AOB – April 2017

30 April 2017

Ch-Aviation reports that Kan Air (based out of Chiang Mai) has ceased all operations as of April 21 after being forced to ground its aircraft due to technical difficulties. Kan Air President Somphong Sooksanguan says that the airline will not close down altogether, but he expects to be operational again in the next few weeks.

Kan Air’s ATR72-500 has been grounded since March 20 due to a problem with its propeller. The carrier’s Cessna (single turboprop) Grand Caravan 208B has now also been grounded, leaving Kan Air with no option but to suspend ops.

As previously reported, Sooksanguan is keen to expand Kan Air’s fleet with the addition of three ATR72-500s and one A319-100. The ATR fleet expansion will allow Kan Air to resume its Bangkok Don Mueang – Mae Sot route and add a flight from Bangkok to Phrae, while the addition of the A319 would allow it to increase its Don Mueang – Chiang Mai flights to twice daily. But any fleet expansion is contingent upon Sooksanguan finding partner investors.

This will be hard when there are a number of LCCs operating large fleets domestically in Thailand.

White House Correspondents Dinner last night: “You know that Donald Trump doesn’t drink — does not touch alcohol. Which is oddly respectable. But think about that. That means every statement, every interview, every tweet — completely sober.” Hasan Minhaj

Reality check. If the incident had been on an EK plane at Dubai airport there would have been no video. And no story. And no resignations.

Brandy Scott
@HeyBrandyScott (Business Breakfast radio in Dubai) 

There would have been resignations if the United passenger fiasco had happened with us: Emirates Sir Tim Clark

28 April 2017

Sorry I was quiet!

Have been in Bangkok since 22nd – not much fun. Three visits to BNH hospital. Two to see my dentist to put a crown on a broken molar. The first session was especially grim – almost 2 hours of drilling away!

And then we had to take a small growth off my back. It has been there for a while – but seened to be a benign mole. In the last few days it seemed to have risen and become a bit sore.

The doctor took one look at it and said it should be cut off – and that he would also laser the cells around the root to remove it all. They would do a biopsy on the removed skin. Results next week.

Minor surgery – just with a local anaesthetic – and afterwards he said that he did not think it is cancerous. Which would be good.

Wise to be careful about such things – since it was a melanoma that caused Dad’s cancer and death. Lessons learned.

Still not the best of weeks.

Tai came over on Tues night which was nice – and we had three nights in BKK before heading back to Dubai today (Friday).

20 April 2017

I have written on the main page about Emirates flight cuts to the USA – now BHX will be cut to 2 daily from 1st September. It’s getting bad when they are cancelling UK routes.

18 April 2017

Theresa May has called a UK General Election for 8 June. She did not need to. She has a comfortable working majority in Parliament. No election was required until 2020.

But she wants to capitalise on a feeble opposition; on the fact that the British will not elect Corbyn as PM; and on the fact that the Labour Party with its weak support of Brexit would find it impossible to campaign on an anti-Brexit stance.

May is hoping for a near landslide.

I hope this comes back to haunt her. Though I am not sure how.

16 April 2017

US airline consolidation since 2005.

It must be so much fun to read some of the pilot safety reports from Emirates – this one is mentioned on pprune –

“How about the ASR last month where the Captain kicked out the supernumerary crew girl before take-off on her first flight due to her asking questions…

He asked why we should have supernumerary crew in a ‘critical’ phase.

He then commented that she didn’t come back during the cruise to finish asking her questions.

Well of course she didn’t! I can imagine!

How miserable can you get? Truly embarrassing to read.”

Very Emirates.

12 April 2017

Smear the victim is appalling journalism.

Conjecture based upon these smears is little better; very disappointing.

Saddened to see there are people who think that a 12 year old criminal record may explain the events onboard United #3411 on Sunday. Maybe better to note that Mr Dao is a family man and that four of his five children are working physicians; a pretty remarkable contribution to society.

Curiously the newspapers that victim shamed Mr Dao have made neither named or investigated the airport police officer who is currently suspended from work pending an investigation into the incident; or how about the name and background of the captain of the airliner who allowed this to happen on his airplane.

So how did the media get hold of the name of Mr Dao and of his police records so quickly? If United was in any way involved their shame is complete.

Mr Dao is still in hospital.

Mr. Dao’s background has absolutely nothing to do with his treatment. Character assassination by media/PR is appalling.

The CEO has (at last) apologized for the “truly horrific” incident, and said that the company will “fix what’s broken so that it never happens again”.

Liability admitted right there.

The Chicago Aviation Security Officer responsible for dragging the Mr Dao off the plane has been suspended, with the CASO saying that the actions taken were “not in accordance with our standard operating procedure”.

10 April 2017

This: human ingenuity at it’s finest.

I read things like this and want to barf!

“Rochester Institute of Technology, Dubai campus, has launched the first Corporate Happiness Professional Diploma for the region, to help develop corporate frameworks to promote happiness among employees and customers.

RIT Dubai is offering the programme in collaboration with Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA), the regulatory body for Dubai Silicon Oasis, and Smart Dubai Office.

The first batch of students comprises 25 senior professionals from a wide spectrum of government departments and corporate specialisations. In a bid to drive the programme’s success, SDO and DSOA are sponsoring 20 ‘Happiness Champions’ from various sectors.”

Enforced happiness! It simply does not happen…especially top-down. You can create an environment where people are engaged and enjoy their work. But that also involves inclusiveness, empowerment, appreciation, remuneration, opportunity, a tolerance of risk-taking, and a much flatter organisation structure than most UAE and Middle East companies would ever except.

It gets better:

“The course educates students on the key concepts of happiness and equips them to utilise their learning in the workplace to implement methods and frameworks that support the corporate environment in boosting the levels of happiness among employees and customers.

Participants will learn more about Dubai’s Happiness Agenda, find out how to measure happiness levels within their own organisations, and study how to embed happiness within their corporate culture.”

Which basically means taking all the fun and spontaneity out of daily working life.

Plue do we really want happiness at work – we want to feel challenged, fulfilled and recognised. But real happiness is a work-life balance where we spend time with the people that we love and care for. That means not working 12 hour days, six days a week etc.

Now how for instance does this get reflected in Emirates Airline. Dubai has a Happiness Agenda, as outlined by Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum?

Yet its premier company – and a world-leading airline – is in the middle of a cost-saving exercise – there are redundancies and re-organisations and a culture that is widely considered more punitive than at any time in the last ten years. So that staff can be let go without redundancy for minor infractions.

As for empowerment – ask about a recent incident at AMS.

Happiness may happen by osmosis when times are good. But times are tough right now.

And don’t get me started on Happiness Street!

Sergio Garcia won the Masters – his first major championship – and how long he has waited. 19 years of trying – he has not missed a major in that time – he has been close. Yesterday he held it together and won in style with a birdie on the 18th at Augusta, the first play off hole, against the excellent Justin Rose.

They say that the Masters does not really start until the last nine holes on Sunday – and so it proved. Great drama. Matchplay in the end as these two friends were the only golfers who were going to win the title – as other contenders fell away under pressure.

9 April 2017

The LA Times on its week long series of Trump editorials:

“Even though we’re only 11 weeks into the Trump presidency, there is good reason to believe that rather than grow into the job, he’ll remain the man he was on the campaign trail — impulsive, untruthful, narcissistic, ignorant of the limits on presidential power and woefully unprepared to wield it……we decided to lay out our concerns at length and in detail.”

“We decided to write…about how Trump’s erratic, impulsive, narcissistic personality manifests itself in his actions in ways that pose a threat to our democracy.”

“We’ve grown increasingly doubtful that Trump will lead any responsible efforts to reform immigration policy, grow the economy, improve healthcare or achieve other shared goals. His Cabinet choices and budget proposals show he’s more interested in dismantling federal agencies and programs than improving their effectiveness.”

7 April 2017

“It’s unclear how US air strikes will make civilians safer”, Lord Wood of Anfield, chair of the United Nations Association UK has said.

In a blog post, Wood wrote: “Unilateral action without broad international backing through the UN, without a clear strategy for safeguarding civilians, and through military escalation risks further deepening and exacerbating an already protracted and horrific conflict, leaving civilians at greater, not lesser, risk of atrocities.”

He added that by circumventing the UN “we reduce both legitimacy and effectiveness, as a course of action that does not have the broad support of regional powers and the international community, channelled through UN systems and processes, can have little chance of success in leading to a more stable Syria.”

The trouble with this sort of unilateral action is that it empowers every other strong nation to do the same thing.

Trump argues that he was defending American interests. The Chinese might make the same argument if they launch a missile attack on Taiwan – OK that is a bit of a stretch but you can see where the thought is going.

6 April 2017

Andrew MacGregor Marshall earlier today:

A fascinating old tradition in the Southeast Asian kingdom of Thailand is that every few years the king signs an elaborate document called a “constitution” in a special ceremony. Everybody pretends a new era has dawned and democracy has finally arrived, and then after a while the army launches a coup and rips up the constitution, and thousands of bureaucrats begin work on a new one for the king to sign so the whole ritual can be repeated.

Nobody knows the precise origins of this peculiar national custom but it’s very entertaining to watch.

Amazing Thailand!

5 April 2017

Golfers cheat – not often by big margins but enough to get a slight advantage – not a surprise but Phil Mickelson had a go at his fellow PGA Tour professionals yesterday in eth Masters build up. “I know a number of guys on tour that are loose with how they mark the ball and have not been called on it,” the five-times major winner said. “I mean, they will move the ball two, three inches in front of their mark, and this is an intentional way to get it out of any type of impression and so forth and I think that kind of stuff needs to stop.

“I think it should be handled within the tour. I think that the tour should go to those players and say, look, we’ve noticed you’ve been a little lax in how precise you’ve been in marking the ball. We’d like you to be a little bit better at it – and see if that doesn’t just kind of fix the thing.”

Isn’t that a conversation that pro golfers should have with eachother during a round.

Not such an honourable game after all. Just ask Colin Montgomerie about Indonesia.

Emirates will introduce a second daily service to the island of Bali in Indonesia, on 2 July 2017.

Operated by Emirates’ popular Boeing 777-300ER aircraft in a two-class configuration with 42 seats in Business Class and 386 seats in Economy Class. The outbound flight EK360 will depart from Dubai at 0125hrs and arrive in I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport at 1430hrs.

The return flight, EK361, will depart at 1630hrs and arrive in Dubai International Airport at 2130hrs.

World gone mad:

4 April 2017

The LA Times on Trump – Day 2 – why does Trump lie? More highlights.

The insult that Donald Trump brings to the equation is an apparent disregard for fact so profound as to suggest that he may not see much practical distinction between lies, if he believes they serve him, and the truth.

He targets the darkness, anger and insecurity that hide in each of us and harnesses them for his own purposes. If one of his lies doesn’t work — well, then he lies about that.

If we harbor latent racism or if we fear terror attacks by Muslim extremists, then he elevates a rumor into a public debate: Was Barack Obama born in Kenya, and is he therefore not really president?

Instead of backing down when confronted with reality, he insists that his rebutted assertions will be vindicated as true at some point in the future.

Trump’s easy embrace of untruth can sometimes be entertaining, in the vein of a Moammar Kadafi speech to the United Nations or the self-serving blathering of a 6-year-old.

But he is not merely amusing. He is dangerous. His choice of falsehoods and his method of spewing them — often in tweets, as if he spent his days and nights glued to his bedside radio and was periodically set off by some drivel uttered by a talk show host who repeated something he’d read on some fringe blog — are a clue to Trump’s thought processes and perhaps his lack of agency. He gives every indication that he is as much the gullible tool of liars as he is the liar in chief.

He has made himself the stooge, the mark, for every crazy blogger, political quack, racial theorist, foreign leader or nutcase peddling a story that he might repackage to his benefit as a tweet, an appointment, an executive order or a policy. He is a stranger to the concept of verification, the insistence on evidence and the standards of proof that apply in a courtroom or a medical lab — and that ought to prevail in the White House.

At about 2.30pm yesterday a bog was triggered inside the St Petersburg underground. Pictures showed a metro carriage with its doors blown off their hinges and bloodied bodies strewn across the platform.

At least eleven people died and more than fifty were wounded.

The National Anti-Terror Committee claims to have defused a second bomb at another station in the city.

For all the additional aviation security, for instance the recent electronics ban, it remains clear that there and many vulnerable softer targets that are almost impossible to make secure.

For the global intelligence community that must be a nightmare.

The LA Times is going full broadside against the Trump Presidency – with four days of consecutive editorials.

Here are the highlights from Day 1. Ouch.

It was no secret during the campaign that Donald Trump was a narcissist and a demagogue who used fear and dishonesty to appeal to the worst in American voters. 

Still, nothing prepared us for the magnitude of this train wreck.

In a matter of weeks, President Trump has taken dozens of real-life steps that, if they are not reversed, will rip families apart, foul rivers and pollute the air, intensify the calamitous effects of climate change and profoundly weaken the system of American public education for all.

These are immensely dangerous developments which threaten to weaken this country’s moral standing in the world, imperil the planet and reverse years of slow but steady gains by marginalized or impoverished Americans. 

What is most worrisome about Trump is Trump himself. He is a man so unpredictable, so reckless, so petulant, so full of blind self-regard, so untethered to reality that it is impossible to know where his presidency will lead or how much damage he will do to our nation.

His obsession with his own fame, wealth and success, his determination to vanquish enemies real and imagined, his craving for adulation — these traits, in a real presidency in which he wields unimaginable power, are nothing short of disastrous.

3 April 2017

The big news – just 4 more months in Dubai. We are planning a 31 July exit – and that time will pass quickly.

More details when I feel like typing more than I do right now!

2 April 2017

So the Emirates Airline financial year has ended – and speculation turns to the financial results.

I suspect that like the half year numbers there will be a very small profit. No profit share.

But someone has to explain to me how an airline makes record profits when oil is $100+ per barrel but can’t make anything like that when it’s half the price.

And fuel is between 30 and 50% of operating costs.

In other EK news there are two new 777s.

Emirates Boeing 777-31HER A6-EQA and Emirates Boeing 777-31HER A6-EPZ were delivered in the last couple of days.