Former Gatwick owner sells three more airports

Five years after the sale of Gatwick Airport, Heathrow Airport Holdings Ltd has agreed to sell Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports.

A consortium formed by Ferrovial, through its subsidiary Ferrovial Aeropuertos, and Macquarie European Infrastructure Fund 4 (MEIF4) will pay £1,048 million in cash and assumed debt for the three airports.

Subject to EU merger regulation clearance, the sale is expected to complete by January 2015.

easyJet wins Best Low-Cost Airline award

easyJet has landed the Business Traveller’s Best Low-Cost Airline award for ninth consecutive year.

The budget airline has seen a steady increase in the number of business travellers it handles – currently 20% of easyJet passengers fly for business.

Commenting on the award, Anthony Drury, Head of Business for easyJet, said, “We are really pleased to have won the Best Low-Cost Airline Award as it is judged by key players in the business travel industry and to be recognised for the ninth consecutive year is testament to how hard we work to continually improve our passengers’ experience and evolve our product and network.

“We continue to deliver on the strategy we launched in 2010 to increase our appeal to the business travel sector. Enhancements including allocated seating, Inclusive fares and Fast Track Security have all played a part in enabling easyJet to attract more business passengers.”

@RyanairFlights launches flight updates

Getting information about your Ryanair flight it set to become easier after the airline launched a new Twitter account to provide real-time flight updates.

The account @RyanairFlights provides up-to-date information on every single flight operated by the airline.

To gain real-time information on your flight you will need to:

  • Follow @RyanairFlights
  • Send your flight number by direct message
  • You will then instantly receive your flight information.

Ryanair’s Robin Kiely said, “Ryanair is pleased to launch @RyanairFlights, offering Twitter users instant real-time flight information for our 1,600 daily flights. Over 100,000 people already follow our official @Ryanair Twitter account for the latest Ryanair news, special fare offers and dedicated customer service and we look forward to rolling out further digital innovations, as we continue to offer so much more than just the lowest fares.”

Edinburgh Airport supports Gatwick expansion

Edinburgh Airport CEO Gordon Dewar has publicly stated that Gatwick Airport is “the only viable option” for airport expansion.

His comment came as officials from Gatwick Airport travelled to Edinburgh to discuss the airports expansion plans and outline how the airport will deliver greater connections for UK businesses.

Edinburgh Airport Chief Executive Officer, Gordon Dewar said: “It is essential for the United Kingdom that airports policy puts the needs of passengers at its heart, and is designed in the best interests of the country as a whole. Edinburgh Airport believes that the plans being worked on by Gatwick represent the most realistic and deliverable proposals in terms of providing short, medium and long-term capacity for growth.”

Gatwick sees busiest ever September

The airport expansion battle between Heathrow and Gatwick is continuing with both airports announcing record passenger numbers for September.

Here at Gatwick, figures just released show that airport passenger numbers were up by 7.7% in September compared with the same period last year – that’s an extra 274,000 passengers!

More than 3.8 million passengers passed through Gatwick last month – 20% of these travellers were business travellers.

Contributing to the increase – the airport’s 19 consecutive month of passenger growth – were the long-haul markets of North Atlantic routes, up 12.6%, and other long haul destinations (including Dubai, Indonesia and Vietnam), which were up 12.5%.

European scheduled passenger numbers were up 11.6% on September 2013, particularly the business routes of Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and Warsaw.

In a rolling 12-month period (October 2013 – September 2014), passenger numbers stand at 37,531,000 – up 6.9% on the previous 12 months (October 2012 – September 2013).

Commenting on the passenger figures, Nick Dunn, Chief Financial Officer at London Gatwick, said, “Gatwick continues to prove that competition in the London market is working for passengers and airlines. More people than ever are choosing Gatwick over other airports and new short and long haul routes continue to open and prosper. In September, we have seen significant growth on the UK’s only direct route to Vietnam and the start of a new service to Jakarta from Gatwick.”

Gatwick Express disruptions Sunday 12 October

Watch out if you are travelling between London Victoria Station and Gatwick Airport this coming weekend.

Engineering works and line closures on Sunday, 12 October 2014, will see the 03:30, 04:30 Victoria to Gatwick and 01:35, 04:35 Gatwick to Victoria services replaced by coach services.

From 5am, the Gatwick Express service will operate every 30 minutes and take up to 45 minutes.

Train times for Sunday:

  • From Victoria – departing on the hour and 30 minutes past each hour
    From Gatwick – departing 21 and 52 minutes past each hour

Wi-Fi in Europe’s Busiest Airports

A recent survey by Skyscanner has revealed, unsurprisingly, that Wi-Fi is considered hugely important at airports.

71% of international travellers rated fast Wi-Fi as extremely important in an airport, of which 96% believed that Wi-Fi in airports should be free.

In an age when we are somewhat dependant on our smartphones, whether that’s for business or pleasure, time spent at an airport is made easier thanks to Wi-Fi.

The survey revealed that 33% of travellers wanted to use Wi-Fi to update their social media status and upload photos of their travels. Then there are the business travellers whose time at the airport is an important time to work.

So where in Europe are you likely to get the best deal on airport Wi-Fi?

In research carried out by Skyscanner, most Italian, Turkish, French, Russian and German airports offered unlimited free Wi-Fi. Other countries which were quite generous with their Wi-Fi, albeit limited, included Stockholm, which offers 3 hours of free Wi-Fi.

The popular summer and winter destinations of Alicante, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Malaga and Palma offered a mere 15 minutes free.

Airports offering no free Wi-Fi were Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen and Berlin Tegel. There was a poor show from the UK too, with only London City and Birmingham offering travellers free Wi-Fi.

How does Gatwick compare?

Gatwick offers 45 minutes free Wi-Fi.

So, if you’re flying across Europe and want to know what your airport’s Wi-Fi allowance is, check out this link to the Skyscanner complete guide to Internet access across Europe

Vision for Gatwick shortlisted for Architecture award

It’s yet to hear if its design will actually get off the ground, but Gawick Airport’s design for a two-runway airport has been shortlisted in the World Architecture Festival Awards.

The ‘Vision for Gatwick’, designed by Sir Terry Farrell, has been selected in the Future Infrastructure Award category and is up against stiff competition from, amongst others, Istanbul Grand Airport, Turkey; New High Speed Railway Station of Casablanca, Morocco and AstanaTrain Station, Kazakhstan.

The winner will be announced on Friday 3 October in Singapore.

Passengers Use Facebook To Win Compensation

Have you ever experienced flight delays of more than three hours? Have you made a claim, or simply not bothered because you felt you’d get nowhere trying?

Well, you aren’t alone in thinking you wouldn’t get any redress, however, you are entitled to compensation for a flight that is delayed more than three hours, providing the delay was not caused by ‘exceptional circumstances’. Under EU261 regulation, air passengers are entitled to receive up to €600.

Thanks to modern technology, the Internet and social media, more and more people are fighting for their rights and getting their due compensation through the power of the people!

In one such instance, a group of Virgin Atlantic passengers set up a Facebook page after their Virgin flight VS01 was delayed. Collectively, the group claimed back £47,000 after they experienced a delay of 26 hours on their flight back from Florida.

Many passengers, wising up to the collective power of a group power, are now making joint claims, and solicitors are seeing a rise in the number of groups lodging claims.

The great thing about forming groups for passenger rights is that the passengers can set up Facebook groups while delayed at the airport – it makes sense to do so with a captive audience of passengers, and all concerned are available to give their contact details at the time of the delay.

The benefits of making a group claim is that there’s lots of evidence from all passengers regarding the delay and the way in which it was handled, especially if disputes arise. What’s more, larger claims can be fast-tracked, and compensation can be awarded more quickly than individual claims.

Watch out for gritters on the road this weekend

Autumn may be here and winter on its way, but don’t panic if you see gritters on the roads this weekend.

No, the weather will not have taken a sudden turn for the worst, it’s just part of Operation Snowflake – a yearly exercise to test the council’s preparations for winter.

Tomorrow, Saturday 27 September, 23 gritters will take to West Sussex roads testing their equipment to make sure it’s in good working order.

County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Pieter Montyn, said, “Operation Snowflake is a vital part of the preparation we need to make sure we keep the roads safe in the winter.

“Gritter drivers are so important because it is them out there at the dead of night, salting over two fifths of West Sussex’s roads when it freezes, to make it safer for us to travel next morning.”