13 MARCH 2017

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Emirates’ new-look lounge

With competition to grab the headlines fierce at ITB Berlin last week, Emirates kept up the pace with the launch of a series of new cabin products and enhancements this year for both its Airbus A380 and Boeing B777 fleets, including a new-look Onboard Lounge for the flagship A380.

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Heathrow set for more lounges

New luxury lounges are on the way to Heathrow thanks to an expansion by Plaza Premium Group. A new facility is due to be opened landside in Terminal 4 this month and another in T3 later in the year.

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Priority portfolio gains twelve

Priority Pass has added 12 new outlets to its airport lounge portfolio, including the Grain Store Café and Bar in the South Terminal at Gatwick. Members of the scheme can use their Priority Pass cards to receive a £15 discount off their final bill.

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COMMENT: British Airways business class domestic

Although there has been no official media announcement in the UK, British Airways is to launch Club Europe (Business Class) on domestic flights from next month for its routes between London and Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Manchester. From London City Airport (LCY), Cityflyer will also offer the product.  (See ‘BA goes regional Club’ in this issue) 

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BA regional Club

British Airways is to launch Club Europe (business) on its domestic services between London and Belfast, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Manchester on 1 April (see COMMENT in this issue).

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Air India all-woman record

International Women’s Day last week took on special significance for Air India after the carrier claimed a record for completing a round the world flight with an all-female crew.

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Aviation minister speaks

Lord Ahmad, aviation minister, was his usual good humoured self when rushing in (and out of) the AOA’s annual dinner at the Grosvenor House last week.  “Good evening.  I’m delighted to join you. I apologise that this will be a bit of a flying visit for me – no pun intended. The House of Lords is debating the Article 50 bill this evening”. He was away quickly.

His Lordship highlighted Mrs May’s government’s commitment to Britain’s aviation industry – its airports, manufacturers and airlines.

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Bangkok wins recertification

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) announced last week that Bangkok Airways had been successfully recertified to the international safety standards of ICAO.

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FAA go-ahead for 737 MAX 8

The Dash-8 version of the Boeing B737 MAX was cleared to fly by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last week when it was certified for commercial service. Boeing is now in the final stages of preparing for deliveries later this year.

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Israel seeks Eilat flights

A new directive designed to assist airlines interested in launching new routes to Eilat’s Ovda Airport has been issued by the Israeli government as part of its programme to encourage more visitors to the Red Sea city.

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Long-haul bonus for Gatwick

In the midst of record figures from virtually every UK airport last month, Gatwick stood out as its long-haul routes continued to soar to give it its busiest February to date for distant destinations, 20.3% ahead of 2016.

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MH370 new call to action

Pilots have marked the third anniversary last Wednesday of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines’ Flight MH370 by renewing their call for improved tracking on all aircraft.

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Qatar reveals the QSuite

Customisable private areas known as QSuites featuring the first-ever “party-of-four” seating configuration and the first double bed available in Business Class were unveiled by Qatar Airways at ITB Berlin last week.

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Testing times for IAG

Mobile satellite communications provider Inmarsat last week named International Airlines Group (IAG) as the launch customer for its European Aviation Network (EAN) high-speed in-flight broadband service.

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ON TOUR: Hunger for change at BBGA

ON TOUR: Hunger for change at BBGA

Stephanie Taylor reports on the 43rd annual meeting of the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA). Pictures by BillyPix

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MARCH MOTORING: SEAT Ateca

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AND FINALLY: Airbus says: 'Jam today, Pop.Up tomorrow'

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Aer Lingus expanding long-haul

Seven new long-range Airbus A321neo aircraft are set to join the Aer Lingus fleet in 2019 and 2020 following a lease agreement between parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) and Air Lease Corporation (ALC), IAG said last week.

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Aeromexico at the Aviation Club

It is all about timing and last week Aeromexico CEO Andrés Conesa was in London talking to the aviation industry at the Institute of Directors within days of Delta Air Lines announcing it had taken its interest in the carrier up to 49%.

Listening carefully to his words were fellow Delta partner Virgin Atlantic, CEO Craig Kreeger, and Skyteam’s CEO Perry Cantarutti.  Aeromexico was a founder member of Skyteam.  

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ANA plans Hawaii challenge

Competition on the prime routes between Japan and Hawaii is hotting up after All Nippon Airways (ANA) said it is introducing the first of its Airbus A380 fleet on the top-selling from Tokyo – Honolulu service.

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E195-E2 making progress

More details on the progress of the latest Embraer aircraft, the E195-E2, were announced by the Brazilian manufacturer last week at a ceremony at its headquarters in São José dos Campos.

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Fears over Easter strikes

Airlines are bracing themselves for a season of discontent amid signs last week’s strike by French air traffic controllers (SNCTA) could herald more disruption ahead, particularly at Easter and over the summer peak.

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Korean brings 747-8i to Heathrow

Heathrow will have its first sight of Boeing’s B747-8i in commercial service later this month when Korean Air brings in a mixed fleet on its daily London – Seoul route, with both the A380 and the newest 747 in operation.

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Moxy arrives in Docklands

In a departure from its traditionally sober image, Marriott International has launched its latest brand, Moxy Hotels, in London’s Docklands, joining a line-up that so far includes Munich, Milan, Berlin and New Orleans.

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TAP's new high-tech seat

A new Business Class seat promising passengers “the feeling of a hotel above the clouds” was a highlight of ITB Berlin last week as TAP of Portugal presented its new Recaro CL6710 for the A330neo fleet.

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