‘Boris Island’ fails for being ‘too risky and expensive’

'Boris Island' fails for being 'too risky and expensive'A proposal for a Thames estuary hub airport has “substantial disadvantages” that collectively outweigh its potential benefits, the Airports Commission ruled today.

The scheme put forward by London Mayor Boris Johnson has not made the shortlist of options for providing new airport capacity by 2030 following a detailed further study into its feasibility.

Sir Howard told the BBC the estuary airport scheme was “too risky” and too expensive, with estimated costs of between £30-£60 billion of public money.

“We do not think it is a sensible option to pursue,” he said.

“The Mayor was looking for a solution. I don’t think it’s completely idiotic. Unfortunately our conclusion is that we can’t take it forward.”

He added: “The national interest suggests we need to find additional capacity somewhere.”

In a separate statement Davies said: “We are not persuaded that a very large airport in the Thames estuary is the right answer to London’s and the UK’s connectivity needs.

“While we recognise the need for a hub airport, we believe this should be a part of an effective system of competing airports to meet the needs of a widely spread and diverse market like London’s.”

He added: “There are serious doubts about the delivery and operation of a very large hub airport in the estuary.

“The economic disruption would be huge and there are environmental hurdles which it may prove impossible, or very time-consuming to surmount.

“Even the least ambitious version of the scheme would cost £70 to £90 billion with much greater public expenditure involved than in other options – probably some £30 to £60 billion in total.”

Davies said: “There will be those who argue that the commission lacks ambition and imagination. We are ambitious for the right solution.

“The need for additional capacity is urgent. We need to focus on solutions which are deliverable, affordable, and set the right balance for the future of aviation in the UK.”

The commission will now continue its appraisal of the three shortlisted proposals for additional capacity. It will publish the appraisal for public consultation in the autumn.

Back Heathrow campaign co-ordinator Rob Gray said: “This decision is a major victory for the thousands of local residents in west London who had begun to fear the worst.

“However, despite the emphatic rejection of Boris Johnson’s plans, the UK still has a problem because Heathrow is bursting at the seams.

“The UK’s only hub airport might have dodged a bullet from the Mayor of London but a slow death awaits if it is not allowed to expand.

“The Airports Commission has said ‘No’ to Boris Johnson but for the sake of local jobs and UK prosperity, it now needs to say ‘Yes’ to growth at Heathrow.”

Gatwick chief executive Stewart Wingate said: “This is an important juncture in the aviation debate because now Britain’s choice is clear; expand Gatwick and support genuine competition, lower fares and greater choice for passengers or expand Heathrow and return to the stale monopoly of the past and watch the cost of going on holiday, travelling for business and exporting goods and service go up.

“We believe Gatwick has the strongest case. It is the only option left on the table that can be delivered with more certainty than either of the Heathrow options, and it can be delivered without the significant environmental impacts expansion at Heathrow would inflict on London. It can be delivered faster than any other option, and at low cost and low risk.

“Furthermore, expanding Gatwick will ensure the UK is served by two successful world class airports.

“It can liberate hub capacity at Heathrow and open up the opportunities for affordable long haul travel to emerging markets for the benefit of everyone, made possible by new generation of aircraft such as the Dreamliner.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ban threat to airlines which refuse to share passenger lists

Ban threat to airlines which refuse to share passenger listsImage via Shutterstock

Airlines are to be forced to share passenger lists with the security services as part of the latest crackdown on international terrorism.

Carriers that do not agree may not be allowed to land in Britain.

Prime minister David Cameron announced a series of measures yesterday design to prevent Islamic extremists from returning to the UK having fought in Syria and Iraq.

It is estimated that around 500 British nationals have travelled to the region to fight for groups like Islamic State, which has been gaining ground in Syria and northern Iraq.

As part of new discretionary plans to meet the threat, the government will also introduce laws enabling security force to seize the passports of anyone under suspicion at UK borders.

Cameron told the House of Commons: “What we need is a targeted power to exclude British nationals from the United Kingdom. We need to address any potential gap in our armoury to keep our country safe.

“It is a duty for all those who live in these islands so we will stand up for our values, we will in the end defeat this extremism and we will secure our way of life for generations to come.”

The announcement of the crackdown comes just days after Britain’s terror threat level was raised to severe indicating an attack was highly likely.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Voluntary travel firm collapse a ‘wake up call’ for regulation

Industry works to help fulfil charity trips

Some students are in Kilimanjaro
Some students are in Kilimanjaro

The collapse of charity travel firm Student Adventures has provided a ‘wake up call’ for new standards in the voluntary tourism sector, a membership body has said.

GBCE Ltd, trading as Student Adventures, ceased trading on Wednesday leaving some students on trips in Tanzania and Peru while many others have had to abandon plans.

With charities due to lose out on fundraising and volunteers other student and charity travel providers have stepped in to offer services, including Rare Adventures, which is not connected to GBCE.

Rare Adventures said in a statement: “We were very disappointed to hear the news that Student Adventures have gone into administration. We sympathise with all the students unable to complete their trips, having gone to a great effort to raise funds for valuable causes while undertaking a challenge of a lifetime.

“As a tour provider that offers not-for-profit services to charities, we have offered our assistance to affected charities and student fundraising organisations to ensure that all of the participants currently on events are securely returned to the UK and we are working with industry bodies to help confirm the validity of their return flights.

“The cancellation of their events is a massive injustice and should not have been allowed to happen had the operator been following existing directives from the Civil Aviation Authority.”

The company has pushed for more regulation over charity event providers particularly in the areas of governance, responsibilities and competence.

Rare Adventures has been working with membership body Bond to develop a group of charities and responsible operators that can look to define standards in the voluntary sectors.

Greg Clark, Rare Adventure’s CEO said: “All specialist volunteering and fundraising event companies must have staff qualified to deliver trips abroad to international quality and safety standards. Tour providers have a duty to go beyond traditional travel marketing to clearly demonstrate to charities and fundraisers that they have the operational as well as charity and international development experience, to serve this flourishing and dynamic area of altruistic tourism. “
Michael Wright, membership and communications director at Bond added: “The closure of Student Adventures is a wake up call for the sector. We have been hearing concerns from our members about regulation of voluntary tourism operators and are working hard with organisations like Rare Adventures to develop and enforce rigorous standards that will benefit the businesses, fundraisers and charities that go to great effort to ensure that the diverse and valuable tradition of voluntary tourism continues to flourish.”

Sourced from Travel Daily


Iceland volcano threat level lowered

A new aviation alert was issued by Iceland yesterday after a fresh lava eruption from a fissure near the Bárðarbunga volcano, but the warning was later lowered.

Iceland’s Met Office said there had been “a very calm lava eruption… hardly seen on seismometers”.

Aircraft were banned from flying within 6,000 ft of the volcano peak until the red alert changed to orange.

Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010, producing ash that disrupted air travel across Europe.

Sunday’s eruption in the Holuhraun lava field area was “calm but continuous”, authorities said.

It happened in roughly the same place as an earlier eruption on Friday morning, and is the third to happen in the area in the last week, the BBC reported.

The latest eruption was more intense than Friday’s with around 10 times more lava said Armann Hoskuldssonk, a geologist from the University of Iceland.

But the Met Office later said: “No ash has been detected. The aviation colour code for Bardarbunga has therefore been re-set to orange.”

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said a number of the roads leading in to the area have been closed and police evacuated the area immediately to the north of Vatnajökull following Friday’s small volcanic eruption.

“High levels of seismic activity continue in the area around Bárðarbunga volcano in Vatnajökull glacier in the east of Iceland,” the FCO said.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Ryanair to bid for Cyprus Airways

Ryanair plane taking off

Budget airline Ryanair has confirmed that it plans to bid for the Cypriot national airline, which is up for sale.

Ryanair’s chief marketing officer, Kenny Jacobs, told BBC Radio 5 live that it would submit its business proposal for Cyprus Airways in time for the bid deadline on Friday.

The Cypriot authorities say they expect to get about 15 different proposals.

The loss-making state-controlled airline’s new owner should be announced by the beginning of October.

Mr Jacobs told the BBC that Ryanair had “a very positive meeting” with the Cypriot government and the airline last week.

He said the eastern Mediterranean was “a really fast-growing area” for travel.

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary has previously said his airline believes it can boost the Cypriot flag-carrier’s annual passenger numbers from their current level of 600,000 to three million.

Mr Jacobs was speaking as Ryanair launched its latest attempt to woo more business travellers, who already make up a quarter of its passengers.

The airline’s new Business Plus ticket, which starts from £59.99, will offer free flight changes and a 20kg checked-in baggage allowance, as well as “premium seating”.

Sourced from BBC News


Ryanair unveils enhanced corporate fare

Ryanair unveils enhanced corporate fareA range of travel benefits designed to attract more business travellers has been unveiled today by Ryanair.

Priced from €69.99, Ryanair Business Plus includes:

•       Flexibility on ticket changes
•       20kg checked-in bag allowance
•       Fast track security at selected airports
•       Priority boarding
•       Premium seats

The move comes ahead of the low fares carrier launching a second GDS partnership, to complement a dedicated corporate and groups service. Ryanair fares became available via Travelport systems in April.

The airline claims more than a quarter of its passengers are already business travellers.

Chief marketing officer Kenny Jacobs said: “Businesses are becoming smarter with their travel and over 25% of our customers already travel on business, choosing Ryanair for our low fares, industry-leading punctuality and the largest route network in Europe.

“We now offer even more business routes, connecting Europe’s major cities with additional flights and improved schedules, ensuring great savings for businesses of all sizes.

“Our commitment to the improvement of our customer experience under our ‘Always Getting Better’ programme continues, following the introduction of allocated seating, a free second carry-on bag, reduced fees, a new website, a brand new app with mobile boarding passes, and our dedicated family service, Ryanair Family Extra.

“This launch of Ryanair Business Plus, combined with our new groups and corporate service, and partnership with Travelport GDS – with a second GDS partner to be announced soon – will make business travel with Ryanair ever simpler, as we continue to offer so much more than just the lowest fares.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Fastjet to create Kenyan offshoot

Fastjet to create Kenyan offshootAfrican low-cost carrier Fastjet is moving towards establishing a base in Kenya by creating a local offshoot in the country.

The move came as the airline, based in Tanzania, said it was continuing to monitor the outbreak of the Ebola virus and confirmed that there have been no reported cases in any of its destinations.

“Monrovia, the capital city of Liberia which is the nearest country effected by the outbreak, is 8,150 km from Dar es Salaam, compared to 7,150km from Monrovia to London, the airline said.

“Additionally, there are currently no direct flights between West Africa and Tanzania. The Fastjet business has not been affected by the epidemic.”

To comply with local airline ownership rules in Kenya, 51% of the equity of Fastjet Kenya is owned by an unnamed Kenyan national. The balance of 49% is ultimately held by Fastjet.

The airline’s chief executive Ed Winter said: “This is an important step for Fastjet. We have submitted a comprehensive application to the authorities who have confirmed that Fastjet Kenya has entered the approval process.

“We look forward to bringing the Fastjet operation to Kenya, offering our market stimulating fares, our excellent on time performance and friendly service.

“We are excited at the prospect of extending the footprint of the Fastjet operation through greater penetration of the African market with a Kenyan-based airline.

“This is in addition to the application for Fastjet Tanzania to operate services into Kenya from Tanzania.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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