May 2012 (late)

LibDems call for Thames airport proposal to be scrapped

The latest call for the proposal for an airport in the Thames Estuary to be dropped come from the LibDems, citing the dangers from an American WW2 cargo ship believed to contain around 1,400 tons of explosives. It is thought that the ship and its cargo would be too dangerous to move after an attempt to move a similar wreck resulted in an explosion.

Opinions differ as to the level of risk that would be involved if "Boris Island" was built with the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery still in place.

31st May 2012


TUC launches campaign to fight for workers' rights at work

Following legal loan shark, Adam Beecroft's disgraceful proposals to make it easier (and cheaper) to fire workers, the TUC has launched the Stop Employment Wrongs campaign. David Cameron has, in the cynical and uncaring way that is typical of this coalition government said that he plans to act on 17 of the 23 proposals from a man who makes his riches by charging extortionate interest rates for payday loans to the struggling poor.

Beecroft proposals would create “more than three million second-class citizens at work”, says TUC

31st May 2012


Airports tell government: 'Don't lift liquids ban'

The UK Airport Operators' Association tells parliament that the technology is not ready to screen liquids, aerosols and gels carried by millions of passengers in time for an EU deadline of April 2013.


Unite echoes transport select committee’s safety concerns over European aviation plans

The House of Commons transport select committee has expressed concerns over proposals that the UK fall in line with less strict rules on rest breaks for pilots and crew that are in place in Europe, after hearing evidence from BALPA (British Airline Pilots Association). Unite says that fatigue is a significant factor in many aviation accidents and that we should be looking at tightening rules, not relaxing them.

31st May 2012 


British Airways takes over and rebrands bmi lounge at Heathrow T1


Nobel Prize winning economist destroys Tory arguments for austerity on Newsnight


Government urged to reduce visa processing times

The travel industry says that the time taken to process visa applications is damaging the UK's tourist industry and discouraging business.

31st May 2012


Kingfisher vows to bounce back despite higher losses


Robert Mugabe: A leader for tourism says the UN


MPs are told 'Tired pilots are risking safety'

BALPA tells a parliamentary aviation committee that rules on pilot rest periods must not be relaxed and reveals that 43% of pilots admit to having fallen asleep in the cockpit.

30th May 2012


IATA reveals growth in aviation passenger numbers as cargo slips

April passenger numbers were up 7.4% compared to last year, but freght fell by 4.5% for the same period


NATS sell-off proposals stall

The government appears to have put off selling its 49% share in NATS, which runs Britain's air traffic control services. There are concerns that DFS, the state owned German ATC operators could acquire a controlling interest.

30th May 2012


Kingfisher says it has no outstanding tax bills after reports its accounts are frozen


Doctors vote for industrial action


Turkish Air workers call in sick as government tries to make strikes illegal

Turkish Airlines is forced to cancel 104 flights as the government attempts to introduce a bill to outlaw workers' fundamental right to withdraw their labour.

ITF comes out in support of strike action at Turkish Airlines

29th May 2012


Putting Beecroft in charge of workers rights like asking Dracula to advise on blood donors

The Morning Star's editorial on David Cameron's choice of legal loan shark Adam Beecroft as an advisor on employment rights.

29th May 2012


IOC member calls Heathrow “a nightmare”


More than 70% of public want Osborne to U-turn on cuts and adopt a Plan B

Left Foot Forward comments on the public's decreasing confidence in the government's austerity strategy.

29th May 2012


Skyport report on the Unite workers threatening to strike on the Terminal 2 project


Air France confirms cost cutting and restructuring plan


Chuka tells Cameron: Third of trade unionists are Tory, so stop the union bashing


Boris Johnson: Government tip-toeing back to third runway

Boris assures us that he will "die in a ditch" to prevent a third runway at Heathrow. Another broken Tory promise, then.

28th May 2012


BAA gets reprieve over Stansted sale


Newcastle airport set for sale auction


Portugal Appoints Advisers for Aviation Selloffs

The Portugese government prepares to sell off some of its aviation assets, including national airline TAP and Lisbon ANA airport. IAG has indicated that it has less interest in acquiring TAP now that it has got its hands on bmi's slots at Heathrow. It has been speculated that bidders for Lisbon ANA may include BAA's owner Ferrovial and Gatwick owner Global Infrastructure Partners.

28th May 2012


British trade unionist Guy Ryder elected head of UN workplace rights body


They want our children to work to 80


Heathrow night flights: Ministers to consider economic impact of sleep loss


'We need laws to break anti-union blacklists'


BAA boss says third Heathrow runway 'must be considered'

The air travel industry is stepping up pressure on the government to consider a third runway at Heathrow as part of its future aviation stategy. A number of high profile figures have already put their case forward. Richard Branson has said that government support for R3 would be the best way to drive forward UK economic growth, a position that is supported by many economists.

Heathrow is only airport with enough transfer passengers

New Heathrow runway would 'boost economy' - Branson

Branson pledges 'massive expansion' if Heathrow constraints lifted

28th May 2012


'Extra' border staff may not be trained


TUC - Over 20,000 jobs at risk on UK railways


Spain's troubled Bankia set to sell down stake in British Airways owner IAG

IAG's majority shareholder, Spain's fourth largest bank, Bankia has indicated that it may sell its holding as part of a recapitalisation scheme. Bankia needs a bailout of around £15 billion and says that the recapitalisation has been approved by the government and the Bank of Spain. Which of Bankia's assets are to be sold has yet to be announced and may be decided at a shareholders meeting on the 29th of June.

27th May 2012


Vulture fund 'picks the bones' of DR Congo


India could ban European airlines over ETS row

The row over Europe's carbon trading scheme threatens to escalate.

26th May 2012


BA pension trustees to finance major Oxford Street development


AEA calls for urgent action on Single European Sky

The Association of European Airliness calls for a radical restructure of air traffic control. AEA says that this will allow aircraft to save time and fuel by following more direct routes. However, it is likely that this would require substantial automation of ATC systems. 

26th May 2012


Strong response to All Party Aviation Group enquiry


German police remove helmets and march alongside "Occupy" protestors


All 3 London airports 'need extra runways', say Conservative MPs

A group of Tory politicians led by Spelthorne MP Kwasi Kwarteng acknowledges that Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick all need the opportunity to grow if the UK economy is not to be stifled. However, he would still prefer the location of Heathrow's third runway to be at Notholt, despite the huge technical problems and operational delays that this would cause.

Why I now back a third runway at Heathrow, by the man who turned Tories green

26th May 2012


Up to 30 state-run Spanish airports to close in cost cutting exercise


Airlines claim little impact of Stansted strike of Swissport ground handlers


India's 18-day pilot strikes could end soon

India's Aviation Minister agrees to meet pilots and "will consider" reinstating or re-engaging sacked pilots on a case by case basis.

26th May 2012


IAG’s Interest in Buying Portugal’s TAP Has Waned, Says Walsh


BA's Walsh hits out at lack of slots for China routes


Leading banker voices doubts on economic sense of Thames Estuary airport

A senior figure at Deutche Bank has said that he doubts that the claims for a new airport in the Thames could be achieved. He questions whether the airport could be built for the projected £20 billion. He also says that another £30 billion would need to be spent on the infrastructure - a bill which would probably need to be subsidised by the taxpayer. Landing fees would need to be increased to cover the building cost and passengers could see their contribution to the airport management quadruple from about £15 to £60 or £70.

In short, the Thames option would cost £50 billion (or possibly a lot more) and take 15 or 20 years to bulid. A third runway could be built for £6 billion and be ready within the decade if it had government support. The business lost to the UK during the next 20 years will not suddenly relocate to Britain once a new airport is up and running. We need decisive and courageous action now, not pie in the sky schemes for the future that could well be an economic disaster.

MPs to grill Cameron over Thames Estuary airport plans

25th May 2012


Beecroft Report – increase employment by increasing unemployment

A satirical take on the latest lunacy from the Tories and their advisors


Unite seeks urgent Hewlett Packard talks over planned 27,000 job losses


Border Force chief doesn't 'anticipate' long Olympic queues at airports

Only 24 hours after a minister admitted that immigration queues could be up to four hours over the Olympics, Border Control chief Brian Moore has said that he does not expect there to be long delays.

Meanwhile, Willie Walsh has accused the government of making it hard for Chinese business to access the UK, from the visa requirements that it imposes to the queues at passport control.

Heathrow delays 'risk losing trade with China'

25th May 2012


Government "Workfare" contractor hit by new fraud scandal


Unpaid welcome hosts to become a regular feature at Heathrow?


EU to China: ‘We don’t want a trade war’

Tensions escalate over the EU's carbon trading scheme.


Staff cuts at HMRC cost the treasury £1.1 billion in revenue


Heathrow crisis: Reconsider third runway, say over half of Londoners

The Evening Standard reports that over half of Londoners are in favour of the government reconsidering its position on a third runway at Heathrow after the next election. This suggests that the public may be more realistic about the contribution of Heathrow to the nation than those in power, who seem more concerned about losing seats or looking weak than they are about generating growth.

24th May 2012


Unite airport ground staff at Stansted strike as talks breakdown

Swissport staff at Stansted begin strike


US Air Passenger Claiming To Have 'Surgically Implanted Device' Causes Diversion


Vince Cable a socialist, says No 10 adviser Beecroft

David Cameron's favorite economic adviser appeared to throw a hissy fit yesterday as Vince Cable suggested his plans to squeeze the poor to improve bosses profits would do nothing to increase growth. We are not sure if Mr. Cable deserves the compliment of being described as a socialist (though we doubt it was intended as such), but his credibilty is higher with most trade unionists than his boss Nick Clegg (probably close to zero).

However, we are still waiting to see the LibDems make a stand in the commons and vote against the Tories as a block. This is a despicable set of proposals that will line the pockets of the rich and unscrupulous bosses while doing nothing for the rest of us, except reducing our job security.

23rd May 2012


Heathrow immigration wait may hit four hours over Olympics

London 2012: Heathrow Airport in numbers


UK Considers Sale Of Aviation Fuel Network


Air India pilot strike overshadows 787 delivery

The pilot's dispute at Air India enters its 15th day. The pilots have a range of grievances, including the sacking of 100 pilots and unpaid wages, in some cases for up to six months. Possibilities of a resolution have been reduced by the necessity to deal with 14 unions and the government's refusal to talk to the strikers.

22nd May 2012


Lockerbie bomber: Public figures demand inquiry into conviction


Stansted strikes planned for Jubilee bank holiday


Airlines dealt blow by Europe over order to compensate delayed passengers

The European Court of Justice rules that passengers whose flights are subject to very long delays should receive the same compensation as those whose flights are cancelled.

22nd May 2012


Court of appeal throws out Ryanair claim OFT is out of time to investigate Aer Lingus stake


Britain's airport crisis will cost £100bn in the next 20 years, ministers are warned

A report in the Evening Standard warns that the government's failure to back airport expansion in the south east threatens to seriously damage economic growth. Heathrow already faces losing its ranking as an international airport to Dubai and London has lost a key Chinese aerospace contract to Paris.

Ministers have 'mental shutters' on Heathrow

Dubai to overtake Heathrow in 2020

Aircraft giant picks Paris over London for air links

22nd May 2012


TUC - Prices now rising eight times faster than wages for the poorest families


Bristol Airport Under Pressure To Refinance Debt


Why does so much of new wealth go straight into the bosses' pockets?


Vince Cable - Plans to make sacking workers easier are nonsense

Vince Cable has attacked plans from Tory donor Adam Beecroft to make it easier to get rid of workers, after the Prime Minister endorsed the idea. Beecroft, who runs high interest legal loan sharking business Wonga appears to want a return to the days of "hire and fire" employment practices, where workers have virtually no employment rights. 

The proposals include slashing the legal consultation period for redundancies to as little as 5 days and taking away some of the rights that workers keep when they are TUPE'd between employers. Unions have condemned the proposals and said they will do nothing to promote growth. It is understood that the government intends to act on 17 of the report's 23 recommendations, despite there being no evidence that they will do more than increase worker insecurity and damage consumer confidence. 

The BBC report also hints that senior LibDems may have been in talks with Labour. We can only speculate whether this was to canvas support over a particular issue or investigate the possibility of a future coalition.

Unite - Beecroft: 'The worst attack on our employment rights in a generation'

Desperate Cameron to revive Beecroft attack on employment rights?

21st May 2012


Heathrow hits back at government in blame game over queues

Eurotunnel limits summer bookings due to fears border control chaos will spread from airports


Air France-KLM denies report on planned job cuts


BAA can still fight for Heathrow expansion says minister

Theresa Villiers has said that BAA will be allowed to argue its case for a third runway at Heathrow in a forthcoming consultation. Ministers had previously indicated that they would not reconsider their opposition to R3 and that only other options for increasing London's capacity for aviation would be under discussion.

21st May 2012


Higher fares help Ryanair profits

Ryanair to reward shareholders after record profits


‘A Future That Works' – mass TUC demonstration in London on 20 October


Child asylum seekers 'still being imprisoned' by immigration service

The Refugee Council accuses the Immigration Service of denying child asylum seekers their rights by wrongly classifying them as adults. This has resulted in children being locked up illegally or forced to sleep rough on the streets. The Refugee Council says that there is evidence thay this can cause lasting psychological damage. It is also believed that an unknown number of child asylum seekers have been illegally deported as adults.

21st May 2012


Only person to be convicted of Lockerbie bombing dies

Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, the only person to be convicted of the Lockerbie bombing has died aged 60 in Libya, three years after he was released from a Scottish prison on compassionate grounds, after being diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer.

Those who worked in the aviation industry in 1988, when Pan Am flight 103 was attacked will remember the shock that they felt when they heard the news. But 24 years on there are still many questions that remain unanswered.

Some relatives of the victims of the bombing are absolutely convinced that Megrahi was heavily involved in the attack, while others believe that he was a convenient fall guy to avoid the finger of blame being pointed at politicians in the middle east, whose goodwill was needed to secure deals for oil.

All we can be sure of is that the Lockerbie bombing was not the work of a single individual and there were others who escaped prosecution entirely. We will probably never know the full facts of what happened to flight 103. But we should remember the 270 victims and why we should never take security for granted. All of us who work at Heathrow must remain alert - not just over the Olympics - to make sure that a similar disaster never happens to another flight that leaves our airport.

Pan Am Flight 103 bombing trial

The "Framing of al-Megrahi"

20th May 2012


Workers' rights under attack again

Cameron's crusade to reduce the legally reconised value of workers to nothing more than numbers on a balance sheet moves a step closer to becoming reality.


Heathrow Airport Will Steal Summer’s Heat to Thaw Frozen Winter Runways


Why should gay couples have to wait for equal pension rights?


Don't panic! Ministers hire filing clerks to protect UK borders

The Mail on Sunday's report (in their usual sensationalist style) on an issue that trade unions have been warning us about for months.

20th May 2012


The tax haven in the heart of Britain - The City of London

How loaning the monarch money over four centuries ago has gained the City of London privileges (and freedom from scrutiny) that are enjoyed nowhere else in Britain.


Lord Foster says that alternative to Heathrow (that he designed) is vital to London

Lord Foster plugs his Thames Estuary Airport design (a.k.a. "Boris Island"). However, some may feel that he fails to adequately respond to the concerns of residents of Kent and Essex, wildlife campigners, air traffic controllers and airlines who want extra capacity in London (together with a full transport infrastructure to the city and elsewhere) without having to wait decades.

Support regional airports, says Kent

19th May 2012


Heathrow’s neighbours urged to speak up about early morning landings

Hounslow Council asks residents to report early morning aircraft noise in response to the announcement that Operational Freedoms (mixed mode and no holding of aircraft from 05.30 to 06.00) will be extended for another six months.

19th May 2012


BBC strike extinguishes Olympic Torch coverage


Unison demands end to police privatisation

West Midlands and Surrey police have delayed announcing the outsourcing of £1.5 billion of police services to the private sector after concerns have been raised by officers and the public. However, it appears that the privatisation of part of these police forces will go ahead. It is unclear what benefit this outsourcing will provide, apart from making profits for a number of private companies.

The curse of the Home Office continues

19th May 2012


Remploy workers take to city streets


ES - You’ll get a shock if you revive Heathrow third runway, Boris Johnson warns PM


Ryanair angers Greece by scrapping 82 flights a week to Kos and Rhodes

Ryanair has come to blows with Greek tourism officials trying to generate revenue for their struggling economy after it annonced that it would end flights to Kos and Rhodes a month before the end of the summer schedule. Ryanair states that this is because the islands failed to deliver on a promise to promote their flights.

18th May 2012


Corporate travellers "swapping air for rail"


Prison officers gear up for fight to save pensions


United and Continental pilots to hold strike ballot

Pilots ballot over whether to strike after two years of negotiations fail to resolve issues on contracts, following the merger of United and Continental Airlines.

18th May 2012


ES - Heathrow humbled: Olympics stars run a mile from official Games airport


UCATT - Government has 'washed hands of asbestos victims'

Construction workers union UCATT accuses the government of ignoring victims of asbestos who have developed pleural plaques. Suffers of this condition, where the lungs become scarred after exposure to asbestos are entitled to compensation in Scotland and Northern Ireland, but have no rights to claim in England and Wales. UCATT says that the government should follow the lead of NI and Scotland and bring in legislation that allows suffers of this condidtion to be treated similarly in England and Wales.

17th May 2012 


Skyport letter - Did BAA remove the leaflets at UKBA?


'Give us solid data' on APD and Heathrow, MPs tell industry

MPs supporting the aviation sector are asking for data on the damage to the economy that is being done by the increase to Air Passenger Duty and failure to permit development at Heathrow.

Delay in releasing Government airports policy risks aero-shambles, says expert

Banks' tight lending is 'preventing travel growth'

17th May 2012


EU heading for showdown with foreign airlines over ETS


Heathrow mixed mode trial to be extended by six months