2 MARCH 2015

YOUR WORDS


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Carolyn McCall at the Euro Aviation Club

In a major speech to the European Aviation Club last week Carolyn McCall, Chief Executive of easyJet, emphasised four points concerning airport charges.  She also outlined the airline’s views in meetings with Violeta Bulc, new European Transport Commissioner, and a range of MEPs with an interest in transport.

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Delta and wi-fi

Delta Air Lines is to upgrade its in-flight wi-fi service to offer faster speeds and expanded coverage enabling international passengers better connectivity when travelling to the US.

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Global Summit

After an absence of seven years, the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Global Summit returns to a European venue – Madrid (Spain) 15-16 April.

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Thomas Cook Airlines

Last week Manchester Airport cancelled a press conference with Ken O’Toole, Chief Commercial Officer of MAG and Christoph Debus, Chief Airlines & Hotels Officer, Thomas Cook Group.

It was being promoted to focus on airport and airline’s new partnership following the announcement last year of New York and Miami services.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Stewart Wingate - Chief Executive Gatwick Airport

Stewart Wingate is a Chartered Engineer and has been Chief Executive of Gatwick Airport since 2009.  He was Customer Services Director of Glasgow Airport (2004-2005), Chief Executive Officer of Budapest Airport (2005-2007) and prior to the purchase of Gatwick by a group headed by Global Infrastructure Partners, Managing Director of Stansted Airport (2007-2009).  He has a Master’s in Business Administration.

The runway decision must strike balance between the economy and environment.

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Aer Lingus Business Class and profit

While most attention has been drawn to its proposed takeover by IAG, Aer Lingus reported an 18% increase in annual profits before exceptional items, rising to €72m from €61m on strong long haul performance.  Revenue rose by 9.2%.  The Aer Lingus Board is proposing to pay an increased dividend of 5 cents per share for 2014, up from 4 cents for the year 2013, unlike IAG shareholders who have received nothing to date.

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Changes at the top airline chiefs go

Christine Ourmières-Widener is to step down as CEO of CityJet. 

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every hotel Piccadilly

A very superior 3-star hotel in a 5-star position.  That is how  Business Travel News  would describe the brand new every Hotel Piccadilly.  Previously a Thistle the hotel has been gutted and brought up to the same very high standard as the Grosvenor Victoria, also owned by GLH.

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Heathrow 2014 figures

With lobbying still intense regarding the Aviation Commission and its report due in June, Heathrow Airport Ltd has been quick to announce its 2014 results.

The airport says that:

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IAG results

British Airways owner IAG has come out with a fine set of provisional results raising its 2015 profit forecast by more than 20%, and outperforming its struggling continental rivals.  For 2014 it reported operating profit up 81% to €1.39bn.

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LATAM confuses but not much longer

We are told that the coming together of Brazil’s TAM Airlines and LAN of Chile to create the LATAM Airlines Group, now legally completed, will be shortly resolved in terms of a marketing identity. 

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OECD & UK airports

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published its UK survey for 2014.  It is a comprehensive 51-page document.

Tucked away (P31) is this passage:

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Transport Select Committee

The House of Commons Transport Committee held its final session of its smaller airports inquiry last Monday.   This comes on the back of the independent report by the General Aviation Red Tape Challenge Panel last June which recommended the Government should develop policies to sustain a network of UK airfields to facilitate connectivity by other than commercial air services. 

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ON TOUR: Business Travel Show

As they say ‘first impressions count’. 

Staged in the Grand Hall of Olympia last week the Business Travel Show looked breezy and busy, and sparkled.  Perhaps it was the natural light from the Victorian iron-framed glass roof.  While the size of the show, in terms of square feet, was much the same as the previous venue, Earls Court 2, the show just seemed bigger.

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CRUISE NEWS MARCH 2015

Our March cruise supplement is highlighted with the news that Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh, will name the new P&O Cruises vessel Britannia at Ocean Terminal, Southampton, on Tuesday 10 March 2015. 

David Dingle, Chairman of Carnival UK, said: “We are honoured and proud that Her Majesty will name Britannia almost 20 years after she named the P&O Cruises ship Oriana.  Britannia, a ship for the nation, will be the embodiment of contemporary Britain, and with her Union Jack livery she will fly the flag for Britain across the Globe.” (more follows) 

The fact that the Queen will name this latest ship gives prominence to how cruising is now the fastest growing part of the holiday industry.  Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) last week released its annual State of the Cruise Industry Report and is once again projecting strong growth in 2015.

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AND FINALLY: Smart terminal

Andy Garner, Business Development Director at Heathrow Airport, had not been briefed properly for the Air Transport World (ATW) awards last week, as on behalf of T2 he received the “Airport of the Year” trophy.  ( See story)    

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Air Transport World Awards

Some 200 industry guests gathered at the Onmi Shoreham Hotel, Washington DC last Wednesday (25 February) for Air Transport World’s (ATW) annual 41st airline industry achievement awards.   Airline of the Year Southwest Airlines had a good showing inside and out as a peaceful protest from baggage handlers coincided with guest arrivals.

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CSeries 300 flies

Bombardier's CS300, the larger version of its new CSeries jet, took off on its first test flight at the Canadian company's testing and assembly facility near Montreal on Friday.  This, Bombardier's largest commercial aircraft, with up to 160 seats, takes the company into markets dominated by Boeing and Airbus.  (See also BTN 16 February)

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Fight in the Gulf

A push by top US airlines to get the Obama administration to intervene against the rapid American expansion of three Gulf carriers has triggered opposition – much of it from within America.

American Airlines, Delta and United have circulated a 55-page briefing paper in Washington laying out what they say is evidence that these carriers are distorting global trade with the help of huge subsidies from their governments.

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India visa

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA, is leading a campaign for the Indian authorities to reconsider plans to even further complicate tourist visas from the UK to India. 

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Mini jet readies

The maiden flight of the Polish Flaris LAR 1 mini-jet is now just weeks away.  The tiny four-seat aircraft, which could be a breakthrough in terms of small aircraft design, was first noted by BTN in a Paris Air Show report 8 July 2013.

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Priority pass

Business travel spend is set to increase during 2015 but new research from Priority Pass reveals changing expectations amongst the UK’s most frequent business travellers.  The opportunity to extend the benefits of business travel, such as airport lounge access or preferential seating to families during leisure time is increasingly important for this group.  There is also a desire for travel brands to offer business travellers more experience-based benefits during work-related trips, such as access to spas, top restaurants and cultural events. 
 
The research is based on responses from around a 1,000 of the UK's most frequent business travellers, within the top 10-15% of income distribution. 

Key findings include:

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SWISS upgrades

New lounges will be opened for Senator-status travellers and Business customers at Zurich Airport’s Dock E in the fourth quarter of this year as SWISS pushes on with its service upgrade programme.

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UK growth for Germania

Germania is increasing its presence at Gatwick Airport with the addition of a new 215-seat Airbus 321, which will be used for charter business.

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