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EasyJet Test Flight In Near Nosedive Disaster

Two easyJet pilots struggled to bring their plane out of a rapid nosedive during a test flight over Norwich, an accident report has revealed.

The easyJet pilots abandoned their test flight after the 'serious incident'

In what was described by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) as a "serious incident", a pilot misunderstanding led to near disaster.

At one point, the Boeing 737 was descending at a rate of 21,000ft-per-minute with the nose 30 degrees down, the AAIB report said.

There was "confusion between the two pilots" with the 43-year-old captain incorrectly believing that hydraulic power - which was switched off for the test - had been restored to the flight controls.

The captain rolled the aircraft left at more than 90 degrees to try to stabilise it and made an emergency call to air traffic controllers before the plane eventually recovered from the dive at about 5,600ft.

After the January 12 incident, the pilots abandoned their test and customer demonstration flight and took the plane safely back to Southend.

The report said the plane was at the end of its lease and had just undergone maintenance before being handed on to another operator.

In December 2008, the test flight captain had flown the plane to Southend and noted that the "amount of manual stabiliser trim wheel adjustment" required to balance the aircraft in level flight was only just within the approved maintenance manual limits.

After that flight, the captain had also verbally requested that the matter be looked at - but did not to enter it in the tech log.

As no written instructions were left, the small, moveable balance tabs on the tail of the aircraft were later moved in the wrong direction - a change which led to the "pitch-down incident" in the January flight.

The AAIB said easyJet suspended further check flights until it had carried out a review of maintenance procedures, check-pilot procedures and flight-check procedures.

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Easyjet hits out at airline ‘slot hoarding’ plan

Suggestions that traditional carriers in Europe should be able to hold onto unused take off and landing slots have been condemned by Easyjet.

The budget carrier has written to all 27 European commissioners calling on the EU to avoid “narrow-minded protectionism” by a few legacy airlines appealing for state aid through the back door.

Easyjet argues that some network airlines, led by the Association of European Airlines, is asking the European Commission to consider a suspension of the rules governing slot usage at major airports.

This would prevent other European airlines from using scarce slots that would be freed-up by cutbacks expected for this year.

It is understood that the Commission is preparing a proposal to suspend existing rules on slot allocation, Easyjet claims.

The AEA last week called on the EU to allow member airlines to keep their slots for one year even if they do not use them.

But Easyjet asserts that under the EU’s so-called ‘use it or lose it’ rule, airlines have to use their slots for at least 80% of the time or return them to the slot pool so that other airlines can make use of them.

The airline’s chief executive Andy Harrison said: “This is not about protecting the industry; it’s about propping-up a few poorly-run, inefficient network airlines with out-dated business models that cannot adapt to the demands of modern consumers.

“This idea does not have the support of the industry, and it is not consistent with the objective of supporting the industry.

“If unused slots are in demand they will be taken up by other airlines, helping consumers and local communities in the process, and the industry as a whole.

“However, if unused slots are not in demand they will remain available to be used by airlines.

“A slot freeze helps inefficient, legacy airlines to hoard scarce resources from European airlines that are ready and willing to use them.

“Implementing such a measure would lead to fewer flights, and higher fares, thereby exacerbating the economic situation, not helping it. We must resist this lurch back to the stone age of protectionism.”

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I totally agree with the Easyjet stance, potentially holding the slots amounts protectionism. If for instance BA decide to drop various routes from say Gatwick, they should allow other airlines such as Easyjet to have the opportunity to use them.
 

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Easyjet: Fewer passengers are flying with the budget airline

Easyjet, announced a fall in passenger numbers for the second month in a row.

The budget airline blames the drop on a late Easter.

The company has also appointed one of its Directors, Sir David Michels, as interim chairman in a bid to repair the rift between its board and non-executive Director, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.

Month on month passenger numbers were down 6.3% in March.

The no-frills carrier’s monthly figure of 3.49m was slightly up on February, which saw a drop of 6.8%.

It said passenger numbers for the year to March 31 increased 11.5%, with its load factor – how well it filled its planes – up 1.3 percentage points, to 84.9%.

The firm said load factor for March was 2.8 percentage points lower compared to 2008, because the Easter holiday period falls in April this year.

Easyjet also announced the resignation of its chairman, Sir Colin Chandler, who will step down on July 1.

Sir Stelios and the board have clashed over the company's accounts, which the Cypriot-born businessman refused to back late last year, saying they were 'at odds with current commercial realities and the macro-economic environment'.

Haji-Ioannou, the company's founder, also increased his personal stake to nearly 27%.

Sir Stelios said: “I would like to thank Sir Colin for his leadership of the board and excellent years of service to Easyjet.

“Having participated with other colleagues in these new appointments, I look forward to working more fully with Sir David, and welcoming Sir Michael onto the board as we take Easyjet into the future.”

Sir Colin said he was stepping down to spend more time with his family.

He said: “I am tremendously proud of what we have achieved at Easyjet, and am confident in Easyjet’s future success,” he said.

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Another Man Disembarks From Easyjet

The low-cost airline loses its finance director, only a month after losing its chairman.

Is the long-running boardroom dispute between Easyjet's founder, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, and the airline's management, under chief executive Andy Harrison, crushing morale at the top? On Friday, a month after Easyjet chairman Colin Chandler stepped down, the airline announced its finance director had jumped ship as well.

It was not clear whether there was a connection between the two exits, as Chandler had been due to retire anyway, but the departure of finance director Jeff Carr seemed to come out of the blue for some industry watchers. Easyjet said it would "immediately" start looking for someone to replace Carr, who was poached by transport operator FirstGroup

Carr had enjoyed a good four-year run with Easyjet , and has worked at both Associated British Foods and Reckitt Benckiser it may be that FirstGroup came knocking at the right point in his career. But it's an uneasy time for Easyjet following months of friction at the top between the company and its founder Haji-Ioannou, who publicly slammed the airline's full-steam-ahead strategy for fleet expansion and growth in the midst of a downturn.

Shares of Easyjet slumped 3.9%, or 12.25 pence (18 cents), to 305 pence ($4.54), at the end of trading in London on Friday. When Chandler stepped down in early April, the British press claimed that he had left because he was "fed up" of the boardroom bust-up.

"Whatever way you dress it up, it's not good for any company when the chairman and the finance director go," said Neil Glynn, an analyst with NBC Stockbrokers. He told Forbes that he was bullish on Easyjet's future, and predicted "a lot more growth" for the airline over the next few years, but that the boardroom dispute was essentially about the right reaction to macroeconomic fears.

Easyjet's Chandler said in February that the board would make prudent decisions on fleet strategy and look at the trading situation on a month-by-month basis--a move that was endorsed by Stelios, according to a source with knowledge of the dispute. But it looks like his "debate" with the board will continue as the full impact of the economic downturn on Easyjet becomes clearer. Earlier this month, Easyjet reported a 6.3% drop in March passenger traffic, and the April figures are unlikely to post much of a rebound.

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TheLocalYokel

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easyJet has reined back very significantly this last winter in terms of rotations flown and even now at a number of airports is nowhere near full early summer mode, unlike previous years at this time.

It looks as though Stelios's caution is winning through.
 

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easyJet axe plans for in-flight weddings

easyJet will not be able to offer couples the chance to get married on its flights after Luton Borough Council rejected the plan. It applied to the council for pilots to be authorised to officiate wedding ceremonies. But a council spokeswoman said the law did not allow a civil partnership or marriage to take place on an aircraft.

An easyJet spokesman said: ‘We are of course very disappointed by this news. Faceless bureaucrats in windowless offices have scuppered the dreams of many.’

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easyJet takes advantage of Ryanair website shutdown

When Ryanair shut its website for 10 hours for an upgrade yesterday, its rival easyJet responded by knocking 10% off flights on 10 popular routes. They included Stansted to Malaga and Faro, Liverpool to Ibiza and Bristol to Alicante.

A spokesman for easyJet said: ‘We are always happy to help out disappointed Ryanair customers. We also fly to major airports, not random airfields miles from anywhere, which for many Ryanair passengers will be something of a revelation.’

A Ryanair spokesperson responded: ‘easyJet ,with an average fare 65% higher than Ryanair's average fare, only dares to compete when Ryanair closes its website for upgrade’. The easyJet spokesman didn't respond that 99.6% of statistics are made up, but it would have been funny if he did!

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Oyster cards to be sold on easyJet flights to London

Travellers catching easyJet flights to London can now buy Visitor Oyster cards to use in the capital during their flight.

A deal was struck between Transport for London and easyJet that will see Oyster cards sold on the airline's flights in to Gatwick Airport, Stansted Airport and Luton Airport for a period of three months.

If the trial is successful, the initiative will be extended, meaning London visitors will be able to transfer immediately to the capital's Underground, Docklands Light Railway and bus networks upon arrival in the city.

The deal is the first of its kind and marks the biggest expansion in the Visitor Oyster network to date.

Boris Johnson, mayor of London, said: "Many of us share the experience of arriving in a new city and having our first moments taken up with the baffling process of working out what tickets are needed.

"People flying to London with easyJet can now pick up one of our cards and enjoy the ease, convenience and good value offered by Oyster."

EasyJet offers more services from Gatwick than any of its other bases in the UK, flying to destinations including Marrakech, Sharm el Sheikh, Rome and Helsinki.

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easyJet announce 8 new routes from UK airports

easyJet will extend its European network this winter with the launch of 15 new routes, including 8 from UK airports. The services will provide links to a number of popular holiday destinations, as budget airline's increasingly shift their focus from city break to holiday routes.

Liverpool Airport will gain new flights to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, while Luton will gain links to Sharm el Sheikh and Paphos. Gatwick will get new flights to Porto and Hamburg, with a service from Stansted to Fuerteventura and from Edinburgh to Lyon.

Andy Harrison, chief executive of easyJet , said: 'We are delighted to be announcing even more new routes from the UK and across Europe. Times are tough for consumers, so we are proud to offer great year-round holiday opportunities in fantastic places such as Paphos, Fuerteventura and Sharm El Sheikh for incredibly low prices.'

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[textarea]easyJet passengers up 0.8%

easyJet carried 4.15 million passengers during June, up 0.8% on last year. Its load factor fell by 0.6 percentage points to 86.3%.

The budget airline carried 44.5 million passengers in the year to June, an increase of 7.9% compared to the previous 12 months, while capacity changes contributed to a rise in load factor by 1.9 percentage points to 85.2%.

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[textarea]Stelios and easyJet ‘agree truce over growth plans’

easyJet will signal a cessation of hostilities with Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, its founder, this week following an eight-month public battle over its expansion plans, the Telegraph reports. The budget airline, which will update the stock market on its recent trading performance on Wednesday, will tell investors that it has agreed a revised growth plan with which its major shareholders, including Sir Stelios, are comfortable.

The airline has been in dispute with its biggest shareholder since last November, when Sir Stelios criticised easyJet's plans to progress an order for 91 Airbus aircraft despite the global downturn in the aviation industry. The newspaper reports that easyJet will announce plans to expand its fleet by between 5 and 10 percent annually, a significant slowdown in the rate of growth it has achieved in recent years.

The compromise agreement is reported to focus on exchanging some of the new aircraft for older planes acquired by easyJet when it bought GB Airways last year. A number of aircraft due for delivery in the next 18 months will also be handed over to easyJet at a later date. It is not expected that the revised delivery schedule will incur financial penalties from aircraft manufacturer Airbus.

An 'insider' told the newspaper: ‘The revised agreement will leave nobody in any doubt that easyJet remains a growth company.’ easyJet and Sir Stelios declined to comment.

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I've said it before. Before things start to improve next summer this winter will be the biggest test for airlines. It seems wise to slow down the expansion of Easyjet at this stage until the economy shows more signs of recovery.
 

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[textarea]easyJet face employment prosecution in France

easyJet is to be prosecuted on charges of violating French employment law by failing to declare staff employed at Paris airports under British contracts. The budget airline has been under investigation since 2006 over the legal status of 170 workers then based at Orly Airport near Paris. It has been ordered to stand trial, state prosecutor's in Creteil near Paris have announced.

It is accused of failing to declare workers in Orly between June 2003 and December 2006. No date has been set for the hearing at which the carrier will answer charges of concealing employment, hampering staff representation and failing to register business activities in France. If found guilty it could face a bill for several million euros in unpaid French social security and health insurance contributions.

Under a French Government decree adopted in November 2006, budget airlines with bases in France are obliged to comply with French labour laws. In 2007 France's highest court rejected appeals by both easyJet and Ryanair, who argued that their cabin staff worked for company headquarters outside France and were not subject to French law. Orly, according to easyJet, was merely a 'rest area' for its workers, with the planes their actual workplaces.

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[textarea]easyJet to trial hand held check in devices

easyJet plans to introduce mobile check-in using handheld devices to reduce queuing at airports, the Times reports. The newspaper reports that easyJet plans to replace check-in desks with devices that process passenger details and print boarding passes. Queuing at departure gates could also be eliminated, with mobile scanning of boarding passes.

The budget airline s to conduct trials of the system, which the Times reports is called Project Halo (after the popular computer game, we assume), with a view to introducing it from October. It will give details to an industry conference in Las Vegas next month in a presentation entitled ‘easyJet to Kill off Check-in Desks’.

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This all sounds good and well but it could prove to be very costly if passengers don't like the new check-in method. Passengers that get frustrated with new systems might decide to use other carriers who use the traditional style check-in desks. I have watched this happen with BMI who made the mistake of forcing passengers to use self check-in machines. Non regular passengers found the system acquard and complicated. Passengers prefer to use the traditional hassle free 'manned' check-in desks. For bmi it was a cost saving scheme gone wrong as many passengers turned away from the airline opting to use alternative airlines or rail companies that offered a stress free alternative.
 

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Base Closure, Base Reduction In Size and Reduced staff levels

easyJet has announced that it is to close its 3-aircraft East Midlands base and reduce the size of its Luton base by 20%.

There will also be staffing level reductions at Belfast International, Bristol, Newcastle and Stansted (a total of forty flight and cabin crews to go from these bases) though based aircraft numbers remain unaffected.

Like Ryanair the airline blames the UK government's APD as being primarily responsible and will probably move the aircraft to overseas bases.

Looks as though there will be no growth at BFS, BRS, NCL and STN then and the move might also be a warning shot across the bows of the managements at these airports.

It does seem there is real momentum now in the direction that the low cost market is moving, especially in the UK.
 

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I can't help but think that airlines are starting to ask for too much. Airports have made enormous cuts, staff working in all departments at most airports will vouch for that.

Only last year the handling agent Aviance closed it's main operation at Gatwick claiming that the company can no longer make money handling aircraft. Aviance said, "let this be a warning to airlines that we cannot sustain further reductions in charges", that company has since gone on to make major cuts at other bases including the closure of their LBA operation earlier this year.

Airport companies have made similar cuts. I don't think these cuts are sustainable. If an airline pays nothing for landing fees then who pays for the runway repairs?
 

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[textarea]Easyjet sees profits drop by 50%

Easyjet's passenger numbers rose by 3.4%

Budget airline Easyjet has reported a big fall in full-year profits to the end of September, after the rising price of oil pushed up fuel costs.

Pre-tax profits were £54.7m ($92.2m), half of the £110.2m the airline made a year earlier.

This came despite a 13% rise in sales from £2.36bn a year ago to £2.67bn.

Easyjet said the results were "extremely resilient", adding it was one of the "very few" European airlines to make a profit in the past 12 months.

It was helped by a capacity reduction of about 6% among its main competitors, and increased market share in "valuable" markets such Paris, London Gatwick, Milan and Madrid.

Passenger numbers rose by 3.4% to 45.2 million.

'Fuel hedging'

"We are doing exceptionally well at the moment," Easyjet's chief executive Andy Harrison told the BBC.

Easyjet chief executive Andy Harrison: "It's simply down to efficiency"
The reason, he said, was because the airline offered "great value, the best prices and the most convenient airports".

Mr Harrison said the airline had been hit by its fuel hedging policy, in which it buys fuel at prices agreed in advance. Movements in the price of oil meant that the company had lost out in the year to September.

However, he said the airline should benefit to the tune of £100m in 2010 from its fuel-buying policy.

'Substantial improvement'

Mr Harrison said that passenger fares would be "flat or slightly down" in the year ahead.

The airline also warned of a "tough winter ahead", and said it would continue to focus on cutting costs and improving efficiency.

These, together with the savings made on fuel hedging, mean it expects to make a "substantial profit improvement in 2010".

Earlier this month, Easyjet's rival Ryanair reported a fourfold increase in half-year profits.

Pre-tax profits came in at 419.4m euros ($627.6m; £372.3m), up from 105.2m euros in the same period last year.

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[textarea]EasyJet releases its 2010 routes

Budget airline easyJet has announced a raft of new routes for 2010, opening up travel from regional UK airports.

The company has revealed its plans for next year's travel, setting up a new link between Stansted Airport and Cagliari, Sardinia, which will begin on March 28th.

Manchester Airport has also been given a new route to Helsinki, Finland, which will run four times a week, also starting at the end of March.

Liverpool Airport passengers will also be able to travel to Malta from June 13th, running twice a week.

The airline released ten new routes in total and will take delivery of six new Airbus 319s in the New Year, boosting its fleet size to 185 aircraft.

Earlier this month, easyJet was announced as the best no frills airline and having the best economy class at the British Travel Awards.

The public votes for the winners in the awards, known as the travel Oscars, with Paul Simmons, easyJet's UK regional general manager, saying that it is a welcome reinforcement for the airline.

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[textarea]easyJet apologise over Holocaust memorial

easyJet has apologised after fashion photographs shot at the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin were published in its in-flight magazine. In the pictures, models pose in designer clothes among the concrete blocks of the ‘Field of Stelae’.

The memorial commemorates the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi genocide. The budget airline says it was unaware of the images until they appeared in the magazine, which is produced for the airline by media INK. It is now reviewing its relationship with the publisher.

In a statement, easyJet said it ‘profusely apologises’ to anyone who was offended by the ‘inappropriate’ shoot and said it would withdraw this month's issue from all flights - thought to be 250,000 magazines.

INK did not seek permission from the Foundation for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe to shoot the pictures. The foundation only became aware that the photographs existed when contacted by the New Statesman magazine, which discovered the pictures.

http://www.uk-airport-news.info/[/textarea]
 

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[textarea]easyJet boss says worst of recession over

The Chief Executive of easyJet believes the worst of the recession is over for the airline industry, but warned recovery would be slow, Reuters reports. Andy Harrison told the news agency in an interview: ‘I think the worst is over but I don't see any improvement either and expect demand to be stable for the next nine months at least. Winter will be a continuation of what we have seen...we will see continuing weaker consumer demand.’

Mr Harrison said the airline, which uses Airbus aircraft, would not look to cancel any of its existing aircraft orders, despite the sluggish demand picture. He said: ‘We have got something like 70 new committed aircraft deliveries over the next three years and they will go ahead.

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