20 MAY 2019

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DoubleTree sets the pace

Seven new hotels opened in the first quarter of 2019 have given DoubleTree by Hilton a kick-start to its latest expansion programme to complement what it says has been “substantial international growth” over the past decade.

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COMMENT: A passenger charter

With the 23 June cut off date for submissions regarding  the government’s proposed new Passenger Charter fast approaching  Airlines UK Policy Seminar last week at the London offices of heavyweight international law firm Clyde & Co gave an indication of just what might be involved. It’s complicated, and that never makes resolution easy.

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Air Canada buys Air Transat

A shake-up in the Canadian aviation industry continued last week as Air Canada entered into an agreement to buy rival carrier Air Transat. The deal is valued at C$520m (£302m).

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Air League Palace invite

One of the aviation industry’s top events takes place this month when the Air League 2019 Honours and Awards Reception is held at St James’s Palace in London. The date is Thursday 30 May, with British Airways chairman and CEO Alex Cruz as guest of honour.

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Azuma bows in for LNER

The first of 65 new Azuma trains set to be rolled out by London North Eastern Railway (LNER) on the East Coast route entered service last week. It is the youngest train on the UK rail network.

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BA names more A350-1000 routes

Tel Aviv and Bangalore are the third and fourth long-haul cities to be added by British Airways to the destinations for its new Airbus A350-1000 fleet. Already announced is the inaugural route to Toronto on 1 October, followed by Dubai a week later.

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Britainís Eastern Airways changes hands

Fears over the future of Humberside-based Eastern Airways (see BTN 29 April) have been eroded with the news that the airline has been purchased by previous major shareholder Richard Lake.

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Fine dining at latest Flagship

International passengers travelling in First Class or Business Class on American Airlines now have a new facility at their disposal at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport with the opening of the carrier’s latest Flagship Lounge.

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Gatwick finalises ownership

A new chapter for Gatwick began last week as Vinci Airports completed the purchase of a 50.01% stake in the facility (BTN 23 March). Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) will continue to manage the remaining 49.99%.

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India aviation turmoil continues

Turmoil among India’s airlines following the grounding of Jet Airways flights (BTN 22 April) intensified at the weekend amid reports of a shareholder dispute at Indigo Airlines, one of the carriers seeking to fill the current gap in the market.

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London Mandarin Oriental returns

Just under a year since being ravaged by fire and forced to close, the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London has re-opened in its entirety after completing the most extensive restoration in its 117-year history.

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New Heathrow consultation date

The statutory 12½-week consultation on Heathrow’s expansion plans will begin in just under a month, on 18 June as the latest delivery milestone for what the airport calls a “critical national infrastructure project”.

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WestJet in £3bn buyout

Private-equity firm Onex Corporation has entered into a “definitive agreement” to acquire Canada's second largest carrier, WestJet. The transaction value is said to be valued at about C$5bn (£3bn) including assumed debt.

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ON TOUR: The Bridge

On a trip to Denmark, BTN editor Richard Cawthorne swaps countries to delve into the world of Swedish TV drama

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AND FINALLY: Unitedís worldwide web

First it was the Lego Batman, courtesy of Turkish Airlines (BTN 6 August 2018). Now another superhero is swinging into action in the cause of inflight safety.

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Avis pledges 'better journeys'

A European-wide promotional campaign has been launched by Avis this month, designed to celebrate the international roll-out of the new Avis app amid a pledge to “reinvent car rental”.

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B737 MAX update 'complete'

A software update for the Boeing B737 MAX fleet has been completed, the company said last week, raising hopes the aircraft could re-enter service this summer. The fleet was grounded in March after B737 MAXs were involved in two fatal accidents.

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Collinson boost for lounges

In response to growing demand from its Priority Pass members and travelling consumers, customer benefits and loyalty specialist Collinson has announced a significant investment in its own airport lounges and additional airport services in the US.

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First-half loss for easyJet

The “negative impact” of Brexit on the value of the pound and the closure of Gatwick following a drone incident were blamed by easyJet last week for a loss before tax of £272m for the first half of financial 2019.

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Loganair launches London Ė Aberdeen

A major new partnership for the UK’s regional air services was forged last week as the first Loganair flights between London and Aberdeen took to the skies with the airline’s direct services from Southend Airport celebrating their inaugural departure.

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Passenger record for Luton

A new record of 17m passengers served over a 12-month period has been chalked up by Luton Airport (LTN) after it experienced its busiest-ever April with 1.5m people travelling through, a 10.4% increase over the same time last year.

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Scramble for new Haneda slots

Competition on the lucrative US – Japan air route is set to intensify after the US Department of Transportation last week granted tentative approval to the country's “Big Three” carriers for extra flights into Tokyo Haneda Airport (HND).

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Zero-waste flight by Qantas

The world's first zero-waste flight, a Sydney – Adelaide service, has been operated by Qantas as part of its mission to eliminate single-use plastic by the end of next year and cut its overall waste by 75% by the end of 2021.

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