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NEWS YOU CAN USE — AVIATION NEWS


AVIATION NEWS YOU CAN USE


Birmingham airport to boost trade links as it unveils plans for eight routes Rebekah Commane


Birmingham airport is offering more agent incentives as it looks to boost ties with the trade. The airport is giving agents the chance to win a Fiat 500 car in this week’s Travel Weekly and last week gave away return business-class flights to New York at a trade event to support American Airlines’ new route from Birmingham to JFK airport. In his blog about the event, the airport’s chief executive, Paul Kehoe, said his eyes had been opened to the trade. “I have been at dos such as this


before – I normally remained in the background,” he wrote. “But on this occasion, I was put in front of 70 excited travel agents.” Nearly three


“Agents


years ago, the airport established a support body for the trade, known as Airport Gurus, who visit up to 70 agents a week offering advice and information. Kehoe said the business “is not


are a major channel for the airport.


They are key to making new routes work”


perfect without the trade”. He said that in previous roles, as chief executive of Bristol airport


and managing director of Belfast airport, he worked well with the trade, and he wanted the same focus at Birmingham. “Agents are a major channel for us,” said Kehoe. “They


can encourage customers to book


from the airport and use their expertise to boost flight bookings. They’re


key to making new routes work.” American Airlines quit the airport in 2001 but recently returned with the JFK route. Kehoe said this would open the doors for the return of other airlines in the Oneworld alliance, including British Airways, which left Birmingham in 2007. “We are putting Birmingham back on the map and are looking at adding a further eight routes this year,” he said. “An added attraction is the


fact that BA customers can get frequent-flyer points with


AVIATION NEWS IN BRIEF


Flybe distributes network maps in Travel Weekly Flybe has produced a series of regionalised route maps for the trade. The maps will be distributed through Travel Weekly, the first is included with this issue, and will outline the destinations served by the airline from regional airports. The regions to be covered are the southwest, southeast, Wales, the Midlands and the northwest.


Virgin to host fam to mark launch of Detroit flights Virgin Atlantic is celebrating the launch of Heathrow-Detroit flights on June 1 by offering agents the


26 • travelweekly.co.uk — 7 May 2015


chance to win a place on a fam trip to the US city. The agent who books the most Virgin Atlantic flights to Detroit, or destinations via Detroit, will be in with a chance to go on the trip. Gift cards are also up for grabs. travelweekly.co.uk/detroit


Qatar goes daily on Edinburgh-Doha route Qatar Airways expanded its Edinburgh-Doha service from five times a week to daily on May 1. The flights depart Edinburgh at 14.30 and return from the Middle East at 07.45. qatarairways.com


American because of its alliance.” The airport is exploiting its


proximity to Stratford-upon- Avon by adding the tagline: ‘Shakespeare’s airport.’ “We’re not changing the name


– we’re adding a tag”, said Kehoe. “Shakespeare is a huge


attraction for the US and China, and Stratford-upon-Avon is easily accessible from the airport.” In recent months, Icelandair has doubled capacity to Reykjavik to four flights a week, while Norwegian has added routes to Madrid, Malaga and Barcelona. birmingham airport.co.uk


Paul Kehoe


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