Airbus to invest £100m at Broughton and Filton factories

Plane maker Airbus is investing £100m in research, development and training in a deal with UK and Welsh governments.

The announcement came at an investment conference in Newport designed to create jobs and growth for the UK.

Airbus employs about 6,000 at Broughton in Flintshire and over 4,000 at Filton.

First Minister Carwyn Jones has also pledged £8.1m to support training in Broughton.

That brings the total investment in the plant to £56m, including £48m being provided jointly by Airbus and the UK government to develop new systems and technologies for building the wings for the company’s aircrafts.

The UK Investment Summit Wales conference is being held at the Celtic Manor Resort, bringing together industry leaders, investors and politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron.

Last year, an extra £100m was spent on research and development in Wales, latest figures show.

On Friday, Airbus also announced that US company Delta Air Lines had placed a firm order for 50 new aircraft.

The research and development elements of the projects will be carried out with the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), a £2 billion joint investment between industry and government aimed at developing activity necessary for the UK to win work on future aerospace programmes.

‘Backing business’

An Airbus A350-900 test plane Wings for the new Airbus A350 plane are all made at the Broughton factory

Announcing the ATI funding, Mr Cameron said: “Aerospace is a real cornerstone of British business, supporting over 100,000 jobs across the UK and is worth over £27bn to our economy every year.

“With today’s investment we are backing our aerospace sector so that it continues to thrive, as key part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain.”

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “The aerospace industry is so important to Wales and we need to make sure that the skills of our workforce move at the pace of technological development in this field.”

Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb added: “Today’s announcement means the company can now manufacture more of the world’s most technologically advanced aircraft wings right here in Wales.”

Paul McKinlay, head of Airbus’s Broughton plant said: “Airbus places great importance on training its workforce and this funding will support development of skills and expertise and ensure Wales is ready to take on the challenges the next generation of technology will bring.”

A total of £48m is being invested in a project at the Broughton plant to develop new systems and technologies for building aircraft wings.

Airbus’s Filton and Broughton plants are responsible for designing, testing and manufacturing the wings for the whole family of Airbus commercial airliners.

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Analysis by Brian Meechan, BBC Wales business correspondent

Airbus is one of the biggest employers in Wales with 6,000 people at the Broughton site manufacturing the wings for its aircrafts.

The UK aerospace industry is in a strong state. It grew by almost 10% last year.

It is a key industry in Wales providing highly skilled and well paid jobs not just at Airbus but also GE Aviation, General Dynamics and British Airways.

Aerospace employs around 23,000 people in Wales.

The money will be used on research and development at the Broughton site.

The Welsh government is also providing a further £8m to the company for staff training over the next five years which is a continuation of financial support it has given Airbus since 2009.

Speaking to some people from small businesses today, they asked why a multi-national company should need taxpayers’ money to train their staff.

It is understandable when budgets are tight in the fields of education, training and apprenticeships.

The argument would be that training workers does not just provide a benefit to the company but to the wider economy by creating a more skilled workforce in Wales which helps us compete internationally.

The Welsh government also offers financial support to attract companies into Wales which often includes money to help train staff.

So if it can be offered to new companies to establish themselves in Wales, why not to businesses that have shown a long-term commitment to the country and its workforce.

Sourced by BBC News


Amazon to move into travel sector?

Internet behemoth Amazon is reportedly preparing to launch its own travel service.

According to Skift.com, the retailer has been sounding out hotels with the new proposition set to launch on January 1.

The initial roll-out looks set to focus only on hotels.

Skift reported that hotels signed up to Amazon’s new service would load up details onto an Amazon network and would then pay the US-firm 15% commission.

Sourced by TTG Digital


‘€500 fine if you wheel your suitcase’ – Venice’s latest tourism law

Italy VeniceBy Sophie Griffiths,

Venice has introduced an unlikely measure in its battle to protect the city from the impact of tourists – banning the use of wheelie suitcases.

The city council passed the latest law amid complaints about the noise of large tour groups dragging their bags over bridges, which local residents have said keeps them awake at night, and ultimately amounts to noise pollution.

Tourists will now be required to pick their suitcases up, with only those that have inflated tyres to be permitted to be wheeled.

Visitors who fail to comply with the laws will face a fine up to €500.

Venetians themselves however, will be exempt from the law.

It is the latest measure introduced in a bid to try and limit the impact of the 20 million tourists that visit Venice every year.

Earlier this year, the city launched a campaign to try and discourage couples from attaching padlocks to the city’s bridges as a symbol of love, arguing that the old structures were too fragile to bear the weight.

There has also been complaints over the number of cruise ships visiting the city, with residents complaining that the ships sometimes sail dangerously close to the shore, and are an eyesore.

Sourced by TTG Digital


Campaign calls for APD to be scrapped for children

Campaign calls for APD to be scrapped for childrenBy Juliet Dennis,

The A Fair Tax on Flying coalition has launched a large-scale campaign calling on the government to scrap Air Passenger Duty on children’s flights.

Scrap The Tax on Family Flights launched on Monday, and urges staff in the travel trade as well as consumers to register their opposition to the tax on children.

APD adds £52 to the cost of a family of four’s economy flights to destinations in Europe and £276 to destinations such as the US. The tax is the highest of its kind in the world and only four other European countries levy a similar charge.

The coalition of aviation, travel and tourism partners is confident of widespread support for the campaign, which comes ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement by chancellor George Osborne, and hopes to bring about a change in the March 2015 budget, the last before the next General Election.

It follows a ComRes poll, commissioned by A Fair Tax on Flying, which found 65% of UK adults thought children under 12 should be exempt from APD in the same way children are exempt from other taxes, while 75% said it was unfair UK families pay a flight tax while those from other countries do not get charged.

The coalition, set up with the aim of reducing APD, claims it would cost the Treasury £50 million if it stopped charging the tax on children aged two to 12, who are currently charged the same amount of APD on flights as adults. The £50 million is understood to represent around 1.7% of overall APD revenue.

A spokesman for the campaign said: “The tax on children’s flights is a strain on family budgets. Scrapping APD on children’s flights will help to make an annual holiday more affordable for hard working and hard pressed families at a minimal cost to government.”

Around 30 members of Parliament have already signed a House of Commons early day motion to support the issue. “We expect this number to increase,” added the spokesperson.

A special online calculator – a new version of the coalition’s existing tax calculator – has been created for supporters of the campaign to work out how much they are paying for their children to fly.

The calculator can then send an electronic postcard to chancellor George Osborne to scrap the tax and allows supporters to tweet their opposition directly to the Treasury.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “As an industry we can support this and spread the message ahead of what is a crucial pre-election budget. We’d urge all of our members and travel companies far and wide to use Facebook and Twitter to follow the campaign and share messages and the calculator link with their customers and contacts.”

The campaign follow recent calls from high-profile figures in the industry, including Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger and BMI chief executive Cathal O’Connell, to abolish APD for children.

Richard Singer, European managing director of Travelzoo and a long-time campaigner against APD, said: “Travelzoo fully supports the ‘Scrap The Tax on Family Flights’ campaign and welcomes the news that David Cameron has voiced his support for this initiative.

“Since July 2013 Travelzoo has been lobbying the Government to remove or reduce Air Passenger Duty on flights for families – our suggestion was to remove this tax on flights during school holiday dates.

“A removal of tax on all flights for children under the age of 12 is in keeping with our aim to fight what we call the Parent Trap – the combined effect of the government fines for term time holidays, the highest flight tax in the world and the increase in price of travel during peak dates. Travelzoo will join this campaign and continue to fight the Parent Trap on behalf of all UK families.”

More information can be found at afairtaxonflying.org, or the campaign can be followed on Twitter @ScrapFamilyAPD.

Sourced by Travel Weekly


Thomas Cook expected to reach fresh milestone with results this week

Cook expected to reach fresh milestone with results this weekBy Phil Davies,

The transformation at Thomas Cook is due to hit another milestone on Wednesday when it reports an increase in profits for the year to September 30.

The group is expected to post a figure of £323 million for the period, a rise of 23% on a year earlier despite a backdrop of difficult European markets after bookings in Germany moderated from their previously strong level.

The company’s German operation is also experiencing weaker margins due to reduced demand, excess market capacity and the geopolitical events in Ukraine.

Its UK summer capacity was 92% sold, with average selling prices down 4% mainly caused by a change in product mix and greater level of market capacity.

Overall, the company should have achieved a ninth consecutive quarter of increased profitability in the final three months of its financial year.

Cook, led by chief executive Harriet Green (pictured), is half way through a long-term plan to drive savings and return the group to bottom-line profit after its near collapse in 2011.

It has significantly reduced net debt from £788 million at the end of 2012 to between £300 million and £350 million by the end of this financial year.

The company has already cut costs by more than the £360 million it targeted this year and is expected to use the full-year results to outline new savings plans.

Brokers at Morgan Stanley forecast it will have saved £380 million this year, and that Thomas Cook will unveil a £480 million target for 2015, according to weekend reports.

Sourced by Travel Weekly


Jess Fishlock experiences the thrill of being at the controls

JessFishlockPress Release by Cardiff Aviation

International Welsh footballer Jess Fishlock was invited by the BBC to “try something a bit different” for Sport Wales. She took the controls of the 747 simulator, as Captain Paul Jones taught her how to fly a big jet. The whole detail was filmed by the production crew for broadcast next week. Jess has spent a huge number of hours as a passenger in jet aircraft flying all over the world, so she found it fascinating to see what actually happens at the “front end”.

She learnt the basic techniques incredibly quickly, so Paul decided to throw in one of the most challenging manoeuvres a jet pilot can face – an inadvertent thrust reverser deployment on take-off. Jess coped with it extremely well and landed the aircraft. Captain Paul Jones commented afterwards “Her natural flying ability was better than I have seen in some student pilots “. Praise indeed.

The program will be broadcast on BBC2 Wales on Friday the 28th of November at 19.00


Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter to stay in the sky

Fears the Dyfed-Powys Police helicopter would be withdrawn from service have been allayed after it was confirmed it will remain patrolling the skies.

The helicopter, which polices Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, will be kept as part of a deal to join the new National Police Air Service (NPAS).

A number of police aircraft will be cut as part of the service.

The force’s helicopter will be managed by NPAS from next year.

Dyfed-Powys Police’s Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said the helicopter, which searches for missing people, suspects and vehicles, would remain at its base in Pembrey, Carmarthenshire.

There were concerns that it would shut when plans to cut the number of police aircraft and bases were announced in October 2010.

The NPAS is designed to save £15m a year and the number of police aircraft is expected to be cut from 33 to 25.

They will be centrally managed by the new service.

Mr Salmon said the the new service would be “great news” for communities across the force area.

“This force covers a huge area – more than half of Wales – and policing locations so far apart brings unique challenges.”

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Policing the skies

  • The police helicopter helps with searches for missing people, suspects and vehicles and casualty evacuation, transporting specialist teams around Dyfed-Powys’s 4,188 square miles
  • It gathers intelligence including using automatic number plate recognition and video
  • A helicopter takes around 12 minutes to search a square mile at a cost of £160 – an operation that would take 12 police officers 454 hours at a cost of around £4,680
  • In 2014, it helped recover property worth more than £120,000, locating 23 vulnerable and missing people, and transporting seven people with life threatening injuries to hospital
  • It also played a key role, working with neighbourhood police teams, in closing down several drugs factories and supply chains
  • Flying times include from Pembrey to Aberystwyth in 24 minutes; the equivalent road journey of around 64 miles takes around 112 minutes
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The Dyfed-Powys Police Authority had opposed plans to remove a dedicated helicopter for the force area and also rejected the idea of a using a cheaper fixed wing aircraft.

The deal, due to take effect next year, will see Dyfed-Powys’s own helicopter replaced by an Airbus EC135 helicopter owned and maintained by the NPAS.

Staff at Pembrey will be cut from nine to seven as the base is transferred to the NPAS.

The Dyfed-Powys Police force area will also be covered by bases at St Athan in the Vale of Glamorgan, Rhuddlan in Denbighshire and Halfpenny Green in Wolverhampton.

The new service will cost the force around £890,000 a year. The existing service cost the force around £1.1m in 2013-14 and is budgeted to cost around £1.2m in 2014-15.

A helicopter shared by south Wales and Gwent police forces, based at St Athan, will transfer to the NPAS on 1 February.

The helicopter for North Wales Police was transferred last January.

Sourced by BBC News Wales


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