27 MAY 2013

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Aer Arann

Dublin-based, but British-owned (Stobart Group), Aer Arann plans to double annual passengers to over 2m during the next five years.  Flying as an Aer Lingus franchise the ATR 72 operator currently offers 550 flights weekly across 27 routes throughout Ireland, the UK and France.  The carrier is adding 50 jobs at the present time and taking delivery of new ATR 72 aircraft.

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Dubai passengers warned

Passengers planning to travel through Dubai next May and June (2014) should carefully monitor their plans and also consider using nearby Abu Dhabi if the schedule suits them.

Dubai International (DXB), the existing main airport, is to undertake an 80-day runway renovation process commencing 1 May 2014.  To safeguard service levels while the work is taking place, scheduled passenger flights at its hub airport will be reduced and all freighter, charter and general aviation flights will be diverted to Dubai World Central (DWC), the massive brand new airport currently under construction.

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Flybe drops Gatwick

EasyJet is to pay £20m to Flybe for 25 return slots at Gatwick which will help it consolidate its position as the UK’s largest airline in terms of passenger numbers.  The deal becomes effective at the end of March 2014 when that year's summer programme will be introduced.  It requires approval by Flybe’s shareholders who include IAG.  Flybe was a Willie Walsh 15% investment in 2006. 

Flybe, originally owned by the Walker family resident in Jersey, floated in 2010 at 295p with the shares standing at 55p on Friday 24 May.

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Myanmar (Burma) Best Western

The name Myanmar may not be that familiar, and its capital Yangon (Rangoon) even less so, but what was once Burma is quickly adapting from a long period of sole military rule as it tries to catch up with the tiger economies of the surrounding areas. 

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Paris Air Show

Airbus has expressed growing optimism about the schedule for the keenly-awaited maiden flight of its A350, amid speculation that its first new jet in almost a decade could debut before next month's Paris air show (starts Monday 17 June).

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European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE)

Some 12,353 delegates met at Geneva last week for the 13th annual European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE 2013).  BTN will report in full next week but a synopsis is not out of place.

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COMMENT More chaos for Davies

Two apparently unrelated actions may have a dramatic effect on the Prime Minister’s airport commission (Davies) now considering the future of London as the UK aviation hub.  The nature of these two events will serve to further emphasise the lack of any airline industry experience by the 18 members of the committee.

On Friday a British Airways Airbus A319 on a regular flight to Oslo from Heathrow turned back and made an emergency landing on the northerly runway 27R.  Nothing abnormal about that but suddenly there was short term chaos at the airport, and (for unexplained reasons) both runways were closed.  It took the rest of the day to get things back to normal.  In total 192 flights were cancelled, the majority BA, and 22 aircraft were diverted to other airports.

On Thursday Flybe, blaming runway charges and APD, announced the sale of 25 Gatwick return slots to easyJet, putting into question its seven domestic routes – from Belfast City, Guernsey, Inverness, the Isle of Man, Jersey, Newcastle and Newquay.  Nothing will happen until the end of the winter season March 2014.  Some would argue that the airline was selling its Crown Jewels.  Staff will be made redundant, and aircraft leases terminated or not taken up.

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Cambridge Airport goes scheduled

Effective from 2 September 2013 Geneva-based Darwin will launch direct services from Cambridge Airport to Amsterdam, Geneva, Milan Malpensa and Paris CDG.  Timings will enable worldwide connections to the global networks of SkyTeam partners Alitalia and Air France-KLM under a codeshare arrangement with Alitalia.  Darwin has pledged 24 weekly flights to and from Amsterdam; 12 weekly to Paris CDG, eight weekly to Milan Malpensa and six weekly flights to and from Geneva. 

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easyJet business routes

With the introduction last week of a daily service between Gatwick and Bergen, easyJet has also published figures showing frequencies on some of its key, often mainly business, routes.  Bergen does not really come into this category as it is a key tourist destination, but it is however Norway’s second largest city.  The airline competes head-on with expanding rival Norwegian at Gatwick. ((see below))

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Heathrow on BBC 2

From 17 until 20 June BBC Two will be based at Heathrow’s air traffic control tower, offering a completely unique perspective on how an airport works around the clock.

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Norwegian at Gatwick

Fuerteventura is the latest destination to be added to Norwegian’s ever-growing route network from Gatwick Airport.

Flights to the popular Spanish Canary Island start on 30 October.  Norwegian will fly twice a week between Gatwick and Fuerteventura.

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Ryanair profits

A sharp rise in earnings from add-on charges for items such as baggage and pre-assigned seating helped boost Ryanair's earnings in the past year.  The airline flew 5% more passengers last year (79.3m), and added 20% on ancillaries.  Profits were lifted 13% to €569m in the year to March.

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Virgin and Delta get closer

The US$360m sale by Singapore Airlines to Delta Airlines (DL) of its 49% interest in Virgin Atlantic (VS) is getting closer with total completion expected third quarter 2013 (see BTN 10 December 2012).

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ON TOUR: Thomson Airways – Britain’s first 787 operator

Thomson Airways may not be a business travel airline but it is flown by business travellers. 

Business travellers, and their families like to go on holiday and Thomson Airways has recognised that the standard set by scheduled carriers with their in-flight comfort and service is required for the leisure market too.

Next Friday (29 May) Thomson is planning a high profile UK delivery party for G-TUIA, Britain’s first Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  Sometime before midday it should arrive at Manchester Airport after a non-stop 11-hour flight from Seattle with Managing Director Chris Bowne on board.

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CRUISE NEWS MAY 2013

Southampton sees it all.  What with the introduction of Norwegian Cruise Line Breakaway earlier this month (see BTN 29 April and below) and Royal Princess the week after next the port has never been busier. 

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AND FINALLY: The half truths, and nothing like the truth.

Elsewhere in Business Travel News you will read of Ryanair’s profits and the purchase of 175 new Boeing aircraft.  In fact 105 out of lease planes are being returned by the airline.   “Ryanair is to add 70 airliners over the next six years” does not read so well.  However even BTN would agree that this is a solid growth.

The BBC News Magazine goes into far more detail with this interesting article.

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Doha drops ICAO bid

Reuters reports that Qatar has dropped a bid to move the headquarters of ICAO, the UN designated technical civil aviation authority from Montreal to Doha (See BTN 6 May).

Last month Qatar proposed that the organisation leave Montreal, where it has been based since it was created in 1947.

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Etihad to Amsterdam

Amsterdam has been further linked to Abu Dhabi following last week’s inaugural by Etihad Airways of a daily 7.5hr flight.  The service is a code share in conjunction with KLM, who are already on the route and strengthens the UAE-based airline’s links with the Air France/KLM Group.  Garuda Indonesian Airways also operates a parallel service.

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Manchester lounge

A new £500,000 Escape Lounge has opened its doors at Manchester Airport’s Terminal 3, offering both a unique bird’s-eye view of the runways – and the chance to rub shoulders with the rich and famous.  The new facility has capacity for up to 120 passengers at one time – and follows the success of similar lounges in Terminals 1 and 2.  As the main international gateway for the north the lounge is often used by sports and entertainment stars flying off both east and west.

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OAG and MIGO

Travel disruption is the bane of business commuting whether it be by road, rail or air.  Delays can arise from bad weather, industrial disputes, air traffic problems, runway hold ups and of course volcanoes.

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Serviced Apartments

Figures just released by the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers (ASAP) confirm that the first quarter of 2013 has proved challenging for many UK operators in this sector.
 
The average overall occupancy for January to March in London was 77%.  The average net weekly rental rate in the capital was a healthy £1,102 which showed an 11% increase on the 2012 figure of £995.

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Stansted to Doha

Seemingly not to be outdone by Wizz Air who have announced a route from Budapest to Dubai (and with connections from Luton see BTN 8 April) Turkish airline Pegasus is to introduce a three times per week service starting 16 June from Sabiha Gokcen Airport on the Asian side of Istanbul to Doha.  This will link to its twice daily Stansted operation.  Passengers checking in at the north London airport will collect their luggage at the final destination.

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Yellow Line

The name may not be promising, Yellow Line synonymous with traffic problems, but perhaps whoever thought up the title of the store has equated it to ‘parking’ in the shop whilst waiting at an airport.

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