Panda watch starts at Edinburgh Zoo

The possibility of a panda being born at Edinburgh Zoo has alerted panda lovers around the world . The female giant panda has been artificially inseminated.
The zoo is also going to try to mate the pandas naturally before the end of the short breeding season.
Edinburgh Zoo acquired the pandas on loan from China in 2011 and previous attempts to mate the pair have failed.
Tian Tian, which means Sweetie, and male Yang Guang (Sunshine) were the first giant pandas to live in the UK for 17 years.
The last pandas in the UK, Ming Ming and Bao Bao, left a zoo in London in 1994 after failing to mate.
‘No say’
Iain Valentine, director of giant pandas for the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said artificial insemination took place on Tian Tian in the early hours of Thursday.
“The procedure was carried out by the expert team of three veterinarians at RZSS, alongside Chinese colleague Doctor Wang Chengdong from the China Conservation and Research Centre for Giant Pandas (CCRCGP),” he said.
“Only semen from male panda Yang Guang was used during the procedure.
“Natural mating will also be attempted today before the short breeding window comes to a close this afternoon (Thursday) as both pandas remain extremely interested in one another, but as Tian Tian’s transition to peak was so rapid it was a priority to move straight to artificial insemination first.”

News flash – Edinburgh Airport is closed

Edinburgh Airport has been evacuated due to a security alert.

Police Scotland said the terminal and access road had been closed following the discovery of “a potentially suspicious bag” in the central search area of the airport.

Passengers and staff were asked to leave the terminal building while an investigation takes place.

Bomb disposal experts are at the scene and a cordon has been put in place.

Edinburgh Airport said an investigation was under way. The airport has been closed to all flights.

A BBC reporter has been told that a male passenger was stopped by security staff and his baggage is being examined.
A Police Scotland spokesman said: “Police at Edinburgh Airport have implemented a closure of the building and the access roads following the discovery of a potentially suspicious bag within the central search area at around 1.50pm today.

“The Explosive Ordnance Disposal are currently in attendance to inspect the item and officers are maintaining a cordon to ensure the safety of the public.”
taxi bookings Falkirk to Edinburgh Airport

Edinburgh Airport complains about Air Passenger Duty

Giving control over Air Passenger Duty (APD) to the Scottish Parliament could encourage visitors to come to the country for the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games, transport and tourism bosses say.

The Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup will be held in Scotland next year but some industry leaders believe tourists could be put off from flying to the country because of high APD charges.

Late last year, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh airports commissioned a report that claimed the charge could lead to a drop in both passengers and tourism spending. The tax could cost the Scottish economy £210 milliona year by 2016 and reduce the number of visitors by 2.1 million a year.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “Scotland will welcome the world in 2014 courtesy of the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, and yet we are in the absurd situation of increasing costs for people who intend to visit Scotland.

“The ‘World Economic Forum, Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2013’ shows that the UK has amongst the highest aviation taxes and charges in the world, ranked 139th out of 140.

“I would urge the UK Government to deliver devolution of APD as soon as possible so that we can develop a regime that makes Scotland more competitive.”

Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said airlines are questioning the viability of basing planes in Scotland because of APD.

He said: “This tax has now hit its tipping point where the damage that it is doing to Scotland far outweighs the benefits. It cannot stand and must be reviewed as a matter of urgency.

“Airlines are telling us that they are seeing it have an impact on passenger flows which is ultimately having an impact on their decision making on where to put planes. This means that our country has to work harder to get the connections it requires.

“The evidence lays bare the argument that this tax is assisting with the deficit. Rather, APD is hindering our ability to tackle the economic challenges Scotland faces.”

Edinburgh Zoo celebrates first anniversary of pandas arrival

One year ago Tian Tian and Yang Guang arrived at Edinburgh Zoo amid worldwide interest after a 5,000- mile flight from China into Edinburgh Airport.
Since then, more than half a million visitors have been to see the animals, who are set to stay in Scotland for another nine years.The arrival of the pandas has been a massive commercial success for the Zoo.
Iain Valentine, Director of Research and Conservation at the zoo, said much has been learnt about the species over the last 12 months.
“Looking back on this, our first giant panda year, it has been a great success,” he said.
The only disappointing thing about the pandas has been their failure to mate. Pandas have a limited breeding season and did not manage to mate this year, although Mr Valentine says he has high hopes for 2013.

Fuel supplies to Edinburgh Airport limited as refinery has production problems

Scotland’s busiest airports were forced to limit vital fuel supplies to airlines to avoid disruption to flights, it has emerged.
Operators at the country’s two busiest hubs – Edinburgh and Glasgow – stopped receiving deliveries from the Grangemouth Petroineos refinery
Concern was raised over the quality of the jet fuel supplied by the Grangemouth plant.

Fearing it could lead to supply shortages Scottish airport bosses were forced to ration stocks to try to avoid flight cancellations and disruption. A spokesman at Edinburgh Airport confirmed that it had experienced problems in fuel supplies since Tuesday.

He said: “There has been a shortage of aircraft fuel across Scottish airports caused by quality issues at Petroineos’ Grangemouth refinery.

“This has meant we have had to ration our supplies.”

Glasgow Airport said it had maintained its flight schedule by using stocks held on site.

Ineos – which operates the refinery – stressed no flights had been disrupted as a result of the problem.

Initially it was feared that crucial fuel supplies to Scotland’s garage forecourts could also be affected although none have been reported.

But the AA put its breakdown teams on alert while Central Scotland police force did likewise with its traffic division.

In a statement Ineos said: “Petroineos has been supplying jet fuel this week to all airports in Scotland. The company has been working with customers to help them prioritise deliveries as suppliers bring their infrastructure and levels of resilience back to normal.

“To our knowledge no passengers have been affected since deliveries commenced on Monday morning.”

But the problem has sparked concern that there could be a shortage of fuel supplies this winter.

Refinery maintenance and closures in Europe and the US are limiting the availability of oil products, making retailers vulnerable to supply shocks.

Cameron prepares way for third runway at Heathrow Airport

Prime Minister David Cameron has completed his cabinet reshuffle and he has replaced Justine Greening as Transport Minister .

Greening is MP for Roehampton & Southfields, directly under the airport’s flight path , and her mission was to stop the development of a  third runway at Heathrow Airport .In the end she was only  able to prevent the government giving the green light in this parliament.

The question is now not when but how the Conservatives do a massive a u-turn on the third runway. It looks as if they want another enquiry to delay the decision until after the next election.

Patrick McLoughlin, who will take over as transport secretary, has declared he has an “open mind” on the expansion of Britain’s only hub airport, joining chancellor George Osborne in a cabinet which increasingly favours a third runway, with the business case trumping environmental concerns.

While the party will suffer in seats close to the airport, they have calculated the economic recovery must take precedence.

The business community has been baying for additional capacity to connect to growing markets in Asia and South America for years, and it now seems certain the Conservatives will include support for a third runway in their manifesto for the 2015 election.

Operating Heathrow as a ‘mixed-mode’ airport would increase capacity by as much as a quarter, but would again breach noise restrictions as planes approach from different directions.

Short-haul flights could also be barred from precious Heathrow landing slots, allowing only long-haul traffic to use limited resources. This might work in the short-term but is no solution.

Gatwick could be expanded, or even Stansted, with second runways at either. But, in reality, the UK can maintain only one hub airport.

‘Heathwick’ – a high-speed rail link between Gatwick and Heathrow – was swiftly rejected last year after being put forward by civil servants.

This would leave only  Boris’s fantasy island in the Thames.

Not only is the planned location in one of the most congested flight paths in Europe, on the approach to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, that path covers five separate Special Protection Areas packed with wildlife.

Environmentalists could delay the project for years, while birds would also be hazardous to planes.

Funding for the £40 billion project is also far from assured, with some even suggesting a levy on planes landing at Heathrow could be imposed: a hard sell to British Airways, which would effectively be asked to pay for the demolition of its established base.

As for the transport connections? After the years it took to have Crossrail approved, it is hard to imagine Boris Island and its required infrastructure being approved by 2050, if ever.

Brexit vote is a possibility in EU referendum on 23rd June 2016. The United Kingdom votes to either stay in the European Union or to leave it on 23rd June 2016 . Bitter divisons in the Conservative and Labour parties have been exposed in the debate leading up to the vote
Brexit vote is a possibility in EU referendum on 23rd June 2016. The United Kingdom votes to either stay in the European Union or to leave it on 23rd June 2016 . Bitter divisons in the Conservative and Labour parties have been exposed in the debate leading up to the vote

Outspoken as always, leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson rose to the challenge earlier, with a statement from the mayor exclaiming: “The third runway would mean more traffic, more noise, more pollution – and a serious reduction in the quality of life for hundreds of thousands of people.

“We will fight this all the way. Even if a third runway was built, it would not do the job of meeting Britain’s needs.

“If we are to remain Europe’s premier business hub we need a new four-runway airport, preferably to the east of London, that addresses the problem of aviation capacity before it is too late, and business is driven into the arms of our European competitors.”

From the point of view of airports in Scotland like Edinburgh and Glasgow, any development which brings more passengers into Britain would be a good thing as  a proportion of those flyers will terminate their journey in Scotland.

Edinburgh online

BAA agrees to sell Stansted Airport

Stansted airport is to be sold off after its owner BAA gave up on its long legal battle today.

The Spanish company, which recently lost a Court of Appeal ruling over the Essex airport, said it would not make a further appeal and accepts it has to sell it. The Competition Commission (CC) ruled that BAA must dispose of Gatwick, Stansted and one of its Scottish airports following an inquiry into the company’s airport ownership.

Gatwick was sold to Global Infrastructure Partnerships (GIP) in December 2009 and GIP also took over Edinburgh Airport last year.But then BAA mounted a series of legal challenges to the CC ruling, with the latest one – against the sale of Stansted – ending in defeat at the High Court in July this year.

After that latest loss, BAA said it would appeal to the Supreme Court but today the Spanish-owned company signalled an end to its fight to hang on to Stansted.

Book your airport taxi transfers online

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2190916/Stansted-Airport-sold-owners-BAA-concede-defeat-year-legal-battle.html#ixzz24B05B65l

Picasso too sexy for this airport?

On loan from the collections of the Tate over in London, Picasso’s Nude Woman in a Red Armchair is now on the wall at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. An airport advertisement  trying to get people excited for the new exhibit and to sell some tickets, but apparently the “provocative” display of modern art is not appropriate for an airport—at least according to some passengers.

Initially Edinburgh airport succumbed to the pressure from prude passengers, as they covered up the risqué reproduction. However, eventually they decided that people should be able to handle something like this, and they decided to let the advertisement and art do its thing.

Ironically the controversy has probably brought some attention to the exhibit and the museum, so  they’ll get their wish to sell even more tickets.The Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition runs through November 4 and tickets will cost £10.

Edinburgh Airport’s newest carrier awareness campaign

Air travel can be a stressful activity at the best of times but airlines have made the experience worse by the diverse rules that different companies have on hand luggage . Edinburgh Airport has launched a campaign to clarify the rules on hand luggage after two-fifths of holidaymakers claimed they didn’t know how many bags can be carried onto a flight.

The Scottish airport collected feedback from passengers and discovered 40% were left confused as some airlines operated different policies to others.

More than half (53%) of holidaymakers using the airport prefer to travel with just hand luggage, with fears over losing checked-in baggage underscoring the importance of travel insurance.

The findings have prompted the airport to respond with the launch of its ‘Edinburgh Airport’s newest carrier‘ awareness campaign this summer, which it hopes to clear up any confusion.

Attention has also been directed towards the airport’s free Shop & Collect Service, which offers passengers the chance to buy in one EU airport and collect at their destination.

Jim O’Sullivan, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said: “We’re reiterating the message that the vast majority of airlines allow passengers to take a bag of shopping on board in addition to their cabin baggage.”

Passengers can take a bag of shopping on-board in addition to hand luggage on all airlines with the exception of Ryanair.

The Irish carrier operates a strict one-piece of hand luggage policy. The Edinburgh Airport website has lots of useful information about flying including up-to-date arrival and departure times

Edinburgh Airport named best airport in Europe

Edinburgh Airport is not just Scotland’s busiest airport – it is also officially the best airport in Europe.

Edinburgh Airport was named “Best European airport: 5m – 10m passengers” at the eighth Annual Airports Council International awards in Madrid. The airport, which changed hands this month in a £807.2 million deal, was given the award for its focus on its customer base and the responses to the feedback that they provide.

Edinburgh held off competition from Cologne, Birmingham, Luton, Nice, Marseille and Milan to hold on to the title.

Chief executive Jim O’Sullivan, said: “This is an outstanding achievement. To win the prestigious award for the second consecutive year is impressive enough, but to do so whilst having the challenge of being sold is truly amazing.

“The team at Edinburgh airport is dedicated, focused and deserving of this accolade. We will keep working hard to deliver what our passengers want – great service and a diverse range of routes. That’s what’s at the core of this and last year’s success.”

Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) took ownership of the capital airport on June 1 after buying it from BAA in an arrangement announced in April. The airport is also busy because of the construction work taking place there at the moment. Edinburgh’s new tramline terminates at the airport and visitors to the airport will notice the end of the line being installed just a few yards from the terminal building.

BAA was forced to sell it after the Competition Commission ruled that it must sell either Glasgow or Edinburgh airport.

GIP is an independent infrastructure fund manager. It took over London City in 2006 and then bought Gatwick from BAA for £1.51 billion in 2009.

For visitors checking for late availability , Undiscovered Scotland offers an up to date list of hotels , guest houses and airport transfer services