24 JUNE 2019

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Top job switch at Philippine Airlines

The top job at Philippine Airlines (PAL) changed hands last week after the carrier announced the retirement of long-serving president and COO Jaime Bautista and installed Vivienne Tan, daughter of the company's billionaire owner Lucio Tan, as officer in charge.

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COMMENT SPECIAL: Heathrow expansion

The following feature article appeared in the London Evening Standard on Wednesday, 19 June.

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British Airways sails off to Split

Flights to Croatia from London City Airport (LCY) took off for the first time last week with British Airways introducing a three-times-weekly summer service to Split scheduled to operate until September.

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Heathrow battle over future slots

Following up on its £3.2bn order at the Paris Air Show last week (see this issue), Virgin Atlantic has entered the battle over slots at Heathrow, saying it should be given 150 of the new allocation that will become available after the airport is expanded.

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IAG in Boeing boost

A letter of intent with Boeing for 200 B737 aircraft from British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) was one of the big stories from Paris last week, although IAG was also one of the buyers for the Airbus A321XLR.

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JetBlue renews attack on rivals

Joining last week’s flurry of A321XLR orders, future transatlantic contender JetBlue said it was converting 13 aircraft in its existing Airbus A321neo order book to the new version for delivery from 2023.

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KLM $2.5bn Embraer deal

While most attention at the Paris Air Show last week was focused on the unveiling of the Airbus A321XLR and subsequent rush of orders (see this issue), KLM Cityhopper was signing a $2.5bn deal with Embraer for 15 firm E195-E2s plus 20 purchase rights.

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London City holiday airport

British Airways' London City Airport-based Cityflyer has published figures which show that the Docklands airport is fast becoming the preferred holiday getaway point for many in the metropolis.

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Long-haul bliss for Gatwick

A big increase in long-haul traffic was a major contributor to continued growth at Gatwick over the past 12 months, with the airport last week reporting a 6.1% boost in revenue to £811m for the 2018-19 financial year.

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Luxon steps down at Air New Zealand

The search is on for a new chief executive for Air New Zealand after Christopher Luxon said last week he was stepping down from his role in September after seven years in the job.

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Paris: Surprises and nostalgia

The Paris Air Show threw up surprises – and nostalgia – last week, writes Alison Chambers. Nostalgia came in the return of the de Havilland brand and logo Viking Aircraft has adopted for the Dash 8 series acquired from Bombardier.

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Southampton cut in emissions

A reduction in carbon footprint in the past 12 months of more than 970 tonnes of carbon dioxide – equivalent to flying an aircraft 210 times around the world – was claimed last week by Southampton Airport.

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Virgin in 3.2bn A330 purchase

A £3.2bn firm order for 14 Airbus A330-900neos, with an additional six as options, was announced by Virgin Atlantic last week in a move the airline said reaffirmed its commitment to flying “the cleanest, greenest fleet in the sky”.

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ON TOUR: Tea for two

Afternoon tea, that most quintessential of English customs, is perhaps surprisingly a relatively new tradition. While the custom of drinking tea dates back to the third millennium BC in China and was popularised in England during the 1660s by Charles II and his wife, the Portuguese Infanta Catherine de Braganza, it was not until the mid-19th century that the concept of "afternoon tea" first appeared.

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AND FINALLY: The Red Chair

This one did not make last Friday's BBC1 Graham Norton show.  But we think it worth telling. One suspects that Mr Norton, and his production staff, are not soccer fans.

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AC Hotels arrives in Jamaica

A first hotel in Jamaica for the AC Hotels by Marriott European lifestyle brand opened last week with a 219-room property in Kingston. The brand was founded by  hotelier Antonio Catalan in 1998 in Spain, joining Marriott International  in 2011.

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Accor in dual reward scheme

A dual reward scheme has been launched for the first time in the European travel industry with French-owned Accor Hotels and Air France-KLM saying they are strengthening their partnership with a programme for their whole global loyalty customer base.

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All-electric Energic takes off

Aviation enthusiasts gathered at Sion Airport in Switzerland last week for the unveiling of a new zero-emission electric aircraft, the Bristell Energic, developed by Bern-based technology company H55.

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Curio Collection latest for Malaga

Spain’s Costa del Sol has gained a major new conference centre with the opening by Hilton of the Higuerón Hotel Malaga. Part of the Curio Collection portfolio, it is near the city centre and 12km from Malaga-Costa del Sol International Airport.

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Emirates in Basic Business move

What are claimed to be the world's first basic Business Class fares have been launched by Emirates on selected routes and flights. The idea could be extended if the trial proves a success.

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Gdansk joins Wizz Gatwick line-up

A fourth destination from Gatwick was added to the Wizz Air portfolio this month with the carrier beginning daily services to and from Gdansk. Flown by 230-seat A321s, the 1,299km sector joins Budapest, Bucharest and Cluj-Napoca.

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Hyatt brings Alila to Europe

In a continuing expansion across Europe, Hyatt is opening the first hotel in its newly-acquired Alila division in western Switzerland in 2023 with a new property in La Gruyère. It will have 85 rooms and 27 residences and incorporate a wellness retreat.

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Inflight drink costs attacked

The cost of inflight snacks and drinks on European low-cost carriers has been found to vary widely in a new survey carried out by travel platform fromAtoB to identify who the company called the worst offenders for over-pricing.

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