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Heathrow Airport trials new biometric departure technology



Compare Car HireHeathrow passengers are the first in the world to use an revolutionary technology as component of the airport’s drive to further enhance the passenger experience. Terminal 1 passengers are being asked to participate in a 2 month ‘self-boarding’ trial in collaboration with South African Airways, which makes use of biometric data to help them board their flights quicker and more efficiently.

Once passengers arrive at the ‘self-boarding’ gate, they pass through an automatic electronic barrier which takes an infrared scan of their face. This data is verified against the biometric data that was taken at the check-in stage. When the 2 sets of data scans are successfully met, the barrier opens and the passenger can pass through and board their flight. The technology means that a passenger’s identification only needs to be checked by airline staff once during the whole departure process, minimising the amount of time it takes for passengers to reach their seats in readiness for departure.

The technology also enables airline personnel to invest more time with those passengers who need more assistance. The personal data is stored securely and will be deleted at the end of the trial.

Heathrow’s Terminal 1 Director Ian Hanson said: “We are working in partnership with our airlines to trial this technology which should help make our passengers’ journeys smoother and simpler. Since its introduction we have had positive feedback from both airlines and passengers.’

To date over 300 South African Airways passengers have elected to use the technology as part of their departure passage.

New technologies are already being used by passengers in the course of the departure process, from checking in via mobile phones, ‘self-service bag drops’ to automated ticket presentation prior to passenger security. Introduced in November 2012, the self service bag drop permits passengers to produce and attach their own bag tags before putting their luggage onto the automated bag drop facility.

Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in Europe and the 3rd largest in the world in terms of passenger numbers. Car Hire Assistant provides a car rental price comparison service for travellers to and from Heathrow airport.

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Ryanair expects to take 25% in Stansted Airport


Ryanair expects to take a 25% stake in Stansted airport and boost passenger numbers enough to account for most air traffic growth in the southeast over coming years.

Chief executive Michael O’Leary said a string of consortia keen on buying the airport had asked Ryanair “what would it take for you to grow traffic?”

O’Leary said: “Most of the consortia want us to take a stake. I’d be happy with an agreement and no stake. But they’re keen to work with Ryanair to increase traffic.”

Stansted’s current owner BAA abandoned attempts to overturn a Competition Commission ruling and put the airport up for sale last month. A deal is expected by the end of the year.

Speaking in London yesterday, O’Leary blamed “gross mismanagement by BAA” and “complete regulatory incompetence by the CAA” for a sharp decline in traffic at Stansted over the past five years. He said: “There is enormous opportunity for cutting the cost base at Stansted.

“You could take the airport [from 30 million] to 60 million passengers a year and account for nearly all the growth in the southeast.”

O’Leary said: “Most of the potential bidders [for the airport] want to make as much money as they can quickly. We have a different vision. We’d like to be involved long term, significantly lower costs and drive rapid growth.

“We’d get rid of the cathedral-like check-in hall. We’d get more space airside for retail. We’d blow up the Noddy train that costs £1 million a week to shuttle to a terminal 40 yards away. We’d do sensible things.

“We’d change the whole structure of the airport to lower costs, increase the number of flights and increase traffic.”

However, O’Leary said Ryanair would take no more than a 24.99% stake because “more would cause a regulatory problem.”

He insisted: “The next runway in the southeast will be at Stansted, before Heathrow or Gatwick. It already has planning permission. Not in my lifetime or my children’s lifetimes will there be a new airport in the Thames estuary.”

But he said there would be new runways at Heathrow and Gatwick, arguing: “The government needs to come up with an aviation strategy. Pandering to environmental dimwits is not a strategy.”

And he had a message for “those who have bought houses near Heathrow”: “Get over yourselves or move.”

 
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Posted by on 05/09/2012 in Airlines

 

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Heathrow is expected to set a new record for passenger numbers as it welcomes athletes to the London 2012 Games.


Visit Car Hire Assistant for a Quote!16 July marks the start of the busy period for Olympic arrivals and Britain’s biggest peacetime transport challenge. 236,955 passengers are expected to travel through the airport on Monday, breaking the previous record of 233,562 set on 31 July 2011. Throughout the day, Olympians will arrive from more than 50 countries. To ensure that all passengers have a smooth journey and a great welcome to the Games extra staff and volunteers are working across the airport. The full details are:

• Passengers. 236,955 passengers (121,239 arrivals and 115,716 departures) are expected to pass through the airport today compared to 190,000 on an average day.

• Athletes. 335 athletes are expected today as part of 1,027 Games Family arrivals. The busiest day for arriving athletes is expected to be 24 July when 1,262 athletes and coaches are expected as part of 3,008 Games Family arrivals.

• Volunteers. More than 500 Heathrow and Locog volunteers, speaking more than 20 languages between them, will welcome groups of Olympic athletes and officials from their planes today.

• Olympic accreditation. London 2012 accreditation desks are operational in each terminal allowing Games family members to collect their accreditation for the Olympic Village as soon as they arrive.

• Immigration. Additional Border Force officers are staffing immigration desks for the peak arrivals period, helping to ensure that all passengers have a smooth journey. Border waiting times have been within the targets set by the Home Office, which is responsible for immigration, since new resources were put in place yesterday.

• Baggage. Additional staff are on duty in the baggage hall to quickly reunite Olympic teams with their baggage and equipment. Athletes travel with around twice the number of bags as regular passengers (an average of nearly three items per athlete). Approximately 15% of baggage on peak days will be large pieces of sporting equipment such as canoes, pole vaults, bikes and javelins and around 1,000 guns and associated ammunition will be arriving with competitors over the coming days.

• Onward travel. London 2012 coaches will be operating from airport forecourts for the first time today to transport athletes to the Olympic Village. Accredited media will be using the Heathrow Express as the quickest and most convenient way to access central London.

Nick Cole, Head of Olympic and Paralympic Planning at BAA, said:

“Today heralds the start of Britain’s biggest peacetime transport challenge and Heathrow’s busiest ever period. We are expecting more passengers to travel through Heathrow today than on any day in the airport’s history. We have spent seven years preparing for the Games’ challenge. Now we are putting that planning into action with thousands of extra staff and volunteers on hand to welcome the world to London.”

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a marathon, not a sprint, for Heathrow. The airport has some major challenges ahead, including unprecedented numbers of departing Olympics passengers and bags on 13 August and Paralympic arrivals and departures in August and September.”

 
 

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Sixt brings luxury car rental service to UK market


Visit Car Hire Assistant for a Quote!Sixt has unveiled the expansion of its services in the UK, with a range of high-end luxury vehicles.

Sixt Luxury offers a range of super premium cars, including the Aston Martin DB9, Ferrari California, Porsche, Land Rover, Rolls Royce and Bentley, for short- and long-term rental agreements.

The range of vehicles in the luxury fleet are now available from a number of London’s Sixt depots, including the newly revamped centre at Heathrow airport where customers can take advantage of last-minute vehicle upgrades.

A delivery service is also available at an additional charge for people outside of London.

The new expansion into luxury means that there is now a car to suit every customer’s needs – from the economical Chevrolet Spark, through to the Ferrari California,

Paul McLoughlin, managing director of Sixt UK, said: “Our business is going from strength to strength and we are really excited to launch our new premium vehicle rental service as part of our ongoing expansion in the UK.

“Our growing offering now includes a convenient, flexible way of renting luxury cars at a fraction of the cost of ownership – catering for customers looking to hire for a special occasion, right up to large scale corporate businesses requiring top-end, long term rentals.

“The flexibility of the service will also give luxury car-owners access to short-term replacement cars straight away.”

Sixt was recognised for the World’s Leading Marketing Innovation by the   World Travel Awards in 2011.

Car Hire Assistant provides a car rental comparison service for most major rental operators.

 

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Malaysia Airlines launches A380 route to London Heathrow


Visit Car Hire Assistant for a Quote!Malaysia Airlines has celebrated the launch of its first Airbus A380 service between KL International Airport (KLIA), Malaysia and London Heathrow, joining the elite league of airlines to fly the world’s largest and most eco-efficient airliner.

The A380 painted in its full celebration livery arrived into London Heathrow from KLIA as flight MH002 early this morning.

Malaysia Airlines’ group chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was joined by Malaysian dignitaries, the first A380 passengers and UK travel trade partners to celebrate the airline’s inaugural non-stop Airbus A380 flight from Heathrow to KLIA.

Speaking at the event, held in Malaysia Airlines’ newly refurbished Golden Lounge at Heathrow Terminal 4 prior to the departure of flight MH003, Yahya highlighted the airline’s commitment to the London Heathrow – KLIA route.

“The A380 showcases our latest premium offering and it was imperative that the first of these new aircraft was inaugurated on the prestigious London route, a route we have been operating from Kuala Lumpur since 1974.

“The A380 is our latest flagship aircraft offering new levels of comfort, luxury and convenience for long-haul travel and we look forward to delivering our great Malaysian Hospitality to our UK guests.”

Malaysia Airlines has introduced a number of unique enhancements onboard its first A380 including the widest seats of any First Class cabin in the sky at 40 inches.

The A380 has a capacity of 494 seats, comprising of 350 economy and eight fully-flat first-class seats on the main (lower) deck, and 66 fully-flat business-class and 70 economy seats on the upper deck, providing some of the most spacious cabins in the skies.

The new interiors have been designed by leading aviation design consultancy, Priestmangoode.

Malaysia Airlines preparation for the A380 and its forthcoming membership of the oneworld alliance, which it is set to join in the last quarter of 2012, has also included front and back of house upgrades on the ground at London Heathrow Terminal 4.

The flagship Golden Lounge at KL International Airport (KLIA) in Malaysia has also been refurbished and reopened last week in time for the A380 operations.

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