28 JULY 2014


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Euros on the Tube

Transport for London (TfL) has teamed up with Raphaels Bank to introduce cash points at 70 London Underground (LU) stations which dispense both Pounds and Euros.  The move is part of TfL’s work to modernise and improve the services available to customers across the transport network.

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Manchester closure for flynas

Saudi airline flynas has pulled its Jeddah flights to Manchester.  The three times per week service will cease on 1 August.  However, the airline says that it is committed to the UK market and yesterday (27 July) launched a twice weekly route from Gatwick to Riyadh. 

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Monarch Airlines

With the confirmation last week at Farnborough that it is participating in a fleet replacement plan with order for 30 Boeing 737-8 MAX aircraft, Monarch Airlines is in effect ditching its present supplier, Airbus.  There are options on a further 15 aircraft.  First airline delivery of the MAX is due in 2017. 

A pair of 374-seat Airbus A330-200 have been retained for long haul flights.

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Thomas Cook Airlines

For summer 2015 Thomas Cook Airlines (UK) will replace its three-strong Birmingham Airport based Boeing 757s with four Airbus A320 series aircraft. 

In terms of passengers carried it is Britain’s fifth largest air carrier (with just over 6m passengers last year), a mainly charter operation with limited scheduled services.  On board services and accommodation is of good quality and very similar to easyJet, the seat pitch around the same.

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SOAPBOX SPECIAL: Malaysia Airlines

BTN has brought forward its normal ‘first of the month’ ON THE SOAPBOX due to the industry importance of the MH17 incident.


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Air Algerie & TransAsia Airways

In a week that will go down as one of the worst regarding commercial airline fatalities in recent times, both Air Algerie and TransAsia Airways have lost aircraft with total fatalities.  Both accidents appear to have been due to bad weather conditions.

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Air France losses

Under the new management of Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of Air France-KLM Group has reported a first-half net loss of €614m, a reduction from the €799m for the same period in 2013.

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Birmingham’s Chinese charter

It may be the way for the future?  Birmingham Airport has welcomed the UK's first direct flight from China into a non-London airport inaugurating its recently extended runway as the service departed for its 5,000 mile journey back to Beijing.

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DFW rail link

The final segment of Dallas Area Rapid Transit’s (DART) Orange Line rail service to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will start its operations on 18 August.

The 5-mile segment links newly renovated Terminal A and Belt Line Station, with continuing service to major regional destinations including Irving-Las Colinas, Dallas Market Center and downtown Dallas.

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Israel flights

Flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport have returned to normal after European and US air safety regulators eased restrictions on airlines flying to Israel’s only true international airport.  An attempt by the Israeli Government to persuade airlines affected by the ban to use Ovda Airport, a joint military operation north of Eilat, as an alternative was ignored.  It is however used by charter operators into the popular Gulf of Aqaba resort.

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Royal Jordanian

The Royal Jordanian (RJ) routes to Delhi, Mumbai and Lagos are to be dropped.  RJ will stop operating to Mumbai on 10 September, to Lagos on 10 October, and to Delhi on 31 October.  With the closure of the three destinations, the RJ total is 51 routes.

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Skytrax Awards

The 2014 Skytrax Airline Awards coincided with Farnborough Air Show, taking advantage of the many CEOs and senior airline executives in the UK for the show.

This year’s venue was the Wind Tunnel Q121 (the former Royal Aircraft Establishment).

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Stansted MD’s trains call

Rail operations on the Cambridge to Stansted train link have doubled from last week.  For most of the day there are two services per hour.  All also call at Audley End.

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Virgin Atlantic for Belfast and Glasgow

Belfast and Glasgow routes have been added to the Virgin Atlantic network for holiday flights for this time next year. 

This is the first time Virgin Atlantic has launched a service from Belfast International Airport or operated out of Northern Ireland. 

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ON TOUR: YORK – Capital of the World of Chocolate. Your Editor put on weight

Thinking of a short UK break?  Have a requirement to take a grandchild away for a few days.  York is the capital of the world of chocolate.  It is an educational destination too?  Our charge was an eight-year old fellow but if yours is a family prices are reasonable, and if from abroad it is the city of Richard III. 

York is under two hours from Kings Cross London on the underrated (if a bit rattly) East Coast train service.  Very comfortable with a reasonably priced buffet car, or First Class and an excellent breakfast.  Courtesy internet provided also. 

By road it is 200 miles and twice the time. 

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AND FINALLY: Watch this!

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Aberdeen to London City

Following the decision of British Airways to pull its Aberdeen – London City (ABZ – LCY) service at the end of the summer season (See BTN 7 July) Flybe has stepped in to save the routes.  It will operate a 78-seat Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 twice daily with a scheduled time of 1hr 50mins.

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Boeing’s stretched Dreamliner

ANA will become the world’s first airline to operate the new stretched version of the Boeing Dreamliner when it launches services on domestic Japanese routes in August with the 787-9 variant of the aircraft.

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Cranfield research centre

A new Aerospace Integration Research Centre is to be built at Cranfield University with co-investment partners Airbus and Rolls-Royce, following the award of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

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Dubai runway reopens

Full operations at Dubai International (DXB) have returned following the reopening of the northern runway.  At the same time flights that had temporarily moved to Al Maktoum International at Dubai World Central (DWC) while the runway upgrades were underway have now returned to Dubai International. 

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Ryanair payback time

European Union state aid regulators have ordered Ryanair to pay back to France about €10m in what it calls “illegal state aid” received for operating at three small regional airports two of which it has already pulled out of.  This just leaves Nimes where €6.4m is said to be due. 

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Scottish aeromedical centre opens

Professional pilots and air traffic controllers will no longer have to travel to southern England for their initial medicals, thanks to the opening of Scotland’s first aeromedical centre.

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