South-east Asian states have joined forces to search waters between Malaysia and Vietnam after a Malaysia Airlines plane vanished on a flight to Beijing, with 239 people on board.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that flight MH370 had disappeared at 02:40 local time on Saturday (18:40 GMT on Friday) after leaving Kuala Lumpur.
It had been expected to land in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).
Malaysia’s transport minister said there was no information on wreckage.
“We are doing everything in our power to locate the plane,” Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
“Our hope is that the people understand we are being as transparent as we can, we are giving information as quickly as we can, but we want to make sure information has been verified.”
Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the focus was on helping the families of those missing. He said that 80% of the families had been contacted.
The plane went off the radar south of Vietnam, according to a statement on the Vietnamese government website.
Its last known location was off the country’s Ca Mau peninsula although the exact position was not clear, it said.
The Boeing B777-200 aircraft was carrying 227 passengers, including two children, and 12 crew members.
Malaysia’s military said a second wave of helicopters and ships had been despatched after an initial search revealed nothing.
Territorial disputes over the South China Sea were set aside temporarily as China dispatched two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deployed three air force planes and three navy patrol ships.
Vietnam also sent aircraft and ships while Vietnamese fishermen in the area were asked to report any suspected sign of the missing plane.
“In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues,” said Lt Gen Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military’s Western Command.
The passengers were of 14 different nationalities, Mr Jauhari said.
Among them were 152 Chinese nationals, 38 Malaysians, 12 people from Indonesia and six from Australia.
The pilot was Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, who joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981, Mr Yahya said.
A Vietnamese navy official told the BBC the plane had gone missing within Malaysian maritime territory.
Friends and relatives expecting to meet passengers from the flight in Beijing were instructed to go to a nearby hotel where officials were meant to be on hand to provide support.
“They should have told us something before now,” a visibly distressed man in his thirties told AFP news agency at the hotel.
“They are useless,” another young man said of the airline. “I don’t know why they haven’t released any information.”
In Kuala Lumpur, Hamid Ramlan, a 56-year-old police officer, said his daughter and son-in-law had been on the flight for an intended holiday in Beijing.
“My wife is crying,” he said. “Everyone is sad. My house has become a place of mourning. This is Allah’s will. We have to accept it.”
The plane had been flying at an altitude of 35,000ft (10,700m) and the pilots had not reported any problems with the aircraft, Fuad Sharuji, Malaysian Airlines’ vice-president of operations control, told CNN.
Air traffic control lost contact with the Malaysia Airlines plane after leaving Kuala Lumpur
The aircraft never made it into Chinese airspace as John Sudworth reports from Beijing International Airport
The route between Kuala Lumpur to Beijing has become more and more popular as Malaysia and China increase trade, says the BBC’s Jennifer Pak in Kuala Lumpur.
The Boeing 777 had not had a fatal crash in its 20-year history until an Asiana plane came down at San Francisco airport in July of last year. Three teenage girls from China died in that incident.
Boeing said in a statement posted on Twitter: “We’re closely monitoring reports on Malaysia flight MH370. Our thoughts are with everyone on board.”
Flight MH370 passengers
- 153 Chinese including one child
- 38 Malaysians
- 12 Indonesians
- 6 Australians
- Four Americans including one child
- Three French
- Two each from New Zealand, Ukraine and Canada
- One each from Russia, Italy, Taiwan, Netherlands and Austria
Sourced by BBC News
The flight from Heathrow to Lyon experienced an ‘engine surge’, a British Airways spokesperson said
Friday 07 March 2014
A British Airways plane had to make an emergency landing after it experienced an “engine surge” during takeoff last night.
Flames were “spitting out” of one of the engines and the plane was making spluttering noises as it was lifting off, an eyewitness told the BBC.
The flight departed from Heathrow bound for Lyon in France, but had to turn back soon after taking to the air.
Tom Puttick, who works near Heathrow said: “I was in the petrol station opposite the airport which is when I heard the bang, so I turned around and the airplane had flames spitting out of the engine with a spluttering noise as it was taking off.
“I then watched it continued to climb and the engine was still emitting flames intermittently. Lots of blue lights then emerged on the airport while the plane, I guess, turned around to make an emergency landing.”
BA said the aircraft, an Airbus A319 had landed safely at Heathrow following the incident at around 9pm last night.
A BA spokeswoman said: “A flight experienced what’s known as an ‘engine surge’ as it took off from Heathrow, but it returned and touched down safely.
“Our crew cared for our customers on-board and kept them informed. We train our pilots to the very highest standards including how to respond to these type of events, and the engine was immediately shut down.”
She added: “Of course, we gave our customers who were on the flight hotel accommodation last night and they have been rebooked to fly today.
“We have also scheduled a larger aircraft to operate to Lyon to ensure we can get all our customers there as soon as possible. We can understand how frustrating the delay to their plans must be.
“The aircraft is being thoroughly checked over by engineers. The safety of our customers, crew and aircraft is of the utmost importance to British Airways.”
Sourced from The Independent
The former head of British Airways took a performance-related bonus for 2013, according to the airline’s annual report, having passed one up the previous year as the group formed by the merger of British Airways and Iberia made a loss.
In 2013 Walsh received a £1.3m bonus with long-term share awards worth £2.6m vesting, on top of £825,000 in salary and around £250,000 in pension and benefits.
Keith Williams, the chief executive of British Airways, was paid £3m. Iberia’s boss, Luis Gallego Martín, took a 15% voluntary cut.
Last month IAG struck what it described as ’landmark’ deal with the unions which appears to have lifted the threat of strikes by Iberia pilots. The deal allowed Iberia to make the vast structural changes necessary to return the airline to growth.
In the report, Walsh said: “I look back on last year with a sense of real pride and achievement for what people within IAG have done to put the business on a more secure footing.”
He said he was targeting operating profits of €1.8bn by 2015, and claimed: “We continue to prove the critical logic of merging British Airways and Iberia through the cost and revenue synergies we are achieving.”
Last week IAG said it returned to profit after reducing losses at Iberia. IAG competed the takeover of BMI in 2012 and also bought the profitable Spanish budget carrier Vueling, which helped improve IAG’s trading.
Pre-tax profit reported by IAG stood at €227 million excluding ‘exceptional items’, a significant improvement in the €774 million loss the previous year.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
However, Pacific-Asia Travel Association (Pata) chief executive Martin Craigs fears “at some point there will be a cost” if protests continue.
Speaking at German travel trade show ITB in Berlin, Craigs said: “Of course, traffic [to Thailand] has dropped off.
“What is instructive is how huge the drop is according to [government] travel advisories.
“Hong Kong dropped 60% from January to January. But traffic from the UK was almost 10% up January on January.”
Craigs said the reason was: “Hong Kong’s travel advisory put Bangkok in the same category as Syria.”
The UK Foreign Office has not advised against travel to Thailand, reflecting the fact that protests have remained confined to Bangkok.
Craigs reported hotel occupancy in downtown Bangkok at 20%-30%.
He told Travel Weekly: “Of course, people book further in advance from Britain, the UK market is used to a little turmoil and the majority are not coming to spend two weeks in Bangkok.
“The UK and Hong Kong are the most extreme examples of what has happened.” Pata estimates total visitor numbers to Thailand were down 16% year on year in January.
Craigs insisted: “It’s not a Ukrainian-style situation [in Bangkok]. Twenty-two people have been killed in three months in sporadic attacks by extremists.
“Nothing has been closed: 98% of Bangkok has not been affected. The airport has not been affected at all.”
But he said: “About five million Thai jobs depend on tourism and there are 750,000 jobs at stake if this goes on.
“We have to be honest. If the situation is not resolved – and there is a lot of work to be done – at some point there will be a cost.
“We’ve had floods, the tsunami – the resilience [of Thai tourism] has been amazing. But if this continues, we can’t pretend it will be ‘teflon Thailand’ forever.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly
This figure was short of the 1 billion-plus that has been reported by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).
The IPK World Travel Monitor data, unveiled at German trade show ITB in Berlin, suggest spending on overseas travel came near to €1 trillion in 2013.
IPK International chief executive Rolf Freitag told attendees at ITB: “Tourism has proven to be a growth driver in the global economy again.”
Spending worldwide rose 6% year on year to €989 billion as the number of nights spent abroad grew 4% to 7.6 billion.
Freitag suggested travel in the ‘advanced economies’ would grow “somewhat more strongly” this year than last “while the travel boom from developing countries could slacken”.
He forecast 4% growth in outbound travel in Europe this year, following 3% growth in 2013 to 432 million trips and 2% growth in 2012.
The number of nights European travellers spent abroad last year remained flat at 3.5 billion, according to IPK, but spending rose 2% to €368 billion.
Beach holidays saw 4% growth year on year across Europe and city breaks 5% growth.
IPK recorded 3% growth in the UK while Europe’s biggest outbound market, Germany, saw 2% growth. Russia enjoyed a 13% increase in outbound travel.
Growth in Germany’s outbound market outpaced domestic travel growth “for the first time in many years”, according to IPK.
Germans made more than 75 million trips abroad and took 55 million outbound holidays, pushing total travel spending in Germany up 6%.
IPK forecast a further 5% increase in worldwide travel this year.
The UNWTO reported international travel passed a record one billion travellers at the end of 2012.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
Prestwick Airport had a pre-tax loss of £9.77m in the final full year of its ownership by New Zealand company Infratil.
That was before a revaluation of fixed assets, reducing the airport’s valuation by £10.9m.
It was a sharp worsening of its financial position, after a £2.3m pre-tax loss in the year to March 2012.
The company was sold for £1 to the Scottish government on 22 November last year.
With fixed assets valued at only £4m, it had net liabilities of £16m at the end of the financial year on 31 March 2013.
The company accounts say Prestwick Airport is only a going concern if its owner is willing to continue funding deficits.
They state that such an undertaking has been made by Transport Scotland on behalf of Scottish ministers.
The Scottish government is seeking ways to turn around the airport’s fortunes, seeking new airlines that could use it.
At present, Ryanair is the only operator flying scheduled flights in and out of Prestwick.
Sourced from BBC Scotland News
6 March 2014
Demand for flights has continued to “accelerate” during the first few weeks of 2014 helped by improving economic conditions around the world.
International Air Transport Association (Iata) figures show that worldwide passenger traffic in January grew by 8% as measured by total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), compared to the same month in 2013. This was up from the 5.2% rise in RPKs recorded during the whole of 2013.
Capacity also rose by 6.7% year-on-year in January while load factor improved by 0.9 percentage points to 78.1%.
Iata chief executive Tony Tyler said: “2014 is off to a strong start, with travel demand accelerating over the healthy results achieved in 2013, in line with stronger growth in advanced economies and emerging market regions.”
European airlines saw international air travel demand rise by 6.4% in January which Iata said was down to “modest” economic improvements in the Eurozone and “rising consumer and business confidence”.
Capacity across the continent increased by 5.9%, as measured by available seat kilometres (ASKs), while load factors picked up by 0.4 points to 77.2%.
The biggest rises in demand came in the Middle East where airlines saw international RPKs soar by 18.1% in January while Asia-Pacific carriers recorded an overall 8% increase in traffic.
North American airlines experienced a 3.5% increase in January while those in Latin America saw a 4.4% rise. African traffic was up by just 2.7% – the slowest rate of growth of any region.
Tyler added: “The second century of commercial aviation has begun on a positive note, with air traffic demand rising in line with generally positive economic indicators.
“While this is in line with an improved overall outlook for 2014, aviation remains highly vulnerable to external shocks. Rising geopolitical tensions around the world have the potential to cast shadows on this optimistic outlook.”
Sourced from TTG Digital