 members, has joined the BTA – formerly the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC). It remains part of The Advantage Travel Partnership. “I have first-hand knowledge of the strength and reputation of Focus and have known them from their first beginnings in 1999, when as British Midland we were one of the first airlines to support Focus,” said Parkes. Focus has also


recently appointed Dani Ives from Advantage as events manager and Adam White, former


ICELOLLY’S £2M FUND TO BOOST GROWTH


Icelolly.com has attracted £2 million in private equity funding to support its future growth plans. Silicon Valley Bank has given the deals website the cash to invest in sales and marketing, boost brand awareness and expand its team following icelolly. com’s recent appointment of Simon


Baxter Hoare Travel managing director, as financial director. Penston added: “We plan to create and maintain a formidable brand, recognised in and out of the business travel community.” Clive Wratten, BTA chief


executive, added: “This also marks the start of an exciting new year for the BTA and an important decade of evolution for business travel. “In the year ahead, we’re looking forward to collaborating with members to drive the sustainable development of business travel and to showcase the vital role it plays in the economy.” Travelport has been named as Focus’s preferred GDS partner with Galileo.


Lloyd as chief marketing officer and Elliot Muscant as non-executive advisor. “We are pleased to announce this facility today to help make icelolly. com the best loved brand for UK holidaymakers,” said Richard Singer, icelolly.com chief executive. Icelolly.com launched its “biggest ever”


marketing initiative on 26 December. It sees the company “returning to its core values” by highlighting the ease with which customers can research and book.


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