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
6 March 2014 | By Edward Robertson
An explosion in interest in long-haul cruising should fit MSC Cruises’ plans to launch a round-the-world cruise in the near future.
Speaking at the MSC Cruises All Stars of the Sea event last week, Cruise Nation owner Phil Evans said the operator had seen long-haul cruises account for 70% of all sales, a business first.
He added: “For us the Far East has been going through the roof, it is bonkers the amount of interest we’re seeing down there.
“We weren’t even trying to promote it and it is through the roof; there’s a huge opportunity down there.”
Claire Brighton, Advantage Travel Partnership senior commercial manager, said the increase in interest was of benefit to the trade.
She added: “The difference for the agent is there is a greater need for them to be involved in the booking process. Complicated itineraries always work better than the others.”
Giles Hawke, MSC Cruises executive director UK, Ireland and Australia, said the increasingly adventurous appetites of cruisers could be seen in the popularity of its new 33-day cruise from Dubai to Australia in 2015, with the UK’s allocation 95% sold.
He added plans were already under way for a similar itinerary in 2016, with both Tasmania and New Zealand under consideration.
Hawke said this could then translate into a world cruise itinerary for 2017 using a smaller ship to better access ports.
“I know from my past life that a huge amount of cruisers want to [take longer itineraries],” he added. “They’ve got the time and the money.”
Earn commission on excursions
Hawke also said agents should take advantage of the commission the cruise operator offers on the trips.
“Excursions are available at the time of booking,” he said. “Some people will book their cruises with their shore excursions eight months out and start dreaming about their holiday.”
Hawke added other customers may not be so keen to buy them at the time of booking, adding: “If you try to do it all at the start then it can be a really expensive booking.”
“Excursions are available at the time of booking. Some people will book their cruises with their shore excursions eight months out and start dreaming about their holiday.”
Cruise Nation owner Phil Evans said the tour operator targeted customers two months before departure to effectively sell excursions.
The Advantage Travel Partnership senior commercial manager Claire Brighton admitted the consortium could do more to tap into the sector.
She said: “Our agents don’t necessarily put much effort into selling excursions as they get little from it.
“It is a way for them to maximise the opportunity; it is as easy as selling tickets when they go to Disney.”
Sourced from TTG Digital
Annual traffic to February 2014 rose by 3% to 81.9 million passengers, with the load factor for the month up by one percentage point to 78%.
The number of passengers flying with easyJet also increased, rising by 2.9% in February to more than 4.2 million.
The carrier saw a marginal rise in its load factor of 0.2 percentage points over the same month last year to 90.7%. Overall carryings in the 12 months to February rose by 3.5% to 61.6 million with a load factor up by 0.2 percentage points to 89.4%.
Norwegian too saw an increase, flying 22% more passengers at 1.5 million in February over the same month last year.
The airline’s load factor increased by a single percentage point to 79.3%, despite strong capacity growth.
Aer Lingus bucked the trend however for budget carriers in February, reporting overall passenger carryings down by 3% to 558,000 against 575,000 in February 2013
A drop in short-haul carryings led to a 3% decline in overall passengers flown in February. Numbers on short-haul routes dropped by 3.8% year on year to 512,000 while long-haul carryings rose by 7% to 46,000.
The overall load factor dipped by one percentage point to 67.3%. Subsidiary Aer Lingus Regional saw a 12.3% rise in carryings to 82,000 in the month.
A Ryanair spokesman cited the low-cost carrier’s move to create an easier-to-use website, customer service improvements, allocated seating and the introduction of the use of personal electronic devices on all flights as potential reasons for the carrier’s improved results.
“Further improvements will be rolled out over the coming months as Ryanair continues to lower prices and improve our industry leading customer service,” he said.
Meanwhile, Norwegian chief executive Bjørn Kjos said: “Our offer to customers has increased significantly with more routes and frequencies.
“The load factor increases, even with a strong capacity growth, are something we’re very satisfied with. At the same time, there’s strong competition in the market and many affordable tickets available, which benefits the customers.”
He added: “We are prepared to meet the competition by introducing even more brand new aircraft to the fleet, expanding the route network and adding new destinations to the route map.
“New aircraft with lower fuel burn is key to keeping costs down and continue to offer more low-fare tickets.”
Norwegian, which is planning transatlantic flights from Gatwick to the US this summer, took delivery of the first two of 15 Boeing 737-800s to be added to the fleet this year and plans to add four 787 Dreamliners to serve long haul routes.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
EU sources said negotiators from the European Parliament, the Commission, the EU executive, and the EU presidency, representing member states, had tentatively agreed that an existing suspension of EU law for intercontinental flights should be extended, The Guardian reported.
EU diplomatic sources said the deal would maintain a suspension of the law for intercontinental flights until 2016, with a provision to revert back to making all aviation pay for allowances in 2017 if a global deal on curtailing aviation emissions cannot be agreed.
A meeting of EU diplomats representing member states is expected to debate the agreement and possibly endorse it on Friday.
If confirmed, it would be a further weakening of the bloc’s stance following immense international pressure and threats of a trade war.
The International Civil Aviation Organisation agreed in October to deliver a global plan to curb airline emissions by 2016 for implementation in 2020.
The commission’s response was to propose amended legislation, only charging aircraft for emissions in EU airspace, rather than for the entire flight.
That prompted international criticism however, and leading EU members the UK, France and Germany proposed it should be scrapped, paving the way for Tuesday’s watered-down deal.
Sourced from Travel Weekly
Britain’s biggest carrier renewed calls for the Chancellor George Osborne to scrap the tax at its annual Parliamentary reception in the House of Commons last night.
Newly appointed UK market director Sophie Dekkers (pictured) pointed out that even in a record year for profitability for the budget carrier last year the amount made per passenger was £7, up from just £2 in previous years.
APD on short-haul flights is due to rise to £13 in April and there is the prospect that Osborne could signal further increases in the air tax in this month’s budget.
“My role as UK director is to grow easyJet in the UK. We have a new fleet coming in and I will be campaigning to try to secure as many of those aircraft as we can.
“Look at the numbers on commercial performance and other markets perform significantly stronger. APD has a real impact on my ability to challenge internationally and secure aircraft for the UK.
“If we want growth in the UK it would make a big difference to have a complete rethink about how it [APD] is structured and working.”
Addressing guests at the reception, Dekkers quoted the results of a PricewaterhouseCoopers report commissioned by the Fair Tax on Flying campaign.
It concluded abolishing the tax could generate a net gain for the Treasury of £16 billion over three years and create 160,000 jobs.
She said a World Economic Report highlighted how the UK due to having some of the world’s highest air taxes was 139th out of 140 in terms of a key competitiveness indicator.
“It’s hard to find another comparable table on a key measure of international competitiveness which shows Britain in this position,” Dekkers said.
Industry campaigners accept the Treasury is highly unlikely to change its policy on APD that brings in revenues of £3 billion a year and is the second easiest to collect.
However, they believe the high profile Fair Tax on Flying campaign, which has gained support from airlines which are mortal enemies, as well as organisations like Abta, has prevented larger increases.
Dekkers believes the message is getting through to MPs. “I think we are gradually getting there. I think there is a nervousness from the government about how much they are going to lose.
“The PwC report gave us an independent review that abolishing the tax would create additional taxes and cover the losses from other tax revenues.”
Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary under secretary for transport, said the government wanted to encourage aviation to grow and that it was investing in infrastructure to aid this.
He said under the current growth forecast the numbers of flyers will double by 2050, meaning Gatwick will be at full capacity by 2020 and Luton by 2030.
“We need to make sure the UK has the connections to prosper. Difficult decisions have been put off for too long.
“We want to see the aviation sector in Britain, with companies like easyJet, opening new routes and creating new jobs and wealth. That’s why we are committed to improving infrastructure over the next couple of years.”
Sourced from Travel Weekly