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JANUARY - MP Jacqui Smith announces pounds 20 billion five year plan to help 64,000 business in the West Midlands, creating 160,000 jobs.

A total of 199 workers at London Taxi International, in Holyhead Road, out on strike over pay.

City-based telecommunications giant Marconi report sales up by five per cent for the quarter to pounds 408 million.

Jaguar sales in USA market are up to 54,655 - double those of previous year.

FEBRUARY - World's biggest travel firm TUI buys Coventry Airport and pledges to have two million passengers flying from Baginton annually.

Coventry City Council announces pounds 1 billion plans to change the ring road, radically altering the city.

Jaguar announces new the X150 model is to be built at Browns Lane plant, thereby safeguarding jobs.

Caravan company Broad Lane Leisure, which has four sites across the region, sees profits soar to pounds 15.5 million.

Work starts on the Coventry Arena, off A444 near Rowley's Green.

MARCH - 700 workers axed from shop floor at Peugeot's Ryton plant, even though previous summer staff had voluntarily taken a 2.6 per cent wage cut to keep colleagues on.

TUI submits controversial planning application to Warwick District Council (WDC) for revamped terminal at Baginton.

An pounds 8 billion plan to upgrade the West Coast Mainline begins, causing rail chaos, but welcomed by Chamber of Commerce as vital a step to getting the region on the move.

The House of Lords refuses to hear appeal by 1,100 former workers of Massey-Ferguson about frozen pensions scheme.

Plans by developers Oakmoor-Deeley to create pounds 100 million Belgrade Plaza in city centre is announced, hopefully creating 1,000 jobs.

Prince Charles visits Aston Martin factory at Gaydon.

Fibre Optics company Optilan wins Evening Telegraph Business of the Year Award after the Kenilworth-based company, employing 130 staff, sees turnover top pounds 12 million.

APRIL - Mayflower Vehicle Systems, in Holbrooks, which makes motor panels, goes into administration, threatening 650 jobs.

Nuneaton-based delivery giant Lynx Express, the region's most profitable company, breaks into list of England's top 100 businesses.

M6 toll road opens. Coventry Airport takes on 60 staff. Evening Telegraph becomes first corporate sponsor of Arena Coventry.

Boom in property prices sees more properties than ever before in Kenilworth and Gibbet Hill break into pounds 1 million bracket.

Employment agency Connexions reveals Coventry's school leavers have one of lowest employment rates in country, at 5.6 per cent, half the national average.

MAY - Airdrome buys Rugby based AF Aerospace, pledging to expand what is already Europe's biggest supplier of pneumatic and hydraulic tube fittings.

First time home buyers in the region are the lowest for a decade.

Tod Evans, chairman of Peugeot Citroen Automobiles in the UK, says both Citroen and Peugeot cars may be built at Ryton site in the future.

JUNE - Stacko buys Mayflower Vehicle Systems, thereby saving jobs.

West Midlands young entrepreneur of the year is Richard Evans, 23, whose Kenilworth internet cafe achieved annual turnover of pounds 125,000.

Petrol prices rocket above pounds 4 per gallon, putting haulage companies under tremendous pressure. Number of strikes nationally at all time low of just 133.

More than 50 per cent of small firms in region show significant improvement in profits, and increase employment by seven per cent.

JULY - Engineering factory PGM Ball Screws, in Bodmin Road, Wyken, goes into voluntary liquidation - 90 jobs are lost.

Transport Secretary Alistair Darling announces plans to extend M6 Toll Road by 50 miles.

Fords' luxury car arm Premier Automotive Group declares huge pre-tax loss of pounds 195 million for the second quarter.

Federal-Mogul automotive parts factory's pension scheme frozen, causing outcry from 360 workers.

AUGUST - Plans for a 9,000 sq ft passenger terminal at Coventry Airport submitted to WDC.

Browns Lane Jaguar plant goes on four-day week as exchange rate threatens American market, sales plunge by 5.9 per cent.

Aston Martin's Gaydon factory expands exports by 20 per cent in six months, with 1,000 staff producing 5,000 cars per year.

Rugby-based builders Morgan Est contributed to parent company Morgan Sindall's record half-yearly figures of pounds 604 million - up eight per cent.

SEPTEMBER - Black day for Coventry as Jaguar announces 1,150 redundancies at Browns Lane plant, the home of Jaguar.

Royal Mail in region slammed for being 12th worst service in the country, with 87.6 per cent of First Class post arriving next day.

Marconi's recovery puts company back in black, having wiped out pounds 669 million debt in 16 months.

Phoenix Initiative, the city centre development, is put up for the Stirling Prize, architecture's top award.

Virgin's Pendolino trains run for the first time on main line, eventually to cut travel time to capital to 58 mins.

City council announces huge pay review, with many workers gaining, but 2,000 having wages reduced by up to pounds 8,000.

OCTOBER - Oil giant Conoco Phillips expands its UK base in Warwick, taking on 60 staff.

European Institute of Transport Management recognises Hillfields- born Jon Sharp for outstanding services to aviation, due to the success of his company Engine Lease Financial. Cable company ntl takes on 80 more staff in Coventry.

NOVEMBER - Tesco's super-sized store, at Arena Park off the A444, opens for business.

Dunlop Aerospace, Holbrooks, axes 70 jobs, claiming it's a knock-on effect from Jaguar's decision to trim back production in Coventry.

Jaguar announces plans to open hi-tech business park at Whitley, creating 2,000 jobs, in conjunction with council.

Jaguar Workers march to keep Browns Lane plant open.

DECEMBER - Courts furniture store, which has a branch in Orchards Retail Park, London Road, Coventry goes bankrupt.

Aerospace components factory Goodrich Actuation Systems, Hillfields, closes, losing 68 jobs. Belgrade Plaza gets planning permission.


ROYAL VISIT: Prince Charles visited Aston Martin at Gaydon in March; TIME-SAVER: Pendolino trains ran for the first time in September; SIGN OF THINGS TO COME: Construction work at the Arena started in February after years in the planning and a long-running debate about funding for the entire schemeAPPROVED: The Belgrade Plaza scheme had got planning permission by the end of the year
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jan 25, 2005

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