United Airlines will honour flight tickets mistakenly sold for $5 to $10

United Airlines will honour plane tickets it mistakenly sold online for between $5 and $10, the company said on Friday.

Customers using the airline’s website were able to book tickets without paying airline fares – just airport and security fees – for a brief time on Thursday due to a human error, United confirmed. The mistake saw some customers quickly book discount flights to high-desirability locations including Hawaii and Las Vegas. United rectified the problem on Thursday but said it would honour the sales.

“We’ve reviewed the error that occurred yesterday and based on these specific circumstances, we will honor the tickets,” the company tweeted on Friday afternoon.

United said it had accidentally filed some fares for $0, due to a human error. It did not reveal how many tickets were sold at erroneous prices. It shut down its website entirely on Thursday afternoon before reopening at around 2.45pm, according to reports. The discount flights were no longer available when the site came back online.

Andy Farrimond, a software consultant from Washington DC, told CNN Money that he discovered the error as he booked a business trip to Minneapolis. Farrimond alerted a number of co-workers to his discovery, he said. His colleagues spent the next hour booking personal trips to the West Coast and Hawaii, CNN Monday reported.

“It was pandemonium in the office for a while yesterday,” Farrimond said.

He came away from the United website having booked trips with his wife to Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose. His co-workers had booked flights to Las Vegas and other popular vacation destinations.

Bob Stokas, from Chicago, told NBC that he had stumbled across the cheap flights while searching for a round-trip ticket to LA next June. He had been expecting to pay up to $400 per ticket when he noticed the cheap fares.

“When I scrolled down past the non-stop fares, when I got to the connecting flights, the flights to and from Los Angeles per person was $10,” Stokas told NBC. “That was a shock and a surprise, and I was like, ‘I’ve got to book this flight right now before they rescind their offer of $10 for this flight.'”
Stokas bought six tickets for $60. He said he returned to United’s website to buy tickets for a trip to Roanoke, Virginia, this weekend, but found the website to be offline.

Seven reasons the world’s stock markets are falling

European markets are in panic mode with all major indices down sharply. It follows a widespread sell-off on both sides of the Atlantic on Wednesday. Here are seven reasons why investors are so nervous:

Fears of a global slowdown led by the US

Recent data is fuelling fears that the global recovery is losing steam. With so much of the world’s fortunes tied up with the US, a flurry of weak data from the world’s largest economy triggered renewed jitters among investors. In September, retail sales fell for the first time since January, and the Empire manufacturing report for New York indicated a sharp slowdown. As global slowdown fears grow, oil slumped to a four-year low.

Anxiety over spread of Ebola

Fears are mounting that Ebola will become widespread beyond West Africa. The latest escalation of anxiety follows confirmation in the US that a second healthcare worker in Texas was infected after treating the first patient in the US to die from the virus. It emerged that the second worker, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian hospital in Dallas, had flown from Cleveland, Ohio, to Dallas the day before she reported Ebola symptoms.

Germany is on the brink of recession

The latest economic data coming out of Germany suggests Europe’s largest economy is on the brink of recession. The economy shrank by 0.2% in the second quarter and there is every indication that a contraction is possible in the third, tipping Germany into a technical recession. The powerhouse of manufacturing has suffered a slowdown in industrial production and falling exports. Given German has played a key role in propping up some of its weaker fellow eurozone members during the crisis years, investors are fearful are what the future might hold.

A return of the eurozone crisis

The flagging eurozone economy is back in the danger zone. The big fear is that a dangerous deflationary spiral will take hold, plunging the troubled single currency bloc back into crisis. With eurozone inflation at just 0.3%, those fears appear justified.

Geopolitical tension

Tension persists between Russia and the west over Russia’s treatment of Ukraine. There is a great deal of uncertainty over how the situation will progress, and markets hate uncertainty. Sanctions and counter sanctions between Russia and the west are already weighing on the Germany economy. Investors are also fearful of how US-led airstrikes targeting ISIS might escalate. And it remains unclear how China will deal with pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong.

Speculation that an institution is about to fail

When markets fall sharply rumours of a potential institutional failure tend to the rounds, and this time is no different. As Lehman Brothers revealed in September 2008, sometimes speculation turns into a horrible reality.

It’s October

Markets don’t care much for the month of October. Panic spread across Wall Street in October 1907 amid shrinking credit availability. The crash of 1929 also occurred in October, as did Black Monday in 1987.

South Sudan to export coffee for the first time

The world has long been pleading with South Sudan’s feuding leaders to wake up and smell the coffee.

The four-year-old country is notorious for conflict and oil but less well known for a coffee farming industry that was wiped out by decades of war.
Now TechnoServe, a non-profit organisation that works with smallholder farmers around the world, is trying to revive it. South Sudan will export coffee for the first time this month when limited edition capsules go on sale in France. One day it hopes to compete with countries in the region such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Rwanda that are world famous for their beans.

“Some of the challenges we faced in South Sudan were common, and some were unique,” TechnoServe chief executive William Warshauer told Agence France-Press (AFP). “Civil unrest is something we encounter infrequently.”

Security concerns forced the company’s foreign workers to pull out for most of last year. Yet Warshauer is optimistic that the harvest at the end of 2015 will be “multiples” bigger than in previous years. “Coffee could be the second biggest export outside of oil,” he added.

South Sudan’s civil war has killed tens of thousands of people, displaced more than two million and caused chronic food shortages. A peace deal in August – the latest of many – appears to have had little impact, fuelling international frustration at the failure of president Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar to resolve their differences.

But the coffee initiative launched two years ago by Hollywood actor George Clooney, a peace activist for South Sudan and star of Nespresso’s TV adverts, is persevering. TechnoServe and Nespresso’s $2.6m scheme has seen 300 smallholder farmers sign up to join cooperatives so far with another 1,000 waiting to join. It hopes to engage 15,000 farmers over a decade.

Warshauer added: “We wanted to help smallholder farmers have a business opportunity around the existing coffee, to switch the thinking from, ‘I’ve got a couple of coffee trees in my yard,’ to, ‘I can really work on this and make a living’.”

South Sudan is the “cradle of coffee”, according to Nespresso, and now one of the only places in the world where coffee still grows in the wild, thriving in a distinct, dry climate. Wild arabica coffee and farmed robusta are both found in the tropical Imatong mountains in the south, while wild arabica also grows on the high Boma plateau near Ethiopia, where the bean is said to originate.

TechnoServe and Nespresso’s coffee project is located in the southwest Yei region, which is not affected by the fighting. Growing cooperatives have replanted their trees and yields have improved, while new “wet mills” process the beans on site before export.

The result is a limited edition Nespresso capsule coffee called “Suluja ti South Sudan” (“Beginning of South Sudan” in the local Kakwa language), which is being made available “in extremely limited quantities” to customers in France only, so far.

Clooney said in a statement released to Bloomberg: “Coffee farms have a great history of building peaceful pockets in very volatile areas. We drank our first cup this summer and it tasted just a little bit better knowing that it was from people who have worked so hard for normalcy and peace.”

The European Union needs reforming, not abandoning

Jonathan Freedland (Opinion, 10 October) is right to warn that a “remain” vote in the forthcoming EU referendum is by no means a foregone conclusion, not least because some will doubtless use it as an opportunity to show two fingers to likely “in” supporters Cameron and Osborne, rather than as a chance to express a view about the future of Britain in Europe. That makes it even more important that those of us on the left build a positive inspiring case for staying in, on the basis that we are stronger when we work together, while at the same time redoubling our campaigns to make the EU more democratic and accountable, with social and environmental justice at its heart.

After 10 years working as an MEP in the European parliament, I’m in no doubt that the EU is in need of far-reaching reform. Too much power is held in the hands of the elites, and not enough by the people, who too often feel shut out from its decisions. It’s easy to blame the EU when free-market economics tramples across our rights and freedoms, but in reality it’s rightwing governments like our own which have taken a lead in seeking to make the EU a vehicle for greater liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation. Indeed, when the EU has attempted to regulate finance, it was the UK government leading the charge to protect the interests of the City of London. When the EU proposed a “Robin Hood tax”, it was our chancellor who launched a legal challenge to it. Similarly the UK government rose up in bitter opposition to the EU-wide cap on bankers’ bonuses.

Our response to a Tory government in Britain isn’t “let’s do without parliament”, it’s “let’s win it back and reform it”. The same principle should guide our response to the EU. We need to work with pro-European allies like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain to build the case for reform of the EU that promotes social solidarity and protecting our shared environment. Implementing that reform requires fighting and winning at the ballot box at European and general elections across Europe. A new EU is possible – but only if we stop leaving the case for Europe to the establishment and instead build an EU-wide progressive movement for the kind of Europe we can believe in.

Günter Grass: final interview reveals author’s fears of another world war

Germany’s Nobel-winning author Günter Grass said he feared humanity was “sleepwalking” into a world war in the last interview he gave before his death on Monday.

“We have on the one side Ukraine, whose situation is not improving; in Israel and Palestine things are getting worse; the disaster the Americans left in Iraq, the atrocities of Islamic State and the problem of Syria,” he told the Spanish newspaper El País in the interview published on Tuesday.

“There is war everywhere; we run the risk of committing the same mistakes as before; so without realising it we can get into a world war as if we were sleepwalking,” he added.

Spain’s top-selling newspaper said the interview, carried out at the author’s home in Lübeck in northern Germany on 21 March, was his last before his death aged 87.

Grass, who achieved worldwide fame with his debut and best-known novel, The Tin Drum, in 1959 was a pacifist, opposing the installation of nuclear missiles on German soil.

In his lengthy interview with El País, he also expressed concern over climate change and overpopulation.

“All of this together makes me realise that things are finite, that we don’t have an indefinite amount of time,” he said.

Grass pressed Germany for decades to face up to its Nazi past, winning the Nobel prize for literature in 1999, when the Swedish academy said his “frolicsome black fables portray the forgotten face of history”.

Wall Street still sees itself as its own best client. Can that ever be remedied?

Imagine, if you can, a world in which the big banks subscribe to a code of conduct that includes a pledge that “we seek no more than a level of profit commensurate with the value we create for our customers”.

Wading through the polysyllables and decoding the jargon, that would mean that big banks like Citigroup and JP Morgan Chase would toss aside the pursuit of maximizing profits for their shareholders at all costs – especially when those costs include putting the well-being of their clients and the financial system in peril by cobbling together packages of subprime mortgages or, increasingly, subprime auto loans. Instead, they would take a step back and say: nope, we’re doing too much of this junk, and it’s time to stop.

OK, time to stop howling with laughter.

Does that sound like a pipe dream? Well, it’s only one of a number of proposals tossed into the hopper by contributors to an upcoming book of essays compiled by bank executive John G Taft. Entitled A Force for Good: How Enlightened Finance Can Restore Faith in Capitalism, the anthology is scheduled for release next month by Palgrave Macmillan, just in time for its contributors to be part of the debate over President Barack Obama’s most recent proposal to levy a hefty new fee on mega banks with more than $50bn in assets.

Punitive and restrictive measures like that directed solely at a group of big banks miss the point, argues Karen Petrou, managing partner of Federal Financial Analytics, who won a degree of fame for coining the phrase “complexity risk”. In her contribution to the book, Petrou contends that loading big banks with more rules instead of focusing on who is engaging in behavior that might actually ramp up the level of risk in the financial system “will lead to unintended and often perverse consequences”.

For instance, she argues that while regulation might stop some financial institutions from engaging in risky business, that business will still happen – conducted by “shadow” entities, which she defines as institutions such as hedge funds, private equity firms and others but that also could include offshore affiliates of banks, that are all far less encumbered by the kinds of rules and regulations layered on top of banks in recent years. And while Petrou doesn’t mention it, anyone who suggests that having all the derivatives trading shift to hedge funds from banks might not be a big a problem for the financial system is forgetting their history. The 1998 collapse of a hedge fund, Long Term Capital Management, came so close to bringing down the entire financial system that it required the Federal Reserve to orchestrate a bailout.

Six years ago today, I was in the throes of writing Chasing Goldman Sachs, a book that tried to analyze just what had gone so badly wrong within Wall Street. It was an outsider’s analysis, drawing on a lot of conversations with insiders. The essays in A Force for Good are written by insiders, and try to address the same question and propose strategies that can make the financial system more robust.

What is disappointing is the fact that so many years after the financial crisis, a book considering these topics is still news. We’re still wrangling about; still trying to allot responsibility; still trying to figure out how to stop it again.

The problem, I argued, was that Wall Street had begun to view itself as its own best client. Instead of being happy just serving as a gatekeeper of sorts, helping its clients raise capital and identifying investment opportunities for pension funds and mutual fund managers and collecting a fee in the process, the banks wanted to be a bigger part of the action. They would create their own hedge funds; invest in their own leveraged buyouts; trade for their own accounts, and not just on behalf of their clients; and make more money. A lot more money.

Criticism of that behavior surfaced in a lot of these essays, with Stephen Young, CEO of the Caux Round Table, arguing that speculation on the trading floor “is at odds with society’s contract with finance”. It’s in society’s interest to increase wealth – that’s why that “financial pipeline” exists at all, and why Washington bailed out Wall Street. Financial speculation, Young says, “merely moves money from one pocket to another”. Some people end up richer; others lose; society as a whole is no better off.

What is downright dismaying, though, is the fact that not a single essay in this book is written by someone currently working within the banking or investment banking industry. And while there is plenty of input from the “buy side” – folks from investment firms like Pimco and BlackRock get their say, along with Vanguard’s founder, Jack Bogle – there are no contributions from the hedge fund managers or private equity tycoons who generate just as much in trading and deal revenue for banks and have a big influence on the latter’s behavior. The closest readers will get are a couple of essays from “recovering” Wall Streeters likeformer investment banker John Fullerton, an advocate of making finance as sustainable as, say, farming.

Given the ongoing squabbling in Congress over just how to regulate the banks, and the apparent eagerness of Republicans to chip away at Dodd-Frank, it’s worth picking up Taft’s anthology to read when it is released next month.

Still, by the time you turn its final pages you may well share my feeling that it is one of those well-intentioned efforts that probably isn’t going to get anyone very far at all. It’s not that the suggestions the contributors put forth are not excellent – they are. I think it would be great if companies would stop providing quarterly earnings guidance, as David Blood, co-founder of Generation Investment Management and a proponent of “sustainable capitalism”, urges as part of his own five-point program.

But while you can chivvy Wall Street’s leaders, encourage them or even bully them, as the president has been trying to do for several years, ultimately, transformation can only come from within. Maybe if every young banker had to spend six months working within a nonprofit at the beginning of his career to help him understand what money means in a different context, that might help. But the kind of top-down solutions mentioned here risk being incorporated into fabulous lofty-sounding mission statements by banks – and then ignored in practice. And eventually we will have another financial crisis or panic.

Amusingly enough, the scheduled publication date coincides, almost to the day, with the seventh anniversary of the forced sale of Bear Stearns in March 2008 – the official beginning of the financial crisis.

Car manufacturing hits reverse gear

UK car manufacturing went into reverse in August as factories closed for the summer holidays.

A total of 71,065 cars rolled off production lines last month, 22% less than the 91,282 cars built in August 2013, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The SMMT said August was typically a quiet month for car production, and the particularly sharp slowdown could be explained by the timing of factory shutdowns, with many closing a week later than last year.

Over a longer period, stripping out the monthly volatility, the SMMT figures showed car manufacturing in the first eight months of the year was 1% higher than the same period last year, at 994,949 vehicles. Almost 80% of those were built for export.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Volumes are still strong for the year to date, with the UK automotive sector in the midst of a renaissance. Global demand for quality UK-built products is at an unprecedented level, with significant investments into UK production facilities from government and industry currently being realised.”

The trade body believes UK car manufacturing will be boosted in the coming months, as factories feel the benefit of investment in the latest models, including the Mini five-door hatchback in Oxford, and the Jaguar XE in Solihull.

The SMMT expects almost 1.6m cars to be built in the UK in 2014, beating a six-year high of 1.51m in 2013. It expects the 1972 record high of 1.92m cars built in Britain to be smashed in 2017.

UK car manufacturing has been growing despite a weak economy in Europe, its main export market. Highlighting the longer-term potential of the industry, Hawes said: “Several billion pounds have been committed to the sector in the past two years alone, much of which is yet to be fully realised in production volumes.

“There is still potential for growth in the rest of Europe – the UK’s key market – which, while recovering gradually, still remains 15% behind pre-recession levels after a lengthy period of decline. This potential, combined with a strong UK market and increasing demand outside the EU, is expected to drive production growth in the months and years ahead.”

Modern cargo ships slow to the speed of the sailing clippers

The world’s largest cargo ships are travelling at lower speeds today than sailing clippers such as the Cutty Sark did more than 130 years ago.
A combination of the recession and growing awareness in the shipping industry about climate change emissions encouraged many ship owners to adopt “slow steaming” to save fuel two years ago. This lowered speeds from the standard 25 knots to 20 knots, but many major companies have now taken this a stage further by adopting “super-slow steaming” at speeds of 12 knots (about 14mph).

Travel times between the US and China, or between Australia and Europe, are now comparable to those of the great age of sail in the 19th century. American clippers reached 14 to 17 knots in the 1850s, with the fastest recording speeds of 22 knots or more.

Maersk, the world’s largest shipping line, with more than 600 ships, has adapted its giant marine diesel engines to travel at super-slow speeds without suffering damage. This reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. It is believed that the company has saved more than £65m on fuel since it began its go-slow.

Ship engines are traditionally profligate and polluting. Designed to run at high speeds, they burn the cheapest “bunker” oil and are not subject to the same air quality rules as cars. In the boom before 2007, the Emma Maersk, one of the world’s largest container ships, would burn around 300 tonnes of fuel a day, emitting as much as 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a day – roughly as much as the 30 lowest emitting countries in the world.

Maersk spokesman Bo Cerup-Simonsen said: “The cost benefits are clear. When speed is reduced by 20%, fuel consumption is reduced by 40% per nautical mile. Slow steaming is here to stay. Its introduction has been the most important factor in reducing our CO2 emissions in recent years, and we have not yet realised the full potential. Our goal is to reducing CO2 emissions by 25%.”

The Royal Navy and BP, meanwhile, are among those adopting different ways to reduce fuel use and cut carbon emissions. The Ark Royal light aircraft carrier, the new Queen Mary 2 cruise liner and 350 other large commercial ships have had their hulls coated with special anti-fouling paint. This has been shown to cut around 9% from CO2 emissions by keeping their bottoms free from barnacles and other sea life.

Some ships have been fitted with kite-like “skysails”, or systems that force compressed air out of hulls to allow them to “ride” on a cushion of bubbles. These measures can cut fuel consumption by up to 20%.

Environmentalists say that a reduction in speeds makes sense but warn that there is no guarantee that ships would not revert back to full throttle once economic conditions improve.

WWF International’s marine manager, Simon Walmsley, said: “It’s a no-brainer. Slower speeds reduce pollution but what the industry needs to do is to address its whole supply chain.”

John Sauven, head of Greenpeace, said: “The simplest thing you can do to reduce emissions is reduce speed, but this must now be backed by regulation to make this the norm.”

Europe’s plan for alternative pipeline faces big problems

With its vast underground storage tanks and network of pipes, valves and tubes, Baumgarten in the flatlands east of Vienna is one of Europe’s biggest gas hubs. The first gas to cross the iron curtain was pumped through thousands of miles of pipelines from Siberia and into western Europe 40 years ago, arriving at Baumgarten for resupply across the continent. The hub remains the most important junction today, matching Russia’s huge mineral riches to Europe’s gargantuan appetite for natural gas. But a new energy revolution is being plotted.

With the Kremlin and the giant Russian gas monopoly, Gazprom, locked in their annual spat with Ukraine, the main transit country for Europe’s gas supplies, over prices and politics, Europe is desperately seeking ways to diminish its dependence on the 140bcm (billion cubic metres) of gas it currently imports from Russia. The most favoured, most ambitious and most contentious idea is to build a new pipeline beyond the grip of Gazprom, which controls 90,000 miles of gas delivery systems. Named after a Verdi opera, the Nabucco pipeline is supposed to terminate at Baumgarten, ultimately pumping 31bcm of Caspian gas through Turkey and the Balkans to Austria. “Diversification on the terrestrial route for gas is a must for Europe,” says Alexandr Vondra, deputy prime minister of the Czech Republic, which has taken on the EU presidency and sees energy policy as a priority.

The plan, born in 2002, is to thread almost 2,400 miles of pipeline through the narrow geostrategic stretch between Russia and Iran, the two countries with the world’s largest reserves of gas, to central Europe. “If we have a dominant company like Gazprom trying to influence all inroads of gas to Europe, we need to develop an alternative to the supply of gas from Russia,” says a senior European commission official involved in energy policy. Given the worsening fallout from the Russia-Ukraine dispute as well as the impact of last August’s Russia-Georgia war on Caspian energy security, the Europeans are trying to accelerate the Nabucco plans.

“We have good reason to believe that Nabucco will fly,” says Reinhard Mitschek, who manages the Nabucco consortium of six national energy companies from the 21st floor of an office block above the Danube in Vienna.

But the problems are formidable. European gas industry sources complain that EU officials are confusing political imperatives with economic, business and energy fundamentals. “This is an attempt at reverse engineering in pipeline development,” said a senior industry source. “Usually you find the resource and then you build a pipeline. With Nabucco it’s the other way round.”

Pierre Noël, energy analyst at the European Council on Foreign Relations, says: “This is a project that does not exist except in the minds of Brussels bureaucrats. They think you can build a pipeline and then the gas will flow. It’s simply not credible.”

Brussels has already spent millions on feasibility studies for a pipeline that will consume more than 2m tonnes of steel and comprise some 220,000 lengths of pipe from Turkey’s eastern border through Bulgaria, Romania, and Hungary into Baumgarten on Austria’s border with Slovakia.The cost is €8bn (£7.2bn) and rising. Construction was supposed to start last year, then this year, now next year.

Last summer Mitschek ordered a survey of gas shippers and said the results showed interest in pumping 16bcm through Nabucco, half the total capacity but ample to get the pipeline operating.

The industry source said there was nowhere near enough to make Nabucco viable. “The most important issue regarding this project is to obtain enough gas,” the Turkish president, Abdullah Gül, said last month. The first target for gas to fill the pipeline is Azerbaijan, whose Caspian field Shah Deniz II should come onstream around 2013, when Nabucco is due to start pumping. “This gas is expected from Azerbaijan,” says Mitschek of the 8bcm, or quarter of the pipeline’s capacity, needed to start Nabucco operations. But Gazprom is competing fiercely for the Azerbaijani prize in a bidding war with the Europeans, offering above- market prices for the gas while the Kremlin dangles the political carrot of arranging the return of the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh to Baku’s control.

“The Russians have offered a deal,” says Elmar Mammadyarov, Azerbaijan’s foreign minister. “But there are different options on the table. At the end of the story, it’s our gas.”
A recent western audit of Turkmenistan’s gas reserves cheered officials in Brussels by confirming a doubling of the known resources. But experts caution that it will be 20 years before sufficient Turkmen gas can be pumped for Europe to evade Gazprom’s control. Similar calculations apply to aims of filling Nabucco with gas from Iraq or Iran, were there to be major political change in Tehran. Compounding the problems is Turkey and its worsening relationship with the EU. Well over half the proposed pipeline is to be located in Turkey.

Brussels is attempting to negotiate an agreement making Turkey the main transit country for Caspian gas to Europe. The Turks are insisting on 15% of the gas at discounted prices, a demand that would wreck Nabucco financially, say officials in Brussels.

Britain flying high as top of Europe for private jets

The increasing numbers of the UK-based super-rich are sending ownership levels of private jets soaring to all-time highs.

More corporate jets have been delivered to Britain in the past five years than to any other European country, according to a report by the private aircraft group JetClub claims, with 64 touching down between 2009 and 2013.

The growth rate leaves Austria with 51, Germany with 43 and Russia with 39, in the UK’s slipstream – with its share of deliveries of heavy jets, Europe’s most popular category, accounting for 15.3% of the continent’s total.

Dustin Dryden, chief executive of JetClub, pointed to the rising numbers of billionaires based in the UK. “We are also seeing more ultra-high net worth individuals visiting [London], examples being wealthy individuals from the Middle East with their supercars following the end of Ramadan, and ultra-high net worth Chinese citizens in October during Golden Week – China’s national holiday.”

The claims of the growing market come after the delivery of a new £31m ($50m) Gulfstream G550 corporate jet caused fresh embarrassment for Tesco, earlier this month. The order was place in 2013 by the ousted chief executive Philip Clarke, but the embattled retailer quickly wound up the division that owns its fleet after the news emerged.

In total there are now 376 private jets registered in the UK, a 26% rise on the 298 registered in 2009. However, despite its growth rate, the UK still trails Germany with 442, as the most popular place in Europe to register this class of aircraft.