3 FEBRUARY 2020

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Africa debut for IHG Voco brand

InterContinental Hotels Group’s upmarket Voco band has secured its first foothold in Africa with the scheduled opening later this year of a 131-room property in the Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank.

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First in Europe for Wyndham La Quinta

The arrival of the La Quinta by Wyndham brand in Europe was being celebrated last week by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts with the opening of the 404-room La Quinta by Wyndham Istanbul Gunesli.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: David Chapple The Business Travel Show

Kensington Olympia is the home for Europe’s premier business travel gathering, the Business Travel Show, on 26-27 February, once again partnered by Travel Technology Europe (TTE). Business Travel Show director David Chapple has been involved with the event for nearly 20 years and oversaw the successful integration into the Northstar Travel Group last April.

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Airlines UK annual dinner

A packed Airlines UK annual dinner last Wednesday (29 January) at the Royal Institute of British Architects heard guest of honour Paul Maynard MP, parliamentary under-secretary of state for transport, say how much he was enjoying the job. His responsibilities include Northern Powerhouse Rail, HS2, Crossrail, East West Rail, the TransPennine route upgrade, and aviation. 

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Berlin Brandenburg enters test phase

A task force of 20,000 volunteers has begun assembling to put the German capital’s new airport, Berlin Brandenburg International (BER), through its paces before its scheduled opening at the end of October this year.

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Boeing first loss for 23 years

The financial cost to Boeing of the MAX crisis began to emerge last week after the company released its results for the last quarter of 2019 and announced its first annual loss for a generation.

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Flights axed in coronavirus scare

The list of international airlines suspending all or some flights to China in face of the coronavirus outbreak continued to grow over the weekend despite World Health Organisation advice that such drastic measures were not necessary.

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Heathrow offsetting for all passengers

A carbon offsetting plan for all passengers is being introduced at Heathrow as it moves toward becoming one of the first major facilities of its kind to go carbon neutral.

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New bosses for Iberia and Vueling

International Airlines Group (IAG) members Iberia and Vueing have appointed new chief executives with the impending retirement of group CEO Willie Walsh and his replacement by Iberia chairman and chief executive Luis Gallego (BTN 13 January).

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Official opening for PremiAir Manchester

Manchester Airport last week marked the official opening of its new private terminal, PremiAir, with local business representatives, stakeholders and VIP guests among invitees to see the product.

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Rail sector investment

The third Waterfront conference on this topic took place in London recently, against the background of media coverage of Crossrail and HS2. writes Andrew Sharp.

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SAA drops 100 flights

Nearly 100 domestic and international flights are being scrapped by South African Airways (SAA) this month to reduce costs, despite the airline having just received R.3.5bn (about £185m) from the state-owned Development Bank to avoid financial collapse.

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Southend Guernsey with Flybe

A new seasonal service between London Southend Airport and Guernsey is to be operated by Flybe following the withdrawal from the route by its franchise partner, Blue Islands. The twice-weekly flights on Wednesdays and Saturdays will run from 2 May – 26 September.

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ON TOUR: Glasgow Airport

As we start the new decade, Glasgow Airport sees growth ahead with major events in the city, Emirates increasing capacity, easyJet introducing Pula, Barcelona and Dalman, TUI expanding through the winter and Lufthansa going double-daily to Frankfurt. 

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CRUISE NEWS FEBRUARY: AmaMagna

Cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, MSC and British operator CMV have announced cancellations and introduced precautionary measures following the outbreak of the coronavirus.  At Civitavecchia, the port of Rome, Costa Smeralda, remains in quarantine.  The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced that all of its members will be taking precautions typified by SAGA who used Spirit of Discovery medical staff to check passengers boarding at Venice for flu-like symptoms. 

Plus there is a very big ship on the Danube; also river cruise bargains.

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AND FINALLY: We got a buzz out of this story

Pilot opens cockpit window.

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Air France domestic Business Class

Passengers on domestic flights on the Air France network now have a Business Class product as an option after its introduction by the airline last week on departures from Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Paris-Orly and the French regions.

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Bloc Gatwick to double in size

A new wing that will almost double the room count at the Bloc Hotel in Gatwick’s South Terminal is in the pipeline after the company applied to add a landmark four-storey extension to open next year.

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EasyJet electric project powers on

A programme between easyJet and its partner Wright Electric to develop a viable commercial electric aircraft moved forward last week after the US manufacturer unveiled design concepts for a 186-seater and set out a timeline for testing.

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Farnborough 2020 scholarship

Launched under the auspices of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots’ scholarship programme, Farnborough Airport last week opened its 2020 Flying Scholarship, open to applicants who are at least 17 years old on 1 June this year.

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Johnson's date with BBGA

Sustainability will be in the air for this year’s British Business and General Aviation Association (BBGA) conference and AGM at the Luton Hoo Hotel complex on 5 March – with politician and TV personality Stanley Johnson as keynote speaker. Booking is now open for the event, which will be followed by the association’s spring golf day on 6 March.

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LATAM quits oneworld early

In a surprise decision, South American carrier LATAM last week said it was leaving the oneworld alliance on 1 May, five months earlier than expected. It follows LATAM's signing a partnership with Skyteam member Delta Air Lines last year (BTN 30 September).

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More Radissons for Turkey

Plans to open three more hotels in Turkey this year have been announced by Radisson Hotel Group with two of the properties in historic locations in Istanbul and the third in the port city and popular leisure destination Aliağa, in Izmir.

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Wizz hails results and new routes

Record financial results for the third quarter of 2019 and two new routes, Gatwick – Sofia and Luton – Gran Canaria, plus a frequency increase for flights between Luton and Tenerife, were announced by Wizz Air last week.

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