4 MAY 2015

YOUR WORDS


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LAX gains Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse

Virgin Atlantic has unveiled a brand new £2.5m Clubhouse, located in Terminal 2 at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).  The 4,000sq ft lounge is a first time for the airline at LAX, previously using the Virgin America Loft in Terminal 6, necessitating a bus transfer to the boarding gate. 

The lounge is Virgin's 11th Clubhouse and faces the Hollywood Hills in the distance.

Reuben Arnold, Brand and Customer Engagement Director, Virgin Atlantic, said: "Los Angeles was the natural choice for our next Clubhouse investment.  It is such an important route for us – we have been flying there for 25 years this year.

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New Rolls-Royce boss

After 14 years as CEO and CFO and a record order with Emirates (See BTN 20 April) now signed, Rolls-Royce has announced that John Rishton, Chief Executive, is to retire. 

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Paper driving licences scrapped

From 8 June the paper counterpart of the UK driving licence will be scrapped, and although some have warned of ‘car hire chaos' for UK holidaymakers this summer

Leading car hire broker, Economy Car Hire says that the change will actually make it easier for UK drivers renting overseas.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: John Holland Kaye – Chief Executive Heathrow Airport

John was appointed CEO of Heathrow Airport Ltd with effect from 1 July 2014.  He joined the company as Commercial Director in May 2009.  From November 2012, John was Development Director, responsible for delivering the £1bn annual investment in transforming Heathrow, including the new Terminal 2: The Queen’s Terminal, which opened on 4 June 2014.

He was previously Divisional CEO with Taylor Wimpey Plc, having held a number of positions including Operations Director of Taylor Woodrow Developments and Commercial Director of Taylor Woodrow Inc.  Prior to that, John was Managing Director, National Sales Division, of Bass Brewers, and has also worked as a strategy consultant with LEK Consulting for a number of high-profile businesses.

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APD and children

Some see it as an election ploy.  The government changed the distance element of APD (Air Passenger Duty) from 1 April (see BTN 6 April) but for children under 12 abolishing had to wait until 1 May.  Most airlines offer an automatic refund, but this is not the case with Ryanair where passengers have to make a request.  Presumably the Dublin-based carrier will keep any unclaimed money although channelling to a charity has been suggested.

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Aviation Club hosts Wingate

Stewart Wingate,  CEO of Gatwick Airport, was guest of honour at the London Aviation Club last week.  Next month he will be followed by John Holland Kaye of Heathrow.  (See BTN 27 April)

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BA meals improved

British Airways is offering customers travelling from 12 May the option to buy an enhanced World Traveller meal as an alternative to the normal menu on 10 long haul routes The options are ‘Gourmet Dining’, ‘Taste of Britain’, ‘Great British Breakfast’, ‘Healthy Choice’ and ‘Vegetarian Kitchen’ which can be pre-booked from 30 days prior to travel, right up until 24 hours before departure at a cost of between £15 and £18.

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Germanwings to go

It had been planned before the tragic loss of Airbus A320 D-AIPX on 24 March 2015.  The Lufthansa brand Germanwings will cease to exist from this autumn.  The budget division of the LH Group, short haul and long haul, will take on the established Eurowings name.

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Heathrow Hub – The film

BTN readers will be very aware that the airlines of the world are waiting to hear the verdict this summer in the final report of the Sir Howard Davies UK Airports Commission sponsored by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Heathrow Hub, the independent proposal to expand Heathrow by extending the northern runway asked The Spectator to look into the different shortlisted options.  In a short video Isabel Hardman, Assistant Editor of The Spectator, has spoken to various experts from Heathrow, Gatwick and Heathrow Hub, to hear more about the three different proposals.

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Liverpool Airport provides for smokers

Development work aimed at improving the customer experience is nearing completion at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL), following an opening up of parts of the departure area and the creation of a number of new and expanded retail units.

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Non-aeronautical income thrives for global airports

The trend towards constructing airport cities or aerotropoli will serve to exponentially boost airport revenues, reports Frost & Sullivan, the financial consultancy, in an aviation survey.

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ON TOUR: Petra

If you have any interest in history or the spectacular Petra (Jordan) must be on your wish list.  It is one of the great sites of antiquity and very accessible.  It remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was located by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt.  It was described as "a rose-red city half as old as time" in a prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. 

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CRUISE NEWS MAY 2015

The Billion Dollar Cruise Ship

Just a couple of weeks back Royal Caribbean International, the world’s largest cruise line, introduced Anthem of the Seas with an extravagant naming ceremony at Southampton, Britain’s largest cruise port. 

One month previously it had been P&O showcasing a new vessel, Britannia, perhaps a slightly less hectic occasion, with The Queen as guest of honour. 

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AND FINALLY: "Linked In" to the afterlife

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Aer Lingus v Belfast International Airport

The case between Belfast International Airport (BIA) and Aer Lingus continued in the High Court last week.  Whether its eventual outcome has any effect on the proposed IAG takeover of the Irish airline remains to be seen.  (See also BTN 27 April)

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Air New Zealand’s 75 years

Just 75 years ago, on 30 April 1940, Air New Zealand made its maiden appearance, a Shorts S30 flying boat, with nine passengers on board, taking nine hours to fly between Auckland and Sydney. 

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Amba Hotel Charing Cross

Now fully operational after an extensive renovation is the Amba Hotel Charing Cross, once the Charing Cross Hotel it has 4-star status, with complimentary wi-fi, Smart TVs and an in-room iPad.

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Emirates 615-passenger A380

Airlines and airports will be watching with interest, as will Airbus, as Emirates puts its initial two-class 615-seat A380 into service on 1 December routing Dubai – Copenhagen.  The passenger reaction will be carefully noted.  To date the highest capacity A380 is that operated by Air France, 538 in a three-class layout.

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IAG into profit

British Airways owner IAG, whose portfolio also includes Iberia, Iberia Express and Vueling, reports an unusual winter season profit, totally from BA.  The airline group, which is in the process of trying to acquire Aer Lingus, has confirmed an underlying operating profit of €25m for the three months ended 31 March compared to a loss of €150m for the same period last year.

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Monarch ‘comfort’ meals

‘Comfort Food’ is the latest innovation from Luton-based Monarch Airlines, a scheduled carrier that uniquely specialises in leisure destinations (but does not turn away business travellers).

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Norwegian to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is the latest destination for Norwegian as it continues to expand its long haul network with new direct routes.  Starting November, the Oslo-based airline will launch direct Boeing 787 services from the capital San Juan to Copenhagen, Gatwick, Oslo and Stockholm. 

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Sporty Ryanair

Ryanair has reviewed its fare structure for the carriage of sport equipment increasing the fees in some areas and reducing in others.  Previously a £50 charge covered all items.

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TAP Portugal strike

Pilots at Star Alliance member government owned airline TAP Portugal went on a strike last Friday (1 May) to try and stop privatisation.  The call was for 10 days of action.

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Turkish Airlines to San Francisco

Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines has added a second destination in California and the 11th in America by inaugurating non-stop flights to San Francisco from Istanbul.

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