21 SEPTEMBER 2015

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Caribbean's autumn upgrade

Better connectivity within the Caribbean and between North and South America is being promised by Caribbean Airlines, the national carrier of Trinidad and Tobago, through its new autumn schedule.

The programme features daily service to and from Grenada and Barbados, with flights connecting to the airline’s flight bank at Piarco International Airport in Trinidad to destinations throughout the network including Miami, New York, Toronto, Jamaica, Guyana and the Bahamas.

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Dusit to open in Oman

Bangkok-based hospitality group Dusit International has signed a management agreement for a new hotel in Muscat (Oman).

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Iberia Express at Manchester

Manchester Airport has welcomed Iberia Express to its roster of airlines with a three-a-week service to and from Madrid until the end of October, reverting to two flights a week for the winter.

The airline is operating return flights on the route on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays and will then fly on Tuesdays and Saturdays only from November.

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COMMENT: Heathrow and Northolt problems

Boris Johnson, known for his anti-airport views both at Heathrow and London City, has been joined in the Heathrow and Northolt conurbation by John McDonnell, as Shadow Chancellor. 

Mr McDonnell is as far to the left as Mr Johnson is to the right but they share a common abhorrence to the expansion of Heathrow, the airport by far and away the largest employer in the area.  Some would say their views are misguided.

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Air Canada expansion

Air Canada has launched a far-reaching summer schedule expansion for next year with its first route to Africa and the addition of four major European cities to its network. The Air Canada rouge service to Casablanca means the carrier will be one of only a dozen in the world serving six continents.

The four-times-weekly Montreal – Casablanca flight will also be the only service to North Africa by a North American carrier. It will operate between 3 June – 17 October with the ultimate aim of becoming a year-round route.

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ATR 72-600 joins Flybe fleet

Flybe has introduced an ATR 72-600 into its fleet for the first time. The leased aircraft will operate in the livery of the carrier’s new partner, Scandinavian Airlines, in Sweden following the recently-announced six-year white label partnership between the two which starts next month.

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Birmingham greets Wizz Air

Warsaw and Budapest have joined the destinations served from Birmingham Airport with the arrival of Hungarian carrier Wizz Air.

The company, with more than 380 routes across Europe and beyond, is the seventh new airline to join the Birmingham line-up this year and Birmingham becomes its eighth UK airport. The two new routes each operate twice a week, with Warsaw operating on Mondays and Fridays and Budapest on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

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Crossrail update

At the UK Rail Industry Forum on 17 September, Jeremy Long, CEO (Europe) at MTR Corporation and responsible for the operation of Crossrail, gave an upbeat assessment of performance against targets.

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Easyjet in Cranfield deal

Marking the imminent arrival of its 20th birthday year, easyJet has signed a three-year strategic partnership with Cranfield University, which specialises in aviation and aerospace, to work together on projects that could decide the future shape of commercial air travel.

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El Al signs on for Dreamliners

In its biggest aircraft order to date, El Al has signed a memorandum of understanding to buy and lease 15 new Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

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Gatwick's new ‘world first’

Gatwick is claiming a world first for a new booking service for customers travelling on connecting flights. Airport officials say the GatwickConnects service enables connecting flights between low-cost and full-service airlines to be booked in a single transaction, while giving peace of mind if a flight doesn’t operate to schedule.

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Manchester's new Vienna link

Austrian Airlines has become the only carrier to operate a daily service between Manchester and Vienna with the launch of service operated by Fokker 70 / 100. The move means passengers from the north of England now have access to all Lufthansa Group airlines.

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Premium Economy comes to Lufthansa

First announced just 12 months ago Lufthansa has met its targets and added a Premium Economy class throughout its long haul fleet including the A340.

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FLYING AT THE FRONT END: Vietnam Airlines

It was back in March 2012  that Business Travel News reported in detail on Vietnam Airlines, making the point that while it was a fine airline it was behind many others when it came to aircraft and service. 

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AND FINALLY: Airport artwork

Is this idea going to catch on?

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Airline charges criticised

Airlines are being criticised for imposing hidden charges on passengers to conceal the true cost of flights after a new report showed they accounted for up to 38.7% of carriers’ total revenue last year.

The 2015 CarTrawler Yearbook of Ancillary Revenue singled out baggage charges, booking fees and sales of in-flight food and drink as culprits.

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Hilton’s space-age adventure

Hilton Hotels and Resorts has moved further into the space age with the opening of the Hilton Wenchang, on the east coast of Hainan Island (China). It is the first internationally-branded hotel in the community, which is known as China’s aerospace city because of its proximity to the country’s satellite launch centre.

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Lisbon hotel

You cannot have a more central spot in Lisbon.  Just opened is the Pousada de Lisboa – Praça do Comércio, part of Pestana Hotel Group. 

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Lufthansa Group reorganises

With member companies reporting record load factors and ‘very positive’ business trends for next summer, the Lufthansa Group has announced a major reorganisation which it says is designed to strengthen customer focus.

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Newcastle retains NY service

United Airlines’ seasonal non-stop service between Newcastle and its New York hub at Newark is to return for a second year next summer. Westbound flights will operate six times weekly between 26 May – 6 September. 

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Stansted's passenger record

Stansted topped the 2m passenger mark for the fourth consecutive month in August with record numbers on each flight. The average load factor was also a record at 93.5%.

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Take-off for SAS to Hong Kong

UK passengers heading for Hong Kong now have another option with Scandinavian Airlines’ (SAS) introduction of flights from Arlanda, with good connections from Heathrow and Manchester.

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Third Berlin Indigo for IHG

InterContinental Hotels Group has signed an agreement to manage its third Hotel Indigo in Berlin. The new-build property in the city’s East Side district will be owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and operate under a franchise agreement with development partner Tristar Hotel Group.

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