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By Hywel Rees, CEO, Leeds Bradford Airport

(Published in the Yorkshire Evening Post 27/06/20)

There seem to be some misconceptions around access to Leeds Bradford Airport’s new terminal planning application and it is important that we are clear on the facts.

I have seen many claims that if approved our plans would result in additional traffic on the roads, but we are doing all we can to prevent this.

We are not proposing to extend our car parks, which means that there are only a limited amount of people who can feasibly drive to the airport, and we have created a new Travel Plan to maximise opportunities for sustainable travel which includes a restriction on any new car parking.

We have committed to a Sustainable Travel Fund of £4 million which will be used to fund a range of sustainable Travel Plan measures and public transport improvements, particularly the new rail link off Scotland Road.

One of these improvements is a new dedicated bus terminal at the front of the main entrance, with segregated access for buses.

As part of this venture, we are committed to enhancing and bettering these services, including increasing the daytime frequency of the bus routes, introducing a direct coach service between Leeds and Bradford interchanges and additional bus routes, and bringing new shuttle bus services to areas with large numbers of employees.

The bus terminal will be future proofed to allow for operations following delivery of the planned new rail station, which will be just under a mile away and provide the airport with increased connectivity with Leeds, Harrogate and the East Coast mainline.

As well as continuing to promote car sharing schemes for staff and passengers, a new, shared footway/cycle route between Whitehouse Lane and the terminal forecourt will be created.

Though it is clear there is a perception in Yorkshire that Leeds Bradford Airport is hard to get to, readers may be interested to know that Leeds Bradford Airport is reachable by nine per cent of the UK population within 1.5 hours, which is much higher than most other UK regional airports which significantly outperform Leeds Bradford Airport passenger numbers.

I’m confident that these enhancements to our surface access will only make LBA more accessible in efficient ways as we move towards a more sustainable future.

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Construction has begun on the Pudong section of the express Metro line which will connect the Shanghai’s two airports by 2024.

Launched two years ago, in late June workers began building Zhangjiang station for the express line along with two shield tunnels and other support structures. The two-story underground station covers approximately 71,000m2, while the two tunnels are 2.47km and 5.69km long. The station is expected to be completed by December 2023.

The 68.6km mainly-underground line will shorten the travel time between the two airports to less than 40 minutes. Currently the journey takes between 70 and 90 minutes with passengers using Metro line 2 and the Airport Maglev or an airport bus service.

The 160km/h-capable line express line will also benefit passengers travelling across the city, with nine stations across Xuhui and Minhang districts as well as the Pudong New Area,according to the city government.

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Former Australian premiers have called for an express rail link to Melbourne airport, warning that a slow, all-stations service will simply not attract passengers.

Jeff Kennett and Ted Baillieu told The Age newspaper on 30 June that high costs and a lack of demand had delayed airport rail links in recent decades, but that the time is now right to create such a link. Melbourne Airport opened 50 years ago this week, yet it is still without a dedicated rail link, leading to congestion and delays on the 11-lane Tullamarine Freeway.

The Victorian and federal governments have each committed AUD5bn towards a new fixed link, with the final alignment set to be confirmed shortly. It is understood that a new above-ground line between the airport and Sunshine is favoured, with services using existing tracks between the western hub and the city via the new Metro Tunnel. This proposal would render a competing AUD7bn design from IFM Investors to build a tunnel between the city and Sunshine, allowing express airport services on dedicated tracks.

Former Liberal premier Mr Kennett – who reserved land for a rail line through Broadmeadows while in power but prioritised the construction of CityLink – called for an express rail service from the city to the airport to ensure the service was competitive with road-based alternatives. “If people are going to use it in large volumes, you’ve got to get to and from the airport quickly,” he said. “There’s no point in stopping at one or several stations along the way; its self-defeating.”

Mr Baillieu – who promised to build rail links to Avalon and Tullamarine during his time in office – said, when asked why the project has been put off so long, that the “more direct” airport rail routes had always proven more costly. “It has been difficult to demonstrate the benefits in terms of speed and time for passengers and, secondly, it seems to be getting more expensive by the day,” he said.
“Commuters will judge this very quickly and very harshly," he added. “It will be judged on frequency, speed and cost to them – not to the taxpayer – and what happens at each end. That’ll be it.”

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London City Airport has released a new video that showcases the extra measures that have been added to the passenger experience, to protect their well-being and make everyone feel safe at the airport. 

The video focuses on how London City will offer safe, careful and speedy journeys as more domestic and European flights return, with Loganair, Eastern Airways, KLM and British Airways CityFlyer all scheduled to restart in July. 

The measures include:

  • An enhanced cleaning regime, including a the use of a long-life anti-microbial surface treatment Touch-free hand sanitiser stations
  • One-way systems
  • Perspex screens at key points of interaction, such as check-in desks
  • Clear signage and floor markings to help maintain social distancing
  • Crowd monitoring technology to identify and manage busy areas
  • Non-contact, automatic temperature checking technology for rapid preliminary screening
  • Staff using face masks or visors and gloves

London City Airport temporarily suspended commercial and private flights on 25 March 2020, in response to the escalating public health crisis and government lockdown measures. During the suspension, the aerodrome was made available to government agencies and the military to support the national effort to manage the pandemic.

Flights resumed on 21 June, with BA CityFlyer’s flight between the Isle of Man and central London being the first. New routes between central London and Teesside and Dundee begin on 6 July, operated by Eastern Airways and Loganair respectively. BA CityFlyer will resume flights to Ibiza, Florence, Málaga and Palma from 10 July and staples of London City Airport’s Anglo-Irish network will resume from 20 July, with BA CityFlyer resuming flights to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dublin. On 13 July, KLM will resume the airport’s most popular (by passenger numbers) route, between Amsterdam and London.

Alison FitzGerald, COO of London City Airport, said: “We want to reassure passengers that it is safe to travel and I hope this video allows them to understand the measures we have taken to protect their health and well-being. 

“We also hope to demonstrate that, despite additional safety measures, the uniquely important aspects of the customer experience at City have not changed. We will still be able offer the fastest airport experience in London and our staff will continue to welcome our customers in a warm, kind and respectful East London way.”

The video can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/L2e8EQHFnZY

Full information for passengers is available at www.londoncityairport.com/safe-careful-speedy-journeys

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A new survey conducted by Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) indicates that Malaysians are raring to travel again, with 35% of respondents saying they are planning to travel as soon as the border controls are relaxed, with a further 26% saying they will travel within the next six months.

Cleanliness of the accommodation, venues and transport, personal health concerns and being in an enclosed space with other people are the main concerns of the 657 respondents, comprised of both Malaysians and expats living in Malaysia. Only 33% of those surveyed said they would be flying for business, with the others planning overseas and domestic holiday travel.

Noormah Mohd Noor, CEO of ERL, said: “Like other businesses in the travel and hospitality sector, our train ridership was greatly impacted during the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO). Despite lingering fears of catching the virus, domestic leisure travel will nevertheless be starting to take off in the coming months, with the government’s new initiatives on domestic tourism recovery.

“ERL will continue with our value packages, and work with partners to offer promotional fares in order to attract passengers. From our recent survey, 64% of Malaysians and expats would welcome a promotional offer as an incentive to plan their holiday and business travel.

“Early this year, we partnered with TNG Digital to offer a 15% discount on selected KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit tickets bought using the Touch ‘n Go eWallet, from 1 January to 30 June 2020. As the fastest airport transfer in town, this partnership fits our mission to provide fast, convenient and more affordable service to our customers. Hence, we are truly delighted that TNG Digital has agreed on the extension of this promotion until 31 December 2020.”

Ignatius Ong, CEO of TNG Digital Sdn Bhd said, “We are very encouraged when partners share a similar vision for a truly cashless nation. With many adopting the practice of minimising the handling of physical cash, the Touch ‘n Go eWallet becomes a seamless travel companion in this new way of travel by being a convenient mode of payment.”

Customers can enjoy the 15% discount when they buy the following tickets using Touch ‘n Go eWallet at the ticket counter:

  • KLIA Ekspres Standard Single and Return (Adult/Child)
  • KLIA Transit Standard Single and Return (Adult/Child)
  • KLIA Transit Concession Fares for: Malaysian Senior Citizens aged 55 and above,
  • disabled holding the OKU card issued from the Department of Social Welfare Malaysia and students with KADS1M

For more details, please visit http://www.kliaekspres.com/touch-n-go-ewallet-deal

KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit are currently being operated as a combined daily service from 06.00 to 23.10 every day. The schedule will be reviewed periodically and adjusted accordingly to suit the growing passenger ridership. Any passenger whose body temperature is 37.5°C or higher will be denied entry. All passengers must wear a mask at all times when using the train; those refusing to wear one will not be allowed to board.