Europe Strikes Disrupt Flights from UK

The aviation industry was severely affected on Wednesday of this week, following a call for industrial action by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) in several European countries.

Flights were delayed and cancelled as air traffic controllers staged walk outs as part of the coordinated strike action across Europe, with workers leaving their posts in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, while further protests were held in Belgium, Germany, and France.

The strikes became violet in a number of locations in Spain, Portugal, Greece and Italy, the four countries with above average unemployment rates in Europe. Unions in Spain commenced their protests as early as midnight of November 13, when the workers took to street in Madrid.

At least 70 people were injured in clashes with police, and some 140 arrests were made, while clashes in Lisbon resulted in injuries to around 50 people.

In calling for the industrial action, Bernadette Segol, the ETUC general secretary, said, ‘By sowing austerity, we are reaping recession, rising poverty and social anxiety. In some countries, people’s exasperation is reaching a peak. We need urgent solutions to get the economy back on track, not stifle it with austerity. Europe’s leaders are wrong not to listen to the anger of the people who are taking to the streets.

The Troika can no longer behave so arrogantly and brutally towards the countries which are in difficulty. They must urgently address the issues of jobs and social fiscal justice and they must stop their attacks on wages, social protection and public services.

The ETUC is calling for a social compact for Europe with a proper social dialogue, an economic policy that fosters quality jobs, and economic solidarity among the countries of Europe. We urgently need to change course.’

The industrial action has caused UK airlines, British Airways and Easyjet, to cancel or reschedule services to Madrid, Barcelona, Lisbon and Thessalonaki in Greece, while a number of flights to Europe from London Heathrow and London Gatwick airports were also affected.

Network Rail Announces Construction of Kings Cross Square in London

Network Rail, a company that operates the railway network in the UK, has commenced the transformation of the historic frontage of King’s Cross station in London into a public space, to be called King’s Cross Square.

The company has commenced the removal of a canopy in front of the Victorian station façade, and the facade will then be deconstructed to create the new square, which has been designed by London-based architects, Stanton Williams. King’s Cross Square is expected to open to the public in 2013.

Matt Tolan, the programme manager for Network Rail at King’s Cross, said, ‘We’re finally removing a building that’s almost universally unloved, restoring the station to its full architectural glory and creating a modern station fit for the future that gives passengers and the local community a huge new space to enjoy.

With the completion of the final phase of King’s Cross station’s redevelopment, we aim to bring a bit of the grandness and old-world charm of Europe’s city-centre railway stations right to the heart of 21st century London.’

The company opened a new glass and steel western concourse in March this year, offering three times more space for passengers than the old concourse, with enhanced connectivity to the London Underground network and St Pancras International station.

David Partridge, the spokesperson for King’s Cross Business Partnership, said, ‘King’s Cross is a rapidly evolving place and is fast becoming one of the most exciting destinations in the city. Over the last 10 years almost £2.5bn has been spent on the transport infrastructure in King’s Cross and St Pancras, creating the best interchange in the UK with unrivalled accessibility.

The removal of this canopy together with the creation of the new square will be another vital part of the new public realm opening up this area of London.’

Turkish Airlines Tops Destinations League Table

Turkish Airlines, a Turkey-based airline company, has topped the league table in terms of the number of countries that it serves.

According to the Official Airline Guide, a UK based provider of aviation information and analytics, with the addition of new routes, Turkish Airline is currently flying to 90 countries worldwide, which is more than any other airline.

In 2012, the airline has added around 30 new routes and currently flies to 205 destinations in Europe, Russia, Central Asia, the Far East, the Middle East, Africa and the Americas. The company has also added the 200th aircraft to its fleet.

Hamdi Topcu, the chairman of Turkish Airlines, said recently, ‘We intend to become a five-star airline and the leading carrier in our region, home to 1.5 billion people. As a company, we continue to achieve our goals one at a time. We first celebrated the arrival of our 100th aircraft and now we have reached our next goal of 200 aircraft in our fleet. Our next goal, as we continue to expand, is 300.’

Temel Kotil, the airline president and chief executive officer, said, ‘I am more than optimistic that we will reach our goal to become the world’s largest airline network by 2023. We intend to become a five-star airline and the leading carrier in our region, home to 1.5 billion people.’

The airline is currently offering special fares to Istanbul, from Edinburgh, in Scotland, for GBP179 per person, and from Manchester Airport to Middle East destinations including Abu Dhabi, and Dubai for £342 per person.

Established in 1933 the airline is a member of the Star Alliance, and is the winner of awards in the category of Best Airline Europe, Best Premium Economy Seats for its Comfort Class seats, and Best Airline Southern Europe in 2011 and 2012, organised by Skytrax.

7 Wonders of Dubai

Dubai is one of the greatest cities in the world- it is named the City of Gold for a reason. Located in the United Arab Emirates, it has recently been rated as the best place to live in the Middle East by Mercer, and it is the fastest growing city in the world.

The hotspot has a wealth of modern shopping malls, exclusive restaurants and bars, and the hotels are renowned for being high quality. There is plenty to do and see whilst on holiday and here are the 7 best wonders of Dubai that are an absolute must-see.

The Wadi Adventure Wave Pool

This is one of the most unique waves in the world and is a brand new surf pool situated in the desert. It is the Middle East’s first man-made artificial wave park in Al Ain and its righteous waves can reach over 3.3 meters high every 90 seconds. If you fancy your own piece of Oasis, surf the desert with perfect waves and warm water.

Watch Sally Fitzgibbons surf The Wadi Adventure Wave Pool here.

Dubai Mall

Dubai is the shopping capital of the Middle East and it is home to the world’s largest shopping mall Dubai Mall. It was created as part of the $20 billion Burj Khalifa complex and it has a whopping 1,200 shops. The phenomenon attracts over 750,000 visitors every week, surpassing landmark leisure destinations from around the world including Times Square and Niagara Falls.

Burj Al Arab

Dubai is the home to the world’s first 7-star hotel. It is the fourth tallest hotel in the world and is connected to the mainland via a bridge as it rests on an artificial island constructed offshore. The accommodation has been designed to mimic the sail of a ship and it cost USD $650 million to construct.

The cost of such an extravagant stay? Room prices vary from $11,000 to $45,000 per night.

Burj Khalifa

This sky scraper is a world-class destination. It is renowned for being the tallest building in the world and it is estimated to cost around $4 billion. It is the magnificent centrepiece of Downtown Dubai standing over 828 metres and more than 160 stories. Not only does it have the tallest service elevator in the world but also the highest outdoor observation deck.

The Palm Islands

These are three man-made, palm shaped islands in Dubai and from above they look absolutely breath-taking. Constructed by a property developer called Nakheel Properties, they are named The Palm Jumeirah, The Palm Jebel Ali and The Palm Deira. On the three islands alone there are over 100 hotels as well as water theme parks, health spas and exclusive beach side bungalows and apartments.


Dubai is home to the world’s biggest amusement park and it is definitely a dream come true for both adults and children. Owned by Tatweer, it features six different theme worlds and is the epitome of an entertainment complex. It cost a massive $64.3 million to build.

(Image used by permission under the Creative Commons Licence)