25 MAY 2015

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Alitalia – Air France partnership

Alitalia has announced that it will not renew its partnership agreement and ancillary joint ventures agreements with Air France-KLM when they come up for renewal in 2017.  The initial agreements date back to 2009.

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CSeries and Paris

They say that when one bus that you have been waiting for arrives it is followed by another.  This might be the situation with Bombardier’s much delayed C series single aisle mid-range jet.  For the Paris Air Show (15-21 June) the Canadian aircraft manufacturer has announced it will be showing in public for the first time both the 110-seat CS100 and the 135-passenger version, the CS300. 

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EBACE – A full report next week

Airbus super salesman John Leahy flew into Geneva last week to announce to a packed press conference at the 15th annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) that the company was launching the A320neo in VIP configuration as the ACJ320neo and ACJ319neo. 

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IATA travel statistics

Passenger travel on international markets rose 4.6% in March compared to a year ago, in line with the 4.6% result in February according to the airline trade association IATA.  But the growth trend over the past several months, particularly for premium travel, has flattened.

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COMMENT: Long Haul Low-Cost

LeighFisher, the global management consulting firm, has produced a fascinating study on the viability of long haul low-cost (LCC) air carrier services. 

There are now more than 100 LCCs operating throughout the world, including 45 in Asia and Oceania, 35 in Europe, and 11 in North America.  However there are only three true long haul exponents, AirAsia X, Jetstar and Norwegian.

AirAsia X has blooded its nose in Europe but says it will come back, and Norwegian has yet to prove that Gatwick to North America works.  However it never goes head to head, New York and Los Angeles served by others from Heathrow, and it shied away from Miami by going to Ft Lauderdale.

We paraphrase a ‘Focus’ article which Michael O’Leary might take a look at.

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Aer Lingus and Ryanair – more

On Tuesday (26 May) Ryanair will announce its full year’s results at a London press conference hosted by Neil Sorahan, CFO of Ryanair, long with the airline but only holding this position since the retirement of Howard Millar at the end of last year.

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Alliances are finished says OAG

Airlines which are focused purely on traditional alliance models may have taken their eye off the ball as rapid changes take place, according to OAG, which claims to be the market leader in aviation intelligence.

OAG has published ‘The Fight for Global Markets – Is Three the Magic Number?’ 

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Delta and safety

It is the trend to make airline safety videos more and more interesting and eye catching.  No matter how many times you have travelled by aeroplane it is essential to watch the screening.

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Edinburgh ‘selfie’

It must be the ‘in thing’, a self-portrait of the place one is visiting to start a memento album of the stay.  Edinburgh Airport has jumped ahead and produced a stunning centre piece for its new plaza, a prime spot for the perfect ‘Edinburgh selfie’.

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Lithuanian airline closes

Air Lituanica  ceased operations on Friday 22 May.

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Plymouth City Airport

Controversially closed by a local ‘listed’ property developer in 2011 who also owned Air South West, Plymouth Airport refuses to die.  FlyPlymouth has been created with plans to reopen the former Roborough site within two years and establish a base airline by 2018.  

A three-year campaign in the city run by a group of business leaders called Viable resulted in the airport being protected from redevelopment in local planning policy until 2031 with strong cross party support locally and increasingly at a national level. 

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Qatar vs the US

The increasingly nasty quarrel between the three major US international airlines, American, Delta and United and the Gulf carriers has found Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker facing up to the American’s head-on in Washington. 

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South Africa and children

From 1 June, parents travelling with children (under 18) entering South Africa may be asked to show the child’s full birth certificate, and where only one parent is accompanying, proof of parental or legal authority to travel with the child.

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FLYING AT THE FRONT END: Delta One

There have been two Boeing 757 US flight introductions from London in the last few weeks.   On Friday 24 April La Compagnie started a new service from Luton Airport to New York Newark, whilst on the following Monday it was the turn of Delta Air Lines to begin operations from Heathrow T4 to Philadelphia, not that far away just 80 miles  down the New Jersey Turnpike.

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AND FINALLY: Flight protest

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A ‘Plus’ and paint at Wizz

Wizz Air, which claims to be the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, has announced a new price category.  ‘Plus Fare’ is an additional option to the airline’s ‘Basic Fare’ which it says introduces greater flexibility for passengers.

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Bournemouth and Flybe

Flybe has opened a new base at Bournemouth Airport from where it will operate initially two 78-seat Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft flying nine routes.  These total up to 53 flights a week to and from Amsterdam (x4), Biarritz (x1), Deauville (x4), Dublin (x4), Glasgow (x6), Jersey (x7), Manchester (x6), Paris Charles de Gaulle (x1) and Toulon-Hyères (x4).

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Duxford Blenheim

Last weekend (23-24 May) saw the first public appearance of the Aircraft Restoration Company’s Bristol Blenheim Mk1  L6739 (G-BPIV) at the Imperial War Museum Duxford VE Day Anniversary Air Show.. It is the sole remaining flying example of the 4,422 built and is the result of a 12-year restoration programme following a near write-off crash on landing in August 2003. 

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HondaJet to visit UK

Cambridge Airport will be the first in the UK to welcome the brand new HondaJet. 

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Liverpool to North America

Aer Lingus is to reintroduce flights between Liverpool and Dublin on 23 October offering not only a “day business” service in both directions but a connection with the Irish airline's US gateway customs and immigration service.

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Railway safety

Heathrow Express (HEx) has become the first rail operator in the UK to install platform gap-fillers at its stations to reduce the risk of passenger accidents.

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Singapore Airlines survey

With its new Premium Economy product due to enter service in August, Singapore Airlines has been stepping up the public relations.

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Virgin Pendolino

The boom in the use of the railways continues with Virgin Trains requiring increased capacity by undertaking a programme to reduce First Class capacity.  The first of the 21 nine-car Pendolinos to have a carriage converted to Standard is now in service.  The train, which also received a major interior refresh and a deep clean as part of the work, is now back in service.  When finished, the project will create an extra 5,500 Standard Class seats a day.  Each upgrade will take a week.

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