BBC’s cost of staying in touch with London…

The Belfast Telegraph has discovered a hidden cost of the Union… £3,000 per day in flights in and out of Belfast by and for the BBC… Since I have, on occasion, been a guest both of RTE in Dublin and the BBC in Belfast, I’d say that was also a major problem of living on a smallish island in the North Atlantic Ocean… Though I disclaim even partial responsibility for the high expenditure last year… I’ve not been flown back since my single appearance Let’s Talk in 2005…According to an FOI request that record breaks down to “…an average of 16 flights a day every day of the year, at an average cost of more than £180.”

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  • cut the bull

    At that rate of expenditure the BBC would be better off buying a private plane and giving an out of work pilot a wage.

  • Oiliféar

    “I’d say that was also a major problem of living on a smallish island in the North Atlantic Ocean …” – Umm, that would actually be a very large island in the North Atlantic Ocean (granted, the smallest of the very large islands in that ocean), and the problem is flying to another large island in that ocean.

    If you’d forgive me to edit your writing Mick: “I’d say that was also a major problem of living on a smallish islands in the North Atlantic Ocean …”

    (Of course, this would be a much reduced problem if administration of the islands was divided cleanly between them.)

  • I wonder whether landing the BBC account was part of Aer Lingus’ business plan for Belfast 🙂

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    Did they fly you business class? Do they normally?

  • Mick Fealty

    Mark,

    There is no business class on FlyBe worth having. That, I imagine, is reserved for the stars: i.e. people who asked back at least more than once!

    Short of executive types, I’d say Air Miles is your only man when it comes to flying in and out posh.

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick,

    Business class exists everywhere, even Ryanair. I once saw Charlie McCreevy chauffeur driven to the aircraft steps at a small provincial Ryanair airport after everyone else had boarded and taken to a seat in the front row of three barred to the plebs. (I was forced to take that non-unionised Ryanair flight against my better judgment).

    Though, my question was really more about how much BBC expenditure on travel is for business class. A decent follow-up?

  • Mark McGregor

    And come to think of it, I’ve flown business on Flybe to and from Belfast – it gets you a nice lounge and priority boarding. That was paid for by the NICS.

    (I robbed the bars at both ends)

  • tom

    ‘Though I disclaim even partial responsibility for the high expenditure last year… I’ve not been flown back since my single appearance Let’s Talk in 2005…’

    I hear it took them weeks to try and restock the bar after you left Mick 🙂

    More ‘Can’t Talk’ than ‘Let’s Talk’

    I jest..

  • liberachi

    “And come to think of it, I’ve flown business on Flybe to and from Belfast – it gets you a nice lounge and priority boarding. That was paid for by the NICS.”

    I’ve worked for a few global corporations listed in the Forbes top 20 for management. They all had flight policies that precluded business flights for journeys of less than 3 hours.

    And Mark McGregor demands on another thread that the profits scraped together by this behaviour are sucked out of shareholders pensions and into the gaping maw of the civil service to be pissed away by mini-bar thieving champagne socialists like himself.

  • Mark McGregor

    Lib,

    Ah, another new name slabber.

    I steal nothing, ever.

    I liberate and share.

    So fuck off, troll.

  • liberachi

    Contrasting the holier than thou claims to socialist integrity from your post on the corporation tax thread with your boast of “robbing” the flybe lounge at the taxpayers’ expense on this thread is hardly trolling Mark. It’s a simply pointing out the hypocrisy of so-called socialists using the example you so generously provide.

  • Mark McGregor

    Wife. Secondment. Travelling with your children for a life abroad. I milk nothing, you fucknut.

    I was given tickets to travel with my family and refused to ignore the free stuff.

    Now go troll elsewhere.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    Guys,

    Try and keep the man playing to a minimum, please!

    tom,

    Actually, I had to leave disappointingly quickly afterwards. Chance would have been a fine thing.

  • liberachi

    Well I apologise unreservedly Mark! It was just the Civil Service sending you and your family on a business class flight all the time.

    No profligate use of public funds at all.

    The teaching assistants will be pleased.

  • liberachi

    Oops. Shamefaced apology Mick. Didn’t see your post before mine. No disrespect intended.

    Incidentally – what’s the commenting etiquette on name changes?

  • IJP

    Good spot, Mick – especially given the BBC’s current obsession with the environmental effects of food transport costs…

    Have they never heard of video conferencing?

  • jone

    I suspect video conferencing might look a bit shite on the telly. And if anyone’s capable of acting, directing, editing down a line I’ve yet to hear about it.

    BTW this figure is probably only going to increase given that a lot of network current affairs production has moved from London to Belfast.

  • Auntie’s not alone in ferrying large numbers of people across to London. Lots of other firms and organisations have to bridge the gap too.

    (I’ve done the return trip 30+ times this year … and that doesn’t count a handful of trips via East Midlands, Stansted, London City etc.)

    An FOI into any of the local government departments will no doubt show similar levels of travel – given the same faces that pop up in the bmi lounge every morning.

    On the subject of business – there’s been a noticable drop in the number of people flying business to Heathrow over the last two years.

  • Jo

    FoI is proving useful for that lazy type of journalist formerly known as “Lunchtime o’Booze”!

    What is the point of getting information like this? Is it to make the point that there should be more local people featured on local radio – which would mean a massive increase in the rural outings by wee Hugo D?

    Recently the Tele. ran a series of articles on the drivers formerly employed for local Ministers and whose services had been retained for the use of civil servants attending meetings – to offset travel claims.

    The source of this information was again FoI.

    The Tele. then tried to run a campaign against this service. This would of course have led to the drivers being made redundant, and then, as the Executive was restored a few weeks later, would have mean another lengthy and costly recruitment drive to fill the posts again.

    Unthinking, unreflective journalism – all encouraged by by a system of forwarding a standard FoI templte email on behalf of one “Mi. Mouse Esq.” which ties up public servants and makeng cheap copy – allowing more time for those trebles all round! 🙂