11 JUNE 2018

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Fire at Mandarin Oriental

Experts were assessing damage over the weekend after a fire at London's 5-star Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park caused guests to be evacuated just seven days after completion of what was hailed as "the most extensive restoration in its 115-year history" (BTN last week).

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Vendôme Paris returns

On the heels of the brand’s annual “Global Day of Discovery”, Renaissance Hotels last week officially unveiled the Renaissance Paris Vendôme Hotel following a multi-million-dollar transformation of its guest rooms and public spaces.

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Meet the author: BTN editor-in-chief Malcolm Ginsberg will be at the Imperial War Museum next Sunday.

www.iwm.org.uk/events/meet-the-author-malcolm-ginsberg

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COMMENT: Heathrow onward

In the world of diplomacy, as we have learned to our cost, you don’t just have talks. First you have to have talks about talks, and sometimes talks about talks about talks. For an example, see the current circus surrounding whether Trump will actually meet Kim Jong Un, and when, and where.

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BA Press Office changes

BTN has learnt from PR Week that there has been some changes regarding British Airways public relations. 

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BBGA reception date

Transport secretary Chris Grayling and Aldershot MP Leo Docherty are among guests expected to attend this year’s pre-Farnborough British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) reception at the House of Commons on 18 July.

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Cabinet backs Heathrow growth

The government last week published the final version of a national policy statement confirming ministers’ support for a third runway at Heathrow. MPs will now be asked to vote on the matter, with a debate likely probably by 11 July.

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Flybe chief joins IATA board

Christine Ourmières-Widener was appointed last week to become the only woman on the 31-member IATA board of governors. At the same time, Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker has taken over as board chairman for a one-year term.

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Inflight virtual reality

At last week’s IATA conference in Sydney, there was once again a small ‘pop-up’ exhibition from suppliers, peripheral to the airline business. Attracting considerable interest was Inflight VR, established in 2014 and based in Munich and Barcelona, whose headsets could see the end of seatback in-flight entertainment (IFE) units.

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Major makeover for Sheraton

Plans for a new look for the largest hospitality brand outside North America in terms of room count were unveiled by Marriott International at a special exhibition in New York last week.

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Qantas Boomerang Route

BTN editor in chief Malcolm Ginsberg flew down to Sydney via Perth on a Qantas Boeing 787 Dreamliner via on what turned out to be a 16hr 6min record scheduled flight between the UK and Australia.

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SIA outlines Newark plans

More details have emerged of plans by Singapore Airlines (SIA) to launch the world’s longest commercial flights in October with non-stop services between Singapore and New York Newark (BTN last week).

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StarAlliance looks ahead

Latest developments at Star Alliance including a renewed emphasis on digital capability were outlined in a special presentation by CEO Jeffrey Goh at the IATA AGM in Sydney.

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ON TOUR: IATA at Sydney

With an opening address by Sir Peter Cosgrove, Governor General of Australia (See BTN 4 June), the International Air Transport Association membership gathered for its 74th AGM at Sydney last week with director general Alexandre de Juniac again expressing the wish that more low-cost airlines should join the 290-member organisation. Budget carriers clearly gain from IATA and its actions and influence without paying the up-front fees!

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JUNE Motoring

In late May, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) hosted its annual main Test Day, bringing together vehicle manufacturers and hundreds of automotive and business journalists for some hours of driving and networking at the Millbrook Proving Ground south of Bedford. BTN editor-in-chief Macolm Ginsberg was delighted once again to take up the invitation.

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AND FINALLY: Lady pilots

It happened a long time ago. 

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Accor Air France bid?

Competition from travel packaging companies like Expedia and Booking.com is thought to be behind the surprise resumption last week by AccorHotels of its bid to buy the French government’s 14.3% stake in Air France KLM.

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Belfast revives APD debate

Northern Ireland last week revived the debate over Air Passenger Duty (APD) by putting a figure on what it says the tax levied on flights out of Belfast International Airport is costing the local economy.

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Bombardier, Airbus – it’s official

A Final Assembly Line (FAL) in the US to support customers of the C Series moved rapidly up the agenda last week as Airbus and Canadian manufacturer Bombardier announced their partnership is to become effective from 1 July, earlier than planned.

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Euro-boost for Air Canada

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on Friday celebrated the launch of two new, non-stop seasonal services as Canada’s national carrier responded to transatlantic competition with new Euro-routes.

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Liverpool revamp complete

The final phase of the latest development works aimed at further improving the customer experience for departing passengers at Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) has been completed.

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Primera flights suspension

“Prolonged delays” in delivery of its new Airbus A321neo aircraft were blamed by Primera Air last week for its decision to suspend all flights between Birmingham and New York and Toronto for this summer. They were due to start on 21 June.

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VLM arrives at Cologne

This year’s summer network at Cologne Bonn Airport was further strengthened last week with the arrival of Belgian regional operator VLM Airlines starting new routes to Rostock in Germany and Antwerp in Belgium using the 50-seat Fokker 50.

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Widerøe opens new Bergen link

A twice-weekly service between Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LJLA) and Norway’s second-largest city, Bergen (BGO), is being launched on 17 August by Scandinavia’s largest regional airline, Widerøe.

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Wizz Air greets 100th aircraft

An Airbus A321 in special livery took its place in airline history last week as it became the 100th aircraft to join the fleet at fast-growing carrier Wizz Air. The new fuselage design was unveiled at Budapest to mark the occasion.

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