Friday, 24 October 2008
Prestwick Airport scheduled traffic up
again as new expansion announced
By: Neil Richardson
Glasgow Prestwick Airport recorded a year-on-year rise in scheduled passenger traffic for the fifth consecutive month in September.
The result coincides with work beginning on a £1.7 million extension and refurbishment of the departure lounge area.
[Pictured: Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell.]
The airport is also about to lay out its vision for the future with the release of its draft Master Plan on Wednesday 29 October containing passenger and freight forecasts and detail on transport and infrastructure requirements to 2018 and 2033.
New seating and toilets will be provided for passengers as a result of the departure lounge project, with more space to ease congestion during busy periods.
The 214,436 passengers that used the Ayrshire airport in September took the year-to-date (April - September) total to 1,372,187 which represents a slight improvement on the same period in 2007.
Charter traffic fell in September due to the collapse of Seguro. This led to an overall drop in passenger numbers against September 2007, but scheduled traffic again showed an increase.
By contrast, in September Glasgow Abbotsinch saw passengers fall 11% year-on-year with its year-to-date total down 5.4% on last year.
Preliminary work has begun on the departure lounge work and the major construction phase will take place over the winter months.
Glasgow Prestwick Airport chief executive Mark Rodwell said: “The departure lounge extension and refurbishment is great news for our passengers, who will benefit from new facilities and more space.
“It is also necessary to cater for future passenger growth, which we will be highlighting in our draft Master Plan when it is released on Wednesday 29 October.
He added: “It’s very pleasing to record a rise in scheduled passenger traffic yet again, as it demonstrates the strength of our low-cost airline customers Ryanair, Wizz Air and Aer Arann.
“The fall in charter traffic is a disappointing but unavoidable result of the Seguro situation. We are actively talking to other charter operators at the present time and remain confident about the market potential at Glasgow Prestwick.”
Glasgow Prestwick Airport
Telephone Main Switchboard 0871 223 0700
From outside the UK 00 44 1292 511000
Information Desk 0871 223 0700 ext 1006
General Airport Enquiries
Commercial Freight Operations
Military, Charter and Tech Stop Enquiries
Property Leasing and Airport Advertising Enquiries
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Thursday, 23 October 2008
Ayr Town Centre Christmas lights all set to banish gloom
THE gloom that is perhaps being felt in some quarters at the present time will be well and truly dispelled next month as the Christmas lights are switched on in Ayr Town Centre.
South Ayrshire Council Provost Winifred Sloan (pictured below) will switch on the Christmas lights at a star studded event in Wellington Square in Ayr that starts at 3pm on Sunday 23 November 2008.
Speaking about the event, Provost Sloan said: “I would encourage everyone to make a note in their diary to come along to the event, which is absolutely free.
“This is a real family event, with something for people of all ages. The fun starts at 3pm and I will switch the lights on at 5pm.
“We have lined up some great entertainment. The Macdonald Brothers will be there, along with the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, DeVille, Magic Malky and the Paul McKenna Band.
“If you live in South Ayrshire, or know that you will be in Ayr on that date, come along, join in the fun and have a great time.”
Ayrshire Cancer Support are holding their Ayrshire Santa Dash, a 5km charity fun run and walk on the same day. This will start at the Citadel in Ayr and finish up at Wellington Square. Those taking part will be dressed in Santa suits, adding a real touch of colour to the festivities. Anyone who would like further information about the Ayrshire Santa Dash should telephone 01563 538008.
This year, for the first time, there will be a mobile LED screen in Wellington Square showing the event.
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Wednesday, 22 October 2008
Scotland’s economy continues to grow during global downturn
NEW GDP figures show that Scotland’s economy continued to grow in the second quarter of 2008 (April to June 2008).
Statistics show that Scottish GDP rose by 0.1 per cent over the quarter and by 1.8 per cent over the year.
In comparison, UK GDP remained flat at 0.0 per cent over the quarter and grew by 2.5 per cent over the year.
Commenting, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Sustainable Growth John Swinney (pictured above) said: “These figures show that Scotland’s economy, during huge global uncertainty earlier this year, was still growing, and at a marginally greater rate than the UK.
“But growth is clearly slowing, which is concerning, and undoubtedly reflects the impact of the global downturn on Scotland’s real economy.
“Economic events around the world have moved on considerably since the period of these statistics. Although we have areas of real strengths - like a strong, skilled labour market and vibrant energy and engineering sectors - we now need urgent measures to get the economy moving.
“The Scottish Government is doing all it can. Within our fixed budget we have already announced accelerated investment in affordable housing, and the Cabinet have identified a six-point programme to help business and hard pressed households.
“But these figures back our call for a significant programme of reflation from the UK Government to boost the wider economy, as they control the key economic levers that can make a real difference.
“We want to see further and deep cuts in interest rates and lower tax on energy bills over this winter. And in difficult times we need flexibility - that’s why the Treasury needs to relax its inflexible accounting rules so that we can access our unused money in UK bank accounts, such as the Fossil Fuel Levy and our own underspend, for investment in economic activity in Scotland now.”
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Tuesday, 21 October 2008
Clydesdale Bank unveils excellent set of annual financial results
By: Murdoch MacDonald
National Australia Bank Group, owner of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Banks, has released full year results for its UK operations for the 12 months to 30 September 2008.
2008 Highlights: Comparison with 12 months to 30 September 2007
• Cash earnings after tax up 2.5% to £249m
• Underlying Profit up 11.9% to £518m
• Pre-tax profit maintained at £343m
• Net interest income up 8.1% to £879m
• Three consecutive years of flat costs
• Cost Income ratio improved to 57.9% from 60.1% - down 220 basis points in the year
• Retail and longer term funding covered 85% of lending
• Clydesdale Bank PLC’s (CB) long-term credit rating maintained at AA- by Standard & Poors, Aa3 by Moodys and AA- by Fitch
• Average gross loans and acceptances increased 27.6% to £31.4bn (includes nabCapital transfer)
• Average retail deposit balances increased 16.7% to £18.2bn
• Robust asset quality with a well secured, diversified portfolio
• Mortgage balances 90 Days Past Due stable and less than half the UK industry average
• Provisions coverage ratio maintained at 1.07%
Chief executive Lynne Peacock said: “These results demonstrate the resilience of our UK business, which has continued to deliver a strong trading performance and sustained profitability in extremely challenging market conditions.
“Differentiated in the UK by our adherence to the sound principles of a traditional banking model, the prudent growth of our business has been supported by excellent cost control, a careful approach to funding as well as effective credit and risk management.
“The strong foundations of our Retail business underpinned excellent deposit growth balanced with good quality mortgage business acquisition. Business banking through our integrated Financial Solutions (iFS) centres also performed very well whilst fine-tuning its risk settings.
“On virtually every measure, the performance of our business compares very favourably in the current market and we remain resolutely focused on the prudent development of our business.”
Willie Mackie (pictured above) is managing partner of the Clydesdale Bank Financial Solutions Centre in Ayr, covering the whole of Ayrshire.
He said: “In the current economic climate it is pleasing to see Clydesdale Bank announce such a set of strong trading results.
“With a Core Tier 1 Capital Ratio of 7.6% we continue to take a consistent and disciplined strategic direction supported by our regional business model.
“Whilst the market conditions over the past 12 months have become increasingly challenging, we have seen our customer base in Ayrshire increase.
“With so much uncertainty around, it is important to keep as close to our customers as possible.
“Across our commercial, agricultural and private banking teams we are constantly out of the office supporting our clients as much as we can. Now more than ever businesses want banking decisions made quickly and locally.
“In my experience, people want to speak to the decision makers and discuss their own challenges and opportunities.
We will continue to do this in Ayrshire to the best of our ability.”
Financial Solutions Centre
43 Alloway Street
Ayr KA7 1SP
Contact: Willie Mackie, Managing Partner
Tel: 01292 272072
Fax: 01292 280202
National Australia Bank Group
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