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Sudden Spanair shut-down strands passengers
29 January 2012

Source: RTE news

Passengers have been stranded at Spanish airports after the airline Spanair abruptly went bust, cancelling all its future flights with a half an hour's notice.

"The company has decided to cease its operations as a measure of caution and safety," Spanair said in a statement late on Friday, citing a poor financial outlook.

Its last scheduled flight landed half an hour after the statement was issued leaving rivals such as Iberia, Vueling and Easyjet to take passengers stranded by the airline, which runs flights within Spain and to Europe and Africa.

Spanish media said at least 22,000 passengers were affected over the weekend.

Airports authority AENA said special lounges had been allocated for Spanair customers, who were being allocated to other airlines, but they had to buy their tickets.

"They told me now I have to buy another ticket. I have no money. How can I?" one angry man told Spanish television.

The public works ministry said there were 647 Spanair flights cancelled between Saturday and Monday while yesterday about 170 passengers were stuck at an airport in Mali, a similar number in Gambia and others in Morocco.

The ministry did not have figures for the number of people stuck in its European destinations such as France and Germany.

Spanair spokespeople were not available on Saturday to confirm the figures.

The airline said in its statement: "The Spanair management regrets this and apologises to all those people who are affected by this situation."

The Spanish government said it was taking disciplinary action against Spanair for breaching rules on continuity of services and passengers' rights in the course of its sudden shutdown, and may fine it up to 9 million euros.

The public works ministry said in a statement it was launching "sanction proceedings for two serious breaches of the Air Safety Law which could lead to fines of 4.5 million euros in each case."

"The ministry will not cease until those who failed to fulfill the norms and trampled on the rights of citizens takes full responsibility," public works minister Ana Pastor told a news conference.

Spanair, which was founded in 1986 and has about 2,000 staff, had tried to survive by a tie-up with Qatar Airways which fell through.



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Car hire firms in Spain being investigated!!
29 January 2012

Source: http://www.finanzas.com/noticias/economia/2012-01-16/637038_economia-motor-competencia-abre-expediente.html

MADRID, 16 (IRIN)

Research Bureau of the National Competition Commission (CNC) has initiated disciplinary proceedings against various companies and industry associations hire without a driver by a possible anti-competitive conduct, the agency said in a statement.

The CNC has opened proceedings against companies: Auriga Crown Car Hire, Bardon and Rufo 67, Centauro Rent-a-car, Car Rental Drivalia and on Goldcar Spain, Helle Auto, Costa del Sol New Cars, Nice Cars, Record- Go Sun Mar Vacation Rentals and Car Rental.

They have also been included in this dossier Car Rental Victoria, CARGEST, Dickmanns Rent a Car, Rent a Car Guerin, IDAPI, Prima Rent a Car and AECA organizations (Association of Car Rental Business in Andalusia) and the Association of Entrepreneurs Auto Rental (Aesva).

The governing body Bernaldo de Quiros Joaquin Garcia said that these entities may have adopted agreements for specific pricing and trading conditions in the market for car rental without driver in the country.

The CNC said that this behavior is considered a violation "very serious", which could mean a fine of up to 10% of the total turnover of the infringing organizations "in the year immediately preceding the imposition of the fine."

The Commission decided to initiate a confidential report to determine, first, the concurrence of circumstances to justify the initiation of disciplinary proceedings. Following this information, it was agreed to inspections at the premises of businesses and associations on October 27, 2011 and January 11, 2012.

Competition explained that, in this way opens a maximum of 18 months for the instruction of the disciplinary proceedings and their resolution by the Council of the National Competition Commission.



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Auriga car hire
27 January 2012

Apparently, Auriga have ceased trading 'with immediate effect'.

Someone posted on another forum they'd just received an email.



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Find people to share your airport transfer with https://www.transferwithme.com/
27 January 2012

From Alicante airport  click here

From San Javier airport  click here

Check from other airports  click here

As featured on BBC World Service  click here for video



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Focus on plight of expats in BBC programme 5th February
27 January 2012

EXPATS LIVING on the Costa Blanca will feature in a BBC programme as they struggle to cope in the ongoing Eurozone crisis.

A team from BBC Look East visited the coast this week to investigate the affects of the Spanish recession and found there were stories of hard times but no panic.
 

And RTN was invited to join the debate to give an overview of the situation as the area’s favourite free newspaper, meeting Andrew Sinclair, the BBC Political Correspondent for East Anglia.

Andrew explained he felt it was time to tell the story of British citizens who had moved to the sun but now struggling to cope in the recession and with sterling’s value depressed against the euro.
 

“It struck me there has been a lot of reporting in the UK about the impact ongoing euro crisis is having on holiday businesses and British businesses in general,” he said. “But no one was saying how the crisis was affecting expats, people who came out here to Spain to get away from all the problems in the world and we have found there is some real hardship out there.”

CLASS
He said expats were keen to point out they were not “stinking rich”, adding “a lot of people we spoke to were very much working class, they didn’t have large fortunes to bring to Spain but felt they could do better for themselves than just living on a council estate”.
 

Andrew added: “They were telling us: ‘don’t think we are rich millionaires, we are trying to make a better life for ourselves and it is a struggle’.
 

“I am not trying to paint a picture of how terrible life is out here – it’s not. But there is concern and worry about the crisis.”
Andrew said the Foreign Office had confirmed there were contingency plans being drawn up in the UK if “the balloon went up” and there was a widespread panic return to Britain.

He said that was obviously a worst case scenario and the programme was likely to feature people explaining how they were making ends meet or how they were unable to return home for health reasons because their money was tied up in property and they could not sell up.
 

The report is scheduled to be screened on Sunday 5th February. Sunday Politics is shown from 11am and the regional slot will be screened about 11.30am.


 

Source: Round Town News



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Electricity bills going back to bi-monthly, the Government wants to end the estimated monthly bills
20 January 2012

Source: TypicallySpanish

Electricity bills in Spain are going back to two monthly, ending the much criticised current arrangement where there is an estimation of use every other month.
The Industry Ministry has said that it wants the consumer to pay for what he or she uses.

However the Ministry is offering the chance for the public which wants to continue paying monthly, although meters will still only be read every two months and there will be estimations on alternate months, as now.
 



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IMPORTANT!! : Tougher Road Traffic Laws in France
20 January 2012

Source: Guide2paysdelaloire.com

New measures and tougher penalties come into force this week

 

A decree containing a number of miscellaneous provisions affecting French road traffic law will be published this week bringing into force a series of tougher measures applying to drivers on French roads.

 

• End of the road for radar warning devices

Equipment which detects a radar signal has always been banned in France but the new laws take matters a step further by banning ‘driver aids’ which incorporate data giving a warning of where speed cameras are located. Arguably, this information is already in the public domain with Michelin maps, for example, posting details of fixed radar positions but in the face of opposition both from motorists’ organisations and satnav manufacturers, the French government has decided to press ahead with this measure.

 

Already, some manufacturers of satnav equipment have taken the lead by stopping the inclusion of data on speed traps in new equipment but, for users of existing equipment, compliance with the new law will depend on whether they bother to connect up with a manufacturer’s website for a software update to remove what will become the prohibited software. For the police, enforcing the new law will not be an easy task particularly as many vehicles now come with embedded software systems which the non-technologically inclined driver may find difficult to disengage.

 

Nonetheless, the penalty for the new offence is steep – a fine of up to 1500 € and the loss of up to 6 points on a driver’s licence.

 

• Using a telephone while driving – fine increased

Up till now, the fine for using a mobile whilst driving in France had been set at what had almost become a nominal 35 € and loss of 2 points on a French licence. From this week, the penalty for using a mobile phone whilst driving in France will go up to 135 € with the loss of 3 points.

 

• Watch a movie while driving

There have been sporadic reports from police in the South of France that lorry drivers, particularly foreign ones, watching movies whilst driving had become a particular concern. Drivers caught watching a movie whilst at the wheel will now face a fine of 1500 €, instead of the present tariff of 135 €. In addition, either 2 or 3 points will be deducted from a driver’s licence and any audio-visual equipment used will be confiscated.

 

• Straying on to the hard shoulder on autoroutes

The principal cause of drivers straying on to the hard shoulder is driver fatigue and up till now, straying temporarily into the emergency lane on autoroutes in France was not an offence. Under pressure from autoroute companies anxious for the safety of their workforces, the French government has introduced a new offence, effectively of clipping the hard shoulder, for which the penalty will be 135 €. Also, the existing fine for driving on the hard shoulder on French autoroutes increases from 35 € to 135 €. 

 

• New laws for motorcyclists on French roads

The decree also covers the requirement for motorcyclists riding a motor-bike with an engine capacity exceeding 125 c.c. to wear a reflective garment. The French Department of Transport has still to define the criteria for reflective garments and the measure compelling motor-cyclists on French roads to wear something hi-viz will not come into effect before 1st January 2013. In the case of non-compliance, the offender would be liable to a fine of 68 € with a 2 point licence deduction.

 

There is also an alteration to the law concerning non-conforming number plates which applies to all road-users but especially bikers. The penalty for driving with a non-conforming plate increases from 68 € to 135 €. The Ministry of Transport will also introduce a new regulation concerning the size of registration plates carried by motor-bikes with the aim of making motor bikes more identifiable, especially if flashed by a speed camera.

 

• Alcolock

Local authorities have already begun to introduce on-board driver’s breath testing equipment on French school buses and as we reported earlier on 1st December 2011 ‘France heads towards mandatory in-car breathalysers’, such equipment will become mandatory in all vehicles.

 

• Magistrates to have direct access to French National Drivers’ Database

This procedural measure should allow magistrates to better dispose of road traffic cases coming before them. Up till now, a magistrate had to make individual application for a driver’s previous convictions and points deducted history. Sometimes, if the necessary information was not forthcoming timeously, the offender could face a lesser penalty than would otherwise have been the case. Under the new procedure, magistrates should, in theory, have a driver’s history and previous convictions ‘at their fingertips’.

 

 

 Discussed in many places on the internet, one being CLICK THIS 

 


 



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Popular airline Vueling has announced increasing their services with new routes from Cardiff to Alicante and Palma.
14 January 2012

Following on from recent news of more flights coming to Alicante this year, popular airline Vueling has also announced increasing their services with new routes from Cardiff to Alicante and Palma.

Describing themselves as “Southern Europe's most dynamic, most innovative airline”, this latest news follows a previous announcement of a Cardiff to Barcelona service, which starts in March, aimed at encouraging more visitors to join cruise ships from the Spanish city.
 
The new Alicante and Palma scheduled services will start from 22 June 2012, just in time for the summer holiday period, and will be operated by 150-seat Airbus A319 aircraft three times weekly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays.
 
Alex Cruz, CEO of Vueling said, “We are delighted to be able to expand our footprint in Wales and increase our schedule to enable passengers from Cardiff to not only enjoy the city of Barcelona for weekend breaks but to also enjoy holidays to other popular Spanish destinations”.
 


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Alicante airport to Torrevieja bus service cut back!
05 January 2012

Airport bus service cut back

The New Year has brought bus timetable changes for the service between Torrevieja and Alicante airport. Since its launch in May last year, the service has been hourly back and forth, but as a result of the low season and the lack of people using the service, it has been decided that from this week, the service to and from the airport will now be bi-hourly.

The service will leave the Bus Station in Torrevieja on the hours of 9, 11, 13, 15, 17 and 19, while from the airport to Torrevieja the service will depart at 10, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 20. The first and last hour services have been removed completely.

A spokesman for the bus company told RTN: “Despite the call for this service, it is being under-utilised. Sometimes buses with a capacity for 50 passengers will not even carry five passengers and therefore it isn’t cost effective for us. What is ironic is that the price for the service is a fraction of what a taxi would cost from Torrevieja to the airport, so we cannot understand why people are not using it.”

The service is currently up for tender so it remains to be seen whether or not it will continue. The message certainly seems to be that if you want it, use it!
 

Source: RTN



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