June 2012


Greening rules out U-turn on third runway

Willie Walsh - "We need a third runway at Heathrow AND a new hub airport"

Transport Secretary Justine Greening says that the government will not change its mind about blocking a third runway at Heathrow, suggesting that its consultation exercise on aviation strategy is just "going through the motions". Meanwhile IAG's CEO Willie Walsh says that Heathrow needs a third runway now and the government needs to plan for a new 4 runway hub airport for London within the next 25 years.

29th June 2012

Portugal air traffic control strikes called off at the last minute

Ed Miliband calls for bankers to be prosecuted

Boris Island 'a distraction' says Walsh

Willie Walsh says that he doubts that "Boris Island" will ever be built - and implies that if it is, that BA will not be budging from Heathrow, leaving the possiblity that the government might end up supporting a £40 billion white elephant.

London should avoid the mistakes of Montreal, which built a new airport to the east of the city, but failed to engage airlines. The new airport eventually closed its doors to passengers and handled only freight.

28th June 2012

Hayes & Harlington MP calls for unions to take direct action

Local MP, John McDonnell calls on unions to challenge austerity measures and force a general election by coordinated marches, industrial action and protests.

28th June 2012

Student protest march is announced for November 21st

'Mixed mode' flying will not solve Heathrow’s problems – Willie Walsh

The CEOs of IAG, Virgin and BAA seem to be agreement that mixed mode will cause a large amount of disruption for only a modest increase in capacity at Heathrow. A change in the way existing runways are used can only be a short term solution to the need for extra slots at Heathrow. 

The government must have the courage to admit it was wrong to block a third runway at Heathrow and be prepared to support this option in its aviation strategy document, which is due to be published at the end of July. It must also be ready to give a go ahead as soon as consultation ends and has been discussed, at the beginning of 2013 - rather that continually putting off making a decision.

27th June 2013

Court to hear argument that government workfare scheme is "blatently illegal"

BAA earnings take a hit as airlines go quiet and green

Heathrow cargo crew strike suspended as members consider new offer by management

Unite's members in Swissport are attending a meeting this evening to discuss an offer from management to resolve a long standing dispute over pay. Unite says that Swissport has consistently refused to discuss a pay rise for the 2010 to 2011 period and members had to ballot for strike action before the company was prepared to reconsider its position. The first of two three day strikes was due to begin at 06.30 tomorrow morning.

26th June 2012

Unite conference: Len McCluskey attacks Tory anti-union laws

Greening looks beyond 'quick fix' for airport capacity

Transport Secretary Justine Greening says that a three runway hub airport for London may not be sufficient for the capital's needs and says that arguments for a four runway hub should be considered before making any decision on airport development. She also says that airlines (especially BA) are partly responsible for a lack of slots to deal with emerging markets, as they hold on to slots for high prestige routes such as New York, even when planes are not completely full.

Whatever the government's aviation strategy document contains, putting off airport development until after the next election is not an option. Only the most cowardly politicians should be burying their heads in the sand and pretending that this is not an issue that needs urgent and decisive action.

ES - Justine Greening: Let's end this 'pub debate' over airport expansion

UK airlines say Heathrow’s third runway ‘must be considered’ by government

Aviation Foundation sets out key demands

Heathrow third runway 'best option' for long-term growth, says Parsons Brinckerhoff study

Willie Walsh and BA to boycott aviation consultation if 'dithering' ministers don't consider a third runway at Heathrow

26th June 2012

Turkish Airlines Eyes Aer Lingus

Unite union amasses £25m strike fund

Unite says that is put £25 million aside as a strike fund to support workers in the event of strikes in the coming months. The union says that further industrial action is inevitable with government cutbacks, job losses, devaluation of pensions and attacks on the rights of workers. Unite believes that having the resources available to take on unethical and misguided employers is essential to levelling the playing field for its members.

25th June 2012

Air Berlin crew's fatigued distress call faces safety probe

Cameron is playing on the myth all housing benefit goes to the unemployed

Yes, Mr. Cameron, of course the bill for housing benefit has gone up. Your government has increased unemployment, failed to build social housing and let unscrupulous landlords charge pretty much whatever they want.

But that's no excuse for penalising the under 25's, who are being hit hardest in the employment market. Start by building affordable housing (which will create jobs) and putting rent controls in place that stop landlords from exploiting their tenants and the treasury. Increase the minimum wage to a living wage and you won't need to spend so much subsidising young people who can't afford to pay their bills from their meagre incomes.

Strengthen employment laws rather than weaken them - so workers will have the security and confidence to spend and return the country to growth. And while you're at it - stop sitting on the fence and agree that Heathrow can have a third runway so that we can get some investment from abroad.

25th June 2012

Gatwick reports uptick in profits

Heathrow "could see 60,000 extra flights" by using mixed mode

Guardian report - "We need a clear yes or no on Heathrow. Airlines can't wait for ever"

Airlines unite to attack Coalition over failure to get a grip on aviation policy

Heathrow strikes may affect holiday passengers warns union

Unite warns that a strike by 275 cargo workers at Swissport could impact passengers due to delays loading freight on to Singapore and Korean Airlines flights.

25th June 2012

55,000 HM Revenue and Customs staff to strike over job cuts

As tax avoidance fills the headlines, 10,000 jobs to be cut at HMRC

If the Tories were serious about closing the deficit, stopping tax dodgers and closing the loopholes, then surely they would be incresing the funds available for HMRC? In fact, it is estimated that for every £1 spent on HMRC there are £10 received in revenue for the treasury, so cuts in this department are surely a fals economy? Unless of course, you think that the 1% wriggling out of paying their fair share towards the recovery is OK and the 99% must be stamped down in the creation of an even more unequal society.

25th June 2012

Birmingham calls for UK to focus on regional airport development

Heathrow "could handle 25% more flights" by use of mixed mode

From the 1st of July, a change in the rules will allow a less restricted use of Heathrow's two runways, which it is claimed could enable between 15% and 25% more take off and landings without the construction of a third runway.

Critics of the scheme say that this will mean that those living on the flight path, (who are normally only exposed to take off noise for 8 to 9 hours) will no longer be able to rely on either their mornings of afternoons being peaceful. A second consequence may result from a restructure of airspace, with some areas not currently on the flightpath experiencing noise.

Unite believes that these proposals are at best a short term solution to the lack of capacity at Heathrow and that a third runway provides a safer and more realistic way of allowing the growth that London needs to protect jobs and compete with foreign hubs.

But a third runway will not be enough on its own. The government needs to ensure that there is proper investment in the transport infrastructure and address the concerns of those who are affected by these changes.

Local residents whose house prices have been devalued by the prosect of a third runway should be offered realistic prices that allow them to find equivalent properties elsewhere and give adequate compensation for the expenses and inconvenience of moving. Grants for noise insulation should be extended to a much wider area and an updated, wide area and fully binding version of the Cranford Agreement should be negotiated so that local people can know how their property prices and quality of life is likely to be impacted over the next 40 years.

Building an estuary airport close to sunken warship branded “bonkers”

Opinion from John Stewart (HACAN): There is a better solution for both BAA and residents

23rd June 2012

Beecroft: "I didn't do any real research"

Oh great. The proposals for scrapping employment rights suggested by Adam Beecroft (17 of which David Cameron plans to implement) are apparently based on anecdotes and conversations with a few other like minded "hire 'em, fire 'em" businessmen. Most ethical businesses and HR organisations have dismissed the propsals as unnecessary and likely to be counterproductive (though it seems that Cameron would rather listen to his pet legal loan shark).

23rd June 2012

BAA welcomes loonie bonds  (loonie is slang for the Canadian dollar - Ed)

Heathrow cargo staff announce two three-day strikes over pay starting next week

Dates are announced for strikes by Swissport workers in Unite, which says that the company has refused "point blank" to discuss a long standing pay claim for the year 2010 to 2011.

The first 3 day strike is scheduled to begin on Wednesday the 27th of June at 06.30. Singapore and Korean Airlines are among those that could face significant disruption.

Heathrow holiday flights face disruption as cargo crew strike looms, warns Unite

22nd June 2012

The BBC on the politics of tonight's Euro 2012 match

Judge Delays Ruling On Union Contracts At AMR

IAG boss Willie Walsh reopens row with Spanish pilots

Willie Walsh tries to renage on an agreement reached with Iberia' unions at arbitration. Walsh attacked the unions as well as the British and Spanish governments at the IAG shareholders' meeting in Madrid.

22nd June 2012

BA steward wins compensation for disability discrimination after being banned from flying

Air France To Cut 5000 Jobs

London Assembly urges Johnson to drop 'Boris Island' airport plan

A vote in the London Assembly proposed by Labour GLA member Murad Qureshi is carried that the Mayor should stop promoting his pet project for contraversial hub in the Thames Estuary.

21st June 2012

Details of HS2 Spur to Heathrow Announced

Unite - BMA strike highlights that half of NHS staff receive a pension of £4,000 or less

As the government tries to dismiss today's strike by quoting pensions of £60,000 or more, Unite counters with the blunt truth that most NHS workers struggle on as little as £300 a month.

21st June 2012

UK Uncut video on the billions in tax that are lost from avoidance

BAA Media Director says "Heathrow can't compete with Dubai"

With its hands tied by an unsupportive government, Heathrow cannot deliver the support that the London business community needs to create jobs and growth.

21st June 2012

Aer Lingus Rebuffs Latest Ryanair Bid

Travel Weekly Comment: It's time for a decision on airport capacity

Ryanair calls for urgent sale of Stansted

The airline that proposed passengers have to pay to use its toilets makes more demands.

Heathrow Cargo Volume Drops 3.8 Percent

Ryanair tries to buy Aer Lingus - again

Ryanair makes a surprising second attempt to gain control of Aer Lingus, despite already being under investigation by the Competition Commission over its 30% share in the airline.

20th June 2012

Cameron upsets French leaders by hinting that its business can avoid tax in Britain

Vince Cable: Heathrow third runway will be considered

In next three years China will build 70 new airports while UK produces a strategy document

The Telegraph accuses the government of being timid as it dithers over a decision to deal with the lack of capacity at London's airports, while billions are lost in new business opportunities.

19th June 2012

BA launches 'Don't fly' campaign for London Olympics

Air Canada, Mechanics Union Strike Deal For Its 8,600 Members

IMAW finally reaches an agreement with Air Canda after 14 months of negotiations and disputes after arbitration.

18th June 2012

Two protesters arrested after breaching Heathrow perimeter fence

Clarke sneaks in secret evidence plans

The government has included an option in its Justice and Security Bill to hold secret trials in any "relevant legal proceedings". Critics warn that this could allow ministers to ignore basic rights that have been guaranteed since the Magna Carta was signed nearly 800 years ago.

The government claims that the changes are necessary for "national security", an excuse that has traditionally only been used by totalitarian regimes.

18th June 2012

Union Says Aer Lingus Plans Job Cuts

Unite has warned of possible industrial action if Aer Lingus closes its maintenance section in Shannon, which the union says will cost 55 jobs.

18th June 2012

Airline industry faces grim year as gulf carriers take over the world

Beijing offers "a flying lesson for Heathrow"

Benefits for striking low-paid workers to be axed

The Tories plan once again to put employers before low paid workers by allowing their wages to fall below £13,000 a year without top up benefits if their wages drop due to strike action. The government has ignored the fact that when low paid workers strike to improve their pay, the taxpayer can benefit by not having to pay so much in top up payments.

Once again the coalition's entire strategy is exposed as ideological. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer but the changes do nothing to help the deficit.

17th June 2012

Probe ordered into Ryanair's stake in Aer Lingus

The OFT refers Ryanair to the Competition Commission after Ryanair's legal challenge fails.

Senior politicians add fuel to the anti-Thames Estuary airport fight

Heathrow squatters fight eviction plans

ABTA APD campaign steps up a gear

Aer Lingus to switch from Belfast International to George Best Belfast City Airport

Heathrow runway back on agenda – but not before 2015

PMQs: Goldsmith and Cameron on Heathrow third runway

Pickles: No chance of third Heathrow runway

We must look again at third Heathrow airport runway, say Tory MPs

Cameron hints at U-turn on third runway

The Tories lack of any genuine policy on aviation is exposed as David Cameron claims that the coalition's position on a third Heathrow runway has not changed, but sources within the party admit that proposals for expansion will be included in a white paper to be released next month.

14th June 2012

Morning Star - You'll pay £1.8 billion to be spied upon

The Morning Star accuses the government of sneaking in an announcement on it's "snoopers' charter" while the media is distracted by Cameron's appearance at the Leveson Enquiry.

Minister wrong to blame Heathrow delays on unexpected passenger numbers

BA to switch short haul slots to long haul to access Chinese markets

British Airways says that it plans to change the use of a number of short haul slots to long haul as it seeks to increase the number of destinations it serves in expanding markets such as China. It seems likely that this will be the fate of many of the slots that it acquired from bmi, with regional services cut to make way for more lucrative international flights.

13th June 2012

UK government is damaging aviation industry, warns BA boss Willie Walsh

Air chiefs unite to demand action on airports

Heathrow Express staff get £700 Olympic pay deal

IAG puts takeover plans on hold due to Eurozone crisis

Willie Walsh indicates that IAG's interest has waned in taking over TAP or in the 11 other airlines that were identified as possible acquisitions for International Airlines Group. The reason given is that instability in the Eurozone is cutting profit margins and increasing risk. IAG anticipates the failure of a number of airlines and hopes that the reduced competition will mean increased profits in the future for those carriers that remain.

Guardian - More European airlines likely to go bust this year, industry body predicts

12th June 2012

Telegraph - Britain must have third runway at Heathrow or face 'withering away'

Ferrovial's BAA refinances London airport loans

American Air CEO Not Focused On Merger

American Airlines' boss has said that he hopes to restructure the airline and exit bankruptcy without a merger. Trade unions favour a merger with US Airways as the option which offers the best prospects to protect jobs and conditions, but this does seem to be the preferred route that the management team (those that remain - see our report on June 7th) wish to take. The final decision may not lie with either party, with a New York bankruptcy court likely to make a ruling as early as the end of this month.

11th June 2012

Tweet of the week - (from @TwopTwips) "David Cameron. Why not brand today's newly-announced education reforms under the slogan "No Child Left Behind"?"

Airbus A380 wing repairs could take up to eight weeks

London Heathrow Airport third runway U-turn ahead?

Heathrow Airport expansion vs Boris Island estuary plan

Tory MPs at war over press probe and airport U-turn

The BBC asks if the government is about to make a u-turn on its opposition to a third runway at Heathrow. Local Labour MP John McDonnell gives his arguments against expansion in an interview and Tory MP Zac Goldsmith threatens to stand as an independent if his party changes its position on Heathrow.

11th June 2012

May tries to curb human rights rules

Iata almost doubles loss forecast for European airlines

More airlines may go bust, IATA warns as losses deepen

Sunday Express - Tories fall to 10 year low in polls against Labour

The gap between Labour and the Tories has reached 14% according to a poll published in the Sunday Express today. Labour are polling at 43% to the Tories' 29% dashing their hopes that the jubilee might give them a "bounce". This also gives the figure that the Conservatives and LibDems (9%) combined are a full 5% behind Labour.

Those media outlets that traditionally back the Tories will not risk alienating their readers by singing the praises of a party that is hugely unpopular. We have already seen the coalition's budget and several ministers attacked by newspapers that are normally seen as being "true blue". Expect the press to become even more hostile to Mr. Cameron and his cabinet if they do not rally in the polls in the run up to the Olympics. 

10th June 2012

Carers of relatives in England to get legal rights

While carers' groups will not think that these prosed changes go nearly far enough, provided our government does not water them down, they could prove significant. Respite breaks for carers are essential to give them some time away from those that they look after. Any right to demand that local authorities provide such breaks is to be welcomed.

9th June 2012

FAA clears Virgin Galactic to begin rocket powered flights

Unite’s NHS members to support BMA’s pension protests on 21 June

British travellers avoid APD taking long haul flights via Europe

A new report suggests that the government's Air Passenger Duty has resulted in passengers avoiding long haul flights from Britain when travelling in favour of transferring via countries that do not charge the tax.

UK passengers' tax-dodging techniques revealed

8th June 2012

IAG facing showdown with investors

EU To Update State Aid Rules On Aviation

The EU, which is currently investigating 15 member states over possible illegal subsidies to airlines and airports (in breach of EU competition rules) is to revise and toughen its rules. One of the proposals under consideration is to hold shareholders liable for breaches of EU rules in the companies that they own and have ultimate control over.

7th June 2012

You know all about the racism, now read about the homophobia in the Euro 2012 hosts

Russian police fail to protect LGBT festival from homophobic gangs

Left Foot Forward reports on the prejudice that Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender people suffer in Russia, Poland and the Ukraine.

7th June 2012

Heathrow to the City in 35 minutes? Anything IS possible, says chief of world's best airport

Activists target G4S over rights abuses

Finnair strike ends after court order

While details are thin on the ground, it appears that once again bosses have chosen to use the courts rather than the negotiating table to resolve issues between themselves and their unions.

7th June 2012

650 aviation bosses head to Iata annual general meeting

Employers attack workers’ rights at ILO

Employers appeared to be exploiting the world economic crisis to avoid discussing some of the worst abuses of workers rights, when they met unions at the International Labour Organisation this week. The UN sponsored body had wanted to discuss serious abuses of workers, including the murder of 29 trade unionists, but the employer representatives refused to discuss the issues, apparently wanting the UN to support a reduction in union rights.

Economists (including two Nobel prize winners), unions, the CIPD (which represents those who work in human resources) and other employer organisations are all saying that weakening employee rights is not the way forward and hardline austerity policies are doomed to fail. The global economy needs growth, underpinned by workers who are well paid enough and sufficiently secure in their jobs that they spend their income and create other jobs.

TUC - Trade union rights violations worsened in 2011

7th June 2012

US calls for end of EU airline carbon tax

American Airlines begins firing management personnel across the US

American Airlines begins a massive downsizing program that appears to be hitting senior staff up to and including managing director level.

7th June 2012

How many children secretly deported under UK Border Agency’s Gentleman’s Agreement?

Consultation on Thames Estuary airport to start next month

Formal consultation on "Boris Island" and two other Thames Estuary airport proposals is due to start in July. It is strongly recommended that all who have an interest make their views known (such as those living in the area and nearly a quarter of a million workers in West London whose jobs would be at risk if the proposals go ahead).

6th June 2012

Manchester Airport runs out of aviation fuel

BBC - How can an airport run out of fuel?

Unite London & Eastern - "Join us at the TUC march against austerity on 20 October"

Bosses join criticism of Beecroft report

Two employers' organisations add their voices to those of unions, economists and any one with common sense or compassion to say that Adam Beecroft's proposals will not help to generate jobs and growth for Britain.

Beecroft report has very little industry support says UK’s largest employers’ organisation

John Major's favourite Think Tank warns that #Workfare will fail

6th June 2012

UNWTO insists it didn’t honour tyrant Mugabe

The UN's World Tourism Organisation insists that it did not award the title of "Tourism Ambassador" to Robert Mugabe. The organisation says it has no such title. UNWTO simply wrote to all heads of state asking them to be "leaders of tourism". It would appear that the story in the Daily Mail and other media was strong on sensationalism, but weak on objectivity.

6th June 2012

Thomas Cook staff could strike warns union

BA staff seek compensation over loss of discounts during strikes

Around 30 British Airways cabin crew, who took part in strikes in 2010 are to take a claim to an employment tribunal that the blanket withdrawal of flight concessions was unlawful. The group of crew members launching the claim are among those who were recruited from overseas locations and reliant on air travel to get to work.

The central argument to the claim appears that the ban on flight concessions had a disproportionate effect on overseas staff (who were more likely to be non-British) and therefore they suffered indirect racial discrimination.

6th June 2012

Air traffic sell-off U-turn: Fears Germany could take control of Britain's skies forces rethink

Third of London hotel rooms empty for Olympics as 'normal' tourists stay away

UK politicians demand tougher rules from Europe on pilot rest breaks

After hearing evidence from pilots, who told an aviation committee that 43% had fallen asleep in the cockpit, MPs have told the European Aviation Safety Agency that rules need to be tightened. British airlines has previously been told that requirements for rest periods of flight crew were to be relaxed to fall in line with European rules. The British Airline Pilots Association reacted by pointing to evidence that pilot fatigue is a major factor in a significant number of air accidents and began lobbying parliament.

5th June 2012

1,000 Finnair technicians begin 1 week strike to protest outsourcing threat

Unemployed were forced to work for free at Jubilee and sleep rough under bridge

Ministers have been asked to investigate reports that a number of unemployed people told to act as stewards at the jubilee pageant were left to sleep under London Bridge after being bussed in from the West Country in the middle of the night. It is reported that these people had to change into stewards uniforms in public and had no access for toilets for 14 hours.

This kind of treatment of the unemployed is an example of the inequalities in our society - inequalities that we endorse when we spend huge sums of money on a party for a head of state with assets worth an estimated £7 billion. Why do we celebrate a system that protects such inequalities?

5th June 2012

The Telegraph - Chancellor should do a U-turn on Heathrow and build a third runway

The Telegraph adds its voice to those who have already said that the UK's economy needs decisive action and a go ahead for a third runway at Heathrow.

4th June 2012

Lufthansa wants to sell Sky Chefs: report

BAA threatens to sue the Government over third runway at Heathrow

HS2 rail 'dither and delay' criticised by Lord Adonis

The government looks unlikely to be ready to pass the legislation necessary for HS2 before the next general election. Labour accuses the Tories of dragging their heels.

4th June 2012

London 2012: Heathrow Olympics terminal completed (BBC video clip)

Baggage handlers to strike at Stansted during Jubilee after talks break down

London residents say "No" to Olympic missiles

The Ministry of Defence failed to attend a meeting at which it was due to consult with London residents who have concerns about the positioning of anti-aircraft missiles in Bow. Residents are not only concerned that their proporties may themselves become the target of attacks, but that the government may not intend to remove the missiles after the Olympics.

2nd June 2012

Europe, US Agree Air Cargo Safety Regimes

Revenue and Customs workers vote for strike

Why not pay the living wage? The cost to employers could be minimal

Left Foot Forward argues that implementing the living wage could stimulate the economy, raise revenue for the treasury and would not (as the bosses claim) do major harm to business.

1st June 2012

Birmingham airport attacks 'Heathrow congestion'

Birmingham launches an ad campaign to try and attract Heathrow's passengers.

Birmingham Airport Launches 'David and Goliath' Advertising Campaign

Trusts hatch plan to cut nurses' pay

Flash strike at DVLA launches month of industrial action

345 staff fired at Turkish Airlines

The Turkish government continues to stamp down on unions in the face of international condemnation.

Sale of BMI Regional completed

Aviation experts rubbish Thames estuary replacement for Heathrow

London can only support one hub airport, so building an airport in the Thames Estuary would mean the end of Heathrow, the UK's biggest employer. This could see the loss of nearly a quarter of a million jobs in West London.

1st June 2012