27 APRIL 2015

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Auckland to Houston

Following the announcement of its non-stop route from Auckland to Buenos Aires (see BTN 26 March) Air New Zealand is to fly direct to Houston, Texas, from December this year, making a direct connection between New Zealand and America’s South for the first time.

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Drones at London Airports

Police guarding London airports will start using drones for surveillance following a security review.  An 18-month analysis by the National Counter Terrorism Policing Headquarters, which helps develop police policy, found the technology could be "transformative".

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Thistle Express

glh, the London-based hotel group and subsidiary of Singapore listed GuocoLeisure Group, has announced Thistle Express, calling it the next generation of hotel. 

According to glh the new brand will offer modern design, stylish bedrooms, friendly and efficient service, as well as super-fast unlimited free wi-fi.  For probably the first time clients will also be able to choose their rooms in advance.  First come first served!

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COMMENT: Secret French airline

On any given day there are over 30 flights to New York from London, that is City, Gatwick and Heathrow airports.  You can now add Luton to that list, the French airline La Compagnie introducing a service to Newark last Friday (24 April). 

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BA and the A380

British Airways has announced it will operate a daily A380 service on its Heathrow (LHR) to Singapore Changi (SIN) route later this year.  The carrier currently flies double daily between the two cities, with the superjumbo operating three times weekly on the route.

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easyJet’s 250th A320

easyJet and Airbus have celebrated their successful partnership at a ceremony in Hamburg to mark the delivery of the airline’s 250th Airbus A320 family aircraft.

To mark the occasion the airline revealed a unique livery featuring 250 miniature aircraft.  As with other recent deliveries to easyJet, the A320 is equipped with the latest technology and fuel-saving Sharklets.  See also ON TOUR PLUS in this issue.
 
Carolyn McCall, CEO of easyJet, commented: 

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Free beers on United

United Airlines this spring will give United Economy customers on long haul international flights an all-new, high-quality in-flight dining experience, designed to offer travellers upgraded food plus complimentary beer and wine and a new option to purchase premium snacks.

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Gatwick vs Heathrow

Getting ready to celebrate its 21st anniversary this coming summer the London-based Aviation Club of the United Kingdom has timed its latest two guests of honour to perfection.  Sometime after the UK General Election (7 May) the Airport Commission will present its report.

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IAG and the low fare club

British Airways and Iberia, the two leading IAG member carriers, have joined the European Low Fares Airline Association (ELFAA) whose members represents the fastest-growing European airline sector comprising easyJet, Flybe, Iberia Express, Jet2.com, Norwegian, Ryanair, Transavia, Volotea, Vueling and Wizz Air.

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IATA emergencies book

The trade body mainly for the legacy airlines, IATA (International Air Transport Association), has announced the publication of the first edition of its Emergency Response Best Practices Handbook.  Let us hope that airlines that are not members, and these include easyJet and Ryanair, find the US$299 required to purchase the book.

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Pilot flight time limitations

Monarch has become the first airline to announce its successful transition to the new EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) flight and duty time limitations.

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US vs Gulf airlines – more skirmishes

The US Transportation, Commerce and State departments have agreed to investigate allegations by the three biggest US airlines that the state-owned Persian Gulf carriers get unfair subsidies from their governments.

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VLM at Southampton – Birmingham & Luton too

Belgian operator VLM Airlines has launched weekday flights between Southampton, Antwerp and on to Hamburg.

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ON TOUR PLUS: easyJet’s Hamburg Airbus

Business Travel News sent over Andrew Sharp, normally our railway expert, to Hamburg to report on the handover of easyJet’s 250th Airbus, a momentous occasion in the airline’s development.  Here are his words. (See also in this issue easyJet's 250th Airbus)

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ON TOUR: It’s all about the cabin

Alison Chambers of Emerald Media has been to Hamburg for the annual Aircraft Interiors Expo. www.emeraldmedia.co.uk

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AND FINALLY: What day of the week is it?

We have all woken in the morning and wondered just what day of the week is it.

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Aer Lingus fights Belfast claim

Belfast International Airport (BIA) has begun a legal claim at the High Court for substantial damages from Aer Lingus.  The airport is suing for breach of contract after the airline's early termination of a 10-year deal moving to George Best Belfast City Airport.

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Busy Dublin summer

Dublin Airport will have almost two million extra seats available this summer, which is an 11% increase in capacity compared to last summer.  There are 16 new European routes and five long haul destinations, Addis Ababa, Chicago, Halifax (Nova Scotia), Los Angeles and Washington.

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Four Seasons by jet

Fancy a global tour in what is virtually a private jet, but in something somewhat larger than a Gulfstream, in fact a Boeing 757 with just 51 'guests'. 

Hotel group Four Seasons has unveiled its own super executive plane in a bid to recreate its famed hotel experience in the sky.

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Heathrow T4 moves continue

El Al is the latest airline to move from Heathrow T1 to T4 as the airport version of musical chairs (musical airlines?) continues with T1 due to close completely at the start of the winter programme.  The Israeli carrier makes the move today (27 April).

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Lufthansa’s final four-engined jets

Earlier this month, Lufthansa took delivery of the final Airbus A380 aircraft it had on order, and will shortly receive its last Boeing 747. 

Lufthansa first flew the A380 in May 2010 and back in April 1970 the initial 100 series 747 arrived, the German national carrier operating more than 75 over the years. 

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Meliá for Doha

The Spanish, Majorca-based, Meliá Group has opened its first property in Qatar.  The Meliá Doha is located within the 40-floor Bin Samikh Tower in the prestigious West Bay region of the Qatari capital.

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T5 gets Aspire lounge

Back in August 2014  Business Travel News  complained bitterly that travellers using Heathrow Terminal 5 and not a passenger in BA Club World (or eligible in some way) had no executive lounge availability.  Heathrow Airport Ltd supplied limited courtesy wi-fi, but other than finding space in a restaurant there was no place to work.

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X-Ray your plane

Shown at the Counter Terror Expo in London last week the Romanian built Roboscan2M Aeria claims to be the very first solution for actual aircraft security inspection, intended to scan aircraft ranging from small private jets to medium-sized commercial planes, giving the operator the capability to detect threats, illegal or undeclared goods, drugs and explosives.

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