10 JUNE 2013

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787 introduction by Norwegian

Norwegian will operate its brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner on several European routes this summer, including London – Oslo.  Norwegian’s passengers will also have the opportunity to experience the state-of-the-art 787 Dreamliner on selected services from Oslo to Alicante, Barcelona, Malaga and Nice.

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Airport wi-fi access?

With business travellers rating their smart phones and tablets as travel necessities, Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) has compared the wi-fi access available at UK airports.  The research evaluates the availability and cost of accessing wi-fi across 25 UK airports.  Heathrow went free wi-fi last week. (see BTN 3 June)

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Baltimore Washington International Airport

Users of Washington’s third major airport, Baltimore (after Dulles and Reagan) will be pleased to learn of the opening of a Holiday Inn at what was formerly a Comfort Inn.  Completely renovated it offers a courtesy 24-hour shuttle service from the airport.

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Ealing DoubleTree

The name Ealing may not be known to worldwide travellers but it is a London suburban town about halfway between Heathrow and Marble Arch.  It is also the location for a new DoubleTree by Hilton, on the junction of the North Circular Road (Hanger Lane) and Uxbridge Road.  Ealing Common Underground station is very close by (one change on the Central Line at Ealing Broadway for Heathrow, or take the slightly longer walk to that station for Heathrow Connect) and it is just four miles from the Wembley Stadium complex.

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Etihad to Brazil

Sao Paulo (Brazil) is Etihad Airways’ latest route from Abu Dhabi and the airline’s first destination in South America.

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Heathrow T2 date set

Wednesday 4 June 2014 is the date set for 23 Star Alliance airlines, plus Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic Little Red and germanwings to move into the brand new £2.5bn Heathrow Terminal 2 facility.

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Room service scrapped?

Asked to comment by the BBC on plans by Hilton International to scrap room service BTN Editor Malcolm Ginsberg was sceptical.  “Whilst I appreciate that hotels are looking at ways to economise I believe that this would be a retrograde step.  Whilst typically Hilton is mostly a franchise operation nevertheless it tries to standardise the product wherever possible.  If you are not certain you are going to get room service you might very well turn to another hospitality supplier", he said.  “Business travellers rely on room service for late night needs, meetings and breakfast".

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Virgin drops Ghana

Accra is to be discontinued by Virgin Atlantic from 23 September. 

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ON THE SOAPBOX SPECIAL Stewart Wingate, Gatwick Airport Chief Executive:

For our discussion series on the Government’s Airports Commission (Davies) Stewart Wingate puts forward the Gatwick viewpoint.  A Chartered Engineer, Mr Wingate was with BAA from 2004 until September 2009, as Customer Services Director of Glasgow Airport (2004-2005), Chief Executive Officer of Budapest Airport (2005-2007) and prior to the purchase of Gatwick by a group headed by Global Infrastructure Partners, Managing Director of Stansted Airport (2007-2009).  He has a Masters in Business Administration.

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A380 for BA at Paris

As predicted by Business Travel News Airbus plans to unveil the first British Airways' A380 during the Paris Air Show which begins next Monday (17 June).

BA is due to take delivery of its initial A380, configured with 469 seats, in July.  The aircraft is powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 900 engines.  The airline has 10 on order with a scheduled service date set for Tuesday 15 October.  The airline has chosen the popular ‘Red Carpet Route’ to Los Angeles as the first route for the double-decker superjumbo.  Flight time is 11½ hours, giving plenty of time for passengers to appreciate the quietness of the new aircraft.

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Abu Dhabi to US flight clearance

Steps by, in effect, Etihad Airways to establish a US customs pre-clearance facility in Abu Dhabi are being frustrated by Washington lawmakers.  Whilst no American airlines are on the route, by its geographical position (cira 100 miles from Dubai) it offers an alternative route between the United States and the Gulf.

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Boeing 757s for Aer Lingus

In spite of the shenanigans with Ryanair, which must be time consuming for the senior management, Aer Lingus is pushing forward with ambitious plans for 2014.  Three Boeing 757s are likely to be acquired in a ‘damp lease’, usually aircraft plus flight deck crew from Dublin-based Air Contractors.

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Hotels by Vueling

Vueling, now part of IAG, has joined forces with Hoteles Catalonia to create what it calls “a new accommodation concept” with Vueling BCN by HC, in Barcelona .  

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Security update

Plans by the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) to permit passengers to carry small knives on aircraft have been dropped after receiving criticism from flight attendants and the public that easing restrictions would increase flight dangers.

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ON TOUR: IATA 2013 Cape Town

The fact that it is not the easiest of places to get to did not put off some 600 delegates who attended last week’s International Air Transport Association (IATA) 69th Annual General Meeting at Cape Town.

The focus was on Africa as Tony Tyler, since 2010 Director General and CEO, said in his opening address.  He saved his most forthright comments for later on with what was seen as an attack on Heathrow.  When boss of Cathay Pacific he was more diplomatic.  “It drives me mad with frustration”, he said and accused management of not taking tough decisions to cut costs and abusing its monopoly.

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MOTORING UPDATE

On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

SEAT Leon FR 1.4 TSI 140

SEAT Really on t
rack with new Leon

As a second home owner in Spain I have closely followed the development and fortunes of the SEAT car range, undoubtedly with much greater interest after the Volkswagen acquisition and observed the creation of the state of art factory outside Barcelona from the first foundations to a fully operational situation.  I have been immensely impressed in what I have experienced.

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AND FINALLY: Paris in style

If you are going to the Paris Air Show, and have time, here is another take on transport.

It is stunning.

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Bombardier C series update

One exciting new aircraft that will not be seen at Le Bourget during next week’s Paris Air Show is the Bombardier C series.  The Montreal-based aircraft manufacturer, the world’s fourth largest, is known to be preparing the first development aircraft for its maiden flight, but this is now not expected until the end of June.

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Gatwick rebuilds

With the North Terminal largely rebuilt, and the entrance to the southern building transformed Gatwick Airport has turned its attention to completely remodelling its southerly Pier 1.  Work has started to demolish the 1962 structure in a £180m project to provide passengers with a world-class airport.

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Paris and the air show

Business Travel News this week brings you three stories that may be of use for visitors, and also for companions not going to the show itself.

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Provincial London link concerns

Scottish Passengers Agents Association (SPAA) President Kevin Thom has expressed the SPAA’s “real concern” regarding the recently-announced sale by Flybe of its 25 Gatwick take-off and landing slots to easyJet.  As reported by BTN (see BTN 27 May) in all seven UK regional points could be affected.  easyJet says it is looking at its 2014 programme.

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Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport

Work has begun to radically transform the Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport.  The hotel, which originally opened in 1998, will be fully refurbished over three phases, with the first phase and the largest, already well under way.  The large-scale project will touch all core elements of the property over the next two years.  The hotel is part of the airport terminal complex, situated between T2 and the railway station and featuring a covered moving walkway.

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Rolls-Royce wins Singapore order

Singapore Airlines has selected the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine to power 30 Boeing 787-10Xs for delivery from the 2018/19 financial year. (See BTN 3 June)
 
The engine was selected from among two competing models available for the aircraft, following a detailed evaluation of offers.

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Southend Airport extension

The extension to Southend Airport, taking its capacity up towards two million passengers per year, is on schedule to be completed by Monday 17 June when easyJet will deliver a fourth aircraft.  On the Monday the airline introduces a daily (except Saturday) service to Berlin (Schönefeld) and four times a week flights to Krakow; plus on Thursday 20 June a summer only operation on Thursday, Saturday and Tuesday to Newquay.  In total easyJet will serve 15 destinations from the East London airport this summer.

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