Lufthansa provides Glaswegians with global access

Clyde Arc, Glasgow

Glaswegians have another option to access the world without going via London’s Heathrow or Gatwick.

Lufthansa has started a new daily service to Frankfurt, which together with its existing flights to Munich, provides a combined total of 12 weekly flights via both its hubs.

The German national airline offers excellent global coverage. The chief exception being Australasia (that is where Emirates scores with its ex-Glasgow operation) but Lufthansa has formed joint ventures with other carriers for that destination.

In particular, for those travelling short-haul, Lufthansa (and the Lufthansa Group members for that matter) offer unrivalled coverage of Europe (including Eastern Europe) and Russia.

Lufthansa says these two links from Glasgow will offer over 200 worldwide connections to 74 countries.

Andreas Koester, sales director for Lufthansa in the UK, says “Passengers are now able to travel both to Frankfurt and Munich giving them more flexibility and increased opportunities for connections.”

The new Glasgow-Frankfurt service is operated by an A320. Details are:

  • LH861 departs Glasgow at 1600, arriving into Frankfurt at 1855
  • LH960 departs Frankfurt at 1415, arriving into Glasgow at 1515

lufthansa.com

Qatar Airways launches Privilege Club refresh with QMiles promotions

Qatar Airways Privilege Club

Qatar Airways is celebrating the recent refresh of its Privilege Club loyalty programme, with a series of offers and “programme enhancements”.

Members booking economy class tickets by April 12, for travel until September 30, will receive a bonus of 1,500 QMiles, while those booking in business or first class will earn 3,000 bonus miles.

Then between April 1 and 15, members will receive a 50 per cent discount when paying by QMiles at selected stores at Hamad International Airport and at the Oryx Galleria in Doha.

The offers co-incide with a refresh of the Privilege Club scheme, under the strapline “Don’t just collect miles, collect memories”.

The carrier says that over the coming weeks it will launch a number of programme enhancements, including a new member log-in area, dashboard and “other functionalities designed to make the members’ experience with Qatar Airways easier and more seamless than ever before”.

The airline is also highlighting the ability for members “to do all their account activities online”, although as this forum thread shows not everyone is pleased with this change.

qatarairways.com

Plaza Premium gears up for Aerotel opening at Heathrow T3

A room at Aerotel London

Plaza Premium Group has launched a promotional opening rate for stays at its new Aerotel transit hotel property at Heathrow.

Located within the east wing of the Heathrow T3 Arrivals area, Aerotel London is scheduled to open next month, and is offering 30 per cent off rates for stays between May 1 and July 1.

Plaza Premium launched the Aerotel concept at Changi airport in 2016, and has since added properties at Abu Dhabi, Rio de Janeiro, Kuala Lumpur and Muscat airports.

Aerotel London offers a mixture of 82 Solo Plus, Double Plus, Double Squared and Family rooms accommodating between one and four guests, all featuring power showers, TVs and free wifi.

Solo Plus rooms measure 10 sqm, with Double Plus at 14 sqm, Double Squared at 21 sqm, and and Family Rooms at 38 sqm (this last category also includes a living area).

The property also features a 24-hour Library Lounge, with paid-for snacks and refreshments, newspapers, magazines and TVs.

Rooms at Aerotel London can be booked in hourly slots, with a minimum stay of six hours. Prices start from £50, or £35 during the promotional period.

myaerotel.com

UK to hire 1,000 additional Border Force staff

EU and UK Passport Control Signage at London Gatwick Airport (iStock)

The UK is to hire 1,000 new Border Force staff in the run up to Brexit, Home Secretary Amber Rudd confirmed today.

Speaking at the Home Affairs Select Committee Rudd said that the Home Office is to launch an ad campaign for another thousand staff “in order to improve the quality of our border and prepare specifically for Brexit”, adding that the employees would be placed around the country “to make sure that every area is made secure”.

The additional staff will be funded by a £395 million boost in spending for the Home Office.

The UK’s Airport Operators Association (AOA) said that it welcomed the announcement, with CEO Karen Dee commenting:

“We welcome the announcement today that the Government will be recruiting additional Border Force staff as well as the commitment by the Home Secretary in her evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee that the Home Office will step up investment for a smoother experience for visitors at the border.

“The border experience for passengers passing through UK airports has been under pressure in recent years as resources for Border Force have gone down, while passenger numbers went up. This has resulted in longer queues more often in airports.

“It is vital that as we prepare for Brexit, the UK demonstrates we are open for business by providing both a secure and welcoming border experience to legitimate travellers. We will work with the Government and Border Force to ensure that the new recruits provide much needed additional capacity at the border in airports to achieve this, in addition to their role in preparing Border Force for Brexit.”

gov.uk, aoa.org.uk

Brussels Airlines unveils Aerosmurf aircraft

Brussels Airlines' Aerosmurf aircraft

Brussels Airlines has unveiled the latest aircraft in its “Belgian Icons” series, featuring characters from comic franchise The Smurfs.

The Aerosmurf design (named after the title of a Smurf comic in which a character dreams to fly) was chosen from over 1,400 submissions, and took 14 days to paint, using 28 colours, 420 litres of paint, 24,000 metres of masking tape and 4,500 sqm of masking paper.

The Smurfs franchise celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, and the aircraft features 19 smurf characters as passengers and crew, including Smurfette as the captain and Papa Smurf as co-pilot.

Evil wizard and enemy of The Smurfs Gargamel can also be seen trying to escape through a hatch in the belly of the plane along with his cat Azrael.

The aircraft’s interior has also been made over, with smurf footsteps on the carpet and imagery on partition walls.

The Aerosmurf aircraft is the fifth in Brussels Airlines’ Belgian Icons series, with previous designs including Amare, Tintin and Magritte.

The Aerosmurf aircraft will fly as part of Brussels Airlines’ fleet until 2023 – a list of upcoming flights which will be served by the plane can be seen here.

brusselsairlines.com

Grab takes over Uber’s Southeast Asia operations

Uber rider

Following months of speculation, Uber has announced it will sell its Southeast Asian operations to Singapore-based rival Grab.

The acquisition includes both the taxi-hailing and food delivery business – Uber Eats, in the eight countries Grab has a presence, including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, Myanmar and Cambodia.

As part of the deal, Uber will receive a 27.5 per cent stake in Grab.

The move has been heralded as a positive move for both sides to end the “war of attrition” and intense competition, though industry speculators worry the merger could see less competitive rates for consumers.

Anthony Tan, group CEO and co-founder of Grab said: “[The] acquisition marks the beginning of a new era. The combined business is the leader in platform and cost efficiency in the region. Together with Uber, we are now in an even better position to fulfil our promise to serve our customers. Their trust in us as a transport brand allows us to look towards the next step as a company: improving people’s lives through food, payments and financial services.”

According to Grab, the two companies are working to migrate Uber drivers and riders, Uber Eats customers, merchant partners and delivery partners to the Grab platform.

The Uber app will continue to operate for two weeks until April 8, 2018. Information on how to transfer to the new Grab platform can be found here: grab.com/sg/comingtogether.

Uber Eats will run until the end of May, after which Uber delivery and restaurant partners will move to the GrabFood platform.

However, Uber for Business services will not be supported in Southeast Asia after the transition.

This marks the second time Uber has retreated from an Asian destination, following the merger of its China operations with local company Didi Chuxing.

uber.com grab.com

 

London City passes 100,000 weekly passengers for first time

Present day, London City Airport and the City skyline looking west

Over 100,000 passengers travelled through London City last week, the first time the airport has reached the milestone.

A total of 101,336 travellers passed through the terminal between March 19 and March 25, beating the previous record set in June 2016 by 2 per cent.

Thursday March 22 was also the busiest ever single day in LCY’s history, with 18,607 passengers either departing or arriving into the airport.

A total of 1,525 flights operated last week, with the Amsterdam route being the busiest, carrying 13,374 passengers, followed by Dublin (11,454) and Edinburgh (11,043).

LCY said that strong performances by British Airways and Flybe had been partly responsible for the figures.

The news comes a few months after the airport reported flat passenger growth figures for 2017. At the time CEO Robert Sinclair said he expected strong growth to return in 2018.

Commenting on the latest figures Sinclair said:

“This record-breaking week and expected Easter rush reflects a much bigger trend for London City Airport, as we develop a growing portfolio of leisure routes and attract new passengers, while at the same time maintaining the industry-leading punctuality, ease of use, convenience, customer service and speed that our returning passengers know and love.”

This week TAP Air Portugal launched a new six times weekly service between London City airport and Porto.

londoncityairport.com

Jet Airways expands footprint in northeast India

Jet Airways expands footprint in Northeast India

Jet Airways has announced its plans to expand its operations in northeast India. The airline plans make Guwahati its gateway for the region.

In tune with these plans, the full-service carrier has started direct flights between Guwahati and Mumbai. Daily non-stop flights between Guwahati and Bengaluru will start from August. Additional flights between Guwahati and Delhi, Calcutta are in the pipeline. A new daily flight between Delhi and Aizawl has launched on Monday. Other connections added include Pune-Imphal, Mumbai-Imphal, Delhi-Imphal, Delhi-Jorhat, Delhi-Silchar and Mumbai-Jorhat.

Under its summer schedule, Jet Airways has increased the number of weekly flights connecting the northeast to the rest of the country from 160 to 184, adding 30 new flights weekly.

Schedule as follows:

Flight No. Departure Arrival Departure  Arrival Days Effective from
9W 851 Delhi Aizawl 11.00 14.00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 605 Delhi Aizawl 10.30 14.55 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 852 Aizawl Delhi 15.30 18.30 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 956 Delhi Jorhat 11.00 14.00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 917 Delhi Jorhat 09.20 13.10 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 957 Jorhat Delhi 15.20 18.20 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 918 Jorhat Delhi 14.20 18.55 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 669 Delhi Silchar 09.20 13.10 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 991 Delhi Silchar 11.00 13.50 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 606 Silchar Delhi 14.25 18.55 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 992 Silchar Delhi 15.30 18.30 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 827 Delhi Imphal 1030 15.00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday Resumed
9W 908 Delhi Imphal 11.05 18.05 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday Resumed
9W 909 Imphal Delhi 15.30 18.35 Daily Resumed
9W 921 Mumbai Jorhat 10.10 14.50 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 936 Jorhat Mumbai 14.35 19.15 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 935 Mumbai Imphal 10.10 14.50 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 842 Imphal Mumbai 14.35 19.15 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 982 Imphal Pune 15.30 23.35 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 659 Bengaluru Guwahati 10.15 13.15 Daily August 2018
9W 660 Guwahati Bengaluru 16.00 19.15 Daily August 2018

“We would like to have concentration of services in Guwahati. We are envisaging connecting the rest of the country with Guwahati and bringing the world to the city. Occupancy rates are high in the northeast region. The growth here will also be three to four times the growth rate in the rest of the country, which we have pegged at eight to ten per cent over the next five years. Growth in air connectivity in the region will lead to development of trade and commerce as well,” says Vinay Dube, CEO at Jet Airways.

jetairways.com

Jazreen Deboo

Jet Airways has announced its plans to expand its operations in northeast India. The airline plans make Guwahati its gateway for the region.

In tune with these plans, the full-service carrier has started direct flights between Guwahati and Mumbai. Daily non-stop flights between Guwahati and Bengaluru will start from August. Additional flights between Guwahati and Delhi, Calcutta are in the pipeline. A new daily flight between Delhi and Aizawl has launched on Monday. Other connections added include Pune-Imphal, Mumbai-Imphal, Delhi-Imphal, Delhi-Jorhat, Delhi-Silchar and Mumbai-Jorhat.

Under its summer schedule, Jet Airways has increased the number of weekly flights connecting the northeast to the rest of the country from 160 to 184, adding 30 new flights weekly.

Schedule as follows:

Flight No. Departure Arrival Departure  Arrival Days Effective from
9W 851 Delhi Aizawl 11.00 14.00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 605 Delhi Aizawl 10.30 14.55 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 852 Aizawl Delhi 15.30 18.30 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 956 Delhi Jorhat 11.00 14.00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 917 Delhi Jorhat 09.20 13.10 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 957 Jorhat Delhi 15.20 18.20 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 918 Jorhat Delhi 14.20 18.55 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 669 Delhi Silchar 09.20 13.10 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 991 Delhi Silchar 11.00 13.50 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 606 Silchar Delhi 14.25 18.55 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 992 Silchar Delhi 15.30 18.30 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 827 Delhi Imphal 1030 15.00 Monday, Wednesday, Friday Resumed
9W 908 Delhi Imphal 11.05 18.05 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday Resumed
9W 909 Imphal Delhi 15.30 18.35 Daily Resumed
9W 921 Mumbai Jorhat 10.10 14.50 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 936 Jorhat Mumbai 14.35 19.15 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 935 Mumbai Imphal 10.10 14.50 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 842 Imphal Mumbai 14.35 19.15 Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday March 2018
9W 982 Imphal Pune 15.30 23.35 Monday, Wednesday, Friday March 2018
9W 659 Bengaluru Guwahati 10.15 13.15 Daily August 2018
9W 660 Guwahati Bengaluru 16.00 19.15 Daily August 2018

“We would like to have concentration of services in Guwahati. We are envisaging connecting the rest of the country with Guwahati and bringing the world to the city. Occupancy rates are high in the northeast region. The growth here will also be three to four times the growth rate in the rest of the country, which we have pegged at eight to ten per cent over the next five years. Growth in air connectivity in the region will lead to development of trade and commerce as well,” says Vinay Dube, CEO at Jet Airways.

jetairways.com

Jazreen Deboo

Rosewood opens luxury retreat in Laos

Rosewood Luang Prabang Hilltop_Tent

Rosewood Luang Prabang has officially opened in north central Laos, a 10-minute drive from the Unesco World Heritage-listed city of Luang Prabang and 25 minutes from the international airport.

Perched on a hilltop surrounded by forest, the resort offers a relaxing destination to recharge and an opportunity to explore the local culture and nature.

The property features 23 guestrooms, villas, suites and Rosewood’s first luxury tents. Each type of accommodation is unique, with differing views and facilities. These range from the 90 sqm Riverside Suites to the Waterfall Pool Villas with private swimming pools overlooking a natural waterfall and the six Hilltop Tents floating in the treetop canopy and decorated with ethnic prints from local Laotian hill tribes

Designed by Bill Bensley and Bensley design studio, the property has been sensitively designed to reference the French-Indochine era with plenty of historic details and ornaments.

“Rosewood Luang Prabang is exotic, intimate and deeply respectful of the destination’s culture, history and natural setting,” says Sonia Cheng, chief executive officer of Rosewood Hotel Group. “This unique property is not only a wondrous expression of our brand’s A Sense of Place philosophy, but also marks a key milestone for our group and its Southeast Asia expansion.”

Dining options at Rosewood Luang Prabang include traditional Laos food at The Great House, featuring indoor seating, an open-air terrace and large daybeds overlooking lush gardens and a waterfall, while light snacks and refreshing cocktails are available at The Elephant Bridge Bar overlooking the river.

Spa treatments at Sense, A Rosewood Spa are carried out in hillside tents and combine local remedies and herbs.

Guests wishing to explore the local environment can enjoy a range of tailored experiences from guided tours of the local temples and meeting hill tribe communities, to trekking through the forest and hopping aboard a Laotian river boat.

To celebrate the opening, the “Ancient Wonders of Laos” package offers rates starting from US$780 per room per night for a minimum three-night stay in a Riverside Room for two persons (excluding tax and service charge). The offer is valid until December 31, 2018. rosewoodhotels.com

 

Easyjet expands connections service

Worldwide by Easyjet

Easyjet has announced a major expansion of its Worldwide by Easyjet connections service, to include a total of seven European airports.

The service was launched last year at Gatwick with partner airlines Norwegian and Westjet, and is already set to be extended to Milan Malpensa this spring with Norwegian and Italian carrier Neos.

The new announcement will add connections at Berlin Tegel, Amsterdam Schiphol, Venice Marco Polo, Paris CDG, Paris Orly, Edinburgh and Inverness, as follows:

  • At Venice connections will begin in mid-April, with an as-yet-unnamed partner airline
  • At Paris CDG connections will launch this spring with Norwegian
  • At Paris Orly connections will start this spring, with Corsair, La Compagnie and Norwegian
  • At Berlin Tegel connection will begin this summer, with an as-yet-unnamed partner airline
  • At Amsterdam Schiphol connections will launch this summer with Norwegian
  • At Edinburgh connections will start in 2018 (date TBC) with Loganair and Norwegian
  • At Inverness connections will begin in 2018 (date TBC) with Loganair

In addition Easyjet has announced new connection possibilities at Gatwick airport with Thomas Cook Airlines.

The carrier says that the expansion means over half its flights will offer connection services, covering a total of 53 million passengers.

The airline is keen to point out that the Worldwide connections service “does not impact Easyjet’s punctuality, its asset utilisation or operating model”. Connecting passengers are subject to a two and a half hour minimum connection time, and flights are not held. Should a passenger miss their connecting flight, they will be transferred to the next available service.

Also, in the case of Gatwick airport at least, baggage is not through checked – passengers must use the airport’s Gatwick Connects service. It’s not clear exactly what set up the carrier will use at the other airports listed above.

Commenting on the news Easyjet’s CEO Johan Lundgren said:

“Because of Easyjet’s reputation for great customer service and our strong positions at Europe’s leading airports, long haul carriers as well as airports have been asking to work with Easyjet for some time.

“Easyjet will sign up other airlines to Worldwide by Easyjet throughout 2018, with talks already far advanced with middle and far-eastern carriers amongst others and we also plan to expand to other Easyjet airports across Europe.”

easyjet.com