19 NOVEMBER 2018

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Aspire Lounges goes digital

A new digital loyalty scheme for travellers which organisers say will offer everything from shopping vouchers to free visits for regular customers has been launched by Aspire Airport Lounges, part of the Swissport group.

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Thai marks 45-year UK record

Celebrations have been taking place this month at Thai Airways, which inaugurated non-stop flights linking Europe with southeast Asia in the 1970s with a McDonnell-Douglas DC-8/62 and is now marking 45 years’ service to the UK market.

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COMMENT SPECIAL: Post-Brexit flights

BTN joins the representatives of Britain’s airlines and airports in welcoming last week’s clarification from the European Commission that contrary to earlier rumour flights between the UK and EU would continue in the event of a “no deal” Brexit.

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COMMENT: The sad saga of Flybe

The sad saga of Flybe has now entered the dangerous phase where a company needs money but the people who would normally pay it – in this case, passengers – will hesitate in the face of uncertainty over the future to book flights unless they have to. Credit-card payments are protected but that becomes practically meaningless in the face of a collapse in confidence. Suppliers are not happy and the airline’s main investors are reported to be cutting their holdings.

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Air Transat signs with easyJet

Passengers arriving at Gatwick from 78 cities in Europe and Africa now have access to even more connecting flights to Canada with Canadian carrier Air Transat becoming a partner in the Worldwide by easyJet platform.

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BA gets set for A350 era

Delivery of the first of 18 Airbus A350-1000s for British Airways is now due in the third quarter of next year, the airline said last week. A total of four of the aircraft are expected to join the fleet by the end of 2019.

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Busy times for Air New Zealand

A code-share agreement with Taiwan’s Eva Air, a new aircraft joining its Airbus fleet and a new hip-hop-themed inflight safety video have been announced by Air New Zealand (ANZ).

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Chase new markets, EU airlines told

Capitalising on emerging markets is crucial for EU airlines. This was the message from Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker speaking at the IATA Wings of Change conference in Madrid last week.

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Flybe: 'A crisis?'

The fate of Flybe, which put itself up for sale on Wednesday, hangs in the balance with the main investors reported to be continuing to divest their holdings after the airline issued a profit warning and poor second-half results.

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Heathrow praise for Oman Air

Success by airlines in contributing to cutting noise and emissions around Heathrow were hailed by the airport last week in the latest quarterly update from its “Fly Quiet and Green” initiative.

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IATA's de Juniac on the attack

IATA chief executive Alexandre de Juniac went on the attack last week over “burdensome regulations” that he said were besetting European aviation. A “spirit of change” was needed to improve the competitiveness of European airlines, he added.

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Plaza Premium for Helsinki

Passenger services at Helsinki Airport will be topped up with a new pay-in lounge, Plaza Premium Lounge, opening in February 2019 at the non-Schengen terminal as part of a new central plaza in the terminal extension.

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Qatar in oneworld dispute

A renewed threat to leave the oneworld alliance, which includes British Airways, has come from Qatar Airways in a disagreement with fellow member Qantas over comments by the Australian carrier on its website.

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ON TOUR: Christmas Book Review

With Christmas coming up now is the time to think of presents. Why not a book? 

Here is a short list of publications that in some respect feature travel within the United Kingdom. They are all contentious in their own way!

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AND FINALLY: A bridge too far

When British Airways took delivery of its first Rolls-Royce-powered Boeing B767 in 1990, the plan was to name the aircraft in the fleet after famous bridges with Severn Bridge the first.

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Air Europa Dreamliner boost

Another five Boeing B787 Dreamliners have been ordered by Air Europa in a multi-million-dollar upgrade to the $3.5bn investment in new aircraft announced three years ago.

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Airline alliances under scrutiny

China Southern led the charge last week as airline alliances came under scrutiny on two fronts, with the Chinese carrier announcing it would not renew its contract with SkyTeam as of 1 January 2019.

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Arkia gets the first A321LR

The first Airbus A321LR for Israeli airline Arkia, which replaced Primera Air as launch customer for the aircraft, was delivered last week during a ceremony in Hamburg followed by a delivery flight to Tel Aviv to be welcomed by Arkia CEO Nir Dagan.

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Brunei builds on London success

More regional expansion was announced last week by Royal Brunei Airlines as part of its programme to open up the business opportunities in Borneo and its wider area to the UK market.

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Emirates net profit down 86%

Rising fuel costs and currency weakness are being blamed by Emirates Airline for an 86% drop in net profit for the first six months of its financial year to 30 September, from $452m in 2017 to $62m.

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Etihad, Gulf Air draw closer

Amid rumours of a possible merger, Etihad Airways of Abu Dhabi and Gulf Air of Bahrain have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreeing subject to further talks to work together on a range of projects.

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Global AirRail Awards 2018

Nominees have been announced for the Global AirRail Awards 2018, designed to highlight the need to provide stress-free customer experience for commuters, first-time airport visitors and travellers with disabilities.

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Go-ahead for Stansted expansion

A planning application to increase to 43m a year the number of passengers Stansted Airport is permitted to serve has been approved by Uttlesford District Council. The application was lodged by Stansted’s owner, Manchester Airports Group (MAG).

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London City greets new Rome flights

Julius Caesar turned up at London City Airport last week as British Airways celebrated the launch of new year-round flights to Rome. It is the fourth Italian city to be served by the airline direct from LCY and will operate every day except Saturday.

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