Showpiece Cable Car Ready For Olympics

A Showpiece cable car that should provide visitors with spectacular views of the UK’s capital city is expected to be operational in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

There had been doubts over whether the £50m structure would be available in time for the opening of the Olympic Games on July 27, but according to the Daily Mail, Justine Greening, the transport secretary, has received an application for final approval. If the cable car gets the expected go-ahead, visitors to the games will be able to use it to travel between the O2 Arena and the ExCel exhibition centre, two of the Olympic venues.

Emirates Airways has sponsored the hi-tech transportation system, and its 34 gondolas are expected to have enough capacity to convey 2,500 passengers per hour on the five-minute journey across the river from the Greenwich Peninsula to the Royal Docks.

Whilst falling short of confirming that the cable car would definitely be open in time for the games, Boris Johnson, London’s lord mayor, commented, ‘Gliding serenely through the air across the Thames will provide a truly sublime, bird’s eye view of our wonderful city. This innovative airborne travel link will be a vital component in the ongoing renaissance of a vibrant easterly quarter of the Capital, providing a much-needed river crossing.’

How much the fare will be for the aerial trip across the river has yet to be announced, but as a tourist attraction the cable car will rival the London Eye, a 135-metre Ferris wheel that has been situated on the south bank of the Thames in central London since 1999.

Easyjet to Partner Unicef

Easyjet, a UK-based low-cost airline, has announced that it is to partner Unicef, a worldwide charitable organisation with its headquarters in New York, that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.

Easyjet is set to launch the ‘Change For Good’ campaign aboard its aircraft on July 2, and all passengers will be invited to donate spare change to Unicef in pouches that will be handed out by the crew during flights.

With the initiative operating during the main summer and winter travel seasons, it is expected that 55 million passengers will be given the opportunity to donate, with the money raised funding Unicef’s vital work with children across the globe.

The chief executive of easyJet, Carolyn McCall, said, ‘We’re delighted to be embarking on a new partnership with Unicef. We’re passionate about our commitment to help and support children across the world, and are looking forward to getting involved with Unicef’s international projects. We are sure that our people and our passengers will be keen to support this vital cause.’

Speaking on behalf of Unicef, David Bull, executive director of Unicef UK, said, ‘This partnership gives us at Unicef a unique opportunity, to generate significant new support for our vital work with children and also bring information about our mission to an audience of millions. As two global organisations whose brands are recognised across the world, our new partnership is the perfect match for children.’

The partnership between the two organisations is planned to operate for a three-year period.

New Hotels Open In Time For Olympics

Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), a British-based, multinational hotel company, has announced the opening of two new hotels located in Chestnut Plaza, adjacent to the London 2012 Olympic Park.

The two new properties, the Holiday Inn-branded London Stratford City, and the Staybridge Suites-branded London Stratford City, are owned by a joint venture between Cycas Hotel Partners and Patron Capital, and Cycas Hospitality will operate them under a franchise agreement with IHG.

The hotels are part of Westfield Stratford City, a major retail complex, and have rail and underground transportation links via Stratford International railway station, underground and DLR.

The two hotels are expected to be popular with visitors to the Olympic games, owing to their proximity to the main games venues and transport links with London’s West End and tourist attractions.

‘A big focus for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is the regeneration of East London. The hotels will help to create that legacy, with 120 new jobs created. The opening of these two new hotels also sees IHG pass a significant milestone, we now have over 40,000 hotel rooms in the UK,’ said Angela Brav, IHG chief executive for Europe.

While John Wagner of Cycas Capital BV, commented, ‘Holiday Inn London Stratford City and Staybridge Suites London Stratford City will be situated in one of London’s most important new developments at Westfield Stratford City. This new location is at the heart of one of the world’s premier sporting and retail areas and the two hotels will offer choice for both business and leisure guests before, during and beyond the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.’

New Gatwick Service For Caribbean Airlines

Caribbean Airlines, an airline company that has its base and hub at Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad, has commenced flights between Trinidad and Gatwick Airport in the UK.

The Gatwick service, which started on Saturday June 16, will be non-stop, twice weekly to Piarco International Airport.

Commenting on the inauguration of the new flights, Guy Stephenson, the chief commercial officer at Gatwick Airport, said, ‘We are delighted to welcome Caribbean Airlines and its passengers to our airport today. This non-stop service will not only be welcomed by business travellers with links to the economic hub of Trinidad but also with holiday makers wanting to soak up the Caribbean sun and vibrant culture this destination offers.’

While Caribbean Airlines chief executive officer, Mr Robert Corbie said: ‘We are extremely happy to announce the start-up of our service from Gatwick to Piarco International Airport as our flights will provide a vital link between London and the Caribbean. We are well positioned strategically to become the preferred airline for all customers flying between London and the Caribbean with seamless connections to South America. ‘Fly Caribbean’ to experience the warmth of the islands as soon as you step on board.’

Caribbean Airlines joins other international air carriers that have chosen to commence operations out of Gatwick Airport this year, including Air Nigeria, Korean Air, Hong Kong Airways and Air China. The airport’s increased popularity with overseas operators is considered to be partly due to improvements in its facilities, on which the airport’s management has recently been investing £20m per month.

London Olympics Proves Big Draw For Brits

London can expect a massive influx of British-based visitors for the 2012 Olympic Games, according to a new survey.

The survey, which was carried out by hotel comparison site, Trivigo, suggests that 73 percent more British travellers than usual will be visiting London during the period July 29 to August 12. That is 17.5 percent of all UK travellers at that time.

Additional data compiled by the company also concludes that visitors for the Olympics chose to book early in order to guarantee the accommodation that they required, rather than wait in the hope of getting a cheaper last-minute deal, which has become a popular strategy when making more general travel arrangements. A large proportion of Olympics visitors booked their accommodation between March and April.

A Trivigo spokesperson was reported in the Daily Mail as saying, ‘Although we can only speculate as to what is pulling so many visitors to London, the sheer excitement surrounding the event is enough to have an impact on visitor numbers. Aside from the abundance of smaller events set to take place in London during this time, the Olympics alone are a monumental historical event with an unparalleled atmosphere and sense of national pride – which assumingly many UK citizens want to be part of.’

Conversely, reports suggest that non-Olympic tourists from overseas are avoiding London during the games due to a perception that food and accommodation prices in the capital will be excessive.

According to estimates by Trivigo, during the games the average price of a London hotel will be £281, and 36 percent of rooms are still available to book.