Edinburgh airport up for sale despite recent passenger boost

By Sarah Vesty

Plane waits in the wing for decision

The UK’s biggest airport firm, BAA, has released figures showing a 3.5 per cent passenger increase at Edinburgh airport last month, despite losing their appeal against the Competition Commission to continue owning Stanstead, Edinburgh and Glasgow airports. Glasgow experienced a fall of 7.4 per cent compared to last year.

Following the Court of Appeals decision to uphold the demand made by the Competition Commission, BAA was given 28 days to appeal. A spokesperson from their media office commented that although the appeal limit had expired, BAA was still considering further legal action against the CC.

In October the Court agreed with the Competition Commission believing that to create sufficient competition amongst airports, BAA must sell some of its airports to enable fare prices to fall for customers, particularly those in Scotland.

The numbers of passengers will not affect the decision of which airport to sell in Scotland. A BAA spokesperson stated that:

“It is complicated. It depends on lots of factors like when we have to sell it, how much money it will be for and so on. It’s good that Edinburgh is doing well. It’s important that it does well even if it’s being sold.”

The figures were published following the expiration of the set 28-day appeal period granted to BAA by the Court of Appeal. It found in favour of the Competition Commission who had demanded that the organisation must sell Stanstead and either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

The Supreme Court has no record of any further legal action being raised so far and the airport firm commented that it could be a while before we see any final decisions made.

Christopher Clarke, Chairman of the BAA Airports Inquiry outlined the reasons behind the move:

“We have decided that the only way to address comprehensively the detriment to passengers and airlines from the complete absence of competition between BAA’s south-east airports and between Edinburgh and Glasgow is to require BAA to sell both Gatwick and Stansted as well as either Edinburgh or Glasgow.”

A 3.4 percent overall increase in passengers travelling was revealed by the group, believed to have been helped by a 1.2 percent increase in the number of flights. Of all airports up for sale Edinburgh was the only one to see an increase as Stanstead fell by 3.1 percent compared to the same month last year.

Dundee taxi’s get council go-ahead

By Sarah Vesty

Proposed plans to increase Dundee taxi fares by 7 per cent have been agreed by Dundee City Council’s Licensing Committee with the hope of implementing them by the end of this month.

The new tariffs were agreed upon during a committee meeting yesterday although they are subject to a one-month appeal process in which the Traffic Commissioner or other interested parties will be given the opportunity to air their concerns.

Dundee Taxi Association’s General Secretary William McIntosh commented that:

“This process could take up to 3 to 4 months . . . without objection it could be seen in as little as 4 weeks.”

The price ‘hike’ is a direct result of a survey asking taxi trade members if they were happy with the pricing structure set up by the council or if they would prefer one proposed by Dundee Taxi Association. Although the results returned were low in numbers – 192 responses – the majority showed drivers were in favour of the DTA review.

Dundee Licensing Committee member, Rob Wallace mentioned early on the application process that:

“While I am disappointed at the relatively poor return, that is the way it stands and we have to go with that position.”

Following yesterdays result an anonymous driver aired his view that:

“Although I think this is a good idea for self-employed taxi drivers like myself I do worry that it could lower business as people won’t want to use them after a night out because they will have become so expensive, especially students.”

Further updates can be expected later on this month after the appeal process and it is likely that people will be forking out extra money as early as December.

Health and safety nuts

 

Conker tree on Morningside Road

 

By Sarah Vesty

The beloved ‘British’ conker has been causing mayhem to commuters on Morningside Road, Edinburgh, causing them to run for safety as the shells plummet from an over-head tree.

Locals are forced to take cover under the bus stop shelter to avoid being hit on the head as the horse-chestnut seeds fall at great speed from above. There have been similar incidents in Suffolk, England, where the local council has erected signs warming people to ‘BEWARE Falling Conkers’ and advising pedestrians to ‘proceed with care’

Local resident, Michael Sinclair 67, expressed his concerns with regard to the tree saying that:

“I understand that it is Autumn and conkers will be falling however, the tree hangs right over the path beside a popular bus stop.

He further adds that he has:

‘regularly seen people duck to miss being hit by the conkers and maybe the Council should think about trimming the tree back.”

Edinburgh City Council were contacted but had little comment to give.

Traditionally the horse-chestnut seeds have been collected for generations and are used in the popular child-hood game of ‘Conkers’ where one competitor attempts to smash the others conker hard enough to shatter it – another aspect of health and safety concerns regarding these prickly shelled balls.

The World Conker Championship is due to commence on Sunday October 10 with more than 400 participants due to take part.

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