16 NOVEMBER 2015

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Eilat’s new airport

Work is progressing fast in order for a new airport near Eilat, called Ramon and close to Israel’s southern port and major holiday centre, to be operational by 2017.

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Japanese aircraft’s maiden flight

The Mitsubishi Regional Jet finally took to the sky last Wednesday 11 November 50 years after the turboprop YS 11 became Japan's last passenger aircraft.  In a very competitive market the 92-seat aircraft has amassed just over 400 orders.

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London City adds DriveNow

DriveNow has announced a partnership with London City Airport, making it the first UK airport to offer car sharing.  The concept is already popular in airports across Europe, with many major capital cities offering services giving travellers increased flexibility when it comes to getting to and from the airport.

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Business Travel News  took the Online Travel Trade Publication of the Year runners up prize at the Travel Media Awards, held last week at the splendid Renaissance London St Pancras.  A fine and very busy evening.  

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COMMENT: Congratulations to easyJet

Last Tuesday (10 November) easyJet celebrated 20 years at its spiritual home, and headquarters, Luton Airport.  In fact Luton is no longer its largest base (of 27), that accolade now going to Gatwick.  Guest of Honour was Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of the airline and still, with his family, the largest shareholder.  A beaming Sir Stelios made a short but impressive speech.  Clearly differences with the present board are a thing of the past.

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Business Travel Show

London’s Olympia is now the established home of the Business Travel Show.  The 2016 event takes place 24-26 February and includes access to Travel Technology Europe (TTE) on the gallery level.  www.businesstravelshow.com

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CS300 first operator

Bombardier Commercial Aircraft confirmed at last week’s Dubai Air Show that Riga-based (Latvia) Air Baltic Corporation AS (airBaltic) will be the first customer to operate the CS300 aircraft when it takes delivery in the second half of 2016. The Latvian flag carrier has 13 CS300 aircraft on firm order and retains options for seven CS300 aircraft.

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Emirates Heathrow lounge

Work on renovation of the Emirates Lounge at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 has now been completed.  When it was originally opened with the introduction of A380 services in 2008 it was the only lounge worldwide with direct escalator services onto the aircraft’s Business Class upper deck.

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Gatwick 'Easy' payment

Passengers travelling between Gatwick Airport and London will soon be able to use pay-as-you-go, Rail Minister Claire Perry has confirmed thanks to an agreement between the government, Transport for London (TfL) and the operator, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR).

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La Compagnie from Luton

The French ‘Business Class only’ carrier La Compagnie will add to its Luton – Newark New York service with a Tuesday flight into 2016.  At present it operates daily except Tuesday and Saturday.  Said to be a “boutique airline” La Compagnie operates a 74-seat single class Boeing 757.  Passengers gain a lie-flat seat and AppleIpads connected to the aircraft's built-in entertainment centre.

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Lisbon hotel takes top award

The Pousada de Lisboa, the newest unit of the Pestana Group hotels, was awarded "Best Small and Exclusive New Hotel" ("Best Newcomer"), by Condé Nast Johansens 2016, in a ceremony that took place in London last week.  BTN  featured the property on  21 September, even then suspecting it was something special.

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Lufthansa strike

Readers should check carefully if they are planning to fly on Lufthansa.  A series of walkouts, which the airline said is costing it at least €10m a day, even forced Carsten Spohr, Chief Executive of Lufthansa, to fly with rival Air Berlin from Berlin to Munich last week.

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Norwegian gains UK AOC

Now Europe’s  third largest low-cost airline, Norwegian Air has been granted a UK Air Operator's Certificate (AOC) opening up bilateral traffic rights to a series of potential new markets including Asia, South America and South Africa as the airline continues its huge growth in the UK.  It is Britain's third largest airline too.

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Skyteam Hong Kong Lounge

Now open in Terminal 1 at Hong Kong International Airport is the exclusive SkyTeam lounge.  The fourth in a growing offering of branded lounges around the world, it is available to First and Business Class passengers and Elite Plus members flying on all 12 member airlines serving the airport.

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ON TOUR: Turkish delight – Enjoying the Light in Lycia

There used to be a certain dread when checking-in at Gatwick (LGW)  writes Jane Stanbury. As the desk loomed, the heart sank at the endless lines of suitcases, people and cabin bags.

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AND FINALLY: easyJet - there was a safety check

BTN prefers flying with doors

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Airlines go and arrive

Estonian Air, has ceased flying after European Union regulators ordered Estonia to recover €85m (US$91m) in state aid granted to it.

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DoubleTree London Ontario

Ontario’s largest convention hotel has been opened  by DoubleTree by Hilton following a US$10m renovation of the Hilton London Ontario (Canada), including renovated guest rooms.

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Ethiopian targets China

With the largest fleet in Africa, Ethiopian Airlines is looking east for further expansion, emphasising the point by putting Chinese crew members on flights to China from this month.

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Flybe results and new routes

Now Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe announced its half year results last Wednesday (11 September).  Group revenue was up 10.3% to £339.6m with profit before tax of £22.9m (H1 2014/15: loss of £3.3m). 

Cash generation improved in H1 with overall net inflow from operating activities of £21.3m (H1 2014/15: £6.5m). 

There was an 11.2% increase in revenue to £330.9m driven by 13.1% increase in seat capacity to 5.9m seats with passenger numbers 10.2% to 4.5m.

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Heathrow Hub

The independent Heathrow third runway scheme (although it claims not to be so – just an extension of what already exists), called Heathrow Hub, has received a significant double boost in its campaign to be selected by the UK government as the best solution to the UK’s aviation capacity challenge.

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Luxair plans fleet upgrade

The Embraer E190-E2 and Bombardier CSeries CS100/CS300 are both being studied by Luxair as a replacement for its two B737-700s.

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Stansted disabled guide

Thanks to support from owner Manchester Airport Group (MAG), Stansted Airport now has its own detailed disabled guide.  It aims to assist disabled people or anyone who would like to know more about how to get to and around the airport.

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WOW to Los Angeles and San Francisco

Icelandic airline Wow Air is to add three single class 340-passenger A330-300s to their fleet for routes to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Reykjavik next summer.

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