30 APRIL 2018

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Icelandair celebrates

Passengers were treated to a novel experience when Icelandair welcomed its first new Boeing B737 MAX 8 with a special celebratory flight that took a circular route over some of Iceland’s most stunning landscapes and sights.

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Talks open on strikes

A consultation period with staff scheduled to run until next Friday, 4 May, was launched by Air France KLM on Thursday in an attempt to end continuing strike action which has disrupted travel in Europe for months.

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SOAPBOX EXTRA: Aleks Kowalski, director of strategy, Consortiq

Drones: Current Disruption and Future Disruptor

Aleks Kowalski is a co-founder of Consortiq, a specialist drone consultancy with an emphasis on safety within this fast-growing division of the aviation business. In addition, he is an airline captain on the A320 and sits on the government's BEIS Drone Industry Action Group. Here, he discusses where we are with drones as of now and the current risks to aviation, but also the pace of drone development and how it could affect business travel in future. See Drone near collision in this issue.

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Drone near-collision

Concern over drones straying into flight paths intensified last week after it was revealed an aircraft carrying 160 passengers narrowly missed being struck as it took off from Heathrow.

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Dublin runway start date

A main contractor is set to be appointed this autumn so work can begin on Dublin Airport’s new North Runway project, operating company daa said last week. Chief executive Dalton Philips said it was “the most important thing Ireland will build in a generation”.

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Enter the Airbus Ultra

The Ultra Long Range version of the Airbus A350 XWB, designated MSN 216, completed its first flight successfully last week, clearing the way for it to enter service with launch operator Singapore Airlines (SIA) in the second half of this year.

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Frankfurt raises the roof

Passengers with a little time to spare as they wait for flights at Frankfurt Airport can now relax in style in a new €1.5m roof terrace just opened atop the transit zone of Terminal 1 with a view of the bustling activity at Germany’s largest aviation hub.

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Indigo set for Gibraltar

A former office block is set to become one of Gibraltar’s top hotels with the InterContinental group signing up with property developer Roquebrook to bring its boutique Indigo brand to the British Overseas Territory.

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Lounge with a difference

Car manufacturer Lexus is extending its influence beyond the automotive world into global luxury lifestyle with the opening at Brussels Airport last week of a 700sq m premium lounge with seating for 175 guests.

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Lyon grande-dame bows in

After four years of major renovations, one of Lyon’s most iconic buildings, the Grand Hôtel-Dieu, was officially inaugurated on Friday at the start of a special festival lasting until 21 June.

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Norwegian in demand

British Airways owner IAG was caught up in an unintended business tangle last week after Norwegian Air said other unnamed companies had expressed interest in it following IAG’s purchase of a minority share with a possible view to a takeover (BTN 16 April).

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Wow arrives at Stansted

A third UK departure point after Gatwick and Edinburgh joined the roster at Icelandic carrier Wow air last week with the company’s inaugural flight from Stansted to Rejkjavik, which connects with Wow’s new long-haul route to Detroit.

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ON TOUR: Qatar Airlines to Wales

On Tuesday morning (1 May) a Qatar Airways A350 XWB will land at Cardiff International Airport after a non-stop 7hr 15min flight from Doha inaugurating a daily service to the Welsh capital.  It is something of a homecoming, the Principality hosting the Airbus site at Broughton, where wings for the entire family of Airbus commercial aircraft are made.

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AND FINALLY: A giggle at Google

A reader sent us the following, saying he was still laughing an hour after seeing it. Fair enough. But just remember, many a true word is spoken in jest ...

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BA boost for China

A major recruitment drive is in progress in China by British Airways as the carrier moves to double the number of Chinese cabin crew on its flights to and from the country so it can better serve its Chinese customers.

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Eastern for Aberdeen London City

In what it calls part of its “strategic business alignment”, Eastern Airways, a franchise partner of Flybe, is to take over operating the Aberdeen – London City route next Monday, 7 May.

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GWR auto-ticketing

Mobile ticketing allowing passengers to go from booking to boarding in a matter of minutes, and without the need for a paper ticket, has been extended by Great Western Railway across its network after a regional trial.

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Iran orders Sukhoi SSR

Memorandums of understanding for the delivery of 40 Russian Sukhoi Superjet-100 (SSJ-100) passenger aircraft to Iran have been signed by Moscow and Tehran. The announcement was made by Sukhoi Civil Aircraft president Aleksandr Rubtsov.

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More Q400s for Ethiopian

A firm order for 10 new Bombardier Q400 turboprops for Ethiopian Airlines was announced on Friday, with deliveries scheduled to start in the second quarter of next year.

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Qatar internet breakthrough

Regulators have cleared the way for a breakthrough in inflight communication by Qatar Airways, which has become the first airline in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) to provide gate-to-gate internet connectivity onboard.

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Ryanair to get more Boeings

Options for 25 Boeing B737 MAX 200 aircraft, dubbed “the Gamechanger” and valued at more than US$3bn at current list prices, were exercised by Ryanair last week.

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United IFE expands

Improved entertainment options for passengers via an expanded personal device option available on all aircraft with DIRECTV live streaming have been introduced by United Airlines after a three-month installation programme.

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VLM returns to Manchester

Services from Manchester to Antwerp and Ostend-Bruges are being launched by newly-revitalised Belgian carrier VLM from 1 October, serving Antwerp twice daily Monday to Friday, with daily flights over the weekend. The Ostend-Bruges service will operate once a day.

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