18 FEBRUARY 2019

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Inflight Virtual Reality on Iberia

Passengers between Madrid – New York and Madrid – Tel Aviv will shortly be testing a new on-board entertainment option after Iberia and the Inflight VR company joined forces to incorporate virtual-reality (VR) technology on some of the airline’s fleet.

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COMMENT: Travel Technology Europe - Also at Olympia

With a growing number of stories on the uses of high-tech in our industry emerging each week, it’s a good time to catch up as the Travel Technology Europe (TTE) expo arrives in London this Wednesday and Thursday, 20-21 February, at Olympia. It runs in parallel with the Business Travel Show.

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A flybmi rescue mission begins

Loganair yesterday stepped in to secure three key air routes from Aberdeen to Bristol, Oslo and Esbjerg after East Midlands-based British Midland Regional, which operated as flybmi, announced late on Saturday it had ceased operations and was filing for administration. Both companies are of part of Airline Investments Limited (AIL), whose major shareholders are Stephen and Peter Bond.

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American and BA plan JFK move

Plans for a joint transfer of operations to Terminal 8 at New York JFK Airport have been unveiled by American Airlines and British Airways, with the two investing $344m (about £260m) in the facility over the next three years to prepare for the move in 2022.

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Another airport goes contactless

Contactless bank cards, mobile devices and Oyster cards will all be accepted on the Heathrow Express service between London Paddington and Heathrow Central from tomorrow, 19 February. It follows a similar plan for Luton Airport announced last week (BTN 11 February).

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Daks over Normandy again

The UK government is being urged to lend financial support for what could be the last aviation event of its kind when a formation of World War II aircraft return to Normandy this year to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

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Delta A220 enters service

US aviation entered a new phase this month and Delta Air Lines a new chapter in its 90-year history with the Airbus A220-100, known formerly as the Bombardier C Series, going into revenue service with its first American carrier from New York LaGuardia.

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EasyJet's high-tech bag scanner

A hand scanning feature that uses new 3D-augmented reality technology to scan cabin luggage and show if it falls within maximum cabin bag dimensions is being offered to passengers on the easyJet app in what is claimed to be a UK airline first.

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Expedia launches luggage guide

An interactive airline luggage allowance guide designed “to help people shopping for flights to really discover which one is best for them” has been launched by the travel technology company and booking site Expedia.

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Heathrow woos business

A record number of organisations are to be invited this year to work with Heathrow to explore new global markets and supply chain opportunities after the airport announced 11 locations set to host a series of Business Summits.

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LOT expansion at Budapest

A new hub for European services is being opened this summer at Budapest Airport by LOT Polish Airlines in what officials described as a significant commitment to the future of the Hungarian gateway’s network development.

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Olive oil tasting at 35,000ft

An airline and an airport broke new ground last week by jointly hosting the first known airborne olive oil tasting session followed by a presentation of the product to journalists and others in a special lounge at Heathrow.

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ON TOUR: Brooklands Hotel

On the eve of a visit to Brooklands Museum, BTN editor Richard Cawthorne samples its next-door-neighbour hotel.

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AND FINALLY: Mother Reilly’s Cardboard Aircraft

The retirement from the Royal Air Force of the Panavia Tornado has reminded the BTN editorial team that when the aircraft was conceived during the early 1970s it was called the Multi Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA).

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A380 production to end

The finale to the super-jumbo era was signalled last week after Airbus said it would end production of its four-engine double-deck A380 in 2021. The widely-expected announcement followed a decision by Emirates to reduce its A380 order book.

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Busy agenda for rail summit

Current and future developments with Transport for London (TfL), the HS2 project and allied topics will be on the agenda for a one-day UK Rail Summit conference on 13 March at 15 Canada Square, London E14 5GL.

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EC clears Virgin / Air France-KLM deal

The bid by Air France-KLM to acquire 31% of Virgin Atlantic was approved last week by the European Commission (EC), clearing the deal of competition concerns. Delta Air Lines already owns 49% of Virgin with Virgin Group controlling the remaining 20%.

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More action on hidden disabilities

A network-wide hidden disabilities scheme offered to passengers at no extra cost has been launched by Virgin Atlantic to ensure the airline provides extra help to passengers and others who may need it without them having to ask.

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MPs urge action on APD

MPs from across the political spectrum have come together to form a new All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) to urge the government to cut the rate of Air Passenger Duty (APD), the highest tax of its kind in the world.

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Ryanair wins compensation appeal

The Court of Appeal last week ruled in favour of upholding the policy by Ryanair of communicating with, and paying EU261 compensation directly to, consumers. Ryanair welcomed the decision.

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Star Alliance-Skyscanner boost

A new-look website claiming to offer improved functionality on multi-carrier itineraries for users has been unveiled by Star Alliance following a partnership agreement with travel search engine Skyscanner.

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The economy in focus at ACI talks

Global economy shifts and the urgent need for infrastructure investment form the background to discussions at the Airports Council International’s 11th annual Airport Economics & Finance Conference in London from 12-14 March.

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Tinkler dismissal by Stobart ‘lawful’

The dismissal of former chief executive Andrew Tinkler by the Stobart Group, owner of Southend Airport, was lawful, a judge ruled on Friday. Tinkler had contested the sacking.

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