Trick Or Tweet for Virgin at Manchester Airport

Manchester Airport and Virgin Atlantic have joined forces to celebrate Halloween, with a spooky social medial giveaway, as they trick or ‘tweet’ their customers.

The competition, with a pair of flights to Orlando up for grabs, will ask participants to share their funniest tricks they’ve played on friends and family via the purposely created #TrickOrTweet hashtag.

Entrants, and the competition is open to everyone, must share their tricks and treats by 31st October.

What’s more, the airport and airline will be handing out on the spot hourly prizes – to win, simply correctly guess if a fact about Manchester Airport, Virgin Atlantic and Halloween is a trick or a treat.

Speaking about the spooky competition, Manchester Airport’s Marketing Director, Jeff Howarth, said “Halloween is the second biggest celebration in the UK after Christmas and we couldn’t think of a better way to mark the occasion than to have a little ghoulish fun alongside Virgin Atlantic.

“The prize to the USA is incredible, where Halloween is done to the maximum. We’re delighted to be working with Virgin Atlantic who is committed to working with us on its long haul destinations, with direct flights to Orlando, Las Vegas and Barbados. Plus from March next year, Virgin will have direct flights to Atlanta, proving just how strong the Manchester market is for them.”

Manchester Airport is the UK’s third largest airport, boasting over 200 destinations, from 65 airlines making it the only International Northern gateway.

Leeds Bradford Aims to Triple Passenger Numbers

Striving to become the North’s second largest airport, Councillors have pledged to support Leeds Bradford Airport’s ambitious growth plans.

The Council are fully behind the airport, as they appreciate the important benefit that Leeds Bradford can bring to the local economy.

Currently, the airport is used by 3.3 million passengers each year; however that could triple to over 9 million by 2050, with a mid-way point of 7.3 million by 2030.

As one of the fastest growing airports in the country, the airport wants to rival Manchester Airport.

In a report to the Council Board, it was cited that “It is one of the UK’s fastest-growing airports, supporting over 2,600 jobs and contributing £98.5m to the city region economy. However, it has the potential to contribute much more.”

As part of the growth plans, the Council appreciate that infrastructure to the airport must be improved, whilst the airport will focus on securing new airlines and offering additional routes and connections.

Prestwick Airport Gets £10 Million Government Support

Struggling airport, Prestwick, will get a £10 million support package from the Scottish Government.

The airport was bought last year for just £1 from its then owners, Infratil, who had announced it would be closing the airport as it was not commercially viable.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said that it was “investing in Glasgow Prestwick Airport to ensure that it can continue to meet all of its current financial obligations”.

A £7 million budget was announced back in June for repairs and improvements; this new support package is in addition to that, totalling £17 million thus far.

The spokesperson added, “Our investment will take the form of loan funding, which will attract a market rate of interest in line with state aid rules and we expect this investment to generate a long-term return for taxpayers’ money. As was clearly stated at the start of this process, Scottish Government investment in Glasgow Prestwick Airport is being undertaken on a commercial basis and will help ensure the continuation of robust competition between airports in Scotland and will not be at the expense of it.”

Airports for Sale – Aberdeen, Glasgow & Southampton

Heathrow Airport Holdings Limited is to sell is 100% interest in three major UK airports.

The airports to be sold are Aberdeen International Airport Limited, Glasgow Airport Limited and Southampton International Airport Limited.

Speaking about the forthcoming sale, Chief Executive of Heathrow, John Holland-Kaye, said, “Aberdeen, Glasgow and Southampton airports and their people have been part of our company for a long time. They are great airports and we are proud of their achievements. We wish the new owners and our airport colleagues every success and are confident the airports will continue to flourish.”

The company is to sell the airports to the consortium group, formed by Ferrovial and Macquarie for £1,048 million in cash and assumed debt, payable in full at closing (subject to EU merger regulation clearance).

Mr Holland-Kaye added, “This sale enables us to focus on improving Heathrow for passengers and winning support for Heathrow expansion. Heathrow is the UK’s only hub airport, connecting the whole of the UK to the world and bringing economic benefits locally and nationally.”

New Services From Dublin to Addis Ababa and Los Angeles

Ethiopian Airlines are to launch two new services out of Dublin Airport.

The airline will be flying between Dublin and Addis Ababa, along with a service from Dublin to Los Angeles.

The Addis Ababa service will start in June 2015, operating three times a week.

The Dublin to Los Angeles service will also start in June – the only direct service between the two cities – its schedule will be announced later this month.

Both services will use a Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

Speaking about the new services, Ireland’s Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Paschal Donohoe, said, “I am delighted to welcome these new services to Dublin Airport. The new routes to Los Angeles and Addis Ababa will strengthen Ireland’s connectivity to the west coast of the USA and to Africa, offering additional choice and convenience for passengers. California is a major market for Irish tourism and this new service to Los Angeles will help Ireland continue to grow visitor numbers from the United States over the medium term.”

New Route from LJLA to Bacau

Romanian airline, Blue Air, has announced it will add a new route out of Liverpool John Lennon Airport to the city of Bacau in North East Romania.

The new service will commence from 31st March next year, operating twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Tickets will be priced from 42.90 Euros one way, including taxes and charges.

Bacau is situated in the historical region of Moldavia and is considered as one of the country’s most cultural cities. Visitors can enjoy state theatre, museums and a symphony orchestra. What’s more, many of the beautiful churches have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

This is Blue Air’s second service from LJLA, after launching their three times a week service to Bucharest that is to begin this December.

Tips for find a reputable meet and greet parking company

Imagine the scene if you will, you’ve arrived at the airport and can’t wait to be relaxing by the pool, only you’ve got a problem, a major problem, your meet and greet parking company hasn’t turned up.

You’ve rung them and have been told to wait 5 minutes and someone will be there. Only, it’s now 30 minutes later, and still no one has appeared.

You’re stuck; your kids and luggage are in the car and you’re flight leaves in 90 minutes. You’ve no option but to park in the car park – the one you’re in; the short-stay car park; the most expensive parking option there is, but you need to check-in.

So, what seemed like a great option for parking your car – and not too expensive – has turned into a nightmare – an expensive nightmare. After all, you’re now running so late that you risk missing your flight, and you’ve twice had to pay for parking!

Think this is an isolated case? Sorry, but it’s not. There are far too many companies offering cheap meet and greet services through smart-looking websites that don’t live up to expectations. It’s happening at many UK airports, not just at Gatwick.

Meet and greet parking is extremely popular and has seen a significant increase in customers in recent years. This rise in popularity has seen a number of new companies enter the market, keen to take a slice of the action. However, the availability of land licensed for airport parking is limited, so many of these new companies simply don’t have registered car parks, some operate from industrial estates, while others have been known to park in fields, at the side of local roads or in residential areas. Many companies have insufficient staff to maintain a proper service too, hence the waiting times experienced by some customers.

With the school half-term holiday nearly upon us, Help Me Park, a Gatwick Approved meet and greet parking company has issued the following advice on how to ensure you book with a reputable company:

While it can be difficult to determine whether a company is reputable or not just by looking at its website, there are several things to look for that will indicate whether you’re dealing with a reliable company.

Look for logos that identify membership of professional bodies or professional accreditation, such as:

Buy with Confidence
The Trading Standards Buy With Confidence scheme now covers meet and greet parking and is a good indicator that you are dealing with a reputable business.

Look for the logo, or check your local Trading Standards website for a list of Buy With Confidence approved parking companies.

Safer Parking ParkMark Award
Managed by the British Parking Association, the Safer Parking ParkMark logo identifies companies whose parking facilities have been vetted and approved by the police – the police actually visit parking sites. The Safer Parking Scheme requires that certain measures be put in place to help deter criminal activity, anti-social behaviour and help prevent crime.

Once awarded ParkMark approval, car parks are assessed annually to ensure high standards are maintained.

Gatwick Approved Operator Scheme
If you’re flying from Gatwick, look out for the Gatwick Approved Operator Scheme.
The scheme was introduced in July 2013 in an attempt to clean up the meet and greet industry at the airport. The Approved Operator status identifies companies that have proved that they can provide a high level of professionalism and service.

In order to become an Approved Operator parking companies must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold the ParkMark safer parking award for all their car parks serving the airport
  • Have obtained Trading Standards Buy with Confidence accreditation
  • Sign up to the Approved Operator scheme

Only companies that are members of the Approved Operator Scheme are permitted to operate on the airport’s forecourts.

Gatwick Airport strongly advises against using a parking company that is not an Approved Operator.

Currently there are only eight companies that are Gatwick Approved. In 2013, when the scheme was introduced, Gatwick Airport estimated that there were in the region of 150 companies providing meet and greet parking at the airport.

By selecting a company with the above logos on their website should mean that you are booking with a reputable company.

Help Me Park, the provider of this article, is offering Airport Blog readers the chance to get 10% discount on their Gatwick meet and greet parking with the code: aiBlog

Sad day as Blackpool Airport closes

Today, 15 October 2014, will see the last commercial flights at Blackpool Airport.

A notice on the airport’s website states that

Commercial operations at Blackpool Airport will cease from 18:00 on Wednesday 15th October 2014 and the airport will no longer be open to members of the public.

Passengers who parked in the car parks prior to 15 October 2014 and returning to Blackpool after this date will have access to the site to collect their vehicles however the terminal will be closed and no new car parking will be permitted on site from 15th October 2014.

Work is currently underway with the independent aviation businesses and tenants at the airport to understand if their operations can continue in the future. Working in partnership with the local authorities, regeneration plans are also being developed which will be designed to create future employment and sustainable economic development opportunities for Blackpool and the Fylde Coast.

New Rescue and Fire Fighting Service Opens at Bristol Airport

Bristol Airport has opened its brand new firefighting training facility, costing £950,000.

The state-of-the-art training facility, that can be controlled and monitored remotely, simulates fires on a number of aircraft and buildings, including a Boeing 737 and an R27 helicopter.

Eco friendly LPG gas sets fire to the scenarios when required, enabling the RFFS team to maintain the high levels of competence and aviation training required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Speaking about the new facility, Gary O’Neill, Bristol Airport’s Chief Fire Officer said, “This is a significant investment by Bristol Airport and demonstrates our continued commitment to safety and ongoing investment in employee training. This facility means a great deal to the RFFS team as it ensures we have the best available facilities to train with. It will also, in the longer term host training in partnership with other local emergency services to help maintain our position as one of the best performing airport fire services in the country”.

Leeds Bradford Set to Double Passengers

Leeds Council is to give a new support package to Leeds Bradford Airport in a bid for the airport to become a major player in international travel in the North, which in turn strengthens the relationship between the airport and council.

Over the next decade the airport is set to double its passenger numbers – currently the airport sees 3.3million passenger pass through its doors – and then tripling those numbers by 2050.

As a result, the rapid growth in passenger numbers sees the airport as one of the fastest growing airports in the country.

The support package backs up the airport’s master plan which includes four major areas for priority – to provide better local and regional transport links, growing the airport’s network routes, job creation and a land use strategy.