French in £3bn swoop on Gatwick: Brexit boost as investors snap up stake in flagship airport

French in £3bn swoop on Gatwick: Brexit boost as investors snap up stake in flagship airport

French investors are snapping up a controlling stake in Gatwick Airport, in a major vote of confidence for the UK ahead of Brexit.

In an article by The Daily Mail, the £2.9 billion deal will see Vinci take 50.01% of the UK’s second busiest airport, leaving a consortium led by Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) with the remaining 49.99%.

Bosses at Vinci said they saw potential to expand capacity and sell more products to travellers.

Already the busiest single-runway airport in the world (up to 950 flights per day in 2017), there are better plans to make better use of Gatwick’s standby runway.

Nicolas Notebaert, president of Vinci Airports, dismissed concerns about a no-deal Brexit and said that Gatwick’s prospects are strong.

Notebaert said: ‘We do not think it changes the capacity of London to attract international visitors, who make up half of traffic for Gatwick.

‘There are also so many potential travellers in the Greater London area, so it is very robust and resilient.’

Vinci already owns a number of airports, including five in the US, six in Japan and 12 in France.

It has been buying infrastructure to bolster its income, amid a slowdown in the construction arm.

The Gatwick takeover has been in the works for several months, but its announcement was delayed until 26th December due to chaos at the airport in the run-up to Christmas regarding drone sightings.

Around 1,000 flights were affected, causing misery for more than 140,000 passengers.

Stewart Wingate, Gatwick’s chief executive, said the airport had learned from what happened and had taken steps to ensure no repeat.

He said: ‘I know this unprecedented criminal activity caused huge inconvenience to thousands of people, many of whom missed important family events.

‘We have appreciated the understanding and tolerance shown at what was a really challenging time for everyone, and we are grateful that passengers recognised that we should never do anything that might jeopardise their safety.’

Other backers aside from Vinci included in the remaining 49.99% stake in Gatwick include Abu Dhabi and Australian sovereign wealth funds and international pension firms.

It is hoped the takeover could see Gatwick expand beyond the 220 destinations it currently operates in.

The airport has been locked in a long battle for the right to build a new runway, but in 2018 lost out to Heathrow.

Best airlines in the world for 2019 revealed

Singapore Airlines was revealed as the number one airline in the world for 2019 on Saturday. AirlineRatings.com revealed their new rankings of global carriers on 24th November. It grades on safety and in-flight experience. According to Express, Singapore Airlines...

1950s air hostess reveals this strict airline rule

An air hostess who served with United Airlines in the USA in the early 1950s has revealed the height restrictions that were in place. Ethel Pattison, a historian at Los Angeles airport and  previously a United Airlines air hostess has revealed a very strict regulation...

UK aviation industry set to prosper as UK prepares to leave the EU

UK aviation industry set to prosper as UK prepares to leave the EU

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling will today fly to Switzerland to sign an agreement that ensures air services will continue operating between the UK and Switzerland after Brexit.

 

According to Gov.UK, the new bilateral deal guarantees the terms of the current EU-Switzerland agreement on air services, safeguarding the route that carries 6.8 million passengers by air in 2017 as the UK and Switzerland after Brexit.

 

Grayling said: “The UK aviation sector is the biggest in Europe and will play an even more crucial role as we further develop as an outward looking global nation.

 

“These agreements will ensure Britain continues to prosper as we leave the EU and I’m confident the UK will reach a mutually beneficial deal, whilst we continue to prepare for all eventualities.”

 

Today, the government will launch the Aviation 2050 consultation – a long term plan for growth to ensure the industry’s success, which proposes new measures to ensure the UK’s aviation sector continues to bring significant benefits to the UK economy and citizens for the future. This will include a new passenger charter, practical requirements to reduce emissions and noise levels and more use of innovative technology.

 

Aviation is worth around £22 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs, boosting growth and connecting regions. As passenger and freight demand increases, the consultation proposes a partnership for sustainable growth up to 2050 and onwards.

 

This will ensure the UK continues to benefit from a world class choice of connections and airlines, while also tackling the environmental and community impacts of flights.

 

The consultation also sets out how the government plans to modernise our airspace, ensuring quicker journeys, with cleaner and more efficient operations in the future, reducing congestion, noise and emissions and helping avoid future delays.

 

Aviation Minister Liz Sugg said:

 

Our aviation sector is world-leading and the Aviation 2050 strategy will promote success in the coming decades.

 

“Our ambition is to expand our international connections, boost trade and investment and strengthening domestic links to support businesses and travelling passengers.

 

“By working with the industry we will drive sustainable growth, ensuring the next generation will continue to benefit from the growing number of opportunities this exciting and innovative sector offers.”

 

Best airlines in the world for 2019 revealed

Singapore Airlines was revealed as the number one airline in the world for 2019 on Saturday. AirlineRatings.com revealed their new rankings of global carriers on 24th November. It grades on safety and in-flight experience. According to Express, Singapore Airlines...

1950s air hostess reveals this strict airline rule

An air hostess who served with United Airlines in the USA in the early 1950s has revealed the height restrictions that were in place. Ethel Pattison, a historian at Los Angeles airport and  previously a United Airlines air hostess has revealed a very strict regulation...

United Airlines officially introduces new international premium cabin for sale

United Airlines officially introduces new international premium cabin for sale

Last month, Chicago-based United Airlines revealed it would be launching new premium economy cabins. The product officially went on sale on the 3rd December.

 

According to Forbes, the premium economy cabins, branded United Premium Plus, sit in a unique zone between traditional international economy and business class. Over the last decade, major air carriers have redefined the scope of international business class, incorporating more lie-flat seats and premium service to the cabins. That move has reduced the need of international first class – but it has also widened the gap between economy and business class cabins.

 

Premium economy cabins have now been deployed to fill in the gap between economy and business. In addition to providing wider seats and generous leg room, United’s Premium Plus cabins come with free checked bags, priority boarding and an enhanced in-flight catering experience alleviating a number of pain points that many see in economy cabins.

 

Passengers will of course pay for the luxuries. For example, airfare between San Francisco and Auckland – a route in which Premium Plus will be offered from 30th March – would cost around $3,219 for a premium economy fare, while an economy fare costs $1,080. The lie-flat business class seats cost $7,615.

 

Award seats in Premium Plus, too, have been loaded. Though the price may seem high to some frequent flyers, it will come as a cheaper alternative to those who would usually pay to fly international business class. The blog Point me to the Plane ran a search for premium economy fares on United routes to Japan and found that while one-way economy fares cost 35,000 miles, Premium Plus cost 135,000. One way business class fares on those routes cost 175,000 miles.    

 

Best airlines in the world for 2019 revealed

Singapore Airlines was revealed as the number one airline in the world for 2019 on Saturday. AirlineRatings.com revealed their new rankings of global carriers on 24th November. It grades on safety and in-flight experience. According to Express, Singapore Airlines...

1950s air hostess reveals this strict airline rule

An air hostess who served with United Airlines in the USA in the early 1950s has revealed the height restrictions that were in place. Ethel Pattison, a historian at Los Angeles airport and  previously a United Airlines air hostess has revealed a very strict regulation...

American airline apologises for staff who mocked 5-year old’s name

American airline apologises for staff who mocked 5-year old’s name

American airline Southwest Airlines has apologised after a member of staff was reported as ridiculing a 5-year old’s name.

 

Traci Redmond was travelling with her daughter, named Abcde (pronounced ab-si-dee). As they were preparing to board their flight, an employee at California John Wayne Airport started laughing at the name and took a photograph of the child’s boarding pass, before posting it online.

 

Traci told ABC7 News: “The gate agent started laughing, pointing at me and my daughter, talking to other employees. So I turned around and said, ‘Hey if I can hear you, my daughter can hear you, so I’d appreciate if you’d just stop,’

 

Traci and Abcde were travelling to their home in El Paso, Texas. They were boarding early due to Abcde’s epilepsy.

 

“While I was sitting there, she took a picture of my boarding pass and chose to post it on social media, mocking my daughter,” said Ms Redmond.

 

“It was actually brought to my attention by somebody who had seen it on Facebook and reported it to Southwest Airlines. And after two weeks of doing a formal complaint, Southwest hadn’t done anything.”

 

Southwest Airlines later apologised with regards to the incident.

 

“We take great pride in extending our Southwest Hospitality to all of our Customers, which includes living by the Golden Rule and treating every individual with respect, in person or online. The post is not indicative of the care, respect, and civility we expect from all of our employees,” it said, although it declined to say what action it had taken against its member of staff.

Heathrow plans extra 25,000 flights a year

Heathrow has announced that an extra 25,000 flights a year could come through the airport before the third runway is built. An eight-week consultation over Heathrow’s operations and airspace is part of a nationwide review of UK capacity by...

Best airlines in the world for 2019 revealed

Best airlines in the world for 2019 revealed

Singapore Airlines was revealed as the number one airline in the world for 2019 on Saturday.

 

AirlineRatings.com revealed their new rankings of global carriers on 24th November. It grades on safety and in-flight experience.

 

According to Express, Singapore Airlines currently operates the longest commercial flight in the world between Singapore and New York.

 

In the analysis, Singapore Airlines came out number one in many of our audit criteria, which is a great performance,” AirlineRatings.com Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Thomas commented.

 

“One of the standouts in the industry for decades it has returned to its best with a new product, new aircraft and new innovative flights such as the Singapore-New York non-stop. Quite simply the airline is the Gold Standard.”

 

The airline’s “Suites” won the First Class award from AirlineRatings.com.

 

The six suites are designed to resemble small hotel rooms.

 

Air New Zealand came out on top for the previous 5 years. But this year Singapore Airlines pinched the crown.

 

Thomas praised its expansion in both domestic and international markets as well as its business class beds.

 

Australian carrier Qantas came in third place overall. It won Best Domestic Airline Service and Best Lounges.

 

“Qantas’ customer approval rating is at an all-time high, and it continues to innovate with lie-flat beds on all its A330s that operate domestic and regional international flights,” said Thomas.

 

“The judges were unanimous on the airline’s lounges which are exceptional and its domestic airline product, particularly on transcontinental A330 flights, is a standout.”

 

Qatar Airways was ranked in fourth place, selected as Best Catering and Best Business Class.

 

“The airline’s Qsuite is a first-class experience in business class. It leaves little to chance, and our judges rated it as one of the best overall business-class products they had seen. It sets a standard to which some airlines can only aspire,” said Thomas.

 

Virgin Atlantic took 5th place, while Emirates (Dubai-based) took 6th.

 

Emirates won both Best Inflight Entertainment and Best Long-Haul Middle East.

 

“Emirates has been an industry benchmark in cabin innovation and aircraft for years and dominates long-haul travel, with a level of service that only a few equal, said Thomas.

 

British carriers failed to come in the top ten, however Germany’s Lufthansa was credited with Excellent in Long Haul Travel and Hungary’s Wiz was named as one of the Best Low-Cost Airlines.

 

See AirlineRatings.com’s Top Ten Airlines below:

 

1. Singapore Airlines

2. Air New Zealand

3. Qantas

4. Qatar Airways

5. Virgin Australia

6. Emirates

7. All Nippon Airways

8. EVA Air

9. Cathay Pacific Airways

10. Japan Airlines

 

Heathrow plans extra 25,000 flights a year

Heathrow has announced that an extra 25,000 flights a year could come through the airport before the third runway is built. An eight-week consultation over Heathrow’s operations and airspace is part of a nationwide review of UK capacity by...

1950s air hostess reveals this strict airline rule

1950s air hostess reveals this strict airline rule

An air hostess who served with United Airlines in the USA in the early 1950s has revealed the height restrictions that were in place.

 

Ethel Pattison, a historian at Los Angeles airport and  previously a United Airlines air hostess has revealed a very strict regulation cabin crew had to abide by during her time as cabin crew, regarding their height.

 

In the 1950s and 60s, air hostesses were expected to look pleasing to the eye. Cabin crew had to take great care of their appearance, as the early decades were strongly associated with glamour and luxury, since only the wealthy could afford to fly.

 

However, some flight attendant requirements were also very practical and necessary, as Ethel Pattison, now 93, tells the Sunday Express.

 

Ethel joined United Airlines in 1951 as a stewardess. A historian today, she explained how air hostesses working during her time were expected to be within a certain height bracket.

 

“In those days, those ladies applying to be stewardesses had to be 5 foot 2 inches to 5 foot 8 inches,” she told Express.co.uk.

 

This. Ethel says, was entirely from practical reasons as the woman needed to be able to reach upwards as well as not scraping the aircraft ceiling.

 

“With the jets, planes were bigger and so height increased to 5 foot 10 inches to reach the overhead storage.”

 

Air hostesses were also required to look after their weight, and this was measured by management on a regular basis.

 

A New York Times classified ad for stewardesses at Eastern Airlines listed the following requirements in 1966: “A high school graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 may apply for future consideration).

 

“5’2” but no more than 5’9″, weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height.”

 

Ethel told Sunday Express: “I enjoyed being a stewardess, living with roommates in Seattle and travelling and learning about the United States, it was a great experience for me,” Ethel said.

 

Ethel went on the become America’s First Airport Tour Guide in 1956 at Los Angeles airport. The airport then was incredibly different to the huge bustling hub it is today.

 

“LAX was three two storey buildings before the jet age airport in 1961, two for the airlines with small seating area for passengers and their outside gates and one for post office, bank, coffee shop and weather bureau, restaurant and observation deck on the second story,” she explained.

 

She added: “Looking back in time at how far LAX has come, it seems to adapt to its growth and increase in passenger totals well and we look forward to seeing it continue to reach its potential.”

 

Rules still apply to flight attendants today when it comes to appearance, although they are more relaxed.

Heathrow plans extra 25,000 flights a year

Heathrow has announced that an extra 25,000 flights a year could come through the airport before the third runway is built. An eight-week consultation over Heathrow’s operations and airspace is part of a nationwide review of UK capacity by...