Weekly Travel Update October 7th

Travel News 07 Oct 2016

For week ending October 7th

As we move into October there is plenty of news rolling in from around the globe: while Four Seasons celebrates its luxurious grand opening in Abu Dhabi, Hilton Worldwide announces the first airport hotel in Lagos, Gatwick Airport adds  pressure on the government to make a decision on airport expansion and Egyptair restarts Heathrow Luxor service after suspension. All this and more in our weekly news round-up brought to you by FCM Travel Solutions.

Etihad aligns tier benefits across all Etihad Airways Partner airlines

Air Berlin, Alitalia, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Etihad Regional, Jet Airways and NIKI are all aligned with Etihad, along with the individual programmes such as Jet Airways’ Jet Privilege. All eight airlines now allow the earning of Etihad Guest miles across all airlines, along with spending on free flights, cabin class upgrades or gifts from the Etihad reward shop. The move does have negative consequences for some members of Etihad Rewards: it seems clear that silver tier members will now not have lounge access at the majority of lounges.

Birmingham to scrap drop-off fee

Birmingham airport will soon drop its hugely unpopular drop-off fee which is levied on passengers arriving by car. The fee was brought in some nine years ago. It will be scrapped as part of the airport’s £100 million investment programme. Now Birmingham is set to create a new drop-off car park which will provide free parking for 30 mins and be linked by a covered walkway to the terminal.

Four Seasons Abu Dhabi celebrates grand opening

The Four Seasons Abu Dhabi at Al Maryah Island held opening celebrations after completing the construction of its six restaurants and lounges. The waterfront hotel opened in May after 12 years of work, but was not fully complete until the opening of its Butcher & Still steakhouse on September 29.

Egyptair restarts Heathrow Luxor service after suspension

A direct air link between London and Luxor was re-established yesterday by Egyptair following a suspension since May. The re-introduction of the weekly connection comes as Egyptian tourist chiefs look to the UK to lift a ban on flights to Sharm el Sheikh after almost a year. Direct air links between the UK and the Red Sea resort have been suspended since the terrorist downing of a Russian charter flight killing all 224 people on board following its departure from the airport at Sharm el Sheikh.

Gatwick names firm lined up to build second runway

Gatwick today added pressure on the government to make a decision on airport expansion by confirming a firm to deliver a second runway by 2025. The announcement, coinciding with the start of the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, came days after rival Heathrow outlined how it could raise capacity by 5% before any third runway is built.

TUI Tries to Solve Problems at Its German Airline With Air Berlin Tourism Merger

TUI AG sought to reassure 2,000 workers at its German airline arm that a merger with the tourism unit of Air Berlin Plc would see the carrier retain its base in Hanover and continue to provide flights for the world’s largest holiday company. Jochen Buentgen, managing director of the TUIfly airline unit, wrote to staff saying the enlarged business would also retain existing labour accords and that he would put himself forward to run its operations. A copy of the letter was obtained by Bloomberg News.

Cathay Pacific commemorates the retirement of its Boeing 747-400 with a last charity flight

Harbour Aviation enthusiasts in Hong Kong on Saturday morning (October 8) are in for a treat as Cathay Pacific commemorates the retirement of its Boeing 747-400 with a flyover of Victoria Harbour. While the airline ran its final commercial B747 flight last week (Sep 30), Saturday’s flight will be a 60-minute charity flight exclusive to staff. Each member of staff on the flight has made a minimum donation of HK$747 (US$96) to secure their seat, with proceeds going to the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation.

Hilton to open in Africa’s tallest development

Hilton Hotels and Resorts will open a $110 Million Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill in 2020. The 255-room property will be the brand’s 50th Property in Africa. Co-developed by Jabavu Village and White Lotus Projects, Hilton Nairobi Upper Hill will have an Executive Lounge and five food and beverage outlets, including a poolside bar, smokehouse and grill restaurant, lobby dining area with landscaped deck and a rooftop bar on the 43rd level with views of Nairobi. The hotel will also have a ballroom and meeting rooms of approximately 1400sqm.

Hilton to open Lagos airport hotel

Hilton Worldwide has announced that it will open a second hotel at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport. Set to open in 2023, the hotel will join the 130-room Legend Hotel Lagos Airport, which, expected to open mid 2017, will be the Nigerian capital’s first “airport hotel”.