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TheLocalYokel

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The CAA stats for BRS in December 2008 (reported elsewhere on this message board) show a drop of 12.5% in passenger numbers on December 2007.

Much of this can be attributed to easyJet who, not only reduced their number of based aircraft from 12 last summer to 10 this winter, have culled the winter rotations substantially, so much so that this month sees only ten rotations on Wednesdays using BRS-based A319s. The BFS and NCL routes are operated by aircraft from those bases.

This means that on some days only four of the 10 based aircraft are actually needed. On Fridays eight are needed which is the most intensive day for unit utilisation in January. The rotations increase in number in February and again in March.

Since easyJet absorbed Go six or seven years ago they have flown twice daily to both Malaga and Alicante from Bristol, summer and winter. Yet in January this year there is at least one day a week when they have no rotation at all to these sun resorts. This encapsulates the downturn in the economy as it applies to air travel.

And yet, the ski market is seemingly going strongly with the weekly charter flights numbering fourteen to various destinations hardly down on previous years; the locos are going hammer and tongs with easy doing five flights to Geneva on Saturdays (although it has been reduced to four for the rest of January) and at least double-daily for a good part of the week; Ryanair for the first time are going head to head with easy to Grenoble (and with charter traffic to that destination as well) and there are locos to Innsbruck, Turin and Toulouse, again challenging the charter boys on those routes.
 

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Aviador

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I think it was always going to be the case. Most airlines have reduced capacity for this winter and given that most airlines tend to lose money during the winter anyway, it's probably just as well that easyjet have reduced the base size for this period. With uncertain times ahead I think all airlines will continue to downsize until the economy stabilises. As for strong Ski traffic, I guess most will have pre booked before the banks problems became apparent. Other routes, particularly domestic ones have been hit hard, this is primarily because those routes have a shorter lead up time.
 

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Interestingly, the BRS website has just announced an extra ski charter flight for the school half term holidays, so perhaps that market is not doing too badly.

Your point about domestic routes is well made and so far as Bristol is concerned this market has been diminishing for the past two years mainly, it is thought, because of rail competition. I always think that if rail is equally viable or even more viable then it is better for everyone (except the airlines and airports of course) that it should be used.
 

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There is also the cost implications and in many cases it can be just as cheap to fly as to use the train. My other half went from Leeds to London just before Christmas and it cost £206.00 return, yet last year I got a return ticket with Jet2 from Leeds to Barcelona and it cost £100.00 return. The domestic flights option is being squeezed out slowly but surely, but we're then left with no competition and so the prices increase.
 

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Yes, of course cost is extremely important and I had that in mind as one of the constituents of my 'viability test'.

The other major one is practicality. I can get to the major Scottish cities and several of the major North of England cities and back in one day from the West of England and still have a complete day, or most of it, at my destination, something not possible by rail.

It does seem though that an increasing number of people seem to have convinced themselves that they are helping to save the planet by travelling by train instead of air, and will do so even when air is more convenient and possibly cheaper.

Whatever the reasons there is no doubt that rail travel is becoming more popular. Only today I read in a local rag that rail passenger numbers have doubled in the West of England over the past ten years.
 

Em0866

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Just spent a few days in Madeira flying with easyjet from BRS. I have to say how much I enjoy flying with EZY, good flight both ways and really good crew as well. From check-in to boarding the aircraft was smooth. This is the second time I've flown with EZY and would be more than happy to fly with them again, even though I prefer to fly from CWL which is much closer
 

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Hope you enjoyed your break, Em.

The airport at Funchal is a different experience although I believe the runway may have been extended or in some way altered since I went there in 1995. Went with Air 2000 on an A320 and we had a very firm landing on that runway that extends towards the sea on pillars.

I enjoyed Madeira. We had a hire car for the week and I don't think I've come across so many tunnels in such a small area - more than in Austria and Switzerland in comparable spaces. The entire island seems to be a succession of mountains.

We've used easyJet a lot. It's very convenient for us being only twenty minutes down the road. By and large I find it a very good airline. One or two of the cabin staff who used to feature regularly on Airline are, or at least were if they still aren't, based at Bristol.

We've been to EDI and GLA a lot with easy and once flew back from GLA in 45 minutes in the air. We had a very powerful tail wind so the first officer told us who was doing the chatting, except in mid flight a woman's voice came on and said something that no-one grasped. She had a foreign accent and puzzled looks on passengers' faces around us came to the conclusion it was one of the cabin staff.

It was only when we got off and walked past the aircraft towards the bus that we discovered our unintelligible woman was the captain.
 

Em0866

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Yes was a good break thanks Local and would go again. The landing at Funchal was good. I noticed that the extension of the runway was on a bridge! Lots of pillars underneath it.

I know what you mean about the number of tunnels and also, considering it was a dual carriageway, how steep some of the gradients were and how sharp the bends! Not good for your nerves driven by a mad taxi driver!

Have been with EZY once before to PMI and again the service and flight were good, that was about 3 years ago. Like I said, I would happily fly with them again. Of course they have good routes from BRS and a great variety, which is sadly lacking from CWL.

I booked my car parking at Monaghans Mushrooms, and trying to find it with awful directions was a nightmare at 4am in the morning. Luckily I stopped at the Holiday Inn at the bottom of the hill who gave me directions! LOL
 

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Hello again Em.

Monaghans Mushrooms is one of numerous off airport parks that have cropped up in the past few years. Most are eventually closed down by the local authority but are apparently allowed to trade until they exhaust all their appeal avenues. I'm not sure what the current situation is with this operator.

I can understand your difficulty. The park is in an obscure road on the edge of a village several miles from the airport. It's probably easier to access using the A370 (Weston road) from Bristol than the A38.

You must have left home at an unearthly hour.

It has to be very frustrating to have to travel so far on land before you reach an aircraft. It would drive me nuts if I had to drive to South Wales almost every time I wanted to fly somewhere. I note from the CWL general thread that the airport is again trying to enlist the aid of the WAG in getting more routes.
 

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several miles from the airport.
Blimey! Is there nothing nearer other than the airport onsite parking? One of the tricks LBA is trying at the moment is using various airport car parking websites such as 'Holiday Extras' and other similar websites. The best thing is that you still use the official onsite car park and have access to the airport shuttle bus to take you to the terminal. Fortunately I don't have the problem of parking, I can either get a family member to drop me off via the airport en route to Morrison's or grab a local taxi which would only cost me a couple of quid. I did try walking home once but never again. That short hop round the corner home seemed like miles.

As for Cardiff trying to bolster it's routes using aid, I'm not personally fold of this kind of idea. I wouldn't be against WAG funding infrastructure improvements to perhaps entice more business to Cardiff but I don't think government hand outs to airlines are the right way forward. The proximity of Bristol airport which has expanded on its own accord would be undermined by unnatural growth at Cardiff. (I'm going to copy and paste this into the Cardiff thread as well).
 

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It's a job to keep up with the flow of temporary off-airport car parks around Bristol, because they come and go rapidly. At one time there were a dozen or more operating but I think local authority action has since eroded this total.

However, as far as I know there is one that has been operating for several years (I thought it had been closed down but that would appear not to be the case though I'm not sure how it manages to remain open) that is situated on the A 38 less than a quarter of a mile from the main access road to the airport.

Hotels are another problem at Bristol. I believe it's the largest UK airport without an onsite hotel, although the expansion plans propose one.

As this thread is about easyJet I will pay lip service by saying that I don't believe any of the Orange flight and cabin crews are accommodated in hotels at Bristol. They all come in from home or from wherever they choose to lay their figurative caps. The overnighters such as KLM, AF and LH go to city hotels as far as I know, as do the CO crews.
 

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I'm sure that it's a CAA requirement that cabin crew must have a full restaurant facility available for stopovers. A new airport hotel for Bristol Airport would be better suited to Bewley's, Radisson or Holiday Inn rather than the likes of a Travellodge such as the onsite one that we have. One of the advantages of having an aircraft base at an airport is that you can use locally sourced cabin crews so no requirement for stopovers as such. Both Ryanair and Easyjet will have had to consider this when they originally looked into basing aircraft at Bristol. It would be rather expensive to have to taxi crews to hotels miles from the airport.
 

Em0866

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Further to the car parking issue, which isn't really anything to do with EZY, I chose MM as it was the cheapest I could find (watching the pennies), I won't be using them again though and worth spending the few pounds extra to be near or on the airport complex.

As far as EZY is concerned it's a shame they don't fly from CWL as well. Top marks to the crew, who were well humoured and did their job brilliantly!
 

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Pupils on trip to Venice forced to leave plane due to inadequate number of teachers

A group of schoolchildren who set out on a cultural trip to Italy had to leave the plane before takeoff because there were not enough teachers with them.

The 28 pupils and two staff were preparing to fly to Venice when their easyJet pilot told them the trip was in breach of regulations which require a ratio of one adult to every 10 children.

The teenagers from Huish Episcopi School Science College in Langport, Somerset, had to disembark the plane at Bristol International Airport, in front of the other passengers.

Red Arrows narrowly avoided disaster with passenger planeThe 13-year-old youngsters then spent several hours waiting at the airport to see if a solution could be found. But it could not and the pupils had to be sent home.

Their disappointment was made worse by the knowledge that 34 other pupils from the school had flown out a day earlier, accompanied by four members of staff.

Graham Roff, the school's headmaster, apologised for the mix-up. He said: "We are extremely sorry that some of our students were unable to take part in the Italy trip and also for their extremely frustrating experiences at the airport.

"We realise that all the students involved in the visit will have been looking forward with huge enthusiasm to their holiday.

"To have it snatched from them at the point where they had actually boarded the aircraft is an enormous disappointment and difficult to comprehend.

"We are extremely experienced in running study trips both in this country and abroad. The care and security of our students is always paramount.

"There have been many very successful visits to Italy and other European countries in recent years and we have never encountered a problem of this type."

He said the problem seemed to have arisen because of the popularity of the trip and the need to split the party into two sub groups which were originally to have travelled together.

He added: "We are in contact with the tour operator and are trying to find out exactly what led up to the situation we experienced. The matter is not as simple as it may seem.

"The original plan was that both parts of our school party were to be booked on the same flight," he said.

Wally Elliott, whose grandson, Sam Ibbotson, 13, was one of the disappointed pupils, said: "There were some irate parents. It is such a shame that the trip could not go ahead. Perhaps someone did not read the small print."

The boy's mother, Kirsty Elliott, added: "Sam has not been well and had been looking forward to it so much."

Somerset County Council guidelines are for one adult to 10-12 children for trips abroad, although the ratio can vary according to circumstances.

The School Travel Service, which organized the trip, also offered its apologies.

A spokesman said the company "looked into every possibility to transport the group but unfortunately the trip had to be postponed".

The company would provide a full refund and an alternative discounted trip later this year, the spokesman added.

Source
 

TheLocalYokel

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I feel very sorry for the schoolchildren involved but I believe the captain had no choice.

The airline's regulations (and terms and conditions of booking) are clear and when potential safety is involved no captain is going to use discretion he or she almost certainly doesn't have in such circumstances in order to avoid disappointing youngsters. Apart from anything else the aicraft insurance might have been invalidated.

The blame clearly lies with the company that booked the holiday on behalf of the school. It appears to be an experienced organisation in this field and should have known better.

The trouble is a lot of the Joe and Josephine Public will blame the airline. I can hear some of the local moaners now: "If you fly from a tinpot airport like Bristol on a budget airline, what do you expect? Wouldn't have happened on a proper airline." But of course, it would have.

Had one local resident writing to the local paper the other day about a perceived problem he had at BRS (it was so minor I've forgotten what it was) who said he would never use the airport again but would in future use 'a proper airport like Cardiff'. Ah, well...................
 

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Working at an airport you hear things like this all the time and the minute things go wrong people are quick to call the airline or airport concerned.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Looking at the BRS Mayfly for next week, when easyJet increases rotations on some routes, re-commences others and begins a couple of new ones (Corfu and Bastia, Corsica) , there will be a need for eleven based 319s.

Last summer saw eleven based 319s with a twelfth for the peak summer season mid-July to early September so we might expect that again this year.

In the winter the airline had need of only eight based 319s for several weeks and this increased to ten at the end of March, although there were some days when not all ten were required.

Traditionally, easyJet add a based aircraft each year at Bristol (they've been doing this for about each of the last five years) so had the practice continued there would now be twelve 319s with a thirteenth coming in the peak season.

Given the economic situation I am surprised to see eleven at the moment.
 

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Easyjet must be seeing some good loads then. Eleven aircraft is still a sizable operation. When do you envisage a return to growth at Bristol? I would say 2010 will return to near normal loads through the summer with growth returning during 2011/2012.
 

TheLocalYokel

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Aviador,

I don't see growth until at least next year although Ryanair's two extra based aircraft (and new routes) that are due to arrive at the beginning of July will help steady the ship. However, I wonder what they will do with them in the coming winter because I can't see how they can utilise all four regularly, given that a lot of the new routes seem summer only destinations.

As for easyJet, there was always the likelihood that their expansion would slow or even stagnate once Ryanair decided to increase its presence. This happened at Liverpool, although I note that easyJet is now putting in a bit more growth at LPL after a period of standstill.

I've noted your comments in other threads about this coming winter likely to be 'challenging' for airlines and airports and I can't disagree. Let's hope the economy shows signs of real improvement by next year because if it doesn't 2010 might be another disappointing year for the industry.
 

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According to a Bristol Evening Post report there will be a twelfth easyJet A319 based at BRS for the peak summer period, as last year.

The fact was mentioned by an airport spokesman, amongst other things, when addressing the newspaper's latest 'sneer' about falling passenger numbers at the airport.
 

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