Guernsey to have London City link

The off-shore financial centre of Guernsey will be directly linked to London City from September.

Local airline Aurigny will commence a twice-daily weekday service from the second largest Channel Island on September 8.

The service will be operated by a leased Fokker 50 turbo-prop with outbound flights departing Guernsey at 0730 and 1700 to arrive into LCY, easily the closest airport to the City, at 0845 and 1815 respectively.

The return services depart LCY at 0915 and 1845 to arrive back into Guernsey at 1030 and 2000.

Aurigny CEO Mark Darby said: “As a world-renowned international financial centre, Guernsey relies heavily on its links with London.”

Aurigny also operates flights between Guernsey and London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports.

aurigny.com

Alex McWhirter

Gatwick offers baggage home delivery

Gatwick Airport has introduced a free luggage home delivery service in a bid to cope with a critical shortage of staff at baggage handler firm Swissport.

The move came as airlines today warned travellers flying into the London airport this weekend that they face long luggage collection delays.

Some travellers may even have to leave without their luggage as Swissport doesn’t have enough staff to unload/load aircraft, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Swissport today denied that the problem is worse at weekends due to many of its staff being on zero-hours contracts and not wanting to work unsocial hours.

Monarch Airlines today terminated its contract with Swissport and will wait for 120-day notice period to expire before moving to a new contractor.

This weekend is expected to be one of the busiest of the year as people leave the UK for their summer holiday.

LGW has confirmed it will offer free baggage home delivery services for those affected by the delays.

A spokesperson said: “Although bags are being delivered on time for 95 per cent of flights, this is not good enough.

“This has been frustrating for passengers and we are disappointed with the recent arrival baggage service. Swissport has committed to getting this right, and we are working closely with them to help. Gatwick is providing additional staff.

“Although we are not permitted to unload the aircraft, we are assisting with transport of bags to the terminal and the unloading of bags onto belts. We’ve also introduced a free baggage home delivery service for those who prefer not to wait.”

Last weekend, passengers arriving at Gatwick’s south terminal faced long delays in collecting their baggage, with some reportedly waiting up to three hours.

gatwickairport.com

Graham Smith

Lufthansa to roster B747-8 into Tokyo Haneda

Lufthansa will soon fly its newish B747-8 to Tokyo.

From the start of the winter timetable on October 26, the aircraft will be rostered for the German airline’s daily link between Frankfurt and Tokyo’s “close-in” Haneda airport.

The flight timings will be attractive to business travellers and provide connections at Frankfurt to/from destinations throughout mainland Europe and Scandinavia.

Flight LH716 will depart Frankfurt at 1800 to arrive into Tokyo Haneda at 1305 the following day. Return flight LH717 is scheduled to leave Tokyo Haneda at 1520 and will arrive into Frankfurt the same day at 1900.

It is understood that from December 10, the B747-8 used on this route will be retrofitted with premium economy seating, in addition to the standard first, business and economy classes.

Lufthansa’s move demonstrates how airlines are seeking to make their Haneda services more attractive. In the early days, flight schedules had to meet the demands set down by the Japanese aviation authority (so they were not especially attractive) but these are gradually being relaxed.

Doubtless, if they had the opportunity, Lufthansa and other A380 airlines would operate their superjumbos into Haneda. But Tokyo’s main domestic airport, which was only reopened to international flights a few years ago, currently is not able to handle the superjumbo.

But not everything is positive. At the same time as Haneda is “upgraded”, flight operations to Tokyo Narita (previously Lufthansa’s flagship service to Japan) have been “downgraded” so that what was once an A380 route is now in the hands of an older and smaller A340-300.

lufthansa.com

Alex McWhirter

ANA unveils first scheduled B787-9 services

All Nippon Airways has announced the world’s first scheduled B787-9 services.

The Japanese carrier received its first stretched Dreamliner on Tuesday (see news, July 29).

It has now revealed that, from August 7, it will introduce the 395-seat aircraft — with nine-across seating in economy — on routes between Tokyo Haneda and Fukuoka, Osaka Itami and Matsuyama.

ANA will add a further two B787-9s to its fleet by the end of March 2015. It plans to introduce the aircraft on international services in April 2015.

When it launches the aircraft on its international services, ANA will operate a 215-seat configuration, with 46 more seats than the existing B787-8 used on long-haul routes.

A statement from the airline said: “ANA will focus on utilising the 395-seat version of the 787-9 on major domestic routes to maximise passenger numbers, while also lowering operational costs.

“On ANA’s international network, the plan is to utilise the 787-9 to increase capacity on some long-haul routes to Europe, North America and other key destinations which are at present served by the smaller 787-8 or to replace larger aircraft currently operating the routes.”

From August 7, the B787-9 will operate three flights per day.

Flight NH241 will depart Tokyo Haneda at 0725 and arrive in Fukuoka at 0915, with return service NH248 departing Fukuoka at 1005 and landing at Haneda at 1150.

Flight NH25 will depart Haneda at 1300 and arrive at Osaka Itami at 1405, with return service NH30 taking-off from Osaka at 1500 and arriving back at Haneda at 1615.

Flight NH595 will depart Haneda at 1715 and arrive at Matsuyama at 1840, with return service NH598 leaving Matsuyama at 1930 and landing at Haneda at 2100.

ANA now has 29 B787s in its fleet, more than any other airline. It was the launch customer for the Dreamliner, having ordered a total of 80 aircraft, including 36 787-8s (28 of which have already been delivered) and 44 787-9s.

ANA has 29 more 787-9s on order with commitments for 14 more.

Earlier this month, Air New Zealand became the first airline to take delivery of the B787-9 (see news, July 7).

ANZ will deploy the aircraft on its Auckland to Perth route from October 15, and later on flights to Shanghai and Tokyo.

ana.co.jp

Graham Smith

CZ launches Guangzhou-Wuhan-Moscow route

China Southern (CZ) has started flying from Guangzhou Baiyun International airport to Moscow Sheremetyevo International airport via Wuhan Tianhe International airport three times a week.

 

The route is operated by a 218-seat A330-200 consisting of four classes – with four first class seats in a 1-2-1 format; 24 business arranged in 2-2-2; 48 premium economy and 142 economy seats both in 2-4-2 configurations.

First class 

Business class

Premium economy class

Economy class

The service departs Guangzhou on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 1145, arriving in Wuhan at 1330. The service departs again at 1510, reaching Moscow at 2015 local time. The return leg departs the Russian capital at 2215, landing in Wuhan at 0955, before leaving at 1135 and touching back down in Guangzhou at 1320.

The launch of this route is good news for passengers in the Hubei Province as the direct flight time between Wuhan and Moscow is just nine hours. Previously, passengers from Hubei Province travelling to Russia had to get a connecting flight in Shanghai or Guangzhou adding at least five hours to the journey. The new service also helps to connect one of China’s most important cities. Wuhan, which has a population of over ten million, is an important domestic trade centre and is home to major industries, from automobiles to electronics. Click here for an Inside China article of the city, and here to subscribe.

In the near future, CZ intends to sign a codeshare agreement with Russian carrier Aeroflot on the new route. This will mean that Chinese travellers will be able to use Moscow as a transit port to access other parts of Russia, as well as parts of Eastern Europe.

Wuhan Tianhe International airport currently operates 22 international routes, flying to destinations such as Paris, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Bangkok, Osaka, and Ho Chi Minh City. The airport plans to expand its direct services, with Chicago, Tokyo, Melbourne and Cairns first on the list.

csair.com/en

Valerian Ho

Munich Airport rolls out unlimited free wifi

Munich Airport is now offering all passengers free wifi for as long as they want.

Complimentary internet access at the airport was previously only available for 30 minutes.

But now MUC has partnered with network provider Deutsche Telekom to provide unlimited free access.

The upgraded service will work on all mobile devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablets.

To access the service, users simply need to turn on their wifi and select “Telekom” for the list of available networks. A start-up page will then launch and link the user directly to the Munich Airport sign-in page for a quick registration.

As all registration details are automatically stored securely, users will not need to register again on future visits to the airport.

munich-airport.de

Clement Huang

Free and unlimited wifi at Munich Airport

Ever felt frustrated by the time-restrictive nature of the WLAN internet service at Munich Airport? Well, good news. A new service will now allow visitors to surf the web free of charge for as long as they want.

Complimentary internet access at the airport was previously only available for 30 minutes, but now Munich Airport has partnered with network provider Deutsche Telekom to provide unlimited free access.

The upgraded service will work on all mobile devices, including smartphones, laptops and tablets.

To access the service, users simply need to turn on their wifi and select “Telekom” listed under the available networks. A start-up page will launch and link the user directly to the Munich Airport sign-in page for a quick registration. As all registration details are automatically stored securely, users will not need to register again on future visits to the airport.

For more information, visit munich-airport.de

Clement Huang

Korean Air takes delivery of tenth A380

Finally some positive news for the Airbus A380! Korean Airlines (KE) has taken delivery of its tenth superjumbo, which will debut on the carrier’s service to Atlanta on August 3.

The announcement is a welcome relief after a week of cancellations (see here and here).

Alongside Atlanta, KE also flies the A380 14 times a week between both Incheon–Los Angeles and Incheon–New York, and seven flights weekly between Incheon–Paris.

KE’s superjumbo features a three-class layout with 14 seats in first class, 98 in business and 301 in economy – the lowest coach configuration of any A380 operator so far. This has resulted in the more generous economy class seat pitch of 34 inches.

The Korean Air A380 also offers several features including a “Duty Free Showcase”, located on the lower deck, where passengers are free to browse through a variety of duty-free products. The “Celestial Bar” is also worth a visit for passengers in need of a little booze, with a selection of Korean Air’s signature cocktails to sample.

For more information, visit koreanair.com

Clement Huang 

JW Marriott Hotel Zhengzhou opens

JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts has expanded its China portfolio by opening the 416-room JW Marriott Hotel Zhengzhou.

Whilst managed by the luxury hotel group, the new property is owned by the Greenland Group.

The hotel is housed in the tallest building in Central China – the 60-floor Millennium Royal Plaza standing at 280 metres tall, and as such offers some of the best views in the city.

JW Marriott Hotel Zhengzhou

Situated in the central business district of Zhengzhou – an important transportation hub in China – the hotel is in a good location for business travellers.  Emphasis has been placed on meeting and conference facilities with over 2,500sqm of function and event space – the 1,000sqm JW Grand Ballroom being the main highlight. There are also six meeting rooms and a pre-function ballroom foyer.

Lobby

JW Grand Ballroom

The 416 guestrooms are located between the 41st and 55th floor, and each offers floor-to-ceiling windows. Basic amenities include the signature JW Marriott bedding and ergonomic work spaces.

Deluxe king room

JW Marriott Hotel Zhengzhou offers four dining outlets located on the 38th and 39th floors. Guests can enjoy classic Chinese and Western dishes at The Grill, Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine at Man Ho, a buffet-style offering at Zhengzhou Kitchen, or afternoon tea at The Lounge.

For more information, visit jwmarriottzhengzhou.com

Clement Huang

Flying Blue miles redeemed on more Transavia flights

Air France-KLM Flying Blue members can now use their air miles on all Transavia.com flights that depart from a Dutch airport.

Members of the frequent flyer programme can spend their miles on all 79 of the budget airline’s services departing from the Netherlands.

The move follows a pilot project that allowed Flying Blue members to spend their miles on all 70 Transavia.com services departing France (see news, April 4).

It is not possible to earn Flying Blue Miles on Transavia.com flights.

airfrance.co.uk, klm.com, transavia.com

Graham Smith