E-gates of hell signal start of travel chaos season

Planet Business: Maersk’s Red Sea warning, Boeing’s Starliner launch and the cities with the most millionaires

Image of the week: Airport hell

It is one of the founding principles of the universe that the length of a queue at passport control will be inversely proportional to the height of the ceiling at the passport control corner of the airport in question. That’s just physics.

To be fair to the robots in charge of the Border Force e-gates at UK airports, they at least had the decency to wait until after the bank holiday to go into meltdown, with the widespread glitches prompting significant disruption at airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester and Bristol.

This meant immigration officers – some of whom were on strike at Heathrow last week – were obliged to “manually process incoming passengers”, old-school style.

The resulting delays and chaos – which saw thousands of penned-in arrivals forced to stand in line for hours, often after long flights – does not bode well for the smooth passage of the summer holiday season. Top travel tip: always carry a duty-free Toblerone for emergency snack purposes.


In numbers: Shipping forecast


Industry capacity between Asia and Europe will fall by up to a fifth this quarter, as disruption to Red Sea container shipping rises, warns Danish giant Maersk.


Additional containers leased by Maersk in order to “boost reliability” and compensate for the impact of the attacks by Houthi militants in the area.


Maersk’s fuel costs for the affected routes have climbed this much higher, it said, with its vessels now swerving an expanded “risk zone” and going the long way around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope.

Getting to know: Boeing Starliner

Casual surveyors of Boeing headlines in recent months might be surprised to hear of the company’s ambitious plan to boldly go where it has never gone before: on a crewed mission to the International Space Station. Wait, aren’t you guys having trouble flying 737 Max 9s at 16,000ft over Oregon without losing bits of the aircraft along the way? Are you sure you’re ready to take actual humans off-planet?

Nevertheless, Boeing’s new CST-100 Starliner space capsule was due to be launched last Monday with two Nasa astronauts on board – Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Sunita “Suni” Williams – and the flight was only called off with two hours left in the countdown.

This was because a pressure regulation valve malfunctioned on the upper-stage liquid oxygen tank of the Atlas V rocket that was due to carry it into space, with this rocket being the product of a Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture. Talk surfaced of another attempt as early as this Friday before Nasa confirmed it would be at least May 17th before the Starliner made its debut.

The list: Millionaire cities

You can’t move for millionaires in some cities. Well, obviously, you can as they’re all just taking private helicopters from one millionaire cave to the next. But which cities have the most millionaires? “Investment migration” advisers Henley & Partners, in partnership with New World Wealth, have run the numbers.

5. London: The UK capital has 227,000 dollar millionaires – down 10 per cent over the past decade – and 35 billionaires. But slightly fewer of each in sterling terms, obviously.

4. Singapore: By contrast, Singapore has become even more of a millionaire magnet over the past 10 years and now has 244,800 millionaires, according to the Henley data. Oh, and 30 of them are billionaires.

3. Tokyo: There are 298,300 millionaires based in Tokyo, apparently, and 14 billionaires, with that first tally falling 5 per cent between 2013 and 2023.

2. Bay Area, California: Not even lumping all of Silicon Valley in with San Francisco was enough to take top spot, with 305,700 millionaires and 68 billionaires knocking about. Either despite this or because of it, thousands of people in San Francisco are homeless.

1. New York: The city has 60 billionaires and 349,500 millionaires, which some goes way to explaining the existence of the Met Gala.