Wow, busy few days for news. Here are the highlights: Mantra Group confirms it’s listing on the Australian Stock Exchange; Hilton Worldwide has launched a new brand, Curio; several airlines have agreed to trial IATA’s controversial New Distribution Capability (NDC), Amadeus Ticket Changer has arrived in Asia Pacific; Qantas now has 10 million frequent flyer members and Air New Zealand has ordered 14 new aircraft.
- Mantra Group is listing 53% of its shares for $1.80 on the ASX. The company says, “The purpose is to provide Mantra Group with access to capital markets, giving the company the flexibility to pursue further growth opportunities and to provide an opportunity for others to invest in Mantra Group. Proceeds will be used to reduce the company’s existing debt.” Which is huge. If all goes well the share will trade from June 26.
- Another day, another hotel brand – Curio, which becomes the 11th marque for Hilton Worldwide. The company says Curio will comprise four and five star properties known for their individuality: “hotels with stories to tell, and secrets to share”. It has five United States properties lined up for the launch – though no news on when that will be.
- The International Air Transport Association has announced that Aeroflot, Aer Lingus, Qatar Airways, and JR Technologies have agreed to trial IATA’s new distribution capability, “a travel industry-supported program for the development and market adoption of a new, XML-based data transmission standard.” There has been strong opposition to the NDC, especially from the incumbent Global Distribution Systems.
- Talking of the GDS, Amadeus Ticket Changer is being rolled out through Asia Pacific. Amadeus claims the new product will allow travel agents to reissue tickets, an infamously time-consuming task, in “as little as three minutes”.
- Qantas has signed up the 10 millionth member of its Frequent Flyer program. In case you’re wondering the member in question is a 52-year-old Victorian man with a serious moustache.
- Finally, Air New Zealand has ordered 13 new Airbus A320neo family aircraft plus an additional A320. The A320neo aircraft will replace the airline’s current A320 fleet which operates the majority of Air NZ’s Tasman and Pacific Island services. Air NZ CEO Christopher Luxon said the deal supports NZ’s fleet simplification strategy, which is focussed on Airbus narrow body aircraft.