Salone News

"No increase in airline ticket prices to Freetown"---Kevin McPhillips

13 March 2008 at 06:59 | 2114 views

By Patrick Hassan-Morlai, London, UK.

Travellers to Sierra Leone may be concerned that the price of airline tickets to Freetown from Britain would soon rise follwing a British Airport Authority announcement this week. But Kevin McPhillips, a popular travel business based in the UK has told the Vanguard there is no cause for worry, at least for now.

This comes against the backdrop that airline operators to Freetown are a few in the world that charge the most expensive fares for a six-hour flight between London and Freetown.

The British media has reported that BAA has been given authorisation by the Civil Aviation Authority to increase airport fees charged to airlines. BAA is the owner of Heathrow, Gatwick and other major airports in the UK. The authorisation to increase airport charges including landing fees means BAA now has a free hand to raise much-needed funds to improve airport security and possibly service the debt its new owner (Ferrovial of Spain) incurred when it purchased BAA. It is reported that BAA airport charges will rise by 21% at Gatwick and 23.5% at Heathrow airports for the next five years as from 2008-9.

Enquiries made by this press today with a representative of UK-based Kevin McPhillips Travel, which is in partnership with Astraeus Airlines, reveal that passengers to Freetown should not be alarmed as there are no immediate plans to increase airline tickets on their Freetown-London route. BMI, another airline, will replace Astraeus Airlines in May this year according to the Kevin McPhillips website.

Kevin McPhillips Travel says “BAA has been reported, in various press items, to have apparently received authorisation to review their charges... nothing further is currently known relating to any future decision or directive being made by the BAA in such matter”.

Until BAA translates this authorisation into actual charges and communicates same to the various airline operators who use their airports, passengers should be confident that airline ticket prices would remain the same for the foreseeable future.

For many travellers to Sierra Leone, this is welcome news from Kevin McPhillips Travel, Sierra Leone’s main flier. People intending to spend the Easter break and possibly the summer holiday in Sierra Leone need not worry, at least for now.

In a related development, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alister Darling, delivered his first budget as Chancellor on Wednesday March 12.

Darling has slammed a 10% increase in aviation tax. It has been reported that the 10% increase will raise about 40million which will be used for enviromental projects.

The 10% increase will come into force in 2010. Accordingly, airline passengers including those flying to and from Freetown have a breathing space until then.

Photo: Kevin McPillips, owner of Kevin McPhillips Travel.