13 JANUARY 2020

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Electric debut for Rolls-Royce plane

Gloucestershire Airport near Tewkesbury has witnessed the latest step in Rolls-Royce’s future aviation ambitions with the unveiling of what the company is aiming to be the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft.

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High-tech helpers for British Airways

Autonomous robots are being deployed on a trial basis by British Airways at its home at Heathrow Terminal 5 this year to help passengers to find their way through the airport.

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Six Senses UK debut for London

The former Whiteleys department store in London’s Bayswater is to be transformed into the first UK property for the Bangkok-based Six Senses hotel brand, part of the InterContinental Hotels Group. Scheduled opening date is 2023.

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Crisis at Flybe

Flybe is expected to operate its normal schedule on Tuesday following the late breaking news Sunday night that the airline was having financial troubles. 

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Mission Impossible – The BTN year-end quiz 2019

The big question is “how hard does Rob Simpson of Air Britain make it?”  Too difficult and readers lose interest.  Too easy and too many winners.  What to do for next year?  Did we get the balance right?

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COMMENT: Walsh and the BA brand

British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group (IAG) is to have a new chief executive following the not-unexpected statement Willie Walsh is to retire. It is still a bit of a surprise – Walsh had hinted several times he was ready to depart, but failed to make the jump.

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Air Antwerp's flying start

An “outstanding” performance last month and nearly 15,000 passengers carried on the Antwerp – London City route after four months of flying have put Air Antwerp on track for a successful 2020, the airline said last week.

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Alitalia has only six months

A €400m (£339m) loan last week from the Italian government to Alitalia will be the last, the carrier has been told. Industry minister Stefano Patuanelli said there would be no more state intervention and the airline could close by mid-2020 if it fails to find a buyer.

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Business Travel Show 2020

More than 200 exhibitors showcasing the latest new products and innovations are lined up for this year’s Business Travel Show at Olympia London from 26-27 February.

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Crossrail to Custom House summer 2021

Elizabeth Line services between Paddington and Abbey Wood through central London are expected to start in summer 2021, according to the latest update from Crossrail last week.

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Genting’s Sky By The Water plus Moxy

Now fully open is the Sky by the Water on the top floor of the Genting Hotel, the only 5-star property in the Birmingham NEC airport and railway station complex. 

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Heathrow Hilton Garden Inn T2

Last October, BTN reported the exciting opening of Arora’s Hilton Garden Inn T2, an impressive 14-storey 3-star hotel right in the centre of one of the world’s busiest airports. The holiday period was a chance to overnight before a flight.

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Iran overflying eases

UK airline schedules were returning cautiously to near-normal over the weekend as tensions over the latest Iran-US flare-up eased following Iran admitting responsibility for accidentally shooting down a Ukrainian Airlines Boeing B737.

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Record times for London City Airport

More than 5m passengers travelled through London City Airport (LCY) last year, making it the busiest 12 months in the history of the facility. The total of 5,100,025 was a year-on-year increase of 6.3%.

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SIA to launch Singapore – Brussels

More network expansion is in the air at Singapore Airlines (SIA) with non-stop Airbus A350-900 services set to begin later this year three times a week between Singapore and the carrier’s latest European destination, Brussels.

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ON TOUR: Hilton celebrates at Heathrow and Tel Aviv + Park Lane

It’s been quite a year for Hilton celebrating 100 years since Conrad purchased his first hotel in Cisco, Texas.  In 1925 the Dallas Hilton became the first hotel to use the Hilton name.  As a listed company it now operates 17 brands covering 5,757 properties with close on one million rooms in 113 countries and territories. See also Park Lane London celebrates too

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AND FINALLY: Fur flies in the Channel Islands

It could give other airlines paws for thought – the introduction of pet travel on Jersey and Southampton services by Aurigny has been a huge success. 

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BUSINESS TRAVEL NEWS is developing an ambitious special project for later in 2020. For this we will require the services of an advertising representative on a part-time commission-only basis. This responsibility might well appeal to a retired or under-utilised ad person well versed in the travel area working from home. It is an exciting venture which will set the whole industry talking. CVs please to info@btnews.co.uk

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American goes for the spoken word

Special technology is being harnessed by American Airlines to remove one of the stresses of travelling for foreign language-speaking passengers by becoming the first airline to introduce the Google Assistant’s interpreter mode in its airport lounges.

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Autumn opening for Pan Pacific London

Described as “catering to discerning well-heeled travellers who seek to find a balance in life”, Pan Pacific Hotels’ first property in Europe is scheduled to open in London in autumn this year.

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Bacchetta takes over at easyHotel

EasyJet’s director for France and Italy, François Bacchetta, is joining easyHotels in the spring as chief executive officer. He will replace interim CEO Scott Christie, who took over after the resignation last year of Guy Parsons.

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Birmingham gains Vienna, and electric buses

Lufthansa Group member Austrian Airlines, with direct scheduled services to Vienna and onward connections across Asia and Europe, has become Birmingham Airport’s newest carrier.

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Four more Wizz cities for Edinburgh

Four popular destinations in eastern Europe have joined the Wizz Air line-up of destinations served from Edinburgh Airport, with a special send-off for the inaugural flight to Budapest. Warsaw, Gdańsk and Bucharest are the other newcomers.

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Fresh Heathrow consultation called

An eight-week public consultation to finalise its expansion plan is being held by Heathrow between April and June this year. The move follows the CAA’s decision to cap early spending on the project.

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GWR goes electric to S Wales

More frequent services, more seats and quicker journeys are being promised by rail company Great Western Railway (GWR) after track and equipment improvements meant it could begin operating trains under electric traction between Cardiff and London Paddington.

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United front for Loganair at Newcastle

A partnership with English Premier League club Newcastle United is the latest move by Loganair to continue its expansion in north-east England, with former club captain, Scotland international and club ambassador Bobby Moncur kicking off the deal.

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