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News Article | May 14, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Business leaders have called for the next government to build two more runways, demanding that a follow-up Airports Commission be established only months after Heathrow’s third runway was approved. The Institute of Directors urged that a fast-track commission be set up immediately after the election to recommend locations for two additional runways within a year. The controversial expansion of Heathrow has yet to be finally voted through parliament, almost five years after the first Airport Commission was established by David Cameron, and is not expected to be completed before at least 2025. The IoD, which represents 30,000 UK company directors, said that the commission had underestimated demand for air travel and said Gatwick would also be full before Heathrow, Britain’s main hub airport, was enlarged. Almost 45 million passengers travelled through Gatwick in the last year, a 9% increase. Dan Lewis, senior infrastructure adviser at the Institute of Directors, said: “The growth in passenger numbers is far ahead of what the Airports Commission said it would be. This is a fast-moving target. “Whoever wins the next election, they will face a serious challenge in upgrading the UK’s transport and communications network. The years of dawdling on new airport capacity have left us lagging well behind European competitors. Expanding Heathrow is not enough.” Plans for a third Heathrow runway were cancelled by the coalition in 2009, before renewed pressure from business groups, the aviation industry and backbench MPs pushed the prime minister to reopen the issue of airport expansion. Sir Howard Davies’ commission said only one runway could be built before 2030 within Britain’s climate change obligations. The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also called for the next government to enable a second runway at Gatwick to help create a “megacity”. While Gatwick was shortlisted as a candidate for a new runway, other airports such as Stansted and Birmingham would be likely to push hard should a future opportunity emerge. A Heathrow spokesperson said: “We’re getting on with expanding Britain’s only hub airport – with the new runway on track to open in 2025, doubling cargo capacity and adding 50% more flights. Heathrow continues to support the growth of aviation capacity in the UK in line with strict environmental targets.” John Stewart, chair of anti-Heathrow expansion group Hacan, said the IoD was “living in a fantasy world”. He added: “Because of the opposition, it takes years to build one runway. To try to build three at a time would create a nationwide network of opposition from local resident groups and climate change activists, the likes of which the UK has not seen before.” The IoD also urged a roadmap for building Crossrail 2, the north-south rail line that Transport for London has insisted will be crucial to meet the needs of the capital, particularly once HS2 is operational. Although it was identified by the National Infrastructure Commission as the single most important project for development, the preferred route has yet to be published by the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, and political impetus for the rail line appears to have diminished. Lewis said: “Since Theresa May took over, it’s back-pedalled a bit. Certainly there’s a sensitivity about it looking like a London project – but you can’t ignore the national importance.” In a manifesto paper, the business group said that the government should also prioritise ultrafast broadband and 4G coverage. Lewis said: “Ultrafast broadband could mean a rural economy renaissance, it could drive growth and make places with low land values good economic prospects.” The IoD said that there should be a commitment to switching from copper to fibre networks by 2025. Labour’s leaked manifesto has backed superfast broadband for every home by 2022.


News Article | October 24, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

Chengdu was where British business would fly to and build trade links if only Heathrow was big enough, according to prominent backers of airport expansion. But less than three years after British Airways found a Heathrow slot to fly to the Chinese megacity, and on the eve of a decision to build a new runway, the airline has dropped the route because it is not commercially viable. BA launched direct flights to Chengdu, its fourth Chinese destination, in late 2013, and ran return flights five times a week. Even after having trimmed down the frequency and switched to a smaller, Boeing 787 plane, BA has confirmed that the service will end this January. Before it announced the new service, the lack of links to Chengdu had been highlighted by Heathrow and politicians as a major example of how capacity constraints at the airport were stopping Britain connecting to the world, especially to “emerging markets”. However, it now appears few people want to fly there. Launching Heathrow’s first submission to the Airports Commission in November 2012, the airport’s chief executive, Colin Matthews, said a lack of capacity was limiting Britain’s ability to connect to growing cities in emerging markets, such as Chengdu in China. Two months earlier, the lack of direct flights to Chengdu was highlighted in an intervention from senior Conservatives that prompted the then prime minister, David Cameron, to set up Sir Howard Davies’s commission and pave the way for expansion. In the opening line of an article demanding whether Cameron was “man or mouse”, MP Tim Yeo wrote: “What better way to kickstart Britain’s sluggish economy than by boosting trade with China? Perhaps with Chongqing, with 28 million consumers, many enjoying rising incomes. Or Chengdu, with 14 million.” A year before that, the then mayor of London, Boris Johnson, lamented the Chengdu-goer’s plight as he again argued for more runway capacity. “We are making it harder for British business people to get to the future megacities from London than from our competitor airports. If you want to fly to Chengdu … you can get there direct from one of London’s Continental rivals – but you can’t get there from Heathrow,” he said in a comment piece. In a statement, BA said on Monday: “We regret that we have decided to suspend the Heathrow to Chengdu route. We have a proud tradition of flying to China but despite operating this route for three years it is not commercially viable.” Willie Walsh, the chief executive of BA’s parent company IAG, has previously blamed the British visa regime for the disappointing traffic on the route. Aviation analyst John Strickland said: “I think what it shows is that China is not a mature aviation market outside the very established markets … But if you are going to allow a route to develop, you definitely need a hub airport like Heathrow where you can count on transfer passengers to support the point-to-point until the route reaches maturity.” A spokeswoman for the airport said a “degree of ebb and flow on demand on specific routes” was normal, adding: “The record shows Heathrow overall has gained and maintained new long-haul routes that are so critical for the British economy.” Destinations in emerging markets such as Vietnam and Indonesia were among the six long-haul routes added since 2010, she said. A spokesperson for Gatwick, which still hopes to beat Heathrow in building London’s next runway, said: “Lack of current connectivity to some markets – in China for instance – is less to do with capacity and more to do with lack of demand. When slots have become available, airlines at Heathrow have been consistently adding capacity on these profitable routes – such as North America and Europe – rather than use them for emerging markets.” BA’s 787 plane and Heathrow slot will be used to fly to New Orleans instead.


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.co.uk

Materna's solutions for automated passenger and baggage handling have already been deployed in 550 installations at 70 different airports around the world. For example, every day Materna's kiosks handle 250,000 check-ins, and the bag-drop systems supplied by Materna process more than 90,000 pieces of luggage - some of them operated centrally as a cloud service from Materna's own data centres. More international growth is planned too. Locations in Toronto in Canada and Orlando in the USA have already been opened to get this on track; and another location in Singapore is being set up right now. Materna's customers include airlines such as Lufthansa, easyjet, Germanwings and Emirates as well as John Wayne, Toronto, Oslo, London Gatwick and Hamburg airports. Internationalization is one of the drivers for growth in the Materna Group. In this context, Materna has also extended the management team for their Mobility Business Line. On 1 April 2017, Dr. Georg Oschmann was appointed to strengthen the management team and, as the new Head of the Business Line Mobility, is now responsible for the operative business including sales, presales, marketing and international branches. Responsibility for development as well as product and project management is still in the hands of Lieselotte Neste, who had already been heading the aviation business for many years. "With Dr. Georg Oschmann, we now have an outstanding strategist on board with many years of management and international experience to his name, as well as top class expertise in service orientation in mechanical and plant engineering sectors," says CEO Helmut Binder. Dr. Oschmann also studied at some of the world's top universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and the University of Cambridge (GB). He was previously successful as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and then as Division Director at the company DORMA. Materna's aviation solutions simplify the passenger's journey. With their first-class software and hardware products, airlines and airports can offer their customers a seamless user experience from curbside to boarding, from home to destination. The one-stop-shop portfolio consists of check-in, baggage drop-off and access solutions combined with payment, biometric and field services. For a photo please click here: http://www.materna-ips.com/materna-announces-growth-and-continues-to-expand-its-aviation-business/ As a leading IT consulting company, Materna employs around 1,700 employees throughout Europe and achieved a provisional turnover of 223 million Euros in 2016. Materna is a full service provider delivering a complete range of services for the premium segment: from consultation and implementation through to operations. The target group includes IT organizations and user departments in companies and the public sector. Materna is organized in six Business Lines: IT Factory, Digital Enterprise, Government, Communications, Mobility and cbs, their subsidiary for SAP from Heidelberg. Under the Materna ips (Integrated Passenger Services) brand, one of the world's most renowned suppliers for airports and airlines, Materna delivers solutions for automated passenger handling at airports. In addition to the European market, Materna has a strong focus on the North American markets with its range of Integrated Passenger Services and has its own subsidiary in Orlando, Florida. Materna also has a strong presence on the Asian markets. For more information, please contact: Materna GmbH Information & Communications Corporate Communications Christine Siepe Voßkuhle 37, 44141 Dortmund Tel.: +49-231/55-99-1-68 E-Mail: Christine.Siepe@Materna.de


News Article | April 15, 2016
Site: www.theguardian.com

Luton airport plans to park its much-maligned bus transfer service once and for all and build a £200m light rail link to the nearest railway station. The fast-track service would make journey times between the capital and Luton airport faster than for those flying via Gatwick, the airport claimed. The 24-hour, automated light-rail link would replace the buses currently used to transfer travellers between the station and the terminal, making the fastest complete journey from Luton airport to London St Pancras less than 30 minutes. The 1.3-mile link will be funded by Luton borough council, which owns the airport freehold. While the station is almost adjacent to the airport perimeter, it is around 40 metres downhill from it, making a fixed rail link difficult to build. Luton airport is spending a further £110m on redeveloping its terminals and layout to expand capacity to 18 million passengers a year by 2020. The chief executive, Nick Barton, said: “We’re delighted Luton borough council is making the investment. It’s perfect for us: we’ve been on a journey but there’s always been that fundamental gap between the terminal and the very good train service – served by a bus, which just isn’t good enough.” The rail link would connect to the terminal from within the railway station, one level above the platforms. Barton said: “It’s raising the game and raising our standard. When you get to Luton Airport Parkway you will think that you’re actually at the terminal.” EasyJet, the biggest carrier at the airport, welcomed the news, saying the redevelopment was a key factor in its pledge to double the size of its operations there over the next decade. A planning application would be made in autumn for work to begin in 2017. While Barton cautioned that it would need to “be scrutinised more closely than a normal application” because of any perceived conflict in the council’s ownership of the airport, which is let as a long-term concession, all of the land required is already owned by the council. He said Luton was working closely with the Department for Transport to remove barriers to rail travel to the airport, including tackling any ticketing confusion, and allowing passengers to travel between the airport and London using Oyster card or contactless payment by 2018. Luton would also benefit from the upgrade of Thameslink trains, as well as being served by St Pancras, Barton said. “The whole train story is just transforming and this is the next big – but very big step – to making that journey superb.” The news is likely to prompt further chagrin at the rival Stansted airport, where hopes of a fast rail connection to central London have been dampened by Network Rail concluding that upgrades would only shave 2-5 minutes from the current 45-53 minute train journey. Passenger numbers grew 17% to 12.3 million in 2015 at Luton, which indirectly employs more than 8,600 staff. The airport serves 123 destinations, mainly operated by low-cost and charter airlines.


News Article | May 16, 2017
Site: www.prnewswire.com

Materna's solutions for automated passenger and baggage handling have already been deployed in 550 installations at 70 different airports around the world. For example, every day Materna's kiosks handle 250,000 check-ins, and the bag-drop systems supplied by Materna process more than 90,000 pieces of luggage - some of them operated centrally as a cloud service from Materna's own data centres. More international growth is planned too. Locations in Toronto in Canada and Orlando in the USA have already been opened to get this on track; and another location in Singapore is being set up right now. Materna's customers include airlines such as Lufthansa, easyjet, Germanwings and Emirates as well as John Wayne, Toronto, Oslo, London Gatwick and Hamburg airports. Internationalization is one of the drivers for growth in the Materna Group. In this context, Materna has also extended the management team for their Mobility Business Line. On 1 April 2017, Dr. Georg Oschmann was appointed to strengthen the management team and, as the new Head of the Business Line Mobility, is now responsible for the operative business including sales, presales, marketing and international branches. Responsibility for development as well as product and project management is still in the hands of Lieselotte Neste, who had already been heading the aviation business for many years. "With Dr. Georg Oschmann, we now have an outstanding strategist on board with many years of management and international experience to his name, as well as top class expertise in service orientation in mechanical and plant engineering sectors," says CEO Helmut Binder. Dr. Oschmann also studied at some of the world's top universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and the University of Cambridge (GB). He was previously successful as the Executive Assistant to the CEO and then as Division Director at the company DORMA. Materna's aviation solutions simplify the passenger's journey. With their first-class software and hardware products, airlines and airports can offer their customers a seamless user experience from curbside to boarding, from home to destination. The one-stop-shop portfolio consists of check-in, baggage drop-off and access solutions combined with payment, biometric and field services. For a photo please click here: http://www.materna-ips.com/materna-announces-growth-and-continues-to-expand-its-aviation-business/ As a leading IT consulting company, Materna employs around 1,700 employees throughout Europe and achieved a provisional turnover of 223 million Euros in 2016. Materna is a full service provider delivering a complete range of services for the premium segment: from consultation and implementation through to operations. The target group includes IT organizations and user departments in companies and the public sector. Materna is organized in six Business Lines: IT Factory, Digital Enterprise, Government, Communications, Mobility and cbs, their subsidiary for SAP from Heidelberg. Under the Materna ips (Integrated Passenger Services) brand, one of the world's most renowned suppliers for airports and airlines, Materna delivers solutions for automated passenger handling at airports. In addition to the European market, Materna has a strong focus on the North American markets with its range of Integrated Passenger Services and has its own subsidiary in Orlando, Florida. Materna also has a strong presence on the Asian markets. For more information, please contact: Materna GmbH Information & Communications Corporate Communications Christine Siepe Voßkuhle 37, 44141 Dortmund Tel.: +49-231/55-99-1-68 E-Mail: Christine.Siepe@Materna.de


CAMBRIDGE, England--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Smiths Detection, formerly Morpho Detection – Safran, today announced a contract with London Gatwick Airport Limited to supply and service nine high-speed CTX 9800 DSi™ explosives detection systems (EDS). Following a successful trial in early 2016, Gatwick joins a growing number of UK airports leveraging Smiths Detection’s extensive expertise to expand and automate hold baggage explosives screening capabilities. When fully operational, the UK’s second busiest airport will utilize CTX 9800 to screen all In-gauge baggage in the South Terminal and ensure compliance with UK Department for Transport mandates requiring the use of Standard 3-approved EDS by September 2018. To achieve maximum system uptime and operational capabilities, Smiths Detection’s on-site network of highly-trained engineers and technicians will ensure that all CTX 9800 are maintained, serviced and optimized to operate in peak condition for a minimum of ten years. Commenting on the deployment and growth Alasdair Scobie, Head of Commercial Operations at London Gatwick Airport said: “ Smiths Detection has proven to be a strategic partner in upgrading our EDS technology and infrastructure to improve security and the customer experience. We look forward to our CTX 9800 fleet becoming fully operational and working with Smiths Detection to realise maximum long-term value for our airlines and passengers.” “ Smiths Detection is excited to partner with Gatwick Airport to deploy advanced explosives detection capabilities that help meet the demands of record long-haul traffic and passenger growth,” said Martin Parker, UK EDS Sales Leader, Smiths Detection. “ By taking a consultative approach and working in partnership with our customers throughout the life of their investment, Smiths Detection helps keep airports of all sizes moving, delivering unmatched, comprehensive solutions to meet the Standard 3 mandate and upgrade hold baggage screening infrastructure.” Capable of screening 1,800 bags per hour (BPH), CTX 9800 enhances operational efficiencies by combining high-resolution 3D visuals with intuitive navigational tools – allowing the operator to ‘travel’ through the bag and manipulate images. Approved by the European Civil Aviation Conference (ECAC) as meeting Standard 3 requirements and certified by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), over 500 CTX 9800 have been deployed worldwide. Smiths Detection’s CTX family of EDS are the most widely used in the world, with more than 2,000 units shipped worldwide. For more information on successfully navigating the transition to Standard 3 and Smiths Detection’s solutions, visit www.morphodetection.com. Smiths Detection, part of Smiths Group, is a global leader in threat detection and screening technologies for military, air transportation, homeland security and emergency response markets. Our experience and history across more than 40 years at the frontline, enables us to provide unrivalled levels of expertise to detect and identify constantly changing chemical, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats, as well as weapons, dangerous goods, contraband and narcotics. Our goal is simple – to provide security, peace of mind and freedom of movement upon which the world depends. For more information visit www.smithsdetection.com Follow Smiths Detection on LinkedIn and on Twitter @SmithsDetection


News Article | April 26, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

Bargain airport prices for favourites such as gin and Toblerone are now likely to be cheaper at the supermarket, Which? has found. A 360g bar of Toblerone cost £4 at Bristol World Duty Free but £3 at Asda, while a 70cl bottle of Tanqueray gin cost £18 at Heathrow Terminal 2 and £15 at Morrisons, the consumer group found. Despite a common assumption that airport shopping will cut out VAT, shoppers could save £21 by buying a 100ml bottle of Eternity for Men eau de toilette on Amazon for £25 rather than at Birmingham World Duty Free for £46. The Lego Star Wars Millennium Falcon was £20 cheaper at Toys R Us online than at Gatwick South World Duty Free. Which? said it was “stunned” to find the SanDisk Extreme Plus 64GB camera memory card selling for £73 more at Glasgow International’s Dixons Travel than at Currys online. The organisation checked all the prices between 10 and 13 March. They are rounded to the nearest £1 and include the cost of delivery for online orders. The watchdog also said consumers could find savings at airport shops, noting that it found the iPad mini 2 and Fitbit Flex 2 both for £10 less at Dixons Travel at Glasgow International airport than online at John Lewis. It urged shoppers to “always do your research before you head to the airport to make sure the ‘deal’ is not actually dearer than you find on the high street or online”.


News Article | April 17, 2017
Site: www.renewableenergyworld.com

Gatwick Airport in the U.K. and DHL Supply Chain in March opened a new waste management plant, which Gatwick said is the first facility at an airport to turn airport waste into energy onsite. 


News Article | April 15, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

This week’s dramatic events on board United Airlines flight 3411 haven’t been a great advert for flying, but if you are travelling to somewhere like the south of France it’s the cheapest way of getting there … isn’t it? It turns out that in terms of cost, the train can sometimes beat the plane – or at the very least give it a good run for its money. A Guardian Money price test found that a family of four travelling at the height of this summer’s school holiday can get train tickets from London to Bordeaux and back for £428 all-in, which includes taxes and a decent baggage allowance. That’s less than easyJet once you factor in baggage fees. Meanwhile, taking a direct train from London to Avignon or Marseille in the south of France would come in at £476 return. (It’s perfectly possible that some people may be able to shave a little off these costs by playing around with dates.) Or how about Barcelona? Our family of four would pay a reasonable £242 for return Eurostar tickets from London to Paris, from where they can pick up a train to Spain’s second-largest city, with fares starting at €59 (£50) per person each way for the 667-mile journey. The low-cost airlines can’t be beaten on price out of season, or if you are completely flexible with dates. But if you are restricted to the school holidays and have a particular European destination in mind, once you multiply the cost of the flights by four and add in taxes, baggage fees, getting to the airport etc, you can quite easily be looking at £600-£1,000. The train is clearly only a realistic option for certain destinations, but if you live in or near London and are planning a trip to the south of France, northern Spain, Italy or Germany, you might be pleasantly surprised by the fares. Next month marks two years since Eurostar launched its direct service to Lyon, Avignon and Marseille. And a new service to Bordeaux in southwestern France – named number one in Lonely Planet’s list of the top 10 cities to visit in 2017 – launches on 2 July. The journey, which involves a change of trains in Lille or Paris, will take five-and-a-bit hours thanks to a new high-speed line in France which lops off more than an hour. Fares from London to Avignon/Marseille start at £99 return, and for the new route at £110 return. But it’s not all about price. The endless rules and security checks have made flying a soul-sapping experience for many – and then there is the environmental impact. “Train travel is a more rewarding, low-stress alternative, which brings us closer to the countries we visit and reduces our contribution to climate change,” says Mark Smith, who runs website The Man in Seat Sixty-One (seat61.com), a treasure trove of information on rail travel in Europe and further afield. He adds that the top destination pages on his website are, in order, Italy, Amsterdam, France and Spain. Our price test was based on two adults and two kids, aged 10 and eight, departing on 3 August and returning on 17 August. For return tickets to Bordeaux, Eurostar would charge £428 (the adult fares were £55 each way, and the child fares £52). The train we picked leaves London St Pancras International at 8.04am and arrives at 3.52pm, while the return leaves at 12.08pm and arrives at 7.03pm. There was quite a lot of availability for the £55 fares during July and August. Smith says it’s easier to change in Lille than Paris. For the same family on the same dates, opting for the cheapest Gatwick-Bordeaux flights, easyJet would charge £455, which includes £70 for two hold bags weighing 20kg each, but no other extras. However, Ryanair (London Stansted) would come in cheaper: £307, which includes £78 for the bags. When we looked at direct trains from London to Avignon, which takes five hours and 50 minutes, Eurostar would charge £476, made up of four £70 adult single fares and four £49 child fares (or £462 with a change in Lille or Paris). Marseille, which takes six-and-a-half hours, also came in at £476. For flights to Marseille, easyJet (Gatwick) would charge £474, while Ryanair (Stansted) would want £317. Both these prices include £78 for the bags. Kids under four travel for free on Eurostar provided they sit on a grown-up’s lap, and each adult can take two pieces of luggage, as well as a small piece of hand luggage, with no weight limits. Pushchairs and prams are free. So where else can you get to by train for not much money? Smith says Paris-Gare de Lyon to Barcelona Sants, which takes 6 hours 25 minutes on double-decker high-speed trains, is a “lovely” journey, taking in pretty French villages, flocks of flamingos and great views of the Pyrenees. Fares start at €59 (they do exist, we checked) and Smith says one of the cheapest places to buy is Trainline (formerly Captain Train), at trainline.eu. There’s also the Paris to Venice night train run by Thello, which starts at €35 one-way in a six-berth couchette, €55 in a four-berth, or €95 in a two-bed sleeper. Deutsche Bahn is offering fares from London to Germany from €59. After travelling from London to Brussels on Eurostar, you continue on an ICE high-speed train. Meanwhile, it’s possible to go from Brussels to Prague for as little as €20. “You don’t get much control over the trains or route, it involves three or four changes and takes a day, … but it’s true,” says Smith. Book via the Czech Railways website). Smith’s own website tells you what you need to do.


News Article | July 2, 2014
Site: www.theguardian.com

The first low-cost transatlantic flights since Freddie Laker’s doomed Skytrain enterprise have left Gatwick airport for Los Angeles, a development that Gatwick describes a “game-changer” in the debate over where to build a new runway in London. As well as the twice-weekly service to LA, Norwegian will operate two flights a week to Fort Lauderdale, where the majority of the cabin crew will be based, while a London-New York service has its first flight on Thursday. The new operation from Norwegian Air Shuttle has attracted controversy, particularly in the United States, for taking advantage of differing international legislation to circumvent labour costs and buy aircraft on more favourable terms than competitors. Consumers will also struggle to find a seat at the advertised cheapest fares, on the relatively few long-haul services that Norwegian runs. Only seven of its 95 planes are capable of transatlantic flights. Norwegian will run a service pitched somewhere between the low-cost European model and traditional transatlantic carriers, with seat-back entertainment included but food and luggage incurring extra charges. The airline’s chief executive, Bjørn Kos, said: “At Norwegian, we believe that everyone should be able to afford to fly. In order to compete in the global airline industry you need to adapt to changes and keep a constant focus on cost. “Norwegian has a low-cost model, meaning a lean administration, brand new and fuel-efficient aircraft and efficient operations. We fly direct routes with high passenger demand and choose centrally located airports such at Gatwick that share our mindset.” Kos says costs have been driven down by the fuel efficiency of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner plane. The airline, which already operates similar services between Thailand, Scandinavia and the US, has come under fire in Norway and elsewhere for employing crew in Bangkok on Singaporean contracts. Unions have accused Norwegian of undermining labour conventions, with the ITF likening its pursuit of operating licences to the shipping practice of registering vessels under flags of convenience. Norwegian said it established its long-haul company in Dublin for its air traffic rights as an EU nation and to maintain export guarantees to finance its fleet orders, and that the airline fully complies with European safety standards. Pilots union Balpa said concerns remained, although a ruling in the US has prevented Norwegian from using pilots from Bangkok on the new Gatwick routes. Balpa said: “The use of European pilots on this new route will reassure passengers who may otherwise have been concerned about an airline associated with a particular country by name which is in fact cherry-picking another country to oversee its safety standards and yet another to employ its pilots.” For Gatwick, however, the Norwegian long-haul launch is a milestone in its battle for expansion. Its chief executive, Stewart Wingate, said: “A low-cost carrier flying to the Big Apple for a small price shows how fast aviation is changing and highlights one of a series of future trends that will have a huge bearing on the UK’s runways debate.” The airport unveiled a new report by independent aviation consultant Chris Tarry, which set out how the latest generation of aircraft could affect London airport expansion, with a fuel economy, size and range that lowers the need for connecting passengers and opens up the development of low-cost long-haul services. Tarry’s report says Gulf expansion would also lower the demand for connections in a London hub, but he believes that traffic will grow due to the strength of the capital as a destination in its own right. Wingate added: “As this new report outlines, it is the airlines’ fleet plans and order books of today that hold the key to the expansion needs of tomorrow. New generation aircraft and other key trends will lead to a reduction in ‘hub’ connecting traffic, an increase in point-to-point services and the continued growth of low-cost carriers, all of which are cornerstones of Gatwick’s case for a second runway.” He added: “Heathrow’s plans are yesterday’s solution to tomorrow’s problem and that only expansion of Gatwick can meet the challenges and demands of the future.”

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