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Manchester – Britain’s first Airport City
Oct 15th, 2013 by elisa

Manchester is to become Britain’s first Airport City thanks to significant investment from China.

The £800 million joint venture includes investment from Beijing Construction Engineering Group (BCEG), Carillion PLC and the Greater Manchester Pension Fund. It will create 16,000 new jobs and take 15 years to complete.

The development will provide over 5 million square feet of business space, including warehousing, manufacturing, hotels, retail, offices and leisure outlets across a 160 acre regeneration site.

The first area to be developed will be adjacent to the airport railway station, just north of the M56. This will mainly consist of hotel, office, and manufacturing. The second site will be situated near the existing cargo centre near junction 6 of the M56.

 

It will see Manchester compete alongside other European “Airport Cities” such as Barcelona, Frankfurt and Amsterdam.

The news comes as the Chancellor announced changes to the visa system to make it easier for Chinese tourists to visit the UK.

Manchester Airports Group (MAG) hope that this development takes it one step closer to its ambition of offering direct flights to China.

Worst airports for delays
Jun 4th, 2013 by elisa

An organisation set up to help passengers claim compensation for flight disruptions has revealed the airports which suffer the worst delays.

Refund.me allows passengers to upload their claim information to the website where it will be assessed and generate a claim letter with all the relevant details on the passenger’s behalf. It works on a no win, no fee basis and will take 25% of the compensation plus VAT if successful.

“Many passengers are not aware of their rights, and those who are and try to file a claim face a complicated bureaucratic system impeding their claims”, said CEO Eve Büchner.

Refund.me said that users of the online widget and mobile app made more claims for delayed flight arrivals at Frankfurt Airport, followed by Manchester, Stansted and Gatwick.

Frankfurt also came first for flight cancellations, with Franz Joseph Strauss in Munich and Charles de Gaulle in Paris in second and third place. Gatwick slipped into fourth place, Heathrow came eighth and Manchester 10th.

UK airports with flights most likely to arrive on time were London City, Stansted, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Trial of new security scanners at Manchester Airport
Sep 21st, 2012 by elisa

The controversy over the ‘naked’ body scanners trialled at Manchester Airport could soon be coming to an end. The airport is going to replace the current scanners with a trial of new generation of security scanners which are more privacy friendly.

The current scanners show a ghost-like outline of the body produced by low doses of x-rays. In line with legislation from Brussels, the new scanners will scan passengers using radio frequency-based millimetre wave technology. Instead of airport security being able to see the scans, a computer will analyse them and produce a stick figure diagram indicating where staff should search for hidden objects.

The new system might give more privacy on the images the scanners produce, but it does potentially bring back frisking by airport staff, something which has left many perplexed.

Andrew Harrison, Chief Operating Officer at M.A.G, Manchester Airport‘s parent company commented: “We’re baffled by this situation because health experts say they are safe plus the overwhelming majority of our passengers and security staff prefer body scanners to frisking and it’s frustrating that Brussels has allowed this successful trial to end.”

“Our security surveys and those run by the Department for Transport show passengers regularly rate their experience at Manchester as one of the best security processes in the UK if not Europe.

“There’s no doubt that body scanners play a big part in these results. That’s why we are once again investing in new next generation scanner technology where the human examination of images is automated.”

The trial of the new five security scanners is expected to last three months.

 

Bank holiday bonanza for airports
Jun 24th, 2011 by jason

April saw record traffic growth for many UK airports, thanks to two bank holiday weekends and the bounce-back from the previous April’s figures, which had been heavily dented by the volcanic ash problem.

Gatwick did best of the London airports, reporting growth of 34.2 per cent, with an additional 702,500 passengers compared with April 2010. Heathrow was up by 31.5 per cent and Stansted by 26.2 per cent.

In the North, Manchester saw passenger numbers grow by 32.5 per cent, while in Scotland, Edinburgh was up by a whopping 43.9 per cent and Aberdeen by 33.2 per cent.

The fastest growth came in scheduled international traffic, with charter and domestic flights lagging behind.

 

Tough times for no-frills tiddlers
Nov 10th, 2009 by john

BMI Baby flight from Manchester to Malaga. Photo by Terry Wha

BMI Baby flight from Manchester to Malaga. Photo by Terry Wha

The drastic downsizing of low cost airline bmibaby shows the fierce competition smaller operators are facing from the big two of the no-frills airline world, Ryanair and Easyjet.

The bmibaby fleet will be cut from 17 to 12 planes, leading to the likely loss of around 160 pilots and cabin crew based at Birmingham, Cardiff and Manchester. Management and support staff jobs are also at risk.

Bmibaby has blamed the recession for its problems, but it looks as if new owner Lufthansa has decided bmibaby cannot compete head on with the big two, who have been muscling in on previously profitable holiday routes like Alicante and Málaga. Instead, it will focus on less competitive routes with growth potential.

The move is the latest step in a long process of consolidation amongst budget airlines. Players that have fallen by the wayside include early front runners Go (set up by BA and later sold to Easyjet) and KLM subsidiary Buzz (sold to Ryanair). MyTravelLite stopped independent operations in 2005 and Thomsonfly has effectively given up scheduled flights. The two remaining significant UK-based operators are Flybe and Jet2. Both have tried to develop as regional airlines avoiding direct competition, but that strategy is likely to come under increasing pressure as the big two add ever more routes. Monarch also offers scheduled services on some holiday routes.

Charter airlines are also suffering, as flight-only passengers increasingly prefer the lower costs and greater flexibility of budget airlines. In October, the number of charter airline passengers passing through BAA’s seven UK airports fell by 12.4 per cent compared with a year earlier (scheduled traffic rose by 1.1 per cent), while Manchester airport saw a 12.7 per cent fall in charter passengers.

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