Monarch restructure and Mantegazza exit to complete in three weeks

Monarch restructure and Mantegazza exit to complete in three weeks 

Monarch expects to complete a group restructure and cut 900 jobs by October 24 when new owner Greybull Capital is due to take over from the Mantegazza family.

But the rush to complete the process and axe almost one in three jobs has the support of unions representing Monarch staff.

The Monarch Group declined to comment this week, but the company has signed a share purchase agreement with venture capital firm Greybull and the deal and associated restructuring are due for completion on October 24.

Andrew Swaffield, Monarch Group chairman, identified Greybull as preferred bidder to take over the company last week.

A day later, Monarch issued a joint statement with pilots’ union Balpa and cabin crew and engineering union Unite announcing the level of staff support for pay cuts and changes in working conditions following a ballot.

The changes in pay and terms and conditions are aimed at bringing Monarch staff remuneration into line with that at the low-cost carriers the airline is now looking to emulate.

Monarch reported the pay reductions as “up to 30%”. Unite national officer for civil air transport Oliver Richardson said: “All groups are taking significant pay cuts.

“For crew, the big cuts are [in] variable pay associated with flying and basic pay for senior crew.

“Main crew cannot have the same cuts to their basic as it would be below the legal minimums, but their variable [pay] is a higher proportion of their total income. Engineers face similar cuts to pilots.”

The group is seeking 904 redundancies, including compulsory job losses, but expects about two-thirds of the total to be voluntary.

Travel Weekly understands the consultation process now underway includes Cosmos staff. However, a group spokeswoman insisted: “The mood is quite upbeat. Everyone is focused on October 24.”

Richardson said: “We can’t confirm the redundancy consultation by a specific date as we are in the midst of consultation, but the aim is for it [the process] to be completed in October.

“We are going down this route faced with the real prospect of all jobs being at risk if the company went into administration.

“We saved as many [jobs] as possible and protected pay and terms and conditions as best as we could. As such, it was overwhelmingly voted in favour of by our members.”

Greybull Capital has declined to comment on the deal or the restructuring.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Holidaymakers faced 17 hour delay flying home from Cyprus just a week after having to wait an extra 18 hours to get there

Customers had already lost a night’s holiday after a bird strike meant their 1.35pm flight on Sunday was held up

Matthew Horwood

Mark Archer and Sarah Keast

Welsh holidaymakers travelling to Cyprus faced “nightmare” flight delays after they were stuck for 18 hours getting out of South Wales and then another 17 hours coming home.

A Thomas Cook Airlines flight, operated by Lithuanian firm Avion Express, was meant to have touched down in Cardiff from Larnaca at 12.30am on Monday but didn’t arrive until 5.45pm after a technical fault.

But customers who had spent a week in Cyprus had already lost a night of their holiday after a bird strike led to their 1.35pm flight to Larnaca from Cardiff on September 21 not leaving until 7am the following day, according to the South Wales Aviation Group site.

The airline, which put people up in hotels for each delay, has apologised.

Some travellers said the delay had also meant the loss of a day’s work.

Mark Archer, 24, from Bridgend, and his partner Sarah Keast, were hit by both delays.

He said: “We’re going to Thomas Cook to complain. To have two overnight delays on a weeks holiday is ridiculous.

“At least, we want a full refund for the flights and a bit of compensation for the day’s earnings lost and our transfers.”

Charmaine Lloyd, 53, and Leanne Lloyd, 42, were put up in a Premier Inn near Barry last week. Charmaine said: “We’ve had a lovely holiday but its been a nightmare, worst we’ve ever known.

“They looked after us in Larnarca but that’s besides the point. We should have been home Monday morning.”

Jack Jennings, 19, from Pontypool, who was on holiday in Ayia Napa with a group of friends, said: “It was a hassle that we didn’t need.

“The holiday was brilliant, I give it ten out of ten, but the Monday I would give a two.”

A spokesman for Thomas Cook Airlines said: “We’d like to sincerely apologise to our customers for the delay to their flight from Larnaca to Cardiff, which has been caused by an unexpected technical fault on the aircraft operating the flight.

He added that the flight that was cancelled the week before was “affected by a double bird strike on its way into Cardiff to take our customers on holiday and therefore required an inspection of the engines.”

He said hotel rooms were provided on both delays overnight.

“We know how frustrating these delays are, and we’d like to thank our customers for their patience and understanding,” he said.

Sourced from walesonline


Osborne hints at speedy decision on airport capacity

Osborne hints at speedy decision on airport capacityA strong hint that a swift decision will be needed after next year’s general election on airport capacity came from Chancellor George Osborne in his speech to the Conservative party conference yesterday.

He reaffirmed the government’s determination to press ahead with the HS2 high speed rail link between London, the Midlands and the North.

And he added that on issues like this, deciding on a future runway for the southeast of England and developing shale gas fracking, Britain faced a choice to “decide or decline”.

The government-appointed Airports Commission is to deliver its final report on where a new runway should be built next summer – following the general election.

Three options have made the commission’s shortlist – a new runway at Heathrow, extending the London’s hub’s northern runway or a second runway at Gatwick.

Osborne’s hint on airport development followed shadow chancellor Ed Balls committing Labour to taking urgent action on airport capacity following the general election.

Airports and industry bodies have been using the party conferences to lobby political support for expansion.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Future of Blackpool airport hangs in the balance

Future of Blackpool airport hangs in the balanceThe future of Blackpool airport hangs in the balance with a warning that it is likely to close within weeks unless a new owner can be found.

Balfour Beatty, which bought the facility in 2008, put it up for sale a month ago to end its involvement in running regional airports.

Only three airlines – Jet2.com, Citywing and Aer Lingus Regional – run regular scheduled flights from the Lancashire airport.

A statement from the airport said that if no sale agreement was reached by October 7 then the last flights would be on October 15.

“On 28 August 2014, we announced our intention to find a buyer for the airport operating company,” it said.

“The airport operations have been making a loss for a number of years and we are currently exploring a number of options in an attempt to secure the future of the airport.

We regretfully confirm that if no agreement can be reached before 7 October 2014 which ensures the viability of its operations, then it is likely that the airport operations will close.

“In this event, we expect that the last commercial flights will take place on Wednesday 15 October 2014.

“We apologise for the uncertainty this will cause over the coming weeks and we recommend that any affected passengers contact their airline to confirm travel arrangements.”

Jet2.com said: “We have been made aware today, of the notice on the Blackpool airport website, stating that the airport may close on 15 October.

“It is our intention to continue operating flights as normal from Blackpool airport and we are currently working on our contingency plans, to ensure that all our customers get to and from their destinations.

“In the event that it is confirmed that Blackpool Airport will close, we will be contacting our Jet2.com and Jet2holidays customers to make alternative flight arrangements.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


BLACKPOOL AIRPORT ANNOUNCEMENT

On 28 August 2014, we announced our intention to find a buyer for the airport operating company.  The airport operations have been making a loss for a number of years and we are currently exploring a number of options in an attempt to secure the future of the airport.

We regretfully confirm that if no agreement can be reached before 7 October 2014 which ensures the viability of its operations, then it is likely that the airport operations will close.  In this event, we expect that the last commercial flights will take place on Wednesday 15 October 2014.

We apologise for the uncertainty this will cause over the coming weeks and we recommend that any affected passengers contact their airline to confirm travel arrangements:

  • Jet2.com on 0333 300 0042
  • Stobart Air on 0871 718 5000
  • Citywing on 0871 200 0440

Airbus forecasts demand for 31,000 new aircraft over next 20 years

More than 31,000 new passenger aircraft and air freighters will be needed over the next 20 years, due to growing demand for air travel.

Growing middle classes in emerging economies taking to the skies will be the main drivers, according to Airbus.

The European aircraft manufacturer forecasts that the new aircraft will be worth $4.6 trillion (£2.8 trillion) of orders to the aerospace industry as passenger numbers grow at an annual rate of 4.7% from the current rate of 3 billion a year carried by 32 million flights.

The worldwide aviation sector is estimated to be worth $2.4 trillion a year and employs 60 million people.

Aircraft joining the modern day fleet mean the number of air freighters and airliners with 100 or more seats will more than double from today’s total of 18,500 to almost 37,500 by the year 2033.

Airlines are expected to retire 12,400 old and less fuel-efficient jets in the intervening period as they seek to cut costs in the age of ever-rising fuel prices.

Asia is expected to be the biggest single customer for new aircraft, taking 39% of them, more than combined total of the next two biggest regions, Europe at 20% and North America at 18%.

The predictions come in Flying on Demand, Airbus’s global market forecast which analysed themes seen by 800 passenger airlines and 200 freight operators, The Telegraph reported.

Airbus predicts a requirement for 9,300 widebody aircraft valued at $2.5 trillion over the next 20 years.

Some 7,800 of these new aircraft will be twin-aisle models with 250 to 400 seats and the remaining 1,500 will be very large aircraft with 400 or more seats.

The report also predicts that the number of “aviation mega-cities” – those with 10,000 or more international long-haul passengers a day – will almost double to 91 as economic growth in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East outstrips developed regions.

“Aviation is growing impressively and our latest forecast confirms its long-term growth,” said John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers.

“While mature aviation regions such as Europe and North America will continue to grow, Asia will stand out along with emerging markets for dynamic development. This growth trend is confirmed by Chinese domestic traffic becoming the world’s number one aviation market within the next 10 years”.

The forecast came as the manufacturer’s new generation A320neo made it maiden flight in France.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Finance committee adviser questions Welsh Government’s purchase of Cardiff Airport

The airport was bought by the Welsh Government for £52m last year with First Minister Carwyn Jones defending the move against Tory attacks

A senior financial expert drafted in to advise AMs on scrutiny of the Welsh Government’s budgetary process has questioned the implications of the purchase of Cardiff Airport.

The airport was bought by the Welsh Government for £52m last year. First Minister Carwyn Jones defended the move against Tory attacks, saying the airport was vital to Wales’ economy but was not thriving under its previous owners.

Now Don Peebles, who from this month will advise the Assembly’s finance committee on how to scrutinise the 2015-16 Budget effectively, has said that buying the airport “would entail ongoing revenue costs for which no budgetary provision had been specified”.

Mr Peebles heads the Chartered Institute for Public Finance & Accountancy (Cipfa) in Scotland. He also leads for the organisation on devolved government.

In an interview with Cipfa’s journal Public Finance, he said that among key issues likely to arise are what he sees as the “unsatisfactory performance in aligning policy initiatives with budget provision so as to cost them properly; financial planning problems caused by the paucity of forward figures from Westminster on the Welsh block grant; and a lack of progress towards a more preventive approach to spending”.

Mr Peebles said: “What [this appointment] does is allow Cipfa to bring the financial expertise of the institute to bear to influence public finance at the sharp end – not just by facilitating scrutiny of £15bn of Welsh public money, but also by allowing us to help guide the finance committee through a complex and important process.”

Asked about his likely approach, he pointed to four key principles that Cipfa has been pressing on the Scottish Parliament: affordability, meaning that ministers should only make promises they know they can afford; prioritisation, to make sure that the governmental programme matches budget allocations; value for money, to extract maximum public benefit from spending; and process, to ensure effective information flow and financial management.

Mr Peebles said many Welsh budgetary shortcomings were proving no easier to remedy in the other British jurisdictions. He thought the Welsh regime was ahead of the game in some respects.

A Welsh Government spokesman would only say: “The Draft Budget 2015-16 will be published on Tuesday”.

Sourced from walesonline


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