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10 JANUARY 2022

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LETTER OF THE WEEK

FlyBe continues to hit the headlines. We have quite a selection that came in over the holidays.

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ON THE SOAPBOX: Tom Stoddart, Managing Director, BA CityFlyer *

Tom Stoddart has been Managing Director of BA CityFlyer since 2018, overseeing its continued expansion, and guiding the stand-alone British Airways branded operation through the most difficult 21 months in the history of aviation.  As with Willie Walsh, now Director General of International Air Transport Association (IATA), he is an Oxford Air Training School graduate having joined British Airways 21 years ago.  His pilot’s licence is still current on the A320 series, but not so for the Embraer.  “I just don’t have the time,” he said.  “It’s a nice idea but will not happen.” Here in Business Travel News he reflects and looks forward.

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New border rules

Doubly vaccinated passengers no longer have to take pre-departure Covid tests in England. They will also not be required to self-isolate while awaiting test results after arriving in England.  This change of rules has been picked up quickly by suppliers.

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Airbus v Qatar Airways court battle *

Qatar Airways has started proceedings in a UK court against Airbus in a bid to resolve a dispute over skin flaws on a batch of 20 A350 aircraft now grounded.

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BA Gatwick

Following persistent rumours, British Airways has confirmed that it is to return to Gatwick with a full European programme from March.

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Bank station and LCY *

Regular uses of Bank station, one of the most popular DLR links to London City Airport (LCY), should be aware that a major stage in its rebuilding programme starts next Saturday (15 January), perhaps adding to travel time.

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Corporate jet and LCY *

Called the ACJ TwoTwenty, but in truth an Airbus A220-100, the first of a new class of business jet has been delivered to Comlux, the Swiss-based executive jet operator.

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Israel lifts travel ban

After a recommendation from the Ministry of Health, Israel has removed ‘red’ countries from their no-fly list.  It will once again allow travel to the US and the UK, although it is telling Israelis not to travel to high-risk countries ‘without a good reason.’

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Norse Atlanticís AOC

Oslo-based Norse Atlantic Airways has received an Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) from the Norwegian Civil Aviation Authority.

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Pilot shortage

United Airlines is temporarily dropping 15 regional routes and shifting some services to New York Newark from March 2022, amid a serious pilot shortage in the United States.

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Ryanair finance update

Dublin-based Ryanair says that its full-year net loss to the end of March 2022 is expected to be higher than previously forecast, as the Omicron Covid variant and subsequent travel restrictions continue to impact demand.

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Uproar in Scotland *

Not for first time the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA) has blasted First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

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Wizz December

Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Wizz was quick last week to publish its results for December.

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ON TOUR: The World Cup 2022 Qatar

On Monday 21 November the 22nd FIFA World Cup finals begin in Qatar completing on Sunday 18 December, which is also the Qatar National Day. One thing for certain, France, the current holders, will vigorously try to hold on to the trophy.

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The 2021 Quiz Answers *

Number

Our thanks once again to Rod Simpson of Air Britain for putting together the images, with the exception of 41, which nobody answered correctly. Also to easyJet, Aspire Lounges, and Crécy Publications for the prizes.

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AND FINALLY: Betting on a safe landing

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Travel News Update

Aspire executive lounges have published the January edition of Travel News Update.

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Car sales 2021

Tesla’s Model 3 took top spot in UK car sales for the first time in December (9,612) from MINI (4,625) with Vauxhall’s Corsa third (2,608).

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Cruise ship problems

The cruise industry is being hit even harder than airlines by the pandemic, although traditionally the most health safety conscious of all travel industry offerings.

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Luton Hoo becomes Arora

The Arora Group, operator of the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5, and a host of airport related hotels, has bought the historic Luton Hoo, from Elite Hotels.

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New Manchester hotel

Dalata Hotel Group opened its first property under the Clayton Hotels brand in Manchester’s city centre last week complimenting an airport property.

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Norwegian UK

Whilst clearly not to the same scale as pre-pandemic Norwegian, still a UK-registered airline, offers what it calls ‘flights to the Nordics’, Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden from Edinburgh, Gatwick and Manchester airports, at very competitive prices.

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Passenger compensation

The European Union’s top court has ruled that passengers in Europe are entitled to compensation if their flights are brought forward by more than an hour.

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Randox tests quickly

With the Government changing the border control rules with respect to Covid, Randox and Pay Point have announced an expansion of their partnership providing a vital service for travellers returning to the UK.

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Scottish airports at Westminster

In what could be seen as a challenge to Holyrood, Westminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee will today (10 January) interview the major airport operators north of the border.

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