Cityjet set to land deal as it circles Stobart Air

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CITYJET is close to signing a new contract with a European airline in the next two weeks, as it drives towards a deal to buy rival Stobart Air.

Cityjet last year agreed a so-called wet lease agreement with the Scandinavian airline SAS, in which the Irish company supplies aircraft, complete crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI).

The Irish airline now operates Bombardier aircraft on 42 routes out of Oslo and Helsinki airports on behalf of SAS. The company is to increase its capacity by 50% on the SAS services next year.

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Take a dip: outdoor swimming just got cool

A swim on the wild side is the new way to get fit before the school run

Originally posted 2016-03-15 17:15:58.

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Chaos looms for holidaymakers as airline risks losing its licence

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A major airline needs urgently to renew its operating licence to avoid closing this week and causing chaos for hundreds of thousands of holidaymakers.

Monarch Airlines, which carries six million passengers a year, was trying to raise funds yesterday after concerns from the industry regulator. Its licence runs out on Friday.

The Civil Aviation Authority is rumoured to have chartered jets in an emergency contingency operation to fly stranded passengers home. There are likely to be lengthy delays and cancellations if the emergency plans are put in place, and many holidaymakers will be unable to book alternative flights for next month’s school half-term break.

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The towering selfishness of the super-rich

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Tate Modern is the latest victim of wealthy miserablists who latch on to art and culture, then leave it dry and dead

mother is forever telling me to buy a blind for my kitchen. “People can see you!” Yes, passers-by may watch me frown over the newspapers or note my poor chopping skills, but why should I care? I never shared this working-class horror of being observed and thus judged, or of strangers “knowing your business”; I hate the claustrophobia of curtains closed before dusk.

The residents of Neo Bankside, four blocks of glass-fronted luxury apartments next to Tate Modern, don’t like being seen either, by thousands of visitors to the museum’s 10th floor viewing platform. But museum director Sir Nicholas Serota’s mischievous suggestion that they should buy net curtains was received with outrage. Rather, the residents seek a screen around the gallery railings, the riffraff denied a taste of the glorious Thames panorama they enjoy every day.

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Hotel bed tax could yield €3m for arts

Hotel bed tax could yield €3m for arts

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Dublin city lord mayor Brendan Carr’s plans for a hotel room tax could yield €3m a year for art initiatives in the capital.

The projection is based on PwC’s European cities hotel forecast, which shows room rates are expected to reach €130 a night by next year. At his inauguration this summer, Carr proposed a 1% hotel room tax, to be used to support arts and cultural events in the city. The levy is imposed by many European and American cities.

The forecast for average room rates in 2017 is well up the rate of €77 a room five years previously, posting the fastest rise in hotel charges in European capitals over the past five years at 69%. The 1% tax could net the city council an estimated €2.94m a year.

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Feasting in Fife

Tuck into the highlights of St Andrews’ annual food and drink festival

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For as long as it’s housed the third-oldest university in the English-speaking world and, more recently, exerted its influence upon the game of golf globally through the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, St Andrews has enjoyed a reputation far beyond what might be expected of a small Fife coastal town of fewer than 20,000 inhabitants on the edge of the North Sea. Yet in the 21st century, in particular, its reputation has snowballed. Ask anyone from the town or who attended the University of St Andrews around the turn of the last decade and they’ll tell you the simple reason why: Prince William.

The future monarch’s attendance at the university from 2001 created a spike in admissions, and the town now is changed from that which saw out the 20th century. Its centre is little more than a couple of main streets with a few connecting lanes, but these are packed with the kind of outlets of which a far larger town would be envious; both big-name high street stores and an array of restaurants. The latter sector is so popular, in fact, that since 2012 the town has supported its own St Andrews Food and Drink Festival, this year rebranded as Savour St Andrews.

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Constant reinvention of festivals helps capital draw biggest crowds

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Tickets for festivals in Edinburgh were snapped up by 4.5 million visitors last year, more than were sold for the last World Cup and second only to the Olympics.

New analysis has revealed that the city’s showcase events are also now 20 per cent more valuable than they were five years ago, bringing in more than £300 million to the Scottish economy and creating 6,000 jobs.

The impact study commissioned by Festivals Edinburgh shows how important the city’s festivals are to the economy of the capital and Scotland. They outshine some of the biggest sporting events, including selling three times as many tickets as the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

The survey of 29,000 people also found that 43 per cent of visitors chose the festivals as their sole reason for visiting Scotland, up from a third in 2010, the last time the study took place.

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Tumbling pound is feeding through into rising exports

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Exports of branded British food and non-alcoholic drinks shot up by nearly 14 per cent in the third quarter after the steep plunge in the pound since the vote to quit the European Union.

The Food and Drink Federation said that its latest export figures represented the biggest quarterly export sales it had recorded and built on the second quarter, “which was in turn the largest [increase] up to that point”.

The overall value of all exports, including food and drink commodities, rose to £3.4 billion in the third quarter, up 12.1 per cent on last year.

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Animal Spirits: health zealots will end up taking food off our tables

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I have made my living in the food and drink industry for almost 25 years. I have opened, owned and run hundreds of restaurants, pubs, bakeries and cafes, and played a modest part in the transformation of Britain into a nation of foodies. This glorious change — for example, London is now perhaps the greatest dining city in the world — is something to be celebrated. I believe there is no more important, interesting and basic industry than food and drink.

But in recent times I have become concerned by what I believe is the demonisation of certain categories of food and drink — and in particular some ingredients, such as sugar and gluten. There are more and more attacks on the food industry, and ever more clamours for regulation. From the NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens to the TV superchef Jamie Oliver — whom we at Channel 4 made famous — there are attempts to portray obesity and poor diets as the “new smoking”. The medical fraternity encourages the idea of an epidemic of food allergies.

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NHS watchdog ready to impose hefty fees for approving drugs

Nice’s cost hike could deter start-ups and delay lifesaving treatments

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The watchdog that approves medicines for NHS use is to start charging drugs companies to appraise new products in a controversial move that could delay patient access to lifesaving treatments.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which is funded by the health department, plans to introduce the fees next year. It will be the first time it has charged for assessing whether medicines offer value for money, which is a requirement before they can be prescribed by NHS doctors.

According to proposals seen by The Sunday Times, Nice will charge as much as £282,000 per assessment. The fee will be the same for all companies, so global giants such as Glaxo Smith Kline will pay the same as biotech minnows. The plans also reveal the levy will apply even if Nice rejects a new medicine.

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