Industry news 5-25-2007

*DOT Gives Virgin America Go Ahead
*Tickets to TheTradeShow
*Nemo Goes On a Roadtrip
*and More...

DOT Gives Virgin America Go Ahead

The Transportation Department has recently issued U.S. domestic airline rights to Virgin America, the new entrant funded in part by Virgin Group chief Richard Branson.

The airline, based in San Francisco, intends to link the city to New York (JFK) in “mid-summer” for its inaugural route. They are also planning to seek DOT approval to begin accepting reservations before the start-up. The company can’t fly until it meets all the DOT’s conditions, which were imposed to ensure compliance with the legal requirement that U.S. carriers remain under the “actual control” of U.S. citizens.

To resolve concerns about the influence of Branson and other foreign investors, the DOT is requiring the airline to make a number of changes in its capital structure and corporate governance, including the trademark licensing agreement under which the company uses the Virgin brand. It also insisted on the removal of its CEO, Fred Reid, who was initially hired by Branson.

According to the DOT’s final order, Reid will be allowed to stay on as CEO for six months and to remain with the company in a consulting capacity for three months after that.

Virgin America is assembling a fleet of Airbus A320 and A319 aircraft for what it calls a “low-fare, high-value” service in major domestic markets. The carrier plans to expand to as many as 10 U.S. cities in its first year, including Los Angeles, Washington (Dulles), San Diego and Las Vegas.

Tickets to TheTradeShow

TheTradeShow, set for Sept. 9-11 in Las Vegas, is encouraging agents to register early and take advantage of the networking and educational event. Conference fees are $25 through June 1, and $35 afterwards. Complimentary tickets to one of five Las Vegas shows are available according to registration date and ticket availability and includes “Le Reve,” “The Scintas,” “Jubilee!,” “Blue Man Group” or “The Rat Pack is Back.”

Lucia Chung

Nemo Goes On a Roadtrip

As the new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is getting the final touches for its June 11 premiere at Disneyland, travel agents in the West might just catch a glimpse of the Nemo Dream Mobile coming out of the water and onto the roads.

This road-tripping submarine-on-wheels brings some of the magic of Disneyland Resort and its new summer attraction to cities in the western U.S. and Canada. Designed to resemble one of the yellow submarines in the Disneyland fleet, the Nemo Dream Mobile has surfaced and is setting course to visit Sacramento, Fresno, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Tucson and Phoenix.

Along for the voyage and appearing atop the Nemo Dream Mobile in select locations, is Nigel, the friendly pelican from the Disney/Pixar film “Finding Nemo,” along with the scavenging seagulls from the movie. The vehicle converts into an “aquarium on wheels,” featuring surprise appearances by Crush, the cruisin’ turtle from “Finding Nemo,” who can take questions and chat with small groups of guests in a road-show version of “Turtle Talk With Crush,” the interactive experience from Disneyland Resort.

At Disneyland, the all-new Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage attraction debuts June 11, featuring enhanced versions of the original 1959 Disneyland submarines. The new adventure takes submarine voyagers on an underwater expedition featuring cutting-edge imaging technology.

The Grand Opening of the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is part of the Year of a Million Dreams celebration at Disneyland Resort.

The Nemo Dream Mobile sets sail according to the following itinerary:

May 24-30Sacramento, Calif.
May 31June 1Fresno, Calif.
June 4-6Salt Lake City, Utah
June 13-15Las Vegas, Nev.
June 17-18Albuquerque, N.M.
June 21-22Tucson, Ariz.
June 26-29Phoenix, Ariz.

IsramWorld Announces New Division

IsramWorld’s CEO and executive chairman of the board, A. Ady Gelber, has announced the opening of the new Inside Sales Development Division. The division has been created to foster closer relations with agents and to assist the travel agent community with special requests. Web-based marketing support, sales incentives and customized collateral material are offered.

Former regional sales manager for the company, Raffaella De Luca, is the manager of the new division, and will use her expertise in customer/client relations and her extensive knowledge of IsramWorld’s destinations to act as a special assistance liaison between travel agents and the following IsramWorld companies: Isram, Orient Flexi Pax Tours, Latour Latin America, Escapade Vacations and Holy Land Sun Tours.

Lucia Chung

Mayor Villaraigosa Names director of Los Angeles World Airports

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined El Segundo Mayor Kelly McDowell and city councilmembers Bill Rosendahl and Janice Hahn to announce the appointment of Gina Marie Lindsey as the new executive director of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA).

Lindsey has a proven track record of modernizing international airports across the U.S. She brings 16 years of experience in airport management and a record of renovating and expanding international airports. Lindsey will be tasked with continuing Villaraigosa’s modernization and regionalization efforts, as well as developing new initiatives to update airport services.

In response to projections indicating that air traffic into Los Angeles will double by 2030, the mayor announced that ExpressJet and United Airlines would add flights and divert some routes to LA/Ontario International (ONT) and LA/Palmdale Regional (PMD) airports in an effort to ease overcrowding at LAX. Villaraigosa has also implemented an in-line baggage-screening system.

Jurni Announces 2007 Annual Conference

Jurni, the marketing organization for leisure travel agencies, has announced its fourth annual conference, Jurni Farther: Reach New Heights, scheduled for Sept. 27-30 at the Wyndham Hotel in Arlington, Texas.

The upcoming conference will offer attendees a look at leading-edge tools for improving customer relationship management, as well as offering creative solutions and best practices for expanding agency marketing abilities.

Educational workshops, idea forums and team-building events top the schedule. Jurni will also feature Stuart Ellis-Myers as the keynote speaker for the event.