Edinburgh Airport has new plans to expand!

Edinburgh Airport has plans to expand its facilities! They have launched a consultation period which will be open for 6 weeks, to allow the public to provide their feedback on the details of the proposed development between now and 2040 The new plans look to concentrate on improving ground operations opposed to implementing new routes or alter the flight paths. With increased opposition from environmental campaigners, specific changes have been released such as enlarging terminal buildings and aircraft parking plans. The airport also aims to improve access to the site with the suggestion of a new road which will act as a link to the Gogar Roundabout.

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Edinburgh Airport’ Edinburgh Airport will see their passenger numbers increase by 11.9%s 11.9% passenger increase in August

Edinburgh Airport have revealed that August was the 5th consecutive month where passenger numbers exceeded 1 million, a trend that began in April. August also marked a great year on year growth pattern as passenger numbers were up 11.9% over the same month the year before, reaching 1,296,189. As well as that, International passenger numbers increased by 18.4 per cent year-on-year to 819,218 and domestic passenger numbers rose by 2.1 per cent to 476,971.

International passenger numbers were supported by 11 new routes from Jet2, as well as new routes to Reykjavik, Vienna, Venice, Stuttgart, Copenhagen, Paris Orly, Barcelona, Rome Fiumicino and Alicante. Continue reading…

Edinburgh Airport celebrates opening 100 years ago today

Scotland’s busiest airport celebrates their 100th year of being open today. It was on this day in 1916 that Edinburgh Airport opened as a Royal Flying Corps aerodrome, named Turnhouse, which was a key base for the military in WW1. It was opened commercially in the 1940s, with the new terminal being opened to the public in 1977.

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Edinburgh Airport is set for busiest year ever

Both Edinburgh and Glasgow airports have seen a significant rise in passengers in the recent months. This is said to be due to more international routes being added from both of the airports. The figures suggest that Edinburgh will go on to have its busiest year ever on record, whereas Glasgow will have its best year since 2008.

Gordon Dewar, the Chief Executive at Edinburgh airport told BBC News "These exceptionally strong figures represent our busiest-ever November… a quiet month in air travel – on a par with what many other regional airports do at the peak of summer.” Continue reading…

Edinburgh is ‘Best in Europe’

Edinburgh Airport has run away with the ‘Best Airport’ trophy at the ACI Europe Awards, shrugging off competition from six other hubs, including Birmingham, Cologne in Germany, and Marseille in France.

Held at the Estoril Congress Centre in Lisbon, Portugal, the ACI Europe Awards reward “excellence and achievement” in the aviation industry. Participants are nominated in one of four groupings according to the number of travellers handled at the airport during the previous year. Edinburgh, with annual traffic in the region of 8.5m, featured in the ‘Best Airport – 5-10m Passengers’ category.

“The airport excels in all the key areas of operations”, explained a press release on the ACI Europe website. “However, the judges singled (Edinburgh) out for the dedication of its management and staff.” Kevin Brown, Edinburgh’s managing director, said that he was “particularly pleased” that airport workers were responsible for the hub’s success in Lisbon. Mr. Brown noted that Edinburgh had battled volcanic ash, snow, and industrial action to emerge victorious at the awards ceremony.

Struggling airport, Bournemouth, stole the award in the ‘1-5m Passengers’ contest, while Antalya Airport in Turkey was the victor in the ‘10-25m Passengers’ category. Representatives from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, a “model in terms of efficiency”, returned to Holland with the ‘Best Airport – Over 25m Passengers’ award.

An ‘Eco-Innovation Award’, won by Zurich Airport, and a ‘WBP Recognition Award’, which rewards individuals who have contributed to the betterment of the aviation industry, were also contested this year. The latter accolade was claimed by Harry Diehl, former executive of German retail firm, Gebr. Heinemann.

The 2011 ACI Europe Awards, held on June 17, has been running for seven years.

WDF opens three new stores

Passengers at Edinburgh Airport can enjoy a series of new stores, courtesy of UK travel retailer, World Duty Free (WDF). The three shops, eyewear purveyor, Sunglasses, and a two in one store selling MAC and Jo Malone cosmetic products, are located in the airport’s departure area, beyond the security gates.

The two beauty outlets, MAC and Jo Malone, share the same space, dubbed a ‘dual concept’ shop by World Duty Free. The store’s design, which is essentially an ordinary high street shop, albeit with two sides removed, was created in collaboration with US cosmetics giant, Estée Lauder, the owner of the two brands.

Sunglasses, rather unsurprisingly, sells non-prescription eyewear. Products from Ray-Ban, Tiffany, and D&G, among others, are arranged according to style or range, and left unboxed, allowing passengers to try them on, sadly with the result that greasy fingerprints are often left all over the lenses.

Jo O’Connor, Commercial Director at WDF, called the dual concept a “real first,” and a “huge draw for customers.” Kevin Brown, chief at Edinburgh Airport, echoed Jo’s sentiments, by saying that developments in the hub’s departure lounge, including the new WDF stores, have been welcomed by passengers.

Edinburgh Airport, much like Heathrow, East Midlands, and most other UK hubs, has always moonlighted as a shopping mall. The hub’s departure lounge is currently host to high street pharmacist, Boots, and US bookshop, Borders, as well as a number of specialist stores, such as a liquorice shop and even an art gallery.

Last year, the European duty-free market brought in around £2.5bn. Tax-free discounts at airport stores helped travellers save around £168m, when compared to high street prices. However, online retailer, Kelkoo, in a news item that upset the British Airports Authority earlier this year, maintains that online shopping still offers greater discounts than stores at UK airports.

£1 parking fee arrives at Edinburgh

Despite overwhelming opposition from local travellers and Members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs), Edinburgh Airport has implemented a controversial ‘kiss and fly’ levy, forcing drivers to pay £1 for the use of airport drop-off zones. The announcement was made in July this year, but the need to build a suitable parking area pushed the scheme’s introduction back until the end of October.

Edinburgh joins East Midlands, London Luton, and Newcastle airports, and in Ireland, Belfast International, as pioneers of ‘pay as you stay’ drop-off zones.

Taxi drivers have been vocal in their criticism of the plan. Murray Flemming, a member of the Scottish Taxi Federation, referred to the move as a “wage cut” for drivers, as many will have to make multiple trips to the airport on any given day. Murray noted that councils had not yet decided whether local taxi ranks should increase their tariffs to compensate for the drop-off fee, which means that the parking charge is currently coming out of drivers’ pockets.

A solitary pound might not seem like a lot of money for the privilege of using a car park close to the terminal, but overstaying the initial ten-minute limit will add a further £5 on top of the original levy.

Edinburgh bosses note that a free parking area still exists in the long-stay parking zone. However, holidaymakers wishing to skip the £1 charge by using it will need to take one of two new buses to the airport.

It is interesting to note that 68 MSPs (roughly half of the Scottish Parliament, and 100% of those who contacted Edinburgh Airport) did not want to see the parking scheme implemented, yet the hub pressed ahead with the project anyway.

Edinburgh has spent £1m on upgrading the airport forecourt to support the new drop-off zone, which will “reduce congestion” and increase the popularity of public transport, according to the airport’s chief, Kevin Brown. However, drivers at East Midlands Airport might find amusing the idea that the parking fee will reduce traffic jams. Back in July, Eddie Strachan, a taxi driver from Narborough in the Midlands, said – “Early in the morning, the queue for the new drop-off zone reaches back out of the airport. It can take you 15 minutes to get in.”

Disabled customers with a Blue Badge can use Edinburgh’s new drop-off zone free for up to 15 minutes. Other customers will find the short-stay car park has a more agreeable tariff for stays of longer than 10 minutes.

The drop off charge is now £2 for 5 minutes and £4 for 10 minutes. For more information on airport parking prices, check our parking page!

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Thousands oppose ‘drop-off rip-off’

Edinburgh Airport’s new director has been inundated with requests to axe the hub’s £1 drop-off fee. New chief, Kevin Brown, will replace Gordon Dewar, the man behind the controversial levy, on Monday.

Local travellers will be hoping that Brown can adopt a service-orientated approach to airport business, rather than focusing on profitability.

Edinburgh officials previously claimed that the £1 charge was to stop people using ‘kiss and fly’ areas, but angry customers have accused the hub’s owner, the British Airports Authority (BAA), of profiteering.

The scheme’s critics, which include every political party in Scotland, according to the Scotsman newspaper, have collected thousands of signatures from people petitioning to have the parking fee removed.

“My constituents are extremely unhappy about the drop-off charge.” Lothians MP, Gavin Brown, explained in a letter to Edinburgh Airport. “I have received representations from every corner of the Lothians urging me to campaign vigorously against the levy.” The MP referred to the parking plan as a ‘drop-off rip-off.’

Glasgow and Aberdeen airports, also owned by the BAA, have refused to introduce a similar parking scheme, which has heaped pressure on Edinburgh bosses.

In England, Newcastle was the first UK airport to enforce drop-off fees when it axed its free parking zone in April. East Midlands Airport reconfigured its car parks earlier this month, and introduced a £1 drop-off fee of its own.

Edinburgh’s desire to remove traditional kiss and fly areas suggests that bosses want to ease congestion by forcing travellers to use public transport.

However, local Liberal Democrat MP, Alison McInnes, is concerned that the city’s bus routes are insufficient to support the plan, especially for those living in the outskirts of the Scottish capital.

Edinburgh Airport gets rid of security chief

The security chief position has been axed at Edinburgh Airport, with the terminal manager set to take over all security operations from now on. This has led security experts to criticise the move, and even the Prime Minister has become involved by saying that he will look into the decision.

Over 9 million passengers use Edinburgh Airport every year, and with the threat of international terrorism increasing across the world, demonstrated by the recent Christmas Day bomb alert in Detroit, it seems sensible that the major airports have dedicated security personnel in charge. However, when Alistair Bonthron leaves the post the security team is to merge with the terminal team.

Gordon Brown said that BAA had to take its responsibilities seriously when it came to security. He was responding to the Liberal Democrat MP, John Barrett, who brought up his concerns with the Prime Minister. Brown said that it is “a matter to be worked out but I shall obviously look into the case.”

A spokeswoman for BAA said that the same arrangement was in place at Glasgow Airport and reiterated that safety and security were a priority at all BAA Airports. The managing director of the airport, Gordon Dewar, also confirmed that security is a “foremost priority” and highlighted the tens of millions of pounds spent on new security facilities and staff training at Edinburgh Airport over recent years.

However, the former head of security for BAA, Norman Shanks, said that the decision seemed “odd”, adding that safeguards would need to be put in place to prevent the decision leading to any lack of security.

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Phantom spider halts BA flight

Giant spiders found yet another way to terrorise British travellers last week – they learnt to fly.

In the 1950’s, low budget horror movies were a staple of Hollywood cinema, often starring unknown actors and teary-eyed damsels, battling to save the earth from giant monsters, killer robots, and green aliens with ray guns.

The genre reached a crescendo in the sixties but unusual creatures continue to grace our screens, stomping all over New York, or emerging from a tin box on Horsell Common, tentacles flapping in the breeze.

Of course, there’s no such thing as the bogeyman, as the mantra goes. The monsters we see on TV every Saturday night are stuntmen in rubber suits, trying to catch a break as a serious actor, the aliens are puppets, clever robots on thin pieces of wire, and creepy-crawlies cannot fly.

Or can they?

A British Airways (BA) passenger got the shock of his life last week, when a real life movie monster marched between his legs – a giant tarantula, catching an early morning flight from London to Edinburgh.

Specialist bug zappers were called in from Gatwick Airport to deal with the stowaway spider, but an exhaustive search has since revealed no trace of the arachnid. Officials have conceded that the tarantula could still be aboard the aircraft, hiding.

“It is unusual for something like this to be found on a domestic service, but an exhaustive search of the aircraft would probably involve stripping it to its components." BA offered few condolences to travelling arachnophobes.

Despite their fearsome reputation, tarantulas are not dangerous to humans, although many species possess a nasty bite. Officials have speculated that the eight-legged beastie might have arrived on a cargo shipment, and simply caught the wrong plane home.