2 MARCH 2020

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Qatar and American heal rift

In what it calls “a first step in building a strategic partnership”, American Airlines last week renewed its codeshare agreement with fellow oneworld alliance member Qatar Airways and said it would begin exploring launching service from the US to Doha.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Dr Paulo Alves & John Strickland and COVID-19

With the ever-evolving COVID-19 crisis, BTN for the first time ever has two contributors to ON THE SOAPBOX, both experts, one in the aviation medical area, and the other a leading consultant to airlines and airports in the strategy and commercial fields.

Both are well-known speakers in their particular areas. BTN is privileged to publish their thoughts in what is an evolving situation. See also ITB axed in virus clampdown.

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Autonomous driving for airport users

Fully-autonomous electric mobility devices have been put on trial by British Airways in North America as part of a programme to care for passengers with hidden and visible disabilities.

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Economy sleep pods from Air New Zealand

A new lie-flat prototype sleep product called Economy Skynest which provides six full length lie-flat sleep pods for Economy Class passengers on long-haul flights has been unveiled by Air New Zealand (ANZ).

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Gatwick lands Faroe Islands link

Faroese national carrier Atlantic Airways is launching a new summer service by Airbus A320 between Gatwick and Vágar Airport in the Faroe Islands from 23 June, the first direct flight from London since 2014 when the airline flew from Stansted.

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Heavyweight backers for third runway

The government surprised many in aviation last week by saying it would not challenge the Appeal Court’s ruling that Heathrow expansion was unlawful because it did not take into account climate change commitments.

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IAG profits plunge, outlook cloudy

A €200m fall in operating profit for 2019 was reported by British Airways’ parent company IAG last week with the future outlook also clouded as the coronavirus outbreak continues to affect operations.

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ITB axed in virus clampdown

The continuing battle against coronavirus saw the ITB Berlin tradeshow cancelled last week. The event, considered the pre-eminent tradeshow for the European hospitality market, was due to start this Wednesday, 4 March.

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Loganair looks ahead to winter

An extension of some new summer 2020 routes into winter and more seats on existing routes including many to and from the Highlands and Islands and on services to Hanover and Belfast are part of Loganair’s winter 2020 schedule released last week.

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Luton high-speed service draws closer

Moves by East Midlands Railway (EMR) to introduce a Luton Airport Express service as part of its proposed December 2020 timetable with half-hourly non-stop trains from London St Pancras were unveiled last week.

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Manchester – Delhi for Virgin

A new route from Manchester to Delhi is being launched by Virgin Atlantic for the first time from 26 October. Flights will operate on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays using an A330-200, returning Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

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Third runway – Heathrow’s response

In its response to last week’s court decision on runway three, Heathrow noted all appeals against the government – including on “noise” and “air quality” – had been dismissed, apart from one, which the airport said “is eminently fixable”.

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ON TOUR - The Business Travel Show

The veteran travel writer, John Burke, once again took his camera to London’s Olympia last week for the exhibition and conference that attracts a good 8,000 buyers and suppliers of travel facilities. BTN editor-in-chief Malcolm Ginsberg reported on the aviation presence.

Please also see ON THE SOAPBOX: Rob Greyber - president of Egencia (last week's issue).

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MARCH CRUISING ISSUE: Scarlet Lady – a virgin experience

Just a week ago at a breezy Dover (England) Virgin Voyages introduced to a disbelieving gathering its first ever ship, Scarlet Lady, all 110,000 tons of her. 

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AND FINALLY: Tilting is back on the trains.

Those with long memories may recall British Rail’s Advanced Passenger Train (ATP).  That was a bit too steep for the government of the time (Mrs Thatcher) and the train together with operator was privatised.

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Aeroflot joins A350-900 club

The latest generation Airbus A350 has arrived in Russia with flag carrier and Sky Team member Aeroflot taking delivery of its first Dash-900 model to become the launch operator for Eastern Europe and the CIS.

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Alaska alliance move welcomed

The oneworld alliance has welcomed the announcement Alaska Airlines intends to join by summer 2021 following the Alaskan carrier and oneworld founder American Airlines setting up a new US West Coast international partnership (BTN 17 February).

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Boeing lands ANA major order

A major order for 15 new Dreamliners plus five options was confirmed last week by Japan’s largest airline, All Nippon Airways (ANA). The order is split between the Boeing B787-9 and B787-10, and is worth more than $5bn at list prices.

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Dublin brings in new airport express

A new high-frequency cross-city network of airport coach services linking Dublin Airport with its home city takes off tomorrow, 3 March. Dublin Express will initially operate three routes with a total of 72 services round the clock.

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Farnborough Airport changes hands

Operated by TAG since 1997, the privately-owned and operated business aviation hub Farnborough Airport has been sold to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, which has invested in 12 commercial airports across Europe and Australia.

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Joint call for APD reform

Britain’s airlines and airports issued a renewed joint call last week for decisive action in the forthcoming Budget on Air Passenger Duty (APD), citing a report from Airports Council International (ACI) showing the UK is the only European country to have seen direct connectivity decline two years in a row.

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New rail link shows its colours

A first look at the new fleet for Heathrow Express announced in BTN last week was unveiled at the Business Travel Show with features including at-seat USB power, new Business First seating and work tables, plus an external livery.

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Plastic crackdown accelerates

A new target to remove more than 700 tonnes of single-use plastic on board its flights in 2020 was announced last week by British Airways. The figure amounts to more than a quarter of a billion individual items, or 30,000 suitcases full.

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Stansted – Dakar with Air Senegal

The UK’s only direct service to the Senegalese capital of Dakar will open up from 26 June with the start of an Air Senegal Airbus A321 three-times-weekly service from Stansted. It is the airline’s first ever UK operation.

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