Friday, 30 June 2017

South East Runway debate & Manston Kent International

Manston Terminal.
I find it infuriating that the government has
spent so much money, time and
Manston Runway.
Aerial view with a large B747 in shot.
political capital in finding a solution to extra runway capacity in the South east when they are letting an existing airport close.

Manston (Kent International) has an excellent runway, one of the best in the UK, at 2,752M it outstrips other well known airports, Luton has 2180M, Southampton has 1733M  Gatwick has 3,048m Heathrow has two runways Northern 3,902m and Southern 3,658m. Manchester has 2,999 m

The airport is 4 miles from a railway and 18 miles from HS1 (Eurostar), a light railway could be built for approximately £30-40M per mile  

What annoys me is that the government turned down a project  to build a new approach road at £28M investment, but they are happy to pile in Billions to Heathrow when no one really locally wants it.  Thanet (Where Manston is) is an area that needs jobs and investment

It also has a small old terminal, but Bournemouth built a new Terminal for £13M,  so for an investment of circa £200M the government will have a new airport, with a rail link and a decent length runway in an area crying out for jobs, it's only 7 miles from the estuary, so Boris this is your estuary airport.

But Senior politicians have ignored this option, they are happy to spend billions on unwanted vanity projects,  My new company would fly from there if it opened

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Regional Airports

Southampton Airport with the railway and terminal only 99 steps apart.
Many of us have their favorite regional airport but we are forced to travel many miles more to the major ones simply because the flights are not available for our favorite smaller airport,    
it's a bit chicken and egg as operators don't want to fly to smaller airports because of lack of demand and passengers stop looking for any flights that go from regional airports because they assume there are no flights.

Skyscanner  is very good as they do give you a pretty comprehensive view of what’s operating and what’s not, also they feature connecting flights which can allow you to travel locally but not necessarily directly,

Airports to look at that you may overlook,  if you are in the South East then Southampton has it's own rail link and is only 61 minutes from Clapham Junction (67 Mins from waterloo) by a direct train also its on the junction of two motorways the M3 and the M27, Bournemouth is technically in the South West because it's in the county of Dorset, but it's only 30 minutes from Southampton by motorway or it has a railway station reasonably near at Christchurch.

Southend is a good alternative to Stansted  if you live in Essex or East London and Luton has a rail link although the last last 500M is by a coach, but there has been for a while plans to build a light railway from Luton Parkway to the airport up the hill.

Manston (Kent International was closed down, but there are rumours of it opening up again, this would provide a valuable new Runway of over 3000M for the South East

In the West Country Bristol is king, but you have alternate airports in Exeter, Newquay, Bournemouth or even Cardiff.

The Midlands you have Birmingham and East Midlands, but Luton can always be an alternate.

In the Northwest, Blackpool was lost to operations, but the favorite is Manchester and there is of course Liverpool it's smaller rival.  Leeds Bradford is a credible competitor and there is Doncaster (Sheffield) airport  which could be for people from the North West, but also form the North east and Hull.

North East wise you have Hull (Humberside), Doncaster, Teeside and Newcastle airports.

Then you have Scotland with Glasgow Intl, Prestwick as an alternative or Edinburgh which is 30 miles away on the M8 motorway.  There is a scheme in scotland where as Scot Rail will give 50% discounted tickets to Prestwick airport from anywhere in Scotland  National rail link

Edinburgh does have Dundee also as a rival and you have Inverness in the north of Scotland

of course I have failed to mention one or two other airports, Norwich in East Anglia, Lydd airport in Kent, Gloucester and Cambridge airports, we need to cherish our local airports because the House developers are after them.

Seat Pitches for Leisure airlines

Have you ever wondered what the seat pitches are on Leisure airlines from the UK
EasyJet on the       A319   is      29 inchs
Ryanair's               B737800      30 inches
ThomasCook         B757200 is  29-30 inches
ThomsonAirlines    B737800 is  28 inches
ThomsonAirlines    B757200 is  28 inches
British Airways       Various    is  30-31 inches
Monarch Airlines    Various    is  28-29 inches
Jet2 Airlines            Various   is  29 inches
CityJet Airlines      SuperJet  is   32 inches
Flybe Airlines           Various  is   30 inches
AirEuropa                B737800 is  30-31 inches    

EU Flight delay compensation - quick guide

EU Rules EU Regulation 261/2004.
If your flight has been delayed by at least three hours (delay must be arrival time not departure time, e.g. the aircraft could depart 3.5hrs late and arrive 2hrs 59 mins late) or cancelled then you have the right to compensation under European law. Under EU Regulation 261/2004, passengers are entitled to up to €600 Euros (GB£530) in compensation 

the amounts available start from €250 (GB£221) for flights of less than 1,500km long which are delayed by at least three hours and go up to €600 (GB£530) for flights of more than 3,500km between an EU and non-EU airport, delayed by at least four hours.

Under the EU rules, an airline must pay compensation for cancelled or delayed flights, The flight must have departed from an EU airport, operating by any airline, or it must be arriving into an EU airport and be operated by an EU airline. The 'EU airport' also includes the following countries;, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland and Norway 

There has been some legal clarification regarding the rules recently in the UK two  Supreme Court rulings declared that carriers should pay out when a delay was caused by a technical fault.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Why are School Holiday flights so expensive?

No Frills Airlines lack flexibility in their model.
The question of flight prices for school holidays is a constant friction for for hard working parents trying to get an affordable break, particularly now that there has been a court ruling   confirming the legality of schools fining parents for term time absence’s.

The advent of No Frills carriers has actually made the issue worse rather than improving it for parents, the reason for this is that No Frills carriers to get the maximum economy fly the longest seasons possible, the year is split into two, so in the summer season there are 26 weeks of operations,  May, June & October are the least attractive and Carriers use below cost discounts to encourage travellers to take an off season flight, the net result is that many pensioners and people of working age get some fantastic deals.  

But the net result is that the no frills carriers have to cover these huge discounts somewhere and they do this by increasing massively the margins in peak season, so families end up subsidising the off season travellers.

It is possible to operate a peak season operation, there is a massive glut of aircraft, many aircraft because of the high price of fuel were in effect written off 5-10 years ago, but the fall in the price of oil has markedly changed things  in the aircraft market.

Many banks and leasing companies own these written off assets and they are finding there way back into the market, there are now ACMI airlines which set up with a low overhead operation in places like Malta flying under EU colours and lease the aircraft to some no frills airlines as well as tour operators who fly them for July-September.  You wouldn't think that the no frills airlines were taking advantage of these cheaper aircraft by the prices they sell at, as they are coining it,

But some of these aircraft are finding there way into the holiday market via charter operations which have to be covered by a CAA ATOL in the UK, so they are even safer financially  than the No Frills airlines which don't have any financial protections at all.  

So when you choose your flights, don't just go to the no frills airlines, use a comparison site like and shop round, there are bargains to be found, also are are other regional airports, if you live in the South East, look at Southampton, Bournemouth, Luton and Southend.    If you live in the North West Manchester is good but also look at Liverpool and if you live over on the North east side try looking at Doncaster.

Tour Operators like TUI, Thomas Cook, Olympic Holidays are sometimes much cheaper, there are some small new startups to look at, Estrela Trave