Weekly Travel Update November 25th

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Travel News 25 Nov 2016

For week ending November 25

This has been another jam-packed week with lots of activities and news in the travel industry: KLM revealed its decision to stop flights between Amsterdam and Doha (ending a 33-year presence in Qatar), Ascott launched the innovative and sparkling brand LYF for millennianal travellers and British Airways started selling its own corporate gin onboard. However, the biggest news this week is definitely the 4-day strike by Lufthansa pilots over a bitter pay dispute, which has now been extended until tomorrow (Saturday 26). The walkout, originally planned for 24 hours, has already affected 315,000 passengers and forced Lufthansa to cancel 2,618 flights in 4 consecutive days.

Loganair  creates ”national airline for Scotland”

Loganair is planning to create “a national airline for Scotland” following the end of a longstanding franchise agreement with Flybe. Loganair has been operating under franchise agreements with other airlines for 24 years and it now decided to operate flights in its own from September 1, 2017. The Glasgow-based carrier will once again market its services and fly under its own name introducing a new Scottish identity to the skies. The current deal with Flybe will terminate on August 31, 2017, although Loganair says that “the two parties are continuing to discuss potential opportunities to work together in future”. The carrier’s existing codeshare agreement with British Airways will continue.

Ascott launches new Lyf brand for millennials

Serviced residence brand The Ascott Limited has begun targeting millennial travellers by launching its new Lyf brand (pronounced “life”) of serviced apartments. The new brand is designed to offer a more community-based experience that connects guests with other travellers and will be tailored for and managed by millennials. The launch of a new millennial-focused brand comes as the company expect a growth in its customers from this demographic. The company states that young travellers already form a quarter of Ascott’s clients and the segment is poised to grow exponentially over the next years.

KLM drops Amsterdam-Doha route

The Dutch carrier will stop flights between Amsterdam Schiphol and Doha from March 26, after reporting a drop in profit since Qatar Airways launched direct service to Schiphol in June 2015.The airline said that the move brings “an end to KLM’s 33-year presence in Qatar”.

Lufthansa strike causes thousands of cancellations

Thousands of flights have been cancelled in extended strike action by Lufthansa pilots aiming to ramp up the pressure on management over a long-running pay dispute. The strike had originally been planned as a 24-hour walkout but has been extended three times: Germany’s flagship carrier announced on Wednesday (November 23) that planned 24-hour action would continue until Friday (November 25) but the strike has now been extended until tomorrow (Saturday 26) and it will affect long-haul flights again. Lufthansa has cancelled over 2,600 flights since pilots represented by the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) union went on strike on Wednesday, disrupting travel plans for more than 315,000 passengers. Lufthansa has put the cost of the stoppage at around 10 million euros per day. Pilots are the only employees striking, meaning the company is still legally obliged to pay other workers – such as cabin crew staff – who continue to go to work even if they are not able to do their jobs. The airline has already grounded nearly 1,800 flights since the strike began on Wednesday.

Westjet to serve McDonald’s coffee in-flight

Westjet has announced a new partnership with McDonald’s Canada, which will see the fast food chain’s McCafe Premium Roast coffee served on board its aircraft. All of the low-cost carrier’s fleet of B737 and B767 aircraft will offer the coffee by December 1 and Westjet says it will serve around 30,000 complimentary cups of McCafe coffee each day, with the beverage being offered in a specially designed McDonald’s signature double-walled cup.

British Airways launches gin brand

BA says that it serves a total of three million gin and tonics each year and the carrier has now launched its own gin for First passengers. The gin, which has been blended for British Airways following extensive taste tests, has been created by the Cambridge Distillery. The main botanicals used in the exclusive herbaceous gin (aside from juniper) are basil, rosemary and thyme, which are all grown in the distillery gardens in Cambridge.

Dragonair officially becomes Cathay Dragon

Regional Hong Kong carrier Dragonair officially completed the transition to its new identity Cathay Dragon on November 21. The rebrand of Cathay Pacific’s sister airline aims to “provide customers with a more seamless travel experience across the airlines’ respective regional and international networks”.

British Airways moving to the South Terminal at Gatwick

Gold Preferred British Airways is moving to the South Terminal at London Gatwick Airport with the British Airways' last day of operation in the North Terminal to be on January 24, 2017. BA will welcome customers to its new facilities in the South Terminal on January 25, 2017.