This week in: Featuring Virgin Holidays, First Choice and British Airways

We take a look through the Travel Weekly archives in our 50th year to find out what was making the headlines 10, 25 and 45 years ago.

Travel Weekly, November 6, 2009

Virgin Holidays sales director Stewart Baird announced his departure and said he would be stepping down from Abta’s board to join venture capital fund Bridges Ventures.

Cosmos Holidays changed its booking conditions to require customers to pay 12 weeks in advance instead of eight in a change for its 2010 second-edition brochures, while Tui said it was considering a similar move.

• Abta pledged to put pressure on the UK’s chief political parties over further increases to Air Passenger Duty following rises announced on November 1.

Bmibaby revealed it would be cutting its fleet from 17 to 12 aircraft in 2010 with a potential loss of 158 jobs.

• Travel Designers director Nick McKay warned British Airways’ new charge to select a seat in advance could put customers off flying with the airline.

Travel Weekly, November 9, 1994

mcewan-abtaThomson lost nine percentage points of its market share in the crucial booking period to the end of September, with most of its loss being taken by arch-rival Airtours. The market leader won a 37% share of summer 1995 bookings, compared with 46% in the same period last year, according to an official industry report. Airtours’ share jumped from 19% to 25%.

First Choice was told to change the name of its main subsidiary and holding company for its main brands, First Choice Travel, after Companies House ruled it was too similar to one already used by an agent and operator in Kent, called First Choice Travel Services. The company said it would change the name but retain First Choice as its brand.

• Meanwhile, B&I Line was renamed Irish Ferries as it launched a new ship, and seat-only specialist Meridian Tours failed, blaming competition from Avro.

Travelnews, November 7, 1974

mcewan-abta• A row broke out between Thomson and British Airways at Abta’s two-day London conference. Thomson Travel chief executive Bryan Llewellyn feared an uncontrolled supply of air seats, mostly in the hands of the state, would bring about a government monopoly of the civil aviation and holiday business – a view rebuffed by BA’s Gerry Draper.

• Also at the conference, it was revealed airline capacity was expected to exceed demand in the European inclusive tour market in 1975 by 50% or more. The prediction was made by CAA member Ray Colegate.

• Meanwhile, a suggestion that operators charge for brochures was overwhelmingly defeated at the forum.

• In separate news, creditors were told the total debts of failed Court Line could reach £77 million, with company assets expected to realise only £7.3 million.

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