Drunk air passenger arrests up 50 per cent in the UK

A Panorama investigation has revealed that arrests of passengers suspected of being drunk at UK airports and on flights have risen by 50 per cent in a year.

A total of 387 people were arrested between February 2016 and February 2017 – up from 255 the previous year.

Meanwhile more than half of cabin crew who responded to a survey said they had witnessed disruptive drunken passenger behaviour at UK airports.

The Home Office is ‘considering’ calls for tougher rules on alcohol.

Airlines UK, which represents carriers such as Virgin, British Airways and easyJet, wants the government to amend the law to make consumption of a passenger’s own alcohol on board an aircraft a criminal offence.

Ryanair has gone one step further and wants UK airports to take responsibility and limit passengers to two drinks per person at the airport. They also want a total ban on alcohol before 10am. Unfortunately some would say Ryanair may have ulterior motives as they may want to maximise profits onboard, whilst airports of course want to maximise profits for their retail outlets.

Jet2.com post impressive financial results

Jet2.com have posted their financial results for the year ending 31st March 2017.

A summary of the chairman’s report is here:

Profit before taxation reduced by 14% to £90.1m (2016: £104.2m). This result includes considerable investment to launch our two new Jet2.com operating bases at Birmingham and London Stansted Airports and also includes a £10.9m charge for foreign exchange revaluation losses (2016: £1.3m). Before accounting for these revaluation losses, underlying profit before taxation reduced by 4% to £101.0m (2016: £105.5m). Basic earnings per share fell by 14% to 51.80p (2016: 60.22p).

In consideration of these results, the Board is recommending a final dividend of 3.897p per share (2016: 3.100p), which will bring the total proposed dividend to 5.272p per share for the year (2016: 4.000p), an increase of 32%. This final dividend is subject to shareholders’ approval at the Company’s Annual General Meeting on 7 September 2017 and will be payable on 27 October 2017 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 22 September 2017.

The profit performance in the year primarily reflects the continuing investment in, and success of, the Group’s Leisure Travel business, which combines both Jet2.com, our leisure airline and Jet2holidays, our package holidays provider.

Jet2.com flew a total of 7.10m passengers (one-way passenger sectors) (2016: 6.07m), to and from popular sun, city and ski destinations during the year, an increase of 17%. Demand for our real package holidays continued to grow as Jet2holidays took 1.73m customers on package holidays (2016: 1.22m), an increase of 42%, representing 49% of overall flown passengers (2016: 40%). Our important flight-only product was enjoyed by 3.64m passengers in the year (2016: 3.63m). Average airline ticket yields at £86.65 (2016: £91.11) and average load factors at 91.5% (2016: 92.5%) were respectively 5% and one percentage point lower than those achieved in the prior year. The average price of a package holiday was £617 (2016: £616). As a result, revenue in our Leisure Travel business increased by 24% to £1,565.8m (2016: £1,261.4m).

In July and September 2016, we were delighted to announce Birmingham and London Stansted Airports as our 8th and 9th UK operating bases. Operations at both commenced on 30 March 2017, providing customers with a combined 58 new routes to Mediterranean and Canary Island holiday destinations. We believe both bases have great potential for our holiday business, further strengthening our position in the Midlands and enabling us to serve, for the first time, customers in North & East London and the East of England.

Full results can be viewed here

Southwest is found the favourite US airline among travel industry insiders 

Travel industry insiders in the US love Southwest more than twice as much as any other airline, according to a new survey.

A poll from YouGov found that 35 per cent of those who worked in the travel, restaurant and lodging industries, listed Southwest as their favourite US airline.

It is the only major US airline to offer customers two check bags for free, and also offers frequent fliers a ‘companion pass’ which allows customers to take another person along on their flight for free or almost free.

Swiss debuts Bombardier CS100 into London City Airport 

Swiss has begun flying Bombardier CS100 aircraft from London City Airport.

The aircraft, which seats 125 passengers in a two-class configuration of economy and business, is the largest aircraft using London City and received clearance for the “steep approach” – 5.5 degrees required for London City instead of the more normal three degrees, in July 2017.

The approval is complex as the aircraft has to demonstrate firstly the ability to fly a 5.5 degree glidepath which will require increased drag to prevent airspeed runaway whilst also maintaining a relatively high thrust on position to enable the spool up for thrust in the event of a go-around at short notice.

The airline would also have to conduct extensive research on take off and landing performance especially when the runway is wet. Landing distance available is a mere 1300m and TORA is just under 1200m.

The airline will also have to comply with extremely strict noise regulations at the airport meaning if full thrust is required they are likely to exceed the noise restrictions which is evaluated on an average basis. With the distances Swiss will be flying, full thrust should not be required very often, perhaps on wet, warm days with little or no headwind. 

Struggling Singapore Airlines offers crew unpaid leave 

Singapore Airlines has said today that it is offering cabin crew unpaid leave in a cost-cutting measure as it struggles to keep up in an increasingly tough market.

The city-state’s flag carrier has been battling strong competition from Asian low-cost carriers and Middle Eastern airlines, which now boast modern fleets and top-quality inflight services.

The airline, which posted a net loss in the fourth quarter of the last financial year, has launched a wide-ranging review and refused to rule out job cuts.

Air Canada near-miss was worse than first thought 

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released preliminary findings on the July 7 near-miss incident at San Francisco Airport.

An Air Canada aircraft from Toronto was just metres from the ground when the pilot aborted the landing, federal investigators said. The jet, which was lined up over a crowded taxiway in error rather than the runway, had already passed over one jet awaiting take off before carrying out a missed approach.

It was thought to be as low as 59 feet above ground before pulling up to attempt another landing. The captain had more than 20,000 hours of flying time, while the co-pilot had about 10,000 hours.

The pilots told NTSB investigators ‘they did not recall seeing aircraft but that something did not look right’.

Qantas prepares for Boeing 747 ‘Queen of the skies’ retirements 

Qantas has begun the process of retiring its five remaining 747-400 jumbo aircraft, as the carrier prepares to take delivery of its fleet of new 787s.

The first 747 a -200 series was delivered back in 1971 and the current 747-400 fleet which was re-fitted to improve passenger comfort was first delivered in 1989. The average age of the remaining aircraft is around 15 years with most being delivered in 1999-2003.

The airline said that parts have started to arrive in Seattle for its first Dreamliner aircraft, with delivery set to be ready ‘in a couple of months’. Qantas has eight 787-9s on order, and ‘to make room’ the carrier is retiring five of its 747-400 jumbos, starting with VH-OJM this week.

European Aviation tourists warned to expect even longer queues 

British Airways and easyJet have started texting passengers to warn them to expect long queues as European airports prepare for their busiest days of the summer.

Thousands of tourists have been told to expect delays of up to four hours in passport queues at airports after new rules were introduced following the recent terror attacks.

The European regulation, that came into effect on April 7, requires every passport to be checked when arriving and leaving the Schengen Area comprising most EU countries, which excludes the UK and Ireland.

 Dünhaupt, from industry body Airlines For Europe, which has called for passport control points to be properly staffed, said: “With the busiest summer travel days ahead we fear even longer queues, especially at airports in Majorca with nearly 200,000 passengers arriving and leaving on one day the situation can be tense. Passengers should try to be at the airport earlier.”

We reported this around 10 days ago, unfortunately it appears there has been no improvement.

Air France expands non-flyover area over North Korea after jet narrowly missed missile

  Air France has expanded its non-flyover area over North Korea after a passenger plane carrying 323 people narrowly avoided colliding with a missile launched by Kim Jong-un’s state.

British Airways has not flown over North Korean airspace for a number of years.

Some FIR regions (airspace) have blanket bans where no  European commercial aircraft use that airspace such as Libya and Iraq, however there are other FIR’s where individual airlines risk assess and decide whether to transit particular countries airspace or not. 

South African Airways ‘is on verge of bankruptcy’ 

South African Airways has run out of money and is teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, according to information given to the country’s parliament.

It is thought the national carrier may soon be unable to pay salaries. 
It says that matters may improve if it gets a £45m bailout from the government by September.

The airline has lost money in each of the past seven years. Acting chief executive Musa Zwane, who has led the company for the last 18 months, has been trying to put together a recovery plan since January.

Long term it is widely reported that it requires a £743 million (13 billion rand) cash injection in order to stave off bankruptcy.

Unprofitable routes and older aircraft have all combined to ensure years of losses for the failing airline. 
Having received state funds in July to repay debts and £1.14 billion (20 billion rand) in government guarantees to keep it solvent, the cash is required to keep it afloat.

Credit ratings agencies have already said SAA needs to reform if it is to remain viable. 
They added the airline is a drain on the resources of the country which has been in recession since March and which has seen its financial ratings fall to “junk”.

Finance Minister 
Malusi Gigaba said: “We are in discussions about that (a bailout) and at the medium-term budget statement in October I will make the necessary announcement.”