Posts Tagged ‘Steve Ridgway’


[Flightglobal] Virgin Atlantic Airways has fleshed out further details of its upcoming entry into the UK domestic market, confirming plans to operate “multiple daily flights” from London Heathrow airport to two Scottish cities.

Virgin will add new Heathrow services to Edinburgh and Aberdeen.

Virgin will add new Heathrow services to Edinburgh and Aberdeen. Photo: Wikipedia

The airline had previously announced that flights from Manchester to Heathrow will begin on 31 March 2013, becoming its first domestic feeder service.

In the “second stage” of its domestic expansion, Virgin will add new Heathrow services to Edinburgh and Aberdeen. International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of rival British Airways, currently has a monopoly on both routes following its acquisition of BMI.

“At least 1.8 million Scottish passengers, equivalent to a third of the population, have been left without a choice on these routes since IAG’s takeover of BMI,” says outgoing Virgin chief executive Steve Ridgway, who will leave the company next spring.

“As a monopoly operator, BA has the opportunity, the incentive and the means to increase fares and reduce the number of flights available.”

BA is reducing Heathrow-Aberdeen flights by almost one-third and Heathrow-Edinburgh flights by one-quarter when compared with the number of combined services previously operated by the flag carrier and its one-time rival BMI, Virgin claims.

Ridgway had earlier acknowledged that Scottish routes will likely form the backbone of its upcoming domestic operations – to be served by leased Airbus A319s.

IAG has been forced to relinquish 14 slot pairs at Heathrow in order to trim its market share at the hub following the BMI acquisition. Competition RX, the company monitoring the slot auction, says at least seven of those slots must be used for Edinburgh or Aberdeen flights.

Virgin is bidding for 12 of the slots, with the remaining two earmarked for Transaero’s Moscow route. Tickets for Manchester went on sale last month and Virgin says the route will be operated irrespective of how many slots it ultimately secures.

However, no such assurance has been given for flights to Edinburgh, Aberdeen or Moscow – also tentatively announced by Virgin – and with tickets yet to go on sale it appears that all three routes are predicated on its success in the slot auction.

Read the original story at Flightglobal……

 


Story by Martin Rivers
14th Sept, 2012


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[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



 [Independant] Heathrow‘s capacity problems could be solved without the need for a new runway, as strict rules on take-offs and landings are eased from next month.

The plan could allow 120,000 extra aircraft movements each year at Europe's busiest airport.

The plan could allow 120,000 extra aircraft movements each year at Europe’s busiest airport.

The “silver bullet” solution to the airport’s congestion crisis could unlock up to 25 per cent more slots with no extra building. Introducing so-called “mixed mode” flying – under which runways are used for both take-offs and landings at the same time – could allow 120,000 extra aircraft movements each year at Europe’s busiest airport.This would call into question the need for either a third runway or an entirely new airport in the Thames Estuary. New rules coming into force on 1 July will increase the number of circumstances in which simultaneous runway use is permitted. Heathrow says this will not for now lead to a net increase in slots, but it is under pressure from the airline industry to extend the scheme to allow more take-offs and landings.

The fact that the Department for Transport has agreed to tinker with long-standing rules against “mixed mode” indicates they may be willing to overrule local residents’ objections.

How a mixed mode runway operation works

Steve Ridgway, the chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, told The Independent: “Mixed mode … would allow a more efficient use of the existing, overstretched runways at Heathrow.”

When working to full capacity – which it does much of the time – Heathrow can handle up to 44 departures and 43 arrivals every hour. Yet its nearest rival is even more productive: Gatwick is the world’s busiest single-runway airport by a wide margin, with up to 54 movements an hour.

A study carried out by the air-traffic provider NATS concluded mixed mode could boost Heathrow’s capacity by up to 15 per cent – adding 10 million passengers to today’s annual total of 70 million. But a spokesperson for NATS said the operating changes needed to achieve that increase would require……

Read the full story at The Independant…..


Story by Simon Calder
23rd June, 2012



[Evening Standard] Extra passport staff were drafted into Heathrow today as passengers complained of continuing border delays at the airport.

UK Border Force officers had been flown in from Manchester in a bid to reduce the queues

UK Border Force officers had been flown in from Manchester in a bid to reduce the queues

Lucy Moreton, from the Immigration Services Union, said UK Border Force officers had been flown in from Manchester in a bid to reduce the queues which have seen passengers forced to wait for hours to enter the country. Downing Street today blamed the rain for some of the problems, saying that “severe weather conditions” had led to planes being delayed and queues building up.

But Steve Ridgway, the head of Virgin Atlantic, accused ministers of economic “madness”. He said the Government had cut border guard numbers without ensuring that adequate technology was available to replace them — and warned that ministers were jeopardising the country’s prosperity when Britain needed “everything it can get” from overseas business and tourism.

There were new reports of long queues today as passengers arriving from North America into Terminal 3 complained of large numbers of unmanned passport desks. Matthew Killick, 41 who flew in from Halifax, in Canada, said:

“There were not enough people checking passports. It was like……

 Read the full story at This is London…..


Martin Bentham
30 April 2012