24 AUGUST 2015

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Airbus and Indigo

India’s largest domestic airline by market share, IndiGo, celebrated its ninth birthday by firming up last year’s commitment and ordering 250 A320neo Family aircraft.

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Belgrade Marriott Courtyard

Marriott International’s Courtyard by Marriott brand has announced that its first hotel in Serbia, the Courtyard Belgrade City Centre, will open on 7 September.

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E visas for India

India is finally opening up its e-visa system to UK subjects in an attempt to boost tourism.
 
Last week it changed its admission rules.  Britons are one of 113 nationalities able to apply for India's “e-Tourist visa”, making the process of obtaining correct entry documents cheaper and quicker.

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COMMENT: Is the Mayor out of control?

Last Wednesday the much read  London Evening Standard  newspaper, under the by-line of Mark Blunden, ran the headline “Mayor gets £525,000 (plus VAT) to fight City Airport’s appeal over expansion.” 

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Aer Lingus and IAG

The induction of Aer Lingus into IAG (International Airlines Group) took a step forward last week when IAG announced that Ryanair, the largest shareholder in the former Irish national carrier, had accepted the offer for its shareholding.  This makes the bid wholly unconditional (at over 75% acceptance), 95.77% of Aer Lingus shareholders having thus far accepted.  IAG’s bid was set at €1.3bn, and was previously subject to EU approval.  

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Aviation Club speaker

Unfortunately the advertised speaker, Enrique Cueto of LATAM, has had to withdraw from the forthcoming lunch at the Institute of Directors on 24 September.  His replacement, another senior airline man, but of a different background, is Peter Davies, CEO of The Airline Management Group. 

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Boston next for Norwegian

Norwegian Air has confirmed Boston as a new Gatwick destination four times weekly starting 13 May.  The flights will compete with British Airways and Delta/Virgin out of Heathrow.

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ERA General Assembly 2015

Could a visit to the Brandenburg Airport site be on the cards when ERA holds its 2015 General Assembly in Berlin 13-15 October 2015?

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Government funds domestic routes

A shortlist of new international and domestic air links to be financially supported by government was announced last week.  The Regional Air Connectivity Fund will provide improved transport connections for businesses and passengers from local areas.

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London City Airport sale

Following the report in Business Travel News (see  BTN  10 August) majority owner Investment Fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), have picked Credit Suisse to advise them on a potential sale of the aviation hub valued at £2bn, according to media reports.

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LOT Chief Executive resigns

Sebastian Mikosz has unexpectedly resigned as CEO of LOT, the Polish state airline, for the second time.  He recently hosted the Star Alliance biennial gathering where he spoke of doubling the carrier's size over the next five years. (see  BTN  29 June).  Mr Mikosz was CEO from March 2009 until October 2010, and again from Februay 2013.  His background includes spells at Deloitte and Arthur Andersen in the financial sector.

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Qantas profits and aircraft order

Australian national carrier Qantas has announced plans to add eight long range Boeing 787-900s to the fleet after reporting a remarkable turnaround in its fortunes.

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Ryanair loses important court case

A Court case that might have implications not just for Ryanair but all airlines has been lost by the Irish carrier.  The ruling, at Manchester County Court,  allows passengers six years to claim money back from the airline if their flight is delayed.  (see  BTN  10 August)

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ON TOUR: An Alternative London Perspective

Over the years Business Travel News has reported on helicopter trips over some of the world’s great landmarks including the Grand Canyon, Iguassu Falls, and New York.  To this must be added recently Dubai by seaplane (see BTN 11 May), fixed wing yes, but like the other trips, mainly over water.

Our regular traveller Jane Stanbury has been on something different, not new, but one for the future, and a proper alternative to the open top bus or ‘duck’ ride.

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SPECIAL ON TOUR: The longest flights

The announcement that Emirates are to start flying between Dubai and Panama City, the world’s current longest non-stop flight at 13,821 km, prompted our railway guru Andrew Sharp to put on his aeroplane hat  (see BTN 17 August).  He has come up with some very interesting statistics.  This is his review.

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AND FINALLY: Dodgy Derek is back

He has returned and is annoying rail passengers.

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Air Line attraction

Emirates Airline’s London-based attraction, the Emirates Aviation Experience which provides an insight into the operations and modern achievements of commercial air travel, has reopened its doors to visitors following a significant upgrade of its exhibition and flight simulator features.

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Aviation Conference

The AOA UK Aviation Conference, in association with BATA, BAR UK and the Royal Aeronautical Society, has revealed some of its speakers.

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Dreamliner fire

A fire on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked at Heathrow in 2013 was most likely caused by a short-circuit, the Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) said in its final report on the incident.

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Four Seasons Seoul

Getting ready to open in early October is the Four Seasons Seoul South Korea, a brand new 317 guest suite property.  These guest rooms range in size from 44 to 52sq metres (474 to 560sq ft) – more than twice the size of most Seoul hotel rooms.  The 43 suites are spectacularly spacious, providing separate spaces for living and sleeping.

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Gatwick to Lima

British Airways is gradually returning to South America, once an important part of the network, and for its predecessor in the region British Caledonian.  The idea that passengers should transfer at Madrid, seems to have been dropped, for the most part non-stop services more popular, unless driven by financial considerations.

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Liverpool Airport expands

Once it had links to London but at the same time was one of the UK’s shabbiest airports.  Liverpool Airport has come a long way since those times.  

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Nervous passengers

According to a poll of 9,600 nervous passengers by AA Travel Insurance, a third of women said they would take a sedative, anti-anxiety medication or sleeping tablet compared to 24% of men.  Whilst 1 in 4 men drink between 1 and 3 alcoholic beverages before the flight compared to 22% of women.

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Plymouth Airport stand-off

The FLYER forum  reports the case of a flying instructor who made an emergency precautionary landing at closed Plymouth Airport because of bad weather.  The airport leaseholders, property developers Sutton Harbour Holdings (SHH), are refusing to let him fly his aircraft out and a high-tension stand-off is the result with the pilot’s French Jodel aircraft as hostage.

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