Archive for November, 2008

Luton Airport to charge for fast-track security checks

Monday, November 24th, 2008

According to TimesOnline, Passengers using Luton airport are to be offered the opportunity to pay for fast-track security checks, in a scheme scheduled to begin early next year. Tickets will be available from vending machines in the check-in area.

“We are aware that some passengers would value a way of guaranteeing the quickest possible progress to the security search point,” said Natalie Raper, marketing director at the airport. “We are therefore introducing the ‘priority lane’ option and will be making a charge of £3 per passenger for this service. Only those who choose to use this lane will be charged. By offering a range of options, we can provide an airport experience to suit the needs of all passengers.”

Not everyone has welcomed the idea. Alice Reinkel, who regularly flies on business from the airport, believes premium-rate security lanes are a worrying development. “It’s as if the airport is learning from the no-frills airlines,” she said. “How long before they introduce pay-as-you-go check-in or priority baggage reclaim? Airport security should be a classless matter.”

The shadow aviation minister, Julian Brazier, says asking passengers to pay extra for faster checks is not the way forward. “It’s a distraction from the main issue, that we need a thorough review of airport security in this country. What we have at the moment isn’t very effective and is far slower than other countries.”

Giant 7 foot cigarette ‘lights up’ Luton!

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

According to the borough council website, An officer from the Council’s Street Services Enforcement Unit donned a giant cigarette butt suit last Friday as part of an exercise with Council and Hospital staff to encourage people not to drop any litter outside the hospital, particularly cigarette butts.

A specially trained nurse from NHS Luton was also on hand to give out information offering help and support to anyone considering quitting smoking.

Cllr Don Worlding, portfolio holder for the environment, said: “Friday’s exercise was to remind people that dropping litter, including cigarette related material, is antisocial and against the law. Litter around the hospital has a negative effect on hospital patients, staff, visitors and local residents. If necessary, Council officers will be issuing Fixed Penalty Notices in future if the situation doesn’t improve.”

Lynne Watson, Director of Personnel and Development at L&D, said: “Staff from NHS Luton’s Stop Smoking Service are based here at L&D to support staff, patients or visitors who want help to quit smoking and we are actively promoting this service to improve the health of our local community.”

Luton Stop Smoking Service offers help and support to people who want to stop smoking, from a variety of locations across the town.  To find out more, call free of charge on 0800 013 0845 or visit their pages on the NHS Luton website www.lutonpct.nhs.uk

John Menzies to cut jobs at Luton Airport

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

John Menzies has cut hundreds of jobs in its airport ground handling and cargo business to cope with turbulence in the airline industry, according to a recent press release.

Around 50 workers at Gatwick, Manchester and Luton have lost their jobs as part of a 600-staff cull across Menzies Aviation’s global operations in 118 airports.

The Edinburgh-based company said the move was in response to cuts in passenger flights and weaker cargo volumes.

Menzies said divisional earnings for the year would be in the range of £14 million to £16 million, as revealed in its lower-than-expected October forecast.

Company secretary John Geddes said the staff cuts would be spread across the company’s 14,000-strong global workforce with one office, Hong Kong, closing completely.

He said the company, which employs staff at Heathrow, Gatwick, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester, had lost staff in both its cargo and ground handling businesses.

“We have trimmed our workforce through a combination of natural wastage and redundancy,” he said.

The division was also hit by the bankruptcy of Sterling Airlines, its largest customer in Denmark. However, Menzies Aviation won a number of new contracts from easyJet, Etihad, Qantas, Air New Zealand and jet Blue.

Mr Geddes said he thinks the job losses could be the last of the bad news for the foreseeable future.

“We have great visibility into the first quarter of 2009 and we think things are settling down,” he said.

Luton prepares for Christmas lights swtich-on

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

The Luton Borough website has unveiled details of this year’s Christmas Lights switch-on celebration.

They say, there’s great entertainment for all the family in St George’s Square; look out for a runaway Christmas tree fairy, tap dancing turkeys providing music, dancing and comedy, an 8ft tall stilt walking ice queen and a winter dragon as well as a traditional Victorian fun fair and fun inflatables.

For budding dancing on ice stars there’s an ice rink available from Friday 14 November to Sunday 16 November, free of charge, sponsored by the Galaxy Centre and The Mall, with donations welcome for the Galaxy Centre charity The Cirdan Sailing Trust and The Mall Cares’ nominated charity NOAH Enterprise.

In Market Hill, there’s festive entertainment including Christmas music by Luton Youth Concert Band, as well as young soul singer, Ruth Brown, rock band Cozmik Debris and a choir carols competition.

In The Mall you can join Santa, Peppa Pig and the Mall Monster for The Mall Christmas parade before visiting Santa in his grotto at Central Square. Chiltern Radio’s Gaz and Babs will be entertaining the crowds with a stage show in Smith’s Square and will lead the count down to The Mall Christmas light switch on at 4pm on Sunday 16 November.

This event is sponsored by the Galaxy Centre, Luton on Sunday and Chiltern Radio.


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