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LEEDS - 4

Old 5th Jun 2007, 10:17
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LEEDS - 4

A couple of gems from today's Yorkshire Post's business pages.
Looks like I was right about the anti-climax of the RYR announcement!
682

PRIVATE equity group Bridgepoint's purchase of Leeds Bradford Airport appears to have been well received. It has made all the right noises about expanding the airport, spending serious dosh on it and pushing it forward to become a really good regional airport.

The decision by managing director Ed Anderson to stand down was a surprise. The move was bound to be linked to news which emerged just a few days earlier that the chief executive of Newcastle Airport has resigned amid claims he has links to Bridgepoint.

His name is John Parkin but he's no relation. Mind you, even if he was, knowing my luck I'd have been the last to know.

When I spoke to Ed Anderson about his departure he played a straight bat and said the decision was entirely his.

He is staying on until a successor arrives which would appear to discount any suggestion that he has been eased out by the new owners.


ONE area where the airport needs major changes was highlighted last week. I received a rather breathless phone call from its marketing department about a "major announcement" by the Irish airline Ryanair the following day.

No details could be revealed ahead of a press conference the next day.

Was it big news? Yes, I was told. Was it more than one destination? They couldn't reveal that information but a Powerpoint presentation was planned.

I could hardly control myself. Could it be Rimini, Sardinia, Porto, Santander or Carcassonne some of the many European destinations Ryanair flies to from other UK regional airports? Common sense prevailed and I didn't make the trek up to the airport.

I later learned from a colleague that the announcement was about Ryanair adding a route from Leeds to Shannon in Ireland.

The sooner Bridgepoint can get a grip of the airport and raise its sights the better. It has had a local authority mentality for far too long.



Continuation of: http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthr...246541&page=17
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Old 5th Jun 2007, 11:16
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Could have been worse 682 like the opening of another nail bar.
As said many times by me, being run like our local parish airport.
It needs a good clear out.
I don`t think Sir Graham will spend all day polishing his OBE then fly to Glasgow to present an award then forget to take the award with him.
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Old 19th Jun 2007, 20:42
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LBA

Is there another airport in the UK or even the world which is so understaffed like LBA.
For the year leading upto the sale we were all told that due to due dilligence etc staff were not being replaced until the sale went through, now we get the line that "just because Br*dgepoint have taken over, doesn't mean we can just set people on".
Nearly every single department there is understaffed and morale is at rock bottom.
Our fantastic international airport struggles by day in day out with 1 (one) cleaner airside and 1 landside.
It's no suprise that the place looks a dump.
Operationally it's no better and can anyone else tell me an airport that is prepared to go as low as 1 electrician on shift to look after both the terminal and airfield?
I just hope that Br*dgepoint will set on some consultants that can see through the bull that the current management come out with and have a clearout or get them performing like they never have before.
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Old 19th Jun 2007, 22:32
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Toilets disgusting and falling to bits like the rest of the place.
Probably will cost the 70m just to clean the place.
Still, at least the part time MD has a decent salary.I bet he has a key to the executive toilet.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 15:12
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The last few times I have used it, I have been more concerned at the level of overcrowding rather than a lack of cleanliness. It is certainly no worse than Manchester Terminal 1 or 3 (....OK, I know that's hardly a compliment but it puts things in perspective).
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 18:23
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I'm spending more time on the apron these days and my real concern is the lack of boarding and arrival gates commensurate with the number of stands. It's not uncommon now for a competition to arise between handling agents to embark or disembark their flights first and consequently for pax to be stuck on their aircraft or in the departure lounge. Add the complications of pax requiring wheelchair assistance and coach boarding/disembarkation and you've got a real farce. It would be funny if it didn't reflect so badly on our airport.

Sorry but this sort of thing really gets up my nose. God knows what the passengers must think sometimes.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 19:39
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Exactly

Just flown from LBA what a farce at boarding went upstairs to the mezzaine above the Take off Cafe.We qued all the way up the stairs some elderly people and young children , a lift that works when it feels like it .Stood upstairs 5 mins and then brought back down stairs out on to the apron .I felt so sorry for the elderly .I think the gate is numbered 5a .Come on Bridgepoint all you need to do is extend along down the apron even porta cabins all the way down to stand 15 would help move the apron road to accomadate cabins
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 20:37
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A quick fix would be to construct one of those prefabricated tubular pier-type structures on stilts (as per the LHR Terminal one northern? pier - the on that goes up to about gate 76) out to the end of the main apron from the present white rose food court area. This could accomodate several departure gates with seating and jetways. It wouldn't win many design awards but would do the job.
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Old 20th Jun 2007, 21:26
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The wonderful Gate 5A for the Ryanair and FlyBe Belfast flights!

Actually works well for the Ryanair flights, as you actually have somewhere to hold the pax before boarding, speeds things up.

Mooncrest, so so true! Every word!
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Old 22nd Jun 2007, 01:46
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bridgepoint

one thing i think we should all understand is that bridgepoint won't pay out for something unless there is a good return for them.
for instance, david blunkett could see that the runway needs "a bit of work on it" and most of us would like a runway extension of some sorts to hopefully one day give us at least one transatlantic flight. but sadly the outlay is too great and you get very little in return.
it amazes me that we ever went cat 3 when you weigh up the cost of everything compared to the revenue would would get back in fees etc.
from what we hear so far the best we can hope for is extra retail space because they get a good return on that.
and get ready for the existing food village to become airside.

one rumour going round is that due to the redevopment of the terminal front that there will be no drop off point and that every car will have to take a trip through a car park for which there is no free parking or grace period.

kerching. show me the money.
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Old 22nd Jun 2007, 16:20
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And another thing ! It's not just lack of gates but passenger walkways outside. For the benefit of those not in the know we have a crackpot system at LBA where the (note singular) walkway comes to an end at stand 11. Don't ask me why, it just does.This means that pax whose aircraft are parked stand 12 downwards have to be bussed to and from the terminal. For a 757 aircraft that can mean up to five buses for a single flight, buses which, incidentally, are driven by ramp operatives whose main task is baggage handling. They can't do both at once, hence more delays for the pax, our customers, our bread and butter. A complete nonsense. And being a single walkway no more than about three feet wide, it can only be used by one flight at once and this is happening more and more. Sometimes it's like the Dark Ages at LBA. Makes one wonder if the clown who designed the apron and walkway is a distant relative of the moron who decided the San Andreas fault would be a great place to build San Francisco.
bobleeds might be on to something with this prefab idea although it would worry me to have more tin and canvas buildings on the airport. I really hope Bridgepoint do something before too long and folk start voting with their feet. For a supposedly progressive regional airport, it's a shambles. Bring on the new terminal... PLEASE !!
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Old 23rd Jun 2007, 21:27
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Posts: 9 A quick fix would be to construct one of those prefabricated tubular pier-type structures on stilts (as per the LHR Terminal one northern? pier - the on that goes up to about gate 76) out to the end of the main apron from the present white rose food court area. This could accomodate several departure gates with seating and jetways. It wouldn't win many design awards but would do the job

I would agree with bobleeds comments above, I beleive JETBLUE @JFK had this portacabin construction done as tempo while there new build was done around the infamous TWA building. I also have witnessed the building of a hospitlal extension built from this system with three double theatres and three wards. the portacabins came on low loaders from York and basically bolted totegther and clad round with 12months and running at the BRI, so tunnel with lighting and seats etc should be no problem ??. and the BRI was givern a 30 year life.
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 19:24
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The facilities at LBA are poor in places. I believe there is a reason for it, which is not one that places all the blame on the door of the management.

In 1989/90 at the height of the Capital / Air UK dog-fight, LBA was close to handling 1m passengers. In 2002 passenger numbers were 1.5m. So growth of half a million passengers in 12 years - which basically amounted to the Ryanair Dublin service and the 2 summer charter units post 24H ops. 6 or 7 extra departures per day, nicely phased through the day (and night of course) was hardly going to put pressure on the infrastructure.

Then along comes the real boom in low-cost and coupled with the myriad of industry issues post 9/11, regional airports are left with the requirement to lower fees to get growth and change their business models to earn revenue from non-airline fees such as car parking and retail concessions. LBA gets in on the act with Jet2; passenger numbers grow by half a million in 2003(just to reinforce - that's the past 12 years of growth in just 1 year) but finds itself facing the paradox of being successful while profits are falling.

Unlike most of the other regional airports, it has no capital support from its shareholder (the local councils) and so has to fund expansion through its own profits or via commercial loans - the size of which is determined by profitability. But profitability is falling due to 9/11 issues and the crux of the issue is how to fund the expansion it needs to continue the passenger growth. The answer is to do things on the cheap. Check in hall B, tents on the apron, piecemeal extensions to departures etc are all the results of this fundamental strcutural issue with the airport's ownership which has been exposed by changes brought about by the airport / airline market. Arguably this was the only course of action available.

The root of the problem has therefore laid with the local councils who should have either provided capital to fund the business or, if they couldn't, sold to someone who could. The problem is they took the "do nothing" option, which wasn't a tenable option at all. Let's not forget that as recently as March 2004 the then ruling Labour group in Leeds overturned a motion calling for a feasibility study into the relative merits of private or public ownesrhip - this despite the issues discussed above being plain for all to see.

Thankfully common sense prevailed. 5 if not 10 years later than it should, but here we are. Of course the actual sale process will inevitably have resulted in some delays to further 'on the cheap; terminal extensions that may well have eliminated some of the current capacity issues and it will have put route development on hold as well. A case of one step back for a good few forward hopefully. Bridgepoint have had the keys for 7 weeks now and are actively recruiting a new MD who will be their man on the ground and will be entrusted with the job of getting the return on the 145m purchase price and the 70 investment pot. I'm not sure why people expect anything to happen or have happened so soon after the sale and turning the exisitng mish-mash layout of ther terminal into something that is fit for purpose and future-proofed will need some careful planning. Surely winter 07/08 for readiness for summer 08 is the very best that can be expected and I wouldn't be surprised to see more work over winter 08/09.

No-one is going to start ripping things up during the summer season so it will just have to cope the best it can.
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 19:30
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Top post, 682. This is probably one of the most incisive assessments of what has occurred at LBIA over the recent past.

The only point I would take issue with is the new MD being 'their man on the ground'. It might be a woman....
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 09:09
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I agree with Rob 682 post are always well written and well thought out unlike the jibberish. I tend to post.

We all know that Bridgepoint wants to add more retail to the airport. I hope they don't go the way of Leeds railway station when almost all the shops are places where you can only buy expensive coffee, and all run by Service Select Partners.

Also where are these units to go, If you look at Superdrug it blocks Domestic arrivals.


Big T
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 10:41
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Passenger traffic has been increasing at LBA for the last four or so years. With Jet2 continually expanding their fleet and destinations during this time there has arguably been adequate time for the incumbent management to improve passenger facilities and get ahead of the game. Proactivity as opposed to reactivity, as it were. But we have seen only piecemeal changes.

I feel this relative inactivity has caught the airport out, hence the frequently messy busy periods I am witnessing these days.

I hope things improve before too long.
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 12:35
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According to the Jet2 website, the winter Ski service to Geneva will continue into a summer 2008 to provide the first year round service into GVA. On sale Weds. The same news article also suggests there will be more 757 flights to GVA this winter and that (some / all??) CMF services will be upgraded to 757 too. Not too many regular operators into CMF with the 75' I believe.

Mooncrest - as I said, too easy to blame the management. We'll now never know what Ed would have done with the war chest that his successor will have, but do you really believe it would involve tents, portacabins etc.
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 13:20
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Yes, an excellent post 682.
I was wondering though, which infrastucture improvement will increase passenger numbers? It wont be the shops,it wont be the enlarged terminal. So just what could it be. To me, it comes back to the same old boring subject.Runway improvement.As far as I can see, is the only change that would bring new operators.Am I right?Or am I wrong?
I really dont know.

wawkrk
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 16:32
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And being a single walkway no more than about three feet wide, it can only be used by one flight at once and this is happening more and more. Sometimes it's like the Dark Ages at LBA. Makes one wonder if the clown who designed the apron and walkway is a distant relative of the moron who decided the San Andreas fault would be a great place to build San Francisco.
Here, here. This raises it's ugly head almost every afternoon, when the Ryanair arrives just after a Jet2 757 commences boarding. Means that the FR is often delayed because passengers cannot 'cross board'.
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 19:23
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I remember one time being held at the door on the KLM so we could not dissembark.Sorry to say but a very primitive guy on the apron held us back.
He said he was boarding the Ryanair and he did not want any KLM passengers to board by mistake instead of going into the terminal.
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