Travel news: Winter switch for airlines

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The Independent Travel

Round-the-world flights are returning - but in the shuffling of airline schedules this weekend, Luton is erased from the British Airways route map.

Today is the last day of the airlines' summer schedules. Many airlines use the introduction of the winter timetable, which comes into effect tomorrow, to make substantial changes to their route networks.

The most dramatic change for UK travellers is from Air New Zealand, which tomorrow doubles its frequency from Heathrow and opens up the first single-airline round-the-world operation for some years.

A new daily jumbo jet will serve Auckland via Hong Kong in addition to the existing route via Los Angeles - which is being downgraded from a Boeing 747 to a smaller 777.

British Airways launches a new link from London City to Madrid, operated by its regional subsidiary BA Connect. BA "mainline" plans new services starting 1 December from Heathrow to Calgary and from Gatwick to Salzburg, and will increase its Heathrow-New York services from seven to eight daily. But the airline is also retrenching some existing routes.

From tomorrow, BA axes its links from Gatwick to Vilnius and Southampton to Glasgow, in the face of intense low-cost competition. And its one flight from Luton to the Isle of Man also ends - though the frequency of flights to the island from Gatwick will increase.

The Isle of Man also benefits from daily flights from Stansted with www.manx2.com, which already serves the island from Blackpool, Leeds-Bradford and Belfast International.

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