Jul 27 2009

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On the Road: Lufthansa grows, flight changes at San Jose and airport club news

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(Photo by Hady Khandani/courtesy: Lufthansa)

By Joe Brancatelli

INTERNATIONAL ITINERARY

Lufthansa’s Plans to Dominate Europe’s Skies Advance: Lufthansa is quietly taking the next steps in an audacious plan to dominate the European continent. (Or, more accurately, the skies above the continent.)

  • European regulators have approved Lufthansa’s bid to gain controlling interest in Brussels Airlines, the carrier created several years ago by the merger of Virgin Express and SN Brussels.
  • Almost simultaneously, Lufthansa reaffirmed its decision to buy virtually all of bmi (fka British Midland), the second-largest carrier at London’s Heathrow Airport. Lufthansa already owns 30 percent of bmi and will now pay about $360 million for another 50 percent stake.
  • Lufthansa has already agreed to purchase control of Austrian Airlines and several years ago it purchased Swiss International.
  • If you’re keeping score, that gives Lufthansa hubs in Frankfurt, Munich, London/Heathrow, Zurich, Vienna and Brussels. And it recently launched Lufthansa Italia, based at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy’s financial and industrial capital.

AIRPORT REPORT

In San Jose, American Flees and Alaska Air Moves Right In: World dribbled late last month that American Airlines would be dropping its “nerd bird” flights between San Jose and Austin. But that was just one of the flight cuts planned for August 25.

  • Also going from American’s rapidly decompressing San Jose hub is the commuter service to San Diego; and two of its seven daily flights to John Wayne/Orange County.
  • Pulldowns don’t happen in a vacuum, however, and Alaska Airlines is already moving to fill the gap. On September 2, it will launch a San Jose-Austin nonstop to complement the flights to Austin from its Seattle hub, which Alaska Air has scheduled for an August 3 start. The San Jose-Austin nonstop will actually start in Portland, Oregon, allowing for same-plane Portland-San Jose-Austin service.

CLUB LIFE

Delta Pulls Its Airport Clubs Out of Priority Pass: Delta Air Lines has pulled its recently renamed Sky Club lounges out of Priority Pass, the global network of about 600 airport clubs.

  • The withdrawal is effective September 1 and affects Sky Clubs, Crown Rooms (rest in peace!) and any clubs that still bear the Northwest WorldClub designation.
  • Meanwhile, Priority Pass has added new clubs in Puerta Plata and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; Terminal 1 at Barcelona; Terminal 2 at Moscow/Sheremetyevo and even the international terminal at Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Who needs Delta when you have a club in Mongolia, right?

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Joe Brancatelli is editor and publisher of JoeSentMe.com, a non-commercial Web site for business travelers. Copyright 2009 by Joe Brancatelli. Licensed by contract for Orbitz use.

More About: Polly Sheridan

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Posted on: July 27, 2009 | | Category: Business TravelCategory: On the RoadCategory: Travel News

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