Airport News

Flybe gains business accolade

Mon, 31 Jan, 2011

Flybe has earned a prestigious award for the second year in a row.

The carrier has received the prize for Best Short-Haul Airline at the Business Travel Awards.

Flybe also managed to secure a spot in the Top 5 list in the category of Best Airline Worldwide.

Mike Rutter, chief commercial officer for the airline, welcomed the award - calling it a "clear validation" of its position as an industry leader.

"We are delighted to receive such high profile recognition and, of course, to receive the Best Short-Haul Airline award for the second year in a row makes it particularly special," he said.

Mr Rutter went on to add that the next challenge is to "make it a triple" by earning the award in 2012.

London City Airport was also included in the accolades at the ceremony.

It picked up the award for best UK facility in recognition of its efficiency and commitment towards customer service.
 

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Joe Evans



Robin Hood Airport sees growth in passenger numbers

Tue, 25 Jan, 2011

Sheffield's Robin Hood Airport has reported figures which indicate a rise in the number of passengers it catered for last year.

Statistics show that during 2010, the number of travellers passing through the facility's gates increased by five per cent on the previous 12 months.

Robin Hood Airport attributed this increase to growing demand for services provided by Wizz Air and Flybe.

Director of the facility Mike Morton welcomed the report's findings as "fantastic news", particularly in light of the issues faced by the travel industry last year.

"Severe weather conditions at the beginning and end of the year and the volcanic ash cloud from Iceland had a major impact on travel in and out of the UK," he said.

Mr Morton went on to highlight the range of new services beginning in 2011, making particular note of offerings from Ryanair, Wizz Air and Holidays4U.

Earlier in the month, bosses from Robin Hood Airport spoke to local travel agents and promoted Thomas Cook's expanded range of holidays, which depart directly from the facility.
 

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Joe Evans



Plymouth 'needs a bigger airport'

Mon, 17 Jan, 2011

The city of Plymouth needs to expand its current airport facilities, according to one local business figure.

David Partlby, chief executive of the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, recently told the Herald that a number of companies in the area would welcome an enhanced aviation centre.

However, he noted that the current airport is of a lower standard than most regional facilities and pointed to its short runway, which afflicts constraints on the types of aircraft that can fly from there and the kinds of services airlines can offer.

"While the principle that Plymouth should have an airport is sound, a number of awkward factors combine which make it a very difficult proposition to run in practice," Mr Partlby said.

He added that increased investment in the region's aviation could make a "great difference" in enabling airlines to run more routes and services, in addition to boosting the city's economy.

This comes after the publication noted that locals have voiced overwhelming support for the existence of an airport in Plymouth.
 

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Joe Evans



BAA launches snow resilience investigation

Wed, 29 Dec, 2010

UK airport operator BAA has launched an inquiry into the performance of London's Heathrow Airport during the recent cold snap.

Chief executive of the organisation Colin Matthews has requested that the company's non-executive director Professor David Begg head the investigation, which will examine a number of issues.

"The inquiry will forensically examine what went wrong at Heathrow, and look fundamentally at our ability to prepare and respond more effectively to periods of bad weather," he said.

BAA chairman Nigel Rudd claimed the investigation is a "powerful statement" of the company's intention to react quickly to the recent problems and pledged the full resources of the organisation to the inquiry team.

However, some UK airports were largely unaffected by the recent spate of cold weather.

Manchester Airport reported that its £2 million investment in new equipment to tackle snow had been worthwhile, with the facility remaining fully operational throughout the cold snap.
 

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Joe Evans



Ryanair gets into the Christmas spirit with 'UFO' pictures

Thu, 23 Dec, 2010

Budget airline Ryanair has got into the festive spirit by releasing a photograph of a suspected 'UFO'.

The picture, which shows the tail of one of the carrier's aircraft, also highlights the unidentified object - which appears to be a flying sleigh driven by a number of reindeer.

Ryanair reports that the captain of Flight FR1397 from Oslo Rygge to London noted the incident and snaps of the UFO were taken by shocked passengers.

Stephen McNamara, spokesman for the airline, claimed that the picture had been passed to aviation authorities across Europe.

"[Ryanair] will not be drawn on passenger claims that the UFO was a test flight ahead of 24th December. This is now a matter for the authorities," he said.

Earlier in the month, the carrier revealed that a range of extra flights would be added to its networks in the UK, France, Ireland, Poland and Belgium in order to help beleaguered passengers return home after the recent cold weather disruptions.
 

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Joe Evans



Robin Hood Airport to double Turkey flight capacity

Thu, 16 Dec, 2010

Doncaster's Robin Hood Airport has revealed plans to double its flight capacity to Turkey.

Scheduled to begin in summer 2011, the new services will enable independent tour operator Holidays 4U to facilitate the journeys of 4,000 passengers to Dalaman.

Aviation sales director for Peel Airports Nick Smillie welcomed the initiative and revealed that early bookings for the extra flights are now being taken.

"It's fantastic news that double the number of holidaymakers from across the region and beyond can now travel to the prime location of Dalaman for the summer season," he said.

Similar comments were issued by Holidays 4U sales and marketing director Joe Lavers, who welcomed the opportunity to provide more choices for "affordable, yet inspired luxury" to its customers in the area

Last month, Robin Hood Airport revealed new seasonal services to Lapland, providing holidaymakers with the opportunity to celebrate the festive season on a three-night Arctic break.
 

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Joe Evans



Budget airline offers iPad to passengers

Tue, 30 Nov, 2010

A budget airline, which makes regular flights from London's Gatwick Airport, will be the first European carrier to offer Apple's iPad to passengers on its flights.

Iceland Express will give travellers the chance to use the high-tech equipment on all its transatlantic journeys and has revealed plans to roll out the service to the rest of its fleet in 2011.

E-commerce manager for the carrier Georg Haraldsson said that the iPad was a natural progression from its popular entertainment units, offered to travellers on short-haul flights.

"We don't want our passengers to be limited to watching a film on a small screen," he said. "The iPad is 9.56 x 7.47 inches, so our customers won't be straining their eyes."

Passengers can rent the equipment from £9 and the iPad has a ten-hour duration.

Iceland Express offers low far connections to a range of European destinations, including France, Spain, the Netherlands and Germany.
 

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Joe Evans



Gatwick Airport sees improvement in customer satisfaction

Wed, 24 Nov, 2010

Passengers using Gatwick Airport have been vocal in their praise of recent improvements at the terminal.

After being known for its long queues, the London Evening Standard has reported that it is now seeing a lot more positive feedback from fliers.

A year after the airport was taken over by the Global Infrastructure Partners investment fund, London's Gatwick Airport has recorded a 70 per cent drop in the number of complaints received about the time spent waiting in security queues.

It has also seen the amount of positive feedback given by travellers double in the same period.

Stewart Wingate, chief executive officer of Gatwick Airport, told the newspaper: "I'm pleased with the progress we're making but there's still a lot to do."

The news comes as airberlin announced that it is to base its UK operations at the airport from February 2011, when it will commence flights to Nuremburg and Hanover.  

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Joe Evans



Passenger charges introduced at Durham Tees Valley Airport

Mon, 18 Oct, 2010

Passengers taking flights from Durham Tees Valley Airport will now have to pay a fee to enter the terminal.

A new charge will be implemented on November 15th 2010, which will see adults paying £6 and children aged between three and 15 years old charged £2 to combat the losses it is making.

Craig Richmond, chief executive of owner Peel Airports, explained that the downturn in the travel sector has had a negative impact on Durham Tees Valley Airport and the measure had to be taken to provide a future for the airport.

"I hope that customers - and indeed the whole local community - will recognise that it is something we have to do if the airport is to be able to move forward," Mr Richmond added.

Blackpool International Airport has already put an Airport Development Fee in place for passengers flying from the terminal, with adults being charged £10, although there are no fees in place for passengers aged 15 years old or under. 

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Joe Evans



Bristol Airport to gain new hotel

Thu, 14 Oct, 2010

Planning permission has been granted to construct a new hotel at Bristol Airport by North Somerset Council's South Area Committee.

Currently the ninth largest airport in the UK, Bristol is the only one of the top 15 hubs in the country not to have any on-site accommodation.

Work on the new 251-room hotel is pencilled in to begin early next year, with work estimated to be completed during the winter of 2012/13.

Situated 100 metres away from the main building, the new facility is part of ongoing plans to improve and overhaul the airport's existing features.

Robert Sinclair, chief executive officer at Bristol Airport, said: "An on-site hotel is essential if we are to achieve our ambition of becoming a world-class regional airport serving the south-west.

"It has long been high on the list of facilities requested by our passengers."

Another hub currently planning expansion work is Birmingham Airport, which is hoping to extend its runway to boost its profile in the international market.  

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Joe Evans



Reference guide to UK airport lounges re-launched

Tue, 05 Oct, 2010

The popular UK airport lounge comparison website uk-airport-lounges.co.uk has been re-launched following months of development.

Passenger Terminal Today reports that the company behind the project, TMC, has spent months undertaking research and developing the site.

Project manager for the website Lynn Rosario claimed that the updates to the site will make it more accessible and easier to use than its predecessor.

"We wanted to create a website that would provide all of the information travellers could need on what to expect at any UK airport lounge," she said.

Ms Rosario went on to state that her company had ensured this ethos had been maintained in the website's new incarnation and was perfect for travellers seeking an escape from the "hustle and bustle" of the departure lounge.

In addition to containing comparison information on the airports across the UK such as Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport, the website also boasts a range of guides to other airport facilities across the world.
 

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Joe Evans



Southampton Airport plays host to mayors

Wed, 29 Sep, 2010

As part of the Mayor of Eastleigh's official Civic Day celebrations, mayors and chairpersons from councils across the county of Hampshire have visited Southampton Airport.

Mayor of Eastleigh councillor John Caldwell highlighted the importance of the airport to the region.

"We are very proud of the airport and of its significance, not just to the borough, but to the wider region. It was good to see the improvements recently made," he said.

Each of the guests received an official Southampton Airport teddy bear as a welcome gift and were also given a behind the scenes tour of its facilities, which included an introduction to the airport's specialist fire service.

Earlier in the month, the airport unveiled a new community fund, which aims to help local projects by supplying funding of over £30,000 per year.

Director of marketing and communications at the airport Jan Halliday welcomed the opportunity to show all that the airport has to offer officials from the region.
 

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Joe Evans



Boeing offers commercial spaceflight

Thu, 16 Sep, 2010

People could soon be jetting off to space from British airports after aviation company Boeing revealed its intention to offer commercial spaceflight opportunities, in conjunction with Space Adventures.

General manager of Boeing's Space Exploration division Brewster Shaw said that he hoped the combination could offer affordable and safe commercial spaceflight for its customers.

"This agreement will be in concert with the NASA administrator's stated intent to promote space commerce in low Earth orbit," he said.

Although prices have not yet been set for commercial spaceflight trips, the companies state that costs will be revealed once development has commenced.

The announcement comes in the wake of news from the European Space Agency which revealed it was continuing with plans to send an unmanned lander to the surface of the Moon.

Co-founder of Space Adventures Eric Anderson expressed his view that the two companies would work to make the resources of space available to the commercial sector by "bringing the value" of space back to Earth.
 

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Joe Evans



Halal meals for BA passengers 'increase cost effectiveness'

Mon, 13 Sep, 2010

Passengers with British Airways could soon be offered halal-only in-flight meals under a scheme being considered by airline food provider GateGourmet.

Chief executive of Gategroup, of which GateGourmet is a member, Guy Dubois claimed the proposal would work to save money.

"My aim is to make our large hub operations halal compliant. If I produce everything according to halal standards, I will reduce complexity and increase cost effectiveness," he said.

Reports that halal is Arabic for permitted or lawful and refers to foods which are allowed under rules set out in the Qur'an. Under the rules of halal, Muslims are not permitted to eat pork or animals that were not slaughtered in the correct manner.

Head of Gategroup's operations in the UK Peter van Niekerk went on to say that the transition to a halal-only menu would only happen after an extended consultation with British Airways.

However, a BA spokesman told The Christian Institute that the airline currently has no plans to alter its menus.
 

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Joe Evans



Dubai Airport sees rise in high-value sales

Tue, 31 Aug, 2010

A Dubai Airport store owner has reported a rise in the number of high-value items being sold in his boutiques.

After one customer spent upwards of $100,000 (£64,000) on eight bottles of wine at an airport store, the shop claimed this marked an increase in the sale of high-value items.

This purchase almost doubled the world record for duty-free wine sales and occurred in a single visit to the Le Clos fine wine boutique in the airport's Terminal 3.

The sale, which included Chateau Petrus' from 1947 and 1961, was welcomed by the stores' owners which stated that it signals continued demand for high-end wines.

Chief executive of Le Clos's owner Maritime and Mercantile International Andrew Day claimed the purchase marked a trend and told Decanter magazine: "We've seen a noticeable increase in customers purchasing high-value items for gifting, but also for personal consumption or to diversify their investment portfolios."

This announcement follows news of research by Currencies.co.uk which revealed British holidaymakers in the eurozone would see an additional £766 million of spending money this year.
 

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Joe Evans



Japanese researchers find secret formula for cheap flights

Mon, 23 Aug, 2010

Whether to bookflights early or late has long been a dilemma for travellers. However, economists from Japan have found the optimal time to buy an airline ticket.

The findings of a new study published in the Economic Journal into the best times to book flights have resulted in the creation of an equation which indicates around eight weeks beforehand is the best time to secure a ticket.

Researchers found that booking over eight weeks in advance could mean a rise in costs if flight plans are altered. However, booking later increases the risk of higher prices.

According to the research team: "When we book our flight to London weeks ahead we have to account for the possibility of unforeseen events which make our trip to London impossible."

These results come after an announcement earlier in the month, which revealed massive holiday price cuts after First Choice and Thomson recuperated losses for the difficulty they faced during the volcanic ash crisis.
 

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Joe Evans



Consortium buys failing Mexican airline

Mon, 23 Aug, 2010

A group of investors from Mexico have obtained 95 per cent of carrier Mexicana de Avicaion, which had filed for bankruptcy protection earlier in the month.

Nuevo Grupo Aeronautico, the holding company for the airline, was bought out by investors the Tenedora K group with the aim of capitalising and ultimately rescuing the ailing carrier.

According to the consortium, acquiring the airline is only the first step in an ongoing process to bring it out from its court-supervised bankruptcy protection, obtained from Mexican courts earlier in the month.

The Tenedora K group is made up of a wide variety of investors, including an insurance company and construction firm. Their control of the holding company brings two other domestic airlines into the fold, as well as Mexicana de Avaicion, the country's largest carrier.

News of the investment follows an announcement from earlier in the month which saw Brazil's LAN airline and Chile's TAM reveal their intentions to merge.
 

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Joe Evans



Summer strike action averted

Wed, 18 Aug, 2010

The Unite union has accepted an offer from BAA, averting strikes which could have caused major disruption to holidaymakers all over the country.

Planned industrial action could have led to the shut down of six British airports over a key holiday weekend this month but nine hours of talks saw BAA and Unite thrash out a deal.

The airport operator agreed to a two per cent pay rise alongside an additional lump sum of £500, paid directly to staff.

This follows last week's rejection of BAA's original one per cent offer by the union and a 3-1 vote in favour of industrial action which would have caused widespread chaos for thousands of British travellers.

Spokesmen for Unite Brian Boyd and Brendan Gold said: "The game is up for employers in the aviation industry. With the recession receding in the industry, Unite now expects BAA's pay offer to set the standard."

The news comes in the wake of an announcement earlier in the week in which Spanish air traffic controllers called off a strike which would have caused widespread disruption to travel in the country.
 

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Joe Evans



Holiday price cuts due as packages go unsold

Wed, 11 Aug, 2010

First Choice and Thomson Holidays owner TUI has experienced sales difficulties following the volcanic ash cloud crisis and the uncertain economic climate.

David Millward reported in the Daily Telegraph that TUI is concentrating on cutting prices for destinations such as the Balearic Islands and Greece.

However, more popular destinations like Egypt and Florida will receive fewer discounts due to a steady rate of bookings throughout the year.

Despite denials from TUI that it was looking to "dump" holidays onto the market, several packages were available online at massively discounted prices.

A TUI spokesman told the Telegraph: "Overall Thomson and First Choice have very few holidays left to sell for the remainder of the summer season."

Analysts disagreed with this statement, stating that industry plans were put in place before the ash cloud, BA strikes and cuts announced by the coalition government.

Shares in TUI saw a ten per cent drop following the announcement earlier in the week that its yearly results would be at the "lower end" of expectations, due to the ash cloud and other issues.
 

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Joe Evans



Eurozone Brits gain over �700 million of extra holiday spends

Wed, 11 Aug, 2010

The pound's recent strengthening will give British holidaymakers a much needed spending boost this summer, according to new figures from Currencies.co.uk.

However, many people are letting the opportunity slip by as they fail to get the best deal on their exchange rate.

It is estimated the 13 million Brits that are expected to holiday in Europe this year will spend around �700 each over the course of their holiday.

When compared with last year's rates, holidaymakers this year will see an extra �56 (�46) each.

This benefit may be lost by people who choose to withdraw their euros from cash machines overseas, which may inflict multiple charges.

In addition, figures indicate that over 300,000 people plan to buy their currency at the airport, losing out to high commissions and poor exchange rates.

Director of Currencies.co.uk Stephen Hughes said of the findings: "Brits holidaying in eurozone countries will feel much better off after the painful experiences of 2009."

The results come after last month saw the European Parliament approve new regulations on maritime passenger rights.
 

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Joe Evans



Cardiff Airport receives Charlotte Church

Fri, 04 Jun, 2010

Charlotte Church was at Cardiff Airport this week for a flight to the Mediterranean with her two children, Ruby and Dexter.

According to the Daily Mirror, the 24-year-old singer and Over the Rainbow judge flew from the hub to a "mystery" destination as she sought to "get away" from the media attention focused on her following her split from long-term partner and fiance Gavin Henson.

Cardiff City offers flights to almost 50 European hotspots, including more than a dozen along the Mediterranean Sea.

Charter routes are available to locations such as Corfu, Kefalonia, Rhodes, Malta, Ibiza and Fuerteventura among others, but it is not known where Church has decided to go.

Henson, 28, who plays rugby for Magners League side Ospreys, has already jetted off from the UK to enjoy a holiday of his own with friends.

According to media reports, Benidorm in Spain was the Welsh centre's chosen destination.

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Joe Evans



Manchester Airport passengers 'accepting body scanners'

Wed, 07 Apr, 2010

Passengers travelling through Manchester Airport are said to be having no problem with the new body scanner devices, which are set to be rolled out across the hub's three terminals in the next two weeks.

Local paper the Manchester Evening News quoted a spokesman as saying the "vast majority" of people are willing to be scanned once they know what the machines are for and staff members are in place to address any concerns they may have.

"More than 15,000 people have passed through so far and passengers are accepting it as part of the security process," he remarked.

One of the scanners has been in use at Terminal 2 since October and it has been a part of standard security procedure since February 1st. Its initial trial was deemed to be so successful that it is expected the machines will be installed at other major airports across the country.

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Joe Evans



Manchester Airport 'flies 300,000 at Easter'

Tue, 06 Apr, 2010

Almost one-third of a million people are thought to have travelled through Manchester Airport during the Easter bank holiday weekend.

The hub revealed last week that it was expecting passenger numbers for the period to be in the region of 300,000 - of which around half jetted off to sunnier destinations - as its Summer Season officially began.

These figures occurred despite managing director Andrew Cornish stating that the airport industry has been through a "tough few years", with visitor traffic falling.

"We are still in a fragile place but looking at our summer schedule, the growth that our airlines have announced is a real reason to be optimistic," he remarked.

Mr Cornish pointed to the recent announcement by Emirates Airline that it is to make Manchester Airport its first regional base to host its A380 services as one of the signs that the future is looking bright for his hub.

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Joe Evans



Passengers urged to arrive in good time this Easter

Mon, 29 Mar, 2010

Holidaymakers have been urged to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their departure this Easter.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport said it is expecting a 20 per cent rise in traveller numbers over the coming weeks.

Airport director Andy Gower said: "The airport has seen increased volumes of passengers coming through in recent months and we therefore expect this Easter to be our busiest period for some time."

This means that there is the potential for delays and queues at peak times, he added.

Around 300,000 holidaymakers are set to pass through the busy transport hub over the Easter period.

In related news, Southampton Airport is set to host a chocolate egg hunt this weekend as part of its centenary celebrations.

Around 100 Easter treats will be hidden in the terminal building, news which is sure to delight younger passengers.



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Joe Evans



John Lennon Airport coffee up for national award

Fri, 12 Mar, 2010

A Liverpool John Lennon Airport barista is through to the final of a prestigious national award.

Marta Twardygrosz of Caffe Ritazza will take part in the Barista Championships in London on March 30th.

She will be up against seven other finalists who will each produce four cappuccinos and four espressos. The contestants will be judged on their technical ability and the taste, consistency and presentation of their coffees.

The 27-year-old said it was an "honour" to represent the airport at the competition, and added: "I just hope I can go on and win."

Marta's success is further welcome news for Liverpool John Lennon Airport, which recently became one of Britain's top ten busiest airports for the first time in its history, according to aviation intelligence agency anna.aero.

The airport is also set to undergo a £12 million development programme, to be completed by autumn 2010, which will see its departure lounge expanded to make room for a number of new retail outlets.

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Joe Evans



Manchester Airport to host food conference

Fri, 12 Mar, 2010

Manchester Airport will host the first ever Airport Food & Beverage (FAB) Conference and Awards from September 5th to 7th.

Held in conjunction with travel retail publication The Moodie Report, the convention will celebrate outstanding achievements in the field of travel-related food and drink.

The Moodie Report's founder and publisher Martin Moodie said: "The FAB awards will have total integrity and sound judging methodology in order to recognise best and most innovative practice."

Taking place at the airport's Concorde Conference Centre, experts in airport cuisine will speak at the conference over the course of three days and one airport will be awarded the prize of the world's best airport food and beverage offer.

Manchester Airport has also asked for photographs of life in Greater Manchester, which it intends to put on permanent display to welcome visitors to Terminal One.

The airport hopes the photographs will make a lasting impression on guests and has invited people to submit their photos for consideration. Successful entries will go on display in summer 2010.

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Joe Evans



John Lennon Airport 'one of the UK's busiest hubs'

Fri, 12 Mar, 2010

Liverpool John Lennon Airport has been named as one of the UK's top ten busiest travel hubs for the first time by Airline Network News & Analysis.

In 1995, when it was known as Liverpool Airport, it ranked 20th in the country and was up to 14th a decade ago.

Mark Whitworth, chief executive at owner Peel Airports Group, suggested he was delighted with progress it has made since his organisation took over in 1997.

"When Peel first invested ... we were the UK's 18th largest airport and to now break into the top ten for the first time is a tremendous achievement for all involved," he remarked.

And further rises could be on the cards for the site, with passenger numbers expected to increase in 2010.

KLM Royal Dutch Airlines recently announced it was to launch a fourth daily flight from Liverpool John Lennon to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands.

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Joe Evans



Edinburgh Airport gets steel-coated bollards

Fri, 12 Mar, 2010

Steel-coated bollards are being installed in front of Edinburgh Airport's terminal as part of refurbishment work being carried out on the exterior of the building.

The measures are being taken to boost security at the hub, while it is hoped that the rest of the revamp will also improve its appearance.

It will take until half way through June before the work is finished and no traffic will be allowed to stop in front of the terminal during this time period.

The base's managing director Gordon Dewar commented: "I'd like to thank passengers in advance for their patience whilst we upgrade this important part of Edinburgh Airport."

Also included in the improvements to the forecourt area is the resurfacing of its bus lane.

A total of nine million passengers travel through Edinburgh Airport every year and the 24-hour site runs an average of 311 flights a day, servicing more than 100 destinations.

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Joe Evans



New restaurant opens at Southampton Airport

Fri, 12 Mar, 2010

Southampton Airport has marked the 74th anniversary of the first spitfire flight by opening a new restaurant.

The new eatery has been named Mitchell's Bar and Restaurant after the local aircraft designer who constructed and first tested the legendary model.

Kevin Brown, the airport's managing director, commented: "I think he would be proud to know that the grass airfield he tested his prototype aircraft on is now an internationally renowned, award-winning regional airport celebrating 100 years of flight."

The brasserie-style restaurant serves up everything from all-day breakfasts to tapas dishes and sandwiches.

A new Costa Coffee outlet has also recently opened at the airport, where passengers can enjoy a range of drinks, pastries and paninis.

In other travel news, a recent survey by Holiday Extras found that the majority of travellers support the introduction of airport body scanners.

Only six per cent of respondents claimed the machines are too invasive.



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Joe Evans



Edinburgh Airport gets new Wi-Fi connection

Wed, 03 Feb, 2010

Edinburgh Airport is to offer passengers Wi-Fi cover from provider Boingo, it has been announced.

The American company is to install wireless internet in the airport, in a deal which sees it become the exclusive Wi-Fi provider to five other UK terminals.

Travellers in London can access Boingo Wi-Fi at Heathrow and Stansted.

Meanwhile, people waiting for their flights in Aberdeen Airport and Southampton Airport can also access the internet connection.

Previously, the internet connection to the six hubs was provided by several suppliers, including Boingo, before it was selected as the sole source.

Ian Denchfield, head of commercial telecoms for BAA, the group which owns the six airports, said: "The company's dedication to world-class customer service and neutral host roaming made them the obvious choice."

This new Wi-Fi access announcement comes as Edinburgh Airport opens its new departures lounge, which is part of a huge redevelopment of the terminal which is expected to be completed in 2013.

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Joe Evans



London Gatwick Airport sale agreed

Wed, 21 Oct, 2009

London Gatwick Airport is to be sold by BAA to investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) for a price of more than £1.5 billion.

BAA had been attempting to sell it since September 2008 and the money from the deal will be chiefly used to pay off some of the company's existing debt.

Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said that his organisation was proud of helping to turn London Gatwick Airport into one of the world's leading airports.

"We wish Gatwick well for the future and are confident that the airport will flourish under new ownership," he said.

The deal is set to be completed by the end of December, subject to EU merger regulation clearance.

BAA has been ordered to sell off three of its UK airports, including London Gatwick Airport, by the Competition Commission.

The company is appealing against the decision in a tribunal taking place this week.


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Joe Evans



London Stansted Airport ownership appeal from BAA begins

Mon, 19 Oct, 2009

BAA is due to start its appeal against an order that it must sell off three of its seven UK airports, including London Stansted Airport.

It has been told it must sell London Stansted Airport, London Gatwick Airport and either Edinburgh or Glasgow Airport.

BAA will appeal against the decision that it must get rid of the airports at a Competition Appeal Tribunal, in a hearing that is expected to last for around three days.

It has already put London Gatwick Airport up for sale but has yet to finalise a deal to sell it.

The Competition Commission has ordered BAA to cut the number of airports it owns due to concerns about its market dominance.

Its order will be appealed against by the company on the grounds that the change in the economic climate has seen radical falls in passenger numbers and freight.

Last month, the company revealed it had suffered a 2.6 per cent drop in passengers compared to numbers in September 2008.


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Joe Evans



Airports likely to benefit from travel sector optimism

Fri, 18 Sep, 2009

More people are expected to fly from UK airports next summer as the travel industry becomes more optimistic.

This is according to ABTA - The Travel Association, which said that bookings for holidays in 2010's summer months were "looking good at this stage".

ABTA spokeswoman Francis Tuke said there was "cautious optimism" in the travel sector, with many people expected to book flights abroad next summer after experiencing a drizzly 'staycation' in 2009.

"There are some very good areas of growth, places outside the EU like Turkey and Egypt and this summer other places like Cyprus and Tunisia have been doing well and growing quite nicely," she commented.

Ms Tuke went on to say that, despite the fact that business is down, the level of decline is not "too bad" when compared to other sectors.

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics this week revealed that visits abroad by UK residents fell by one per cent between May and July this year compared to the previous three months.

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Joe Evans



Bournemouth Airport launches carbon offsetting scheme

Wed, 09 Sep, 2009

Airline passengers parking at Bournemouth Airport will now be able to take part in a carbon offsetting scheme.

Thanks to a new link on the airport's website, travellers will now be given the option of offsetting carbon emissions from their flights by paying for equivalent emissions savings or reductions elsewhere.

Commenting on the initiative, managing director of Bournemouth Airport Rob Goldsmith said: "We're taking a proactive role within the airline industry to make CO2 emission reductions already, but as a group we want to support the work of our airline partners and help encourage passengers to use a carbon off-set scheme."

Three airlines using Bournemouth Airport, Thomson, First Choice and easyJet, already offer carbon offsetting to passengers.

Manchester Airports Group, of which Bournemouth is a part, hopes to become carbon neutral by 2012.

Last November, Bournemouth was ranked as the best airport in the UK by the Daily Telegraph Travel Awards.

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Joe Evans



Airport parking in Southampton could be busy for bank holiday

Thu, 27 Aug, 2009

Airport parking is likely to be in high demand in Southampton this weekend as a result of the summer bank holiday.

Southampton Airport has predicted that it will see more than 23,000 people jet off to destinations around the UK and abroad over the three-day break.

Looking at its flight bookings, the regional hub suggested that Edinburgh, Jersey, Guernsey, Dublin, Glasgow, Belfast, Amsterdam, Newcastle, Manchester and Alicante are the most popular destinations for people departing.

Jan Halliday, director of marketing at Southampton Airport, said that travellers parking their cars and boarding a plane will have 45 different destinations to choose from this weekend.

"We are also likely to see many visitors to this region especially from France, Germany and Holland, who are taking advantage of the euro exchange rate and holidaying in the south," she added.

As a result of the anticipated rush, the airport urged visiting passengers to get their cars parked with at least one hour set aside for check-in before their flights.

Last week, officials from John Lennon Airport in Liverpool confirmed that it has contingency plans in place to deal with industrial action being taken by baggage handlers.

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Joe Evans



Robin Hood Airport readies itself for busy bank holiday

Tue, 25 Aug, 2009

Employees at Robin Hood Airport are bracing themselves for one of the busiest weekends of the year.

The South Yorkshire airport is expecting large numbers of people to fly over the August bank holiday after another rainy British summer.

Robin Hood Airport director Mike Morton said that he was expecting passenger numbers to "swell" over the course of the weekend.

"Whilst the recession and the poor weather are doing their best to dampen spirits, it appears that the chance to jet off somewhere warm or get away for an exciting city break is still important to the region's passengers," he commented.

Holidaymakers can use the Doncaster Sheffield Airport to fly to the popular holiday destinations of Corfu, Malaga, Palma, Ibiza and Malaga, while city breaks in Barcelona, Belfast and Gdansk are all in easy reach.

Airport parking is available at the airport just yards from the terminal building.

Robin Hood handled approximately 950,000 passengers over the course of 2008.

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Joe Evans



Heathrow Airport unveils futuristic passenger transporter

Tue, 11 Aug, 2009

A driverless battery-powered pod that is designed to transport passengers and luggage around Heathrow Airport is on show at the Science Museum in London.

The Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system will be used to move people from Heathrow's Terminal Five to the business car park section of the airport from 2010.

PRT is a British designed futuristic pod system, which is controlled remotely by computer and is 50 per cent more efficient than a traditional bus, according to the manufacturer.

The £25 million project has been designed by Advanced Transport Systems (ATS) and the pods can reach speeds of around 45 kmh.

John Holland Kaye, commercial director of ATS said: "I am excited about the trialling of Personal Rapid Transit at Heathrow and am proud of the dedicated work of staff to deliver this pioneering project.

"When launched, the PRT trial will offer an exciting, quick and environmentally friendly option for passengers travelling from the business car park to Terminal 5."


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Joe Evans



Air Passenger Duty will cost holidaymakers

Thu, 06 Aug, 2009

The government is intending to raise Air Passenger Duty to the extent that a family of four will be due to pay £180 in tax on a flight to Florida, according to ABTA.

This figure could rise to £240 in 2010 and the travel association is now urging families to write to their local MPs to protest the changes.

One expert believes that the tax will place an extra financial burden on families planning to fly abroad this year.

Lorna Cowen, editor at Which? Holiday, said: "I don't think it will restrict people but it certainly will push the holiday budget if they are spending a significant amount especially when you think about a family of five and perhaps they are going quite long haul."

According to recent data released by Holiday-Rentals.co.uk the average family in the UK will spend £2,092 on their holiday in 2009, £259 less that in 2007.


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Joe Evans



Airport Passenger Duty increase will not affect airlines

Thu, 23 Jul, 2009

The government's decision to increase Airport Passenger Duty (APD) will not affect airlines, according to the Air Transport Users Council (AUC).

James Fremantle, industry affairs manager at the AUC, noted that the lower fares that passengers are currently enjoying will mean that passengers will not necessarily feel the increase economically.

He said: "If you look at flights to the Far East, the prices have come down in such big amounts. An increase an APD will not make much of a difference.

"It may be more relevant to no-frills airlines; they may have to change their market. They may start building bases elsewhere but I think if airlines want to get to the UK market, they are going to have to put up with the increase in Air Passenger Duty."

His comments come after budget air operator Ryanair announced that it would cut its capacity of flights scheduled at Stansted this winter by 40 per cent.


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Joe Evans



270,000 passengers expected for Scottish airports

Fri, 26 Jun, 2009

As many as 270,000 passengers could be passing through Scottish airports this weekend as BAA Scotland gears up for a "busy summer".

A spokesperson for BAA told the BBC that Dubai, Malaga and Orlando are some of the most popular places for people to be flying to.

While Scotland is expecting traffic for events such as T in the Park and the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond, BAA anticipates fewer passengers than last year as the recession causes people to cut costs.

In addition, travellers were warned not to waste money by carrying expensive scents and alcohol in their hand luggage, causing it to be confiscated.

"No-one likes to waste money, but every year tens of thousands of passengers are required to abandon expensive drinks and perfumes because they flout government regulation," said the spokesperson.

According to BAA's statistics, 8.1 million passengers passed through Glasgow Airport last year, while nine million used Edinburgh Airport and 3.3 million went through Aberdeen Airport.


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Joe Evans



New branding for Heathrow Airport

Wed, 24 Jun, 2009

Heathrow Airport is being rebranded to put more emphasis on its retail capacity.

BAA is giving the airport the strapline "Making every journey better" and will promote it on the London Underground and at train stations.

There will also be advertorials placed in publications aimed at frequent and high-end flyers.

Nick Adderley, the marketing and insight director overseeing the relaunch, explained: "Brand Heathrow is about creating real understanding among travellers about why they should fly through our airport."

While shopping, food and drink feature in the rebranding, Heathrow's worldwide connections and hub status are also key components of the campaign.

Earlier this month, BAA reported that Heathrow had seen a 3.9 per cent fall in its passenger numbers for May compared to the same month in 2008.

This compared to an overall decline of 7.3 per cent for all BAA's airports.

BAA said that the figures were in line with passenger traffic trends that had been recorded since December.


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Joe Evans



Newcastle Airport 'is the UK's most punctual'

Wed, 17 Jun, 2009

Newcastle Airport has been named as the most punctual in the UK.

According to figures from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), 82 per cent of flights from Newcastle Airport left on time in this year's first quarter.

This was higher than the national average, reported the Daily Mail.

Airport chief executive Dave Laws paid tribute to the "considerable efforts and team-working" of staff for the high performance.

Flights are deemed to be on time if they are early or late by less than 15 minutes.

Heathrow Airport was also found to have improved.

While 59 per cent of its flights were on time last year, the figure has now risen to 79 per cent.

Earlier this month, the CAA gave out advice to travellers about safe air travel.

It released a leaflet on the issue which can be downloaded without charge from its website or picked up from a holiday tour operator.

Manager of the CAA's dangerous goods office Geoff Leach explained that some everyday items which seem innocent may still pose a safety hazard when taken on to an aeroplane.


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Joe Evans



Airport head calls to axe tax

Wed, 10 Jun, 2009

An aviation chief has called on the government to abandon new airport taxes.

David Laws, chief executive of Newcastle International Airport, told the North East Chamber of Commerce's annual meeting that he feared the effect the new tax would have on the institution, which has a workforce of around 3,000 people.

According to nebusiness.co.uk, he identified new airport taxes as the greatest danger facing the sector's future.

Travellers on long-haul journeys could pay £20 more and all routes would become more expensive.

Mr Laws cited the Netherlands as an example where the tax had been abandoned once it was realised how detrimental an effect it would have on Schiphol Airport.

In March, Newcastle Airport reduced the prices of airport parking for stays of one week, though the deadline for booking has now expired.

At the time, business manager George Nesbitt said he hoped that the move would help people to take affordable breaks when flying from the airport.


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Joe Evans



Figures drop in May for BAA

Wed, 10 Jun, 2009

UK airport operator BAA has reported a fall in its traffic for last month.

The organisation, which is responsible for seven airports and is owned by Spanish firm Grupo Ferrovial, suffered a 7.3 per cent slide in passenger numbers in May.

Stansted experienced a drop of 18.5 per cent, with the decreases for Aberdeen and Glasgow being 14.1 per cent and 11.7 per cent respectively.

Gatwick had a 6.5 per cent decline and Heathrow's was 3.9 per cent.

But Edinburgh saw a rise of 1.4 per cent.

BAA said that demand is low but the trend had not seen a significant change since December.

Travellers can make bookings for airport parking online through the BAA website.

According to the organisation, this can be a cheaper option as well as making sure an airport parking bay is available.

BAA's prices are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority and the Competition Commission.


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Joe Evans



British airports 'could expect more Iceland-bound passengers'

Thu, 04 Jun, 2009

UK airports could be set to see an increase in numbers of passengers heading to Iceland, if one expert is to be believed.

Travel association Abta said customers no longer see the northern European destination as an expensive choice.

Problems with finance in the country – particularly its banks – mean it is now a cheaper place to head for a holiday, the board remarked.

It noted an overall trend in recent years for vacationers heading to countries hit by economic crises.

Argentina, Cambodia and Thailand were cited as examples of places where better exchange rates and value for money have been found.

A spokesperson for the organisation explained: "Iceland's financial difficulties probably have helped to improve it as a tourist destination. Prices certainly have become cheaper in terms of drinks and living."

Her comments follow a report by Icelandic firm Eye that found 55 per cent of Brits associate nature with the chilly country.

Those heading away on a bargain break could save further money by choosing to take advantage of airport parking options rather than having a stay in a hotel or using public transport.

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Joe Evans



George Best Belfast City Airport 'introduces pick-up surcharge'

Thu, 30 Apr, 2009

George Best Belfast City Airport has introduced a surcharge for people being transported in a taxi, according to a report.

From today, anyone who gets into one of the vehicles at the door of the facility will have a £1 fee added to their fare, BBC News has said.

Normal motorists will also not be able to drop-off or collect people from the bay outside the terminal.

Announcing the move, an airport spokesman told the news provider: "Signage will be placed at the taxi rank and within all Belfast City Airport Ltd taxis, explaining that the £1 charge is being imposed by the airport to re-coup infrastructure costs".

Drivers who choose an airport parking option would not need to pay this charge.

The hub is named after the famous footballer, who played for Manchester United and the country's national team during the 1970s.

He died in 2005 after suffering a multiple organ failure.


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Joe Evans



Government proposals 'change airports' assumptions'

Fri, 13 Mar, 2009

New government proposals for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to take over regulation of airports challenge assumptions by the institutions themselves, it has been claimed.

James Fremantle, industry affairs manager for the Air Transport Users Council, stated: "Airlines have assumed in the past that whatever they have wanted is in the interest of passengers."

He welcomed the CAA stepping in to overlook passengers' concerns and not to rely on airports reporting what it is that travellers want.

"Sometimes what the airlines want and what the passengers want can be completely different," he said, citing plans for new terminals as an example.

Recently, the Telegraph reported that the new proposals would give the CAA the power to fine airports that cause disruption to passengers.

This would extend to 15 airports.

Results of a poll by the CAA, published earlier this month, showed that 80 per cent of passengers would recommend an airport they used to other people and that travellers with charter flights are more likely to be delayed than those on no-frills ones.


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Joe Evans



Politician doubts north-east's capacity for two major airports

Tue, 10 Mar, 2009

The capacity for the north-east region to support two major airports has been questioned by a politician.

Lord Michael Bates, deputy chair of the Conservatives, expressed his doubts to Northern Decisionmakers, the online television programme of the Northern Echo.

Acknowledging rivalry between certain areas, he pointed to the existence of Manchester and Leeds Bradford Airports and said: "I just wonder whether we are large enough as a region to sustain two world-class airports."

Lord Bates also pointed out that the north-east is the smallest region in the country and drew attention to how close by other airports in Newcastle and Durham Tees Valley are.

Meanwhile, PropertyWeek.com reports the launch of a property programme by Manchester Airport.

The initiative, named Manchester City, centres on a business park and the airport's MAG Developments is buying a 30 acre site to combine with the Manchester Business Park, which is owned by the council.


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Joe Evans



Airport reforms 'would put emphasis on travellers'

Mon, 09 Mar, 2009

Consumers' interests would be a focus under new proposed changes to airports' regulation.

Proposals made by transport secretary Geoff Hoon include having the Civil Aviation Authority promote passengers' needs and requirements and for Passenger Focus also to work for the concerns of people who use air travel.

Mr Hoon also suggested that the largest airports should have to have licences for regulation purposes.

This would apply to the 13 airports that have more than five million passengers on an annual basis.

Noting that the CAA had said that its responsibilities were unclear, Mr Hoon stated: "Today I am removing that lack of clarity - the passenger must come first."

Meanwhile, Stansted Airport has revealed that it is working on a trial for an assisted border control system to make use of such technology as facial recognition and ePassports.

The six-month trial is being carried out in partnership with the United Kingdom Border Agency and BAA.


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Joe Evans



Travel agent begins trading from local airport

Tue, 03 Mar, 2009

A travel agent has relocated to begin trading from its local airport.

Lloyds Travel and its sister firm Cleveland Holidays used to be located in Middlesbrough, reports the Northern Echo.

But they have now gone the way of another office which has been situated in Humberside Airport for 25 years and moved into the Durham Tees Valley Airport terminal.

Travellers can now go there to book their Majorca holidays, including villas and hotels.

Melanie Fairs, who owns the agency, told the paper that the firm was "confident that customers will be pleased".

Durham Tees Valley Airport handled more than 670,000 travellers last year.

It has an online pre-booking facility for airport parking which can save passengers as much as 40 per cent on what they would pay if they just turned up.

However, the pre-booking does not apply to the car park designated for pick-ups and drop-offs.

There are several different rates available on airport parking depending on how far in advance booking is made.


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Joe Evans



Cardiff Airport set for facelift

Mon, 02 Mar, 2009

Cardiff Airport is to undergo redevelopment due to begin later this year.

As well as changing its name from Cardiff International Airport to simply Cardiff Airport or Maes Awyr Caerdydd, the building will have changes made to its design and layout, TravelMole reports.

The departures and arrivals halls will become one place and new services will be available.

Patrick Duffy, managing director, said that the redevelopment, which includes a new logo, would provide "a more discerning image domestically and internationally".

It is planned that the facelift will be completed by summer next year.

This would have it finished in plenty of time for the Ryder Cup, which will take place in Wales in October 2010.

Air passengers should book airport parking online in advance in order to get the best prices.

The airport provides scheduled flights to destinations including Geneva, Paris and Malaga, while charter flights can be taken to places such as Ibiza, Malta, Sharm el Sheik and Corfu.


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Joe Evans



Ryanair considering charging for toilet use

Fri, 27 Feb, 2009

Passengers of Ryanair may need to spend a penny in the most literal way if the budget airline implements the latest plans it is considering.

Michael O'Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, told the BBC that the company is thinking about charging people for using the toilet while in the air.

This would be done by means of a coin slot in the door and could require a pound to be spent.

Consumer group Which? criticised the idea.

Rochelle Turner, head of research for Which? Holiday, told the BBC: "Charging people to go to the toilet might result in fewer people buying overpriced drinks on board though – that would serve Ryanair right."

A non-fiction book by Paul Kilduff, Ruinair, has just been published by Harper Collins after previously being published in Ireland by Gill & Macmillan.

Giving an account of Mr Kilduff's inexpensive travels all over Europe, Ruinair was inspired after he suffered a ten-hour delay on a Ryanair flight to Spain.


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Joe Evans



BAA profits fall

Thu, 26 Feb, 2009

BAA is suffering from dropping profits as passenger numbers fall and fuel prices rise.

Stansted has seen a six per cent slump in profits, going from £476 million to £23 million.

Passenger numbers for BAA have fallen by 2.7 per cent.

Colin Matthews, chief executive, said that 2009 looks to be "challenging" and acknowledging that the economic climate is expected to affect passenger volume.

Combined, Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick experienced a fall of 2.6 per cent, or 3.4 million fewer passengers.

But for the former, the passenger numbers declines by a relatively low 1.4 per cent.

Airport company BAA is regulated by the Competition Commission and the Civil Aviation Authority for its prices.

Owned by Ferrovial, its airports are in London, Scotland and Southampton.

Its Scottish hubs are in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen.

It states on its website that it has "a clear accountability to both public duty as well as to our passengers".


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Joe Evans



Airport passengers call for improved transport

Wed, 25 Feb, 2009

Calls are being made to improve airport links for people wishing to fly from Liverpool to north Wales.

Neil Pakey, head of Liverpool John Lennon Airport, said that locals need bus and rail services so that they do not have to drive to the airport, reported the Daily Post North Wales.

He told the Welsh Affairs committee that Liverpool John Lennon Airport has seen a rise in passengers from north Wales.

Mr Pakey said there had been 52,000 such passengers ten years ago but in 2007 the figure was 290,000.

He called for a bus service from Chester and also a rail link from there to Liverpool South Parkway.

Such a plan would cost £11 million but Mr Pakey said this was a relatively low cost.

Currently, several bus services to the airport are operated by Arriva as well as by Supertravel and HLS, which provide the 886 and 883 respectively.


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Joe Evans



Carbon Trust honours Manchester Airport

Mon, 16 Feb, 2009

The Carbon Trust has presented a title to Manchester Airport after it successfully reduced its carbon emissions by six per cent.

Manchester Airport is now one of just 66 institutions, and the only airport, to have the Carbon Trust Standard, Crain's Manchester Business reports.

The airport, which intends to be carbon neutral by 2015, said that the six per cent decrease had been achieved from 2007 to 2008 when compared to the average of the previous two years.

Andrew Cornish, managing director of the airport, told the publication: "The money saved from energy efficiency measures feeds back into the business and reduces our operating costs, which is very important in a highly competitive industry like ours, where we are under increasing pressure to lower charges to our customers."

The airport made the reduction through such methods as turning off lights when they were not needed.

Planes' emissions are not considered once the aircraft is in flight.

Airport parking at Manchester Airport includes long and short-stay options as well as parking for disabled people and for motorcycles.

Courtesy buses are in operation.


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Joe Evans



MP quits over Heathrow expansion

Wed, 28 Jan, 2009

A Labour MP has quit in protest at the plans for a new runway at Heathrow Airport.

The BBC reports how Andrew Slaughter resigned his post over the issue.

In a Commons debate on the issue, shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said the economic reasons given by the pro-expansion camp were "wholly unconvincing".

But transport secretary Geoff Hoon said the Tories had not given definitions of where they would set the mark for air and noise pollution and had not given a "basis" for its opposition.

Meanwhile, the Guardian reports how local authorities who oppose the expansion have called for a new rail network to be established around the airport.

The group of councils, known as 2M, has drawn up a proposal which it says would let 40 trains go through the airport every hour with a new network set up with connections to mainline trains.

There would even be a high-speed service between London and Scotland.



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Joe Evans



Prestwick Airport in financial turmoil

Fri, 23 Jan, 2009

A Scottish airport has begun a three-month review into revenue and costs after revealing it has been hit by the economic downturn.

Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell told the BBC that the airport has been suffering losses for two months.

Speaking to BBS Radio's Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: "The intention is certainly to stay open and the 90 days is not linked to the decision to stay open or not."

While stating an intention to try to avoid job losses, he did not rule them out.

2009 is set to be "a difficult year with many challenges", he said.

Prestwick Airport, which is in Glasgow, offers a number of services for airport parking.

As well as saving money by booking online in advance, there is a Special Assistance service for people who need extra help with motility.

There are also car parks for long-term, mid-term and short-term stays.



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Joe Evans



New airport parking expansion at Bristol

Thu, 22 Jan, 2009

Airport parking facilities are set to be expanded at Bristol International Airport.

The £150 million redevelopment, which will reportedly create 4,000 jobs, includes a new multi-story car park to be located where the existing airport parking area is.

On top of this new airport parking facility would be a public transport interchange point.

New international destinations could be reached from the expanded terminal, including Cape Town, Singapore and Hong Kong.

According to the plans, passenger numbers could increase to ten million annually in less than ten years.

Chief executive Robert Sinclair said that the environment was being taken into account and that renewable energy sources are intended to be used.

A public consultation on the plans is now taking place.

Bristol International Airport offers an online facility for booking airport parking in advance.

In December 2008, the airport recorded 39,131 passengers on charter flights, 233,025 on scheduled international ones and 79,712 for scheduled domestic ones.



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Joe Evans



Birmingham airport monorail plans in development

Tue, 20 Jan, 2009

A multi-million plan for a monorail service for Birmingham International Airport is being devised, it has been reported.

The service, which could carry passengers from New Street Station to the airport in 16 minutes, may be able to take a capacity of 35,000 people an hour, the Birmingham Post reports.

In all, the scheme, which is being proposed by Birmingham Business Focus, would cost £280 million.

It is being developed as a solution to traffic problems in the city, which would also be relevant to airport parking.

According to train construction firm Metrail AG and engineering consultancy Arup, the monorail would be a tourist attraction and be a greener alternative to a train or tram.

Airport parking is available at Birmingham International Airport and travellers can make savings by booking in advance.

Discounts can be as high as 60 per cent compared to the rates charged when drivers simply turn up.


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Joe Evans



Decision on London Heathrow Airport runway delayed

Fri, 05 Dec, 2008

The decision on whether to approve a new runway for London Heahtrow Airport has been delayed by the transport secretary.

Geoff Hoon had been expected to announce if the third runway, as well as a sixth terminal, would go ahead this week, but he has now said that the decision will not be made until 2009.

"I will ensure that I give proper consideration to the evidence and will therefore take more time before making an announcement," he commented.

Those who oppose the additional runway argue that the economic benefits would not be enough to justify the three million tonnes of carbon dioxide that could be produced yearly by the increase in traffic.

However, supporters maintain that the third runway is essential if London Heathrow is to maintain its competitive status on a global level.

In 2006, Heathrow was the busiest airport in Europe in terms of total passenger traffic and it is currently the third busiest airport in the world.


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Joe Evans



CAA publishes figures for UK domestic travel

Tue, 11 Nov, 2008

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has published the findings of a survey entitled Connecting Passengers at UK Airports, which show the importance of different hubs in terms of redirecting passengers.

Its poll found that 90 per cent of connecting air passengers in the UK use the three main London airports; London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport and Stansted Airport.

In fact, Heathrow was found to account for 70 per cent of all connections.

Meanwhile, in contrast, only three per cent of passengers at Manchester Airport were there to catch connecting flights, perhaps because it runs more charter services.

The CAA says its survey "suggests that connecting passengers at Heathrow help to maintain a wider range of flights to different destinations and help to ensure more frequent flights to popular, often business, destinations".

As the UK's specialist aviation regulator, the CAA is responsible for air safety, consumer protection, economic regulation and environmental research, among other things.


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Joe Evans



British Airways accused of London bias

Tue, 28 Oct, 2008

British Airways (BA) has been accused of neglecting its regional customers in favour of hubs such as London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport.

Simon Calder, travel editor for the Independent, said that the carrier has effectively become 'London Airways' after cutting the last route from Manchester Airport to a foreign destination, New York.

This means that although regional customers can get BA flights from their own hubs, they will all go to London where passengers must then get connections.

Mr Calder said this is unfair, but a BA spokesperson denied that it was acting in a biased manner.

"We are fully committed to Manchester, giving customers in the north of England access to our worldwide networks at Heathrow and Gatwick with around 200 connecting flights a week," the unnamed source said.

Manchester Airport is one of the UK's biggest regional hubs, dealing with over 22.7 million passengers a year flying to 225 destinations.

Officials predict that this will rise to 50 million over the next 20 years



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Joe Evans



Manchester Airport to get new retail centre

Wed, 22 Oct, 2008

Manchester Airport has announced plans to continue its redevelopment of Terminal 1 with some exciting new shops.

According to a statement released by the northern hub, a number of new stores will open this winter, including Biza for tax and duty free products and Attitude for designer clothing at lower prices than on the high street.

"This autumn, a chic collection of new shopping names are set to take the airport by storm, with the best of high street fashion and designer names all in one place," said the statement.

The redevelopment of Terminal 1 is expected to cost some £35 million and should be finished by summer 2009.

Recent research from JCDecaux Airport reports that 83 per cent of people spend between £50 and £199 at the airport before they jet off on their holidays.

Analyst at Verdict Research Nick Gladding said that people may cut back on their spending in other areas - for example the weekly shop - before they go on holiday so that they can afford to buy more at the airport.


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Joe Evans



CAA figures show UK airport trends

Tue, 14 Oct, 2008

New figures released by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have provided an interesting insight into how passengers are using UK airports.

The 2007 Air Passenger Survey questioned over 200,000 people at London Heathrow Airport, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton, as well as at Doncaster Sheffield, Humberside, Liverpool airport and Manchester Airport.

It was found that business passengers accounted for 36 per cent of all travellers using London Heathrow Airport, the largest proportion in the survey. This hub also saw the highest number of people travelling alone, probably due to the large percentage of business travel.

Meanwhile, Doncaster Sheffield Airport attracted the most leisure passengers, at 94 per cent and London Stansted Airport saw the most people departing to see friends and family at 46 per cent.

Finally, it was discovered that Humberside Airport catered for the most people going on all-inclusive package holidays, with 59 per cent.

The CAA is the UK's independent specialist aviation regulator. Its activities include economic regulation, airspace policy, safety regulation and consumer protection.


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Joe Evans



Diners Club opens 18 new lounges in UK airports

Wed, 08 Oct, 2008

Diners Club International has announced the opening of 18 new lounges in airports across the country.

This includes facilities at Birmingham Airport, London Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airport and Edinburgh Airport, among others.

All of the new lounges will feature telephone and fax services, internet access and business desks, which may make them particularly suitable for club members travelling for work.

There will also be complimentary snacks, television and hot drinks.

Joe Hurley, deputy president of Diners Club International, said: "The opening of these additional lounges provides us with a tremendous opportunity to offer our Diners Club cardholders even more convenience and value when they travel throughout the UK."

The Diners Club Card was the first ever charge card and was established in 1950.

Today, it is a globally recognised brand and is widely used among corporations and small business owners.

The card is accepted in some 185 countries, giving users access to over one million cashpoints.



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Joe Evans



Airports poll aims to improve services

Thu, 28 Aug, 2008

A poll is to be carried out in some of the UK's busiest airports in a bid to discover where the hubs are performing highly and where services could be improved.

According to Travel Mole, views will be taken from passengers at London Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airport, Stansted and Gatwick by teams commissioned by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Travellers will be quizzed on buying air tickets, their in-flight experience, their passage through the airport and other services, potentially including the convenience of airport parking.

Richard Jackson, CAA group director of consumer protection, said he encourages all those who are approached to share their experiences.

"We are keen to ensure that all key stages of the air passenger experience are covered in the survey," he commented.

London Heathrow Airport is the world's third busiest airport for passenger traffic and handles more international passenger traffic than any other airport in the world.



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Joe Evans



BAA could be forced to sell

Thu, 21 Aug, 2008

The Competition Commission (CC) has called on BAA to loosen its grip on the aviation industry in the UK.

According to the organisation, the airport operator's dominance of the sector is having "adverse consequences" for both passengers and airlines.

Therefore, it has suggested that BAA considers selling some of its transport hubs, including London Heathrow Airport and London Stansted Airport.

In addition, the CC has advised the organisation to sell its facilities in either Glasgow or Edinburgh.

Christopher Clarke, chairman of the CC's inquiry group, commented: "There are significant competition problems arising from BAA's common ownership of seven UK airports."

He said this has been demonstrated by its "lack of responsiveness" to the needs of its customers.

The report has been met with a positive response by the Manchester Airports Group, which said the findings are "good news" for both airlines and passengers.



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Joe Evans



XL 'to cut Gatwick-Knock route'

Wed, 06 Aug, 2008

UK airline XL Airways will stop flights between London Gatwick and Ireland West Airport Knock, according to reports.

The Herald newspaper said the service will cease on September 2nd because of what it describes as changing market conditions.

XL Airways is part of AX Leisure Group, which is Britain's third-biggest tour operator. It currently flies between Gatwick and Ireland six times a week.

Phil Aird-Mash, the company's chief executive officer, said XL frequently reviews it routes in order to meet the core needs of customers.

Robert Grealis, chief executive of the airport in County Mayo, told the Belfast Telegraph that the news was "disappointing" but was a sign that the aviation industry has entered a difficult period.

The carrier began flights from Gatwick to West Airport Knock last autumn and was the only airline operating the route.

XL Airways flies to dozens of destinations in Europe and Africa, and operates long-haul services to the US, Canada and the Caribbean.


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Joe Evans



Provisional airport traffic data released

Mon, 04 Aug, 2008

Passenger traffic at UK airports increased in May but fell in both April and June, according to new statistics from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Provisional figures show a 1.6 per cent decrease in passenger flow in April, followed by a 0.9 per cent increase in May and a one per cent fall in June.

Growth at Glasgow Airport has been stagnant for ten months, while Newcastle and London Stansted have seen passenger traffic decline for eight months in a row.

However, London City has enjoyed double figures growth since the start of 2007. With the exception of Luton, it is the only London airport to record growth in each month of this year.

Last month, the CAA released figures that show the number of passengers using UK airports was two per cent higher in the first quarter of 2008 when compared with the corresponding period last year.



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Joe Evans



Car parking helps airports boost profits

Wed, 30 Jul, 2008

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) has attributed strong full-year figures to the success of its new car parking business.

The company, which is owned by the ten councils that comprise Manchester city-region, reported a 16.4 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £96.5 million in the 12 months to March 31st.

As well as its new car parking service, the group's retail offerings and a clampdown on costs helped the company drive up annual revenues from £385.5 million to £395.7 million.

Chief executive Geoff Muirhead told the Manchester Evening News that there is good reason to be optimistic about the group's prospects despite the credit crunch.

"We have made real progress in the past year, which reflects the hard work that has gone on in recent years," he remarked.

Manchester Airport Group owns Bournemouth, Humberside, Manchester and East Midlands airports.

Yesterday, it was revealed that 563,159 passengers walked through East Midlands Airport's gateway in June, a five per cent increase on a year ago.


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Joe Evans



560,000-plus used East Midlands in June

Tue, 29 Jul, 2008

East Midlands Airport (EMA) has revealed that 563,159 passengers used the hub in June, a five per cent increase on a year ago.

Destinations outside the eurozone saw the biggest hike in passengers. This has been attributed to the fact that holidaymakers are opting for cheaper destinations like Turkey.

In recent weeks, the strength of the euro against the pound has led to a decline in the number of passengers heading to traditional European hotspots like Spain.

Penny Coates, EMA managing director, said she is delighted to the airport has exceeded half a million passengers.

In May, EMA handled 534,690 travellers, which is the first month ever that more than half a million passengers came through the gateway.

At the end of October, Ryanair will launch three new flights from EMA to Faro, Fuerteventura and Prague.

"We are certain that the additional three Ryanair routes will prove very popular," Ms Coates added.



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Joe Evans



High-speed Heathrow rail connection mooted

Thu, 24 Jul, 2008

A proposal to build a high-speed rail link between the Channel Tunnel and London Heathrow Airport has been put before the government.

The £4.5 billion plan was unveiled by engineering company Arup, which said the existing line from the Channel Tunnel to St Pancras could be extended to Heathrow by 2019.

If given the go-ahead, it would link the airport with regional rail services on the Great Western Main Line and provide a direct rail connection to mainland Europe.

The Conservatives have come out in support of the plan, saying it would help reduce congestion and pollution around Heathrow.

Meanwhile, a £16 billion railway link joining Canary Wharf with Heathrow has been approved by the House of Lords.

Transport secretary Ruth Kelly said the new east London infrastructure would mean "major improvements" for the travelling public.


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Joe Evans



New train station for Robin Hood Airport

Thu, 03 Jul, 2008

Doncaster council has given the green light to a new train station platform on the Lincoln line that runs close to Robin Hood Airport.

The plans were submitted by the Peel Airports Group and are part of a long-term project to improve commuter links with the airport.

Doncaster council and Yorkshire Forward hope to develop the airport and plans include a 250-space car park and a rail link to the new airport terminal.

Robin Hood Airport's environment manager Clare Wilson said that seven per cent of passengers use public transport to access the airport.

"We are confident that future enhancement will increase that usage further and improve access across the region," she added.

Robin Hood Airport has handled 2.9 million passengers since it opened three years ago. In the past year, it has seen a 13 per cent increase in passenger numbers.


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Joe Evans



BA, Virgin class action is unique, says lawyer

Wed, 02 Jul, 2008

Anthony Maton, from US-based law firm Cohen Milstein, has said that a class action against British Airways and Virgin Atlantic is the first of its kind.

He told Channel 4's News at Noon that there has never been a settlement of this type in the UK.

The firm is inviting UK passengers to take part in a class action against BA and Virgin Atlantic after the two companies allegedly colluded over fuel surcharges.

"There's never been a settlement of this type. There's never been anything like this that allows victims of cartels [to claim] when there's been a price fix by companies," he said.

"There's never been anything that allows those consumers and businesses to claim in this way."

Mr Maton confirmed that 1,200 businesses had already registered to claim.

The eight million BA and Virgin passengers who flew between August 11th 2004 and March 23rd 2006 could claim back up to £20 per ticket, according to Cohen Milstein.


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Joe Evans



Virgin launches check-in incentive

Tue, 01 Jul, 2008

Passengers flying from three of the UK's biggest airports are being encouraged to check in online.

Virgin Atlantic has launched a promotion at London Heathrow Airport, Manchester Airport and London Gatwick Airport.

Passengers who check in online for their flights between today (July 1st) and August 31st will be offered £10 reductions on selected fragrances from Virgin's inflight retail offerings.

Paul Dickinson, Virgin Atlantic's marketing director, remarked that the incentive is part of an effort to increase the number of people checking in online, which he says is much quicker.

"Online check-in is currently used by nearly a quarter of our passengers - we predict that this number will continue to increase over the coming months," he added.

Virgin operates dozens of long haul services from London and Manchester to destinations that include New York, LA, San Francisco, Cape Town, Cuba, Barbados and St Lucia.



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Joe Evans



Millionaire wants to buy defunct Sheffield Airport

Thu, 05 Jun, 2008

Industrial steel magnate Andrew Cook has expressed an interest in buying Sheffield Airport as a going concern.

This is despite the fact that it is to be turned into a business park under current plans.

He told the BBC that it is disgraceful that Sheffield no longer has an airport given the city's size and importance.

"So somebody had to step in and do something, nobody else wanted to, so I made an offer simply to keep it there," he said.

"I was prepared ... to give it a go. I'm a wealthy man. I can afford to buy it without having a developed business plan profit."

He said the airport should offer commercial aviation services on a scheduled basis to "important" business destinations.

Peel Group recently took over the airport's lease for a symbolic £1, although it really cost the property and transport company £20 million.



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Joe Evans



Airport expansion 'should be suspended'

Fri, 23 May, 2008

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) has argued that UK airport expansion be put on hold for the time being.

Hugh Raven, who authored a report for the SDC, said questions still remain over the economic and environmental arguments for airport expansion.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, he said plans for expansion at London Heathrow Airport and London Stansted Airport, among others, should be delayed until an independent review is carried out.

He said the data on the positive economic impact of aviation is "heavily contested".

"The environmental data is also very heavily disputed ... both with respect to noise and localised air pollution and crucially climate change," Mr Raven added.

As such, the government should not base its decision on airport expansion on "such shaky foundations".

Foreign secretary David Miliband recently told BBC Two's Newsnight that reducing carbon emissions cannot be achieved by just focusing on aviation.



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Joe Evans



Budget travellers warned of hidden costs

Wed, 21 May, 2008

Travellers flying with budget airlines this summer are being warned to brace themselves for hidden charges.

Aviation consultancy Ascend warned that airlines have passed the rising fuel costs onto their customers.

As such, passengers now face additional charges for baggage, booking online, check-in, using credit cards and enjoying in-flight refreshments.

Peter Morris, chief economist at Ascend, said: "The thing that matters for the customer ... is the final price that someone is going to pay."

"The comparison [with larger airlines] is really not just the original ticket price but the final fare that they pay including all the charges for baggage or handling or whatever the airline dreams up to put on there."

Ryanair announced in April that it was increasing check-in charges per passenger from £3 to £4 and per bag from £6 to £8.

The budget airline also aims to increase check-in volumes by ten per cent.


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Joe Evans



BA profits up by 45%

Mon, 19 May, 2008

British Airways (BA) has announced full-year gross profits of £883 million, an increase of 45 per cent on the previous year.

BA shareholders will receive their first dividend in seven years following the positive results.

But aviation analyst John Strickland believes that airlines may struggle to remain successful as the cost of oil rises and customer demand is affected by wider economic problems.

He told the BBC: "The whole industry is faced with the rising cost of fuel. British Airways has indicated that could put its costs up by upwards of a billion pounds in the year ahead.

"And there's also increasing competition for British Airways, particularly on its routes to North America," he concluded.

In related news, BA's subsidiary OpenSkies has just received approval from the US department of transport to commence transatlantic operations.



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Joe Evans



New owners at Blackpool International Airport

Tue, 06 May, 2008

Construction group Balfour Beatty is to by a 95 per cent stake in Blackpool Airport - a move described by Blackpool council leader Peter Callow as "great news" for the town.

The company's airport investment and development group Regional and City Airports (RCA) will run the north-west hub following a £14 million deal.

According to Mr Callow, the new owner will be able to take the airport to even higher levels than it has achieved in recent years.

Over the last few years, the gateway to the north-west has seen various developments, including changes to car parking space in the early months of 2006.

"I know [Balfour Beatty has] very exciting plans for the future which will see expansion of both flights and facilities," said Mr Callow.

In January 2007, RCA bought Exeter International Airport for a fee of £60 million. The deal with Blackpool involves the local council maintaining a five per cent stake.


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Joe Evans



Business travellers 'turning to low-cost carriers'

Fri, 11 Apr, 2008

Budget airlines are becoming increasingly popular with British business travellers, a new study has found.

The 12th annual Barclaycard Business travel survey discovered that British Airways remains the airline most frequently used for business travel, accounting for 28 per cent of the UK market.

However, other carriers that have traditionally performed well in the business sector were found to have lost out to low-cost carriers.

Ryanair climbed to third in the rankings after their market share increased from three per cent to eight per cent in the past 12 months.

Rival cut-price carrier easyJet performed even better, with its 15 per cent share making it the second most commonly used airline by UK business travellers.

Denise Leleux of Barclaycard Business predicted that more companies would switch to low-cost airlines in the coming months, explaining: "They are becoming even more cost conscious - perhaps more so this year than before."

Meanwhile, British Airways has revealed it carried 2,718,000 passengers during March - 2.8 per cent fewer than in the corresponding period in 2007.

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Joe Evans



UK airports 'handled 241m'

Thu, 13 Mar, 2008

A full 241 million passengers passed through UK airports last year, research by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has revealed.

Although this represents a 2.4 per cent growth over the year, the organisation notes that this is the slowest rate in a decade.

The majority of UK passengers were handled by London airports (58 per cent), with an increase of 2.8 million passengers on the previous year.

London Gatwick Airport recorded the biggest growth rate, serving one million more travellers in 2007 than in 2006.

The majority of people passing through UK airports were travelling to and from European destinations (139 million), with Poland, Italy and Spain recording the biggest passenger increases.

Around 22.4 million people flew between the UK and North America and 30.6 million others flew to the remaining international destinations such as the Middle East and Australasia.

Robin Broke of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions has stated that the UK has a developed package tour to meet the demands of the British population who like to go abroad on holiday.

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Joe Evans



Flights cancelled nationwide due to stormy weather

Wed, 12 Mar, 2008

The UK's stormy weather has caused disappointment for many holidaymakers, reports the Times.

According to the newspaper, 22 flights have been cancelled from London Heathrow Airport this morning because of the storms.

Five flights have been called off from both Birmingham Airport and Leeds-Bradford Airport and one service had been abandoned from Manchester Airport.

However, travellers using London Gatwick Airport, London Stansted Airport, Liverpool Airport and East Midlands Airport were lucky to have had no cancellations.

The newspaper adds that although seven flights were called off from a number of Scottish airports, there were varying reasons, not all down to the severe weather conditions.

Both ferry firms and rail networks have also reported delays to their usual services.

The Highways Agency has reminded drivers to keep a close eye on weather conditions, after a number of vehicles have overturned in the strong winds.

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Joe Evans



Heathrow expansion 'would help regions'

Fri, 30 Nov, 2007

Regional airports have nothing to fear from London Heathrow Airport's expansion plans, according to an industry body.

A consultation is currently underway about plans to build a third runway and sixth terminal at London Heathrow Airport.

That would enable Britain's busiest airport to handle even more traffic, but Neil Pakey of the Airport Operators Association said the move would not take business away from its regional counterparts.

In fact, Mr Pakey believes the expansion would actually help the country's smaller airports because there are not currently enough slots available for domestic services at London Heathrow Airport.

As a result many passengers are unable to fly from their local airport to link up with long-haul services and London Heathrow Airport is not effective in its role as the UK's hub, he continued.

"Really we need to have slots into the regions through Heathrow … So Heathrow getting more slots, more capacity, that's actually going to benefit the regions far more," said Mr Pakey.

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Joe Evans



East Midlands Airport scoops top industry prize

Tue, 20 Nov, 2007

East Midlands Airport has been named the Airport of the Year in the 2007 British Travel Awards.

The hub, which has scooped five travel awards so far this year, received the accolade at an event in London last week.

Independent experts voted for East Midlands Airport based on its interaction with the travel industry, how it handles passengers at its terminal, environmental credentials and how it supports and encourages the growth of charter operators.

East Midlands Airport managing director Penny Coates said this year has been "incredible" for the airport.

She added that this latest prize "an amazing example" of how well the airport is perceived by its trade peers.

"We are very proud of the titles we have been awarded this year which recognise the hard work and dedication of our great team," Ms Coates concluded.

In the destinations category of the awards, Australia was named the dream travel location, while Cornwall was named the favourite UK destination.

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Joe Evans



Air traffic demand increases

Tue, 02 Oct, 2007

Air traffic demand increased in August, according to the latest set of figures, which could mean airport car parks are somewhat busier.

Conducted by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), a new report shows that year-on-year international passenger demand increased by 8.6 per cent, the fastest growth rate in 16 months.

IATA’s director general and chief executive Giovanni Bisignani commented that despite financial turmoil aviation demand had remained strong.

"While the credit crunch clearly shook both business and consumer confidence in August, demand for air travel remained solid with record high load factors for August," he said.

He added that the demand could weaken in coming months however and value sectors must increase efficiency to combat this.

The IATA is an international trade body and has been representing the airline industry for 60 years.

One of its priorities is to introduce 100 per cent e-ticketing facilities and to support industry positions on climate change.


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Joe Evans



Queues at Heathrow Airport to be shortened

Fri, 28 Sep, 2007

Long queues at Heathrow Airport are soon to be a thing of the past, a representative from BAA has said.

New baggage screening technology due to be implemented at Terminal 5 should reduce the amount of time that passengers will have to queue, the chief executive of BAA Stephen Nelson has commented.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Nelson remarked that the technology will scan baggage more quickly and gives "a very accurate read".

"I think it's very important that we do everything we can to reduce queues. We have been doing that over the summer and in fact over the past 12 months we've now recruited over 22 per cent more security staff at Heathrow alone," he commented to the news source.

Security staff will have been increased by a further 50 per cent by December with 20 per cent more lanes added, Mr Nelson noted.

For those in a hurry to jet off, an added convenience could be to pre-book airport parking online before arriving at Heathrow Airport.

Terminal 5 is due to open in March next year.


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Joe Evans



BAA passenger number increase

Tue, 18 Sep, 2007

Britain's airports are booming in popularity, new figures suggest.

BAA has announced that August was the company's busiest month so far in 2007 with its airports handling a total of 15.2 million passengers.

The company runs several airports around the country, including London Heathrow Airport, London Gatwick Airport, London Stansted Airport, Edinburgh Airport and Glasgow Airport.

Edinburgh and London Stansted saw the biggest increases in air traffic, recording a rise of ten per cent and seven per cent respectively.

North Atlantic traffic rose by 10.2 per cent and long-haul flights increased by 6.2 per cent.

With the number of Brits jetting off out of the country increasing, passengers may find it prudent to pre book their airport parking online before they embark on their journey.

Earlier this year, BAA announced that it would invest £9.3 billion into helping ease congestion at its airports and increase passenger enjoyment of the experience.


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Joe Evans