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Old October 4th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #181
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New British Airways chief executive outlines plans for the airline
By JANE WARDELL
4 October 2005

LONDON (AP) - The new chief executive of British Airways PLC promised 100 million pounds (US$175 million; €145.83 million) worth of investment in onboard service Tuesday to win back long haul customers as he warned that the airline will not meet its key profitability goal this year.

Willie Walsh, a former pilot and chief executive at Irish airline Aer Lingus who took over the reins at BA this week, said the airline will also reform its loss-making short haul operations and flagged job cuts as the carrier prepares to move into a new single terminal at Heathrow Airport.

Walsh said BA would not achieve its goal of a 10 percent operating margin, a target set by his predecessor Rod Eddington, this year because of record high fuel costs.

"I do believe it is achievable," he said. "With fuel prices where they are we clearly are flying into very significant headwinds ... I don't have a date in mind when we will achieve it."

Walsh takes over as BA struggles to win back customer confidence after an August strike by staff at catering firm Gate Gourmet and BA ground workers led to hundreds of canceled flights. It recently reached agreement with unions to resolve the industrial dispute that led to the strike but is still not offering a full meal service on short haul flights.

Analysts, who estimate the strike cost the airline as much as 40 million pounds (US$74 million; €61.67 million), are concerned about the ongoing effect on BA's ability to woo high-end customers -- its bread and butter.

Walsh said Tuesday the airline planned to invest in new business-class seats and in-flight entertainment on long haul flights, with an announcement due in the next few months.

On short haul operations, Walsh said he was committed to running services from London's Gatwick, where the airline competes against budget carrier easyJet PLC for short-haul flights, but said to expect changes there in the next few months.

"We believe we can make it work at Gatwick," he said.

Walsh said that the airline will look to take part in the future consolidation of the airline industry, although he added that current regulatory controls are likely to limit opportunities.

He said increasing the airline's stake in Spanish airline Iberia is not "an immediate priority." BA has an 8.76 percent stake in the airline.

A major focus for the airline will be the shift to the new Terminal Five at London's Heathrow Airport, due to be completed by 2005.

Walsh said BA is currently evaluating existing and potential aircraft, but said the airline is unlikely to take delivery of new or additional aircraft before the transfer to its new base.

Among the aircraft being viewed are the planned "advanced" version of Boeing Co.'s long-haul 747 jumbo, its wide-bodied 777 as well as Airbus' double-decker A380 and planned wide-bodied A350, Walsh said.

Walsh said that staff cutbacks would be a part of the move to Terminal Five, but declined to put a figure on how many jobs would go following reports the airline was planning to cut up to 15 percent of its work force.

"I am committed to the principle of no compulsory redundancies," he said.

Under his predecessor, BA cut 14,000 jobs, or almost 25 percent of its work force, almost entirely without forced layoffs.
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Old October 7th, 2005, 07:10 PM   #182
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Flybe Carried 485,924 Passengers In Sept, Up 25%
7 October 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Flybe said Friday that passenger figures for September showed a 25% increase over the same period last year to 485,924, from 388,987.

The summer period for Flybe has been exceptionally good with higher than anticipated volumes, the company said.

The largest single regional increase in passenger numbers was at Newcastle airport, which continuing to benefit from the introduction of a number of new routes, saw passenger levels rise by 172% compared with September 2004.

Strong growth was also recorded at Exeter, Birmingham, Southampton, Leeds Bradford, Edinburgh and Liverpool, Flybe said.

Mike Rutter, marketing and sales director, commented: "We continue to be pleased with the advanced sales for winter ski routes and the new sun routes from Norwich and Exeter are ahead of expectations."
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Old October 11th, 2005, 06:31 AM   #183
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
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:


absolutely massive structure ! nice to hear good news for London Heathrow expansion.
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Old October 12th, 2005, 03:35 AM   #184
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Tuesday October 11, 8:02 PM
British air traffic rebounds in September

LONDON (AFP) - British airports operator BAA said passenger numbers rose by 3.0 percent in September from the figure for the same period of the previous year.

BAA, owner of seven British airports including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, said it had handled 13.5 million air travellers last month.

It followed annual traffic growth of only 0.5 percent in August as a result of the London bombings in July and wildcat strikes at London's Heathrow airport -- the world's busiest -- in August.

All of BAA's British airports recorded passenger growth in September compared with August data, the fastest being the 18.5-percent rise at Southampton, southern England.

Heathrow saw a 1.4-percent rise in passenger numbers after a 3.0-percent drop in August.

BAA meanwhile said that North Atlantic traffic returned to growth with a rise of 3.1 percent in September compared with the same period of the previous year.

Long-haul routes excluding traffic across the North Atlantic climbed by 8.6 percent and European scheduled traffic advanced by 4.2 percent.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 07:01 AM   #185
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Luton Airport sees ambitious expansion
Kevin Done
25 October 2005
Financial Times

London Luton Airport is developing ambitous plans to triple in size by 2030 as part of a GBP1.5bn scheme that would deliver a new full-length runway in time for the 2012 London Olympics.

The airport on Tuesday presented a draft master plan, which envisages Luton taking the lead in providing extra runway capacity in the overcrowded south-east of England ahead of both London Stansted and London Heathrow airports.

London Luton Airport Operations, which operates the airport under a 30-year concession from Luton Borough Council, was taken over at the beginning of the year by Abertis, the Spanish infrastructure group, as part of its acquisition of TBI, the UK regional airports group.

The draft plan forecasts that passenger volumes at Luton could grow from 9.2m in 2005 to 15m by 2012, which would exhaust facilities within the airport's present boundaries. Volumes would grow further to more than 30m a year by 2030 supported by the building of a new 3,000m runway and a second terminal building.

The master plan will be subject to a three-month period of public consultation and will be presented to the government in spring next year as part of the airport industry's response to the government white paper published in December 2003, The Future of Air Transport.

The white paper called for the biggest expansion of UK airport capacity in 50 years.

Alistair Darling, transport secretary, has given strong support for the building of two runways in south-east England, the first at Stansted airport by 2011-12, and the second at Heathrow by 2015-20, provided they could meet tough environmental conditions.

For Luton airport the white paper forecast there would be sufficient demand to justify expansion to the full potential of a single runway - handling 30m passengers and 240,000 take offs and landings - in the period up to 2030. The airport handled 7.5m passengers last year and expects to exceed 10m in 2006.

BAA, which operates Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, is already running into problems, however, with the timetable for building a second runway at Stansted.

It warned in May that the second Stansted runway would be delayed for at least a year to 2013 and it said landing charges would have to be more than doubled to finance the project.

Even 2013 could be achieved only if the project were subsidised by increases in airline user charges at London Heathrow and Gatwick airports. Otherwise the GBP4bn project would have to be delayed for "several years."

The BAA proposal outraged airlines at Heathrow and Gatwick, which have pledged to fight any "cross-subsidisation" of Stansted.

Kathryn James, Luton airport managing director, said on Tuesday the group saw an opportunity to seize "first mover advantage" in providing additional capacity in the south-east. Luton expected to submit a planning application for the first phase of its development scheme in early 2006.

This would make best use of existing capacity and would include the building of additional aircraft stands, extension of the terminal and the lengthening of taxiways. These limited works could be completed by the end of 2007.

A second "major planning application of national importance" could be made in late 2006 or early 2007. This would include the building of a full length 3,000m replacement runway about 950m south of the present runway, a new south terminal, additional aircraft stands and a new fire station and control tower.

The existing 2,160m runway would be maintained for use in emergencies or during essential maintenance, similar to the present practice at Gatwick airport.

Luton airport said that it intended to open the replacement runway and new terminal for operation in 2012 in time for the Olympic Games.
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Old October 26th, 2005, 05:35 PM   #186
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Heathrow Construction Workers May Be Balloted For Strike
26 October 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Around 1,500 construction workers on Heathrow airport's terminal five project may be balloted for strike action in a dispute over bonus payments, trade union the GMB said Wednesday.

The GMB said talks with contractor Laing O'Rourke Group (LOR.YY) and airport operator BAA PLC (BAA.LN) regarding a bonus scheme have been unsuccessful. Further talks are planned as preparations for a strike ballot continue, the union said. It said the bonus scheme has been frozen for three years.

"GMB and the other unions are preparing a ballot for industrial action at Heathrow Terminal 5, following the failure of talks to resolve a pay issue on the site," said Phil Davies, GMB national secretary. "Unless there is movement, industrial action is likely."

Terminal five, which is one of the largest construction projects in Europe, is due to go into operation in 2008. It will be the new base for British Airways PLC (BAB).
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Old October 27th, 2005, 06:09 AM   #187
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Prestwick to cater for 5m passengers
Alastair Dalton
26 October 2005
The Scotsman

PRESTWICK airport has announced plans to double the size of its departure lounge to cope with five million passengers a year, as its owners said they were pressing ahead with their problematic acquisition of Lübeck airport near Hamburg.

The Ayrshire base, which is handling 2.3 million passengers a year and has a three million capacity, is considering the feasibility of building a new 5,000sq ft departure area. The existing 2,300sq ft space would be refurbished to give extra room for arriving passengers in a project expected to take 18 months.

The move came as New Zealand-based Infratil, Prestwick's owner, said it hoped to take over Lübeck next month, despite expansion plans to make way for a new Ryanair base there being blocked by a German court.

LUTON airport yesterday announced plans for a replacement runway and a new terminal in time for the London Olympics in 2012.

The airport, which EasyJet flies to from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Inverness, is also working on extending existing facilities by the end of next year.
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Old October 28th, 2005, 02:10 PM   #188
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Scrambling to Pile On Perks
Virgin, British Airways Vie To Lure Business-Class Fliers
Seat-Bed Battle Escalates

By Daniel Michaels
28 October 2005
The Wall Street Journal

London -- MOST AIR TRAVEL has gotten a lot less comfortable recently as airlines world-wide have slashed perks to cut costs. But in one of the industry's fiercest brand battles, two British carriers are still dueling to out-pamper international business-class customers.

In August, Virgin Atlantic Airways capped its second premium-service make-over since 2000 by unveiling a GBP 11 million ($19.5 million) business-class lounge at its Heathrow Airport hub. The lounge features a 45-foot-long bar of granite and marble, hand-stitched yellow leather armchairs, a waterfall and a spa. Ads splashed across London invited fliers to "Pimp my lounge." Meanwhile, high-end London clothier Ozwald Boateng has redone Virgin's in-flight goodie bag for business-class passengers.

Now, archrival British Airways plans to raise the stakes, investing more than GBP 100 million in its second international business-class revamp in five years. In the meantime, it has made the cushions on its bed-seats softer and added fluffier pillows and duvets. The rivalry "forces us to raise our game," says BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh.

The two British carriers are vying to attract the kind of business customer who is willing to pay to fly in comfort and land ready for action. Virgin ads tout "50 Winks" onboard. BA offers a "Sleep Well Guarantee," promising that fliers who don't snooze soundly can demand a free upgrade to first class on a subsequent flight.

The London-based rivals' latest salvos come as business travel is recovering from a deep slump that began in early 2001. On short routes in the U.S. and Europe, much of the rise in traffic is going to budget airlines at the expense of traditional carriers, including BA.

But on intercontinental flights lasting more than six hours -- enough time to attempt a night's sleep -- the demand for upscale service continues, and price doesn't seem to be an issue. When it scanned ticket prices on a range of international routes, air-travel consultants Harrell Associates of New York found that 10 times as many business-class fares had risen recently as had fallen. Meanwhile, economy-class fares were more evenly split between those rising and falling.

These days, to fly business class round trip between New York and London on a ticket purchased a week in advance costs almost $9,000 on BA and Virgin. Fares like that mean the business cabin can produce richer revenue per square foot of airplane space than economy class. Business seats are also easier to sell out than first class.

Investing in pricey amenities that draw passengers is "expensive, but it's incredibly important," says Sir Richard Branson, chairman and founder of Virgin Atlantic. "It only takes a 1% or 2% movement in passengers to pay for innovation." In 2003, Virgin invested almost $200 million to develop and install an elaborate new bed-seat for Upper Class, its business class. But the investment has paid for itself thanks to passengers wooed away from BA and U.S. carriers, Sir Richard says.

BA managers counter that Virgin may have grabbed market share from U.S. carriers but not from BA. The giant U.K. carrier says its Club World international business-class service has won market share, though mainly at the expense of foreign competitors.

The level of coddling offered by Virgin and BA isn't likely to become an industry standard. London is an international finance and media center that draws high-spending executives. But Britain tightly restricts which airlines can operate at overcrowded Heathrow, the main international hub, so BA and Virgin have a rich market that's tough for others to crack.

Still, other carriers are trying to keep up, and they have adopted a number of the business-class innovations spawned by the BA-Virgin rivalry. Besides bed-seats, these include dinner service on the ground before red-eye flights to maximize sleep time, and arrival lounges for passengers to refresh post-flight. AMR Corp.'s American Airlines -- the world's largest airline by traffic -- said this past August it will introduce international business-class seats that spread flat. But like most of the other carriers following the British duo, including Air France, Germany's Lufthansa and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines, American will squeeze flat seats onto its planes by tilting them, with each passenger's feet sliding under the head of the passenger one row ahead. The BA and Virgin business-class bed-seats are horizontal.

BA and Virgin aren't the only airlines targeting long-haul business fliers. Asian carriers including Singapore Airlines and Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways, which have long set a global standard for attentive staff, offer swank long-haul business-class packages, as do upscale international carriers, including Australia's Qantas, South African Airways and newcomers from the Persian Gulf such as Dubai's Emirates Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Two start-ups, Eos Airlines and MAXjet Airways, recently began offering business-class-only flights between London and New York. And United on Wednesday announced a successful first year of its "p.s." premium service between New York and San Francisco or Los Angeles, featuring only first, business and premium-economy seating and enhanced onboard amenities.

But BA and Virgin still innovate faster. The rivals now one-up each other so quickly that some frequent fliers say it's a coin toss as to which carrier spoils them more. "You're down to real personal preferences choosing between the two," says Chris Avery, an equities analyst at J.P. Morgan in London who covers airlines and flies both.

Sir Richard started the luxury race when he created Virgin in 1984 as "the kind of airline I'd like to fly." The carrier serves only intercontinental routes and has no separate first class. Although Upper Class tickets are priced to compete with rivals' business-class fares, the cabin boasts features unusual even for first class. A bar with stools and space for beauty treatments and massages has been standard for years. Ticket prices include limousine rides to and from the airport, and Virgin in 1996 started drive-through check-in so passengers don't even need to step out of their limos.

BA largely ignored the upstart for a decade. Its global network was far larger, allowing it to land lucrative corporate deals that Virgin couldn't touch. BA also had a silver bullet: It could dangle seats on the supersonic Concorde (which since has been scrapped) as a reward for steady customers. But as Virgin kept expanding in the late 1990s, BA decided it was time to act. When Virgin introduced the first tilted flat seat in late 2000, BA quickly leap-frogged it with a horizontal seat. And BA's chief designer, Mike Crump, managed to install the beds without wasting space by creating yin-yang nested pairs of seats.

BA's creativity jolted Virgin. "The moment we found out what they'd done, we dumped GBP 100 million in investment and were determined to do them one better," Sir Richard says.

The two rivals kept up their pampering war even through the slump that began in 2001. In 2003, Virgin unveiled a seat that's more private than BA's and turns into a bed that's longer and wider. It also offers a bigger table for eating or working, and a bigger TV screen. Virgin's "suite" is even certified for passengers to sit reclined during takeoff and landing.

"We admire what they've done," says BA's Mr. Crump, adding that BA will introduce a new Club World seat next year that's "radically different from the current model."

Virgin design chief Joe Ferry's response? Virgin will watch closely to see what BA does with its new seat, he says, "and, if we have to, react."
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Old November 2nd, 2005, 01:34 PM   #189
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Wednesday November 2, 9:53 AM
British Airways keeps up Tehran service despite blast

LONDON (AFP) - British Airways said its operations in Tehran were continuing as normal despite a small explosion in the building that houses its offices in the Iranian capital.

A BA spokesman in London said no-one was hurt when the "percussive device" -- intended to make more noise than damage -- went off in the building housing the offices of its regional partner British Mediterranean Airways.

"Staff are continuing to work as normal and there has been no impact on BMed services to the city," the spokesman told AFP, adding that security services have been called in.

The Sayeh building also housed the Tehran offices of British Petroleum, as well as a number of other international companies.

A Foreign Office spokesman in London said it had no information that anyone had been killed or injured.

"We are in contact with the affected companies and our embassy staff are at the scene," he added.
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Old November 3rd, 2005, 04:43 PM   #190
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BA seen under new pressure to fill pension gap
By Tom Burroughes

LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) - British Airways is likely to face mounting pressure from a new regulator to plug a yawning pension fund deficit because the firm has shown it can slash its debt burden, a leading pension consultant said on Thursday.

BA, Europe's third-largest airline, has cut its debt to 4.5 billion pounds from 7.4 billion pounds in 2002, and also has 2 billion pounds of cash. However, BA's pretax pension deficit has risen to 2 billion pounds from 500 million pounds, John Ralfe, independent pension consultant, said in a note for RBC Capital Markets.

BA reports second-quarter results on Friday.

The new Pension Regulator, set up by the UK government in April to police the retirement fund industry, could use its wide-ranging powers to make BA increase contributions to the firm's pension scheme, Ralfe said.

"The Pension Regulator is likely to scrutinise BA very carefully ... It is not going to be business as usual for BA," Ralfe told Reuters.

BA's pension black hole compares with the firm's market capitalisation of only 3.48 billion pounds as of Wednesday's close.

Ralfe, as the former head of corporate finance at UK retailer Boots Plc , moved the firm's entire pension scheme assets into bonds, a shift that prompted widespread comment in the industry.

The airline was not immediately available for comment.

BIG DEFICITS

British Airways, along with a host of major firms, has a large gap between its pension assets and the expected cost of paying benefits. Dozens of UK firms have already shut final-salary plans to new staff to cut costs.

Since the start of this year, pension deficits are treated like debt under European accounting rules, and listed companies across Europe are having to disclose their pension finances on their balance sheets, often for the first time.

"Although BA's pension contributions have doubled from 2003 to 2005, it is still not enough to make any dent in the underlying deficit, after the cost of new pension promises and interest on the deficit. Like it or not, only a big increase in (BA) Company contributions will shift the underlying deficit," Ralfe's note said.

BA has not paid a dividend since security fears sparked an industry downturn in 2001.

BA's net debt fell by 1.2 billion pounds during the last fiscal year to 2.9 billion pounds, its lowest level since 1993. At the end of the first quarter of the current year its net debt was 2.5 billion pounds.

BA's new Chief Executive Willie Walsh is reviewing the airline's pension fund requirements.

However, BA has a delicate relationships with unions following August's strike at Heathrow Airport and any move to change pension payouts could create more industrial strife, analysts say. The Pension Regulator's powers mean trustees of retirement schemes can insist that firms put schemes' funding needs high up the corporate agenda, Nick Edmans, head of communications at the watchdog, told a seminar on pension issues this week.

"Some trustees have taken too relaxed a position in negotiations with an employer and should be challenging positions on funding much more assertively," Edmans said.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 12:55 AM   #191
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U.K. airports operator BAA to slash 700 jobs in cost-cutting program
01 November 2005

LONDON (AP) - Airports operator BAA PLC said Tuesday it is cutting 700 jobs at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports as part of its plans to save 45 million pounds (US$79.7 million) a year.

BAA, which operates seven airports across Britain, said it plans to reduce the number of back office and management staff at the three London airports, but added there would be no cuts in front-line security staff.

The company announced the job cuts as it revealed a drop in net profit for the first half of the year, despite a slight rise in passenger numbers.

Net profit for the six months to Sept. 30 fell to 257 million pounds, (US$455.1 million) from 418 million pounds a year ago. Revenue increased to 1.17 billion pounds (US$2.1 billion) from 1.13 billion pounds.

BAA said that passenger traffic increased 2.5 percent to 82.3 million passengers over the six months, with the long-haul market a significant contributor to growth.

The airports operator reiterated its forecast of 3 percent growth in passenger numbers through its airports this financial year. The company downgraded its previous forecast of 3.5 percent growth in September because of the July terrorist attacks in London and flight cancellations at Heathrow Airport by British Airways PLC due to industrial action.

BAA said retail sales at the seven airports rose 3.8 percent to 324 million pounds (US$573.6 million) over the half.

The company, which employs just under 12,000 people in Britain and another 500 overseas, said that the job cuts were vital to counter a string of threats to its business, including passengers spending less time in its shops. The company is building a new terminal five at Heathrow to relieve congestion at the airport.

Its cost-cutting program is expected to deliver annual savings of 45 million pounds (US$79.7 million) from 2008-09 but will cost around 90 million pounds (US$159.3 million) to implement.

BAA shares fell 0.2 percent to 612.5 pence on the London Stock Exchange.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 04:34 PM   #192
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Friday November 4, 9:52 PM
British Airways Posts Profit Dip on Costs

AP - British Airways PLC posted a 24 percent drop in its fiscal second-quarter net profit Friday, blaming higher fuel costs and the absence of a large one-time gain that boosted the result a year ago.

However, the airline said it expects improved yields, or average fares, over the full year and raised its revenue guidance to between 6 percent and 7 percent growth _ up half a percentage point from its previous forecast.

BA said net profit for the three months ending Sept. 30 fell to 171 million pounds ($302.1 million) from 225 million pounds. Last year's net profit was boosted by an 86 million pound gain from the sale of shares in Australia's Qantas Airways Ltd.

The airline also revealed that an August strike by staff at catering firm Gate Gourmet and BA ground workers, which led to hundreds of canceled flights, cost the company between 35 million pounds and 45 million pounds ($61.8 million and $79.5 million).

The figure was in line with analyst estimates and BA said the cost did not have a material impact on the quarterly results because the airline also suffered disruption in the comparative period last year.

Revenue rose 8.2 percent to 2.21 billion pounds ($3.9 billion).

"This is a reasonable set of results driven by improvements in revenue, seat factor and yield. It is clear, however, that we need to re-energize our drive on controllable costs," said Chief Executive Willie Walsh, who took over the reins at BA last month following the retirement of Rod Eddington.

"Costs are up in most areas. Fuel was the biggest single contributor, up a staggering 51.3 percent," he added.

Walsh reiterated that BA would not achieve its goal of a 10 percent operating margin, a target set by Eddington, this year because of record-high fuel costs. The operating margin is operating income divided by revenue, and indicates how much a company makes from each dollar of sales, before interest and taxes. BA achieved an operating margin of 6.9 percent last year.

BA earns the majority of its profits from its long-haul first- and business-class operations, including the trans-Atlantic route.

Walsh said that the airline's performance on the short-haul routes, where it faces tough competition from budget carriers like Ryanair Holdings PLC and easyJet PLC, was improving and is expected to be profitable over the full year.

He is also focused on the airline's move to a base at Heathrow Airport's new Terminal 5, which is due to be completed in 2008.

BA shares fell 2.9 percent to 304.75 pence ($5.38) on the London Stock Exchange.
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Old November 4th, 2005, 05:12 PM   #193
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Air Berlin moves in on UK market
By KEVIN DONE
4 November 2005
Financial Times

Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline and Europe's third-largest low-cost carrier, is intensifying its attack on the UK market with the establishment of a hub transfer operation at London Stansted airport and the opening of its first two domestic routes in the UK.

The move marks the start of a direct challenge to Ryanair and EasyJet, the leading European low-cost carriers, on their home turf.

It also comes after the Irish and UK airlines have built up a significant presence in the German market, with bases at Frankfurt-Hahn, Berlin Schonefeld and Dortmund airports.

Joachim Hunold, managing partner of the privately-owned German carrier, said that, with their rivals competing in the German market, Air Berlin would "enjoy challenging them" in the UK.

Air Berlin will be the first airline to use London Stansted, the most important low-cost carrier airport in Europe, as a transfer hub.

Passengers from other airports in the UK wishing to travel to Germany will be able to check their luggage in for automatic transfer to their final destination.

All other carriers at Stansted use the airport exclusively for direct point-to-point flying and avoid the cost of transfer operations.

Mr Hunold said Air Berlin planned to launch domestic UK flights initially from Stansted to Glasgow and Manchester.

The group was also considering flying to other UK destinations, he said.

There was demand for flightsfrom several German cities to Glasgow and Manchester, but not yet sufficient to support direct flights.

Air Berlin already operates from Stansted, where it is the third largest carrier, to seven destinations in Germany including Berlin-Tegel, Dusseldorf and Nuremberg, as well as to its Spanish hub in Majorca and to Vienna through Niki, its affiliate Austrian airline.

The group is expanding quickly and expects to carry 13.8m passengers this year up from 12m in 2004.

Late last year the airline placed one of the biggest orders for new aircraft made by a European low-cost carrier.

It ordered 60 Airbus A320s for delivery up to 2011 with a further 10 ordered by Niki.

The first Airbus arrived last month and the group will take delivery of a second in December and nine in 2006.
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Old November 5th, 2005, 05:09 PM   #194
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BA's new chief steps up drive to cut costs
Peter Klinger
5 November 2005
The Times

WILLIE WALSH, the new British Airways chief executive, gave notice yesterday that he was preparing to reinvigorate the drive to cut costs at the flagship carrier.

A month after taking control of BA, Mr Walsh said that he was targeting 80 per cent of the airline's cost base, which he believes could be trimmed to meet the airline's long-standing profit targets.

Mr Walsh, speaking after BA reported a 22 per cent drop in second-quarter pre tax profit to Pounds 241 million, announced that the fuel component of the airline's costs, which accounted for about 20 per cent, was the only area that was effectively beyond his reach.

Payroll accounts for 30 per cent of costs, with 50 per cent designated to other activities.

Mr Walsh, whose predecessor, Sir Rod Eddington, cut 14,000 jobs over five years, said: "We have achieved a lot over the last few years but there's a lot more for us to do."

Among Mr Walsh's targets will be a reduction in BA's massive top-up contributions to plug a Pounds 1.4 billion pension deficit, as well as ways to improve sales efficiencies.

Mr Walsh has already ruled out compulsory job cuts but trade unions representing BA's 46,000 employees are likely to watch the new chief executive's first moves anxiously. Top of the agenda for Mr Walsh is addressing BA's pension problem, which is robbing the airline of valuable cashflow to invest in growth opportunities. BA last year almost doubled its contributions to the pension fund to Pounds 225 million, but was unable to prevent the deficit from blowing out by Pounds 205 million.

BA has started an extensive consultation process with employees in an attempt to come to a mutually acceptable agreement that could see the airline reduce fund top-up contributions without threatening an escalation in the deficit.

Mr Walsh would not discuss options but trade unions are concerned BA will try to persuade employees to accept reduced benefit levels or increase their voluntary payments.

Mr Walsh said that he was likely to sit down with trade unions and BA's pension trustees early next year.

A spokesman for the British Air Line Pilots Association, which represents about 3,000 BA employees, welcomed the staff consultation process but said that "we will wait and see" what the proposals would be.

BA can ill afford further industrial action as it tries to finally achieve a crucial 10 per cent operating margin.

Mr Walsh confirmed yesterday that industrial action during the three months to September 30, dominated by the Gate Gourmet dispute, had cost the airline Pounds 35 million to Pounds 45 million. However, the cost of the Gate Gourmet dispute did not have a material impact on like-for-like comparisons of BA's quarterly results because the airline suffered similar operational problems last year.

The second-quarter operating margin was 11.8 per cent, down 0.2 points on last year, although the seasonality of BA's business year means that the airline has to generate a margin of up to 17 per cent in the second quarter to have any hope of achieving a full-year 10 per cent margin.

The second-quarter result was at the top end of expectations but BA's shares fell 7p to 306p on profit-taking. Analysts noted BA's cautiously optimistic full year outlook, which included a modest upgrade to revenue targets but no change to the already-flagged fuel bill.
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Old November 7th, 2005, 04:22 PM   #195
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Virgin, United Airlines in Heathrow deal
By KEVIN DONE
7 November 2005
Financial Times

Virgin Atlantic, the UK long-haul airline controlled by Sir Richard Branson, has agreed a deal with United Airlines of the US on a five-year lease of a pair of take-off and landing slots at London Heathrow, one of the world's most congested airports.

The agreement is the latest in a series of so-called "grey market" deals for Heathrow slots that are regarded as illegal by the European Commission but are accepted by the UK government, and which undermine claims from some US carriers that it is virtually impossible to acquire slots at Heathrow.

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Emirates and Qantas have all been able to expand their slot holdings at Heathrow, while new carriers such as Etihad of Abu Dhabi and India's Jet Airways have also been able to break into the Heathrow market as new entrants.

Access to Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport by passenger numbers and the most important US gateway in Europe, has been a constant source of aggravation in aviation negotiations between the US and the UK and the European Union. It is regarded as one of the most sensitive issues on the agenda of the latest round of US/EU air services negotiations due to resume in Washington next week.

Direct flights between Heathrow and the US are regulated by the highly restrictive Bermuda II US/UK air services agreement, which allows access to only two carriers from each country, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic from the UK and American Airlines and United from the US.

Carriers from both the US and the UK led by Delta Air Lines and BMI British Midland are eager to break the stranglehold of the "Heathrow Four" and begin operations on the highly lucrative US/Heathrow routes.

The slot leasing deal between Virgin and United shows that the struggling US carrier, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors for nearly three years, is one of the most active players in the Heathrow slots grey market.

Two years ago United sold two pairs of take-off and landing slots to British Airways for about Pounds 12m (Dollars 21m, Euros 18m). More recently it has agreed a three-year lease deal for another pair of slots with Jet Airways.

The privately owned Indian carrier, which only launched its first service to Heathrow from Mumbai in May and launched a daily New Delhi/Heathrow service a week ago, has already gained access to three pairs of slots. It has leased one pair from United, bought one pair from Air France and has acquired a third from the small pool of free slots administered by the official Heathrow slot co-ordinator.

Emirates acquired its latest pair of slots for its fifth daily Heathrow-Dubai service from BMI British Midland, the second largest operator at Heathrow after BA.

United refused to confirm its latest slot deal with Virgin but said "we have leased, exchanged and transferred slots from time to time that were surplus to our short-term or long-term needs".

The heavily loss-making US carrier has been reducing its Heathrow operations as part of its restructuring and this winter will be operating 10 daily flights from Heathrow, down from 13 during the summer of 2005 and 17 in 2000.
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Old November 9th, 2005, 05:05 PM   #196
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BAA: UK Airports Handled 12.6M Passengers In October
9 November 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--BAA said Wednesday that it's seven U.K. airports handled a total of 12.6 million passengers in October, an increase of 1.0% on the same month last year.

The number of seats flown by airlines rose by 3.9%, broadly in line with expectations, but average load factors fell by two percentage points to 73.4%.

Among the factors thought to have contributed to this weaker demand were: less aggressive discounting by airlines; the lingering effects of the London bombings and Hurricane Wilma, which had a negative effect on travel to the Caribbean and Florida, coinciding with the half-term break.

Among key markets, European scheduled traffic rose by 1.9% and passengers on North Atlantic services were up by 0.5%. Other long haul routes recorded a collective increase of 6.1%, while U.K. domestic activity was 0.9% ahead of last year. The only major sector to see a drop in volume was the European charter market, down 9.2%.

All airports, except Heathrow, recorded higher passenger volumes in October. Fastest growth was at Southampton with 17.7% and Aberdeen with 7.1%. Heathrow traffic was down 0.8% overall, with domestic traffic down 4.9% and European scheduled traffic declining 2.3%.

Despite a 6.8% drop in charter traffic, new Irish and long haul services helped Gatwick to an overall increase of 2.5%. Stansted traffic was up 0.6%, Edinburgh recorded a gain of 5.1% and Glasgow traffic was up 1.2%.

In total the number of air transport movements rose by 2.9% and cargo tonnage by 2.5%. Within this total figure Gatwick's cargo increased by 18.1%.
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Old November 9th, 2005, 05:06 PM   #197
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BAA to propose new Heathrow passenger facility

LONDON, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Britain's largest airport operator BAA Plc said on Wednesday it was working on plans for a new passenger facility at London's Heathrow Airport.

"What we are floating is an idea for a new development at Heathrow," a BAA spokesman said, but declined to give details.

BAA will announce details of the idea on Thursday.

The spokesman said the proposed passenger facility was in the early stages and would not be price sensitive.

Heathrow is the world's busiest international airport.
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Old November 11th, 2005, 07:31 PM   #198
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Prestwick expanding at the double
Airport plans 100-per cent growth to attract five million a year

MARTYN McLAUGHLIN
11 November 2005
The Herald

SCOTLAND'S fastest-growing airport is planning to double its capacity in an attempt to handle five million passengers a year in the next decade.

Glasgow Prestwick in Ayrshire has launched a feasibility study to examine doubling the size of its departure lounge and the number of parking stands from six to 12.

Under the proposals, a new two-storey building would be established to expand the existing departure area. One floor would be used for departures and another for arrivals. The current space at the hub would be refurbished.

The plans, which would cost a seven-figure sum, will only be sanctioned should Infratil, the airport owner, be convinced that Prestwick's high growth rate will continue.

Nevertheless, the proposed expansion signals an optimism that Scotland's booming lowbudget airline industry will continue to thrive, and marks a transformation for Prestwick, once a shabby 1960s terminal.

The airport, which employs 495 people, will handle around two-and-a-half million passengers this year, and has a capacity of three million. Should forecasts prove accurate, however, it will need to handle about five million passengers a year in the next decade, as well as increased freight operations.

The airport is optimistic it will be able to welcome passengers on board the Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger plane, to Ayrshire in the future.

Steve Fitzgerald, chief executive of the airport, said: "It's a marvellous opportunity for the airport and local community.

"It's important to stress it is very early days and the internal design team has only recently been put together. This team is currently exploring the possibility of building a new 5000square metre departure area and refurbishing the existing 2300sq m space to give arriving passengers extra room.

"The building project could take some 18 months and will include extensive airport user consultation to ensure that the end result, should the project be deemed feasible, creates an enhanced and unique airport experience.

"The development will only proceed if Infratil, which owns the airport, is convinced that there are strong prospects for continued high rates of growth and that the expansion can be done cost-effectively and with minimum disruption to passengers during construction."

He added: "If we are to prepare to handle five million passengers annually, it will obviously have an impact on many issues around the airport such as food and refreshments, car parking, car rental, buses and trains. We'll be assessing all these areas as part of the study."

The news of the expansion ofPrestwick comes as the number of passengers using Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen airports over the past year broke through the 20 million mark for the first time.

The total rose by 5.1-per cent in the 12 months to October, while the monthly figure was up 3.5-per cent to 1.9 million.

Glasgow was Scotland's busiest airport in October, handling nearly 900,000 passengers. The figure grew to 765,534 in Edinburgh and 262,900 in Aberdeen.

The continued growth in passenger numbers at Prestwick, which ran just 30 cargo flights a week in 1992, is largely due to the prevalence of lowcost airlines which it predominantly serves.

Ryanair accounts for 90-per cent of traffic at Prestwick, and there are only three other scheduled airlines - BWIA, Aer Arann and BMI Baby.

Nevertheless, the success of these carriers was exemplified yesterday as Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the founder of easyJet, celebrated the no-frills airline's 10th birthday.

The service, which launched with a flight from Luton to Glasgow 10 years ago yesterday, has flown more than 100 million people.

Simon Calder, author of a book on the take-off of budget carriers, said: "easyJet and Ryanair have revolutionised the industry. They said, 'All we do is fly people from A to B, let us make it simple and still make a profit'. They have actually changed our mindset. It is liberating us and giving us the possibility to travel wherever we want to in Europe for very little cash."
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Old November 12th, 2005, 04:17 PM   #199
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Computer check-in glitch causes long lines at London's Gatwick airport
12 November 2005

LONDON (AP) - Departing passengers waited in long lines at London's Gatwick Airport on Saturday after a computer glitch forced airline staff to write out boarding passes by hand.

Airport operator BAA said the problem began late Friday night and affected all carriers except British Airways. Airlines brought in extra desk workers, but check-in lines were moving slowly because they had to write out boarding passes and paperwork manually.

One or two flights leaving the airport south of London were delayed by up to an hour, but otherwise departures were not affected, BAA said.
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Old November 15th, 2005, 05:32 PM   #200
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British Airways To Invest GBP100M
15 November 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--British Airways said Tuesday that it's set to invest GBP100 million in a major overhaul of its longhaul business class.

The enhanced changes will be introduced from mid 2006, the company said.

The airline will revamp all aspects of the journey - both on the ground and in the air - and will also make a major upgrade to its in-flight entertainment system in all four cabins, also to be introduced from summer 2006.

Martin George, British Airways' commercial director, said: "The introduction of a new club world product heralds a change for British Airways which will ensure that the airline is set apart from our major competitors to provide air travellers with the very best in business class."
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