11 AUGUST 2014


© 2022 Business Travel News Ltd.

Car tax disc

As of 1 October 2014, the Driving Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) will stop issuing paper tax discs.  HPI has alerted Business Travel News that penalty charges can be levelled against a vehicle they no longer own.  Instead of using paper tax discs to spot tax evaders, police cameras automatically check a car’s number plate.

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Gatwick luggage problems

The problems experienced by travellers at Gatwick Airport over the first weekend of August seem to have been resolved.  The airport and baggage handling company Swissport brought in extra staff to deal with what was becoming a serious situation with some people reported to be waiting up to three hours for their cases and other items to appear at the carousels.

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KLM to Bogatá

Colombia’s capital, Bogotá will be served by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines next year.  From 31 March 2015, KLM will fly three times a week, the aircraft on a two-stop routing, also landing at Cali, the country’s third-largest city.

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Monarch Airlines in-flight

MPlayer has arrived at Monarch Airlines. 

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COMMENT: The ‘getting old’ will travel

Since the emergence of the package holidays in the 1960s and the low-cost airlines two decades later, it has been thought that the ‘young things’ made up the majority of travellers, at least those doing so for recreational purposes.

New, independent research says this is not so, and with the peak of the travel season now upon us it seemed a good idea to COMMENT on the situation.

A report has been published by Saga (recently listed on the London Stock Exchange – and with a clear interest in the results) which shows that the over 50s now account for the majority of the UK’s expenditure on travel and tourism.  In 2002 it was 46%.  The figure now is 54%.

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Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines

Some 14 years since it acquired a 25% stake in Air New Zealand (which it lost when the New Zealand government bailed out the airline) Singapore Airlines is once again in partnership with the State carrier.  The New Zealand Minister of Transport has given the approval of a tie-up. 

Both airlines are part of Star Alliance.

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Alitalia saved

After protracted negotiations Etihad Airways will buy almost half of loss-making Alitalia and invest €560m into the Italian airline in a deal that was finally signed last Friday (8 August).  How the arrangement of Italian day-to-day management, airline skills acquired from the UK and led by an Australian will work out remains to be seen.  Etihad's policy is to be involved with a number of carriers, spreading its resources thinly according to some. 

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American Airlines drops meals

Passengers expecting some kind of meal on American Airlines short haul flights from 1 September will find they are disappointed.  The Dallas Texas-based carrier will stop serving free meals to First and Business Class passengers on flights shorter than 2hrs 45mins.  American Airlines now only serves full meals on flights longer than 2hrs.

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Dar es Salaam to Harare

fastjet inaugurated its Dar es Salaam (Tanzania) – Harare (Zimbabwe) service on 5 August as planned (See BTN 21 July).  The low-cost pan-African airline offers the only direct air link between the two counties.  It is the airline’s third international route.

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Guide Dogs at Heathrow

Heathrow is to partner with the charity Guide Dogs to help train young puppies in their future role.

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Left luggage and Heathrow

The Excess Baggage Company has expanded its operations to include retail outlets landside in Heathrow’s Terminal 2 (T2) and Terminal 3 (T3).

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Nando’s at Gatwick

Nando’s has opened airside at Gatwick Airport South, the 15th new restaurant to become resident at the airport since 2011.

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Russian airline falters

Aeroflot’s new low-cost (LCC) subsidiary Dobrolet suspended flights 4 August due to sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU).  The new LCC began operations 10 June with Moscow – Simferopol services. 

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ON TOUR: King's Cross Square

Boris Johnson officially opened King's Cross Square earlier this year although it was not really complete.  Clearly it was in the Mayor’s diary, and if a small amount of building work still had to be done, so be it.  A bronze by Henry Moore called Large Spindle Piece arrived last week.  It is big!

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On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

Subaru Outback 2.0D SX

Subaru’s 4x4 Outback Makes Real Sense!

Right from the first four-wheel-drive Subaru Estate that I tested sometime in the 1970s I have appreciated the logic of such a car.

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AND FINALLY: Not just for the children

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Airports for sale

It was no great secret.  BAA Ltd was renamed Heathrow Airport Holdings (HAH) in October 2012.  The obvious was that Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports would at some time be sold off leaving the London hub as a stand-alone. 

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BA and West Africa

British Airways has suspended flights to and from Liberia and Sierra Leone until the end of the month due to public health concerns.  Customers with tickets on those routes are being offered a range of options including a full refund and the ability to rebook their flights to a later date.

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Emirates and the visually impaired

Visually impaired travellers can now benefit with the introduction of ‘Audio Description’ on movies as part of its in-flight entertainment system.

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Jet fuel from tobacco

Boeing has teamed up with South African Airways to develop jet fuel from a tobacco plant as part of efforts to cut carbon emissions and promote green energy in Africa's most advanced economy.

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Malaysia Airlines

The Malaysian Government is to carry out a "complete overhaul" of its troubled national airline in an attempt to revive the loss-making company after it was hit by two devastating airliner disasters this year.  It is to become effectively State-owned.

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Norwegian delays

Angry Swedish passengers are taking embattled Norwegian Air to court in a string of looming legal claims over their rights to compensation for delays and cancellations.

Norwegian has consistently blamed the travel disruptions hitting its new intercontinental routes on Boeing 787s, but a Swedish attorney specialising in aviation issues believes Norwegian must assume responsibility as well.

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Pilots wanted - engineers too

Boeing is forecasting continued strong growth in demand for commercial aviation pilots and maintenance technicians as the global fleet expands over the next 20 years.

Boeing's 2014 Pilot and Technician Outlook suggests that between 2014 and 2033, the world's aviation system will require an astonishing 533,000 new airline pilots and 584,000 airline maintenance technicians.

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Sheffield’s Mercure Parkway Hotel

After a short closure of just two months, the former Aston Hotel Sheffield has re-opened as the Mercure Sheffield Parkway Hotel.  It is about four miles from the city centre on the A630 and close by the Meadow Hall Shopping Centre and M1 Motorway.

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