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Old April 29th, 2005, 12:15 AM   #81
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New British airport opens, with runway fit for new Airbus jumbo

LONDON, April 28 (AFP) - Britain's newest international airport, and the only one outside London big enough to handle the mammoth new Airbus A380, opened for business Thursday when a plane full of tourists took off for a Mediterranean sunspot.

Robin Hood airport, built on the site of a former Royal Air Force bomber base near Doncaster, South Yorkshire, will initially offer flights to European destinations, mainly operated by budget carrier Ryanair and charter outfit Thomsonfly.com.

Long-haul flights to Florida, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are planned for next year, with hopes that it will serve 2.3 million passengers over five years, taking them to 33 destinations in 20 countries.

"Robin Hood Airport has the potential to be the fastest growing regional airport in the United Kingdom," said its managing director David Ryall, as the first flight left for the Spanish holiday island of Majorca.

"We are aiming to become the 'airport of choice' east of the Pennines (the hill range that runs up the centre of northern England) for passengers and airlines alike. We hope to achieve that goal within the next five years, if not sooner."

Developed at a cost of 80 million pounds (118 million euros, 152.6 million dollars), Robin Hood boasts a runway just less than two miles (2.89 kilometres) long, making it the only airport outside London capable of handling the A380, which made its maiden flight in France on Wednesday.

The site was acquired from the Ministry of Defence and commercialised by Peel Holdings, the developer behind two other English regional airports -- John Lennon airport in Liverpool and Durham Tees Valley airport in Durham.

The airport, which is also close to Sheffield, is renowned for northeast England's association with the 12th century yeoman famous for his steal-from-the-rich, give-to-the-poor exploits.
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Old April 29th, 2005, 03:36 PM   #82
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I don't know where that journo going on about Robin Hood airport got his facts from, but his head is obviously way up his own arse when it comes to the A380 and runway length.

Several airports in the UK already have runways longer than 3km, Manchester for example having two, both around 3048m long (longer than 2.8km) and 60m wide. They take 747s all the time and will take the A380 as well.

And it's not just about runway length either, terminals and taxiways etc all have to be changed, which is being planned for at Manchester as it is at Heathrow.

Quote:
Manchester Airport (MAN) is pleased to announce the appointment of its new Airfield General Manager: Simon Butterworth.

...

Simon Butterworth said: “I’m really excited about joining Manchester Airport and returning to large-scale airfield operations. There are interesting developments on the horizon, including the modification programme for the anticipated arrival of the Airbus A380, and I’m really looking forward to helping deliver further improvements for the business.”
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Old April 30th, 2005, 07:53 PM   #83
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Illegal staff trigger alert at airport
By Nigel Bunyan
30 April 2005
The Daily Telegraph

THE security of Britain's airports was called into question yesterday after seven people working at Liverpool John Lennon Airport were found to be illegal immigrants. Home Office investigators and police officers arrested the suspects at the airport car park. The Home Office later confirmed that they were a mixture of failed asylum seekers, workers in breach of their visas and over-stayers. Airport officials acknowledged that although car park security was "in the hands" of a separate company, Security Recruitment Services, there were implications for the security of the complex. They were "disturbed" and would be seeking reassurances from the company. Security Recruitment Services said it was ``shocked and concerned'' by the arrests. It was the first time it had been involved in such an incident in 35 years.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 05:13 PM   #84
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BA accused over flights with one engine down
Dipesh Gadher Transport Correspondent
01 May 2005
The Sunday Times

BRITISH AIRWAYS has allowed jumbo jets to complete long-haul flights on at least seven occasions despite pilots having to shut down an engine.

On each occasion the flight had to be completed on three engines rather than four because of technical problems.

Safety concerns have been raised because the pilots of the Boeing 747s decided to continue with their journeys rather than divert to a nearby airport.

In one recent case this led to an aircraft making an emergency landing at Manchester because pilots feared it was running low on fuel after crossing the Atlantic with one engine down.

America's Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has accused British Airways (BA) of "careless and reckless" behaviour although the airline says passenger safety has never been compromised.

The phenomenon is not confined to BA. Since the start of last year 18 British- registered aircraft -including Airbus A340s, BAe146s and jumbos -have been forced to shut down one of four engines in the air, according to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) records. Several then continued their journeys.

The FAA is investigating one BA flight, carrying 351 passengers, that suffered an engine surge immediately after taking off from Los Angeles airport in February.

The faulty engine was shut down, but after taking advice from BA technicians in London, the captain continued with the 11-hour flight to Heathrow rather than returning to Los Angeles or diverting to another American airport.

Forced to fly at a lower altitude than the flight crew wanted, the plane used up more fuel than expected because of less favourable tailwinds.

By the time the aircraft reached Ireland the captain felt that attempting a landing at Heathrow would be too risky and asked for a diversion to Manchester.

Howard Ramsdale, 47, a passenger on the flight, said: "I was absolutely astounded that we didn't return to LA. There wasn't a single person that I spoke to on that plane who wanted to carry on.

"As far as I'm concerned my life was put at risk. It was a very stressful flight and I'm not really sure that I'd get on an aircraft again, let alone a BA one."

Ramsdale, a science teacher from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, has written to the airline, demanding compensation for the trauma he suffered.

BA has backed the actions of the pilot and points out that the 747 is certified to fly on three engines. Given the circumstances, the CAA also believes that flying with one engine down is "a safe option", more so if the plane is well into its journey.

This view, however, does not appear to be shared by the FAA, which could fine BA if it concludes that the airline violated American regulations.

An FAA official said: "The prudent operating procedure if a pilot has an engine out is to land at the nearest available airport."

David Learmount, safety editor of Flight International magazine, said: "Every American pilot I've spoken to said there is no way our airlines would sanction a policy (of flying on three engines).

"In my mind, it was simply not best practice. Were the passengers endangered by this? No. Did they have the same level of safety that they'd have had with four engines? Obviously not."

British pilots of four-engined jets would usually divert to the nearest airport only when flying on two engines.

Six days after the LA flight a replacement engine on the same 747 had to be shut down 3A hours into a BA flight from Singapore to London. The aircraft arrived safely at Heathrow about 11 hours later.

Last November an engine was virtually shut down, or "set to idle", on another long-haul BA flight following a suspected oil leak. The incident happened above the Atlantic Ocean four hours into an 11-hour trip from Sao Paolo, Brazil, to London.

Less than a month earlier a 747 owned by Bournemouth-based European Air Charter (EAC) suffered an engine failure shortly after take-off from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

The flight, which was operated by a British crew on behalf of Air Austral, continued to Paris and had only 30 minutes of reserve fuel in its tanks by the time it landed, according to CAA records. The incident is being investigated by France's aviation authorities.

Ken Dyer, EAC's commercial director, said: "If the crew are not comfortable about it then they are not going to fly."

A spokesman for BA said an engine was shut down on only five 747 flights last year out of a total of 30,000. "The actions of our captains were entirely in line with our operating procedures and CAA requirements," he said.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 04:12 PM   #85
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New BA chief will bear a heavy load before take-off
Richard Irving
4 May 2005
The Times

WILLIE WALSH, British Airways' chief executive-designate, landed behind his desk at the airline's Waterside headquarters for the first time yesterday. His arrival at BA was flagged in March, so it was perhaps unsurprising that shareholder reaction to his formal arrival was subdued. BA shares closed 5p higher at 243p.

Shareholders will be hopeful, however, that yesterday's gains are a taste of things to come. Mr Walsh has a reputation as a cost slasher, as his track record in resuscitating the moribund Aer Lingus demonstrates. Despite the best efforts of Rod Eddington, the outgoing BA chief executive, to reshape the airline and take out more than Pounds 1 billion in costs in the process, shareholders will be hopeful that Mr Walsh can achieve more. But his sharpened axe will have to stay sheathed for the time being. Mr Walsh is not due to take sole control of BA until October 3 and in the interim will play second fiddle to Mr Eddington.

The challenges for Mr Walsh are many: how to address BA's struggle against low-cost rivals while dealing with soaring fuel prices and a unionised labour force, made more difficult by the pending relocation to Heathrow's Terminal 5. He also faces the constant threat to trading conditions of major external events such as terrorist attacks, Sars and wars.

As chief executive of Aer Lingus, Mr Walsh was able to turn around the airline's performance by slashing costs and improving efficiencies to rival that of Ryanair, its biggest competitor. Aer Lingus's operating margin last year was expected to be 12 per cent, up from 9.3 per cent in 2003. Those numbers are music to the ears of BA shareholders. BA has a 10 per cent margin target but is managing only about half that.

Mr Eddington will present his final set of full-year results in a fortnight. At the same time Mr Walsh is expected to give the first outline of his plans.

Analysts expect BA to report a pre-tax profit of about Pounds 393.1 million, equating to earnings per share of 21.3p. At yesterday's close, BA's shares are trading on an undemanding multiple of 11.4 times forecast earnings. Even without a dividend that appears cheap. But then again the next Sars epidemic could be just around the corner, making Mr Walsh's task all the more difficult. Hold.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 07:02 PM   #86
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BA says market conditions 'unchanged'; April traffic up 0.1 pct
5 May 2005

LONDON (AFX) - British Airways PLC said market conditions are 'broadly unchanged' as it reported a 0.1 pct increase in April passenger traffic.

The UK flag carrier's monthly report revealed premium traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres (RPKs), was higher by 13.3 pct while non-premium traffic fell by 2.0 pct.

Passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres (ASKs), was 1.0 pct above April last year.

This meant passenger load factor -- passengers as a proportion of the number of seats available -- was down 0.8 points versus last year to 74.7 pct.

Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres (CTKs), fell 0.2 pct.

This meant overall load factor fell 0.7 points to 68.7 pct.

At 2.34 pm shares in BA were up 3-1/2 pence at 250-1/2 pence.

The airline is scheduled to publish fourth quarter and final results on May 13.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:24 AM   #87
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UK bans Phuket Air after revolt by passengers
Andrew Clark
6 May 2005
The Guardian

A cut-price Thai holiday airline has been banned from flying to Britain after a safety scare last month in which passengers staged a rebellion when they saw fuel leaking from a wing.

Phuket Air, which was used by several leading tour operators including Kuoni and Thomson Holidays, has had its operating licences suspended in Britain and its other European destination, the Netherlands.

The Department for Transport said the sanction, which is unusual for a mainstream carrier, was a result of "the number and severity of safety breaches revealed in Civil Aviation Authority inspections". One of the airline's jumbo jets is still at Gatwick airport. The aircraft has been impounded by the airport's operator, BAA, in lieu of unpaid landing duties, which industry sources put at more than pounds 100,000.

Founded four years ago, Phuket Air uses a fleet of Boeing 747s aged between 15 and 26 years, which it bought from the Dutch national carrier, KLM. The venture was intended to attract price-conscious travellers in a long-haul version of Europe's successful low-cost airlines, with fares to Thailand from around pounds 300 return.

Problems began to emerge last month when passengers prevented a plane from taking off after a refuelling stop at Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, en route from Bangkok to London.

British holidaymakers said fuel was gushing out of a wing, although the airline claimed they were "typical drunken Brits" and said the fuel tanks had simply been overfilled.

A replacement aircraft sent to pick up the tourists was delayed owing to further technical problems. Two days later, the same plane was forced to abandon a flight from Gatwick and circle above the airport, dumping 50 tonnes of fuel, owing to a hydraulics problem.

A Civil Aviation Authority spot check found that the collision avoidance system on one aircraft was not working.

Other faults included a damaged gearbox and faulty emergency lights. The authorities in the Netherlands lost patience when one of the airline's pilots was found to have an out-of-date medical certificate.

Bans on individual airlines are rare, although Britain does have a blanket prohibition on airlines from a few countries judged to have inadequate regulation, including Equatorial Guinea, Liberia, Tajikistan and Congo. The Department for Transport said Thailand's main carrier, Thai Interna tional, was unaffected, and Britain still had confidence in Thailand's safety authorities.

A regulatory source said: "The tsunami may have accelerated some financial problems, and if they've got problems of that sort, they may have taken short cuts in other ways." Phuket Air did not return calls yesterday.

David Learmount, the safety editor of Flight International, said the age of the airline's fleet meant it would need a lot of day-to-day expenditure on maintenance.

"There's nothing wrong with using old aeroplanes as long as you look after them," he said. "It's like having an absolutely immaculate 1927 Bentley: you can keep it on the road as long as you spend a lot of time and money on it."

BAA confirmed that it was refusing to allow a Phuket Air plane to leave Gatwick until the carrier had paid its bills, although it refused to say how much money was at issue. It said: "We are trying to resolve the issue as amicably as possible."
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Old May 6th, 2005, 03:42 PM   #88
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No passport checks on arrivals at 'open door' airport
6 May 2005
The Daily Express

AN airport was last night branded an "open door to illegal immigrants" after a planeload of passengers was allowed into the UK without producing their passports.

The flight's 40 passengers waited at immigration control at Leeds Bradford International Airport after touching down from a flight from Brussels on Tuesday. But after no-one from the immigration service had appeared after 10 minutes, airline staff told them to walk into the country and pick up their bags. Customs failed to check the luggage.

One passenger said: "It was laughable.The flight could have been packed with terrorists or illegal immigrants and they would have just been able to walk into the country without being checked. It's terrifying."

Last night the Home Office confirmed there had been a "very serious" breach of immigration rules. It blamed local management and said it had ordered an investigation.
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Old May 7th, 2005, 07:36 AM   #89
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Scot spots on the cheap
7 May 2005
The Independent

Ten years after easyJet started the low-cost revolution between Scotland and London, competition on the key routes serving Edinburgh and Glasgow is about to get even more intense.

In 1995, you could fly only from Heathrow or Stansted to Scotland"s largest cities, on a choice of three airlines. Now there are more airlines and more than twice as many flights, with links also to Gatwick, Luton and London City. Competition is set to increase still further: the leading Scottish airline FlyGlobespan is to launch flights from both Edinburgh and Glasgow to Stansted. There will be two flights a day in each direction from Monday to Friday, plus services on Saturday mornings and Sunday evenings.

The links were originally operated by Air UK, but then replaced by Go, which was later bought by easyJet " with whom the new flights compete directly. Flights from Edinburgh start on 1 June, and from Glasgow on the following day.

Test bookings made to both destinations from Stansted departing on the morning of Friday 1 July, returning on the evening of Sunday 3 July, reveal return fares of £51 to Edinburgh on Globespan, compared with easyJet"s fares of £110 to Edinburgh and £85 to Glasgow.

Anyone travelling with substantial luggage may still opt for easyJet, which has no weight limit on cabin baggage and an additional weight limit for 20kg for checked bags. FlyGlobespan has the same overall limit for checked and cabin baggage combined.

FlyGlobespan offers a "flexible fare", which will suit travellers who think it is likely that they will want to change dates of flights " or who typically book very close to departure. The fare is £118 return, which is likely to be much less than short-notice bookings between London and Scotland.

A rational strategy for such travellers is to book a trip for some random time in the future, then change dates by noon the day before the date of travel; these are allowed 45 days either side of the original booking. You can even change names free of charge, making the offer ideal for businesses.

Competition to and from London City increases from next Monday, 9 May, when ScotAirways steps up its services between the Docklands airport and Edinburgh with a new daily jet service in each direction.

The airline currently operates only propellor aircraft on the route between the English and Scottish capitals, in competition with British Airways jets.

Fares on the route are typically around £111 return.
British Airways: 0870 850 9850, www.ba.com
easyJet: 0905 821 0905, www.easyJet.com
Globespan: 0870 556 1522, www.flyglobespan.com
ScotAirways: 0870 6060707, www.scotairways.com
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Old May 7th, 2005, 07:03 PM   #90
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BA Traffic and capacity statistics - April 2005
British Airways Press Release
May 5, 2005

In April 2005, passenger capacity, measured in Available Seat Kilometres, was 1.0 per cent above April 2004 and traffic, measured in Revenue Passenger Kilometres, was higher by 0.1 per cent. This resulted in a passenger load factor down 0.8 points versus last year, to 74.7 per cent. The increase in traffic comprised a 13.3 per cent increase in premium traffic and a 2.0 per cent decrease in non-premium traffic. Cargo, measured in Cargo Tonne Kilometres, fell by 0.2 per cent. Overall load factor fell 0.7 points to 68.7 per cent.

Market conditions

Market conditions remain broadly unchanged.

Strategic Developments

British Airways announced plans to increase flights to India following a new air services agreement between the UK and Indian governments. From October 2005 it will operate a double daily service from London Heathrow to Mumbai, a new five a week to Bangalore and six a week to Chennai. From March 2006, it plans to operate a double daily service to Delhi, and daily services to Bangalore and Chennai from London Heathrow.

At the same time British Airways confirmed it will launch services to Shanghai from London Heathrow on June 1, 2005, with five services a week to Shanghai Pudong airport operated by Boeing 777 aircraft.

Another new route from London Gatwick was announced with twice weekly flights to Hassi Messaoud in Algeria from June.

Prime Minister Tony Blair signed a British Airways Boeing 747 in support of London’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. British Airways, a premier partner of the London 2012 bid, hopes to collect in excess of 100,000 signatures on the aircraft that will carry the bid team to Singapore for the decision vote by the International Olympic Committee.

In a speech to the Royal Aeronautical Society, British Airways’ chairman Martin Broughton said the resumption of negotiations between the EU and the USA on a new transatlantic air treaty could lead to fundamental reform of the aviation industry if it delivers a truly barrier free transatlantic market.

British Airways offered large savings on business class returns to 36 long haul destinations and 36 European cities and resorts for the summer holidays.

British Airways terminated its franchise agreement with Air Kenya Aviation Ltd, which traded as Regional Air. The decision followed the Kenyan based airline’s suspension of flights operated as part of the franchise agreement.

British Airways is to appeal against an employment tribunal ruling after losing an indirect sex discrimination claim from a female pilot. The first officer had requested a reduction in flying hours to a 50 per cent contract but the airline said it could only offer her a 75 per cent contract instead. The airline argued at the tribunal and will argue again at the appeal hearing that all pilots, male and female, must have at least 2,000 flying hours’ experience before being permitted to work less than 75 per cent of a full time contract. This policy is based on safety grounds and is not a gender issue.

British Airways Monthly Traffic and Capacity Statistics- April 2005
Data : http://bapress.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/...=&p_faqid=7093

Certain statements included in this statement may be forward-looking and may involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements include, without limitation, projections relating to results of operations and financial conditions and the company's plans and objectives for future operations, including, without limitation, discussions of the company’s business and financing plans, expected future revenues and expenditures and divestments. All forward-looking statements in this report are based upon information known to the company on the date of this report. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

It is not reasonably possible to itemise all of the many factors and specific events that could cause the company’s forward-looking statements to be incorrect or that could otherwise have a material adverse effect on the future operations or results of an airline operating in the global economy.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 02:17 PM   #91
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Jet Airways to launch London-Mumbai daily flights



http://www.moneyplans.net/frontend2-verify-6623.html

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Old May 8th, 2005, 04:58 PM   #92
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^ Wow! The London to Bombay route is becoming very busy indeed! British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Air India already offer daily direct flights on this route. Jet Airways will be the fourth daily direct service. I'm surprised there are so few direct flights between London and Calcutta though.
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Old May 8th, 2005, 09:28 PM   #93
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Air Scotland to offer first Baghdad flights
Tom Robbins and Gemma Bowes
Sunday May 8, 2005
The Observer

Air Scotland, a tiny low-cost airline which only started two years ago, is planning to steal a march on British Airways and other major carriers by starting direct flights from London to Baghdad in November. The flight will be the first service between the two cities since BA withdrew the route in 1990.

'We obviously won't be flying through hails of bullets and missiles and giving parachutes to passengers, but I'm very hopeful the situation will be much calmer by November,' said Dhia Al-Ani, the airline's founder. 'Already there are flights going into Baghdad from Jordan and Dubai with no problems. The only tricky bit is getting to the airport.'

Air Scotland currently flies between Scotland and popular tourist destinations such as Paris, Greece and Spain, but has major expansion ambitions. Earlier this year it announced that it had applied to aviation authorities for permission to fly from Scotland to Miami, New York, Havana and Toronto. Al-Ani expects particularly strong demand for the twice-weekly flights to Baghdad, which will start in Glasgow and land at Stansted before continuing direct to Iraq. Even if the security situation hasn't improved in Baghdad, Air Scotland will press ahead with flights to the northern Iraqi city of Arbil.

Iraqi-born Al-Ani came to Britain to study in 1983 and went on to own Glasgow-based tour operators Viva and Discount Holidays.
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Old May 9th, 2005, 03:43 AM   #94
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monkey
^ Wow! The London to Bombay route is becoming very busy indeed! British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Air India already offer daily direct flights on this route. Jet Airways will be the fourth daily direct service. I'm surprised there are so few direct flights between London and Calcutta though.
yeap,its a cool thing Monkey

after the UK-India open-air policy things have been going up for aviation
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Old May 9th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #95
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^ BMI will also be offering London Mumbai flights from May 14th so that makes five airlines now!!
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Old May 10th, 2005, 12:33 AM   #96
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Swedish low-cost carrier FlyMe to start Stockholm-London route
9 May 2005

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - Swedish low-cost carrier FlyMe Europe AB said Monday it will start a new route between Stockholm and London on Oct. 3.

The airline will fly between Arlanda airport outside Stockholm and London's Gatwick airport. There will be one flight in each direction daily Monday-Friday.

FlyMe said it would announce the ticket prices on May 30.

The Goteborg, Sweden-based airline flies to destinations in Sweden and Finland year-round and to Nice, France, in the summer.
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Old May 10th, 2005, 05:14 PM   #97
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Flybe: April Passengers Up 29%
9 May 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Flybe said Monday that it carried 407,000 passengers in April, up 29% compared with 314,506 in April 2004.

Load factor was unchanged at 67%.

The increase was achieved despite the fact that traffic levels benefited in April 2004 from the traditional upswing in traffic arising from the Easter Bank Holiday period.

It is worth noting that due to the way Easter breaks fall in 2005 and 2006, there will be no Easter traffic benefit in Flybe's current financial year, the company said.

Flybe's strong new summer 2005 programme led to a 26% increase in traffic from Birmingham while regional growth at Exeter (70%), Southampton (27%) and in Scotland (39%) remains very strong.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 08:10 PM   #98
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Businessman plans commercial flights from Britain to Iraq: report

LONDON, May 11 (AFP) - An Iraqi-born airline owner living in Britain hopes to start offering commercial flights to and from Iraq this November for 500 pounds (940 dollars, 730 euros) return, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Dhia al-Ani, who owns Air Scotland and Greece Airways, has applied to the British department of transport for a licence to run two flights a week to Baghdad and a third to Arbil in the Kurdish north, the Daily Telegraph said.

He told the newspaper that many Iraqis would be keen to use the service as Britain had once been a popular holiday destination.

"I think those flying from Britain will mainly be people involved in the reconstruction of Iraq," said Ani.

"It is probably a bit early to talk about taking tourists there," said the businessman who moved to Britain 23 years ago and has a Scottish wife.

The flights would take off from Stanstead airport in Essex, just outside London, and Glasgow in Scotland for a return fare of 500 pounds.

"The price is high because of the cost of insurance, but I expect it to drop to around 300 pounds as the situation becomes normal," said Ani, referring to the security situation in Iraq that claims dozens of lives every week.

Commercial services are running from Baghdad to Amman and Dubai without any problems, the businessman noted.
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Old May 11th, 2005, 11:47 PM   #99
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BA annual profit seen up despite fuel costs
By Michael Smith

LONDON, May 11 (Reuters) - Cost cuts and a recovery in business class travel will help British Airways deliver higher annual profits on Friday, but soaring fuel prices and stiff competition threaten to eat into earnings this year.

Analysts expect Europe's second-largest airline, which will usher in a new chief executive in October, to show progress in its battle to slash debt and costs, as falling ticket prices mean only modest increases in revenue.

BA is expected to post a 25 percent rise in operating profit to 506 million pounds ($952 million) for the year to March 31, according to the median of eight analyst forecasts obtained by Reuters.

Estimates ranged from 485 million to 525 million pounds, compared to 405 million pounds last year. The closely-watched operating profit figure represents earnings before interest and tax.

Analysts said they were not expecting any major surprises in the results, which will have benefited from the inclusion of two busy Easter holiday breaks and a recovery in first and business class travel in recent months.

However, the focus will be on the carrier's outlook for the current year amid fears of a slowdown in UK consumer spending and no sign of oil prices easing. U.S. crude prices were this week trading only around $6 below last month's record high of $58.28.

BA has already said it expects fuel costs to rise by 300 million pounds in the current year and has flagged revenue growth of 3 to 4 percent, slightly above forecasts for an increase of 3.0 to 3.5 percent for the year just ended.

The London-based carrier has also said it needs to strip out additional costs this year.

Chief Executive Rod Eddington has axed 13,000 jobs and reduced debt during his tenure at BA. Eddington is stepping down at the end of September and will be replaced by former Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh, who joined the carrier last week.

The table below shows analyst forecasts for operating and pretax profits in millions of pounds and sales in billions of pounds:

Code:
               OPERATING PROFIT     SALES
 AVERAGE                 507           7.821
 MEDIAN                  506           7.819
 HIGH                    525           7.869
 LOW                     485           7.787
 PREVIOUS YEAR           405           7.560
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Old May 12th, 2005, 05:16 PM   #100
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Passengers flying through London's Heathrow airport face delays, cancellations
11 May 2005

LONDON (AP) - Passengers arriving and departing from London's Heathrow airport faced delays and cancellations Wednesday when both the airport's runways were blocked.

Heathrow's southern runway was blocked when the brakes on a KLM Boeing 767 aircraft jammed at 1:15 p.m. (1215GMT).

Departures were switched to the northern runway, but it was also blocked when a Cathay Pacific aircraft departing for Hong Kong suffered overheating breaks at 2:30 p.m. (1330GMT).

Airport authority BAA said the northern runway reopened within nine minutes. The southern runway was closed for three hours.

"There are delays occurring to both departures and arrivals as Heathrow returns to normal," BAA said in a statement.
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