8 APRIL 2019

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SIA grounds two Dreamliners

In more drama for the aviation industry last week, excessive wear on turbine blades in the Rolls-Royce 1000 TEN engine was blamed by Singapore Airlines for forcing it to ground two of its Boeing B787 Dreamliners.

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COMMENT: Flybe What happens next?

“Frustrating”. That was the term used by a senior manager in the consortium “poised” to take over Flybe last week. “Poised” in fact is the perfect word. “Ready” is another term that could be used.

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Air New Zealand Skycouch award

Improvements to inflight arrangements for the youngest travellers have earned Air New Zealand a top international accolade, the Crystal Cabin Award (CCA).

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Boeing cuts B737 MAX production

Production rates for the Boeing B737 MAX are being cut back by the manufacturer from 52 aircraft a month to 42 from next week in the aftermath of the Lion Air and Ethiopian Airlines accidents and subsequent grounding of the world fleet.

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Delta, Virgin boost for Gatwick

Further growth for transatlantic services at Gatwick was heralded by Virgin Atlantic and Delta last week with plans to introduce new routes to Boston and New York JFK from next summer. 

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EU approves visa-free move

In another week of prime ministerial twisting and turning in the UK threatening to frustrate the result of the June 2016 EU referendum, Europe last Wednesday approved a law that will allow Britons visa-free visits even after a no-deal Brexit.

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JetBlue date for Aviation Club

Eyes are on the Aviation Club’s latest lunch this Thursday, 11 April, when JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes will be guest speaker amid rumours his airline is about to break into the transatlantic market from its bases in New York and Boston (BTN 11 March).

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Northolt closed

London-based private jet travel is facing a capacity squeeze this summer with Northolt confirming last week it was closing for runway resurfacing. Work began on Friday with the airport scheduled to reopen for business on 11 November.

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Ryanair opens Southend base

Events at Southend and Liverpool kept Ryanair busy last week as the airline officially opened its new base at the Essex airport as well as celebrating the first flight on a new twice-weekly service between the North West and Copenhagen.

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Service stations under scrutiny

New research has revealed the best and worst service stations around the UK, where customers are most and least likely to find good food, clean toilets and a guaranteed parking space.

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Turkish Airlines completes the big move

Istanbul New Airport (IGA) took a major step forward on Saturday as Star Alliance member Turkish Airlines (THY) completed the transfer of all operations from Atatürk in what chairman İlker Aycı called “the largest move in the history of global civil aviation”.

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Virgin to unveil new Upper Class

A new Upper Class is being unveiled today, Monday 8 April, by Virgin Atlantic to headline its achievement as the first British carrier to bring the Airbus A350-1000 into service. The airline is also replacing its trademark Vargas Girl logo on the aircraft.

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ON TOUR: Gatwick A remarkable suggestion

Working at Gatwick, making a slow connection at Gatwick, overnighting at Gatwick?

BTN has a suggestion.

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APRIL ROAD TEST: Skoda Karoq

Skoda cars used to be built in communist Czechoslovakia, renowned for a solid, if not very inspiring product range with a sort of sporting image.  In the 1970s and 1980s they won their class in the RAC rally for 17 years running.  BTN’s Malcolm Ginsberg reviews the 2019 Karoq, a car he calls “a nice little family package”.

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AND FINALLY: Chain reaction

Not that BTN is obsessed with spending a penny (or not, in this case), but we are pleased to report toilets at the UK's busiest railway stations are now free to use after Network Rail scrapped charges, to the undoubted relief of business travellers everywhere.

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Autism accolade for BA

A new award gave British Airways a significant passenger accolade last week after it became the only autism-friendly airline in the UK. The company says it is continuing “substantial investment” in accessibility training with more enhancements to come.

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Belfast Europa facelift

Northern Ireland’s best-known hotel, the Europa, has completed a £500k renovation programme. The Lobby Bar has been transformed, the Piano Restaurant fitted with new seating to enhance private dining and the Grand Ballroom modernised.

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Chicago non-stop in line at El Al

A new non-stop route between Israel and Chicago and the launch of a new worldwide taxi-sharing service for passengers of all airlines were making the news for El Al last week.

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Heathrow expansion shortlist revealed

Eighteen shortlisted sites in the running to help to deliver Britain’s new runway have been announced by Heathrow. The airport says the sites are “the key to unlocking the nationwide benefits the expansion will bring”.

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Jetcopter to star at AERO 2019

A new urban VTOL air taxi is promising to be the star of the show this week when it is unveiled for the first time at the AERO 2019 general aviation trade exhibition in Friedrichshafen (Germany).

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Manchester for Pegasus

An expansion of its UK network with the launch of flights from Manchester Airport to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen on 1 July was announced last week by Turkish carrier Pegasus Airlines.

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Newcastle greets mainline A318

An Airbus A318 from the mainline fleet is taking over Air France scheduled flights out of Newcastle Airport for the first time. The airline will continue to operate three daily Newcastle – Paris services but unlike the current aircraft the A318 will be fully branded with AF livery.

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Phoenix boost for American

Strong forward bookings have put the icing on the cake of American Airlines’ new service between Heathrow and Phoenix with the carrier announcing last week it was extending the operation to year-round as a result.

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Raffles expands into India

A new direction for development in India has been announced by Accor with plans to take its Raffles brand into the sub-continent with two hotels, one in Jaipur and one in Udaipur.

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