11 FEBRUARY 2019

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New-look No 1 Lounge for Edinburgh

Edinburgh Airport gained a new luxury space for passengers to relax last week with No 1 Lounges replacing its former facility which opened in 2014 with a bigger version and the only one at the airport with views of the runways, surrounding countryside and the Forth Bridges.

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COMMENT: 1969 – That was the year that was

Fifty years ago last Saturday, 9 February 1969, the first Boeing B747-100 took to the skies. Just one month later, 2 March 1969, Concorde launched into the supersonic airways, and on 2 May 1969 the Cunarder Queen Elizabeth II set out on her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York.

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Aviation Club and London City Airport

Delivering an impressive speech at the Aviation Club last week, Robert Sinclair, CEO London City Airport (LCY), was outspoken in his condemnation of the new Elizabeth Line not having a Silvertown for London City Airport station.

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Award for airport food

The reputation of airport food was given another lift last week after the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow Terminal 4 was awarded an AA Rosette for its restaurant, Urban Brasserie, just four months after its official opening last October.

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Ethiopian Airlines double celebration

The launch of a new state-of-the-art passenger terminal at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and the official opening of a new ultra-modern 5-star hotel, the Skylight, have given Ethiopian Airlines a double cause for celebration.

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Loss-making Norwegian changes tack

A change in strategy from growth to profitability to counter trading losses was announced by Norwegian last week. Chief executive Bjørn Kjos said the airline was taking measures to cut NKr2bn (about £180m) of costs.

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Ryanair: Britain’s most hated airline

Channel 5 delivered a confusing hour on TV last Thursday concerning what it claimed was “Britain’s most hated airline”.

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Shareholder unrest at Flybe deal

Moves to sell core assets from the Flybe group including the airline and the website to the Connect Airways consortium by 22 February could be derailed by shareholder discontent at the 1p per share offer, say reports.

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Singapore Airlines aims for digital crown

A new digital innovation installation known as KrisLab was formally opened last week by Singapore Airlines as part of an SIA Group investment programme aimed at making the company the world’s leading digital carrier.

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Thos Cook debates airline sale

Lufthansa was reported at the weekend to be considering a bid for tour operator Thomas Cook’s airline business amid reports the travel company is considering a sale to raise cash after a difficult year in 2018 and in preparation for what it says could be a tough 2019.

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UK air traffic sets record

The aviation industry is continuing to break records with last year the busiest to date for air traffic across the UK. Figures showed higher levels than in 2007, the previous peak year prior to the economic downturn, bringing a warning on the need for airspace modernisation.

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Wanted: More top women in travel

New analysis of gender diversity in the hospitality, travel and leisure industries shows positive progress in the past year to address the number of women in senior positions, according to a new study.

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ON TOUR: Qatar and the blockade – Al Baker speaks out at CAPA Conference

Acting as host for the CAPA Aviation, Aeropolitical and Regulatory Summit in Doha last week, Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker delivered an inspiring keynote address in front of a large audience of international delegates and decision-makers from across the aviation industry and around the globe.

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FEBRUARY ROAD TEST: Peugeot 3008 SUV

The amount of technology now available on mid-range family cars is mind boggling for someone who learnt the art of motoring on a rear wheel drive, four-speed manual gearbox car, and with windows that you had wind up and down.

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AND FINALLY: Naked dining

Many and various are the reasons for visiting any given destination but if the thought of eating naked in a restaurant was likely to lure you to Paris, you’re too late.

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Air Italy pulls back from India

Just months after their launch, Air Italy is cancelling its Indian and Thai flights, stopping service between Milan and Mumbai next Sunday, 17 February; between Milan and Delhi from 29 March, and between Milan and Bangkok from 31 March.

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Bombardier unveils CRJ550

Hailed as the world’s first triple-class 50-seat aircraft, the CRJ550, a new CRJ Series model with a new type certificate based on the CRJ700, was launched officially by Bombardier Commercial Aircraft last week.

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Contactless train ticketing for Luton

The Department for Transport has announced a public consultation to deliver smart ticketing and pay-as-you-go (PAYG) travel to an expanded area across the south-east of England, including Luton Airport.

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Fresh plea over pilot training

Members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on General Aviation (APPG-GA) are stepping up the battle for more affordable pilot training, saying the number of students in Britain studying for a commercial licence is far below potential.

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Germania joins casualty list

In another Euro-airline collapse, the increasing cost of fuel and current strength of the US dollar were blamed last week for the failure of the German carrier Germania, which announced it was terminating all flights and filing for insolvency.

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Pritchard named regional head for Qantas

Qantas has appointed Anna Pritchard as its new regional general manager for the UK, Europe, Middle East, India and Africa. She takes over from Markus Svensson who has returned to Australia in a new role as executive manager partnerships and international strategy.

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Seat upgrade for United

In a double challenge to competitors, a new aircraft is joining United Airlines and the carrier is introducing more than 1,600 United Polaris Business Class and United First seats on nearly 250 international and domestic members of the existing fleet.

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Stobart signs up with KLM

A new partnership with KLM Cityhopper was unveiled last week by Stobart Air with Stobart providing an Embraer E195 jet on an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) contract to operate up to eight flights a day from Amsterdam, including on the Dublin – Amsterdam route.

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Virgin confirms Tel Aviv launch

As forecast earlier (BTN 7 January), competition on the London – Tel Aviv route is set to increase later this year after Virgin Atlantic confirmed last week it will launch a daily Airbus A330-300 service from Heathrow from 25 September.

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