looks back at some of this year’s business travel stories
- BA unveils its
subsidiary airline OpenSkies, the first UK carrier to fly non-stop from
mainland Europe to the US.
restrictions are relaxed at most UK airports although there is confusion as
some facilities keep the one-bag rule in place for several more months.
- Airmiles revamps
its loyalty scheme, creating new redemption values which include taxes and
- Thistle Hotels
announces it is to spend £100 milion revamping 25 of its UK properties.
reservations website shuts down for three days for “essential upgrades”.
- BA announces
all-business class transatlantic flights from London City airport, due to
launch in 2009.
- Varig drops
flights between Brazil and Europe, just months after they had been reinstated.
- Virgin and BA
launch a website for the refunding of illegal fuel surcharges to passengers.
- The first authorised in-flight mobile phone
calls are made on an Emirates flight from Dubai
- The first Singapore Airlines A380 passenger
flight between Singapore and
- Problems with baggage-handling systems
cause chaos at the opening of Heathrow’s T5, leading to BA delaying the
transfer of long-haul flights to the terminal.
- The Open Skies agreement between the US
and Europe comes into effect, leading to a
raft of new transatlantic services from London Heathrow.
- Safety checks
cause United Airlines’ 52-strong fleet of Boeing 777s to be grounded.
- Turkish Airlines
joins Star Alliance, in the same year as the carrier celebrates its 75th
- All-business class airline Eos and
long-haul budget carrier Oasis Hong Kong Airlines both go into liquidation.
- Hilton debuts it Doubletree brand in the UK, with the
conversion of the Cambridge Garden House hotel.
- Air France
announces a new long-haul premium economy class, code named C38.
- Easyhotel announces it will open its first
budget hotel in Dubai
- Swiss unveils its next-generation business
class seating, due to appear on its long-haul fleet from 2009.
- British carrier Silverjet goes bust, the
third all-business class airline to fail in six months.
- US carrier Delta announces it is dropping its London Gatwick-New York JFK service in the
same month that the airport celebrates its 50th birthday.
- FlyDubai says it will commence low-cost
flights from Al Maktoum International airport in 2009.
- Continental announces it is to defect from
Skyteam to Star Alliance, as it forges a closer relationship with founder Star
member United Airlines.
- BA buys French all-business class carrier
L’Avion, intending to integrate the airline into its OpenSkies subsidiary.
- Kingfisher Airlines unveils its new long-haul
economy and business class products, ahead of the launch of flights from London to Bangalore.
- Egyptair becomes the 21st Star Alliance member.
- The price of oil reaches a record high of nearly US$150 per barrel.
- Emirates launches A380 flights from Dubai
to New York,
with features including showers for first class passengers and fully-flat beds
in business class.
- Sofitel opens its new property at
Heathrow’s Terminal 5, the only hotel attached to the terminal building.
- Low-cost Canadian carrier Zoom goes bust,
citing “acutely difficult trading conditions within the aviation industry”.
- Lufthansa announces it is to buy Brussels
- United Airlines abandons plans to trial paid-for
in-flight meals across the Atlantic.
- Starwood announces its first W hotels in
the UK with properties
planned for London and Manchester.
- Eurostar services are severely disrupted by
a fire in one of the tunnels under the English Channel.
- Qantas takes delivery of its first A380
aircraft, featuring a four-class product and a lounge for business class
- Computer problems at an air-traffic control
centre in Hampshire causes flights to be suspended from several UK airports.
- A strike at Boeing’s Seattle
factory leads to V Australia postponing its December launch of flights between Australia and the US, as aircraft delivery cannot be
- Brazilian carrier TAM announces it is to
join Star Alliance.
- Jumeirah announces it will open a
“five-star super-deluxe” hotel and serviced apartment property in Glasgow.
- Bmi’s chairman Sir Michael Bishop exercises
an option obliging Lufthansa to buy his majority stake in the airline
- BA announces a 91 per cent drop in
before-tax profits, and plans to cut several short and long-haul services,
including Gatwick-Zurich and Heathrow-Kolkata.
- Oneworld member-elect Mexicana launches a
twice-weekly service from Mexico City
to London Gatwick, commencing in January.
- Capsule hotel group Yotel signs an
agreement to open two properties in Abu
- Anti-government demonstrations lead to the
closure of Bangkok’s
Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.
- Low-cost long-haul carrier Air Asia X
announces the launch of flights from London Stansted to Kuala Lumpur.
- Virgin says it is in talks with
Lufthansa over the future of Bmi.
- Kingfisher Airlines announces it is to fly London
Heathrow-Mumbai from January 5.
- Belgian carrier Brussels Airlines announces
it is to join Star Alliance.
- Oil prices fall to US$45 per barrel, around one-third of their peak
earlier in the year.
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