26 OCTOBER 2020

The Business Travel News
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The Canary Islands, Denmark, Maldives and Mykonos have been added to the Government’s list of travel corridors.

COMMENT: Would you come to England?

Or Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for that matter?

A Minister for Travel Wanted.

It was fairly obvious (and from day one) that the Government’s idea of allowing UK border crossing from overseas followed by quarantine would not work (except perhaps for travel corridors).  

The industry has had to take the initiative.  With the new Heathrow procedures, we can, and are, putting people on aircraft free of the Covid-19 pandemic.  A step in the right direction.

Air travel is down by 80%, or as Loganair’s Chief Executive Johnathan Hinkles put it elegantly (or not so elegantly) at last week’s Aviation 2050 Conference “we are going bust”, or soon will.  John Holland-Kaye summed up the situation in financial terms when speaking to the Aviation Club.  His ominous words are worth reading again.

Who is going to come to the UK and then face 14 days in solitude?


An IATA survey says that 83% will not fly if they have to quarantine.

The Government has a vital need to encourage people onto aircraft and see what Great Britain has to offer.  Yes, number one, it requires to make the country safe but resources are needed and plans introduced to get people inbound into the air (and by sea and rail too) now (in fact for tomorrow).

Foresight is required.  The world requires to know that the UK is open for business.

We need a Minister for Travel?  

The devolved governments have ministers for Tourism and there is a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Minister for Sport, Tourism and Heritage) one Nigel Huddleston, Conservative MP for Mid Worcestershire, who doubles up, if that is the right word¸ as an Assistant Government Whip.  Have you heard of him?  Has he been selling the UK in New York, Paris or Beijing?

A Minister of Travel should be in the Cabinet or at least be reporting to the Secretary of State for Transport.  Travel means transport. He can even be an experienced trekker from the Lords.

BTN does not know the answer to our problems, nobody does.  But as Johnathan Hinkles also said in his discourse unless we do something there will no aviation industry to save.

What we don’t want is a reincarnation of Nevil Shute’s On the Beach (written in 1957) a post-apocalyptic novel depicting a group of people in Melbourne as they await the arrival of deadly radiation spreading towards them from the Northern Hemisphere, with Cary Grant and Ava Gardner in the marvellous black and white award-winning film version.

Or is this outlook too sombre. Comments please?

Akbar Al Baker and the illegal blockade

Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al Baker wound up a fine Airlines 2050 morning last Monday with some strong words on what he called “the illegal blockade” of his home country by some neighbouring states. 

He had led off summarising the airline’s efforts to keep flying.  “We expect to serve 125 destinations by the year end,” he said.  He confirmed that the airline’s A380s were grounded pointing out that Qatar’s Qsuites “were better than most carriers’ First Class.”
Akbar Al Baker continued: “Of course, it would be remiss of me not to touch on the ongoing illegal air and sea blockade imposed on my home country.
While the illegal blockade has been ongoing for more than three years, we should never allow these illegal actions to be normalised.
Threats to the safety and normalcy of international civil aviation should never be an acceptable tool for political posturing − and the international community must not allow the current actions to set a precedent for using freedoms of navigation as a weapon to harm a country and its people.
In July this year, we welcomed the judgment of the International Court of Justice − affirming that the ICAO Council has the jurisdiction to hear any disagreement relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Chicago Convention 1944 and the International Air Services Transit Agreement.
We look forward to observing the return of the State of Qatar to Montreal to urge the ICAO Council to condemn the illegal airspace blockade − and take appropriate actions to require the four blockading States to comply with their obligations under international law in order to restore the normalcy of international civil aviation.
At Qatar Airways, we firmly believe that travel is a right for all and that this world is all of ours to explore.”

American Airbus A220

Airbus has delivered its first US-manufactured A220 aircraft to Delta Air Lines.

The former Bombardier C series was only initially produced at the Mirabel Quebec plant with major components constructed at the Belfast Northern Ireland factory.

Several milestones led up to this historic moment.

From the ground breaking of the Mobile Alabama final assembly line in January 2019, through the official start of A220 production in August 2019, and the inaugural flight of this aircraft in June, the A220 teams in Mirabel and Mobile worked closely together to make the A220 production in the US a success.

“Handing over the first US-assembled aircraft to a US-based customer is a real point of pride for the A220 Programme,” said Philippe Balducchi, leading the A220 Programme. “This delivery is the first of many to come and shows the strong collaborative spirit between the A220 Programme teams globally.”

Delta Air Lines is currently the largest A220 customer, with a total of 95 A220 aircraft on order, and will be the first A220 operator in the Americas to be operating both A220-100 and A220-300 aircraft types.  

The 100 series aircraft can make New York JFK non-stop from London City Airport.  Whether Delta decides to raise its UK profile by modifying aircraft for such an operation is something to speculate for the future.   

As of end September, 123 Airbus A220s have been delivered to seven operators and are being flown on routes in Asia, America, Europe and Africa.

Amsterdam and Eurostar

In spite of the problems associated with the pandemic at both ends Eurostar is to introduce a direct St Pancras – Amsterdam Centraal high-speed train service today (Monday 26 October). Covid-19 rules will be displayed and passengers are expected to adhere to.

Outbound from London passengers will go through border controls at St Pancras and for the return the formalities will take place at Amsterdam Centraal and Rotterdam Centraal stations.  Total journey time each way is 3hr 55min twice daily, but no weekend services until 12 December.  Prices start from £40 each way in Standard class, £79 each way in Standard Premier with a light meal and wine included, and £260 one-way in Business Premier with a hot meal, wine and champagne.  The train also stops at Brussels.

Speaking when the services were originally confirmed (See BTN 13 July) Stientje van Veldhoven, Dutch State Secretary for Infrastructure, summed up the arrangement nicely: “Due to coronavirus these are challenging times, but we also have to plan for the near future. It’s fast and convenient, and without the hassle of disembarking in Brussels for border and security checks.

“The four countries the train passes through, Belgium, France, Netherlands and UK, have been working closely with Eurostar to provide support and guidance on security procedures and the necessary infrastructure arrangements at the two stations. The new agreements form an important step in further facilitating efficient rail traffic between close neighbouring countries.”

BA’s Sean Doyle at Airlines 2050

Only appointed as Chief Executive of British Airways a week earlier Sean Doyle was the opening speaker at Airlines 2050 Conference last Monday (19 October)

A native of Cork, but a Londoner since first joining BA as a Financial Analyst in 1998, his words served as an introduction to a man charged with leading Britain’s flag carrier, perhaps for the next decade.  He could not have arrived at a more worrying time.

Initially explaining British Airways crucial financial position (it lost £711m in the last quarter with the IAG results which came later in the week) he emphasised the situation regarding quarantine: “We need a fundamental re-think,” he said pre-empting a British Airways flight to Hong Kong the next day where some passengers will be Covick-19 checked before boarding.    

“Introducing a rapid pre-departure testing regime could not be more important. I’m going to use the example of the US to help me explain this. The total loss in trade between the US and the UK is predicted to be £45.8bn, due to closed borders. I cannot stress more greatly that air connectivity between the UK and USA is fundamental for supporting economic growth and trade on both sides of the Atlantic. Pre-Covid British Airways flew to almost 30 destinations in the US. Now, it’s less than half that. We normally fly to New York up to 12 times a day – it’s now twice per day and with fewer than 200 passengers most days.”

He summed up the situation very clearly: “I realise that the title of this keynote address is ‘Beyond the Crisis’, but I need to be clear that there is a risk that as an industry we will not see beyond this crisis if we do not first address the issue of how we get people flying again. Everything else is for another day.”

Also see IAG results in this week's BTN.

Berlin International Airport (continued)

Nothing ever goes right with Berlin Brandenburg Airport ‘Willy Brandt’ International Airport.

First mooted in 1991, work actually got under way in 2006 with a planned 2011 opening date.

It will officially open next Saturday 31 October, nine years late.

EasyJet is standing by with an aircraft from the about to be redundant Tegel Airport and a symbolic first flight together with Lufthansa on the parallel runways (with the T1 complex in-between).

BER is a combination of two airports, Schönefeld, now called T5, and the brand-new Brandenburg.  EasyJet has been operating into Schönefeld with its fast train service to the city centre for many years.

Berlin had planned a big party with the new gateway to the German capital.  With Covid-19 this will not happen, the 750 guests reduced to 55 and whether this includes Chancellor Merkel remains to be seen.  The local area is a hotspot for the pandemic.

As for easyJet it can only watch and wait.  Its first scheduled flight is next Sunday 1 November from BER T1, its new permanent home, the EU2 8210 at (all times local) 06:45 which is scheduled in at Gatwick 07:50 and departs 08:45 as the EU2 8125 for the return journey (arriving 11:45).

Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines will transfer 1 November into T1 and on 4 November Eurowings and Vueling will land at T1, with the next day Ryanair, SunExpress and Sundair operating from T5 and Belavia, Georgian Airways, Egyptair and Norwegian T1.  The balance of airlines at Tegel will then follow over the next few days with the airport officially closing 7 November.  Don’t go to the wrong airport/terminal.

The cost of the new airport has recently been put at €5.4bn.

Biometric path at DXB

Emirates has launched an integrated biometric path at Dubai International airport (DXB). The contactless airport experience is now open to Emirates passengers travelling from and through Dubai.

This latest piece of medical technology gives passengers a seamless travel journey from specific check-in to boarding gates, improving customer flow through the airport with less document checks and less queuing.

Utilising the latest biometrics – a mix of facial and iris recognition, Emirates passengers can now check in for their flight, complete immigration formalities, enter the Emirates Lounge, and board their flights, simply by strolling through the airport.

The various touchpoints in their terminal path allow for a hygienic contactless travel journey, reducing human interaction and putting emphasis on health and safety.

The biometric touchpoints are currently installed at select First, Business and Economy Class check-in desks in Terminal 3 at DXB; immigration gates including a "smart tunnel"; Emirates' premium lounge entrance at concourse B as well as select boarding gates. Areas where biometric equipment are installed are clearly marked and additional units will be installed at each touchpoint in the future.

Cathay Dragon shuts down

The low-cost subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airlines (CX), Cathay Dragon, was closed down with immediate effect by owner Cathay Pacific last Tuesday (20 October).  Cathay itself is owned by the Swire Group.

“The global pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on aviation and the hard truth is we must fundamentally restructure the group to survive,” Cathay Pacific CEO Augustus Tang said.

“We have to do this to protect as many jobs as possible and meet our responsibilities to the Hong Kong aviation hub and our customers.”

The Cathay Dragon grounding is part of a wider restructure that includes more than 5,000 job losses.

Previously known as Dragonair, CX says it is hoped that the “majority” of the brand’s routes will be retained by Cathay Pacific or low-cost carrier (LCC) subsidiary HK Express.  The carrier was the second-largest operator at Hong Kong Airport (HKG) in 2019 with a 16% share of all departure seats.  Cathay Pacific itself is downsizing by 24%.

Emirates upgrades

Emirates is rolling out a redesigned onboard experience and introducing additional health and safety measures.

First Class customers can once again have a shower at 40,000ft.

From 1 November, Emirates' onboard dining experience will return to its signature service while observing strict hygiene protocols. Customers in all classes will enjoy multi-course meals and choose from a complimentary selection of beverages including wine and beer, as well as juices and soft drinks. Cocktails will also be served in premium classes.

In Economy Class, customers can choose from two wines; in Business Class, customers can choose from six wines including port and champagne, while in First Class, customers will have a selection of 11 wines including a dessert wine, port and Dom Perignon champagne.

The Emirates app has also been enhanced to allow customers on board to browse the menus on their personal devices both online and offline with the latest app update.

From Heathrow Emirates is operating four daily flights to Dubai, (all times local) the 09:05 and 18:30 departures both Boeing 777s whilst the 14:20 and 20:40 both Airbus A380.

Etihad and Israel

The UAE national airline Etihad is pushing ahead with its Israel relationship and is even developing promotional material in Hebrew.

Last Monday (19 October), in partnership with the Maman Group, the airline operated its first two-way flights between Israel and the Gulf state.  A Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft made the 3hr 30min journey.

The flight out of Ben Gurion brought a group of tourism industry leaders, key corporate decision makers, travel agents, and cargo agents, along with media to experience Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE, at the invitation of Etihad Airways and representatives of Abu Dhabi’s tourism industry.

This is the latest development in a growing cooperation between the two nations following the establishment of diplomatic ties, and the signing of the Abraham Accords between the UAE and Israel in Washington DC on 15 September. It also follows Israeli national airline El Al’s first symbolic commercial flight between Tel Aviv and Abu Dhabi on 31 August.

His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Fadhel Al Mazrouei, Chairman, Etihad Aviation Group, said: "Today’s flight is a historic opportunity for the development of strong partnerships here in the UAE, and in Israel, and Etihad as the national airline, is delighted to be leading the way. We are just starting to explore the long-term potential of these newly forged relationships, which will be sure to greatly benefit the economies of both nations, particularly in the areas of trade and tourism, and ultimately the people who call this diverse and wonderful region home.”

Flybe to fly again?

The National media, looking for some good news, quickly took up a statement by the administrators of Flybe that the airline is to fly again “in early 2021.”

A request by BTN for detailed information met with a sturdy reply “I’m afraid it’s way too early to answer any of these!” The questions requested details of the Air Operators Certificate (AOC) and names of the senior members of the management team.

The statements said a sale has been agreed for the business and assets of Flybe Ltd (in Administration) to Thyme Opco Ltd, a company affiliated with investment adviser Cyrus Capital.  

Simon Edel, Joint Administrator and EY Turnaround and Restructuring Strategy Partner, said: “Today’s announcement, and the upcoming completion of this sale, will be great news to communities around the country that were previously served by Flybe. The restart of this iconic brand, which was once Europe’s largest regional airline, will provide a potentially significant boost to aviation jobs, regional connectivity, and local economies.”

Cyrus was a shareholder of Flybe before it collapsed just before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.  A New York-based hedge fund, its European operation is run by Lucien Farrell who owns 51% of Thyme Opco.

Grant Shapps at Airlines 2050

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps appearance at Airline 2050 last Monday proved to be as much a damp squib as ABTA the previous week.   (See ABTA 1 – Shapps and quarantine in last week's BTN.)

After a prepared speech his interrogator was the vastly experienced Financial Times International Business Editor, Peggy Hollinger, bursting to get her questions out, and then time limited.  No networking with the cabinet minister either.

On Brexit, Mr Shapps said: “We very much hope to have a deal in place.”

He said he expected the European Union to come forward with an agreement to allow UK – EU flights to continue beyond 31 December, if no deal is completed.

The Transport Secretary has said he hopes the current 14 days of self-isolation required of most arrivals to the UK could be almost halved from the start of December.

He told the virtual conference that he is “very, very, very keen to ensure that people can safely travel.”

Mr Shapps co-chairs the Global Travel Taskforce with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. He revealed the body is to recommend to the Prime Minister that incoming passengers should be able to take a PCR test, at their expense, a week after arrival.

If it is negative they will be able to leave quarantine. The so-called “test-and-release” scheme is likely to allow passengers to leave quarantine on day eight of their self-isolation.

The Transport Secretary said: “We’ve already worked incredibly fast. We’re talking to vast parts of the testing industry.”

Heathrow departures tested

Last Tuesday (20 October) saw the first passengers finally through the trial Covid-19 tests at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 5 en route to Hong Kong.

The programme, long promoted by the airport with the assistance of Collison and Swissport, offers passengers travelling to Hong Kong the option to fulfil Covid-19 pre-departure testing requirements therefore meeting obligations at the destination gateway.  British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Virgin Atlantic all provide daily flights to Hong Kong.  

The private test costs £80 and aims to provide departing passengers with their results in around 60min. Passengers are asked to ensure they book a test ahead of time and provide timing guidelines with regard to check-in by their airline.  The testing facilities will initially be open for four weeks, monitoring passenger and airline demand.

The new facilities process LAMP tests including Antigen as global governments, but not the UK, continue to accept a wider variety of testing methods as an alternative to travel restrictions and quarantines.
These tests differ from RT-PCR, which a growing number of countries and territories around the world, including Cyprus, Greece, Bahamas and Bermuda, now require to be shown at check-in. Unlike RT-PCR tests, LAMP and Antigen tests can be processed quickly and without being sent to a laboratory.

IAG results

The International Airline Group (IAG) results were bound to be disastrous and the quarterly figures, published last week, were in line with predictions.

IAG combines British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and LEVEL.  These results do not give financial details of individual airlines.  This has to wait until the full year figures are published late February 2021.

There was a loss of £1.3bn between July and September compared with a £1.3bn profit during the same period last year.

Flight capacity was down 78.6% over the quarter, with passenger demand decreasing by 88.0%.

The average number of seats filled on flights was 48.9%, down 38.8 percentage points.

The group expects its flight capacity from October to December to be no more than 30% of last year.

Stephen Gunning, Chief Financial Officer with IAG, said: “Recent overall bookings have not developed as previously expected due to additional measures implemented by many European governments in response to a second wave of Covid-19 infections, including an increase in local lockdowns and extension of quarantine requirements to travellers from an increasing number of countries.

“At the same time, initiatives designed to replace quarantine periods and increase customer confidence to book and travel, such as pre-departure testing and air corridor arrangements, have not been adopted by governments as quickly as anticipated.”

JetBlue delay

It will surprise no one that JetBlue, the New York JFK based quality low-cost operator has delayed the start-up for its London services.

No date has been set but the carrier cites delays at Airbus for late delivery of the A321XLRs on order.

Speaking to Bloomberg Robin Hayes, CEO, indicated a start in quarter three next year and was reticent regarding which London airport JetBlue would use. “We have a number of options,” he said, which translated means any of Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton or Stansted, with slots currently available at all of them.

There is another small hurdle, which should be easily overcome – the carrier will need to complete ETOP (extended range) certification under FAA rules.

Ken Brookes

Energetic right up to the very end, he was working on Zoom before what proved to be a very short hospital visit, Ken Brookes has passed on.  A regular contributor to BTN, usually on air shows but sometimes cruising, Ken was an enthusiastic member of the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ), the world’s oldest professional body for journalists and President for its centenary year 1983-84.

He was evacuated to Woburn Sands during the WWII, went to St Albans County Grammar and graduated from Imperial College London.  When possible, school holiday times were spent at De Havilland, Hatfield.  For more than 50 years he was the author, compiler and publisher of the World Directory and Handbook of Hardmetals and Hard Materials and allied publications and Chairman of a British Standards group associated with this side of the engineering business.  

As a writer and photographer, he claimed to be the only journalist to have attended every Radlett and Farnborough post war show (and still possessed all the catalogues).  

His library contains about 150,000 original Kodachrome slides pre-digital and uncounted thousands now digital.  He was a great defender of copyright representing CIoJ on the British Copyright Council and a trustee of various journalist charities. 

In 2019 he reported on the Paris Air Show for Business Travel News

Our condolences to wife Sandra, son Simon and daughter Liane. Ken was 92.

Major US airline fails

A major carrier within North America has failed, and hardy anybody has noticed.

It is an airline that you cannot buy a ticket to fly on, and does not have any airport desks.

ExpressJet Airlines operated a fleet of 84 Embraer 145 50-seat Regional Jets feeding the United Airlines hubs.  The contract has just gone to rival regional carrier CommutAir, as United, like other carriers, desperately try to cut costs with the coronavirus pandemic.  The rival and smaller carrier was likely cheaper and will not offer as many routes.

Colin Crane, a former ExpressJet first officer described the airline as filled with dedicated professionals that knew its high worth in the industry and had high standards for its pilots. It has been around for 41 years.

"We were the little airline that could," Crane told Business Insider.  "We were known by our mainline partners as an airline that would, come hell or high water, accept the challenges that our mainline partners posed to us and complete them with the same ExpressJet style and standards of service," Crane said.

Malaysian Airlines MH370

There are fresh hopes that the mystery of the disappearing Boeing 777 can be resolved.

A report in The Mail on Line suggests that the wreckage can be found six years after the aircraft went missing.

Despite a four-year, $200m search the plane just vanished with many theories and suggestions of what actually happened.

The experts believe the Boeing 777 plunged into the South Indian Ocean, near the co-ordinates of S34.2342 and E93.7875 – which is about 1,285 miles (2,070km) off the coast of Perth in Western Australia.

A Boeing 777 flaperon matching the one from flight MH370 found on Reunion Island and other small items have been discovered in the region, but nothing as large.

Engineer Victor Ianello and his team, based in the United States, last week said “there are even better odds” the plane's wreckage is within 100 nautical miles of the of those co-ordinates, according to AirLive.

Mr Ianello, who assisted Australian officials during the search, believes the plane flew 2,700 miles (4,340km) past Indonesia before crashing.

Another aviation expert Byron Bailey, a former pilot, also says the original investigators were looking in the wrong spot.

“I'm sure the captain was trying to ditch the aircraft in as far south, remote location as possible, and leave as little wreckage as possible that would sink.” Mr Bailey said.

“If I'm wrong then it probably means the aircraft has been taken by aliens or is sitting in a hangar somewhere in Kazakhstan. I'd bet my house on it. As far as I'm concerned we know where it is, we've always known where it is,” he said.

New York’s new live subway map

The New York subway now has an excellent new map showing live train services reports our train expert Andrew Sharp.  Click on a station and you can see the next few departures in real time.

The map is geographical: if you go into a high level of magnification, you can not only see street names, but also arrows indicating where the station exits are on the street grid.

At stations served by many lines, you cannot filter out the tracks you don’t want.  If you are heading for 34th Street Penn Station and want an A Train to Howard Beach for JFK Airport, you can’t just get a list of the next few A trains – you get trains on all three lines in both directions.

At a high level of zoom, you can actually see trains approaching the station you select – a darker shade on the line indicates an arriving train.

This runs in conjunction with the Weekender – a network map showing which stations and lines are affected by engineering work at weekends. Clicking on a flashing station tells you what’s going on. You are given both a thumbnail sketch of what’s happening and when, and a more detailed report showing alternative routes to avoid disruption. You can move from ‘diagram view’ to a very detailed ‘neighbourhood view’.,-73.97853,14z

TUI keeps flying

Holidaymakers, and people with time on their hands, will be pleased to learn that TUI is introducing a Caribbean winter programme from this week.   The reduced European schedule is continued. 

The airline is ranked number four (easyJet, BA, Jet2) in British carriers for passenger numbers carried.

In 2019 TUI flew 11.8m passengers, a rise of 5.8% at a load factor of 93%.

TUI operates a fleet of 14 Boeing 787 Dreamliners in a two-class layout.  

For St Lucia there is a weekly programme from Gatwick on a Tuesday and Manchester on a Thursday.  Flight time is about 8hr 45min.

For the Cuban resort of Varaderoon, which borders the Straight of Florida (Havana is a day tour from the beaches) again the flights are weekly and take about 9hr.

In Europe flights can be currently booked to Crete, Cyprus, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Kos, Lanzarote, Paphos, Rhodes and Tenerife, but do check on the TUI website.

The airline says it is currently offering a range of 15 UK airports for both summer 2021 and winter 2021/22 destinations (including those currently not operating but are on sale for future dates).

Wizz at the Aviation Club

Joseph Váradi, CEO of Wizz Air, something of an Anglophile, was in a bullish mood for a Webinar organised by the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom last Wednesday.  The talk replaced October’s traditional lunch which would have been hosted at the Royal Automobile Club.
Váradi said Wizz had been “waiting for a crisis” to emerge since the financial crash of 2008/9, given the role of recessions in shaking out weaker players.

“Of course we didn’t know it would be Covid,” he noted “but we knew any crisis would be an opportunity… It sorts winners from losers.”

He said Wizz had launched more than 200 new routes in the past five months, and opened 12 bases.  This week saw the introduction of four new destinations from  Gatwick, the airline now operating 132 routes to 73 destinations from 11 UK airports.  Whilst most of the routes have only basic frequencies this policy seems to work well giving the airline considerable exposure.  It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and its UK (Jersey) registered operation is a member of Airlines UK.
Wizz Air Abu Dhabi, a joint venture between the Hungarian budget airline and Abu Dhabi state holding company ADQ, has received an air operator certificate, though its launch has been hampered by a coronavirus ban on foreign visitors.  No date has been given for the maiden flights with the airline only showing bookings to a variety of destinations from 1 December.

ON TOUR: Napoleon and St Helena

In May 2017 BTN Editor-in-Chief was one of two British journalists to fly into St Helena for the opening of its new airport. He described the trip as fantastic.

On 29 October 18:00 (GMT) The British Napoleonic Bicentenary Trust, in collaboration with Texas A&M and the Oxford X-Reality Hub, is offering a virtual tour of St Helena.  Brent Fortenberry is the guide of a series of intricate virtual 3D images of the sites on the island.

2021 will see the 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon on the island which will be commemorated by the French and of course the islanders, no longer cut off from humanity

See also BTN 23 October 2017


A virtual social evening.

Known for its initiative in attracting high profile speakers to London’s Institute of Directors (in the past – its new home is The Royal Automobile Club) the Aviation Club of the United Kingdom has come up with a new idea in these pandemic times.

On Thursday 12 November it is organising a 'virtual' social evening from 19:30.  

The Club has partnered with Nutbourne Vineyards in West Sussex to offer a tutored tasting of four English wines from award winning boutique producers, coupled with some delicious artisan Sussex cheese.  The tasting will be hosted by English wine advocate and consultant Robin Frean of FreanoVino and joined by Peter Gladwin, current Chief Executive of WineGB and proprietor of Nutbourne Vineyards, from where we will be streaming live on the night.  The team will talk you through the selected wines and cheese pairings and offer hints and tips on how to identify what's right for you.    
The evening costs £70.00 Inc VAT per household, which includes three and half bottles of English wine and ample portions of four different cheeses, delivered directly to your door in advance of the event.  Delivery costs have generously been paid for by Hayward & Green.  Sadly UK residents only but that does not stop members and friends from abroad buying locally.  Contact   

Book here by 2 November