26 JANUARY 2015

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APD and Scotland

In light of the decision to devolve the power to charge Air Passenger Duty (APD) to the Scottish Parliament there are serious ramifications. 

Mark Tanzer, CEO of ABTA, sums up an industry view of the position.

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bmi regional joins with Lufthansa

Munich is to become an important hub for bmi regional with the announcement of a bmi regional (BM) and Lufthansa (LH) codeshare effective 29 March.  Bern, Liège and Rotterdam will in effect join the Lufthansa Munich network opening up around 200 global destinations, all with seamless connections.

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Civil aircraft at RAF airports

Following a High Court hearing brought about by Biggin Hill and Oxford airports, civil aircraft control at Royal Air Force stations could be brought under the regulatory authority of the CAA.  At present executive jets at RAF Northolt, the Falklands services at Biggin Hill and the scheduled Cardiff flights into Anglesey Airport (RAF Valley) all operate to military guidelines rather than their civil counterparts. 

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Intercontinental Greenwich

The promotional build-up for the new InterContinental London – The O2, opening later this year continues with the property showcased at the forthcoming International Confex) events industry gathering (London Olympia 18/19 February). 

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COMMENT: Noise and Heathrow – The truth

Last week the  London Evening Standard  ran a piece by its Political Editor, Joe Murphy.  One did not have to be a brain surgeon to spot some lobbying.  www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/heathrow-noise-complaints-soar-in-flight-path-test-9992331.html   The accompanying editorial was along the same vein   To be fair the next day the newspaper featured the Heathrow Hub but with noise being mentioned by only as a side issue.  www.standard.co.uk/business/markets/the-third-challenger-taking-on-heathrow-and-gatwick-in-the-dogfight-over-airport-expansion-9998365.html

The real facts are not the same as those articulated by the Evening Standard, which are completely misleading.

Heathrow received 94,114 complaints last year from 8,458 different people.  In other words an average of 11 complaints per person.  In fact it was a very small number of people who were responsible for a large proportion of these complaints.

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BA Aer Lingus bid moves on

Reports over the weekend indicate that the Irish government is prepared to accept a fresh bid by IAG for the airline at €2.50 a share for its 25.1% holding against the original €2.30, valuing it at €1.34bn. 

The deal is far from done. 

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Aircraft cabin width

BTN  made a mistake last week in reporting that the cabin width of the Airbus A350XWB was greater than the Boeing 777.  That has now been corrected on the website. (See 19 January A350 XWB – First impressions)

With the arrival of the new Airbus we thought it was a good opportunity to list the current jets available and the average interior cross section.  Last week we published the official  Airbus price list.   See in this issue Boeing prices.

The Chinese C919 is due to fly in 2015 and is the widest narrow body to date.  The Sukhoi is in service and seems to be successful and the MRJ’s first flight is not long away.

www.airbus.com   www.boeing.com/commercial    www.sukhoi.superjet100.com    www.mrj-japan.com    http://english.comac.cc/products/ca/pi   www.bombardier.com/en/aerospace/commercial-aircraft.html  http://cseries.com   www.embraer.com

The aircraft cabin widths

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Aircraft values rise

The slump in oil prices has given a new lease of life to passenger jets that until recently were destined for retirement. 

Aircraft such as the four-engined Airbus A340 and early Boeing 747-400’s which have been sentenced to desert storage or dismantling, are winning a stay of execution because lower oil prices make them economic for some carriers.

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ATR 2014 deliveries

The year just passed has proved a record 12 months for the Italian/French aircraft manufacturer ATR, whose assembly plant is on the Airbus site at Toulouse. 

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Boeing aircraft prices

Following our publication of the 2015 Airbus (nominal) price list (BTN 19 January) we thought it only fair to highlight the Boeing list figures.  Interestingly a 747-8 comes out at US$367.8m against US$428m for the A380.  With the Max v Neo single aisle competition the Boeing -8 version published price is US$106m, the same as the A320 Neo.

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Funding for regional airports

Airports and airlines are being urged to bid for government funding of up to £17.5m in the next year to help launch new routes.  Whether this includes potential operations such as Northolt remains to be seen.

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Gatwick support withdrawn

A second County Council has withdrawn its support for another runway at Gatwick Airport because of the high level of local opposition.  West Sussex County Council (WSCC) voted by 37 to 26 to reverse its decision in July 2013 to support expansion of the airport.

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ON TOUR: Regional & Business Airports Group urges Transport Select Committee to support local aviation

The UK’s regional airports have told the government’s Transport Select Committee that the importance of regional and business aviation to local economies cannot be underestimated.

Last week, the Transport Select Committee sat to hear evidence from the aviation industry on the importance of regional aviation and how it supports both the transport infrastructure and–most importantly – the development of regional economies.

On Thursday (22 January) the Department of Transport supported this view with the announcement £56m being made available over the next three years for regional route funding (See in this issue).

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AND FINALLY: Quirky America

The United States has its fair share of unusual and quirky events and festivals taking place throughout the year.

Make a trip to America in 2015 to experience everything from lookalike contests to masquerade marches, polar plunges to crate races.  You are sure to be fascinated and amused and maybe just slightly confused!
 
Specialist tour operator My America Holiday have revealed their pick of whacky events coming up this year.

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Aéroports de Paris 2014

The French government majority owned (52%) Aéroports de Paris (ADP) handled 92.7m passengers last year, a 2.6% rise over 2014.  In total ADP operates 14 airports in the Paris area including Charles de Gaulle, Orly and Le Bourget.

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Alitalia reinvented

The new Alitalia commenced operations on 1 January 2015, following the completion of equity investments by Etihad Airways (49%) and Alitalia’s existing shareholders.

The strategy is clear says the airline:  “New routes, new product and service standards, a new cost management strategy and new branding”.

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Aviation Club vacancy

Naomi King, the Secretary of the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom, has decided to retire in July this year after 20 years in the role.

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Canary Wharf to Heathrow flights

DHL Express has announced the launch of a helicopter delivery service from Heathrow to Canary Wharf in a bid to slash delivery times between the US and UK.

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Cuba from the US

New rules have come into effect as part of moves to improve US – Cuba relations.

The new regulations will allow Americans to visit the island for any of a dozen specific reasons, including family visits, education and religion, without first obtaining a special licence from the US government as was previously the case.

But trips purely for tourism remain specifically prohibited.

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Davos and Airbus

Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates, took the opportunity of the Davos World Economic Forum last week to say he would buy 100 more Airbus A380s if the price was right.  The aircraft would have to be updated with new, more economical, engines.

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Glasgow to Berlin

Celebrating its 30th year Ryanair is to introduce a five times per week flight from Glasgow International (GLA) to Berlin Schönefeld, as part of its expanded winter 2015 schedule.  The airline already operates to the airport, part of the Berlin Brandenburg site, from Stansted, Birmingham, Dublin, Shannon, Milan (Bergamo), Olso (Torp) and Porto.

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London hotel openings 2015

There is something to suit all budgets among the new crop of London hotels opening in 2015, from 5-star luxury with the re-opening of the Lanesborough following an 18-month renovation to three new affordable but trendy places to stay in Shoreditch.

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Virgin Trains appointment

Phil Whittingham has been appointed as Managing Director for the Virgin Trains West Coast franchise.  He has been Lead Executive at Virgin Trains for the last year, during which time he has led the company through negotiations for a new franchise which concluded successfully with the Department for Transport in June.

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