Get a free London city guide on your mobile

Business Traveller is giving away a free guide to London until the end of August as part of our City Guides app.

The guide covers everything from hotels, restaurants and places to see, to specific information on business facilities, meeting venues, local couriers and serviced offices.

The City Guides app currently has 49 guides to key business destinations including New York, Paris, Beijing and Mumbai.

BT City Guides app

More cities will be added over the coming months.

The other 48 guides are available for only £1.99 each (ski resorts cost £1.49).

Alternatively, you can subscribe to all 49 guides for just £19.99 – a saving of almost £80. Once downloaded, you will then receive all future updates and new guides for free (saving you even more money).

Get started by simply downloading the app from the Apple App store for iPhone and/or iPad, or from Google Play for Android devices.

Apple App Store  Google Play

SIA and SAS expand codeshare agreement

Singapore Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines will be expanding their codeshare agreement to cover more destinations in Europe, south-east Asia, Australia and New Zealand, it has been announced.

Effective immediately, codesharing will be extended to SAS operated flights from Copenhagen to Alesund, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim in Norway; Gothenburg in Sweden; Aalborg, Aarhus and Billund in Denmark; and Turku in Finland.

In return, SIA will also be extending codesharing on SIA-operated flight beyong Singapore to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in Australia; Auckland in New Zealand; Denpasar Bali and Jakarta in Indonesia; as well as Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

The move comes less than two months after Thai Airways beefed up its three Scandinavian routes to better compete with low-cost carrier Norwegian (see news, July 3).

The expansion of the codeshare agreement will help deepen SIA’s access to destinations in Scandinavia, while SAS will benefit from the increased exposure within the Asia Pacific region.

Both SIA and SAS are members of Star Alliance, and both have been codesharing since December 2010.

Their initial partnership saw SIA adding its code to SAS-operated flights beyond Copenhagen to Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm, while SAS would codeshare on SIA-operated flights between Copenhagen and Singapore, and on selected flights between Singapore and Bangkok.

The two carriers received final regulatory approval for a joint venture late last year. This permits both airlines to engage in joint operations, including the co-ordination of flight schedules and join sales activities.

As part of the partnership, SIA increased frequency of flights between Singapore and Copenhagen on March 31 from three to five flights per week, with SAS codesharing on these flights.

singaporeair.com, flysas.com

Clement Huang

Ethiopian Airlines orders eight more B787s

Ethiopian Airlines has ordered a further eight Boeing 787s, less than two months after one of its Dreamliners caught fire at Heathrow.

The African carrier already has five B787s in its fleet. It previously had five more on order, a figure that has now increased to 13.

Both LHR runways were closed for 90 minutes in July after smoke was spotted coming from towards the rear of an Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner (see news, July 12).

Investigators sourced the fire to a battery in the emergency locator transmitter used to find missing aircraft following a crash.

In January, the B787 was grounded for three months due to another faulty battery system causing problems in two different planes operated by Japan Airlines and ANA (see news, January 11).

Ethiopian Airlines then became the first carrier to again operate a commercial B787 flight, between Addis Ababa and Nairobi, Kenya (see news, April 29).

Ethiopian’s CEO Tewolde Gebremariam today said: “The airplane is undergoing a challenging time to mature, but it’s improving.

“I have strong confidence in this airplane. It is the future in aviation.”

flyethiopian.com

Graham Smith

KLM to add Economy Comfort across Cityhopper fleet

Dutch carrier KLM is introducing new ultra-slim “e-leather” seats on to its fleet of short-haul Cityhopper Fokker 70 aircraft, ahead of the installation of an Economy Comfort section.

The slimmer seats, manufactured by Acro, mean leg room is increased in both European Business and Economy classes.

The business class cabin has been reduced to six rows, with customers now having an additional three inches of leg room, while economy passengers gain an additional 1.5 inches.

The seats are upholstered in blue e-leather, which is constructed from off-cuts and is environmentally friendly.

After having introduced Economy Comfort on its Boeing 737 fleet, KLM will roll out the premium economy seating on the KLM Cityhopper fleet, including its Embraer 190s, during winter 2013/14.

At the time of writing, KLM has nine Fokker 70s with new Acro slim seats, and the carrier is planning the introduction of Economy Comfort on to these aircraft during the winter, with the exact date yet to be announced.

KLM Cityhopper is based at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands, and is the regional airline subsidiary of the carrier.

To read a review of the Cityhopper service between Amsterdam and London Heathrow from March, click here.

klm.com

Scott Carey

United seeking approval for non-stop flights to Chengdu

United Airlines has applied to the US Department of Transportation seeking approval to begin non-stop service linking its San Francisco hub with Chengdu from June 9 next year.

Chengdu is the fourth largest city in China, and also one of the fastest developing economically, with more than 200 Fortune 500 companies having a presence here.

United intends to use the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner to operate the three-times weekly service to Chengdu. Should its proposal be approved, the Chinese city will become the ninth destination that the airline serves in the Asia-Pacific region non-stop from San Francisco.

The B787-8 will feature a three-class configuration, with 36 seats in Business First (2-2-2 layout), 70 seats in Economy Plus (3-3-3 layout), and 113 seats in economy (3-3-3 layout). Currently, United operates seven Dreamliners in its fleet and has an additional 58 on order. The airline expects to take delivery of one more 787-8 by the end of 2013.

Subject to government approval, the proposed flights will depart San Francisco International Airport (SFO) at 1335 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturday and arrive at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport at 1850 the following day.

The return leg will depart Chengdu at 1000 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and arrive back at SFO at 0850 the same day. Flight times will be approximately 14 hours and 15 minutes westbound, and 13 hours and 50 minutes eastbound. The non-stop flights will reduce the typical travel time between the two cities by nearly four hours.

For more information, visit www.united.com

Clement Huang

Qatar Qmiles and BA Avios confirm link-up details

Qatar Airways has announced the start date of the link-up of its Qmiles programme with BA’s Avios programme.

On its Privilege Club website, the Gulf carrier states “Qatar Airways partners with British Airways” from September 2.

It was previously announced that Qatar will officially join the Oneworld alliance in October, and even that was earlier than expected (see news, June 21).

British Airways Club World

Qatar Airways business class

Qatar’s announcement reads: “Effective September 2, 2013 Qatar Airways and British Airways have entered into a reciprocal frequent flyer agreement, wherein our Privilege Club member will now have the opportunity to earn Qmiles on all flights operated by British Airways.

“Moreover, effective October 1, 2013 Privilege Club members will also be able to redeem their Qmiles to avail of Award tickets on all British Airways flights.

“For complete information on the Mileage Earning opportunity please click here and to redeem your Qmiles for Awards tickets on our Partner Airlines please click here.”

Business Traveller asked BA for a comment and a spokesman confirmed the move.

He said: “From September 2, members of the British Airways Executive Club will be able to earn Avios points when flying on Qatar Airways.

“Qatar Airways is joining the Oneworld alliance later this year, and the two airlines are cementing their partnership with this reciprocal frequent flyer arrangement.”

Note that tier points will only be able to be earned when Qatar Airways joins Oneworld. No date has been given for this, but it is believed to be October.

qatarairways.com, oneworld.com

Tom Otley

SIA expands codeshare agreement with SAS

Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) have jointly announced that they will be expanding their codeshare agreement to cover more destinations in Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Effective immediately, codesharing will be extended to SAS operated flights from Copenhagen to Alesund, Bergen, Stavanger and Trondheim in Norway, Gothenburg in Sweden, Aalborg, Aarhus and Billund in Denmark; and Turku in Finland.

In return, SIA will also be extending codesharing on SIA operated flight beyong Singapore to Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in Australia; Auckland in New Zealand; Denpasar (Bali) and Jakarta in Indonesia; as well as Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.

The expansion of the codeshare agreement will help deepen SIA’s access to destinations in Scandinavia, while SAS will benefit from the increased exposure within the Asia Pacific region.

Both SIA and SAS are members of Star Alliance, and both have been codesharing since December 2010. The initial partnership saw SIA adding its code to SAS-operated flights beyond Copenhagen to Helsinki, Oslo and Stockholm, while SAS would codeshare on SIA operated flights between Copenhagen and Singapore, and on selected flights between Singapore and Bangkok (see here).

The two carriers also received final regulatory approval for a join venture late last year, which would see both airlines engaging in joint operations including the co-ordination of flight schedules and join sales activities.

As part of the partnership, SIA increased frequency of flights between Singapore and Copenhagen on March 31 from three to five flights per week, with SAS codesharing on these flights.

For more information, visit www.singaporeair.com and www.flysas.com

Clement Huang

Easyjet to launch year-round LGW to Jersey service

Easyjet is introducing a year-round service between London Gatwick and Jersey from next year.

The carrier will operate three daily return flights beween the two airports from March 30, after taking over 25 slots from Flybe at LGW.

Flybe currently operates four daily services on the route.

It will be Easyjet’s fifth UK to Jersey route — the airline also flies to the Channel Island from Southend, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow.

The provisional schedule will see flights leaving LGW at 0700, 1430 and 1730, arriving in Jersey at 0800, 1530 and 1830 respectively.

The return service, which also lasts an hour will depart Jersey at 0830, 1600 and 1900.

Cath Lynn, Easyjet’s group commercial director, said: “The new early flight which departs London Gatwick at 0700 will allow business travellers to reach Jersey in time for a full day of meetings while the evening departure enables them to fly home on the same day.”

The airline will deploy an Airbus A319 aircraft with a capacity of 156 seats on the route.

Last month, Easyjet announced a new Gatwick to Bucharest service, one of five new routes for the upcoming winter season (see news, July 5).

easyjet.com

Graham Smith

Etihad expands Business Connect scheme

Etihad Airways has extended its Business Connect scheme, its loyalty programme for businesses, to 11 new markets.

The scheme is now available to small to medium-sized enterprises (SME) located in Bahrain, Belarus, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, the Netherlands, Oman, the Philippines, Qatar and Thailand.

It was previously, and remains, available in 21 other countries including the UK, France, Germany, Australia and the US.

The mileage-earning programme allows SMEs to accumulate Etihad Guest Miles every time an employee takes a flight.

There are no blackout periods when redeeming miles against upgrades, free flights, or products from the Etihad Guest Reward Shop, and setting up a Business Connect account is free of charge.

etihadbusinessconnect.com

Scott Carey