1 SEPTEMBER 2014

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Cyprus Airways

Following last week’s Business Travel News report that Cyprus is seeking ways of disposing and reinvigorating the national airline, which it owns non-binding proposals have been sought by the Government.  These were due to be submitted by the end of last week.

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Finnair’s mobile application

Airlines are getting more and more app savvy and rolling out public use software after software.

Finnair’s new mobile application, initially only available for Apple iOS devices and arriving on other mobile platforms later, is designed to be the customer’s companion throughout the customer journey, providing personalised, up-to-the-minute flight information and storing the customer’s mobile boarding passes.

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More CSeries problems

Back in 2002 Bombardier looked at the Dornier 728 at the point of time when Dornier filed for bankruptcy.  The prototype was due to fly, and there were firm orders for 125 and options for a further 164.  At five abreast it was wider than the Embraer 170 series and more fuel efficient.

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Qantas to the east

Times are changing in the airline business.  With national carriers of the Gulf Sates creaming off the traffic through the Middle East, Qantas (rather like British Airways) is looking at ways of by-passing that area.  With Qantas it is to the east. 

BA remains strong on the North Atlantic.  Qantas is boosting its traffic easterly.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Paul Simmons, Chief Commercial Officer of Flybe

Paul Simmons joined Flybe in October 2013 following more than seven years at easyJet where, since January 2009, he was responsible for commercial performance as Director, UK Markets.

His CV includes senior positions at two major international hotel groups, Intercontinental and Oberoi.

Flybe and London City Airport

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Australian smartphones?

Qantas and Virgin Australia passengers can now use smartphones and tablets throughout flights as long as they are in flight mode after the national aviation regulator relaxed a ban on electronic devices on aircraft.

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Drop-off change at Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport is changing its terminal drop-off area to cope with increased passenger numbers, enhance service and to simplify use for drivers.

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Malaysia Airlines

Kuala Lumpur based Malaysia Airlines (MAS) is to be effectively nationalised, delisted from the local Stock Exchange, becoming part of the country’s sovereign wealth fund.  The Chief Executive is to go and with him up to 6,000 staff.

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Moxy to debut

With the imminent opening of its first somewhat strangely named Moxy Hotel, at Terminal 2 Milan Malpensa Airport, Marriott International plans to open a further five additional locations in key cities throughout Europe during 2015 including Munich, Berlin and Frankfurt (Germany) and Oslo (Norway).  (See BTN 18 March 2013)  Moxy Hotels is projected to reach 150 properties within the next 10 years.

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Regus at T5

The new Regus Express Terminal 5 executive lounge  is very much meeting expectations according to Phil Kemp, who heads up ‘Third Place’ the international office provider’s approach to flexible working. (see BTN 18 August)

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Shangri-La change

After 25 very successful years Shangri-La’s mid-market Trader brand is to be remarketed as Hotel Jen.

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United self-tagging

There used to be a time when petrol (gas) was provided by an attendent.  Now for the most part it is self-service.

The same is happening with the airlines.  United has quietly rolled out self-service bag-tagging at Chicago O'Hare.  American has been offering the service at O’Hare, America’s second busiest airport for over a year.  In the United ticket lobby at O'Hare, 24 kiosks are equipped not only to check in passengers and issue boarding passes but can also now dispense self-adhesive luggage destination tags.

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Volcano update

A small volcanic eruption in the Bárðarbunga volcano system of Iceland that started in the early hours of Friday had stopped and all airspace restrictions have been lifted.

Earlier in the day the Icelandic Meteorological Office reduced its ash warning level for aviation from red to orange after concluding the eruption posed no threat to aircraft.

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ON TOUR: The Queen’s Terminal

Business Travel News has had the privilege of visiting from time to time Heathrow’s new Terminal 2, The Queen’s Terminal, as it developed from a huge hole in the ground until what you see today, undoubtedly the world’s finest airport structure. 

We have now used it in earnest, courtesy of Aer Lingus to Dublin and back, and are very impressed.  When the awards season begins in the autumn this one terminal (it must be considered as a single airport) is going to take all the prizes.  Heathrow T2 is good, very good. 

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CRUISE NEWS: SEPTEMBER 2014

Cruising and free internet

Business Travel News, and other publications too, have battled hard in recent years for free internet access at hotels.  Largely we have won, although there are some ludicrous cases including a major London rail terminus where the adjoining hotel charges and the train station is free.  The coffee is more expensive in the hotel too.

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AND FINALLY: Rule Britannia

This publication supports the Scotland No campaign even if it means putting up with the Scottish soccer results on National TV on a Saturday afternoon. 

This is the monthly cruise edition of BTN.  It is quite clear which way the holiday liner operators want to go.  And Hebridean is based in Oban. 

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Berlin Airport update

BTN  has no news of when Brandenburg International, Berlin's new gateway, will open.  It was originally planned for 2010.  Some sceptics now say 2018.  However Schönefeld, on the same site, is more and more active and has an excellent direct train service to central Berlin.  easyJet is one of its largest operators.  The biggest loser is probably Air Berlin, which planned ahead to expand with the airport opening.  In 2013 it lost around £200m. 

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Dusseldorf to Stansted

Stansted now has a twice week daily service to Dusseldorf, with a single rotation both Saturday and Sunday.  Airbus A319 aircraft are used.

Germanwings, the Lufthansa subsidiary operating the route, is already established at the airport serving both Cologne and Hanover.

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MIU Events disappears

Flight Global  reports that customers for a business aviation conference organised by MIU Events Ltd are desperately trying to contact the company.  A pair of events were cancelled, one at extremely short notice and the web site suspended.

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Passenger boarding

Norwich has become one of the first UK airports to introduce the Aviramp’s aircraft boarding ramp system.  This self-contained mobile passenger boarding equipment is designed to provide access for all passengers including those with reduced mobility.

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Russian low-cost

Aeroflot will create a new low-cost subsidiary to replace sanctions-hit Dobrolet, RIA news agency reported, citing Vitaly Savelyev, Chief Executive of Aeroflot.

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Ryanair and the business flyer

With 25% of its passengers thought to be travelling on business Ryanair is set to try and capture more of that market.  The airline is introducing a "Business Plus" fare providing fast-track security (where possible), priority boarding, some premium seats, flexibility on ticket changes, and a 20kg checked-in bag allowance.  There is no change in the actual cabin but customers paying the premium fare can choose their seat including by the emergency exit and in rows near the front.  It is still 3+3 on a Boeing 737.

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Unaccompanied minors

American Airlines says that it is going to change its policy on unaccompanied minors, and charge the US$150 fee each way for youths as old as age 14.  Previously, American charged the US$150 fee only for children ages 5 to 11. This brings it in line with owner US Airways.

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Yoga in Terminal 4 – Try yourself

SkyTeam Alliance is offering its customers a new way to relax pre-flight with the opening of a yoga pilot project in its lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 4.

The two months pilot project is available to customers flying from Heathrow on any of the 13 member airlines serving the airport. The studio will have yoga mats and a video showing a series of easy-to-follow sequences.

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