23 JUNE 2014

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Airports at the House of Commons

The Airport Operators Association (AOA), in partnership with British Air Transport Association (BATA), held their annual reception on the terrace of the House of Common last week.

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Chris Lockwood

We have seen the last of one of the finest ever travel trade reporters.  Chris Lockwood has sadly passed on. He was in his early 70s. 

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Helsinki Airport sauna and lounge

Finnair is nearing completion of a new sauna and Premium Lounge at Helsinki Airport due to open 1 July.  It is near Gate 36 in the non-Schengen area of the airport.

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Prestwick subsidy

Glasgow Prestwick Airport, just over 30 miles from the city, but with a direct rail connection to Central Station, is to receive nearly £7m investment from the Scottish government, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced. 

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Ryanair for children

Family Extra is a new product with a range of discounts for parents travelling with children.  It includes half-price allocated seating for kids, a 50% reduction on children's baggage fees, discounted priority boarding and half-price travel insurance for youngsters.

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COMMENT: Northolt and The Queen’s Terminal T2

Today (23 June) H M The Queen opens the new Heathrow T2, a major step forward in the rehabilitation of Britain’s major airport.  But just four miles away is another once vital operation, and still very much useable, RAF Northolt, which could very quickly, until HS2 is built and the new London runway becomes ‘on line’, solve the critical transport connections for the regions.  It meets the Government’s criteria too.

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“A Very British Airline”

Will this BBC plug for BA go down as an award winning documentary?  Unlikely.  But it ought to be a must in the future for airline recruits exploring as it does the complexity of the operation. 

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Enhanced “Mobile Agent”

Travelport, the IT travel commerce people, launched an upgraded version of its popular Travelport Mobile Agent (TMA) tool introducing a range of new features and functionality for its agency users.  The mobile app allows travel agents to make bookings for their customers from handheld devices.  It was first launched in 2011 and now has over 41.5k installations globally.

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Heathrow Operations Manual

Haynes Publishing, one of the longest established (1960) and most respected specialists in motoring technical books, has introduced its latest production (and timed to coincide with the opening of The Queen’s Building Terminal 2).  Called “Heathrow Airport 1929 onwards Operations Manual” a weird title for what is a very fine production.  One does not have to wonder where they got the word “Manual”.

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Newquay – London subsidised

Cornwall Council is inviting airlines to submit bids to operate a Newquay to London air link.  The Flybe services from Gatwick and Southend are not scheduled after 25 October.

The Government announced last year that the flights were eligible for a Public Service Obligation (PSO) and in March confirmed that it would provide a financial guarantee for the full four-year duration. 

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Norwegian to New York

Gatwick Airport has confirmed that Norwegian will introduce its New York JFK service on Thursday 3 July with Norwegian CEO Bjørn Kjos on hand to see it off.  Boeing 787 flights will operate Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. 

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Qatar delays

Delivery of the first three Airbus A380s to Qatar Airways has been delayed due to unresolved cabin issues, the airline's Chief Executive has said.

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Stair lift for air passengers

Indian airline IndiGo has introduced a stair lift for passengers suffering from reduced mobility at the Indian airports which do not have an air bridge facility.

This novel, but practical, facility, could quickly catch on world-wide, and become the norm.  The airline is to be praised for its initiative. IndiGo enjoys the solitary status of being the only airline anywhere on the globe having this boarding ramp facility for all its flights.

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Virgin continues on the West Coast

The West Coast rail contract has been retained by Virgin Trains after an ‘about face’ by the Department for Transport (DfT).

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ON TOUR: Surfing in Newquay - And Cornwall too

The Editor has been to the South West

Newquay is a very long way from London, 300 miles by road, and 50 more if you want to go on to Penzance.  First Great Western provides a rail service from Paddington, but, as you may have read, this is susceptible to weather disruptions and seems to take ages.  This summer Flybe offers services from both Gatwick and Southend airports, one hour in the air with seats still available in August from less than £60 return inclusive (except for a £5 airport tax).  All the major car hire firms are represented at Newquay Airport.

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AND FINALLY: England

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Air Canada into Heathrow Terminal 2

When H M The Queen opens Terminal 2 at Heathrow today (23 June), one country where she is Head of State will be represented.  Air Canada last week moved across from T1 to the new gateway and becomes the second airline, after United its Joint Venture partner, to become operational.

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American’s Heathrow slots

Cyprus Airways has announced to the Nicosia Stock Exchange that it is to sell its last Heathrow slot pair to American Airlines for US$31m, which will “enhance the company’s liquidity for 2015."

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China and Heathrow

With China's Premier Li Keqiang in London last week, the country’s Ambassador to the Court of St James, Liu Xiaoming, articulated that the world’s most populous country wants Heathrow to expand capacity to allow Chinese carriers to introduce more flights between China and Britain.

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Innovation as the Queen opens terminal

Amongst the many varied and interesting innovations in the new T2 Queen’s Terminal, which Her Majesty officially opens today (23 June) one clearly stands out.

Strung up above the Caviar House dining bar is a lighting sculpture named “Emergence” and, with playful reference to its sponsor, captures the re-imagined movement of a school of fish moving underwater.

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Jet Blue ‘Mint’

Mint has been launched by JetBlue Airways as a premium service between New York (JFK) and Los Angeles using brand new A321 aircraft.  By 3 August all JetBlue flights on these routes will feature the ‘Mint’ product.  On 26 October the airline will introduce the cabin on the transcontinental San Francisco service too.

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Pilot training conference

The annual International Flight Crew Training Conference of the Royal Aeronautical Society takes place 23/24 September at the Society’s London headquarters.  It will examine the work undertaken by the International Pilot Training Consortium (IPTC) and seek to determine what further effort is required and under what auspices it should be conducted. (see also 'A Very British Airline part 3')

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Wizz Air Scraps London Listing

Plans by Budapest-based Wizz Air to list its shares on the London Stock Exchange have been withdrawn, citing current market volatility in the airline business. (see BTN 26 May)

"The outlook for Wizz Air's business remains extremely positive and unaffected by the decision not to proceed with an IPO," the company said in a statement.

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