AOB – 2017

30 December 2017

Saw the new Star Wars today – very enjoyable.

Here is the review from – which is pretty well spot on.

26 December 2017

More on the JFK fallout at Emirates – “Being an old duffer and therefore saddled with outdated and unwanted qualities, such as airmanship, common sense, lateral thinking etc, I find the evolving EK approach to line ops in general and post incident reaction to be very worrying. The above qualities were instilled in me when I started flying over 40 years ago and were always being refined and reinforced, by a succession of wide body airlines – until I joined Emirates.

When I agreed to join EK as a DEC I was told I was being recruited for my experience and ability to see the big picture. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that this is actually the last thing our employer wants.

More and more, I am forming the opinion that I was recruited under false pretences and I think it might be time to join the long list of people who have already voted with their feet. And that would be a shame as there are some great operators and some extremely nice people here – but nearly everyone I fly with feels ‘inhibited’ (their words, not mine) by company policy and culture.

A top down culture change is needed. It isn’t going to happen, so either stay and make the best of it or get out. They are the only options.”

Again fro PPRUNE – but interesting take on how things are right now.

Nice Christmas Day – quiet in the day and dinner at home with Anna and Nicholas in the evening. No turkey – a home made beef wellington instead. Not bad!

Meanwhile in Toronto:

“It may look like a winter wonderland outside, but you may want to bundle up if you want to enjoy the snow this Christmas— the City of Toronto has issued an extreme cold weather alert.

Extreme cold weather alerts are typically issued when temperatures reach -15°C or colder or a wind chill of -20°C or colder.

Environment Canada predicts a dip to -14 C tonight with a windchill of up to -25. The national weather agency says brisk westerly winds are expected to cause blowing snow with exposed areas being particularly vulnerable.”

I remember those days!

22 December 2017

EK83 from pprune – “Well, now that you asked, there were tales of long taxi times, assigned FLs that were not in the flight plan, and dodgy weather at GVA.
But surely, if you do the miles to go vs. fuel remaining calcs, you don’t reach a point where you get an eicas fuel low level (don’t quote me on whether that’s a warning or a caution,it’s been a long day) message when executing a missed approach. Perhaps an earlier diversion was called for?
The planned alternate was binned as being too far away, so the crew elected to go to LYS, called mayday on finals, and had 1800kg left in the tanks at the gate. After a quick refuel, they were off again. Alls week that ends well.”

1,800kg – between 15 to 20 minutes in a 773 at cruise altitude. Fortunately Lyons is just down the road from GVA and did not have weather issues.

21 December 2017

Six premiership managers already fired this season – and we are not half way yet:

Frank de Boer – C Palace
Ronald Koeman – Everton
Craig Shakespeare – Leicester
Slaven Bilic – West Ham United
Tony Pulis – West Brom
Paul Clement – Swansea.

Possible casualties to come: Hughes (Stoke), Benitez (Newcastle) and maybe Silva (Watford).

Rumours of an incident with EK83 from DXB to GVA on 14 December – flight diverted to Lyons. Certainly looks slow on approach to GVA. But no other details in public.

10C this morning.

19 December 2017

The ME tensions continue to rise – this evening Houthi rebels in Yemen have claimed to have fired a ballistic missile towards the Saudi king’s official residence in Riyadh, which Saudi Arabia said was intercepted south of the capital.

Forgot to mention – England lost in Perth and are now 0-3 down in the Ashes series – a whitewash seems likely.

Too many senior players did not do themselves or the team justice. It would be nice to think that the captain can reshape the team with players that want to be there. But we are talking about england cricket – a team and sport largely run by dinosaurs.

Cold in Chiang Mai – just 15C this morning.

Back from a few days in Hong Kong with Tai. I may actually be falling out of love with the city.

Crowds. Everywhere.

16 December 2017

Helpful advise in the Guardian from Jay Rayner:

“Thou shalt drink Bailey’s, though only at this time of year. Drinking it at any other time of year marks you out as having the palate of a seven-year-old. Drinking it at Christmas defines you as sweet and sentimental.”

Tai – take note.

12 December 2017

Lots of commentary on PPRUNE about the Emirates incident at JFK – though little media coverage.

One comment reflects something that I have heard from a number of people:

“Many at EK inhabit a space where a common sense approach is overridden by procedures that merely increase complexity as the various stakeholders seek to justify their influence and rely more than ever on infallible technology without ever considering that pilots can and will do just as good a job. The primary reason they think this way is simple, these very same stakeholders are themselves almost to a person intimidated by anything that isn’t straight forward or something that is slightly unusual or challenging, therefore the assumption is made that a procedure is required to mitigate the challenge as they judge that a normal line pilots skills are inferior to their own.
NCE is another airport where this has been highlighted which will in time present similar type events.”

8 December 2017

This does not look good:

EK 207 4th December departure – arriving at 20.30pm into JFK, New York (01.30am UTC on 5 December.

Two screengrabs from Flightradar24. The airplane is at 0ft calibrated altitude short of 13L at JFK flying the Canarsie approach – a curving VOR approach into the airfield.

ATC – JFK Tower – calls “Emirates5KiloPapa – “you appear to be extremely low on approach. Confirm you have the runway in sight.”

The audio is here: scroll to 26.04 to listen to the warning to EK.

Emirates 207 aborts its landing and climbs to 2,000ft before circling to land on 22L.

From the ICAO: “Although civil transport is considered to be the safest means of transport, air navigation is an activity facing many potential dangers. … When an accident happens involving an international civil aviation flight, Annex 13 sets out the rules on the notification, investigation and reporting of the accident.”
Annex 13 – Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation – ICAO

I assume this incident will require reporting and investigation – especially as it is so soon after a similar incident at Moscow.

7 December 2017

This on PPRUNE today: the changes in UAE airspace apply to AUH as well as DXB. This appears to be from an ATC officer:

“Just a quick note regarding the new airspace coming into affect on 7th December

The powers that be have agreed and put in place in many’s opinion an unsafe, inefficient airspace design.

There are many problems within ATC at AUH. However the main focus of this post is a friendly warning to pilots to please be on your guard for the foreseeable future.

The new airspace has SIDS and STARS that are not separated from each other with an amazing amount of conflict points. Far more than I have ever seen in any airspace.

Currently AUH don’t have the correct amount of staff to man the new position it requires. They have also cancelled leave meaning many controllers are fatigued. Put this together with a very unsafe airspace and I am truly concerned that a serious incident is a real possibility.

It will be interesting to hear your options after the 7th. We are told that it is fuel efficient but I’m sure within a matter of days you guys will realise that isn’t the case.”

6 December 2017

So Dubai airspace is about to change dramatically in a move that is absolutely necessary to support the number of aircraft movements but may have safety issues.

From tomorrow all arrivals and departures are changing with closer spaced routings and parallel arrivals.

There will be minor departure changes but the current use of a single runway for departures will continue.

There will now be a left and right downwind for the two runway 30s – depending on activity at Al Minhad airforce base.

Runways 12L and 12R have no such restrictions and have a permanent double downwind.

Think about it this way. Traditionally Dubai has been a land left and take-off right airport. Flights landing on 12 L have flown over Sharjah and then turned over the sea onto final for 12L.

Now 12R landings are possible with a right downwind. This will bring flights over Business Bay or Al Quoz before making a right turn to 12R.

The same applies in reverse for runway 30 arrivals. The traditional route is fly over Shrarjah – head out into the desert – right turn – in over Mirdiff and onto 30R.

A left downwind for 30L will head over the city and into the desert for a left turn – coming in much closer to Mirdiff City Center and onto 30L.

The problem may be on the ground where a plane landing on 12L and going to terminals 1 and 3 will need to cross Runway 12R There is not a lot of space between the runways – just enough for the M taxiway.

The real issue will be wake turbulence from EK’s heavy aircraft – the effects of which are well documented.

Dubai Air Navigation Services (dans) have been working with this issue since the 2013 launch of a capacity programme aimed at increasing capacity at DXB.

Due to the close proximity of the staggered runways at DXB, in July 2015, dans established a Wake Analysis Facility to research and study the behaviour of wake generated by landing and departing aircraft.

In March 2016 DXB started Approach Peak Offload (APO) Operations based on the principle of reallocating arriving medium-wake category aircrafts to the right runway (normally used for departures) during peak arrival periods at DXB.

For the new changes it appears that DXB is implementing a Dependent Diagonals Concept
where the right runway will not be restricted to just medium-wake aircraft but will also be used by heavy-wake and super-wake aircraft. This requires simultaneous dependent approaches, requiring a diagonal separation between approaching aircraft.

I wonder – the trouble with all of this is that there really is no independent oversight – DANS, the GCAA and Emirates are all government entities. There is no third party regulator. So just how tested is this? Has it been tested endlessly in the simulator? What are the minimums when the airport reverts to single runway arrivals?

5 December 2017

Apparently our miserable neighbours have already had three written warnings from the developer about noise.

The owner is an Air Asia pilot – which is alarming if he shows the same casual disrespect for passengers and colleagues. Poor.

Time to look back on a few things in 2017: some of the best tv shows – mainly binge watched on long air flights:

Taboo: This is the Guardian’s commentary: “Tom Hardy was simply mesmerising as brooding cut-throat James Delaney in this seedy, murky plunge into the dark heart of 19th century London. Gunpowder, treason, and a compelling plot – taking in such adversaries as Jonathan Pryce’s deliciously slimy East India boss, Jason Watkins’ calculated Solomon Coop and Mark Gatiss’s bloated, disgusting Prince Regent. Watching the anti-hero’s dastardly schemes bear bloody fruit, amid the assorted depravity around him, made for essential viewing on cold Saturday nights.

The Man in the High Castle: Independent commentary: Amazon’s flagship original show based on the Philip K. Dick novel of the same name returns for its third season. The show’s bleak alternate timeline where the Nazis and Japanese Empire won the War comes loaded with extra relevance given the new rise of the far-right. Its alternative history has become genuinely compelling.

Lucifer: Guilty pleasure. Good looking people behaving badly in LA. What’s not to like?

The Good Fight: CBS’ successful spin-off from the Good Wife.

Coming early in 2018:

Billions (Season 3): Damian Lewis is back as a cut-throat hedge fund boss (Sky Atlantic) Homeland (Season 7): The popular spy thriller starring Claire Danes (Channel 4)

4 December 2017

Woken up at 2.08am by the neighbours drunken party singing from their balcony.

Moved to a room at the back of he house – a bit quieter – slept around 3.30am.  Headache today. Tired.

3 December 2017

Let’s agree not to mention the cricket from Australia.

Instead let’s think about the folks over the road from us who have been holding a housewarming since the morning – as the party has been running for over 12 hours now.

They have gotten louder as the day has gone on. They will argue that they are not playing music so are keeping the noise down.

Instead they shout, cheer, yell and scream. One voice is especially shrill. There must be some 20 people on their rooftop balcony now.

We have kept our doors and windows closed to try shut out the noise. Unsuccessfully.

It is very Thai. No consideration of other people and a sense that they are entitled to make as much noise as they like. The Thais like noise. and they like making noise.

There was no warning to neighbours that they would be hosting this all day party. There will be no apology either.

I did worry that the roof terraces could be noisy. Quiet dinner parties would be nice. Shouting, alcohol fuelled voices are not nice.

Given the cars that are parked it is a fare bet that some of these people will be driving later. Not clever.

Once again I am having reservations about our move here. Moving again would be expensive and very frustrating. But this is not right.

The development needs a residents’ constitution, a code of conduct that respects that this is a diverse community. We do not have that.

1 December 2017

Here is your World Cup draw for Russia 2018

Group A Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Group B Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Group C France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
Group D Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Group E Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Group F Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Group G Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Group H Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

England should be very happy with that.

27 November 2017

Perfect: for anyone who heard the EK theme music too often.

This from the US President today on twitter:

“We should have a contest as to which of the Networks, plus CNN and not including Fox, is the most dishonest, corrupt and/or distorted in its political coverage of your favorite President (me). They are all bad. Winner to receive the FAKE NEWS TROPHY!”

And liked as I type this by almost 51,000 people…..

Just bizarre. Unpresidential. Dangerous.

There have been a number of such tweets from Trump in the last few days. This was yesterday:

“.@FoxNews is MUCH more important in the United States than CNN, but outside of the U.S., CNN International is still a major source of (Fake) news, and they represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly. The outside world does not see the truth from them!”

CNN’s response was clinical:

“It’s not CNN’s job to represent the U.S to the world. That’s yours. Our job is to report the news. #FactsFirst ‘

17 November 2017

With apologies to my faithful reader I have been a bit distracted for the last two weeks and have not paid any attention to updating my notes here.

So a random collection of thoughts from the last two weeks:

Thailand’s public hospitals are badly under-funded, under-staffed and over-crowded. Hospitals rely upon family and friends to provide the major part of the daily care support. Cockroaches on the ward floor are not a good impression.

But the staff that are there do care and do a remarkable job in the most difficult of situations.

At the other extreme private hospitals targeting medical tourism are money-making machines with hotel like facilities.

And yes I have been to both in the last two weeks.

First Dubai Airshow that I have not attended since 2007.

You can read about the EK/FZ orders elsewhere.

Saldy no participation from Qatar who remain blocked from UAE airspace.


4 November saw the night of the long knives in Saudi Arabia – where the Crown Prince used corruption allegations to detain assorted princelings and tycoons. Other measures such as tightening state control of the media should send alarm bells to the country’s allies.

However MBS has significant domestic support.

The anti-Iran rhetoric has been ratcheted up a level and we are closer than ever to a Middles East war that would engulf the region and draw in the UK and USA (at a minimum.) This is not good news.

Thanks NokAir for the two emergency exits seats on my flights to and from DMK last week. The extra legroom was welcome.

Tai’s sister was in hospital three times in the last three weeks – but there is little the hospital can do for her other than rehydrate her and tell her to eat. The problems are no as much in her head as they are physical. We may have years of dealing with this ahead of us.

NorthHill golf club gets harder and easier. It really is a course where the short game determines the score. Just keep the ball in play off the tee. The driver only comes out on the fifth. On at least four of the par 4s a 5 iron is enough.

The only things that like me in Samut Songkhram are the mosquitos.

The Mercure on Soi 11 is a decent hotel – if you get the right price. The restaurant there is a sort of French bistro called Alex.

3 November 2017

England 2018:
Back three-trippier,stones,rose

Looks ok (on paper!)

2 November 2017

From twitter earlier today – homesick!

1 November 2017

Golf at North Hill this afternoon. Lovely sunny day. Not too hot or humid. my golf is dismal.

It is a thinking course – not long – I used the driver on just one hole. It is a course where you need the right club and to put the ball in the right place. Or the water will get you!

Tai still with her family in Samut Songkhram. Worrying developments with her sister.

26 October 2017

A day of reflection and sadness across much of Thailand as the country says goodbye to Rama IX after a reign of 70 years. I have written elsewhere about today’s ceremonies.

But it is not just sadness that is in the air – it is also uncertainty – and this note from Chatham House captures that:

“Thailand thus faces a series of interlocking uncertainties: over the evolution of its distinctive form of systemic legitimacy; over the monarchy’s relationship to the military that wields ultimate force; and over the prospects of democracy in a deeply divided society. Managing this complex challenge will require more creative solutions than the ‘winner-takes-all’ approach that often prevails in Thai political culture.

In the best case, a new balance of authority, power and consent will emerge to underpin a reign of stable, inclusive growth that creates a more equal, less divided society. In the worst case, political and social order may fracture, with serious consequences for Thailand’s stability.”

17 October 2017

From a post on facebook:

“Dear Donald Trump. It doesn’t matter what you undo that Obama did. It doesn’t matter if you erase everything he accomplished. It doesn’t matter if you somehow manage to erase his name from the history books. It doesn’t matter what you do, you will never, ever be half the man that President Obama is. You will never be half the President that he was. You will never be loved by any decent people. You will go down as the worst mistake this country has made this century. You will be remembered as a joke. Your name will be synonymous with trash until the sun sets for the last time. You will not be remembered fondly. P. S. Obama probably has a bigger dick than you too.”

15 October 2017

Oh dear –

“Due to Kan Air’s aircraft has been maintained. We are unable to provide services at this time. We deeply apologies for this inconvenience cased.”

As stated on their website.

We found their Cessna Caravan at Nok airfield where it had flown to for an engine overhaul. However, it also needed a replacement prop which apparently the airline could not afford – so the airplane sits there – basically in a field!

“U.S. law, lobbying and PR firms have consistently shown that they are willing to work for any tyrant, abuser, international pariah or dictator, even a foreign country that is trying to undermine the United States, if there’s money to be had. I don’t know how some of these folks sleep at night.”

Comment under this article on GCC lobbying efforts. 100% agree.

Qatar Spent Nearly $5 Million on U.S. Influence Campaigns

Actually I will go a bit further – I do not know how some of the western journalists working in the GCC media (yes I am thinking of you Gulf News) can sleep at night.

13 October 2017

It is four weeks to the day since Tai and I moved into our Chiang Mai home….

The team at Rochalia Residences have been a huge help – no request is ignored…(though we do still have to get rid of Roland!) I love my study (“man cave” as a friend christened it the other day.)

The same friend (he is wise) talked about the importance of shared experiences in a relationship. Dubai gave Tai and I the opportunity to travel and see the world through eachothers’ eyes. We both fulfilled long-held ambitions. I finally learned to fly.

Dubai also gave us lessons of its own – and challenges! More than any other place that I have lived I think people know when it is time to leave Dubai – and it was our time.

Now there will be less travel – but I think we have found a happy home – and that is as good a place as any to start a new chapter.

Across Chiang Mai the people we have met have been interesting and interested….welcoming, non-judgmental and always helpful….

There are two spare bedrooms waiting for visitors – do not be shy…

Today was the one year anniversary of the death of Rama IX. His cremation is in 13 days.

For many Thais this remains a time of sadness and reflection. Moving forward will not be easy…but moving forward is the necessary option.

This was announced in the Royal Gazette today…

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun has bestowed a royal decoration – Knight Grand Cross (First Class) of the Most Illustrious Order of Chula Chom Klao (ladies) – on Gen Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya.

This was published in the Royal Gazette on October 13, 2017.

Gen Suthida is currently Commander of the Special Operations Unit of the King’s Guard.


Yesterday’s Hang Dong flooding – too many new roads and buildings in this area – the old systems for drainage are lee available and less effective. The water was waist high in places.

What on earth is:

♫♫♫ DJ NAKARA – Acid Techno ♫♫♫
♫♫♫ ORGANIC SPACE – Techno, Bassline & Breaks ♫♫♫
♫♫♫ ELECTROMASS – Glitchop & Ghetto Funk ♫♫♫
♫♫♫ DJ CATTACO – House ♫♫♫

A friend is off to a Chiang Mai event featuring the above – I have no idea.

Air Berlin had announced that its last flights would be on 28 October 2017.

In the least surprising news of the month Lufthansa has agreed to take over a large part of the airline, which went bankrupt a couple months back after years of mounting losses and the withdrawal of support from Abu Dhabi-based Etihad, its key shareholder and creditor.

I do wonder just how much Etihad poured into Air Berlin over the years. And for nothing in return – other than a monumental headache and a whole on its balance sheet.

Lufthansa will take over 81 of Air Berlin’s 140 leased aircraft and 3,000 of its roughly 8,000 employees, while investing €1.5 billion ($1.8 billion).

The downfall of Air Berlin was swift and sudden. After years plugging along as a minority subsidiary of Middle Eastern giant, Etihad (which became Air Berlin’s largest shareholder in December 2011), the Abu Dhabi-based carrier withdrew its ongoing financial support on August 15, 2017.

This triggered a bankruptcy filing on the same day and set off what amounted to a death spiral.

By September 25 the aircraft lessor AerCap, from whom Air Berlin leased its fleet of Airbus A330-200s, decided to repossess all ten of the carrier’s A330s, forcing the cancellation of all long-haul flights by October 15.

For now wholly-owned subsidiaries Luftfahrtgesellschaft Walter (LGW) and Niki will continue to operate.

LGW is a German regional carrier based at Dortmund that flies a fleet of 20 Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 turboprops on most domestic routes. Meanwhile, Niki is an LCC based at Vienna with a fleet of 31 aircraft (17 of its own) serving 50 destinations across Europe and North Africa.

The deal leaves Lufthansa, a traditionally high-cost ‘flag carrier’, in an improved position to compete with the likes of EasyJet and Ireland’s Ryanair.

Lufthansa’s stock price has sky-rocketed in recent weeks, and hit a fresh 15-year high in Frankfurt early Thursday.

9 October 2017

More on EK55 and thoughts on training from PPRUNE:

“I used to offer a ‘no jeopardy’ 35 knot crosswind landing in the A380 sim if there was anytime left. I reinforced the offer by having a go first thereby fine tuning my own skills (!) and hopefully encouraging les autres. The offer was usually accepted and I hope that (particularly) first officers knew that I meant the no jeopardy statement. How else will they learn? I (probably misguidedly) mentioned this at a training meeting and cue large intakes of breath. ” Oh, if they screwed it up you have to give them a 1/2.” I rest my case. There has to be a complete cultural sea change in attitude. I must stress that there are some stellar instructors/ examiners @ EK for the sake of balance.

Also, yes the A380 is relatively easy to land (well, in the sim) in a crosswind. As a previous correspondent said you do need to be careful with the rudder. Plus, tech knowledge helps. The normal law in the air versus direct law on the ground issue can make the subsequent arrival ‘untidy’ in a not dissimilar manner to the video.”

Is the A380 hard to land in a crosswind:

“The 380 is an easy aeroplane to fly in strong crosswinds; both take-off and landing!

Start kicking the rudder though (as on any type) and she’ll bite ya!”

As for the EK55 video: here you go:

Dubai92’s reaction was “Can This Pilot Fly Us Every Time Please?
What a landing, what a hero!!! Our hearts are in our mouth.”

Now I know they cannot criticise anything about Dubai or Emirates (in the UAE you really cannot bite the hand that feeds you) – but what a load of bollocks – the only way to meet this pilot should be in the training simulator!

8 October 2017

Video of an Emirates EKA380 and a very iffy crosswind landing at Dusseldorf is all over the internet.

Many people – usually the ones based in Dubai say what a wonderful job the pilot did.

Nonsense. This is an unstable approach with far too much rudder correction and close to a very nasty accident.

Given that it is just a couple of weeks since the near CFIT at Moscow EK does appear to have something of an experience issue in the A380 cockpits.

Here are the comments of one of my favorite Emirates contributors onto PPRUNE:

“A training day should be exactly that. Training. There’s absolutely no point in having glossy posters all around the training college promising a confident, non threatening environment in which to learn when the majority may feel the opposite. An experienced trainer should recognise the mistakes and correct them. If it needs to be done on numerous occasions, so be it. If that trainer feels that the standard has been met at the end of the session but it took considerable input to achieve it, then the trainee should be brought back within a shorter timeframe for another ‘training’ event. Whether we like it or not, our profession requires us to be tested and to reach a minimum safe standard. If you can’t accept that basic philosophy then you’re in the wrong game. When the engine blows for real on a dark and stormy night, we get one chance and one chance only to get it right. There’s no flight freeze in the real World.

And while the concern about training standards and the reducing experience levels is a valid one, I also think some of the problem lies with the pilot community in general. Despite the policy of allowing hand flown departures and arrivals below 10,000ft, very few do. Why? Because they’re ‘scared’ of screwing up and ending up in the office. Yet so many recent events have involved aircraft with the autopilot and automatics fully engaged. Ironically, if more people decided to use automation less, not only would their skills improve but the PM might actually wake up instead of sitting there with fingers up backside. F/O’s are flying with Captains who resist their requests to hand fly. They never single engine taxi, they always use full reverse. They never go to max altitude because ‘it’s dangerous’, they screw up VNAV approaches and struggle to do basic 3 times table arithmetic.

But, and here’s the rub, at the end of the flight we’re all so quick to shake hands and say what a wonderful job we’ve done, regardless of whether we have or haven’t. Sadly, many F/O’s will never know because most Captains will never tell them, nor do most F/O’s request such feedback. It’s not in our culture within the airline to do so. Nobody wants to get a ‘reputation’ for being the bad guy. Yet, that’s how we learn, from others.

Many individuals post regularly about how EK management is at fault yet are completely blinkered when it comes to their own management on the flight deck. We don’t need to be trainers to pass on information that one day may prove useful to the spotty kid in the right seat when he transitions to the left.”

This is a guy that I would have learned a lot from if I was flying commercial….leave your ego behind and use good old practical common sense; it applies in any workplace.

1 October 2017

Away with Tai for the next few days as we try to sort out my visa status for Thailand. I think we have all we need.

AF66 yesterday from Paris to Los Angeles ended up diverting to Goose Bay. The picture tells you why.

5 October 2017

Sad to see the Spanish tearing their country apart.

Awful events with the mass shooting in Las Vegas. But come on America -saying you are sad and shrugging your shoulders is not the was to deal with gun crime. Get real; grow some balls; take on the NRA and control access to and ownership of weapons.

HSBC are quickly reaching new levels of uselessness.

Visa done – non-immigrant O visa. The actual process at the Thai consulate in Suvannkhet was very straightforward.

Getting there was something of a pilgrimage!

30 September 2017

Sorry – too lazy to write anything at the end of the month!

24 September 2017

Splendid from the CEO of the New England Patriots:

20 September 2017

Another note on PPRUNE on issues at Emirates:

“The role of trainer in any reputable Company is a role usually reserved for the most dedicated and able individuals. It’s a position to aspire to and one in which the remuneration and benefits reflects the expertise that’s being provided. Airlines recognise the fact that training provides the basic building blocks of operational knowledge and thus promote a culture of pride within the role. Unfortunately, EK is different.

Although we still have some excellent individuals, we have also lost a large number due to the short sightedness of fearful and incompetent managers. This shortage reflects on the often brutal EK training rosters which eventually leads to discontent and frustration amongst those undertaking such an important role. Their only option is to resign, putting further strain on an already broken system. To fix it, the Company accepts a policy of employing temporary trainers, at the very time we should be retaining the experienced ones. ‘Captains’, who effectively will have been in the left seat for only 6 months and may never have previously held a command, can now apply for a star to add to their shiny four stripes. With the challenge of a variety of training duties to undertake and prepare for, the most inexperienced trainers will now be setting the bar for those they instruct. In some cases, this will be very low time recruits off turboprops. Because they are part time, they will invariably be less current than the full time instructors and thus, ironically, their knowledge and exposure to training events will be reduced. You only have to see the FDM playbacks on the current RTGS day to see how wrong this policy is.

Now, combine these threats with the current climate which I believe is getting worse rather than better. Not one pilot, hand on heart, would want to compromise safety. We know that some individuals are not suitable for a command but we must also realise that many are, especially if they’re afforded the quality of training and encouragement that’s often promised but rarely delivered. There simply must be more emphasis on training rather than checking, especially with lower experience levels compared to say ten years ago. We were always being assured that the standards have remained the same but I beg to differ. Why are we now seeing an increasing number of events and why the necessity for the big stick approach? We operate to many challenging airfields, with little or no continuity and cover all the major Continents throughout the World. We have an exhaustive set of procedures, sometimes vague and confusing, occasionally contradictory and quite often, difficult to access. As a pilot, EK is a challenging airline to work for.

If EK focused more on it’s core business rather than spending millions on sporting advertising and PR, we might not be in this situation. Decent rosters with little to no restrictions with a reduction in hours to acceptable levels, especially given the challenge of our flight timings and range of FDP’s. Yearly increments and salary rises in line with inflation. Perhaps most importantly, a management culture of support rather than punishment and the occasional phone call, rather than a day off meeting for a pointless interview after which a pre written warning letter is produced. Perhaps then not only would we retain a larger number of pilots, thus improving experience levels, but we might also recruit a higher calibre to begin with. Just culture? Far from it in reality. Despite the wonderful and reassuring support from Gary Chapman and Tim Clark that’s printed all over the company premises, the real culture is what goes on in the offices.

Unless the Company takes ownership of some of these causal factors, the number of serious events will only increase. You can not ignore fatigue. You can not ignore fear (whether real or perceived) and you can not ignore a demotivated and disengaged workforce. Management MUST take some responsibility for this increasing debacle we face. Failure to do so is not only naive, it’s also downright negligent!”

Reality is that this culture does not just apply to cockpit crews. EK cabin crews are nothing more than a commodity. They can be discarded at any time without explanation or recourse. There are another 20 your people queuing up for the job of every cabin crew member that leaves.

So when the capable and competent crew leave Emirates does not even blink. The great thing about Tai was that she just got on with her job. No fuss. No issues. No summons to meet with her manager in eleven years – well just one and that guy was a complete idiot – subsequently removed. Tai was the model EK staff – the one that requires no management effort and that makes no demands. She did not party; she flew, ate and slept. She was polite and respectful to passengers; even those that lacked any manners or respect.

But she left – because it was time – because she was tired – because the body can only take so much of 100hr rosters, 3am departures and through the night flying. Fatigue takes over. The body still performs but only just.

Now how must this be in the cockpit. Yes, pilots can take controlled rest….but it is not quality sleep. Fatigue is like alcohol – it severely impairs your ability to perform; or even to recognise a situation that needs to be dealt with.

If I am driving and too tired to function I will stop and rest. You cannot do that in the sky.

17 September 2017

So we have been in Chiang Mai for almost a week.

We left Samut Songkhram on Sunday 10th – a long drive to Kamphaeng Phet where we stayed overnight by the river. Almost 7 hours of driving.

Then on the Monday we drove early from KP up to Chiang Mai. We checked out the house in the afternoon and it is in good shape. The quality of the work is high. Take note Dubai Properties.

We stayed in the hotel until Friday morning as Tai’s mother said that we should not move in until 08.09am on the Friday morning.

Tuesday morning our shipment arrived from Dubai – via storage in Bangkok.

Tuesday afternoon we got our title deed and did the formal handover from Rochalia.

The rest of the week was then spent shopping, unpacking and building furniture from flat packs.

It feels like it has been a long week.

We are still waiting on our bed for the master bedroom and our dining table and chairs.

We had internet access by Thursday….and TV just in time to see Watford get demolished by Man City on Saturday night. 0-6. In fairness City were very good.

Meanwhile in Emirates news – it appears that there was an A380 close call with a near CFIT incident on approach to Moscow.

Down to just 500ft – 8 miles out – is the rumour. Both pilots suspended.

Here is the EK issue – well put on PPRUNE:

“You are not allowed to do pilot stuff in EK. You have to recite endless SOPs and follow them regardless, if you don’t, the fear and punishment clause will take over. If the boys on the 777 had used some common sense, and done a bit of pilot stuff, they would have landed safely, taxied in with a perfect aircraft and gone home.
But the fear and punishment clause in their heads was stronger than the common sense/do pilot stuff, and we all know the result.”

It is not quite that bad – as long as the pilot is assertive and competent. But it is the mentality.

9 September 2017

The EK fleet as of today: from the corrected page on Wikipedia.

Aircraft In Service Orders Passengers Notes
F C Y Total
Airbus A380-800 97 45[4] 14 76 399 489 Largest operator of the Airbus A380-800
427 517
0 58 557 615
Boeing 777-200LR 10 8 42 216 266
Boeing 777-300 3 8 42 310 360 6 in fleet, 3 active, 3 stored. To be retired by the end of 2017.
Boeing 777-300ER 129 2 8 42 310 360 Largest operator of the Boeing 777-300ER
135 aircraft in fleet, 129 in service, 6 aircraft stored.
304 354
306 356
0 386 428
Boeing 777-8 35
Deliveries planned to start from 2022[6][7]
Boeing 777-9 115
Deliveries planned to start from 2020[7]
Total 239 197

8 September 2017

There are climate change deniers – but there is too much activity to argue that climate change is not affecting our planet.

To add to the woes in the Americas the strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century has left at least 32 people dead, toppling houses, damaging hospitals and government offices, and sparking mass evacuations.

The magnitude 8.1 quake struck off the country’s southern Pacific coast, 100 miles (165km) west of the state of Chiapas just before midnight on Thursday local time.

The Miami weather service has warned people in south Florida to make urgent plans to seek safety, saying:

“This is a potentially deadly situation!

Residents and visitors must now implement emergency safety plans.

Preparations to protect life and property should be completed by Friday night.

Take final shelter by early Saturday morning.”

This is a big deal.

The silence from the South East Asian nations over the abuse of the Rohingya people by the government of Myanmar is shameful.

But not surprising. ASEAN has a policy of non-interference in the affairs of its member countries.

Over the moon! From Boston before we left on the 4th:

1.2M Florida residents are under a mandatory evacuation ahead of Hurricane #Irma. Maybe more will need to evacuate ahead of the storm as its path becomes clearer.

The trouble is where do people go. Gas stations are sold out. Convenience stores are empty.

And it is gridlock on the two main roads north – the I75 and the I95. This is the I75 yesterday.

Barack Obama has been very quiet through the indignities of the Trump presidency.

Trump talks about Obama almost daily – always critical, often near abusive and often deeply misleading.

Obama has mostly ignored Trump. It is what American presidents do when they leave office.

But that also leaves the USA without a leader of the political opposition; without a clear spokesperson for the majority of the nation that did not vote for Trump.

Now, at last, Obama has begun to speak up. It is never too late. He responded to Trump’s decision to end the DACA program:

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is an American immigration policy established by the Obama administration in June 2012. DACA allows certain illegal immigrants who entered the country as minors to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and eligibility for a work permit. Approximately 800,000 such young people (referred to as “Dreamers” after the DREAM Act) were enrolled in the program as of 2017.

In November 2014, President Barack Obama attempted to expand DACA to cover additional immigrants, but multiple states sued to prevent implementation of the expansion and it was ultimately blocked by the courts. On September 5, 2017, DACA was rescinded by the Trump administration, but implementation was delayed six months to give Congress time to come up with a solution for the population that was previously eligible for DACA.s.[

This statement is from the Obama facebook page on 5 September:

“Immigration can be a controversial topic. We all want safe, secure borders and a dynamic economy, and people of goodwill can have legitimate disagreements about how to fix our immigration system so that everybody plays by the rules.

But that’s not what the action that the White House took today is about. This is about young people who grew up in America – kids who study in our schools, young adults who are starting careers, patriots who pledge allegiance to our flag. These Dreamers are Americans in their hearts, in their minds, in every single way but one: on paper. They were brought to this country by their parents, sometimes even as infants. They may not know a country besides ours. They may not even know a language besides English. They often have no idea they’re undocumented until they apply for a job, or college, or a driver’s license.

Over the years, politicians of both parties have worked together to write legislation that would have told these young people – our young people – that if your parents brought you here as a child, if you’ve been here a certain number of years, and if you’re willing to go to college or serve in our military, then you’ll get a chance to stay and earn your citizenship. And for years while I was President, I asked Congress to send me such a bill.

That bill never came. And because it made no sense to expel talented, driven, patriotic young people from the only country they know solely because of the actions of their parents, my administration acted to lift the shadow of deportation from these young people, so that they could continue to contribute to our communities and our country. We did so based on the well-established legal principle of prosecutorial discretion, deployed by Democratic and Republican presidents alike, because our immigration enforcement agencies have limited resources, and it makes sense to focus those resources on those who come illegally to this country to do us harm. Deportations of criminals went up.

Some 800,000 young people stepped forward, met rigorous requirements, and went through background checks. And America grew stronger as a result.

But today, that shadow has been cast over some of our best and brightest young people once again. To target these young people is wrong – because they have done nothing wrong. It is self-defeating – because they want to start new businesses, staff our labs, serve in our military, and otherwise contribute to the country we love. And it is cruel. What if our kid’s science teacher, or our friendly neighbor turns out to be a Dreamer? Where are we supposed to send her? To a country she doesn’t know or remember, with a language she may not even speak?

Let’s be clear: the action taken today isn’t required legally. It’s a political decision, and a moral question. Whatever concerns or complaints Americans may have about immigration in general, we shouldn’t threaten the future of this group of young people who are here through no fault of their own, who pose no threat, who are not taking away anything from the rest of us. They are that pitcher on our kid’s softball team, that first responder who helps out his community after a disaster, that cadet in ROTC who wants nothing more than to wear the uniform of the country that gave him a chance. Kicking them out won’t lower the unemployment rate, or lighten anyone’s taxes, or raise anybody’s wages.

It is precisely because this action is contrary to our spirit, and to common sense, that business leaders, faith leaders, economists, and Americans of all political stripes called on the administration not to do what it did today. And now that the White House has shifted its responsibility for these young people to Congress, it’s up to Members of Congress to protect these young people and our future. I’m heartened by those who’ve suggested that they should. And I join my voice with the majority of Americans who hope they step up and do it with a sense of moral urgency that matches the urgency these young people feel.

Ultimately, this is about basic decency. This is about whether we are a people who kick hopeful young strivers out of America, or whether we treat them the way we’d want our own kids to be treated.

It’s about who we are as a people – and who we want to be.

What makes us American is not a question of what we look like, or where our names come from, or the way we pray.

What makes us American is our fidelity to a set of ideals – that all of us are created equal; that all of us deserve the chance to make of our lives what we will; that all of us share an obligation to stand up, speak out, and secure our most cherished values for the next generation.

That’s how America has traveled this far. That’s how, if we keep at it, we will ultimately reach that more perfect union.”

We need more Obama – and to be honest much less Trump!

6 September 2017

Boston was good. Great to see Alex. Such a smart guy. Very proud of him. He probably knows that.

Monday was good – nice weather – a long lunch by the harbour and then the 90 minute historic harbour cruise under a warm blur sky.

EK238 left at 11.15pm for Dubai – just 11 and 1/2 hours and an OK flight. A three hour connection at Dubai and then EK374 at 10.30pm over to Bangkok – so basically back to back night flights. No wonder I feel tired.

Arrived BKK at 8am this morning! 26 hours door to door.

Flights were fine. Just long.

Watched all ten episodes of the first series of The Good Fight – a successor to The Good Wife. Liked it. Good intelligent tv. Made for CBS’ streaming service so language is more realistic.

3 September 2017

Last full day of our vacation before we head back to Thailand.

We arrived in Boston late on Friday night.  American from Cancun to Philadelphia and onto Boston. A long afternoon and evening in full A320s. Pretzels and water – on a flight over three hours! Yes you could order food for a fee.

Nice sunny day on Saturday and lunch with Alex and Katie at the No Name restaurant on Fish Pier at the Waterfront.

And lunch in Chinatown today – although the weather changed to a wet, cool, early fall day.

31 August 2017

I did not do a great job of keeping the blog running this month.

Such a big month as well.

Tai finishing work – last day of work was March 6th. Followed by three days for her visa cancellation.

Lots of running around in Dubai – getting our deposits refunded from DEWA and Empower was a headache.

Dara was great – putting us up for the last week in Dubai.

Selling the apartment. Leaving Dubai. Shipping our belongings to Bangkok. Flying over to the USA. Some holiday – some flying – a few days in Mexico.

My flying blog from Sarasota is on another page – I got four days of flying and almost 13 hours. Lots of IFR time and some night flying. Good experience.

28 August 2017

Awful scenes from the floods/hurricane damage in Houston – this is just one picture from many. People do good things in adversity.

Houston Police SWAT officer Daryl Hudeck carries Catherine Pham and her 13-month-old son Aiden after rescuing them from their home, which was surrounded by floodwaters

AP Picture via the Guardian.

19 August 2017

I have been sick as a dog for the last few days. We arrived in Los Angeles on Wednesday evening after a long haul on Philippines Airline.

The flights were fine. Just long.

But by morning I was feeling bad – we had a Delta flight out of LAX to Orlando in the afternoon on Thursday. Arrived Orlando at 11pm – the queue at Avis was long and slow. Painfully slow.

Note to myself. I must not let stupid people make me angry and I should not say things that are best kept to myself. However much it is deserved!

Awful events in Barcelona. The fact that it could have been so much worse is not a consolation.

The severe cold/flu tablets do not seem to be doing much good…..everything hurts – the cough is painful and the congestion miserable. Not happy.

We were going to head to Cape Kennedy today. No chance.

14 August 2017

And now we are in Bangkok – and so hopefully is our shipment! More on all of that below – or above!

Good news for Jake Needham fans:

“Don’t Get Caught” will be popular expat fiction writer Jake Needham’s 10th book overall and the 5th book in the Jack Shepherd series. Publication day is September 26. Will it be the last Jack Shepherd? The summary goes something like this:

“A military coup has swept over Thailand and the Thai army is holding Thailand’s first female prime minister under house arrest. Her popularity is a threat to army rule so things are about to get messy. There will be a show trial to convict her of corruption and send her to prison. Then, when she’s behind bars, she’s going to be murdered. The only way to save her life is to get her out of Thailand before the trial starts.

Jack Shepherd is the kind of lawyer people call a troubleshooter. At least that’s what they call him when they’re being polite. Shepherd is the guy people go to when they have a problem too ugly to take to anyone else. He finds the trouble, and then he shoots it. Neat, huh? If life were only that simple.

Shepherd lives in Hong Kong now, but once he lived in Thailand. There was a time when he loved the place, but that went sour and he’s sworn never to go back. On the other hand, the former PM is a friend from way back and you have to help your friends when they need help, don’t you? Besides, how hard can it be? Sneak into Thailand, grab her out from under the nose of the entire Thai army, and keep her alive long enough to get them both out of Thailand again.”


And while on the subject of Jake Needham’s books – this is related:

Far Side Travel

6 August 2017

This was a big day – we completed the sale of our Executive Towers apartment.

Payment received – cheques banked.

Nice family moving into the apartment – and I hope they are happy there.

27 July 2017

Smart note on PPRUNE from an ex cabin crew defending the poor crew member caught on video pouring Business class welcome drinks back into the bottle:

“I am not addressing anyone in particular, please take no offense!

It just happens that the pilots and cabin crew live in distant galaxies far-far away. I bet most of those who are bashing her for what she did have no idea of what it is to work in customer service and what it is to work as CC for Emirates. When you guys complain about long hours etc, your complaints are 100% legitimate! However if you want to get into CC shoes.. on top of hours add a gigantic load of sh*t coming from every single direction, everyone is against you and all the rules and regulations seem to be written in a way to screw you over, like whatever happens you will always be held responsible, no matter what is the outcome. I don’t know if the pilots work in this sort of environment, perhaps you guys do, but the CC is under constant pressure!

She was putting it back into the bottle as a normal practice. This is what CC do to gash it later. The company doesn’t provide conditions to “safely” gash colored drinks. If you use the little sink in the galley, you can be reported (it seems to corrode AC’s belly when the liquid is out of the AC) You have to toss it to the toilet that may be busy.. If it is, you can’t wait because.. you will be reported for being slow in service. On top of that add the ever-complaining pax, the cabin seniors waiting for the opportunity to write on you, etc. So the CC is constantly “trapped”. No matter what you do, the day will come when you are unlucky and get busted doing something wrong, because anything you do can somehow be turned against you.

The pilots get WAY more respect from the company than the crew does and unfortunately most of the cockpit guys simply can’t imagine how it is to work in that cabin.. I am not saying this to start some discussion on equality or something, I am just telling it to those who start judging fellow colleagues without any idea of what those people go through.”

Well done.

26 July 2017

Empower and DEWA – to get the clearance certificates for the sale of our apartment.

Both very good – with staff who actually gave the appearance of wanting to be helpful.

Unusual for government agencies in Dubai – so credit where due.

The car has gone….so sad.

It had served us well for ten years – reliable, still quick when it wanted, or needed, to be and near immaculate inside.

23 July 2017

Jeremy Cliffe from the Economist on twitter today:

“The essence of economic progressivism is the creation of the best possible living conditions for the largest possible number of people. That means (1) increasing the size of the pie and (2) slicing it more equally.
This is basic recipe of EU (& Eurozone) countries like Germany & Netherlands, where working-class life is v much better than in the UK.
Though also cultural, the Brexit vote was tipped by low- and middle-earners working too many hours for too-low living standards”

A sensible response would thus be to improve living standards concretely by making the pie bigger & allocating its slices more fairly.

i.e. minimising the economic costs of Brexit and simultaneously advancing genuinely radical reforms to spread wealth and opportunity.

Corbyn is going in the opposite direction. First, his opposition to the Single Market will make Britain poorer. It will shrink the pie

Instead Labour should be “tough on Brexit, tough on the causes of Brexit”. By doing two things:

Boost jobs and wages, and drastically increase available funds for public services, by keeping Britain in the Single Market.

Advance genuinely radical & redistributive policies on tax, education, industry, regional policy, infrastructure, political reform.

On the mark.

Meanwhile Air France have announced a new medium/long haul subsidiary called “Joon” – allegedly targeting millennials – in reality targeting the Gulf airlines.

Here is Gizmodo on Joon:

“Joon is kind of a perfect thing to happen in 2017, a bad and stupid year, because it combines all the weird, tired millennial jargon that marketers have invented with the knowingly infuriating tone of someone trying to goad said millennials into a reaction. If that doesn’t float your boat, you can look forward to 2018, when someone tries to milk a few thousand hate-shares out of a “Millennials Killed the Airline for Millennials” take.”

Tai is back in Thailand for a couple of days – taking the first collection of our possessions back into storage.

I have been selling the car – it has done 10 years good service – just turned 100,000kms which is not a lot.

Selling a car in the UAE is an experience…..

19 July 2017

From PPRUNE: “A very wise training captain once told me in EK if you need to go to the bathroom, then take the F/O with you as he will do less damage than if you leave him there!”

A lot of debate about situational awareness following an incident in MRU airspace a few days ago.

18 July 2017

Winnie the Pooh – blocked in China where a photo of Mr Xi standing up through the roof of a parade car, next to a picture of Winnie the Pooh in a toy car, was named the “most censored image of 2015” by political consultancy Global Risk Insights.


If yesterday’s Washington Post story is true – then the issues faced by the Gulf nations have just escalated. The WP is reporting that the UAE planted fake news via a hack and effectively engineered this crisis with Qatar.

That is a huge story. But of course relies on unnamed intelligence sources.

The UAE’s foreign minister Anwar Gargash told an audience, yesterday, at London think tank Chatham House, there was no truth to the allegations made by both Qatar and The Washington Post, which cited information newly analysed by US intelligence services.

But the Qataris have always denied the quotes allegedly made by the Emir of Qatar praising Iran and Hamas.

The Qatari response which was to protest: “We’ve been hacked and he never said this.”

13 July 2017

UN Human Rights – Asia statement issued last night:

We call on the Singaporean Government to halt the imminent execution of Malaysian national Prabagaran Srivijayan for a drugs related offence, and urges the Government to immediately instate a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
On 6 July 2017, Mr. Srivijayan and his family were informed that he would be executed on 14 July 2017. His appeal for clemency to the President of Singapore was declined on 7 July.
Mr. Srivijayan, 29, was arrested in April 2012 in possession of 22.24 grams of diamorphine, a pure form of heroin. The heroin was found in the arm rest of a car that he had borrowed. Mr. Srivijayan claimed that he had no knowledge of the drugs.
On 22 July 2012, Mr. Srivijayan was convicted and sentenced to death under section 33B of the Misuse of Drugs Act. On 2 October 2015 his appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal.
Separately, in May 2017, Mr. Srivijayan’s legal representatives in Malaysia launched a case to urge Malaysia to seek the intervention of the International Court of Justice.
We are gravely concerned that the execution will proceed despite a pending appeal to take the case to the International Court of Justice.
We deeply regret that in recent months, four individuals have been executed for drug-related offences in Singapore. Under international law, the death penalty may only be used for “the most serious crimes” which has been interpreted to mean only crimes involving intentional killing. Drug-related offences do not fall under this threshold.
Several States have also called on Singapore to abolish the death penalty, in particular for drug-related offences, during its human rights review in Geneva in January 2016.

Unfortunately executing foreigners is all too common in Singapore.

7 July 2017

Will they – or won’t they – the flydubai and Emirates merger speculation continues.

Clearly they are meant to be brought into closer co-operation – here is one scenario: No merger. Just a greater synergy of route structure. Good for EK pilot bad for FZ, more short TAs for FZ and the most of the layovers go to EK. Overall reduction for both initially. But with greater connectivity between the airlines.

For instance FZ would not fly Prague and Bangkok as it does now. They would only be EK flights.

Well done Hainan Air – very classy – but not sure that the shoes are suitable for long haul flying:

Rather more down to earth – this is the new look for flydubai:

The Qatar crisis rumbles along – neither side can back down without massive loss of face –

The cabal of Egypt. KSA, UAE and Bahrain said yesterday in a statement that Doha’s refusal of their 13 demands to resolve the Gulf diplomatic crisis was proof of Qatar’s links to terrorist groups and that they would enact new measures against it.

They also insisted that their initial list of 13 demands was now void and pledged new political, economic and legal steps against Qatar.

Qatar’s stance “reflects its intention to continue its policy, aimed at destabilising security in the region,” their statement said. “All political, economic and legal measures will be taken in the manner and at the time deemed appropriate to preserve the four countries’ rights, security and stability.”

The statement did not say when the new steps would be announced or what they would be.

This dispute has a long way to go still. But there is a great deal of Western (led by the USA and Germany) pressure to not add to the existing restrictions.


6 July 2017

England v South Africa today – I only wish I could watch it but OSN Sport moved it from the Sports Channels that we were paying for to their pay-even more money channel.

This is from the Guardian today:

“Test cricket remains the finest sport available to humanity, and its underexposure and short-sighted administration in recent times is society’s crime, not ours. And it’s back! And not just for any old series either.

Series against South Africa have consistently been the most compelling and close-fought of any England have faced in the past few decades. From Devon Malcolm’s Oval carnage in 1994, to Atherton staring down gloriously undiluted aggression in Johannesburg and Nottingham in 95 and 98, through the 2-2 draw in 2003 (one of the great forgotten Test series – who now salutes the decisive roles played by James Kirtley and Martin Bicknell?), Hoggard’s seven-for at the Wanderers, Smith forcing teary resignations out of Nasser and Vaughan, Collingwood and Onions digging in in 2010, Amla’s triple-century two years later, to Ben Stokes’s beautifully brutal Cape Town assault … I could go on. Encounters between these two are overloaded with great memories.”

3 July 2017

This: or just jump down to the last two lines:

Prompted by this:

Donald Trump did more than ‘wrestle’ CNN in a video. He attacked democracy

From Jared Yates Sexton (@JYSexton) Writer, Hoosier, Asst Prof of CW at GA Southern, work in @nytimes, @newrepublic From twitter.

“I’d like to give a little insight into what it’s like being a journalist in 2017 and why Trump’s rhetoric is incredibly dangerous

Yesterday I broke the news that the guy who made Trump’s CNN gif also created an antisemitic meme and was obviously racist. 

In the wake of that, I received numerous threats. I was told people wanted to shoot, strangle me, hang me, throw me out of a helicopter 

Some assumed I was Jewish because I spoke out against antisemitism, others said I was a race-traitor. Got it on both sides. 

Now articles are showing up on Neo-Nazi websites, there are videos spliced with Goebbels telling me not to test his patience 

That one also has footage from Natural Born Killers of a journalist being executed by shotgun. 

On forums, under my tweets, there’s a list of excerpts from newspaper articles about journalists being slaughter, the details gory. 

Meanwhile, people are claiming I’m making up the threats and then immediately threatening me. In the same message. 

Over on Facebook I’m getting messages from strangers about “goyim” and talking about what happened to Jews in the 40’s.

This environment is the creation of the man in the White House. There are valid criticisms of the media, many on point, this isn’t that 

When you start calling a group of people enemies of the country, this is what happens. When you call them scum, this happens. 

This is what happens when you have Alex Jones calling mainstream media pedophiles and Satan worshippers, and threatening to crush them.

This environment we have right now is volatile. Some of these threats are empty, but people who are unwell consume this stuff.

Even as I’m typing this I’m getting antisemitic memes and messages. It’s happening in realtime. 

And everyone keeps bringing up the shooting in Virginia. In a way, they’re right. That’s what happens in this environment.

This shouldn’t be a country where these violent instincts are cultivated and encouraged. We’re at a real tipping point right now. But make no mistake, there’s something growing in this country, and it is very, very ugly.”

1 July 2017

Happy 150th birthday Canada

And also the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong by the British to China.

Joshua Wong the young Hong Kong student leader has a piece in the Financial Times today – a few highlight:

So many young people….seldom, if ever, identify as Chinese and are no fans of the communist regime in Beijing. 

We have consolidated our strong identity as Hong Kongers — rather than embracing a Chinese identity — not because of the city’s British colonial past, but because of Beijing’s ongoing assault on our way of life.

The…umbrella movement (was a) clear rejection of Beijing’s increasing interference, chiefly by young people.

Rather than demonstrating a genuine intention to introduce liberal reforms to win us over, Chinese leaders have been doing the opposite and tightening their grip.

The real question for Hong Kong is, therefore, what happens in 2047? This is a certain uncertainty, just like 1997, the date of expiry on the New Territories lease — a treaty that granted the British 99-year control of some 92 per cent of the colony’s area.

The same questions have already begun to resurface in post-umbrella Hong Kong: will land leases expire? How about 30-year mortgages?

Hong Kongers were barred from participating in negotiations in the 1980s. With the territory’s future again in the balance, it is time for our generation to look ahead. Only through learning from our past mistakes — political apathy and overconfidence in Beijing — can we truly determine a free future.

He is a smart young man.

27 June 2017

Packing has started!

25 June 2017

Oldie but still good: “When the new interviewees and their wives were taking the tour of the new EGHQ atrium area with all it’s glitz and glamour, one of the wife’s asked the tour guide lady, “Wow, this place is huge… how many people work here?” Without missing a beat the tour guide lady said, “Oh, about half of them”.

Tai gave her notice today – planned leaving date from Emirates – 6 August 2017. Momentous.

It has been close to 11 years – time for a change.

23 June 2017

2017 Skytrax awards: Emirates:

Inflight Entertainment: 1st
First Class: 2nd
Overall : 4th
Business Class: 9th
Cabin Crew: 15th – and more cost-cutting to come?

The slide in the cabin crew rating is a reflection of poor morale and some questionable recruitment.

EK is not the powerhouse that it used to be.

Best airline award for the year went to Qatar.

19 June 2017

Lunacy in London – where this morning:

A van has driven into a crowd of worshippers after they left a mosque in north London.

Police have confirmed a number of casualties after the collision which happened at about 12.20am on Monday. Witnesses reported seeing up to 10 injured. There is at least one dead.

Witnesses have described the van swerving towards a group of people.

The white van hit people outside the Muslim Welfare House on Seven Sisters Road. Two witnesses reported seeing three people leave the van.

The Muslim Council of Great Britain said the van had run over worshippers. In Ramadan.

The streets were crowded because it was shortly after prayers had finished at nearby Finsbury Park mosque

One man was arrested at the scene by the police.

One of the more correct responses: When islamist terrorists attack we rightly seek out hate preachers who spur them on. We must do the same to those who peddle Islamophobia. This includes extremists in the mainstream right wing media….yes that is the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun, who peddle too much hate.

The mayor of London has released a statement on Facebook, saying the attack was deliberate and targeted “innocent Londoners, many of whom were finishing prayers during the holy month of Ramadan”.

“While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect,” he said.

17 June 2017

Two days in Paris earlier in the week – nice weather and good to be back in one of the world’s great cities.

Meanwhile another tragedy struck London with the Grenfell Towers fire on Latimer Rd in west London.

The eventual death toll will probably exceed 70 – but no one knows for certain as parts of the building are simply too dangerous for rescue workers.

While in the Gulf the dispute with Qatar continues – how bad is it – Anwar Gargash, the UAE foreign minister, said its allies in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain did not trust Qatar. He was in London on a visit intended to rally diplomatic support for the embargo. Other than the USA there has been no noticeable support for the dispute with Qatar with western governments urging de-escalation and trying to mediate rather than take sides.

“We do not trust them. There is zero trust, but we need a monitoring system and we need our western friends to play a role in this,” said Gargash.

He said the monitoring would aim to ensure Qatar was no longer funding extremism, harbouring extremists in Doha, or providing support to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and al-Qaida. Qatar denies supporting the groups.

This dispute has a long way to run.

10 June 2017

From the Guardian:

Where did that Labour surge come from? Memes, obviously, and a canny social media strategy. But beyond that, the answers were complex and indicative of a shrugging of the political landscape. There was the youth and student contribution. There was the fact that the disintegration of the Ukip vote did not land plumly in the laps of the Tories but sought out Labour too. There was the Labour manifesto, and the malfunctioning Conservative version. There was Wales. There was even Scotland.

You can follow the links!

The poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has written a poem for the election, entitled Campaign. It appears on the front page of the Guardian this morning:

In which her body was a question-mark
querying her lies; her mouth a
ballot-box that bit the hand that
fed. Her eyes? They swivelled
for a jackpot win. Her heart was
a stolen purse;
her rhetoric an empty vicarage,
the windows smashed.
Then her feet grew sharp
stilettos, awkward.
Then she had balls, believe it.
When she woke,
her nose was bloody, difficult.
The furious young
ran towards her through the
fields of wheat.

Don’t think I have ever seen the Poet Laureate be so political.

9 June 2017

The UK election descends into farce. A hung parliament. Mrs. May’s worst day since she ran through the wheat fields!

Meanwhile in Dubai we are all being very cautious about any commentary that says anything other than everything is normal and we are happy.

8 June 2017

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi is a high profile Emirati commentator – hugely sensible and moderate.

He posted this on Facebook this evening:

Over the past near decade of having a Facebook account I think I must have written less than 20 posts that were restricted to “Friends Only.” That decision was mainly in order not to hurt someone’s feelings. After the failure of the Arab Uprisings in 2012 I saw many activist friends transform their once public accounts into private ones, ranting about this or that issue – in private, effectively behind closed doors. I refused to do that despite personal risk and pressure from various parties. I recall thinking a couple of times how ironic it was for some individuals who have private or anonymous accounts to criticise me for not speaking up about a specific issue when they do so effectively in a closed and safe space or from a Western country. I was thinking about this because it saddened me to close my still and always public account to comments by non-friends due to recent cybercrime laws. I have so much more to say. Perhaps one day I will. But when I do, know it will be in public and not behind closed doors.

Welcome to our very cautious and self-censored world.

8 June 2017

As India and the UAE start discussing their air services bilateral here are the current numbers:

Carriers from India and the UAE fly a total of 134,441 aircraft seats a week, each way. These are divided between Dubai (65,200), Abu Dhabi (50,000), Sharjah (17,841) and Ras Al Khaimah (1,400). At present, Indian carriers operate 97,802 seats, while the balance 36,639 are not being utilised. On the other hand, the UAE carriers have fully utilised their quota.

7 June 2017

The escalating crisis in the Gulf feels ever more serious – today the UAE has banned people from publishing expressions of sympathy towards Qatar and will punish offenders with a jail term of up to 15 years, the UAE-based newspaper Gulf News and pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya reported.

“Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form,” Gulf News quoted UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi as saying.

On top of a possible jail term, offenders would also be hit with a fine of at least

2 June 2017

Our Dubai exit countdown is now underway. More on that later in the month.

But tired today after two weeks travel….

A friend of mine – yes I still have a few – confirmed today that she will vote Tory in next week’s election. From communist youth to capitalist tiger mother! We will still be friends.

500,000 dirhams, the newspaper said, citing a statement to Arabic-language media.

These are the sort of restrictions that countries create during wartime. We are not there yet.

30 May 2017

Sir Tim Clark, Emirates President, in the National newspaper – November 4 2014.

“We’ve always viewed Wi-Fi as a service and a value-added part of Emirates’ overall product, rather than a revenue stream.”

Until now.


A few days ago.

Celebrations. None. But did get Thai food in Akureyri.

26 May 2017

So, the latest rumor-fest at EK (pprune).

STC and GC to depart sooner rather than later, for reasons various

G Al G (currently FY) to take the big Job at EK – could well happen.


CM to AAR’s seat – I don’t think so. I think CM is still destined for the airline down the road. The AAR role is simply not big enough

H Al H (ex-VP Trg EK) to JA’s job. No idea who they are!

The FY guys and gals are anticipating some much closer relationship with EK. Probably.

I don’t think all these rumours are healthy. Change is clearly about to happen. It would make a lot of senses to get on with it as soon as possible and allow the new team to set direction for the rest of the year – and in advance of any announcements planned for the Paris and Dubai airshows later this year.

23 May 2017

Awful events in Manchester overnight.

So strange to be flying into the city this morning. Will write about it in the main news page.

Roger Moore died today at the age of 89. The first of the Bonds to pass away. 00Heaven? He made seven Bond films, never took himself too seriously and after his film career was an active ambassador for UNICEF. RIP.

21 May 2017

Thailand: the one place in the world where it is illegal to view images of the king going shopping.

It is getting bizarre.

20 May 2017

Hearing good things about Jeremy Bowen’s new radio series – also available as a podcast.

Our man in the Middle East

17 May 2017

Mazzarri gone at Watford. He will not be missed.

Hats off to a Dubai real estate agent this afternoon.

Him: Is that Mr Robert
Me: Yes:
Him: I am calling about your apartment in Executive Towers.
Me: How did you get my number?
Him: It is on my database
Me: How did my number get onto your database?
Him: I bought it
Me: From Dubai Properties?
Him: Yes

Which puts an end to all those pathetic denials that DP/Taziz did not sell mailing lists.


But I loved his honestly. It has taken seven years to get a Dubai real estate agent to be that honest.

Maybe things are changing. Though I doubt it!

13 May 2017

So the Director of the FBI is fired by the President of the USA.

But here is a thought from a friend on facebook:

“The very idea that the person who centered his campaign on the name “Crooked Hillary” and encouraged his followers to shout “Lock her up!” at rallies fired the head of the FBI for mishandling the email investigation is manipulative and twisted in addition to defying belief.”

12 May 2017

From – welcome to the new Middle east: short and to the point.

“It’s not just Emirates it’s the entire region and all the businesses in it. The gold old days of high oil prices, simple businesses, and a feeling of being out here on a bit of an adventure is gone.

The region is becoming ‘economically developed’ and with that comes modern societies with high costs to maintain, meaning higher fees for everything, taxes (new and increases) cities with high costs of living that squeeze people left, right and center.

The old wise Sheikhs have been replaced with young tycoons who want expansion and the latest in business thinking, meaning hiring men that will think quick and cut costs at every corner. Making money but disregarding all other ‘externalities’ (human, environmental or otherwise)….

Welcome to the new Middle East.”

Time to head back to Dubai – after a nice evening in London with Tai. Always fun to walk around on a mild evening through the west end.

10 May 2017

Still in Abingdon – here is a nice little blog that will tell you what is happening here – and has some pictures of the town and links to relevant websites.

Abingdon Blog

5 May 2017

Such a frustrating week. Getting simple things done in the Uk is fraught with bureaucracy and thwarted by people who really do not want to take responsibility or make any decision.

1 May 2017

Dubai has its own font – thanks Microsoft.

But it is not without irony – The newly-launched DubaiFont slogan is: #ExpressYou.

Maybe it would be better phrased as #ExpressYou – Carefully.

I turn 60 this month. I guess it happens to most of us! 60 year olds used to seem old. Now it feels like 60 is the age when we are just getting started – but with only a limited amount of productive, healthy and fit years ahead of ourselves.

There is a risk at this age of looking back not forward – thinking about decisions ade rather than opportunities ahead.

Have to stay healthy, sane, interested and aware.

I suspect this may be a recurring theme this month!

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.

30 March 2017

The electronics ban just keeps getting stranger:

Can pilots and cabin crew take their electronics items on board: Yes.

“Uniformed operating crew can carry personal electronic devices on board the passenger cabin. Ensure that if you use your personal device, you do so discreetly, away from customers. Please comply with your departmental policy for using personal electronic devices on board.”

Meanwhile down the road at Etihad:

Etihad Airways will offer free Wi-Fi and iPads to its first and business class passengers on all its US-bound flights from Abu Dhabi from April 2.

The service comes in response to the US government’s ban on large electronic devices in airline cabins, which came into effect last Saturday. It affects US-bound flights from Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Qatar, Kuwait and the UAE.

In a notice on its website, Etihad said that free Wi-Fi and iPads on all US-bound flights from Abu Dhabi will provide free Wi-Fi vouchers for the duration of the flight, the airline said.

Etihad said electronic devices larger that mobile phones, including laptops, tablets, larger cameras and e-readers, have to be placed into checked-in baggage or into the aircraft’s cargo hold.

So I cannot take my own laptop or ipad – but I can borrow one from the airline. Qatar is offering the same service.

Which seems to invalidate the whole purpose of the electronics ban.

23 March 2017

Emirates solution to the USA’s electronics ban on non stop flights from Dubai:

“Dubai, UAE, 23 March 2017 – Emirates will introduce a new service to enable customers to use their laptops and tablet devices until just before they board their flights to the US.
Emirates customers travelling to the US via Dubai will be able to utilise their laptops and tablet devices on the first part of their journeys, and also during transit in Dubai. They must then declare and hand over their laptops, tablets, and other banned electronic devices to security staff at the gate just before boarding their US-bound flight. The devices will be carefully packed into boxes, loaded into the aircraft hold, and returned to the customer at their US destination. There will not be any charge for this service.

Passengers on US-bound flights starting their journeys in Dubai are encouraged to pack their electronic devices into their check-in luggage in the first instance, to avoid delays.

Customers should be aware that there will be a detailed search of all hand baggage on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai. They should therefore declare their devices before the search, or ensure their electronic devices are packed into their check-in luggage in the first instance.


Emirates is working to ensure that its operations comply with the latest restrictions on electronic devices in the cabin, for when the rules take effect on 25 March. Emirates will deploy extra staff at the airport to ease and assist passengers, especially in the first days of the new rules being implemented.

From Saturday, 25 March, travellers on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai International airport (DXB) will not be allowed to carry any electronic device larger than a cell phone or smartphone, excluding medical devices, into the aircraft cabin. Travellers must pack these electronic devices in their checked-in baggage.

This new security directive, issued by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), applies to all passengers travelling on non-stop flights to the US from Dubai, including those in transit. It does not apply to passengers travelling on Emirates’ US-bound flights via Milan and Athens, or Emirates flights to/from any other destination.”

Andrew MacGregor Marshall on the fatal attack at Westminster in London yesterday afternoon:

“The world’s greatest cities are places where global cultures collide. London’s greatest asset is its diversity.
Yesterday’s murderous attack by a lone assailant armed only with a Hyundai car and a couple of knives killed an American man, a Spanish woman, and a British policeman. The wounded included citizens of France, Germany, Romania and Greece.
The attacker was born in Britain.
Anybody exploiting this attack to oppose multiculturalism, tolerance and openmindedness is not an ally of true Londoners and has no understanding of what makes London special.
Closing London would kill London. Don’t let the haters on all sides destroy the magic of this city.”

Nicely said.

22 March 2017

Sorry about that – I have calmed down a little.

Let’s just say that a certain individual who insists that he has been a family friend for 60 years betrayed every aspect of that friendship with a truly breathtaking display of arrogance and ignorance that came very close to jeopardising our ability to best look after our mother.


So Rose View in Newton Ferrers is now sold. Completion was on the 20th. It was my parents home for 19 years. It is the only Uk home that Tai and Alex have ever known. And it has been something of a family sanctuary through that time.

Dad is buried in the local church. One day we will take our Mother there to be with him. Mother meanwhile is a combination of safe, sad and confused. We will move her to Abingdon, and to a much more suitable home that is close to my brother.

It does feel a little sad- like the end of a part of our collective lives.

Still one plus – at least we will not have to do that long drive down to Devon.

I even feel a bit nostalgic for Plymouth. In many ways an ugly city – but it was familiar and comfortable.

So here we are saying goodbye to Rose View:

We were also in South Africa from 8th to 14th March which helps explain my silence here.

The lovely Apple and Tim were married on the 10th at the Dieu Donne vineyard in Franschhoek; high on the hill overlooking the town and a glorious sunset.

Yours truly officiated at the wedding – without any obvious disaster – it did seem a bit quick to me – but it was 35C – everyone was hiding under parasols – and being out in that heat for too long was not a great idea.

The fact that the ceremony was not translated into two other languages shortened the event as well!

And afterwards I was asked if I did funerals as well 🙂

I think that was meant as a compliment!

As near to a perfect setting as you could get.

From Franschhoek we drove to the quieter and more remote Tulbagh region. It is far less commercial and far less self-conscious. Pretty countryside; nice people; a town that felt better integrated.

We had our own cottage at the Vindoux resort. A longer stay would have been easy to do. The resort had a terrace overlooking the zebra and wildebeest in their paddock. Very pleasant to sit there with a glass of wine.

7 March 2017

Am so f***ing angry……

6 March 2017

From today’s Guardian:

“Since his election a scant six weeks ago, Trump has defamed a great newspaper, a federal judge, and a former president. He has attacked whole institutions, pillars of American democracy. He appears willing to hold a great constitutional order hostage to his narcissism and political insecurities.”

Yep. That is how bad things are.

5 March 2017

Back on the golf course today – I think only my second game this year. Rusty. Sore. And surprisingly tiring.

A big shout out to Nina and Brendan after baby Aiden arrived today – a younger brother for Indy. Mother and new born are both doing well.

Too many good people leaving Emirates – too much experience leaving Emirates – too many new people flying the airplane – and apparently no one left in the recruitment pool.

Here is one farewell posted today on pprune:

“It’s like having a massive weight lifted off your shoulders when you know it’s over. That’s the best way to describe the feeling after handing in your notice.

10+ years and it’s getting worse by the day almost. This airline was even fun at one time, but not anymore. All they say is “If you don’t like it then leave”.

When will they learn? The experience level in the flight deck now is so low in both seats the inevitable is only a matter of time. Appalling unsustainable rosters, unable to get leave and a bad management attitude, all driving people away.

New joiners are now waiting months for a course, sitting around doing nothing or sent on forced leave, why? because the trainers a resigning in their droves!! Sick of being abused and worked to death. Four big name TRE’s this last week for example.

Wake up EK management, you only have yourself to blame.

Look at the guy’s down the road. B777/787 month on month off, happy days. No it’s still not perfect there by any means but things like that go a long way to making pilots happy. What do they do here at EK? NOTHING!!!

I’m leaving with no job to go to, for me just now EK have killed the great job I used to have in airline aviation. I hope I fly again for someone smaller, friendlier, who can restore my faith in the industry.”

It is sad – because all I here from friends that I respect is that I am leaving or that I am looking.

We met up yesterday with a friend who is a 777 – our wives are great friends. He is leaving for a Chinese carrier – but will be based in the USA with a twenty days on and ten days off roster. For him the lifestyle change – being able to live back in his own country – makes all the difference.

2 March 2017

Back in Dubai after a short break with Tai in Chiang Mai.

Nice trip. Drove around for a couple of days to explore.

28 February 2017

OK – sorry about February – to much Trump news that is simply too depressing. At which point silence seems better than writing anything!

18 February 2017

This is the President of the United States:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump
“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”

“Don’t believe the main stream (fake news) media.The White House is running VERY WELL. I inherited a MESS and am in the process of fixing it.”

Here was one reponse one twitter: “A journalist is a citizen. Who informs other citizens, as free citizens need. Some are killed doing it. I’m grateful to many who inform me.”

Trump’s hastily called 77 minute press conference yesterday was like watching a slow motion train wreck. But – he is not there to talk with the media. It is a who for his supporters.

“Fake media” to Trump is basically anyone that questions him; questions his methods, policies, beliefs. If you are not a Trump cheerleader he will turn on you. And his supporters love him for it.

Alas, poor Claudio. Leicester are a mess. He may not make it through the season. Champions one year – in danger of relegation the next.

5 February 2017

On my way back to Dubai….but will in heading to England again on the 8th.

Emirates has Westworld on tv this month. Like Person of Interest it is another Jonathan Nolan show….tv really is in a golden era right now; huge budget tv shows that because of the series format can develop characters and plots in a way that films cannot.

And of course binge watching….the likes of showtime, amazon, hbo and Netflix.


It was nice to be back in Bangkok. The city continues to boom. New hotels everywhere. Always plenty to see. Not all good. A city of extremes.

The Novotel on Sukhumvit soi 20 is a brand new hotel. Whoever designed the bathrooms had obviously never used it one.

Two Watford wins in the premiership this week. Winning at Arsenal was an unexpected bonus.

31 January 2017

Bit out of date here. Apologies.

Tai and I were in the UK for a week….flying into Birmingham. Two nights in Stratford and then down to Devon.

The family has plans to move Mum close to Tim near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. There is a lot to do to get ready for the move. Saw solicitors and auctioneers while we were there.

Some lovely cold blue sky English weather.

Then I went to Thailand for my third annual road trip with Dennis….out of Chiang Rai this year to PhaYao, Nan and Pua.

A few pictures will follow when I get back to Dubai.

17 January 2017

Just a reminder: the inauguration of Donald Trump – as the 45th President of the United States – will take place on Friday, January 20 on the West Front of the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The event will begin at noon (5pm GMT 9pm in Dubai). It will start at the White House and end at a number of Inaugural Balls across the city.

16 January 2017

Other than taking an A380 to Sao Paulo there is nothing new from Emirates.

13 January 2017

Rumours of a big Emirates announcement on Sunday 15th.

Nice to catch up with Marco, Kaye and their son, Jake, today. They will soon be leaving Dubai. Marco has been here for almost ten years with Emirates. Ground down by exhausting rostering he is leaving – for a Chicago base with a Chinese airline. I hope it works out for the whole family.

From Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch today:

“Donald Trump’s successful campaign for the US presidency was a vivid illustration of this politics of intolerance. Sometimes overtly, sometimes through code and indirection, he spoke to many Americans’ discontent with economic stagnation and an increasingly multicultural society in a way that breached basic principles of dignity and equality. He stereotyped migrants, vilified refugees, attacked a judge for his Mexican ancestry, mocked a journalist with disabilities, dismissed multiple allegations of sexual assault, and pledged to roll back women’s ability to control their own fertility.”

More here: The Dangerous Rise of Populism

12 January 2017

Emirates announced today that it will further expand its European network with the introduction of a daily flight from Dubai to Zagreb (ZAG), the capital of Croatia from June 1, 2017.

Scheduled flight times for EK129 are departing Dubai at 08:15hours and arriving in Zagreb at 12:20hours local time with the return flight EK130 departing Zagreb at 15:35hours and arriving in Dubai at 23:05hours.

Just a rumour – that Herr Mueller may be leaving Emirates. That would be bad news if true – I think it unlikely. But just maybe he did what every expat knows not to do, and became too critical on the locals working for EK and/or the Sheikh.

Just a rumour!

11 January 2017

My ex-colleagues Andrew MacGregor Marshall was described on facebook today as “not a normal journalist.”

This was by an ex features editor of the Straits Times now living and working in Thailand.

Which makes you wonder: what is Mr. Wee’s definition of a “normal journalist”.

Are, for instance, normal journalists expected to support military dictatorships; the detention and attitude adjustment of journalists; the use of military courts to try private citizens?
Does a normal journalist accept that an unelected government should use censorship, intimidation, and legal action to suppress freedom of speech?
10 January 2017
Back from four nights in Hong Kong; unusually warm for January. Caught up with Alex over lunch in Stanley.

Spent a fun day visiting Tai O over on Lantau Island – and spent a good day exploring the island and kowloon side on my own.And saw one of Cathay Pacific’s new A350s.

A good trip.

2 January 2017

And another new mega-project for DXB – and years more traffic chaos at JBR –

Dubai Harbour:

The site is spread over 20 million sq. feet, between JBR and the Palm Jumairah. It will include a 1400-berth marina as well as a cruise ship port and terminal, a shopping mall covering 3.5 million sq. feet, an events arena, luxurious residential buildings, hotels, offices, retail stores, public services, restaurants and cafes and the ‘Dubai Lighthouse’.

The masterplan of the new destination integrates Skydive Dubai, Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) and Logo Island into a single community. The ‘Dubai Harbour’ project will be completed in four years once ground has been broken.

Call me old-fashioned but it would be nice to see something finished!
Strange news from Dubai’s leading football club today:

The chairman and board members of the Al Ahli Sports Club in Dubai have been dismissed from their roles with immediate effect, it was announced on Sunday, January 1.

They were relieved of their duties under a resolution issued by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, official news agency WAM reported.

The newspapers gave no other information or background. But something must be serious for Dubai’s ruler to intervene.

1 January 2017

A nice evening last night – with a few friends – food, wine and fireworks. So nice just to be able to sit out on the balcony and watch rather than battling through the crowds.

So another year! I do wonder where we will be in twelve months time.