26 FEBRUARY 2018

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China Southern to Wutan

The ever-growing UK-Asia business market will receive another boost in May when the region’s largest carrier, China Southern Airlines, begins another new route for its home country with flights between London and Wuhan.

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El Al adds Lite fare

A new fare structure will be introduced by El Al later this year in an attempt to fill the gap following a decision to axe its low-cost subsidiary airline UP, which was launched four years ago.

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IATA bankruptcies plea

High-profile airline insolvencies in Europe last year featuring Monarch and Air Berlin have prompted IATA to urge countries to review their bankruptcy laws to reduce the danger of large numbers of passengers being stranded.

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COMMENT: The shape of things to come

Soothsayers seeking guidance on what sort of year 2018 is likely to be for our cherished industry need look no further than the week just past. Even by the normal standards of what is traditionally a frenetic arena, it has been a torrid few days, some good, some bad, but all lively. And all pointing to a helter-skelter year in the offing.

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A Stobart bid for Flybe?

Speculation last week on the future of Flybe reached a peak on Friday when the Stobart Group, which owns Stobart Air, Southend Airport and Carlisle Lake District Airport among other activities, confirmed an interest in acquiring all or part of the carrier.

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Biggin Hill college on course

Plans for a pioneering £12m aerospace and technology college at Biggin Hill Airport, in partnership with London South East colleges, are set to become a reality after the Greater London Authority (GLA) agreed to provide major funding.

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Crossrail to Heathrow?

More complications are arising in the Crossrail camp as various deadlines approach, writes Andrew Sharp.

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Gatwick's tech triumph

A six-month high-tech operation to introduce a cloud-based Flight Information Display System (FIDS) has been hailed a success at Gatwick, making it the world’s first major airport to take the step.

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Laser action welcomed

Government amendments to the Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Bill that ban the shining of lasers at facilities providing air traffic services were welcomed last week by the Airport Operators Association (AOA) and NATS.

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Profits rise for IAG

Pre-tax profits of €2.49bn, up 5.6% on the figure of €2.36bn recorded the year before, were reported last week by British Airways parent company International Airlines Group (IAG). The group – which as well as BA also controls Iberia, Vueling, and Aer Lingus – said revenue for the year was up 1.8% to €22.97bn. IAG is launching a €500m share-buyback programme and declared a dividend of 14.5 cents a share.

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Qatar welcomes A350-1000

The world’s first commercial passenger Airbus A350-1000 touched down in Doha last week as Qatar Airways became the global launch customer for what has been described as the most advanced aircraft of its type, writes Andrew Sharp.

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Ryanair eyes Manston

A proposal to reopen Manston Airport in Kent has won the backing of Ryanair, which is reported to have told supporters it is interested in basing up to four aircraft there if the plan goes ahead. The facility closed in 2014.

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St Helena setback

Flights by Airlink (South Africa) to St Helena are back in the news after authorities in Namibia denied fifth-freedom traffic rights for the airline to uplift passengers from Cape Town to fly them to the South Atlantic island using Windhoek International as the embarkation point.

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ON TOUR: Business Travel Show 2018

Complete with camera, Business Travel Show veteran John Burke once again attended the annual exhibition of services and products for those booking corporate travel.

The latest Business Travel Show last week was bigger than ever, attracting ten more exhibitors than last year to London’s Olympia. It has expanded into the West Hall, pushing up to the gallery the 118 exhibitors, such as Amadeus and Sabre, at Travel Technology Europe.

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AND FINALLY: Munich's new adviser

Meet Josie Pepper. She is a shade under 4ft (120cm), with sparkling, round eyes and a pleasant voice, but she is not what she seems.

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Accessories focus at Destinations

Destinations is a holiday show for consumers, but one section could always interest business travellers, writes John Burke. Almost one-fifth of the space at Olympia last week was dedicated to accessories.

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BBGA takes the stage

The annual conference of the British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) is being held on Thursday next week, 8 March, at the Warren Weir events centre at Luton Hoo Hotel. It will be followed by a golf day on 9 March.

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Cathay's A350-1000 routes

Washington and Sydney have been announced as the first long-haul routes to feature Cathay Pacific’s new Airbus A350-1000 later this year. The carrier is expecting to add eight of the aircraft to its fleet during 2018, starting in April.

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Delta’s big anniversary

Plans are being drawn up by Delta Air Lines for celebrations next month to mark a decade of service at Heathrow while at home the carrier eyes a new partnership with Boeing over the manufacturer’s proposed new middle-of-the-market aircraft (MoM), the B797.

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Heathrow Brexit warning

A further plea for Heathrow expansion to be given the go-ahead as quickly as possible came last week from airport CEO John Holland-Kaye as he announced record results for 2017 but warned against complacency.

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Meridiana becomes Air Italy

In a challenge to Alitalia, privately-owned carrier Meridiana has been relaunched as Air Italy promising “an exciting new phase of growth” following an injection of capital from Qatar Airways last year.

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RAF Museum new look

Aviation fans have a major transformation of the RAF Museum’s London home at the historic Hendon airfield to look forward to this year as part of celebrations marking the centenary of the Royal Air Force.

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Stansted expansion bid

A planning application seeking to raise the cap on the number of passengers Stansted is allowed to serve from 35m to 43m a year was submitted by the airport last week.

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