24 NOVEMBER 2014

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Air Canada’s cabin

A founding member of Star Alliance, Air Canada has said it will expand the introduction of its new International Business Class product to include all its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. 

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APH compares gadget travel insurance

Airport Parking and Hotels (APH), the ‘meet and greet’ specialist, who from time to time carries out interesting surveys useful for the traveller (See BTN 9 June Airport wi-fi) has highlighted some research indicating that a typical British traveller will go abroad with more than £1,000 worth of electronic equipment.

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Cheap fares next summer?

Fuel cheaper, long haul APD reduced and more efficient aircraft.  Will air fares comes down next summer?

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Four Seasons Moscow

On the site of the Hotel Moskva, the Four Seasons Moscow has opened. 

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IATA traffic figures

Growth in international air passengers slowed in September, rising 2.3% compared to a year ago – a weaker increase than the 4.5% achieved in August according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA). 

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COMMENT: General Aviation moves on

It might be the less glamorous part of the flying business but light aviation, generally called ‘general aviation’ (GA) is in fact the heart that powers the rest of the industry.  Without pilot training, a fundamental part of GA, there would be no airline industry.

Fortunately the current government has recognised this with Grant Shapps, Minister without Portfolio, an enthusiastic private pilot, prepared to talk to the industry.

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A400M delivered to RAF

Britain’s Royal Air Force has taken delivery of the first of 22 Airbus A400M military transport aircraft.  A formal high profile handover is expected later in the month.

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Airbus for Delta

Delta Air Lines has placed a firm order for 50 new Airbus widebody aircraft, comprising 25 A350-900s and 25 A330-900neos.  The aircraft will replace older generation Boeing 747 and 767 aircraft starting in 2017 and 2019, respectively.  The airline is already a major Airbus operator.

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Airports Commission goes public

All and sundry are invited to register to attend in the public gallery the Airports Commission community discussion on 3 and 16 December 2014.

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BA pre-order meals

Following the successful trials of its pre-flight meal ordering service (see BTN 18 August) British Airways passengers in First, Club World and World Traveller Plus can now order meals on-line up to 30 days in advance with a 48hr cut off point.  In fact all classes on the medium and long haul operations can request special meals at no extra cost, typically kosher, muslim and various types of vegetarian up to 24 hours before travel.  They are not guaranteed.

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easyJet charges on

Luton-based easyJet has announced a 22% jump in annual pre-tax profits to £581m for 2013-14.  The airline could break the 70m passenger barrier in 2015.  It has on order around 170 Airbus A320s, some replacing older A319/320 aircraft.

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Gatwick’s amazing load factor

The load factor per departing aircraft at London’s Gatwick airport has increased to an amazing 86.1% over the last six months.  However this should not be compared with Heathrow (around 78%) as the Sussex airport is dominated by low-cost carriers with smaller aircraft (average load 155 passengers) rather than London’s main hub with 169 people per plane.

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Little Red leased out?

According to  The Sunday Times  Virgin Atlantic is to lease out two pairs of valuable Heathrow take-off and landing slots to another airline while it awaits its new fleet of Boeing 787s. 

Virgin Atlantic said it does not currently have the aircraft to fill the slots, but plans to use them eventually as it expands.

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Rail sales and Amadeus

Amadeus, the travel industry technology provider, has announced the UK launch of Rail Display.  A simple to use rail booking tool that makes selling international rail as easy for travel agents as air travel.  It gives the power to shop, book, issue tickets and assign seats with back office integration in one flow, in order to meet the needs of the 21st century customer.

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ON TOUR: Welcome to Welgevonden Game Reserve

Jane Stanbury has had a wonderful time with raw nature, plus some much appreciated luxury. 

Welgevonden, meaning “well found”, is one of South Africa’s most appealing game reserves. The park spreads across 38 200 hectares and is where biodiversity, conservation and game viewing combine to bring a spectacular wildlife experience for visitors. The landscape is dynamic, dramatic escarpments cut through rolling mountains, whilst broad gorges and scrubland meet verdant, forested areas with flat topped hills.

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AND FINALLY: Armchair Economy

Qantas has been innovative for the last 80 years.  It is the world’s second oldest airline.

But how to unveil its new Economy Class meal package?

The media tend to turn their noses up when it comes to the back end of aircraft.

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Aegean expands

Essentially the de facto successor to the old Olympic Airways, Aegean Airlines has launched its new flight schedule for 2015.  This includes a network of 134 destinations, 34 of which are international and 100 domestic, in 42 countries.  Aegean operates a 56 strong all-Airbus A320 series fleet with an average age of 6.3 years.  The airline is a member of Star Alliance but unlike its forerunner operates only short to medium haul routes with no services to North America.

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Blackpool Airport reopens

Balfour Beatty is re-opening Blackpool Airport but it will not handle commercial flights.

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Economy dining - Qantas style

Using its impressive cabin staff training operation in West London Qantas unveiled a new Economy international inflight dining offering to the media last week. 

With separate daily A380 services to both Melbourne and Sydney, via Dubai, the airline employs nearly 500 cabin and flight deck crew in the UK. 

The product rolls out across the network from 25 November.

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Geneva boost for Swiss

Eight new destinations will be added by Swiss to its Geneva-based network with the 2015 summer schedules. The additions will bring the airline’s Geneva network to 39 non-stop destinations. 

The new routes are part of its “Next-Generation Airline of Switzerland” strategy for Western Switzerland.

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Luton Airport and the M1

The new unimpeded dual carriageway route from the M1 at Junction 10 to Luton Airport should be open well in time for the Christmas getaway.  Progress has been much quicker than anticipated and an opening date in early December is expected to be announced shortly.

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New Gatwick Express trains

It can only be good news for Gatwick Airport (and its passengers) with the announcement last week that Govia Thameslink Rail (GTR) had signed a £145.2m order for 108 new Gatwick Express train carriages. 

These are due to enter service in 2016, replacing the 1980s-built 442 trains which have been operating on the Gatwick Express service since 2008, and will mark the start of a massive investment in new trains by GTR.

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World’s shortest international flight

Royal Air Maroc and H.M. Government of Gibraltar have announced launch services between the northern city of Tangier and Gibraltar on 29 March 2015.

This new service will provide the first scheduled flights since the 1990s between both cities whose air links historically date back to the 1930s.

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