Posts Tagged ‘passengers’

Airport liquid ban remains in place

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

A senior member of the European Parliament has voiced his concerns that UK airports are deliberately holding back on a lifting of the regulations on liquids for airline passengers because they do not want to spend money on new scanning equipment. Brian Simpson, head of the transport committee, said he did not believe that airports were refusing to relax the regulations on safety grounds but for economic reasons.

The Airport Operators Association said it was not yet convinced that the scanners, which cost around £50,000 each, were capable of doing a good enough job and that it was not prepared to risk passenger safety until it was certain.

The EU had hoped to have a partial lifting of the restrictions in place by the end of April for transit passengers. However, many member states refused to comply on the grounds of national security. A complete lifting of the liquids ban is scheduled for 2013, but Mr Simpson said he did not believe that airports would comply and would use the same excuses.

The UK government said that it had decided against easing the restrictions because of security threats. It said that it was still committed to the lifting of the ban in 2013, but added that this would depend on any threats to security at the time.

The Airport Operators Association said that it was aware that passengers who were asked to dispose of liquids such as perfume, alcohol and sun tan cream before boarding a flight were frustrated, but added that safety was the top priority.

Gordon Brown in British Airways seat row

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Gordon Brown found himself at the centre of a row on a British Airways flight to London from the Middle East recently after a number of other passengers were told they would have to move out of business class because of an overbooking issue.

The problem suddenly arose during a stopover in Abu Dhabi where the former PM and his entourage boarded the aircraft and took their seats in premium class.

The appearance of Mr Brown caused many passengers to conclude that they had been bumped so that the former leader could be seated. The accusation has been denied by both BA and Mr Brown’s representatives. A woman, who tried to take a photo of Mr Brown so that she could include it in a complaint to BA, said she had been shouted at by one of Mr Brown’s aides, Kirsty McNeill.

She said that BA was obviously more to blame than Mr Brown, and that Ms McNeill was a very unpleasant woman. An airline spokeswoman confirmed that apologies had been given to those who had their journey disrupted and that it was rare for passengers to have to be moved. She added that this had nothing to do with Mr Brown’s presence on the plane.

The spokeswoman went on to say that he and his companions had all booked their tickets on the flight well in advance. A spokeswoman for Mr Brown confirmed that all seats had been booked in advance and that at no time was the former PM offered any special treatment.

BA flight makes two unscheduled stopovers

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

British Airways passengers travelling from India to the UK this week, on Flight BA 142, were frustrated by two unscheduled stopovers which meant they landed in London nearly 13 hours later than they were supposed to. The first city added to the itinerary was Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan. The pilot requested permission to land after a female passenger was taken ill.

Unfortunately, because the woman did not have the required visa for the country, the authorities would not allow the plane to depart without her. According to reports, the pilot was not keen to take to the air again with a sick passenger on-board. The situation was eventually sorted some six hours later and BA 142 was once again on its way.

However, the crew had by now used up the number of hours they are permitted to operate an aircraft, so the second city passengers were treated to was Istanbul in Turkey. The plane landed briefly to take on new crew and to feed and water the increasingly agitated BA customers.

The flight then left for London without any further changes to its itinerary and landed at Heathrow at 7.40 pm local time when it should have touched down nearly 13 hours earlier.

A spokesperson for BA said the carrier offered its apologies to the affected customers explaining that the onward journeys after both stopovers were made as soon as it was practical to do so. The spokesperson added that BA hoped passengers would appreciate that it looked after their safety first and foremost.

Angry Cathay Pacific passengers stranded at JFK

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Cathay Pacific passengers who remained stranded on the tarmac at New York’s JFK for up to 11 hours after snow storms hit the east coat of America earlier in the week are furious that the airline failed to communicate what was happening. Many are angry that the airline allowed flights to depart from Hong Kong knowing that blizzards were likely to cause delays at New York’s main airport. The storms have been the worst to hit the east coast in decades.

Cathay has since apologised and said it would be investigating the matter to make sure similar problems are avoided in the future. The airline said that passengers were left marooned on the tarmac because the poor weather meant that there were no available gates.

Association for Airline Passenger Rights executive director, Brandon Macsata, said airlines tended to be haphazard in how they dealt with situations such as stranded passengers. He added that the weather wasn’t necessarily the problem, but the lack of communication certainly was.

Earlier in the week, JFK, La Guardia and Newark airports all had to shut down because of the severe weather. Many airlines are now struggling to clear a backlog of passengers at what is one of the industry’s busiest times of the year. Planes are already flying at capacity, so it is difficult for the carriers to find available seats for those who had their original service cancelled.

Cathay has said that its timetable is returning to normal and that two out of three scheduled flights from JFK were due to land in Hong Kong.

British Airways announces passenger increase

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

Following the devastation of the world’s banking crisis in which business travellers all but disappeared, British Airways has announced that, in October, it carried 4.6 per cent more premium class passengers than in the same month a year ago. Overall, passenger numbers were up for the airline by 3.9 per cent on last October. However, load factor was reduced by a percentage point for the month to 79.8 per cent.

Total passenger numbers increased from 2.76 million last October to 2.95 million this year. The number of passengers travelling in non-premium seats was also up by 3.7 per cent on a year ago.

The Court of Appeal this week delivered its ruling on BA’s decision to reduce the number of cabin crew it dedicates to services flying out of London’s main airport, Heathrow. A year ago, BA announced it would be reducing staff numbers as a cost cutting measure. Cabin crew union Unite rejected that plan claiming it would be in breach of contract and brought the case in front of the High Court.

The High Court found in favour of BA, but Unite was not content. The matter was then sent to the Court of Appeal. On Wednesday, the appellate court announced it would be upholding the decision of the High Court.

British Airways said it was pleased that its modest changes to crew numbers could remain in place and that it had been vindicated over the contracts issue. However, Unite is soon to ballot cabin crew members over possible future strike action.

Airlines attack Air Passenger Duty

Monday, November 1st, 2010

Airlines have been hitting out at Air Passenger Duty (APD). British Airways said that on some long-haul flights APD could mean a fare increase of up to 55 per cent. The UK government has called APD an environmental tax. BA claims it is already paying twice over for the amount of carbon it emits, even before the new charges come in to play. In a press release, BA pointed out that taxing the airline industry excessively could damage both the economic and social advantages of air travel.

The airline added that Aviation was responsible for allowing UK businesses to perform on a global stage as well as providing employment for around 500,000 people across the UK.

Rivals Virgin Atlantic has also criticised APD saying it could result in fewer families being able to afford to fly. EasyJet pointed out that a £12 rise on the ticket price of a European flight would mean that since 2007, the tax will have gone up by 140 per cent. The budget carrier also attacked the government’s argument that APD was an environmental tax by pointing out that there is no correlation between emissions and price.

Transfer passengers will be exempt from paying the duty as will those who can afford to fly on a private jet, according to the carrier; meaning the overall cost will have to be absorbed by ordinary passengers.

During the election, both coalition parties said they would be changing the duty into a per-flight tax. This would better reflect the affects of the airline industry on the environment.

Tiger and Air Asia continue tit for tat

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Budget rivals Tiger Airways and Air Asia are still not playing nicely with each other. Following the cancellation recently of a number of flights which meant thousands of Tiger passengers were left stranded, full page advertisements by Air Asia have appeared in The Business Times and The Straits Times newspapers.

The ads feature a picture of a tiger cub in tears and a line of text suggesting that tigers were not born with wings and therefore were not meant to take to the air. The ads appeared on the same day that Tiger announced it had scooped the Low Cost Airline of the Year award from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

Kathleen Tan, regional head of commercial at Air Asia, said the ads were not meant to be anything more than a bit of wicked fun. She said the marketing departments enjoyed a bit of a spat from time to time.

Tony Davis, Tiger’s president and group chief executive, said this week that he wanted to make the carrier into one of the top three globally. His comments came after Air Asia’s chief executive, Tony Fernandez, was quoted as saying that Tiger was tiny. Davis pointed out that Tiger had grown by more than 43 per cent this year and was showing record figures for those choosing to fly with the airline.

Davis also confirmed that everything was on track for the launch of Thai Tiger. The joint project with Thai Airways is currently due to get off the ground early next year.

Belgian air traffic controllers stage sudden walkout

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Belgian airline passengers faced chaos yesterday as the country’s air traffic controllers walked out on a wildcat strike. Planes were grounded and some inbound flights were forced to land in neighbouring countries as airspace was effectively closed for eight hours. Although the sudden walkout was planned to last for 24-hours, emergency negotiations between the air traffic controllers and Belgocontrol resulted in the demonstration being cut short.

It has not been made immediately clear why the traffic controllers decided to stage the walkout; although a member of the union CSC, Bernadette Guillemeyn, allegedly said it was to do with dissatisfaction with management. A spokesman for Belgocontrol, Belgium’s air security organisation, said although pilots were warned beforehand, no formal warning was issued to management.

Although representatives of the unions agreed to meet with management before the strikes went ahead, the walkout could not be avoided; and management are said to be furious that no adequate reason was given for the action.

Belgocontrol bosses have been under increasing financial pressure since last year’s accounts revealed 5 million euro’s worth of losses. Belgocontrol has issued an apology to all passengers who have found themselves disrupted because of the walkout. The organisation has also apologised to airports and airlines for the strike.

Charleroi airport, a southern hub for a number of budget airlines, has experienced delays on services across Europe and to Africa. A number of carriers have been forced to land in Lille, just across the border with France. Many passengers across Belgium have found themselves seeking out alternative forms of transport.

Many passengers support plan for fat tax

Monday, February 1st, 2010

A new survey has revealed that over three-quarters of people believe that obese passengers should be charged a ‘fat tax’, according to a travel comparison website, as last week Air France implemented a new fee for larger passengers who are forced to purchase a second seat to accommodate their size.

The airline said that although a system has been in place where passengers are given a 25 per cent discount off the price of their second seat, new legislation will entitle obese customers to a full refund if their flight is not fully booked.

Less than one quarter of the 550 people surveyed disapproved of obese passengers purchasing a second seat, usually at a discounted price, while others suggested that charges should be calculated on the weight of the person and baggage.

Ryanair claimed last year that it was considering whether to charge excess weight fees for heavy fliers, after more than 30,000 passengers voted in an online poll in favour of the charges.

The move comes after an incident in 2008, in which Air France was ordered to pay £5,000 to a 27-stone passenger who had his waist measured at an airport check-in prior to being told he would need to purchase two seats.

According to an airline analysts, the ‘fat tax’ is a sensitive issue for ailriens, as they would need to treat carefully as to not alienate heavier passengers, as many argue that it should be the responsibility of the airlines to adjust their standard seat size, enabling them to comfortably accommodate all passengers.

A new survey has revealed that over three-quarters of people believe that obese passengers should be charged a ‘fat tax’, according to a travel comparison website, as last week Air France implemented a new fee for larger passengers who are forced to purchase a second seat to accommodate their size.

The airline said that although a system has been in place where passengers are given a 25 per cent discount off the price of their second seat, new legislation will entitle obese customers to a full refund if their flight is not fully booked.

Less than one quarter of the 550 people surveyed disapproved of obese passengers purchasing a second seat, usually at a discounted price, while others suggested that charges should be calculated on the weight of the person and baggage.

Ryanair claimed last year that it was considering whether to charge excess weight fees for heavy fliers, after more than 30,000 passengers voted in an online poll in favour of the charges.

The move comes after an incident in 2008, in which Air France was ordered to pay £5,000 to a 27-stone passenger who had his waist measured at an airport check-in prior to being told he would need to purchase two seats.

According to an airline analysts, the ‘fat tax’ is a sensitive issue for ailriens, as they would need to treat carefully as to not alienate heavier passengers, as many argue that it should be the responsibility of the airlines to adjust their standard seat size, enabling them to comfortably accommodate all passengers.

Birmingham claims to be viable alternative to third runway at Heathrow

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

The controversial third runway at Heathrow may not need to be built if Birmingham Airport can persuade officials that it is a viable alternative. The airport is suggesting that rather than transplanting Heathrow’s traffic it could take on some of the excess traffic flying into the South East.

Birmingham claims that fifty percent of the UK’s population is within a two hour drive of the airport and says that with a high speed rail link, it would be able to get passengers into London in just forty minutes.

Birmingham says that it is currently running at just forty percent of what it is capable of. CEO Paul Kehoe says that Birmingham is perfectly situated to take the over flow of customers from Heathrow as well as servicing people from the area. Birmingham Airport is already within easy reach of the capital and with new government initiatives like the development of high speed rail links it could see itself featured in zone 4 on the London Underground map.

Birmingham says that it would be able to accommodate another 9 million passengers each year without having to build new runways or buildings. The airport claims that it hopes to be able to double this capacity by 2030 and as such thinks it can become a viable alternative to one of the busiest airports in the world.