AOB – August 2016

30 August 2016

October and November are notoriously quiet periods for the airlines – between the summer holidays and the winter/Christmas trips.

Most LCCs reduce their winter schedules accordingly – many leave airplanes on the ground as it is simply cheaper not to fly them.

Now Emirates is doing the same thing, really for the first time that I can remember.

A number of seasonal reductions have already been announced. But there are some further changes:

As of 30AUG16, planned frequency reductions (or aircraft changes on selected routes) for October and November only as follow. All effective dates listed below is based on Dubai departure.

Dubai – Abuja 04OCT16 – 04DEC16 Reduce from 7 to 4 weekly, Day 134 cancelled (Day 4 resumes from 01DEC16)

Dubai – Birmingham 30OCT16 – 30NOV16 Reduce from 3 to 2 daily, EK41/42 cancelled

Dubai – Boston 01OCT16 – 15NOV16 Reduce from 2 to 1 daily, EK239/240 cancelled

Dubai – Hong Kong 30OCT16 – 27NOV16 EK386/387 reduces from 7 to 4 weekly

Dubai – Jakarta 01OCT16 – 30NOV16 Reduce from 3 to 2 daily, EK368/369 cancelled (Previously reported on 13JUL16)

Dubai – Luanda 01OCT16 – 30NOV16 Further reduction from 5 to 4 weekly, Day 137 cancelled (7 weekly resumes from 01DEC16)

Dubai – Munich 01OCT16 – 30NOV16 EK53/54 operates with 777-300ER, replacing A380 (Overall 2 daily A380, 1 daily 777)

Dubai – Oslo Revised operational day changes accompanied by frequency reduction
01SEP16 – 29OCT16 Reduce from 7 to 5 weekly. Day 26 cancelled
30OCT16 – 30NOV16 Extended frequency reduction period. Service operates 6 instead of 7 weekly, Day 3 cancelled

Dubai – Perth 30OCT16 – 30NOV16 EK424/425 operates with 777-300ER, replacing A380 (Overall 1 daily each 777 and A380)

Dubai – St. Petersburg 30AUG16 – 01JAN17 Reduce from 7 to 5 weekly, operational day changes has been revised from Day x26 to Day x25

Dubai – Seattle 01OCT16 – 21NOV16 Reduce from 2 to 1 daily, EK227/228 cancelled

Dubai – Tehran Imam Khomeini 01OCT16 – 29OCT16 Reduce from 4 to 3 daily, EK979/980 cancelled

Interesting times. It will reduce the pressure on pilot training and flying hours. But it is the first time that I can remember Emirates implementing widespread capacity reductions; at the same time new 777s and A380s are being delivered each month.

All data from –

************************ is still blocked by Du in the UAE

Back in Dubai after two weeks away. The temperature has calmed down a little. The sky is blue – less dust and sand. Winter must be coming!

Light load back from BOS yesterday – just 81 passengers in Economy – so able to spread out over four seats and actually slept a little.

One note from pprune on EK521 worth repeating here: “There has been a lot of talk about windshear, pressure altitudes and temperatures, you have to realise these conditions are pretty well standard operating conditions for us in the summer, nothing special, it’s what we are paid to deal with and do so on a routine basis. Are they a causal factor of course, but pitch without power is never going to make an airplane go upwards for very long.”


28 August 2016

EK521 crashed at DXB over three weeks ago. There has been no information released about the investigation since that day.

On one of the pprune forums someone asked about the role of external stakeholders in the invetigation.

This is a summary of the reply:

Boeing, Rolls, and the NTSB are on-site and involved in the investigation, but only allowed to participate in an ‘advisory’ role – the local authority is the investigating agency.

So at some level Boeing knows what’s going on. Everyone involved is under something of a gag order – all information release should come through the local authority who have not said anything.

Even around Boeing, information sharing is on a ‘need to know’ basis – in part to avoid leaks although it also comes in handy when the inevitable lawsuits start popping up.

When the final report comes out, if Boeing or Rolls feel they’ve been unfairly thrown under the bus, then they can publicly disagree with the report – not before.

It does not exactly fill me with confidence that we will see a transparent, comprehensive report that has been agreed by all relevant parties.

11 August 2016

On a personal note today would have been my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary!

Now that makes me feel old….

Dubai Parks and Resorts announced on Thursday that it will open its gates to the public on October 31, 2016.

There are three distinct theme parks — Bollywood Parks Dubai, Motiongate Dubai, and Legoland Dubai, plus Legoland Water Park, located on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi highway near the Ghantoot exit. Basically down past Jebel Ali.

There will be a partial opening for Motiongate Dubai, which features rides and attractions by three Hollywood film studios: Sony Pictures Studios, DreamWorks Animation and Lionsgate.

The other parks will open fully. For eating and entertainment Riverland Dubai is a combined retail, dining, and entertainment area. The Lapita Hotel is a Polynesian-themed family resort.

Annual passes are currently on sale at, and daily passes will be announced soon, added the park operator.

Meanwhile IMG Worlds of Adventure is scheduled to open on August 15, with rides and attractions by Marvel and Cartoon Network, among others. This is located on the old 311 highway towards Global Village.

Dubai Parks and Resorts is also building a Six Flags theme park, which has broken ground in Dubailand.

Most unlikely tweet of the day (not from me!):

@emirates Please make daily flights to Trinidad and Tobago!!!

6 August 2016

The 3 August crash of EK521 on landing at DXB has been both a shock and a wake up call for anyone involved in the aviation industry in Dubai.

But three days later I am a little concerned about how little is being said or reported. Compare this to the NTSB’s investigation on the Asiana crashlanding at San Francisco with at least daily press briefings.

Here is the GCAA’s last two twitter posts – from two days ago.

  1. warns all residence in the  to stop abusing social networks by publishing videos, news or pictures of aviation’s accidents.

  1. GCAA UAE (@gcaa_uae) | Twitter
    Aug 4
    Sharing such practices is considered to be irresponsible and disrespectful to the victims, and is punishable under  law.

There has been nothing from the GCAA since. UAE social media laws are probably better monitored by Dubai Police.

Meanwhile Emirates official twitter account has given no update for two days. Do they all go away for the weekend?

Emirates has sent just two twitter messages since 4 August – both in connection with the lost baggage of cricketer Faf du Plessis. Nothing else. No other update.

The website has no update since 4 August. Though very clearly from people venting on twitter there is still plenty of disruption across the network with passengers and bags still delayed.

The last facebook update was 4 August. The trouble is that the weekend is the busiest time for passengers traveling n the summer weekends. This is the time to communicate better rather than to go into silent mode.

There are some angry comments on the Emirates facebook page. An explanation and/or apology for the disruption would probably be appropriate.

Much of that frustration may be directed at the EmiratesSupport account on twitter – one account that has remained very active since the crash.

The DubaiAirports twitter account has provided more regular updates.

There is a sense that it was job done by the evening of the fourth and then those in charge took the weekend off. Certainly communication at a senior level seems to have halted.

There was a press briefing on 3 August after the accident: this was held solo by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority (DCAA), Chairman of Dubai Airports and Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group.

The CEO, Sir Tim Clark, has not been heard from though he did apparently fly back to Dubai from vacation on 4 August.

So for all the plaudits that EK received for its initial response to the accident (this is not an incident) the subsequent silence is concerning.

Emirates and the authorities must know that once pictures and information are on the internet there is no removing or recovering it – whatever threats are made.

This accident happened. It is important to manage and work with the realities.

The media have pictures of the crashed airliner; they also have “experts” who will speculate on the cause.

Emirates has built an image as a global brand through its network, marketing and predominantly sports sponsorships. It now needs to manage that brand through open and transparent communication and to encourage the same from other stakeholders.

The crash of Asiana 214 has a long entry in Wikipedia and the comments on the NTSB investigations reveal a very different minset to the management of information:

“NTSB use of social media

Shortly after the accident, the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) used Twitter and YouTube to inform the public about the investigation and quickly publish quotes from press conferences. NTSB first tweeted about Asiana 214 less than one hour after the crash. One hour after that, the NTSB announced via Twitter that officials would hold a press conference at Reagan Airport Hangar 6 before departing for San Francisco. Less than 12 hours after the crash, the NTSB released a photo showing investigators conducting their first site assessment. On June 24, 2014, the NTSB published to YouTube a narrated accident sequence animation.

Air Line Pilots Association

On July 9, 2013, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) criticized the NTSB for releasing “incomplete, out-of-context information” that gave the impression that pilot error was entirely to blame.

NTSB Chairman Hersman responded: “The information we’re providing is consistent with our procedures and processes … One of the hallmarks of the NTSB is our transparency. We work for the traveling public. There are a lot of organizations and groups that have advocates. We are the advocate for the traveling public. We believe it’s important to show our work and tell people what we are doing.” Answering ALPA’s criticism, NTSB spokeswoman Kelly Nantel also said the agency routinely provided factual updates during investigations. “For the public to have confidence in the investigative process, transparency and accuracy are critical,” Nantel said.

On July 11, 2013, in a follow-up press release without criticizing the NTSB, ALPA gave a general warning against speculation.”


3 August 2016

EK starts service to Yangon and Hanoi today – one flight – two cities.