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Briefs: LH’s new business class on A330s; Latin carriers add U.S. partners

In news of international airlines, Lufthansa has deployed a new Airbus A330 with redesigned premium cabins onto a U.S. route; two South American airlines announce new tie-ins with U.S. partners; Qantas splits in two; Mexicana could be revived; and British Airways will add a second Las Vegas route.

Lufthansa has put a new A330-300 into service on its Munich-Washington Dulles route, giving U.S. travelers a chance to sample the carrier’s improved premium cabins. The 48-seat business class has fully-flat seats that are 6.5 feet long, with 15-inch monitors for their individual entertainment systems. The new first class, already offered on LH A380s, has seating for eight passengers in “luxurious easy chairs that transform into the largest, most comfortable bed of its class,” a spokesman said. Passengers in all cabins can also access FlyNet, the airline’s broadband WiFi service. To see what the business cabin looks like, go to

Aerolineas Argentinas and Colombia’s Avianca have announced new tie-ins with Delta and United respectively. Aerolineas, which is due to join Delta’s SkyTeam alliance this fall, said members of Delta SkyMiles and its own Aerolineas Plus program can now earn and redeem miles on either airline. And Avianca’s agreement with United calls for not only mutual mileage earning and redemptions, but also code-sharing that enables customers to buy a single ticket and enjoy one-stop check-in and automatic bag transfers for connecting service between the two. The deal puts United’s code on Avianca flights to the Colombian destinations of Bogota, Barranquilla, Cali, Cartagena, Medellin and Pereira.

Qantas announced it is separating itself into two separate operating companies, one for domestic services and one for international. According to press reports, the move is designed to help the airline fix its money-losing international operation, which has dropped several routes in recent months to cut costs. By contract, Qantas’ domestic network has been consistently profitable. Analysts said they didn’t think the split was designed to facilitate a spin-off of the international unit.

A Spanish air transport and hotel company called Med Atlantica has purchased a 95 percent stake in the assets of Mexicana, the troubled Mexican carrier that stopped operating in 2010. The aviation trade publication Air Transport World reports that if the new owners can negotiate repayment of the airline’s outstanding debts and secure the appropriate government approvals, Mexicana could star flying again with nine aircraft as early as next month.

British Airways announced it will add a second route from Las Vegas this fall. The carrier said it plans an October 29 start for new non-stop service three times a week between Las Vegas and London Gatwick. The new route would supplement its existing daily service between Las Vegas and London Heathrow.

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