Los Angeles Mayor Announces New Airport Facility

*Ensemble's Expanded Hotel Program
*Classic Honeymoon Contest
*And More

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, along with Board of Airport Commissioners and executives for Qantas Airways, announced the opening of the new Qantas Airways Maintenance facility at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). This Qantas maintenance and engineering facility will be the first overseas maintenance base at LAX.

The facility will function as a full-service maintenance and engineering base for Qantas in the United States. With more than 80 service technician positions, it more than doubles the engineering and maintenance workforce.

“Qantas LAX’s largest international airline has taken over this hangar as a tangible sign of its commitment to the city of Los Angeles and LAX,” said Villaraigosa.

Noting that Qantas will be the first airline to fly the Airbus A-380 to the United States in 2007, Mayor Villaraigosa said LAX will be ready to accommodate the new aircraft.

“Los Angeles recognizes the importance of this new service to our international carriers,” he said, “and we are committed to making sure that LAX is ready when Qantas brings the first A-380 here to Los Angeles.”

Ensemble Travel’s Expanded Hotel Program

Along with expanded amenities package and additional properties especially in the luxury segment Ensemble Travel Group released a 132-page Ensemble Hotel & Resort Collection directory for 2006. The program offers hundreds of complimentary perks, many of which are only available when booking through an Ensemble Travel Group member.

Included in this year’s collection are customized encounters, such as an interpretive nature walk and tree planted in guests’ names at the Kichwa Tembo in Kenya’s Masai Mara; resort credits, such as a $200 spa experience at the Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic; and dining discounts, such as a full English breakfast daily at the Milestone in London.

These amenities are in addition to the standard perks, which include VIP service and preferred rates and, when available, room upgrades, early check-in and late check out.

More than 300 hotels and resorts are participating in the 2006 collection program, including the Orient-Express Hotels and the Boscolo Luxury Collection of Hotels. To participate in the program, each hotel and resort must meet a specific set of criteria.

“Not only has the number of properties more than doubled since its inception in 2002, the unique amenities and special perks offered at these elegant hotels and resorts really make our members stand out as experts in their clients’ eyes,” said Lois Shore, CTC, senior vice president of marketing, sales and public relations for Ensemble Travel Group.

Classic Honeymoon Contest

Classic Vacations recently launched a contest for travel agents to plan the “ultimate” honeymoon itinerary, with a range of prizes up for grabs, including a trip for two to Tahiti and American Express Gift Checks from $250 to $1,000.

To enter, travel agents must submit an original itinerary by March 31 for what they believe to be the perfect romantic vacation for a honeymooning couple. The itinerary must be comprised of only Classic Vacations travel components and include a selection of tours and activities.

Classic Vacations introduced the event as part of its Classic Romance promotion, which includes special offers at a collection of hotels and resorts in Hawaii, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe and Tahiti. In addition to discounted room rates or free nights, many packages come with amenities for honeymooners.

Travel + Leisure Ties the Knot

Travel + Leisure magazine and The Knot, a media company and wedding resource, recently announced a new joint venture. Travel + Romance magazine and its companion Web site, debuting in April, will showcase luxury honeymoons, destination weddings and trips for two.

“The explosion of the destination wedding and growing trend toward high-end honeymoons has created an exciting opportunity to partner with Travel + Leisure on a luxury romantic travel resource,” said David Liu, CEO of The Knot.

Travel + Romance magazine will have a cover price of $3.99 and an initial distribution of 500,000 to select members from The Knot and select Travel + Leisure subscribers, as well as newsstands and bookstores nationwide. The first issue will be the Spring/Summer 2006 edition, with plans for an annual frequency.