Cardiff Airport board member Andrew Sargent stands down after serving two-year term

11:12, 6 April 2015 By Sion Barry
Andrew Sergent believes the airport is in good shape and welcomes the appointment of Roger Lewis as its next chairman

Non-executive of Cardiff Airport Sargent has stood down from the board after completing a two-year term.

He leaves after playing a key role in recent negotiations that has seen Flybe significantly expanding its routes at the airport – which is expected to add a further 400,000 new passengers over the next few years.

He was appointed to the board in 2013 following the acquisition of the airport by the Welsh Government for £52m, minus professional advisory fees, from Spanish firm Abertis.

Mr Sargent was appointed due to his expertise and strong track-record in change management and strategy in the airport sector.

He advised the Civil Aviation Authority on the introduction of NATS ( National Air Traffic Services), and later led the transformation programmes, post and pre-acquisition, at leading UK regional airports Bristol, Luton and Newcastle.

He said: “During the last two years I am proud to have been able to propose, initiate or influence a number of important enhancements to Cardiff’s operating strategy and structure.

“There are positive changes for all to see, not least of which are the improvements to customer service, operations, and the beginning of a long and much needed journey to reduce the cost base.

“All this must not only continue, but accelerate. However, I decided some weeks ago that two years was as much as I was prepared to give this and wrote to Welsh Government on March 30th to confirm that I did not wish my name to go forward for retention.”

Chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union Roger Lewis has been confirmed as the next non-executive chairman of the Rhoose-based airport.

He will take over from Lord Rowe-Beddoe in November.

Mr Lewis will have a direct input into the appointment of a new chief executive of the airport as well any new board members. All board members see their two-year terms expire this year.

The other non executives are David Goldstone, Geraint Davies, Margaret Llewellyn and Philip Ashman.

Mr Sargent said: “I welcome the announcement that Roger Lewis will be the new chairman and wish him and the airport team well.

“What Cardiff needs now is a combination of sound investment, tough decisions and belief in a clear, focused future as an integral part of the Welsh aerospace industry.”

The airport, which currently handles just over one million passengers a year, is operated by a holding company at arms length from the Welsh Government.

Sourced from walesonline

Fastjet edges closer to Zimbabwe service

By Phil Davies | 25 March 2015 at 08.44 GMT

African budget carrier Fastjet has won the initial green light to start services in Zimbabwe.

The airline has been granted an air service permit, described as being a “significant” step towards obtaining an Air Operating Certificate from the country’s aviation authority.

Receiving the permit means that the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Transport have approved the business plan, aircraft choice and proposed structure of the planned airline as appropriate to operate and compliant with Zimbabwe regulations, Fastjet said.

The Tanzania-based airline plans to launch Fastjet Zimbabwe in due course.

Interim chairman and chief executive Ed Winter said: “We recognised the real potential in Zimbabwe some time ago and as such have been working with the authorities both to build Fastjet Zimbabwe and obtain permission to commence operations to various domestic and international destinations from the country.

“The granting of the air service permit demonstrates the ever-increasing reputation that Fastjet has built across the region and marks a significant step forward for our business.”

He added that the carrier had identified many potential routes within and from Zimbabwe “where it believes that the low cost model will stimulate the market and tap into the huge market of passengers currently travelling by bus”.

“For example there are as many as 100 buses a day travelling the 1,100km between Harare and Johannesburg at fares up to $120 return,” Winter said.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Tunisian tourist board reassures trade following attack

By Hollie-Rae Merrick | 25 March 2015 at 08.37 GMT

The Tunisian tourist board will meet with agents over the coming months as it looks to provide reassurances about travelling to the country in the wake 
of last week’s terrorist attack that claimed 23 lives.

Eighteen tourists were killed in the attack at the Bardo Museum in Tunis, including 12 MSC Cruises passengers, among them Briton Sally Adey, and five Costa Cruises passengers.

The tourist board’s call for continued support came as several cruise lines, including Holland America Line, Costa and MSC, pulled Tunisia from itineraries.

The tourist board said Tunisia was still the perfect option for a beach holiday, with the resorts of Port El Kantaoui and Hammamet safe.

Sami Tounsi, trade manager for the Tunisian National Tourist Office, said 90% of bookings to the destination from the UK were made through the trade, so support from agents would be key.

“The UK is the second-largest European market to Tunisia and we’ve had steady growth year on year,” he said. “Last year was a record one, with 425,000 UK holidaymakers making it to Tunisia. This year we were expecting 460,000.”

Tounsi said the attack would affect Tunisia, but he hoped it would be only in the short term. “Tunisia must stay out of the news if it wants tourism to bounce back,” he added.

The tourist board said it planned to run roadshows to meet agents and to reassure them.

Michael Edwards, Intrepid Group UK and Europe regional director, said he believed “some tourists are going to think twice” about travelling to Tunisia following the incident.

Thomas Cook and Cosmos Holidays said normal booking conditions would remain unless Foreign & Commonwealth Office advice changed.

Thomson and First Choice have cancelled excursions to Tunis until the end of the month, but are monitoring the situation.

Red Sea Holidays, which is operating to Tunisia for the first time this year, reported no “dramatic” impact on sales.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Confusion surrounds new Egypt visa rules

By Juliet Dennis | 25 March 2015 at 08.30 GMT

New regulations are expected on May 15 as part of a security crackdown to deter terrorists from travelling to Egypt.

The UK office of the Egyptian State Tourist Office said talks were ongoing, with exact details due at the end of this week.

But Egypt ministry of tourism spokeswoman Rasha Azaizi said anyone booking a trip independently, and not being met by a ground-handling agent, would need a visa in advance.

Holidaymakers booking through an operator will not be affected, but it was unclear whether tourists who book flight-only or accommodation-only through an agent would continue to be able to obtain a visa upon arrival.

“These changes will just apply to independent travellers,” said Azaizi. “Those people handled by an operator or local ground-handler will not be affected: they need to be met by a ground-handler because that’s who will get the visas for them at the airport.”

She was adamant there would be no major impact for trade business from the UK.

Andy Tomlinson, director of Sutton Travel in Sutton Coldfield, said more travellers could even be encouraged to book via the trade.

He said: “It could work in favour of operators and agents. But it is still up in the air in terms of who needs it [a visa in advance].

“I was worried about DIY packages we put together ourselves, but our clients are met on arrival by a ground-handler.”

Discover Egypt director Philip Breckner said: “As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t affect our customers, but it is confusing.”

Visas are not required for UK visitors travelling to the Red Sea resorts of Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba for up to 15 days, and there was no indication this would change.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Tui Group sees ‘significant rise’ in online bookings for summer 2015

By Phil Davies | 25 March 2015 at 08.27 GMT
Tui Group today reported strong demand for summer mainstream holidays and a “significant” rise in online bookings.

Online booking levels for summer 2015 are up 12% year-on-year with 46% of the group’s mainstream programme sold – in line with this time last year.

Unique holidays account for almost three quarters of all mainstream bookings for the coming summer, up by three percentage points.

Overall summer bookings are up by 1% with average selling prices also up by 1%.

“Based on current trading, we remain confident of delivering full year underlying operating profit growth of 10% to 15%'” the Thomson and First Choice parent company said in a trading update this morning.

Tui Group chief executives of TUI Group, Friedrich Joussen and Peter Long said: “Winter 2014/15 is closing out as expected, with our mainstream programme almost fully sold and higher average selling prices in most source markets.

“We are pleased with summer 2015 trading, with continued strong demand for our unique holidays and a significant increase in online bookings.

Hotels & resorts are performing well and cruise sales continue to grow, with the launch of Mein Schiff 4 this June and improved fleet performance by Hapag-Lloyd.

“Accommodation Wholesaler is also delivering another year of double-digit TTV growth.

“We are continuing to implement our strategy post-merger, and will articulate this in further detail at our capital markets update on 13 May 13.

“We are on track to deliver a first half result ahead of last year on a like-for-like basis, and remain confident of delivering full year underlying operating profit growth of 10% to 15%.”

Europe’s largest travel group saw winter 2014/15 closing out “as expected,” with higher average selling prices in most source markets, up 1% overall.

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Germanwings flights cancelled as crews ‘refuse to fly’ in wake of crash

By Phil Davies | 25 March 2015 at 08.24 GMT
Germanwings flights cancelled as crews ‘refuse to fly’ in wake of crash
Passengers were left stranded as Germanwings crews refused to board similar aircraft to the Airbus A320 which crashed in the French Alps killing all 150 people on board.

Flights from Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and in Germany were affected in the immediate aftermath of yesterday’s tragedy.

A mother and baby from Manchester were believed to have been on board flight 4U 9525 from Barcelona to Dusseldorf which was carrying 144 passengers and six crew.

Foreign secretary Philip Hammond said t was “sadly likely” that there were British nationals on board.

Pilots were said to be refusing to fly for “personal reasons” as concerns were raised about the A320 involved in the disaster – an aircraft built in 1991.

Several Germanwings flights were cancelled as it emerged that the aircraft involved in the crash had been grounded for an hour at Barcelona airport for repairs just a day before the accident.

Pilots and cabin crew expressed their concerns the crash may have been linked to a repair to the nose-wheel landing doors on Monday, The Telegraph reported.

Germanwings parent company Lufthansa denied that there was any link between the repair and the cancelled flights.

A statement last night from the low cost carrier confirmed that some flights had to be cancelled.

“Following the tragic accident on Tuesday, Germanwings reports occasional flight disruptions within its route network,” the airline said.

“This is due to crew members, who decided not to operate aircraft following the reports on the accident of a Germanwings aircraft with 144 passengers and six crew members onboard.”

Spokesman Thomas Winkelmann said: “We understand their decision.”

The two pilots on the doomed flight had reported no sign of any problems before the aircraft disappeared from radar screens from its cruising altitude of 38,000ft before crashing into a remote mountainside at 6,500ft.

The aircraft went into a steady and rapid descent for eight minutes from halfway through its 90-minute flight from Barcelona.

Sixteen German schoolchildren returning home from a Spanish exchange trip and two babies were among the dead, who included 67 Germans, 45 Spaniards, a Belgian, and Turkish passengers.

The first of the A320’ss black box flight recorders had been recovered by last night, holding information about why it suddenly dropped out of the sky.

Airbus confirmed that the aircraft involved in the accident was orginally delivered to Lufthansa in 1991 and it had flown approximately 58,300 hours in some 46,700 flights.

To date, the entire fleet has accumulated some 150 million flight hours in over 85 million flights.

“Airbus will make further factual information available as soon as the details have been confirmed and cleared by the authorities for release,” the manufacturer said.

“The concerns and sympathy of the Airbus employees go to the families, friends and loved ones affected by the accident of Flight 4U9525.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Travel industry growth to outpace world economy, says WTTC

By Ian Taylor | 24 March 2015 at 08.23 GMT
The travel industry will grow faster than the global economy this year, according to the latest World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) forecast.

The WTTC’s annual economic impact assessment predicts travel and tourism will grow by 3.7% worldwide this year against a global economic growth forecast of 2.9%.

The Council forecasts the sector’s total contribution to the world economy will reach $7,860 billion or 10% of global GDP, up by $280 billion on 2014, and travel will account for 9.5% of all jobs in the world “once all direct, indirect and induced impacts” are included.

The industry accounted for 277 million jobs worldwide last year, according to WTTC estimates.

WTTC president and chief executive David Scowsill (pictured) said: “Travel and tourism continues to grow faster than the global economy and is an enduring source of job creation and a driver of growth for every region in the world.”

He added: “The sector has recorded strong economic growth in 19 of the last 20 years, providing much-needed economic stability at a time of global economic volatility.

“Governments looking for a sector which can create jobs and drive economic growth should focus on travel and tourism.”

But Scowsill noted: “This industry requires the right regulatory environment in which to flourish, along with progressive policies on visa access, taxation, human resources planning, and sustainability.”

In an interview with Travel Weekly, Scowsill hit out at the UK government for failing to address these issues.

He said: “The UK is not a good example of managing the sector.”

The WTTC estimates the US and China as the two biggest travel and tourism economies in the world, with Germany now in third place, having overtaken Japan, and the UK in fifth.

The Council expects Russia to be the only G20 country to register a decline in travel and tourism growth this year, due to sanctions imposed by the US and European Union over the Ukraine.

The WTTC forecasts South Asia will see the highest travel and tourism growth in 2015 at 6.9% year on year, against growth in Europe of 2.4%.

However, Scowsill said: “The long-term prospects for our sector are very encouraging.

“Travel and tourism will continue to grow faster than the global economy and most other major industries.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly