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Newcastle Airport annoyance (Read 18,781 times)
nrg710
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Newcastle Airport annoyance
Dec 7th, 2005 at 6:37am
 
Before I go off on one, I'll just explain the following:

1. I am a pilot
2. Pilots use a "directory" called the AIP to contact airports and air traffic control
3. This "directory" contains all the relavent information (for pilots) about most public airports in the UK.

This directory exists to propogate information useful for "the safe and efficient conduct of flights".

So it makes my blood boil to see that Newcastle International Airport's entry is an 0870 number!!!!

I am writing to them now to tell them that the manager who took the decision to migrate their number to 0870 is a complete t*sser. I'm also writing to the CAA to get them to ban this dispicable practice.
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mc661
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #1 - Dec 8th, 2005 at 7:55am
 
why dont u tell the CAA at the same time to ban the 0870 for nats.
What happens if you need to call from abroad to obviously fly the plane, to say the lyinair flight your on is delayed? Sorry 0870 dont work.
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Shiggaddi
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #2 - Dec 8th, 2005 at 3:18pm
 
This is one prime example of someone using 0870 when they can almost certainly expect calls from abroad for very important information.

Or do they assume that pilots would use the company phone to call, and not worry about the cost.  Even if that was the case, there is still the issue of connection from abroad, so get your act together and revert back to a geographic number.

Or better still, if they flight is delayed by some pink little animals in the sky and ofcom bans revenue sharing on 0870 and treats it as a normal number, then feel free to keep the number!!
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I realy hait itt wen peeple canot spel proply. Itt getts onn mye nervs sew mutch annd streses mee owt. Knot onley iz itt vary bade speling butt allso bade gramer.
 
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idb
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #3 - Dec 8th, 2005 at 11:38pm
 
mc661 wrote on Dec 8th, 2005 at 7:55am:
why dont u tell the CAA at the same time to ban the 0870 for nats.
What happens if you need to call from abroad to obviously fly the plane, to say the lyinair flight your on is delayed? Sorry 0870 dont work.
I've already tried raising the 0870 issue with the CAA, but it doesn't give a toss. It, and its consumer arm, the AUC, are wholly clueless. They will not entertain my complaint because, although I am a British citizen, I live outside the United Kingdom. I can wait though. When a major air incident/accident occurs and the idiotic BAA with CAA complicity issues an NGN for a casualty bureau or similar, then, like PITO, it will have to answer for its scamming of the public. I am trying to raise the CAA/AUC issue with my MP, but he has so far failed to respond. I am not going to give up with these cretins though.
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nrg710
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #4 - Dec 9th, 2005 at 1:10pm
 
The following is my communications with both NCL and the CAA on this subject:

To NCL:
Quote:
Dear sir or madam,
I never managed to get through to anyone, so I didn't even find out who the person to contact was


Re: possible basing of our aeroplane at Newcastle

I recently telephoned your airport to enquire about basing our [rustbucket] at Newcastle next summer.

I was absolutely appalled to read that your entry in the UK AIP
pilot's directory
lists your administration telephone number as a premium rate number (see below). And, as a pilot, it makes my blood boil to read that the telephone number for contacting your ATC unit is also a premium rate number.

This is a wholly unacceptable way of doing business. Firstly, as a potential customer I should NOT be penalised for contacting your administrative department; and secondly, as a pilot, I should DEFINITELY not be penalised for contacting your ATC unit. I am recommending to the CAA that premium rate telephone numbers be banned for the purposes of contacting ATC units.

I should take this opportunity to point out that although "08" prefix numbers are simply "non-geographical", they are a complete scam, for which the customer (and in your case, the pilots as well) pay: viz., the call revenue is shared between the telephone service provider and the company concerned. You will be aware that non-geographical numbers have recently come under the spotlight with OFCOM, and I suggest that you read the following page on OFCOM's website in connection with Number Translation Services (NTS): http://www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_forward/.

In light of this, I researched an alternative number to contact Newcastle International Airport on, and this I found. I was fortunately able to contact your administration line on a normal "0191", i.e. a Newcastle telephone number.

I managed to contact a reasonably helpful young lady, who arranged for me to be put through to the administration offices. It was there that I remained on hold for 8 minutes, with the telephone at your end being picked up every now and then and replaced immediately. I was therefore unable to contact your office regarding basing our aircraft at Newcastle next summer.

Therefore, if you wish to discuss the possibility of us basing our PA31-350 Navajo Chieftain at Newcastle next summer, I would be grateful if you could contact me on 07974 882 *** (normal call rates apply).

Yours faithfully,

Tinpusher
Chief Pilot, FlyByNight Ltd.


Followed a couple of days later by a phone call from a chap at NCL who was very helpful and very nice! (the call started with "Hello Mr Tinpusher? Will you take a reverse charge call from Newcasltle?"... "no I certainly will not!"... "I thought so... Hi there, it's Mr Helpful from Newcastle Airport here).

Anyway Mr Helpful, as we'll call him, apologised for the fact that they were listed under an 0870 number and said that he finds them annoying as well "but unfortunately, it's the way things are going". We smoothed things over, talked about our requirements and he said that he would raise my point about the 0870 number with the ATC manager.

Light at the end of the tunnel!

And the communications with the CAA:

To the CAA:
Quote:
Dear sirs,

Re: Newcastle International Airport- contact details

My name is Tinpusher, and I am the Chief Pilot at Rustbucket Flyers Limited. I recently had occasion to contact Newcastle International Airport's management department by telephone.

I turned to the AIP, and found Newcastle's entry in there. If you will refer to this, you will note that their telephone number is listed as "0870 122 1488".

This number is a non geographical number (i.e., one beginning "08"). It is sometimes not possible to contact non geographical numbers from payphones and mobile telephones, and this was the problem I encountered.

Although the issue that I wanted to contact the airport regarding was not safety-critical, there nevertheless exists the potential for a blocking of the communication chain should I (or any other person) wish to report a safety-critical matter.

I would therefore ask the CAA to mandate that the contact details provided by airport authorities to NATS, for dissemination in the AIP, do not make use of non-geographical numbers.

I would be extremely interested to learn your thoughts on this. If this is not to be mandated, then I would very interested to be informed as to the reasons why.

Yours faithfully,

Tinpusher

Chief Pilot, Air GladWeGotHereAlive


Their reponse, received today:

Quote:
Dear Tinpusher

Thank you for your enquiry - it is being dealt with and a response will be sent to you shortly.

Regards

CAA employee @ Safety Regulation Group.


mc661: I suspect your complaint to the CAA may have fallen on deaf ears because if it's simply a question of passengers ringing to check that the flight is going to arrive on time, they would (unsurprisingly) fob you off. As soon as you mention the "S" word [safety], they prick their ears up.

this isn't always a good thing- there are numerous aspects of the CAA's mandates that are pointlessly over-regulated, such as fitting enhanced navigation equipment to aeroplanes.


*** Edited by Dave: nrg710's phone number removed ***
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« Last Edit: Dec 9th, 2005 at 1:17pm by Dave »  
 
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idb
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #5 - Dec 10th, 2005 at 2:10am
 
nrg710, you've actually provided me with added impetus to raise this matter once again with the CAA. I'm sick and tired of UK airports (of which I am a frequent user) using telephone numbers that I cannot call. BAA is the worst culprit, and is a cynical exploiter of the public along the same lines as the BBC. I'm not prepared to be fobbed off this time, and this will now be raised with the SofS and my MP.
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nrg710
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #6 - Jan 11th, 2006 at 5:48pm
 
Update. Got a response from the CAA's Aerodrome Standards Division:

Quote:
Dear nrg710

Thank you for your e-mail dated 8 December regarding the contact details for airports.

We can confirm that the telephone number for Newcastle International Airport, as written in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) is prefixed with 0870.  The CAA does not require aerodromes to publish specific types of phone numbers, and BT has confirmed that the 08 series of numbers can be dialled from public telephones and mobiles.  When investigating this situation, BT advised that some companies choose to adopt the 08 series of numbers because it allows businesses to streamline and reduce communication costs, as only one telephone number needs to be communicated nationally.

Notwithstanding the above, I contacted Newcastle airport to highlight your concerns, and although they consider the current system works well, they will raise the issue at the next meeting of the operational department in the new year.  I will forward your details to them so they are able to feed back the results of that meeting.

I trust this is of assistance.

Kind regards


I need to get back at them for this, saying that it's still unacceptable. How do I do this?
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #7 - Jan 14th, 2006 at 10:45am
 
nrg710 wrote on Jan 11th, 2006 at 5:48pm:
I need to get back at them for this, saying that it's still unacceptable. How do I do this?


You might find this little set of recent comments recently attributed to the Chief Executive of BT Retail, Ian Livingston, to be rather helpful in defeating the ridicuous arguments you have encountered.  The conspiracy theorists among us might also wonder why this excellent article is no longer found in a direct search on Google or Yagoo under - "Ian Livingston" 0870 abolition - but only through a reference to the article via a poster in a web forum that Yahoo still managed to locate.  If I didn't know better I would begin to believe that the forces of 0870 pushing were behind the now mysteriously hard to locate nature of the article:-

http://business.scotsman.com/banking.cfm?id=764772005

You might also like to refer them to Page 9 of BT's response to Ofcom's recently closed NTS Way Forward consultation.  This asks for all 0870 calls to be charged at geographic rates and refers to the considerable consumer discontent over the matter:-

www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_forward/responses/af/BT.pdf

You might also like to point out to these numb skulls that while a 15 minute call to an 01 or 02 number in a BT phonebox costs 30p a 15 minute call to 0870 costs £1.75.  Or a 1 hour call to an 01 or 02 number on Vodafone's SmartPlus Pay as You Go tariff in the evening or at the weekend costs 15p but a 1 hour call to an 0870 number will cost you £6.00

You will also find these comments attributed to Ofcom by Ian Bottom (a member of this forum under another name) on Page 4 of his 15 page response to the recent Ofcom NTS Way Forward consultation to be helpful.  These start "Ofcom is aware that callers may experience difficulty in accessing UK non-geographic numbers from outside the UK..........."

See www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/nts_forward/responses/af/bottom.pdf

Unfortunately you have encountered the usual lies here always peddled by 084/7 abusers who continue to maintain they are just ordinary local and national rate calls and totally duck the fact that they are now listed as Special Rate Services in BT's own phone book.  Unfortunately BT is very schizophrenic on this matter as its own phone bills still show Lo-Call against many 0845 calls (otherwise they show "Local Rate" which is also untrue) and National Rate against all 0870 calls.  Yet its own Chief Executive admits the whole thing is a con!  Perhaps you might like to email ian.livingston@bt.com about this remarkable inconsistency (I know from experience that he does read all his emails personally) and why it is that BT's Head of Pricing Mr John Strutt can't get his act together to show the correct term (Special Rate Services) against 0845 and 0870 numbers on phone bills.  This is despite numerous promises from Mr Strutt to do so. Angry

By the way TinPusher I loved your amusing writing style about Rustbucket Airways etc, etc.

Hope you become an activist in this campaign as its clear that you share our philosophy.
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« Last Edit: Jan 14th, 2006 at 10:48am by N/A »  
 
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idb
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #8 - Jan 14th, 2006 at 2:06pm
 
Reading nrg's communication with the CAA with some interest and am surprised that a response was actually provided. I first complained to this body, and its consumer arm, the AUC, a couple of years ago. They will not even entertain my complaint because I am not resident within the United Kingdom. The fact that I am a British citizen who frequently uses UK airports is irrelevant. I intend to pursue this further as soon as my MP actually demonstrates some interest in the matter. Unfortunatley, living outside of Britain somewhat limits the possibilities of taking any form of action.
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #9 - Jan 14th, 2006 at 2:26pm
 
idb wrote on Jan 14th, 2006 at 2:06pm:
Reading nrg's communication with the CAA with some interest and am surprised that a response was actually provided.


Don't forget that nrg is a pilot.  I expect that is why the CAA feel they do have to give him the time of day.

Regarding your MP why not threaten to complain to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards if he doen't help you - www.parliament.uk/about_commons/pcfs.cfm ;  Unless he is someone you know you have nothing to lose.  Although MPs seem to have no formal duty to assist constituent in the Code of Conduct ( they have a duty not to accept bribes or be influenced financially in their Parliamentary voting) I bet such a threat would embarass him into action.

From what I understand you are still on the electoral register in his constituency and have a vote from him at the election so you are a constituent and the very reason you have a vote for him is because he is supposed to represent your concerns as a recent uk expat still needing to actively engage with the uk and its companies and government institutions.
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nrg710
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #10 - Jan 14th, 2006 at 6:23pm
 
Before I go about quoting about the con that is 0870, I thought I'd try one more safety-related thing.

Quote:
Dear CAA,,

Thank you for your response of 23rd December (see below).

Unfortunately, I still consider it unacceptable that the number propogated in the UK AIP, to facilite a person's contact to the Air Traffic Services, is a premium ("special") rate number (as indicated in BT's own publication- the Phone Book).

Perhaps more importantly, many "08" prefix numbers are NOT available from abroad- and usually, there is very little that the telephony provider in the UK can do about it as this is down to the telephone service provider abroad.

Let's say I fly one of my company's aircraft on a flight planned from Newcastle to a landing site in the Netherlands not on the AFTN
Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network- the fixed telephone and fax system for air traffic controllers etc
. And, God forbid, I go down somewhere over the North Sea without being able to radio a MAYDAY. I am outside of Radar Cover. The first that anyone *might* know is when I don't make my "ops normal" report on the R/T. And, at worst, it will be when I'm half an hour overdue on my ETA for the overseas landing site. For the Dutch authorities to find out the items in bottom section of the FPL form
Flight PLan- how we pilots notify our details to air traffic controllers
, they NEED to contact the airfield of departure. And they can't telephone... Because it's an 08 number.

For this reason ALONE the CAA should IMMEDIATELY mandate the provision of normal geographical numbers (i.e. those starting 01 or 02) in the UK AIP
Pilots directory for airports (again)
.

It is also utter piffle where BT have given you the information that "only one number need be circulated nationally". My telephone number in Oxford is +44 1865 123456. I can dial this number from anywhere in the world- from Trinity College (just down the road) to Trinidad, and it will still connect me to the same telephone.

If the CAA do not wish to make this mandate then I shall bring the matter to the attention of Parliament, with the intention of forcing the CAA to mandate that only normal geographical (01 or 02 prefix) numbers are published in the UK AIP.

Yours sincerely,

Tinpusher
Chief Pilot, WreckAir PLC


Watch this space for details!

And yes, I am committed to the campaight to purge this earth of 0870 and 0845 numbers. And to the tw*t who posted about 2-3 weeks ago about why we're all wasting our time, you end up paying for it anyway, it's just another way that we, the British public, are being ripped off.

Not to mention 22% tax when you earn the money and 17.5% when you spend it. Cheers Tony.
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #11 - Jan 14th, 2006 at 6:52pm
 
nrg710 wrote on Jan 14th, 2006 at 6:23pm:
Not to mention 22% tax when you earn the money and 17.5% when you spend it. Cheers Tony.


Not to mention £1,400 council tax on a standard band D home down here in the South East, even if you have no kids at school and don't drive.  Also not to mention the national insurance at 10% that takes income tax up to 32% in reality.  Then Fuel Tax at about 75%, £50 passport fees for a service worth about £15 and so on and so forth.  Spiralling tv license fee way above inflation..... you name it and its happened.

Prior to the election of New Labour in May 1997 there was scarcely an 084 or 087 number in sight.  The change since that date is not a coincidence but part of their overall regime of New Labour endorsing a massive armada of stealth taxes.  Under old hard left Labour only very rich people were made poor but under New Labour the super rich escape being singled out for any special treatement whilst those on middle wages in middle mainly Conservative voting southern England are instead squeezed to the bone.

Suggest rather than writing to the CAA stonewall you might get further writing to your MP pointing out Ofcom's alleged principle duties to the uk citizen and consumer under Part 3(i) of the Communications Act 2003.  Since Ofcom is only accountable to Parliament perhaps you can ask your MP what Parliament is going to do about forcing Ofcom to act in favour of the uk citizen consumer as it is supposed to do.  See www.ofcom.org.uk/about/sdrp/

You might also care to draw your MP's attention to this Parliamentary Early Day motion opposing the use of 0870 numbers by Government Departments which has now been signed by 51 MPs.  If your MP is not yet amongst those who have signed it perhaps you can encourage him to do so.  See:- http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=28872&SESSION=875
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« Last Edit: Jan 18th, 2006 at 9:09am by N/A »  
 
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idb
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #12 - Jan 18th, 2006 at 2:26am
 
Quote:
Regarding your MP why not threaten to complain to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards if he doen't help you - www.parliament.uk/about_commons/pcfs.cfm   Unless he is someone you know you have nothing to lose.  Although MPs seem to have no formal duty to assist constituent in the Code of Conduct ( they have a duty not to accept bribes or be influenced financially in their Parliamentary voting) I bet such a threat would embarass him into action.

From what I understand you are still on the electoral register in his constituency and have a vote from him at the election so you are a constituent and the very reason you have a vote for him is because he is supposed to represent your concerns as a recent uk expat still needing to actively engage with the uk and its companies and government institutions.
In fairness to my MP, I haven't written to him directly about CAA/BAA/AUC and their failure to deal with my complaints about UK airports using numbers that are difficult to terminate from overseas, however he has not replied to various email messages, nor did he respond to my communication relating to July 7 explosions. He replied to me in 2004 and gave the usual 'national rate' nonsense.

I will be submitting a written request, through postal mail, for assistance from my MP this week relating to the AUC refusing to entertain my complaint because I am not resident in the UK despite being a British citizen. The standard of service from public bodies in Britain is abysmal, and the AUC so typifies the garbage one has to expect from such bodies. It is inconceivable that an airport this side of the ocean would use premium numbers as a means of customer contact. I will copy my request to Ofcom, the CAA, the AUC and BAA. As long as I am on the electoral roll, I am entitled to assistance (I think!).
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NonGeographicalMan
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #13 - Jan 18th, 2006 at 9:23am
 
idb wrote on Jan 18th, 2006 at 2:26am:
I will copy my request to Ofcom, the CAA, the AUC and BAA. As long as I am on the electoral roll, I am entitled to assistance (I think!).


I suggest you also try the main people at the Department of Transport responsible for airport matters.  See this very helpful organisational chart for all staff phone numbers and email addresses - www.dft.gov.uk/structure/aviation/  Suggest you email Jonathan Sharrock, who head Airports Policy Division, and cc his boss David McMillan.

Just being a customer of the service should entitle you to complain.  You shouldn't need to be a uk citizen, let alone resident here.

An email to your MP has the status of a letter these days.  You might want to find the name of your MPs Parliamentary secretary and send the previous emails to her instead as they tend to be better organised than the MPs they serve.  All Parliamentary email addresses follow the format surnamex@parliament.uk where x is the initial of their first name.  If you have emailed him you have written to him directly.  If he isn't set up to handle this it is his fault.  If you use www.writetothem.com he definitely has no excuse as this sends the communication by fax if that is what the MP prefers and WritetoThem have agreed the arrangements with all MPs.  Ask your MP why he hasn't signed the 0870 EDM if he hasn't.   Things have moved on since your initial communication.
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« Last Edit: Jan 18th, 2006 at 9:27am by N/A »  
 
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Re: Newcastle Airport annoyance
Reply #14 - Jan 18th, 2006 at 8:08pm
 
I work at heathrow and all of BAA airports have 0870 numbers which is ridiculous.

Something should be done. This wouldnt happen anywhere else.........
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