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 Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food

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PostSubject: Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food   Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:00 am

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[size=55:16zn04gk]novinite 19 December 2010

Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food

A number of Bulgarian passengers are stranded at the London Heathrow airport, their relatives inform Sunday.

The passengers, flying with the Bulgarian carrier "
Bulgaria Air"
have not been provided food or water and are sleeping on the airport's floor and on their luggage. The area where the Bulgarians are, reportedly, does not even have benches.

When contacted, "
Bulgarian Air"
representatives have stated they did not provide food and water because the passengers did not have the needed vouchers. The vouchers, however, must be distributed by the company.

The passengers are at the airport at their own expenses and it is unclear when they will be able to take off over heavy snow in London.

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food   Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:34 pm

National carrier Bulgaria Air will sent an extra flight to London on December 21 2010 to return dozens of Bulgarians stuck in the English capital. One such flight was already sent on the evening of December 20.

A group of 40 Bulgarians have been stranded at Heathrow Airport in London for the past three days and forced to sleep on the terminal floor, media reports said on December 20, a group which eventually grew to about 100.

The extra flight will depart the UK for Sofia from Luton airport and not Heathrow, Dnevnik daily reported. The plane will take all passengers who have been stuck in London. Priority, however, will be given to those who have "
waited the longest"
, the report said.

Transport chaos caused by the snow in the UK has affected thousands of people, but this group of Bulgarians say that they have been "
abandoned' by their carrier Bulgaria Air, bTV reported the previous day. Stoil Ivanov, who has been at the terminal since December 17, said that no Bulgaria Air representative had ever offered them an explanation.

But the carried has acted in the midst of the growing crisis. The first such emergency flight was set up on the evening of December 20 when a group of Bulgarians were returned home


Last edited by 178 on Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food   Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:38 pm

@willowsend wrote:
But the carried has acted in the midst of the growing crisis. The first such emergency flight was set up on the evening of December 20 when a group of Bulgarians were returned home

No reason to clap that move. Something should have been done on the 17th not 4 days later. I assume some people feel it is OK to sleep on the floor for 4 days and starve. I don't think it is appropriate.
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food   Tue Dec 21, 2010 4:40 pm

[size=55:d763le7j]Tue, Dec 21 2010

EU transport chief hits out at air traffic disruption

A Brussels Airlines aircraft is de-iced on the snow-covered tarmac of Zaventem international airport near Brussels, December 20 2010


The air traffic disruption across Europe after heavy snowfalls is unacceptable and should not happen again, European Commission Vice President in charge of transport Siim Kallas said in a strongly-worded message on December 21 2010.

"
Of course, safety of travel comes first and foremost, so there can be no compromise on that front. And extreme snow and extreme weather conditions are and have to be taken into account in contingency planning is which is the responsibility of member states. They are taking those responsibilities very seriously,"
Kallas said
.
The European Commission was monitoring the situation very closely and was in constant touch with airlines, airports, rail operators and national authorities responsible for passenger rights, he said
.
Kallas said that in recent days, he had become "
increasingly concerned"
about the problems relating to the infrastructure available to airlines – airports and ground handling - during this severe period of snow.

"
It seems at this stage that this is a 'weak link' in a chain which, under pressure, is contributing to severe disruption."


He said that he would convene a meeting with airports representatives in the coming days to ask for further explanations and to "
take a hard look at what is necessary to make sure they would be able to operate more effectively in the similar situations in the future."


Airports must "
get serious"
about planning for this kind of severe weather conditions, Kallas said.

"
We have seen in recent years that snow is Western Europe is not such an exceptional circumstance.

"
Better preparedness, in line with what is done in Northern Europe is not an optional extra, it must be planned for and with the necessary investment, particularly on the side of the airports."


Kallas said: "
We need to ensure that, from infrastructure providers such as airports and rail infrastructure manages, there are appropriate service levels and minimum quality requirements that are followed and delivered."


"
If there is a need for support from the European Commission in terms of regulation on minimum service requirements for airports in this area, I am prepared to do that, for example, when we bring forward the Airports package on slots and ground handling which is foreseen before summer next year."


He said that he wanted to hear the views of the airport operators and the different practices in place across Europe.

"
We must look at the issue across the whole travel chain and make sure possible loopholes and weak links are identified and closed."


At this time, it does not seem to be an issue for the airlines as they want to fly, fly safely and do all they can as well caring for the passengers. What is necessary is that the expectations from everybody must be reasonable and proportionate, he said.

Kallas said that Europe had put in place a safety net of rights designed to help passengers in cases of difficulties with issues such as overbooking or cancellations.

Since early this year, that safety net of rights also covers rail passengers, and in the future will extend to ship, inland waterways bus and coaches.

"
What we need for the future is to make sure that there is proportionate responsibility and risk sharing between all the operators in the supply chain, in particular when it comes to air travel, and this includes also passengers. I intend to address this issue during next year,"
Kallas said
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food   Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:50 pm

Transport Minister Probes Bulgaria Air over Heathrow Situation

Bulgaria's Transport Minister, Aleksander Tsvetkov, vowed Tuesday to verify information flag carrier Bulgaria Air failed to send a representative to check on passengers stranded at the Heathrow airport in London.

Tsvetkov's statement came on the heels of numerous reports the passengers were left without food and water and forced to sleep on the floor for days.

The Minister stated if the reports are proven true, the company will be sanctioned, but added providing adequate conditions for passengers should also be within the responsibility of local authorities.

Last night, about 200 Bulgaria Air passengers were able to finally make it to Sofia after being stranded in London for 5 to 7 days. Earlier Tuesday, the carrier announced they have scheduled an additional flight to London to bring home their remaining customers.

"
I do not want to lift any guilt from anyone, but it might not be very fair to blame the company prematurely,"
Tsvetkov pointed out, adding swift reactions are often made very difficult by inclement weather over the dynamics of the process.

"
It is hard to establish in bad weather when exactly a plane will take off thus the lack of enough information for passengers,"
the Minster said.

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food   Tue Dec 21, 2010 7:02 pm

@Admin wrote:
"
I do not want to lift any guilt from anyone, but it might not be very fair to blame the company prematurely,"
Tsvetkov pointed out, adding swift reactions are often made very difficult by inclement weather over the dynamics of the process.

"
Prematurely"
? Let's wait two weeks, not 4 days. Maybe the people will be dead by then and that solves the problem.
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarians Stranded at Heathrow Airport without Food   Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:17 pm

[size=150:1e1bbmro]Stranded passengers' hopes raised

As thousands of passengers are still camped out at Heathrow, much anger is turning towards the company responsible for running the airport, BAA.

The airport operator has faced criticism ranging from being too slow to get Heathrow back up and running - the snow stopped on Saturday but one of its two runways only reopened on Tuesday evening - to a lack of information to customers, to not enough investment in dealing with snow and ice.

The company's financial performance has been improving in the past year, but it is still loss-making. In its latest financial results it reported a loss of £196.2m in the nine months to September.

Earlier this year, BAA published an investment programme of £5.1bn for Heathrow over five years, of which £500,000 was invested in snow and ice-fighting technology this year, with another £3m planned for the next four years.
By comparison, reports suggest that Gatwick Airport, which is half the size of Heathrow and was sold by BAA last year, spent £1m on snow and ice this year and plans to spend another £7m next year.

Heathrow's "
snow fleet"
is made up of 69 vehicles;
Gatwick's is a reported 150.

BAA chief executive Colin Matthews admitted they had been "
too optimistic"
on Saturday.

"
We were doing extremely well up to the middle of Saturday, then we were hit by snow which we have not seen in Heathrow certainly in my lifetime,"
he said.

"
It took us longer than we expected to take the snow from under the aircraft, to clear the stands and we are really sorry for the disruption that resulted from that.

The Department for Transport told BBC News that the government has offered army assistance to help clear the snow at Heathrow but BAA said the help was not needed.

Climate change?

David Learmount, operations and safety editor for industry magazine Flight Global, says calls for further investment need to be put into context.


Passengers were given foil blankets to keep warm Other countries that invest more, like those in Scandinavia, have to deal with six-month winters, whereas the UK generally does not, he says."
We had some of this last year, not as much as we're getting now, but two winters does not make a climate change,"
he told the BBC. [size=200:1e1bbmro] Willowsend said:- This is exactly what I said in an earlier post of mine"
So when the government and the airports meet on this issue to try and discuss future policy and whether we do throw a lot of dollars at this issue, we've got to work out whether we actually are dealing with climate change.

"
Even if we did throw dollars at it, our weather is different to the weather that the Scandinavians get. The equipment that they use would not win against the kind of weather that we had,"
he added
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