15 APRIL 2019

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Free stopovers from Etihad

Travellers through Abu Dhabi are being offered a free stopover in the UAE capital by Etihad Airways. The package includes two free nights of hotel accommodation for passengers booking flights to and from Etihad destinations via the emirate.

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COMMENT: Virgin Trains

The business antics of Sir Richard Branson may have led to as many disliking him as admiring him, but he can take heart from last week’s reaction to the news that Virgin Trains, after more than two decades, could vanish from the rail tracks of Britain within a few months.

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A380 milestone for Glasgow

Aviation fans will be heading for Glasgow Airport tomorrow, Tuesday, with Emirates scheduled to make history as it introduces Scotland’s first Airbus A380 superjumbo to operate its scheduled service to Dubai.

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Arora Windsor topping-out

The Duke of York was on hand to give royal approval last week as a new luxury Windsor hotel entered the final phase of development. The occasion was a topping-out ceremony for the only non-branded property within the 12-strong Arora Hotels portfolio.

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FAA sets date for B737 re-entry

Late May or early June has been set by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the date for its approval of Boeing’s proposed changes to the Boeing B737 8 Max and the issue of an airworthiness directive to allow operations to resume.

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Jet Airways grounded

More than 1,000 pilots and engineers at India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways, stopped work from midnight last night, Sunday, in effect grounding the airline.  The action was in protest at lack of government action to help the debt-ridden company.

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LNER rescues Ryanair

Train operator London North East Railway (LNER) stepped in last week after Ryanair was reported to be cutting Edinburgh – Stansted flights as a result of the worldwide grounding of the Boeing B737 8 Max. Belfast – Stansted is also affected.

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London in view for JetBlue

As forecast in BTN (11 March), JetBlue has confirmed plans to launch daily flights between London and its hubs at New York and Boston in 2021, saying it will drive down fares and force the heritage airlines to “up their game”.

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Newcomer ZipAir unveils fleet details

Japan Airlines’ new low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary ZipAir has revealed more details of its future fleet and its livery ahead of its projected launch in summer 2020 in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

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One hotelier. 7,000 properties

The 27-storey luxury St Regis Hong Kong hotel has opened to more than the usual fanfare thanks to its status as Marriott International’s 7,000th property. Features include butler service, and multiple restaurants.

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Qatar hits back over Air Italy

A brisk response to allegations from US officials about its investment in Air Italy came from Qatar Airways last week. It said the charges were “false accusations” and the investment was “fully compliant” with the US-Qatar Open Skies Agreement.

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Revealed: The new Upper Class

Full details of the newly-designed cabins on its Airbus A350-1000 were revealed last week by Virgin Atlantic after trailing the developments a few days earlier with news of the new aircraft icons to replace the Vargas Girl (BTN 8 April). Virgin is naming the first aircraft in the new fleet Red Velvet.

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Super-fast wi-fi for Heathrow

In an addition to its present service, Heathrow has launched free super-fast wi-fi access across all terminals in partnership with US technology specialist Boingo, offering travellers connection speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

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ON TOUR: Derry – City of Culture

On 15 July 2010, then culture minister Ed Vaizey announced Londonderry, better known as “Derry”, as Britain’s first “City of Culture”. 

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AND FINALLY: Not in the dungeons!

Would you like to be billeted on floor level minus-2 at a truly luxurious 5-star hotel? BTN thinks not.

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ACJ319 goes on show in Shanghai

More exposure for business aircraft developments at Airbus is being unveiled this week by the company’s corporate jet division ACJ with the first public showing of the ACJ319.

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Aviation Club update

Following the annual general meeting of the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom, the largest alliance of its kind in the world, chairman Karl Brünjes was able to confirm speakers until the end of the year and announce committee membership. 

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Best airport approaches revealed

Ireland’s Donegal (below) on the northwest Atlantic coast has claimed top spot for the second year in an annual survey by private jet booking service PrivateFly to find the world's most scenic airport approaches. London City was also listed.

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Bloc plots major UK growth

A major expansion in the UK and Europe is under way for Bloc Hotels, whose designer properties in Gatwick’s South Terminal and Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter have already proved a hit with business travellers.

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Farewell to Virgin Trains?

A government decision announced last week to disqualify the Stagecoach company from bidding for new rail franchises could see the end of Virgin Trains in the UK within a few months.

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Level opens Amsterdam base

New services from Amsterdam to Luton, Rome Fiumcino and Vienna have joined the network of International Airline Group’s newest airline, Level, after it opened its latest base at Schiphol last week.

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Moxy Airlines

While all eyes last week were on JetBlue, another potential transatlantic challenger is waiting in the wings and could even beat JetBlue to the punch.

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Poland’s Flaris jet airborne

Billed as the world’s most economical business aircraft of its kind, the Polish Flaris Lar 1 engineered by the Metal-Master construction company and belonging to a new category of high-speed personal jets known as HPJ has flinally flown.

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Top award for Sofitel Heathrow

More than a decade after opening, Sofitel London Heathrow, part of the Arora Hotels portfolio, has shown it is still a force in the global market after being named Best Hotel in Europe at the Skytrax World Airport Awards for the third time.

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