12 MARCH 2018

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B787 inaugural for Shanghai

Plans are in hand at Shanghai Airlines for the inaugural flight in June of its 100th aircraft, a Boeing B787-9 Dreamliner with the registration B-1111. Four numbers in a row is considered a lucky symbol in China.

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Carlson Rezidor now Radisson

A new worldwide hotel presence emerged last week after the Carlson Rezidor group said it was rebranding as the Radisson Hotel Group. The change comes with a new signature service philosophy called “Every Moment Matters”.

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Gulf Air going for growth

A major network expansion with a fleet renewal, more routes and the launch of flights to North America from 2020 are highlights of a five-year growth strategy for Gulf Air unveiled last week by CEO Kresimir Kucko.

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COMMENT: The PR dream

You have to hand it to Brexit. It’s a PR person’s dream. Mere mention of the word by your client practically guarantees headlines to follow. The debate boiled over again this week with Ryanair’s Michael O’ Leary threatening to ground his entire fleet for two days, apparently to demonstrate the consequences of what he sees as the unsound decision by Britain’s voters to leave the EU. Almost simultaneously from the US came dire warnings of a bleak future for air services between here and there when Britain leaves the EU-US open skies treaty.

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Aer Southeast on the move

Flights between Ireland’s Waterford International Airport and Luton, Manchester and Birmingham are being planned by Irish regional start-up airline Aer Southeast later this year.

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BA refresh for Gatwick fleet

A cabin refurbishment for the British Airways long-haul Boeing B777 fleet based at Gatwick is under way, with enhanced entertainment options but with ten seats abreast in Economy instead of nine. Work should be complete by summer 2019.

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Challenger for ExecuJet

A Bombardier Challenger 350, to be based in Nairobi, has joined the managed fleet of ExecuJet, part of the Luxaviation Group, as the company pushes ahead with expansion plans in Africa.

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EU aviation talks ‘going well’

Despite reports to the contrary, Brexit talks over the future of UK airlines and air services are going well, aviation minister Baroness Sugg said at the Airport Operators Association (AOA) annual dinner last week.

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Eurostar Amsterdam

Lead-in fare for the new Eurostar service to Amsterdam (BTN 19 February) was confirmed last week at £35 with the operator emphasising the benefits of travelling from city centre to city centre in less than 4hr with no weight restrictions on passengers’ luggage.

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Falklands in demand

Airlines from Brazil, Chile and Uruguay have expressed an interest in operating scheduled flights to the Falkland Islands with stops in Argentine territory, the Argentine foreign ministry said last week.

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Hawaiian chooses Dreamliner

Boeing snapped up a significant new Dreamliner order last week after Hawaiian Airlines said it had chosen the B787 as its flagship for medium- to long-haul operations.

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Qatar ups and downs

In good news and bad news last week, Qatar Airways said it was returning to Gatwick after a seven-year absence, but warned it was set to report “a very large loss” for the current financial year following a blockade against it by neighbouring countries.

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Travelodge hits business trail

A strengthened focus on the business travel market has been announced by hotel group Travelodge with a £240m plan to open 20 new UK properties this year, mainly in business destinations.

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ON TOUR: Kenya Airways and the Mad Monk

Inveterate airline enthusiast Brother Michael Bartlett, known in civil aviation circles as the Mad Monk, holds a number of Guinness World Records for his exploits, including completing a round-the-world journey by air in 57hr 17min (BTN 9 January 2017). Here he relates his latest adventure. 

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MARCH ROAD TEST: Fiat 500C

Horses for courses.  As a socially acceptable fun car the Fiat 500C is hard to beat.

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AND FINALLY: Qantas-speak

Qantas has advised staff that using words such as mum, dad, husband and wife might offend passengers.

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All change at Emirates

A new Business Class cabin and configuration has been unveiled by Emirates for its Boeing B777-200LR aircraft, at the same time as announcing a new divisional vice-president for the UK. Richard Dewsbury takes over on 1 April from Laurie Berryman, who is retiring.

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Backing for EASA policy

Backing from Theresa May last week for Britain’s continued involvement after Brexit in the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has been welcomed on behalf of the industry by Airlines UK chief executive Tim Alderslade.

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Cork’s new-route drama

The chance of a new route between Germany and the south of Ireland has put Cork Airport on tenterhooks today (Monday 12 March) as it makes its case in a bidding war orchestrated by German low-cost carrier Eurowings.

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Elizabeth Line milestone

A “major milestone” for Europe’s largest infrastructure project has been hailed by Transport for London (TfL) and Crossrail Ltd after the first new Elizabeth Line train was tested in the tunnels through southeast London.

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Europe wi-fi breakthrough

Flights in Europe operated by British Airways are setting the scene for a revolution in short- and medium-haul inflight wi-fi this summer thanks to a new communications system developed by satellite operator Inmarsat and Deutsche Telekom.

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Gatwick's five-year record

Celebration was in the air at Gatwick last week as the airport announced its 60th month of consecutive growth in February with 3m passengers, 7% more than the 2017 figure.

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Now Virgin tweaks Economy

Economy Class passengers on Virgin Atlantic are being given more options on the way they fly in the latest round of tweaking to counter competition from new low-cost challengers, particularly on services to and from the US and Canada.

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Winter comes early for Flybe

A total of 127 routes including Doncaster Sheffield – Belfast City operating for the first time in winter and up to seven flights a day on five major business routes are among highlights of the first phase of Flybe’s winter 2018/19 programme.

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