13 NOVEMBER 2017

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Air Canada's virtual Dreamliner tour

Virtual-reality technology has been pressed into service for industry observers and potential passengers by Air Canada in a first for a Canadian airline to simulate the experience of flying on its Boeing B787 Dreamliner.

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C919 goes long haul

In a week when China dominated the aviation headlines, the country’s self-developed C919 passenger jet completed its first long-haul flight on Friday from Shanghai to Xi’an in Shaanxi province.

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Gulfstream flying high

New performance standards for the long-range Gulfstream G500 and G600 bizjets have been announced by Gulfstream Aerospace after results from the rigorous flight-test programme showed the all-new aircraft exceeded expectations.

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Plaza lounge opens at T5

Heathrow’s Terminal 5 has greeted its latest attraction with the opening of a new Plaza Premium, the first for the group in the terminal. It completes a full set for the company around the airport.

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Alex Cruz at WTM

View BA Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Cruz speaking at WTM.  See also below. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAXQ5POgUYI

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COMMENT: Another chance to tackle APD

In a little over a week, on 22 November, we in the UK face the thrilling prospect of The Budget, which used to be called the Autumn Statement.  Previously The Budget was in the Spring.  Confused.  And that is just the name as next year we will have the Spring Statement. 

Whatever the Chancellor calls his financial considerations it will be preceded by a further round of lobbying aimed at reducing, or preferably abolishing, the travel industry’s most unloved tax, Air Passenger Duty (APD). Will it work this time?

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Boeing in $37bn China order

An agreement for the future delivery to China of 300 aircraft worth more than US$37bn provided another high-level public relations coup for Boeing last week during the much-publicised US trade mission to the country.

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British Airways 4.5bn revamp

A total of £4.5bn is to be invested by British Airways over the next five years in a revamp programme including buying new aircraft, CEO Alex Cruz said at World Travel Market London last week.

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Delta A350 enters service

Two important first have kept up momentum at Delta Air Lines as the carrier inaugurated its Airbus A350 service between Detroit and Tokyo-Narita and launched nonstop service between Seattle and Mexico City in partnership with Aeromexico.

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Double delight for Emirates

In a weekend of celebration for Emirates, the airline yesterday announced a commitment to buy 40 Boeing B787-10 Dreamliners, hard on the heels of unveiling new interiors for its Boeing B777 fleet – including the industry’s first “virtual windows”.

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EasyJet names new CEO

Travel industry veteran Johan Lundgren has been appointed easyJet’s new chief executive. He replaces Carolyn McCall, who leaves the job at the end of this month but will stay on at easyJet until the end of December as part of the transition.

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Focus now, IATA boss tells UK

Achieving “early clarity” on post-Brexit issues and focusing on a cost-effective expansion on Heathrow were urged on the government by IATA last week to allow Britain to shore-up its international air connectivity.

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Heathrow summit success

A pledge by Heathrow to create jobs “in every corner of the UK” took on solid form last week when more than 200 local SMEs attended the airport’s 21st annual Business Summit.

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Peninsula London moves forward

A ground-breaking ceremony has taken place for the Peninsula London in Belgravia as plans for what is being promised to become one of the finest hotels in the world take shape. It will have 190 rooms.

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United launches 'super-app'

A new enhancement to its app allowing passengers to receive boarding passes on their smartphones when connecting to 19 airline partners has been introduced by United Airlines. More connections are to be added “in the near future”.

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ON TOUR: First-time Sicily, Part 2

For the second part of his report on Sicily, BTN’s Richard Cawthorne visits Siracusa and seeks out some of the lesser-known communities around the south-east coastline

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AND FINALLY: Flying with kids

If travelling with children strikes fear into your heart, take comfort from Emirates.

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Cape Town joins Cologne roster

Just months after Cologne Bonn added Namibia to its African route network with Eurowings, the Lufthansa group carrier has begun the airport’s first connection to South Africa.

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Ethiopian heads for Buenos Aires

Maintaining its record of innovation, Africa’s largest airline group, Ethiopian, is to launch a five-times-weekly service to Buenos Aires from 8 March next year using the Boeing B787 Dreamliner. It will be the airline’s sixth gateway to the Americas.

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Flybe weathers profits fall

An 8.8% rise in revenue per seat to £55.29 for the six months to 30 September and a pledge to continue disposing of excess fleet capacity by shedding surplus aircraft helped Flybe to weather a fall in first-half profits, CEO Christine Ourmières-Widener said last week.

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Full stop for Island Air

Hawaii’s second-largest airline, Island Air, ceased operations on Friday after failing to solve financial problems that had led it shortly before to seek Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (BTN 6 November).

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Inflight wi-fi setback

Two-thirds of British travellers are not prepared to pay for inflight wi-fi access, according to the annual Industry Report, released at WTM London last week. Of 1,000-plus people asked if they would, a resounding 67% said no.

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Monarch loses slots battle

Administrators for failed airline Monarch were dealt a blow last week after a legal ruling that the company cannot sell its take-off and landing slots. The administrators, who say they will appeal, had hoped to sell the slots to raise money to pay off creditors.

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Qatar takes 9pc of Cathay

Asia’s largest international airline, Cathay Pacific, acquired a new part-owner last week after Qatar Airways agreed to buy a 9.6% stake in the company to become the third biggest shareholder after Swire Pacific and Air China. Qatar bought 378.18m shares of Cathay Pacific Airways at HK$13.65 (£1.33) per share in a transaction valued at HK$5.16bn (£500m) from Hong Kong industrial company Kingboard Chemical, according to a stock exchange filing.

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Virgin Hotel to open in DC

Plans to open and operate a new-build property in Washington DC have been announced by Virgin Hotels, the lifestyle hotel division of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. It will be the brand’s first foothold in the US capital.

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