29 SEPTEMBER 2014

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AMEX management platform

American Express Global Business Travel has announced the launch of First from AMEX, a premium travel management platform which provides a premium personalised service to business travellers.

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CityJet fast bag drop

London City Airport already has the shortest check-in time in the UK, and together with CityJet has now introduced a new self-handled bag drop which will reduce this part of the operation from perhaps a couple of minutes to just 50 seconds.  Called the Sonic ‘phase 5’ Self Bag Tag system it came on-line last week at the dockland airport.

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Mitsubishi Regional roll-out

It has not happened yet, and these things can go wrong (remember the Dornier 728 which had a real ceremonial introduction only for the company to go bust 10 days later.  Boeing’s 787 and Bombardier’s C series first public viewings perhaps should have been delayed). 

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp has announced the “rollout ceremony” for its first MRJ (Mitsubishi Regional Jet) on 18 October 2014.

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Portuguese IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group has announced the signing of two flagship hotels in Portugal, the InterContinental, Lisbon and Crowne Plaza, Porto.

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COMMENT: A380s at Heathrow

The American magazine Aviation Week, normally highlighting more military aviation than commercial is now questioning the Airbus A380 and potential problems at Heathrow.  BTN acknowledges the edited use of a feature dated 1 September

Some 15 A380s operate into Heathrow every day.  Emirates flies A380s on all five of its daily London – Dubai rotations, while Singapore Airlines uses the type on three of its four flights.  And the number looks set to rise, with British Airways taking delivery of more A380s in the coming months, to be joined by Qatar Airways and Etihad in October and December, respectively.

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Air France strike ends

Late yesterday (Sunday 28 September) the Air France pilots' union SNPL called off the two-week strike that was crippling the airline.  Services should return to normal within a couple of days.  On Sunday the French national airline only operated 45% of its scheduled flights.

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BA adds and drops

British Airways has said it will no longer offer Heathrow flights to the Sri Lankan capital Colombo from next year.  The carrier currently flies to the city via Male in the Maldives.  This service will continue over the winter but will end on 28 March.  Flights to Male only will then resume for winter 2015.  SriLankan Airlines, which recently joined the oneworld alliance, also operates the route.  This is the opposite of Kuala Lumpur where BA is set to compete with Malaysia Airlines. (See BTN 21 September)

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ERA meets in Barcelona

Alison Chambers will be at ERA this week.  Here she previews the event.

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Manston Airport acquired

The former Manston Airport site in Kent has been acquired by regeneration specialists Trevor Cartner and Chris Musgrave.  The new owners envisage a £1bn redevelopment of the 800-acre site, over a 20-year period, into a mixed-use scheme helping to create more than 4,000 jobs.

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Monarch for sale

Following news that Monarch Airlines and its associated companies are for sale Monarch has confirmed secretive Greybull Capital as the preferred bidder and expects a deal to be finalised by the end of October.

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Routes Chicago – Clark speaks out

Sharing with the IATA AGM, World Routes (The 20th World Route Development Forum) is probably the most important annual gathering of the world’s airlines.  It may not attract the ‘A’ list of airline Chief Executives, although many do attend.  It is essentially a working opportunity for the airlines and airports to get together and plan for mutual opportunities.  There was a record attendance this year at Chicago last week and already people are planning ahead for Durban (South Africa) 19-22 September 2015.

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Thomas Cook long haul

Manchester Airport based Thomas Cook Airlines is bringing in new premium and economy products for its long haul scheduled fleet.  During the winter the airline is refurbishing its four A330-200 aircraft and adding a brand-new A330 to be leased in 2015 from AirTanker.  Earlier this year the airline announced new routes from Manchester to New York JFK and Miami, with the first flights taking place in May.

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Transiting Birmingham facility

Birmingham Airport has announced the completion of a new purpose-built transit facility, allowing connecting passengers to pass through the terminal with even greater speed and efficiency.

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ON TOUR: Clinique La Prairie – the ultimate spa

This week’s ON TOUR is a little different in that our two roaming reporters Alison Chambers and Jane Stanbury were generously offered a luxury experience in Montreux, courtesy of Clinique La Prairie.  Men are very welcome too, they report.

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AND FINALLY: Dodgy guides

Some guides are brilliant, others just machines, repeating what they have been told to say.

BTN came across one such mechanical guide the other day.

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Airbus A320neo flies

The lead Airbus A320neo flew for the first time last week, airborne for around two and a half hours.  Carrying the registration F-WNEO, it was flown by Airbus Experimental Test Pilots Philippe Pellerin and Etienne Miche de Malleray. 

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Brighton City Airport

Shoreham Airport (ESH) is under new management by a company called Brighton City Airport Ltd (BCAL). Albemarle Shoreham Airport Ltd (ASAL) who purchased a 150-year lease from the local council in 2008 has appointed BCAL to manage operations at the airport for a 30-year period. 

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Etihad follows Qatar

The intense rivalry between Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways, and respective Chief Executives James Hogan and Akbar al Baker, continued last week as the Abu Dhabi (Etihad) airline rolled out its lead A380 at the Airbus Toulouse plant  just a week after Qatar did the same.  The competition is likely to be continued at Heathrow shortly where again Etihad will follow Qatar, this time at T4.

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Hotel Football

It was inevitable, and opposite Manchester United’s OId Trafford stadium – 99 Sir Matt Busby Way, a location that is recognised by sports fans all over the world.  Hotel Football is to open on 8 December 2014.  Behind the project are former Man U teammates, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.  Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, all members of what is known as “the class of ‘92”, are also involved.

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MD for Luton Airport

Luton Airport is lining up a new Managing Director to replace the departed Glyn Jones before the end of the year but Chairman Clive Condie is playing his cards close to the chest. 

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Paris hotel

It is not only in the UK that prestigious, and very sound, classic buildings are finding a new life.  The Banke Hotel, built on an old prestigious bank headquarters has opened in Paris.  Very close to the city centre of the French capital, in the middle of the Opera area, it sits in one of the most luxurious commercial areas of Paris.

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SITA webspan

Readers are invited to involve themselves in an international webspan Wednesday 1 October at 16:00 British Summer Time (11:00 Eastern Time US) in which SITA, the airline industry information technology company, is sponsoring a discussion involving Nigel Pickford, Market Insight Director of SITA, and Kerem Kiziltunc, CIO of Turkish Airlines.

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WheelTug ‘Twist’

Doing the rounds of the various airline and airport gatherings prior to the certification of his WheelTug project, now due in 2016, Isaiah Cox, Chief Executive, has been promoting “Twist” a development from the aircraft taxiing venture.

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