UK airports and Wizz Air urge reinstatement of airport slot rules amid concern over rising airfares

According to an online YouGov survey commissioned by Gatwick Airport and Wizz Air, more than half (56%) of people surveyed who are planning to fly in the next 12 months are concerned about airfares increasing in the current climate.

More than a quarter (28%) of these people surveyed also said they are concerned about a reduction in the number of destinations they can choose to fly to, and 24% are worried about a reduction in the number of airlines they can fly with.

The survey comes as the UK Government is currently consulting on the slot rules for Summer 2022. Airport slot rules are claimed to aid customers by ensuring competitiveness in the aviation market.

The UK’s slot regulations were understandably suspended during the pandemic; however, Gatwick and Wizz Air are calling for them to be urgently reinstated for Summer 2022 now that passenger numbers are expected to rise significantly following the removal of many travel restrictions. Both Gatwick and Wizz Air recognise the continuing pandemic risks and that borders will be restricted as they have been in response to the Omicrom variant.

Earlier this month, a coalition of UK airports and Wizz Air called for the urgent reinstatement of the previous 80/20 slot regulations – where airlines must use their assigned slots 80 percent of the time, or risk losing them – for the vital summer 2022 season in a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport.

Jonathan Pollard, Chief Commercial Officer, Gatwick Airport, said: ‘It’s interesting that passengers support our view that the existing airport slot rules need to change. Consumers seem to recognise that the slot rules help maximise competition by keeping airfares low while increasing their choice of destinations and airline.

‘Restoring the slot rules would be a clear signal that the UK Government is getting fully behind the recovery of the UK aviation sector. A decision on the summer 2022 slot rules before Christmas would allow the industry to start planning resources for a smooth ramp up of operations as the industry looks to recover from the most difficult period in its history.’

Marion Geoffroy, Managing Director of Wizz Air UK said: ‘Passengers are clearly concerned that air fares will increase if airport slot allocation rules remain the same. The Government has an opportunity to do right by passengers now and reinstate the 80:20 ‘use it or lose it’ rules in time for the summer 2022 season, which will be so crucial to the UK aviation industry’s recovery.’

Virgin Atlantic extends Glasgow-Orlando winter service

Leading British airline Virgin Atlantic will extend its Glasgow – Orlando service to meet high demand, according to a report by the Daily Record.

The airline said that it will add a new Friday flight to its winter 2016 schedule, which will offer more than 7,000 seats in the November 2016 to March 2017 winter season. Virgin Atlantic added that the new winter flights will serve alongside its three times a week summer service between Glasgow and Florida.

Commenting on the plan, Erik Varwijk, executive vice president of commercial at Virgin Atlantic, said: ‘We’re delighted to be offering our customers more choice when flying to some of their favourite destinations.

‘Florida is enduringly popular with our customers, so it makes perfect sense to increase this service during the most popular months.’

Steven Marshall, marketing manager at Glasgow Airport, added: ‘This is fantastic news for Scottish travellers looking to get away to America’s sunshine state next winter from Scotland’s largest city.

‘It demonstrates the popularity of Virgin Atlantic’s existing Orlando summer service which has grown every year since it launched at Glasgow Airport in 2007. Indeed – a great announcement to start off the airport’s 50 anniversary year.’

The new service is part of Virgin Atlantic’s joint venture with Delta Air Lines, which seeks to expand the trans-Atlantic route network between the UK and North America.

Separately, the Mirror reported that Virgin Atlantic has cut its fuel surcharge by £20 following the drop in oil prices. The saving, on return flights, will apply to future bookings, it said.

The move comes after complaints that airlines have not been passing the drop in oil costs on to customers.

‘Although we buy our fuel months and years in advance – meaning that recent falls in the price of oil do not immediately impact costs – we have decided to, again, lower our fuel charge by £20 per return journey for customers. Overall, our prices have reduced by £70 per trip per person since fuel prices began to fall.’ Virgin.

Survey reveals worldwide price anomalies for hotel peripherals

A survey has reported large anomalies in the charges that hotels around the world levy for peripheral services.

The survey, which was carried out by Tripadvisor, a website that assists customers in gathering travel information, has revealed that hotels in certain locations around the world will charge considerably more for items such as mini bar purchases, than hotels in other destinations.

One of the largest disparities was between hotels in Moscow, Russia, and those in Cape Town, South Africa, with the former charging as much as four times more than the latter for a packet of mini bar peanuts; GBP7.96 compared to GBP1.20.

In addition to mini bar sundries, the survey also looked at items including room service orders and dry cleaning services, and massive price variations were discovered there too. A club sandwich that costs GBP4.11 in Cape Town was GBP13.95 in Moscow, but hotels in Zurich Switzerland charge even more, at GBP18.67.

Along with Cape Town, Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt and Mumbai in India offered the best value for money, with their prices for a selection of items that included a bottle of water, a can of coke, a mini bottle of vodka and dry cleaning coming in at GBP12.61, GBP15.27 and GBP16.27 respectively. At the other end of the scale, hotels in Moscow, Paris – France, and Stockholm – Sweden were the most expensive for the same items, charging GBP53.05, GBP44.17 and GBP43.97 respectively.

At GBP19.36 for the same list of items, four-star hotels in London were the eleventh most expensive to be surveyed.

Emma Shaw of TripAdvisor was quoted in the Daily Mail, saying, ‘For those willing to shell out a bit more on flights, it seems there is money to be saved in south east Asia or Africa.

‘For Brits looking to stay a little closer to home in Europe, there is a price to pay and that price is on average more than four times as expensive.’


London Hotel Prices May Decrease After 2012 Olympics

In the aftermath of the 2012 Olympic Games, hotel prices in London are on a downward slide, according to Trivago, a hotel price comparison website.

Average room rates for London hotels are expected to drop by 35 percent now that the Olympic games have finished, from an average of GBP201 per night between July 27 and August 12, 2012, to an average of just GBP130 during the following week, which is even lower than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, hotel prices in Edinburgh are set to remain high, due to the ongoing Edinburgh Fringe Festival, with rooms averaging GBP177 per night, which is 46 percent more than the same period last year. While hotel prices in Edinburgh are expected to remain high, prices of accommodation in other key cities in the UK and Ireland have increased in comparison with August 2011, mirroring the general trend of rising hotel prices.

Outside of the UK, rises in average hotel prices have been seen in the last month in the European destinations of Stockholm, Oslo and Copenhagen. While average hotel accommodation in Stockholm costs GBP141, an increase of 19 percent from last month, a night in Oslo will cost around GBP133, up by 19 percent, and the average room rate in Copenhagen is around GBP131, representing a 10 percent increase.

In other parts of Europe, hotel prices have decreased in August 2012, in comparison to July 2012. Average room rate in Rome are around GBP88, a decrease of 14 percent from last month, while a night in Istanbul costs GBP93, a decrease of 16 percent from last month.


London Hotels Prices Almost Double During 2012 Olympics

London hotels have reported an increase in room rates of around 87 percent during the 2012 Olympic games, for the period between July 27 and August 5.

STR Global, a company that provides research findings for the hotel industry, has reported that hotels across London have charged an average daily rate (ADR) of GBP216.42 from July 27 to August 5, 2012. This period has also seen a rise in occupancy of 3.2 percent, to 87.7 percent when compared to the same period last year.

Elizabeth Randall Winkle, the managing director of STR Global, said, ‘Hotels across London continue to report increasing occupancy levels and average room rates during the Olympic period when compared to last year.

We are also seeing improvement from weaker occupancy performances in June and early July so it is good to see that performance has been picking up during the Olympics.

However, Heathrow and Gatwick, in the west and south of London and therefore less convenient for Olympic venues, have reported occupancy declines for the Olympic period.’

While occupancy at central London hotels has seen a maximum of 87 percent, the hotels around London Heathrow Airport have reported occupancy of 79.6 percent for the period, for an ADR of GBP85.05, and those around Gatwick have registered an occupancy of 75.9 percent for the period, with an ADR of GBP66.04.

The Olympic football tournament has been held in six venues, London, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Manchester and Newcastle. Hotels in Cardiff and Coventry have reported around 90 percent occupancy for the nights when matches were played.


Financial climate forces hotel rates down in UK

A global report has revealed that hotel prices in the UK are stagnating.

The research suggests that the cost of a nights stay in a major city hotel can show the country’s economic health.

Growing economies such as Brazil, Russia, India and China have seen prices increase, whereas the UK has seen hotel room prices drop by one per cent.

The capital city is the only place to see  rise in hotel prices, London has seen a rise of one per cent.

London is the only city in Britain to report a rise in hotel prices – a negligible one per cent – set against increases in 69 out of the 88 worldwide locations checked as part of the research.

In a recent survey of hotel rates, by, prices varied across Europe. The effects of the Greek economic crisis are evident in hotel prices dropping by around 10 per cent.

In contrast the euro is doing relatively well, popular city-break locations such as Barcelona and Amsterdam have seen rises of 8 and 9 percent.

Thanks to a visit from the US president and the Queen, Dublin have seen a rise in prices.

The Baltic states have also seen a rise with hotels in Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia seeing prices increase.

However the protests seen prices across the Middle East and Africa have seen prices drop.

Australia’s strong economy have seen significant rises, Brisbane saw an increase of 26 per cent in rates, whilst New Zealand’s Christchurch saw the largest increase of 41 per cent in rates.

David Roche, the president of, explained:

‘Price volatility in 2011 meant UK travellers found it more expensive to stay in the majority of their favourite destinations abroad,’ he says.

‘A variety of factors, including currency movements and a growth in corporate travel, pushed up prices at a time when many consumers were already struggling to pay their bills at home.’