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Financial Times "Main gripe of City Leaders is airport hassles"

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Financial Times "Main gripe of City Leaders is airport hassles"

Old 10th May 2007, 09:38
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Financial Times "Main gripe of City Leaders is airport hassles"

Main gripe of City leaders is airport hassles
Financial Times, Thursday May 10th, 2007

Gordon Brown is on the point of achieving his ambition by succeeding Tony Blair as prime minister, but the burning question for many City leaders at yesterday's Downing Street summit was more mundane. 'Heathrow hassle' - the difficulties faced by executives when flying in or out of London's airports - contrasts unfavourably with the less onerous security measures and more congenial welcome for visitors to other financial centres. One of the three dozen or so members of the chancellor's high-level group on financial services spoke of having two of his four sets of contact lenses confiscated at check-in because of regulations about carrying liquids on to aircraft that are not much enforced outside the European Union.
Another asked what training in customer service was given to immigration staff, suspecting that they aspired to emulate their famously truculent counterparts in the US.

Such infrastructure problems remain concerns for the great and the good of the City, who are hoping the next meeting of the group will yield some answers.While there is appreciation for ministers' willingness to listen and the progress being made on overhauling the City's financial infrastructure, business leaders want to see progress by the next meeting in the autumn.
'Transport is everybody's favourite whipping boy,' said one participant. 'Everybody's fed up with Heathrow, everybody's fed up with the lack of (the proposed east-west rail link in London) Crossrail, everybody's fed up with traffic.'

Much of yesterday's meeting was taken up with reports from working groups set up to identify bottlenecks that damage London's competitiveness as a financial centre. Lord Levene, chairman of Lloyd's, set out initiatives to strengthen the general insurance market, saying he would work withthe government to streamline underwriting and increase the pool of insurance talent.

Ed Balls, City minister, reported on concerns raised by the Investment Management Association at the tendency of new funds to base themselves in Dublin or Luxembourg. The Treasury was working on tax and legal changes that would make London a more competitive environment for asset managers, he said.Mr Balls also launched the prospectus for a new International Centre for Financial Regulation, which has drawn backing from most of London's big investment banks.

Andrew Cahn, chief executive of UK Trade & Investment, reviewed progress on promoting UK-based financial services overseas. This will include branding the industry as 'The City'.On Crossrail, the terse response was that the case for it had been accepted.

The Treasury said the funding issues were significant, but it was confident that a way through would be found. The issue has been deferred to the next meeting, when the comprehensive spending review will have been published - allowing Mr Brown's successor as chancellor the opportunity to show the government can deliver on physical infrastructure, as well as the financial plumbing.
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Old 10th May 2007, 11:07
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Thumbs up The more attention this gets - the better!

Nice post!
For all of us that have to work and/or live in the Infrastructural / part-specious-Security environment that is the SE UK & London (esp. for air travel), it's a source of hope to see the City Moguls lining up to greet GB with their publicity baseball bats at the carry!
Hope this is the start of some serious heat for GB, as his legacy as Chancellor starts to come home to roost, just before he get's the address change to next door...
It appears confirmation as PM, assuming no late contestants emerge, would happen 7 weeks after Blair slips him one of the greatest spinning wet Gilberts in recent political history.
Suspect we will see a push for a vote of no confidence, hopefully very soon after - if only...
Am not concerned with which party grips the infrastructural/security problems here - rather that the lobby to get some movement forward gains strength - UNDER 5 YRS TILL THE LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS!
For starters, force BAA to sort the flows through the Terminals esp. LHR - of course we want the best security but the necessary manpower, machines & training MUST be provided to avoid the current scleroses.
Allow drive-through cx-in/security to jet for more prem customers - sod the BAA franchise funnel scam.
NIKE 3rd RWY/T6 at LHR & 2nd at LGW, STN etc.
Eurostar link Ashford-LGW-LHR T5-mainline railways W & N.
Er, that's just what came to mind during my ranting self-therapy!!!
Message reads: IT'S ABOUT TIME! (puns intended)
Feel a lot better now
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Old 10th May 2007, 11:20
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I always thought that UK security was a total pedantic, bone, pain in the bum (or Lulsgate Bottom). That was until last Monday, though. Tegel and Frankfurt are the only places on the planet where I've had to put my wallet, passport and totally see through plastic biro through the X-Ray machine. Thank you Germany for your fine contribution towards making air transport that much more blood pressure raising and marginally "safer".

Incidentally, did I mention that some months earlier I had my Leatherman multitool confiscated by the Waterloo Eurostar Gestapo? I could have maliciously dismantled the train?
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Old 10th May 2007, 12:12
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disagree, quit spending money on London/SE

actually I go totally the other way, and say quit spending any money whatsoever on transport or any other economic development south of Nottingham.

Why? Cos I spend time down there and the whole south of england is massively wealthy, massively crowded with population and massively stuffed with nice corporate jobs. All we have up north is call center's and back office civil service rubbish jobs like Tax Credit's in Preston.

Why does it make any sense creating the infrastructure to cram more and and more people into such a small size, and condemn people to massive commutes from outer regions.

Just start writing all policies to say any new developments of proper jobs must occur north of Notthingham!

Whenever you talk to anybody working in London, it generally transpires that the worker originates from Scotland, or Newcastle or someplace and has moved to London for a better job!

G
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Old 10th May 2007, 12:15
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So why / how were you going to do more harm to the Eurostar than the SW Trains train you arrived at Waterloo on ???


Last edited by Dave Gittins; 10th May 2007 at 16:25.
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Old 10th May 2007, 12:31
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If you tried to hold up/delay a SW train with a bazooka you would be pummelled to death in about 23.5 seconds....don't mess with the Mr.Angrys of Motspur Park on the 07:56 to Waterloo!
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Old 10th May 2007, 13:00
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Heathrow should know that anybody I know in Asia that goes to Europe on business avoids that airport like the plague. No one likes it - it is known as Thiefrow. Now I aren't a big fat cat rich business person and I don't own a huge chunk of a bank or multinational company but when every single customer or supplier I speak to prefers to use another 'hub' rather than LHR then something isn't right.
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Old 10th May 2007, 13:58
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Exactly, LT - and not just the people coming in. I and many others in Ireland avoid it like the plague going out anywhere for the same reason, especially due to smaller hand luggage restrictions, and since the idjits in Aer Lingus won't let us check our luggage through any more - which means going landside and queueing up again to get in for many carriers. "Strategic slots" my hump - give me Schipol anyday.
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Old 10th May 2007, 17:07
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LHR Deterrent Hub

Spot on, gents - as a pilot on short- and long-haul based LHR for 6 years and frequent flyer/air commuter into 'the building site with 2 runways and 4.5 terminals attached' I have huge sympathy with the 'customer' - especially when they have to endure the place often as with many prem pax.
Much of their travelling time is extracted from sleeping hours/ time at home with family and I can only think of a single positive contribution that the BAA & HMG have made in recent years to their plight: the IRIS trial - sadly a mere drop in the ocean compared to all the DISadvantages inflicted upon the very people whose efforts make a huge contribution to Euro/UK economies...
LHR especially is the greatest hub-deterrent outside the US, even though it is not exposed to the weather assaults that occur across the Atlantic.
Reiterating, 2012 looms large on the horizon - the perceptions stated above that many groups of travellers will avoid LHR as far as possible says it all really. If only HMG could be held to account... DO GET A GRIP!
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Old 11th May 2007, 07:42
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I always thought that UK security was a total pedantic, bone, pain in the bum (or Lulsgate Bottom). That was until last Monday, though. Tegel and Frankfurt are the only places on the planet where I've had to put my wallet, passport and totally see through plastic biro through the X-Ray machine.
To be fair, you could have been concealing a small blade in either of them. I always put all my stuff through, it's easier than potential arguments and delays.

That said, LHR security on Monday did not notice a decongestent nose spray in the side of my bag I had forgotten about...

Incidentally, did I mention that some months earlier I had my Leatherman multitool confiscated by the Waterloo Eurostar Gestapo? I could have maliciously dismantled the train?
The Waterloo business annoys me, because unlike on a plane you can't check stuff in, and because you're really not going to cause any problems with a small blade on a train. Indeed, parts of Eurostar's website say that any blade that is legal to carry on the street in the UK (there is a maximum length) is permitted. The X-ray carnival there was specifically aimed at catching people with IRA bombs.
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Old 11th May 2007, 09:33
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saw somewhere recently that CAA have plans in pipeline to have BAA process a passenger through security in under 5mins....

was in relation to the fact that people see BAA as trying to get people to the airport earlier just so they can SHOP !.....can't think where they get that idea from :-)
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Old 11th May 2007, 12:50
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"Another asked what training in customer service was given to immigration staff, suspecting that they aspired to emulate their famously truculent counterparts in the US."

I can't vouch for immigration staff training. But was at LHR1 yesterday going through security when a very energetic and smiling hi-viz wearer was upsetting a lot of people by making all sorts of 'stupid' demands.

As tensions rose one lady ahead of me testily retorted "You could at least say please!"

To which he replied. "No, I can't, we've been trained not to say 'Please'. We just have to give orders and you have to follow them."

"So what about customer service training?"

"I dunno, not my problem. I'm just doing what I've been told to do by my bosses."

At least he had a smile and was enthused with his job. Or maybe he was just high on something.
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Old 14th May 2007, 21:29
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So how long did it take for some poor traveller to be pushed too far and punch his lights out?

This security thing is way out of control.

MoJo
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