Travel briefs

 

Theme parks

Fantasyland expansion nearly complete

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the last piece of the Fantasyland expansion at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, will open May 28.

The mine train is a roller coaster that runs outside, then inside the mine where audio-animatronic dwarfs gather sparkling gemstones. Riders sit in cars that sway back and forth through the turns. The coaster is the centerpiece of the Fantasyland expansion.

Airlines

New Service

•  JetBlue has begun daily, nonstop service between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Trinidad and Tobago’s Piarco International in Port-of-Spain.

•  Thomas Cook Airlines will begin twice-a-week service between Miami International Airport and Manchester, England next year. The nonstop flights will operate on Fridays and Sundays beginning in May 2015.

Miami International

American Express to build lounge

A new American Express Centurion Lounge has been approved for Miami International Airport.

Expected to open later this year, the 8,000-square-foot lounge, which will be for American Express Card customers only, will be near Gate D-12 in the North Terminal and feature locally-inspired cuisine and cocktails, a spa and a family room. Additionally, patrons will have access to high-speed Wi-Fi, personal computers and noise-buffered workspaces.

American Express said it also expects to open lounges this year at New York’s LaGuardia Airport and San Francisco.

Qatar

Airport opens after years of delay

A vast new airport in the Qatari capital opened for business following years of delays last week as the natural-gas rich Gulf nation works to transform itself into a major aviation hub and prepares to host one of sporting’s biggest events.

The airport is part of a multibillion-dollar building boom that is transforming the skyline of the Qatari capital, Doha, as it prepares to host soccer’s World Cup in 2022.

The new airport is only partially operational for now, with 10 mainly discount and South Asian airlines operating flights during an initial low-key opening period.

Flag carrier Qatar Airways, its main Gulf rivals Emirates and Etihad Airways, and other international carriers such as Lufthansa and United Airlines are expected to move to the new airport once it’s fully operational on May 27.

Built largely on a patch of land reclaimed from the Persian Gulf alongside the existing Doha airport, the new facility cost at least $15 billion to build. It was initially scheduled for completion in 2009, some five years after construction began.

At the existing airport, passengers still have to be shuttled on buses and climb stairs to board aircraft.

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