14 DECEMBER 2015
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A counter-terror system for aviation, led through the European Parliament by Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope, has won support from MEPs on the civil liberties committee, paving the way for final adoption following three years of negotiations.
A trial procedure led by the air traffic control organisation NATS to cut aircraft holding times at Heathrow has entered permanent operational service after being judged a big success.
One more BTN to come before we close for the year-end break. The first edition of 2016 will be published 11 January.
If you want to keep up to date don’t panic. BTN plans to add to its Twitter page at around 08:00 (GMT) every morning with a short 140-character summary. We are looking for a sponsor too. firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Travel News Christmas Aircraft Photo Quiz is ready to go next Monday with outstanding prizes. You don’t even have to enter. Just take a look and then ask a friend what it is if you have no idea. It’s a fun feature not to be taken seriously.
The Christmas lunch of the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom took place last Thursday.
Did the Prime Minister deliberately choose that day for an early evening Cabinet Committee meeting to decide on the government response to the Airports Commission report? Probably not. But Willie Walsh, guest of honour, got it right at the Institute of Directors, with his words, without any changes, issued much later in the day as an IAG response to the Department of Transport statement. Timing is everything.
IAG chief executive Willie Walsh said: “To further delay a decision shows what we have repeatedly said – that party politics takes precedence over what is best for the economy.
“If a runway is built at Heathrow, there must be a fundamental review of the costs. Only around 1% of the £17.6bn is for the actual runway and more than £800m is for a new car park. No wonder Heathrow makes more money than any other airport group in the world."
Readers interested in 40 years of history should go to BTN 23 January 2012 ON TOUR: The Maplin story
Jacques Bankir spent nearly 30 years at Air France and at one time was responsible for the then-AF CityJet subsidiary.
He is not being drawn into the Davies Airports Commission controversy, but here he points out that France has airport problems too. For Nantes, also read Mirabel in Montreal, Madrid’s Ciudad Real Central, and Castellón, in Spain’s Valencia region, all ghost operations. In Berlin, Brandenburg might actually come to life. Sometime!
The annual Christmas Lunch of the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom welcomed Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, his fourth appearance at the Institute of Directors. The 20-minute discourse was well received, the former BA and before that Aer Lingus CEO sadly limiting questions with a flight to catch at Heathrow: "Planes don’t wait for the boss!”
He covered, in quick succession, IAG, the BA management change, runway capacity, the EU, the single European sky, airport charges, passenger rights, climate change and APD. Always an articulate speaker, he seems to have perfected the politician's skill of not answering a question and diverting the enquiry elsewhere. A former BA pilot requested Walsh's views regarding what he described as “the Jock Lowe scheme”. Walsh, a former Aer Lingus captain, retorted that back in 2008 British Airways had decided not to get involved with the Heathrow controversy. No further comment.
Word was that the aviation minister would announce the Government’s decision (or no decision, as it turned out) that evening. Walsh pre-empted it.
Heathrow is clearly IAG’s leading current money-sppinner. With around 55% of slots, this is unlikely to change. But Walsh made it clear it was not the group's only hub. Future investment could go elsewhere. www.aviationclub.org.uk
The European Commission is considering new measures to tackle what it sees as unfair competition from non-EU airlines. The move is part of a package of proposals designed to boost the competitiveness of Europe's aviation sector.
Jane Stanbury is our regular reporter for the NBAA (the US National Business Aviation Association) annual gathering this time back at Las Vegas. In 2014 it was at Orlando.
On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers
The Complete Compact Car
The debate over a new runway for south-east England boiled over last week after business leaders accused the government of playing politics with the issue by delaying further a decision on where to build the facility.
Cathay Pacific confirmed on Thursday it will launch a four-a-week service between Hong Kong and Gatwick next year, subject to government approval, as reported in BTN, 30 November.
Majid Al Futtaim, the Dubai-based shopping mall, retail and leisure company, has unveiled the refurbished Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates following a US$100m renovation project.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (Comac) has delivered the first ARJ21 to domestic carrier Chengdu Airlines, calling it a big breakthrough in efforts to develop China’s domestic jet aircraft design and manufacturing capabilities.
A campaign to promote a joint service to Australia and New Zealand has been launched by Emirates and Qantas offering a wide choice of stopovers in the Middle and Far East, enhanced comfort levels and high service standards.
London’s Savoy, New York’s Plaza and other famous names in the hospitality world changed hands last week when French group AccorHotels announced its acquisition of FRHI Holdings, the parent company of the Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel brands.
The row over alleged subsidies on Middle Eastern routes took another turn last week when United Airlines said it will stop flying between Washington and Dubai from late January. The decision meaning no US passenger airline will fly direct to the Gulf states.