New security rules on electronic devices cause confusion and delays at airports in UK

Passengers going abroad for their summer holidays face extra security checks at airport departure gates . Following an alert about a terrorist plot to plant explosives in consumer electronics such as mobile phones, tablet computers or laptops, the Department for Transport this week warned all international passengers: “Make sure your electronic devices are charged before you travel. If your device doesn’t switch on when requested, you won’t be allowed to bring it onto the aircraft.” The DfT specifies that all flights to and from the UK could be affected. Most passengers will not be asked to switch on their devices .
The confusion seems to apply to airports who have taken different approaches to notifying passengers and implementing the extra checks .
The Edinburgh Airport website makes no reference to the new rules, saying only: “Passengers travelling to the United States should expect their airline to carry out additional security checks prior to boarding.” A spokesperson for Edinburgh Airport said: “Security staff continue to maintain high levels of vigilance at all times and ensure that current security measures are implemented fully and conscientiously. These include screening and checking electronic devices.”

Some easyJet and British Airways passengers from Gatwick faced delays on the first wave of flights. For both airlines, four out of the first 10 departures from Gatwick this morning were delayed by up to an hour, including flights to Venice, Bordeaux and Nice.

Departures from the UK’s other three big airports – Heathrow, Stansted and Manchester – were operating normally. However, BA passengers from Baltimore arrived 20 hours late and last night’s Frankfurt-Heathrow arrival is now scheduled for this afternoon.

Eurocontrol in Brussels warned of “moderate to high delays” for flights to the Greek islands of Crete, Mykonos, Santorini and Skiathos because of a lack of capacity. There were also airspace restrictions in western France and Cyprus.

Scottish government announces plans to buy Prestwick Airport

The Scottish government is to buy Prestwick airport, whose main claim to fame is as  the only place Elvis Presley officially ever stood on British soil, to prevent the closure of the unprofitable terminal located 30 miles southwest of Glasgow. It is unusual for a government to buy an airport, although the Welsh assembly recently bought Cardiff Airport.

The government plans to complete due diligence and the transfer of the airport with Infratil Ltd., Prestwick’s New Zealand-based owner, within six weeks, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon  announced . The infrastructure company put the site on Scotland’s west coast up for sale in March 2012 and failed to find a buyer.

While a sale price has yet to be finalized, Infratil doesn’t expect “material proceeds,” Chief Financial Officer Kevin Baker said in a telephone interview in Wellington today. “When you fail to make a sale to any private-sector parties, and the government agrees to take it back into public ownership, then you’re not in a strong position to negotiate a very favorable price,” he said.
The airport’s main business is freight traffic. Ryanair   , Europe’s biggest discount airline, is the sole scheduled operator to serve Prestwick, connecting it with 27 destinations . Scotland’s only rail-connected airport has struggled to attract other carriers, which prefer to use bases closer to Glasgow and Edinburgh .
Taking Prestwick into public ownership while seeking a long-term commercial investor will help protect 3,200 jobs directly and indirectly associated with the airport . It proved impossible to get a private investor to commit to buying Prestwick in a timespan acceptable to Infratil, she said.

Passenger numbers at Prestwick totaled 621,000 in the eight months through August . That compares with 6.6 million through Edinburgh airport and 4.9 million at Glasgow.

Prestwick’s terminal can handle 3 million passengers a year and the owners claim it could easily be expanded to accommodate 10 million . In the past  the base served as a trans-Atlantic gateway and staging post for U.S. aircraft during World War II.

Prestwick still has Scotland’s longest runways, and with a lower incidence of fog than any other airport in Britain is often used as a diversionary terminal when others are closed.

Baker said Infratil may have been forced to close the airport without a sale to the government. The company is also trying to sell Manston airport in the U.K., and in May 2013 announced it had written down the value of both airports to 11 million pounds .

Presley landed at Prestwick in 1960 on his way back to the U.S. from Germany after completing mandatory military service.

“There is a bar at the airport, in the departure lounge, called the Elvis lounge,” Baker said.

Falkirk hosts Rock the Stadium this weekend

Ronan Keating , Status Quo and 10CC fans are flocking to the Falkirk Stadium for the Rock the Stadium  concerts  this weekend. Ronan Keating  is the Irish singer and song writer who has combined single and album sales in excess of 45 million, holds the Guinness book of records for the amazing total of 30 consecutive Top Ten UK singles and has played live in over 50 countries, and this summer will play for the first time in Central Scotland at the home of Falkirk FC.

Ronan will perform at The Falkirk Stadium on Friday the 21st of June, the first night of the Rock the Stadium weekend.

Ronan said:-

“I am really excited to be performing at the Falkirk Stadium this summer and love playing outdoors in these great venues. What makes it more exciting and something magical is playing to a Scottish audience. I am looking forward to playing with my band and singing my hits as well as some of new songs from my new CD’ Fires.”

. The Falkirk stadium is about a mile from the town centre. The nearest railway station is Falkirk Grahamston. Trains from Glasgow and Edinburgh stop at Falkirk High station. The quickest way to transfer to the stadium is by taxi. Phone 01324-883305 to book a transfer.

Status Quo are the veteran rockers who have been making hits since the sixties. Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi remain the core members of the band. They have a new single and album out which they premiered on the BBC’s One Show last week.

10cc  hit their peak in the 1970s with I’m not in love and Wakll Street . The band initially consisted of four musicians—Graham GouldmanEric StewartKevin Godley, and Lol Creme—who had written and recorded together for some three years, before assuming the “10cc” name in 1972.

10cc  consisted of  two strong songwriting teams, one ‘commercial’ and one ‘artistic’, but both teams injected sharp wit into lyrically dextrous and musically varied songs. Stewart and Gouldman were predominantly pop-song-writers, who created most of the band’s  most commercial  songs.  Godley and Creme were the predominantly experimental half of 10cc, featuring an Art School sensibility who graduated to video production.

Falkirk Grahamston is the  nearest railway station . Trains from Glasgow and Edinburgh stop at Falkirk High station. The quickest way to transfer to the stadium is by taxi. Phone 01324-883305 to book a transfer.

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Edinburgh Airport flies the flight fantastic

Edinburgh Airport has stunned visitors by lighting the control tower  in violet ahead of a rebranding.

Airport chiefs have stated the colour change could be a glimpse into  the rebrand which is  revealed to the public today at Edinburgh Castle.

“We changed the colour on the tower as a little teaser for the public, and also because it’s coming up to Christmas,” said airport spokesman Gordon Robertson.

“We wanted to build up anticipation and excitement about the changes that are being made. The rebrand is needed, we’ve been working very hard in the six months since it was purchased by new owners and we’re all very excited.”

The airport was bought by GIP in the summer and numerous improvements have been made since then. The car park has been totally resurfaced. The controversial drop-off charge of £1 is still in place causing compaints from Airport shuttle companoes in Falkirk. Critics have said that it is a blatant ripoff to charge customers for using the airport. There is no sign of the airport chiefs changing their mind about the charge.

The airport was sold in April to Global Infrastructure Partners, after the Competition Commission ruled BAA had to sell either Edinburgh or Glasgow.

Former managing director of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar, has been appointed chief executive officer. Mr Dewar is currently CEO of Bahrain International Airport and will rejoin the team at Edinburgh in the summer.

The airport’s current managing director, Jim O’Sullivan, has agreed to continue in his role until then. Edinburgh Airport refused to say what post Mr O’Sullivan was moving to.

Competitive player Michael McGhee, Global Infrastructure Partners partner, said: “Gordon is an outstanding airport executive, with relevant experience of Edinburgh Airport. “We are pleased to have secured his return and look forward to supporting him and his team as they begin the important job of establishing Edinburgh Airport as a more dynamic, competitive player in the global aviation industry.”

He added: “It is important to acknowledge the important role played by current airport managing director, Jim O’Sullivan, who has steered his team through the sale process with the highest levels of professionalism and focus.

“He will leave Edinburgh Airport in good shape, and with our best wishes.”

Gordon Dewar, who was managing director of Edinburgh Airport between 2008 and 2010, said: “Edinburgh is my home city, and I am excited to be returning to one of the most important jobs in the capital. The challenge of leading the airport and the team into a new era of competition and growth is an irresistible one, and very different to the role I once played in BAA. “Edinburgh Airport’s future, its plans and its identity, will all be shaped in Edinburgh, and our decisions will only be influenced by what is good for Edinburgh Airport, and the city and country we serve.”

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Falkirk Wheel celebrates its 10th anniversary

The Falkirk Wheel , opened by the Queen in 2002, has celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Wheel’s iconic design has attracted visitors from around the world and it has become one of Scotland’s most popular tourist attractions . Princess Anne travelled to the Wheel to join the celebrations that Scottish Canals, the public corporation which has taken over from British Waterways in Scotland, was inaugurated.The Wheel enables canal boats to transfer from the Union Canal to the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Chairman Dr Jon Hargreaves said: “The Falkirk Wheel has made a great contribution to the image of Scotland and is now an intrinsic part of the Lowland canals and a perfect symbol of their renaissance and the broad economic, social and environmental public value they together deliver.”

The proposal to reopen the Forth & Clyde and Union Canal first became a real possibility in the early 1990s but the question mark was how to join the two to create the Millennium Link – a canal network enabling travel from Edinburgh to Glasgow, while regenerating the communities along the waterways.

Dr Hargreaves added: “When planning the Millennium Link, we wanted an extraordinary design which could become an icon affirming that the 18th century canal system is back and have an important role to play in travel in the 21st century.

Transfers from Falkirk town centre take just five minutes and can be booked by phone on 07576-127097. Transfers can be arranged for the surrounding areas including Linlithgow, Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow.

View more Falkirk Wheel pictures