Travel Industry News 10 October 2022

London City embarks on £12 million departure lounge upgrade

London City airport has outlined plans of a £12 million upgrade of its existing departures lounge, including more seating and expanded toilet facilities.  The works are being funded by LCY alongside airport catering and retail operator SSP, Lagardère Travel Retail and WHSmith, and will be unveiled in phases, with existing F&B and retail units remaining open until new outlets open.  Once completed the lounge will offer a total of 950 seats (30 per cent more than currently), including a new area in front of a brand new 200 sqm flagship WHSmith store, which is due to open this autumn.

Virgin Atlantic drops Hong Kong route

Virgin Atlantic is axing its route from London Heathrow to Hong Kong after almost 30 years of operations.  Passenger services have been suspended since December 21, 2021, but the airline had initially planned to resume flights from 26 March 2023.  Virgin has announced, however, that it will no longer resume operations next year despite Hong Kong recently removing the requirement for international visitors to undergo hotel quarantine.

Avanti West Coast granted extension to ‘drastically improve’ services

Embattled UK train operator Avanti West Coast has been ordered to “drastically improve” services after the UK government has agreed to a six-month contract extension.  Avanti, which operates services from London’s Euston station to Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, has been plagued by operational issues in recent months with staff shortages and labour strikes led to timetable cuts across key services.  Its current rail contract was due to expire on 16 October but will now run until 1 April 2023 with strict conditions stipulated by the Department for Transport to rollout a recovery plan and “deliver long-overdue reliability for passengers”.

Airbus to auction parts from dismantled A380

Airbus is to hold a three-day auction of A380 superjumbo parts later this month, including unique pieces in collaboration with artists specialising in street art.  The items formerly belonged to A380 MSN13, which first flew for Emirates in 2008, and was retired during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bidding will take place across nearly 400 lots on October 13, 14 and 15, with proceeds going to initiatives including the Airbus Foundation and aerospace heritage preservation organisation the Airitage association.

Travel news as a glance:

  • Delta to switch to Terminal 5 at Chicago O’Hare airport
  • Aer Lingus to resume Dublin-Hartford route after three-year hiatus
  • Austrian to reduce B777 business class capacity in favour of premium economy
  • Jumeirah to open resort in Bahrain in November 2022
  • Etihad’s first A350 flights are now in service from London Heathrow
  • US DOT approves Delta and LATAM joint venture