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Old November 22nd, 2005, 11:04 PM   #201
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BA CEO says will not tolerate further strikes
By Michael Smith

LONDON, Nov 22 (Reuters) - British Airways Plc's new Chief Executive Willie Walsh signalled a tough stance against striking workers on Tuesday, saying he would not tolerate a repeat of August's crippling industrial action at London's Heathrow Airport.

"A very clear message has been given internally within BA that that sort of action cannot and will not be tolerated going forward," Walsh, who took on the top job last month, told reporters at a Foreign Press Association lunch on Tuesday.

About 700 flights were grounded in August when BA ground staff went on strike in sympathy with sacked workers at the company's catering firm Gate Gourmet.

Three union members face an internal disciplinary hearing over their involvement in the walkout. A BA spokesman said the inquiry was ongoing and no decision had been made yet whether to sack the workers.

Industrial relations are one of the biggest challenges for Walsh, who is meeting senior union officials during his first months in the top job.

Walsh also said the airline, which launched its first direct flights to Bangalore last month, planned to expand further in India and launch routes to 1 or 2 more cities in the region.

He said India and China remained BA's most significant long-haul growth markets.

Walsh played down the prospect of BA strengthening its ties with Spain's Iberia, in which it has a joint 10 percent holding with American Airlines, or growing through consolidation with other carriers.

"We are not active in any way on that position at the moment and I don't see anything happening in the short to medium term," Walsh said.

BA also had no plans to invest in U.S. carriers, he said.

The airline last week criticised a tentative deal between the United States and European Union to expand trans-Atlantic aviation services, saying it failed to address restrictions on foreign ownership rules of U.S. airlines.

"BA has nothing to fear from further liberalisation," Walsh said, saying a deal would allow it to fly to some U.S. cities from London's Heathrow Airport, instead of nearby Gatwick.

He also played down comments made to a local newspaper which said BA was not interested in buying the Airbus A380 double-decker jet, saying it was still talking to both Boeing and Airbus on potential future plane orders.

BA beat expectations with stronger second-quarter earnings earlier this month after a recovery in first-class travel and higher ticket prices helped offset soaring fuel bills but has said it needs to remain focused on continuing to cut costs.
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Old November 29th, 2005, 08:29 PM   #202
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Ambitious Luton Reaches for Sky with India Flights
28 November 2005
The Evening Standard

LUTON Airport is aiming to tap into the burgeoning Indian aviation market by attracting airlines offering services to the sub-continent.

In a bid to reduce the deficit in passenger numbers further between itself and arch-rival Stansted, and consolidate its position as London's fastest-growing airport, Luton is understood to be actively lobbying airlines to capitalise on the large local Anglo-Asian community.

Latest figures reveal Luton is far outstripping Stansted in growth.

With both airports becoming increasingly congested, latest statistics show Luton increased its number of passengers by 18% to 2.7 million in the third quarter of the year. In the same period, Stansted grew 5% to 6.4 million.

New open skies treaties between the UK and India has seen airlines such as British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and bmi trebling their services to the sub-continent.

'With our high-density Asian population locally, we are looking at flights using long-haul, medium-sized aircraft on routes to India and Pakistan. We are in conversation with airlines' said a Luton spokesman.

Growth continues to be fired by easyJet increasing its number of routes from what has been its home airport since it was founded 10 years ago.

In addition, Ryanair has earmarked Luton for its expansion after a spat with Stansted owner BAA over rising fuel and landing charges.

Luton has also proved a busy destination for fast-growing Wizz, the eastern European airline which has been ferrying Polish and Hungarian workers here and attempting to open up a cheap leisure break market for Britons.

Luton plans to triple in size over the next 25 years. It aims to hasten expansion with a new £1.5 billion runway suitable to take transatlantic and intercontinental Boeing 747s in time for the 2012 Olympics.

But local opposition to that plan is also being exacerbated by the Government. Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said he prefers to see runway expansion at Stansted first and then, even more controversially, at Heathrow.

Luton airport was taken over by Spanish motorways group Abertis in a £550 million deal last year.

It is likely soon to overtake Birmingham as Britain's fifth-busiest airport after its three London rivals and Manchester.
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Old November 30th, 2005, 08:04 PM   #203
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Air Sahara to fly to London from Jan 6

NEW DELHI: Private carrier Air Sahara announced on Wednesday the launch of its Delhi-London flight from January 6 with a lucrative promotional package of a free return ticket on its domestic network or a to and fro trip to Singapore.
http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/...s/14301704.htm
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Old November 30th, 2005, 09:54 PM   #204
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British Airways To Cut 35% Of Its Managers By March 2008
30 November 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--British Airways Wednesday announced plans to re-structure its business with a 35% reduction in the number of its 1,715 managers by March 2008.

The figure comprises a 50% reduction in senior managers, from 414 jobs to 207, and a proposed 30% reduction in middle managers from 1,301 jobs to 911 jobs. This brings the total number of job cuts to 597.

Willie Walsh, chief executive, said: "I said when we reported our second quarter financial results last month that our costs were up in most areas and that, as a result, we need to re-energise our efforts to deliver a competitive cost base.

"We must lower our costs so that we can fund future investment in our business. Wednesday marks the start of a renewed effort to deliver our goal of a 10% operating margin. I am confident that these measures, however difficult, will help to build a robust British Airways and one that will benefit from sustained profitability. This action will enable us to carry out the investment we need to make in our business in the coming years in order to deliver a more competitive and efficient airline."

The proposed management job cuts are set to save the airline GBP50 million as part of its drive to achieve a GBP300 million cost reduction programme by March 2007, announced in January 2004.

The company plans to carry out the reduction in the number of senior managers in three phases. Phase one will see 94 of the top executives (23%) leave the business by March 31, 2006.

Further reductions will continue during the next two years with the 50% target achieved by March 2008.

Full proposals and a timetable for achieving the planned 30% reduction in middle managers will be developed and communicated by March 2006.

Mr Walsh added: "We are re-structuring the airline to remove duplication, simplify our core business and provide clearer accountability. Managers will have greater accountability for making decisions, delivering results and leading the business.

"The decision to embark on a major reduction in management numbers is not one I have taken lightly. We have extremely talented managers and they have led the way in transforming our company during the last four years since the tragic events of 9/11.

"But it is essential that we streamline our business further and I believe it is right that we have started by looking closely at the number of senior managers we need to deliver a sustainable, profitable future."
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 07:30 AM   #205
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British Airways Adds Extra Flight Between Tashkent And London

TASHKENT, Dec 2 Asia Pulse - British Airways franchise partner BMED [British Mediterranean Airways] has announced that its service between Tashkent and London increased from three to four flights a week in the winter schedule.

Kashif Sadiq, British Airways commercial manager in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, said at press conference on 1 December: "The increase means customers can now fly from Tashkent to London on convenient morning flights four times a week".

"Our Tashkent to London route is extremely popular and we are delighted to now be flying four times a week to meet growing demand," he added.

The service between Tashkent and London is operated by BMED, using the Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, offering Club World (business class) and World Traveller (economy class) cabins.

The airline says its morning schedule allows passengers to make same day connections from London to the rest of the world through British Airways' worldwide route network covering some 150 destinations in nearly 80 countries, and onto the OneWorld Network that covers over 550 destinations in more than 130 countries.
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Old December 2nd, 2005, 11:31 PM   #206
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Will layoffs leave British Airways short?
Thomas Fuller
International Herald Tribune
2 December 2005

The white-collar layoffs planned by British Airways have shocked industry experts, who fear the airline will no longer have the management depth to run a safe and profitable business.

British Airways said Wednesday that the layoffs, the most drastic management cuts in recent European corporate history, would eliminate half of its executives and almost one-third of its managers over all. Willie Walsh, a former pilot who became chief executive of the company in October, said the cuts were designed to make British Airways a "more competitive and efficient airline." Walsh appeared to be trying to replicate the success he had in his previous job at the Irish carrier Aer Lingus, where he cut one- third of the staff and turned the airline around. But management experts said British Airways was a much bigger airline and a profitable one, earning l415 million, or $717.5 million, last year. The company estimated that the cuts would save l50 million a year. "I've never heard of something like this," said Gerard Cortey Dumont, a human resources consultant who helped oversee the restructuring of Gemplus, a smartcard company, including layoffs of 40 percent of its staff. "A company needs to be managed," Cortey Dumont said. "When you don't have enough experienced people to carry out management and daily operations, you pay for it." British Airways was trying to create "an enormous psychological shock," both to get the attention of investors and to push the personnel to increase their performance, Cortey Dumont said. But by cutting so deeply into the management, Walsh risked "paralyzing" the company, which has about 47,000 employees worldwide, he said. In a statement, Walsh praised the company's "extremely talented managers" and thanked them for "transforming" British Airways in the past four years, during which time the company cut 14,000 jobs. "But it is essential that we streamline our business further," he added, "and I believe it is right that we have started by looking closely at the number of senior managers we need to deliver a sustainable, profitable future."

Some analysts lauded British Airways for the swiftness of the restructuring effort. "In the American Civil War the best field surgeons could saw off your leg in 12 seconds," said Michael Segalla, a professor of management at HEC, a leading French business school. "A similar kind of thinking is going on here: Get it done quickly. The worst thing is to do a little bit and then come back six months later and say, 'Oh, sorry, we didn't quite clean up enough.' That kills the morale of the organization. Nobody can feel safe or secure." Airlines in Europe are facing increased competition from low-cost carriers over short and medium-haul routes. Some analysts think it is only a matter of time before competition increases on international routes as well. British Airways must also tackle a deficit in its pension plan of more than l1.4 billion. Senior managers will be cut from 414 to 207, and middle managers from 1,301 to 911. But a close reading of the company's statement showed room to maneuver. The reduction in middle managers was described as a "proposed" cut. The company said the reduction of executives would be done in three phases, leaving the possibility for reversal in case the plan backfires. "Phase one will see 94 of the top executives 23 percent leave the business by March 31, 2006," the company said. "Further reductions will continue during the next two years with the 50 percent target achieved by March 2008." Analysts were split as to whether the cuts would make British Airways more competitive.

"This is good news for shareholders," Hilary Cook, director of investment strategy at Barclays Private Clients in London, told Bloomberg News. But Segalla of HEC said the cuts make it look as if management is taking action, "but it rarely produces any lasting value for a firm."
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Old December 3rd, 2005, 05:10 PM   #207
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Airlines follow Scottish money east
3 December 2005
The Scotsman

SCOTLAND'S burgeoning international air links are soaring off in a new direction as airlines seek to exploit opportunities in the new EU states in eastern Europe.

KLM yesterday announced it was stepping up Scottish flights to its Amsterdam hub, while The Scotsman understands Malev Hungarian Airlines is the latest carrier to be considering direct services to Scotland - from Budapest.

Links to Croatia and the Baltic states may follow, while Aberdeen could win its first east European route with a service by CSA Czech Airlines to Prague thought to be on the cards.

The latest moves follow a flurry of developments reflecting European carriers' eagerness both to launch direct flights between Scotland and the eastern states, and to channel more eastbound Scottish passengers through their hub airports.

KLM said yesterday it would increase return flights to Amsterdam from four to five a day from Glasgow and from three to four a day from Aberdeen. There are already five return flights from Edinburgh.

Vincent Knoops, KLM's UK general manager, said this would enable the airline to offer "superb connections" with eastern Europe destinations, such as Budapest, Bucharest and Kiev. He said: "Eastern Europe is an emerging market which is the fastest growing region for our European passengers to and from Scotland.

"There has been a sharp increase in demand due to economic development."

KLM also announced an added incentive to travellers, reinstating free wine and beer to economy class, after removing it a year ago because of the cost. The airline said this brought it into line with partners Air France, and savings had been made elsewhere instead.

CSA Czech Airlines is already pushing hard to persuade Scots heading to other parts of eastern Europe to travel through its Prague hub, having lost out to low-cost rivals Flyglobespan for much of the point-to-point tourist market between Scotland and the Czech capital. An Aberdeen-Prague route could be next to feed into its network.

Over at SN Brussels, the Belgian airline that emerged from the collapse of flag carrier Sabena, Glasgow-Brussels flights that were launched in June feed into its increasingly important east European network.

Cedric Leurquin, a spokesman for the airline, said its eastern expansion included stepping up Prague flights to six a day, and it was looking to add links from Edinburgh in the future.

He said: "Central Europe is a key market for us. We have to be the first there as Brussels is the capital of Europe.

"There is a clear expectation that there will be more business and diplomatic traffic between Brussels and the new EU states, and also increasing tourist travel, especially among expatriates from the east.

"There are no concrete plans for an Edinburgh-Brussels service, but it is certainly a destination we are looking at."

BAA Scotland, which operates Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, sees eastern Europe as one of its biggest potential growth areas.

Stephen Baxter, who becomes the firm's managing director next month when he steps up from running Glasgow airport, said the initial focus was on Poland, but other countries would follow.

He said: "It's all about a 'halo' effect - once an airline sees a market for them that works, they might try other routes, and then other carriers go in and follow suit.

"Poland is currently the most up-and-coming market. There are quite a few Polish immigrants in Scotland and a lot of Polish workers over here, many of whom are in skilled jobs.

"We are talking to other countries, like the Baltic states. I think it's just a matter of time."

The spotlight is likely to shift next to Hungary, where BAA yesterday emerged as the favourite to buy Budapest airport after lodging a reported bid of nearly E1.6 billion (GBP 1.1bn).

Baxter said: "We can see the potential for substantial growth, with direct connectivity to Scotland."

Scottish businesses welcomed the new links and underlined the key importance of the region to the nation's economic prospects. Alan Mitchell, assistant director of CBI Scotland, said: "Eastern Europe is going to become an increasingly important market for Scottish-produced goods and an investment location for Scottish businesses looking to expand overseas.

"The financial services sector is among those best placed to exploit this market - everything from banking, credit cards and pensions.

"The manufacturing and electronics sectors in the region have good potential for investment because of their highly skilled workforce and very competitive wage rates.

"The economies of eastern Europe are relatively small but they are expanding fairly quickly and at rates Scotland does not seem to be able to match, at least in the short term."
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Old December 5th, 2005, 06:08 PM   #208
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BA passenger traffic up 6.3 pct in November

LONDON, Dec 5 (Reuters) - British Airways, Europe's third-largest airline, said on Monday its passenger traffic rose 6.3 percent last month on a year ago following a jump in first and business class travel.

BA said its load factor, an indicator of how many seats it filled, was up 1.9 points at 73.2 percent of capacity.

"Market conditions remain broadly unchanged, as significant promotional activity is required to deliver seat factors," BA said in a statement.

BA said premium first and business class traffic rose 12 percent in the month. Non-premium traffic rose 5.2 percent.

BA shares rose 1.6 percent to 326-1/4 pence by 1432 GMT. The broader market was 0.3 percent weaker.

A recovery in first and business class travel has helped BA offset the impact of stiff competition and high oil prices.

The airline's new Chief Executive Willie Walsh last week unveiled plans to axe 600 senior jobs at the airline to cut costs.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 04:09 AM   #209
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Virgin Atlantic continues expansion drive with extra services to key destinations worldwide
http://www.virgin-atlantic.com/en/gb...r011205(a).jsp

Virgin Atlantic Airways today announced that it plans to continue its expansion drive by increasing services to many of its key business and leisure routes in the next month. Services to Mumbai will increase from three services per week to daily from today, its six-weekly Shanghai flights will also become daily from 7 December followed by daily services to Cape Town over the peak winter season from 29 January to 25 March 2006. Flights to Las Vegas have increased by 50% already this year with a fifth weekly service being added in July and a sixth weekly service launched in September.

Sir Richard Branson, Chairman of Virgin Atlantic, commented:

"I am delighted that Virgin Atlantic is continuing to increase its frequency on significant business and leisure routes including Mumbai, Shanghai, Cape Town and Las Vegas.

"Shanghai was a landmark route for us as it was the first route Virgin Atlantic had been granted the rights to fly on before British Airways. From day one Las Vegas has been extremely popular with our passengers and we hope to be able to offer a daily service from next year.

"Cape Town has always been one of our most popular destinations and there has been a high demand from both leisure and business travellers to increase our services so we are very happy that we can increase from two to three services per week during the peak winter season and then to daily during February and March.

"Mumbai is one of our newest routes, launched in March this year, thanks to the new liberal bilateral air services agreement we are able now to launch daily services from Heathrow.

"The demand for popular long haul routes continues to rise and Virgin Atlantic is committed to sustain and build upon its growth with further route expansion next year to Dubai, Virgin Atlantic’s first Middle Eastern destination, and Jamaica, the eighth Caribbean island on our route map."

Virgin Atlantic launched flights between London Heathrow and Mumbai on 27 March this year. Following the recent bilateral agreement between the UK and Indian governments Virgin Atlantic is now able to increase these services from three per week to a daily service from 1 December on an Airbus 340-300 aircraft. All flights will depart Heathrow at 21:30 arriving into Mumbai at 11:55 the following day. Flights will depart Mumbai at 14:55 and arrive at Heathrow at 19:35.

Services between Heathrow and Shanghai began in May 1999 and will increase from six services per week to a daily service from 7 December this year on an Airbus 340-600 aircraft. All flights will depart Heathrow at 16:00 arriving into Shanghai at 11:15 the following day. Flights will depart Shanghai at 13:30 and arrive at Heathrow at 17:50.

The twice-weekly services between Heathrow and Cape Town will increase to seven services per week during the winter season. The current scheduled twice-weekly service will increase to three services per week between 7 December 2005 and 25 January 2006. From 29 January 2006 until the end of the winter season on 25 March 2006, services will increase to seven per week. The new Wednesday service will start from 7 December, and will depart from Heathrow at 18:30 and arrive in Cape Town at 08:30 the following day. The return flight will depart on Thursdays at 12.25 from Cape Town and arrive at Heathrow the same day at 22.40.

From 29 January 2006, the daily services will operate at a retimed schedule for the period up to 25 March 2006. Flights will depart every day from Heathrow at 18.00 arriving into Cape Town at 08.00 the next day. Return flights will depart Cape Town at 23.10 and arrive into Heathrow at 09.25 the following day. Flights in December and January will be operated with a Boeing 747-400 aircraft and from 29 January flights will be operated with an Airbus 340-300 aircraft.

Virgin Atlantic currently flies to 26 destinations worldwide. Services to Dubai will launch in March 2006 and services to Jamaica will launch in July 2006.
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Old December 7th, 2005, 04:15 AM   #210
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This article is a little dated but on the same theme:


Branson predicts global growth for Virgin Atlantic

Sir Richard Branson yesterday outlined Virgin Atlantic’s strategy for growth through a mixture of new routes and extra capacity on Virgin Atlantic’s network, the establishment of new airlines across the world’s developing aviation markets and launching services from Europe’s capital cities to America, under a new EU/US Open Skies deal.

Speaking on the day of the airline’s first flight to Sydney, Australia, Sir Richard said:

"Adding Sydney to our route network is another milestone in Virgin Atlantic’s success story. The destination is the airline’s 23rd and further develops our presence in the Asia – Pacific region. It also demonstrates our strategy of growing the airline by 10-15% per year. We’ll achieve growth in both the leisure and business markets.

"From our very first flight between London and New York and the early development of our routes to Miami and Orlando the platform of our success has been our strong leisure traffic. Other airlines have in the past disparaged economy travellers and sought to concentrate on the business travel market. This is a mistake that Virgin Atlantic has never made and will never make.

"Over the years Virgin Holidays has become the biggest tour operator to Florida and in a few short years operating to the Caribbean is already closing in on the number one spot in that region as well. We are going to build on this success by significantly expanding our leisure routes out of Gatwick and Manchester; adding a number of new destinations that will see Virgin Holidays more than double in size.

"Having said that I’ll never forget Freddie Laker’s advice not to build an airline solely on economy passengers. Accordingly, we will be adding both capacity and new destinations out of Heathrow on key business routes. Our wish list of new routes includes Melbourne, Dubai, Bangkok, Chicago, Toronto, Jamaica, Nairobi, and Rio.

"Our recent order for up to 26 new Airbus A340-600s means that in total we have firm orders for 24 aircraft and options for a further 19 over the next few years. Together with our existing fleet of 29 aircraft these aircraft will give us the potential to double the size of the airline over the next five years. As well as expanding to new markets our award winning Upper Class Suite is enabling us to grow our market share on our existing route network."

Richard went on to outline the second element of the growth strategy:

"Allied to growing Virgin Atlantic’s core services we are also planning to use our successful experience with Virgin Blue and Virgin Express to set up a number of new airlines around the world. Virgin America is making great progress towards a launch in 2005 and Virgin Nigeria is aiming to start flying from Spring next year. The latter will be 49% owned by Virgin Atlantic and serves as a template for future expansion.

"Growth in the established aviation markets is likely to be steady in the coming years but growth in the developing markets like Africa, India and China is likely to be much more pronounced – 10%, 20% perhaps 30% per year. Virgin’s established world class aviation reputation and our development of the Virgin brand puts us in a unique position to set up new aviation ventures around the world. The Virgin brand is in the top 10 most respected brands in almost every trading area in the world.

"The Virgin brand has a proven track record of success in aviation and we’ve proved we can work in both long and short haul across a number of countries. As Virgin Nigeria demonstrates, where possible we’d like to use the strength and experience of Virgin Atlantic to give birth to these new airlines."

Finally, Richard outlined the third aspect of the strategy:

"We believe that the first ever "Open Skies" agreement between the US and EU will be agreed in the near future. We expect a true liberalisation of the current constraints and regulations which have held back airline growth and, in particular, we expect to be given the opportunity to operate Virgin Atlantic services from other European cities to the big US destinations like New York and Los Angeles.

"The Virgin Atlantic brand is clearly well established in the major US cities and we’re pretty well known across Europe. We’d be confident that the quality of our service would enable us to compete with the likes of Lufthansa out of Frankfurt, Air France/KLM out of Paris and Amsterdam, Alitalia from Rome and even other European business centres. Our Upper Class Suite beats every competitor across Europe hands down and we’d reflect the culture of each country with our crews, onboard service and inflight entertainment."
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Old December 15th, 2005, 07:07 PM   #211
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British Airways Fires Worker Over Walkout
15 December 2005

LONDON (AP) - British Airways PLC said Thursday it had fired a worker for orchestrating a walkout that grounded hundreds of flights at Heathrow Airport this summer.

BA said the employee had been "found guilty of gross misconduct for playing a leading role in the walkout."

A second employee, also found guilty of gross misconduct, was given a written warning, suspended without pay for a month and banned from staff air-travel privileges.

Disciplinary proceedings continue for a third employee. All three workers, who were not identified by name, are shop stewards for the Transport and General Workers' Union.

Its general secretary, Tony Woodley, said the union was "surprised and disappointed with these decisions."

BA said the employees had the right to appeal.

The dispute began when catering company Gate Gourmet Inc., which is owned by private equity group Texas Pacific, fired more than 660 employees for staging an unauthorized walkout over working conditions in August. Hundreds of British Airways baggage handlers, loaders and bus drivers at Heathrow walked out in sympathy, leading the airline to cancel hundreds of flights, stranding more than 100,000 travelers.
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Old December 20th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #212
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UK Regulator Outlines Plans For Airport Pricing
20 December 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--The U.K.'s aviation industry regulator Tuesday outlined its proposed methods of setting pricing controls for London's three main airports between 2008 and 2013.

These plans will dictate the maximum price that operator BAA PLC (BAA.LN) can charge airlines for using the airports and will likely have an impact on its investment plans, particularly at Stansted.

In its first major consultation paper on the forthcoming review of pricing controls at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, the CAA said it's proposing that each of the BAA airports be regulated on a 'stand-alone' basis. This means price caps on airport charges will be set by reference to each airport's own air traffic, costs and assets.

Earlier this year, BAA had warned that a plan to construct a second runway at Stansted by 2013 could be delayed if the CAA opposed its preferred way of financing the project. Arguing that the runway will have economic benefits to southeast England, BAA argued that the CAA should allow the runway to be cross financed with levies on passengers passing through Heathrow and Gatwick.

Airlines using Heathrow and Gatwick strongly opposed these plans.

Speaking at a news conference, Harry Bush, the CAA's director of economic regulation, said the regulator hasn't seen any evidence yet that airports shouldn't be regulated on a stand-alone basis. The CAA remains open to comment, he added.

In a brief statement, BAA said it will carefully consider the CAA document and issue a formal response before the end of the consultation period.

The CAA is also proposing to set caps on airport charges by reference to the costs of the airport as a whole and by taking into account projected commercial revenues.

It said there may be some scope for prices to rise between 2008 and 2013 in order for BAA to assess demand from airlines in advance of major investments at its airports. The airport operator has forecast that the second runway at Stansted plus associated airfield facilities could cost GBP2.7 billion. It's also planning to redevelop Terminal 2 at Heathrow.

The CAA said recent discussions regarding Heathrow and Gatwick have made good progress, but no substantive progress have been made in the last six months for Stansted.

Next May, the regulator will summarize responses to the consultation document but the new pricing regime won't become effective until April 2008.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 06:29 PM   #213
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UK PRESS: Watchdog Slams British Airways Safety
2 January 2006

LONDON (Dow Jones)--British Airways PLC (BAB) jets have suffered mid-air failures because of systemic problems with their maintenance, the Sunday Times reported, quoting air accident investigators.

After inquiries into four mid-air incidents, the U.K. government's Air Accident Investigation Branch, or AAIB, said that there are safety problems that may be "widespread within the organisation", the report said.

The investigators also warned in a report that it appears that shoddy working practices are accepted as the norm by some maintenance staff, the newspaper reported.

According to aviation analysts, AAIB's criticism is unprecedented for an airline that has won a reputation for being one of the best maintained fleets in the world, the newspaper said.

British Airways was not immediately available for comment.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 09:21 PM   #214
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That has something to do with a BA 747 which lost engin 2 just after departure from JFK 2 days ago.
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Old January 2nd, 2006, 11:47 PM   #215
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Fury greets new plan for Heathrow expansion
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/uk_ne...676272,00.html

- Government starts countdown to building third runway
- Mass campaign planned as eviction threat looms


Juliette Jowit and Gaby Hinsliff
Sunday January 1, 2006
The Observer

The bitterest environmental battle of a generation is set to erupt over government plans to give the go-ahead for a massive expansion of Heathrow airport.

Thousands could be forced to leave their homes, say campaigners who have pledged to block construction by all possible means.

Plans to build a third runway at what is already the world's busiest international airport were thought to have been frustrated because of the threat of air pollution from more flights.

But Chancellor Gordon Brown has indicated his determination to find a way round the problem, launching a new study aimed at 'identifying solutions that would allow' the runway to be built. The move reflects Brown's wider fears that the economy may suffer from years of wrangling over new ports, airports and roads.

The news has horrified green groups and local organisations. Yesterday they warned that giving the green light to Heathrow would trigger a huge backlash, not only from residents under the flight path but from the wider environmental movement.

John McDonnell, the Labour MP for the Hayes and Harlington constituency which lies next to the airport, met the aviation minister Karen Buck shortly before Christmas.

He confirmed that the government wanted to press ahead: 'The industry and government are doing everything they possibly can by way of trying to create an atmosphere of inevitability about Heathrow.' However, he warned they were not understanding the difficulty of the task: 'No matter what ministers want, they can't get round the science of air pollution. And they have underestimated the potential of an environmental campaign. My neighbouring Conservative MP, John Randall, has threatened to lie down in front of the bulldozers. We're getting Tory Swampys [green activists] on this.'

McDonnell claimed thousands of people could be forced to leave their homes because the airport extension would render them unlivable. However, other studies suggest the number of affected houses could be as low as several hundred.

Industry chiefs argue the British economy will lose billions of pounds if an over-congested Heathrow loses traffic to European rivals and businesses shun the UK to be nearer better international links.

In its aviation 2003 white paper, the government said Heathrow's expansion would be blocked or delayed for at least 10 to 15 years because of difficulties over noise and pollution. Instead, they recommended a new runway at Stansted airport in Essex.

However, in comments buried deep in his recent pre-Budget Report, which have only just emerged, the Chancellor stressed the economic importance of Heathrow's 'unique role in supporting economic growth across the country'.

And he detailed plans for 'extensive' modelling work to 'understand the nature and extent' of air quality problems at Heathrow, adding:

'This work is aimed at identifying solutions that would allow construction of a third runway to take place within relevant air quality limits.' Brown is known to want to speed up the planning process for major projects such as airports with more decisions taken on 'national and strategic' grounds - such as economic benefit - rather than becoming buried in years of local argument.

Ministers are also likely to get strong backing for Heathrow from a transport review by former BA airline chief executive Rod Eddington, expected this spring to recommend streamlining the planning process.

Campaigners said Brown's comments were a significant shift in favour of a third runway, reflecting both new research suggesting aircraft pollution was not as bad as feared and growing concerns that the airport operator, BAA, could not raise money to expand Stansted.

'While the focus is on Stansted, almost coming up on the inside track unnoticed is all this work on Heathrow,' said John Stewart, chairman of anti-expansion campaign group Hacan ClearSkies. '[Brown] is not going to say something if he doesn't think it's going to happen.'

Tony Bosworth, of Friends of the Earth, warned the environmental impact would be the biggest since the controversial road schemes at Twyford Down and Newbury in the Nineties: 'It will be a huge cause célèbre for the environmental movement.'

Lord Soley, a former west London Labour MP and campaign director for the pro-expansion group Future Heathrow, said both the Chancellor and Prime Minister supported the case for Heathrow, adding: 'Tony and Gordon recognise the way the world economy is changing and the idea we have got to be at the cutting edge of technology in Europe. That means we can't allow one of the key high-tech industries, airports and aircraft, to fall behind.'

A Treasury source said Brown saw a strong case for making airport expansion in the UK easier but added: 'People are waiting for Eddington's review before there is any movement.' Final options for Heathrow will not be put to ministers until this autumn. The shift has prompted speculation that the government is retreating over the idea of developing Stansted.
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Old January 3rd, 2006, 01:03 PM   #216
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Thaey need to build it! It's stupid the UK's number one airport has only 2 runways, and the 3rd airport of the world!
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Old January 4th, 2006, 12:55 AM   #217
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline
BA CEO says will not tolerate further strikes
ha ha. good one, ,lmao
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Old January 8th, 2006, 04:13 AM   #218
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British Airways posts higher December traffic

LONDON, Jan 5 (Reuters) - British Airways reported a stronger December than a year earlier as passenger traffic rose 4.7 percent led by a rise in premium fare customers.

Europe's third-largest airline by traffic said on Thursday its load factor, which measures how efficiently it is filling its planes, rose to 74.2 percent from 72.7 percent.

Premium traffic rose by 9.3 percent, while non-premium traffic rose 4.1 percent, BA said in a statement to the stock exchange. BA measures traffic using revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), which multiplies the number of passengers flown by the distance covered.

New routes to India and Shanghai had helped traffic figures, British Airways head of investor relations George Stinnes told reporters on a conference call.

"We've obviously committed to developing the Indian routes pretty aggressively," he said.

Cargo traffic measured in so-called cargo tonne kilometres rose by 0.2 percent.

The company said market conditions remained broadly unchanged.

"Volumes are continuing trends we've seen in past months," Stinnes said.

"In the second half we're going to give back some of the improvement we saw in the first half," he said regarding yields, while reiterating the airline's expectation for improvement over the full financial year.

Stinnes said already announced plans to revamp its UK short-haul operations would be unveiled in coming weeks while it's European business faced no such shake-up: "This year we expect to break even in our European short-haul business and nothing has changed that."

A key rival, European low-fares carrier Ryanair , on Thursday reported a 29 percent jump in passengers in December from a year earlier.
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Old January 10th, 2006, 04:11 AM   #219
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BA fightback starts with cut in UK fares
Terry Macalister
10 January 2006
The Guardian

British Airways will today present plans for a long-awaited fightback against Ryanair and easyJet in its home market by slashing UK fares and rebranding services at its CitiExpress subsidiary. But fears that the shake-up for BA's "regional services" by the new chief executive, Willie Walsh, will involve staff, route and aircraft cuts will not be realised - for the time being.

The moves come 24 hours after easyJet announced another successful year with passenger numbers up 18%. Ryanair reported a 26% rise last week.

Takeover speculation raised easyJet shares 5.5% to 400.5p - their best level for three years - as the Luton-based airline confirmed it had hired the investment bank Goldman Sachs amid rumours that it is being stalked by FL Group of Iceland.

BA is to keep the 2,250 employees and 50 aircraft operated by its wholly owned subsidiary CitiExpress despite running up continuing losses at the Manchester-based firm. David Evans, the managing director of CitiExpress, will announce fare cuts today in a determined attempt to boost revenues and win back customers who have migrated to no-frills operators.

The progress of easyJet was underlined when it revealed new figures showing passenger numbers for 2005 had risen to more than 30 million from just under 26 million. Revenues increased from pounds 1.1m in 2004 to nearly pounds 1.4m, while the load factor remained relatively steady. The airline said it filled 84.9% of its seats in 2005, up from 84.6%, though there are signs of this performance slowing. In December it filled 80.5% of its seats, down 0.2% from the same month a year earlier.

Andrew Harrison, the chief executive, said December's performance was in line with expectations at easyJet, which has seen FL raise its stake in the company to more than 16%.

Meanwhile, BA has reported a 4.7% increase in worldwide traffic for last month.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 02:10 AM   #220
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BA regional future rests on being profitable
11 January 2006
Financial Times

British Airways would close or sell its lossmaking UK regional business, if it failed to become profitable within two years, David Evans, managing director of British Airways CitiExpress, said.

The airline yesterday announced the latest stage in restructuring the business in order to make an operating profit in the financial year to the end of March 2008.

The operation is to be rebranded BA Connect and be aligned more closely with the budget airline model of lower fares and simpler service levels.

BA flights out of UK regional airports to other UK cities and to Europe will abandon business class and all catering will have to be bought onboard.

The changes will not apply to BA flights at London City airport or on main services to London Heathrow and Gatwick.

BA Connect will operate chiefly from five BA regional bases - Manchester, from which it flies to 20 destinations, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Bristol and Southampton.

The airline is reducing its lowest fares by up to 40 per cent and will be selling about 2m seats or 40 per cent of its capacity at the lower fares.

The existing BA CitiExpress business handles some 3.5m passengers a year and is aiming to increase this by 10 per cent to 3.8m in the coming year.

Mr Evans said that the business was already in the middle of a two-year programme to cuts costs by Pounds 35m in the regions by March 2007. No further job cuts would be made as a result of the low-fare strategy, he said, but the existing workforce of 2,250 was expected to be reduced further through natural attrition.

The regional business made an operating loss of Pounds 30m in the year to March 2004 and a loss of about Pounds 20m in the year to March 2005.

Overall, BA's short-haul operations in Europe are expected to return to profit in the current financial year to the end of March. This follows eight years of heavy losses totalling Pounds 1.2bn.

In the UK regions BA is facing fierce pressure from the still rapid growth of the low-cost airlines led by Ryanair and EasyJet, and including Jet2.com in northern England, Flyglobespan in Scotland and Flybe.

BA has pulled out of several UK cities including Plymouth, Cardiff and Leeds-Bradford.

Andrew Lobbenberg, analyst at ABN Amro, said the mixed BA regional fleet of aircraft still had much higher unit costs than most of the rival low-cost carriers.
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