2 FEBRUARY 2015

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Antwerp to Geneva

VLM is back into the scheduled airline business.  The former CityJet subsidiary (See BTN 3 November 2014) has introduced twice-daily (Monday to Friday) flights to Geneva from its Antwerp headquarters.

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Boeing 787 – The widest

Japan Airlines will roll out new aircraft and cabin products across a series of international routes this year introducing the most spacious of all the 787s. 

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Dubai sweeps to the top

Figures released last week confirm that Dubai International (DXB) has secured its position as the number one airport for international passenger numbers.  About 80% of this traffic is connecting.  However it is still some way behind Atlanta at this time as the world’s busiest airport, a 2014 announcement of around 96m expected shortly.

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Iberia to Havana

Flights between Madrid and Havana, which were suspended nearly two years ago, are to return.  Starting on 1 June, Iberia will operate on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Jock Lowe, Director Heathrow Hub

Tomorrow (Tuesday 3 February) is the closing date for submissions to the Airport Commission.  Jock Lowe is a Director of Heathrow Hub Ltd which proposed one of the three shortlisted options being considered by the Airports Commission for the addition of a runway in the Southeast of England.

Jock retired from British Airways in 2001 after 30 years having spent some of that time flying Concorde.  He was the BA Chief Pilot and Flight Operations Director and completed a year as President of the Royal Aeronautical Society and another as Master of the Guild of Air Pilots.

He put forward the concept which allowed the runway at Southend to be extended and continues to be a Director of Regional Airlines Ltd.

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Aer Lingus and IAG

The board of Aer Lingus has recommended to the Irish government a raised €1.36bn takeover offer from IAG.  The new offer from British Airways, its third in six weeks, is worth €2.55 per share, up from a previous €2.40, and includes a cash offer of €2.50 per share and a cash dividend of €0.05 per share. (See BTN 26 January)

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BA & Avios?

British Airways is facing a backlash from customers after making changes to the way passengers can earn and spend miles under its Avios frequent flyer scheme, with some threatening to switch to rival airlines.

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Busy Davos

ExecuJet Aviation Group’s fixed-based operation (FBO) at Zurich Airport, handled almost 400 aircraft movements for VIP passengers travelling to and from the World Economic Forum (WEF), held on 21-25 January, including a high proportion of long-range business jets.

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Cruise ship airline check-in

Copenhagen Airport is to introduce for the 2015 season a new facility which will allow cruise passengers to check-in on their ship for flights.  At the airport travellers can go straight to the security point.  The passenger’s luggage will be destination labelled, placed outside their cabin the night before, and then transported to the airport.  Collection is at the final point of the journey.

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easyJet backs Heathrow

Heathrow has won the support of easyJet in London's runway expansion race who said that it would start flying from the capital's largest airport if the government chooses to increase its capacity.

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Hilton Paris Opera

The former Grand Hotel Terminus, one of Paris’ original majestic hotels, has reopened as the Hilton Paris Opera Hotel following an extensive US$50m renovation.  This work has been carried out under the supervision of interior experts Richmond.

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IAG investment by Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways has bought a near 10% stake in IAG worth around £1.15bn, building closer ties with the owner of its partners British Airways and Iberia in the oneworld alliance of which it is a member.  Qatar National Holdings has a 20% stake in Heathrow Airport Ltd.

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One billion more journeys a year

A report has been published which shows that world airports are planning for one billion more journeys a year by 2036.

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Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall

On the south side of the Thames, just a few minutes walk from Vauxhall Underground station IHG has opened the Staybridge Suites London Vauxhall with 93 apartments.  It has been designed for extended stays.

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ON TOUR: La Compagnie – All will be revealed this week.

Franco Mancassola, once of the short-lived Debonair based at Luton Airport, has picked up on the new ‘Business Class only’ airline La Compagnie flying from London to JFK being announced tomorrow (Tuesday 3 February – See BTN 19 January).  Franco has lived in Hawaii for many years, is a regular reader of BTN and was keen for his views to be heard.  He wishes La Compagnie well.

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CRUISE NEWS FEBRUARY 2015

Our February cruise supplement features ferries, Carnival Vista, and of course CRUISE INTELLIGENCE

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AND FINALLY: Pilot ‘thumps’ engineer – Goodness gracious me!

An investigation is taking place after an incident aboard an Air India flight in which the captain "thumped" a ground engineer before locking himself in the cockpit.

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Alitalia plans

Following the completion of equity investments by Etihad Airways (49%) and Alitalia’s existing shareholders Alitalia has revealed its plans for the future. (See BTN 26 January)

Vital to the new concept is a three-hub strategy in Italy.  Milan Malpensa will increase long haul services, while Milan Linate will increase connectivity with partner airline hubs.  Rome Fiumicino will grow long haul flying and continue to expand short and medium haul flying to maintain relevance to the Italian market.

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Birmingham v Airport Commission

The Airports Commission’s research on the effect of runway expansion on UK regions could be flawed, according to new analysis.  Whilst it is mandated with taking a “UK-wide perspective,” new analysis has questioned whether it has properly investigated the potential economic effect on the country’s regions of the shortlisted runway options.

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Fear of Flying

A new app for people who are nervous about flying will help calm their nerves – by giving them statistics on how unlikely it is their aircraft will crash.  Called ‘Am I going down?’ the app is designed for iPhone and iPad users and is now in the iTunes app store.

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Heathrow Express tops survey

A poll of UK rail customers has placed Heathrow Express at the top.
 
Passengers participating in the autumn 2014 National Rail Passenger Survey (NRPS), by Passenger Focus, gave the airport rail service an ‘overall satisfaction’ rating of 94%.  This compares very favourably to a national average of 80%, and a London & South East average of 80%.

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The last Boeing 747?

The US Air Force will use Boeing's 747-8 airliner to replace its current fleet of two presidential aircraft, one of the most visible symbols of the United States.  The aircraft, when delivered, perhaps in 2017, could be the last of 1,540 delivered since Pan American Airlines took its first plane into service in January 1970.

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The Worst American Airport

Condé Nast Traveler magazine has published a list of what it considers are the worst 10 airports in the United States. 

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Transavia’s new branding

KLM’s low-cost offshoot Transavia has launched a new brand following a collaborative project between two Dutch agencies: Mirabeau, the Netherlands’ leading digital marketing agency, and internationally acclaimed design firm Studio Dumbar. 

The new labelling expresses Transavia’s commitment to become Europe’s leading airline in hospitality – in the air and online. 

The company will focus on appealing to business as well as leisure travellers and plans to grow over the next few years.

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