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Old October 16th, 2006, 05:45 PM   #301
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British minister dubs BA ban on cross 'loopy'

LONDON, Oct 16, 2006 (AFP) - A British cabinet minister on Sunday slammed British Airways for banning a Christian employee from wearing a cross around her neck, describing the decision as "loopy".

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said that he "didn't understand" the airline's ruling to suspend check-in worker Nadia Eweida, 55, for wearing a necklace with a cross to work, even though it allows Muslims and Sikhs to wear headscarves and turbans, the Daily Mail reported on Saturday.

Eweida has said that she plans to sue her employer for religious discrimination after having been suspended without pay for three weeks.

"Frankly I think the British Airways order for her not to wear a cross was loopy ... I don't understand it, I don't think anybody understands it and that is my view," Hain said in an interview on the BBC on Sunday.

The Daily Mail said Eweida, whose father is an Egyptian Coptic Christian and whose mother is English, was ordered last month by a manager at Heathrow to remove her cross or hide it beneath a company cravat.

She then asked for permission to wear the chain but was refused.
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Old October 23rd, 2006, 05:32 AM   #302
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6 hurt on U.S. to London flight after jet descends because of small plane nearby
21 October 2006

TAMPA, Florida (AP) - Six people were injured when a British Airways passenger jet was ordered to descend after a small plane nearby triggered its collision warning system, officials said Saturday.

Four crew members and two passengers suffered cuts and bruises on the Oct. 10 flight from Tampa to London, British Airways spokesman Richard Goodfellow said Saturday.

Goodfellow said the aircraft, which had 175 passengers onboard, was put into a quick descent, dropping around 500 feet (150 meters) within seconds after the collision avoidance system went off.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration said Saturday the plane made a "controlled descent" of about 700 feet (210 meters) and was not in danger of collision.

FAA spokeswoman Kathleen Bergen said the British Airways 777 was traveling 50 to 60 miles (80 to 100 kilometers) north of Tampa when it was first instructed by air traffic controllers to climb to 26,000 feet (7,900 meters).

Meanwhile, a privately operated Beechcraft King Air was located a mile (1.6 kilometers) away and flying about 1,400 feet (430 meters) above the British Airways flight's altitude. The private aircraft told air traffic controllers that it was aware of the commercial airliner's position, Bergen said.

Air controllers instructed the British Airways flight, which had then reached an altitude of 16,800 feet (5,120 meters), to go to 16,500 feet (5,000 meters). The collision avoidance system was triggered and the pilot brought the plane down 700 feet (210 meters) in the controlled descent, Bergen said.

"British Airways didn't mention anything to air traffic control about injuries" during the flight, and the flight continued to London as planned, Bergen said.

She said the FAA was later notified by British Airways that four flight attendants received minor injuries.
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Old October 27th, 2006, 06:21 AM   #303
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Airbus to deliver A380s to Virgin Atlantic four years later than planned

LONDON, Oct 26, 2006 (AFP) - European aircraft manufacturer Airbus will deliver six A380 aircraft to Virgin Atlantic in 2013, a four-year delay, the British company said on Thursday.

"Virgin Atlantic has reached an agreement in principle with Airbus to defer deliveries of its Airbus A380 aircraft until 2013," a spokeswoman for the airline told AFP, specifying that that represented a delay of four years.

"By then, we believe, the A380 will have proven its innovative design over several years in commercial service," she said.

At the beginning of October, Airbus announced a third delay for delivery of the super-jumbo, because of persistent manufacturing problems. The first of the A380s will be delivered to Singapore Airlines in the second half of 2007.

The six planes to be delivered to Virgin Atlantic, which is owned by British businessman Richard Branson and by Singapore Airlines, had been due for delivery by 2009. The airline's spokeswoman said that, as a result, Virgin Atlantic has extended the leases on "several" of its Boeing 747-400 aircraft.
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Old November 14th, 2006, 10:13 PM   #304
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Green policies will hurt economy, says BA


· Heathrow must get third runway, says airline boss
· 'Millions of jobs at risk' if airport stagnates


Dan Milmo, transport correspondent
Tuesday November 14, 2006
The Guardian

British Airways has warned that businesses will quit Britain if the battle against global warming dictates the government's aviation policy and plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport are delayed.

Willie Walsh, BA's chief executive, said last night that millions of jobs would be affected if Heathrow was allowed to stagnate as an international flight hub. The department for transport is expected to update plans to build extra runways at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports when it publishes a progress report on its aviation white paper before Christmas.

Article continues
Politicians and the environmental lobby have demanded action against the aviation industry, which is one of the fastest-growing contributors to carbon dioxide emissions and is under pressure to curb expansion plans. So far its response has been mixed. Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has described calls for aviation taxes as "the usual horseshit", while Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Atlantic airline is forming a green aviation body.

Mr Walsh said in a speech at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London that Heathrow was losing its competitive edge to European rivals such as Frankfurt. He said its cramped conditions were putting off travellers while other flight hubs offered access to international destinations with fewer delays. BA has asked the government to hold a public consultation next year on whether there should be a third Heathrow runway, with a view to building it by 2015.

"In 25 years, Heathrow could be an aviation backwater - as relevant to the world economy of the mid 21st century as London's former East End docks. Even if we focus solely on Europe, we can see the threat to Heathrow's position over the next decade if nothing is done to increase runway capacity," he said.

If the rate of competitive decline continued, Heathrow's network of destinations would be nearly half the size of that offered by airports in Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam, which would affect the British economy and threaten millions of jobs, he said. "Without convenient access to markets, suppliers and investors, businesses cannot grow - and will simply relocate to centres that offer them the connectivity they need. Under present constraints, that means out of the UK," he said.

A 2km runway would increase the number of flights to and from Heathrow to 700,000 per year, up from 470,000, said Mr Walsh. A forthcoming study by Oxford Economic Forecasting is expected to back the case for a third runway by arguing that expansion at Heathrow would boost the economy. A report by the Treasury published three years ago said increased capacity at the airport would contribute £7.8bn to British gross domestic product.

"We cannot hope to maintain London's status as a premier league business centre, supporting millions of jobs across the country, unless we provide the world-class air links that businesses need in a global economy," Mr Walsh said.

His comments met with immediate criticism from the green lobby. Tony Bosworth, aviation campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said the government must rule out expansion of Heathrow as part of any drive to reduce carbon emissions.

Aviation accounts for 5.5% of British carbon emissions, but that could rise to a quarter by 2050 if no action is taken to curb airlines' emissions, according to a recent report from Oxford University.

"Aviation is the fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK. More runways will mean more emissions at a time when we are trying to make big cuts. If the government is serious about tackling climate change it must abandon its airport expansion plans," Mr Bosworth said.

The DfT backed a third runway in an aviation industry white paper three years ago. However, it said the runway should be moved to Gatwick if Heathrow's owner, BAA, was unable to reduce noise pollution and cut concentrations of nitrogen dioxide around the airport.

The BA chief executive reiterated the company's support for the EU carbon emissions trading scheme, which will put a cap on aviation emissions and charge airlines that exceed their quotas.

He said that blocking all the airport expansion proposals in the white paper, which also advocated a second runway at Stansted, would have a minimal effect on global warming. If all the proposals were implemented, global carbon emissions would increase by 0.03% by 2030.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 04:49 PM   #305
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British airports operator BAA faces referral to competition watchdog

LONDON, Dec 12, 2006 (AFP) - BAA, the company that owns most of London's busy airports, is delivering expensive but poor quality service to passengers and its dominant position should be investigated, officials said Tuesday.

"We believe that the current market structure does not deliver best value for air travellers in the UK, and that greater competition within the industry could bring significant benefits for passengers," Britain's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said.

The office said it would probably refer BAA to the country's Competition Commission "for more detailed investigation" but would wait for reaction from interested parties before taking the step.

British airlines have been calling for the break-up of BAA, which runs seven airports in Britain, including Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, which serve London.

They argue that separate ownership of London airports would make infrastructure developments more responsive to airlines' and their customers' needs, and that, as the chief executive of British Airways put it, "expansion at one airport would not be held back to suit the commercial needs of a monopoly owner."

Almost two-thirds of British air passengers begin or end their journey at BAA's airports, according to the OFT. Within the London area nine out of ten passengers fly through a BAA airport.

The OFT had in June announced a preliminary probe into the market position of BAA, which was bought this year for 10.23 billion pounds (14.8 billion euros, 18.8 billion dollars) by a consortium led by the Spanish construction group Ferrovial.

Ferrovial said it would not be commenting on the situation for the time being, while BAA did not immediately put out a formal response to the OFT's move on Tuesday.

BAA in August dismissed calls by airlines for its break-up, arguing that a more fragmented ownership structure "would undermine vitally needed investment in airport capacity."

Irish budget airline Ryanair welcomed Tuesday's OFT's decision and called on the Competition Commission to recommend the break-up of what it called "the BAA monopoly."

OFT chief executive John Fingleton said Tuesday that "there is evidence of poor quality and high charges -- BAA's investment plans, which are of great importance to the UK, have raised significant concerns among its customers.

"These are signs of a market not working well for consumers and we believe that a full inquiry into BAA's structure is justified," he said in a statement.

The OFT market study has found that in the London area, BAA's airports handle 90 percent of passenger trips, and these airports could under separate ownership compete to attract air passengers.

The office said it was planning an eight-week consultation before formally deciding to refer BAA to the Competition Commission.

"The conclusion on referring BAA to the CC is provisional -- the OFT now invites comments before reaching a final conclusion," it said.

BAA was also under fire in August over its handling of heightened security measures in the wake of an alleged plot to bomb US-bound planes.

The operator had ordered airlines to cancel hundreds of flights as security and baggage personnel could not process all passengers with the restrictions banning carry-on luggage. The restrictions have since mostly been lifted.
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Old January 18th, 2007, 08:32 AM   #306
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BA hopes to place new aircraft orders in 2007

LONDON, Jan 17 (Reuters) - British Airways hopes to place new aircraft orders this year, a spokeswoman said after the Times reported the carrier would spend 15 billion pounds ($29.49 billion) over 15 years on up to 135 long-haul planes.

"We have not yet given a definitive number of aircraft," the spokeswoman said late on Wednesday in response to the article.

"We hope to be placing orders in 2007."

The Times, in its Thursday edition, said BA would spend 1 billion pounds a year over 15 years to renew its ageing fleet.

The firm was also thinking about using Airbus, the European aircraft maker owned by EADS , planes to replace its current long-haul portfolio of aircraft by Boeing of the United States, the newspaper said, citing unnamed BA executives.

BA hoped to announce the new order in about three months, according to the Times.

The spokeswoman said there was competition for the work.

"The competition continues. It is very competitive between Airbus and Boeing," she added.
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Old February 1st, 2007, 07:47 PM   #307
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Air travelers begin paying controversial higher tax to leave the country
By JANE WARDELL
1 February 2007

LONDON (AP) - Passengers flying out of Britain began paying higher duties to leave the country Thursday, as airlines and tour operators considered legal action over the controversial new government tax.

Environmental groups have also criticized the doubling of the passenger duty on air travelers, despite claims by Treasury chief Gordon Brown that it would help compensate for damage to the climate from carbon emissions.

Tour operator First Choice said it was launching a legal challenge on the way the new tax was introduced without a debate and subsequent approval in Parliament -- Brown announced the new charges just last month.

"The lawyers have said (the government) failed to get Parliamentary approval correctly in the way they've processed it," said spokesman Dermot Blastland. "We feel it's been rushed in, it's unfair and particularly the retrospective nature as well."

The Board of Airline Representatives, whose clients include British Airways PLC, Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd. and Emirates, said it was still considering legal action.

"We're not ruling it out. It's a very complex area and it brings us into debate with either domestic law or international law," said spokesman Mike Carrivick.

Carrivick said the retrospective application of the duty on passengers leaving Thursday, but who had purchased their tickets before Brown's Dec. 6 announcement, was a "huge burden."

The duty has increased from 5 pounds (US$9.80; euro7.60) to 10 pounds (US$19.70; euro15.20) for economy-seat passengers taking domestic and European short-haul flights, and from 20 pounds (US$39.30; euro30.30) to 40 pounds (US$78.70; euro60.75) for economy-seat travelers on long-haul flights.

Business and first-class passengers face increases of 10 pounds (US$19.70; euro15.20) for short-haul flights and 40 pounds (US$78.70; euro60.75) for long-haul.

Lawrence Hunt, the chief executive of business class-only trans-Atlantic carrier Silverjet, which includes a mandatory 15 pound (US$29.50; euro22.70) carbon offsetting charge in its ticket price, reflected the attitude of most airlines by calling the charges "stealth taxes in green camouflage."

"The tax is counterproductive, as passengers may believe they have already offset their carbon emissions by having paid this tax, when in fact the tax will not result in one iota less carbon being produced or offset," Hunt said.

The Treasury Office said it was satisfied there was no grounds for a legal case against the government because there were precedents for tax changes outside the normal budget process. It added that the tax was not directed at passengers.

"It is airlines and travel companies -- not passengers -- who are liable for Air Passenger Duty, and it is a commercial matter for those companies whether or not, and how, they choose to pass this on to passengers," it said.

BA and Continental Airlines Inc. chose to absorb the tax for those passengers who had booked flights before Feb. 1 for travel after that date, but most other airlines passed the charge on to customers.

Friends of the Earth's economics campaigner Dave Timms said that the tax was not enough to dissuade travelers or raise enough revenue to provide transport alternatives.

"The government must do more to make the cost of air travel reflect the damage that it causes to the environment," Timms said.
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Old February 2nd, 2007, 04:41 PM   #308
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They tax passengers but they don't tax the fuel! Can someone please try and work that one out?
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Old February 5th, 2007, 09:47 AM   #309
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They don't tax the jet fuel / kerosene in the UK or their source materials?
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Old February 6th, 2007, 04:31 AM   #310
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British Airways says January passenger figures fell 2.8 percent
5 February 2007

LONDON (AP) - British Airways PLC said Monday that January traffic fell 2.8 compared with the same month in 2006, with the threat of strikes from cabin crews particularly affecting higher-prices ticket sales.

Traffic was measured in terms of revenue derived from each kilometer traveled by its passengers. Passenger load factor -- or the amount of space taken up on BA's planes by passengers -- slipped 3 percentage points to 69.5 percent, the airline said in a statement.

"This month's statistics were significantly impacted by the threat of industrial action," the company said. "Premium volumes suffered the largest reductions as most tickets are flexible and refundable, and customers are easily able to move to other carriers."

BA said it saw a 3.1 decrease in premium traffic and a 2.7 percent decrease in non-premium traffic.

A proposed 48-hour walkout last week was called off at the last minute, though BA said Friday it was still likely to cost 80 million pounds ($157.3 million) in lost revenues because a deal with the union came after it already announced flight cancelations, offering passengers refunds, later flights and transfers to other airlines.

British Airways shares dipped 1 percent to 548.5 pence (US$10.79; euro8.33) on the London Stock Exchange.
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Old February 8th, 2007, 11:32 AM   #311
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Emirates denies interest in British Airways stake

DUBAI, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Emirates [EMAIR.UL], the largest Arab airline, on Wednesday denied market speculation it was interested in buying a stake in British Airways .

"No, no, there's nothing in it," Maurice Flanagan, the company's vice chairman, told Reuters by telephone in Dubai.

"This is probably the fourth time it's happened."

Shares of British Airways soared 3.7 percent to their highest in more than eight years as traders cited positive broker notes and talk of a possible bid from Emirates. A spokesman for BA declined to comment on the bid talk.
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Old February 16th, 2007, 09:24 AM   #312
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Corporate customers rebel against new BA charges: report

LONDON, Feb 16, 2007 (AFP) - A coalition of more than 40 global companies and travel management agencies have written to British Airways, threatening to switch to competitors if it went ahead with plans to change its policies on booking business flights, the Financial Times said on Friday.

The companies, based in Britain, continental Europe and the United States, are angry over BA plans to pass along booking administration costs to corporate customers and the airline's intentions to withhold information, such as seat availability, from the global distribution systems (GDS) that connect customers with ticket sellers.

"You are directly threatening the loss of your most valuable customers by imposing costs already included in the price of our tickets and hampering technology that is critical to the efficient functioning of our modern corporate travel programmes," the companies wrote in the letter.

Keith Mitchell, a spokesman for the Business Travel Coalition, which organised the letter, said that BA's plans could add between five and ten percent to the cost of a BA flight for businesses.

According to the business daily, the companies called on BA chief executive Willie Walsh to stick to the "trusted, established channel" of providing content to GDSs and travel management companies.

BA is negotiating new terms on contracts with major GDS providers, with its three-year deal to provide airline data to GDSs set to expire next month. The airline has said that a failure to reach a new agreement with the providers would mean it would have to pass along its entire booking fee to ticket prices.

The report is the latest in a string of negative publicity for the airline, which narrowly averted a strike by cabin crew late last month, and was hurt by severe fog over the peak Christmas period that sparked 800 flight cancellations.

It said about two weeks ago that third-quarter net profits sank 12 percent, and revealed it would lose 80 million pounds (119 million euros, 156 million dollars) from the aborted strike.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 04:10 AM   #313
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Tour operators to challenge British airline tax

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - A tax on UK air passengers was attacked by tour operators on Monday who said they planned a legal challenge which could force the government to repay holidaymakers and airlines more than 2 billion pounds ($3.9 billion).

Britain's Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) said it would challenge the legality of Air Passenger Duty (APD), adding if its high court bid is successful the British government would be forced to scrap the tax.

British Chancellor Gordon Brown doubled the duty -- first imposed in 1994 -- in December's Pre-Budget Report, taking the levy on short-haul flights to 10 pounds from Feb. 1 and on long-haul to 40 pounds.

The FTO claims that under international laws included in European legislation in 2004 -- since when the duty has raised over 2 billion pounds -- the government is not entitled to impose charges on aircraft solely for the right of transit over, or flying in or out of Britain from another country.

"Charges are only permitted if they are cost-based in relation to the provision of a service, such as use of airports or air navigation services," the FTO said in a statement.

"APD is not levied for any such service and is simply a tax which raises revenue for general government spending ... As a result APD is in contravention of Article 15 of the Chicago Convention, has been illegal under EC law at least since 2004 and should be withdrawn with immediate effect."

Unlike airlines, tour operators, in most cases cannot pass the rise on to holiday makers who booked their trip before February.

The FTO claims the new tax rules breach the human rights of operators by not allowing them pass on the higher charges to holiday makers who booked early.

"The government is confident that APD is entirely legal and will robustly defend any challenge in the courts," a Treasury spokesman said.

Treasury minister John Healey has already defended the legality of the hike after being quizzed in parliament.

FTO's Andrew Cooper told Reuters that it had only discovered the issues when it was looking into the government's decision to impose the new hikes.

Budget airlines have also attacked the rise in duty as a ploy to cash in on the rapidly growing market for no-frills flights.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 03:52 AM   #314
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British Airways says eager to join consolidation

TOKYO, March 1 (Reuters) - British Airways wants to take part in global consolidation but expects regulatory hurdles to hinder cross-border deals, Chief Executive Willie Walsh said on Thursday.

Separately, chief executives of American Airlines and Finnair anticipated more fund-led buyouts in the industry after Australia's Qantas agreed to an $8.7 billion takeover by a consortium including Macquarie Bank.

The global airline sector has seen a wave of consolidation attempts, such as a failed bid by US Airways Group for Delta Air Lines and merger talks between UAL Corp.'s United Airlines and Continental Airlines.

Heavy international regulation, over-capacity in some regions, rising fuel prices and terrorism have all undermined earnings and driven several airlines into bankruptcy in recent years.

"I think the industry will definitely benefit from it (consolidation), and British Airways would definitely want to participate in it," Walsh said on the sidelines of a briefing by "oneworld" airline alliance members.

"But I think we need a regulatory framework that will facilitate it and we don't have that right now."

BusinessWeek magazine reported last month that AMR Corp. may be a buyout target by a group including British Airways and Goldman Sachs, although sources familiar with the matter said the two parties had no current plans to bid for the American Airlines parent.

Analysts viewed the reported scenario as unlikely because it would face close anti-trust scrutiny and restrictions on foreign ownership, while strong labour unions are also seen limiting successful cross-border deals.

For example, U.S. law caps foreign ownership in the country's airlines at 25 percent, which would restrict British Airways' influence and would complicate any benefits that could be gained from the increased scale even if the airline bids for AMR.

FUNDS' REACH

Australia's Qantas, another "oneworld" member, in December agreed to a takeover bid by Airline Partners Australia, a consortium which includes private equity firm Texas Pacific Group, Allco Equity Partners, Allco Finance Group and Canadian investment firm Onex Corp..

Texas Pacific, which helped fund Continental Airlines' emergence from bankruptcy in 1993, is also involved in the bidding for Italian carrier Alitalia.

"Equity investors ... they have been gaining weight. They are much stronger now than they were five years ago," Finnair chief executive Jukka Hienonen said.

"Some of the airlines have things that interest them -- restructuring potential, strong cash flow and a lot of sellable assets."

Whether funds' interests in the airline industry are seen as a threat or an opportunity, he said, depends on each case.

In Qantas' case, the airline was interested in talking as it saw itself constrained by a share market that has not recognised the group's value and limits its ability to raise the capital it needs to fund its fleet and growth plans.

"Certainly the evidence is that there is a lot of money moving around globally," American Airlines chief executive Gerard Arpey said. "There is a lot of money controlled by private equity firms, and there is certainly a lot of interest in aviation."
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Old March 19th, 2007, 09:20 AM   #315
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Man tells of first class flight with corpse-report

LONDON, March 19 (Reuters) - A passenger in first class woke up to a shock when he found himself sitting near a corpse on a British Airways flight, British newspapers reported on Monday.

Paul Trinder, 54, said cabin crew moved the body of the elderly woman from the economy section where she had died after take-off, the Mirror and Sun tabloids said.

"The corpse was strapped into the seat but because of turbulence it kept slipping down on to the floor," Trinder, a businessman, was quoted as saying. "It was horrific. The body had to be wedged in place with lots of pillows."

The woman's daughter was also upgraded and spent the rest of the nine-hour flight from Delhi to London grieving next to her dead mother, the Sun reported.

The Guardian newspaper said the incident happened last week.

British Airways has apologised for any distress suffered, according to the reports. The Mirror quoted BA as saying: "We apologise, but our crew were working in difficult circumstances and chose the option they thought would cause least disruption."
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Old April 19th, 2007, 09:14 AM   #316
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British Airways cabin crew reach agreement on pay and conditions
17 April 2007

LONDON (AP) - British Airways PLC's cabin crew voted by a 3-1 margin to accept a deal on pay, pensions and other employment issues, the union said Tuesday, resolving a dispute that threatened to spark industrial action earlier this year.

The Transport and General Workers Union said the vote means 11,000 cabin crew members have endorsed an agreement worth an 18.75 percent increase in their pensionable pay and accepted changes to help deal with the 2.1 billion pound (euro3.1 billion; US$4.2 billion) deficit in the airline's pension plan.

"This is a good result for our members, BA and the traveling public," said Jack Dromey, T&G deputy general secretary. "We welcome the direct involvement cabin crew representatives will now have with BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh."

Cabin crew had voted for strike action earlier this year over a number of issues from pay and pensions, sickness absence policy and staffing levels. They called off the strikes, but it still proved costly for the airline because of flights it had canceled in anticipation of the walkout.

British Airways shares rose 0.8 percent to 517 pence (US$10.28; euro7.59) on the London Stock Exchange.
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Old May 19th, 2007, 05:53 AM   #317
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British Airways Prepares for Fine
18 May 2007

LONDON (AP) - British Airways PLC on Friday admitted anticompetitive behavior while posting a net loss for its latest quarter.

The airline said it has earmarked 350 million pounds ($690 million) to cover fines that are likely to stem from an investigation into whether senior staff had discussed fuel surcharges on tickets with rivals, after acknowledging "breaches" of policy.

BA reported a net loss of 124 million pounds ($244.5 million) in the fourth quarter, compared to a net profit of 80 million pounds ($157.8 million) a year ago, after threatened cabin crew strikes in January and a new British tax on flights bit into the carrier's bottom line.

Revenue dropped 6 percent to 1.9 billion pounds ($3.8 billion) after thousands of passengers canceled their reservations before the strike was dropped, costing the carrier 80 million pounds ($157.8 million).

British Airways stock closed down 2.9 percent on the London Stock Exchange.

BA noted that it had experienced "unprecedented disruption" over the whole year, including several labor disputes and a weaker U.S. dollar. A terrorist alert at Heathrow last summer grounded hundreds of flights and led to higher security costs.

Full-year profit was down 35 percent at 304 million pounds ($599.5 million), despite a 3.4 percent uptick in revenue to 8.5 billion pounds ($16.7 billion).

The carrier also has further threats looming in the form of fierce competition on its key trans-Atlantic route following the "open skies" agreement to liberalize the allotment of airport slots among international carriers.

"BA seems determined to do things the hard way and today's figures summarize a difficult year," said Richard Hunter, head of UK equities at Hargreaves Lansdown Stockbrokers.

However, Hunter added that the shares had been supported by BA's focus on increasing margins, particularly via its "premium cabin" strategy and the potential offered by the new Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport, which is due to open in March 2008.

The airline is being investigated by British and U.S. authorities over the allegations of price fixing. If found guilty of breaching antitrust rules, it could be fined either up to 10 percent of sales on its lucrative trans-Atlantic routes or 10 percent of its total group sales.

Two senior executives quit in October after being linked to the investigation. Chief Financial Officer Keith Williams said the investigations were "unlikely to be resolved for some time."

BA also announced that it had placed an order for eight Airbus A320 aircraft, for delivery in 2008-2010, as its renews its short-haul fleet.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 06:13 AM   #318
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BA left stinging by curry explosion at 35,000 ft

LONDON, May 22 (Reuters) - British Airways has banned cabin crew from microwaving their own food after a curry exploded at 35,000 feet, causing around $40,000 of damage to an aircraft.

A fire extinguisher was used to tackle the blaze on April 30 on a Heathrow to Miami flight, when the high-powered microwave ignited a ready meal that a stewardess had bought from a supermarket. "The fire lasted only a couple of seconds," said a BA spokesman. "As a precaution a specialist extinguisher was used in the microwave. However, at no time was there any danger to passengers or the aircraft."
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Old May 31st, 2007, 05:36 AM   #319
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BA eyes all business-class U.S.-Europe flights

NEW YORK, May 21 (Reuters) - British Airways Plc is considering all-business-class flights on routes between the United States and continental Europe, its chief executive said on Monday, as the carrier looks to tap the lucrative end of the expanding transatlantic market.

Europe's second-biggest airline by traffic is considering such services as a way to take high-margin business from rivals Air France-KLM and Lufthansa , as the market for flights between the United States and European Union opens up next year.

BA, Britain's flag carrier, is mulling the upscale move after start-up airlines such as Eos pioneered business-class only flights between London and New York in 2005.

"That is something we are looking at, but it hasn't been finally decided," BA Chief Executive Willie Walsh told investors and reporters at a meeting in New York on Monday, when asked about business-class-only services.

The airline, which has been increasing the number of expensive or "premium" seats on long-haul flights, is focusing on rising demand in the business and first-class sector, which is more profitable than economy.

"We continue to see strong demand for premium and a softer demand for non-premium," said Walsh. "That plays to the strengths of our proposition."

He said BA had already made a filing with U.S. regulators to fly from the United States to other countries in the European Union, which will be allowed under the recently signed "open skies" agreement that comes into effect next year.

Under World War II-era barriers, European carriers have been barred from operating services between the United States and a country other than their own.

Walsh said it would not be difficult to adapt mid-sized Boeing Co. 757s and 767s it already owns into all-business-class configurations.

The airline is also looking at buying Airbus's A380 superjumbo, but won't make a final decision until September, as it weighs up the plane against Boeing's new 747-8 jumbo.

"We will need to be convinced that the aircraft (A380) is right for us in the long term, over the next 25 to 30 years," Walsh said. "Clearly price will be a very important factor."

Airbus, owned by European aerospace group EADS , has struggled with production issues on the giant plane, but Walsh said he believed it would be a technological success.

The A380, which will seat 555 people in a standard layout, could be an attractive option for routes such as London-Hong Kong, where BA needs to move a large number of passengers in a narrow time window, Walsh said. Boeing's rival 747-8 Intercontinental jumbo will seat 467.

BA is likely to make a final decision in September over new long-haul fleet orders, Walsh said.

He added that BA's little-traded American Depositary Receipts would be delisted in early June, as the cost of meeting U.S. regulations was outweighing any advantage to having them listed.
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Old June 29th, 2007, 05:50 AM   #320
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BA take Airbus superjumbo test flight


Senior British Airways executives have travelled to Airbus's headquarters in Toulouse to take a flight on the A380 superjumbo as part of their fleet-replacement deliberations, the Times newspaper reports.

BA is planning a $12 to $15 billion replacement of its ageing longhaul fleet and both Boeing and Airbus are fighting to win this prestigious order. It is expected to announce a plane order, for delivery from 2012, in the autumn.

The airline has traditionally been a Boeing customer and its 57 747-400s comprise the largest jumbo fleet in the world. However, with space at BA's Heathrow base increasingly limited, the 550-seat A380 could be an attractive alternative to Boeing's smaller 747. Interestingly its new base at the hub, Terminal 5, where it will be the sole tenant, has been built to accomodate the giant plane.

Robert Boyle, BA's commercial director, took a team to France yesterday to take a test flight. Willie Walsh, the chief executive, did not attend, the newspaper reports. Airbus briefed the BA team on both the A380 and its new A350XWB, which is a competitor to Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner. The day ended with a flight on the A380.
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