Category : Airport News

Heroic UK Airfields of WW2

Wednesday, November 19th, 2014 by Kate Goldstone

Take a look at the history and origins of British airports, major and minor, and it’s remarkable how many of them started life before or during World War Two. The First World War, of course, was the first war in which aeroplanes played a fledgling fighting part, but the second war with all its technological advances really put the stamp on warfare from the air.

Supermarine Spitfire

Supermarine Spitfire – from Badddog2k7

From the 1930s onwards Britain, suspecting trouble might be in the air again, built countless new airstrips in preparation for another war.

What travellers don’t know about UK airport histories

The south coast was under constant threat of invasion, right in the front line if the German army had crossed the channel. So this week we’re looking at two particular UK airfields of WW2 in the south of England, both of which have an illustrious war record: Stansted and Bournemouth.

Bournemouth airport’s splendid war record

August 1941 saw Bournemouth airport open as RAF Hurn, home to a variety of aircraft including Spitfire – everyone’s elegant Art Deco design favourite – as well as Wellingtons and Typhoons. In late 1942 Bournemouth became a base for several American squadrons and in 1944, as the war drew to a close, it was transferred to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, Britain’s only intercontinental airport until Heathrow opened.

One young pilot’s tragedy echoes down the decades

The war’s impact echoes down through the years. Take this story, revealed in 2011.  A 20 year old Halifax Bomber pilot, Flight Sergeant Denis Evans, took off from the airport in March 1944, crashing into houses just moments after take-off. All seven crew members died, including the Denis himself, and two sleeping civilians also lost their lives when the plane crashed into their home in a Bournemouth suburb.

The RAF recorded the cause as pilot error, saying the young pilot wasn’t paying enough attention to his instruments. But in 2011 new evidence was discovered in the shape of two eye-witness accounts, both of which said one of the four Rolls Royce Merlin engines caught fire just before the crash.

As reported in March 2014, justice has been done and the young pilot’s name has been cleared at last:

“With Sergeant Dennis Evans in the cockpit during the crash, he would have been seen as the cause of the tragedy if not for extensive research showing that the plane had several flaws in its design. The investigation carried through multiple decades before Evans was cleared of any suspicion regarding the fate of the Halifax bomber, and he is among those honoured by the recent commemoration ceremony.”

Bournemouth Hurn Aiport in Wartime

Bournemouth Hurn Aiport in Wartime – from

In subsequent years the airport was heavily involved in making planes, building Vickers Viscount aircraftduring the 1950s and ’60s and producing the BAC 1-11 jetin the ’60s and ’70s, at a time when Concorde components were also made there. The airport was finally sold to Bournemouth and Dorset Councils in 1969 and its life as a modern hub began.

The role of Stansted airport during the Second World War

In early 1942 the British wartime government and US military officials decided to build a US Army Air Force bomber airfield near the little village of  Stansted Mountfitchet in Essex. The US 817th Aviation Engineering Battalion arrived on site at Renfrew Farm in August the same year, tasked with converting the sleepy rural landscape into a massive military airfield.

The 817th left Stansted in November ’42, replaced by the 825th Aviation Battalion. They finished off the airfield roads, control tower, fire station and motor transport area, leaving in December 1943. May of ’43 saw runways and taxiways emerging thanks to the 850th Aviation Engineering Battalion, who stayed until spring 1944.

B26 Marauder at Stanstead Airport

B26 Marauder at Stanstead Airport 1944 – from

In February 1944, the 344th Bombardment Group moved in, along with squadrons 494,495, 496, and 497. They flew their first operational mission in March before the Group moved to France. The airport was also a vital maintenance base for the 8th and 9th Air Forces, both of which operated there. And after the war Stansted Airport functioned as a maintenance unit and a place to house German prisoners before repatriating them.

‘Band of Brothers’ revisit Stansted airport

In 2009 four of the soldiers who inspired TV’s Band of Brothers series unveiled a very special plaque at Stansted. They were all 88 years old. Buck Compton, Donald Malarkey, Ed Tipper and Bradford Freeman were there to share their war stories and commemorate the part played by the airport in winning the war.

All four of the 101st Airborne Division fighters made heart-warming speeches about their experiences. Donald Malarkey said “The UK is an incredible country and coming over here to fight during the war were some of the proudest days of my life”. Malarkey even met Churchill in person, a meeting he remembered with great pride. And all four men played a part in the D-Day invasions.

The TV series Band of Brothers was a worldwide hit in 2001, inspired by the 101st paratroopers division and based on their real-life experiences, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks. But the men themselves are almost as famous, and they were mobbed by autograph hunters throughout their visit.

London Stanstead Airport Tower

London Stanstead Airport Tower

Stansted 70th birthday celebrations

Emotions also ran high in June 2013 when the airport celebrated its 70th anniversary with a Thunderbolt flypast and the unveiling of a memorial. US veteran jets were present, special guests of honour to mark one of the largest WW2 US bases in East Anglia, home to the infamous 344th Bomb Group, the Silver Streaks who led the US Air Force into action on D-Day.

Retired 344th Bomb Group flying hero Major Edward W. Horn flew in from the US to join the ceremony designed to recognise the crucial role of the American Army Engineers in 1943 and the equally critical role George Washington Field, as Stansted was then called, played in World War Two.

Forgotten wartime airfields of southern England

During the war literally hundreds of state-of-the-art airfields were hastily constructed. Some were designed to cater for  heavy bombers, including dozens of special hard standings and complex support facilities. Others housed squadrons of fighter planes and transport aircraft.

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Many of Britain’s wartime airstrips survived to tell the tale, expanding beyond all recognition to create popular regional and national hubs for modern air travel. Others have been lost in time, leaving behind fascinating ghost airports that are often only visible from the air, having fallen into disuse or become peaceful farmland again.

Now and again you’ll spot a dilapidated hangars or the weedy leftovers of a runway, stores, mess or living accommodation. But from the air they spring back to life, their old wartime contours suddenly as clear as a bell. It’s an eerily fascinating experience.

Google Earth is a brilliant way to explore ghost airfields. There are some spectacular aerial images of forgotten British wartime airfields on the brilliant urbanghostsmedia website.

Airport Car Park Safety and Security Tips

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014 by Kate Goldstone

In August this year the Birmingham Mail newspaper ran a story about luxury cars being stolen from a Birmingham airport car park. Worst of all, the car park owners’ insurance policy didn’t cover the theft, and the firm had to recompense punters from its own coffers for offering a less-than-secure valet parking service.

Of course the majority of people who use airport car parking find it perfectly safe. Most of us don’t have any problems. Having said that, with the best will in the world, stuff sometimes happens. So how do you reduce the risk of things going wrong while your car is parked at the airport?

Gatwick Airport Car Park

Gatwick Airport Car Park – from

Luckily BBC1’s Watchdog programme, with support from the British Parking Association, offers some common sense advice about how to make sure your airport car park ‘meet and greet’ services are as safe and secure as possible. It’s good advice, considering the number of British meet and greet airport parking services is increasing fast.

How to ensure meet and greet airport parking is secure

No wonder meet and greet is such a popular way of parking at airports. You avoid all the hassle of finding your own parking space. Instead, an employee meets you at the airport, in a designated place, and does everything for you. And they’re there, with your car ready, when you get home. It’s a brilliant idea, a hugely convenient service that can save you a lot of time and hassle.

Your car is supposed to be kept secure while you’re away. That’s the idea. But it doesn’t mean the meet and greet firm always keeps their promises. There have been a few horror stories in the press, where former meet and greet airport car park staff have been spotted giving lifts to fellow staff, eating in the cars and even damaging them.

Meet and Greet Parking

Meet and Greet Parking – from

Obviously when you leave your car at an airport car park, you do so at your own risk. But there are a few common sense checks you can carry out to cut the likelihood of something going wrong.

  1. Check the member of staff who greets you is wearing an ID badge and/or wearing a uniform. If not, hang onto your car keys and call the car park operators to check you’re not being ripped off by a stranger.
  2. Does the badge they’re wearing match the car park you’re in and the airport you’re flying from? If not, ask for extra reassurance or more evidence that they are who they say they are.
  3. Are you arranging your meet and greet car parking at an official kiosk in the airport? If there isn’t a premises and the person is just hanging around the airport or car park, don’t let them have your keys.
  4. What does your ticket look like? Check it isn’t just an expired one that the scammer has picked up off the floor.
  5. Do you know where your car is going to be kept while you’re away? It will probably be off-site, away from the airport, but if the representative can’t describe the location and point out the direction, be suspicious. Can they show you a photo or a map? If not, why not?
  6. Does the car parking operator own the premises where your car will be stored? Or are they renting it? Ownership can mean they really do have a vested interest in delivering a genuinely good, honest service, but bear in mind some will rent car parking space for perfectly legitimate reasons.
  7. Can you see a special Park Mark? The Park Mark is only awarded to airport carparks that have had an annual inspection by the police.
  8. Can the staff member confirm there are CCTV cameras in the car park, and tell you where they’re sited? CCTV is always obvious, rarely hidden, so anyone who has been to the car park will know where the cameras are.
  9. Don’t leave your car without getting a receipt. Check the receipt includes the company’s address details, and that the company name and address match.

There’s more you can ask. What about finding out whether or not the gates are locked at all times, or do they habitually leave them open? Are they insured for car theft? Do they ever subcontract car parking to another company? As a general rule the more questions you ask, the less likely you are to fall foul of a scammer. Most people get flustered when they’re forced to lie for any length of time, and it’s often obvious they’re fibbing.

The BBC’s Your Money Their Tricks series on airport parking

The BBC’s series Your Money Their Tricks has also looked at airport parking services. The programme acknowledged that most car park meet and greet services were perfectly legitimate as well as extremely handy. But they decided to find out how many meet and greet providers were actually tricking punters into thinking their cars were safe when they weren’t secure at all. They booked six cars in with six different companies, over three major UK airports, and each car was fitted with a special  tracking device.

You can follow the link above for the full story, but suffice it to say the results were variable. Some meet and greet airport car park services operated exactly as they should, others failed in various ways, some more spectacularly than others.

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Obviously we do our level best to check that every service we offer through our site is the best it can be. But the BBC’s research highlights how it’s always wise to check, do your homework and be adequately observant when you get there.

What about other places phony parking attendants and scammers operate?

If you need to park in an unfamiliar place, it makes sense to beware of phony attendants, uniformed or not. One common scam is to hand you a ticket that, unless you check, you don’t realise is simply an expired ticket thrown away by someone else.

If you come across something that looks like a stand-by car park, perhaps someone’s driveway or a commercial parking lot, check very carefully before parking there. You might find your car gets towed away because despite what the ‘attendant’ claimed, you don’t actually have any right to park there. Worse still, your car could end up stolen.

You’re being extremely careful… but all the same, you somehow manage to hit another car on the way in or out of the car park. If the other driver either tries to get you to shell out cash, refuse. If the incident was ‘real’, not a scam, motor insurance should cover it.

Official Car Park Attendant

Official Car Park Attendant – from

Airport News: Expansion, Cheap Flights, Punctuality…

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 by Kate Goldstone

Barely a day goes by without news about airports, airport hotels and airport parking coming to the fore. September 2014 is no different, with expansion plans at Gatwick and Heathrow given a high profile, excellent low cost seat offers from Ryanair at Luton airport, worrying flight punctuality issues, a political in-flight broadband rebellion in the USA and more. Here’s a run-down of the most interesting airport news items of the bunch.

Gatwick Airport

Gatwick Airport – from

Top airport news for September 2014

Airport parking tragedy spawns offensive marketing gaffe

As any good marketer will tell you, it’s a great idea to react to breaking news with a special offer or tailored message. But there’s a limit.

One airport parking reservations business was slammed recently for basing an email marketing campaign around a human tragedy. When a 55 year old man was found dead in an airport car park at Chicago O’Hare, some not-so-clever marketer decided to send an email to subscribers with the subject line, Can On-Airport Parking Kill?

Their point was that the stress of finding your way to the airport, parking and getting ready to board can kill, and may have played a part in the tragedy. The email even contained a $5 off coupon for the airport’s car parks, and added even more insult to injury by saying:

“Don’t be late and end up in a crate. Save stress and possibly anything worse by utilizing technology and reserving all your travel needs in advance.”

Ouch. Can you hear the sound of a particularly insensitive marketer’s head rolling?

Ryanair offers 100,000 seats costing from just £19.99 across its European network

Amid much fanfare, the launch of Ryanair’s Luton 2015 schedule is offering more a hundred thousand cheap flights for October, November and December 2014. The offer covers sixteen new routes including super-cheap flights to Fuerteventura, Malta and Tenerife, and the new timetable apparently supports a whopping 1300 on-site jobs at Luton airport.


Ryanair – from

According to the airline’s spokesperson Maria Macken:

“Ryanair customers in London can choose from 16 routes from Luton next summer, while enjoying allocated seating, a free second carry-on bag, reduced fees, a new website, a brand new app with mobile boarding passes, Family Extra and Business Plus.”

Flight punctuality woes at London’s big 5 airports

Britain’s flight punctuality fell in the second quarter of 2014 compared with the second quarter in 2013, bad news for passengers who have to bear the brunt of delays. At just 78% punctuality across the nation’s five biggest London airports, the latest UK Civil Aviation Authority statistics reveal flights are 3% less punctual than they were at the same time last year, when the figure was 80%. Luton fared the worst, dropping by 8%.

Big Ben clock face

Big Ben – Flight Punctuality

The study also looked at five other popular British airports, Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle, all of which also suffered a drop in punctuality over last year, from 84% to 81%.

What does ‘on time’ actually mean? In this case it means a flight that departs or arrives at a UK airport either early or up to 15 minutes late. The average delay identified by the study was 18 minutes, so if you’re flying from any of the airports surveyed, it’s probably a good idea to factor the extra delays into your travel plans just in case.

Air fares set to remain the same for 2015

A piece of research from the travel consultancy company Advito reveals competition between airlines is hotting up. Under the economic theory of supply and demand, it means prices are unlikely to drop. But they’re also unlikely to rise because carriers are worried that overly-rapid fare increases might damage businesses and cut consumer confidence. As a result Advito expects worldwide air fares to stay roughly in line with inflation, with some ticket prices falling but most remaining stable.

Having said that, there’s an exception. The US domestic market is experiencing price hikes in line with consolidation, which reduces competition. On the bright side for consumers, US airlines are still being relatively cautious about fare rises because they don’t want to damage demand.

Labour Party opens the door to Heathrow airport expansion

Ed Balls has said he won’t put up with any more ‘dither and delay’ over the decision about Heathrow airport expansion, which seems to signal that the party no longer completely rules the airport out. While Mr Balls is looking for a ‘rapid and final’ decision, he was careful not to express a preference for expansion at either Gatwick airport or Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow Airport Expansion – from

People who live near big airports suffer from noise, stress and pollution. But many commercial organisations love the idea of expansion because they believe it’ll open up communications and make it easier to do business.

Balls’ statement comes with a caveat: expanding capacity must be balanced by minimising the inevitable environmental impact. But it’s an argument that can’t be won, since a decision either way will cause issues for one interested party or another, with very strong feelings on both sides.

One woman, who suffers from cancer, says the noise from new trial flight paths being tested over Wokingham has turned her garden into a runway and keeps her awake. Apparently the noise from the planes is present all day, with only the occasional lull. The trial was already unpopular with locals because Heathrow didn’t notify the affected areas in advance.

At the same time, a YouGov poll reveals Gatwick expansion is the favourite option for British small business leaders. Given a simple choice, 42% of small business leaders chose Gatwick while 37% expressed a preference for expansion at Heathrow.

Over 50% of small business leaders said the cost of flights is their most important consideration, a figure that increases to 63% when younger business leaders aged 25 to 34 were quizzed. Another poll reveals just under 60% of Croydon residents support Gatwick’s expansion plans over Heathrow’s. It appears locals feel that the advantages of expanding Gatwick outweigh the disadvantages for them and their families, with just 23% disagreeing.

As Stewart Wingate, the CEO of Gatwick said:

“We are determined to do everything we can to minimise the impacts and maximise the benefits for local people. After listening carefully to what local people told us during the public consultation, we designed a £250 million package of pledges designed to tackle many of the concerns that were raised.”

US House of Representatives rebels against in-flight mobile broadband proposal

If you’ve ever been driven nuts by someone sitting next to you on the bus or train jabbering into their mobile phone, you’ll appreciate why eighty rebellious members of the US House of Representatives have put their foot down over a proposed Federal Communications Commission rule allowing mobile broadband technology on flights.

Inflight Broadband

Inflight Broadband – from

The rebels sent a letter to the head of the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the FCC, asking for an in-depth review of the policy.

Why are they against broadband on aircraft? Apparently ‘aisle rage’ is on the increase as planes become ever-more cramped and crowded. In the third such incident in just one week, a Delta Air Lines flight had to make a sudden unscheduled landing recently because tempers were so badly frayed it was deemed too dangerous to carry on.

The political rebels believe letting people loose to make cellphone calls in such a confined space is asking for trouble. And the Chairman of the FCC Tom Wheeler, agrees. In his words:

“I get it. I don’t want the person in the seat next to me yapping at 35,000 feet any more than anyone else.”

Flight attendants also feel it’s a bad idea, and applauded the politicians’ move. In their eyes mobile use on planes could be far worse than a nuisance. As Sarah Nelson, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants, says, allowing broadband on aeroplanes:

“could have catastrophic effects on aviation safety and security.”

There’s something intrinsically annoying about being forced to listen to someone else’s one-sided mobile phone conversation. How would you feel about a short, medium or long haul flight where your fellow passengers were constantly talking on the phone?

Edinburgh airport enjoys one of the busiest summers… ever

It’s official. Scotland’s Edinburgh airport has just enjoyed one of the busiest summers ever. The stats come from the airport itself, which handled around 1.04 million passengers in August 2014 alone, an increase of 11% over the same time last year.

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July was extremely busy too, with almost 1.1 million travellers passing through the airport. And it appears to be a trend rather than a blip, with an overall year-on-year rise of 2.6%. Glasgow is experiencing the same hike in traveller numbers, with a 6% rise in passengers leading to 746,000 or so passengers passing through the airport’s doors in August.

Why the increase? It appears the UDO World Street Dance Championships and World Pipe Band Championships are partly responsible.

It’s your space… what would you like us to cover?

Is there anything you’d like us to write about, whether it’s airport news, airport parking, airport hotels or anything else relevant to your travel plans, habits and preferences? If so, let us know and we’ll be delighted to delve into the detail for you.


Heathrow Airport Meet & Greet – Prices Up By £2.3m A Year

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 by Tim
Passengers heading to Heathrow using Meet & Greet parking are being charged an estimated £2.3m extra a year because the airport has imposed a surcharge of £5.60 on each car using an off-site airport service.
Meet and Greet Parking Fees

Heathrow Airport adds parking levy to off-airport meet and greet operators

The charge, which adds around 12% to the typical parking costs for three days, is a flat-fee added to cover the cost of charges being levied on all off-airport Meet & Greet services for the use of forecourts at drop-off and designated collection areas within the short-term car parks. The fee has also started to be added to Stansted Meet & Greet off-airport services from December.

It means it is more important than ever for customers to get the best deal on airport parking.

You can avoid this additional charge by using the BAA Official Valet Parking service, but given this is one of the most expensive available, you would not really be saving anything. It just seems a shame that people are facing this hike in fees at a time when everyone is strapped for cash.

The fees were first added to car parking services back in the summer of last year, but have largely flown below the radar because the extra fee is usually included in the quoted prices that customers pay.

Based on our independent customer reviews on-site, BAA’s own Official Valet Parking Service has an 89% rating, behind six other providers – including the award-winning MBW Meet and Greet Parking and Heathrow Sky Super Saver both reaching a satisfaction rating of 90% or more.

These Meet & Greet services are typically used for trips of between three and eight days, so both holidaymakers, those looking for a romantic weekend away, and business travellers will be affected.

Heathrow’s figures released this month showed its retail income, which includes parking charges for both Heathrow and Stansted, had grown from £518.6m in 2011 to £541.7m in 2012.

Beat airport cancellation stress – Top 10 ideas

Thursday, August 5th, 2010 by Nick

If you have ever been one of the millions stuck in an airport, you know how frustrating the wait can be and with the looming threat of more industrial action, this time by BAA staff looking to threaten millions of passengers travel arrangements in August, you might be wondering how to beat the stress.

Airport Travel Stress

This guide gives you 10 things for you and your family to help beat the stress!

  1. Take out travel insurance before you fly. Many insurance plans cover you in the case of cancelled flights, but always read the small print and know your rights before you take it out.
  2. Check your flight status BEFORE you leave for the airport. If it’s cancelled, you have already saved yourself the stress! There are plenty of online flight monitors that work in real time and teletext still works!
  3. Check your flight status when you arrive and crucially, BEFORE you go through security. If it is cancelled before you go through, go and check with the airline desk when you are likely to be able to board the next flight.
  4. Leave plenty of time to check in and get through security. Most airports are now suggesting a 3 hour advanced arrival for flights.
  5. Use your hand luggage to pack things that will keep you busy – Bring a charged iPod or iPhone, handheld computer console. Bring a paperback book you’ve been meaning to read and ensure you have a colouring book and small pencils for the little children.
  6. Make sure you have added several websites to your phone bookmarks before you set off. For example, if you are flying out of Gatwick, make sure you have a local taxi firm on your bookmarks and a list of Gatwick hotels, just in case you have to wait for an extended time. You can also add the BBC news site, your airlines contact details and their homepage to ensure you have all of the information should a problem arise.
  7. Drink plenty of liquids. Don’t take any through the security with you, but ensure you have enough coins to buy water and fruit juice drinks when you are waiting. Avoid coffee and tea, it will heighten your stress levels and dehydrate you.
  8. Don’t forget the internet. Most airports have wireless internet available, sometimes free, especially if you already have a mobile phone contract. Check out what you can get from your phone provider before setting off and make sure you have a credit card handy to get online at the airport lounges. This expense can sometimes be refunded if you are facing a cancellation and you can prove you needed the internet to contact loved ones, research hotels or find alternative flight.
  9. Play the airport game with your children. Give them a piece of paper and a pen to write down all of the different airlines they can see through the airport lounges and award a small prize for whoever finds the most. Play Airport Snooker with them, can they find a plane with red on it and then a plane with yellow and then green and so on. It’ll keep them amused for hours.
  10. Get back to the main terminal for shops and restaurants. Don’t forget this one; it is easily overlooked when you are cooped up in a lounge waiting for a flight. You do have the right to go back in to the terminal, just check with the security people the way you came in, there is usually a way to get back out. Be warned however, you will need to come back through security again so make sure you leave enough time once your flight is announced again.

BAA Strikes and why you should care

Friday, July 30th, 2010 by Nick

Note the dates in your diary people. August 12 is our summer d-day, for this is the day that over 6,000 BAA members will finally decide if they strike and what that action will look like. Why should we care? Well, if you are planning on a flight out of the UK in late August, this might well make your life a misery.

Summer Chaos at Gatwick Airport

Summer Travel Chaos at UK Airports

If the proposal for strike action is agreed, then we could see major disruption to flights around the BAA owned airports such as Heathrow and Glasgow to name but two. If you add in the threat of more industrial action by British Airways cabin crew, our summer getaways could be thrown in to chaos.

So what’s the solution? For some, there is no solution, for those who still have a choice, it would appear you need to fly from Gatwick and avoid British Airways. Some of the Gatwick airport hotels are much nicer than the Heathrow ones, including the Gatwick Hilton and some of the airport services seem to be much better these days too, so its not like you don’t have a valid alternative to Heathrow, even if it is a little further away from home. Even then, the Gatwick Express that runs from Victoria has you there in less than 15 minutes from central London.

It probably won’t be as simple as changing airport, as others hurry to snap up flights on alternative operators going out of alternative airports not owned by BAA. The congestion and pressure on airline seats inevitably mean more chaos as a result, even if you are proactive about it now.

Simply put, we need the government to step in and sort this constant mess out. Year after year we see the same problems arise and yet our government sits by idle, too busy collecting the cash off the increased duty on airplane fuel to do anything about it.

We could just vote with our feet and stay at home, but then we’d just moan about the British weather, right?

How Newcastle Airport Is Angering Cabbies And Irritating Passengers

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 by Casey

Newcastle Airport is introducing a new parking policy that has cab drivers up in arms and could upset passengers, as well.

Starting on the 26th of April, no one will be allowed to drop off or pick up passengers outside the Newcastle Airport terminal building for free.  Instead there will be a “pick-up and drop off” car park about three minutes’ walk from the terminal that will cost £1.00 for up to 20 minutes.

What a bargain, right?  Tell that to the cab drivers who currently get to park outside the terminal for up to five minutes at no cost.  One cabbie told BBC News that it’s going to cost him around £20 a week now to drop off passengers, a cost that he’s unable by law to add onto his regular tariff.

Newcastle Airport

New parking fees causing a stir

So let’s see…Newcastle International has so far managed to disgruntle the cab drivers and make it less convenient for passengers to use the airport.  While they’re on a roll, why not charge people admission to enter the terminal building?

But there may be a method to the madness.  A Newcastle Airport spokesperson said:

“We’re one of the very few airports of our size that has been able to not only retain a free period but increase it.

“We’ve listened to customers and offsite taxi drivers and they’ve been telling us that the five minute period that is currently available in front of the terminal building isn’t long enough.  So we’ve put in place a plan that will allow us to extend the period to 15 minutes.

“If we were to extend the existing provision immediately in front of the terminal building to 15 minutes, we wouldn’t be able to accommodate it because of the very limited space.”

It’s not clear at present how or when they will eventually expand the time allowed to 15 minutes, but in the meantime there’s bound to be a lot more (justified) grumbling amongst passengers and cab drivers who have to use the airport.

So, what do you think of the new Newcastle Airport parking fees?  Leave a comment and let us know.

Manchester Airport Wants To Display Your Photos In Terminal 1

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010 by Casey

Manchester Airport, along with BBC Radio Manchester, are looking for photos of the “people and places of Greater Manchester” to feature on permanent display in Terminal 1, and they want the public to decide which images are best.

The chosen images will be enlarged to a floor-to-ceiling size and form part of the new Arrivals Experience in Terminal 1.

MAN T1 arrivals

Terminal 1 will soon host public's choice of photos depicting "the people and places of Manchester"

If you’re interested in taking part, you can submit as many photographs as you want, and they can be current or historical in nature, but you’ll have to hurry because you only have until this Friday, the 19th of March to enter the contest.

All entries must be submitted to Manchester Airport’s Flickr group, where you can also find more details.

And if you’re looking for the cheapest Manchester Airport parking around, be sure to pay a visit.  You might not get your photo displayed in the airport terminal, but the money you’ll save will make you feel like a winner anyway.

Photo taken by Flickr user Terry Wha

Will The British Airways Strike Affect You?

Friday, March 12th, 2010 by Casey

Unite, the union that represents BA cabin crew have just announced that their members will strike for three days from 20 March and for four days from 27 March.

BA jet on ground-1

Grounded Planes - Soon to be a common sight?

BBC News is reporting that British Airways has implemented extensive contingency plans, including training 1,000 staff to work as cabin crew to cover striking workers.  They are also looking to hire charter aircraft to keep as many flights as possible in operation.

A British Airways spokesperson has said that flights from London City Airport and 70% of flights from Gatwick, including all long-haul flights, should be operational.  He went on to say that Heathrow would be able to offer some long and short-haul services.

If you’re planning on travelling on the strike dates, be sure to check with BA for the latest information before you leave to find out if your plans will be affected.

Goodbye Heathrow Terminal 2, Hello £1 billion replacement

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 by Casey

After 54 years of service, Terminal 2 at Heathrow Airport closed its doors on Monday the 23rd of November.  Fans of the terminal need not shed a tear though, as a £1 billion replacement is on its way.

“The closure of Terminal 2 marks an important moment in the modernisation of Heathrow. We look forward to the new Terminal 2 providing a new home for the Star Alliance and a better experience for our passengers, with less impact on the environment,” said BAA Chief Executive Colin Matthews.

heathrow-airport-terminal-2Lee Hock Lye, Vice President Product and Services, Star Alliance added:  “The closure and subsequent demolition of Terminal 2 will make way for our new home at Heathrow. This will finally allow our member carriers to operate under one roof at one of the world’s largest aviation hubs, placing us on at least an equal footing with others.”

Work on the new terminal begins in 2010 and it will open to the public in 2014.  This complete revamp of Terminal 2, in conjunction with a major rebuilding programme across Heathrow, is hoped to help the airport remain one of the world’s most exciting aviation hubs.

Because of the closure, all passengers are advised to check with their airlines or the Official Heathrow Airport website before departing on their trips.

Any customers who have booked their airport parking for Terminal 2 through will be notified of any changes to their arrival procedures as a result of the closure, and customers with questions should write to us via our contact form.