Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Heathrow voted worst airport

England’s main airport, Heathrow, took a further knock yesterday when it was voted the world's least favourite airport. It came joint top with Chicago in a survey of 2,500 travellers by the travel organisation TripAdvisor. The poll asked respondents to rate 36 airports in terms of how easy they were to navigate, cleanliness of their lavatories and the quality of their parking facilitiesTripAdvisor's findings echoed the criticisms of Heathrow voiced by political and business leaders, especially London Mayor Ken Livingstone who said “the airport shamed London.” Passengers have frequently faced delays of up to an hour to negotiate security and check-in queues before reaching their planes. Getting into the country has often been just as bad with new scanning equipment doubling the time needed to process passports.

British Airways has earmarked a number of continental airports for potential transatlantic flights, including Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Milan and Madrid. A spokesman for British Airways said the move was not a vote of no confidence in Heathrow, but a desire to take advantage of the business opportunities offered by open skies, which comes into force next March.

American Airlines' arrival is an indication that some mainstream carriers are looking to cash in on Heathrow's unpopularity by offering alternative services. Next April, American will double its frequency with two daily flights from Stansted to JFK.

The 20 worst performers
London, Heathrow Airport / Chicago, O'Hare International
New York,
JFK Atlanta,
Hartsfield Int
Los Angeles Int
Miami Int
New York, La Guardia
Paris, Charles de Gaulle
Dallas Fort Worth
Neward Liberty Int
London Gatwick
Cancun Int
Toronto Pearson Int
Las Vegas, McCarran
Frankfurt Int
London Stansted
Orlando Int
Denver San
Franscisco Int
Amsterdam Schipol (source: Google News)

Rupert Murdochs BSkyB has offered to give up 3% of its voting rights in ITV in a bid to be allowed to keep its holding in the terrestrial broadcaster. In November 2006 BSkyB bought a 17.9% stake in ITV but the Competition Commission has ruled that it makes the firm too dominant. This means that BSkyB could be forced to sell some or all of its ITV holding. BSkyB argues that by only having control of 14.9% of voting rights, it would be "clearly insufficient, on any reasonable basis of calculation, to block a special resolution".

However, analysts are unconvinced that the offer would be enough to appease the commission. The watchdog had earlier said that a behavioural remedy, such as reducing voting rights, was unlikely to be an effective solution even though it would consider all suggestions. Earlier this month, the Competition Commission said BSkyB's stake in ITV, bought for £940m, would allow BSkyB to influence the broadcaster's strategy.

The commission is now consulting on what could be done, including possibly forcing the sale of the stake. A final decision on what action should be taken will be made by the secretary of state for business, John Hutton. (source: BBC News)

Google’s headline advertising revenues surpassed ITV1’s in the third quarter. Google generated £327 million in advertising between July and September, compared with an estimated £317 million for all of ITV1 across the UK during the same three-month period. That is the first quarter in which Google has overtaken Britain’s top commercial channel and came despite ITV1 reaping an advertising boost from the Rugby World Cup.

Google racked up £925 million in advertising revenue in the UK in the first nine months and is set to come in at about £1.25 billion for the year as it continues to expand. A year ago it generated £871 million, overtaking Channel 4, meaning that its UK annual growth is about 43.5%.

ITV as a whole can still claim to be Britain’s biggest recipient of advertising because revenues will be about £1.45 billion this year with digital channels factored in. The search engine does not receive all the money it generates, passing on about 29% to partners, meaning that on a net basis it will take nearly £1 billion for itself.

A spokesman said: “Google operates in a highly competitive market. Online advertising faces stiff competition from television, radio, outdoor, newspaper and magazine advertising as well as direct marketing. Online ad spend accounts for only 11% of overall advertising spend in the UK.”
Advertising in the UK grew by 3.1% to £9.1 billion in the first six months of this year, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau, using figures calculated by PricewaterhouseCoopers. Without a 41% increase in the value of online advertising, to £1.3 billion, total advertising would have fallen by 19%. (source: Timesonline)

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