8 SEPTEMBER 2014

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Bournemouth Airport

Manchester Airports Group (MAG), which includes Manchester itself, East Midlands and Stansted airports, has signed a 20-year lease with AIM Aviation Ltd for a new £11m 160,000sq ft advanced manufacturing and office facility on the Aviation Business Park at Bournemouth Airport, which it also owns.

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Emirates at 50

Dubai to Frankfurt is now an Emirates A380 route and brings to 30 the points served by the airline’s giant aeroplanes. 

The 50th, of 90 on order, was used for the inaugural service last week.

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Low-Cost Airlines conference

The annual World Low-Cost Airlines Congress takes place 16-17 September at the Business Design Centre, Islington, not far from London’s Kings Cross/St Pancras complex.

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Prestwick declines

Ryanair will only operate 16 routes out of Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport for summer 2015 compared to its current 24 destinations.  This reduction comes after the budget airline halved its winter schedule at the Scottish taxpayer-owned Ayrshire airport, relocating most services to Glasgow International.

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Venice Hotel

Expected to be open very early next year is the completely rebuilt Hotel Santa Chiara Venice.  It is virtually opposite the railway station just by the Piazzale Roma and is a short walk to the cruise terminal.  It will be one of the very few hotels in Venice to have car parking.

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COMMENT: Is Boris punch-drunk?

Having had his plans for an airport in the Thames estuary turned down earlier this year (See BTN 27 January), Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, used his powerful lobbying powers for Sir Howard Davies Airports Commission to take another look at the project.

The bad news for the Mayor is that his ideas have again been thwarted, the Commission issuing a statement last week ‘Inner Thames estuary airport: summary and decision’, effectively throwing out his ideas.

That should be the end of this time-consuming and expensive diversion from the contest to find a solution to London’s hub problem.

Or will it be?

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TTG Awards evening

With the autumn we are very much into the awards season.  For practical reasons BTN will not be reporting on them all (unless of course your weekly newsletter is up for or has gained a prize), but the daddy of them all, as far as the travel trade is concerned, the TTG event takes place next Monday (15 September). Back in 1953 it was the world’s first travel trade weekly newspaper.

Late last year TTG was acquired from the conglomerate UBM by its management headed by Editor Daniel Pearce, now Managing Director.

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Airport statistics UK

The full UK airport statistics for 2013 are now available from the Civil Aviation Authority on-line, likewise the route numbers. 

Where there is a solo operator on any given city pair it is easy to establish numbers. 

For instance on Newquay – Gatwick carried 91,725, down 4% on the previous year, although 2014 is likely to be well up due to the rail and road problems earlier in the year.  London City to Kennedy was 22,175, virtually the same as the previous year with a double Airbus A318 operation.

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Busy easyJet & Spring 2015

If you want to travel on easyJet in the spring months of April and May 2015 bookings are now open.  The Luton-based airline has placed on-line reservations from 29 March to 31 May.

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Frankfurt “Home to Gate” service

Airports for the most part do not get involved with passenger landside traffic to and from the airport.  Not so any longer.  Frankfurt has launched a “Home to Gate” limousine service.  In fact it is something of a misnomer.  You can start from where you like, the office for instance, as long as it is within 80km of the airport.

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New MD for Belfast International

Graham Keddie has joined Belfast International Airport as Managing Director.  He was formerly Executive Commercial Manager, responsible for all commercial revenue at Larnaca and Paphos airports in Cyprus.

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ON TOUR: Venice

If you have not been to Venice add it to your wish list. 

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MOTORING UPDATE:

On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

Fiat Punto Sporting 1.4 MultiAir


Punchy Punto Scores on

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AND FINALLY: Dalek - Something to exterminate!

A new bellhop has reported for duty at Aloft Hotel, Cupertino, CA and promises to change the face of customer facing hospitality.

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A closure for ‘Little Red?’

Virgin Atlantic Little Red is scheduled to move from Heathrow T1 to T2 next Wednesday 10 September.  It will surely happen but the future of Richard Branson’s domestic airline remains in doubt according to the Sunday Times Business Editor, Dominic O’Connell.  A New Zealander, O’Connell is well tuned to the aviation scene having served time as Transport Editor at TTG, the travel industry weekly.

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Alitalia update

Etihad and Alitalia are expected to seek European Union antitrust approval for their deal this month and win clearance by the end of the year after minor concessions, a person familiar with the process told Reuters last week.

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Blackpool Airport for sale

Balfour Beatty, which purchased Blackpool Airport  in 2008, said that its strategy had changed and it wants to end its involvement in running regional airports.

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Delta and Manchester

Following its withdrawal on the Manchester – Atlanta route (see Virgin drops and adds in this issue) Delta Air Lines will launch a daily service between Manchester and its New York JFK hub from 2 June 2015 as it increases its network between the UK and North America.

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Leeds to Dublin

Stobart Aviation Ltd continues its expansion (see Stobart at Southend in this issue) with the addition of a new Aer Lingus Regional route from Leeds Bradford to Dublin due to begin on 23 October.

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Norwegian Air US quandary

US regulators have slowed Norwegian Air's move to operate in the United States following pressure from trade unions.

The Department of Transportation rejected the airline's December 2013 request for an exemption that would have expedited its entry into the US market, saying "the novel and complex nature of this case [does not make an exemption] appropriate or in the public interest."

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Ryanair figures

With a load factor of 93% (up from the 89% for the same period last year) and 9.4m (9m - 2013) customers carried Ryanair had a very good August.  The rolling annual traffic rose to a record 83.4m customers (up 4%).

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Stobart at Southend

Southend Airport, owned by the Stobart Group Plc, which as Stobart Aviation flies as a franchise for both Aer Lingus (Regional) and Flybe, has published its winter programme. 

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Virgin Atlantic drops and adds

An announcement from Virgin Atlantic confirming the cessation of services to both Mumbai and Tokyo at the end of January 2015, and the dropping of seasonal routes to Vancouver (on 11 October 2014) and Cape Town (27 April 2015) mark important steps for the Crawley-based airline as it more and more integrates its service with 49% shareholder Delta. Sydney was dropped in May of this year leaving Dubai, Hong Kong and Shanghai the only destinations to the east.

By freeing up the slots it clearly wants to concentrate on more lucrative routes and opportunities.

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