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27 JULY 2015


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Airbus A350 for the Americas

TAM Airlines of Brazil is to become the first airline in North or South America to operate the Airbus A350 XWB.  The lead aircraft is expected to arrive in Brazil in December with the first commercial flight scheduled for January 2016 from São Paulo’s Guarulhos Airport to Manaus in the heart of the Amazon region.

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Drone code

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has issued a ‘drone code’ after several near misses when drones buzzed passenger jets using British airports. 

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Intercontinental Bordeaux

IHG is to open the InterContinental Bordeaux, the former Le Grand Hotel under a franchise arrangement.

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COMMENT: Airport progress

Prime Ministers will never admit a mistake, especially if they are still in power.  About-turns are not part of the vocabulary.  David Cameron is therefore to be complemented on what looks like a change of appreciation regarding the air transport industry.

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Aviation Club anniversary

The Aviation Club of the UK has celebrated its 25th anniversary in the House of Lords Members Dining room at the Palace of Westminster.

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BA drops Kazakhstan

Effective 3 October British Airways is to cease its four times weekly service to Entebbe International Airport (Uganda), stating that the service is no longer commercially viable.  Ugandan originating passengers have of late been opting to fly via the Middle East, even though the journey time is longer. 

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easyJet and Flybe financials

Luton-based easyJet said last week that it expects annual profit to rise from £581m to between £620m and £660m, despite the “uncertain macro and operational environment caused by the situation in Greece and events in North Africa and the various threats of industrial action.”  Air traffic industrial problems in France have not helped matters either.  The shares still hover around the 1,750p figure, compared with 500p just three years ago.  All staff participate in a bonus scheme.

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Flybe Management Changes

Paul Simmons, Chief Commercial Officer at Flybe, is to leave the company in mid-January 2016 to take up a role with Malaysian Airlines based in Kuala Lumpur. See also "easyJet and Flybe financials"

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Gatwick Express

It may still seem some way off but the first of the new Gatwick Express carriages is on test.  The full trains are due to enter service in 2016, replacing the 1980s-built 442 units which have been operating since 2008, and are part of a massive investment in new trains by Govia Thameslink Railway.

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Norwegian and long haul

Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary may well be keeping an eye on Norwegian Air Shuttle as it swung to an operating profit in the second quarter, as its bet on the long haul market turned profitable for the first time.

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Prime Minister’s Aviation Committee

There is no room for returning MP Boris Johnson in Prime Minister David Cameron’s new Aviation Committee, signalling that expansion of the Heathrow is likely to get the green light.

The group will be chaired by the Prime Minister, includes the two strongest advocates of the third runway: George Osborne, Chancellor, and Sajid Javid, Business Secretary.

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Rolls-Royce success

With its long-term future not under doubt, the sole engine provider for the Airbus A350,  Rolls-Royce has been under pressure after successive profit warnings and with it a reduction of staffing.

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Ryanair and drink

Ryanair has banned passengers bringing duty-free alcohol onto its UK to Ibiza flights in an effort to stamp out drink-related problems on board.

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ON TOUR: The Flying Legends Airshow

Special Correspondent Ken Brookes visits the Imperial War Museum’s Duxford Airfield near Cambridge, UK.  He also took the photographs.

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AND FINALLY: Clear off – Do not disturb

A popular high quality boutique hotel group has in the last month or so been purchased by a Singapore-based property company.

The moto of the hotel is “dare to be different”.

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Aegean extends east

In spite of the problems in its home country Greek airline Aegean continues its strategic development enhancing its flight network with two new additional routes to Riyadh and Teheran.  The company inaugurated the new route to Riyadh on 20 July and added Teheran as a destination on 22 July. 

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Air industry jobs

Boeing has released a new forecast showing continued strong demand for commercial airline pilots and maintenance technicians as the world's airlines add 38,000 aircraft to the global fleet over the next 20 years.

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Airport business facilities

According to the results from various surveys business travel is expected to increase by over 7% during 2015.

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ANA to Sydney

Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) plans to resume flights to Sydney after more than a 15-year gap.   Previously the service went via Brisbane operating a Boeing 747 in a two-class layout, the aircraft with a First Class section open to Business Class passengers on a first come first served basis. 

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Cuba and American Airlines

American Airlines has issued a statement on the change of status of the US Embassy in Havana and the Cuban Embassy in Washington.

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Flight fatigue

Since we are into the (UK) holiday period it seemed a good time to publish some Air New Zealand (ANZ) ideas on overcoming flight fatigue.  New Zealand is far from anywhere and with certain Pacific islands you can fly to the day before!

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Ghost airport sold

A ‘ghost airport’ in Spain which cost €1bn to build has been sold at a bankruptcy auction for €10,000 with completion in September.

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Wizz Air and flight changes

Budapest-based Wizz Air, now the largest low-cost airline in Central and Eastern Europe, has announced a new simplified process for flight changes.  Under the new simplified process, passengers can change the date or the routing of their flight by paying a change fee of 50% of the fare they paid for their original ticket, plus any difference in fares and baggage fees between the original and the new flight.

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