Virgin Atlantic CEO Steve Ridgway

Branson seeks new airline boss

Virgin Atlantic has had a tough year, with rising fuel costs and increased competition from rivals. It recently reported losses of £80m.

George Osborne

Runway idea for Thames Valley

It's the political row that won't go away because Heathrow & Gatwick have limited capacity, but voters don't want a new airport near them.

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Flight path consultation underway - have your say

The changes mean more flights from Gatwick Airport in West Sussex Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The consultation is available online at here . The postcode search facility and clickable maps with consultation areas clearly marked makes it easy to see which proposed changes have the most relevance to a specificlocation. Feedback can be given directly on the website.

Juliet Kennedy, NATS’ Operations Director, Swanwick, Hampshire said: “The airspace change programme is essential if we are to contribute to and ensure the success of the UK’s Future Airspace Strategy (FAS).”

Tom Denton, Head of Corporate Responsibility at London Gatwick, West Sussex, said: “Gatwick is committed to leading the way in terms of airspace innovation and operation, which is why we were so keen to be the first major UK airport to work with NATS to fully review and consult on our airspace.

“Gatwick’s noise impacts are already well mitigated and significantly lower than at other major airports. However, the airport continues to look at ways to further reduce the number of people affected by aircraft noise in line with Government policy.

“This project gives us an opportunity to further reduce the number of people affected by noise, as well as focus on further reducing Co2 emissions and air quality impacts."


Gatwick could have a plane taking off every minute - or less

At Gatwick the move could allow for planes to take off every minute of less according to information revealed today.

The changes will affect every airport in our region by 2020 but today consultation was launched at Gatwick, London City and Southend.

Proposed by National Air Traffic Services (NATS) and Gatwick Airport it lasts for 14 weeks and they want to hear from people about where the new routes should go and areas that should be avoided. After that the new specific routes will be developed and published next summer.

Under the plans stacking areas, where planes circle waiting to land, when there are delays will be moved from Kent and Sussex to the sea south of Brighton and to the Essex or Kent Coast.

New technology will by used to allow planes to fly higher for longer again reducing noise below.

Flight path plans take-off into controversy

by Mike Pearse, Transport Correspondent
BA jumbo jet takes off over Terminal 5 at Heathrow Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

While many could see fewer planes flying over them others could see more and that will prove highly controversial.

The move will lead to the current flight path map being ripped up and redrawn and should also see delays cut, less fuel burnt and emissions reduced.

A passenger plane comes in to land at Heathrow Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/Press Association Images

It is part of a new directive from Europe to simplify and make airspace more efficient and cope with increasing demand. It is not connected with the current review of runways by Sir Howard Davies.

But the move could allow for half a million more planes over the south east a year in a thirty year period. That is the Government forecast to allow for passenger growth.

Some flight paths could be altered or moved altogether. At the moment flight paths are over a wide area.

Using new technology there could be more accurate routes with increased numbers of flights concentrated on them. That means fewer planes flying over a wider area and more on the new routes.

More than 200,000 Thames Valley jobs at risk

Thousands of jobs could go if Heathrow is forced to close

A new report today claims more than 200,000 jobs in the Thames Valley will be lost if Heathrow is forced to close.

It examined the economic impact along the M3 and M4 from Heathrow to Basingstoke, Guildford, Newbury and Oxford and concluded that one in 20 jobs in the region were in some way linked to Heathrow. London Mayor Boris Johnson says Heathrow should close with a new airport built in the Thames Estuary.

The research was carried out by Regeneris, an economic consultancy, and was paid for by local enterprise partnerships including Buckinghamshire Thames Valley, Enterprise M3, Oxfordshire and Thames Valley Berkshire. The Government is consulting on where new runways should be built in the region.


Heathrow's new Terminal 2 'will be on time & on budget'

by Penny Silvester

The new £2.5 billion Terminal Two at Heathrow Airport will be finished on time and within budget. That is the view from aviation officials, with just one year to go to the opening of the new building.

Today management at the airport declared they have learned the lessons of the debacle at Terminal Five when thousands of bags were lost and passengers queued for hours, as the first flights moved to the new terminal. Penny Silvester reports.

The interviewees are: John Holland-Kaye, Development Director; and Lord Deighton, Commercial Secretary to the Treasury.

Icelandic volcano could erupt again - grounding UK flights once more

by Mike Pearse

It is just "a matter of time" before another volcano in Iceland erupts - disrupting flights over here in the UK, and the rest of Europe once again That is the view of experts from the South who are developing a system for aeroplanes that will detect ash in the sky.

Back in 2010, most airline services in the region, and much of the UK were grounded because of a drifting Icelandic ash cloud following a volcanic eruption. Mike Pearse reports.

Tonne of ash to be used in flight test

EasyJet and its partners Airbus and Nicarnica are planning the final stage of testing for the AVOID technology. Over the weekend they flew back a tonne of volcanic ash from Iceland collected by the Institute of Earth Sciences in Reykjavik. It will be used for testing by Airbus & Oxford University.

The ash, dried to create the consistency of fine talc, will be used in a unique experiment which is planned for this summer. T

The next phase of testing will involve two Airbus test planes, one of which has the ability to disperse the ash into the atmosphere, thereby creating an artificial ash cloud for a second Airbus test aircraft with the AVOID technology fitted to detect and avoid at over 30,000ft.

The threat from Icelandic volcanoes continues and so finalising the approval of the AVOID technology is as crucial now as ever to ensure we never again see the scenes of spring 2010 when all flying ceased for several days.

Transporting a tonne of volcanic ash from Iceland is an important step in the final journey of testing the technology and moving towards commercial certification

– Ian Davies, easyJet's Engineering Director
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