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Air Astana A321LR spreads its wings

Kazakhstan’s commercial centre and second city, Almaty, gains a new air link from next June when the country’s national carrier Air Astana begins flights to and from Paris using its new Airbus A321LR, which entered revenue service last month.

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Uber rival moves in after ban

Ride-sharing in London took a new turn last week after Indian company Ola began signing up drivers following a ban on Uber for alleged safety breaches, which the company denied.

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Business Travel News will once again be running its hugely popular end-of-year quiz which will be published in our issue of Monday 16 December and stay live until the closing date for entries, Friday 3 January.

This year’s quiz is supported by easyJet plus Gatwick Airport and there will also be supplementary prizes. Rod Simpson of Air-Britain is again the quizmaster is.

To enter, you must be a (free) registered subscriber to BTN. Subscribe here by just entering your email address, which we use only for the weekly BTN newsletter and do not pass on to third parties.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Johan Lundgren, CEO easyJet

Johan Lundgren joined easyJet as CEO in November 2017 having previously served as deputy chief executive and chief executive for mainstream markets at the European tour operator TUI. The company said in his time there he increased profitability by some 48% from £370m to £546m between 2011 and 2014. Lundgren began his career with Swedish travel group Fritidsresor, which was eventually acquired by TUI Travel.

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Luton Airport road re-opened

All went well and the A1081 New Airport Way linking Luton Airport and the M1 re-opened last night 9hr ahead of schedule after being closed for the weekend. Diversions have been lifted. It is the main route into the airport.

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AOA and the former ministers!

Former aviation ministers in general agreement and not trying to score political points off each other was the highlight of this year’s Airport Operators Association annual conference at London’s County Hall last week. 

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Avanti West Coast plans revealed

New branding and service details have been unveiled by rail operator First Trenitalia for the new West Coast rail franchise, replacing Virgin Trains (BTN 19 August). The new service, Avanti West Coast, begins next Sunday, 8 December.

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Businesses take off with Heathrow expansion

Hundreds of local, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) last week kick-started the process for procuring work with Heathrow’s biggest suppliers ahead of contracts being released for the airport’s expansion programme.

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Eyes on future at Air Arabia

Air Arabia bosses have announced further details of the airline’s future strategy following their signing of a firm order for 120 Airbus aircraft – including 27 single-aisle A321neos and 20 A321XLRs as well as 73 A320neos – at this year’s Dubai Airshow (BTN last week).

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Flybe resurrects Glasgow Southend

Glasgow’s air connection with Southend which has been dropped by Loganair (BTN 18 November) is being resurrected by Flybe as part of its summer schedule, which runs from 29 March – 24 October next year.

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RAF Northolt contentious reopening

Following a controversial runway resurfacing project costing £23m, RAF Northolt, just five miles north of Heathrow, has reopened to military aircraft and, most debatably, to civil operators. 

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Rotana boosts Africa presence

In a further expansion of its presence in Africa, hotel management company Rotana has announced the opening of the Johari Rotana in Tanzania’s major commercial city of Dar es Salaam.

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Tel Aviv Melbourne non-stop?

The world of super long-haul has brought a new contender to the stage with Israel’s El Al debating non-stop service between Tel Aviv and Melbourne using the B787-9 Dreamliner with a projected flight time of 16hr 45min.

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ON TOUR: Dubai Airshow

Alison Chambers explores the 2019 Dubai Airshow and looks ahead to next year's World Expo in a country where, she says, the welcome is always lavish.

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AND FINALLY: Westminster confusion

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Airport car hire link-up

The process of hiring a car has been made easier to hotel guests at Heathrow after Hertz joined forces with the airport Hilton to open its latest branch in the property’s car park.

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Azuma arrives on LNER East Coast

London North Eastern Railway (LNER) is celebrating the arrival of Azuma services on the East Coast route between Aberdeen and London King’s Cross, bringing fastest journey times down to less than 7hr.

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Communication focus for Air League reception

The inaugural Christmas reception of the Air League's Media, Marketing & Communications Network is taking place on 18 December at No 4 Whitehall Court in London, overlooking the Thames and Victoria Embankment.

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Comparison sites under scrutiny

Fresh from casting doubt on the value of so-called Black Friday “bargains” last week, Which? has turned its attention to travel comparison sites, with GoCompare rated the worst.

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Gatwick long-haul bonanza

New direct routes to Brazil and Argentina have contributed to a 2.3% year-on-year uplift, equal to more than 107,000 passengers, for long-haul flying at Gatwick, the airport said last week.

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Moxy swings into Dublin

Marriott International’s pace-setting “experiential” hotel brand, Moxy, has arrived in  Ireland, with the opening of its first property in the Emerald Isle just off O’Connell Street in the heart of  Dublin.

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New York welcomes largest Hyatt Place

The world’s largest Hyatt Place hotel has opened in New York’s Times Square with 520 rooms and the brand’s signature features of intuitive design, casual atmosphere and practical amenities including free wi-fi throughout and 24hr food.

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Thameslink boosts Gatwick links

Better weekend services to Gatwick from East Anglia are in prospect after Thameslink said it was introducing two additional through-London services every hour between Peterborough and Horsham on Saturdays from 21 December.

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Top honour for Allan Winn

Vice-president and former director and CEO of Brooklands Museum and former Flight International editor Allan Winn has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Royal Automobile Club’s inaugural Historic Awards.

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Virgin links up with WestJet

Direct connections to four key airports and onward links to 28 domestic connections in Canada are now available to Virgin Atlantic passengers after the airline signed a new codeshare partnership with WestJet.

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