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As part of the relentless cost-cutting in the airline industry, traditional check-in desks are rapidly being phased out. At Nottingham East Midlands, easyJet has been operating automated check-in for some time, and the airline is expanding this practice to other airports. Last week, British Airways withdrew staffed check-in for all UK domestic passengers, including those flying with its new low-cost offshoot, BA Connect. Travellers are required to check in either online before arriving at the airport, or at self-service kiosks in the terminal. The new Terminal Five, under construction for BA at Heathrow, has been designed on the assumption that staffed check-in will become increasingly rare.

*Record oil prices have not deterred low-cost airlines from launching a wide range of new services across Britain and Europe this month. Air Berlin is Europe's third-largest budget airline after Ryanair and easyJet, and - like them - is expanding aggressively under Europe's "open skies" provisions. This week the German airline added a new route to its UK domestic network; the existing services from Stansted to Manchester and Glasgow have been augmented by twice-daily flights to Belfast City.

Norwich airport, which has seen a sudden rise in scheduled traffic thanks to FlyBe, will have more reasons to be grateful later this month with new twice-daily flights; from 16 May to Edinburgh, from 25 May to Manchester.

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