Something to declare: Shakespeare in bed, on the South Bank of the Thames
The column that gives you the global picture
Saturday 11 May 2002
Finding somewhere fairly comfortable, fairly priced and fairly central to sleep in central London has long been a bit of a Mission: Impossible.
Bargain of the week: Shakespeare in bed, on the South Bank of the Thames
Finding somewhere fairly comfortable, fairly priced and fairly central to sleep in central London has long been a bit of a Mission: Impossible. But this week, the location featured in the closing scene of the film of that name opened up as a new 57-room hotel. The Premier Lodge in Bankside is bolted on to the back of the 400-year-old Anchor pub where William Shakespeare (possibly) used to drink. It has a flat rate of £69.95 per room, every night of the year; these sleep two adults and two children aged under 16. "We're rediscovering the virtues of inns," says Brian Stewart, chairman of Scottish & Newcastle, which owns the Premier Lodge brand. Book online at www.premierlodge.com, or by phone on 0870 700 1456 – the price does not vary.
Warning of the week: how safe is your plane?
Last weekend's crash of a British-built 1-11 jet in Kano, Nigeria, was the 30th loss in the history of the aircraft, according to the Aviation Safety Network. The aircraft used to be the short-haul stalwart for many UK airlines, but now most of those are in storage.
Nigeria's remaining nine 1-11s have been grounded. But the US Embassy warns: "Most Nigerian airlines have ageing fleets, limited technical capabilities and face serious financial problems. The US Embassy is concerned that their operational and maintenance standards may be inadequate to ensure passenger safety."
Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration says several African countries, including the Gambia, Zaire and Zimbabwe, do not comply with international aviation standards.
Tuesday's crash of a China Northern plane in the People's Republic, which claimed 112 lives, was the 10th fatal accident involving an MD80 series aircraft – but, statistically, this twin-jet remains one of the safest in the world. It has had fewer "fatal events" per million flights than the Boeing 737, the latest one of which also occurred on Tuesday, when an Egyptair plane crashed near Tunis.
"One unusual fact about these incidents was their timing," says Dr Todd Curtis, founder of www.AirSafe.com. "Having multiple fatal events on the same day is unusual. The last time there were two unrelated fatal events on the same day was in 1998. There is no evidence that these two events are linked in any way. Both appear to be accidents."
Destination of the week:
Europe via Birmingham
The West Midlands airport is getting connected with Athens, Geneva and Venice from 1 June, thanks to the BA affiliate Maersk Air. Fares to the Greek capital start at £135 return; to the Swiss city, at £107; and to Venice for £115. Book through www.ba.com for these fares, or – for a fiver more – through agents or by phone to 0845 773 3377.
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