28 SEPTEMBER 2015

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Birmingham – Madrid link

A new link between the West Midlands and the Spanish capital begins on 27 March next year when Iberia Express opens a four-a-week Birmingham – Madrid service on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

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Etihad private jet deal

Passengers in Etihad Airways’ Residence and First Apartment cabins on the Airbus A380 fleet are to be offered exclusive access to private jet hire to complete their journeys thanks to a partnership with aircraft charter specialist Chapman Freeborn.

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Renaissance in Lucknow

Renaissance Hotels has opened its first property in north India with the unveiling of the Renaissance Lucknow.

With 16 floors and 112 guestrooms, it is the tallest hotel in the city.

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Virgin Trains expansion

New business-travel orientated services from Sunderland and Stirling to London King’s Cross are on track from Virgin Trains. Both begin on 14 December and will feature early-morning departures which Virgin says make them ideal for a day of business in the capital.

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Richard Cawthorne, who has edited this issue, would love to hear from people with business travel news.  Just drop him an email at richardcawthorne@btinternet.com

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COMMENT: BA and Las Vegas – The lesson of a near disaster

Over the next few weeks we will hear the official verdict regarding the British Airways’ near disaster at Las Vegas on 9 September.  Just another few seconds later the aircraft would have been airborne, and that would have been it!

There is one serious lesson to be learnt which should be implemented now.

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A330 times 50

With one of the largest A330 fleets in the world, China Eastern Airlines has consolidated its position by taking delivery of its 50th aircraft. Powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 700 engines, the Dash-200 model features a two-class cabin layout seating 30 passengers in Business Class and 203 in Economy.

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Aviation Club welcomes Peter Davies

A packed Aviation Club last Thursday (24 September) saw airline turnaround specialist Peter Davies deliver a thought-provoking discourse on the art of airline management.

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Compensation rule shock

Airlines are bracing themselves for a possible flood of lawsuits after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that airlines can no longer use technical faults as a reason for refusing to pay compensation to delayed passengers.

Issuing judgment in a case against KLM, the court said unexpected technical problems can no longer be counted as an ‘extraordinary circumstance’.

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Finnair takes A350 delivery

Finnair is due to take delivery of its first Airbus A350-900 XWB at Toulouse on 7 October.

The carrier is the lead European customer for the twinjet, which is powered by the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine and has been carrying out ground and flight checks since its maiden flight some weeks ago at Airbus headquarters.

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Hainan flies Tel Aviv – Beijing

Israel will secure an important business route between Tel Aviv and Beijing next April when China’s Hainan Airlines plans to introduce a nonstop three-times-weekly service. The carrier will deploy an Airbus 330 with 36 Business Class seats and 178 in Economy.

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Heathrow’s new noise plan

Heathrow this week introduced steeper approach procedures for aircraft for a six-month trial as part of its programme to control noise. The move coincided with a Civil Aviation Authority report showing the airport’s noise footprint is now smaller than at any time since the 1970s.

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Little Red closes

Virgin Atlantic's brave attempt to take on the BA British domestic routes to and from Heathrow has failed with the remaining Aberdeen and Edinburgh services closing last week.

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Lufthansa spreads the net

Lufthansa is following its recent fleet-wide cabin enhancement programme (BTN 21 September) by offering broadband internet service on short- and medium-haul flights from next year.

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Singapore Airlines & Premium Economy

Premium Economy is now confirmed by Singapore Airlines on the vast majority of services from Heathrow and Manchester to the island state.

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ON TOUR: A reminder of the Past – Nostalgia

Brother Michael Bartlett, the Guinness World Records aviation champion,  “the eccentric globetrotting monk” and a civil airline enthusiast, was recently searching for a cheap return fare, London to Cape Town. 

He writes:

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AND FINALLY: Angela Merkel needs advice

A question to Peter Davies, sometime airline boss and also management consultant, at the Aviation Club last week.

"What would you say if the German Chancellor called requesting advice on her Volkswagen and refugees problems."

His very quick response.

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BA’s new-look Jumbos

New entertainment systems and interiors to match those found on new-generation aircraft are being installed by British Airways on 18 of its Boeing 747 fleet.

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DoubleTree at Yunnan

China’s major manufacturing hub of Yunnan province has acquired a new Hilton presence with the opening of the DoubleTree Resort Xishuangbanna in Jinghong.

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New image for CityJet

CityJet this week unveiled a new look and earmarked plans for future expansion, a year since becoming independent of Air France ownership.

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Norwegian expansion at Cork

Direct low-cost transatlantic services from Cork to Boston are being launched by Norwegian next May, with flights from Cork to New York to follow in 2017.

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NY-LON lounge bows in

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines proved this week that travellers no longer have to go to an airport to experience an airport lounge by showcasing their latest joint venture with a lavish launch party.

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Ryanair shareholder windfall

Proceeds from the €398m sale of Ryanair’s 29.8% stake in Aer Lingus are to be distributed to shareholders, subject to board approval. The handout, via a B Share programme, is expected to be finalised before December.

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Southend, Newcastle on top

Southend Airport has been named best in Britain and Newcastle the UK’s top large airport in a nationwide poll of readers by  Which?  magazine. It is the third year running for both.

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