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New destinations join oneworld network in Latin America and Central Asia

Punta del Este is now the second destination in Uruguay on the oneworld alliance map, with LAN serving the coastal resort direct from its Santiago hub throughout the southern hemisphere summer season, with two flights a week in addition to its dailies between Santiago and the Uruguayan capital Montevideo.

Tampico will be the 15th destination in Mexico served by oneworld, when affiliate American Eagle starts flying there daily non-stop from Dallas/Fort Worth hub.

Baku is to rejoin the alliance network from April, with Royal Jordanian launching flights to the capital of the former Soviet republic Azerbaijan from its Amman hub with an initial two Embraer 195s a week.

These three new additions take its network to 693 destinations worldwide.

BA to add all-business flights between London City and New York:

British Airways is to launch direct business-class-only flights between London City and New York in 2009. London City is the closest airport to the UK capital’s financial district. The airline has ordered two Airbus A318s for the operation. They will be configured to offer just 32 seats that convert into fully-flat beds. Passengers will be able to check-in just 15 minutes before departure.

The airline has not indicated which New York gateway it will use for the new service, which will be in addition to BA’s flights from London Heathrow – eight a day to JFK and three a day to Newark.

Cathay to serve Chennai and Dragonair Bangalore in Indian expansion:

Cathay Pacific is to serve Chennai from 1 June with an initial four flights a week, while its sister Dragonair, now also part of oneworld, will fly to to Bangalore from 1 May with daily Airbus A330-300s. Cathay Pacific will also add three more flights a week to both Delhi and Mumbai, giving a daily schedule on both routes, rising later to ten a week to Mumbai and two a day to Delhi. Both Chennai and Bangalore are already on the oneworld network through services by British Airways.

Iberia to open route to ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ Dubrovnik:

Iberia is to launch services to Dubrovnik, from 7 June with two Airbus A320s a week from its Madrid hub, rising to three a week during the peak season. It will become the third oneworld carrier to serve the Croatian coastal destination, joining British Airways and Malev Hungarian Airlines. The so-called "Pearl of the Adriatic" will be the fifth new destination in Central and East Europe added by Iberia in the past three years.

Malev to resume transatlantic routes in May:

Malev Hungarian Airlines will resume its two transatlantic routes in May, with New York service flying from 2 May, five times a week initially and then daily from 12 May, and Toronto from 26 May five times a week.

Japan Airlines to serve Beijing from Tokyo Haneda:

Japan Airlines is to operate flights from Tokyo Haneda to Beijing in time for the Olympics in the Chinese capital this summer, in addition to its regular schedule from Tokyo Narita. It will also increase frequencies from Narita to Busan, Hangzhou, Moscow, New York JFK and Paris CDG, and from Osaka to Qingdao.

Malev to move Moscow operations to Domodedovo from Sheremetyevo:

Malev Hungarian Airlines is transferring its Moscow flights from 30 March from Sheremetyevo to Domodedovo, where they will operate alongside virtually all other oneworld carriers serving the Russian capital. British Airways, Iberia, Japan Airlines and Royal Jordanian all use the more modern Domodedovo, which will also be the gateway for American Airlines’ services when it starts flying to the Russian capital from June. Malev’s move will leave Finnair as the only oneworld carrier at Sheremetyevo.

JAL to extend Premium Economy to Paris, JFK and San Francisco:

Japan Airlines is to offer its new Premium Economy fourth cabin on flights between its Tokyo Narita hub and Paris CDG from April, New York JFK from August and San Francisco from September. Meantime, JAL will expand its new domestic First Class service onto its Tokyo Haneda-Fukuoka route from 1 April.

American on track to be first in US to offer Aircell hi-speed internet in-flight:

American Airlines is on track to be the first US carrier to offer passengers hi-speed internet access in flight. It has completed its first aircraft installation of Aircell’s internet broadband connectivity solution and plans to roll it out during the rest of this year across its fleet of 15 Boeing 767-200s, which primarily fly transcontinental US routes.

When it goes live, passengers will be able to use the system to access the internet, their VPN (virtual private network) and e-mail through all wi-fi enabled laptops, PDAs and portable gaming devices. The airline promises access speeds "similar to wireless, mobile, broadband services on the ground". The system will not enable cell phone or "voice over IP (Internet Protocol)" services.

Depending on how the 767 trials go, American could extend the service to the remainder of its domestic fleet. BA launches new carbon offset scheme and green initiatives: British Airways has made its voluntary carbon offset scheme more user friendly for customers as part of a series of new environmental initiatives.

Its new offset scheme uses United Nations certified emissions reductions to help finance clean energy projects in developing countries. Customers offsetting their flight emissions will be supporting a new wind farm in China’s Ningxia province and run-of-the-river hydro electric plants in the Santa Catarina region of Brazil and Gansu province, China.

Passengers will now be invited to buy their offset in one transaction when they book their flight on

Cathay Pacific, Dragonair and Qantas also offer their passengers the opportunity to offset carbon emissions resulting from their flights.