5 AUGUST 2019

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Mike Ramsden

Known for his humility and wit, plus writing skills, Mike Ramsden, "JMR" to everyone, has passed away aged 90.

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Wratten takes over at BTA

The Business Travel Association (BTA) has appointed Clive Wratten as its new CEO, replacing Adrian Parkes, who is retiring. Wratten joins from travel management company Amber Road, where he has been chief executive officer since 2015.

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BREAKING NEWS: Virgin beats British Airways to New York

British Airways today (Monday) is to introduce its first Airbus A350 at Heathrow with a training flight to Madrid including some media. However, it is Virgin Atlantic which is expected to take the prestigious prize of a New York first with the Rolls-Royce-powered aircraft’s maiden JFK from London arrival on 10 September.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Angela Gittens, director general, ACI World

Slots are a problem

Angela Gittens has been director general of Airports Council International (ACI World) since 2008. She was previously CEO of both Miami and Atlanta airports.  In the UK, as Vice-President at TBI Airport Management, she oversaw the transition to private ownership of Luton Airport.  She has served on numerous aviation industry boards and committees.

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Air France order boost for Belfast

A much-anticipated fleet update programme for Air France-KLM took off last week with the group signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for 60 Airbus A220-300s to be operated by Air France.

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Airport stoppage suspended

A strike called by the Unite union and due to start at Heathrow at a minute past midnight this morning (Monday) was suspended last night to enable further talks. It followed a weekend of meetings between the two sides and the conciliation service ACAS.

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Azuma arrives

LNER, the East Coast rail operator owned by the Department for Transport (DfT), has introduced the first of its Durham-assembled trains on services between London King's Cross and Edinburgh.

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CWT warning on pricing

After posting sharp rises in 2019, prices in the global travel industry are likely to slow in 2020, with flights rising a modest 1.2%, hotels rising only 1.3%, and rental car rates up 1%.

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Fourth London daily for Etihad

A fourth year-round daily service between Heathrow and Abu Dhabi is being introduced by Etihad Airways on 27 October with a late-evening departure from London and a mid-morning departure from Abu Dhabi.

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Iberia goes to war on plastic

Bamboo stirring sticks, items stripped of their plastic packaging plus the re-use and recycling of cabin waste are among measures being taken by Iberia after the airline set a goal to reduce the use of plastic on its flights by 68.5 tonnes a year.

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Jolly named to head Stobart Air

Industry veteran Andy Jolly has been appointed managing director of Stobart Air after serving as acting MD for the past month. He was previously the carrier’s chief operating officer.

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Operating profit fall at IAG

Operating profit before exceptional items at International Airlines Group (IAG), which owns British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, fell more than a third in the first half of this year, according to latest financial results.

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Pilot strike threat drags on

Uncertainty still surrounded the threatened British Airways pilots’ strike this morning (Monday) after talks at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) which were planned to end on Friday were extended to today.

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ON TOUR: Bordeaux

Earlier this summer, BTN editor-in-chief Malcolm Ginsberg and his wife took off from Gatwick bound for Bordeaux and a seven-night river cruise on the AmaDolce. A ship review is in this issue but here we concentrate on the towns and villages visited (with a mention of the wines tasted). 

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AUGUST CRUISE NEWS: P&Os Britannia fracas

BTN has reported on cruising for more than 25 years, editor-in-chief Malcolm Ginsberg something of a guru and claiming to be the world’s oldest cruiser, a passenger on RMS Asturias from Tilbury to Sydney in 1949. 

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AND FINALLY: Airline safety video

Air New Zealand has just introduced a new safety video. It’s too long at 4min, but at least shorter than BA’s tedious and very expensive 6min-plus effort. But the ANZ film does promote the national team, England not even flying (long-haul) with British Airways.

https://youtu.be/2C24vrbrKxo

For BA see BTN 29 April 2019

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Air Antwerp shows its colours

Set up in May this year and scheduled to begin operations this autumn, Belgian start-up carrier Air Antwerp has received its first aircraft, a Fokker 50 turboprop, painted in its new colour scheme.

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Avis Budget pay-as-you-go

A new pay-per-kilometre low-cost self-serve mobility brand called Smile Rent has been launched by the Avis Budget Group in Italy as the latest addition to its expanding portfolio in southern Europe.

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Gatwick in 24m arrivals upgrade

A new arrivals facility for domestic travellers from other parts of the UK and Republic of Ireland was opened by Gatwick last week providing what the airport called a faster and more convenient exit from the aircraft through a new dedicated route.

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Hyatt aims high in Shenzhen

A 48-storey skyscraper in Shenzhen last week became the new home of the latest Hyatt Hotels footprint in China with the opening of the Park Hyatt Shenzhen in the Futian central business district.

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InterContinental relaunches in Scotland

Continuing its integration of Principal Hotels into its own portfolio, InterContinental Hotels (IHG) has brought an historic Edinburgh property back into its system to relaunch the InterContinental brand in Scotland.

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New CEO for Philippine Airlines

Philippine Airlines (PAL) has appointed Gilbert Santa Maria as its new president and COO after he was handpicked by chairman and CEO Lucio Tan and unanimously approved by the 15-member board.

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Opening date for Berlin Brandenburg?

The much-delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) celebrated what it called a milestone last week with the topping-out of Terminal 2, with officials saying the facility is still on track to open in October next year – eight years behind schedule.

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Raffles No 1 returns to market

Singapore has been celebrating the reopening last week of the original Raffles Hotel, now a flagship property within the Accor group, after a major renovation carried out in three phases starting in February 2017.

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Yotel arrives in Edinburgh

In its first city-centre opening in Europe, the Yotel brand arrived in Edinburgh last week with a 276-room property in a central location on Queen Street. Timing was perfect with the Edinburgh Festival starting last Friday.  It is the first of five Yotels scheduled to open across the continent in the next nine months (BTN 14 January).

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