11 MARCH 2013

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ABTA makes the point

The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) has been busy in supporting A Fair Tax on Flying with a Houses of Parliament reception plus a not very private letter to the Chancellor George Osborne MP calling on the Government to take action in four key areas in the March Budget. 

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Airport operators’ dinner

Keynote speaker Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, was introduced by Ed Anderson, Chairman of the Airport Operators Association, at the annual dinner at the Grosvenor House last week.  In his opening remarks, whilst welcoming the Minister, Mr Anderson pointed out that Mr McLoughlin was the fifth appointment in five years.

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C class unveiled

It is not selling as well as its Canadian owners would like and it is behind schedule but Bombardier is very confident regarding its new C series mid-range jet.  Last week the Montreal-based manufacturer said it was making "solid progress" on an aircraft partly made in Belfast, and promised for London City Airport.  First flight is now suggested for June.

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Cross Channel changes

According to figures published last week by the Department for Transport, in 2012, for the first time, more people used the Channel Tunnel to depart the UK than by sea, 20m v 19.7.

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Leonardo Hotels expansion

Israel’s largest accommodation company, Fattal Hotels, together with a consortium of international investors, have signed a binding agreement to acquire the entire share capital of the Queens Moat Houses (Germany) group of hotels. 

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Park Hyatt Busan

Busan, South Korea’s second largest city, now has a Park Hyatt Busan, the tenth Park Hyatt property in Asia Pacific and the second in Korea following Park Hyatt Seoul.

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ON THE SOAPBOX SPECIAL

John Redwood - Member of Parliament for Wokingham (near Reading)

DAVIES AND THE LONDON AIRPORTS.  Continued/

The South East airport controversy continues.  Business Travel News welcomes views regarding the problems associated with the London hub, and on 25 February published the views of Colin Matthews, CEO Heathrow.  We follow with a piece by John Redwood and welcome further contributions. 


“I have recently co-signed a letter by several Conservative MPs to the Transport Secretary.  We have asked him to speed up consideration of airport capacity in London.  We think the UK needs to decide quickly where its main hub airport will be in decades ahead, and start investing in the extra capacity needed.

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Air France and International Women’s Day

In a celebration of International Women’s Day, Air France took to the air last Thursday (7 March) with an all-female Airbus A380 crew.  Flight AF054 Paris to Washington was operated by two lady pilots and 22 cabin staff.  Air France Super Jumbos can carry up to 516 passengers.

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BA A380 surprise

Passengers should not be surprised, possibly in July, to find themselves on a British Airways A380.

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Commonwealth Games stimulates Glasgow

Glasgow Airport, owned by Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd, has announced details of a multi-million pound investment programme which will see it undergo a major makeover in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

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Ethiopian update

Ethiopian Airways, one of the launch carriers for the Boeing 787, says that the grounding of the plane has been managed well with little effect to its programme.  To date four have been delivered of the nine on order.  The airline says it has not encountered the type of problems as suffered by other operators.

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TAM coup for oneworld

LATAM Airlines Group has chosen oneworld as its global alliance partner.  Essentially LAN Chile and TAM Brazil, the group was created last June (See BTN 25 June 2012).

With LAN Chile already part of oneworld and TAM Airlines involved with Star Alliance, both partnerships have been making overtures to the combined airline since the amalgamation.  The decision of TAM to join oneworld is a coup for the alliance.  There is little doubt that its international core routings to Europe (mainly BA and Iberia) and the USA (American) were important factors in the decision.

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Vueling turns down IAG

International Airlines Group said that it was considering its options over its proposed takeover of Vueling after the Spanish budget airline recommended shareholders reject an IAG's offer for the balance of the shares.

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Warsaw Airport delayed

Ryanair is to continue to operate its Warsaw flights to/from Warsaw Chopin Airport until 30 June 2013 at the earliest.  Runway repair works are still under way at the new Modlin budget airline airport, a former military air base which was hastily (too hastily) opened last summer just before the European Football Championship.  Wizz Air, which also moved in, is likewise affected.

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ON TOUR: Dubai International Airport

These are interesting times for airports, a vital part of business travel.  New Doha International opens in a few weeks’ time, late but impressive.  Brandenburg Berlin struggles on with an in-service date we know not, and Dubai just expands and expands.

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MOTORING UPDATE

On test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

Volkswagen California Beach BlueMotion 2.0 TDI

Freedom is a Volkswagen Camper!


Life is what you make it and for well in excess of 50 years countless motorists have been getting more out of life by travelling the highways and byways in the iconic Volkswagen Camper.

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AND FINALLY: It's Red Nose Day Friday

 

 

 

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787 (lack of) update

Last Monday’s appearance by Boeing Commercial President and CEO Ray Conner at the J. P. Morgan Aviation, Transportation & Defense Conference in New York last week (see BTN 4 March 2013) proved to be a damp squib regarding the grounded 787.  He does not know when the Dreamliner will be back in airline service and in the meantime aircraft are coming down the two lines at Seattle and Charleston at a rate of five a month, soon to be increased to seven.

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Airport merry-go-round

Andrew Harrison, formerly Chief Operation Officer for M.A.G, is the new Stansted Managing Director following the completion of its purchase on 28 February (see BTN 4 March).  Nick Barton, who formerly held the Stansted post has now joined Aberdeen, owned by a company now called Heathrow Airport (Holdings) Ltd, as interim Managing Director. 

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Barcelona hotel

The Hotel Indigo Barcelona Plaza Catalunya has opened its doors.  The hotel will mark the debut of InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) boutique brand in Spain.  The new property has just 77 individually designed bedrooms.  There is free wi-fi and likewise a courtesy mini-bar available to all hotel guests filled with a variety of snacks and drinks.

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Compensation - EU decision

Airlines must pay compensation to passengers who arrive at their destination three or more hours late, even when due to missed connections, the European Union's highest court has said, Reuters reports.

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Gulf Air restructuring

Once the major carrier in the region but now just a shadow of its former self, Gulf Air is making progress with what is a major shake-up.  Despite a difficult operating environment, the restructuring measures have started yielding results and the strategy remains on track to achieve overall cost savings of 24% by the end of 2013.

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Ten years of BA at LCY

Cityflyer, the British Airways subsidiary based at London City Airport, is marking 10 years of operating at the East London airport.  The first aircraft with a British Airways tail, an Avro RJ100, took off from the Docklands airport on 30 March 2003 operating to Paris.  On 27 March the airline is holding a birthday party at the Museum of London Docklands with former England football centre forward and TV personality Gary Lineker playing host.

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Tim Ware

Business Travel News was sad to learn of the unexpected passing of Tim Ware (69), a fine writer and ever helpful to all at media gatherings and press trips.  An affable, charming and astute companion, Tim made a host of friends in travel writing and across the travel industry.

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