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12 December 2014

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Airlines on alert as Iceland volcano erupts

24 August 2014

Iceland’s Bardarbunga volcano burst forth with a small eruption Saturday under the ice of Europe’s largest glacier, scientists said, prompting the country to close airspace over the area.

Authorities raised the country’s aviation alert to red ” the highest level on a five-point scale ” indicating the threat of significant emission of ash into the atmosphere.

A 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano produced an ash cloud that caused a week of international aviation chaos, with more than 100,000 flights cancelled.

Uber banned in Berlin on passenger safety grounds

15 August 2014

Uber faces a ban in Berlin after the city government ruled the app-enabled taxi service could prove unsafe for passengers.

The city council decided Uber contravenes passenger safety rules by using “‘unverified drivers in unlicensed vehicles and passengers could be uninsured in the event of an accident”‘

The ban, issued this week, has yet to come into force pending a response from Uber.

Berlin’s move follows a decision by authorities in Hamburg, Germany’s second-biggest city, to ban the use of Uber – but for a different reason.

Climate change will lead to bumpier flights

10 April 2013

Climate change will lead to bumpier flights caused by increased mid-air turbulence, according to an analysis by scientists of the impact of global warming on weather systems over the next four decades.

The increasing air turbulence results from the impact of climate change on the jet streams, the fast, mile-wide winds that whistle round the planet at the same altitude as airliners. The shifting of the jet stream over Europe has also been blamed for the UK’s wash-out summer in 2012 and frozen spring this year.

The study, which used the same turbulence models that air traffic controllers use every day, found that the frequency of turbulence on the many flights between Europe and North America will double by 2050 and its intensity increase by 10-40%.


Airline uses cooking oil to fuel transatlantic flights

10 March 2013

The grease American’s love to cook their french fries and chicken wings in, is now being used to power flights across the Atlantic. The oil for the flight on KLM Royal Dutch Airlines comes from Louisiana and consists of waste oil left over from frying up spicey Cajun food.

The fuel is then brought to New York’s JFK Airport to drive the engines of the Boeing 777 aircraft for flights from the Big Apple to Amsterdam.

The eco-friendly jumbo jet is fueled by a blend of 25 percent cooking oil and 75 percent jet fuel. The flights will depart every week for the next six months.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner probe far from complete

27 January 2013

US safety regulators are nowhere near finishing an investigation into a battery fire on the Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner, a top official said on Thursday, raising the prospect of a prolonged grounding for the aircraft.

Deborah Hersman, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, made clear that investigators have found a series of “‘symptoms'” in the battery damaged in a January 7 fire in Boston, but not the underlying cause of the problem. She also said the agency would be looking at the design of the battery compartment area of the plane and whether the certification standards had been strong enough.

Airline ‘extras’ continue to soar

5 November 2012

Airlines around the world will collect an estimated 27.8 billion in extra fees and charges this year.

The figure represents an increase of 11 per cent on last year’s total, and is nearly 40 per cent more than carriers received in 2010.

With total airline income remaining stagnant during that time, it also illustrates just how dependent many airlines have become on “‘ancillary’” revenue, from baggage charges and administration fees to car hire sales and in-flight food and drink, to maintain their profits.

Airlines claim such charges allow them to keep headline fares low, but passengers often complain that they reduce transparency and make it more difficult to compare fares.

Which airline fees are worth the extramoney?

Travel insurance firms tackle alcohol-related claims

19 June 2012

The British Insurance Brokers’ Association (Biba) says companies are adding more restrictions for drink-related claims.

They looked at 20 of the leading policies and all of them said drink could affect the result.

The Foreign Office says taking holiday insurance when people go away is vital.

Foreign office figures suggest 25% of 16 to 24-year-olds travel abroad without holiday insurance, a much higher number than the average.


More European airlines likely to go bust this year

11 June 2012

More European airlines will go bust this year as their collective losses top $1bn (£642m), according to the industry’s global body.

The International Air Transport Association’s bleak forecast, doubling the losses predicted in March, warned that an intensified eurozone crisis and a return to higher fuel costs were real risks that could sink the industry further.

Tony Tyler, the chief executive of Iata, said the state of the industry was “‘fragile'” and that “‘profitability is balancing on a knife-edge'”.

Despite the price of oil dipping below $100 a barrel last week, fuel remained around 33% of airlines’ operating costs, compared with just 13% 10 years ago. “‘It’s our biggest challenge, and one with little predictability.'” Any deteriorating relations with Iran could have a severe impact on aviation, he said.


Spain to close up to 30 state-run airports

29 May 2012

Now the ministry of industry and AENA, the state-run company that controls the nation’s airports, are considering plans to reduce operating hours at three quarters of the airports to include only those when flights are due or with a skeleton staff to operate in an emergency.

In all, there are 20 airports that handle fewer than 100,000 passengers a year, well below the estimated half a million they need to be profitable.

The nation’s two private airports are faring no better. Ciudad Real, which opened in 2008 with the expectation of becoming the capital’s second airport to rival Barajas to the north, was cut from scheduled routes in October last year due to a lack of demand from passengers.