26 MAY 2014


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Abu Dhabi connects

A transfer passenger screening facility at Abu Dhabi International Airport has opened as part of the airport’s continued Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP).

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Doubletree Chelsea

London’s Chelsea now has a DoubleTree by Hilton.  Formerly a Jurys Inn Chelsea it has been re-branded and will operate as DoubleTree by Hilton London – Chelsea under a franchise agreement with Hilton Worldwide. 

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Gatwick – Luton rail link

Govia Thameslink Railway Ltd (Govia) will operate the Thameslink Rail Franchise serving both Gatwick and Luton airports from September 2014.  Also included in the contract is Southern (including the Gatwick Express) and the Great Northern routes from Kings Cross and Moorgate.

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Premium Economy by Lufthansa

Lufthansa’s new Premium Economy Class is now available for booking on flights flown by its Boeing 747-8 fleet.

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Sydney for Etihad

Etihad Airways has opened its new First and Business Class lounge at Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport – the airline’s first in Australia and the newest addition to its collection of premium lounges worldwide.

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Wizz Air 10 years

Now based in Budapest, Wizz Air has celebrated 10 years of operations and also announced plans to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange, seeking to raise €200m to strengthen its balance sheet as it seeks more growth.

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Next Thursday (29 May 22:35) Question Time, the BBC TV’s foremost political debate programme, is coming direct from the spectacular departures area of the yet to be opened Queen's Terminal at Heathrow (see COMMENT).  It is something of a coupe for the airport.  This preview does come with something of a Health Warning as clearly you will not agree with some of those on the panel putting across their views.  David Dimbleby is in charge with Piers Morgan one of the panellists and also Joey Barton, a footballer with a certain reputation.  Why Piers Morgan?  One can only assume because he is a regular traveller.  And as for Mr Barton, who knows?  He must have a good publicist.

Question Time Editor, Nicolai Gentchev, said: “The new Heathrow Terminal 2 will be a spectacular setting for Question Time.  After recent programmes from historic locations such as St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Hall in Parliament, we are looking forward to going to a huge workplace through which millions of people will travel.”

To apply for a seat in the audience you can register your question at www.bbc.co.uk/questiontime

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COMMENT - Waste of space

Akbar Al Baker, Chief Executive of Qatar Airways (QR), has received criticism this past week. 

At a function in Dubai a reporter asked why Gulf carriers are so much more advanced than European ones.  His response was thus.  “Europe’s growth is impeded because airports are locked up between 11pm and 5.30am each day – and that is the time ideal for east-west transfers to take place,” he said.

This was interpreted by some media that he favoured more night flights into Heathrow.  As the representative of Qatar National interests, part owner of the airport and on its Board, he is clearly aware as anyone regarding the sensitivity of flight scheduling.  With his IATA and oneworld Board hats on even more so!

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Air Canada to introduce Dreamliner

The first Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner has arrived at Air Canada and will go into service on the Toronto – Tokyo/Haneda route in July.  This will be followed by Toronto – Tel Aviv and the Vancouver services to Tokyo and Shanghai over the 2014-2015 winter months.  Plans for future deployment of the 787 Dreamliner will be announced at future dates as new aircraft enter service.

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Avro Lancaster tour

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum will be flying their prized Avro Lancaster to England this August for a month long visit.  The Lancaster will join the only other airworthy Lancaster in the world, owned and operated by the Royal Air Force's renowned Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF), and will participate in several events and activities.

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Birmingham and Flybe

Flybe has announced eight new routes for the winter from Birmingham with two brand new destinations in Hamburg and Oslo and a year-round extension of six summer routes.  The programme starts on 26 October.

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Edinburgh to the US

The end of last week saw the introduction of two new US services from Edinburgh.  On Friday (24 May) it was United to Chicago and Saturday, US to Philadelphia.

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Sir Jack Brabham

In an era dominated by Stirling Moss and Jim Clark, Sir Jack Brabham, who has passed away at the age of 88, was equal to them.  He was always a gentleman even to the youngest of motor racing executives involved in a competing marque. 

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The Flying Scotsman

East Coast’s flagship Flying Scotsman express service from Edinburgh and Newcastle to London King’s Cross has marked its third birthday.  East Coast is a government-owned rail service established in November 2009 following the collapse of National Express East Coast. 

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ON TOUR: How Gatwick will solve the airport dilemma

And as a bonus the Mayor’s latest pitch

Last week Business Travel News took a look at the Heathrow submission to the Airports Commission.  We now review Gatwick’s proposal, a 3,200 page document intended to show why the south London operation should be recommended by Sir Howard Davies and his committee.  We have also added the latest from the Mayor of London.  His submission is only 1,000+ pages.

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AND FINALLY: It could only happen in Ireland

Last weekend Germanwings introduced weekly flights between Knock and Cologne.

This event reminded us of a true story of the airport now known as ‘West of Ireland International’.

The airport was conceived by a Roman Catholic priest Monsignor James Horan in the early 1980s and work began.  However the project ran out of money. 

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A350 update

Airbus has flown the fifth A350 XWB and says that it is on schedule for an entry-into-service date at the end of this year with lead customer Qatar Airways.  It is only available with variants of the Rolls-Royce Trent engine.  To date the European conglomerate has totalled 812 orders (as against the competing Boeing 787 with 1,031 firm commitments and 140 in service).

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Aviation Club to welcome guests

Gordon Wilson, President & CEO of Travelport, is the guest speaker at the Aviation Club on Thursday 12 June.  Once again the venue is the Institute of Directors, in London’s Pall Mall, formerly the United Services Club, the building designed by John Nash in the 1820s.  Mr Wilson has a Masters from Cambridge and has spent over 20 years in the travel industry.

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Cathay to Zurich

Zurich is the latest target of Cathay Pacific Airways.  Tickets are already on sale for a new service that is scheduled to commence as a daily operation from 29 March 2015.

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Frankfurt gym

Some time back  BTN  asked readers if they could name an airport with a gym area airside.  There was not a single positive response.  It was assumed by your Editor that with most airports requiring considerable walking such a requirement was not needed.  Passengers automatically keep fit.

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London City luggage service

A brand new service for air travellers has been launched at London City Airport (LCY).  The first business of its kind in Europe, AirPortr provides a secure luggage transfer service, designed to enable passengers to travel lighter and more easily.

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MAX hits 2,000 for Boeing

Boeing has celebrated a milestone achievement with the announcement of the 2,000th order for the single-aisle aircraft.  Since its inception in 1967 the 737 has gained 11,774 commitments.  The Airbus A320 series order book stands at 10,286 since 1988.

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Sun shines on EBACE 2014

“The worst years of the global economic downturn are over,” European Business Aviation Association CEO Fabio Gamba declared at the opening of EBACE 2014 in Geneva on 20 May, suggesting that this year is going to be, if not a defining year, certainly a positive and exciting one.

Ed Bolen, President and CEO of NBAA, was positive in highlighting that new products underway from Bombardier – with the Global 7000, Dassault’s Falcon 8X and the Gulfstream 650ER – were a great vote of confidence for the sector. 

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US boosts visitors

President Obama has signed a Presidential Memorandum to help welcome more international visitors to the United States, acknowledging that travel spurs the economy.

“In the hospitality business, first impressions matter a great deal,” said Secretary for Commerce Penny Pritzker.  “That is why we must ensure that tourists and business travellers have a positive and welcoming experience when they land at our ports of entry.

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