25 MARCH 2019

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Air France-KLM summer increase

An overall 2% increase in capacity compared to the previous summer season is being launched by Air France-KLM for this year’s peak period, with 58 new routes throughout the group network.

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The Clocks go forward 01:00 Sunday 31 March in the UK and Europe.

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COMMENT: Luton Airport

An enigma.

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Boeing probe update

A software fix for the anti-stall system suspected in the crash of a Boeing B737 Max 8 is ready and should be handed to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) early this week for certification, industry sources said yesterday (Sunday).

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Air traffic still growing

Despite forecasts to the contrary, air traffic in 2019 is continuing to grow according to figures for February released last week by air traffic control group NATS.

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BA A350 unveils Club Suite

In a bid to outmanoeuvre Virgin Atlantic, whose new Upper Class will be revealed shortly, British Airways has launched what it calls its ‘Club Suite’ for both the A350 and Boeing 777. Delivery of the first A350 is expected in July.

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Cathay moves back into profit

Rising airfares and a turnaround plan designed to lower costs and boost revenue have been credited by Cathay Pacific Airways for putting the airline into profit in 2018 for the first time in three years.

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Concorde dinner

Brooklands party to celebrate a birthday.

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Eilat Airport opens

After 70 years, Eilat City Airport finally closed last Monday 18 March. Rather like, typically, RAF Hendon in North London, a new generation will not realise, or appreciate, that what will become the focus of effectively a new high-profile district, was once an historic aerodrome.

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Fattal boosts UK hotel presence

Following its acquisition of what was one of the single largest portfolio sales in the UK in 2018 with the purchase of the iconic Midland Hotel in Manchester, the Fattal Hotel Group is acquiring the long-term lease on four Grange Hotels in London.

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Gatwick plans ahead

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick boss for ten years, was in fine fettle as he explained to BTN last week both the airport’s short- and long-term plans.

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Jet 2 in compensation row

A radical new way of handling flight-delay compensation claims is being put forward by Jet2 executive chairman Philip Meeson after he argued the present system is unnecessarily complicated.

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Virgin heads for South America

Competition on the UK – South America network is set to soar next year with Virgin Atlantic, which is due to unveil its new Airbus A350 next week, launching a daily service between Heathrow and São Paulo.

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Wyndham Trademark for UK

Another new hotel brand is heading for the UK this year as Wyndham’s upper-midscale Trademark Collection division arrives with the launch of the Bliss Hotel Southport.

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ON TOUR: EasyJet at the Aviation Club

Last Wednesday it was the turn of the head of arguably Britain’s largest airline in terms of passenger numbers to deliver the guest of honour speech at London’s Aviation Club. 

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AND FINALLY: BA swallowed them up

Since it was created on 1 April 1974, British Airways has gobbled up a number of carriers.

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Airport parking by robot

A robot-controlled valet parking system said to be the first of its kind went into operation at Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport last week in preparation for a large-scale introduction early next month.

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First look at B777-9X

Pictures of Boeing’s new B777-9X, destined to be the world’s biggest twin-engine commercial airliner, began appearing last week after being delayed by the inquiry into the B737 8 Max accidents.

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Flybe partnership deal with Korean

The status of Flybe as a key regional link to global services was boosted last week when Korean Air announced an interline agreement with the airline which will enable bookings in Korean’s global distribution system for the long-haul carrier’s flights from the UK.

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Go-ahead for Gatwick acquisition

A bid by the French airports operator and infrastructure giant Vinci to take a majority stake in Gatwick has been rubber-stamped by the European Commission. The proposed deal was announced late last year (BTN 7 January).

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Jet Airways rescue on the brink

The fate of India’s oldest private airline, Jet Airways, was in the balance at the weekend amid reports of huge debts and the suspension of 12 international flights including the newly-introduced Manchester – Mumbai service (BTN 12 November 2018).

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Major expansion for DoubleTree

Following what it calls recent “tremendous growth”, the DoubleTree by Hilton brand is planning to expand its footprint worldwide this year, with nearly half of its 200 planned hotels located in the Asia Pacific region.

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More Poland services for Wizz

Two new services to Poland – a daily operation between Gatwick and Gdansk and three-times-weekly flights linking Birmingham and Krakow – have been announced by Wizz Air in a further expansion of its UK presence.

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Wow Air in talks deadline

An announcement on the future of Icelandic carrier Wow Air is expected today, 25 March, with negotiations between the company and Icelandair scheduled to end after resuming last week. The resumption followed US private equity firm Indigo Partners withdrawing its offer to invest.

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