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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

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Saturday, 19 August 2017

FRENCH FIGHTER JETS KEEPING TABS ON JET2 HOLIDAY FLIGHTS FOLLOWING DRUNKS ON PLANE TV PROBE


Passengers on board a JET2 holiday jet flying from Spain to Birmingham said it was shadowed by a French fighter plane for some 15 minutes.

 Jet2 operations say they are awaiting clarification from French aviation why Flight LS1204 was apparently physically tracked and escorted over French air space by the French air force on Friday afternoon.


We understand that French air traffic control have according to security sources placed JET2 flights passing through French air space on their special interest flight watch following the appearance of the airline on the BBC TV Panorama 'Drunks on a plane'  episode and the airing of covert video taken on board flights.

An official confided said: We take the view that if unruly and drunken behaviour is likely to happen on holiday flights, we have identified, we need to be in a position to ensure the safety of our citizens on the ground, and will not hesitate to send up French fighter escort jets,  if foreign pilots ( ie Jet2 and others ) are at all late or delayed in responding by radio or squawking data identity details when requested by French Air Traffic Control.

Julian Bray Aviation expert comments:  It could be that the Jet2 pilot did not or could not (possibly for technical reasons) react quickly enough to a request for information, in that case local air traffic controllers will immediately send up a military escort to make visual eye contact with the pilot, and to assist or in extreme cases intercept, and escort to the nearest security cleared airport or landing strip.

The fact that passengers say the fighter jets were alongside the Jet2 aircraft for 15 minutes indicates that some technical issue might be at the root of this engagement. 






JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com, ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121 ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment, ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

Friday, 18 August 2017

Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group awarded Boeing Performance Excellence Award



The Cambridgeshire based Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group has picked up an impressive possibly 'brexit' proof gong from the USA.  It has been awarded along with 480 other suppliers, a 2016 Boeing Performance Excellence Award.

Marshall designed and manufactures the auxiliary fuel tank system for the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft, the military derivative of the Boeing 737-800 aircraft and used as a refuelling and VIP transport platform. To date Marshall has delivered more than 500 tank sets to support the Boeing P-8 programme.

Britain is purchasing P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft from Boeing in a contract estimated to be worth £2bn,  The jets – based on the workhorse 737 airliner - will protect the Royal Navy’s nuclear missile submarines and new fleet of aircraft carriers, though very little of the work on them will be carried out in the UK. Marshalls auxiliary tank system being one of the exceptions.
The Performance Excellence Awards recognise suppliers who have achieved superior performance for each month of the 12-month performance period, from October 2015 to September 2016. Marshall was one of more than 480 suppliers that were recognised with this award.

Alistair McPhee, CEO of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, comments: “Through close collaboration and a relentless commitment to first-time quality, on-time delivery and affordability, we have been able to deliver on our promises, which is at the heart of our business. 
 
I am incredibly proud of this achievement and it is testament to the hard work, focus and professionalism of the team.”
 
In 2014, Marshall was presented with a Boeing Supplier of the Year award for its performance on the same programme.


JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

BARCELONA - THE OPTIONS FOR HOLIDAYMAKERS AND CONVENTION VISITORS TO SPAIN


Recent terrorist events may force some families to question how and where they should be taking their holidays this year and indeed if the holiday is already booked and paid for, will you get your cash back?

And what about the huge conventions booked into the City over the next few weeks including the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) conference, which is expected to bring 32,000 delegates to Barcelona, when it opens on 26 August ?


The wicked van attack killing innocent people just enjoying a stroll down La Rambla  (aka Las Ramblas) is just the latest in a series of cowardly attacks.

The Foreign Office offers some advice but unless our government declares formally it is a no go area- unlikely- travel insurance firms will not pay out and your various holiday and travel contracts will stand.

The FO says: “If you're in the immediate area you should take care and follow the advice of the local security authorities.”  Well sage advice, but that might not help if you are in the middle of it.

True there are transport links out of Barcelona to other parts of Europe and it also has a well connected but busy airport. But your own air tickets may be of the type that cannot be changed or the date altered to suit an early departure?

So an early departure will be at your own expense and you might think that is a small price to pay. However consider Spain like many other major destination has been high on the terrorist bucket list, and indeed the local Catalan Government has attracted some local political unrest so you might say this was to be expected? And you should have known about it before booking?

Having said that a few airlines and a handful of holiday firms have in the past, offered their clients the option of returning early if there is space on any of their flights. But there again the incident has happened and the location now has to be one of the most secure in Europe, so why not show solidarity with the locals and carry on regardless, and enjoy what remains of your precious holiday time?

Still not convinced?  The budget airline easyJet, holiday provider and most active UK operator to Barcelona, easyJet, commented: “Any passenger not wishing to travel on flights to or from Barcelona in the next 48 hours can change their flight with no change fee.”

This reaction from British Airways is also encouraging: "Customers due to travel to or from Barcelona in the coming days are being offered a range of options if they wish to bring forward or postpone their journey, and we encourage anyone with concerns about their booking to contact us or their travel agent to discuss their travel plans.”



The port in Barcelona is reasonably close to the airport ( and an early morning 20 minute walk- impossible once the sun rises!), easily reached without the need to go into the city centre. But the word is cruise lines will not be offering changes or refunds, although there is talk any overnight stays in Barcelona may be cut, and had the situation deteriorated, the usual form is for the ship to miss out the destination and head for the next port of call.

But can anyone guarantee there will be no futher attacks? The simple answer is no. We all have to keep out wits about us and be aware of our surroundings. Harsh words maybe but practical advice. All major cities and popular destinations are potential targets for these deluded evil people.  

Meanwhile with commendable speed Barcelona Turisme has set up a 24-hour call line and is offering alternative hotel rooms for those affected by the terror attacks.

The convention bureau says the city has activated its emergency plan, and that it is working with Gremi d'Hotels to house those who need it.

It comes after a vehicle drove into crowds on Las Ramblas late Thursday, killing 13 people and injuring dozens more.

A second attack took place early Friday morning in Catalan, when a vehicle drove into seven people including a police officer, leaving one person in a critical condition.

Barcelona Turisme said that it condemned the attack in Barcelona and that it would join in a minute's silence at Catalunya Square at 12pm to "share the grief with all victims".

London & Partners has also reacted to the attacks, saying on Twitter that the bureau's "thoughts and sympathies are with those affected by the incidents in Barcelona and Cambrils".

The terror attack comes ahead of three major conventions this month, including the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) conference, which is expected to bring 32,000 delegates when it opens on 26 August.

Barcelona came in third in the latest International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings, behind Paris and Vienna, after hosting 181 conferences in 2016. 

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

Thursday, 17 August 2017

BARCELONA TERROR UPDATES: OVERNIGHT TERRORIST INCIDENT IN CAMBRILS 5 SHOT DEAD BY POLICE. TERRORISTS DRIVE VAN INTO BARCELONA CROWDS IN LA RAMBLA, 100+ INJURED AND AT LEAST 13 ARE DEAD


This initial emergency rolling blog is now complete, any new developments will appear on subsequent blog posts ....

From the Foreign Office website: Updated information and advice following incidents in the Las Ramblas area of Barcelona, and Cambrils, near Salou:

The Spanish authorities have set up a helpline for people affected by the incidents - the number is 0034 93 214 21 24; addition of a link to information about support available if you've been affected.


UPDATE: 08:02AM: OFFICIAL: Catalan Police have made a third arrest. 

Will Geddes, MD, Corporate Protection Group has popped up on several news networks, BBC Breakfast and now on CNN, warns with returning jihadists':'We have bleak times ahead of us'





OVERNIGHT UPDATE: Friday 07:20AM BST: People of eighteen different nationalities are now said to have been injured or killed in recent attacks.

Several controlled explosions to be carried out later today (Friday)in Cambrils.

Local sources strongly suggesting a major terrorist bomb making factory uncovered.

Earlier Terrorist incident, house explosion, possibly gas, in Alcanar south west of Barcelona is now being actively linked to later Barcelona attack.

Terrorist incident in Cambrils (115 km south west of Barcelona) with several men, hours after the Barcelona attack, said to be wearing explosives belts engaged in shoot-out with Catalan Police.

Catalan Police shot and killed five. Local security services say 6 civilians hurt.1 Police officer hurt. 

Two arrests in connection with the Barcelona incident now confirmed.

Witness tells Spanish TV that Barcelona van was being driven at 80km per hour. Driver of the van is still on the run.

Update THURSDAY 20:15pm BST: Casualty figure now officially 90 to hospital. Suspect van confirmed as driven 'zig-zagging' at high speed down La Rambla.

Arrest total given by Police as two. Islamic State said to have claimed responsibility but not confirmed. 


WANTED: DRISS OUKABIR He allegedly rented second white van... 

Update 19:50pm BST:  Catalan Police release picture and named him as Driss Oukabir, described as a North African male, Spanish resident, who allegedly rented the van, and is officially a suspect.


Update 19:40 BST: Second rental van detained in VIC a town 60 miles north of Barcelona.

Suspect driver allegedly killed in shoot-out with local police says town Mayor.

Update 19:30 BST: Government Official puts dead as 13 and seriously injured at 50.


Update 19:10 BST: Police say NO ONE is being held hostage 'in a bar or restaurant.'

Update 18:50 BST:  One suspect arrested and alive according to RTVE the Spanish broadcaster.


What is being termed a major terrorist incident is currently unfolding in Barcelona Spain. A van has been deliberately driven into pedestrians walking along pavements in La Rambla, seriously injuring many and killing at least thirteen  people, according to local sources. Official Police 'confirmed dead' figures are currently much lower at 1. 

This happened on a day, when in addition to many tourists in Barcelona, the Catalan capital is also playing host to six cruise ships and 10,000 extra visitors visiting the city centre from the nearby port.  

Police armed with machine guns are following two gunmen, who decamped to a Turkish restaurant on Barcelona's La Rambla, and reportedly holding the occupants hostage, after their van was driven at speed into pedestrians, in this crowded and popular tourist area. This 'hostage' story later officially discounted.

Police have cited the incident a "terrorist attack" local media are reporting thirteen people have died of their injuries. 

Police are now calling for the extensive Metro underground railway to be closed, as they suspect a third gunmen fled from the crashed vehicle, and may have entered the train system.

Police are reporting multiple injuries and openly calling the incident a 'massive crash'.



Police are currently throwing a 'cordon sanitaire' around the crime scene, and entering all buildings and the huge highly attractive flower, fruit and vegetable market, dotted with food , wine and tapas bars, half way up La Rambla, known as la Boqueria.

Security forces urging people to evacuate, and armed police are escorting residents at a fast pace, away from buildings overlooking the crime scene, and all are being urged to keep away from the area around Plaça de Catalunya, the city's central square where the main railway station is located.

Photos and videos being shared on social media show pedestrians fleeing and many injured and 'dozens' lying wounded on the ground.  Las Rambla is a plane tree-lined pedestrian mall, with a single file narrow roadway either side of the central pedestrian walkway, dotted with news kiosks and flower shops.  

It stretches for 1.2 kilometres (0.75 miles) connecting Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. La Rambla forms the boundary between the quarters of Barri Gòtic, to the east, and El Raval, to the west.

Police are also appealing for any cameraphone footage of the incident to be handed in: 

Comisaria de Policia de Barcelona (Ciutat Vella)
Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 76-78
08001 Barcelona, España.
Tel: +34 93 306 2300
Fax: +34 93 306 2301

Police are urging people to stay inside, away from windows,  and off the usually busy pedestrian areas. According to eye witnesses, local churches are said to be full with armed police protecting the locked entrances.

Police sources are suggesting locally that a second attack cannot be ruled out or that the gunmen may be operating in concert with others.


JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121   ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

RMT RAIL UNION 'RUBBISHES' RAIL DELIVERY GROUP PROFITABILITY FIGURES - SAYS ITS MUCH HIGHER THAN 3%








Financial speculators driving up rail costs
Two days after fares bombshell RMT analysis shows financial speculators driving up costs
                                                                    

In a tersely worded press statement the RMT rail union is hotly disputing the claims of the Rail Delivery Group that only 3% of total fares revenue is remitted to the TOCS (Train Operating Companies), RMT claims that a detailed analysis shows that 'financial speculators' also collect revenues from  the UK rail industry.

What the Union terms a 'rail rip-off' whereas others may consider the charges are train leasing and operating costs. The Union maintains this comes 'in addition to the millions stripped out by train operating companies and on top of the vast sums stripped out by the private contractors working on the rail infrastructure'.

They point to Government figures issued by the Office of Rail & Road, 12% of fare money  - out of a total fare income £9.2bn - was spent on leasing trains from the private 3 rolling stock operating companies.

RMT claims the same data shows these 3 companies received £1.4 billion in 2015-16, but only experienced costs of £1.2 billion during the same period. 

This equates says the Union, to a profit margin (or surplus)  of 16.7%, £200 million, ie accounts for over 2p of every pound spent on a ticket, or the equivalent of a fare cut of 2.1% could be achieved if the privately financed and owned rolling stock was purchased and taken into public ownership.

The RMT says the rolling stock “market” has been investigated a number of times on lack of competition issues in what they assert is 'basically a highly-secretive, government-sponsored racket'.

The vast majority of rolling stock in the UK is owned by overseas - backed operating companies, the Unins says this highlights how little capital investment train operating companies (usually on short operating contracts)  actually make themselves:

Angel Trains is owned by a consortium of infrastructure and pensions investors including AMP Capital Investors and Canadian pension investor PSP Investments.

Porterbrook owned by a consortium of infrastructure investors including Germany’s Allianz Capital Partners, Australian asset manager Hastings, Canada's Alberta Investment Management Corporation and EDF Invest of France

Eversholt Rail Group owned by CK Investments is jointly owned by Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings Ltd and Cheung Kong (Holdings) Ltd two investment vehicles backed by Li Ka-shing, one of Asia's richest men, says the Union.

In a forthright comment, a clearly angry RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “If fare payers thought it was just the private rail companies that were bleeding them dry they ought to take a look at the shady world of the rolling stock companies.  These overseas outfits are creaming our railways for fat profits and have complete control over the crucial fleet operations and use that power to exploit the British passenger in what is nothing less than a government-sponsored racket.

“When RMT talks about public ownership we mean sweeping all these chancers and speculators off our railways and re-investing the fat sums they are pocketing back into services.  If we took this mob out of the equation we could cut fares, keep the guards and invest in the modernisation and upgrade works that our railways are crying out for.”

There was no immediate comment from Number 10....

RMT source material:

1. UK rail industry financial information 2015-16 (22 February 2017) http://orr.gov.uk/statistics/published-stats/uk-rail-industry-financial-information/uk-rail-industry-financial-information-2015-16
2. House of Commons Library http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN03146/SN03146.pdf ;
“The bulk of the rolling stock (trains) that run on the railways are owned by three private companies (rolling stock leasing companies, or ROSCOs) – Angel, Eversholt and Porterbrook”




JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com, ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121 ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment, ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

MERLIN ENGINE ISSUES GROUND ICONIC WARTIME FLYING DISPLAY TEAM "ITS A TEMPORARY ISSUE" SAYS THE RAF

 
 
Many of the historic aircraft that are key elements of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (BBMF) have been grounded, and will not be taking part in a series of scheduled air this summer until 'an operational issue' concerning the iconic merlin engines is resolved.
 
Two Hurricanes, a Lancaster bomber and three Spitfire aircraft are all affected and will remain grounded.

The BBMF also has three other Spitfires powered by other types of engine but thewy are current 'gone technical' and therefore operationally unable to fly. 

The RAF said it had "taken the decision to temporarily pause flying of our aircraft powered by Merlin engines".

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com, ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121 ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment, ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

RECENT AVIATION INCIDENTS



D-ABGO
Eurowings A319 at Stuttgart on Aug 13th 2017, rejected takeoff due to one bird strike damaging both engines 
 
  (Published on 17.08.2017)
A Eurowings Airbus A319-100, registration D-ABGO performing flight EW-2924 from Stuttgart (Germany) to Antalya (Turkey), was accelerating for takeoff from Stuttgart's runway 07 when the left hand...
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AP-BNJ
Shaheen A319 at Lahore on Aug 16th 2017, cabin did not pressurize (Published on 16.08.2017)

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C-GJSV
Wasaya DH8D near Thunder Bay on Aug 9th 2017, whistling cockpit, leaking hydraulics (Published on 16.08.2017)

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France B772 near Halifax on Aug 10th 2017, severe turbulence believed to be wake from a B744 (Published on 16.08.2017)

   An Air France Boeing 777-200, registration F-GSPK performing flight AF-333 from Boston,MA (USA) to Paris Charles de Gaulle (France), was enroute at FL350 about 50nm southwest of Halifax,NS (Canada),...
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9Q-CBL
CAA F50 at Beni on Aug 1st 2016, brakes problem (Published on 16.08.2017)
A CAA Compagnie Africaine Aviation Fokker 50, registration 9Q-CBL performing flight BU-2511 from Bunia to Beni (DR Congo) with 23 passengers and 6 crew, landed on Beni's runway 29 when during the...
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VT-JEW
Jet Airways B773 at Amsterdam on Apr 21st 2017, tailstrike on departure (Published on 16.08.2017)
A Jet Airways Boeing 777-300, registration VT-JEW performing flight 9W-234 from Amsterdam (Netherlands) to Toronto,ON (Canada) with 337 passengers and 15 crew, departed Amsterdam's runway 18C when...
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N741AV
Avianca A319 at Montevideo on Aug 13th 2017, flock of birds (Published on 15.08.2017)
An Avianca Airbus A319-100, registration N741AV performing flight AV-110 from Montevideo (Uruguay) to Bogota (Colombia), was climbing out of Montevideo's runway 24 when the aircraft flew through a...
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G-JEDM
Flybe DH8D at Birmingham on Aug 14th 2017, gear problem after departure (Published on 15.08.2017)
A Flybe de Havilland Dash 8-400, registration G-JEDM performing flight BE-7109 from Birmingham,EN (UK) to Hamburg (Germany), was climbing out of Birmingham when the crew stopped the climb at FL140...
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Jetblue A320 near Bermuda on Aug 14th 2017, electrical odour in cockpit (Published on 15.08.2017)
A Jetblue Airbus A320-200, registration N593JB performing flight B6-369 from New York JFK,NY (USA) to Punta Cana (Dominican Republic) with 154 people on board, was enroute at FL350 about 160nm...
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JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

Monday, 14 August 2017

TUESDAY: NEW DERAILMENT AT WATERLOO AS TRAIN JUMPS POINTS! OFFICIALS ADMIT LENGTHY DISRUPTION FOR 'MANY DAYS' FOLLOWING DERAILED FREIGHT TRAIN AT ELY NORTH JUNCTION CLOSES DOWN THE REGIONS RAIL LINKS ALL TRAINS TERMINATING AT PETERBOROUGH


Image courtesy  ITVNEWS


A derailed freight train (GB Freight Services) between Ely North junction and Peterborough is causing travel chaos and will severely impact and curtail evening rush hour commuter services. Regular commuter and freight services will be severely disrupted for at least seven working days, as eleven derailed freight wagons have to be lifted from the wrecked permanent way (railway track) before replacing the track along with ancillary trackside cables.
----------------------------------------------------------
UPDATE TUESDAY 15TH AUGUST:  NEW PASSENGER TRAIN DERAILMENT 'JUMPS POINTS' SHUTS ALL PLATFORMS AT WATERLOO STATION


  @PaulCliftonBBC                                                
A classic understatement from SWTrains as Paul Cliftons picture shows: This is "a fault at a set of points" say .

All FIVE lines into Waterloo are closed.
 



The importance of Peterborough as a mainline rail terminal is underlined as all London trains for Norwich, Cambridge are terminating at Peterborough. Rail replacement services operated by a fleet of buses are in operation.  All services north of Ely are cancelled.




The train derailed just after 2:20pm earlier  today (Monday, August 14. Police and recovery teams are on site, but the line is blocked. No one was hurt. Officials suggested knock on delays and cancellations are now likely to continue for most of this week, due to line damage. Check with rail companies for updates. 

Train operator Greater Anglia also confirmed the derailment and that all lines between Ely North and Peterborough are currently blocked.


JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

A HOLE LOTTA MEDIA HYPE GOING ON OVER A 'HOLE IN STANSTED AIRPORTS RUNWAY' BUT IS IT?



If you follow Twitter and believe what you read in the papers, all hell broke out on Sunday as a 'hole' is said to have appeared at Stansted Airport, this seemingly devoured whole aircraft and thousands of passengers reportedly never seen again by loved ones...  

Great content (or copy) as editors would say, but the reality isn't quite so grim, no emergency declared, all aircraft safe and passengers left unscathed, but some slightly miffed and lately discovering exciting new but unexpected airports.... 

However several hundred intending outward bound air passengers, and a few hundred incoming passengers did briefly 'face off' as it were.

Julian Bray Aviation expert discussed the outcome live on 'Pirate' BBCEssex BREAKFAST (on Tuesday 8:10am then BBC iplayer)He commented: "Clearly there were major failings in the way Ryanairs ground crew (subcontracted to SWISSPORT) handled the situation. A series of callers to BBCEssex on Tuesday related a catalogue of disasters, and a total lack of clear information. It is imperative the airline management urgently review the actions of its SWISSPORT subcontractor and consider if the current contract is working. or perhaps urgent retraining of ground crew staff is required? Until the ground crew flags up a problem, there is little the airport management can do. It would also be a good idea if Ryanair operations, reviews and takes notice of the BBC Essex Broadcast this morning. Essentially they need to gave fair warning of any cancellations or diversions to the desk staff, as the ground crew were still sending passengers to the departure gate 45 although the incoming Ryanair flights (4 of them) had been diverted or cancelled)."   

Flights were diverted after officials shut down the landing strip between 5.30pm and 6.10pm on Sunday.

There was no emergency called,  just a massive pinch point, for a short while, as twice the normal number of mainly Ryanair sunday passengers were trying to process against each other in opposite directions through the Stansted passenger terminal, before extra passageways and doorways opened.  

Ryanairs ground handing agents, the Swissport company, didn't at any time declare an emergency, but sensibly did request extra bodies from the airport management staff, donning high viz jackets, to direct the passenger traffic and marshal them into lines around the Ryanair ticketing desk, for rebooking and onward flights. 

What is now clear is that the single runway designated 04-22, surface paved, and just over 10,000 feet long and 151 ft wide was not damaged at all. 

An adjoining emergency section known as the blast pad however developed a surface disintegration problem, detected during a regular and frequent routine inspection, and that caused the 'sudden' 40 minute closure.

At all times the blastpad, precautionary overrun sections and taxiways need to be fully operational, along with the main runway.

Without the blastpad, the main runway was taken out of use, as a quick temporary repair was completed on the blastpad section, to be completed with a later full permanent repair overnight.

Meanwhile to add to the fun, for sound operational reasons, Ryanair independently took the decision to cancel four flights, and in all 11 flights were affected mainly being diverted to other airports (Not 'hubs' as the media would have you believe).    

Passengers in-flight were reportedly told by crew that the disruption was caused by a hole in the runway, and social media did the rest.  A journalist/passenger took the information at face value, wrote on Twitter that his Ryanair pilot told passengers flights were being diverted due to a hole in the runway....
After the closure, Stansted Airport issued a statement saying flights were now running again, but "some flights may be delayed or cancelled". Clearly as some aircraft by this time were physically out of position.

The statement continued: "Our runway was temporarily closed between 5.30pm and 6.10pm to allow for minor repairs to be safely carried out and some arriving flights were diverted to other airports during the closure.

"This temporary measure was deemed necessary for safety reasons and we would like to advise that the runway is now open and flight operations are back to normal."
 

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,
  ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

Friday, 11 August 2017

Flying from Gatwick Airport and on EasyJet, passengers suffered the longest average delays during summer getaways. BBC Data Unit report




Those splendid people at the BBC Data Unit have come up with an interesting set of figures relating to the delays we all experience from time to time at Airports.

Admittedly their analysis has to be treated as a snapshot, and has the data from the last two summers but not this year, when a barrage of extra problems, seemingly never-ending BA strikes and new EU Biometric passport and thumbprint entry systems are currently having an adverse effect.

But if you are using Gatwick Airport and flying on EasyJet you have according to the BBC Data Unit, in  summers gone by, suffered the worst of both worlds, and the longest average delays during summer getaways. 

They looked at UK departure and arrival figures, collected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), during the last two summers and the crunched figures show just how bad the situation is and how long-suffering UK passengers have become.


It is probably a good idea for passengers caught up in any delay to remember they are, in certain circumstances due for compensation, just quote EC261/2004 on any claim as the airline legally owes a 'Durty of care' and this can extend to Hotels and subsistence.
The data set shows that one in every five flights were delayed by more than 30 minutes.  Using EasyJet passengers had an average delay of 24 minutes, and those leaving from Gatwick waited 27 minutes.

 Both claimed they appeared at the top of the delay list partly as a result of having among the biggest number of flights.

The performance analysis, by the BBC's data unit, is based on the last two years of CAA data for all flights from or to UK airports during June to August.

EasyJet clocks up the longest average delay at 24 minutes (when taking all summer flights into consideration), whether delayed or not, for the busiest airlines in June to August for the last two years.


Aer Lingus delays were half, at 12 minutes.

 Airline Average Delay
Expressed in Minutes
League Table



EASYJET AIRLINE COMPANY LTD 24
THOMAS COOK AIRLINES LTD 19
BRITISH AIRWAYS PLC 18
THOMSON AIRWAYS LTD 17
JET2.COM LTD 16
MONARCH AIRLINES 15
RYANAIR 15
BA CITYFLYER LTD 14
FLYBE LTD 13
AER LINGUS 12
 

The BBC tackled EasyJet, who responded: "EasyJet operates the largest number of flights of any UK airline, flying over 78 million passengers per year. In 2017, EasyJet will operate 33% more flights than in 2011 with less than 0.8% delayed by more than three hours.

 "In fact, despite a number of adverse external factors like increasingly congested airspace, particularly in the London area, and record numbers of air traffic control strikes, over the last year, EasyJet has actually reduced the proportion of flights delayed by more than three hours.


 "We work hard to minimise disruption and fully comply with all relevant regulations."
 

Turning to Airports, the BBC Data Unit has come up with some interesting trends, likely to be examined by the industry in depth.

 The airport in the UK that has the longest average delay per outbound flight was Gatwick.


The data reveals that travellers were less likely to experience departure delays at smaller UK airports.

LIST SHOWING THE AVERAGE DELAY PER OUTBOUND FLIGHT  FOR ALL JOURNEYS IN THE TWO SUMMERS' DATA PER UK AIRPORT
 

Airport average delay in mins

 GATWICK 27
LUTON 24
JERSEY 21
BELFAST INTERNATIONAL 20
EDINBURGH 18
BIRMINGHAM 18
MANCHESTER 17
GLASGOW 17
STANSTED 17
BRISTOL 16
CARDIFF WALES 16
DONCASTER SHEFFIELD 16
SOUTHAMPTON 16
HEATHROW 16
SOUTHEND 15
LIVERPOOL (JOHN LENNON) 15
ABERDEEN 14
NEWCASTLE 13
EAST MIDLANDS INTERNATIONAL 13
LONDON CITY 13
EXETER 12
BOURNEMOUTH 12
DURHAM TEES VALLEY 11
LEEDS BRADFORD 10
BELFAST CITY (GEORGE BEST) 10
 

Having digested the data a spokesperson for Gatwick Airport said it had more flights to Europe than any UK airport and was impacted disproportionately by events on the continent.

He said the airport was calling on UK and European authorities to accelerate plans to increase the efficiency of UK and European airspace.

 "We recognise the inconvenience that delays cause to our passengers and we will continue to do everything possible to prevent them from occurring," he said.


 "We operate the world's busiest and most efficient single runway airport but, over recent years, Gatwick has been disproportionately affected by issues beyond our control. These include repeated strike action by French, Greek, Spanish and Italian air traffic controllers and airport employees, prolonged bad weather, and heavily congested airspace above parts of Europe and London.


 "Gatwick has made it a priority to address punctuality and, in partnership with our airlines and ground handlers, we are already seeing the benefits of a new wide range of measures that have been implemented to improve punctuality."


 Travellers flying from the EU or on European airlines do have a right to compensation See EU Directive EC261/2004. But the process is complicated and time consuming. Payments range anywhere from Zero to €600 per ticket, but the process is time consuming.
 

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

Thursday, 10 August 2017

BBC PANORAMA MAKES A RIGHT 'SNOBALL' OF THE STATS AND FED IFFY 'DRUNK ON A PLANE AND AT AIRPORT' FIGURES TO SUPPORT CONSUMPTION OF AIRPORT PURCHASED BOOZE ON AIRCRAFT A CRIMINAL OFFENCE BID BY TRADE BODY


 


Far be it from us to rubbish what appears to be a good story but The BBC Panorama TV programme is claiming tonight (14th August 2017) that arrests of passengers suspected of being drunk at UK airports and on flights has risen by 50 percent in a year. We  think this is simply not true. In fact, we say using the programmes own statistics, it just does not add up. They say that a total of 387 people were arrested between February 06 and February 07 up from 255 the previous year. Now when I went to school 387 isn't double 255, and therefore cannot be viewed as drunk arrests being up by a half inside a year! The researchers (possibly from the trade body with an agenda to push?) seems to have fallen into the trap of mixing up the arrest figures and lumping in 'suspected drunks' with other categories including air rage and general disturbance.

The detailed public information requests we tabulate below seems to support our position over that of the Panorama programme makers. But that apart there is concern that alcohol at airports and on aircraft needs a fresh approach.

There are renewed calls from an airline trade body, to make consumption of airport purchased alcohol on board a place a criminal offence. Tim Alderslade of the former British Airlines Transport Association now rebranded as Airlines UK says:  "Although incidents of disruptive behaviour are rare, when they do occur the results can be serious. Airlines have therefore been working hard to develop their own mitigations [SIC] and join with industry partners  to tackle this issue, either bilaterally, or through UK Aviation Industry Code of Practice on disruptive Passengers.

"According to airline data, the majority of incidents involve alcoholic consumption [Julian Bray strongly disputes this, see data below]. This is an area the Code particularly focuses on - listing a number of commitments around the responsible sale of alcohol. We are hopeful that the industry can - through the full implementation of these commitments - .....we are asking the Government to make it a criminal offence to consume alcohol on an aircraft that was purchased at an airport. ...."


Julian Bray Aviation Expert, Broadcaster and Journalist writes: Although we covered this in detail, last year,  the intervention of Airlines UK trade body has opened up the debate again.

Opening your own alcoholic drinks possibly purchased from the duty free outlet at the departure airport is already banned on aircraft, as you are only allowed to consume alcoholic drinks provided for sale or on free dispense by the airline.

It is true to say that every airline in the world has suffered at one time or another from air rage possibly caused by 'drunks on a plane.'

Ryanair after a series of incidents went a step further to try to stop that rule being broken and early on in the debate over 'duty free', Ryanair passengers enroute to (or returning from) Ibiza had their airport purchases of alcohol in bottles and packages taken from them and safely stored in the hold for the duration of the flight.

That initial stance has now gained widespread acceptance and has led to a call by an aviation trade organisation for the Air Navigation Rules to be changed.  The recently rebranded 'Airlines UK' formerly British Airlines Transport Association has just issued a series of what we suggest are highly misleading statements, the biggest whopper being : "According to airline data, the majority of incidents involve alcohol consumption" but Airlines UK do not provide a link to the data, so working with BBC News for BBC Kent and BBC Surrey we did. Julian Bray crunched the Public Information Request data from several police forces, Industry research and from the Civil Aviation Authority. Whichever way you look at it, the statement by chief executive Tim Alderslade unfortunately just does not stack up.


The truth is to the contrary. According to the Met Police, at Heathrow only 6 alcohol related incidents were recorded in 2016, some 26 incidents at Stansted and 82 in Manchester.

The Met Police say Police National Computer (NSPIS) documents filed on the system relating to arrests on a plane were nearly 5,000 in 2014 and 2015 but show a dramatic decline to 3,000 in 2016. This we suggest shows the industry intensive information and staff awareness campaign plus widespread media publicity of the penalties, have clearly helped reduce the overall problem.

Simply the UK Air Navigation Laws as they exist already carry severe penalties and possible custodial sentences. To say nothing of the local legal process if an aircraft at has to divert, land at an off schedule foreign airport to offload someone into the arms of the local police force.

Having completed any local custodial sentence, and saddled with court and legal costs plus a huge fine  £35,000 is not unheard of... the now convicted ex passenger will return to the UK to possibly face another trial and certainly  further civil action in yet another Court, for the airline to recover the full cost of diverting the aircraft, landing charges, refuelling, extra staffing costs, and so on.  

Then of course any conviction would probably place the person on the worldwide NO FLY list for life. So the penalties exist, they are severe, can be applied and in the case of the NO FLY list possibly last a lifetime..

We suggest that the trade association which in reality only represents a small number of airlines using UK airports, has somewhat over-egged its demands for consuming airport purchased alcohol on board, to be made a criminal offence. It is clear from the CAA 2016 figures for disruption in the air the incidents (not exclusively related to alcohol) totalled 421. Encouragingly for January to May this year (2017) the number recorded is 153 indicating that over the whole year we can expect a decrease or a downward trend. 

But what is of interest to the aviation industry are the figures from several public information requests and extra research by various officials.

CAA Disruption in the air In 2016 recorded 421 cases and for Januray to may 2017 this is given as 153 cases.

Manchester Airport                      2014               2015            2016
Air Rage/disorder                         73                   110              159
Boarding/Arrest on Plane             69                     53                52
Denied Boarding                           80                     73              116
Violence                                        15                     14                20
Alcohol related                              45                     53                82

London Heathrow Airport         
Air Rage/disorder                              -                       -                 44
Violence                                             -                       -                 31
Alcohol related                                   -                       -                   6

Luton Airport                                
Air Rage/disorder                            54                    70                94

Stansted Airport
Air Rage  / Board & Arrest           22/5                   42/2             57/9
                                                         
Denied Boarding                                7                     19               20
Violence                                              2                      3                 2
Alcohol related                                10                      13               26


But this is not a new issue raised by the trade body Airlines UK As we reported earlier last year: To impose a blanket ban on ground-side purchased alcohol is virtually unworkable, and will lead to extended check-in and departure times and greatly  undermine the revenues flowing into airport operators in terms of shop rentals. In extreme cases, some airport terminals may be forced to close down or hike up airport tax or levy on individual flyers.

The argument is that some of these alcoholic packages from airport duty free shops are being covertly opened in flight (stag and hen groups are particularly singled out). Its claimed that covert drinking by these and other individuals coupled with the dehydration effect of pressurised air cabins and re-cycled air, rapidly enhances the effect of even a small amount of alcohol.

Cabin crew mentally keep tabs on their customers and will often refuse to serve passengers who appear to be drunk or simply not coping. It could also be medications mixed with alcohol and the effects of pressurised cabins are to also blame.

Some specialists even claim that it would handsomely pay the airlines to place a complimentary bottle of water in the pocket of every seat before passengers board.

The natural instinct would be for passengers to open and drink the water before the alcoholic drinks are served or airport purchased covert alcohol is prised open, and where the passenger has already pre-loaded at the airport, effectively water down the strength and effect.

The UKs' Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), says that cabin air pressure when flying effectively thins the blood. The knock-on effect of alcohol is therefore more dramatic and immediate.

But some experts ( Where would we be without  experts?) still aren't convinced. They suggest you may feel drunk because flying conditions mean less oxygen reaches  your brain.

However you look at it, the end result is the same, less alcohol consumption in flight will help cut down the number of passengers deplaned at an unscheduled foreign airport, possibly thrown into a foreign jail overnight and up before local courts, fined, facing a worldwide air travel ban and left to their own devices to find a way back home where UK police will be waiting and may possibly also join in the fray and take legal criminal action.

Airlines are also keen on taking legal action in the UK and at destination countries, to fully recover the extras costs of diverting an aircraft, these include fuel used and emergency landing charges,  aircraft hire for time diverted and effectively time denied to the operator.

None of this will be covered by travel insurance and a flight ban could last a lifetime. It not a cheap option either a fine of 25,000 euros  and additional fines in the UK blew a hole of around £35,000 in one drunks bank balance and he still cannot fly anywhere!

Passengers in flight will find that technically there's no set age restriction on buying alcohol. Airlines will however be guided by local laws and customs for example America sets an age of over 21, whereas the UK has an 18 years or over threshold for the purchase of alcohol.

The captain of the aircraft is in legal terms under the Air Navigation Orders dubbed 'the commander', he can at any time devolve absolute powers to his crew.

Recent incidents over overbooking have been highlighted with passengers being bumped, but the moment a commander decides he/she needs that seat back, or for any reason that the person off the aircraft for whatever reason, there is no legal comeback.

Although is certain circumstances compensation is payable. Simply the passenger is from that moment, declared not legal on board!

          
If the plane's already taken off it could be diverted lands and rowdy passengers escorted off by local police or military police on landing.

There are no limits on alcohol bought for personal use if you're travelling within the EU (although you might be taxed if you have a lot). From anywhere else in the world, the limit depends on the type of drink.

Beer it's 16 litres and for Wine (not sparkling), four litres. You can also bring one litre of spirits or liquors over 22% strength or two litres of fortified wine, sparkling wine and weaker alcohol.

However most airlines won't let you carry more than five litres or alcohol stronger than 70%.





JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... Travel & Holiday Guru www.aviationcomment.com , ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

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