4 AUGUST 2014

YOUR WORDS


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BA747 First cabin closure

As part of its fleet renewal programme British Airways is retiring a number of older aircraft from the fleet including some Boeing 747-400s still fitted with the previous First cabin design.

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Fish and chips in the air

Stuart Fusco, chef director of the award-winning Quayside fish and chip restaurant and takeaway, based in Whitby, North Yorkshire, has been helping BA get a better batter for its first-ever on-board fish and chips.  And in the airline’s economy, Euro Traveller, class too.

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IATA and Venezuela

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on the Venezuelan Government to honour the commitment it made in March to allow airlines to repatriate in full and at fair exchange rates airline funds being blocked in the country.  While the Government has permitted the repatriation of US$424m shared among a number of airlines, continuing sales in the country have seen the total amount owed grow to a staggering US$4.1bn.

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London City to Guernsey

Aurigny has now confirmed that it will introduce a twice weekday service between London City and Guernsey from 8 September.  However it will be by Fokker 50 and not as suggested some weeks ago by the smaller (and much less comfortable) Dornier 228.  (see BTN 14 July).

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Monarch Chairman

Sir Roy McNulty, the affable and softly spoken Ulsterman, has become the Non-executive Chairman of Monarch Airlines Group.  He is also Chairman of Gatwick Airport Ltd.  Sir Iain Rawlinson stands down after five years.

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Skymark Airlines drops A380

Airbus has cancelled its contract with Japan's Skymark Airlines for the purchase of six A380 aircraft.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Vernon Murphy and Heathrow

Vernon Murphy has been a key contributor to Business Travel News in recent times, either 'ON THE SOAPBOX' covering airlines and HS2, or 'ON TOUR', with his ancient railways hat on.

With great sadness we report his passing (see below) but he did leave this interesting summary of the London airport scene, which very much stands up to scrutiny.  It is typically Vernon, well thought out and to the point.

He will be missed, not only by his family, but by his many friends in the transport industry.

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Airbus world tour

Off on a world tour last week was Airbus A350 XWB MSN5.  This route proving trial is designed to demonstrate readiness for airline operations and will include high airfield performance, auto-landing trials, and airport turnaround and handling services.  Some flights will have passengers on board.  The A350 world tour itinerary includes 14 major airports worldwide and one route via the North Pole.

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Cabin baggage novelty

GATE8 has introduced what it calls “Cabin Max”, a clever new patent protected in-cabin roller bag designed for the three-day business trip.

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Hand baggage and BA

British Airways has extended its hand baggage only fares to include all short haul flights from Gatwick, Heathrow and London City airports and in all fare classes.

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Iberia ditches the A340

Known in the airline industry as the ‘gas guzzler’ Iberia is well on its way to ditching its fleet of four-engined A340 aircraft replaced by the Airbus A350 XWB.  

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Luton to Poprad

Wizz Air is to introduce a three times per week service from Luton to Poprad (Slovakia) on 28 October.  With this latest destination Wizz will serve 29 destinations from the North London airport.

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Malaysian aftershock

With airlines around the world considering their approach to routes over areas of conflict Emirates says that it will avoid Iraqi airspace, as the government in Baghdad struggles to contain Islamic insurgents who have captured vast areas of the country.

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Pilatus roll-out

Last Friday, Swiss National Day, and in front of an audience of 25,000, Pilatus Aircraft presented its PC-24 prototype at the little Stans Airport.

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Tripoli Airport

The situation continues to deteriorate in Libya.  Flights to Tripoli have been cancelled by British Airways with intense fighting still going on between government and rebel forces.

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Vernon Murphy

A regular contributor to Business Travel News and a man always full of charm and spirit Vernon Murphy has suddenly passed away just a few weeks before his 70th birthday and with it the celebration of a Ruby Wedding.

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ON TOUR: Stay at home short holidays

Some 60% of  Business Travel News  readers are UK-based and so we feel justified in this week’s ON TOUR which takes in UK destinations.  It also might help BTN readers from abroad who are thinking of taking a holiday in this ‘Sceptred Isle’.

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CRUISE NEWS AUGUST 2014

The Cruise – ITV prime time + a children's Ventura

Slotted in between two instalments of Coronation Street, ITV prime time on a Friday evening, the Princess Cruises Show, officially called ‘The Cruise’ just had to be good news for the now Seattle-based division of the Carnival Group.  Four ‘advertorials’ for free. 

The series averged just over three million with 3.8m watching the final episode.  The Cruise Ship was ITV's highest-rated Friday show outside of the soaps.

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AND FINALLY: Cruising distraction

There is an elderly woman on a cruise ship standing to the front of the ship close to the railing, she is holding on to her hat with both hands so the wind wouldn't blow it away. 

A gentleman walks up to her and says, "Excuse me madam, but the wind is blowing your dress clear up." 

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Alitalia date set

The long-standing saga of the UAE’s Etihad takeover of Italy’s Alitalia could come to an end this week according to reports from Rome.

The Italian Government is preparing to sell a 49% stake in the 68-year old airline following talks which have lasted for more than seven months.

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Eva Air at Terminal 2

Star Alliance has welcomed its latest arrival at Heathrow Terminal 2, The Queen's Building, Eva Air.  The Taiwan-based carrier offers a daily three-class Boeing 777 service to Taipei via Bangkok.  The lessons seemed to have been learnt from the chaotic T5 single airline move in 2008.

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IAG profit

British Airways owner IAG has moved into profit for the first half of the year after less than expected losses from its Spanish airline, Iberia.  The group made a pre-tax profit of £123m compared with a £140m loss a year ago.  Iberia, which has been loss-making for a number of years, made an operating loss of £75m.

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LinkedIn and KLM

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has introduced a 24/7 LinkedIn customer service.  It claims to be the first airline in the world to offer the business-focussed social media platform.  Passengers with general and flight-related queries on topics such as seat reservations, rebooking a ticket or making arrangements for extra baggage are now able to contact the airline directly via the world wide web.

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Ryanair profit rise

The ‘be nice’ campaign by the ‘enfant terrible' of the airline world, Ryanair, seems to be paying off.  The Dublin-based airline has raised its full-year profit forecast to the €620m – €650m range.  The airline last said its first-quarter profit more than doubled to €197m.

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Virgin America IPO

Founded in 2007, with Richard Branson taking a highly publicised 22% investment (the largest foreign ownership allowed under US law), Virgin America is planning an IPO (Initial Public Offering).  The airline said that the cash injection will help fund future growth.

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