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Thread: News Items.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Surrey, UK

    Exclamation News Items.

    Manchester Airport builds mini runway

    MANCHESTER Airport has built a third runway. But the eco-warriors who opposed the controversial second runway can relax.
    Planes won't be taking off or landing on the new runway, which did not require diggers to remove huge swathes of Cheshire countryside.

    That's because it's only 30 metres long.

    It is a tiny replica of the existing runways and has been built at the Aviation Viewing Park, used by plane spotters. There are also plans to build a replica control tower.

    Airport bosses have already announced they will introduce static aircraft exhibits, like the British Aerospace RJX, into the viewing park.

    They decided to build the replica runway to give the displays an authentic look. The strip will also be used as an educational resource for school groups.

    Peter Hampson, in charge of airfield operations at the airport, said: "We want it to be very much a feature for the airport, and an educational feature as well.

    "Rather than have the exhibits on steel platforms, we thought it would be far more aesthetic and realistic to do it this way, and have the aircraft on asphalt.

    "It's very much a scale model of the existing runways."

    Tens of thousands of people visit the viewing park, sited off Wilmslow Road near the Romper pub, every year, and it is especially busy at weekends in the summer and bank holidays.

    Thousands of plane-spotters from all over Europe are expected to flock to the viewing park next month during the Champions' League final.

    They are not interested in the football, though. They want to see the more than 200 different aircraft as the airport copes with the busiest 24-hour period in its history.

    Extra toilets will be introduced and longer opening hours will be adopted to cope with the extra numbers expected.

    "With two continental teams in the final rather than English teams, there are a lot more planes coming in," said Mr Hampson, also a keen plane-spotter.

    "There will be lots of different charter planes and a number of executive jets for VIPs. This is attracting large numbers of enthusiasts from not only the UK but also Holland and Germany. We are obviously encouraging visitors and we are facilitating their needs."

    It's not going like clockwork

    For a country famous for its clockwork efficiency, Switzerland has become strangely accident-prone with its airlines. Just 18 months on from the humiliating collapse of Swissair, the new national carrier, Swiss, is in deep trouble.

    Swiss revealed on Friday that it was steadily running out of money. Its bankers have refused to renew a SFr400m (£185m) overdraft facility and the government has made it clear that there will be no more state aid.

    Chairman Pieter Bouw felt obliged to deny rumours that its fleet could be grounded, although he admitted the airline faced "a battle to survive".

    In a last throw of the dice, Swiss has turned its back on its heritage of luxury service by drawing up plans to launch a low-cost carrier, Swiss Express - a far cry from the heady days of Swissair's leather seats, gourmet food and vintage wines.

    The idea is to spin off the airline's regional fleet into an operation with a cost base 20% lower. The reaction has been lukewarm, to put it mildly.

    David Bieli, head of the Swiss pilots' union, made it clear that staff would not accept lower wages for flying the cut-price offshoot's aircraft: "Out initial thought is that this is completely absurd."

    Zurich Kantonalbank reiterated its "sell" recommendation on the airline's shares, expressing scepticism that Swiss could achieve its target of a 10% cut in its wage bill.

    If the rescue strategy fails, Switzerland's government will face searching questions. The country's federal council last year pumped SFr1bn of taxpayers' money into the creation of Swiss from the ashes of Swissair. Ministers cajoled the country's financial institutions to stump up the rest of a controversial SFr2.7bn aid package.

    Critics say Swiss's problems are too deep for any cut-price budget offering to solve. Analysts have asked whether it makes sense for a high-cost country of seven million people to sustain a full-scale intercontinental airline.

    Even after a series of culls, Swiss's fleet of 112 aircraft is 20% larger than that of neighbouring Austrian Airlines, a similarly wealthy country with about the same population.

    William Meaney, Swiss's commercial director, is sensitive to the comparison: he points out that the Swiss have traditionally had itchy feet, spending twice as much per head as the Austrians on travel.

    He adds that there is nothing unique about a small country having a disproportionately large airline: "Singapore Airlines has an even smaller market than we do but they're a much bigger airline."

    Swiss pins much of the blame for its problems on the war in Iraq and Sars - although other European carriers have stayed upright through both crises.

    Customers complain that in many ways, Swiss's problems are of its own making. The Association of European Airlines last month ranked Swiss 22nd out of 23 members for missing bags. Only Greece's Olympic Airlines failed to beat its record of 79% of flights taking off on time.

    In a briefing document published last week, Swiss acknowledged that its "present difficulties cannot only be ascribed to external factors", admitting: "The quality and reliability of products and services are not always at the level desired and required, especially in terms of the punctuality and cancellation rates for the regional fleet."

    The airline has been saddled with a cumbersome network of three hubs - Geneva, Zurich and Basle - all serving a variety of European destinations. None of the cantons, which all hold shares in the airline, wants to be left out.

    Swiss dropped a hint on Friday that without further state help it would no longer feel beholden to political whims, saying it "cannot afford to consider any further factors [such as regional political issues] which might run counter to stark economic realities".

    Mr Bouw urged Switzerland's commentators to rally round the cause, saying talk of "grounding" was shattering morale: "The word 'grounding' is one that falls easily from many lips these days. It is a catchy-sounding 'in' word. But those who use it thoughtlessly create uncertainty, and that can have drastic consequences."

    The loss of Swiss would be a blow to a country unaccustomed to business failure. Switzerland would be the first major European country without a national carrier; even Belgium felt the need to create a slimmed down successor, SN Brussels Airlines, from the collapse of its flag-carrier, Sabena - albeit with just 35 planes.

    Mr Bouw admitted he felt the weight of the nation on his shoulders, accepting that "everyone in Switzerland feels concerned". So they should, he added, quoting an old proverb: "A nation that does not fly is quickly outdistanced."

    Virgin Atlantic said yesterday a tight rein on costs had helped it make a £10m profit last year, compared with a £92m loss a year earlier, but said it was difficult to predict how it would fare this year.,00.html

    Wawsaw to get a new passenger terminal

    Wawsaw, Poland.

    Wawsaw Intl. airport is to get a new passenger terminal in the coming years...


    One High-Flying Name

    SEATTLE - Boeing says it's working on some design touches for the new 7E7 that would make it easier to recognize.

    A new image released Monday shows a distinctive nose shape, new wing tip concepts and a sculpted vertical tail structure.

    But while the company hasn't yet decided where to build it, Boeing is trying to come with a name to go with the number. And you are asked to help.

    Boeing and AOL Time Warner have announced a marketing alliance to get your thoughts.

    The official website for this idea ----

    Sorry about this post being so long, but I hope you find the stories to be os a slight interest?

    Cheers guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    The Manchester "model" Airport sounds quite fun -- would be interesting to take a closer look!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Guernsey, C.I.
    I must say that the Swiss article was a bit far-fetched on the journalist’s behalf. Sure Swiss have some serious problems as I have posted over the last few months, but the cash supply is still sufficient to make them last.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Basel *sigh*
    yeah, certainly Swiss don't seem to be in any immediate trouble, although at the AGM on Tuesday, 500 ex-Crossair Pilots mounted a silent demonstration outside against the Swiss Express Regional rebranding, and even carried a Coffin with a wreath mourning the passing of Swiss.

    But basically, this has been an ongoing thing ever since Swiss was founded, as the former Crossair pilots are on very different wage structures to the former Swissair pilots, and I believe they still have two seperate Unions.

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