Archive for August, 2012


[Meridian] The world’s newest passenger plane, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will make its first crossing across the Atlantic from Heathrow in February.

The plane is set to revolutionise air travel with a host of new features.  Photo: United Continental Holdings

The plane is set to revolutionise air travel with a host of new features. Photo: United Continental Holdings

United Airlines will make the first flight from to Houston from Heathrow  in February. It will also fly from Amsterdam in December.

The Dreamliner was partly developed at Farmborough and some of its components are built in Hampshire, Dorset, Kent and Sussex.

Around one thousand are on order for the plane that burns less fuel and has many passenger benefits including bigger windows, more space and a new clean air system and lighting aimed at reducing jet lag.

Dreamliner cabin interior.  Photo: United Continental Holdings

Dreamliner cabin interior. Photo: United Continental Holdings

Qatar Airways also plan to operate a 787 from Heathrow later this year and both Virgin Atlantic and BA have ordered the plane.

Thomson will be the first UK airline to fly the plane from Gatwick early next year.

Read the original story at ITV News-Meridian…..


ITV News
30th Aug, 2012


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[Economist] How a row over Heathrow has become a test of David Cameron’s political manhood.

From Edward Heath in the 1970s to Labour in the past decade, leaders have tried to resolve London’s aviation dilemma. Picture: Economist/CAA

From Edward Heath in the 1970s to Labour in the past decade, leaders have tried to resolve London’s aviation dilemma. Picture: Economist/CAA

AS AN opposition Tory leader anxious to throw off his party’s image as the home of rapacious Gradgrinds, David Cameron made an eye-catching pledge in October 2009. “The third runway at Heathrow is not going ahead, no ifs, no buts,” he declared, setting his party against Labour’s plans for airport expansion. Homeowners around London’s western fringe cheered.

The move enhanced Mr Cameron’s green credentials—a key part of his strategy to reposition the Conservative Party as more socially aware. It also boosted the Tories’ electoral prospects in marginal seats like Richmond Park and Brentford, which are already uncomfortably noisy (see map).

Alas, the days when making Conservatism sound nice was a priority are long gone. As politicians return to Westminster for a new term, the prime minister is focused on the stubbornly lagging economy, which is a drag on the coalition’s popularity and his own.

Backbenchers and businessfolk think they have a solution: grant the capital’s main airport room to grow so the country can attract more business from China and other emerging economies. Tim Yeo, Tory chairman of Parliament’s energy committee, has changed his mind to favour a new runway and is loudly urging Mr Cameron to do likewise. Powerful backers like Sir Michael Spencer, a City broker, also support a U-turn.

Few MPs are convinced that building a new runway at Heathrow would…….

Read this full article at the Economist…..


The Economist
Sept 1st, 2012



[Independent] United Airlines passengers faced delays and massive queues today after some of its major computer systems and its website failed.

The glitch was another in a long string of technology problems that began when the US airline merged computer systems with Continental in March.  Photo: Wikipedia

The glitch was another in a long string of technology problems that began when the US airline merged computer systems with Continental in March. Photo: Wikipedia

United acknowledged at least 200 delayed flights after its passenger reservation system and website stopped working for about two-and-a-half hours last night, although the precise cause was not known.

The computer crash did not affect planes already in flight.

Passengers in several United hubs reported very long lines at ticket counters. During the outage it stopped sending planes to its hubs in Newark, New Jersey, and San Francisco.

Alex Belo was waiting at Newark to get on a flight to Mexico City. He considered himself lucky to be behind only 100 or so people waiting to check a bag – because there were another 300 to 400 behind him.

“The line is not moving, or very slowly moving. And they’re giving priority only to first class,” he said.

United said it would not charge the usual change fees for passengers on affected flights who want to cancel or rebook their tickets and apologised for the disruption.

Simon Duvall spent two hours sitting on his flight waiting for the computer problems to be resolved. People were calm but not happy, he said.

“We’re on a plane, on the tarmac in Las Vegas in the middle of August. It’s warm. It’s uncomfortable. It’s cramped,” he said.

United Continental Holdings has been struggling with computer issues since March, when it switched to…..

Read the full story at The Independent……

 


The Independent
29th Aug, 2012



[BBC News] A passenger plane was forced to land at Amsterdam‘s Schiphol airport and boarded by Dutch forces amid fears of a hijacking that proved unfounded.

Vueling aircraft at Schiphol Airport

Amateur footage shows the plane being escorted by the F-16s

Dutch F-16 fighters were scrambled to intercept the aircraft, en route from Malaga, Spain.

Once it landed at Schiphol it was boarded by armed security forces who discovered the false alarm.

A miscommunication between the pilot and the control tower reportedly triggered the confusion.

“There was never any danger. There was a lack of communication between the pilot and the tower and the airport has activated the security protocol,” a spokeswoman for Spanish carrier Vueling told Reuters news agency.

Dutch broadcaster NOS spoke to a passenger who said the situation on board had been “calm”.

It was the second drama at the airport on Wednesday.

Earlier, part of Schiphol was closed and flights delayed after a suspected World War II bomb was discovered by workers digging near Pier C, which connects the main plaza with Departure Hall One.

Read the original story at BBC News…..


BBC News
29th Aug, 2012



[Dawn.com] Singapore Airlines announced on Thursday that it intends to spend more than Sg$20 million ($16 million) to upgrade its airport lounges worldwide in a bid to stay ahead of the competition.

“We hope to replicate that ‘home away from home’ experience in our lounges", SIA senior vice president for products and services Tan Pee Teck.  Photo: Wikipedia

“We hope to replicate that ‘home away from home’ experience in our lounges”, SIA senior vice president for products and services Tan Pee Teck. Photo: Wikipedia

The announcement of the upgrade came nine days after the airline, facing fiercer rivalry from Asian and Middle Eastern carriers, unveiled plans to introduce revamped seats and cabin interiors as well as improved in-flight entertainment.

The upgrade of its “SilverKris” lounges will be carried out over five years starting from the middle of next year when the facility at Sydney airport will be fitted with a new design concept, SIA said in a statement.

“We hope to replicate that ‘home away from home’ experience in our lounges, along with the warm Asian hospitality that Singapore Airlines is renowned for,”SIA senior vice president for products and services Tan Pee Teck said.

The airline has 15 SilverKris lounges at airports worldwide, including one in New Delhi – to be officially opened next month – and in Seoul which is scheduled for completion by the end of the year.

SIA is regarded as a trendsetter in aviation and is famous for its cabin service, but rivals like Cathay Pacific in Asia and Etihad, Emirates and Gulf Air from the Middle East have been closing the gap while offering lower fares.

It said last week it had hired BMW Group subsidiary DesignworksUSA and James Park Associates, two renowned design companies, to develop the “next generation of inflight cabin products” expected to be introduced next year.

The changes will include revamped seats, redesigned cabins and upgraded entertainment platforms as new passenger planes from Boeing and Airbus begin arriving.

Read the original story at Dawn.com…..


Dawn.com
25th Aug, 2012



[Metro] A recent poll from travel search site Skyscanner claims Luton was rated as the most unfriendly airport with only 5.76 points out of ten.

Luton has been named the UK's most unfriendly airport in a new survey.

Luton has been named the UK’s most unfriendly airport in a new survey. Photo: Wikipedia

London airports Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick also featured towards the bottom of the list.

Meanwhile, the one airport which is getting things right is Edinburgh, earning a massive thumbs up from visitors.

ith a score of 7.41 points out of ten for friendliness it was followed closely by Newcastle (7.34) and then Manchester (6.87). Around Europe, Paris was voted the rudest airport with a score of just 4.86 points, while Moscow received 5.03 points and Istanbul was awarded 5.91 points.

The friendliest European airport, according to travellers, was shown to be Copenhagen (7.08 points).

Commenting on the results, Victoria Bailie from Skyscanner said: ‘We like to have a good moan and grumble but overall, the average scores were positives for the UK’s airports.

‘Despite the summer rush, they’ve clearly been doing a good job to help kick start our holiday on a positive note.’

Read the original story at Metro…..

 


Metro.co.uk
21st Aug, 2012



[Independent] Justine Greening could become the first Cabinet Minister to be removed from her job because she supports Government policy, it was suggested yesterday.

Transport Secretary's opposition to runway makes her position in Cabinet 'untenable'

Transport Secretary‘s opposition to runway makes her position in Cabinet ‘untenable’. Photo: Wikipedia

Some senior Conservatives, who are in favour of building a third runway at Heathrow to boost economic growth, said that Ms Greening’s long-held opposition to the plan meant that she could not remain in her position as Transport Secretary.

They suggested that with Chancellor George Osborne now in favour of a third runway it would be necessary to move Ms Greening in the planned September reshuffle to allow a U-turn to take place. However, others in Government dismissed the idea, pointing out that opposing the runway was Government policy.

They added that the Liberal Democrats had been clear that they would block the move and that David Cameron said last month that Government policy would not be changing. But Richard Wellings, head of transport at the Institute of Economic Affairs think-tank, said Ms Greening’s position was “untenable”.

Richard Harrington, a Tory backbencher, said he backed "anything that will increase capacity" at Heathrow.

Richard Harrington, a Tory backbencher, said he backed “anything that will increase capacity” at Heathrow. Photo: Wikipedia

“It is a problem having her as Transport Secretary with such a local interest in the issue; given her critical views on Heathrow expansion, it would make sense to replace her,” Mr Wellings told the Financial Times.

One senior Tory added: “It would be bizarre to keep her in that job when her position over aviation is now the polar opposite of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor.”

The Government is expected to publish its long-awaited consultation into airport expansion in the South-east in the next couple of months. While that will not specifically rule out a third runway – and ask for supporters to make a case for it – it will make clear that Government policy is to look for other…….

Read the full story at The Independent…..


The Independent
25th Aug, 2012



[BBC News] A body has been found inside a jumbo jet landing at Heathrow Airport.

It is believed the dead man could be a person who was spotted scaling the fence at Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday night.   Photo: Wikipedia

It is believed the dead man could be a person who was spotted scaling the fence at Cape Town International Airport on Wednesday night. Photo: Wikipedia

The body was discovered in the landing gear bay of a British Airways Boeing 747 after it arrived at the London airport from Cape Town, South Africa.

BA said it was liaising with South African authorities over the discovery, which was made at about 06:25 BST on Thursday.

A spokesman said: “This is a very rare and sad event and our thoughts are with the individual’s family.”

He continued: “We are liaising with the South African authorities and Cape Town airport after a body was found in the landing gear bay of one of our aircraft.

“They are investigating how this incident took place, which involved a Boeing 747 which arrived this morning from Cape Town.”

The death is being treated as non-suspicious.

Inquiries are being made to establish the man’s identity.

Read the full story at BBC News…..


BBC News
23rd August, 2012



[Airport Informer] A huge fire is currently being tackled by Fire Services adjacent to Heathrow Airport. The nearby main A4 road has been closed and diversions are in place.

This image taken from the T1 Car Park show the plume of dense smoke rising high into the sky.  Photo:  John Jefferies

This image taken from the Terminal 1 car park shows the plume of dense smoke rising high into the sky. Photo: John Jefferies

The fire is raging in a tyre depot which is next to the main road and is causing delays to passengers bound for the airport.

It is thought by airport insiders that the density and proximity of the black smoke plume to the runway will cause problems for air traffic at the Heathrow.

A huge plume of black smoke can clearly be seen for miles across central London and can even be spotted from the area near the Olympic stadium.

Updates can be found at LBC – lbc.co.uk…..


The Airport Informer
21st Aug, 2012



[BBC News] Virgin Atlantic is to begin a short-haul service between London Heathrow and Manchester from next March.

Virgin Atlantic boss Steve Ridgeway stated: "We'll put in some of the twists that people know and love"

Virgin Atlantic boss Steve Ridgeway stated: “We’ll put in some of the twists that people know and love”. Photo Wikipedia

The airline says its first foray into the UK domestic market will provide competition for British Airways.

It will also provide a regional link for passengers using its long-haul services from Heathrow, it says.

Virgin denied the move was a response to Virgin Rail being told it was losing the West Coast Mainline franchise that covers London to Manchester.

The franchise, held by Virgin since 1997, will be taken on by FirstGroup later this year, the government announced last week.

Virgin Atlantic chief executive Steve Ridgway told the BBC the move was about increasing choice for UK passengers.

“Since BMI was swallowed by BA, competition in domestic routes has disappeared,” he said.

BA-owner International Airlines Group bought BMI earlier this year.

By offering access to the international hub Heathrow, the new route was about “keeping Manchester and the North East connected with the rest of the world,” he added.

The airline says it will operate three daily flights to Manchester using Airbus A319 aircraft from 31 March 2013. Initially, Mr Ridgway said these aircraft would be leased.

Virgin says that 65% of people who fly from Manchester to London then connect on to another long-haul flight, and they want a share of that market.

Fuel prices

Manchester Airports Group said Virgin was already a strong carrier at the airport with long-haul routes to Barbados, Orlando and Las Vegas.

“We aim to support our airlines as they look to grow and we hope the success of Virgin’s domestic services will lead to further expansion at Manchester,” said Ken O’Toole, chief commercial officer at Manchester Airports Group (MAG).

Virgin Atlantic was founded by Sir Richard Branson, and is 49% owned by Singapore Airlines.

Earlier this month it reported an annual loss because of higher fuel prices.

The carrier made a loss of £80m in the 12 months to the end of February, compared with a profit of £18.5m a year earlier.

BA said in a statement that it was “confident that our excellent customer service and great value fares will continue to set the standard in UK short-haul aviation”.

See the original story and interview at BBC News . . . . .


BBC News
21st Aug, 2012