Posted: April 18, 2014
Lastminute.com managing director UK & Ireland Mark Maddock has stood down from his role.
A spokeswoman said there was no intention to find a replacement in the role, instead Lastminute.com chief executive Matthew Crummack will oversee the overall business.
Maddock joined Lastminute.com in March 2003 from the Holiday Autos Group where he was general manager – Holiday Hotels.
He initially began running the business on a temporary basis in July 2010 before the appointment was formalised in November in the same year.
At the time he was praised for his “astute strategic vision and leadership coupled with a charismatic flair and feel for our brand.”
A Lastminute.com spokeswoman said: “Mark Maddock, who has lead our UK and Ireland business, has decided now is the time to leave Lastminute.com.
“We want to thank Mark for his contribution over the past years; and whilst it’s disappointing to lose a valued leader of the business, we will not be replacing Mark’s role – Lastminute.com CEO Matthew Crummack is overseeing the overall business.”
The announcement comes as speculation grows that Lastminute.com’s owner Sabre Corporation is trying to sell the company.
The OTA had access to 80,000 hotels as of the end of 2013 with 225 employees.
However, analysts have claimed that its most recent figures showing it undertook $2.6 billion in gross bookings in 2012 meant the company was underperforming, given its size.
Sourced by TTG Digital
Posted: April 18, 2014
By Martin Ferguson
The Scottish travel industry received a boost this week in the run up to the independence referendum on September 18 with promises by both sides to cut air passenger duty.
At a debate organised by Scotland’s travel trade body, the Scottish Passenger Agents’ Association (SPAA), politicians and campaigners from both the “yes” and “no” campaigns pledged to slash APD if they win the autumn vote.
Annabelle Ewing, the SNP MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife, said if her party were elected to govern an independent Scotland it would cut the tax by 50% in the first year and eventually abolish APD if “finances allowed”.
While Ian McGill, the leader of the Better Together campaign in Edinburgh, said he would campaign for APD to be controlled by a devolved Scottish government.
Less committed was Scottish Labour MSP and Better Together campaigner James Kelly, who said he would keep “an open mind” about who should control the stealth tax.
The SPAA has campaigned against APD since its inception, claiming it was discriminatory against Scottish business and consumers who have to pay the levy twice if travelling overseas via an English airport.
The major issues debated at the Glasgow forum were EU membership and currency.
The Better Together campaign said Scotland would not automatically be welcomed into a sterling currency union with the rest of the UK and accused opponents of not having a contingency plan.
But Blair Jenkins, chief executive of Yes Scotland, said there was no contingency plan because it was “inconceivable” for Scotland and the rest of the UK not to share the pound.
On Europe, the Yes Scotland camp insisted it would be treated as a successor state as it was already part of the European Union.
Opponents to independence have claimed that Scotland would be left on the sidelines until the 28 members states voted to allow it to join.
Sourced by bbt
Posted: April 17, 2014
Following a social media vote, run in association with Cardiff Airport, the people of Wales have named one of CityJet’s aircrafts after Owain Glyndŵr – the Welsh ruler and last native Welshman to hold the title Prince of Wales.
The newly named aircraft will launch CityJet’s newest route from Cardiff Airport this year. The route to Jersey will start with four weekly flights, followed by five weekly flights from 4 June 2014. Fares are priced from £61 one way and £99 return, including 23kgs of hold luggage and a complimentary snack and drink service.
Christine Ourmières, CityJet’s Chief Executive Officer, said “We are pleased with the response from the poll and are happy to name one of our aircraft after a top Welsh icon in time for the launch of our new route to Jersey.”
CityJet began flying out of Cardiff Airport in January with routes to Paris-Orly and Glasgow, followed by the Edinburgh route which launched on 30 March, operating up to three daily flights.The summer schedule will also see a third daily flight added to the Glasgow route on Thursdays and Fridays, whilst Paris-Orly will be served every day of the week.
The social media poll asked Welsh people to vote for their favourite among six iconic figures: Saint David, Dylan Thomas, Gareth Edwards CBE, Owain Glyndŵr, Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson DBE and Simon Weston OBE.
To find lowest fares, book online at www.cityjet.com.
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Posted: April 17, 2014
Growth in global premium air travel dropped off in February against the level seen the previous month.The sector saw an increase of 4.1% year on year, down from January’s growth of 6.1%, according to latest Iata figures.
“Business activity indicators still indicate growth, but the rate in March was the slowest for the last four months,” the association said.
“Some major economies, like the US, experienced temporary Q1 slowdown due to severe weather conditions, but in China, business (manufacturing) activity has contracted since January, pointing to a more fundamental deceleration.”
The association described demand drivers as remaining broadly positive, but rates of improvement in business conditions have slowed;
Air travel within Asia increased only 1% in February, “significantly down” on January growth of 7.2%.
By contrast, the North Atlantic market managed to maintain recent improvements, rising 3.8% in February.
Iata said: “The outlook for premium travel markets is broadly positive, but recent developments could restrict further acceleration.
“The degree of weakness in some emerging markets will likely determine the pace of future expansion.”
Sourced by Travel Weekly
Posted: April 17, 2014
Following a “detailed” financial review of the group, its rating services has raised the outlook although the overall rating remains unchanged at “B” for the time being.
Thomas Cook group chief executive Harriet Green said: “This is another milestone in the rapid delivery of our strategy of sustainable profitable growth.
“We are very pleased that S&P has recognised the pace and extent of our transformation and we appreciate its confidence in our ability to maintain the momentum.
“As we reported last month, our cost out and profit improvement programme is delivering ahead of schedule and we have reached our target for disposals of non-core interests 18 months early.
“S&P has recognised the importance of our continuing transformation, including the delivery of our strategic targets, and I look forward to sharing a full update of our progress at our half year results on May 15.”
A Standard & Poor’s spokesman said: “The operating performance of Thomas Cook Group plc has improved thanks to the ongoing implementation of its turnaround strategy.
“We anticipate that its credit metrics will continue to strengthen as cost-saving initiatives as part of its turnaround strategy lead to Ebitda growth and debt reduction.
“We are therefore revising our outlook on Thomas Cook Group plc to positive from stable, and affirming our “B” long-term corporate credit rating on the company.
“The positive outlook reflects the likelihood of an upgrade within the next 12 months if positive operating trends continue to improve the Group’s profitability and credit measures.”
Sourced by TTG Digital
Posted: April 11, 2014
A driver had to be airlifted to hospital yesterday after their car plumeted down a steep revine.
The car, a white Volkswaken Scirocco was travelling along the Rhigos mountain road from Hirwaun towards Treherbert with then incident happend at approximately 7:05pm on Thursday.
The incident resulted in a multi agency response including the Welsh Ambulance Service, South Wales Police and the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
Support was also provided by the South and East Wales Air Support Unit, Wales Air Ambulance and a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue helicopter from Chivenor, Devon however the later was stood down once arrived on scene.
A spokesperson for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Appliances from Treorchy and Hirwaun attended a Road Traffic Collision on the Rhigos mountain road and supported by specialist crews from Ebbw Vale, Merthyr, Aberdare and Barry.”
A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “The vehicle has left the road and plummeted down a steep ravine to the right hand side before coming to rest.
“The driver of the vehicle was extricated from the vehicle by the South Wales Fire and Recuse Service before being airlifted by Air Ambulance and taken to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.”
The road was closed for around four hours to allow the police to conduct initial investigations. It was also closed this morning to allow specialist recovery of the car to take place.
The Police would like to speak to any person who witnessed the incident, or any person who was in the area at the relevant time and may have seen the vehicle in question.
The spokesman added: “Police would also like to speak to any person who may have seen the vehicle between 3pm and the time of the collision either being driven or stationary.”
Anyone with information, should call the South Wales Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Gwaelod y Garth on 016565 655555 ext 42339, or contact 101.
Posted: April 11, 2014
The Welsh public has voted to name the new CityJet aircraft after Owain Glyndŵr in a social media poll shortlisting six iconic Welsh figures.
Around 1,000 people voted for their ultimate Welsh hero but the former Prince of Wales came out on top as public favourite over Dylan Thomas, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE, Gareth Edwards, Simon Weston OBE and Saint David.
Owain Glyndŵr is a bastion of Welsh patriotism and is renowned for his fierce revolt against the English rule of Wales in the early 15th century. Although the revolt was ultimately unsuccessful, Glyndŵr was the last native Welshman to claim the title of independent Prince of Wales and is seen as the ‘Welsh King Arthur’.
The naming of the new aircraft comes in time for the first flight on the new CityJet route to Jersey out of Cardiff Airport, which departs on the 17th April. There will be five flights to Jersey every week, priced from £61 one way and £99 return.
Jon Horne, Chief Executive of Cardiff Airport, said “By naming the aircraft after the public’s favourite Welsh icon it will be recognised, wherever it travels, as one which serves the people of Wales. I believe the opportunity provided by CityJet for the Welsh Public to name their aircraft shows how keen they are to serve Wales.”
Christine Ourmières, CityJet’s Chief Executive Officer, said “We were pleased with the enthusiasm shown by the Welsh public to name our new aircraft and we would like to thank everyone who voted. We hope that it will serve as a beacon of our commitment to Cardiff and the wider Welsh community.
“The aircraft will be frequenting our routes from Cardiff Airport to Paris, Glasgow and Edinburgh as well as making its first passenger flight for our new Jersey route.”
CityJet began flying out of Cardiff Airport in January with routes to Paris-Orly and Glasgow. In addition to the launch of Jersey, the summer schedule, has seen the introduction of three daily flights to Edinburgh and a third daily flight added to the Glasgow route on Thursdays and Fridays. Paris-Orly is served every day of the week.
Lowest fares are available now and bookable online at www.cityjet.com.
Posted: April 11, 2014
Press Release by Cardiff Aviation
Allan Dunne, who created the first UK CAA-approved Multi-crew Pilot Licence course, has joined Cardiff Aviation(CA), the South Wales-based aircraft maintenance and flight training organisation, as Head of Flight Training.
Allan, 49, joins from Flight Training Europe (FTE) where he held a number of senior positions, including Head of Training, with the Spanish-based operation which he joined in 2006.
Allan’s appointment follows Cardiff Aviation’s acquisition of European Skybus flight training, which will be renamed Cardiff Aviation Training (CAT).
“The MPL vocational training course is a reflection and product of modern commercial aviation: it is aimed specifically at efficiently putting a pilot in the right hand seat of an airliner, and is based on an airline’s Standard Operating Procedures,”
“For those unfamiliar with MPL, it means a pilot does not get the licence until he has actually flown an airliner, is far better placed to progress through the ranks, and reaches proficiency levels much faster. The student is, fundamentally, far better and more appropriately trained than somebody just building hours in the ATPL process. Line training is reduced, safety standards improve, and the training is dedicated to a specific airline.
“I have worked with the current Cardiff Aviation management team at several airlines over many years. The overall CA proposition, combining Pilot Training with MRO, Operations and ACMI Leasing services, is a tremendously strong one-stop shop proposition for anybody – whether a pilot or a new investor – starting in, or extending their involvement in, aviation.”
Allan is a career pilot, having flown as Captain and First Officer on aircraft ranging from BAC 1-11s to Boeing 757s. He has been involved in flight and pilot training since the mid 1990s.
CAT, which will remain in Bournemouth for the time being, is an Approved Training Organisation (UK/CAA GBR.ATO.0247) and can perform Type Ratings for Boeing 747 aircraft types, approved by the UK/CAA and JAA/EASA authorities.
Its Boeing 737, 747-200/300 Combi, B747-400, BAC 1-11 400/500, and Sikorsky S61N helicopter simulators are used by airlines and aircraft operators worldwide for initial flight crew training as well as MCC, JetOC, IR revalidations, recurrent and refresher training.
Cardiff Aviation was launched in mid-2012 by Iron Maiden vocalist and aviation entrepreneur Bruce Dickinson, who is himself a 7,000 hour Boeing 757 pilot, and Mario Fulgoni, a seasoned aviation chief executive and former airline captain. It has 132,000 square feet of hangar space capable of accommodating aircraft up to the size of a Boeing 767-300, and parking for up to 30 narrow bodied commercial airliners. St Athan has a 6,000 ft runway.
Posted: April 4, 2014
Search teams have begun using a towed pinger locator to hunt for the black box of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Two ships with locator capabilities are searching a 240km (150 mile) underwater path, in the hope of recovering the plane’s data recorder.
Up to 14 planes and nine ships were due to take part in Friday’s search.
The plane disappeared on 8 March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was carrying 239 people.
It is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, although no confirmed debris has been found from the plane.
The search is being co-ordinated from the city of Perth in Western Australia.
The battery-powered pingers on the plane’s black box stop transmitting about 30 days after a crash, giving the searchers now perhaps only a few days to locate it.
Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agencies Coordination Centre (JACC) leading the search, said that two ships had “commenced the sub-surface search for emissions from [the] black box pinger”.
Australia naval vessel Ocean Shield was using a towed pinger locator from the US Navy, while HMS Echo, which had similar capabilities, was also searching.
“The two ships will search a single 240km track converging on each other,” Air Chief Marshal Houston, who is retired, said.
ACM Houston said that the area had been picked on the basis of analysis of the satellite data.
It was based on work regarding “how the aircraft might have performed and how it might have been flown”, to choose the “area of highest probability as to where it might have entered the water”.
He pointed out that this data was continuing to be refined, but the current search was based on the “best data that is available”.
Given the progress in data evaluation and calculation, “there is some hope we will find the aircraft in the area we are searching”, he added.
The two ships will be moving at reduced speeds, of around three knots, in their attempt to detect any signal from the pinger.
Commodore Peter Leavy, Commander of Joint Task Force 658, said that search operations generally preferred to use “physical evidence” and “drift modelling” to locate a plane.
However, “no hard evidence has been found to date so we have made the decision to search a sub-surface area on which the analysis has predicted MH370 is likely to have flown,” he said.
In a statement, JACC said up to 10 military planes, four civilian planes and nine ships would be deployed in Friday’s search efforts.
The focus is on a search area of about 217,000 sq km (84,000 sq miles), 1,700 km (1,000 miles) north west of Perth.
Fair weather was forecast for Friday, with visibility of around 10km (six miles), JACC said.
Meeting staff involved in the search on Friday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “It is probably the most difficult search that’s ever been mounted.”
“A large aircraft seems like something that would be easy enough to locate – but a large aircraft that all but disappeared and disappeared into inaccessible oceans is an extraordinary, extraordinary challenge that you’re faced with.”
ACM Houston said there was still a “great possibility of finding something on the surface [of the ocean]“.
“There’s lots of things in aircraft that float,” he said, citing previous searches where life jackets from planes were found.
Sourced by BBC News
Posted: April 4, 2014
Holidaymakers are still confused by the benefits of the EHIC card, 10 years after it was introduced.
A survey of 2,005 Brits by GoCompare.com found 54% of consumers think the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) means they are entitled to free medical care anywhere in Europe, while 13% had not even heard of it.
Its survey, which has been carried out as the EHIC reaches its 10th anniversary, also found 6% think that holding an EHIC means they don’t need insurance in Europe.
In reality, an EHIC means the holder will receive the same level of state medical care provided to those that live in the country, meaning it could be free or come at a cost depending on where the person is.
GoCompare also raised concerns about websites that claim to offer EHICs for a paid cost. EHICs are free to own and can be obtained online at www.ehic.org.uk.
“Despite being around for 10 years there’s still a lot of confusion about what benefits an EHIC can and can’t provide. Whilst it is an essential piece of plastic to take to Europe, only travel insurance can give you the assurance that if disaster strikes you can pay for your treatment wherever you are or be transferred back to a UK hospital if appropriate for your care,” said Caroline Lloyd, travel insurance spokesperson at Gocompare.com.
Sourced by Travel Daily UK