AOB – April 2016

30 April 2016

Latest from Emirates:

Seventh daily Bangkok added:

EK350 DXB BKK 1950 0510+1
EK351 BKK DXB 0635 0950

Starts 1st July. Daily with 3-class B77W

The timings are every strange….no one can check into a hotel at 6.00am unless you have booked the previous night. And for the return flight you need to be at the airport for no later than 5am and the flight basically connects to nothing at all.

So this is presumably aimed more at the o&d market – though BKK is primarily a connection based destination.

Odd.

17 April 2016

Golf today at Meydan – lovely day – blue sky, warm but with a nice breeze and little humidity. Was hitting the ball decently. Good to get back out playing again.

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Maybe I should start a Dubai-mega-hype page to cover all the laughable articles that hype up a business, event or project in Dubai to be something far greater than it really is.

This is the latest from the hype wagon:

Expo 2020 Dubai plan: World’s only 7-star airport terminal opens – shouts out Emirates 24/7

OK – it is at Al Maktoum airport – and it is just the VP/private jet building which takes some of the strain off slot-limited DXB. It is little more than a posh FBO for a handful of people.

And who decides what is 3 star of 7 star – or did they mean 7 out of 10?

Crowed 24/7: “In what is being seen as a significant step towards realising Dubai’s vision as the aviation capital of the world, a private jet carrying 13 passengers took off from the newly built VIP Terminal at Dubai South’s Aviation District.”

“”The flight is an important milestone for Dubai South and for Dubai’s aviation industry as a whole. It brings into operation a truly beautiful facility that sets new benchmarks in terms of luxurious ambiance and excellent service,” said Khalifa Al Zaffin, Executive Chairman of Dubai Aviation City Corporation (DACC).”

The first flight from the new terminal, an Embraer Legacy aircraft, headed to The Maldives, and was handled by JetEx, a Fixed Base Operator having a dedicated facility at the VIP terminal.

The 5,600 sq m standalone terminal will cater specifically to private, business and government VIP travellers.

A seven star airport terminal to be used by no more than a handful of passengers each day. Priorities?

13 April 2016

From today’s Guardian – summing up the whole reason for a lifetime following one football club:

“The whole emotional point of supporting a football team, it would seem to me (to the extent that there is a point) is to suffer for a long time, and then to experience joy, relief, pride and redemption when success finally arrives. The suffering is necessary to make sense of and give perspective to the good times. The only problem with this theory is that it is impossible to repeat that first dizzying thrill of triumph. Even if bigger and better achievements come along later, you will never forget, nor recapture, the first time. And if success becomes too regular an occurrence, you will forget the bad times completely and become as smug and insufferable as every trophy-spoilt fan.”

Exactly.

12 April 2016

The collapse of oil prices is hurting the Middles East’s economies and new revenue streams have to be found to replace lost revenues.

VAT is on its way.

And this is the latest from our neighbours in Abu Dhabi – where the city has imposed a 4 percent municipality tax, as well as a AED15 ($4) charge per night, on hotel bills in the capital.

The fees will be collected by the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority. Hotels in the city already charge a city tax of 6 percent and a 10 percent service charge.

Just over four million guests stayed in the UAE capital’s hotels last year, staying over 12 million nights. The National estimated the potential revenue from the new fees, based on those figures, at $122 million.

I wonder how much of the 10% service fee gets into the hands of employees?

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Written for Emirates – but could apply to most other companies in the UAE…and many other places:

“One day while walking down the street a highly successful a Emirates pilot was tragically hit by a bus and died. His soul arrived up in heaven where he was met at the Pearly Gates by St. Peter himself. “Welcome to Heaven,” said St.Peter. “Before you get settled in though, it seems we have a problem. You see, strangely enough, we’ve never once had an pilot make it this far and we’re not really sure what to do with you.”

“No problem, just let me in.” said the pilot.

“Well, I’d like to, but I have higher orders. What we’re going to do is let you have a day in Hell and a day in Heaven and then you can choose whichever one you want to spend an eternity in.”

“Actually, I think I’ve made up my mind…I prefer to stay in Heaven”, said the pilot.

“Sorry, we have rules…” And with that St. Peter put the pilot in an elevator and it went down-down-down to hell. The doors opened and he found himself stepping out onto the putting green of a beautiful golf course. In the distance was a country club and standing in front of him were all his friends – fellow pilots that he had worked with and they were all dressed in chinos and cheering for him. They ran up and shook his hand and talked about old times. They played an excellent round of golf and at night went to the country club where he enjoyed an excellent steak and lobster dinner. He met the Devil who was actually a really nice guy and had a great time telling jokes and drinking. He was having such a good time that before he knew it, it was time to leave. Everybody shook his hand and waved good- bye as he got on the elevator.

The elevator went up-up-up and opened back up at the Pearly Gates and found St. Peter waiting for him. “Now it’s time to spend a day in heaven,” he said.

So he spent the next 24 hours lounging around on clouds and playing the harp and singing. He had a great time and before he knew it his 24 hours were up and St. Peter came and got him.

“So, you’ve spent a day in hell and you’ve spent a day in heaven. Now you must choose your eternity,” he said.

The pilot paused for a second and then replied, “Well, I never thought I’d say this, I mean, Heaven has been really great and all, but I think I had a better time in Hell.”

So St. Peter escorted him to the elevator and again he went down-down-down back to Hell. When the doors of the elevator opened he found himself standing in a desolate wasteland covered in garbage and Filth. He saw his friends were dressed in rags and were picking up the garbage and putting it in sacks. The Devil came up to him and put his arm around him. “I don’t understand,” stammered the pilot, “yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and a country club and we ate lobster and we had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland of garbage and all my friends look miserable.”

The Devil looked at him and smiled. “Yesterday we were recruiting you; today you’re staff.” ”

11 April 2016

Dubai Police is imposing a new AED1,000 ($272) fine on any motorist caught eating, drinking, applying make-up and reading the paper while driving.

The fine will also apply to motorists caught using their mobile phones while driving, and they face having up to 12 black points added to their licence as well.

This of course is not the solution to Dubai’s bad driver problem. But if applied consistently it may at least help.

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Parked on the mezzanine level at Executive Towers last night. Waiting for the elevator. A large white SUV pulls up and parks – blocking the entrance and exit. Four local ladies emerge. One older; three younger. You are not going to leave your car there are you I asked as nicely as I could. Their various responses were – it is a parking place; security says we can park there; what is it to do with you – none of yous business.

The older lady looked embarrassed and clearly suggested that they should move the car. But these were typical, arrogant, entitled brats who do not believe that any of the rules of the community or even of simple courtesy applied to them.

And that in a few minutes was just typical of the hypocrisy that I hate in Dubai

My revenge was to go and find security and take security to the car and ask them to deal with it!

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So Danny Willett won the Masters – and showed why live sport can be so dramatic to watch.

Jordan Spieth (who led for 64 holes of the tournament) was leading by five shots after nine holes of the final round. Then an amen corned meltdown of bogey, bogey, quadruple bogey. The 12th hole is a mere 150 yards and has caused so much grief to so many over the eighty years of the masters.

1 April 2016

Left Lisbon yesterday and back in Devon for a couple of days. Two family reunions in the last two months. Unheard of.