Gatwick to welcome new planes dubbed "modern marvels of aviation engineering"

Emirates has given Gatwick a 15 per cent capacity boost, after announcing it’s to launch its A380 service from the airport, businesstraveller.com reports.

The announcement comes after Gatwick invested some £6.4 million into becoming A380 compliant – so its passenger capacity could increase without the need for additional runways or terminals. The investment included widening runway taxiways and modifications nearer the stand.

In changing from Boeing 777s to A380s, Emirates could take around 60 more passengers on each flight. Not only that, passengers can also enjoy a superior onboard product, whether they are in premium or economy.

Whilst the current Emirates service will only run from Dubai to London, it could also bring in new visitors from much further afield, who stop off in the UAE for a connection. It should also align Gatwick much more closely with Heathrow and Manchester, which already offer passengers the A380 services.

Making the announcement, chief commercial officer of London Gatwick, Guy Stephenson, told buyingbusinesstravel.com: “The A380 is one of the modern marvels of aviation engineering and as such we have dedicated part of Gatwick’s £1 billion investment in transforming its infrastructure, creating a stand designed specifically with the world’s largest aircraft in mind.

“We are pleased to welcome a scheduled A380 service with Emirates, an airline that Gatwick has a long history with.”

Easyjet to double London Luton capacity

Easyjet could double the number of passengers it brings through the gates of London Luton over the next decade, buyingbusinesstravel.com reports.

A new ten-year agreement has been signed by both parties which would double the current number of Easyjet passengers to nine million every year.

Work will start right away on the new objective, with Easyjet planning to increase capacity on its 15 Luton-based aircraft by one fifth during 2014. It is also looking into new business destinations in order to diversify Luton’s offering and make it more well-known across the corporate world.

Such plans are reliant on being given the go-ahead from government. Whilst application for the agreement was granted last year, community secretary Eric Pickles still needs to give it the green light before any such work can progress.

This announcement shows huge intent from Easyjet, as it comes on the back of a similar seven-year agreement struck up this year between the airline and Gatwick airport. It should see the creation of 2,500 new jobs within the airport and in its surrounding areas.

Speaking of the reasons behind this agreement, Easyjet CEO Carolyn McCall told businesstraveller.com: “Their financial investment and long-term commitment to developing London Luton were a key factor [sic] in agreeing to this new deal and will help us deliver our plans.

“London Luton can make a real and immediate contribution to the need for more airport capacity in the south east.

Differentiation the key to B2B events, claims EMA chair

Being able to offer something that competitors can only dream of is the key to success in hosting business-to-business events.

That’s according to Richard Waddington, chairman of the Event Marketing Association (EMA), who shared a number of event-hosting insights with delegates at his group’s latest UK discussion.

As reported by citmagazine.co.uk, the association supports the ongoing development of corporate event marketers through its various events across the UK.

The EMA’s most recent gathering featured talks on several different aspects of differentiation, such as staying ahead of the game and making a difference with a tight budget.

Cited by meetpie.com, Mr Waddington said the best B2B gatherings are made up of the right people, the right content and plenty of interaction.

These three things, according to Mr Waddington, can help create a truly unique event.

“You want your clients going away feeling ‘that was a good investment of my time, I learnt something, shared something, met industry peers at a quality event – I’ll make sure I go again.”

Mr Waddington also warned attendees not to ignore the “basic logistic factors” that should support each an every B2B event. These range from fundamentals like the venue, food and catering to points like communication and invites.

The EMA chair considers these as ‘hygiene factors’ that go unnoticed until their absence is highlighted.  

Air China returns to Gatwick Airport to target business travellers

Air China has announced that it will return to Gatwick Airport to run flights to and from Beijing in a bid to attract more business travellers.

Business class passengers will be provided with fully-flat seats during the flight, allowed access to Gatwick’s exclusive Traveller Lounge in the North Terminal and given the use of a limousine service at each end of their journey, travel-news.co.uk reports.

New regulations are now in place enabling visitors to enjoy a 72 hour-stay in Beijing without a visa, further benefiting those visiting the capital for business meetings.

The service will commence this summer, with the airline flying from London Gatwick to Beijing International Airport four times every week. The service will employ the Airbus A330-200 aircraft and offer both business class and economy class seating options.

Xiaoming Wu, general manager for Air China UK & Ireland, told breakingtravelnews.com that the demand for air travel between these two destinations is ever increasing and that Gatwick’s proximity to London makes it an ideal travel option for Chinese business passengers.

Mr Wu said: “We trust that together with Air China’s strong network across Asia and Australia, our flights between Gatwick and Beijing will greatly enhance the passenger travel experience as well as benefiting the communications and exchanges between people across the two countries.”

Keep an open mind when looking for a last-minute wedding venue

Bride and grooms-to-be should keep an open mind when looking for a last-minute wedding venue, as their first choice might not be available, a wedding planner advises.

Writing for marieclaire.co.uk, Joe Blackman, CEO of wedding planners Collection 26, says be prepared to compromise on the venue. This may mean reducing guest numbers or having a small change in location. Naturally, all important decisions such as these should be discussed with the other half beforehand, he adds.

To make people’s lives easier, Mr Blackman recommends couples choose an easy wedding venue. This means hiring something that already looks great and doesn’t require a lot of work.

Supermodel Susan Holmes-McKagan, who used to be on TV show ‘Married To Rock’, notes there are a few things that shouldn’t be forgotten on the wedding day. For example, phone chargers, aspirin, water and tissues all come in handy on the big day, she writes on huffingtonpost.com – so these should probably be packed in advance.

Mr Blackman states there’s no shame in asking others for help, especially the parents.

“Most would love to help you put together your special day and be a part of creating it,” he explains. “Talk to them about responsibilities they might help you with to ease some of the pressure, and once you have set out your timeline and budget this will make this quite easy to do.”

East-West gap in business travel expected

The West’s business travel sector is expected to reach its pre-crash levels by 2018, amadeus.com reports.

According to the new ‘Shaping the Future of Travel’ report from technology provider Amadeus, business travel figures from the West will reach the levels they enjoyed before the global financial crisis by 2018.

Outside of this market, however, it could be a different story altogether. With a number of Asian countries barely being impacted by the financial woes at all, these are expected to see business travel figures improve much quicker than anywhere else. This could even negate any “sluggish” behaviour exhibited in the West.   

Amadeus claimed that Eastern travellers will account for 55 per cent of all business journeys undertaken over the next ten years. Not only that, China may also overtake the US to become the world’s biggest domestic market for business travellers.

Despite these global disparities, Amadeus still said it expects overall growth in the business travel industry, with the next decade seeing a period of sustained growth.

Lead author of the study, Andrew Tessler, told buyingbusinesstravel.com: “The travel industry has had a difficult time in the past five years, but when you look at the report the tide is turning and we see a very strong potential for growth in different sectors – a golden decade is in front of us.”   

New trend emerging for 'wedding weekends'

A new article claims that many couples are doing away with the traditional one-day ceremony for their weddings, opting for whole weekends instead.

The post, published on luxurttravelmagazine.com, named the top trends that are emerging in the industry, based on the opinion of a number of wedding experts.

Talking about the ‘never-ending weekend trend’, the article read: “In the year ahead, wedding experts expect couples to expand upon the traditional wedding timeline and encourage their guests to make a weekend of it.

It continued: “More and more newlyweds are adding elements such as after parties, day-after breakfasts and brunches and increasing the size and scale of rehearsal dinners.”

As well as weekend wedding, other up-and-coming trends named include the incorporation of social media, having more informal food, such as a BBQ, instead of sit-down meal and scaling down the number of guests so that the wedding is more intimate.

Meanwhile, another article posted this week on theepochtimes.com claims there is also a new fad for many couples to get married within 90 days of their engagement.

New York City-based custom wedding planner, Christine Paul, told the site that she thinks the approach is a much more “modern perspective” as most couples don’t want to wait too long to marry these days.

Meetings need to be more fun, report argues

Events organisers should think of innovative ways to keep people entertained to prevent attendees’ minds from wandering, new research warns.

According to a study by electronics manufacturer Sharp, only half of people attending business meetings actually pay attention to what is going on, dailymail.co.uk notes.

Some 56 per cent of those involved in the survey claimed they’d been part of an event where the speaker was so boring their minds wandered. Not only that, an additional 44 per cent said they’d even seen audience members fall asleep as a result of boring presentations.

Perhaps the biggest reason for this boredom is meeting length, as 61 per cent said most meetings go on for far too long. This was certainly the case for one in ten, who were so bored by what was happening they actually invented a reason to leave, walesonline.co.uk claims.

Respondents weren’t just looking to raise complaints about conferences and events, but instead offered a few solutions. For example, 21 per cent said that the chance to ask questions would have kept their interest up for longer, but that they were not given the opportunity. With their interest then gone, 34 per cent then said they spent the rest of the presentations daydreaming.

These responses should certainly be heeded by event organisers, as meetings and conferences currently account for around 40 million office hours per week. As it stands, however, some 7.5 million of these are still deemed to be a waste of time.

London more popular than New York for big business

London has been named as the business capital of Europe – and maybe even the world – thanks to its popularity among global corporations, freshbusinessthinking.com reports.

New research from Deloitte showed that, of the 250 biggest global companies that have a HQ in Europe, two in five have a presence in London. Meanwhile in Paris the figure is just eight per cent, falling to three per cent in Madrid and 2.5 per cent in Brussels.

Additionally, London was found to have offices for 60 per cent of non-EU companies within the top 250 who had at least one base in Europe.

This also put London ahead of New York, as the US city is only chosen by 25 per cent of North American businesses within the top 250 for their regional HQ.

It wasn’t just office space where London beat the Big Apple but also its pool of skilled workers. Deloitte found that 47 per cent of all highly-skilled workers across Europe’s five biggest cities are employed in London. For New York, however, the comparative figure for North American cities was just 31 per cent.

Commenting on the findings, senior partner at Deloitte, Angus Knowles-Cutler, told managementtoday.co.uk: “The city is more central to the economy of Europe than New York is to the economy of North America and continues to attract the largest proportion of highly skilled talent.”

Purple is the perfect shade for this season's weddings

A new article claims purple is the perfect colour for upcoming weddings.

According to timesdispatch.com, purple is the most on-trend shade for nuptials right now. As well as representing “love, joy and health”, a purple tone, known as ‘radiant orchid’, was also named by Pantone hot colour for this year. 

Couples who are going to incorporate purple can use it for almost anything too, according to the article, with it reading:  “Purple works well in virtually every aspect of your wedding – bouquets to bridesmaid dresses, favours to table linens. You can even use purple in your wedding cake and desserts by incorporating fruit with purple hues such as plums or deliciously ripe blueberries.”

Those who aren’t a fan of this shade could often for alternatives such as pink or metallics which are also recommended. The former trend has become more prominent due to the rise in popularity of the ‘Great Gatsby’ theme of late. Couples wanting to try this theme should use gold, shiver, bronze and copper to add a “sparkle” to their wedding. Brides could even wear an elaborate piece of jewellery to match in with the theme.

Meanwhile, another article posted on india.com this week talks about what make-up trends are currently big. It is claimed that this season’s hottest lip trend is orange shades, which brides may consider for their big day if they are opting for a bold lip.