9 FEBRUARY 2015

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Crowne Plaza Battersea Heliport

Built as the Verta hotel, and opened in September 2010, the Crowne Plaza London – Battersea has joined the ranks of IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group).  The rebranded 78-room property is sited by the London Heliport and is located close to Clapham Junction, one of the UK’s busiest railway stations with easy connections to both the centre of London and Gatwick Airport.

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Luton to New York Newark

French aviation entrepreneur Frantz Yvelin last week unveiled La Compagnie to the UK, as he put it “a boutique airline”.  (See BTN 19 January)

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Pat Byrne back at CityJet

CityJet, the independent regional airline centred on London City Airport, has announced that its founder, Pat Byrne, is to re-join the Board as Chairman.

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Ramada in Malaysia

Wyndham Hotel Group, which claims to be the world’s largest hotel company with approximately 7,590 hotels, has expanded its Ramada brand in Malaysia with the opening of the 357-room Ramada Plaza Dua Sentral Kuala Lumpur, a second location in the country.

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COMMENT: Five wasted years

Some would say 40

Back in 1971 the Roskill Commission recommended Cublington – not a million miles from the current HS2 track in Buckinghamshire, as the site for a new London airport.  Politics intervened and Edward Heath’s Conservative government went for an alternative option Maplin, east of Southend.  In July 1974 Howard Wilson’s Labour administration cancelled the project on a cost basis.

Roll on nearly 40 years and the incoming coalition led by David Cameron stopped the then current BAA Heathrow third runway scheme to alleviate London’s chronic runway shortage just at the point when it was very likely to happen.  The Labour party had supported the project.

“Yes Minister” then took over and a classic parliamentary solution was found. 

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Air Astana and Economy sleeping

Kazakhstan flag carrier Air Astana has introduced an Economy Sleeper Class product on its Boeing 757 services from Astana to Heathrow and Frankfurt.  Paris is to be added on 29 March 2015. 

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BA and Aer Lingus latest

International Airlines Group (IAG), the owner of British Airways, last week committed to serving London to Ireland routes for five years in a bid to win backing from the Irish Government for its takeover of partly state-owned airline Aer Lingus.

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Brooklands children’s driving

A hotel in Surrey has taken inspiration from its racing-car heritage to create a family package that gives children a licence to drive parents round the bend this February half-term (14-22 February 2015).


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Etihad and wi-fi

BTN recently reported on the excellent Etihad Airways wi-fi connectivity service, probably the best system tried to date (See BTN 5 January: Flying at the Front End)

This has been confirmed in terms of passenger acceptance, the airline witnessing a dramatic surge in internet and mobile phone usage in 2014, a rise of 80% over the previous year.

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London City go-ahead

Newham Council has finally given London City Airport the go-ahead for a £200m expansion. 

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New look for easyJet

easyJet, now the UK’s largest airline, has launched a new aircraft livery – the first change to the look of the airline’s iconic white and orange fleet since easyJet.com replaced the call centre telephone number on the fuselage in 1998.

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Paris to Tel Aviv for easyJet

Already the second largest operator at Ben Gurion Airport Tel Aviv (TLV) easyJet is to introduce an initially three times per week service from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) on 30 March.

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ON TOUR: Executive Jets. Just where are we?

With the Corporate Jet Investor conference opening today (9-10 February) at London’s Royal Garden Hotel next week, the International Bureau of Aviation (IBA), a UK-based independent consultancy, looks at the trends affecting the business aviation sector in 2015 and how executive jet values are performing.  The conference coincides with the certification by the UK CAA of the Embraer Phenon 300 at London City Airport, now the smallest jet to use the executive facility at the popular dockland airport.  (See also  London City go ahead  in this issue)

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MOTORING UPDATE: Nissan X Trail

On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

Much More Than a Compromise


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AND FINALLY: Flybe drops a brick

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Aviation Festival Asia

Currently in its 11th year, the Aviation Festival Asia at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre has confirmed the list of speakers for the event which takes place 12-13 February.  Expected are over 500 event attendees from more than 36 countries.

The occasion is co-located with five events: 11th annual World Low Cost Airlines Congress, 2nd annual Aviation IT Show Asia, 2nd annual AirXperience Asia, Air Retail Show Asia and The Aviation Interiors Show Asia.


Confirmed speakers include:

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CAA Chair at Aviation Club

The London-based Aviation Club of the United Kingdom kicks of its 2015 programme next Wednesday (11 February) with CAA Chair Dame Deirdre Hutton as Guest of Honour.

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Polish airline shuts down

State-controlled regional airline Eurolot, an offshoot of LOT Polish Airlines, is going into liquidation after struggling with financial problems.

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Premium Economy for Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines (SIA) last week released Premium Economy, its newest class of travel, for sale with the official introduction date fixed for 29 August.

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Ryanair concerns

It is up, up and away for Ryanair or at least it should be.  Europe's largest airline in terms of passengers carried has raised its earnings for the third time in as many months.  It now expects to make up to €850m profit for the year ending in March. That is up from a previous maximum of €830m.

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Titan gains A320

UK charter and airline sub-charter specialist, Titan Airways, has taken delivery of the first of two additional Airbus A320 airliners.

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TransAsia air crash

Officials in Taiwan say they are investigating why both engines on a TransAsia Airlines ATR 72-600 were not functioning when it crashed on 4 February killing around 40 passengers and crew.  Fifteen were saved which says a great deal for the integrity of the fuselage, the aircraft filmed by a driver as it crashed over a main road.

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Tune Hotel Canary Wharf

A ‘limited service’ hotel opened in the London docklands last week.  The 130-room Tune Hotel Canary Wharf, the global company’s sixth UK property, is in fact more accessible from Westferry DLR station than Canary Wharf, but the whole complex is only a short walk away.

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Wizz market re-launch

A London Stock Exchange entry is on again for Wizz Air, the Hungarian budget airline.  

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