General News

Below are links to stories of general interest in relation to aviation and airports.

 

Peter Lockley: Fly less and we’ll all be happier

Pete is Head of Transport at WWF-UK. For every tourist who couldn't fly in to the UK, almost 2 couldn't fly out, and those two may well be spending money at UK tourist destinations that have suffered in recent years from the rise in cheap flights. The biggest economic winner thus far has been the telecommunications industry. Video-conferencing companies are reporting a boom in bookings. WWF's "1 in 5" campaign is helping more businesses cut flights.

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Empty skies proved that airports cause pollution, say researchers

Scientists have used the no-flying period caused by the ash cloud to show for the first time that airports are themselves significant causes of pollution. Although long suspected, the fact that mass take-offs and landings are large pollution sources could never be proved before, because aircraft pollution could not be measured as separate from the pollution caused by vehicles. Levels of NOx fell massively around Heathrow and Gatwick. (Independent)

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Why airlines resisted setting safe dust level for flights – until now

The reopening of the skies over the UK followed intense lobbying from an airline industry that for years has resisted efforts by regulators to set a "safe" level of volcanic ash at which it is considered that flights can continue. Airlines had been afraid of the potential damage to their reputation and finances in the event of one of their planes being lost due to dust after an all-clear had been announced, with fear of legal action. (Guardian)

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Two main UK political parties pledge to replace APD with per-plane tax

The Conservatives and the Lib Dems say they will replace APD with a per-plane tax, which is fairer in that an almost empty plane costs the operator more to run than a full one, and cargo is also caught. The low cost airlines prefer the per-plane tax, as they benefit. Airlines like BA currently do not pay APD for transit passengers, or for air freight. If Labour was returned to power, the rates of APD would rise again in Nov 2010. (GreenAir online)

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Airlines Seek Bailout From EU For Ash Crisis, British Airways Losing $30 Million Per Day

Airline losses from the volcanic ash cloud climbed above $1 billion on 19th April, and the industry demanded compensation from the EU as officials agreed to let flights resume on a limited basis. Airlines are losing as much as $300 million per day, with some like BA suffering the most. Air France-KLM is losing $47 million a day. SAS is losing up to $12.5 million a day, while Alitalia is losing $6.7 million to $13.4 million. Also $500 million in lost freight revenue.

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British Airways calls for compensation on flight ban

BA has called for the EU and the UK government to compensate it for lost revenue from the ban on flights caused by the cloud of volcanic ash over Europe. It said it estimated its daily losses through the ban were £15m-20m, including lost revenue from passengers and cargo and the cost of supporting stranded and delayed passengers. At the start of the flying restrictions on April 14 it had more than £1.7bn of cash and more than £400m acredit lines.

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Volcano cloud pushes European airlines to the brink: analysts

Airlines and other travel industry sectors already face a huge bill from the closure of European airspace and there will be growing pressure for the European Union to give financial aid. "After the banks, we will now be expected to help the airlines." A crisis advisory company estimated the shutdown has so far cost the European travel industry more than £1.0 billion pounds in cancelled flights, lost hotel rooms and empty cruise liners. It has warned the disruption could go on for another two weeks.

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A world without planes: – Alain de Botton and Stuart Jeffries muse on how a slow life might be …

The philosopher, writer and recent writer-in-residence at Heathrow airport imagines a world without aircraft... In a future world without aeroplanes, children would gather at the feet of old men, and hear extraordinary tales of a mythic time when vast and complicated machines the size of several houses used to take to the skies ... The wise elders would explain that inside the aircraft, passengers, who had only paid the price of a few books ...

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Air chaos to last weeks as even more volcanic ash belches out

Britain is today bracing itself for what scientists warn could be weeks of disruption after experts predicted the volcanic dust cloud blanketing Europe will continue to cause chaos for the foreseeable future. With no sign of the eruption easing, volcanologists said ash, which is drifting in a cloud extending up from 8,000-30,000 feet and stretching across much of northern and central Europe, could disrupt flights off and on for up to 6 months. (Indy)

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Environmental Audit Committee report: UK air quality still not good

More evidence that poor air quality, with increased NOx, increased ozone and more particular matter (PM) damages health. London is not likely to cut nitrogen dioxide levels enough to meet EU levels, and an expanded Heathrow would ensure limit values are exceeded. A new report by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee confirms the extent of the problem, and estimates that people in the UK dies 7 - 8 months early, due to air pollution.

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