16 DECEMBER 2019

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Airfields group renews closure warnings

Under the heading ‘UK airfields face bleak future and need protecting’, the General Aviation Awareness Council (GAAC) last week issued a new report on what it said was the continuing threat to facilities for light aviation around the UK.

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SkyTeam lounge opens at Istanbul

Istanbul Airport’s West Wing has welcomed global airline alliance SkyTeam’s seventh branded worldwide lounge, served by seven alliance members: Aeroflot, Air France, KLM, Korean Air, Middle East Airlines, Saudia and TAROM.

Available to Elite Plus, First and Business Class customers, the 582sq m facility features work and relaxation areas, free wi-fi and locally-sourced food and drink set off by a statement reception area (below), LED lighting, custom furniture and living moss walls.

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The Manor by JA heads for Dubai

The Dubai skyline welcomes a new presence next month with the opening of The Manor by JA from JA Resorts & Hotels. The company says the 247-room 4-star development in Al Furjan will focus on the corporate segment with “competitive rates and modern design”.

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Women in aviation

At its Geneva media summit last week, IATA announced that 59 airlines had committed to the 25by2025 campaign which seeks to address gender balance in civil aviation.

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Over the holiday period, BTN plans to add TWITTER UPDATES on a regular basis. Either join TWITTER or take a look at www.btnews.co.uk any time.

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The 2019 Business Travel News quiz is at the bottom of BTN. Enjoy and send in an entry, even if you don't complete it all. There are lots of good prizes.

Also the BTN BOOK REVIEW

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COMMENT: The year of living dangerously

Anyone in the aviation industry understands it is a turbulent business but even the most hardened observer could be forgiven for being unnerved by the events of 2019, with bankruptcies leading the charge.

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Air League PR reception

Traditionally more involved with military aviation that its civil counterpart, the Air League is moving towards a strong presence in the commercial airline industry under relatively new chief executive Nick West. For news of his appointment, see BTN 6 May.

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Airbus, Rolls-Royce win Sunrise race

Further developments in the Project Sunrise programme were announced by Qantas on Friday, including the airline’s choice of the Airbus A350-1000 as the preferred aircraft for the ultra-long-haul flights should they go ahead.

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Aviation's future in forum spotlight

Key issues facing airlines and airports in the new decade will be under the microscope at the latest Westminster Energy, Environment & Transport Forum (WEETF) policy conference in central London on 30 January.

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EasyJet expands on two fronts

Further expansion in France with two more aircraft to be based there and the launch of seven new routes, plus 25 new routes for summer 2020 from the UK including two new destinations, are among easyJet’s plans for the new year.

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Electric powered passenger aircraft

Speaking at a panel discussion called Future Technological Developments at last week’s IATA media briefing, Rolls-Royce senior bice-presdent marketing Richard Goodhead said he saw no future in long-haul electric-powered aircraft. “The weight penalties were just too much”, he said. Even for medium-size aircraft such as the Airbus A320 series, he was sceptical.

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Etihad lounge in T4

Etihad seems to have decided that after a short period of its T4 hospitality being operated and branded by No 1 Lounges, a safer option is to deal with it inhouse. In the past, and currently, it is one of Heathrow's best, with a separate waiter-service dining area.

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Festive Heathrow November record

Ahead of an expected rush over the festive period, Heathrow recorded its busiest November so far with more than 6.2m passengers travelling through the airport, a 0.9% increase over November 2018.

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Gatwick arrivals breakthrough

Multiple benefits including savings in fuel and CO2 emissions, as well as reduced holding times, are being hailed at Gatwick after the airport introduced a cross-border arrival management system, known as XMAN.

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IATA confirms Norwegian into Heathrow

The announcement that Norwegian Air had secured three pairs of weekly slots from summer 2020 at Europe’s busiest airport, Heathrow, was raised by BTN at last week's IATA media conference in Geneva.

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MAX saga rumbles on

Bases at Nuremberg and Stockholm Skavsta are being shut down by Ryanair for summer 2020 as a direct result of the Boeing B737 MAX crisis because of further delays in deliveries.

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More Brazil for Air Europa

Ahead of a proposed takeover by British Airways parent company IAG (BTN 11 November), Air Europa has further increased its connectivity with an extended  codeshare deal with Brazil’s largest domestic airline by market share, GOL Linhas Aéreas.

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Two more for Wyndham Mid East

The current focus on new hotel development in the Middle East is continuing with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts accelerating its own regional expansion with the opening of two properties in Muscat.

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DECEMBER ROAD TEST: Tesla Model X

For the Christmas road test BTN has normally reviewed a car that was somewhat different from the run of the mill saloons, SUV’s and executive vehicles.  In 2016 it was the Tesla S, and last year the Aston Martin DB11. 

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DECEMBER CRUISE NEWS: Virgin is about to arrive

The cruise industry will close 2019 with a new record of 30m passengers (2m ex UK) and 2020 will see 22 new ships, an incredible figure, which means practically two new ships a month. The sector is booming, with an order book of 112 ships until 2027.

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BOOK REVIEW

During the course of the year, a number of books that might interest readers have come our way. 

The following are but summary reviews but all can be recommended either as a gift to give or receive at this time of year. All are available from Crécy, our friendly transport book distributor. 

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Welcome to the 2019 Business Travel News year-end quiz

Once again a very big thanks to Rod Simpson of  AIR-BRITAIN  for helping to put this quiz together and to our main prize supplier, easyJet, for the first prize of a return flight for two anywhere on its extensive system.

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AND FINALLY: The Dover Paris water taxi

With more business guests claimed to be staying at its hotels – now said to be more than 50% of its customer base – Travelodge has a whole new category of weird requests to add to its annual round-up. BTN is delighted, not to say bemused, to pass some of them on:

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Africa growth forecast

Mombasa was at the centre of the African aviation industry last week as the city hosted the three-day Routes Africa forum with the latest IATA forecast showing the continent’s aviation market growing to more than 356m passengers by 2038.

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Air France to retire A380s

Fleet simplification was in the air at Air France last week with a decision to replace the company’s Airbus A380s and order 10 Airbus A350-900s. It brings the total number of A350s to 38, including three already delivered.

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Another green award for Stansted

Staff at Stansted were presented with free Christmas trees last week in celebration of the airport winning a top environmental award, the Green Apple, for the second year running.

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Avanti planning Premium Economy offer

Plans to introduce a Premium Economy class to the West Coast Main Line along with other improvements were announced by new operator Avanti last week as it completed the takeover of services from Virgin Trains.

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Guardsman marches into town

London is set to gain a purpose-built luxury boutique hotel called The Guardsman in Buckingham Gate in early 2020 with ambitions to offer what general manager Eva Mount calls the atmosphere, discretion and personal service of a private club.

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ICAO celebrates and looks ahead

The 75th anniversary of the Chicago Convention, which established the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a specialised agency of the United Nations charged with coordinating and regulating international air travel, was celebrated last week.

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Love your airport, says Southampton

A special campaign broke last week further detailing 12 specific reasons why people should support Southampton Airport’s planning application submitted last month to extend its runway by 164m.

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Lufthansa Group names new chiefs

New bosses for two member airlines were named last week by the executive board of the Lufthansa Group, with Dieter Vranckx becoming CEO of Brussels Airlines from1 January and Jens Bischof taking over as Eurowings chairman on 1 March.

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New-style seat for Economy Class

A new level of comfort for Economy Class passengers is being promised by London-based design company Universal Movement with an airline seat called Interspace featuring two padded wings that fold out from the seat back.

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Norwich base to be axed by Loganair

Formal talks were taking place last week between Loganair and its 44-strong team of pilots, cabin crew and engineers at Norwich after the airline said it was closing the base on 5 January. Norwich Airport said it was seeking other airlines to fill the gap.

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Passport scanning by app

Checking-in for international flights has been made easier for American Airlines passengers after the company launched passport scanning in its mobile app. American says it is the first carrier to offer the system.

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Sheraton Warsaw emerges from revamp

New signature elements for Marriott International’s Sheraton Grand brand have been incorporated into the revamped Warsaw flagship, which has reopened following a major refurbishment.

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Wizz Air sets up Mid-East presence

Aviation in the Middle East is set for another shake-up after Wizz Air said last week it had reached agreement in principle for the establishment of Wizz Air Abu Dhabi in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Development Holding Company (ADDH).

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