6 APRIL 2015

YOUR WORDS


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Heathrow domestic charge reduction?

In another bid to ensure that UK regional passengers do not bypass the London hub when connecting long haul (last week it focussed on Northolt as a partner airport) Heathrow is proposing reducing passenger charges by £10 for domestic services from 1 January 2016.

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Liverpool to Amsterdam

Flybe is to introduce a Liverpool to Amsterdam service on 7 September with up to three flights per day, departing early morning, lunchtime and late afternoon.  They will be timed to coincide with many convenient onward long haul connections available through Schiphol including Bangkok, Hong Kong, New York, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Toronto. 

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Southend to Slovenia

Adria Airways (JP), the national airline of Slovenia, and a member of Star Alliance, will launch scheduled services from Maribor to London’s Southend Airport on 1 June.  The two-hour flight will run on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday with A319-100 and CRJ-900 aircraft.

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Vietnam Airlines to Heathrow

Seen as a major coup for Heathrow as it battles with Gatwick to secure the recommendation of the Airports Commission for the new London runway, Vietnam Airlines (VN) has moved into T4 joining its Skyteam partners.  It is the only airline on the non-stop route.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Tony Tyler – IATA

Tony Tyler, Director General and Chief Executive of IATA, discusses New Distribution Capability (NDC), part of a long tradition by the airline trade organisation for commercial innovation (as opposed to the technical/engineering side of things).  A former CEO of Cathay Pacific, Mr Tyler took on the IATA hot seat in July 2011 and follows in the tradition of former airline chiefs heading the industry worldwide.

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Air Passenger Duty

New APD (Air Passenger Duty) rates came into effect from 1 April.  The tax bands have been reduced from four to two, with the cut-off point 2,000 miles, meaning that Nicosia (Cyprus), part of Europe (2021 miles), misses out on the cheap rate. 

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Air route funding includes Carlisle to Southend

The Department for Transport has published the details of the 19 bids it has received during the initial application stage for funding from the Regional Air Connectivity Fund.  (See BTN 26 January)

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Carsten Spohr and Lufthansa

Lufthansa is going through very difficult times.  Not only is it having to contend with a financially aggressive workforce, seemingly only too keen to go on strike, it faces tremendous competition from the budget airlines within Europe, and with its lucrative long haul routes to the East serious challenges from carriers based in Turkey and the Gulf.  Add to that the crash of 4U 9525 and life is not easy for the German national carrier.

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Darwin OK for Etihad

Switzerland's civil aviation office (BAZL) has approved Etihad Airways' purchase of a stake in Darwin Airline, concluding a deal that was first announced more than a year ago, the airline rebranding as Etihad Regional.

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Hogan at the Aviation Club

James Hogan, President of Etihad Airways, could not have timed his appearance at the latest London Aviation Club luncheon better.  He was speaking the week after European and US carriers attacked the airline’s rapid growth over the last decade.

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London City and CityJet

Cityjet has announced changes to its commercial management structure with the appointments of Patrick Lukan VP-Sales and Distribution and Cathal O'Connell as Commercial Director.

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Runways UK 2015

Bookings are now open for Runways UK 2015, which takes place at The Grange Tower Bridge Hotel 6-7 July.  The 2014 event was a great success.  (See BTN 6 June 2014)

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World Duty Free sold

The Benetton family has sold its controlling stake in World Duty Free to Switzerland's Dufry. 

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ON TOUR: Channel crossing problems

John Burke, a former Reuters correspondent in Paris, reports.

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CRUISE NEWS APRIL 2015

The cruise issue for April is a multi-water borne offering.

Pride of place must go to Her Majesty The Queen who named P&O Britannia on Tuesday 10 March.

We have balanced up the deep sea part of cruising with CRUISE INTELLIGENCE taking a look at what is on offer regarding river trips. 

Also with a water borne theme is  ON TOUR featuring our former  Reuters  man John Burke taking a look at the Newhaven – Dieppe short sea crossing, under serious withdrawal possibilities.

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AND FINALLY: Virgin’s bad news followed by the good news

There are always two sides to every story.

Last week Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural flight to Atlanta Georgia was cancelled due to over enthusiastic fire staff at Manchester Airport spraying the A330 with foam instead of water, resulting in a UK night-stop for passengers.

That was the bad news.

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Air Astana to Paris

Paris is the latest destination for Air Astana with a new three times a week operation launched 29 March.  The aircraft originates in Almaty (Kazakhstan), followed by a brief stopover in the capital Astana, and is operated using a Boeing 757 configured with 16 Business Class and 150 Economy seats.  The airline is a joint venture between Kazakhstan’s national wealth fund Samruk Kazyna and BAE Systems.

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Apple and Vueling

Always keen to be at the head of the technological curve, Vueling has developed an application for the ‘smart’ Apple Watch, using innovative geo-localisation technology known as ‘Geofencing’ to locate the passenger within the airport, and also giving access to Vueling's ‘bring your flight forward’ service.

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Fly Quiet League

As the Heathrow Fly Quiet League begins its second year, figures for October to December 2014 provide an initial set of data that can be compared to the same three-month period from 12 months before and which take into account airlines’ efforts in improving their League performance. 

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Kenya travel warning

The British Foreign Office has issued a warning to citizens travelling to Kenya, telling them to avoid most coastal resorts including the region’s main airport at Mombasa.  This was prior to last Friday’s (2 April) terrible attack, another blow to the east African country’s battered tourist industry.

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New jets for KLM Cityhopper

Embraer has signed a firm order from Air France-KLM for 17 E-Jets to replace its ageing fleet of 19 Fokker F70s, joining 28 E190s already in service.

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Norwegian Gatwick - Orlando

Last Saturday (4 April) Norwegian Air (DY) inaugurated a weekly Gatwick to Orlando International Airport (MCO) service in Florida.

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SITA passenger survey

American air travellers rank time-consuming baggage and security procedures as the top areas for improvement, according to a recent survey conducted by air transport IT specialist, SITA. 

The ninth annual SITA/Air Transport World Passenger IT Trends Survey confirms that airports can significantly improve passenger experience and satisfaction by automating these and other steps throughout the air travel process.

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Wizz allocated seating

Asked by  Business Travel News  why Wizz does not offer allocated seating when speaking at the London Aviation Club last autumn (See BTN 22 September 2014), József Váradi, CEO of the airline, was a little evasive.

“It is something we are thinking about but we don’t think it necessary on all routes,” he said.  BTN pointed out that booking your seat in the low-cost sector was first introduced by Vueling in 2008, then easyJet, and now even Ryanair offers the facility.

Mr Váradi has clearly had second thoughts.

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