20 APRIL 2015

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European airline’s BA loss

International Airlines Group (IAG) subsidiaries British Airways and Iberia have quit the Association of European Airlines (AEA) of which BA was a founder member as British European Airways (BEA), after disagreeing with the policy of other members towards competition.

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Gatwick gains Pegasus

Turkish low-cost airline Pegasus will introduce flights from Gatwick to Istanbul from 1 May.  The service is daily, except Saturday.  The airline has been established at Stansted since 2007.

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Luggage from your hotel

Jet2holidays has launched an exclusive new service for its customers in Benidorm – Free baggage check-in at their hotel for their return flight home.

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Scotland to Lithuania

Wizz Air, the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, has announced it is to introduce direct flights between Glasgow and the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

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COMMENT:   The party manifestoes – Nothing is not an option

Last week BTN’s COMMENT column “Election misgivings” noted that one issue has been more or less neglected so far from the forthcoming General Election debate and that is air transport.

This has now been just about put right with the manifestoes, but in a very low key way. 

It is progress of some sort.  When the current coalition government came to power the deteriorating airport situation was virtually ignored and we lost five years.  At least we have the impending report by Sir Howard Davies and his team to look forward to. 

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Air Canada and the UK

Montreal-based Air Canada says it will operate more daily flights from the UK to Canada than any other airline during the forthcoming summer.  There will be up to 88 non-stop services per week to eight major Canadian cities. 

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BA upgrades some 747s

Airline Services Ltd has been awarded a contract to integrate a new in-flight entertainment (IFE) system on 18 “mature” Boeing 747 aircraft operated by British Airways. 

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Easy journey through Gatwick

easyJet, now the UK’s leading airline, launched an innovative update to its award-winning app which is designed to provide helpful and timely guidance, directions and essential travel updates to passengers travelling from Gatwick Airport.

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Finnair and the A350

It is some months away yet but Finnair is getting excited about the introduction of the Airbus A350.

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HondaJet at EBACE

It is bound to be the star attraction at EBACE 19-21 May, Geneva International Airport.  The HondaJet will finally have arrived with the Swiss appearance the highlight of a world tour in which the six-passenger light jet will travel more than 26,000 nautical miles and visit more than 13 countries along its flight route. 

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Luton to New York starts

Next Friday (24 April) sees the introduction of a service by the French airline La Compagnie of a Business Class only service between Luton and Newark airports.

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Singapore Airlines at Heathrow

Heathrow Terminal 2 now has a Singapore Airlines Silver Kris lounge.  It follows the carrier’s ‘home away from home’ concept, which is designed and modelled to provide a sense of ‘being home'.  The new lounge will make London the airline’s third city to feature these designs, as part of a network-wide upgrade programme.  It is located close to the airline’s regular B36 gate.

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Thomson to Costa Rica

Costa Rica is the next target for Thomson Airways for summer 2016 when it will also return to Cuba for the first time since 2013.

Thomson became the first UK airline to take delivery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, receiving its initial aircraft in May 2013.  All seven ordered have now been delivered.

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Virgin Trains and lost luggage

Is the end of lost bags on the railways about to end?  Virgin Trains is launching a trial of an innovative new service that could spell the end of missing luggage.

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On TOUR: Routes Europe 2015 in Aberdeen

Over 1,200 delegates from 64 countries with over 100 airlines, 350 airports, and 45 tourism authorities joined the speed dating format where airlines and airports exchange perspectives and propositions in a concentrated new air route development festival.  That was Routes Europe 2015 in Aberdeen.  Basil O'Fee, our man in Scotland, reports.

The format is in its 21st year and now with an annual World Routes and five world sub regional gatherings each year.   Much of the serious talk is held across a hall full of tables with 20-minute meetings progressing relentlessly over the three-day marathon.

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AND FINALLY: The easyJet way can be dangerous

Readers should note that easyJet’s latest app should carry a public health warning. 

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Air Europa Miami 787

Now Spain’s largest privately-owned airline, Air Europa, has joined the Boeing 787 Dreamliner club with the aircraft introduction on the Madrid – Miami route.  Currently operating five times a week, it becomes a daily flight in July.

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Emirates A380s go Rolls-Royce

In what is considered Emirates' largest engine order ever Rolls-Royce is to supply engines for the final 50 of its existing 140 Airbus A380 order.  All current Emirates A380s (60 aircraft delivered) are powered by Engine Alliance, a joint enterprise created 1996 between the US engine manufactures General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.

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Frankfurt Airport expands

Despite local objections over the environmental impact the supervisory board of Frankfurt Airport (FRA) has given the go-ahead to build a third terminal.

The decision to press on with a project that will cost up to €3bn followed a study commissioned by the local Hesse state government to look at the airport's future capacity requirements. 

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Italian airline traffic

The Italian aviation authority, ENAC, has published the total national airport handling figures for 2014 which shows that Ryanair is the top Italian carrier followed by Alitalia.  The figures are (in millions) Ryanair: 26.1, Alitalia 23.4. easyJet 13.4, Lufthansa: 4.5, Vueling 3.9, Meridiana 3.4, BA 2.9 , Air France 2.8, Wizz Air 2.7 and airberlin 1.9.

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Ryanair – Aer Lingus saga continues

Whist the future ownership of Aer Lingus is still in debate, and noises from Dublin indicate that the IAG takeover will gain Government approval, the UK Competition Commission, now called the CMA (Competitions and Market Authority) ruled on Friday (17 April) that Ryanair must sell it 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus.

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Stansted Express – Liverpool Street

A new Stansted Express Customer Service and Information Area has opened at London’s Liverpool Street station, a future Crossrail interchange and sited close to the Bank of England and other major City institutions.

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Taxibot is for planes

Following approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), Lufthansa LEOS, a subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG, has commenced operations with the innovative TaxiBot aircraft tractor controlled by the pilot.  This has been developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) with extensive support and cooperation of Lufthansa LEOS.  After extensive testing, the TaxiBot is now being used in real flight operations at Frankfurt Airport.

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