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Old January 8th, 2005, 02:15 AM   #1
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United Kingdom Aviation News

UK flights soar 4.9 pct to record high in 2004

LONDON, Jan 7 (Reuters) - Flights in Britain rose 4.9 percent to record levels in 2004 as low-cost airlines expanded and more people flew on cheap fares, UK air traffic control said Friday.

The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) said it handled 2.18 million flights in UK airspace during the year as transatlantic and domestic flights increased, as well as flights to and from Europe.

Budget travel has buoyed short-haul traffic from Europe, while routes across the Atlantic Ocean have recovered from a downturn following 2001 attacks on U.S. cities.

NATS said average delays per flight attributable to air traffic control fell to 25 seconds in the period from 44 seconds in 2003 and 97.5 percent of flights had no delays.

"Despite record numbers of flights, NATS delivered its best performance in 2004 on record," NATS Chief Executive Paul Barron said in a statement.

NATS hopes to cut flight delays and safety incidents by 2007 to help restore confidence in the organisation which was hit by a financial crisis after a slump in transatlantic air travel after 2001.

The partly privatised body is implementing a 1 billion pound ($1.88 billion) investment plan to modernise Britain's air-traffic control system before European Union plans to form a single network of air-traffic control zones.

NATS earns the bulk of its revenues from transatlantic flights.

Transatlantic arrivals and departures rose 7.4 percent in 2004, domestic rose 4.4 percent and other arrival and departures rose 7.5 percent.

The strongest growth areas were in Scottish air space, where flights increased 7.9 percent, and Manchester with growth of 6.9 percent.

NATS is 49 percent owned by the British government, 42 percent by a consortium of UK airlines, 4 percent by airports operator BAA Plc and 5 percent by NATS staff.


National Air Traffic: 2.18M Flights Used UK Airspace
7 January 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--National Air Traffic Services (NATS), the UK air traffic management provider, said Friday that in December 2004, it handled 165,045 flights, an increase of 5.3% over the same period in 2003.

Figures show that in 2004 NATS handled more flights than ever with fewer delays.

A total of 2,180,206 flights used U.K. airspace in 2004, a new annual record and an increase of 4.9% on 2003.

Despite rising traffic levels, service delivery showed significant improvement, with the average delay, per flight, attributable to NATS in 2004, falling to 25 seconds, compared to 44 seconds in 2003, a reduction of 43%.

The number of flights that experienced delays attributable to NATS fell markedly. In 2004, 97.5% of flights experienced no air traffic control delay, up from 95.2% in 2003.

The London Area Control Centre (LACC) at Swanwick, Hampshire, which handled over 1.7 million flights through 200,000 square miles of airspace above England and Wales, recorded its best performance ever in the latter part of 2004.

For a period of 24 consecutive days, between Nov. 27 and Dec. 20, there were no delays to flights attributable to Swanwick and of the 133,000 flights handled in December, only 36 received a delay attributable to the centre.
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Old January 8th, 2005, 02:18 AM   #2
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BA loses transatlantic trade but business class booms
Peter Klinger
7 January 2005
The Times

British Airways failed to cash in on tourists eager to exploit the weak US dollar as it admitted that transatlantic passenger numbers fell by almost 2 per cent last month.

BA's transatlantic route is one of its most profitable but the airline said that passenger numbers last month, one of the industry's busiest periods, fell from 590,000 to 580,000.

Analysts speculated that the passengers were lost to rivals, including Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic, but BA did not give any reason for the decline.

One analyst said: "It's difficult to argue that America as a holiday and business destination is less attractive now."

The transatlantic decline was offset by an increase in premium travel during the month, as well as growth on BA's UK and Europe, Asia-Pacific and African routes.

BA's shares rose almost 5 per cent, or 11p, to 242p as investors applauded the improved figure for premium travel.

The company said that market conditions remained "broadly unchanged".

Overall, 2.7 million passengers flew with BA last month, up 1.8 per cent on the previous corresponding period. In the first nine months of BA's financial year, which ends on March 31, the passenger tally was 27.4 million, up 1.6 per cent on the same time last year.

The airline said that passenger capacity had been 3.9 per cent higher last month than in December 2003, but traffic, measured in revenue passenger kilometres (RPK), was up only 3.2 per cent.

The shortfall led to a 0.6 per cent drop in the passenger load factor to 72.7 per cent.

BA said that the increase in RPK was led by a 6.8 per cent surge in premium traffic, with non-premium take-up 2.7 per cent higher. It did achieve solid growth in passenger load factors -the percentage of seats sold -on its UK and Europe (up 1.2 per cent to 62.4 per cent) and Africa and Middle East (up 1.9 per cent to 76.7 per cent) routes. But load factors on its Asia-Pacific routes, alongside the transatlantic network -its most profitable segment -were down 1.3 per cent to 74.3 per cent. The US route experienced a 2 per cent drop in load factor to 75.2 per cent.

BA has flagged a Pounds 6 million non-cash accounting loss in the December quarter because of the weaker Japanese yen.

The improvement in premium travel is a rare piece of good news for BA, which has been dogged by high fuel prices and lower fares.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #3
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Ryanair News Release
06.01.05
Parcels Before People at British Airways and Lufthansa
Fuel Price Drops but BA & Lufthansa Keep Their Rip Off Fuel Surcharge

Ryanair, Europe’s No. 1 low fares airline today called on British Airways and Lufthansa to end their pumped up passenger fuel surcharges.

Speaking today, Peter Sherrard, Ryanair’s Head of Communications said:

“Ordinary consumers are being held to ransom by BA and Lufthansa’s fuel surcharges even though the price of oil has now fallen. This week both airlines will reduce their ridiculous surcharge on cargo traffic but they continue to rip-off their passengers. It is a case of parcels before people at BA and Lufthansa.

Ryanair GUARANTEES no fuel surcharges and says NO to the fuel surcharges of British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France and others like them.

Passengers recognise the crude scams of BA and Lufthansa and it is no wonder they are voting with their feet by choosing Ryanair for the lowest fares, unbeatable punctuality and customer service”.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 06:34 PM   #4
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British Airways suspends flights to Saudi Arabia due to poor demand
Tue Jan 11, 2005

LONDON (AFP) - British Airways is to suspend all its flights between Britain and Saudi Arabia from March because of reduced passenger demand.

BA will suspend its flights between London Heathrow airport and Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia from March 27, it said Tuesday.

"The decision to suspend flights between the UK and Saudi Arabia is a difficult one to make as we have enjoyed a long history of flying between the two countries," said BA's director of commercial planning, Robert Boyle.

"However, the routes dont currently make a profitable contribution to our business and we are unable to sustain them while this remains the case," he added.

British Airways currently operates four flights per week from London Heathrow to Jeddah and three weekly journeys from the same airport to Riyadh.

"As part of our commitment to Saudi Arabia we will, of course, keep this important market under constant review," BA said.

The airline cancelled a number of flights to Saudi Arabia during the summer of 2003 because of fears about possible terrorism attacks in the Gulf state.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #5
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Ryanair to introduce service between London and Santiago De Compostela
12 January 2005
Airline Industry Information

Irish low-cost airline Ryanair announced on Tuesday (11 January) that it would launch a new daily flight between London and Santiago De Compostela in northwestern Spain.

The new service is to start on 11 April. No other details have been disclosed.

The airline expects to carry about 100,000 passengers on the new route in its first year of operation, reported The Associated Press.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 11:25 PM   #6
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Record numbers used British airports last year, industry figures show
12 January 2005

LONDON (AP) - A record 140.1 million air passengers traveled through Britain's major airports last year, 6.9 percent higher than 2003, according to industry figures published Wednesday.

The British Airports Authority, which runs the country's seven biggest airports, said the greatest increase was at Southampton Airport in southwest England, where numbers rose by 25.7 percent to 1.53 million.

The number of travelers using Stansted Airport north of London rose by 11.7 percent to 20.9 million while Gatwick Airport to the south of the capital recorded at 5 percent increase to 31.4 million and Heathrow showed an increase of 6.2 percent ot 67.1 million.

In Scotland, Edinburgh recorded a 7 percent increase to almost 8 million, while Glasgow rose 5.5 percent to 8.56 million and Aberdeen was up 5 percent at 2.64 million.

Last year's figures were swelled by a good December, when passenger numbers rose to 10.5 million, up 4.6 percent on the previous December, the BAA said.

The Dec. 26 tsunami in the Indian Ocean came too late to have a major impact on air travel, the company said.
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Old January 15th, 2005, 09:05 PM   #7
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BAA to lift cash out of 'non-core' assets
14 January 2005
The Daily Telegraph

By Alistair Osborne BAA revealed last night that it was in advanced talks to form a property joint venture which could raise hundreds of millions of pounds for the airports operator. The owner of seven UK airports, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, said: "Discussions are under way and due diligence has commenced with a view to forming a 50:50 joint venture with an external investor to hold certain of BAA's non-core aeronautical properties." The company would not disclose the identity of the investor, believed to be a financial institution or property fund. BAA owns various properties, deemed non-core, including airport hotels, car parks, offices and buildings leased to airlines, such as the Compass centre at Heathrow, occupied by British Airways. "The actual properties to be included in the joint venture are still being considered," BAA said. They would not include its retail operations.

If the transaction goes ahead, BAA, which has pounds 3.2 billion net debts, could inject properties into the joint venture and take out cash. This would help it finance an pounds 8billion capital expenditure programme over the next 10 years. The programme includes the pounds 4.2 billion Terminal 5 at Heathrow but not new runways, such as the mooted pounds 4billion second runway at Stansted. At the latest annual accounts, BAA had pounds 9.3 billion of fixed assets.
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Old January 17th, 2005, 06:50 PM   #8
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Virgin Atlantic launches self-service check in

LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic Airways launched self-service and online check-ins on Monday and said it expects half of its passengers, or two million people, to use the new facilities within two years.

One of the first among long-haul carriers to introduce the new facilities, Virgin said it was setting up self-service kiosks at London's Heathrow Airport as well as online check-ins aimed at speeding up the process.

Virgin is spending 1.5 million pounds ($2.8 million) on the new system but does not expect substantial cost-savings from the move.

Virgin Chairman Richard Branson also reiterated the airline hoped to employ 3,000 new staff over the next 12-18 months.

"We have vast expansion plans, so we are looking for people," Branson told reporters at Heathrow Airport.

He also said there were no current plans to remove fuel surcharges introduced last year.

Virgin, which aims to double the size of its fleet in 5 years.
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Old January 19th, 2005, 11:34 PM   #9
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Virgin Atlantic to Lanch Daily Delhi-London Services From Feb 1

NEW DELHI, Jan 19 Asia Pulse - British carrier Virgin Atlantic announced Tuesday it would launch daily services between Delhi and London from February 1 and proposed to introduce new flights from Mumbai from March 27.

The airline is also negotiating with British aviation authorities to launch four weekly services from Bangalore this year, its General Manager (India) Andrew Fyfe said.

While India and UK decided last year to enhance the number of flights and airlines operating between the two countries, the British authorities have to grant permission to its carriers to operate to Indian destinations.

Following the Indo-UK bilateral negotiations on air traffic rights last year, Virgin was granted ten additional flights out of 21 new ones. While British Airways got additional rights to fly to Chennai and Bangalore, British Midland won maiden rights to operate to Mumbai.

Asked about heightened competition on the India-UK sector once Indian carriers like Jet Airways and Air Sahara were allowed to operate to destinations like London, Fyfe said he expected the fares to "go marginally lower" with the new entrants coming in.

"We will also make necessary adjustments in our pricing. However, we feel the fare structure may be lower during the non-peak season and higher in the peak months," he said.

The Virgin official said there would be about 80 services between UK and India by the summer of next year.

He also announced recruitment of about 60 more Indian cabin crew in Delhi and Mumbai, taking the total to about 100. (PTI)
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Old January 25th, 2005, 02:31 AM   #10
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Peace struggle: The expansion of Britain's airports will bring a huge increase in air traffic - and further misery to the people who live in their shadow.

So what is life like on Britain's noisiest streets, with seven jets roaring overhead every 10 minutes? Lucy Mangan packs her earplugs and heads for west London

25 January 2005
The Guardian

There are a number of reasons why you might object in principle to the prospect of further airport expansion in Britain. You might point out that this overcrowded isle barely has enough room for Mrs Trellis's new conservatory, let alone for the board, lodging and servicing of the projected 16 million extra passengers a year that the new terminal at Heathrow will have coming through its controversial portals alone.

You could object to subsidising it. Airlines pay no fuel tax, a concession that costs the Treasury pounds 6bn a year, nor VAT on ticket sales, which undermines the government's claims about the industry's vital importance to the health of the country's economy (as does the fact that we fly out more tourists than we fly in, at a net cost to the hospitality industry).

Or you could go down the environmental route. Even if expansion did unquestionably benefit the national economy, it would be doing so at huge cost to the global ecology. There will be an estimated half a billion air travellers in the UK by 2030, producing an extra 60 million tonnes of carbon emissions.

Then you could factor in the fumes produced by the generally congested roads funnelling passengers to and from the airports and ask how we are going to satisfy imminent EU legislation on air and noise pollution if the government continues with the "predict and provide" strategy it currently clings to (despite its dismal record as a policy in relation to the roads) rather than finding ways of managing demand.

But if you live anywhere near a flight-path, there is one factor that counts above all others. The noise. The ceaseless, oppressive, inescapable, all-but-unbearable noise of planes flying overhead. At first I thought the people I spoke to were, if not exactly exaggerating, perhaps oversensitive to the problem after living with it for so long. That was before I went to spend 24 hours in Cranford, which is just beside Heathrow, with one of its oldest inhabitants, 75-year-old Lorna Newman. She remembers when it was all fields round here. "And the occasional smallholding and an orchard," she adds, as we drive down the dual carriageway past the Ramada Jarvis hotel.

As I step off the bus from Hounslow West tube station at 7.30pm, I am too busy consult ing my map to remember where I am. So for quite a few seconds I am stupidly bewildered by the enormous roaring sound that comes up behind me, and keeps coming. And keeps coming. I look up and see an enormous plane thunder overhead. It is an undeniably magnificent sight, but a truly horrendous noise. It seems to fill my brain from the bottom up, so that by the time it is directly above me I am no longer even capable of making the strangulated "What the f-!?" cries I had been managing as the thing approached. I can only stand with my shoulders hunched up to my ears, heart racing, waiting for it to pass, willing the noise to be over.

In the quarter of an hour it takes me to find Lorna's house, a number of (fractionally quieter) planes also sweep across the sky and my nerves are jangling by the time I stumble across her threshold into the relatively peaceful sanctuary offered by her triple-glazed home and heavy curtains. At 8 o'clock, we set off for the pub. By this point I am tensing up every time I hear a car coming, because it sounds very much like the very beginnings of an aircraft approach and I instinctively begin to hunker down each time. The pub has music playing loud enough to drown out the planes that are landing only yards away. At 9pm we head for Waye Avenue, which gets the full impact of fligh-path noise. Three planes go over in as many minutes, seven in the 10 minutes I can stand it before I have to retreat to the car again. I experiment with putting my gloved fingers in my ears. The curious and irritating effect is to cut out the ambient noise (including the constant rumble of earthbound planes taxiing on the runways and refuelling) and highlight the periodic overhead cacophony. At a distance of 17 miles from Heathrow, planes can hit more than 70 decibels. The government deems a noise of 57 decibels as constituting "significant community annoyance". My interviewees, I am beginning to realise, have in fact been models of understatement.

Librarian Cheryl Hounslow lives - where else? - in Hounslow under a Heathrow flight path with her husband and two children. "The worst thing for the kids is that when we're walking to school, we can't chat," she says. "It's just not worth the effort of trying to make ourselves heard. The school is under the flight path too. It was really bad before they had insulation but I'm sure they also don't spend as much time out of doors as they should, as they would if it was quieter." She - and indeed everyone I speak to - talks about how awful it is to have to keep the many-glazed windows shut night and day throughout the summer, and of the impossibility of enjoying the garden. "There are planes coming over every minute. If I'm about to go outside and I hear one coming, I just don't because it's just so horrible."

Artist Julia Lambert lives just behind Putney Common under one flight path and close to another. "People are staggered by how noisy it is even this far away," she says. "If you try and have lunch outside, it's impossible to keep up a conversation."

And the noise continues after dark. The night flights at Heathrow have been an enormous bone of contention between Hounslow residents and the government for years. The Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise (Hacan) won a historic victory in 2001 when the European Court ruled that they breached the right to an uninterrupted night's sleep and banned them, but the decision was overturned on appeal. Now the flights are supposed to stop between 11.30pm and 4am but whenever I mention this it is greeted with hollow laughter. Certainly at midnight, tucked up in Lorna's spare room, I can still hear them going overhead. (As an aside, although I do not have any air pollution monitoring equipment with me, I can report that Cranford fails the black bogey test spectacularly. After 12 hours there, my hanky looks like an engine rag.)

When I go on an exploratory walk at eight the next morning, by which time the planes are using the southern runway, I begin to appreciate the value of the alternation system the airport agreed to put in place some 30 years ago to give the residents some degree of relief. Currently, aircraft land on one runway between 4am and 3pm and take off from the other the rest of the time and then vice versa for a week at a time. Philippa Edmunds, a communications consultant living about a mile from a flight path in East Twickenham, refers to this procedure as "a lifesaver". "It makes such a big difference to be able to fall asleep with an open window and know that you will just have to get up and close the window when the planes start again in the morning," she says. "If you get the noise all day, it drives you potty, but if you know you're getting half a day's peace, you can plan your life - or at least a barbecue - round that. I can't tell you how valuable it is."

It's also under threat. BA, Virgin and BMI gave their backing in 2003 to a proposal to do away with alternation and bring in a "mixed mode" sage of the runways, which would employ both between 4am and 11.30pm in order to increase the number of flights from 80 to 90 an hour. "If it happens it will make life absolutely appalling," says Julia Lambert. "Alternation is a lifeline," says Cheryl Hounslow. "The threat of taking it away is just outrageous."

But if things are so bad why do they still live here? Lorna points out she has lived in the same house since she was four. Cheryl's husband has lived here all his life and his children are settled at the local school (which was also his when he was growing up). Julia Lambert in Putney "totally fell in love with the place" 15 years ago, and can't imagine being without the "wonderful" network of friends and neighbours that has evolved over the years. "I'm very, very lucky - we're in and out of each others houses, we eat together . . . it's such a valuable communal aspect for someone like me who has to spend a lot of time working on her own."

All of them point out that the increase in air traffic has been constant but gradual, that there has never been the kind of sudden, massive change that might have prompted overwhelming outrage and a mass exodus.

And of course each time there was an alteration to the status quo, it was usually accompanied by reassurances from the government that limits and conditions would be set to protect residents. When permission was given for Terminal 4 in 1979, for example, the inspector said that this should be "the last major expansion of the airport" and a strict limit was set on the number of flights, which was exceeded within a few years of the terminal opening in the late 80s as international air travel became cheaper and more popular than ever before. After the longest public inquiry in Britain's history, Terminal 5 was given the go-ahead in 2001 with a limit of 480,000 flights a year; within nine months Whitehall was sliding consultation proposals for a third runway in the south-east which at Heathrow would increase flights to 655,000 a year.

That said, the signs are that Stansted is the current favourite for such expansion. Local forces are mobilising there to try and stop it and, in conjunction with Hacan and others, have made an unprecedented application to judicially review the 2003 White Paper that recommends the move.

Their primary motivation was to get access to a range of documentation that would only be released in the process of a legal challenge. "Succeeding in the application would be the cherry on top," says the Stop Stansted Expansion campaign director Carol Barbone. "But it's just one strand of various challenges that we're running on a range of fronts."

The numerous local pressure groups are optimistic about their chances not just of preventing the proposed third runway (wherever the foe decides it should be) but of succeeding on a larger scale too. Barbone says that BAA and the government seem taken aback by their inability to divide and conquer the campaigners, and Hacan's website says the group is "not in the business of exporting our misery to someone else". As part of the umbrella organisation AirportWatch, they are hoping to raise people's awareness of the social and environmental dangers inherent in the policy of constant expansion and challenge the government to resist the aviation industry's pressure to adhere to it.

Until then, those living under the flight paths will settle for smaller gains. "They shouldn't expand," says Julia Lambert wearily, "until they can let the people of south-west London sleep." That afternoon I thank Lorna for her hospitality and climb into the photographer's car to leave. She waves us off. "Hurry up," says David. "It all stinks here." I agree. But at least we can drive away.

'It's impossible to keep up a conversation outside' . . . an aircraft prepares to land at Heathrow airport

Staying put . . . Lorna Newman, 73, has lived in the same house since she was four
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Old January 25th, 2005, 03:39 PM   #11
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British Airways Plans To Start Shanghai Flights
25 January 2005
Dow Jones International News

LONDON (Dow Jones)--British Airways Tuesday said that it plans to start flights this summer from London Heathrow to Shanghai in China, subject to approval by the Chinese authorities.

Robert Boyle, the airline's director of commercial planning, said: "We have flown to both Hong Kong and Beijing for many years and are keen to start services to Shanghai. The city is the powerhouse of the Chinese economy and, as the economy continues to grow, we believe there will be a great demand for our flights.

"Shanghai Pudong airport is due to open a second runway and we are talking to the Chinese authorities about securing take-off and landing slots in Shanghai for our flights. We hope to fly five times a week with a Boeing 777 aircraft."

British Airways said that its Shanghai plans have been boosted by the news that the British and Chinese governments have agreed to changes in travel visa rules which will make it easier for Chinese citizens to visit the U.K.

The airline flies currently from London Heathrow to Beijing four times each week with a Boeing 777 aircraft. This will increase to six times per week from June 2005.

British Airways flies also 17 times a week from London Heathrow to Hong Kong with a Boeing 747 aircraft, which will increase to 21 flights a week from June 2005.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 06:06 PM   #12
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Premium long haul helps BA
DAVID SHAND
27 January 2005
The Daily Express

CITY AND BUSINESS EDITED BY STEPHEN KAHN - MARKET REPORT

HOPES of a further recovery in long-haul premium traffic and more cost savings helped lift British Airways yesterday.

Better-than-expected December passenger numbers have fuelled a recent market rally. Fears about increased competition from US carriers on its key transatlantic routes have also diminished.

BA gained 5 fp to 256 bp as broker Goldman Sachs reckoned it was best-placed among flag carriers to survive the expected turbulence from continuing high oil prices.

Goldman said paying down debt and reducing costs rather than going for growth would pay dividends for BA shareholders. But the broker claimed the company should have been braver in tackling "unproductive working practices".

Analysts expect BA to shed more light at its investor day in March on further cost-cutting opportunities once it moves into the new Terminal 5 at London Heathrow.

BA was, however, left trailing by easyJet's 11p rise to 213 dp as ABN Amro talked up prospects for the budget airline sector. Arch-rival Ryanair added 13 cents to .5.89.

Supermarket giant Sainsbury's provided one of the main talking points on persistent talk a 4 per cent chunk of its shares had changed hands.

Traders suggested US value investor Brandes had taken its stake to more than 14 per cent after picking up stock from the Sainsbury family. Sainsbury's firmed 4p to 281 dp on hopes this would increase the chances of a bid.

Broker upgrades following Tuesday's well-received thirdquarter figures helped Cable & Wireless rise 3p rise to 122p.

Antofagasta struck it 12p richer at 1187p after a 5.6 per cent increased in production at its Chilean copper mines last year.

Upbeat comments from Investec provided a cure for brewer SABMiller's hangover on the back of speculation it was set to make a major South American acquisition.

The broker reckoned a

9billion deal for Colombian group Bavaria could be structured to "materially enhance" earnings in the first year. SAB rebounded 10p to 805p.

Northern Rock's reverse amid concerns over the impact of new accounting rules cast a shadow over the wider banking sector. Alliance & Leicester and Barclays were 20p and 10p in the red at 882p and 574p respectively. The FTSE 100 Index lifted 3.9 points to 4847.1.

Investors continued to buy into the likely benefits for Travis Perkins, 59p stronger at 1930p, from its acquisition of DIY chain Wickes. The deal could also make Travis a more tempting target for a predator.

Trinity Mirror, up 15 dp to 695p, remained the focus of takeover interest from venture capitalists while fellow publisher Highbury House gained 1.88p to 9 bp after receiving a takeover approach.

Majestic Wine eased 1p to 275 dp after Teather & Greenwood placed 9.55million shares at 250p on behalf of a trust linked with co-founding chairman John Apthorp and another family member.

Stakebuilding talk lifted Financial Development Corporation dp to 12 bp. It recently announced the acquisition of an African oil outfit.

HydroDec Group, whose technology helps clean up organic pollutants, rose 1 bp to 21p on reheated gossip of a deal with a chemicals company being imminent.

Talk of strong festive trading put Domino's Pizza, up 4 dp to 222p, on the buy menu. Fashion retailer Monsoon cut an 8p fuller figure at 294p after strong trading. Traders were also excited by the prospects for its springwear, to be unveiled later next month. Renewed bid speculation pushed JJB Sports 3 bphigher to 210p.

Primary Health Properties improved 7p to 292p as punters bet on it winning planning approvals to roll out more health-care centres.

Investors tuned into Medal Entertainment, 12p ahead at 128 dp on the back of positive institutional meetings, while Dinkie Heel advanced 0.13p to 3p as investors warmed to a recent acquisition.

Recruitment consultancy Highams Systems gained 0.88p to 6 bp on suggestions costs would be significantly reduced following two senior departures.
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Old January 30th, 2005, 01:35 AM   #13
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Cost is Crucial in the Budget Airline Battle
NEIL HODGSON Industry Reporter
29 January 2005
Liverpool Echo

Cheap flights may soon come to end

LIVERPOOL John Lennon Airport bosses are celebrating a new route - to Rome with Ryanair.

But despite increasing capacity from its Merseyside base, the Irish airline is warning the cheap flights bonanza cannot go on forever.

Ryanair boss Michael O"Leary warned scores of European no frills operations could go to the wall in the next few years as they compete in an increasingly crowded sector.

He said: "Fares will get lower and airlines will struggle to fill seats."

Mr O"Leary even included the scheduled operators in his dire warning: "The high-fare airlines will be forced to match prices and, with their costs bases, they are going to struggle. ""

When Ryanair arch-rival easy Jet set up its Liverpool hub in Liverpool John Lennon airport in 1997 there were just two main players - themselves and Dublinbased Ryanair.

Today there are almost 50. But the good times can"t roll on for ever and easy Jet chief executive Ray Webster also predicts plenty of casualties - with, eventually, as few as five budget airlines left on the scene.

"The market will determine how many airlines it can sustain, but with its low cost base, well established route network and strong financial position, easy Jet can reassure consumers that it will survive and prosper. ""

So, cost is crucial to maintain an efficient operation and withstand commercial pressures from rivals trying to undercut each other on routes.

Most people know low-cost airlines can offer low fares by having a low-cost base - but what does that actually mean and what does it look like in real terms?

One of the sector leaders, easy Jet, has revealed to the ECHO just how they walk the fine line of being able to make flights pay for themselves.

The airline has illustrated its cost structure by breaking down the figures from its latest annual results to show how much an individual flight costs to operate and, therefore, show how much profit the airline makes per flight.

It explains in clear details just how tight the margins are in the industry.

According to easy Jet"s figures, during the past financial year it generated £5, 660 in revenue for each flight it operated.

From that total, the following costs have to be subtracted, per flight: airport charges - £993; fuel - £762; crew - £658; ownership - £600; ground handling - £577; maintenance - £529; navigation charges - £455; overheads - £382; advertising - £158; insurance - £103. That leaves a profit of £443 on each flight easy Jet operates.

Ray Webster believes that the cost structure is behind the stability that easy Jet can base its business model on.

When he announced the results recently he said: "They reflect the resilience of the easy Jet business model and have strengthened our position in the European airline market.

"Both financially and operationally we are stronger than we have ever been before.

"There are good opportunities for us in 2005. We expect to grow our sales through further enhancing our network. ""

Ryanair also expects to remain a leading player in the sector at the expense of less robust airlines.

UK regional sales manager Cathy Timlin said: "Unless airlines can replicate the cost base we have it will be difficult for them to stay above water. ""
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Old January 30th, 2005, 05:38 PM   #14
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BAA plans pounds 800m property fund to pay for expansion
By Edward Simpkins
30 January 2005
The Sunday Telegraph

BAA, the owner of Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, is in talks with Scottish Widows, the insurer, about setting up an pounds 800m fund to hold part of its huge property portfolio. Under the deal, known as Project Devon, BAA and Widows would inject substantial borrowings into the joint venture, allowing the airport operator to release hundreds of millions of pounds which could be used to fund extensive expansion programmes. According to BAA's accounts to the end of March 2004, the group had investment property on its books worth pounds 2.97bn. However, this figure does not include the pounds 6bn of operational property such as airport terminals used in the running of its business. Much of BAA's property is in or around the major London airports and tends to attract a premium value. On Friday BAA reported that its profits for the first three quarters of its financial year had increased by 18 per cent to pounds 521m.

The company remains on target to make a pre-tax profit of pounds 604m for the full year. However, BAA is spending pounds 4.2bn on Terminal Five at Heathrow and is planning to spend a similar amount on expanding Stansted.
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Old January 31st, 2005, 01:52 AM   #15
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Virgin Atlantic announces increased services to Shanghai and new services to Beijing
http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/gb...s/pr260105.jsp

26 January 2005

Virgin Atlantic is delighted to announce that it will increase its Heathrow Shanghai services from five weekly to daily starting on 30 October 2005 and plans to start a daily Beijing service as soon as possible. These new services follow the Chinese government's decision to make the UK one of its Approved Destination Countries, which allows more Chinese tourists to visit the UK.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic commented:

"Virgin Atlantic is delighted to offer daily services to Shanghai from October. Virgin Atlantic has been operating flights between London and Shanghai since 1999 and has been instrumental in developing the link between the two cities. The airline has flown over 330,000 passengers on the route to date.

"China is one of the fastest growing economies of the world and following last week's decision by the government to give the UK Approved Destination Status we are also planning to start daily services to Beijing as soon as possible.

"With China hosting the Olympics in 2008 we believe that there will be a huge demand for passengers who wish to take advantage of competitive fares and the quality of service that Virgin Atlantic offers.

"Virgin Atlantic also added a daily service between Hong Kong and Sydney in December, adding more capacity to this region."

Chris Humphrey, Virgin Atlantic's Country Manager for China commented:

"Virgin Atlantic recognises that China is a world economic and cultural leader and is extremely committed to developing links between the UK and China. We are therefore very proud to announce the move to a daily service to Shanghai from October and daily service to Beijing in the very near future.

"These new services are great news both for the airline and for consumers - more flights mean increased flexibility, choice and ultimately more competitive fares."

Virgin Atlantic currently flies five times a week between London Heathrow and Shanghai Pudong Airport. The VS250 departs Heathrow at 16:00 on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays arriving into Shanghai Pudong Airport at 11:15 the following day. (The flight departs at 15.50 on Friday and at 16.05 on Tuesday). The return flight VS251 departs Shanghai on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 13:30 arriving into Heathrow at 17:50.

Virgin Atlantic currently operates a daily service between London Heathrow and Hong Kong and has recently launched daily services between Hong Kong and Sydney, Australia.

For further information please contact the Virgin Atlantic Press Office on 01293 747 373 or log on to www.virgin.com/atlantic.
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Old January 31st, 2005, 01:54 AM   #16
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BAA PLC reports 6.5 percent passenger increase at key British airports
28 January 2005

LONDON (AP) - Major British airports reported a 6.5 percent increase in passenger numbers in the nine months ending in December compared with a year earlier, airports owner BAA PLC said Friday.

The company, which operates London's Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, also reported after-tax profits on ordinary activities of 368 million pounds (US$695 million; euro533.55 million), up 21 percent from 304 million pounds in the previous year.

In addition to the London terminals, BAA operates airports serving Southend, England, and the Scottish cities of Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen.
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Old January 31st, 2005, 01:54 AM   #17
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Heathrow Terminal 5

After a decade of planning deliberations Heathrow Terminal 5 was finally given
the all clear in 2001. Construction is now at an advanced stage. Richard
Rogers's light, airy, and intuitive design will accommodate an additional 30
million passengers a year (taking Heathrow to nearly 100 million in total) and
also handle the new Airbus A380.














Here are a couple more pics of the layout of terminal and
satellites. In the second pic you can see their location between
the runways and relative to Terminals 1-3:






Construction pic from last year - now considerably out-of-date:

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Old January 31st, 2005, 06:41 PM   #18
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Stansted's new runway comes to a standstill
Ben Webster
31 January 2005
The Times

While BAA struggles to find Pounds 2bn for its expansion plans, home prices continue to be blighted, writes Ben Webster

Thousands of home-owners around Stansted airport face another decade of uncertainty because of a likely delay to the development of a new runway.

The Essex airport was supposed to gain a second runway by 2012 under a timetable published a year ago in the Government's aviation White Paper.

But BAA, the airport's owner, is struggling to find the Pounds 2 billion it needs for the first phase of the expansion, in which would Stansted grow to be larger than Heathrow is today.

The delay raises the possibility that Heathrow could be expanded first, with a third runway north of the existing two.

Stansted had been enjoying runaway growth on the back of the boom in low-cost air travel. But the airport's passenger growth rate halved last year, suggesting that the market for low-cost air travel in the South East is close to being saturated.

Ryanair, which accounts for 60 per cent of flights at Stan-sted, has been unable to sell thousands of "free flights", for which it asks passengers to pay only taxes and charges.

BAA admits that it will struggle to pay for the new runway unless it is allowed to cross-subsidise it from its profits at Gatwick and Heathrow. But the Civil Aviation Authority has said that Stansted's expansion should be funded by its own passengers unless there were compelling reasons for a cross-subsidy.

Senior BAA staff have conceded privately that Stansted's new runway could be delayed until 2015 or even later.

More than 12,000 homes have been blighted by the proposed expansion. They fall outside the area in which BAA is promising to compensate residents. Their owners may be able to recover some losses, estimated at an average of Pounds 100,000 per property, under the Land Compensation Act. But the Act would apply only after the runway had opened.

David and Kay Johnson live about 100 yards outside the zone eligible for compensation from BAA. Their 15th-century converted barn is on the edge of the flight path for the proposed new runway and a new link road to the M11 would be built on fields close to their home. They paid Pounds 565,000 for their listed home three years ago and believe it should now be worth Pounds 750,000.

But Mr Johnson, 60, a retired loss adjuster, said: "We would be lucky to get Pounds 500,000 now. The uncertainty is the worst thing. Part of me wishes they would build the runway but BAA wants to keep its options open and leave the threat hanging over us. We could be fighting this for another ten years."

An internal Department for Transport paper, seen by The Times, states: "It would be difficult to fund an additional runway at Stansted opening in 2012, followed by an additional Heathrow runway opening soon after, say 2015."

But the White Paper proposed that a Heathrow runway could be built as early as 2015. An enlarged Heathrow, combined with the expansion of Luton, Birmingham and smaller airports, could mean that a second runway at Stansted is not needed. The existing runway handled 21 million passengers last year but is capable of handling more than 40 million.

British Airways is arguing for a new runway at Heathrow as early as possible and has threatened legal action if BAA tries to make Heathrow passengers pay for Stansted's expansion.

Terry Morgan, the managing director of Stansted, said that it was too early to say whether BAA would be able to pay for the early expansion of Stansted without a cross-subsidy.
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Old February 4th, 2005, 04:26 PM   #19
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British Airways profits dive amid surging oil prices
Feb. 4, 2005

LONDON (AFP) - British Airways (BA) announced a 40-percent fall in third-quarter profits after being hit by soaring fuel prices.

BA made a pre-tax profit of 75 million pounds (109 million euros, 141 million dollars) in the three months to the end of December compared with 125 million pounds during the same period in 2003.

The latest quarterly figure was however above analysts' consensus forecast of 60 million pounds.

"These are respectable results in a quarter where fuel costs increased by 106 million pounds (47.3 percent)," BA chief executive Rod Eddington said in a statement accompanying the results.

Crude oil prices soared to a record high level of 55.67 dollars per barrel in New York trading last October, at the start of BA's third-quarter.

New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in March, closed down 24 cents to 46.45 dollars a barrel on Wednesday on diminishing fears about a possible supply crunch in key markets.

BA chairman Martin Broughton said that he expected the group's fuel costs, net of hedging, to be about 245 million pounds greater in the year to March than the previous 12-month period, although this would be partially offset by fuel surcharges on individual tickets.

The group meanwhile said that turnover had increased by 4.3 percent to 1.97 billion pounds in the third quarter, reflecting the impact of fuel surcharges and a 6.3-percent increase in cargo revenue.

Passenger revenue declined 0.1 percent during the same period.

Eddington said that BA's focus remained on reducing controllable costs and debt whilst continuing to invest in its products.

The chief executive pointed to the recent delivery of six Airbus A321 aircraft and further planned improvements to its Club World flat beds.
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Old February 7th, 2005, 12:06 AM   #20
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British Airways Traffic and capacity statistics - January 2005

Summary of the headline figures

In January 2005, passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 3.2 per cent above January 2004. Traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, was higher by 8.1 per cent. This resulted in a passenger load factor up 3.2 points versus last year, to 72.3 per cent. The increase in traffic comprised an 11.8 per cent increase in premium traffic and a 7.5 per cent increase in non-premium traffic. Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres, rose by 14.2 per cent. Overall load factor rose by 3.3 points to 68.1 per cent.

Market conditions

Market conditions for the current financial year remain broadly unchanged. For the year to March 2005, the total revenue outlook is slightly better than previous guidance with a 3.0-3.5 per cent improvement anticipated (compares with previous 2-3 per cent). All market segments remain price sensitive and yield declines are expected to continue.

Strategic Developments

British Airways plans to fly five flights a week this summer from London Heathrow to Shanghai in China, subject to approval by the Chinese authorities. The airline currently flies from London Heathrow to Beijing four times a week increasing to six times per week from June 2005 and 17 times a week to Hong Kong, increasing to 21 flights a week from June 2005.

British Airways flights between London Heathrow and Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia are to be suspended from March 27, 2005 for commercial reasons, due to reduced passenger demand.

Commission payments to UK travel agents on British Airways’ bookings are to be reduced from one percent to zero from May 1 2005. Agents will be free to charge their own scale of service fees in addition to the ticket price. Service fees of £15 on short haul bookings made via the telephone have been extended to longhaul flights.

The airline’s multi-award winning Club World flat bed is to be improved with the latest cushioning technology to give customers more comfort and further ergonomic support. This is the first time such cushioning has been used in an airline seat.

Business travellers can earn the equivalent of a free ticket when they book their next British Airways business class ticket. The airline is giving away over 750 million BA Miles in a bumper New Year mileage offer. The offer gives all passengers, who book an eligible Club World or First flight for travel between now and March 24 2005, triple BA Miles. Passengers have to join the British Airways Executive Club to be eligible for the promotion and can gain the bonus miles on up to four eligible return flights taken within the travel period.
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