19 APRIL 2010

YOUR WORDS


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Avianca to Madrid

Avianca of Columbia is to begin a twice weekly service from Medellin to Madrid starting in July using an Airbus A330. The service will conveniently connect with both British Airways and Iberia services to London and the rest of Europe. The service will operate every Thursday and Sunday and use Madrid’s new Terminal 4 satelite. www.avianca.com

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Delta and GOL to Code-Share

Delta Air Lines and GOL have applied for a code-share agreement on 45 flights from Brasilia, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo and two services from Brazil to Paraguay and Uruguay. If the code-share agreement is finalised and ratified by the US and Brazilian governments, then it will begin in June this year and registered flyers from both airlines can earn miles on both Delta SkyMiles and GOL Smiles programmes on eligible flights. www.delta.com www.voegol.com.br

 

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Hong Kong Airlines order more A330-200s

Hong Kong Airlines has finalised a firm order for six Airbus A330-200s, the deal firms up a Memorandum of Understanding signed at the 2010 Singapore Air Show. The aircraft will be powered by Pratt & Whitney PW4000 engines. The airline operates in mainland China and the Asia region. Hong Kong Airlines will use the A330 on existing routes and introduce a service to Moscow in June using the A330. www.hkairlines.com www.airbus.com

 

 

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June start for Lufthansa A380

Lufthansa will take delivery of their first Airbus A380 in May and plan to start passenger services in June. The airline will be performing a number of trial flights during May, mostly to airports in Germany. The airline has yet to decide what routes the A380 will fly but the German football team will be flown to the World Cup in South Africa in an A380. www.lufthansa.com

 

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New Carbon Tax for UK Hotels

 

The outgoing UK government has received Royal Assent for the new 2010 Energy Act and it has been enacted into law that means that UK hotels and high energy users will have to pay extra for CO2 carbon emissions. The new charge started on 1st April and all companies will be audited to see how much they emit. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has put in place the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme which is designed to help large companies to cut their carbon emissions. www.decc.gov.uk

 

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Qatar Airways pleased with Bengaluru services

QATAR AIRWAYS are in the midst of their 2010 development plan having launched the Doha to Bengaluru (Bangalore) service in February. Currently the airline operates 74 weekly flights into eleven Indian destinations. The Indian market has grown in the last year from 56 to 74 weekly services with the introduction of Goa, Amritsar and Bengaluru services. The airline will later this year launch two further new destinations soon to Tokyo later this month and Barcelona in Spain in June. www.qatarairways.com

 

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Tighter security at Bangladesh Airports

Security at all three international airports in Bangladesh have been increased, due to the threat of hijacking and terrorism. More police and security forces are on duty to combat this threat. Special measures have been put in place at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shah Jalal International Airport (formerly Zia International Airport) with similar security procedures at Sylhet and Chittagong airports.

 

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Eyaffjalljokull

Mother-nature has struck the airline industry with real vengeance, the volcano in Iceland has paralysed air travel in Europe and across the world with flights destined for Europe being halted. It is true that some air travel has returned in Europe by the time these words reach you but the industry must wait and see if the force of the volcano reduces or stops or if the wind changes direction.

Those with knowledge of this, the volcanologists just can not say when the volcano will stop and some even say it could be many months before it subsides. Then if it does stop it might return even greater in the Katla volcano, so we could even be worst than it is now.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers have been effected, stranded passengers with nowhere to go or even the comfort of the disruption being covered by insurance because it is a natural disaster. We hear on the news the stories of those who have been effected by the eruption. The situation changes hour by hour but again by the time you read these words the volcano might have stopped and the airlines are trying to get back to normal.

On another matter, earlier this week, I had the opportunity to spend a little time at London City Airport between getting a visa for Kazakhstan and the Business Travel Club meeting at Covent Garden later that evening. It struck me how much at the airport had changed but how little some of the local landscape had not.

In the early days there were just Dash 7 turboprops with no sign of jets of any kind using the airport, now things have moved on, throught the first generation of regional jets, ie BAE 146 and nowadays to the second generation the Embraer regional jet family of aircraft. Of course the closeness of the City of London and Canary Wharf has been one of the driving forces of the airport's success but there are still times when the airport is at a standstill with little landing and taking-off. There are still opportunties for airlines with the right kind of aircraft to have services into London.

Luxair moved out of Heathrow and into London City completely, so some of the smaller European airlines might consider doing that also. If the majority of their clients are business people and they need to be in the city quickly then the London City Airport is the answer.

The area around has benefitted too, with housing developments and the community as a whole growing more prosperous but there are still vast areas of wasteland waiting for something to happen. The 2012 London Olympics will benefit parts of East London like Stratford and maybe that benefit might extend to the old docklands too. Hopefully soon the 'Olympics' effect will kick-in and Londoners will start to get behind the games. It is time London shouted the fact that we are the Olympic City and that the greatest sporting event in 2012 will happen in London.

How many of us have seen the green 2012 Olympic logo on advertising billboards yet? Are the organisers ashamed or embarassed by the logo? What about tee-shirts, collectable pins and other merchandise, they should be on sale now, afterall revenue from those will help to pay for the games and the games do need the money. Otherwise we will have to find extra taxes to pay for the games and on the face of it, very few of us will get to be in the stadiums to watch the action given the current Olympic ticket policy.

On the question of Olympic Games security, London needs a second heliport and it needs it by the start of the games in 2012, not a field 20 miles out of town but one just a few miles from Stratford. I know the local agreement at London City precludes helicopters but for a few weeks in August 2012 maybe somewhere close-by to the airport a heliport might spring up. Again during the games will airport operations be effected with flights being stopped, who knows what is happening maybe someone would like to tell us.

The British Organisers have completely ignored the need to make provisions for any helicopter traffic and believe that everyone from Presidents to ordinary members of the public will travel by public transport. Put simply, VIPs won't want to travel on trains or in BMWs they will want to land close-by the venue by helicopter. The Organisers have even ignored all the British helicopter companies by awarding a contract for any aerial work to a French company, so when you watch the road cycling or marathon the pictures will be brought to you via a French helicopter company. The 2012 London organisers need to act and start to think about VIPs now, make plans to set-up a temperary helipad for the duration of the Olympic and Paralympic games and more importantly start supporting British helicopter companies.

If ever you meet me, don't get me started on the 2012 Olympics, I will rant on about it for hours. Someone telll me am I turning into a grumpy old man.

Terry Spruce, Guest Editor

 

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Boeing begin building in Charleston

Boeing has begun the construction of the 787 Dreamliner final assembly and delivery centre in Charleston. Last week the company laid the first foundations for the facility. Boeing expects to deliver the 787 Dreamliner to the first customer All Nippon in the last quarter of this year. www.boeing.com

 

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Edinburgh Airport reconnects with Barcelona

Scottish capital Edinburgh will be once again served from Barcelona when Spanair begin a five times a week Barcelona to Edinburgh service starting on 21st May. The airport is very pleased as Barcelona was one of the destinations lost from the airport schedule when Flyglobespan stopped operating in late 2009. www.spanair.com

 

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Hyatt Regency expands in India

Hyatt Regency is set to expand into 15 new cities in India over the next five years. The company is going to open three new Hyatt Regency hotels in India during the next year, in Pune, Chennai and Goa. These three new hotels will increase Hyatt’s presence in India to eight hotels. Hyatt will be developing the relationships with existing Indian partners and hopes to attract new partners expanding the brand more in the country. www.hyatt.com

 

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Madison gets Hyatt Place hotel

Hyatt Place has opened their first hotel in Madison, Wisconsin. The hotel is in the heart of downtown, a short walk from the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, ideally placed for families visiting students at the nearby campus or for visiting sports teams. The 151 room hotel has complimentary Wi-Fi thoughout and meeting rooms. www.hyatt.com

 

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New Managing Director at bmibaby

Julian Carr has been appointed the new Managing Director of bmibaby. Julian joined the airline in May 2008 and was responsible for revenue management, network planning, marketing, PR, customer relations and e-commerce. Before joining the airline Julian was with IATA based in Montreal where he was responsible for marketing and business development opportunities in the airline sector. www.bmibaby.com

 

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San Miguel buys into Caticlan Airport Project

The San Miguel Corporation has acquired a majority stake in the Caticlan International Airport Development Corporation. Caticlan Airport was formerly known as Godofredo P Ramos Airport. The development will upgrade the airport and allow jet operations to begin. Caticlan is near to the tourist island of Boracay in the Philippines. San Miguel is most famously known for brewing but has been diversifying into other industries such as oil refining, power, mining and telecommunications. San Miguel has also stated it would like to have more interest in airport terminals and even a high speed railway.

 

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ON TOUR London Oxford

On Friday 16th April an invite was accepted from London Oxford Airport for a pre-EBACE briefing from the airport management and the other companies based at this fast growing regional airport. To see what developments have and are about to happen there.

The airport has been the property of Oxford Aviation Services Limited since 2007 and until recently was a very busy training airfield being the base of the Oxford Air Training School. In the school’s hay-day the airfield was an extremely busy place with flight training going on continuously but today annual movements are much lower. However, this reduction is beneficial as the airport is now able to offer a greater number of movements to business and commercial traffic. London Oxford still does get very busy with nearly 1,000 movements a day on occasions like Grand Prix Days at Silverstone. Steve Jones, Managing Director, London Oxford Airport spoke about the past year and how difficult it had been with the recession still biting, the snow and the current volcano problem. He said that profits were hard to come by and that the airport had to work hard to get them but the airport had faired well in the recession compared to some, the airport managed to remain open for a few hours during every day of the snow early in the year. The bad winter had taken it's toll on the airport equipment and some will need replacing but this might take a while because budgets are tight and investment is difficult to find in today's economic climate.

James Dillon-Godfray, Head of Marketing and Development at the airport said that the airport had bucked the trend with non-resident business jets up 32%. In the 2010 forecast the airport predicted some 5,000 business aviation movements but it looks more likely to be nearer 6,000 non-resident business aviation movements, along with this increase fuel sales are up 47%. London Oxford Airport is now a Category 6 airport with the runway exactly the same length as London City.

The airport now has seven AOC based operators, PremiAir has received a fixed-wing certificate recently and has parent company Von Essen's Premier 1 as the first aircraft on the certificate. Other operators like London Executive Aviation have now based a Cessna Citation Mustang at the airfield.

James spoke about a particular kind of environmental threat to the airport airspace security, that of wind-farms. In the local area near to the airport there have been a number of applications for wind-farms and the airport must now try and keep much of the airspace around it, safe for aircraft.

 

Eurocopter UK

Eurocopter UK has been based in the UK for over 30 years, the subsidiary company of EADS it has helicopter finishing hangar where many different types of machine can be completed and finished by their very experienced engineers. Markus Steinke, Managing Director of Eurocopter UK spoke about the support and completion centre at the airport. The company supports some 440 Eurocopters helicopters in the UK, 100 defense, 260 civil and 80 oil and gas.

In January 2010 in Aberdeen Eurocopter opened a new service centre for the 60 oil and gas Eurocopter helicopters based there. Markus said that 75% of the Police helicopter fleet in the UK is Eurocopter. Currently, the company delivering a number of new Police helicopters to the UK forces.

Markus then introduced the Eurocopter EC-135 Hermes and EC-130 helicopters, an example of each was parked outside on the apron. Currently there are only three EC-135 Hermes, one is in Tokyo, a second in Abu Dhabi and the third based at Oxford. Finally, Markus announced that Eurocopter UK had just signed a firm order with a private customer for a Eurocopter AS-350B3 Squirrel helicopter, a sign that business after being flat for a couple of years is beginning to get started again.

Hangar 8

Hangar 8’s motto is ‘The difference is in the detail’ so it is a company that wants to give clients that unique experience of flying in style, safely and in comfort on their growing fleet of business jets ranging from the Brazilian built Embraer Phenom 100 to French built Dassault Falcon 2000.

Tamara Smart, Sales Manager of Hangar 8 spoke briefly about how the company is performing. The current volcano problem meant that Hangar 8 positioned most of the fleet to Dubai and Southern Europe to avoid any problems.

PremiAir

Now a well established company with the fixed based operations at London Oxford, PremiAir has a great deal of experience and expertise in helicopter and fixed wing aviation. The fixed wing services based at the airport is well respected throughout the industry.The rotary wing services are based at Blackbushe.

The company also runs a very successful aircraft management service and had just recently obtained a fixed-wing AOC and the Premier 1 was parked outside on the apron.

 

 

Flairjet

Started in 2009, Flairjet is a new company based at London Oxford with a fleet of two Embraer Phenom 100s, the company received the first Phenom to be registered in the UK and the fleet will grow with the addition of more Phenom 100s and the new Phenom 300 business jet later this year.

Chief Executive David Fletcher announced that the company will take under management a third Phenom 100 due next month soon after EBACE and that Flairjet is excited about receiving their first Phenom 300, the company is recruiting pilots and expects to have six aircraft, four Phenom 100s and two Phenom 300s by the end of the year. The company had a Phenom 100 on the apron.

AERBT's Editor-in-Chief wrote about the Phenom 100 in the 10th March issue and I think he liked it.

 

 

AirMed

In 2010 AirMed is 25 years old and is a specialist company in air ambulance repatriation. The company has in the past seven years spent on new aircraft, medical equipment and maintenance services to give patients that need it the best care possible during flights back to the country. The company now has a Learjet 35A air ambulance on its fleet of nine aircraft.

Rupert Dent, spoke about how the company is the only UK air ambulance operator that has Learjets on it's fleet, that operators should talk more about being social utilities rather than just a place for richer individuals and that the company now has a worldwide AOC awarded in July 2009.

AirMed also proforms third party maintenance on aircraft such as the Loch Lomond seaplanes. The company has expanded and has now taken more hangarage at the airport.

Icejet

An Icelandic company started in 2005 but with a Dornier 328 Luxury Jet aircraft permanently based at London Oxford. The company offer two seating configurations either a 14 seat luxury or 19 seat executive. Icejet and Swiss company JetComm have formed a strategic alliance which now means that one of JetComm's 31 seat Dornier 328 jets is now included on the Icejet Icelandic AOC.

Plans are in place to add a second  JetComm Dornier 328 jet to the Icejet AOC in the next few months. Managing Director of Icejet was unable to attend as he was stuck in Iceland. Again the company parked a Dornier 328 jet on the apron.

 

Capital Air Services

Capital Air Services was begun in 1994 as Oxford Air Services but in 2009 the company re-branded itself to reflect more the fact that a great deal of the work happens all over Europe rather than just in the UK. The company operates Eurocopter helicopters but is able to access other helicopter types if the clients require. Michael Hampton, Managing Director spoke about the company and the fleet of ten helicopters including the 16 seat Sikorsky S-92 which is based at London Stansted. Michael spoke of his horror of the British Olympic Committee's lack of understanding and planning for any helicopters during the 2012 games.

The London Oxford Airport and the companies that are based there have over the past twelve months faced tough times and trying weather conditions and on the face of it, moved into 2010 in a good position with everyone moving forward and being postive about the future at the regional airport. Most will be at EBACE in Geneva starting on 4th May.

 

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Austral firms up Embraer 190 order

Austral of Argentina has firmed up an order for 20 Embraer 190 regional jets. The original agreement was signed in May 2009. The aircraft will be the Advanced range model capable of flying non-stop 2,400 nautical miles and carry 96 passengers, eight in first class and 88 in economy. www.embraer.com

 

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Crossrail tender launched

Network Rail has issued a tender for Crossrail at Acton in West London that is hoped to improve reliability and passenger services as well as allowing more freight to be moved by rail. The tender is for work to redesign part of the Acton freight sidings, giving freight trains easier access to Crossrail and in turn allowing passenger trains quicker access through the area. Crossrail is due to begin operating in 2017 and run from Maidenhead in the west to Abbey Wood to the east of London. The project has been progressing well and work is well underway at main terminus like Paddington Station www.crossrail.co.uk

 

 

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Embraer 170s for Petro Air

Aviation service provider Petro Air has taken delivery of two Embraer 170 regional jets, the newly formed company has also taken purchase rights for two Embraer 190s. The aircraft will be delivered later this year. Petro Air is a merger of four oil companies aviation departments in Libya, all of whom have operated aircraft in support of their business for many years. www.embraer.com

 

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IATA says eruption will cost millions

IATA has said that airlines could lose a total of $200 million a day in lost revenues because of the Eyaffjalljokull volcano, the association also said that airlines will incur additional costs re-routing aircraft, caring for stranded passengers and for stranded airplanes at closed airports. IATA has set up a special crisis centre at their headquarters in Montreal to monitor the situation and is co-ordinating with Eurocontrol and European air traffic service agencies. www.iata.org

 

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Network Rail reports improvements

Network Rail has reported that in March 2010, trains were more punctual. During the period between 7th to 31st march 93.5% of trains ran on time compared to 92.7% over the same period last year. Eleven of the 19 train companies reported improvements with Virgin Trains and London Midland seeing the biggest improvement in the period compared to the same period last year. www.networkrail.co.uk

 

 

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Phenom 100 heads for Florida Sun

The Phenom 100 has been showcased at the annual Sun n Fun event at Lakeland, Florida. This is the second year the Phenom 100 has been to the show. The Brazilian aircraft manufacturer is currently growing the executive portfolio of aircraft and the range of aircraft can be found on their dedicated website www.EmbraerExecutiveJets.com

 

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Sun comes back to London

China Airlines have appointed Allen Sun, General Manager, UK and Ireland. He is a 30 year veteran with the airline, his last position was as General Manager North West USA. Allen is no stranger to Europe having in the past served in Italy, Germany and in the UK. China Airlines started three times a week direct services from Taipei to London on 28th March. www.china-airlines.com

 

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HAPPY TALK Cabin Attendants

Rarely these days cabin attendants make an effort to liven up their announcements here are some to hopefully start your week with a smile

On landing the hostess said ‘Please be sure to take all your belongings. If you are going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.’

During a safety briefing ‘Your seat cushions can be used for flotation and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.’

And finally my favourite

In another safety briefing ‘In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask and pull it over your face. If you have a small child travelling with you, secure your mask before assisting them with theirs. If you are travelling with more than one child, pick your favourite.’

 

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