Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel offers accommodation and parking packages

Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel, a Renaissance brand hotel property from Marriott International in London, is offering its guests the opportunity to park and fly for the upcoming festive season.

The hotel is located next to London Heathrow Airport, and adjacent to the M4 and M25 motorways, and is 20-minutes rail time from the city of London. The parking package currently on offer, ‘Park Here Fly There’, is priced at £105 per night upwards, and includes a night’s accommodation, parking for up to 15 days at the hotel, and transportation to and from the airport.

The hotel is suited to both business and leisure travellers, and also offers facilities for hosting wedding ceremonies and celebrations, meetings and banquets. The hotel’s health club is offering soothing treatments, and a 24-hour fitness centre claims to have the latest technology for a healthy workout. Guests can eat at the several dining venues at the hotel, including the DUO Bar and Restaurant.

The hotel’s accommodation includes 643 guest rooms, six suites and conference facilities, including 28 meeting rooms.

Some of the other hotels close to the airport that offer similar packages are the Crowne Plaza, easy Hotel Heathrow, the Heathrow Hilton, the Heathrow Hilton Terminal 5, the Holiday Inn, the Holiday Inn Heathrow Ariel, Holiday Inn Heathrow M4, Holiday Inn Slough Windsor, Ibis, the Marriott Heathrow, Marriott Slough/Windsor, Novotel, the Park Inn, Premier Inn, Premier Inn Heathrow, the Radisson Edwardian, DoubleTree by Hilton, Sheraton Heathrow, Sheraton Skyline, the Sofitel Terminal 5, the Thistle Hotel, and the Travelodge Terminal 5.

US Airways Announces New Route to London Heathrow from Charlotte

US Airways, a US-based airline, has announced a new service between its hub in Charlotte, and London Heathrow airport.

The new daily service between Charlotte and London Heathrow commences in March 2013, and the airline will be using an Airbus A330 aircraft to service flights on the route.

US Airways chairman and chief executive officer, Doug Parker, said, ‘We are thrilled to make this announcement and look forward to starting service between Heathrow and Charlotte in March. This new service will augment our existing trans-Atlantic network and provide more choices for customers in markets up and down the east coast.

Today’s news would not be possible without the support of several groups, including the European Union to which we are grateful for this opportunity.

Also, we’d like to thank secretary LaHood and his aviation team at the US Department of Transportation, members of the North Carolina and South Carolina delegations, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Charlotte Douglas International Airport director Jerry Orr, and other key stakeholders for their support in our efforts to secure the new service.’

The new service from Charlotte will add to the airline’s daily service currently being offered from Philadelphia, US, to London Heathrow.

The flight will originate in Miami, offering customers in South Florida a convenient one-stop service to London via the airline’s Charlotte hub.

The US is now one of the favourite travel destinations for UK travellers, according to a recent poll conducted by HolidayExtras, a UK based travel comparison website, and routes are currently being served by Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways.

London Heathrow Capacity Overload Costing UK Economy

Lack of capacity at London Heathrow Airport is affecting the UK economy, according to a recent study commissioned by the airport owner, BAA Ltd.

The report, prepared by Frontier Economics, says that the lack of capacity is currently costing the country up to £14bn a year in lost trade, and the loss may increase to £26bn a year by 2030.

The report said, ‘Heathrow welcomes the growth of point-to-point and regional airports. But the expansion of point-to-point airports is not going to solve the UK’s connectivity problem. As the UK’s only hub airport, Heathrow serves 75 destinations that are not supported by any other UK airport. Only a hub airport can provide the range and frequency of long-haul direct services that UK air passengers want.’

London Heathrow currently operates at 99 percent capacity, with no extra capacity for new trade routes to new economies, affecting the growth of the UK’s economy. There are around 1,532 more flights to cities in mainland China from Paris and Frankfurt airports than from London Heathrow. Moreover, there are several growing cities in Asia that are still not served by direct flights from the UK, but are served by other European hubs.

Colin Matthews, the chief executive officer for BAA, said, ‘If anyone was still in doubt about the importance of aviation to the UK economy, today’s report should lay those doubts to rest. We’re already losing out on up to £14bn of trade a year – and that could almost double by 2030.

The new work we are publishing today shows that only a single hub airport can meet the UK’s connectivity needs, and the choice is therefore between adding capacity at Heathrow or closing Heathrow and replacing it with a new UK hub airport.’

Heathrow Airport Reports Long Queues at Immigration

Long delays at London Heathrow Airport immigration counters are showing little sign of improving, and with the 2012 Olympic Games being just around the corner, difficulties faced by visiting games fans are again surfacing as a potential nightmare.

While the situation has been fluctuating recently, travellers are reporting delays of more than 90 minutes at immigration counters manned by the UK Border Agency (UKBA), the UK government’s border control authority, and a part of the Home Office.

BAA Ltd, the owner and operator of six British airports, including London Heathrow, has said, ‘Immigration is a matter for the Home Office. The Home Office has said that from July 15, all Border Force desks at Heathrow will be open during peak arrival periods.

Immigration waiting times for passengers during peak periods at Heathrow in the last few days have been unacceptably long.’

The UK Border Agency said, ‘We are fully prepared for the busy Olympic period and will be implementing our well rehearsed plans.

This includes staffing all immigration desks at key ports whenever necessary during the peak Olympic and Paralympic arrivals period.’

Commenting on the long queues at Heathrow, Chris Bryant, MP, and shadow immigration minister, for Labour Party, said, ‘The home secretary and the immigration minister assured parliament that the full summer capacity would be in place by now.

Theresa May has had long enough to plan for this summer. As we run up to the Olympics, Britain cannot afford either the queues the Government’s cuts produced this spring, or the lax security checks they ran last summer.’

Heathrow Flights May Be Affected By Strike of Cargo Handlers

Union Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members, has reported that flights to and from London Heathrow Airport may suffer next week as cargo workers go on a strike.

Cargo staff at the airport, working for Swissport Cargo Services, will be undertaking two three-day strikes due to the company’s refusal to discuss pay claims. The strikes are set to run from 06.30 on June 27, to 06.29 on June 30, 2012, and then again from 06.30 on July 4, to 06.29 on July 7, 2012. The impending strikes will affect all major flights from Heathrow for the said time period, especially Singapore and Korean airlines. Flights may also be delayed as cargo is always loaded on to the aircraft first, and it is this that will be most affected by the strike.

The union regional officer, Kevin Hall, said, ‘Swissport has continually refused to negotiate on a pay rise for the year 2010/2011.

Our members, faced with rising household bills, have been driven to take this action which could be severely disruptive to flights at Heathrow, as the summer holiday season kicks off.

Flights could be delayed as cargo on passenger flights has to be properly configured before the plane can take-off – if cargo and vehicles are in the wrong place because of the strike this is going to have adverse knock-on effects.

Imports and exports of perishable goods, such as fruit and flowers, will also be hit.’

The union represents 275 Swissport workers, and has reported that around 62.7 percent have voted for strike action.

London Heathrow Airport Celebrates Queen’s Diamond Jubilee

London Heathrow Airport has unveiled a huge Union Jack flag on the airport runway, with an image of Her Majesty the Queen, in celebration of the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s accession to the throne.

The flag, which covers an area of over 540 square metres, is intended to welcome passengers to the UK and to help generate a spirit of celebration.

The 30 metre long flag is made of around 400 litres of red, white and blue paint, and is painted next to the Northern runway, so that it will be visible to passengers as their aircraft are arriving.

The queen is one of the most travelled heads of state in the world, having completed 261 official overseas visits and 96 state visits to 116 countries. The airport image celebrates the airport’s association with the Queen’s travels in her 60 years of reign.

John Holland-Kaye, the commercial director at Heathrow Airport, said, ‘The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations mark the start of an important and historic summer for Heathrow. As the UK’s hub Airport, we are delighted to welcome thousands of visitors to Heathrow to celebrate this momentous national occasion.’

The airport is presently gearing up to receive around 2.9 million passengers in the next two weeks, with 780,000 passengers scheduled to arrive between May 30, and June 6, 2012. All passengers will be treated regally with a red carpet welcome at the airport during this period, and will be offered official Diamond Jubilee and Union Jack flags to celebrate the occasion.

Walsh Sees Improvement in Immigration Hold-Ups

Willie Walsh, the head of British Airways parent company, IAG, has expressed his confidence that the UK government has taken control of the problem of long and time-consuming immigration queues at Heathrow Airport.

In recent weeks it has not been uncommon for passengers arriving at the airport to experience waiting times of two hours at the UK Border Control desks. However, Walsh said that he now believes that the British government has taken steps to solve the problem.

Walsh said, ‘We have seen very significant improvement in the performance of immigration at Heathrow and that needs to continue. I’m pretty confident the government will get control of it. The prime minister has got personally involved and that gives us a lot more confidence than if [immigration minister] Damian Green had just been dealing with it. But the government should be ashamed that it tried to convince people that the problem was not as bad as it was.’

The IAG boss was also optimistic about the programme in place for dealing with increased traffic during the Olympic Games, which he described as, ‘pretty robust,’ but was more concerned about the post-game scenario, when staffing levels are once again reduced.

Walsh also spoke out against any suggestion that airlines should pay extra fees to help counter the delays at immigration, other than the possibility of premium customers paying for an additional service to speed them through the formalities.

He said, ‘I see no reason why airlines should have to bear any additional cost over what the Home Office already provides. The cost per person of going through immigration is GBP3.20. They should have sufficient resource within this existing cost if they target these resources on the known flows of traffic.’

Heathrow Express Announces Booking Capabilities through Smart Phone Apps

Heathrow Express, a UK-based express train service from London Heathrow Airport  to London Paddington station, has announced new features for its smart phone applications.

The company is offering a new feature for the applications, which allows business travellers to purchase tickets for Heathrow Express trains using their smart phones.

Heathrow Express is a part of BAA Ltd, owner and operator of six British airports, including London Heathrow. The company has added new capabilities to its existing Blackberry and Android applications, for buyers to have electronic tickets bought and delivered to their smart phones, as well as receive updates on travel plans.

The upgraded app also allows business travellers to use a corporate trade account for making bookings for the train service, without having to go through their appointed travel agents.

Heathrow Express is implementing new initiatives at a cost of GBP16 million, which also includes new trains and uniforms for employees.

Michael Walker, the company head of commercial development, said, ‘We have a series of continued innovations planned throughout the year to ensure we keep upgrading the online functionality for our business and leisure customers.

These changes are the first in a long line of new developments due to launch throughout the year.’