5 SEPTEMBER 2016

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Beijing Capital for Vancouver

Vancouver Airport will welcome a new Chinese carrier on 30 December when Beijing Capital Airlines (JD) marks its debut in North America with a three-times-weekly service from Hangzhou via Qingdao.

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Finnair boost for IFE

In another major step to boost its inflight entertainment services, Finnair last week signed an agreement with the broadband and technology provider ViaSat to install a high-speed wireless internet network on its entire Airbus A320 series short-haul fleet flying in Europe.

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Heathrow trains add news service

One-minute news and business bulletins from the BBC World News service are now keeping passengers on the Heathrow Express up to date with events after being introduced last Wednesday as part of the on-board programming.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Virendra Sharma Member of Parliament for South Ealing

Virendra Sharma has been the Labour MP for Ealing Southall since 2007. Born in India (1947), the one-time bus conductor was sponsored by a trade union through LSE, is a member of the parliamentary select committees on Health, Human Rights and International Development and supported David Miliband in the 2010 Labour leadership election. For a long time he was opposed to the expansion of Heathrow.

It is now rumoured that Parliament will not be presented with the results of the Airports Commission cabinet deliberations until it returns after the party conferences in October. However, the announcement could be this week. Westminster is back today (5 September).

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ANZ in Premium expansion

More premium seats are being installed by Air New Zealand (ANZ) on its existing B777-300 fleet and three B787-9 Dreamliners being delivered next year in an upgrade programme costing more than £55m.  All seven B777-300s will begin refurbishment from February. The work also includes installation of the Panasonic eX3 in-flight entertainment system.

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Conference focus on HS2

Additional speakers have been confirmed for a major Transport Times conference in London next month on the future of the HS2 project. Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and Simon Kirby, chief executive of High Speed Two, are scheduled to deliver the keynote addresses.

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First Four Seasons in Vietnam

The Nam Hai Hoi An resort in Vietnam is to be managed by Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts as of 20 December. It will be the group’s first property in the country.

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Gatwick to Hong Kong

It is five years since Hong Kong was linked to Gatwick with a non-stop route, Hong Kong Airlines ditching a ‘Business-Class-only’ service after just six months. Now Cathay Pacific has come in, initially four times per week, hopefully to replicate Emirates, which after a slow start has three A380 services daily to Dubai.

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JetBlue arrives in Cuba

The first scheduled flight from the US to Cuba in more than 50 years, a JetBlue service from Florida, touched down in Santa Clara on Wednesday, as the US also announced the eight carriers to begin scheduled flights to Havana, possibly this autumn.

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London City & Luton to New York

Figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority show that in May La Compagnie (BO), the French-owned ‘Business Class only’ airline, carried 2,014 passengers against 1,152 in May, a 75% increase over 12 months earlier, the service starting that April. This compares well with BA’s London City product, which is not non-stop, and was down 6% to 1,745.

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Luxembourg joins flybe line-up

Flybe arrived in the important business centre of Luxembourg for the first time on Thursday as it launched its new service from Manchester. The airline is planning a twice-daily operation on weekdays, with a daily flight at weekends.

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Ryanair and the London runways

Michael O’Leary, aided as usual by Ryanair's marketing director Kenny Jacob, was in his usual feisty combative mood when he introduced his airline's 2017 flight programme in London last week. Claiming to be first with next year’s flights, the real aim of the launch is to begin to bring in money for something that for many will not happen for months. It is a long time since airlines were in the credit business.

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ON TOUR: The Mighty Queen Mary

RMS Queen Mary has been docked at Long Beach, southern Los Angeles. since 9 December 1967. The City of Long Beach had won an auction for the great liner and saw it as the centrepiece of a revitalised waterside area including the adjacent dome housing Howard Hughes’ ill-fated Spruce Goose. It opened its doors to the public on May 1971 after a major transformation. 

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CRUISE NEWS SEPTEMBER 2016

The 2017 edition of the Berlitz “Cruising & Cruise Ships” is out but don’t expect the usual tepid edition. The book itself has been revamped, it is all in colour now, and for once author Douglas Ward has sharpened his teeth.

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AND FINALLY: AK47 not a flight number

In a classic case of (ahem) shooting yourself in the foot, Kalashnikov assault rifles have gone on sale to foreign visitors at Moscow's Sheremetyevo international airport.

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BA returns to Tehran

The business potential of Iran was highlighted by British Airways last week as the carrier relaunched its Heathrow – Tehran route with a six-times-a-week B777 service following the recent relaxation of sanctions. “As well as giving more choice and flexibility between London and the Middle East, especially for families looking to visit relatives, Tehran is also a great emerging market with real opportunities for businesses to grow commercial links,” the airline said.

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De Juniac takes over at IATA

Former Air France-KLM chairman and CEO Alexandre de Juniac officially took up his new role as director-general and CEO of IATA on Thursday after being confirmed in the post by the 72nd IATA annual general meeting in June.  He succeeds Tony Tyler, who had served as IATA DG and CEO since 2011 and had announced his retirement.

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Joe Sutter

The man dubbed the father of the Jumbo jet by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Joe Sutter, has died at age 95.

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New post-Brexit impetus for LHR

Expanding Heathrow could boost UK GDP by up to £24,500 per family – almost double the value of expanding Gatwick. That, according to Heathrow, is the finding of the first post-Brexit report into the independent Airport Commission study. Heathrow released the document on Friday.

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Oneworld names Gurney to top job

Industry veteran Rob Gurney was named last week by the airline alliance oneworld as its new CEO.  He succeeds Bruce Ashby, who announced in January that he would be stepping down after more than five years in the position.

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SWISS boosts meal service

Economy Class passengers on Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) are now being offered pre-ordered à la carte meals on long-haul flights from Switzerland in addition to the existing range of inflight food.

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Thai adds first A350XWB

The first of Thai Airways International’s new fleet of A350XWB aircraft was handed over to the airline on Tuesday at a ceremony at the Airbus Delivery Centre in Toulouse.

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VA upgrade goes fleet-wide

Virgin Australia’s (VA) award-winning Business Class product, called 'The Business’, is now flying on the airline’s entire wide-body fleet of Airbus A330-200 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

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VIP upgrade at Sofitel

A ‘Park, Rest & Fly VIP’ package has been added to the range of special services offered by the Sofitel London Heathrow, the airport’s only premium hotel connected directly to Terminal 5.

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