Airline & Airport News.
British Airways to launch new business class seat from July 2019
British Airways has announced its all-new business class product will debut in July 2019, 13 years since the launch of its current Club World seat. With direct aisle-access, each seat will provide travellers with more privacy, increased storage facilities and ‘gate-to-gate in-flight entertainment’. The debut has been timed with the launch of BA’s Airbus A350-1000 fleet, which will be the first to be fitted with the product.
New KLM lounge at Schiphol Airport to open in December
After months of renovations, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines’ Crown Lounge project at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport is expected to reach completion by December 2018. The new lounge will offer greater seat capacity (1450 compared to 800 previously) and increase the total surface area from 3600sqm to 6300sqm.
Eurostar to add a new round trip between London and Amsterdam
Following a successful six months of operation, Eurostar’s London-Amsterdam service is planning a third daily round trip from London to Rotterdam and Amsterdam from June 2019. The addition of the new service will see an adjustment to the daily schedule, with the first train leaving St Pancras at 7.16am (an hour earlier), likely to appeal to business travellers wanting to make the most of the day.
Qantas welcomes CTM as first TMC to incorporate new booking platform
Corporate Travel Management (CTM) has become the first Australian Travel Management Company to enable a selection of its corporate customers to access live content from a new technology platform launched by airline, Qantas. The Qantas Distribution Platform plans to enhance the airline retailing, booking and servicing capabilities for its trade partners and deliver a more personalised experience for customers. CTM is looking at further roll-out for its customers in the new year. READ MORE.
Event Travel Management team growth
ETM Europe has appointed a new sales director, travel manager and event executive, with new business wins driving significant growth for the event travel business. James Kent (sales director) brings with him extensive industry knowledge and experience which will assist him in his new role in driving new business. The team is also excited to welcome Paris Kiani (travel manager) and Lanai Linton (event executive) who will be managing the global large-scale group travel projects and M&E venue sourcing/delegate management respectively.
Etihad introduces Dreamliner on Abu Dhabi to Brussels
Etihad Airways will deploy a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on the Abu Dhabi-Brussels route from 3 January 2019. The upgraded service offers EY’s award-winning cabin designs, featuring 28 ‘Business Studios’, food and beverage managers and latest in-flight technology.
SAS announces Summer 2019 schedule with 17 new routes
Summer 2019 will see a boost in travel possibilities for Scandinavians, with SAS announcing 6 new destinations and 17 new direct routes to launch during the warmer travel season. New destinations include Catania, Florence, Marseille, Cornwall Newquay, Szczecin and Antalya. READ MORE.
UK opens ePassport gates to more international travellers
Citizens from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan will soon be able to streamline their UK travel, with access to ePassport gates at UK borders from 2019. The service is currently only available to UK and EEA citizens and those registered with the Registered Travel scheme. The initiative hopes to improve the flow of passengers during peak times at airports and rail stations by allowing passengers to scan their own passports at the machines, as long as their passport has the biometric symbol on the cover.
Emirates launches world’s first biometric path
Passengers travelling with Emirates can soon experience a complete, streamlined airport experience, with the airline’s world-first ‘Smart Tunnel’ entering live trials at Dubai International Airport. Check-in, immigration processes, lounge access and boarding are all part of the innovative new system, using biometric technology such as facial recognition to process passengers seamlessly and securely. READ MORE.
Virgin Atlantic to debut ‘Upper Class’ seat on new Airbus A350-1000 aircraft
An exciting new premium seat has been announced for Virgin Atlantic’s upcoming long-haul Airbus A350-1000 aircraft. Although minimal details have been released, the product is likely to debut on the carrier’s daily services to Hong Kong and Shanghai, with the first of the 12 A350-1000 aircraft due in mid-2019.
A first look at Qantas’ A380 upgrade
From March 2019, Qantas will revamp its Airbus A380 fleet across all three cabins classes. Business Class will adopt the highly-regarded Business Suite as fitted in the Boeing 787 Dreamliners. An additional 6 seats will be added, taking the total seat offering from 64 to 70. The jets will also feature two new business class lounges designed with two tables surrounded by benches. The refurb project is expected to reach completion by the end of 2020.
Birmingham Airport masterplan
Birmingham Airport has shared details of its £500 million master plan project, which is expected to increase passenger capacity by 40% to 18 million by 2033. A new baggage handling area, larger departure lounge and additional road links all form part of the plan, as well as a new railway station to improve passenger connections. READ MORE.
Manchester-Mumbai expected to bring £400 boost
The newly launched Jet Airways route between Manchester and Mumbai, India is expected to deliver £400 million in trade, investment and tourism benefits for the UK. Key industry experts have labelled the connection as an ideal collaboration, with digital, manufacturing and energy priorities aligning between the two destinations. The Jet Airways service operates on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
China Southern ends SkyTeam alliance from January
China Southern has announced it will not renew its contract with SkyTeam at the end of this year, meaning as of 1 January 2019, the airline will no longer form part of the alliance. The airline is planning a seamless transition of customer SkyTeam frequent flyer miles and airport lounge access information, which is expected to carry out through 2019 and reach completion by the end of 2019.
Qantas to expand business class lounge in Singapore
Qantas has announced an expansion project to the airline’s Business Lounge at Singapore’s Changi Airport, adding over 50 extra seats for guests. With the airport now a popular stopover for the London-Australia Airbus A380 flights, the added capacity will provide more comfort for premium travellers. Construction on the lounge will begin from April 2019, with a brand-new First-Class lounge also expected to open by the end of next year.
Plaza Premium for Helsinki
The popular pay-in lounge, Plaza Premium, will open at Helsinki Airport in February 2019. The lounge will be located at the non-Schengen terminal as part of the new terminal expansion. Available for both departing and arriving flights, the lounge features comfortable seating, a live kitchen, computer workstations and free wi-fi.
Dublin Airport extension
Irish firm, Roadbridge, and Spanish infrastructure company, FCC Construction (FCC), has been selected to build Dublin Airport’s new runway from January next year. The 3.1km long North Runway is expected to be completed by early 2021 and will create 31,200 new jobs and generate €2.2 billion in additional economic activity by 2043.
Boeing opens new factory in Sheffield
The world’s largest plane manufacturer, Boeing, has officially opened its new manufacturing site in Sheffield – the first Boeing factory to open in Europe. The £40m factory will manufacture parts for the airline’s 737 and 767 aircraft and will source materials from 13 UK-based suppliers.
Biometric expansion at Schiphol Airport
Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport will soon expand facial recognition and biometric technology services at its terminals in 2019. The expansion will see an improvement in passenger flow throughout the airport and will be a voluntary process for travellers.
Qantas’ Melbourne Domestic lounge re-opens
The major upgrade of Qantas’ domestic lounge at Melbourne Airport has officially reached completion, offering an additional 130 seats for passengers. The lounge features an Asian spice bar and an increased capacity of 40% in the Business Lounge and 10% in the Qantas Club.
New luxury hotel brand for the UK
InterContinental Hotels Group has debuted their newest luxury brand, Kimpton Hotels, with the opening of Kimpton Fitzroy London in Russell Square last month. Built within an iconic 1890s heritage building, the boutique hotel offers a unique space for meetings and events, with modern meeting rooms, a large ballroom, and a range of bars and restaurants. The Kimpton brand currently has 25 hotels in the pipeline, including Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Rome.
Heathrow’s Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express officially open
Heathrow Airport has welcomed the opening of Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn Express, with an official launch event hosted by Arora Group. The highly anticipated dual-branded property is the biggest of its kind, making this the largest event for the UK hotel industry in 2018. The hotels offer 750 rooms in total and are located a short three-minute walk from the airport terminal.
Best Western’s new boutique brand opens in Paris
Paris is the second location to receive Best Western’s new boutique hotel brand, Aiden Hotel. The 90-room hotel offers business travellers a multi-functional space and three meeting rooms. The inaugural Aiden Hotel opened in Seoul, South Korea last month with the other newly announced boutique hotel brand, Sadie Hotel, to open properties in Tampa, Florida; Fredericksburg, Texas; and New York, New York in 2020.