Coach Travel an Alternative to UK Christmas Train Disruption

National Express, a UK based road transport company, is laying on a number of extra coaches to cope with an expected Christmas rush.

The train operator is offering around 10,000 extra seats on December 23 and 24, 2012, for those travellers that might be inconvenienced by delays caused by maintenance work on the West Coast Main Line rail service.

For the two days before Christmas, rail passengers could suffer disruption due to their being no direct train services between London and Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow. Passengers who have already booked confirmed tickets on these train routes might opt for a cancellation, or opt to travel by National Express coaches with guaranteed reservations for the said dates.

The maintenance work will impact on services from Euston to Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow, with no traffic on these routes. Services will resume on December 27, 2012, while two of the four lines will remain closed.

Robin Gisby, the Network Rail network operations managing director, said, ‘Services on the West Coast on December 23 and 24 will be severely affected.

We understand and regret the impact this will have on passengers and freight services, but believe it is necessary to achieve the long-term benefits.’

Chris Gibb, the chief operating officer of Virgin Trains, said, ‘We are working hard with industry colleagues to ensure customers have as much advance information as possible, irrespective of who will actually be running long distance services on the West Coast Main Line by this time.’

Holiday Hypermarket Survey Says Younger Generation Are Better Travelled

Young adults are much more travelled than their parents, according to a recent poll conducted by Holiday Hypermarket, a UK based holiday comparison community.

By the time the average individual in the UK has reached the age of forty, they will have travelled around 18,000 miles and visited 13 countries, compared to their parents, who had only have visited an average of five countries at the same age.

The e-commerce manager at Holiday Hypermarket, Calum Macdonald, said, ‘Generation Y’s love of travel and search for cultural enrichment – along with their increasing digital capabilities – has revolutionised the way in which travel operators display and publicise holidays.

With much more readily available information on far-off destinations, travellers have more ease and confidence in choosing their dream destination than in the past. With four in ten travellers claiming they travel more than ever, it will be interesting to see where the future of travel will lead us.’

The poll was conducted for British Airways Highlife Magazine, and it also revealed that 7 out of 10 travellers prefer to visit destinations to explore and experience a new culture. Travelling to newer and exotic locales has become comparatively easier for this generation, when compared to previous generations, due to the availability of cheap flights.

Most British travellers in the age group up to 40 years have visited neighbouring European countries, such as France, Spain, and Italy for a beach holiday. These days, holidaymakers are also becoming more adventurous, opting for more exotic destinations, such as short breaks in Morocco to visit to the local markets of Marrakech, or enjoying scuba diving in the clear waters of the Maldives.

Emirates Expands Glasgow to Dubai Route Capacity with Boeing 777 Aircraft

UAE-based airline company, Emirates Airline, has announced an upgrade of its services from Dubai to Glasgow Airport in Scotland.

The airline has launched a second daily flight to Dubai from Glasgow with a 364 seat Boeing 777 aircraft. The new service commences from January 1, 2013. The new Boeing 777-300ER replaces the Airbus A340-300 that is currently used on the same route. The new aircraft will add around 650 seats a week, as well as an extra 70 tonnes of cargo.

Laurie Berryman, the airline vice president for the UK, said, ‘As a result of the popularity and success of the second daily flight to Dubai, the upgraded service will be bigger and better. It is not only great news for all our customers in Glasgow, but also for the Scottish economy.

It highlights Emirates’ continued investment and support for the area since we launched the route in 2004, and comes hot on the heels of Emirates being unveiled as an Official Partner of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and the Official Airline of the Queen’s Baton Relay.

No one can be in any doubt that growth remains a key objective for Emirates here in Scotland. We can now seamlessly connect even more Scottish passengers to our extensive route network, without them having to travel via London or other European airports – and we are doing so in style with our Boeing 777-300ER.’

Amanda McMillan, the managing director of Glasgow Airport, said, ‘Emirates’ twice daily service to Dubai is of huge economic importance to Glasgow and Scotland as a whole, and it is no surprise that the second service has proved extremely popular since its launch earlier this year.

The decision to upgrade the aircraft so soon after the launch is further evidence of this success and it will, once again, increase Emirates’ capacity to and from Glasgow.’

London Underground Completes Renovations on Victoria Line

London Underground, the underground transport service for the UK’s capital city, has completed a renovation of the Victoria line.

The remodelling project has seen the launch of an upgraded signalling system and a new fleet of trains, aiming to offer a service of 30 trains per hour on the route. The route upgrade has benefited passengers on the Victoria line with more frequent services, and less crowded trains.

Mike Brown, the managing director for London Underground, said, ‘The Victoria line has seen enormous growth in demand in recent years, and this upgrade helped to deliver a successful London 2012 Games.

Our customers are now experiencing the benefits with more frequent and more reliable services and a huge number of accessibility improvements. We’re now running a train every two minutes at peak times and early next year we will begin to run even more – with 33 trains per hour at the busiest times.

On top of this, our engineers have been working extremely hard making the line more reliable – modifying doors and passenger alarms and installing automatic track monitoring, to quickly detect any track defects, which will all be rolled out over the next year. This work is already paying off, but we are not complacent and will leave no stone unturned in our effort to further improve the service.’

The Victoria line upgrade cost £50m and included many improvements to make the service more dependable, with minimal delays.

The line upgrades are part of the core upgrade programme, which is intended to deliver a 30 percent boost in capacity. Currently, London Underground is working to upgrade lines at the Northern, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. The programme also includes a capacity increase at stations including Victoria, Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street.

British Airways Announces New Service to Seoul From London

British Airways, a UK based airline, is opening a new route from London to Seoul, in South Korea.

The airline is introducing its new route between Seoul Incheon Airport and London Heathrow Airport from December 2, 2012.

Drew Crawley, the airline commercial director, said, ‘We have seen significant growth in customers wanting to travel to Seoul for both business and pleasure. It is a vibrant city with a strong economic base.

Equally, we want to ensure that we do our bit in bringing as much business and tourism to the UK as we can.’

The new route will be flying to Seoul with stopovers at Tokyo, Hong Kong, Beijing or Shanghai, and the flights will be departing from Terminal 5 at London Heathrow Airport. The airline intends to operate a Boeing 777 aircraft, with First class, Club World (business class), World Traveller Plus (premium economy) and World Traveller (economy) grades of seating, and will be offering six flights per week on the route.

Keith Williams, the airline chief executive officer, said, ‘When we decided to launch Seoul, we were basing it on the strong demand from business travellers in both directions given the city’s strong economic base.’

Previously, Willie Walsh, chief executive of IAG, the airline’s parent company, said, ‘Asia is an opportunity – particularly now we have flights at Heathrow through the acquisition of Bmi.

We are currently under-served in that market although we will not be looking to enter the intra-Asia market as we don’t think we have the expertise to do that. It would also be very expensive and probably loss making.

Our focus is on serving growth markets from Asia into Europe. We are just about to start a route to Seoul and we plan to launch a number of new destinations in Asia.

Lots of airports are keen to see a BA presence and we are in dialogue with them. There’s a significant opportunity to increase our Asian presence in a profitable way – particularly with the delivery of the Boeing 787s next year.

We will further expand into the North American market – it’s always been very important for BA and it continues to be a market where there’s growth opportunity.’