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December 2006 issue

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Agency Survey
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Plans to reduce aviation emissions

Richard Branson, Chairperson of the Virgin Group, has pledged to invest US$3 billion from the profits of his transportation businesses into renewable energy initiatives, in order to help combat climate change over the next decade. He has also written to other airlines, engine manufacturers and airport operators urging them to support a cross-industry forum that will help deliver practical ways of tackling the problem of global warming.

Currently the global aviation industry contributes around two per cent of total carbon dioxide emissions and this figure is expected to rise in the future due to the expansion of air travel. Branson has calculated that this figure could be reduced to 1.5 per cent through the adoption of a series of measures such as the more efficient movement of aircraft around the world’s busiest airports.

“We need to accelerate the pace at which we reduce aviation’s impact on the environment,” said Branson in his letter. “We cannot ignore that aviation does create environmental problems, although equally it produces significant economic and social benefits.”

Some of Branson’s ideas for reducing carbon dioxide emissions include the creation of starting grids for all aicraft departures, where aircraft would be held near the runway before take-off, and an idea to transport aicraft to and from the runway so that they would only have to start their engines just before take-off. Europe’s 35 air traffic control systems could also be united in order to shorten flight routes.

Branson added that such measures would reduce fuel consumption and on-the-ground emissions by over 50 per cent at London’s Heathrow Airport and 90 per cent at JFK airport in New York.

Virgin Atlantic is currently discussing the changes with officials at Gatwick Airport in the UK and also wants to test the ideas at Los Angeles International Aiport in the USA.


New airport for Thailand

The long-awaited Suvarnabhumi Airport has opened for business in Bangkok, Thailand, after four decades of delays. The airport is the largest in Southeast Asia and was rushed into completion by the recently deposed Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra.

Oneworld alliance member airlines have all moved their services to Suvarnabhumi – which translates as the Golden Land – as well as all three of the carriers planning to join Oneworld next year. Cathay Pacific, British Airways, Qantas and Finnair all now service the new Bangkok hub, while Japan Airlines, Royal Jordanian and Malev are also operating services to the airport.

Some parts of the airport, however, remain unfinished with many airport lounges not due to be completed before the end of the year and a light rail train that will allow passengers to transfer to the airport from Bangkok city centre not due for completion before November 2007.

The government also plans to install high-tech fingerprint identification equipment as well as electronic passport control equipment at the new airport in order to improve security. Passengers using the airport would be asked to present their passports to be read by passport reading machines at two separate points before boarding their flights, said Immigration Police Commissioner, Lt. General Suwat Suwatsisakul. “This is to prevent the use of bogus passports,” he said, adding, “The machines are also connected to a database of wanted persons.”


No way for US to track exit visitors

Despite spending US$900 million on a database to track foreign travellers, the Department of Homeland Security still has no way of knowing how many visitors remain in the country illegally, as there is no way for visitors to check out when they leave the country.

The department is currently testing an exit system for visitors at 14 airports and two seaports, using hand held machines or kiosk checkouts, but there are no plans for a nationwide system until at least next year. Robert Mocny, Acting Director of US-Visit, the current visitor tracking system, said, “We’re not ready. We’re going to make sure before we put any exit system in place that we get it right.”

Currently visitors to the USA have their photographs and fingerprints logged electronically into a computer database and their names checked against criminal records and terrorist watch lists. Since US-Visit was launched three years ago, the authorities have recorded more than 64 million visits in their database.


Travel Update

The new eastern line of France’s TGV rail link opened in September this year, meaning that France and Germany are now linked by a high speed rail network. The journey between Strasbourg and Paris will now take two hours and 20 minutes instead of four hours, on trains travelling at 320 kilometres per hour. The completion of the eastern line was timed to coincide with the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the opening of the first TGV between Paris and Lyon in 1981.

A visa policy change in Malaysia means that visitors who were previously required to apply for a visa before entering the country will instead by issued a visa on arrival. The new system was introduced in order to make the visa process easier and attract more foreign tourists into the country. The ‘visa on arrival’ facility is available for travellers on vacation who are staying in the country for less than 30 days.

Central and Eastern European low-cost carrier, Wizz Air, has announced new flights to Belfast in Northern Ireland from Katowice and Warsaw in Poland. Jozsef Varadi, Chief Executive Officer at Wizz Air, said, “This news is only the first step of a series of new route openings from Poland. Shortly we will be announcing further new destinations as details of the extended summer 2007 schedule.” Poland’s air links with the Republic of Ireland were also extended in October as Polish low-cost carrier Centralwings announced three new direct flights to Cork from Krakow and Wroclaw and to Shannon from Gdansk.

A new air service between Seoul and Guangzhou in Southern China has been launched after the governments of South Korea and China made an agreement to increase flights between the two countries. The Korean Air flights will depart from Incheon airport in Seoul four times a week.

Virgin Atlantic has announced an agreement with All Nippon Airways (ANA) that will allow Virgin Atlantic passengers to fly onwards in Japan on ANA’s domestic services. The deal will also allow ANA travellers to fly on Virgin Atlantic services from ANA destinations on the Virgin route network. Willy Boulter, Commercial Director at Virgin Atlantic, said, “The agreement will offer a greater choice to customers travelling from Japan, the UK and the USA.”

The number of international passengers arriving in Spain on low-cost flights increased by 13.2 per cent in August this year, according to government figures. In total, 1.8 million visitors travelled to Spain on flights operated by low-cost airlines in August, 30.2 per cent of all passengers.

Turkish Airlines has begun a daily service between London Stansted in the UK and Istanbul in Turkey. The Istanbul hub is firmly established as a transit gateway to the Far East, Middle East and America.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


ASSOCIATIONS/
GROUPS
Belta
English Australia
Fedele
Ialc
MEI-Relsa
Quality English

STUDENT WEBSITES
language-
       programs.net

TOURIST BOARDS
Fedele/Turlingua
Malta Tourism
       Authority

WORK EXPERIENCE/
INTERNSHIPS
Access
       International
Anglolang Academy
       of English
Aspect
Auckland English
       Academy
Cambridge Academy
       of English
Cape Studies -
       Pacific Gateway
       Study Group
Churchill House
Cork English College
Eastbourne School
       of English
Eckersley School of
       English
Excel English
Frances King
Kaplan Educational
       Centers
Lake School of
       English
Languages
       International
Malvern House
Modus Language
       Institute
Monash University
Prolog- International
       House Berlin
Rotorua English
       Language Academy
Tellus Group / Work
       Experience UK
University of
       California San Diego
Vancouver English
       Centre

WORKSHOPS/EXPOS
Belta
English Australia
IALC
MEI-Relsa

AUSTRALIA
English Australia
Monash University

CANADA
Access International
Immersion Baie-des-
       Chaleurs
Modus Language
       Institute
Vancouver English
       Centre

CHINA
Mandarin House

ENGLAND
Anglolang Academy
       of English
Aspect (Australia,
       Canada, England,
       France, Germany,
       Ireland, Malta,
       New Zealand,
       Scotland, South
       Africa, Spain, USA)
Beet Language
       Centre
Bell International
       (Malta, UK)
Cambridge Academy
       of English
Churchill House
Cicero Languages
       Int.
Eastbourne School
       of English
Eckersley School of
       English
English Language
       Centre Brighton
       & Hove
Excel English
       Language School
Frances King School
       of English
Ialc
Lake School of
       English
LAL Language and
       Leisure
       (England, Malta,
       South Africa, USA)
London School of
       English
Malvern House
Millfield Enterprises
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's
       College
Study Group
       (Australia, Canada,
       England, France,
       Germany, Ireland,
       Italy, New Zealand,
       South Africa,
       Spain, USA)
Tellus Group
West London
       Business College
Wimbledon School
       of English

GERMANY
Prolog- International
       House Berlin

IRELAND
Cork English College
       /Language &
       Activity Holidays
Galway Cultural
       Institute
Linguaviva Centre
MEI-Relsa

MALTA
Malta Tourism
       Authority

NEW ZEALAND
Auckland English
       Academy
Languages
       International
Rotorua English
       Language Academy

POLAND
York School

RUSSIA
Liden & Denz
       Language Centre

SCOTLAND
Stirling University

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Studies -
       Pacific Gateway
       Study Group
Good Hope Studies
Interlink School of
       Languages

SPAIN
Fedele/Turlingua

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
       Colleges Ltd

USA
American Language
       Communication
       Center
Brown University
California State
       University Fullerton
ELS Language
       Centers
Kaplan Educational
       Centers (Canada,
       England, USA)
Monterey Institute of
       International
       Studies
University of
       California Riverside
University of
       California San Diego
University of
       California Santa
       Cruz
Zoni Language
       Centers