Edinburgh Airport - General Thread

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Why clip the wings of our city airport?

THE recommendation of the Competition Commission that BAA be required to divest itself of Edinburgh Airport is a decision that beggars belief. First of all we need to ask why has the inquiry been run in the first place?

Not because there are queues of passengers complaining about facilities and service at this crucial gateway. One example of exceptional service would be the way that BAA responded to the security tightening by setting maximum transit times through security checks which considerably diminished delays at boarding. As any business should understand, if you don't take your customers seriously, you won't sustain your business.

The most obvious reason for disquiet is the pressure from airlines for low-cost airport facilities. The two opposing models for minimal infrastructure with a few perimeter sheds and that of an airport which makes a statement about capital city status are both defensible models. The former is obviously cheaper. The latter is what we currently aspire to, and the secondary argument that BAA has (as at Heathrow) "failed to invest in the airport" is so palpably untrue in Edinburgh's case as to encourage derision. The reality is that under BAA's stewardship of Edinburgh and Glasgow airports, aircraft charges have been reduced every year for 15 years, working towards the operators' goals.

We are utterly frustrated at the actual process of the Commission inquiry. As part of its lengthy proceedings into BAA airports, the Competition Commission has frequently asked for the views of stakeholders in Scotland. Time and time again, leading and respected organisations like the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce have submitted their views. Yet, for whatever reason, the Commission has repeatedly chosen to ignore those views.

Lest you think I exaggerate the extent of this farce, when the Commission invited reviews of its interim report, we resubmitted our original evidence as it was utterly clear from the document that they had taken no account of our original remarks. From the present recommendation, it is equally evident that they have once again ignored the views of Scotland's business community.

What evidence is there that an enforced sale at the bottom of the market in an encroaching recession would attract other than a cut-price operator who would set about undoing the years of careful investment? What traveller wants the stressful business of catching a flight added to by a downgrading of facilities? None I know of.

The Competition Commission's proposal to force BAA to sell one of its airports and to specify that Edinburgh's should be sold is unprecedented. It is surely a dangerous development that any competition authority can direct a company to divest any part of its business without providing a rational reason for doing so. What signal does it give to inward investors when an unelected commission can interfere in such a way without providing any sound justification? How does this assist economic recovery?

The business market in Scotland is absolutely clear that Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports serve distinct markets. The only reason that a commercial traveller would choose one over the other is if the flight they sought was not available from their nearest airport. The rumour that some London-based assessors considered Aberdeen and Edinburgh to be competing because they are both east coast and only 90 miles apart shows no understanding of local conditions and that critical factor – time to travel, not distance. Not surprising when the Commission didn't even bother to visit Scotland.

Almost two years on from the start of this inquiry, it remains unclear as to the problem the Commission believes would be solved through the sale of a Scottish airport. Additionally, the Commission is acting outside its remit. It is not the board of BAA. Its function is solely to determine whether a monopoly exists. If so, it is up to BAA how to remedy matters, not to be told which airports to sell.

BAA has invested unprecedented sums to improve the facilities for passengers (£150 million over the last ten years) and have published ambitious plans, including a £40m extension of Edinburgh's facilities. Through the BAA Scotland route development fund, we have seen a growth in routes that has transformed Scotland's connectivity with the world.

This is not a record to be taken lightly or a strategy that any new owner would be compelled to follow. In a time of economic uncertainty, why we would want to put this record at risk?

Graham Birse deputy chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

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Bees nest in car at Edinburgh Airport car park

An unfortunate family returned from holiday and found not one but 3,000 bees living under the bonet of their car, the Evening News reports. The swarm made their home in their green Volvo when it was left in Edinburgh Airport's short-stay car park during the family's holiday.

Beekeeper Nigel Hurst, from Livingston, was called out to the unusual situation when the shocked parents and their two children arrived back from Italy to find the car cordoned off and swarming with the bees. He told the newspaper: ‘I've never heard of them nesting in a car before. It's rather unusual. We found a nice, neat swarm hanging off the radiator. We used a brush to get them into a straw skep, which is a kind of basket. It took about an hour to solve the problem.’

‘It's probably a good job the family didn't drive off because starting the car up might have panicked the bees and they might have become angry.'

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Yes
I wonder if the family used a Flybe flight.
 

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[textarea]Edinburgh Airport charity runway car race confirmed

'Race the Runway' - a chance for speed fiends to race their cars to the max on Edinburgh Airport's runway - is back. Last year's event saw 48 cars raise a combined £16,000 for the Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice in Glasgow and Edinburgh's St Columba's Hospice.

This year, Race the Runway is aiming to step things up, and is hoping to raise £50,000 for charity by letting 96 cars loose on the airport's 1800m secondary runway - which will temporarily become the longest drag strip in Scotland.

Race the Runway 2010 will take place on 1 July. Vehicles from last year's event included a Ford Mustang GT, Nissan Skyline GTR, a Caparo T1 and an Ultima GTR - which hit the top recorded speed of 177mph.

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[textarea]Edinburgh Airport boss quits for Bahrain role

Gordon Dewar has handed in his notice as managing director of Edinburgh Airport after securing the job of chief executive of Bahrain Airport. Airport owner BAA said it had ‘launched a search process’ to appoint his successor.

Mr Dewar, from Edinburgh, moved to the airport almost two years ago from rival Glasgow. The 42-year-old has overseen significant investment and expansion at the airport, with a new £40m departure lounge and security facility opening this summer. He is yet to announce a leaving date, although reports from Bahrain say he will take up his new role in July.

He said: ‘It has been a privilege to work at the airport of my home city and to see it prosper and develop. While I am sad to be leaving a great team and a great city, I'm excited about my new role and am sure that Edinburgh Airport will enjoy continued success.’

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: ‘Gordon has made a substantial contribution to Edinburgh Airport, and will be leaving a healthy airport that is performing well in difficult circumstances. We will be looking to appoint somebody with the drive and ambition to build on the positive momentum created in recent months and wish Gordon well as he takes up his new role.’

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[textarea]Edinburgh Airport boss says air tax rise will lead to cut in Scottish flights

An expected increase in the tax on air fares expected to be announced in this week's Emergency Budget will see airlines raise prices or cut flights serving Scotland, according to the outgoing boss of Edinburgh Airport. The Scotland on Sunday reports that Gordon Dewar, who is relocating to the Gulf state of Bahrain next month, has warned air fare rises would particularly affect Scotland.

He said: ‘We are so peripheral. If you are coming here from Europe you have to fly, and if we are suddenly doubling tax it will make Scotland a deeply unattractive place to get to. easyJet and Ryanair make some pretty hard-nosed commercial decisions about where they send aircraft. They are driven by profitability and talk about price differentials in the £3 to £5 range. If suddenly you add another £30 they will not put new aircraft into Scotland and are quite likely to pull the existing ones.’

Air Passenger Duty (APD) is currently charged on a per-head basis, but the Conservatives have proposed levying a tax on planes rather than passengers. A spokesman for easyJet said it was ‘too early to say’ what impact government tax changes would have on its operations, but he added: ‘We remain strongly committed to our Scottish base.’

Stephen McNamara, spokesman for Ryanair, said the tourist tax was ‘regressive’ and ‘continues to devastate’ inbound tourism to the UK. He said Ryanair would carry two million passengers through Edinburgh this year, ‘but we could increase this number overnight if the tourist tax was scrapped’, he added.

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[textarea]Edinburgh is taking off as fifth-busiest airport in UK

Edinburgh Airport has become the fifth-biggest hub in the UK

Edinburgh Airport has ridden out a two-year global recession in aviation to become the fifth-biggest hub in the UK, new passenger figures show.

It overtook Glasgow as Scotland’s most popular airport four years ago and earlier this year leapfrogged both Birmingham and Luton.

Figures from the Civil Aviation Authority show that, since July, it trails only behind London’s three airports and Manchester.

Despite suffering more serious disruption than its English rivals from the Icelandic ash cloud earlier this year, Edinburgh has experienced steady growth since June, largely driven by the expansion of low-cost airlines EasyJet and Ryanair.

The capital’s popularity as a tourist destination has helped sustain it through a torrid two years for airlines, which was triggered in 2008 by the global financial crisis, while the economic downturn has not had as severe an impact as some feared.

The latest figures published by owner BAA show that more than 8.7 million people used the airport in the year to October, following a 3.5% growth that month.

By contrast, Aberdeen, Glasgow and nearby Prestwick airports have continued to sustain heavy losses as airlines consolidate their “regional” destinations, according to aviation analysts.

Kevin Brown, managing director of Edinburgh Airport, said the latest figures underlined its new status as one of Britain’s leading hubs. He added: “This is fantastic news for Edinburgh and its airport and reflects the status of the capital as a major European destination.

“It underlines Edinburgh’s importance to Scotland and the UK as a whole and can only assist us as we compete across Europe to bring more flights to Scotland.”

Following its success in attracting short-haul flights, Edinburgh is now concentrating on expanding its long-haul operations and is aiming to develop a one-stop link to Asia and Australia within a year as well as direct flights to a Middle Eastern hub.

Such a move would bring it into closer competition with Glasgow Airport, also owned by BAA, which has services to Dubai and Lahore in Pakistan among its long-haul destinations.

Soaraway success

1915 Britain’s most northerly air defence base, Turnhouse Aerodrome, is opened nearly six miles from Edinburgh city centre.

1947 The first Edinburgh to London service by British European Airways, a precursor to BA, is launched – though full conversion from military to civilian authorities comes only in 1960.

1977 A new runway and terminal are constructed.

1995 EasyJet establishes base at Edinburgh.

1997-2007 Passenger numbers more than double to nine million, overtaking Glasgow, as the airport transforms from a domestic feeder to an international hub.

2008-10 Alongside Heathrow, Edinburgh is one of the only airports to sustain relatively shallow losses in passenger numbers and among the quickest to return to growth – much of it driven by Ryanair’s expansion of services.

2010 Airport faces criticism of decision to impose a £1 drop off fee for motorists

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Re: Edinburgh Snow Contingency Review

[textarea]Edinburgh Airport review snow contingency plans

Edinburgh Airport is reviewing its response to extreme weather conditions after planes were grounded for days earlier this month, the Scotsman reports. A spokesman for the hub said officials are considering the ‘lessons that could be learned’ from the airport's actions in the face of the unprecedented snowfall, but insisted that no-one was to blame for the airport's problems during extreme weather.

Other airports, including Glasgow, Prestwick and Aberdeen, remained open for most of the weather crisis - with only a small proportion of flights disrupted. The spokesman said: ‘We have used the time since the last snow episode to replenish our stocks and rest our key snow staff and find out what we could learn from the event. We have had discussions internally about what we could do better.’

The spokesman added that the snowfall expected this week would once again challenge airport staff, but insisted the airport would be able to deal with the severe conditions. He told the newspaper: ‘The snowfall we saw a couple of weeks ago was unprecedented, but we have the structure in place to deal with the snowfall expected.’

Meanwhile, the number of the airport's Twitter followers rocketed 700 percent as a result of the snow crisis. Its followers on the social networking site increased from just 750 to around 5,700 over the past three weeks.

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News Guru said:
[textarea]Edinburgh Airport boss quits for Bahrain role

Gordon Dewar has handed in his notice as managing director of Edinburgh Airport after securing the job of chief executive of Bahrain Airport. Airport owner BAA said it had ‘launched a search process’ to appoint his successor.

Mr Dewar, from Edinburgh, moved to the airport almost two years ago from rival Glasgow. The 42-year-old has overseen significant investment and expansion at the airport, with a new £40m departure lounge and security facility opening this summer. He is yet to announce a leaving date, although reports from Bahrain say he will take up his new role in July.

He said: ‘It has been a privilege to work at the airport of my home city and to see it prosper and develop. While I am sad to be leaving a great team and a great city, I'm excited about my new role and am sure that Edinburgh Airport will enjoy continued success.’

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews said: ‘Gordon has made a substantial contribution to Edinburgh Airport, and will be leaving a healthy airport that is performing well in difficult circumstances. We will be looking to appoint somebody with the drive and ambition to build on the positive momentum created in recent months and wish Gordon well as he takes up his new role.’

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He must be regretting his decision after recent events in the Middle East.
 

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The operator of Edinburgh airport BAA has lost its latest challenge against a ruling that it must sell either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.
 

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[textarea]Edinburgh Airport roof damaged by high winds

An investigation has been launched after part of Edinburgh Airport's roof blew off in high winds that hit Scotland yesterday. Some cladding came loose on the south east pier of the airport terminal at 15:45. Five planes also diverted from the airport, unable to land due to the wind.

The roof covers the walkway to Flybe and Ryanair departure lounges. The airport said there was no risk to passengers.

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It' has been exceptional weather for May, even for Scotland I would think. I was travelling across the M62 on the Pennines between Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire during that period and I can honestly say it was truly horrendous.
 
U

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April was really hot and may has been wet and windy. It is going to be a funny kind of summer
 

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Airportscot said:
April was really hot and may has been wet and windy. It is going to be a funny kind of summer

Thanks Airportscot, it's been a weird one for sure. :crazy:
 

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[textarea]Edinburgh Airport boss leaves

The managing director of Edinburgh Airport has resigned after a year in post. Kevin Brown is to start a new job next month as chief executive officer at North Queensland Airport Group, based in Cairns, Australia. BAA said Jim O'Sullivan, who currently works at Heathrow as BAA's technical standards and assurance director, will take over at Edinburgh Airport on 1 September.

Mr Brown, who is moving with his wife and six-year-old twins, will be responsible for two airports, Cairns and Mackay. Colin Matthews, chief executive of BAA, said: ‘Kevin leaves a healthy airport that is performing well in difficult circumstances. We wish him well in his exciting new role and thank him for the contribution he has made to BAA at Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Southampton and Heathrow Airports.’

Edinburgh Airport is currently the fifth largest airport in the UK by passenger numbers. Mr Brown said: ‘Only a once in a lifetime offer could take me away from Edinburgh Airport and this is it. Working in Australia has been a lifelong dream of mine and it's made extra special by the fact that I have family in Cairns.'

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[textarea]Darling says IAG’s BMI takeover ‘looks like a bad deal for Edinburgh’

Former chancellor Alistair Darling has voiced fears that British Airways’parent IAG's takeover of BMI could mean a bad deal for air travellers between Edinburgh and London, the Evening News reports. IAG announced last week that it had reached an agreement to buy troubled BMI in a move which would secure it more than half the landing slots at Heathrow. Mr Darling, Labour MP for Edinburgh South West, said if the deal went ahead it would represent a major loss of competition on a vital route, and he suggested the Office of Fair Trading might want to look at the proposed sale.

He said: ‘If BA takes over BMI we are back where we were in the 1970s when only BA provided a service from Edinburgh to Heathrow. Given the vital importance of that route both for businesses and leisure passengers, I would be extremely concerned at this loss of competition. When BMI entered that route in the 1980s it sharpened up BA’s act and brought prices down.’

He said there were low-cost airlines flying from Edinburgh to London, but they went to Gatwick, Stansted or Luton, adding: ‘The Heathrow route is vital for Edinburgh. This is something the OFT might want to have a look at. We need either assurances in place to stop prices rising year-on-year or alternatively to look at getting someone else on to that route.’

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[textarea]New late Shetland – Edinburgh flight


Flybe partner Loganair is to launch a new late night flight from Shetland to Edinburgh Airport after a successful trial last winter. The 19:50 flight, which will touch down in the capital 90 minutes later, will be a permanent addition to winter and summer timetables.

Jonathan Hinkles, Loganair’s chief operating officer, said: ‘By adding this later flight on a Friday, people are able to travel easily to the capital after work and travel back on flights over the weekend without having to use up any annual leave. It will be possible to leave work in Lerwick on Friday at 5.30pm and still arrive in Edinburgh well before last orders in the city’s hundreds of pubs and bars.’

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[textarea]SNP seek assurances over BMI takeover

Assurances have been sought by the SNP over the future reliability of flights between Heathrow and Scotland should the takeover of BMI by British Airways parent International Airlines Group gain regulatory approval. They have raised concerns over the Heathrow - Edinburgh service, saying that BA’s percentage of flights on time was lower than BMI’s and average delays were longer in 2010.

SNP MSP Colin Keir, whose constituency of Edinburgh Western includes Edinburgh Airport, told The Scotsman: ‘BA’s record lags behind a much more punctual BMI. I urge BA to ensure passengers are not left with a poorer service.’ He added that air links to Heathrow were vital for the economy and assurances were needed that further domestic slots would not be withdrawn.

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Korean bid for Edinburgh Airport?


Edinburgh Airport has attracted interest from Korea’s biggest hub, while half a dozen financial firms including JPMorgan Chase may also bid for the hub, Bloomberg reports. Incheon International Airport Corp is the latest company reported to be mulling an offer for the airport. It may form a consortium with Korean institutions to bid, Chief Executive Officer Lee Chae-Wook said in an interview.

Mr Lee said today in an interview: ‘We don’t just want to invest, that’s what financial companies do. We are more interested in operating the airport.’ South Korea’s National Pension Service, the country’s biggest investor, bought a 12 percent stake in Gatwick airport in February, 2010.

JPMorgan’s infrastructure fund is also considering a bid for Scotland’s busiest airport, which analysts say may fetch £600 million. Rival bids may be led by Carlyle Group, Gatwick owner Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) and 3i Infrastructure Plc. GIP, which also owns London City Airport, is being advised by Royal Bank of Scotland. Frankfurt Airport owner Fraport and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport are also reported to be interested.

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[textarea]Edinburgh Airport bidders will launch major upgrade

Those considering bidding for Edinburgh Airport are also drawing up plans for a major upgrade to improve efficiency and attract more long-haul flights to the hub, less than two years after it received a £40 million overhaul, the Scotsman reports.

Potential bidders say it requires significant changes to areas such as security, access to the terminals, check-in and the departure lounges. One told the newspaper that many aspects of the airport’s design and operation are ‘shoddy’ and considerable improvements would be needed, particularly if it has ambitions to attract more long-haul airlines.

A prospectus for the sale was distributed to interested parties earlier this month and the first bids are expected in early February.

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