30 JANUARY 2017

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Israel routes surprise

Foreign airlines may be allowed to operate domestic routes in Israel at the expense of Israeli carriers Israir and Arkia, under plans being considered by transportation minister Yisrael Katz.

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New ground for Virgin Hotels

Richard Branson’s Virgin Hotels plans to open and operate a new hotel in New Orleans, with work expected to start in April and the property opening for business in early 2019.

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Pakistan-Turkey pact

A wide-ranging codeshare expansion allowing entry into new markets for two major airlines has been signed by Turkish Airlines and Pakistan International Airlines to take effect from this Wednesday, 1 February.

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US anger at Emirates

The lobby group representing major international US carriers, the Partnership for Open & Fair Skies, reacted furiously last week to plans by Emirates for a new daily service between Dubai and New York Newark via Athens.

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COMMENT: Baring all for Brexit

In the week the Supreme Court ruled MPs must oversee the UK’s departure from Europe, Brexit and aviation’s place in it were unsurprisingly the hot topics at the Airlines UK annual dinner. Keynote speaker Chris Grayling, the transportation secretary, delivered a sturdy call to arms for the future, setting out plans for what he called the “biggest programme of UK airspace modernisation in half a century”.

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A4E takes EU to task

EU aviation policy and what has been done to benefit European passengers will be in the spotlight for the latest summit organised by the Airlines for Europe (A4E) group in Brussels on 8 February.

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American scraps screens

Seatback video screens will be scrapped on American Airlines’ new B737 MAX fleet after the carrier said almost all passengers now bring aboard their own devices such as mobile phones, tablets and laptops that do the same job.

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Aviation history never previously published

The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) has published a book to commemorate its 150th anniversary. Called “Delivering the Dream”, and written by Richard Gardner, the aviation historian, it is on sale at £15 for 150 pages of close text, which is exceptional value.

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Etihadís Hogan to step down

A global search for new top management at the Etihad Aviation Group is under way after the company announced president and chief executive officer James Hogan and CFO James Rigney are to step down later this year to join an investment company.

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Flybe connects at Heathrow

Heathrow Airport's “Flight Connection” webpage has now added Flybe's new Scottish routes. A very simple site to use, it will be particularly helpful for passengers when flying down from Aberdeen and Edinburgh who wish to join a service out of either T3 or T4. It works the other way too, and connects all pairs of flights whatever the airline.

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Loganair flies on

The contract to operate the Orkney inter-isles service, which includes the world’s shortest scheduled flight, for the next four years from 1 April has been awarded to Loganair following a competitive tendering process.

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More walk-outs at BA

Contingency plans are due to be announced tomorrow (Tuesday) by British Airways to deal with the first wave of six days of further walk-outs by mixed fleet cabin crew in the so-called “poverty pay” row.

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SAS coup for CityJet

In a major expansion, CityJet has acquired Danish airline Cimber, a subsidiary of SAS, and won a six-year wet-lease contract from SAS for regional services from Copenhagen. Both take effect tomorrow, 31 January.

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Size is all for Qantas

The ever-changing view at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) as the facility pursues its modernisation programme has a new landmark with the opening last week by Qantas of a giant new hangar.

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Views sought on noise rules

A public consultation was launched last week on new government measures to cut the noise allowed from night flights at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, in part by encouraging the use of quieter aircraft.

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ON TOUR: Mallorcaís city for all seasons

Jan Edwards reports from Mallorca on the latest developments in the capital, Palma. A freelance journalist, she has lived on Mallorca since 2004. She writes for a luxury lifestyle magazine on the island and is the author of the blog www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com

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AND FINALLY: BCAL will fly again

The sound of the bagpipes at Biggin Hill Airport has heralded a revival of the renowned “Caledonian Girls” of British Caledonian Airways (BCAL) in aid of charity. The occasion, their first official reunion in 10 years, was an aircraft-naming ceremony.

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Additional flights for Vietnam

Vietnam routes are in the news in the Far East, with Qantas subsidiary Jetstar entering the market to Ho Chi Minh City/Saigon from Sydney and Melbourne and VietJet announcing its latest international route connecting Hanoi and Singapore.

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All stars together in T2

Moves to consolidate the presence at Heathrow of member airlines of the Star Alliance in Terminal 2, the Queen’s Terminal, have been finalised with the successful transfer of Air India operations.

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Cathay's new LHR lounge

Featuring separate First and Business Class areas, Cathay Pacific has unveiled its new premium lounge in Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 3, the only one of the airline’s facilities of its kind outside Hong Kong with the distinct zones.

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London City boost for Toulon

Hard on the heels of its latest deal with SAS (see this issue), CityJet has announced it will increase its schedule for 2017 and operate additional flights on its service from London City Airport to Toulon Hyères Airport between 8 April and 26 October.

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Oman boost for First Class

The First Class cabins on Oman Air’s three A330-300s have been renovated as part of what the airline calls its “journey to become the best” and despite a reduction in government support over the past three years.

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Virgin first with US precheck

A faster and easier method called TSA Precheck for passengers departing US airports to move through security screening has been adopted by Virgin Atlantic, the first UK airline to do so. The system was introduced by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

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