21 JULY 2014

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Fastjet to Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe is the latest target of fastjet, the African low-cost airline which began operations in November 2012.  The airline will launch a twice weekly operation (Tuesday and Saturday) from its Dar es Salaam centre of operations to Harare from 5 August.

The announcement marks the third international route for fastjet which already flies from Tanzania to Zambia and South Africa.  The airline currently operates three Airbus A319 aircraft.

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HondaJet takes to the skies

The first production HondaJet has achieved its initial flight.  The event took place at the company's world headquarters in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Entry into service in expected during the first quarter of 2015.

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JW Marriott Hotel Beijing Central

Beijing now has a second JW Marriott Beijing hotel, this in Xicheng District (adding to the existing property in Chaoyang District for China Central Place).  The new flagship enterprise, enjoys a prime location in Xuanwumen, the ancient heart of Beijing, within walking distance of the capital’s most iconic sites, including Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, Xidan Commercial Centre. 

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COMMENT: Davies must look at Northolt

Last week Sir Howard Davies and his Commission more or less destroyed any notions of an airport in the Thames Estuary (BTN 14 July).

The question is where do we go from here?

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Malaysian air crash

On Thursday 17 July a Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 operating a scheduled service MH17 between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur was shot down by a guided missile in Ukrainian airspace.  All 298 souls onboard were lost.  The plane was thought to be flying at around 32,000ft with a speed of 550 mph.

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Birmingham Airport food

All Bar One is the latest brand to arrive at Birmingham Airport, as two new bars open their doors to passengers.

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Boeing delivers its 1,500th 747

Nearly 45 years after the prototype first flew Boeing has delivered the 1,500th 747 to come off the production line.  Lufthansa has taken its 14th 747-8 Intercontinental with a total of 19 on order.

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Department for Transport Ministerial Statement

It was a standard ministerial ‘no decision’ statement last Tuesday.  In a parliamentary written statement Transport Minster Patrick McLoughlin said that no comment would be made on an Independent Aviation Noise Authority report until after the Airports Commission final recommendations were published next year.

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Fearless Flyer courses

easyJet has announced the release of seven new “Fearless Flyer” course dates across the UK to help even more nervous travellers overcome their phobia of flying.

From autumn courses will be run at Gatwick, Belfast, Luton, Edinburgh, Manchester, Bristol and Stansted airports.  They are priced at £189 per person including the ‘graduation’ flight where companions can be invited for £69.

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IAG in staff reduction

International Airlines Group (IAG) is looking to axe a further 1,581 staff at its main Spanish carrier Iberia in addition to the 3,100 already announced.

The London and Madrid stock exchanges listed company, which also owns British Airways and Vueling, said that the latest round of redundancies would be voluntary.

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Londonís Cadogan Hotel closes (for now)

Perhaps better known as the operator of the Orient Express (plus the British Pullman and the luxury Venice Capriana) Belmond has signed a management agreement with Cadogan Estates Ltd to operate The Cadogan, a 64-room boutique property in Sloane Street in the heart of Knightsbridge, close by Harrods.

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New cabin bins for Boeing

Boeing has announced the launch of its new Space Bins cabin storage, which provide more room for carry-on bags.  These are now offered as an option on new Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX aircraft.

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Windsor hotel

Heathrow overnight and meeting venue users will be pleased to learn that the Harte & Garter Hotel in Windsor has joined Choice Hotels as its flagship UK property.  An upscale boutique offering, it is just eight miles from Heathrow T5.

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ON TOUR: Farnborough

The sun shines on commercial aerospace.

Alison Chambers and Jane Stanbury were at the  show whilst Anthony Quayle supplies the pics.
 

Not one drop of rain fell on the five trade days of Farnborough AirShow 2014 last week and inside the hospitality chalets and press conference rooms the manufacturers were basking in sales success too.  By the close of Friday airshow organisers, Farnborough International Ltd (FIL), confirmed the total sum of orders and commitments had reached US$201bn.  This beats all previous records set.

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AND FINALLY: Tips for the traveller

An occasional series. 

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Edinburgh for Etihad

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will next year launch its first service from Scotland with the start of a non-stop daily flight from Edinburgh to its home base of Abu Dhabi, the UAE’s capital city.

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Free Virgin

Virgin Atlantic has stepped up its marketing efforts for the Johannesburg route in rather a novel way.  Passengers travelling on flights from Heathrow to O. R. Tambo International Airport can now phone home for free once they have landed.  The idea is to take the hassle out of trying to connect and find a SIM card at an unfamiliar destination.

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iBeacon for easyJet

easyJet has become the first airline to trial technology across Europe to help passengers navigate their way through the airport.  The carrier has in recent years been one of the most forward thinking when it comes to development investment, an example being its involvement in volcanic ash research. (See BTN 12 December 2012)

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Lufthansa update

German airline Lufthansa said last week that it is sticking to recently revised full-year profit targets and planning to boost its operations in the low-cost sector.  The airline issued a statement noting that despite the investment needed for a raft of new strategic measures, it "remains confident of its revised business projections for 2014 and 2015. (see also Boeing delivers its 1,500th 747)

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Mondrian London at Sea Containers

Morgans Hotel Group has now released reservations for Mondrian London at Sea Containers on the capital’s South Bank, in advance of the hotel opening its doors on 30 September.

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Private charter flights and wi-fi

The London-based Baltic Air Charter Association (BACA), the trade association for the executive jet industry, has published a set of guidelines for wi-fi use in private aircraft and has kindly allowed Business Travel News to detail it here. Executive jet operators have been known to face a bill of as much as US$10,000. 

In summary the BACA Recommendations:

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Riyadh to Gatwick

Flynas, the Saudi airline that calls itself “Low Cost Carrier Plus” has confirmed the start of non-stop flights from Riyadh to Gatwick from 27 July – part of its ‘Global Flight Routes’ programme, which was launched earlier this year.

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Zanzibar Hilton

Hilton Worldwide and DoubleTree by Hilton have announced the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Zanzibar – Stone Town, which is located in the heart of the Stone Town UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

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