News: Home Office outlines increase in UK passport costs

News: Home Office outlines increase in UK passport costs

Home Office outlines increase in UK passport costs

The Home Office has outlined plans to introduce different passport fees for online and postal applications as part of its push to increase the use of online services and its ambition to create a self-sustainable immigration and borders system.

The move will see the cost of a passport application increase by around £12.

However, those applying online will see rises of just £3.

The proposals, which remain subject to parliamentary approval, would mean the money collected through fees will contribute to the cost of processing British passport holders as they travel in and out of the country, shifting the burden for paying for these services away from the taxpayer – millions of whom do not currently hold passports.

These reforms are part of plans by the Home Office to invest £100 million on border security and infrastructure next year.

This forms part of the ongoing work to modernise and further strengthen the security of the border.

Under the plans, online applications, which are available to all UK-based applicants, will increase in line with inflation, taking the total from £72.50 to £75.50 for adults and £49 for children.

Postal applications will increase by £12.50 to £85 for adults and £58.50 for children, reflecting the increased costs of processing postal applications compared to online applications.

Adults choosing to apply online would still be paying less than they would have in 2009, with passport fees having decreased in 2012.

Immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, said: “The passport is an invaluable document that allows millions of British people to travel around the world for business and pleasure.

“Our priority is to ensure that UK travellers have a secure, effective, and efficient service from the point of application to the time they pass through the UK border and it is only right that we should look at this whole process when setting our fees.

“These proposals will ensure that those people who don’t travel abroad are not footing the bill for those who do.

“The changes are fully supported by the fee-setting powers that were brought in by the Immigration Act 2016 and if they are approved by Parliament, they will come into force on March 27th, 2018.”

The proposals are unrelated to the announcement that the colour of the UK passport will be changing in 2019, which will be delivered at no additional cost.


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 10:36AM

News: WestJet to link Halifax Stanfield to two new major European destinations

News: WestJet to link Halifax Stanfield to two new major European destinations

WestJet to link Halifax Stanfield to two new major European destinations

WestJet has announced that it is again connecting Atlantic Canada to the world with daily direct flights between Halifax Stanfield International Airport and Gatwick Airport in London and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris.

These flights are part of the WestJet 2018 summer schedule also released today.

All flights will be operated on the airline’s newest, most efficient and guest-friendly aircraft, the Boeing 737-8 MAX.

“As the carrier with the most transatlantic flights from Halifax, we are thrilled to announce our first foray onto the European mainland,” said Ed Sims, WestJet executive vice president, commercial.

“Venturing to London and now Paris is an indication of our ambitious growth plans as we move towards becoming a global network carrier.

“This is an investment that will help launch new flights in the future and further expand our presence in Halifax Stanfield International Airport – a key driver in economic and employment growth.”

Starting May 31st, WestJet will begin service with daily flights between Halifax and Paris.

On April 29th, WestJet will begin daily service between Halifax and London Gatwick.

In addition, WestJet will add one flight to Halifax from Calgary for a total of 15 weekly flights.

“We look forward to working with WestJet to launch this exciting new long-haul route, which will further enhance Gatwick’s position as the world’s busiest departure airport for low-cost, long-haul services,” said Guy Stephenson, chief commercial officer, Gatwick Airport.

“Halifax has lots to offer visitors from the UK, with its rich maritime history, year-round festivals and buoyant nightlife making it a must-visit global city.

“With Halifax also being one of Canada’s main economic hubs, these new flights will provide an important link between the two countries’ business communities at a time when worldwide connections are vital for the UK.”

WestJet currently serves 16 cities from the Halifax International Airport, up from six in 2013, including ten Canadian, two transborder, one international and three European destinations; at peak summer schedule, the airline will operate more than 25 flights per week.

Since 2012, the airline’s traffic from Halifax has grown by more than 160 per cent.


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 10:19AM

Former Gang Members Offer Advice on How to Combat MS-13

Former Gang Members Offer Advice on How to Combat MS-13

In October, 2013, a drug dealer in Los Angeles nicknamed Dreamer
organized an international conference call with members of MS-13, the
Salvadoran-American street gang. There are roughly ten thousand MS-13
members in the United States, and some fifty thousand spread throughout
Central America, but the gang is diffuse and disorganized, grouped in a
loose patchwork of local chapters known as cliques. Its members are
ruthless—they rob, extort, and kill—but they have relatively little
money to show for all their violence. Dreamer had an idea for how to
make more: unify the U.S. cliques under a plan he called the National Program, and partner with two larger gangs that
sold methamphetamine across the country. The plan failed, due to
infighting within the ranks of MS-13: the West Coast cliques resented
their East Coast counterparts, and gang leaders in El Salvador refused
to follow orders originating in the United States. Within three months,
Dreamer and his co-conspirators were in federal custody.

U.S. authorities often portray MS-13, which started in this country in
the nineteen-eighties, as a massive criminal enterprise reminiscent of
the Mexican drug cartels. That vastly overstates the gang’s power, but,
in some ways, undersells it, too. What makes MS-13 especially difficult
to combat is that it is so decentralized. Its members insinuate
themselves into immigrant communities across America and often victimize
people who are socially marginalized, frequently undocumented, and
distrustful of law enforcement; mass arrests and nationwide sting
operations launched by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) haven’t
been successful in eradicating the gang. The more MS-13 members that
were “swept up and sent back to Central America or to jail . . . the
more gangs seemed to spread,” the journalist Sarah Garland wrote in
Gangs in Garden City,” her 2009 book about gangs on Long Island. Her
focus was on the
suburbs that were being transformed by immigration in the
nineteen-nineties. Long Island is extremely segregated, and gang crime
was mostly limited to lower-income areas, such as Hempstead, in Nassau
County, and Brentwood and Central Islip, in Suffolk County. The
political climate, leavened by rising anxiety over immigration, led to
aggressive action by federal law enforcement. It backfired: as a result
of a wave of mass deportations in the mid-nineties, the gang started up
in Central America. By 2012, the U.S. government had labelled MS-13 a
“transnational criminal organization,” making it the only American
street gang with the designation.

Donald Trump has turned MS-13 into Public Enemy No. 1. “They’re
animals,” the President said last summer. “They’re going back to their
country, period.” ICE made more than a thousand arrests in anti-gang
sweeps early last year. In the fall, agents arrested close to three
hundred suspected gang members nationwide in a sting called Operation
Raging Bull; a separate crackdown in New York led to hundreds more
arrests. Immigrants’-rights groups say that ICE has been indiscriminate,
arresting innocent people who live in the same communities as gang members. MS-13 is most
active in areas across the country with high concentrations of Central
Americans—the suburbs of Washington, D.C., and Boston, and enclaves
throughout California and on Long Island. ICE has turned the fight against the gang into a broader campaign to arrest undocumented immigrants everywhere.

Is there a more effective way to combat MS-13? Earlier this month, I
asked three men who know as much as anyone about the gang. They are
ex-gang members themselves, and since they’ve left that life they’ve
dedicated their professional careers to helping others do the same.

One of them is Alex Sanchez, a forty-five-year-old former MS-13 member
based in Los Angeles, who started the U.S. chapter of a Salvadoran
organization called Homies Unidos, which provides relief services for
reforming gangsters. Sanchez was granted asylum in the United States
after vigilante death squads targeting the gangs in El Salvador
threatened to kill him for his work. “We have to stop talking about this
issue as a way to demonize the youth and to continue the rhetoric that
crime is committed by immigrants,” he told me. “That isolates the
communities coming forward if they’re victims. And it isolates the gang
members who want to change and leave the gang.” He told me that ICE raids were scaring young immigrants out of attending counselling and
outreach programs. The President’s public remarks about MS-13 have also
given it a reputational boost. “MS-13 getting hyped to be one of the
most dangerous gangs in the world just feeds into the gang’s goal,”
Sanchez said. “It’s a recruitment tool. They can say they’re huge, that
they’re vicious. It convinces youth at risk that they should join this
huge umbrella that they can be protected under.”

Sergio Argueta, a thirty-nine-year-old community advocate on Long
Island who once belonged to a local Latino gang called Redondel Pride,
told me the story of a teen-age girl from El Salvador who fled to the
United States a few years ago, after being raped by members of a group
called 18th Street, a rival of MS-13. When she arrived on Long Island,
she reunited with her mother, whom she hadn’t seen in years. “The mom
had no idea about the rape, no clue about what her daughter went through
to get here,” Argueta told me. The girl was seventeen, but she was
placed in the ninth grade. “She gets to school. We have MS-13 there. We
have 18th Street. She thinks, ‘What the fuck? They’re here, too?’ ” Shejoined MS-13 because she thought that it could protect her from the
gang that brutalized her back home.

Argueta founded a youth-intervention organization called S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, in 2000, after local gang members killed an acquaintance of his.
“The biggest challenge we’ve had is that the gangs aren’t an issue until
it’s front-line news,” he told me. In September, 2016, two girls from
Brentwood High School were found murdered, killed with machetes and
baseball bats and mutilated beyond recognition. Afterward, the county promised to give S.T.R.O.N.G. a five-hundred-thousand-dollar grant to run
programs for at-risk youth. The organization had been asking the county
for years to give it more support. “If you say, ‘We should help these
kids,’ nothing would happen,” Patrick Young, a lawyer at an
immigrant-aid organization called CARECEN, told me, while I was reporting a story on MS-13 for The New Yorker. “If you say, ‘We want to invest in gang prevention,’ everyone would say, ‘Sure.’ ”

Late last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a proposal to dedicate $11.5 million to after-school programs, vocational
training, educational efforts, and counselling services as part of an
initiative to combat MS-13. It’s a welcome development. Sanchez told me
that one of the keys to keeping youth away from the gangs is to bring in
former gang members, who have credibility and understand the lure of
gang life, to dissuade them. In Sanchez’s view, without educational and
vocational programs as a viable alternative to gang membership, it’s
virtually impossible for advocates to succeed. Some of the most
effective measures to make sure ex-gangsters don’t rejoin MS-13, he
said, often sounded the least dramatic: removing the tattoos that gang
members have to wear to signal their affiliation, job training, and
parenting workshops for members who wanted to leave the gang to raise
their children. (The gang doesn’t let its members stray, and breaking
ranks can be dangerous.) Gang members are often neglected sons and
daughters, too. “What are the resources when a gang member says to you, ‘All right, man, I need to start looking out for my kid. I don’t know
how to do that,’ ” Sanchez said. “They need mentors. They need support
systems for their families. A kid doesn’t become a gang member just
because he feels like it. Families don’t have time to be parents to
these kids.”

Politically, though, it’s easier to call for more law enforcement than
it is to facilitate longer-term solutions, and the New York State
Legislature still has to vote on the governor’s proposal and appropriate
the necessary funds. A few million dollars is only a modest start. The
school districts on Long Island where MS-13 operates are chronically
underfunded and administratively overwhelmed. They need social workers,
Spanish-language services, and professional counselling programs. Liz
Cordero, a member of the Brentwood Parent Teacher Association, told me,
“The demographics of the community have changed, and teachers don’t live
in the community.” Too often, she said, school administrators respond to
disciplinary problems by suspending the students, who then just spend
their time on the streets.

Since 2014, more than a hundred and twenty thousand unaccompanied minors
ages six to seventeen have made their way to the United States, to
reunite with family members after fleeing violence in Central America.
Close to nine thousand of them ended up on Long Island. The federal
government has done very little to help them integrate into their new
communities. Argueta told me, “You have to think about nonconventional
ways of educating this population. Some of the kids will say, ‘I just
need to learn English, I’m not going to graduate.’ Some kids would be
perfect for a G.E.D. Some of them studied in their home country, but
they don’t have four years to take Regents exams.” He added, “They all
come with this trauma. Whether it’s from back in their homeland, or from
the journey, or what they experienced in the detention centers. They
will tell you, ‘I thought I was going to see big buildings here. And a
lot of money.’ Nope, they’re living in a basement.”

Luis Cardona is fifty-one and from New York, but he grew up in the
Washington, D.C., area, where he belonged to a local chapter of the
Latin Kings, a predominantly Puerto Rican gang. In the
nineteen-nineties, he ran the D.C. branch of a youth-outreach
organization called Barrios Unidos, and now he works for the local
government in Montgomery County, Maryland, where a third of the population was born outside the United States, mostly in Central
America. “People who came through the system for refugees have some of
the resources to deal with these issues—trauma, family reunification,
social stresses,” he told me. “Most of these kids from Central America
didn’t get that.” Even though they fled the gangs in their home
countries, a small number of them are recruited once they get to this
country. I asked Cardona what their profile was. “There’s an immediate
feeling of being disconnected,” he said. The newly arrived kids are
often joining families that have grown without them. Their parents may
have remarried and had children who are American citizens. Money is
tight, and living spaces are cramped. “A kid comes to his new home, and
his parent or his guardian says to him, ‘You see the full refrigerator?
The stuff on the left side you can have, but that stuff on the right
side is for your stepfather and your new siblings.’” He added, “Maybe
those new siblings make fun of you, too, because you don’t speak
English.” Cardona has no illusions about how dangerous MS-13 is. “You
can’t deny this is a criminal enterprise,” he said. “But the question
is, should we be fighting them? You want to change the dynamic?
Strengthen families. It’s common sense. It’s community-building 101.”


via Everything

January 30, 2018 at 10:16AM

News: Ryanair signs formal recognition agreement with BALPA

News: Ryanair signs formal recognition agreement with BALPA

Ryanair has a formal recognition agreement with the British Airline Pilots Association, who will now be the sole representative body for Ryanair employed pilots in the UK.

This agreement follows extensive negotiations with BALPA since Ryanair’s December announcement that it was willing to recognise unions for collective bargaining purposes.

While these recognition negotiations were continuing with BALPA, the six remaining Ryanair UK bases (including Stansted) voted – in secret ballot – to accept pay increases of up to 20 per cent.

Ryanair hopes the increases will blunt rising discontent among pilots at the carrier.

Welcoming the recognition agreement, Ryanair chief people officer, Eddie Wilson, said: “We are pleased today to announce this UK recognition agreement with BALPA on behalf of our directly employed pilots in the UK.

“The UK accounts for a quarter of Ryanair’s fleet and pilot numbers.

“This agreement validates the decision of Ryanair’s board in December to recognise unions, and the fact that we have delivered pay rises of up to 20 per cent and union recognition for our pilots in our largest market, shows how serious Ryanair is about working constructively with unions that are willing to work constructively with us.”

Wilson added: “This rapid progress in the UK is in marked contrast to some other EU countries where we are still waiting for a response to our recognition proposals and where some unions have failed to put these substantial pay increases to our pilots.

“We now call on these unions to stop wasting time and act quickly to deliver 20 per cent pay increases to our pilots in February, and conclude formal recognition agreements, which they are presently sitting on.

“Ryanair will not allow these unions to delay pay increases to our pilots.”

He concluded: “Today’s agreement between Ryanair and BALPA shows that Ryanair can work with unions that wish to work with us to promote the interests of both our pilots and our customers.”


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 10:09AM

News: Primera Holidays launches in UK for first time

News: Primera Holidays launches in UK for first time

Primera Travel Group has announced the launch of an online travel agency – Primera Holidays.

The move brings 26 years of experience of providing quality holiday trips to the most popular destinations in and around the Mediterranean to the UK.

The service will leverage Primera Travel Group’s cooperation with the best hotels in Spain, Greece and Croatia, matching low-ticket fares from all the main carriers in the UK – Jet2, easyJet, Norwegian, British Airways, Primera Air etc.

Primera Holidays is an online travel agency that allows people to significantly save on holiday packages.

The main competitive advantages are a transparent model of matching the cheapest flights and best hotels, as well as a user-friendly interface.

“We are very proud to announce the expansion of our business that we have been building for more than 20 years in Sweden, Iceland, Denmark and other countries.

“Now we want to take it to a new challenging market – the UK.

“Our team – which consists of the best and brightest professionals – are adept in sourcing the best flight and hotel options to develop dynamic package holidays.

“We have worked hard throughout 2017 to develop a strong offering and are confident that we will grow to be a market leader in 2018 and 2019,” said Andri Már Ingólfsson, president, Primera Travel Group.

The first holidays on offer start from March from Heathrow to a British favourite – Costa del Sol in Spain.

Trips to Dubrovnik, Majorca, Gran Canaria and other places are available soon thereafter.


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 10:07AM

News: Dohop partners with Rentalcars Connect to expand travel options

News: Dohop partners with Rentalcars Connect to expand travel options

Fast-growing Icelandic flight search engine, Dohop, has enhanced its travel comparison service by partnering with leading ground transportation solutions provider, Rentalcars Connect.

Rentalcars Connect has developed a bespoke car rental platform that will sit seamlessly as part of the Dohop website, allowing customers to instantly benefit from an integrated travel experience.

This partnership comes as part of Dohop’s ongoing strategy to extend its product offering and bring its customers an all-encompassing travel experience.

Launched in 2005, Dohop originally served as a flight search engine for travellers looking for the cheapest connection flights.

Since then, it has grown its offering and now provides its customers with a complete booking experience – from flights to hotels and car rental.

The company is now considered the World’s Leading Flight Comparison Website by the World Travel Awards.

Through Rentalcars Connect’s continuous A/B testing, Dohop can now benefit from higher conversion rates and offer its customers a more dynamic and personalised merchandising experience.

David Gunnarsson, chief executive, Dohop, said: “Our comparison technology has been built to offer our customers a seamless travel experience, and we want the website to reflect that. Since we already work with Rentalcars Connect’s parent company,, we knew that it would be a smooth transition to integrate the car rental solution.

“Rentalcars Connect has exceeded all expectations in terms of how simple this was.

“Rentalcars Connect’s innovative platform has helped us to create a far more complete offering for our customers, enhancing their experience and creating a high degree of trust in our brand.”


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 09:56AM

News: Descrozaille promoted to Middle East leadership role with Mövenpick

News: Descrozaille promoted to Middle East leadership role with Mövenpick

Descrozaille promoted to Middle East leadership role with Mövenpick

Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts has promoted Marc Descrozaille to the tole of president Middle East & Africa.

He will step into the role from February 1st.

Having joined the hospitality firm in 2017 as vice president, operations, Middle East & Africa, Descrozaille will now take the helm from Andreas Mattmüller, who has retired from his role as chief operating officer, MEA, a region where the company currently manages 50 properties, with 20 more under development.

“Marc has become an invaluable member of the management team and his international experience is proving a real asset in enhancing the ongoing success of our MEA operations,” remarked Olivier Chavy, president, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.

“As we say a fond farewell to Andreas, I hand the baton to Marc, confident in his abilities to build on the remarkable momentum we have achieved in the region and to maximise the many opportunities we have identified to grow our footprint and brand presence.”

Descrozaille joined Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts from Carlson Rezidor where he was area vice president for the firm’s Africa & Indian Ocean operations.

He has significant experience working in the Middle East, having also been employed as regional director, UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Oman for the hotel group.

He has also held key executive positions at several major hospitality companies including Hilton, Compass Group, and London’s Claridge’s Hotel.

Originally from France, Descrozaille is a graduate of Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne where he received a degree in hotel and restaurant management.

He also has an MBA from IMHI (Cornell-Essec) in Paris.

“It is a privilege to be promoted to President Middle East & Africa – a role I will relish as Mövenpick continues to cement its reputation as a hotel company that delivers a unique style of hospitality to world-class standards in a growing number of key destinations across the region,” said Descrozaille.

“As a custodian of the brand and its core values, I look forward to championing the essence of what Mövenpick stands for – from culinary innovation and high-quality service to our unwavering commitment to sustainability – while consistently delivering our we make moments business philosophy to guests.”


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 09:55AM

News: Hilton Shenyang opens to travellers in north-east China

News: Hilton Shenyang opens to travellers in north-east China

Hilton Shenyang opens to travellers in north-east China

Designed to pay homage to the city’s storied history as well as to celebrate its emergence as one of China’s most exciting commercial hubs, Hilton Shenyang has opened to travellers.

Seamlessly connected to the local commercial centres, transit hub and tourist attractions, Hilton Shenyang provides the ultimate convenience for both leisure and business travellers and features outstanding amenities including 329 spacious guest rooms and three world-class restaurants.

“Shenyang, is not only the largest city and business epicentre of north-east China, but also a historically important metropolis with its own rich culture,” said Sean Wooden, vice president, brand management, Asia Pacific, Hilton.

“Hilton Shenyang infuses excitement into the guest experience with its stunning design, thoughtful amenities and signature Hilton hospitality, putting travellers in the perfect state of mind to make the most of their stays in Shenyang.”

The hotel’s unique design draws on the historic and cultural heritage of Shenyang, which is considered the birthplace of the Qing Dynasty and has served as the imperial capital for two emperors.

Traditional Chinese elements, such as detailed silk paintings and the customary incorporation of metal and marble, are smoothly integrated with modern conveniences and aesthetics.

The result is 329 comfortable and well-appointed rooms, including 16 suites with modern Chinese décor.

Hilton Shenyang offers all the facilities needed for relaxation, including a heated swimming pool, an outdoor garden and a 24-hour health club.

A refreshing dip in the pool, a brisk jog or a tranquil moment in the garden will have every guest feeling energised and balanced in their home away from home.

“Hilton is strengthening its presence across China with properties that appeal to both business and leisure travellers,” said Qian Jin, area president, Greater China and Mongolia, Hilton.

“With more than 290 hotels in the pipeline, we will continue providing guests from China and around the world with more choices and opportunities to experience our best-in-class service, wherever their travels may take them.”

For those looking for the perfect conference or event venue, the Hilton Shenyang offers a grand ballroom as well as seven function rooms, comprising 1,550 square meters of flexible meeting space that can be configured with the latest conferencing technology.

The hotel ensures the most professional conferencing experience for its guests with dedicated support from the Hilton team members and Wi-Fi access in all public areas.


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 09:48AM

News: Generator to open new property in Madrid this spring

News: Generator to open new property in Madrid this spring

Generator will open its latest property in Madrid, Spain the spring this year.

The launch will be the company’s 13th property and the second in Spain, adding to its portfolio of hostels in key international cites of London, Dublin, Barcelona, Paris, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Venice, Rome, Amsterdam, Hamburg and Berlin (Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg).

Generator Madrid is situated along from the bustling Gran Via and located at the border of the Malasaña district.

With Puerta de Sol just a stone’s throw away, the hostel sits among a sea of quirky restaurants and bars within the creative hub of the city.

Following Generator’s tradition of transforming unusual spaces into design havens, the building was originally built in 1930 and was a car park with a gas station on the main level after the Spanish Civil War ended.

Now it is transformed into a hostel, spanning over 6,000 square metres and will accommodate travellers within rooms of two, four and eight.

Featuring 129 rooms and 542 beds, Generator Madrid will have a boutique feel with a youthful edge.

Fifty-one of the rooms will be private double and family rooms, while 78 are dorm rooms.

As with all Generator properties, the latest opening includes a range of hang-out areas, bars and facilities to create public spaces that offer far beyond that of a traditional hostel.

Alastair Thomann, Generator chief executive, commented: “Following a successful four years in Barcelona, we’re delighted to be expanding our Spanish offering to include a brand-new property in Madrid.

“Spain is a hugely important market for us and this innovative, design-focused hostel is sure to become a key hotspot for locals and travellers alike.”
Generator Madrid opens its doors to guests in early April 2018.


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 09:48AM

News: Heathrow claims China connections add £510m to UK economy

News: Heathrow claims China connections add £510m to UK economy

As prime minister Theresa May sets off on a trade mission to China, research out today underscores the value of frequent, direct connections between the UK’s hub airport, Heathrow, and the Middle Kingdom.

It also identifies the urgent need to add capacity on these routes in order to support the government’s trade strategy.

The research, carried out by Frontier Economics, reveals Heathrow’s direct flights to China already contribute more than £510 million annually to the UK economy and creates nearly 15,000 jobs.

Just one extra flight per week, on to these existing routes, will provide a further cash injection of £16 million a year as a result of increased business travel, and stimulation for increased trade and investment between China and the UK. 

This incremental increase in capacity could also support an additional 530 jobs annually, a small taste of the opportunities that will accompany up to 40 new-long haul routes and increased route frequency that Heathrow’s expansion will create.

At a critical time in Britain’s future global trading relationship, Heathrow acts as a vital link between China and the UK, offering more than 100 direct flights to China every week.

Of these, 55 go to Hong Kong, 22 to Shanghai, 20 to Beijing, ten to Guangzhou and two to Qingdao.

Of the £510 million annual contribution by existing routes, £315 million is made up by Hong Kong, followed by Beijing and Shanghai.

While connections to Chinese cities are clearly valuable to the UK, rival EU hub airports with capacity to cope are able to fly to 14 other Chinese destinations, opening up more trade and investment to their respective countries.

Frontier Economics points out the role Heathrow plays as a port of higher value, higher-tech commodities such as aircraft and spacecraft, optical and photographic instruments, pharmaceuticals and electricals and in facilitating trade in sectors ranging from manufacturing to artificial intelligence. 

The planning process for Heathrow expansion is already underway, with the airport carrying out its first public consultation on its emerging plans starting this month.

Parliament is expected to vote on a National Policy Statement in the first half of this year, which will set out the policy framework for Heathrow’s final planning submission.

John Holland-Kaye, chief executive of Heathrow, said: “Heathrow is proud of its role as a gateway to these vital Chinese markets; enabling global trade as the UK’s largest port by value, acting as a catalyst for thousands of jobs for the local community and contributing billions to the UK economy.

“Expansion of Heathrow is a chance to deepen relations between China and the UK; as the report highlights, just one extra route could contribute hundreds of jobs and millions to the UK’s GDP. 

“As the country prepares to leave the EU and China’s economy continues to grow exponentially, this is an opportunity the UK cannot afford to miss.”


via Breaking Travel News

January 30, 2018 at 09:29AM