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British Airways criticized over plan to Google passengers

8 July 2012

A new British Airways program aimed at creating more personalized experience for customers has the airline in hot water with privacy advocates.

The airline recently started outfitting staff members with technology to help them recognize selected travelers, such as chief exectives of financial companies, without having to ask their name. The so-called “Know Me” program involves Googling future fliers so that cabin crew members and staff at check-in desks and first-class lounges can “put a face to the name before the customer sets foot in the airport.”

The airline has said it just wants to create a more efficient and personal experience for customers, but the move expectantly has privacy advocates up in arms.

12 airlines agree to scrap last-minute debit card fees after OFT investigation

5 July 2012

Twelve airlines, including easyJet and Ryanair, will no longer spring last-minute fees on customers paying by debit card, the Office of Fair Trading has said.

The carriers have agreed to include debit card surcharges in the headline ticket price rather than surprise consumers at the end of the booking process.

The airlines also agreed to make surcharges for credit cards clearer and easier to find during the booking process, the OFT added.

Aer Lingus, BMI Baby, Eastern Airways, easyJet, Flybe, German Wings, Jet2, Lufthansa, Ryanair, Thomas Cook, Thomson (TUI) and Wizz Air were subject to an OFT consumer law investigation and have agreed to change their practices.


Chile’s Lan and Brazil’s Tam merge to create huge airline

24 June 2012

Chile’s Lan airline has completed a takeover of Brazil’s Tam, creating the world’s second largest airline by market value, to be known as Latam.

After two years of negotiations, Tam shareholders agreed to the takeover.

The new company will have its headquarters in the Chilean capital, Santiago.

Brazil and Chile have enjoyed years of economic growth, which has brought about a massive increase in air travel but also recently tougher competition.


Turkish Airlines drops bid for Lot

5 June 2012

Lot Polish Airlines is trying to find another potential buyer after Turkish Airlines announced that it was backing away from plans to buy the loss making carrier.

Several Turkish analysts said the news did not hit their expectations about Turkish Airlines, because they failed to see the benefits behind the planned acquisition.


BA push targets friends and family abroad

3 June 2012

British Airways is launching a social media campaign to encourage Britons living overseas to fly back for the London 2012 Olympics.

The “Home Advantage” campaign targets friends and families of athletes and ex-pats and includes a competition to win flights and tickets to the Games to help boost home support.

The “Flying Britain Home” promotion to win tickets for friends and family living abroad has begun on Facebook on Friday (1 June). Flights from 20 selected destinations around the world will be promoted with 12 tickets per flight to be given away.


Lufthansa flies first passenger 747-8 jet

3 June 2012

The first Boeing Co. 747-8 jumbo jet to carry paying passengers completed its maiden commercial flight Friday.

The German carrier last month celebrated the delivery of Boeing’s new 747-8 at a ceremony at Paine Field in Everett, where Boeing has assembled 747s for more than 45 years.

This latest version is the jet maker’s largest. The Intercontinental was stretched 18.3 feet over its predecessor, the 747-400, to allow for another 51 passengers, or a total of 362 in Lufthansa’s three-class configuration. With new engines and updated technology, the 747-8 saves operators roughly 13 percent in fuel costs over the 747-400, Boeing says.


Virgin Atlantic offers in-flight mobile calls

13 May 2012

Virgin Atlantic has become the first airline in Britain to offer in-flight mobile phone calls, texts and web access in the air.

The service will initially be available on Virgin’s new Airbus A330 planes flying from London to New York but will be available on 17 planes on at least 10 routes by the end of the year.

In-flight mobile access will be provided by AeroMobile, which is part-owned by Panasonic. Virgin will charge passengers approximately the same as normal roaming charges.


Bmi Regional sold by British Airways group for £8m

11 May 2012

International Airlines Group, the parent group of British Airways, claims to have secured around 330 jobs after announcing a buyer for bmi Regional, the Aberdeen-based subsidiary of the airline it recently acquired.

IAG said it has signed a binding agreement to sell bmi Regional to a Scottish consortium, Sector Aviation Holdings, for £8m. The sale includes all bmi Regional’s fixed assets and long-term liabilities, including owned and operating lease aircraft. Bmi Regional operates scheduled services from seven English and Scottish airports as well as a handful of northern European destinations.


Air France-KLM reports loss as fuel costs rise

10 May 2012

Airline group Air France-KLM has reported a loss for the first three months of the year, following higher fuel costs and a drop in cargo traffic.

Its first-quarter net loss was 368m euros ($483m;£299m), almost the same as a year before, although revenue rose 6% to 5.6bn euros.

Higher workforce costs because of a 2011 pay rise also affected profits.


Austrian Airlines and Germanwings are now offering code-share flights

9 May 2012

All Germanwings flights between Germany and Austria will in future also bear an Austrian OS flight number. The airlines’ codesharing is part of their strategy to further connect the services offered by both brands in order to create added benefits to the clients of both airlines.