This week: Ankara grounds Syrian plane, Ryanair out of Stansted bid

We try to stay out of global politics, however, when those politics affect flying passengers at airports around the world, we surely want to report it. So this week we have a story involving troubled Syria for you. Other than that we found more of the “regular” news bites from Dubai, Taipei and Glasgow.

On Wednesday the Washington Post reported that Turkish jets forced a Syrian passenger plane to land at Ankara airport (ESB) on suspicion that it might be carrying weapons or other military equipment, amid heightened tensions between Turkey and Syria that have sparked fears of a wider regional conflict. Today ABC News followed up by stating that Syria had imposed a ban on all Turkish civilian planes from flying in its air space following a similar Turkish ban on Syrian flights.

Moving on to Glasgow where the BBC reported this week that about 60 passengers had to leave a plane by emergency chutes at Glasgow Airport (GLA) after the cabin began to fill with smoke. According to the article the Thomas Cook flight from Dalaman in Turkey (DLM) had landed as normal when the alarm was raised as passengers were disembarking on Thursday evening. The airline later confirmed that everyone is okay.

An unusual disruption hit Dubai this week when ABC News reported that flights were snarled at the Middle East’s busiest airport in Dubai (DXB) early Wednesday after a backup system needed to deal with heavy fog failed, forcing airlines to divert dozens of planes. In the news article the airport operator, Dubai Airports, said it shut the facility’s two runways during the busy morning rush at 6:45 a.m. About 50 flights were rerouted to other airports in the region, including Abu Dhabi, Dammam in Saudi Arabia, and the Omani capital Muscat.

Do you still remember when we reported Ryanair’s intentions to buy London’s Stansted airport two months ago? Well, this week the Financial Times reported that Ryanair has bowed out of the competition to buy Stansted airport (STN) after saying that owner BAA had indicated it would not sell the facility to any bidding consortium that included the low-cost carrier. According to the article UK competition authorities would have blocked the airline from taking any more than a 25 per cent stake in the airport and could have thrown up problems even for a smaller shareholding.

We’ve always been a fan of Taipei’s Taoyuan Airport (TPE), especially because of it’s unique Hello Kitty departure lounge (see our Taipei Hello Kitty lounge blog here). Now that same lounge has brought the airport into the top 10 “traveler-friendliest” airports in the world voted by travel website Amadeus and reported in the Taipei Times. Some of the other airports on the Amadeus Top 10 list are Incheon International Airport in South Korea, Changi International Airport in Singapore, Portland International Airport, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam and Vancouver International Airport.

And now to our final story of the week which is a bit of a weird one and one that we have quite strong feelings about: The Herald Sun reported this week that more and more airline passengers are faking disabilities to skip to the front of the boarding queue. Apparently the practice is now so common airline staff have coined the phrase “miracle flights” –  to describe how some passengers need a wheelchair to board the plane but then suddenly on departure their legs seem to work. We feel this is gross behaviour as it discredits those people that really need these services.

There you go – we said it. Now we’re going to be quiet. Read you again next week; safe travels!

[Photo from Wikipedia – some rights reserved]