BCD Holdings N.V., the Dutch family-owned company that is the
parent of WorldTravel BTI, has agreed to purchase TUI’s business
travel subsidiary and an ownership interest in the Travel Co., a
BCD Holdings will combine WorldTravel BTI, TUI Business Travel
and the Travel Co. into a new, as-yet-unnamed global travel
management company with $8 billion in annual sales and 10,000
WorldTravel BTI CEO Mike Buckman will become the global CEO of
the new company.
The launch of the new corporate travel company comes as BCD
Holdings and the U.K.’s Hogg Robinson, 50-50 owners of Business
Travel International (BTI), agreed to go-it-alone strategies. The
companies said they will continue to serve mutual customers under
the BTI brand and will honor all contracts.
Hogg Robinson said it will continue to operate under the BTI
brand through its wholly owned or majority-controlled companies
throughout the world. In North America, Hogg Robinson owns Sea Gate
Travel and BTI Canada.
At the same time, Navigant International and TQ3 Travel
Solutions Management Holdings (whose parent is TUI) said they
terminated their global joint venture. Navigant will retain TQ3’s
global brand rights and trademark. Under the agreement, TQ3 Travel
Solutions Management Holdings will transfer its 50 percent stake in
TQ3 Travel Solutions to Navigant.
Navigant’s split with its joint venture partner means that TQ3
Travel Solutions Management Holdings and its subsidiaries will
rebrand their corporate travel operations by the end of June.
Navigant, meanwhile, will manage the remaining international TQ3
offices, including those in Latin America and Asia Pacific, under
the TQ3 brand.
BCD Holdings said it expects to close on the TUI Business Travel
transaction in March. The companies declined to disclose the
financial terms of the agreement.
Southwest Adds Denver Flights
Southwest Airlines has silently begun selling tickets for
nonstop flights from Denver to Oakland, Calif., and San Diego in
addition to other new routes, the Denver Post reported.
Southwest announced in October that it would offer flights from
Denver to Phoenix, Las Vegas and Chicago’s Midway airport starting
early this month. But the airline’s Web site shows a route map that
also includes Oakland, Calif., and San Diego. Come Feb. 11, the
airline will offer one nonstop flight to each of these cities,
It’s unclear how long the flights on those routes will continue,
Berg said, which is why the company hasn’t announced them.
Currently, the flights can be booked on Southwest’s Web site
through March 11.
The end date is not firm. Berg said schedulers may continue the
routes “if it’s working fine and we don’t have any other place we
need [the planes].”
Southwest has planes available for use on Saturdays that during
the week are used on business-heavy routes. It has been operating
similar Saturday-only flights to other cities without announcing
them for six or seven years, Berg said.
Starting flights on new routes without announcing them is not a
widespread industry practice.
Whether the flights last or not, the move does show Southwest’s
interest in flights from Denver to Oakland and San Diego. Southwest
has a large presence in California, with flights out of Oakland,
San Jose, Sacramento, Burbank, Ontario, Los Angeles, Orange County
and San Diego.
Is Great American Going Under?
River cruise operator Great American Journeys appears to have
The company’s toll-free booking number is disconnected; calls to
its main office by agents and ARTA officials were not answered; and
the company has not paid commissions to several retailers,
according to ARTA’s administrative director Pat Funk.
But in an article in the Seattle Times, it seems the company is
still going. According to the paper, Great American is waiting for
refinancing and has put off commission payments to agents and
Owner Douglas Toms told the Times that decisions on 2006
sailings would be made soon.
Signature Adds On
United Vacations announced that it will be a preferred provider for
the Signature Travel Network.
According to United Vacations’ vice president and general
manager Rick Karnes, Signature’s volume of retailers and “members
who aggressively market using technology” made joining Signature
Frosch International Travel, Inc., a Houston-based travel
company has also announced that it will join forces with Signature.
According to president Bryan Leibman, the move comes at a time when
Frosch Travel has “achieved a new level of success in the
Maupintour Leaves USTOA
Maupintour has officially withdrawn its USTOA membership and will
no longer participate in the USTOA Travelers Assistance Program,
which includes the organization’s $1 million Consumer Protection
Bond according to the USTOA.
Bob Whitley, president of the organization, said that purchases
made before Dec. 13, 2005, were fully covered but that client
payments thereafter are not.
According to Whitley, since Maupintour had been sold, the
company no longer qualified for USTOA membership.
“We have enjoyed having Maupintour as a USTOA member, and we
hope that the company will apply for membership in the future,”