14 SEPTEMBER 2009

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BA long haul at London City Airport

BRITISH AIRWAYS is gradually releasing details of its new 32-seat Airbus A318 service from London City Airport (LCY) to New York JFK via Shannon.  Artist impressions of the interior (shown here) indicate that the cabin will be an updated version of the traditional Club World product with the passengers sitting side by side, rather than the staggered layout now used in long haul which allows for those sitting by the window to get out without disturbing a travelling partner.  BA says that there will be special lounge facilities within the gate, presumably similar to that offered for Concorde, but incoming passengers will not have the luxury of the popular arrivals lounge, a welcome attraction at Heathrow from an overnight flight.  Whilst breakfast will be served it is possible that vouchers might be given out for the LCY restaurant.  Travellers will have to get off at Shannon during a 45-minute stopover, thought by some to be unnecessary.  US immigration could easily come on board and verify details from the passenger lists they already have.  According to Flight International the cockpit crew will officially start their day at Heathrow, which will mean a change of pilots at Shannon. www.ba.com

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bmi route closure

BMI, now owned by Lufthansa, is to withdraw its Heathrow to Palma (Majorca) flights on 3 November and the parallel service to Venice on 15 November.  The two route closures are the only international ones the airline has made this year, in what it calls “exceptionally challenging trading conditions.”  The airline points out that it has in fact been positive including increased capacity between Heathrow and Tel Aviv, with the airline now offering double daily flights as well as the launch of a five days per week service to the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev. www.flybmi.com

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East Midlands covers losses

EAST MIDLANDS AIRPORT (EMA) has quickly cancelled out the loss of easyJet, its three aircraft and a whole bunch of routes (see AERBT 7 September).  bmibaby, already resident at the airport, has quickly come in with three more aircraft and eight new destinations.  Alghero (Sardinia), Barcelona, Bastia (Corsica), Cork, Dubrovnik (Croatia), Malta, Newquay and Venice, are added and Geneva and Prague go all year round.  The new flights will add 40% to the bmibaby EMA throughput serving 24 European destinations. www.bmibaby.com

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Iceland Express increases its London schedule

ICELAND EXPRESS is to re-commence flights in November between Stansted and Keflavik International Airport, Reykjavik.  The twice weekly operation will be in addition to the daily Gatwick service and follows the recent announcement of a new route from Birmingham International Airport.  Matthias Imsland, Iceland Express CEO, said: “We have always had good relations at Stansted Airport so it seemed only natural to fly from there once again.  Also, we were getting lots of requests to move back to the airport from our customers who used to use the service regularly.”  Iceland Express used to fly between Stansted and Reykjavik until the airline moved operations to Gatwick in May 2009. www.icelandexpress.com

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Manchester loses Transatlantic

DELTA is to drop its daily Manchester – New York JFK service at the end of the year which leaves the the field to Continental and their seven days per week services to Newark, New Jersy, in many ways an easier journey into Manhatten than JFK.  Pakistan International goes twice weekly to Kennedy.  Delta will continue with its daily Atlanta operation, that airport the largest US hub for connecting flights.  The airline also flies to Atlanta from both Gatwick and Heathrow, and from LHR also offers Detroit, JFK and Minneapolis.  The decision by Delta is a further blow to Manchester which earlier this year lost its bmi transatlantic operations. www.delta.com

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Taiwan to China

EVA AIR and its regional subsidiary UNI Air has begun operating scheduled flights from Taiwan to China.  The two carriers serve 12 destinations and fly 19 routes to China’s major cities, including Beijing, Chengdu, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Kunming, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Tianjin and Xiamen.  Services to Chongqing and Wuhan will be added from 28 September, bringing the airline’s combined frequency to 55 flights per week.  In addition to Taiwan’s premier gateway Taoyuan International Airport, Taipei, business and leisure travellers can also connect to Chinese destinations via Taipei’s second airport Song Shan, Taichung, in the centre of the island and Kaohsiung to the south.  EVA operates Boeing 777-300s, Airbus 330-200s and Boeing 747-400s for the majority of services.  UNI Air uses MD-90s for flights from Kaohsiung, Song Shan and Taichung.  From London the airline serves Taiwan six times per week via Bangkok. www.evaair.com

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World Cup build-up

SITA, the aviation IT and communications specialist, has signed a five-year contract to provide the equipment and infrastructure for both agent check-in and passenger self-service kiosk check-in for the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), which operates ten of the country’s airports and handles 98% of South Africa’s commercial air traffic.  The $35m programme will immediately benefit the three international airports in Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg, and the local airport in Port Elizabeth.  South Africa is preparing to receive an estimated half a million visitors for the FIFA 2010 World Cup including England who last week secured a place in the tournament. www.sita.aero

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MOTORING UPDATE by Ted Wilkinson

IN BRIEF followed by this month’s road test, Peugeot’s successful revised 308CC


BCA: British Car Auctions report that used car sales have been hit by the recession, some 42% out of 2,000 motorists surveyed reporting that they will not be replacing their cars until the economy picks up.  The effect of the Government scrappage scheme and reduction of new sales seems to have actaully pushed up values of second hand cars.

CITROEN: Colour satellite navigation has been introduced as standard on the executive class Citroen C5 VTR+ model.

FIAT: the Fiat 500 has won the Auto Express Best City Car award for the second year running.  For the previous four years the award had gone to the Fiat Panda.

PEUGEOT: Peugeot will be launching its new 3008 model range this November.  A cross-over family type vehicle, slightly longer than the 308 model range, it combines MPV, SUV and hatch back characteristics and will be offered with a range of six engines and three trim levels with prices from £15,995.  A 5-star NCAP safety rating has already been achieved.

VOLKSWAGEN:
A special Match version of the Volkswagen Touran compact 7-seat MPV has been introduced.  Priced at £19,515 on the road it  features £1,600 worth of additional equipment – including satellite navigation, park assist with front and rear parking sensors – for only a £500 premium.

TOYOTA: Over 2,000 orders have been received in the UK for the new generation Toyota Prius hybrid model, up to 10% involving Scrappage deals.  Emission
levels as low as 89 g/km are claimed.

VOLKSWAGEN: The new Polo small hatch back model will be launched in the UK this October.  ESP will feature as standard on all models.  Prices will start at £10,035 for the 1.2 S 60 PS 5-door.  A cheaper 3-door will follow in December.


PEUGEOT'S BEST EVER COUPE CABRIOLET


Cars with metal folding roofs were pioneered by Peugeot in the 1930s though the contemporary accounts I have read about their early efforts gave me the impression that success was overshadowed by the many other inventions that abounded in the car world at that time.

Thus it was not until the dawn of the 21st century that this always forward thinking French car manufacturer got back to offering cars with this sort of roof in the form of the diminutive 206CC.  It appeared a daring venture when the car was first spied at motor shows, possibly a very small niche market for a car based on a versatile mass sales hatch back, but surely one that would not pay its way?.

It did not take long before heads were being turned in more than one party; those of the motor industry who saw the burgeoning sales of the Peugeot product and those eager motorists craving a bit of spice to their motoring.

Despite diminutive dimensions the Peugeot 206CC and its successor the 207CC have been in great demand but for those seeking a bit more creature comfort in the way of larger interior space Peugeot expanded the exercise to create first the 307CC and this summer the 308CC.  Viewed side by side there is a lot of similarity between the 307 and 308CC though this latest folding top Peugeot benefits from much smoother styling and, importantly in my view, the vastly improved standards of finish that has permeated though the current range of Peugeot products.

Here is a class act; that looks the part from all aspects and close examination when sitting in the exceptionally comfortable figure-hugging driving seat gives an impression of a premium class automotive product.  I can see potential buyers being both attracted by the quality and by the lifestyle that this car provides.

The body concept is just the same as the 307CC in so much as it can easily double as a fully open cruiser or a snug coupe at the touch of a switch and in a sufficiently rapid action roof changing operation that is able to respond to the vagaries of the British weather.  The deeply raked windscreen allows air flow to pass over the top of  occupant’s in a manner that hardly ruffles a hair on the head and with such uncanny quietness that civilised conversation can be carried out at motorway speeds.  An Airwave temperature controlled neck heating system (standard across the entire model range) is more of a comfort than a gimmick.

Unless you are young and relatively small of stature the two rear seats are not a lot of fun.  Leg room is tight, the wind when in open top mode can buffet you a bit and the back of the large glass rear window encroaches on your head space when the roof is closed.  I would best describe this one, (in company with most of its obvious rivals) as an occasional four-seater.

On offer is a range of variants powered by proven Peugeot mechanical packages; you can have diesel or petrol with combinations of manual 6-speed gearboxes or a responsive automatic and four specification packages – Sport, SE, GT and GT 100.

Power outputs range from 110bhp up to 150 and for my drive I used the mid-range 1.6-litre petrol fuelled THP version producing a very willing and refined 140bhp and driving the front wheels through a very responsive 6-speed automatic.

This proved a sensibly equipped version with items like automatic headlamp actuation, rain sensing wipers, rear paring sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, six SMART airbags (NCAP safety rating is an impressive 5-star) and a category 1 Thatcham alarm system.  Cosmetic touches include retro-styled instrumentation and lather covering to the not quite round steering wheel.

This is a cruising car rather than an outright sporting machine but that does not mean that there is nothing for the discerning driver.

The platform and running gear has a very good pedigree which ensures a positive and fairly light feel to the controls, very good road grip, a competent but firm ride and a very satisfying turn of performance.  Peugeot claim a top speed of 127mph with 62mph (100kph) reached in a passable 12.4 seconds. That’s good for a car that carries a bit more weight than the comparable hatch back version and also commendable is a combined fuel consumption of 34.8mpg.

The enduring easy driving and civilised character that has been the hallmark of all these modern generation Peugeot CC models is strongly evident with this particular car to a degree that owners accept that limited rear accommodation, the stretch to close the large and heavy doors and are also inventive in utilising what is a better than average for the class luggage capacity when the two-part roof is stowed.

It is evident that this latest 308CC Peugeot has staked an even stronger claim to this sector of the market.

Main Rivals: Audi A3 Cabriolet £1.6 Sport £21, 745, Vauxhall Astra 1.6i Twin Top Sport 113 £20,565, BMW 118i ES Convertible £22,460, VW Eos 1.4 TSI 160 SE £22,110, Ford Focus 1.6 CC 1 £20,745.

STAR RATINGS

Performance 9
Handling 8
Transmission 9
Noise 9
Economy 9
Ride and Comfort 8
Accommodation 8
Styling 8
Brakes 9
Finish 9

 

 

 

 

 

Price: From £22,295 on the road.

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COMMENT: Air travel stands still

As airlines, airports and the support industries from all over the world congregate for the 15th annual World Routes in Beijing, which follows last week's highly successful Asian Aerospace Congress in Hong Kong, it is perhaps a good time to reflect on just where Asia’s commercial air transport situation is at the present time.

As if the airlines of the Far East haven’t been battered enough by the global economic downturn, along comes H1NI ‘swine flu’ to further stifle demand.  In July passenger traffic among the 17-strong members of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) fell by 7.8% to 11.5 million.  In June the dip was an even higher 17%.  Falling numbers have meant stiff price competition from low cost carriers and ambitious Middle East ‘clone’ airlines who are moving into Asia.  This has resulted in falling yields, noted AAPA Director General Andrew Herdman speaking at Asian Aerospace.  He is concerned that several airlines in the region are not doing enough to weather the storm.  “This is a battle for survival,” he said.

“This is one of the most challenging times we have ever faced in the airline industry and we just don’t know when the market will pick up,” added Tony Tyler, CEO of Cathay Pacific Airways. 

 “We have a toxic combination of a collapse in our front end cabin and cargo revenues, plus extremely weak yields in economy class.  We are still dealing with volatile fuel prices and this latest influenza is still with us.   We keep waiting for the green shoots of recovery, but when we look at the rice paddy we see only one or two green shoots rising out of the watery mud – not enough to fill a rice pool,” noted Tyler.

The Hong Kong event was held at Asia World Expo, part of a huge exhibition and leisure complex adjoining the Chinese autonomous territories air gateway.

The latest flu virus has had a particular impact in Hong Kong, especially on flights to Japan.  At the ultra-modern and efficiently run Hong Kong International Airport, the world’s fifth busiest passenger hub, responsible counter staff wear facemasks.  Every arriving passenger is required to fill in a form stating personal and travel details should they fall ill.  Temperature checks among transiting passengers are performed randomly.  

Many of the airlines in the region are pondering what to do to entice travellers, and must adjust their models accordingly if the situation does not improve, especially with the likes of Air AsiaX and Jetstar upping the ante.  Cathay Pacific, which is renowned for consistently investing in high product standards, has set up a council to look at this very issue.  “We won’t be taking out our first class cabin,” insists Tyler, suggesting that Cathay would be one of the last airlines to give it up.  It has studied the feasibility of a fourth service (premium economy) on several occasions, but thus far has not been able to get the numbers to work.  No frills is not an option for Cathay nor Dragon Airways, its sister airline and mainland China-based carrier in this high service market.  “The majority of Asian travellers expect some pampering and special attention on flights that on average are longer than those in Europe or the US,” Mr Tyler noted.  

 Tony Tyler will be speaking in London in October at the Aviation Club.  It will be interesting to see if he can compare his problems with those of the major established carriers in Europe.  By that time the industry would have had time to absorb what it has learnt from Asian Aerospace and World Routes.  The figures from Heathrow (see this issue of AERBT) are encouraging but what both the airlines and airports require is steady growth and a more enlightened attitude from governments. 

 Alison Chambers

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Birmingham celebrates

BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT had a lot to celebrate last week.  Not only was it 70 years old but a new three-storey international £45m pier was opened, the airport’s single largest investment in the last 20 years.  Emirates unveiled its new executive lounge, a clear indication that it is in Birmingham to stay.  To celebrate the occasion the Dubai-based airline changed the normal Boeing 777 operation to the mighty Airbus A380, the largest aircraft ever to fly into the airport.  Not to be outdone Air Atlantique Classic Flight brought in a DH Dragon Rapide, reminiscent of the ‘planes that used the then Elmdon Airport in the period just before WWII broke out. www.bhx.co.uk

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CarryMyLuggage

CARRYMYLUGGAGE.COM is a new service for both business and leisure passengers designed to combat the spiralling add-on baggage charges of not only the so-called low cost airlines, but the mainline airlines also.  The company, which has been providing luggage services since 2004, is launching a door-to-door EU Economy Service where bags are collected from their home and delivered to their hotel, resort or villa ahead of the traveller.  As well as removing the hassle of transporting heavy items to and from airports, it does away with the scrum to check-in luggage, the waiting around at airport carousels and of course means there are no surprise last-minute airline baggage charges.  The company says that the new service will often be cheaper even than the standard baggage charges of the airlines. Managing Director of CarryMyLuggage.com, said:  “British tourists are being charged up to £190 round-trip with certain low cost airlines simply for the privilege of taking a standard 20kg suitcase on holiday, our service starts from £65 one way for the same item.” www.CarryMyLuggage.com

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Heathrow breaks all records

HEATHROW, the world’s busiest international airport in terms of passenger numbers, surpassed all expectations in August handling a record 6.4m travellers, 0.3% more than in 2008.  For airport owner BAA the picture was not so rosy for its other six UK airports with traffic down 3.1% overall and only Edinburgh showing a rise, that of 4.8%.  On an annual basis Edinburgh has leapt ahead of its eternal rival Glasgow with 6.4m passengers for the year to date, as against 4.8m.  Stansted continues to decline with an 11% loss in numbers.  Naples is now the only overseas airport operated by BAA, its numbers for the year dropping 10%. www.baa.com

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Iraq via Gulf Air

GULF AIR new CEO Samer Majali was on board the airline’s introductory Baghdad flight and at a press conference on landing confirmed the carrier’s plans to not only add Iraq’s capital to its network but also Basra, Erbil, Najaf and Solamnia.  He emphasised that the Gulf Air hub at Bahrain was an ideal connecting point to these major Iraq centres.  “Iraq has enormous commercial potential for Gulf Air and building on our experience and knowledge of operating there over many years, our aim is to become the market leader operating regular services to five key cities within the country." www.gulfair.com

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Norton Rose survey

NORTON ROSE, the London headquartered international legal practice has published an impressive 96 page survey entitled “The way ahead for transport”.  It examines the short and medium term outlook for aviation, shipping and rail in respect of the world wide economic crisis that was at its peak at the time of the study.   Some 961 responses were received, with 150 each from aviation and shipping, the balance in the rail sector.  There is a strong expectation amongst the aviation respondents (90%) that a significant number of cancellations or deferrals of aircraft orders up to the end of 2010 is at least likely.  www.nortonrose.com

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UK to Norway

EASTERN AIRWAYS, the British regional airline, is to launch two new direct services to Bergen from Aberdeen and Newcastle next month.  Eastern will compete with Wideroe out of Aberdeen but has the Newcastle route to itself.  Starting on Monday 5 October the airline will operate a Monday to Friday service departing Aberdeen 08:40 with arrival at 11:10 local.  The return is 16:15 for the 90 minute flight.  From Newcastle it is 10:30/13:35 and 14:30/15:35.  As Norway’s second largest city, Bergen is the latest addition to the airline’s network, which already includes frequent services from Aberdeen and Newcastle to Oslo and Stavanger.  29-seat Jetstream 41s are used on the route. www.easternairways.com

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ANTARCTICA FOR THE NEW YEAR

Fancy a somewhat different way to see in the New Year?  Melbourne-based Antarctica Sightseeing Flights has chartered a Qantas Airbus A380 to overfly the South Pole, the maiden commercial flight by the mighty super Jumbo in this part of the globe.  Passengers will be over the “ice” at midnight and be the first in the world to see the light of the New Year.  The aircraft will fly figure-eight patterns above the breathtaking polar terrain for up to four hours before heading back to Melbourne and Sydney.  Two other Antarctic flights are also planned for the southern summer – a second A380 service direct from Sydney on 24 January and a Boeing 747-400 from Melbourne on Valentine’s Day, 14 February.  On board experts will deliver commentary and stories of their own experiences in Antarctica, and stroll through the cabin throughout the flight to speak to passengers.  Also screened will be videos about Antarctic life and history and a camera on the flight deck gives passengers a pilot’s eye view, of takeoff and landing in Australia and of the polar landscape ahead.  There will even be a jazz band moving through the cabin.  Prices from Sydney and Melbourne for the New Year’s Eve flight ranges from A$999 for an Economy Class Centre seat to A$6,299 in First Class. www.antarcticaflights.com.au

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HAPPY TALK: American sarcasm

An apology noted in Airsafety.Com, a much respected US-based weekly newsletter published by Air Data Research.

"Last week I commented that perhaps the chairman of the NTSB (National Transport Safety Board) should have higher qualifications than those of a school bus driver – a reference to the new Chair’s apparent highest transportation safety qualification being a commercial driver's licence with passenger, school bus, and air brake endorsements.

I meant no disrespect to school bus drivers, or any other person who does their job well, does it timely, and who actually accomplishes something useful.  My apologies if I’ve offended any of these hard working people.

John Eakin
Editor"

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Aer Lingus plus and minus

AER LINGUS is cutting its Belfast services by taking one aircraft out of action and axing routes to Barcelona, Faro, Milan, Paris and Rome.  However, new flights from Belfast to Tenerife, and Dublin to Fuerteventura and Tunisia, will come into effect in October.  At the same time the Gatwick network is being expanded with six new operations for this winter including Bucharest, Eindhoven, Lanzarote, Tenerife, Vilinus and Warsaw.  All will be available for travel from the 25 October with the exception of Vilnius, which commences on 10 September.  Last month Aer Lingus reported €93m losses for the first half of 2009 — almost four times the figure for that period last year. www.aerlingus.com

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bmi and Lufthansa

BMI, now majority owned by Lufthansa (SAS has the 20% balance), is likely to be sold or broken up according to reports from Germany.  Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung says it has so far attracted interest from 12 potential buyers, citing company sources.  British Airways and Virgin Atlantic were among the potential buyers, the paper said.  bmi controls around 11% of Heathrow slots and also further landing and take off positions complicated by past arrangements with other airlines.  While these currently do not have a great value it is considered that once the worldwide economies pick up their value will come back.  Heathrow is certainly leading the way with regard to improved figures as far as major European airports are concerned.  Whatever happens it is likely that Lufthansa will retain some slots for its own use. www.flybmi.com

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Continental follows with new baggage rules

CONTINENTAL AIRLINES has followed most of its North Atlantic competitors with new rules regarding baggage, with immediate effect.  Essentially Economy Class passengers will be able to check one bag for free and will pay $50 for a second checked bag.  Customers checking in and pre-paying for bags at continental.com receive a $5 discount.  The service fee will not apply to EliteAccess customers, including those seated in BusinessFirst, and OnePass Elite and SkyTeam Elite members, nor customers travelling on full-fare EconomyClass (Y) tickets, Continental Airlines Presidential Plus primary card members or military personnel and their families travelling on official orders.  Across the Atlantic, Continental operates up to 312 departures weekly from 29 airports in 16 countries to its US gateway hubs at Cleveland, Houston and New York. www.continental.com

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IATA and ICAO Strengthen Cooperation

IATA (International Air Transport Association), the trade organisation of the majority of the world’s airlines, but not many of the so-called “low cost” carriers, and ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) a United Nations agency, are to further cooperate to ensure that air transport continues to improve safety and environmental performance, and achieves financial sustainability.  "Safety is the industry's top priority and an excellent reminder of the power of ICAO/IATA cooperation to deliver impressive results," said Giovanni Bisignani, Director General and CEO of IATA as the two organizations signed a commercial agreement to create web-based products to support the safe carriage of dangerous goods.  iShip is targeted especially at the shipping community.  It integrates dangerous goods shipping tools with IATA's Dangerous Goods Regulations content.  It will be available in the first half of 2010.  DGOnline will display, from any station computer or mobile device with internet access, the latest information from leading dangerous goods regulatory and industry publications, including State and operator variations and updates, in multiple languages.  Availability is expected before the end of this year. www.iata.org

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Lufthansa expands its services to Africa

LUFTHANSA is further boosting its services to Africa and increasing the number of flights it operates to Nigeria from ten to 14 per week.  Following the introduction of the winter timetable on 25 October 2009, with these four additional flights, passengers will be able to fly daily from Frankfurt to the Nigerian capital Abuja.  The flight will continue on to Malabo in Equatorial Guinea on a Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.  On a Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday Port Harcourt, an important transhipment point for petroleum and refinery products, will be the final destination to which Lufthansa previously flew up until 2006 when the airport was closed. www.lufthansa.com 

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Nuremberg hotel progress

NUREMBERG’S Méridien Grand Hotel is fast completing its major reconstruction under the management of JOI-Design, one of Europe’s most respected leaders in hospitality architectural work.  The renovation of the 186 guestrooms is due for completion in October 2009, while the newly created ‘Fürstenhof’ restaurant has recently opened.  The hotel has an ideal location with the main station (which has a direct service to Nuremberg Airport) opposite and the entrance to the ancient and unique city centre is just across the street. www.starwoodhotels.com

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Virgin luggage

VIRGIN ATLANTIC is the latest airline to redefine its luggage offerings to passengers.  In fact for the vast majority the new rules will not make much difference.  From 25 November the long haul only carrier is introducing a “piece system” across its network for all tickets booked after that date.  In very simple terms Economy passengers can check-in one bag, Premium Economy two and Upper Class three, with a 23kg weight limit on each item.  If you can disguise your second bag as sporting equipment that also goes for free, again up to 23kg and this includes such items as a golf bag, scuba diving equipment, or ski equipment.  Virgin Atlantic is the only UK-based long haul airline enabling passengers to check-in surfboards.  In addition, Flying Club Gold Card holders are entitled to take one additional bag on top of their free allowance in any cabin.  Extra bags cost £32/US$48 and if you are over the allowance the charge is £30 up to a maximum of 32kgs. www.virgin-atlantic.com

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ON TOUR: Asian Aerospace 2009

The international aerospace circus moved to Hong Kong last week in a clear demonstration that in spite of the most serious industry downturn in living memory it is strong and robust and ready to march forward towards an environmentally friendly future.  Dubai is next in November followed by Bahrain in January 2010, a Farnborough year rather than Paris.

For what was essentially a new project, its predecessor was located in Singapore up until 2007, the turnout was most encouraging with over 12,600 industry delegates gathered - one third of them from China.  The site, called Asia World Expo, adjoins Chek Lap Kok airport, caters for everyone: a huge exhibition centre (including aircraft parking), hotels and a golf course.  Disneyland is not far away.  The efficient Hong Kong MTR (a project led by former Governor Chris Patten at considerable expense) will whisk you to the Island in less than 30 minutes.  It is all very easy.

Perhaps the highlight of the show was the increased profile of business aviation with a record 16 aircraft out in the static park, including debut appearances from Airbus Elite A318, Dassault's Falcon 7X and Piaggio of Italy's fast business turboprop, the Avanti II.  Gulfstream and Cessna, both absent at Paris, were also present in Hong Kong.  Bombardier made a strong showing with a Global Express, Challenger 605 and 850 (in VistaJet colours) and Learjet 60X.

Observers remarked that the show was like a mini EBACE and predicted that this sector will return with an ever bigger presence at the next Asian Aerospace (8-10 March 2011) to avoid the typhoon season. 

Participants Asia Jet, together with operating partner MetroJet, announced it was introducing a new Challenger 605 into the charter market in Hong Kong; Jet Aviation confirmed a new FBO (fixed base operation) in Beijing in a joint venture with Deer Air and Reach Investment.  The first luxury CRJ-200 regional jet conversion, the Phoenix CRJ, has just been delivered into Macau for operation by Jet Asia.  Switzerland-based ExecuJet Aviation Group disclosed it is expanding its global activity into north Asia, building on its established collaboration with Hawker Pacific in Kuala Lumpur and sales offices in Beijing and Mumbai and long time presence in Australia.

Airbus displayed the first Asian registered A318 Elite at the Show.  BAA Jet Management is the type's launch customer in the region.  The aircraft features a private office that converts into a bedroom with ensuite bathroom.

 

According to Boeing, the Asia Pacific region will be the biggest growth market over the next 20 years with some 40% of the world's traffic beginning, ending or taking place there.  The region (covering Australia, China, India, Japan, and Korea) currently accounts for 8,300 flights and 1.2 million travellers daily - but that will grow at an average annual rate of 6.5% over the next two decades.  The Asia Pacific fleet will treble from 3,910 to 11,170 - 80% of that representing new growth, according to the manufacturer.  Strong domestic growth in China, India and other emerging Asian nations will contribute to the high demand for single aisle aircraft and more than half the deliveries (5,600) will be single aisle versions.  Airlines in the region will take 2,590 twin aisle aircraft and regional jet deliveries will total 440, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes VP Marketing Randy Tinseth.

Hoping to capture a significant share of this growth potential is Shanghai-based Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).  The manufacturer chose the Hong Kong show to unveil a model of its C919 airliner offering from 130 to 200 seats.  With its C919 COMAC and the ACAC 70-seat ARJ21-700 regional jet programme now progressing on schedule, China is aiming to become the world's fifth major commercial aircraft manufacturer.  The C919 is being built with a proposed service entry in 2016.  COMAC executives will have taken the opportunity to meet Western suppliers in HK as it looks to determine risk sharing partners. The powerplant supplier has not yet been determined.

Asian Aerospace, organised by Reed Exhibitions, represented a relevant opportunity - in the right place and at the right time - to open up Chinese manufacturing capability to Western manufacturers.  It is unique on the aviation show calendar with umbrella events for smaller specialist exhibitions and conferences all in situ at the Asia World Expo site.  Delegates enjoyed the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Asia Pacific Aviation Training, Air Freight Asia and conferences on Asian Business Aviation, Air Finance, plus the two-day industry leaders.  Congress is run in collaboration with Airline Business magazine. www.asianaerospace.com
.

Alison Chambers
Emerald Media
t: +44 (0) 1962 736600   m: +44 (0) 7721 882939
e: alison@emeraldmedia.co.uk

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