Ryanair warns prices to rise due to high demand for European beach holidays

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 16th May 2022) London, Uk – –

Plane ticket prices will rise this summer due to high demand for European beach holidays, Ryanair has said.

Airline boss Michael O'Leary said he expects prices for flights to rise by a “high single-digit per cent”.

He said the airline's lower fares were currently driving an increase in passenger numbers, helping the company's recovery from the pandemic.

He said he hoped the airline would return to “reasonable profitability” in its current financial year.

The firm reported annual losses of €355m (£302m) on Monday, saying its recovery from Covid restrictions being lifted had been impacted by the Omicron variant and the war in Ukraine.

The conflict in Ukraine has driven up global oil prices with concerns supplies from Russia, a major exporter of fossil fuels and jet fuel, could be disrupted.

The group's loss for the year to 31 March was smaller than expected and narrowed from the €1.02bn (£867m) losses seen the previous year.

‘So much demand'

Mr O'Leary said he expected prices to be lower up to June compared to pre-pandemic levels, but added “based on about 50% of all bookings, we expect prices will be up high single-digit per cent” over the Summer.

“It seems to us that there will be higher prices into that peak summer period because there's so much demand for the beaches of Europe and those price rises going to continue,” told the BBC's Today programme.

“I think prices will be low next winter. But it's too early to say, there's clearly going to be an economic downturn, there's some fear of recession and in a recession the lowest-cost provider, which in the UK and in Europe is Ryanair, will do better, but will do better because we can sustain lower prices.”

In its results the airline stated customers were still booking their trips later than usual and said the “booking curve” looked more like pre-Covid times.

Ryanair said traffic recovered strongly as it carried 97.1 million guests, up from just 27.5 million the year before thanks to the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

It said it hopes to boost this further to 165 million passengers this year – ahead of the 149 million record level seen pre-Covid.

Elsewhere, Holiday giant Tui has said it expects summer bookings to “almost reach” 2019 levels this year, but warned there will be “no last minute” deals.

“There will be practically no last minute offers at low prices this summer,” said Fritz Joussen, Tui's chief executive.

Mr O'Leary said he hoped to see “pinch points” at UK airports such as Manchester or Heathrow eliminated by the end of June in time for the peak summer period.

He said: “There's no doubt I think getting through airports this summer is going to be challenging and we're encouraging all of our customers to show up earlier and allow more time to get through airport security”.

However he claimed this was less the case at other airports Ryanair uses, such as Glasgow, Stansted, and Bristol.

He said Ryanair didn't face the same recruitment challenges as some competitors because it had kept people on.

Ryanair asked staff to take pay cuts during the pandemic to avoid job losses.

Jetson ONE – Flying Through The Forest

Source: Jetson

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Toyota the world’s largest car-maker warns operating earnings could fall by a fifth this year

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 11th  May 2022) London, Uk – –

The yen's recent depreciation has helped Japan's export-driven car industry. But the cost of raw materials and global supply chain problems made worse by China's COVID measures are hurting profits.

The world's largest car-maker has warned that its operating earnings could fall by a fifth this year due to “unprecedented increases in materials and logistics costs”.

Toyota said operating profit will fall from almost 3trn yen (£18.6bn) in the previous year to 2.4trn yen (£14.9bn) in the current fiscal year, well below analysts' expectations.

The Japanese car-maker also announced a 33% slide in fourth-quarter profit – news which sent its shares down more than 5% early on Wednesday.

It said it expected the cost of materials to more than double to 1.45trn yen (£9bn) in the fiscal year that started last month.

The company fared well during the early months of the global chip shortage that has hampered many of its rivals, but it has now become the latest to slash production, particularly due to problems in China.

Toyota, which had already cut six production lines at a total of four plants, revealed on Tuesday that a total of 12 factories would now be affected as supply chains are delayed by the effects of China's COVID pandemic curbs.

Shanghai is in its sixth week of heavy restrictions on movement that has not only affected factory output but also shipments to and from its bustling port, China's largest by cargo volumes.

Toyota said that 14 more production lines would be affected by the suspension, for up to six days this month.

It would mean, the company said, that around 40,000 vehicles faced delays and wider disruption would result in the group's global production target falling by 50,000 to 700,000 vehicles for the month.

Tour of The EcoVillage of Ithaca, Could Communal Living Be The Future

Source: Flock Finger Lakes

The EcoVillage at Ithaca was established in 1991 and has become a mature communal village with three neighborhoods developed on 10% of the land with 90% of the land devoted to farmland and natural areas. Given that we're interested in communally living at Flock, we took quite a bit of notes from the EcoVillage, which is celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

IAG, British Airways’ parent company sees return to profit on the horizon

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 6th May 2022) London, Uk – –

The company's quarterly loss, while down on the same period last year, was higher than anticipated as IAG got to grips with IT gremlins at BA and staff shortages that have hampered its recovery from COVID.

The parent company of British Airways has hailed a pick-up in travel between the UK and United States for helping to narrow losses and predicted a return to profitability this year despite a leap in costs.

International Airlines Group (IAG), which also has the Aer Lingus and Iberia brands in its stable of carriers, reported a pre-tax loss of €916m for the first three months of the year.

That was down from €1.2bn in the same period in 2021.

The group said that while Europe had lagged demand as travel slowly reopened following the easing of the Omicron COVID variant, it had seen a big pick-up in lucrative business and tourism traffic across the Atlantic.

However, it confirmed a 5% cut in short haul capacity at Heathrow as BA gets to grips with staff shortages and IT gremlins that have dogged its schedules in recent months and harmed its recovery from the pandemic.

BA shed 13,000 staff alone as lockdowns forced flights to be grounded with no crystal ball available on when the public health emergency would end.

It said the flight cancellations – on routes which have high frequency services – would last through the peak summer season as it wanted to provide stability for passengers and avoid repeats of flight disruption to date.

IAG said it would be running at 80% of 2019 capacity in this quarter, rising to 85% from July to September and to 90% from October to December.

Shares fell back by 8% on the reduction in planned capacity.

Its quarterly loss was also higher than had been anticipated.

Chief Executive Luis Gallego said the cost of dealing with the company's reopening issues was the main reason.

“Demand is recovering strongly in line with our previous expectations,” he said, adding that the company was focused on improving operations and the customer experience.

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said IAG's update had help spark a wider FTSE 100 sell-off of 1% as investors fret over economic recovery following warnings of a recession ahead from the Bank of England.

She wrote: “The slide was sparked by British Airways parent company IAG disappointing investors with news that although it's flying back into profitability, it's slowing expansion plans.

“That's caused a headwind for other airlines today with easyJet falling by around 2% in early trade and Wizz Air also buffeted by fresh worries about its growth trajectory.”

Qantas to offer non-stop direct 20 hours Sidney to London flight

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 2nd May 2022) London, Uk – –

Qantas says the new-generation Airbus jets will carry fewer passengers than its rivals and offer more space as travellers strap in for a 20-hour haul from Sydney to London.

Travellers will be able to fly non-stop from Sydney to London after Qantas announced the world's longest direct commercial flight.

The airline said the 20-hour journey will become possible when it takes delivery of a dozen Airbus A350-1000 planes, which can do more than 10,000 miles without refuelling.

The services start in late 2025 and will carry up to 238 passengers across four travel classes.

For those wanting to stretch their legs on the mammoth flight, there will be a “wellbeing zone” in the centre of the aircraft that includes a snack bar and screens showing movement and stretching exercises.

It's important to move around on a long flight as being less active can cause cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the legs, increasing the risk of developing a blood clot known as deep vein thrombosis.

The jet is also being designed to offer passengers more room, but 40% of the seats will be in expensive premium cabins.

Qantas says the planes also have 25% less CO2 emissions per seat and less noise, and it claims the long-distance project – which it calls “Project Sunrise” – will be carbon neutral from day one.

The Australian carrier began a 17-hour non-stop flight between London and Perth in 2018, using Boeing Dreamliner jets.

The world's longest route is currently a New York JFK to Singapore route, operated by Singapore Airlines, which takes 18 hours 50 minutes and travels just over 9,500 miles.

Qantas also said it is buying 40 new aircraft for domestic routes – 20 Airbus A321XLRs and 20 A220-300s – as it retires older Boeing planes.

Nissan signals the end of the road for Datsun cars

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 25th April 2022) London, Uk – –

Car maker Nissan is to stop producing vehicles under the Datsun name, which has a more than century-long history.

It was one of the brands that helped Japanese car makers become established globally after the Second World War.

Despite selling millions of cars around the world, the Datsun name was phased out in the 1980s.

The company revived the brand three decades later, describing the new range of vehicles as “an important part of Nissan's DNA”.

On Monday, Nissan spokesperson Azusa Momose told the BBC that the firm will continue to sell its stock of Datsun cars and provide aftersales services to their owners.

“We can reassure all existing and future Datsun owners that customer satisfaction remains our priority,” she added.

Before the Datsun brand name came into being, a car named the DAT was built in 1914 by the Kaishinsha Motorcar Works in Tokyo.

The word DAT was an acronym of the family names of three early investors in the business: Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi. It also literally means ‘lightning fast' in Japanese. At the same time, it was promoted as Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy, or DAT for short.

In 1933, Nissan's founder Yoshisuke Aikawa took over the business.

The early 1930s also saw the company launch an economical and lightweight car named “DAT-son” or “the son of DAT”. The name was subsequently changed to “Datsun”.

Datsun was one of the brands that helped Japanese car makers establish themselves in Europe, the US and Asia after World War II.

It was one of the main brands Nissan marketed globally, besides the mainstream Nissan and the luxury Infiniti.

In the 1970s, the fuel-efficient Datsun was marketed as the choice of the everyday motorist looking for an alternative to unreliable gas-guzzlers. Around 20 million Datsun cars were sold in 190 countries across the world.

However, the name was phased out from 1981, with Nissan becoming the company's primary brand globally.

In 2012, Nissan announced the return of the Datsun brand and sold cars under the name in countries including India and Indonesia.

At the time, like many rival car manufacturers, Nissan faced weak markets in Europe and the US and was targeting emerging economies with lower priced models. Despite this, sales of the models have slumped in recent years.

Nissan said on Monday that it will now focus on “core models and segments that bring the most benefit to customers, dealer partners and the business” as part of a global transformation strategy.

Easter travel: Drivers and train passengers warned of disruption

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 15th April 2022) London, Uk – –

Drivers are being warned to expect delays on what is predicted to be the busiest day for road travel of the Easter weekend.

The RAC estimates around 4.62 million journeys by car are likely across the UK on Good Friday.

It is predicting a total of 21.46 million trips over the bank holiday – the highest figure since 2014.

The motoring group said disruption to trains due to engineering works could also push more people onto the roads.

Rod Dennis from the RAC advised drivers to set off early, with roads forecast to get busier towards the middle of the day.

“Expect your journey, especially if you're going any distance, to take longer than it normally would,” he told the BBC's Today programme.

After two years of relatively quiet Easter bank holidays on the roads due to Covid restrictions, Mr Dennis said: “It's very possible this weekend could turn out to be one of the busiest for leisure journeys for many years”.

Data from transport analytics specialists INRIX suggests the M6 north between Liverpool and the Lake District, south towards Stoke-on-Trent, the M25 between Surrey and the M40 exit, and the A303 near Stonehenge could see some of the worst congestion.

Meanwhile, rail passengers are facing delays and cancellations, with Network Rail carrying out 530 engineering projects across the bank holiday weekend, costing a total of £83m.

No trains will run in or out of Euston station in London until the end of Monday on the West Coast main line, which is likely to disrupt football fans going to the FA Cup semi-finals at Wembley.

Trains to the West Midlands, north west England and parts of Scotland will instead start from Milton Keynes Central.

There will be also be no Southern services to and from London Victoria all weekend, nor any direct trains from London to Stansted Airport.

Alternative services are expected to be busy and Network Rail has advised people to travel either side of the bank holiday.

Disruption is also continuing at the Port of Dover, where P&O Ferries' services are still not running.

There were long queues at the port on Friday morning, with some travellers complaining they missed their ferries after waiting for hours.

Ferry company DFDS initially advised customers on Friday morning to arrive at least 90 minutes before their departure time, saying it was “expecting a busy day through the Port of Dover”.

However, it later updated its guidance, urging customers to allow two hours.

It said customers delayed due to traffic at border control would be transferred to the first available departure.

Some lorries are being forced to queue on the A20 outside Dover, as part of the Traffic Access Protocol (TAP) scheme, which is designed to limit congestion in the town.

P&O Ferries' Dover-Calais services remain suspended, nearly a month after the company sacked around 800 workers without notice.

Two of the company's ferries which normally serve the route are still detained after they failed safety inspections.

Bad weather, the Easter holidays and problems with an IT system for customs checks following Brexit have also contributed to congestion around Dover in recent days.

This has led to long queues for lorries crossing the Channel.

Operation Brock, where lorries heading to Dover queue on one side of the M20, was put in place last week to help manage the traffic.

However, National Highways said it had now been scaled back as the threat of disruption had reduced.

Richard Ballantyne, chief executive of the British Ports Association, said the queues around Dover had now eased.

“In terms of the Easter getaway, it was worse two weekends ago and last weekend,” he told the BBC.

Mr Ballantyne said the decision by DFDS last weekend to say it could no longer accommodate P&O ticket-holders, whilst frustrating for customers, had “kept a chunk of people away”.

Meanwhile, there were long queues for Eurostar services at London's St Pancras station on Friday.

Airports are also expected to be busy, with many people taking the opportunity to head abroad for the first time since Covid travel restrictions were lifted.

More than 9,000 flights are scheduled to depart from UK airports between Good Friday and Easter Monday, according to aviation data firm Cirium.

The figure is 78% of the total for the same period in pre-pandemic 2019.

Cirium said the busiest day will be Good Friday, when around 2,430 flights are due to depart.

Some travellers have faced long queues at airports and cancelled flights over the Easter holidays, with staff shortages and Covid-related absences blamed for the disruption.

The travel industry cut thousands of jobs during the pandemic, but as demand for flights has returned, it has struggled to recruit, carry out security checks and train new staff quickly enough.

By Becky Morton

Easter travel chaos as more than 120 UK flights cancelled

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 4th April 2022) London, Uk – –

British travellers faced chaos on Monday morning as airlines cancelled more than 120 flights and Eurotunnel warned of three hour delays.

Easyjet and British Airways blamed staff absences from Covid for cancellations, while Eurotunnel said a broken down train caused delays.

Easter marks the first school holidays since the start of the pandemic and the end of travel restrictions.

That's led to rising demand and frustration for holidaymakers.

Flight cancellations were down to combination of factors which had come together in “a perfect storm” , Simon Calder, travel correspondent at The Independent told the BBC.

“We have got very high levels of Covid in the nation and that is affecting the transport industry. But there are also more underlying problems which go back to the start of Covid,” he said.

These included a lack of staff after thousands of people left the aviation industry during the pandemic. Staff shortages have led to long queues at security and check-in.

Some passengers at Manchester Airport have missed their flights at the start of the Easter holidays as a result of queues.

There have also been complaints about extensive waits in the baggage reclaim halls.


EasyJet, one of Europe's biggest airlines, said the cancellations-which included 62 from the UK- were a small part of its schedule on Monday, which is about 1,645 flights.

It apologised and said it had tried to offset the problem by using standby crew but was forced “to make some cancellations in advance”.

“As a result of the current high rates of Covid infections across Europe, like all businesses, EasyJet is experiencing higher than usual levels of employee sickness,” a spokesman said.

He said affected customers had been contacted and could rebook on alternative flights or receive a voucher or refund.

About 60 British Airways flights to and from Heathrow airport were cancelled on Monday. Fifty were cancelled in advance last week but 10 flights were late notice overnight cancellations, due to Covid sickness among staff.

The challenges of recruiting enough staff in time to replace the many who left during the pandemic had already forced BA to re-think its spring schedules.

Two weeks ago the airline took the decision to pro-actively remove some flights until May. It's understood about 20 daily services, primarily on short haul routes, were taken out.

“As a precaution we've slightly reduced our schedule between now and the end of May as we ramp back up,” said BA.

Eurotunnel warned motorists heading abroad to expect delays after a train “temporarily stopped” in the tunnel linking England to France.

The operator, which runs services from Folkestone to France, warned journeys could be delayed by up to three hours.

In a tweet the company apologised and urged passengers to “check in as normal”.

A spokesperson for Eurotunnel said: “As a result of a technical issue with a freight shuttle overnight, Eurotunnel is currently operating a reduced service. We expect to have full services running again later in the day.”

Meanwhile, freight vehicles are still parked on the M20 and A20 around Dover, after three days of disruption for traffic crossing the English Channel.

Ferry capacity is reduced because of the suspension of P&O services and DFDS having two vessels out of action.

Analysis: Katy Austin

Being stuck in queues or having flights cancelled will be extremely frustrating for many passengers.

In truth, staffing challenges are not a huge surprise, although Covid-related sickness is clearly making things worse.

Even with the furlough scheme, aviation shed thousands of jobs during the worst of the pandemic.

Now it's trying to expand again to meet resurgent demand, at a time when many sectors are finding it hard to get enough staff.

And people working at an airport can't just start overnight; security checks and references are required.

International travel has been through several false starts. Some recruiters believe workers are choosing jobs they perceive as more stable, such as home delivery and logistics. They also say the loss of EU workers after Brexit has made things harder.

Businesses hope the picture will improve by the summer.

For now, staffing is yet another headwind pushing against aviation's recovery.

On Sunday, traveller Donna Mayfield told the BBC the situation at Manchester Airport was “horrendous”, while another said they had seen “customers and staff in tears”.

Manchester Airport apologised and admitted passengers' experiences fell “below the standard we aim to provide”.

“The removal of all travel restrictions after two years, coupled with the start of the summer travel season, has seen a rapid increase in passenger numbers, which is putting an enormous strain on our operation,” a spokesman said.

Gatwick Airport told the BBC it also had a busy weekend as the Easter holidays kicked off.

Disruption at airports could go on for a while yet, warned John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting – an independent air transport consultancy.

“I think certainly the next month or two are going to be very difficult,” he told the BBC's Wake Up To Money.

“We know that Manchester has said that passengers should expect queues for one to two hours for the next several weeks while they undertake additional training.”

He said that airlines like British Airways were also recruiting additional cabin crew.

“British Airways has actually reduced down a number of its flights up until the end of May to recognise that that way they can operate reliably those flights that they have the staff resources to handle.”

Brought To You By QLM Business News Square Tiles

Scientists Terrifying New Discovery Under Sahara Desert Changes Everything!

Source: Tech Space

This is the map of Africa. If you look to the South, you will see lush vegetation, with lots of greenery. However, when you go north, things are different. Covering multiple countries, it is the most gigantic desert globally, with miles and miles of dune formation.

Altogether, the Sahara Desert covers 9 million square kilometers, meaning it will swallow Spain 18 times!

However, did you know that this vast stretch of sterile sand covering a third of the African continent was covered in lush vegetation thousands of years ago? What happened to the Sahara? And what is happening to it right now? This video, we look at the terrifying discoveries scientists made under the Sahara desert!

P&O Ferries to pay £36.5m compensation to workers fired last week

(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Wed, 23rd Mar 2022) London, Uk – –

Some 40 members of staff will receive severance payouts of over £100,000, the company says, adding that it amounts to the largest ever compensation package in the marine sector.

Embattled ferry operator P&O has said it will pay out £36.5m in compensation to workers who were fired last week.

The company sacked more than 800 of its workers on the spot in a widely criticised move to cut costs.

In a statement on Tuesday afternoon, P&O said the severance deal twould amount to the largest ever compensation package in the marine sector.

Payouts are linked to the period of service, and in some cases are over £170,000, the statement said.

P&O Ferries has said that 575 of the 786 seafarers affected are in discussions to progress with the severance offers.

The move comes as P&O scrambles to respond to business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, who called on the company last week to reply to him by 5pm today.

Sky News reported yesterday that the company was forcing workers to sign gagging orders in return for their severance.


Helen-Ann Smith

The release from P&O about its payouts was a clear attempt to regain control of the narrative after five days of atrocious press . The bigger figures were given prominence high up in the press release, the fact that 40 staff will receive over £100,000, for example, and the total value of the severance package, which is over £36m. Transparency over this is clearly advantageous to P&O. It has been criticized for behaving in a secretive manner and claims from unions that some replacement staff are being hired on as little as £1.80 an hour have been very damaging, even though no proof has been provided to back this up. The fact that settlements will be more generous than statutory is important in starting to rebuild some of its reputation in terms of its dealing with staff. But the reality is the vast majority of ex-staff won’t get anywhere near as much as £100,000, with payouts linked to length of service. And many who lost their jobs are still furious. “The audacity” one messaged me almost immediately. “Do they think they’re above due process because they’ve got money? This is making it worse, this statement. I’m fuming.”

Separately, the government announced on Tuesday that two parliamentary select committees will join forces to hold a one-off hearing on Thursday, 24th March at 09:30am.

The Chair of the Transport Committee, Huw Merriman MP, and the Chair of the BEIS Committee, Darren Jones MP, will lead MPs in a joint session which will examine what options are available to the government, and the 800 workers who have lost their jobs.

The chief executive of P&O, and a representative from its parent company DP World, have been invited to give evidence at the hearing.

The ferry company said in its statement that it had been forced to decide between firing nearly 800 employees, or shutting the business down.

“This has been an incredibly tough decision for the business: to make this choice or face taking the company into administration,” a spokesperson for P&O said.

“This would have meant the loss of 3,000 jobs and the end of P&O Ferries.”

“In making this hard choice, we have guaranteed the future viability of P&O Ferries, avoided large-scale and lengthy disruption, and secured Britain's trading capacity.”

Labour has called on the government to begin “criminal action” against P&O.

Shadow transport secretary Louise Haigh said the government must “immediately” commence criminal action against P&O Ferries “for their flagrant breach of employment law”.

“It should mean unlimited fines, not only for the company but for directors and managers or any of those who are complicit,” Ms Haigh added.

British drivers of colour pay more for motor insurance -Citizens Advice

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Tue, 22nd Mar 2022) London, UK —

Drivers living in areas of Britain where there are a higher proportion of people of colour pay at least 280 pounds ($369.60) more for their annual motor insurance, consumer charity Citizens Advice said on Tuesday.

The charity carried out research on insurance premiums in eight postcode areas.

Everyone in those postcodes pays the higher prices, regardless of ethnicity. But if the trend was replicated across the country, people of colour would all together pay at least 213 million pounds more for their insurance than white people, Citizens Advice said.

Common risk factors of crime rate, deprivation, road traffic accidents and population density could not account for the difference in price, the charity said.

“For too long the impenetrable nature of insurance pricing has just been accepted, but a 280-pounds-a-year ethnicity penalty cannot be allowed to continue,” said Clare Moriarty, chief executive of Citizens Advice.

Citizens Advice has previously campaigned to ban a loyalty penalty imposed on customers who do not switch insurance providers. The Financial Conduct Authority, Britain's markets watchdog, introduced a loyalty penalty ban this year.

The FCA should require insurers to account for their pricing decisions and take enforcement action if firms cannot explain any ethnicity pricing differences, Citizens Advice said.

An FCA spokesperson said that “firms must not use data in their pricing that could lead to discrimination based on protected characteristics, such as ethnicity, and we have acted where we’ve had concerns”, adding that the regulator would consider any evidence it received of pricing issues.Report ad

James Dalton, director for general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers, said insurers never used ethnicity as a factor when setting prices.

“There are many different risk-related factors that are used to calculate the price of a car insurance policy which…should not be looked at in isolation, but ethnicity is not one of them,” he said, adding that insurers would continue to engage on issues around inequality.

Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Huw Jones

P&O fires 800 workers without notice, faces growing backlash

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 18th Mar 2022) London, Uk – –

A backlash against P&O Ferries is growing after the firm sacked 800 staff without giving them any notice.

The government said it would review its contracts with P&O Ferries after it fired its employees, planning to replace them with cheaper agency staff.

Unions hit out against the dismissal, saying it marked a “dark day” in the shipping industry.

P&O said it was a “tough” decision but it would “not be a viable business” without the changes.

A chorus of cross-party MPs, however, described P&O Ferries' actions as “callous” and “disgraceful”.

Nearly a quarter of P&O Ferries' staff were told via a video message on Thursday that it was their “final day of employment”.

The RMT union said it was one of the “most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations”. There are protests planned on Friday across the ports of Dover, Liverpool, Hull and Larne.

P&O Ferries worker Andrew Smith said he felt “utter dismay” after working for the company for 22 years.

“It's our lives,” he said. “It's how our families have grown up, knowing that this is what we do, and it's just been turned on its head within a matter of hours.”Media caption,Sacked P&O employee Andrew Smith said he felt “utter dismay” at losing his job after 22 years

Mark Dickinson, general secretary of the maritime trade union Nautilus, told the BBC: “It's absolutely ripped the guts out of everybody.”

Having worked in the sector for 40 years, he added: “It is a dark day in the shipping industry.

“I've seen some curveballs and some shocking developments over that time… but for a company to treat the legal process in such an underhand and callous way has shocked me.”

In addition to taking part in demonstrations on Friday, both the RMT union and Nautilus are seeking legal advice on the dismissal.

The transport union TSSA called on the government to “take over running vital ferry routes to safeguard trade and travel”, and “hit [P&O] where it hurts” over the “shocking events”.

Holly Cudbill, an employment lawyer from Blake Morgan, said that P&O Ferries' actions “were almost certainly illegal”.

Although its boats sail around the world, she believes the firm's employees are covered by UK law.

In that instance, P&O Ferries should have consulted with unions and staff about potential dismissals and notified the government that hundreds of jobs were at risk, she told the BBC.

Sacked staff said the video message had referred to a “generous severance package” being offered, but no details were given.

‘Assault on workers' rights'

Maritime minister Robert Courts said he was “frankly angry at the way workers have been treated”. He told the House of Commons P&O Ferries' actions were “wholly unacceptable”.

“Reports of workers being given zero notice and escorted off their ships with immediate effect while being told cheaper alternatives would take up their roles, shows the insensitive nature by which P&O approached this issue,” he said.

He added that he did not expect critical goods and services to be hit by the sudden drop in capacity, but travellers “should expect some disruption over the coming days”.

The Department for Business has said it is “looking at the situation”, but the company has said services are unable to run over the next few days.

In a letter to the prime minister, Labour's Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh described the firing as a “despicable assault on workers' rights”.

“But British seafarers do not need meaningless platitudes – they need action,” she added, demanding that government suspends any contracts it holds with DP World – P&O Ferries' owner.

Former transport minister Sir John Hayes also criticised the “capricious, careless, callous” decision, and suggested the government should “recover any monies granted to P&O during the pandemic” in a bid to reverse it.

P&O Ferries claimed almost £15m in government grants in 2020, which included furlough payments for its employees.

Sir John added: “Don't let anyone tell me this is the free market. The free market put little girls in factories and boys down mines, and both at risk on the high seas; we thought those dark days had gone – P&O are either too dim to see that or too dastardly to know it.”

P&O Ferries said on Thursday that the decision to lay-off 800 workers was “tough” but said the business would not be viable without “making swift and significant changes now”.

It said: “We have made a £100m loss year-on-year, which has been covered by our parent DP World. This is not sustainable. Without these changes there is no future for P&O Ferries.”

P&O Ferries is one of the UK's leading ferry companies, carrying more than 10 million passengers a year before the pandemic and about 15% of all freight cargo in and out of the UK.

P&O was bought by DP World, the multi-national ports and logistics company based in Dubai in 2019. At the time of purchase, its chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem described it as a “strong, recognisable brand”.

It paid a £270m dividend to shareholders in 2020.

However, like many transport operators, it saw demand slump in the pandemic.

Just a couple of months after the dividends announcement, it said it would cut 1,100 jobs after a downturn in bookings.

P&O Ferries suspends services ahead of ‘major announcement’

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 17th Mar 2022) London, UK —

UK-registered P&O Ferries, which sails major routes including between Britain, France and Ireland, said it had suspended services but would make a major announcement later on Thursday and was not going into administration.

“P&O Ferries is not going into liquidation,” a P&O Ferries spokesperson said in a statement.

“We have asked all ships to come alongside, in preparation for a company announcement. Until then, services from P&O will not be running and we are advising travellers of alternative arrangements.”

Dubai ports firm DP World bought the company in 2019.

P&O has a fleet of more than 20 ships that sail across the English Channel, North Sea, and Irish Sea, the firm's website said. It has almost 4,000 members employees and operates more than 30,000 sailings a year.

Reporting by William James and Muvija M

Heathrow Airport drops mandatory face mask rules for passengers

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 16th Mar 2022) London, Uk – –

The UK's largest airport has dropped mandatory face masks for passengers.

Heathrow Airport no longer requires people to wear them in its terminals, railway stations or office buildings but will continue to recommend they do so.

British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are the latest airlines to relax their policies on face coverings.

Passengers must still wear them on board flights if the country they're travelling to requires it.

‘Plan B' measures ended in late January, meaning masks were no longer legally required on some public transport and in shops.

However Heathrow, which handles a large number of international flights, had kept the rule that face coverings must be worn, until this week.

Heathrow's chief operating officer, Emma Gilthorpe, said the airport was pleased to move away from mandatory face mask requirements.

She said: “While we still recommend wearing them, we can be confident the investments we've made in Covid-secure measures – some of which aren't always visible – combined with the fantastic protection provided by the vaccine will continue to keep people safe while travelling.”

Heathrow said that if there was a significant rise in infections or a future variant of concern, it would not hesitate to bring the mandate back.

The airport said face coverings would remain available for people who still want to wear them.

Virgin Atlantic said it was also changing its face mask policy from Wednesday, making it a personal choice for customers and crew to wear them on board.

This will only happen on services where international regulations on mask-wearing do not apply.

For now, that means flights between Heathrow and Manchester and destinations in the Caribbean such as Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua.

The airline said customers may be asked to wear a mask when getting on and off planes and at destination airports.

It highlighted that on routes to or from the US, masks would still be required until at least 18 April.

Virgin Atlantic's chief customer and operating officer, Corneel Koster, said its policy would be introduced gradually. He encouraged passengers to respect each other's choices.

From Wednesday, British Airways (BA) customers will only have to wear a face covering on board flights if the destination they're travelling to requires it.

BA's chief operating officer, Jason Mahoney, said the move was “welcome” and “a positive step forward”.

Earlier this month, the airline and tour operator Jet2 relaxed its rules on face coverings for flights to and from England and Northern Ireland. Since Friday, Tui has done the same.

Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary has said he would like to see the end of mandatory face masks by April or May. He added that cabin crew were being consulted.

The aviation industry is hoping that the easing of travel restrictions will lift the curtain on a busy summer, after two years of major disruption due to the pandemic.

From Friday, all travellers will be able to enter the UK without filling in a passenger locator form or taking Covid tests.

Holidaymakers will still need to be aware of, and follow, and rules where they're going.

On Friday Heathrow's chief executive John Holland-Kaye said the recovery of aviation “remains overshadowed by war and Covid uncertainty”.

The airport's passenger numbers last month were still nearly 50% down on pre-pandemic levels.

However the airport is recruiting 12,000 staff to try and cope with demand during the summer peak.

By By Katy Austin

Why Volkswagen Is Beating Tesla In Europe

Source: CNBC

In the U.S., Tesla dominates the conversation around electric vehicles, but in Europe, it’s a different story. Germany-based Volkswagen Group has risen from the ashes of its 2015 emissions scandal to become the EV market leader in Europe, where it has an edge thanks to local manufacturing, brand familiarity, and cheaper price points. But whether Volkswagen can broaden its appeal to become the global EV leader remains to be seen.

Germany-based Volkswagen Group has risen from the ashes of its 2015 emissions scandal to become the EV market leader in Europe, where the company reported that it had 26% market share in the first half of 2021.

While Tesla’s Model 3 has been selling well in the region, Volkswagen’s local manufacturing, brand familiarity and cheaper price points have helped give it an edge over Tesla. But as Elon Musk aims to start production at the Berlin Gigafactory by year’s end, Volkswagen’s lead could be short-lived. In the rapidly growing EV market, analysts say the Volkswagen Group benefits from its wide array of brands, which includes luxury marques like Audi, Bentley and Porsche.

VW’s most popular EV in Europe is the more affordable ID.3, a hatchback that starts at around $40,000. And in September 2020, Volkswagen released the ID.4, an SUV aimed at the global market that has since become Volkswagen’s top-selling EV overall.

However, Volkswagen still lags behind Tesla globally. Tesla delivered more than 627,000 EVs in the first three quarters of 2021, while Volkswagen sold about 293,000 cars. But Volkswagen, along with other traditional automakers and EV startups, plans to release an abundance of new all-electric models in the next decade.

National Express attempt to buy Stagecoach hit a setback as it was outbid by a new suitor this week

(qlmbusinessnews.com via uk.reuters.com — Thur, 10th Mar, 2022) London, UK —

National Express (NEX.L) does not necessarily need to buy rival Stagecoach (SGC.L) to boost revenue and profit, although it is still considering its options after it was outbid by a new suitor this week, the transport company said on Thursday.

National Express' attempt to buy Stagecoach, Britain's biggest bus and coach operator, hit a setback on Wednesday after a European fund trumped its 445 million pound ($585 million) all-stock offer with a higher, potentially more attractive cash-only proposal, which was welcomed by Stagecoach. 

“As a diligent board we consider our options, but I have to say that unlike our competitor we are a very well diversified business,” National Express Chief Executive Ignacio Garat said in an interview.

“We don't need this deal to deliver outstanding growth in revenue, profit and free cash flow.”

Garat's remarks came after National Express announced plans to resume dividend payouts in 2022 as it forecast annual revenue to inch closer to pre-pandemic levels as travel recovers.

British bus companies are still receiving government aid ahead of a fuller recovery from COVID-19. They are now navigating higher fuel prices because of the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

National Express, which operates in eight countries across Europe and North America, said the fallout from the war in Ukraine will likely be limited as it has hedged itself fully against any price increases for 2022.

National Express has turned off automatic renewals for its fuel price hedging mechanisms, instead choosing to recalibrate for the next quarter, Chief Financial Officer Chris Davies said. It will decide its 2023 and 2024 hedging strategy on April 1.

“When you're in the middle of a geopolitical conflict like the one we're in, we don't want to just auto-hedge,” Davies said.

The group is roughly 65% hedged for 2023 at an average price of 34.4 pence per litre of fuel and around 25% hedged for 2024 at 38.5 pence.

The Birmingham-based company reported an underlying pretax profit of 39.7 million pounds for 2021, compared with a loss a year earlier.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong

Petrol prices hit another record high as oil and gas costs soar

(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 7th Mar 2022) London, Uk – –

Petrol prices have hit another record high as oil and gas costs soar amid fears of a global economic shock from Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Oil prices jumped to $139 a barrel, the highest level for almost 14 years, while wholesale gas prices for next-day delivery more than doubled.

It came as the US hinted at a ban on buying Russian energy, as it looked to other countries to increase supplies.

UK petrol prices hit an average of 155p a litre, the AA motoring group said.

The market turmoil is fuelling concerns that the price of many everyday items from food to petrol and heating, already rising at their fastest rate for 30 years, could be pushed higher.

Analysts have already warned that UK energy bills could reach as high as £3,000 a year due to the surge in oil and gas prices.

Russia is the world's second top producer of crude oil after Saudi Arabia, and supplies about a third of Europe's needs. The price of Brent crude rose by more than a fifth last week amid fears of a reduction in Russian supplies.

The latest rise in UK petrol prices has pushed the cost to more than £7 a gallon, the AA said. Filling up a car with a 55-litre tank now costs nearly £17 more than a year ago, rising from £68.60 to £85.59.

The boss of fuel delivery firm Portland Fuel, James Spencer, told the BBC he thought fuel prices could reach £1.70-£1.75 a litre. “Even if we can get extra [oil] supplies on to the market, nothing will happen quickly.”

He said that, to a certain extent, individual car drivers have options to cut their use by driving less, but added that businesses that have no alternatives were really starting to feel the squeeze.

The crisis continues to cast a shadow over share markets. The main stock exchanges in France and Germany sank more than 4% in early trading, before recovering some ground. London's FTSE 100 was down more than 2% at first, but then recovered to stand 0.75% lower. Last week, the FTSE had its worse week since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

Asian shares also fell on Monday, and on Wall Street markets are forecast to open sharply lower when trading gets under way.

The price of gold, a haven in troubled times for investors looking for security, hit $2,000 an ounce for the first time in almost 18 months.

Analysis: Faisal Islam

These are massive movements in the price of commodities – the raw materials that eventually feed, warm and transport us.

The extra movements this morning arose out of talk of an embargo on Russian oil. That is very significant, because Russia is the second biggest world exporter. Anyone passing a petrol station would have seen the impact. If there was an actual embargo, the price of an average tank could head close to £100, and indeed is already there at the most expensive service stations in the UK.

But we don't need to be physically reliant on actual Russian supplies for it to feed through into the prices our suppliers pay and then pass on to us. The price for gas in international markets was already at incredible highs last week. It further increased by a third to frankly frightening levels, 10- to 15-times normal, above £6 per therm. If in the first half of this year these prices average £3.20, then typical dual fuel bills in October could rise to £3,000 a year or £250 a month.

Throw in record prices for wheat, for which Ukraine and Russia are significant world suppliers, especially to developing countries, and 30-year highs in inflation of 7% could end up closer to 8%, 9% or even 10%. It may be 1,500 miles away, but the economic shockwaves from this invasion and from intensifying sanctions will hit home.

On Sunday, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the Biden administration and its allies were discussing a ban on Russian oil supplies.

The comments came as pressure grows on the White House and other Western nations to take tougher action against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

A Russian oil embargo would be a major escalation in the response to the invasion of Ukraine and would potentially have a major impact on the global economy.

“While the US might just push through a ban on Russian oil imports, Europe can ill-afford to do the same. More worryingly, [Russian leader Vladimir] Putin, with his back to the wall, could turn off gas supplies to Europe, cutting off the continent's energy lifeline,” Vandana Hari at oil markets analysis firm Vanda Insights told the BBC.

On Sunday, energy giant Shell defended its decision to purchase Russian crude oil despite the invasion of Ukraine.

The company said it was forced to buy oil from Russia in order to maintain timely supplies of fuel to Europe.

“To be clear, without an uninterrupted supply of crude oil to refineries, the energy industry cannot assure continued provision of essential products to people across Europe over the weeks ahead,” a spokesperson added.

A possible ban on buying Russian oil has intensified pressure to find alternative supplies.

The US is this week expected to press Saudi Arabia to increase crude production, and there is fresh impetus for a deal over Iran's nuclear ambitions that would lift sanctions on its oil exports.

However, progress on a deal has been hampered after Russia sought a US guarantee that the sanctions it faces over the Ukraine conflict will not affect its trade with Tehran.

By Russell Hotten