14 DECEMBER 2015


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Air terror move clears EU hurdle

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.

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Changi hosts low-cost carriers

More low-cost carrier (LCC) flights are being introduced at Singapore’s Changi Airport as passengers seek cheaper travel options in the region.

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NATS hails XMAN coup

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.

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Relaunch for Renaissance

Renaissance London Heathrow, owned and operated by UK hotel management company Arora, was relaunched last Wednesday after a £20m renovation.

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Southampton’s double

New services announced by KLM and Aer Lingus Regional for next summer put Southampton Airport in celebration mood last week.

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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.  info@btnews.co.uk

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. 

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COMMENT: Timing is everything

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."  

SEE BELOW (Aviation Club welcomes Willie Walsh – and the unedited speech) plus Time to rethink says Edinburgh & Arguments rage over runway

Readers interested in 40 years of history should go to  BTN  23 January 2012 ON TOUR:  The Maplin story

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COMMENT EXTRA: It is all different in France! An airport controversy.

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!

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Aviation Club welcomes Willie Walsh

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


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Avros to be phased-out by SN

Belgium's Brussels Airlines is phasing out its fleet of Avro RJ100 regional jets by the end of 2017 in favour of a mix of Airbus models.

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New aviation strategy from EU

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.

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Time to rethink, says Edinburgh

Scotland has been urged to rethink its relationship with London’s airports after the government put off a decision on a new runway for Heathrow.

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ON TOUR: Viva Las Vegas at NBAA

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.

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On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

The Complete Compact Car

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AND FINALLY: Is Gatwick about to celebrate?

Or are they about to commiserate!

The airport is ready.

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Amba's new West End hotel

London’s West End has acquired a new luxury property with the opening of the Amba Hotel Marble Arch, following a multi-million pound refurbishment of the existing building.

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Arguments rage over runway

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.

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Cathay confirms LGW

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.

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Dubai's US$100m Kempinski

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.

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First ARJ21 for Chengdu

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.

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Qantas, Emirates new link

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.

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Shanghai date for BA 787-9

British Airways’ new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, complete with a new First cabin, will start flying to Shanghai from next summer.

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SIA Down Under boost

Australia and New Zealand are in line for a big rise in international air capacity next year after Singapore Airlines joined in the trend by saying it planned a 7% increase.

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Top hotels go to Accor

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.

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Ukraine expansion for THY

Turkish Airlines will begin operating a new service between Istanbul and Zaporizhzhia in Ukraine on 28 December.

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United drops Dubai service

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.

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