Glasgow Airport announce further expansion of airport terminal

19 November 2014

Glasgow Airport has announced plans to invest more than £3 million into expanding the
terminal building to help service more flights and rising passenger numbers.

This latest expansion of Glasgow Airport will see the construction of a new two storey,
1,400 square metre extension to the airports East Pier with work due for completion by
spring 2015.

The extension to the East Pier, which is home to low cost airlines including Easyjet and
Ryanair, will result in the creation of five additional boarding gates.

The expansion is in direct response to the airport’s growing success and popularity amongst
passengers and airlines. Earlier this week it was revealed that Glasgow Airport has recorded
its 21st consecutive month of growth and this fantastic growth is set to continue well into
2015 as the airport has secured an incredible 29 new routes, 10 of which will be operated by
Easyjet and Ryanair from the airports newly extended East Pier.

In October, Ryanair opened its new Glasgow Airport base with 55 weekly flights to 9 European
destinations with the airline expecting to carry over 850,000 passengers from the airport
within its first year of operating.

October also saw budget airline Easyjet launch Scotland’s only direct flights to Morocco with a new twice-weekly service from Glasgow to Marrakech and the airline will further strengthen its route network from Scotland’s largest city in June with the launch of new direct flights to the French city of Bordeaux.

The expansion to the East Pier will not only provide much needed additional capacity for low cost airlines, it will also free-up existing capacity at the airports Central and West Piers to accommodate expansion from other airlines including Jet2, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic and West Jet.

Earlier this year Jet2 announced its own expansion plans at Glasgow Airport for 2015 with the introduction of a sixth based aircraft and the launch of five new routes including Larnaca, Malta and Prague, plus increased flights on existing popular routes including Murcia. The expansion will see Jet2 operating its biggest ever flying programme from Glasgow Airport in 2015.

Amanda McMillan, managing director of Glasgow Airport, said: “2014 has been a momentous year for Glasgow Airport and this latest project brings our total investment figure for the year to £20 million. The extension of the East Pier is in direct response to our success in securing a number of new routes and services. Not only will it significantly enhance our facilities, it will improve the passenger experience for the millions of people who travel through our doors every year.”

Sourced from Air Glasgow

Airlines hit out at Labour plan to charge visitors to enter the UK

Airlines hit out at Labour plan to charge visitors to enter the UKImage via Shutterstock

Airlines have hit out at suggestions that a Labour government would impose a new charge on visitors from countries that are not required to obtain a visa to enter the UK.

The unspecified income would fund 1,000 additional Border Force staff.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper said the party would fund the staff with a charge for visitors from the US and 55 other countries with a visa waiver agreement with the UK.

People in countries with a visa waiver system of fast-track permission to enter the UK would be charged about £10 per visit under the plans.

Labour estimates about 5.5 million travellers a year would have to pay the new fee – many from the US, Australia and Canada.

But British Air Transport Association chief executive Nathan Stower said carriers have “significant concerns” about the proposal.

“Visitors from countries like the USA and Australia already pay the highest air passenger tax in the world to fly to the UK – £71 from next April – contributing billions of pounds to the Treasury. Adding yet another charge will make the UK more uncompetitive in attracting tourists, businesses and inbound investment,” said Stower.

“It is not clear how this proposed charge would be collected. The vast majority of visitors from those countries that are not required to obtain a visa to enter the UK, such as the USA, do not currently provide information to UK authorities ahead of their visit.

“Furthermore, if more money were to be raised from airline passengers alone, it would only fair for this to fund improvements in the border at airports and not at other ports of entry such as Calais.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Cardiff Airport given £3.5m to attract new airlines

British Airways Airbus A380
Cardiff’s runway could be widened to land the Airbus A380, Carwyn Jones said

Cardiff Airport has been told it can borrow £3.5m of taxpayers money to try to attract new airlines.

The Welsh government described it as the most significant step at the airport since buying it 18 months ago.

It comes after First Minister Carwyn Jones said its future lies in long-haul flights, not competing with Bristol on closer destinations.

The last time such a fund was available was in 2006 when £4m was used by the then privately-owned airport.

Cardiff Airport has had mixed fortunes under public ownership.

It was bought by the Welsh government for £52m in March 2013 and has invested about £10m in improvements at the terminal.

A general decline in passenger numbers was halted, although figures for September showed a 7% reduction on the year.

Earlier in November, the German airline Germanwings announced it was ending flights between Cardiff and Dusseldorf in 2015, following on from Cityjet scrapping a service to Glasgow.

But Ryanair has returned to the airport after an eight-year gap with a weekly flight to Tenerife.


Speaking on BBC’s Good Morning Wales radio programme, Welsh Conservative assembly leader Andrew RT Davies said looking at the figures, the government had “not done a very good job” since taking over the airport.

“Regrettably, there’s been a year-on-year decline of 7% in passenger figures. We know of a series of airlines that have chosen to pull out… and we know the most senior executive there, the managing director, left very quickly at the end of August,” he said.

“There doesn’t seem to be much stability there, but what we need to do is make sure an airport works for Wales and the Welsh economy.”

However he added he did welcome the route development fund announcement but said the government had been slow to put it in place.

“For an airport to be successful, you need airlines to use it and you also need those routes to bring people in as well as take people out because obviously the more people you bring in that’s a greater boost to the Welsh economy,” he said.

“Those people are either coming in on business or tourism and they’re spending and creating wealth in Wales.

“It’s not about the airport, it’s about the airlines.”

Line break

Analysis by BBC political editor Nick Servini

One of the huge challenges that we have had all along since the government announced it was going to buy the airport is how to try to challenge this highly successful commercial operation in Bristol airport, which has something like 5m passengers a year.

Cardiff is around the 1m mark.

The route development fund is an attempt to deal with that. We are moving into the second phase now following the decision to put the airport into public ownership.

The Welsh government is putting £3.5m to try to attract new airlines and new routes and that is why it is saying it believes this is most significant step that it has taken since buying the airport.

From a passenger’s perspective, all they want to know about is what kind of routes and what kind of offer there is going to be and there is a big hope this can make a difference.

Sourced from BBC Wales News

Easyjet working on ‘wish list’ of new destinations from Bristol Airport. Where would you like to fly to?

By The Bristol Post  |  Posted: November 19, 2014

By Michael Ribbeck

Easyjet is already planning for further growth from  Bristol in 2016

Easyjet is already planning for further growth from Bristol in 2016

LOW cost airline easyJet is already looking to add new routes for passengers at Bristol Airport. The airline announced record profits for a fourth year running and revealed it is already planning ahead for further growth in Bristol 2016.

At the moment the airline flies to 46 different destinations from Bristol and that is likely to hit the half century mark by the end of next year.

Over the last 12 months 3.4 million passengers flew with the airline out of Bristol – more than half the total number of passengers who used the airport over the last year.

Earlier this month, EasyJet announced four new routes to destinations in Sicily, Spain and Portugal.

But Sophie Dekkers, who is responsible for organising easyJet’s flying schedule from UK airports, is already looking for new destinations from Bristol.

She said: “Bristol is a key airport for us and that is not going to change in the near future.

“We are adding another aircraft next year and we are also looking at increasing capacity on our existing flights.

“We are basing another aircraft at Bristol next year which means that we can increase capacity on our existing routes.”

The easyJet model means that the furthest destination the airline flies to is Egypt.

Ms Dekkers said: “We operate in destinations were we can get there and back in one day.

“We keep our costs low because we do not have to pay for overnight stays for our crew.

“At the moment our furthest destination is Egypt from Manchester which is a five and a half hour flight.

“We are not looking at destinations further afield but we are always looking to add new and exciting places to visit.

“At the moment we are in the process of drawing up a wish list of destinations we would like to fly to from Bristol.

“We will look at the various destinations and decide which ones are economically viable.

“We are putting our plans in place now for our Christmas timetable which we will be announced in 12 months time.”

EasyJet is now the largest operator based at Bristol Airport – its closest rival is Irish airline Ryanair.

Last year six million passenger used the airport, which has plans in place for a £120 million expansion scheme.


Easyjet profits rise sharply as passenger numbers increase

At present, Easyjet operates 675 routes across 135 airportsAt present, Easyjet operates 675 routes across 135 airports

No frills airline Easyjet has reported a 21.5% rise in annual pre-tax profits, helped by increased passenger numbers.

Profits rose to £581m for the 12 months to end of September, up from £478m in the previous year.

The UK carrier also said it had transported 64.8 million passengers – marking a 7% rise.

Chief executive Carolyn McCall said EasyJet had “opened up clear blue sky” between the airline and its competitors.

Easyjet, which has a fleet of 226 planes, said the acquisition of slots at Gatwick airport from rival airline Flybe had boosted its performance

The amount of available seats on Easyjet flights grew by 5.1% to 71.5 million, of which almost 91% were filled.

Cheaper fuel

The airline said it was seeing increasing passenger loyalty, with 57% of existing customers rebooking each year.

“When people sample us, when they try us for the first time, they tend not to go back to legacy airlines,” Ms McCall told the BBC.

She added that a new loyalty scheme, trialled on 15,000 passengers, was proving popular, and would make it easier for dedicated fliers to navigate airports and book travel.

Easyjet’s outlook for the coming year was largely positive, although it warned that costs per seat would increase by approximately 2.5% due to rising airport, navigation and maintenance charges.

However, the airline also said an expected fall in fuel prices could drive costs down by as much as £22m over the next six months.

Easyjet faces increased competition from more traditional rivals, such as Air France-KLM and Lufthansa, who are expanding into the “low-cost” sector.

In addition, Easyjet’s largest competitor, Ryanair, has focused recently on improving its customer service

Sourced from BBC News

Monarch faces a tough challenge, says Mantegazza

The former owner of Monarch Group says the new owners face a tough job as it seeks to compete in the low cost arena against easyJet and Ryanair.

Fabio Mantegazza and his family poured £50 million into a survival package earlier this year that saved 2,500 jobs and kept the business they had owned for nearly half a century intact

The payment helped reduce the deficit in the company’s defined-benefit pensions scheme and provide capital as part of the sale to Greybull Capital.

The turnround specialist is putting in £75 million for a 90% stake.

A charter airline business for many years, Monarch is being streamlined. Some 700 jobs have gone and charter and long-haul flying is ending.

It will operate as a low-cost airline, flying to Mediterranean and other European destinations.

“Life will be hard. They will have to work as hard as easyJet and Ryanair,” Mantegazza told the Financial Times.

“Customers have enormous choice. The industry is changing all the time, businesses have to be well run and financed, very competitive and clear what they are about.”

Monarch made good money for the Swiss-Italian Mantegazzas. It was one of a clutch of travel businesses, including tour operator Cosmos, that helped the family to a ranking of 317 on the Forbes billionaires list worth an estimated $2.4 billion.

But failed rescue plans and the ultimate sale of the group last month have proved financially costly for the Mantegazzas.

“We had a very good run of good luck,” said Mantegazza. “But good luck comes to an end.”

A potent mixture of the internet and low-cost airlines overhauled the way people booked holidays and made Monarch’s charter business increasingly anachronistic.

Sudden events made it particularly vulnerable. The Arab Spring of 2011 drove up the price of oil and pushed Monarch to the brink. That summer, Mantegazza had a heart attack.

The same year his family injected £40 million into a rescue plan, but it was not deemed sufficient, so another £20 million was required.

The rescue plan promised £17 million of profits in 2013, doubling to £35 million this year. But the forecasts were revived downwards – to £20 million, then break even.

New chief executive Andrew Swaffield was predicting a £50 million loss at Easter.

More money was needed to prop up Monarch: £15 million last Christmas, £25 million in the summer. A new rescue plan, requiring a further £75 million of investment, promised a return to profit – in 2018. But the family rejected it.

“Before we got there, we knew we would get clobbered again,” the FT reported Mantegazza as saying.

He, his father Sergio and the Albeck family – partners of the Mantegazzas since the 1950s – decided to sell.

“We did not want to continue to support the business,” said Mantegazza. “We felt it was not viable to become investor of last resort and it was not a business we wanted to stay in. We didn’t want to sign any blank cheque.”

But the Mantegazzas felt loyalty to the Monarch staff.

The sale to Greybull involves a 10% stake going to the Pension Protection Fund, the lifeboat fund for scheme members.

The Mantegazzas feel a sense of “privilege” at achieving an exit that keeps the business alive. A liquidation would have been “a very regrettable outcome”, he said.

“There were 15 occasions in the summer when if we had got a wrong answer the business would have gone down the tubes,” Mantegazza admitted.

His 87-year-old father felt a sense of closure when told the sale had gone through, said Mantegazza.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

The viability of Cardiff Airport could be weakened if the Welsh Government presses ahead with a new section of the M4, campaigners warn

The claim comes from green campaigners, who say construction around Newport would play into the hands of rival Bristol Airport

AirportWatch, a coalition of environmental campaigns, say Cardiff Airport could suffer should improvements be made to the M4

The viability of Cardiff Airport could be weakened if the Welsh Government presses ahead with constructing a £1bn section of motorway around Newport, green campaigners claim.

The faster and more reliable road journey – coupled with the reduced Severn tolls which the Welsh Government hopes to implement – would play into the hands of rival Bristol Airport, they say.

The Welsh Government paid £52m for Cardiff Airport last year but has not provided evidence that the airport’s future was considered during development of the plans for the M4 relief road.

AirportWatch, a coalition of environmental campaigns, said several civilian airports in Britain had closed in the last few years because people and freight were gravitating towards larger airports.

Latest statistics show that Bristol has six times more passengers than Cardiff.

“Sheffield [city airport] recently shut down because of the competition from Manchester,” said John Stewart, who chairs AirportWatch.

“You could see a similar situation where Cardiff is really going to struggle to compete with Bristol and possibly Heathrow.

“As we know with motorways, rather than regenerating a less wealthy area they often tend to bring people in to the more prosperous areas they’re linking in to.

“If the road is built through the Gwent Levels, it’s probably faster to get to Bristol and London [in the future]. The M4 corridor west of London is quite prosperous.

“The impact on Cardiff Airport of people going to fly from somewhere else should be factored in.”

Mr Stewart said the cost of Severn tolls and risk of delays on the current M4 around Newport could encourage some Welsh fliers to choose Cardiff over Bristol.

Mr Stewart claims a faster motorway and cheaper tolls could make Bristol more attractive to Welsh residents.

He said: “It’s probably too dramatic to say they signal the writing on the wall for Cardiff, but I think it will mean there are extra hurdles which Cardiff will have to climb if it’s going to remain a viable airport. It may or may not do so,” he said.

“Bristol Airport isn’t far away and it’s looking to expand. The South-west [of England] is wealthier than the wider Cardiff area. Although the budget airlines sell themselves on allowing people to go to the sunshine once or twice a year, their real money comes from the moneyed people who travel five or six times a year.”

He claimed it would be controversial for the Welsh Government to respond to weakening viability by pumping more public money into Cardiff Airport.

Stephen Joseph, director of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “There’s been an assumption in the thinking about the new motorway around Newport that it would bring more growth and employment into Wales. It could result in businesses moving out of South Wales.

“Hidden among all the debate about whether to have extra runways at Heathrow or Gatwick is the fact that there’s been a consolidation at the regional airports. If you’re EasyJet or Ryanair, you’re not going to spread around all the airports, you’re going to concentrate on one.

“That’s not to say that nobody would create business at Cardiff but Bristol is servicing the high-tech businesses on the north Bristol fringe, which provides a base of business for Bristol airport that isn’t there in Cardiff.”

However, Welsh aviation expert Martin Evans, visiting fellow at the University of South Wales, said: “We’re never going to have a situation where one airport gives up and closes.

“Both have advantages and disadvantages. Bristol has really captured the low-cost market, both for its part of England and for South Wales. It would be very difficult for Cardiff Airport to build a substantial presence in that market now.

“However, Cardiff has some advantages that Bristol doesn’t. It has better operational characteristics. It has room for growth, so perhaps there are markets that Cardiff can compete in and find its own niche.”

Asked what assessment the Welsh Government had made of the potential impact on Cardiff Airport of the M4 relief road and reduced Severn tolls, a spokesman said: “We have announced a preferred route for improving the M4, which we believe is the best solution to transport issues around Newport and is vitally important to the economic prosperity of Wales.”

He referred to a study by independent consultants on future Severn tolls. However, the study dates from 2012 – before the Welsh Government owned the airport – and does not refer to airports.


Airports grounded

Blackpool. Closed October 2014. Last remaining airline transferred to Manchester.

Manston, Kent. Closed May 2014 with loss of KLM service to Amsterdam and charter flights.

Plymouth. Closed December 2011 after loss of flights to London, Ireland, Scotland and France.

Coventry. Closed December 2009. Airlines transferred to Birmingham.

Sheffield. Closed April 2008 after loss of flights to London, Ireland, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Sourced from walesonline


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