Crandall: No specifics in ’08 race
By Nadine Godwin
Star, United links
“At these fuel prices, all U.S. carriers will be out
of money by the end of this year or early next,”
Crandall said. “We need to do something about
the conga lines at LaGuardia. Those planes are
burning fuel” as they wait for takeoff.
Moreover, he said, “The secretary of transportation should chop 25% out of the schedules at
congested airports. End of discussion.
“If I were secretary of transportation, I’d say we
are having a summit with the airlines, and I’d say no
airplane can be more than five minutes
from out to off [between departing the
gate and leaving the ground].”
From a strategic perspective, address-
ing the transportation crisis requires
grabbing the attention of politicians, the
public and the press, Crandall said.
“How do you get the politicians to
pay attention to substance? You don’t,
Bob Crandall unless you give them $10 million.”
Former Chairman The next alternative is “making a lot
American Airlines of noise. [We need] to get the conversa-
tion going, to get the outrage going, to get
people saying, ‘This cannot go on.’”
Crandall called on members of the travel indus-
try “who have an interest in the state of aviation”
to talk to their representatives and ask: “Why aren’t
you doing anything? What are you waiting for?”
Making a lot of noise, he said, requires major
coverage in the big consumer newspapers.
It would help, Crandall said, “if suddenly there
were tremendous traffic on the blogs” dealing with
Who should be blogging? He said he’d like to
see every person and company with a stake in aviation “taking an active part in the debate.”
Former American Airlines chairman Bob Crandall
has some advice for the two parties’ presumptive
presidential candidates, but he’s pretty sure that
neither one is focusing any serious attention on
travel and transportation issues at the moment.
For that matter, he said in a recent interview,
neither Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) nor Sen.
Barack Obama (D-Ill.) are “talking about energy
policy or health care.
“We get vague generalities, [not] substantive ideas,” Crandall said, insisting
that the candidates have to pay attention to a deepening crisis in the U.S.
“I’d like for them to say, ‘We have a
terrible energy crisis, and one of the biggest users is transportation. If elected,
I’ll have a transportation program that
revitalizes 8,000 miles of rail lines in my
four years,’” Crandall said.
He wants both candidates to outline
how they would implement such a plan and how
they would pay for it.
Bringing back rail for short-haul travel is one part
of a larger vision that Crandall shared this month at
the Wings Club in New York. That vision also calls
for a larger government role in shaping the framework, including air ticket pricing, for aviation in
America — in other words, a form of reregulation.
“We need a transportation plan,” he said. “What
I tried to do [in the Wings Club remarks] was lay
out the elements of a transportation plan.”
However, he said, some things cannot wait for a
new president to take the oath of office next January.
Vail Resorts to buy
Continental plans to drop out of
the Sky Team alliance and join Star
as part of a plan to forge closer
ties to United and its alliance partners. In a joint statement, United
and Continental said they planned
to “cooperate extensively” with
codesharing, frequent flyer reciprocity and other activities. Also
planned are joint ventures with
each other and with Star Alliance
carriers for serving Asia/Pacific
and Latin American markets.
Vail Resorts agreed to acquire Colorado Mountain Express, operator
of airport shuttle and limousine
service at most of the state’s major ski resorts. Vail would pay $40
million to buy the transportation
service and its 250 vans and luxury
SUVs from East West Resort Transportation Holdings.
Vail to purchase Colorado Mountain Express.
Continental plans to drop out of Sky Team.
Continental said it “intends to
transition out of Sky Team and into
the Star Alliance in a customer-friendly manner,” but it warned
that the process of terminating
various contractual relationships
could take months.
Vail CEO Rob Katz said he was
interested in buying the service because it represents “the first touch
point with many of our guests.”
MGM to flag hotel
in China project
St. Regis brand
grows to Malaysia
Starwood disclosed plans to bring
its St. Regis brand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with the opening
of a 200-room hotel in 2014. The
project, part of a mixed-used development, will include 200 St.
New Carnival execs reduce direct sales
By Johanna Jainchill
for the time being — less direct business. So far, it
appears that the result of that change in strategy
Carnival Cruise Lines is de-emphasizing its direct- has improved yields and ... reduced G&A costs.”
to-consumer sales channel this year following the Arison’s comments were veiled references to Car-departure of two key executives, Carnival Corp. nival’s former senior vice president of sales, Vicki
CEO Micky Arison said last week. Freed, now in the top sales position at Royal Carib-
In a conference call with analysts to discuss Car- bean International, and the former head of Carni-nival Corp.’s earnings, Arison said that the cruise val’s PVP program, Bob Becker, now with Norwe-line’s leadership had reduced direct sales business gian Cruise Line. Both left Carnival this year.
under the executive team it assembled under Ger- Arison would not say what percentage of Car-ald Cahill, after former President nival’s sales were direct. Carnival
and CEO Bob Dickinson retired said after the call that direct sales
in November. Carnival Corp. posts had “decreased fairly significantly”
Arison said that by selling more $390M profit. P. 16 since 2007.
inventory through the travel agent “The travel agent distribution
channel instead of through its direct-sales staff, system has been an effective and efficient distribu-known as Personal Vacation Planners, Carnival tion system for this company for 35 years,” Arison
Cruise Lines has decreased its costs and improved told the analysts. “They have shown this year that
its yields by saving on the company’s general and they can give us the yield improvements we need
administrative expenses. to overcome these higher fuel costs.”
“Two of Carnival’s senior sales and marketing Royal Caribbean President and CEO Adam
executives, who were clearly the most aggressive Goldstein responded on behalf of Freed.
in growing Carnival Cruise Lines’ PVP and direct “It’s unfortunate and unusual for one company
business, left the company,” Arison said. to single out another company’s employee to make
“Gerry and his team ... have really re-evaluated a point,” he wrote in an email. “We are extremely
that program, and the fact is that they have signifi- fortunate to be the beneficiaries of [Freed’s] three
cantly reduced the business from that program,” decades of building incredible relationships with
Arison said. “The result is — and will be, at least travel agents.”
MGM Mirage and Diaoyutai State
Guesthouse inked a management
and development deal for an
MGM Grand hotel in Tianjin, China. The hotel will be part of Sino-steel International Plaza, a mixed-use project that will include the
hotel plus residential, conference
and office components. It will be
constructed in two phases.
The hotel will have 350 guestrooms, 50 suites under the Sky-lofts brand, 60 luxury condos, a
spa and restaurants.
opens Paris route
British Airways’ new unit, OpenSkies, made its inaugural Paris-New York flight, using an 82-seat
757 with three classes of service.
Apollo rolls out
Travelport’s Apollo system rolled
out exclusive enhancements for
Southwest that allows the carrier to automatically return a ticket
number for each booking, to facilitate agent reconciliation. Apollo
agents also gained the ability to
input client Rapid Rewards numbers, for automatic transfer from
the GDS to the airline.
IATA’s agency commissioner for
the U.S. upheld the termination
of Phoenix-based Tri Star Travel,
dba 10 Travel. IATA canceled the
Arizona agency in November for
improper use of the IATA numeric
code. It was one of four agencies
canceled in similar cases, including YTB.
IATA said 10 Travel violated standards that forbid agencies to lend,
subcontract or hire out use of IATA
numeric codes. The commissioner
ruled that 10 Travel must cease using its IATA code and recall all ID
cards with the number. The agency’s ARC relationship remains intact.