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Thursday, 17 January 2013

America Joins Japan in Grounding Aircraft

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner (PA library photo)US authorities have ordered a review over safety fears after an emergency landing in Japan.

Boeing Dreamliners Grounded Across The World

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has ordered airlines to ground Boeing's 787 Dreamliners over safety fears after an emergency landing in Japan.

It follows a decision by the US Federal Aviation Administration and two Japanese airlines to ground all of their 787s after a sixth problem with the aircraft in less than two weeks.

The planes will be grounded until the risk of possible battery fires is addressed, a US official said.
The federal agency plans to work with Boeing on a plan to allow the Dreamliners to "resume operations as quickly and safely as possible".

GS Yuasa Corporation, the maker of the lithium ion batteries used in the 787s, said it was helping with the investigation but that the cause of the problem was unclear.
The EASA typically implements safety directives when they are issued by the country where the aircraft was originally designed - in this case the US.
Poland's state-controlled LOT Airlines said it would seek compensation from Boeing.
It expects delivery of three more Dreamliners by end-March, but would only take them if the technical issues have been resolved,

deputy chief Tomasz Balcerzak told a news conference.
Ethiopian Airlines and Qatar Airways have also decided to ground their Dreamliner aircraft.
Qatar Airways' CEO Akbar al Baker said: "In light of recent events surrounding the Boeing 787 Dreamliner worldwide, we are actively working with Boeing and the regulators to restore full customer confidence in the 787.

"Qatar Airways will resume 787 operations when we are clear that the aircraft meets the full requirements of the Airworthiness Directive and our standards which assure the safety of our passengers and crew at all times. So we are not flying the aircraft until and only such a time this is achieved."
Ethiopian Airlines said it had not encountered any problems and is hoping to return the planes to service as soon as possible.

United Airlines is the only American carrier to have 787s and has six of the aircraft in its fleet.
The decision comes just days after the FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Transport Secretary Ray LaHood declared the plane safe.

All Nippon Airlines (ANA) announced it was grounding all 17 of its 787s after one was forced to make an emergency landing in west Japan on Wednesday.

Japan Air Lines Co Ltd (JAL) said it would also suspend all Dreamliner flights scheduled to leave Japan on Wednesday over safety concerns.

Public broadcaster NHK said the ANA aircraft landed in Takamatsu and all passengers on board were evacuated after smoke was seen in the cabin.

ANA spokeswoman Naoko Yamamoto said: "It made an emergency landing at Takamatsu because there was an error message during the flight.

"It is true that the aircraft has recently seen a series of troubles. But we cannot say if this has something in common with previous problems."

A statement later said a battery problem had forced the emergency landing.
TV footage showed emergency chutes deployed from the plane at the airport, on Japan's fourth largest island of Shikoku.

ANA said 129 passengers and eight crew were on board. Some of the passengers were reported to have suffered minor injuries as the plane was evacuated.

The aircraft was travelling to Haneda Airport in Tokyo.
On Friday, oil was discovered leaking from another ANA operated Dreamliner at Miyazaki airport in southern Japan.

On the same day, a cracked cockpit window was also discovered on another of its 787s.
Last Wednesday, a domestic flight was halted by ANA because brake parts to the rear left undercarriage needed replacing.

And a JAL jet was also grounded at Boston Logan International airport in the US following an engine fuel leak.

Another JAL 787 filled with smoke shortly after passengers and crew had disembarked last Monday.
Japanese authorities announced on Monday they would investigate the fuel leak.
Japan is the biggest market so far for the Dreamliner, with ANA and Japan Airlines Co flying 24 of the 50 Dreamliners delivered to date.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Top 10 English tourist attractions

The results are in – just what visitor attractions are people willing to spend their money on?

The top 10 English tourist attractions of 2010 included famous London sightseeing destinations, theme parks, two World Heritage Sites and plenty of outdoor activities.

1. Tower of London

Tower of London
Top spot goes to the Tower of London, a place of history, art and intrigue. The Tower of London has been used as a prison since 1100, and unsurprisingly has fascinating – and bloody - stories to tell.
Brilliant exhibitions bring the Tower’s most famous and infamous residents to life: what was the fate of the two Princes in the Tower? Who was Ranulf Flambard? What did Anne Askew do to deserve such a grisly fate?
It is here that you can also see the priceless Crown Jewels, the infamous Traitor’s Gate and the ravens – of which legend says that should they ever leave the Tower, London will fall…

2. St Paul's Cathedral

St Paul's Cathedral
The iconic cathedral has witnessed many significant events in Britain’s history, including the state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill and the marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

A visit to St Paul’s Cathedral offers 1200 years of history as well as the chance to climb the 237 steps to the top of the spectacular Dome. Once there you can discover what makes the Whispering Gallery so special, and then perhaps plunge all the way back down and explore the dark depths of the Crypt..

Did you know: American Human Rights campaigner Martin Luther King once preached in front of Saint Paul’s?

3. Westminster Abbey

Kate and Will in Westminster Abbey
Just behind St Paul’s Cathedral in the Top 10 is another London sightseeing spot, Westminster Abbey - the venue of the most famous wedding of 2011! Trace the final footsteps of Kate Middleton before she became the Duchess of Cornwall.

4. Windermere Boat Cruises, Bowness

Lake Windermere
Set within the outstanding beauty of the Lake District National Park, Lake Windermere is the most popular tourist destination in Cumbria. Britain’s largest natural lake, Windermere is peppered with boats all year round, an ideal way to take in the exceptional surroundings.

5. Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo, Yorkshire

Flamingo Land Theme Park and Zoo
With rides, a zoo, live entertainment and a variety of restaurants and bars, Flamingo Land Theme Park in Yorkshire is suitable for just about everyone!
Why is it called Flamingo land? The graceful pink birds were one of the Park and Zoo’s first inhabitants, and today the Flamingo Land champions a successful conservation programme for the species’ protection.

6. Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo
Chester Zoo is home to the largest Orangutan exhibit in Europe and the most extensive zoo-based butterfly house in the UK. There are also award-winning gardens to explore, Zoo-vets to observe, mini-gold to play and face painting to enjoy!

7. Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Gardens

Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew Gardens
Fancy walking 60ft in the air over a forest glade - in London? Royal Botanical Gardens is the world’s most extensive collection of living plants and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Kew Gardens is a unique experience offering visitors the chance to encounter botanical environments from all around the world. In the six glasshouses you can roam from the world’s tallest indoor plant to the smallest tree.

8. ZSL London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo
Located on the outskirts of one of London’s busiest districts – London Zoo is on the edge of Regent’s Park and boasts over 720 species of animals.
Did you know: the popular abbreviation ‘zoo’ originated from ZSL London Zoo? ZSL (Zoological Society London,) was established in 1826 - the oldest in the world - and the abbreviation ‘zoo’ was first used in print in London around 1847.

9. Stonehenge

Forming part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Stonehenge and Avebury, Stonehenge is one of the most recognisable British sightseeing destinations. But what is it?!
No one has managed to answer that question with 100% certainty, and the mystery and spirituality of Stonehenge can certainly draw a crowd.

10. Eden Project

Eden Project
Would you like to see how chocolate grows? Plant-life and people rarely get a more intimate introduction than at the Eden Project. A series of surreal bubble-like formations set in a disused clay mine in beautiful Cornwall, the Eden Project combines nature, science, music and art.

Heathrow and Gatwick airports 'busier than ever'

Britain’s two biggest airports have been busier than ever, with Heathrow declaring 2012 a record year and Gatwick announcing passenger growth in December.

Heathrow Airport handled almost 70 million passengers, 0.9 per cent more than it did in 2011, according to its latest figures.                                                      London Heathrow Taxis
The rise was attributed to a 3.2 per cent increase in traffic from the north Atlantic, as well as more routes from Brazil, and a renewal of confidence in the Middle East, central Asia and East Asia.
A huge 21 per cent more passengers arrived at the West London airport from Brazil, together with a 5.9 per cent rise in passengers from China and 4.5 per cent more from Russia.
The number of visitors flying in from Africa dropped by 5.7 per cent, as did those from India (3.4 per cent), due to airlines either reducing or ceasing services.
As belts across Europe tightened due to the economic climate, traffic to Italy, Portugal, Greece and Spain dropped but this was offset by slight increases to Germany (2.3 per cent), France (0.6) and in domestic flights (0.5 per cent).
Figures in December were particularly high, with 5.6 million travellers passing through the terminals, an increase of 2 per cent on December 2011.

December was also a good month for Gatwick Airport, which handled 0.2 per cent more passengers in December 2012 than it had the previous year. London Gatwick Taxis

Annual traffic figures for Gatwick were also up – by 1.7 per cent to more than 34 million for the calendar year when compared to 2011.

Colin Matthews, BAA chief executive, said: “The figures for 2012 show Heathrow is delivering higher passenger numbers despite a tough economic climate. At the same time passenger satisfaction reached record levels.

“Over the next twelve months we will continue to improve the passenger experience and focus on our investment programme, as we move towards completion of the new Terminal 2.”