13 JULY 2015

YOUR WORDS


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Aegean and the Greek crisis

While Greece as a nation struggles, Aegean, now in effect the national airline, flies on.  It is a member of Star Alliance.

The carrier has put out a strong statement, which we have paraphrased slightly.  The German newspaper  Bild posted  on its website a claim that Greek citizens could only book tickets by paying in cash.

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CityJet LCY expansion

Cork (ORK) to London City (LCY) is a new CityJet route commencing on 1 October. 

The airline will fly three times daily on weekdays with its first 1hr 25mins service from Cork leaving 06:50 (from 25 October) with arrival at say Canary Wharf before 09:00. 

In the other direction the 08:45 arrives at Cork 10:10.  Evening departures are LCY 17:55 and ORK 16:00, making a full day practical in either direction. 

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Disruptive passenger invoiced

Leeds-based leisure airline, Jet2.com, has issued disruptive passenger, Grant Marshall, with an invoice for £4,809 for additional costs incurred in diverting its aircraft following his offensive behaviour on-board a flight to Alicante in May.  The action has been well supported by the airline industry.

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ERA meets European policy makers

The European Regions Airline Association (ERA) board has met key European Commission aviation regulators and policy makers for an executive breakfast meeting.

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A Message from Chancellor George Osborne to Runways UK 6 July 2015

“Our aviation sector has been at the heart of our economic success and quality of life – but current congestion is holding Britain back, and there is a need to increase capacity.

We now need to give this report (The Airports Commission), which is clear, reasoned, and based on the evidence, the respect and detailed consideration it deserves before we act.  We will then decide on the best way to get planning consents if expansion is to go ahead, before coming back to Parliament in the autumn to give clear direction on the plans.

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COMMENT: The Airports Commission

Andrew Adonis is a Labour Peer (Baron Adonis), an academic, something of a railway buff, and Secretary of State for Transport in Tony Blair’s government from June 2009 until May 2010.  He endeared himself to the air transport community by appearing at the London Aviation Club soon after his appointment, very quickly grasping the essentials of the job.  He gained a PhD in modern history at Nuffield College, Oxford, was at the Financial Times (FT) for five years (1991-96) before moving to the Observer as a political columnist.  He has followed the Airports Commission with particular interest and at last week’s Runways UK delivered a speech largely based on this article reproduced from the FT Saturday 4 July.

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Aer Lingus for IAG

British Airways will now have total dominance of all air routes from British Isles airports into Heathrow after the Board of Ryanair Holdings Plc confirmed on Friday (10 July) acceptance of owner IAG's offer for Ryanair’s 29.8% shareholding in Aer Lingus Group Plc. 

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APD and the Budget

As seems to be the way now,  BTN  was inundated with comment from interested parties regarding last week’s Budget and its effect Air Passenger Duty (APD).

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Declan Collier v Boris Johnson

London City Airport (LCY) CEO Declan Collier spoke eloquently at Runways UK challenging London Mayor Boris Johnson who seems to have personally tried to stop the improvements to the downtown airport, not just to the chagrin of Mr Collier, but the business community in general.

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House of Lords

In spite of saying that the Airports Commission report is complete Sir Howard Davies is being kept busy.

The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee will next week hold a one-off evidence session with Sir Howard.  The public is welcome at 16:05 on 15 July, Committee Room 3, House of Lords.

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IATA and ‘Davies’

Tony Tyler, Chief Executive Officer of IATA since July 2011, is no stranger to Heathrow, previously holding a similar position at Cathay Pacific.  He spoke at last week’s Runways UK conference making it very clear that the airline association supported Heathrow expansion but highlighted what he sees as some problems particularly with regard to the noise levy and realigned curfews.  Funding was another contentious point.

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Not a third runway

Whilst clearly in support of the Airports Commission’s recommendations regarding choice of airport, Jock Lowe, leader of the Heathrow Hub concept for an extended northern runway, has not dropped his unique scheme.  Coming from someone else it would probably be ruled out but Captain Lowe was Flight Ops Director for Concorde and is a very experienced Heathrow pilot.  

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Plane Stupid

Gatwick must be ‘plane stupid’ said one industry professional, mimicking a belligerent group who arrived at the Runways UK supper party in a disruptive mood, but after Sir Howard had spoken.  They must have got stuck in the lift.

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Runways UK

No anti-climax, following the Airports Commission recommendations the previous week. Runways UK, was the opposite.

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ON TOUR: Airports and railways

Our railway expert Andrew Sharp, the former Director of the International Air Rail Organisation (IARO), was a real glutton for punishment and attended both Runways UK and Tomorrow’s Rail which followed.  He focusses on Crossrail for London City, Heathrowrail access from the south, which would include Waterloo, and the planned HS2 at Old Oak Common.

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MOTORING UPDATE: Subaru Forester 2.0 D XC

On Test with Ted Wilkinson of The Guild of Motoring Writers

Latest Forester Comes to Town

The quality of interior trim and equipment specification is now to a high level

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AND FINALLY: Bunker attack

George Osborne announced in the middle of his budget speech that the government had found one million pounds to refurbish the bunker room in Uxbridge (near Heathrow) used as an air control centre in the Second World War.

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Aviation Club’s 25 years

The London-based Aviation Club of the United Kingdom will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a reception at the House of Lords next Thursday 16 July.

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Avis Prestige

'Arrive & Drive' is the name of a new service launched last week at Heathrow by car rental giant Avis.  For no additional cost Avis Prestige customers will now be able to collect their vehicle at any of Heathrow’s terminals, demonstrating the company’s continued commitment to providing the highest level of personal service to its customers.

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Crazy Croquet, and Pimm's at T2

Unless it is extended (don’t be a spoil sport says the Editor) passengers passing through Heathrow Terminal 2 have only today (12 July) and tomorrow to play a game of Crazy Croquet on a unique course, designed to celebrate the best of British with rose bush obstacles, teapot shaped hoops whilst washing it all down with a refreshing glass of Pimm’s.

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Dublin to Geneva

Swiss International Air Lines (Swiss) has launched a new service connecting Dublin and Geneva.  Four weekly flights will be flown to Geneva.

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easyJet at Runways UK

Speaking at Runways UK, Sophie Dekkers, UK Director of easyJet, made it clear that the airline is keen to get into an expanded Heathrow.  “We strongly welcome the Airports Commission’s clear and unanimous recommendation for expansion at Heathrow," she said.

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Howard Davies hits back

Sir Howard Davies arrived hotfoot from Heathrow (and Shanghai) for a suppertime discourse at the end of the first day of Runways UK.  He made it clear that upon publication of his committee’s report the previous week his job was over. 

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Hyatt Morocco

Taghazout Bay, Morocco, Hyatt Place hotel has opened, the first Hyatt Place in Africa. 

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Israel for Ryanair

Ryanair has announced its first flights to Israel with three new routes to Ovda Airport.  The new operation would appear to be in keeping with the Ryanair policy of seeking less popular airports more than keen to welcome the Irish airline.

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Trouble ahead for Lufthansa

Lufthansa’s pilot union Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) – which had agreed to arbitration of all open collective wage agreements in May – said last Monday (6 July) that mediation has failed, raising the possibility of new strike action at the height of the summer travel season.

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