29 JUNE 2015

YOUR WORDS


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CSeries boost?

Sebastian Mikosz, CEO of LOT Polish Airlines, confirmed to  BTN  at a Warsaw press briefing (See Star Alliance elsewhere in this issue), that he was interested in the new Bombardier CSeries aircraft and had recently visited Montreal.

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Gatwick wins Air Canada

The timing of the announcement may have been brought forward for obvious PR purposes.  Air Canada rouge last week confirmed plans for a summer only service from Toronto to Gatwick next year.   Also new for 2016 is all year round flights from Montreal to Lyon, France’s second largest metropolitan area.

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New LOT

As the Star Alliance Chief Executives gathered in Warsaw last week for their biennial gathering (see in this issue) Sebastian Mikosz, boss of host carrier LOT, outlined the airlines strategy.  It plans to double in size over the next five years.

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Ryanair group bookings

Parties of 20 or more passengers can now book special fares with an enhanced groups travel service launched by Ryanair.  The scheme offers all members the same fares, flexibility on name changes and lower sports bag fees.

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French ATC unions intend to strike for four days this week (from Tuesday 30 June to Friday 3 July) which will result in thousands of flights being cancelled/delayed and millions of consumers having their holiday plans cancelled/disrupted during the peak holiday season.

Ryanair’s Kenny Jacobs said:

“This is the second time in two months that French ATC unions will deliberately close the skies over Europe and disrupt the travel plans of millions of consumers. The timing of these strikes is designed to cause maximum disruption to consumers because there is little or no capacity in the system to allow customers to rebook or reschedule cancelled holidays”.

These types of strikes are not permitted in the USA, where Air Traffic Controllers are prohibited from striking, and are required by law to resolve their industrial relations issues through binding arbitration. It is time that the French State and/or the European Union follow this example and prevent Europe’s hard pressed consumers from having their annual holidays disrupted or cancelled each year by French ATC unions.”

There are problems at Dover too and Eurostar.  Travellers should monitor the situation.  www.ryanair.com   www.eurostar.com

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COMMENT: The time of reckoning arrives

After 45 years  –  Roskill reported in 1971    we may have finally arrived at the point when a new runway for the London area is about to happen?   (See  BTN  23 January 2012  The Maplin Story). 

All the indications are that the report of the Airports Commission, an initiative by the Prime Minister, and headed by Sir Howard Davies, will publish the results of its deliberations this week, possibly Wednesday.  We wait with baited breath, as does the global air transport industry.  Heathrow is that important.

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Airports Commission Chairman to speak

Runways UK has confirmed that Sir Howard Davies, Chairman of the Airports Commission, will formally open the London Conference on 6 July with a video speech.  Due to previous commitments his attendance will be much later in the day having arrived hotfoot from Heathrow.  Philip Graham, Head of the Airports Commission Secretariat, will speak on Day Two.

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Avianca Brazil joins Star Alliance

The Chief Executive Board of Star Alliance has endorsed the inclusion of Avianca Brazil into its network.  Avianca Columbia is already a member. 

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Aviation Minister positive

Speaking at ABTA’s annual policy event, Travel Matters, Robert Goodwill, MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, said that the Government would be decisive once the Airports Commission publishes its report into airport capacity in the South East.  (See in this issue

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Bjørn in New York coupe

You have to give airline Chief Executive Bjørn Kjos full marks for initiative but it looks like Norwegian Air may have pulled off another coupe.   The non-EU based carrier, benefiting from Oslo-Brussels bilateral, plans to offer flights from New York and Boston to the French Caribbean islands starting in December.  He says that he is a European airline establishing Irish operations in Dublin, allegedly an office staffed by three, and likewise in the UK too.

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Heathrow T1 finally closes

Terminal 1 at Heathrow will close tomorrow (Tuesday 30 June).  The final flight is expected to be British Airways BA0970 to Hannover, which is scheduled for 21:15.  Initial demolition is expected shortly opening up for taxiing space near the northern runway allowing easier access for large aircraft such as the A380.

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No A380s for Turkish Airlines

Temel Kotil, Chief Executive, Turkish Airlines, was emphatic in saying that the Airbus A380 was not on his airline’s shopping list “Certainly in the short-term,” he said.  The remarks came at an informal breakfast gathering of Star Alliance’s CEOs and the media at the CEB gathering in Warsaw.  Several decided not to attend but Mr Kotil, Lufthansa’s Carsten Spohr and ANA’s Shinya Katanozaka were prominent.

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ON TOUR: Toronto Express

The eagerly awaited rail link between Toronto’s Union Station and Pearson International Airport has finally opened.  And not before time.  Pearson is facing increasingly strong competition from Billy Bishop, the downtown airport on the waterfront.  An under-water walkway is due to open in late July which will save the short boat ride and resident airline Porter has announced its 22nd route, to Pittsburgh, starting 21 September. 

BTN’s Andrew Sharp was invited to the Toronto Express inaugural.  He is a former Director of the International Air Rail Organisation (IARO).  

Let us hope this piece is read by Crossrail, Heathrow Express, Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT).  They might get some ideas.

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AND FINALLY

Cameron’s project dies. 

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Aer Lingus – IAG concessions

After saying emphatically he will not move on the latest offer Willie Walsh has quietly offered concessions to the European Commission’s (EC) competition authority in IAG's efforts to take over Aer Lingus.

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Avis Launches Travel Partner

A new service has been introduced by car rental giant Avis to provide a specialist 24/7 assistance service designed to give customers peace of mind when on their travels abroad.

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Cathay lounge reopens

Cathay Pacific Airways has reopened The Pier First Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), following an extensive renovation.

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Emirates introduces ‘Hold My Fare’

For the first time a major long haul airline has introduced a lock-in tariff for prospective clients whilst planning their travel itinerary.  This feature has already been introduced by several short haul operators but is claimed as a ‘first’ on long haul.

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Ethiopian launches Dublin – Los Angeles

Dublin (DUB) is now joined to Los Angeles (LAX), and also Addis Ababa (ADD).  Ethiopian Airlines has introduced a three times per week service operating a two-class Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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LOT hacked

Your Editor was amongst 1,400 passengers caught up by what seems to have been a computer cyber-attack on LOT Polish Airlines on Sunday 21 June.  The source of the hack is not yet known.

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On your bike for Heathrow

Heathrow Airport and BMW have joined forces to launch the ‘Try a bike on us’ campaign to get more of the 16,500 airport staff who live within three miles of the airport to ride to work instead of driving.

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Stansted Express duo fare

A new ticket aimed at couples travelling by train to and from Stansted has been introduced experimentally aimed at delivering greater flexibility and value.  Stansted Express is trialling its popular ‘Webduo’ rail ticket (which offers savings when two people travel together) as a ‘single’ option (it was previously only available as a return ticket).

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TAP sale completes

The sale of TAP Portugal has now been completed (See  BTN  15 June). 

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Turkey for Rotana

Rotana, a major hotel management company based in Abu Dhabi, has opened the stunning Burgu Arjaan and Tango Arjaan at Maltepe, on the Asian side of Istanbul.  A further four Rotana hotels are planned in Turkey short-term.

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