Victoria’s Secret coming to Helsinki airport

Lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret will open a branch at Helsinki airport later this summer.

The “Beauty & Accessories” store will be the brand’s first outlet in Finland.

Helsinki airport’s operator, Finavia, is nearing the end of a period of service reform that, once complete, will see around 70 openings of new or renovated shops and restaurants.

Refurbishment work will complete in Terminal 2 by the end of this year, with upgrades in Terminal 1 continuing into 2016.

Jukka Isomaki, Finavia’s deputy director, said: “We are excited about the arrival of Victoria’s Secret and we are proud to welcome the brand with its first Finnish store location at the Helsinki airport.”

Last year, the airport trialled yoga and Pilates at its departure gates (see news, July 2014).

finavia.fi

Graham Smith

The Lanesborough to reopen in July

The Lanesborough will reopen in July, 19 months after closing for extensive renovation work.

The London property was part of Starwood’s St Regis brand when it shut its doors at the end of 2013 (see news, November 2013).

The Lanesborough exterior

It will be an Oetker Collection hotel when it reopens on July 16, joining the group’s masterpiece series (see news, November 2014).

Overlooking Hyde Park Corner, The Lanesborough has 93 rooms and suites and a spa.

There will be ten room categories — Deluxe Queen, 25 sqm; Executive Queen, 30 sqm; Deluxe Double, 35 sqm; Executive Double, 40 sqm; Junior Suite, 45 sqm; Executive Junior Suite, 50 sqm; Apsley Suite, 65 sqm; Grosvenor Suite, 70 sqm; Buckingham Suite, 70 sqm; and The Royal Suite, 450 sqm.

The Royal Suite has been refurbished and extended to be reinstated as the hotel’s largest suite.

Renovation work was carried out in across the hotel, including every guestroom and all public areas. The Apsleys restaurant has a new Regency-style design.

Prices for a midweek stay in late July start at £575 (inclusive of VAT) and go all the way up £26,000 per night.

lanesborough.com

Graham Smith

Austrian Airlines to fly daily to Manchester

Austrian Airlines will start operating a daily Vienna-Manchester service later this year.

The Lufthansa Group carrier will roster Fokker 70 and 100 aircraft on the route, which launches on September 10.

Outbound flight OS463 will depart Vienna at 0950 and arrive in Manchester at 1120; return flight OS464 will leave Manchester at 1310 and land in Vienna at 1630.

Christian Schindler, Lufthansa Group’s regional director for the UK, Ireland and Iceland said: “As well as being the key Austrian business location, Vienna is an international congress and conference venue and continues to be ranked as the city with the best quality of life.

“Austrian Airlines’ new service will also offer the best possible transfer connections to the federal provinces of Austria as well as to central and eastern Europe.”

Austrian Airlines relaunched with a new identity earlier this year (see news, March 30).

austrian.com

Graham Smith

Lufthansa to operate A380 to Hong Kong

Lufthansa will operate a daily A380 service to Hong Kong this winter.

The superjumbo will replace the B747-8 that currently plies the route on October 25.

Flight LH796 departs Frankfurt at 2215 to arrive into Hong Kong at 1655 the next day. After a six hour layover, return flight LH797 leaves Hong Kong at 2310 and lands in Frankfurt at 0530 the following morning.

These departure and arrival times at Frankfurt afford excellent connections to many, if not most, European cities.

But Hong Kong’s gain is at the expense of both Johannesburg and Mumbai.

Johannesburg’s current A380 service will be replaced by a B747-8 with fewer seats. This seems a strange decision, considering that travel between Europe and South Africa peaks in the (European) winter months.

Mumbai’s planned A380 service by Lufthansa will be postponed yet again — superjumbo flights were proposed in the past and were finally set to launch this coming October.

Mumbai has only a single A380 gate and the arrival and departure times proposed by Lufthansa clash with those of Emirates. The latter got there first and took the slot timings (see news, September 2014).

In other news, Lufthansa will re-schedule its daily Cape Town to Munich service, operated by an A340-600, in the winter to operate during daytime hours.

Some readers have said they prefer daytime travel when returning from South Africa to Europe. The Lufthansa schedules will see a departure from Cape Town at 0925 and an arrival into Munich at 1950.

In the evening, there are connections available at Munich to quite a number of major European cities. Besides domestic points, these include London Heathrow, Manchester, Paris CDG, Milan Malpensa, Zurich and Geneva.

lufthansa.com

Alex McWhirter

Gatwick CEO: Heathrow expansion plans ‘unlawful’

Expansion at London Heathrow would be “unlawful” as it would further breach air pollution limits, the CEO of London Gatwick warned today.

Stewart Wingate said either Heathrow plan — a third runway or extending an existing runway — would worsen the already poor air quality conditions around the airport. This, he added, would add to the delay of LHR attaining legal limits.

Earlier this month, the Airports Commission inquiry into airport expansion in south-east England opted to examine more evidence on the problems caused by air pollution (see news, May 11). This consultation ends today.

Gatwick said recent data from DEFRA has indicated that under current projections, Heathrow would be the most polluted part of London by 2030, even without a third runway.

Wingate said: “Air quality concerns have prevented Heathrow expansion in the past and the air quality in west London continues to exceed the legal limits and is forecast to do so until beyond 2030.

“The country cannot afford to make the wrong choice and risk years of delay on a project that is eventually halted because of its unacceptable impact. There is now an alternative — Gatwick has never breached legal air quality limits and would operate comfortably within these standards with a second runway.

“Gatwick’s expansion plans strike the right balance between delivering the extra airport capacity and taking the right steps to protect the environment.”

But Heathrow claims it will “go beyond” meeting air pollution limits.

Matt Gorman, Heathrow’s sustainability and environment director, said: “After three years of extensive consultation, evidence gathering and analysis, the Commission has confirmed that Heathrow can expand well within local air quality limits…

“The Airports Commission Air Quality analysis has confirmed an expanded Heathrow will go beyond meeting local air quality limits.”

There are three remaining options for a new runway in the south-east — a second at Gatwick, a third at Heathrow, or extending one of the two existing runways at LHR.

The Airports Commission is expected to make its recommedation to the government in the coming weeks.

gatwickairport.com

Graham Smith

United delays SFO-Shanghai B787-9 service again

United Airlines has postponed its upcoming daily B787-9 Dreamliner service between San Francisco and Shanghai Pu Dong airport again.

The US carrier had originally planned to add flights UA891/892 on to the route in early May, but “slot issues” at Pu Dong airport meant the B787-9 service was delayed by two months until July 2 (see news, March 25).

However, the service has now been delayed by another two months, so is scheduled to begin on September 1, reports airlineroute.net.

Outbound service UA891 will depart San Francisco at 1505 and arrive in Shanghai at 1900 the next day, while return service UA890 will leave Shanghai at 2100 and land in San Francisco at 1800 the same day.

It will join United flights UA857/858, operated by a B747-400, on the route.

united.com

Graham Smith

IHG opens Intercontinental Dubai Marina

IHG has opened its fourth Intercontinental property in the United Arab Emirates.

The Intercontinental Dubai Marina, part of the Bay Central development, contains 132 guestrooms and 196 fully-serviced residential suites.

Facilities include nine meeting rooms, an outdoor swimming pool with marina views, male and female spas, and a 24-hour gym.

There are nine restaurants, bars and lounges including wine and tapas bar YNot; restaurant Accents; gin bar Ginter; the Marina Social restaurant, run by British Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton, which includes The Social Room bar; Gallery Lounge; and Urban Shisha Lounge.

Pascal Gauvin, IHG’s CCO in India, Middle East and Africa, said: “Intercontinental Dubai Marina is bringing the Intercontinental brand to the next level; contemporary, glamour with great modern art touch and travel stories – the first of a new generation of Intercontinental Hotels to open in the coming years.”

Intercontinental Dubai Marina is the fourth Intercontinental property in the UAE after Intercontinental Abu Dhabi, Intercontinental Dubai Festival City and Intercontinental Residence Suites Dubai Festival City.

IHG currently has 18 hotels open in the UAE across five brands and 79 in the Middle East with 26 in development. The group will open its first Hotel Indigo property there in 2017 (see news, April 22).

ihg.com

Graham Smith

Superjumbos ‘fly’ Singapore flag for 50th

Singapore Airlines (SIA) customers may soon find themselves travelling on an Airbus A380 draped in an eye-catching version of the Singapore flag to mark the nation’s Golden Jubilee.

According to the carrier, the first A380 with the commemorative livery graphic will take to the skies in early June, with the second to follow in July.

Two aircraft will feature the livery until the end of the year, and serve routes to Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Mumbai, New Delhi, Shanghai, Sydney and Zurich.

SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong spoke of the latest initiative by the airline to celebrate “SG50”.

“Singapore Airlines’ success is closely tied to the success of Singapore. What better way to celebrate SG50 than by proudly flying the national flag around the world on the world’s largest aircraft,” said Goh.

New liveries are a rarity for the airline, which has traditionally refrained from changing the graphics on its aircraft, especially following the SQ006 accident back in 2000.

A B747-400 that was painted in an SIA special promotional “Tropical” livery attempted to take off from the wrong runway at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport and crashed, resulting in 83 fatalities.

The accident led to SIA removing the livery from its fleet, and with the exception of a Star Alliance livery, no special promotion livery has since been introduced by the airline until now.

For more information, visit singaporeair.com

Clement Huang