26 SEPTEMBER 2016

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ATR gets 78 seats

Cebu Pacific, the Philippines’ largest airline, has taken delivery of the very first ATR 72-600 High Capacity.  Configured with 78 seats, this brand new option of the ATR 72 increases capacity by 10 compared to the standard configuration of the aircraft. 

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Bournemouth’s Hilton

Now fully up and running the brand new Bournemouth Hilton offers 24hr room service, a full gym and 20m swimming pool in the spa area.

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Le Méridien Etoile

Certainly the largest hotel in central Paris, with 1,025 guestrooms, Le Méridien Etoile, has completed a multi-million Euro renovation.  Originally conceived by Air France, the hotel, together with the brand, was first unveiled in 1972.

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COMMENT: Female only security lanes

Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, major hub and something of an alternative to Hong Kong, has introduced three security lanes solely for female passengers to help those uncomfortable with the scrutiny of male guards.  It must be pointed out that all airports are supposed to offer a same gender ‘pat down’.  The women’s lanes, which are marked in pink, are expected to help cut queues in general.

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A340 goes Executive

European Aviation has delivered a former Air Sri Lanka aircraft to the established Maltese charter airline Air X.  The plane has been converted by the specialist aviation engineering company at its facility in Bournemouth. 

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Aircraft builder for sale

e-Go aeroplanes is seeking a buyer.

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BA creates ‘First Wing’

British Airways’ First and Gold Executive Club customers travelling from Heathrow will soon have access to a new ‘First Wing’, creating a dedicated walkway from check-in to the lounges in Terminal 5.

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Cambridge to Gatwick gets closer

The long-awaited rail link between Brighton, Gatwick Airport and Cambridge is getting nearer with an actual 2018 service date to be announced.

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Crystal Air Cruises

Edie Rodriguez, CEO and president of the Genting owned Crystal luxury travel group, has unveiled the designs for its first aircraft, a Boeing 777-200LR.  (See also A340 goes Executive in this issue).

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easyJet strike

The strike planned by easyJet pilots has been called off whilst the two sides continue discussions.  Any action might have been counter-productive with all staff members benefiting from a share allocation scheme.

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Flying Nanny Kit

Etihad Airways has introduced a new range of ‘Etihad Explorers’ children’s activity packs and a Flying Nanny Kit, to keep its younger guests occupied while on-board.

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Lisbon sports hotel

Pestana Hotel Group has announced the opening of Pestana CR7 Lisboa in the heart of the Baixa.  Named after soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo (hence the CR7) it repeats a similar concept opened in Funchal (Madeira), his place of birth.  The new lifestyle hotel offers what it claims is an innovative concept on hospitality “providing guests with a truly unique experience to create moments of fun with the people that matter”.

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Multi-language Heathrow Express

Heathrow Express is joining the #LondonIsOpen movement with the first dynamic advertising campaign to be translated into six languages.  The train operator has loaded its new smart screens, situated in the baggage re-claim area at Heathrow showing live price and journey time comparisons between taxis and the airport’s train service to central London.  Cantonese and five European languages are shown.

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ON TOUR: CAPE POINT

Following last week’s  ON TOUR of CAPE TOWN  the editor-in-chief follows up with some further words on the southern part of South Africa.  Wine is synonymous with the Western Cape but there are other things to do.

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AND FINALLY: Coming shortly

This car was not on offer to drive at the SMMT southern test day last week which will be featured in the 10 October issue. 

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Berlin’s experiential hotel

Moxy Hotels, Marriott International’s experiential hotel brand, has opened in Berlin, said to be the “Next Generation” product at a surprisingly affordable price point.  Moxy Berlin joins Moxy Frankfurt Eschborn and Moxy Munich Airport as the third hotel in Germany.  The brand expects to offer a portfolio of nearly 150 hotels around the world within the next 10 years.

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Good rail news

Two speakers at Waterfront’s Rail Industry Forum (London, 14 September) gave an upbeat view of regional devolution writes Andrew Sharp.

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London City to Düsseldorf

Flybe is to introduce a three times week daily between London City Airport and Düsseldorf from 30 October as part of its 2016-17 winter schedule.

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Marriott confirms Starwood

Starwood Hotels & Resorts has finally surrendered to Marriott International in a transaction creating the world's largest accommodation company.  The merger, which is valued at US$13bn, will lead to the group having a presence in 110 countries with 5,700 hotels.

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Munich Oktoberfest hotel opening

Right on time for the start of the Oktoberfest, Israeli company Leonardo Hotels has opened its ninth hotel in Munich.  The 3-star Leonardo Hotel Munich City South is a purpose-built new build.

It is situated south of the city centre in the district of Obersendling.

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Nuremberg central hotel

The Park Plaza Nuremberg has officially opened in an ideal location, very close to the 19th century Central Railway Station with its services to the airport, and just a few metres from an interesting walk into the old walled town.

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Pulitzer Amsterdam

Following its partial opening at the start of the year (See BTN 25 January) the Pulitzer Amsterdam is now fully functioning, the remarkable regeneration of 25 interlinked 17th and 18th century canal houses, within what is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Virgin Australia to Abu Dhabi

Virgin Australia (VA) will launch services from Melbourne to Los Angeles and Perth to Abu Dhabi in 2017. The airline has a mixed ownership including Etihad Airways (21%) Nanshan Group – China (19.9%), Singapore Airlines (19.8%), HNA Group  China (13%), Virgin Group (8%) and Air New Zealand (2.5%).

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