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Old May 25th, 2005, 09:23 PM   #121
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New airline aims to fill Concorde void
David Millward
25 May 2005
The Daily Telegraph

EXECUTIVES are being offered business class-only flights to New York by the man who put beds on to British Airways planes. Fly First is being run by Hamish Taylor, 44, the former chief executive of Eurostar and previously BA's head of brand management, who plans to lease two Boeing 757-200s to replace the void left by Concorde. The planes, accommodating 48 passengers instead of their normal load of 228 people, will be divided into four cabins of 12 seats, all capable of being extended into fully flat beds, and will include changing rooms, telephones, fax machines and, if possible, internet access. Passengers, having paid pounds 3,360 for the return flight, will be chauffeur-driven to Luton airport, will arrive 45 minutes before take off at 6.45am. They will land at Newark airport, a short distance from Manhattan, at 9am - ahead of other European flights.

Mr Taylor says the company, which needs to raise up to pounds 25 million by June 10, will need only 16 passengers per flight to break even.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 03:44 AM   #122
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INTERVIEW-Britain's newest airport looks east
By Ben Blanchard

ROBIN HOOD AIRPORT, England, May 24 (Reuters) - Britain's newest airport, near the northern city of Sheffield, hopes to attract flights from China as part of a long-term growth strategy, its managing director said on Tuesday.

Robin Hood airport, opened late last month, expects to handle 1 million passengers in its first year, David Ryall said.

"Long haul is often spelt 'USA', but it's not just that," he said in an interview. "We want to go east as well as west."

He expects the airport's new facilities and lack of congestion to attract business from China's economic boom, whether as passenger or freight flights.

"We're very keen to establish longer distance links," Ryall said. "If the UK is looking to China, we have a long term interest in doing the same."

The 84 million pound ($154 million) airport, a former air force base, currently has scheduled flights to about a dozen destinations, mainly in Europe.

Two carriers already have scheduled services to Robin Hood -- Irish no-frills airline Ryanair and TUI AG unit Thomsonfly -- but Ryall said the airport was in talks to expand its services.

"If you look back only a couple of years, there were probably four or five low-cost carriers," he said.

"Across Europe it's now 40-something, but we're concentrating on the more established carriers," Ryall added, declining to expand on the negotiations.

The brand new terminal, about 25 minutes' drive northeast of Sheffield, has a just-opened feel about it.

A vast car park is about a third full and screens in the departure hall, which echoes to the sound of construction, show the 12 or so flights which make up the usual daily schedule.

Robin Hood, named after the legendary medieval character who robbed the rich to give to the poor, touts itself as Britain's first new full-service airport in more than half a century.

Ryall said the explosive growth of air travel in Britain, and a catchment area of some 5 million people within an hour's drive, meant the airport could reach its capacity of 2.3 million passengers in 2008 -- six years earlier than originally planned.

"It demonstrates how the UK aviation market is growing: massively," he said, sitting in a coffee shop in the cavernous, glass-fronted terminal.

The airport is operated by shopping mall-to-port group Peel Holdings, which also runs airports in Liverpool and the northern England city of Durham.

Ryall was confident Sheffield could attract business from airports in Manchester and Leeds, owned by local authorities, and even from London. Among Sheffield's pulling points were its lack of congestion and its long runway, capable of handling the giant new Airbus A380.

"Why does everything coming in long-haul need to come into Heathrow?" he said, adding that passengers could get to central London with a 90-minute train journey from Sheffield.

The new airport was keen to win new customers alongside those who fly to holiday destinations.

"This is not a bucket and spade airport," Ryall said. "It's a gateway into the UK."
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Old May 28th, 2005, 06:38 PM   #123
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Virgin Atlantic profits up despite fuel headwind
By Michael Smith

LONDON, May 27 (Reuters) - Virgin Atlantic Airways [VA.UL], the airline controlled by UK entrepreneur Richard Branson, posted higher annual profits on Friday after cost controls and income from new routes helped offset record fuel prices.

Virgin, which aims to double in size by the end of the decade, announced new routes to Dubai and Jamaica but said overcapacity on its key North Atlantic route and fuel costs were a challenge.

"Rising oil prices undid some of our good work, and regrettably we were left with no option but to introduce fuel surcharges from May 2004, although these only recovered around one third of the 60 million (pounds) extra costs we faced over the year," Branson said in a statement.

Virgin Atlantic, which competes with larger rival British Airways , posted pretax earnings of 68 million pounds ($124.3 million) for the year to end-February.

This compared with 20.9 million pounds for the 10 months to February 2005. Virgin changed its reporting period during the year to match that of its 49 percent shareholder Singapore Airlines .

Turnover was 1.63 billion pounds, compared with 1.27 billion in the 10-month period, with passenger numbers rising to 4.4 million from 3.4 million.

A Virgin spokesman said the company expected to further increase profits in 2005/06 due to income from increased services into India and recently introduced upper-class cabins. Fuel will remain a burden, he added.

NEW PLANES, NEW ROUTES

Branson, renowned for his publicity stunts, owns 51 percent of the airline, part of his business empire which stretches from planes and trains to vodka and personal finance with plans for space tourism in the pipeline.

The carrier ordered $5.5 billion worth of new Airbus planes last year as part of plans for annual growth of 10 percent and plans to start flying the giant Airbus A380 aircraft in 2008.

It has launched new routes to Australia, China and India and will start flying to Cuba next month.

Branson said it would launch London to Dubai services next year, its first Middle Eastern destination, and to Jamaica from July next year.

It is also increasing services to India, where British Airways and UK carrier bmi are also adding extra capacity, while Branson has launched an airline in Nigeria.

Unlisted Virgin said tight cost controls helped buoy earnings during the year and that a fuel surcharge on ticket prices partly eased the burden of high oil prices. British Airways also introduced a levy on tickets for fuel.

Airlines across the world are struggling with high fuel costs and overcapacity on routes over the North Atlantic. Struggling North American carriers have been slashing fares on the route to push up passenger numbers.

British Airways reported an annual operating profit of 506 million pounds earlier this month, beating forecasts.

(additional reporting by Mark Potter)
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 12:37 AM   #124
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UK's Flybe near $1 bln new plane order - source
By Michael Smith

LONDON, June 2 (Reuters) - British regional airline Flybe is close to finalising a $1 billion order for new planes as part of a fleet replacement programme, an industry source said on Thursday.

Flybe hoped to announce the planned purchase of aircraft, which it hopes to have flying in 2006, before the Paris air show later this month, the source told Reuters.

"It would have a $1 billion price tag attached to it," the source said. Flybe has said it wants to revamp its fleet of larger aircraft but it was unclear with which manufacturer it was now talking.

The company, based in Exeter in southwest England, has said it is considering purchasing up to 12 larger jet aircraft from Airbus or Boeing Co.

The new plane order would follow Flybe's $485 million order for 20 Q400 planes from Canada's Bombardier Inc. in January which doubled the carrier's turboprop fleet.

Flybe, which plans to expand aggressively in Europe, also took options at the time for another 20 of the 70-seat Q400 planes.

Flybe, which is smaller than low-cost carriers Ryanair and easyJet but flies in different markets, has expanded rapidly since changing its brand from British European in July 2002.

Flybe is expanding rapidly. It paid $362 million for 17 Bombardier Q400 planes in 2003 on top of the four it already owned.

Flybe is owned by a private trust belonging to the family of the late Jack Walker, a multi-millionaire who made his fortune in steel and bankrolled Blackburn Rovers' rise to the pinnacle of English soccer.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 07:33 PM   #125
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Nuclear threat over runway decision
JEREMY WARNER
3 June 2005
The Independent

On a junket with journalists to China this week, Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, has threatened the airports authority, BAA, with "the nuclear option" in the ongoing row about where to site a new runway for London and how to pay for it. The nuclear option so threatened seems to amount to BA throwing its lot in with Michael O"Leary of Ryanair in lobbying for a break-up of BAA. This would indeed be an unholy alliance of nuclear powers, for the two airlines" reasons for opposing BAA"s plans are poles apart.

Just to recap, the Government is proposing that the new runway be sited at Standsted, north-east of London. Ryanair reckons it is already being overcharged by BAA for use of Stansted and refuses to be railroaded into helping to fund a second runway. It is already actively lobbying to have BAA broken up. Now even British Airways is threatening to get confrontational, but for entirely different reasons.

Last month BAA bit the bullet and admitted what had been obvious all along " that there was no chance of building the runway and associated facilities by the planned date of 2011, unless it is cross-subsidised by passengers at Heathrow and Gatwick. This might suit Mr O"Leary, but it is anathema to Heathrow-based airlines such as British Airways. Hence the threatened nuclear option.

It"s all very well making threats, but in the end it will be the Government that decides all three of these matters " where the runway is sited, who pays for it, and whether BAA ought to be broken up. The commercial case for siting the new facility at Heathrow is still overwhelming, as this is where international travellers most want to arrive and depart from and where they are most likely to want to pay for the privilege.

The reasons for opting for Stansted are largely environmental and political. Heathrow and its environs already seem too crowded to take another runway, whereas Stansted is in the midst of purest green countryside. The fact that Stansted is also staunchly Tory country, whereas the flight path to Heathrow contains some key marginals, is by the by.

By seeking ways to meet the Government"s preferred solution, BAA has put itself on a collision course with all its major customers. Mike Clasper, chief executive of BAA, finds himself caught between a rock and a hard place. The only thing guaranteed to release him would be a Government u-turn in favour of a third runway at Heathrow, in which case from Richmond to Henley, the angry mob would march on Westminster. Not everyone can win in this battle of the runways.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 08:20 PM   #126
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I'm in Shanghai right now and last night I saw an impressive fireworks display over the river (between the British colonial buildings on the Bund and the new Pudong skyline) celebrating the landing of British Airways' new direct Shanghai service which departed June 1st from London Heathrow and arrived June 2nd in Shanghai Pudong. The Aurora skyscraper, which has a vast advertising screen on its facade at night, showed the British Airways logo and an announcement of the new service for the duration of the fireworks display. BA also have adverts for the new London route all over the city. Virgin Atlantic and China Eastern already fly this route so this is now the third airline offering direct services between London and Shanghai. Timetables show that this winter London will overtake Paris as the Western city with the most direct flights per week to Shanghai.


Shanghai showpiece takes off
http://www.britishairways.co.uk/trav...s/public/en_gb

British Airways' first new longhaul service since November 2002 landed in Shanghai this morning, Thursday June 2, 2005.

The airline's chairman, Martin Broughton, hosted the guests including political and business leaders as well as the media onboard the inaugural flight.

The Boeing 777 aircraft was met at Shanghai's Pudong airport by British Airways' chief executive Rod Eddington, HM Ambassador to China, Sir Christopher Hum and the deputy director of East China's civil aviation authority, Zhou Zhen Kia. Passengers were treated to a traditional lion dance at the airport and Martin Broughton was invited to paint the lion's eyes, a Chinese symbol of good luck.

Martin Broughton said: "I'm delighted that we have touched down in this vibrant and fast growing city which is the economic powerhouse of China. We have wanted to fly to Shanghai for many years and now we are here, we intend to make our mark.

"I've been a regular visitor to Shanghai during the last decade and know just how the economy is booming. We want to be part of its growth.

"We look forward to welcoming existing customers on to our new route and introducing new customers to British Airways' products and services. The Chinese government's recognition of the UK's approved destination status earlier this year is a tremendous boost and we hope to welcome lots of Chinese passengers onboard."

British Airways flies to Shanghai from London Heathrow five times a week.

In September 2004, British Airways World Cargo launched the first direct freighter service between the UK and Shanghai. The new passenger service doubles the airline's cargo capacity on the route.
ends

June 2, 2005 052/LG/05

Notes to Editors

On January 21, 2005, the UK and Chinese governments signed a memorandum of understanding where the Chinese government recognised the UK's approved destination status. This means that the Chinese government will allow selected Chinese tour operators to sell UK leisure tours to Chinese citizens.

Until 2004, British Airways was unable to fly from London to Shanghai as flights between the UK and China were restricted to six weekly frequencies to Beijing, operated by British Airways, and four weekly frequencies to Shanghai operated by Virgin Atlantic.

In February 2004, a memorandum of understanding between the UK and Chinese governments increased significantly the number of frequencies between the two countries. Currently there are 25 passenger and six freighter flights allowed each week. This will rise to 31 passenger and seven freighter flights each week from March 2006.

UK carriers can fly to Beijing, Shanghai and four other Chinese destinations of their choice.
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Old June 3rd, 2005, 08:34 PM   #127
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BA May passengers up, premium traffic disappoints
By Michael Smith

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - Passenger traffic at British Airways , Europe's second-largest airline, rose in May although a modest increase in business and first-class travel failed to match some expectations.

The stock swung to a loss on the day after the news.

BA, which posted higher-than-expected annual profit last month, said premium traffic rose 4.2 percent in the month against a 3.0 percent rise in economy-class travel.

Analysts said the rise in lucrative premium traffic, an important driver in BA's recovery, failed to match increases closer to 7 percent earlier in the calendar year. But they said the figures were no cause for alarm.

"Everything is on hold, let's see what next month brings," said JP Morgan analyst Chris Avery.

Avery said he would have been encouraged if premium growth was above 7 percent and anything between 4 to 7 percent showed the trend was in a holding pattern.

BA shares eased 0.6 percent to 271-3/4 pence at 1400 GMT. The stock was 1.7 percent higher shortly before the data was released.

BA said overall passenger traffic climbed 3.2 percent and its its load factor -- a measure of how many seats it has filled -- rose 1.6 points to 73.2 percent in May.

BA said market conditions remained broadly unchanged and it reiterated forecasts for current-year revenues to rise 3 to 4 percent.

BA's higher-than-expected profit came after cutting costs and filling more seats, but it continues to face headwinds from high fuel costs and competition from low-cost rivals.

Irish carrier Ryanair said on Thursday its May passenger numbers rose 34 percent. The Irish airline posted record profits this week after fare hikes by rivals pushed more passengers its way.

Low-cost rivals Ryanair and easyJet have forced down ticket prices on short-haul European routes, while struggling U.S. carriers are driving down transatlantic prices.

EasyJet reports its May passenger numbers on Monday.

BA's passenger traffic is measured in terms of revenue passenger kilometres.

The company's chief executive, Rod Eddington, steps down at the end of September to return to his native Australia and will be replaced by former Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh.
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Old June 5th, 2005, 05:18 AM   #128
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BA bucks the budget trend for business flyers
Andrew Clark in Shanghai
4 June 2005
The Guardian

British Airways is poised to buck the industry trend by going upmarket in Europe with bigger seats and more space for business class travellers.

The national flag-carrier has been struggling to make money out of its short-haul network and is reviewing its services in an effort to challenge its budget rivals such as easyJet and Ryanair.

BA's chief executive, Rod Eddington, yesterday revealed that proposals to axe its business class cabins or to charge economy passengers for food have been shelved.

Instead the carrier is experimenting with enhancements to its Club Europe offering in the hope of winning travellers from rival BMI, which last week announced it was scrapping premium seats on most European routes.

Speaking at the launch of a new BA service to Shanghai, Mr Eddington said: "Our short-haul business is effectively at breakeven point, but that's clearly not good enough and we need to start making money out of it."

On one trial plane, the airline has removed one in five of its business class seats in order to give passengers more space. Mr Eddington said: "I don't think we'll be doing caviar and lobster [in business class] but you might look at the seat."

Mr Eddington, who steps down this summer to make way for the former Aer Lingus boss Willie Walsh, had a long-term target of making profits from BA's short-haul network, which has historically made a loss that has been justified as a "feeder" or loss leader for transatlantic flights. Short- haul losses have shrunk from pounds 60m to pounds 26m in recent years and the network is now on the brink of moving into the black.

Low-cost airlines have lured millions of passengers away from traditional carriers and the number of people travelling business class in Europe has halved since 2000.

But senior BA figures have been scathing about BMI's strategy of attempting to compete with its budget rivals directly by offering a range of fares with different "frills". One executive called BMI's strategy a "complete dog's dinner".

BA has cut its short-haul services considerably under Mr Eddington. Flights to destinations such as Gdansk and Gothenburg have been axed. Domestic and European services now account for less than a fifth of total revenue.

Echoing warnings from the international aviation body Iata, Mr Eddington predicted that losses in the global aviation industry would soar from $4.6bn (pounds 2.5bn) to between $6bn and $7bn this year as the high oil price takes its toll.

On one of his final public appearances before retirement, Mr Eddington warned governments that national ownership restrictions must be lifted from carriers to allow them to merge. Governments should see airlines as no more "national" than car manufacturers or steelworks, he said.

"Until governments stop worrying about ownership and control in aviation, the industry will remain fragmented," he said. "As long as it is fragmented, it will remain economically dysfunctional and will struggle from crisis to crisis."
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Old June 5th, 2005, 07:17 PM   #129
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Virgin hit by delivery delays of Airbus A380
BY SYLVIA PFEIFER
5 June 2005
The Sunday Telegraph

VIRGIN Atlantic has become the latest airline to be hit by delays in the delivery of Airbus' new A380 superjumbo. The airline, chaired by Sir Richard Branson, had ordered six A380s, but was not expecting the first deliveries of the plane until the spring of 2008. However, Virgin was informed late last week that delivery delays to earlier customers could mean its planes will now also be late. Singapore Airlines, the A380s launch customer, Qantas, Air France-KLM and Emirates have all been told that deliveries of the jumbo could be delayed by up to six months. Last night a spokesman for Virgin said the airline was aiming to meet with Airbus executives this week and that demanding compensation was an option. Virgin had been counting on the A380 to help its expansion plans. The European Union and America last week took their simmering row over 'launch aid' for new commercial aircraft to the World Trade Organisation.

According to the US, a key trigger for the move was Airbus' demand for European aid, including pounds 380m from the UK government, for the new A350. A group of MPs will this week take the case for aid directly to Tony Blair.
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Old June 6th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #130
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Heathrow growth plans published


Draft expansion plans which could see a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow Airport have been published.

About £7bn would be spent over the next decade, building Terminal Five and upgrading the west London airport.

Proposals earmark land for growth, including a boundary for another runway and terminal, which would require the demolition of 700 about homes.

BAA Heathrow says the plans are not set in stone, but opponents say it will increase noise and pollution.

A fifth terminal at Heathrow, with an overall budget of £4.2bn, is due to open in 2008.

But BAA Heathrow says it still needs to modernise to meet growing demand for flights in the South East and believes there is a "strong economic case" for a sixth terminal.

Expansion plans could see the annual number of passengers could rise from 67m to 116m in 2030.

The government has said a new runway and another terminal could be built at the airport - but first it has to meet environmental targets.

Mick Temple, BAA Heathrow managing director, said Heathrow could not afford to stand still but said they had to expand it in a way "which is both socially and environmentally responsible".

"This draft is for consultation only and should not be considered as final," he added.

But he said the whole project could be shelved if they could not meet environmental targets.

"We will not be able to build this additional runway without addressing these air quality issues," he said.

If approved, a third runway would not be built until 2015 at the earliest, he said.

Two schemes to help residents affected by proposals either move or try to maintain the value of their houses was also announced.

But John Stewart, chairman of local pressure group Hacan, said a third runway would "bring more noise, more pollution, and people will lose their homes".

"It's also not necessary for the economy. Unemployment is at an all-time low in west London.

He added: "No-one's going to want to buy a home here if they think the third runway's coming."

The draft plan will be put out for consultation until the end of October.
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Old June 7th, 2005, 06:38 AM   #131
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INTERVIEW: Flybe Eyes 8.5-9M Passengers/Yr By End Decade
6 June 2005
By Rod Stone

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Flybe (FBE.YY) is aiming to carry about 8.5-9.0 million passengers annually by the end of the decade, Chairman and Managing Director Jim French said Monday after the U.K. budget airline announced a large new aircraft order.

In an interview with Dow Jones Newswires, French said the regional carrier is expecting to handle about 5.5 million passengers in the current financial year ending March 31, 2006.

On Monday, Flybe said it's ordering 14 type 195 regional jets from Brazil's Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA (ERJ), or Embraer, with options for a further 12. The firm order for 14 is worth $550 million, according to French, while the total order for 26 including options would be worth $950 million.

The 118 seater Embraer 195 jets will eventually replace Flybe's fleet of about 15 BAe 146 four-engined planes. French said planes being offered by market leaders Boeing Co. (BA) and Airbus (ABI.YY) were "simply too large" for the airline, which operates flights within the U.K. and to Europe from regional airports like Exeter, Southampton and Birmingham.

Flybe will become the launch customer for the Embraer 195 model with deliveries starting in the autumn of 2006.

The carrier also operates Q400 propeller-powered planes made by Canada's Bombardier Inc. (BBD.SV.B.T) and in January placed an order for 20 additional Q400-78s in a deal worth $485 million. Bombardier doesn't yet sell a regional jet able to carry more than 100 passengers but is looking to develop one.

French reiterated that the privately-owned airline is planning a change in ownership within 18 months to two years. This would either be through a stock market floatation or a sale to a trade or financial buyer.

Flybe is majority owned by the trustees of the Jack Walker Trust. The late Jack Walker was a steel magnate and former owner of Blackburn Rovers soccer club.

Company Web site: http://www.flybe.com
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Old June 9th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #132
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British airports handled 12.3 million passengers in May
9 June 2005

LONDON (AP) - British airports handled 12.3 million passengers in May, 5 percent more than the same months last year, thanks in part to budget airlines adding to their routes, according to industry figures published Thursday.

The fastest growth in passenger numbers was the small Southampton Airport in southwest England, which saw 30 percent more passengers, largely due to regional carrier Flybe adding to its destinations.

London's Gatwick Airport benefited from new low-cost services to Ireland and handled 2.8 million passengers in May, up 4.9 percent on the same month of 2004, according to the figures from airports operator the British Airports Authority.

At Stansted Airport north of the capital, the number of passengers was 10.7 percent higher than a year ago while at London Heathrow, figures recovered from a decline in April to reach 5.6 million in May, 2 percent up on May 2004.

Edinburgh was the fastest-growing airport in Scotland, handling 749,600 passengers in May, an increase of 12.3 percent on a year earlier.

Separately, the National Air Traffic Services said the growing popularity of budget airlines meant it handled a record number of 205.378 flights in May, up 7.3 percent on a year ago.

"Flights by budget carriers and services using regional airports showed particularly strong growth," said chief executive Paul Barron.
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Old June 10th, 2005, 04:42 AM   #133
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Walsh could earn up to £1.5m a year at British Airways
Jamie Smyth
9 June 2005
Irish Times

The former chief executive of Aer Lingus, Willie Walsh, could earn more than £1.5 million (€2.24 million) a year under two bonus schemes being introduced by his new employer, British Airways.

The bonuses, which will only be payable if British Airways meets certain performance targets, would boost Mr Walsh's take home pay to more than four times the €544,000 he earned in his final year with Aer Lingus.

Mr Walsh, who stepped down from Aer Lingus in February, joined British Airways as chief executive designate in May and will take over from the current chief executive, Rod Eddington, when he leaves in September.

British Airways's annual report for 2004/5, which was published this week, shows the firm will double the annual bonus available to executives for the coming year to 100 per cent of basic salary if certain targets are met.

Mr Walsh's basic salary as chief executive of British Airways is worth £600,000 per year, which means he would be entitled to a maximum bonus worth an extra £600,000 if he meets the targets.

This performance bonus would be payable half in cash and half in British Airways shares, according to the annual report.

Mr Walsh could also be in line for a new long-term incentive plan bonus worth up to 150 per cent of his basic salary. The bonus, which is worth a maximum of £900,000 after three years, would only be payable if targets based on shareholder returns and operating margins are met by the British airline.

A note to shareholders in the annual report said the proposed strategy for incentive pay was intended to increase the expected value to make the package more market competitive for executive directors. The proposed changes would result in the most senior executives having the highest proportion of pay at risk, with a greater emphasis on the longer term than other executives, it continued.

In a message to shareholders in the British Airways annual report, the firm's chairman, Martin Broughton, described Willie Walsh as the "youthful, respected, reforming, ex-Aer Lingus chief executive".

"He brings with him a reputation for strong leadership in difficult times - qualities that we will need to face the challenges ahead. I am confident he will build on the fundamental strategies in place that have delivered our current success."

Mr Walsh resigned from his position at Aer Lingus following a dispute with the Government over the future direction of the airline.
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Old June 12th, 2005, 10:22 PM   #134
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Govt to maintain existing night flying controls till October - Aviation Minister
10 June 2005

LONDON (AFX) - Aviation Minister Karen Buck said the government intends to maintain existing controls on night flying until October.

Buck was speaking at the launch of the second part of the two stage consultation on night flying restrictions at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports. The first stage took place last year.

'We have concluded that it is necessary to continue the existing controls for a further twelve months,' said Buck.

'This will give us time to consult widely over the next three months about the measures we are proposing and to consider the responses to the consultation before taking decisions about the next 6-year period,' said Buck.

The consultation document seeks view on whether or not to extend the length of the night quota period and makes specific proposals for the movement limits and noise quotas in each season.

'I urge everyone with a view about night flights at the three London airports to read the consultation document and send us their comments,' said Buck.

'I look particularly to the industry to provide any evidence supporting the economic case for night flights.'

The consultation document proposes that night flying restrictions should continue to be based on movement limits and the quota count classification system, as at present.

It also asks for comments on extending the night quota period (NQP) to cover the whole night from 11pm to 7am, though the government's provisionally preferred option is to retain the current 6-1/2 hour NQP.
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Old June 13th, 2005, 11:18 PM   #135
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Heathrow 'must grow'
By Charles Starmer-Smith
11 June 2005
The Daily Telegraph

The British Airports Authority this week hit back at criticisms of its plans to build a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow to cope with rising demand. BAA Heathrow said it needs to upgrade and expand to meet growing demand for flights in the South-East. The airport, originally designed for a maximum of 50 million passengers, handled nearly 68 million last year. "Heathrow cannot afford to stand still. We need to plan for the future and ensure we provide excellent customer service and facilities to both our passengers and airlines,'' said Mick Temple, managing director of BAA Heathrow. The draft plans, which would necessitate the demolition of up to 700 houses, have been widely criticised. The South-East England Regional Assembly, in charge of planning in the area, said the Government's emphasis should be on reducing, not increasing, the number of flights.

John Stewart, chairman of the pressure group HACAN (Heathrow Association for the Control of Aircraft Noise) ClearSkies, said the airport expansion would affect more than 150,000 people in places such as Slough, Maidenhead, Heston, North Chiswick, Kensington and Chelsea. "Because a third runway is at least 10 years away, all these people will face a decade of blight," he said. "Hardest hit will be the communities of Sipson, Harmondsworth and Harlington, which will be virtually wiped out if expansion takes place.'' Last month Telegraph Travel reported that passenger levels were likely to break all records this summer, and London's airports are already struggling to cope with a demand fuelled by new routes and renewed confidence in air travel. Heathrow, the world's third-busiest airport, fears that, with its fifth terminal not due to be completed until 2008, the peak summer period will see significantly longer queues and journey times. A sixth terminal and a third runway, costing pounds 7 billion, would allow passenger numbers to rise to 116 million by 2030. Under the plans, which will have to satisfy Government environmental targets, the third runway will not be built until 2015 at the earliest.
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Old June 15th, 2005, 04:08 AM   #136
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Flybe May 2005 Passengers Up 42%
14 June 2005
Edited Press Release

LONDON (Dow Jones)-- Flybe said Tuesday that May passenger numbers increased 42% to 460,127 compared to 324,664 in May last year.

The load factor also increased by 4%, rising to 69% from 65%.

These strong growth figures come as the airline moves into the peak summer schedules, Flybe said.

The fleet size has been increased by three aircraft compared with last year, and all the sunshine routes are now fully operational.

Flybe has just announced that it will be purchasing 14 Embraer 195 aircraft and has taken options on a further 12.

Mike Rutter, Sales and Marketing Director, Flybe, said: "The new plane order, excellent passenger figures and record bookings for the summer period are all extremely good news. Our commitment to regional bases and domestic flights has been rewarded by strong results. The additional international routes we have introduced for the summer period are also selling very well and we are looking forward to continued growth through the summer period."
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Old June 15th, 2005, 10:08 AM   #137
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UK's Flybe says orders 4 more Bombardier planes

LONDON, June 14 (Reuters) - British regional airline Flybe said on Tuesday it had converted four of its options for Bombardier Q400 aircraft into firm orders, taking its number of firm orders for the plane to 45.

Flybe said the options were part of a deal announced earlier in the year.
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Old June 19th, 2005, 08:34 AM   #138
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West Indies air link scrapped
17 June 2005
The Daily Express

SCOTLAND'S first direct air service to the Caribbean has been scrapped.

British West Indies Airways started flights to Barbados and Trinidad on March 12 and only made seven nine-hour flights to the Caribbean on their 284-seat Airbus A340 aircraft.

The airline had hoped to fly the Manchester-Prestwick-Caribbean service all year round. The planes left Manchester and picked up 75 passengers at Prestwick on a Saturday and Belfast on a Sunday. Both services are cancelled.

A Prestwick Airport spokeswoman admitted: "This is a real blow. We are very disappointed indeed.

"Unfortunately, the Trinidad and Tobago Government, which owns the airline, decided they only wanted UK flights out of Gatwick and Manchester.

There is nothing we can do but hope another Caribbean service starts in the future."

The airline is promising to compensate passengers.

The 'Bwee' planes, with their colourful sunshine markings, will be missed by plane spotters at Prestwick. A BWIA spokesman said: "The termination of these services is aimed at streamlining operations".
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Old June 20th, 2005, 02:45 AM   #139
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Computer Glitch Disrupts Air Travel Over UK
19 June 2005

LONDON (Dow Jones)--A major air traffic control computer malfunction snarled airplanes over much of the U.K. Sunday causing nearly three hour take-off delays from London's Heathrow International Airport and forcing controllers to switch to manual operations and unusual flight patterns.

Caused by a widespread crash of some computerized British air traffic control systems, the delays rippled through European air space throughout the day and prompted some U.S. carriers to change flight patterns toward Europe in order to avoid the bottleneck.

The computer problem was so extensive that ground controllers at Heathrow resorted to giving departing aircraft flight instructions through 5,000 feet, something they usually don't do before the planes switch to departure controllers, people familiar with the situation said.

Departing and arriving flight paths were disrupted and controllers used special precautions and procedures to ensure that jetliners were adequately separated.

Pilots were providing extra information to controllers about their positions, speed, and directions because automatic safeguards weren't operating on the ground.

The delays were among the most severe pilots said they have encountered during the current summer travel season. The problem comes as European air traffic control is preparing for a particularly busy summer season with overall double-digit growth expected in its air traffic. Some regions of Eastern Europe anticipate increases of more than 50% in air traffic this summer.

The U.K. Control System is especially important because many planes arriving to Europe from the U.S. and elsewhere go through British air space.
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Old June 21st, 2005, 07:52 AM   #140
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In it for the long haul
Ian Burrell
20 June 2005
The Independent

British Airways" marketing chief Jayne O"Brien has had a tough time convincing the public that there"s more to flying than no-frills. But, as Ian Burrell reports, the fortunes of "the world"s favourite airline" are on their way up

Jayne O"Brien has every reason to sleep uneasily at nights " she is the woman in charge of shaping British Airways" public image as it fights a bitter battle for the global market in air travel. Not only does BA have to compete with the big long-haul carriers, but no-frill" airlines such as Ryanair and easyJet are nipping at its heels in its own backyard.

If O"Brien doesn"t look as if she suffers from insomnia, there"s a good explanation: it was her idea to introduce flat beds to international air travel. The fact that she sits on top of an annual budget of around £60m " making her one of the most powerful marketing executives in Britain " probably helps her to sleep a little easier as well.

Things are changing at BA. The airline is running its first television ad campaign aimed at businesswomen, launched on Friday. O"Brien has also introduced Kylie Minogue as a face of the airline, booked ads on Capital Radio to attract younger flyers and used Blue Peter (which staged a competition to "paint" an airliner) to market BA to families.

"Historically we have had a much stronger association with the business market," she says. "In the past we have been misunderstood that that"s all that matters to us." The common conception that BA is all about premium quality air travel for men in suits has given marketers at easyJet and Ryanair room to manoeuvre in the battle to appeal to passengers looking for budget weekend breaks.

O"Brien says that it"s "really difficult" to market a single brand that appeals to several different customer groups on very different levels. "It"s no secret that we"ve had to try harder. We"ve had to evolve. We continually look to develop our offering and our prices," she says.

Although O"Brien is adamant that BA short-haul fares now stand comparison with the no-frills carriers, she insists: "We don"t just want to be about price. That"s not what the BA brand is about." So the carrier"s core values remain "British", "reliable", "reassuring", "professional", "safe". For business travellers, the airline emphasises added extras designed to make long-haul travel easier, such as online check-in, flat beds and arrival lounges with showers.

After five years as BA"s head of marketing for the UK and Ireland, O"Brien has learnt to be inventive. (She praises media buying agency Zenith Optimedia for being an agent of change.)

BA has used P J O"Rourke, satirist and author of Holidays in Hell, as a face of recent TV ads, helping to dispel the airline"s image of being stuffy and old school. It has also established certain iconic images (such as large numerical figures to demonstrate low prices). She wants BA to come into people"s everyday lives in places they don"t expect. So ads have been taken on the receipts from ATM machines. ("When people are taking out money, it"s very relevant to say "only £69 to go to Paris".")

BA marketing staff have been despatched to Paddington station to give personal demonstrations to passengers on how they can save significant time in airports by checking in online and printing out their own boarding pass. The message is being driven home by actors who board the Heathrow Express train and perform in front of passengers, along the following lines.

Actor One (without golf clubs): "Ah Tom, you must be on the 12.30 up to Edinburgh."

Actor Two (with golf clubs): "No, the 11 o"clock."

Actor One: "You"re never going to make it."

Actor Two: "I"ve already checked in."

The pair then explain to passengers that they are actors and give details of the online scheme. O"Brien says she is a "big fan" of this form of "ambient" media.

Her marketing strategy is also informed by the internet, especially chat rooms such as flyertalk.com, which she monitors regularly and to which she has assigned a colleague who is authorised to post "official" BA views on the website.

Although she is attacking on many fronts, O"Brien insists that her strategy is an integrated one, banging home the message of reliability meets good service meets great price. "I"m a big fan of keeping it simple," she says. "Don"t put too many things in there; evolve it over time." The secret is to cut through what she describes as "marketing clutter". O"Brien says: "People see about 3,000 advertising statements a day. The challenge to the marketer is how you are going to get your message heard, engaged with and understood by the market."

Perversely, O"Brien"s position was helped by the 11 September tragedy. Although global air travel took a downturn, BA recognised the need to increase her budget to "market ourselves out of difficult times".

She is convinced that money allocated to sponsorship can be money well spent. "What sponsorship can do is talk to your target audience with something they"re interested in."

Rugby, says O"Brien, is "high on the priority list" of BA"s core market of business flyers. So the airline sponsors the Rugby Football Union and the current British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand.

Sponsoring Kylie"s Showgirl tour was a good fit for a different part of the BA customer base. "She"s very on brand for us. She"s an icon in her own right with the fun, lively approach that she has. We also fly to Australia."

The latest ad campaign, Soft Beds, celebrates the fitting of a new foam to the BA fully reclining seats, and " remarkably " features a woman. "We researched the concept with customers and women were adamant she had to wear a suit and look like a businesswoman. It had to be absolutely clear she wasn"t going shopping," says O"Brien.

The campaign was made by long-term BA ad agency M&C Saatchi, in whose offices O"Brien is sitting. As she speaks, Maurice Saatchi, his giant spectacles perched on his nose, sits behind her on the other side of a glass partition, working at his desk.

The BA marketing chief knows that, while she needs to broaden the appeal of BA, she has to protect a much-loved brand. O"Brien says customers have told BA that they want the Union Jack and says it is a good example of "branding that has an emotional pull".

The marketing chief is a formidable operator, who studied Serbo-Croat at university ("it was a bit of a whim") and launched the recent renewal of BA flights to Dubrovnik on Croatian television, in Croatian. She also spent a couple of years in Mexico City managing BA"s Central and South American operation, and again the legacy of Thatcher came on to her radar.

"There was a lot of media interest because I was female. Every time I was interviewed they would ask what were the similarities between me and Maggie Thatcher. I couldn"t think of any " apart from the fact that we were both female."
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