AOB – 2016

27 December 2016

And now Carrie Fischer. Princess Leia to Star Wars fans. She was just 60.

I dont know if 2016 has been worse than other years for celebrity deaths – it feels worse. Maybe because those that have left us are so much more connected with our lives through the last four decades of global communication and the globalisation of our culture – at least in the entertainment industries.

The Guardian is a bit pompous on the subject but not inaccurate:

The generations of middle-aged people along with all their children and grandchildren have experienced a kind of collectivisation of childhood. This was a historic shift. Before the mass media, childhood memories were shared among very small groups, and anchored to particular places. But for the last 60 years, children in the west, and increasingly elsewhere, have grown up in front of televisions, and many of the most vivid characters of their childhood and adolescence were actors or singers.

The entertainment industry has largely replaced religious ritual in many lives, and has itself grown more ritualised, and even religious, in the process.

26 December 2016

Farewell George Michael, passed away at just 53. He was Wham in the 1980s and was truly established as a solo star until his death.

Like so many people of extra-ordinary talent he had his flaws. But by all accounts he was also hugely generous.

Careless Whisper was the song when I was working in Australia in 1984. But after that I spent so little time in England that I really did not follow his career or music.

The huge out-pouring of sadness and goodwill in the UK this morning shows the impact that he made.

He was hounded and pilloried by the media – especially Murdoch’s rags. Now watch then portray him as a musical icon. They should (but wont) be ashamed.

The Guardian: George Michael’s songs were more than simple tales of lust and longing

“If we want to pay tribute to George Michael today I think our response should be visceral, heartfelt, rebellious: let’s congregate outside Hampstead Snappy Snaps. Let’s perform lewd acts in Beverly Hills parks, cavort on Hampstead Heath, stuff shuttlecocks down our shorts. And if all of that fails let us do this: grab the person you love and tell them how much you relish them, love them, desire them.

In that small way, make the world a better place.”


Maybe avoid flying to Abuja in early 2017 as Abuja airport will be closed for six weeks from February 2017 for runway repairs. All flights will be diverted to Kaduna airport, 188 kilometres away.

Kaduna has a 3000 metre ILS CAT II VOR/DME runway 05/23 but with few scheduled flights.

The stretch of road between Kaduna and Abuja is a three-hour journey and is known to be dangerous. The Nigerian federal government will fund shuttle buses and the Abuja state government has agreed to provide security.

Emirates has already suspended flights to Abuja – they are unlikely to be reinstated soon.

The current EK passenger fleet: the Dubai-based carrier’s mainline passenger fleet currently consists of eighty-eight A380-800s, ten B777-200(LR)s, ten B777-300s, and 125 B777-300(ER)s.

20 December 2016

Proof again how hard it is to stop random acts of terror – people everywhere still need and want to continue to live their lives as normal – but large crowds will always be a target:

Twelve people are confirmed to have died after a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market at Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz at around 8pm on Monday evening.

A further 48 people have been taken to hospital with injuries, some of them serious.

Eyewitnesses said the truck drove into the market at speed, crushing visitors.

A suspect was arrested 2km from the scene and is being interrogated. No details of his identity have been released.

Officials have not confirmed a motive for the deadly incident, but a statement from the White House said it “appears to have been a terrorist attack”.

US president-elect Donald Trump called it a “horrifying terror attack”, blaming “Isis and other Islamist terrorists [who] continually slaughter Christians in their communities and places of worship”.

But Germany’s interior minister, Thomas de Maizière, urged caution: I don’t want to use the word ‘attack’ yet at the moment, although a lot speaks for it. There is a psychological effect in the whole country of the choice of words here, and we want to be very, very cautious and operate close to the actual investigation results, not with speculation.

The US state department issued a warning in November for travellers in Europe of a heightened risk of terror attacks at Christmas-related events, including markets, by Isis, al-Qaida and affiliates.

Thought as always are with the families and friends of anyone caught up in this senseless attack.

19 December 2016

Apparently Sir Tim Clark has informed senior management of his departure from Emirates in min-2017, and his family have made friends aware, that they are all leaving Dubai in June.

OK. This is from a rumour site – but seems likely given the other changes in the airline.

17 December 2016

It is time to start looking back on 2016 – personal and global.

Let’s start with the most unexpected sporting achievement of the year, of the decade of…well you get the picture.

Leicester City won the 2015/2016 Premiership – which led to an eve more unexpected celebration!

To be honest. Wonderful. Am not sure that the Leicester faithful know quite what to make of it. They might prefer Spice Girls to Bocelli. This was personal to Ranieri – who looks a bit upset at the chanting crowd. Wonderful.

12 December 2016

How to price yourself out of the tourism business – In Abu Dhabi – “the fees required to be paid will be distributed as 10% service charge, 6% tourism fee and the new 4% municipality fee. In addition and on behalf of Abu Dhabi Government, the hotel will be collecting AED15 per room per night as a Municipality room charge for all stays.”

So room rate plus 20 per cent plus aed15.

On an aed500 room that is an extra aed115. Not cheap.

10 December 2016

When I took my PPL checkride in 2015 we flew into Tampa International – I was obviously just pioneering the approach for Emirates!

Emirates B777-300ER A6-EGH EK219 Tampa Diversion. 06/12/2016
Emirates Boeing 777-31HER A6-EGH operating EK219 Dubai – Orlando diverted via Tampa this afternoon due to weather at Orlando. The return EK220 subsequently operated using callsign EK220D.


8 December 2016

A rumour on PPRUNE that the GCAA just sacked the chief air accident investigator who was the IIC for the UPS accident, was at Rostov for flydubai and Dubai for the EK accident and is arguably the most competent investigator in the dept if not the entire region?

No a good sign for the EK521 investigation.

Meanwhile on EK521 “there will be many lessons to be learnt from this accident, not least of which will be Culture. National culture and Organisational culture will be the headline news I’m sure, but a lot will depend on what can and can’t be published ‘politically’.

Either way, EK and the ME region is not unique in it’s desire to attempt to look further afield to apportion blame. Anything from unpredicted weather to poor aircraft and system design may feature. Far better that than to blame a relatively inexperienced national captain, burdened by years of rote training and handicapped by a paranoid organisation that openly discourages hand flying.” (source: PPRUNE)

100% correct.

5 December 2016

Here is a message that should be listened to in many nation’s around the world – the USA, UK, UAE and Thailand being just a few examples:

President Raul Castro announced at the weekend that Cuba will prohibit the naming of streets and monuments after his brother Fidel, and bar the construction of statues of the former leader and revolutionary icon in keeping with his desire to avoid a cult of personality.

“The leader of the revolution rejected any manifestation of a cult of personality…insisting that, once dead, his name and likeness would never be used on institutions, streets, parks or other public sites, and that busts, statutes or other forms of tribute would never be erected,” Raul Castro told a massive crowd gathered in the eastern city of Santiago.


2 December 2016

New Mandala has an article today that puts the Bangkok Post’s front page into perspective: “Not being able to write the truth is no excuse for knowingly publishing lies, but the Bangkok Post came close on Dec 1 when it ran with the ludicrous headline Joyous Thais await new King.” (I will not repeat the New Mandala headline here – some self-censorship is necessary)

New Mandala

1 December 2016

The Bangkok Post has resorted to hyperbole today. I must go in search of joyous Thais. The nation is also schizophrenic – wearing black in deep mourning one month and now according to the Post “exhilaration and happiness (has) greeted the news of the start of the process leading to the new reign.”

The Crown Prince and his family left Munich yesterday afternoon to return to Bangkok. I wonder when he will return to Germany.

My guess is that his sisters will be left to do most of the day-to-day ceremonial work in Thailand.

While the Bangkok Post reports on joyous Thais – the Economist says that the “high-living prince is unpopular among Thais and loathed by the elites.”

27 November 2016

Too funny:

One of my notes on twitter after getting back to Dubai: “Just what local residents needed – a bike festival in our car park. #Fail. @BayAvenue

Bay Avenue sent me a five part reply on twitter:

“Thank you for your feedback. We intend to make Bay Avenue an active and vibrant community at the heart of Dubai.
We carefully curate globally renowned acts that we feel are likely to create a communal following and get people together around fun & exciting events.
We have ensured that events such as these take place during the day and end early enough to avoid any loud noises or commotion during the night. We apologise for the inconvenience that this may cause and want to reassure you that we take your concerns seriously. We look forward to potentially seeing you at our community activities.”

Globally renowned acts at Business Bay – who are they kidding!? After eight years the Bay Avenue mall is half empty – and many of the outlets that did open are already closed. As a retail operation it is a disaster.

My response to Bay Avenue which they failed to answer –  “Did you consult with or survey residents to see what activities they want in our car park…which btw was meant to be a lake.”

Of course they didn’t. Globally renowned acts in the Business bay car park – April Fools’s Day is late this year!

26 November 2016

Back in Dubai – just 12 and 1/2 hours from JFK. Passed fairly quickly. But tired this evening.

22 November 2016

New York’s constant noise – emergency vehicles.

New York’s constant smell – hot dogs!

But it is good to be back – it has been too long.

14 November 2016

John Oliver on President-Elect Trump. Strong.

13 November 2016

So the first officer and captain on EK144 from Madrid last night share controlled rest the whole flight back to Dubai.

Their cabin crew are of course expected to be awake all flight.

Every thirty minutes the pilot flying is expected to call the first class galley to say that they are OK…basically to show that one of them is still awake.

If the cockpit crew does not make this call then no more than ten minutes after the call was due the cabin crew have to call the cockpit.

So Tai makes her call on the half hour. Then hears nothing thirty minutes later; waits another ten minutes and calls the Spanish first officer.

The next call from the cockpit is thirty minutes later and is picked up by the Spanish cabin crew in first class. The first officer tells her to tell her colleague (Tai) not to call and disturb them.

When he does emerge from the cockpit he just talks in Spanish with his country colleagues. He cannot be bothered to learn Tai’s name or to talk in English.

Just what all passengers need – an arrogant prat of a pilot who refuses to talk in the official language of Emirates and who gets upset at cabin crew who are simply doing their job of ensuring that one of the cockpit crew are awake.

Makes me cross.

Tai told the purser. Typically the purser did nothing.

So to the Spanish first officer on EK144 last night – get rid of the attitude, do your job, respect your colleagues and learn some manners.

10 November 2016

The Obama/Trump White House love-in earlier today was nauseating to watch. Carry on like this and they will be playing golf together.

Everything from the last 18 months says that these men hate eachother. Only two days ago they were still exchanging insults. Trump’s hounding of Obama’s nationality was a long running embarrassment. Obama should not have been extending a friendly welcome to Trump on his visit to the White House. He should have thumped him.

9 November 2016

Bernie Sanders on the Trump presidential win:

“Donald Trump tapped into the anger of a declining middle class that is sick and tired of establishment economics, establishment politics and the establishment media. People are tired of working longer hours for lower wages, of seeing decent paying jobs go to China and other low-wage countries, of billionaires not paying any federal income taxes and of not being able to afford a college education for their kids – all while the very rich become much richer.

To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him. To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”

Sanders may well have won if he had been the Democrat nominee.

There are demonstrations against the Trump presidency in many US towns tonight. You really only have the right to demonstrate against Trump if you bothered to vote.

All of the exit polls and data suggest that the Democrats did not win because they did not vote in the numbers that they did in 2008 and 2012.

Tai and I flew together to LAX last week and had a couple of days in Southern LA. It was good fun – lovely weather. After a 16 hour flight and with an 11 hour time difference it was hard not to be tired. Blue skies, sea air and decent food help. I liked Huntington Beach very much. Very laid back. Love the old wooden piers of southern LA.

2 November 2016

Emirates A330-200 A6-EAK was withdrawn from service at Dubai on 30th October after arriving as EK723 from Thiruvananthapuram. This brings to an end Emirates A330-200 operations.

Meanwhile on 29 October Emirates A340-300 A6-ERN was withdrawn from service at Dubai after arriving as EK863 from Muscat. This brings to an end Emirates A340-300 operations.
Also presumed withdrawn from service and now stored at DWC are:

Emirates B777-300 A6-EMX

Emirates B777-300 A6-EMR


Emirates B777-300 A6-EMU

Emirates Boeing 777-31HER A6-EBL. This aircraft is one of five Emirates B777-300ERs due to go to Rossiya next year

More details –

29 October 2016

From The Guardian today – and revealing as we get nearer to the 8 November US election date:

“In Belgium’s most recent election, 87% of the voting-age population turned out. In Turkey 84% voted and in South Korea it was 80%. But in the US, in 2012, just 54% of the voting-age population exercised their right to vote. That is one of the lowest turnouts in any developed country.

In fact, this oft-cited statistic is much lazier than the Americans at whom it points the finger. Turnout is more complicated than that.

If instead of looking at Americans over 18 that vote you consider the share of registered voters who show up on election day, the US jumps from 30th place among 34 developed countries to sixth.

There is a simple reason for this: a lot of adults in the US simply cannot register to vote. And their absence will affect this presidential election.”

28 October 2016

So Thailand’s Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn is flying back to Germany today.

Of course no one dares to say this directly – here is Reuters – a onec reputable news agency: The Crown Prince “will fly overseas on Friday night and return home next month” said the news agency.

I wonder where the CP thinks home really is given the amount of time that he and his family spend in Germany.

Apparently the crown prince has told all Thai media to stop writing about the royal succession. He doesn’t want his behaviour to be discussed in public. Which explains the silence from Thailand.

27 October 2016

Emirates will phase out its remaining A330-200s and A340-300s by the end of this month.

Schedule data indicates Emirates’ last scheduled A330 service is provisionally set for Thiruvananthapuram-Dubai on Saturday, October 29 while the A340’s last regular service has been provisionally set for October 30 from Muscat to Dubai. The carrier’s fleet of three remaining B777-200(ER)s has also been scheduled for retirement at month end with its last regular service set for October 29 between Ahmedabad and Dubai.

Once retired, Emirates mainline passenger fleet will constitute eighty-five A380-800s, ten B777-200(LR)s, ten B777-300s and 124 B777-300(ER)s.

26 October 2016

It is no small irony that Thomson Reuters Corp is now expanding in Toronto just 28 years after Reuters acquisition of IP Sharp Associates – a deal sealed in a handshake in the restaurant at the top of the CN Tower.

TR says that it plans to create a new technology center in Toronto by hiring 400 people over the next two years, and that its chief executive and chief financial officer will move to the Canadian city in 2017.

CEO Jim Smith and CFO Stephane Bello currently work out of the company’s office in Stamford, Connecticut.

Additional management roles will be relocated and recruited locally in Toronto over the next few years, Thomson Reuters said in a statement a couple of weeks ago.

Smith said in a memo to employees that the company’s commitment to centers such as New York, London and Hong Kong “has never been stronger” and the Toronto expansion was in part an opportunity to “take a technology leadership position in the region.”

Cough, cough. That opportunity was almost thirty years ago!

Thomson Reuters was created when Canada’s Thomson Corp bought London-based Reuters Group Plc in 2008.

16 October 2016

Our eighth anniversary today. Forever with you. I just knew. Still do.

Nice lunch at Vivaldi in the Sheraton Creek hotel.

One less than good idea from the Thai crew at Emirates. There is a petition being signed that ask EK to allow the Thai crew to wear a black ribbon in memory of the Thai King.

Many Thais are doing this back home – and/or wearing black but this is not Thailand – it is the UAE and EK is not a Thai airline.


What precedent do you set – what happens when the next monarch or VIP dies.

What if a crew member does not want to wear a ribbon – grief and sadness are private, personal matters which many people prefer not to share.

But the evidence from Thailand is that anyone not conforming to dress code to show their sadness, or who is expressing a view on social media that is less supportive of the Thai royal family, is being harrassed and threatened

Will that happen to Thai crew who do not wear a black ribbon? Do they get harassed by their colleagues?

What about on flights with Thai passengers – what happens when a Thai passenger protests that one of the Thai crew is not wearing a ribbon while others are?

Bad idea which I hope Emirate have the good sense to politely say no to.

Some of the abuse that has been posted on social media to and about my old colleague Andrew MacGregor Marshall has been vile and threatening.

Open minds are needed. Disagree with him. Argue with his views. But the abuse is shameful.

There is also a campaign to protest the BBC’s coverage of the late King’s death. Most of that coverage has been thoughtful and respectful. Yes there is some debate about the succession but so there should be in these unusual circumstances. Many Thais are, sadly, angry at something they have not even watched let alone given careful consideration to.

The government and internet providers are fuelling this by establishing online vigilante groups.

Worrying times.

15 October 2016

We were at the Thai consul in Dubai at lunchtime to sign the condolences book – with Apple, Nina, Brandan and Indy.

Trump v Clinton. From a long distance what has been lost in the US presidential campaign is any adult discussion of the issues facing America and that America faces internationally; together with a real debate of policies/solutions. The debate has been lost behind the smear campaigns and allegations.

A nation of such prodigious talent and creativity really should be better and offer better than this.

Sad to watch.

14 October 2016

King Bhumibol of Thailand died yesterday at the age of 88.

Since no discussion of the King’s health was allowed in Thailand his passing while not a surprise has caused deep grief and sadness across all of Thai society.

There are obituaries and comments on other pages of this web site.

Paul Handley writes this in the New York Times today:

“This is a bleak backdrop for the end of King Bhumibol’s reign. He was the model of a great king — modest, earnest and selfless, with his attention focused on the neediest. But he has left Thailand, as well as his heir, in the same situation he inherited all those years ago: in the hands of corrupt and shortsighted generals who rule however they want. And those King Bhumibol cared about the most — the Thai people — must suffer the consequences.”

Hard to fault.

12 October 2016

Taken from a very thoughtful Facebook note on the legacy of Thailand’s King Rama IX –

“All of them – the students, the endless victims of the sad, sorry mess that is Thailand now, the victims of pointless coups and counter-coups, and shirts of many colours, political prisoners, and children sold into prostitution – they are all someone’s child, or brother or sister or parent.

The real tragedy is that with his popularity the King could really have been a force for positive change, could have brought his people along with him on tough reforms to a better place, with real development programs, real legal reform, rule of law, social change, a proper constitutional monarchy. He did not. By all means mourn the King. But I think many of us here are really mourning what Thailand has become, and the loss of what it could have been.”

11 October 2016

From 15 December 2016 Emirates will fly from Dubai – Ft. Lauderdale, becoming the first Middle Eastern carrier serving Ft. Lauderdale. From 15DEC16, A Boeing 777-200LR will operate this route on daily basis.

EK213 DXB0300 – 1025FLL 77L D
EK214 FLL2020 – 1940+1DXB 77L D

9 October 2016

In Tokyo after a few days exploring central Japan….Takayama, Matsumoto and down to Kawaguchiko by Mount Fuji.

Such a nice change to be out of the big cities and to see some of rural Japan. Small, proud towns.


Donald a Trump is imploding after the Washington Post published a 2005 video of Trump basically being Trump…obscene, offensive, entitled, abusive.

Republicans are fleeing from him in droves; many demanding his withdrawal. The election is in a month.

Where was that outrage at his comments on Mexicans, Muslims or his abuse of a war veteran’s family.

Its like the GOP just woke up. Idiots.

3 October 2016

Happy birthday to my baby brother.

Heading to Osaka today. I liked Hiroshima very much.

The USA won the Ryder Cup. And did so with relative ease 17-11. Being 4-0 up after the Thursday morning foursomes was a huge start…the Europeans were always playing catch up after that.

I have not watched any of the golf. And I did not miss it. Some of the fan behaviour was pretty grim. Your entry fee entitles you to watch the sport not hurl vitriol at the players, especially in golf.

30 September 2016

Tai and I are in Japan. Updates may be limited for a couple of weeks. I am traveling without my laptop for the first time…resorting to one-fingered typing on an iPad mini!

26 September 2016

Tired. Flew to Birmingham on Thursday and drove down to Devon that evening. Three nights in Devon – left early Sunday morning – back to BHX for a quiet flight down to Dubai.

“Emirates in today’s inventory update (22SEP16) has cancelled planned 4th daily Dubai – London Gatwick service, scheduled to commence on 01OCT16. The airline previously planned to operate Boeing 777-300ER aircraft as EK23/24, however reservation is no longer available, including flights on/after 25MAR17”

Source: RoutesOnline.

Emirates is still taking deliveries of 380s and 777s but is cutting capacity on some routes and not adding new routes. It is all a bit of a change from the years of gung-ho growth.

22 September 2016

Thai Airways have just a single A350. Newly acquired it is still being flown domestically for crew familiarisation.

Clearly they have some way to go as they nearly pranged the airplane at Phuket today: Thai Airways Airbus A350 runway excursion at Phuket

Phuket’s ILS approach is non-standard – it is offset by 1.4 degrees and does not provide the same degree of accuracy to touch down as a normal ILS. There is a noticeable downslope on runway 27 and the surface would have been wet. Required visibility is 2200/2300m CatC/D – the METAR in the report states a visibility of 2000m.

Sounds a little similar to the Orient Thai MD82 crash some years ago which tried to land in similarly difficult weather.

Thai’s new toy will be in the repair shop for a while.

19 September 2016

Watford beat Manchester United today – our first win over MU since 16 September 1986.

3-1. And deserved.

16 September 2016

Whither Thailand:

As Commander William Adama said in the cult sci-fi series Battlestar Galactica:

“There’s a reason you separate military and the police. One fights the enemies of the state, the other serves and protects the people. When the military becomes both, then the enemies of the state tend to become the people.”

That is the answer.

12 September 2016

The last advice that Emirates gave to its cabin cew in respect of the Zika virus was back in February 2016.

There have now been Zika infections in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

Effective 6 September the WHO has updated its advice on the preventing the transmission of Zika through sexual intercourse as follows:

(This is the section revelevant to the UAE and other countries whee there is no known ZIKA virus transmission)

“In regions with NO active Zika virus transmission, health programmes should ensure that:
a. Men and women returning from areas where transmission of Zika virus is known to occur should adopt safer sex practices or consider abstinence for at least 6 months upon return to prevent Zika virus infection through sexual
b. Couples or women planning a pregnancy, who are returning from areas where transmission of Zika virus is known to occur, are advised to wait at least
6 months before trying to conceive to ensure that possible Zika virus infection has cleared.
c. Sexual partners of pregnant women, returning from areas where transmission of Zika virus is known to occur, should be advised to practice safer sex or abstain from sexual activity for at least the whole duration of the pregnancy.”

Given the number of flights that EK has to these newly infected areas I am surprised that their is no new guidance to the crew and apparently little concern.

11 September 2016

It is the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the USA. I have written plenty elsewhere so this is just a reminder that extremism is temporary; that love, trust, goodwill, decency will always win.

Churlish to talk about it today but Hillary Clinton’s health may become a real issue in the last eight weeks of the US election campaign.

And what happens if she has to pull out – are the Democrats allowed a replacement candidate; can the election date be postponed. I have no idea.

Note to self – most people do not like being told on twitter that they are wrong – probably because facts can spoil their own preconceptions or agenda.

7 September 2016

Coming from Routledge publishres in January 2017 – The United Arab Emirates, Power, Politics and Policy-Making by Kristian Coates Ulrichsen

The publishers say that the book will offer a full and frank assessment of the UAE in historical perspective, political and security orientation, and economic globalization. The publicity adds that: “This book will strike a balance between narrative and analysis in order to critically analyse both the factors that have propelled the UAE to regional and international prominence, as well as the seamier underside of that growth, and will be an essential resource for students and policy-makers with an interest in the politics of the Persian Gulf.”

The seamier underside should be fun. But may also mean that the book is not available in the UAE.

6 September

The GCAA’s preliminary report into the crash of EK521 was published today.

Worth just saying again what an outstanding job the cabin crew did that day. They should not be anonymous (unless they individually wish to be); they performed as a team, heroically, and should be given a very public commendation for their bravery that day.

1 September

News from Thailand:

Prachatai reports that สุทิดา วชิราลงกรณ์ ณ อยุธยา or Suthida Vajiralongkorn na Ayudhya has been promoted by her spouse, Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, to Lieutenant General in the royal guards.

Essentially, this is the second highest rank in the military. Royals all get such ranks as kinds of honorifics and to wed the military and monarchy.

The promotion of his newest spouse moves Suthida further into the royal family.

Many congratulations to her. Now I wonder if she spare any thought for the fate of her predecessor?

Meanwhile in Dubai our new opera house opened last night with Spanish tenor Placido Domingo as the opening act.

30 August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All data from –

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

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

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

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


28 August 2016

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

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

This is a summary of the reply:

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

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

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

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

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

11 August 2016

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

Now that makes me feel old….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6 August 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The DubaiAirports twitter account has provided more regular updates.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“NTSB use of social media

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

Air Line Pilots Association

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

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

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


3 August 2016

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

31 July 2016

Tai is in Oslo. Nice weather. Brings back nice memories of our trip there two years ago.

25 July 2016

Emirates August rosters are out after some delay:

And the pressure on the pilots seems to be increasing: Here are seven consecutive comments from this morning. I know how tired some of these guys are.

over 100hrs again. they could have just kept it.

103 hours! Who can beat that? Must be someone…

105 Unbelievable.

107:50 hours …STICK time …. Door is there ..I found it ! 9 days off spread with max 2 in a row ….

102 hours. ALL STICK TIME! 10 trips. 6 turns including long (4+ hour) sectors, combined rest days and a bonus war zone! (Country we are not allowed to overfly!) 4 Long Haul flights, most 9+ hours. Switch between East and West with a single day off in between! All East flights involve pick up from residence between 11pm and 1am in the morning. 31 day month. 10 days off. 4 single days off and no more than 2 days off in a row. Where I have two days off my following pick up is before 6am in the morning! Paradise!

85 hours in 16 days….5 days OFF. No comments………brutal, unsafe.!

104.5 hrs aswell… Do these people really want to a smoking hole in the ground? BRUTALLY UNSAFE!!!!!

24 July 2016

This from one of EK’s more reasonable commentators on PPRUNE: sad how a business where people could be proud to be employed has deteriorated so quickly.

“How one fleet can get a roster yet another can’t demonstrates what a mess we’re in. It isn’t going to get any better soon either. Command courses now delayed while they train more trainers to train the people that need LIFUS. (Line Training under supervision – ed). Shortage of crew will continue until trainer numbers are correct.

Do we actually have a planning department and if so, what EXACTLY do they do? Are these muppets held accountable for their errors or are they busy enjoying another summer holiday while we pick up the pieces with continuous 100 hour months. For Pete’s sake, it’s not as if we didn’t know these bloody planes were coming. Somebody, somewhere, really needs to get a handle on this nonsense because it’s getting ridiculous.

Still, at least this weeks SAFA tells us that we’re the best in the World. That’s okay then! You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried!”

21 July 2016

Back in Dubai after almost two weeks away. And had a decent night’s sleep last night – that helps!

We started in Samui. A nice three bedroom villa on the north coast with our friends Colin and Oil. They left on the 13th and we had a day in Chaweng, before taking the long way back to Bangkok – minibus, ferry, coach, airplane and taxi.

Bangkok Airways and Thai were both too full to try and travel standby. So we took the Nok Air option via Nakthon Si Thammarat – which actually works just fine. You just have to be patient.

A few nights in Bangkok – where we did little. The two hours of snacks and drinks in the executive lounge was our dinner. Tai caught up with friends and family before leaving for Dubai on 17th and a GLA flight on 18th. I went up to HKG on 18th for two nights. A nice long lunch with Alex in Stanley.

Hong Kong was steaming hot/humid.

This from the German media today:

Kann sich der Thai-Prinz kein Hemd mehr leisten?

I guess if it your airplane you can wear whatever you like – but this does lokk more Khaosan Road than private jet!

Here is an EK flight – from 18 July – that you do not see everyday: Emirates Boeing 777-21HLR A6-EWE positioned Dubai – Al Ain as EK2345 this morning in order to operate an Al Ain – Malaga charter as EK2515.

20 July 2016

Sorry – got distracted by vacation and there is so much happening in the world right now – little of it good – that it is hard to know where to start writing!

Heading back to Dubai in a few hours and will update the site when I get home.

7 July 2016

So Britain will have a female prime minister by the autumn. Conservative MPs chose two women – Theresa May, the home secretary, and Andrea Leadsom, the pro-Brexit junior energy minister – to put forward to party activists in the contest to replace David Cameron.

No Boris Johnson; knifed by Gove. No Gove; knifed by everyone who saw him knife BoJo.

May; in the Thatcher mold. Too long as Home Secretary. Little European or World experience. Thinks we can bore the EU to death with a prolonged negotiation. The ultimate fence-sitter – allegedly pro-Europe but went awol on the remain campaign.

Leadsom, pro-Brexit but inexperienced is being backed by Johnson.

The vote now goes to Conservative Party activists. It will be close. The result is due to be declared on 9 September.

5 July 2016

This online on Emirates overworked pilot trainers: I have heard similar stories anecdotally. I have also heard just how good some of the trainers are. But this is a highly specialised role – and is not just about flying the airplane but about all the human factors and CRM; skills that can really only be built up with years of experience, observation and learning.

“Sat through a training “standards” meeting recently. One “compromise” after the next presented to the meeting. We’ve moved from a department focused on “industry best practise” to now doing whatever is needed to complete the task.

Now we have turbo prop pilots being trained by out source trainers overseas who may have never operated with EK procedures, or perhaps ground instructors in Dubai who’ve never flown jets, then they’re trained in the aircraft by new trainers who’ve never instructed on jets and potentially only had six months command themselves. The managers are swamped just trying to keep up with all the changes, so they struggle to monitor the progress of trainees. Every trainer is doing 90-110 hours, far more training duties than ever before. (now running at 14-16 per month). Everyone is completely knackered.

Trainees are being rushed through courses, and it’s quite clear more “compromises” are being applied when it comes to pass standards.

Doesn’t take a great deal of intelligence to figure that risks are at an all time high.”

3 July 2016

So I missed wishing you a Happy Canada Day a couple of days ago – hope it was a good one -eh.

Iceland are out of the Euros – losing 2-5 to France in the Quarter Finals. But they have been great fun to watch and wonderfully supported.

And they did beat a hapless England in the last 16. England were just awful.

The Brexit – don’t get me started – the lack of planning and leadership is pitiful. Read more on the main pages of this web site.

24 June 2014

Brexit – confirmed, Madness. Have not slept.

gbp and uk stocks in freefall. Some immediate questions that David Cameron has to answer: (from the Guardian)

1 – What will be done to calm the markets? With the pound in freefall, will the Bank of England intervene? There has even been talk of closing the stock market to stop panic selling of share. Cameron will have to say something to steady nerves.

2 – Will he remain as prime minister? No one expects him to leave Number 10 this morning, but does he really think he will be able to oversee the EU withdrawal process over the next few year? Perhaps he does. More likely, he will recognise that is unrealistic. In that case it is possible that he may announce his intention to stand down later this year, possibly before the Tory conference.

3 – Will he invoke article 50 of the Lisbon treaty immediately? This is the process that starts the two-year countdown to Brexit. Before the referendum Cameron said he would trigger article 50 straight away, but there is no reason why he should and every reason to delay. It makes no sense to start the two-year clock running until the UK knows what it wants. He would be wise to clarify his intentions.

4 – Will parliament be recalled? There is a strong case for saying it should sit on Saturday, to allow the government to assure MPs that it has a plan before markets open again on Monday.

5 – Who will be in charge of the withdrawal negotiations? This begs the huge question as to what mandate will apply to those doing the negotiating. Will Cameron seek cross-party agreement? Will he take the Vote Leave programme as a manifesto he is bound to honour? For example, will the UK definitely withdraw from the single market?

6 – Will there be an emergency budget? George Osborne said an emergency budget would be necessary this summer. Does that still apply, or will Cameron write that off as campaign scaremongering?

7 – Will there be an election? There is a case for saying a new prime minister may need a mandate for the withdrawal negotiations – although there are probably very few people in Westminster with the appetite for another election now?

8 – Does Cameron accept that the Scots have the right to have a second independence referendum? During the campaign he said the 2014 referendum was supposed to last for a generation, but there were some moments during the campaign when he accepted that the Scots would have a case for demanding a second referendum if they voted to stay in the EU while the UK as a whole voted out. And that is what has happened.

23 June 2016

As EU referendum results start to filter in this thought from the Guardian:

“The EU Referendum campaign may not have clarified all the issues in voters’ minds, but it has shone a light on a growing chasm in the country. People divided by geography, social class, age, education and income are even more sharply divided by outlook. Whether to remain in the EU or leave is just one of many of those differences. Whatever the outcome on Thursday, it is unlikely to heal our fractured nation.”


20 June 2016

As if today being Monday wasn’t bad enough, it’s also the longest day of the year.

It is also the first time since 1948 when the first day of summer occurs with a full “strawberry” moon. Why is it called a strawberry moon? I’m so glad you asked. According to NASA, it’s because it’s a full moon that signals the start of strawberry-picking season. The next time the strawberry moon and summer will align will be 21 June 2062.

Just so you know.

19 June 2016

Emirates will end its Kuala Lumpur to Melbourne flight on 30 October 2016 when EK408/9 flies non-stop from Dubai to and from Melbourne.

15 June 2016

Routes Online has updated the final dates for EK’s last A340s and A330s. These dates could of course change at any time.

The last A340-300 scheduled operation remains unchanged on 01DEC16, although further changes remain possible.

As of 09JUN16, planned Emirates A340-300 operation for Nov 2016, including last operational date for individual route, as follow.

Dubai – Ahmedabad 1 weekly, last (A340-300) flight 27NOV16
Dubai – Baghdad 1 weekly, last flight 24NOV16
Dubai – Basra 1 weekly, last flight 27NOV16
Dubai – Beirut 1 daily, last flight from DXB 30NOV16, BEY 01DEC16
Dubai – Doha 1 weekly, last flight 26NOV16
Dubai – Kabul 1 daily, last flight 30NOV16
Dubai – Muscat 2 weekly, last flight 30NOV16

Additionally, A330-200 operation sees further adjustment for winter season. Planned A330-200 operation for November 2016 as follow.

Dubai – Baghdad 1 weekly, last (A330-200) flight 28NOV16
Dubai – Muscat 1 weekly, last flight 29NOV16
Dubai – Peshawar 5 weekly
Dubai – Thiruvananthapuram 1 weekly, last flight 30NOV16

By 01DEC16, the remaining scheduled A330-200 route for the moment is 5 weekly Dubai – Peshawar route, although it may occasionally operate on other routes when required.

7 June 2016

Another self-serving article in Arabian Business today trying to reassure readers that Dubai property prices have reached a low and in some cases are starting to recover – I love how the headline writer uses plateau suggesting a high – rather than a trough – which is what they really mean.

Dubai sees ‘clear trend’ of plateau in real estate prices in May

This is the comment of one bold respondent –

“Where do you dig up this stuff and who do you think actually believes it? Almost weekly we see a concerted effort to shield economic reality through obscure, factually incorrect or poorly researched articles that purport to be evidence of stability in commerce, in housing and even in happiness.

Walk around the residential areas, talk to people who own businesses, speak to parents. I guarantee you will see hundreds of empty properties ( the price will not reflect economic reality because the owners have the time honoured constraint of “face” to consider), hear factual accounts that cashflow is dreadful, liquidity ghastly and business down in nearly all sectors. Finally you may then realise that many people are leaving due to loss of employment in many sectors, not just oil and gas, which, coupled with sharp rises yet again in school fees makes the place untenable.

This is not doom mongering – just the facts – which seem to be in remarkably short supply in the media these days.’

Unusually the comment is still there. There is a reason why news reports and commentaries follow the all is well, be happy script.

6 June 2016

This is journalism at its rawest – the work of a photo-journalist/reporter from Mogadishu in Somalia. It is a necessary and hugely depressing read.

‘Our turn to die’

“I’ve covered so many attacks like this, I’ve seen so many people dying, I can’t even count. Death is a daily part of life here. You wake up every day knowing that you, or a friend or a member of your family may not live to see the end of the day. But scenes like that, they still get to me.”

“We know that someday it’s going to be our day. Our turn to die.”

But it does make you think. The amount of money being spent on the US election is obscene. The amount of money being spent on an unnecessary EU in/out referendum in the UK is silly.

What if that money was invested into Somalia? That would surely make the world a better place and might save this reporter’s life.

5 June 2016

Apparently the next new European destination for the Emirates A380 will be Nice, France.

The 777 crews are quickly losing some of their more fun destinations.

The non stop to Auckland will also move from the 772 to an A380 by December. To do so the A380 will presumably have to be payload restricted.

Friends round for dinner last night. Wigs and balcony pictures at midnight. But though I say it myself the star of the night was my baked cheesecake!

Fun evening. Late night.

2 June 2016

A couple of days away from the start of Ramadan which this year includes the longest days of the year. Huge respect for everyone who fasts through this period and who remembers that the month is a holy month – not a month of excess.

Wrote up my notes on South Africa – see the home page.

Emirates started double daily to Geneva yesterday – after operating their first flight to the city five years ago. It was a great service for Tai and I as it meant we could easily visit Alex at school and he could fly GVA-DXB-HKG and vv and stop and see us en route. But thank you for that one, Emirates!

Got stuck in a shouting match at the entrance to our building yesterday. As I left this guy tried to get into the building through the opened door – I said I cannot let you in without an access card – he swore at me – complained that he had lived here for six years – and eventually pulled out his access card.

Just use your access card. You should be grateful that there are people in the building who take security seriously and in doing so help protect your property and family.

Some people are just so arrogant.

29 May 2016

On EK 773 heading back from Cape Town to Dubai….

Thoroughly enjoyed our week in South Africa…everyone we met was genuinely nice. The scenery is in parts stunning.

Had a mini-safari and my first helicopter ride…spent a day on a wine tram and took the cable-car up Table Mountain….But you do not have to look far to see South Africa’s problems….it is a generation since the end of apartheid but at least a generation more of real change is required.

26 May 2016

Rather odd to see Ellen de Generis so strongly promoting Emirates and Dubai. Another middle eastern paradox….

The trouble is that Ellen De Generis is strong in her criticism of Mississippi and North Caroline regarding their anti LGBT laws but was happily promoting a country that criminalises the same…anything that makes a dollar for her show.

There is a whiff of hypocrisy about it all….though it was very smart marketing for EK. Every member of The Ellen Show audience in an episode this week was given a return ticket to Dubai. The show itself was very strong on EK branding and marketing for Dubai. Lets hope that their tickets are valid for long after Ramadan and the summer months.

18 May 2016

Another depressing day for aviation with the loss of MS804 – an Egyptair A320 en route from Paris to Cairo.

I will have to show this to my lovely spouse!

The Gulf News reports that the Ajman Criminal Court has found an Arab woman guilty of breaching the privacy of her husband after she looked into his mobile without his permission, a lawyer said yesterday.

The woman has been fined Dh150,000 and will be deported, the court ruled.

The woman gained access to her husband’s mobile phone and transferred photos to her phone via WhatsApp.

Later, she accused her husband of having an affair with another woman.

Soon after, the man lodged a complaint with the Ajman court, accusing his wife of transferring photos without his permission.

The woman admitted to the charges.

The woman was prosecuted under criminal penal code No. 212 and the cybercrime law, Federal Decree-Law No. 5 of 2012, article No 21, which stipulates that a person “shall be punished by imprisonment of a period of at least six months and a fine not less than Dh150,000 and not in excess of Dh500,000 or either of these two penalties whoever uses a computer network and/or electronic information system or any information technology means for the invasion of privacy of another person in other than the cases allowed by the law…”

Now I wonder if the law works the other way around – would a man be prosecuted for looking at his wife’s mobile phone without her permission?

Silly question.

16 May 2016

The end of an era last week as EK disposed of its final A340-500. Withdrawn Emirates A340-500 A6-ERE positioned Dubai – Tereul, Spain for storage on the morning of 12 May as EK2515.

14 May 2016


The employee-to-aircraft ratio of Singapore Airlines is 219.84 because its 23,963 employees are looking after a fleet of 109 aircraft.

The employee-to-aircraft ratio of Emirates Airlines is 231.53 because its 56,725 employees are looking after a fleet of 245 aircraft. Its revenues stand at $24.2 billion.

The employees per aircraft ratio of Thai Airways is 308.82 because its 25,323 employees are looking after a fleet of 82 aircraft.

Singapore and Emirates is a very valid comparison – airlines with no domestic business and only wide-body aircraft.

Thai is interesting only because it is so bad!

9 May 2016

The statistics on EK recruitment : Around 60 new pilots last month. Average each month is about 48. “Lots of bright and enthusiastic turboprop guys and girls joining thinking Christmas has come early, some of them only 24-25 years of age. Bit different to 10 years ago. Still some ex lo cost and quite a few ex Malaysian although did hear that several of those are struggling.”

Cabin crew numbers around 120 per week, 7 new courses start each week with around 15-17 newbies on each course. “Standard of English amongst them varies greatly!”

Sounds about right.

So that leaves a question: Would you like to end your 12h night duty into crappy weather with a new hire that needed two additional simulator sessions with more than 60 landings, to get his or her minimum of 3 consecutive landings within acceptable limits? This is apparently the new limitation instructors get (imposed) to release the much needed reinforcement on the line?

I have heard this from line captains who are effectively acting as trainers when they fly with some new first officers.

8 May 2016

Person of Interest is back for its final abbreviated series – series 5. This show is so under-rated and I suspect the final series will be outstanding, provocative television. Enjoy.

In fairness to Leicester their premiership-winning celebrations were world class.  Andrea Bocelli sung before the final home game against Everton. He was magnificent in his King Power shirt with Ranieri at his side.

The very idea that Leicester could get Bocelli to the King Power stadium on a Saturday night is remarkable.

The post match parade of players and families was warm and genuine. The only sour note was the owner’s family parading a large portrait of the King of Thailand around the stadium with the trophy – it looked out of place in an English stadium with a team of many nations.

Emirates has announced that it will introduce a new Dubai – Cape Town three class Boeing 777-300ER rotation from 4th July 2016. This will give Emirates three daily return services on the route. Schedules are as follows:

EK778 Dubai 1050 – Cape Town 1830
EK779 Cape Town 2005 – Dubai 0730+1.

EK also flies four daily to JNB and a single daily flight to DUR

2 May 2016

Congratulations Leicester City.

A muted congratulations. What they have achieved is astonishing. But I just don’t like them that much. The King Power connections do not help. A Thai company that profits from being the monopoly operator of duty-free outlets at Bangkok’s airports.

Trust the Economist to look at their win in the cold light of day! How Leicester City staged the greatest upset in sporting history

The reality is that there has never been a more unlikely sporting triumph – even Foinavon was only 108/1 in the Grand National….Leicester City were 5000 to 1 at the start of the season.

30 April 2016

Latest from Emirates:

Seventh daily Bangkok added:

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

Starts 1st July. Daily with 3-class B77W

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

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


17 April 2016

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

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

This is the latest from the hype wagon:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

13 April 2016

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

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


12 April 2016

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

VAT is on its way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 April 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 April 2016

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

30 March 2016

Commencing on 1 October 2016, Emirates will start a fourth daily service between Dubai and London’s Gatwick Airport. The airline also operates six daily flights to Heathrow.

The new Dubai-Gatwick service will be operated using a Boeing 777-300ER.

The new flight, EK023, will depart Dubai daily at 0950, arriving at Gatwick Airport at 1430. The return flight, EK024, will leave London at 1650 and arrive back in Dubai at 0240 the next day. Emirates said these times would enable “seamless connectivity” to several destinations in the Far East.

Well not really – the 02.40 arrival is too late for the 3am departure bank to Asia so the realistic connections are the post 8.00am flights. The EK24/25 timings basically match the EK29/30 timings into LHR.

Emirates sixth daily LHR flight started on 27 March – with Boeing 777-31HER A6-ENX operating the inaugural EK31/EK32 rotation.

Welcome to junta-led Thailand:

Soldiers from the rank of sub-lieutenant up have been given police powers to summon, arrest and detain suspects by an order under Section 44 of the interim charter issued on Tuesday.

They are also authorised to conduct searches, seize assets, suspend financial transactions and ban suspects from travelling.

Soldiers can search any property they believe is linked to suspects or their assets. The searches can be conducted on individuals and vehicles.

Not good. The army has taken over policing responsibilities and this will simply reinforce the military run state.

8 – 21 March 2016

Sorry that I have been quiet. I have been back in Florida for some more flight training.

In 9 days of flying:

I flew 5 different airplanes. Cessna162/Cessna 172 (2 x Garmin 1000 and a 172 round gauge)/Piper Arrow.
I flew to 10 different airports (4 of which were new to me) – with 20 landings…some better than others!
I flew refresher flights on the 162.
I checked out on both models of the 172.
I flew the Arrow under an IFR flightplan to North Perry/Hollywood.
I flew four ILS approaches – two were down to minimums on Runway 14 where we flew two missed approaches at Sarasota. (That one flight will live long in the memory).
I had my first minor emergency – losing a main gear tire after landing at KCHN – lots of right rudder to stay on the runway.
I have both actual and simulated instrument time in my log book and some more night time.
And best of all I flew for the first time with Alex. His love of flying and of pretty well anything connected to an airplane) is infectious.

The important part is that I left a better pilot than when I arrived.

Next – some serious studying to finish up my ground school. Then find the time to complete my instrument rating.

If you want to read more – here is the long version

And a few scenery pictures:

20160318_123158 DSCF6360 20160316_141135 20160316_141110 20160316_135435 20160314_131803 20160314_192814 20160314_112322

4 March 2016

Emirates has announced that their Dubai – Panama City Boeing 777-200LR service, initially intended to commence on 1st February and subsequently delayed until 31st March, will not now be going ahead.

Or may be sometime in 2017.

“The decision was made after an extensive review of all operational factors, including fleet utilization and commercial demand from key markets against the global economic outlook,” Emirates said in its statement.

Emirates stressed the delay would be only that – and not a cancellation of the route.

Honestly – never seemed like a good idea – at least not now.

3 March 2016

Back from three nights in Thailand – nice to getaway and sit by a beach.

26 February 2016

Tai’s birthday – happy I am home in time to celebrate – and a nice evening with some thoughtful friends.

Another 330 leaves the fleet as Emirates A330-200 A6-EKQ is withdrawn and positioned Dubai – Ras Al Khaimah as EK2551 yesterday.

23 February 2016

EK rosters very late this month – note to management form PPRUNE – and anywhere else that thinks EK could go a long way to improve it relationship with its front line cockpit and cabin crews:

“We know management read these posts, so please do the decent thing and send out an email apologising for this.

It’s a huge inconvenience that most of you wouldn’t comprehend working Sunday to Thursday.”

18 February 2016

Dubai International Airport’s long-awaited Concourse D will open on February 24, it was reported yesterday.


16 February 2016

The fabulous Emma Thompson on Britain  – “a tiny little cloud-bolted, rainy corner of sort-of Europe, a cake-filled misery-laden grey old island”

Hard to argue!

13 February 2016

Someone please give President Obama a talk show for 2017….the man is a natural on and funny…please!

Emirates will to add a sixth daily flight between Dubai and London from March 27.

EK031 will leave Dubai at 1130 and land into Heathrow at 1610. EK032 departs London at 1950 and lands into Dubai at 0550 the following day.

The route will initially be served with a three-class B777-300ER  aircraft before being upgraded to the Airbus A380 from June 1.

Emirates’ existing flights between Dubai and Heathrow leave at 0230, 0745, 0940, 1415 and 1545.

Been fighting a miserable cold all week. And not sleeping. Waking up at 2am every morning. Grim.

7 February 2016

Just 21C this evening in Bangkok – with a genuine wind chill!

The Dubai Desert Classic brands itself as the major of the middle east….not so. Thi syear the filed at the Abu Dhabi HSBC tournament two weeks ago was much stronger with both Fowler and Spieth competing.

Without McIlroy’s continued support the Dubai event would like like another run-of-the-mill European Tour event.

But Dubai has never been shy to claim that something is far greater than in reality it is!

1February 2016

Pushing my sister in law around Samut Songkhram in her wheelchair is instructive. Too many people stare – and stare unpleasantly. No one makes any offer of help. And too many stores have no interest in being wheelchair friendly.

As for roads and pavements – perilous.

One notable exception to the above – Tesco Lotus – wide aisles and wheelchairs available for use – just leave an id card as a deposit. Impressive.

I really do not like MK.

The mosquitoes will attack tonight.

Goodbye to Terry Wogan – he had the gift of articulate, self depreciation matched by Irish charm and a great radio voice.

Too many people who were part of my growing up have already left this year.

January 31 2016

There is a long post on my travels in Thailand during the last week. Do have a read.

January 19 2016

Watford have signed winger Nordin Amrabat on a three-and-a-half-year contract from Malaga.

The 28-year-old Morocco international joins Quique Sanchez Flores’ squad after Monday’s Premier League dismal defeat at Swansea.

“He has the qualities of the players we like,” Sanchez Flores said of the player earlier this week.

Have Watford just signed a replacement for Ighalo? After four successive league defeats we badly need a change in fortune before we slide towards relegation.

January 17 2016

This is unedited from a current post in PPRUNE:

1. Resignations now averaging more than one a day. Very large numbers of experienced pilots leaving. (“retiring” if above 50 apparently, so they’re not counted in the official stats)
2. Pilots flying 98-105 hour rosters; fatigue a clear and present danger.
3. Managers flying up to 90 hour rosters due pilot shortage…hardly anybody in the office and seriously reduced management oversight of the entire operation.
4. CRMI trainers told they won’t be doing courses for a while as they’re needed on the line.
5. Numerous people called off their manual handling sims to operational duties due shortage of crews.; reduced training
6. Discussions continue about trying to postpone all manual handling sims due shortage of crew (wonder how they’re going to present that to STC, as that is his little baby); reduced training
7. Some pretty average performers moving to the left seat. Sorry to say, I’m not seeing a lot to give me confidence with some guys I’ve observed.
8. Reduced experience in the right seat.
9. New GSFIs with no airline or big jet time, teaching new FOs with limited airline time and no jet time; reduced quality of training?
10. Freighter operation with constant and serious mistakes in loading. Every week another ASR about serious load errors; high risk operation.
11. Engineers, cabin crew, and pretty much every part of this operation stretched to, if not already past breaking point; fatigue, high risk of mistakes
12. And finally, statistics….heavily weighed against EK now.

Anybody recognise this picture?

Why post it – because after nine years in Dubai so close to Emirates I do care about this airline and its people. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the above is accurate; even under-stated.

There is a growing worldwide shortage of pilots; and even bigger shortage of good, experienced, team-leading pilots. EK needs to recruit and more importantly retain the best.

January 15 2016

A few EK updates:

Emirates will upgauge the EK424/EK425 Dubai – Perth service from Boeing 777-300ER to A380 operation from 1st August 2016. This will give Perth double daily A380 service

Emirates has announced a new Dubai – Tunis – Malta – Dubai triangular A340-300 service to commence on 1st March 2016. The schedule is as follows: EK749 Dubai 0825 – 1245 Tunis 1415 – 1525 Malta 1645 – 0050+1 Dubai.

Emirates postponed flights on the new Dubai – Panama City Boeing 777-200LR route, scheduled to commence on 1st February 2016, until 30th March 2016. The route is now scheduled to commence on 31st March 2016.

Emirates announced that the existing EK107/EK108 Dubai – Larnaca – Malta A330-200 rotation will be amended to a new Dubai – Larnaca – Athens Three Class Boeing 777-300ER rotation from March 1st 2016. The new schedule is as follows: EK107 Dubai 0750 – 1020 Larnaca 1150 – 1335 Athens; EK108 Athens 1615 – 1800 Larnaca 1930 – 0125+1 Dubai.

Emirates has announced a second daily Dubai – Geneva Boeing 777-300ER servive to commence on 1st June 2016. Schedules are as follows: EK83 Dubai 1455 – Geneva 1950; EK84 Geneva 2145 – Dubai 0605+1.

Emirates has announced that it will recommence a second daily Dubai – Los Angeles rotation from 1st July 2016. The EK217/EK218 rotation last operated in August 2012 and will return as an A380 service

Emirates has announced that the EK231/EK232 Dubai – Washington rotation will switch from Boeing 777-300ER to A380 operation from 1st February 2016

January 8 2016

On my way to Hong Kong – first trip of the year. Far too short a time in HKG – about 18 hours.

January 7 2016

A day out to Hatta. There are so many new roads in the UAE that I do not know.

I was helping a friends with a visa run across the Oman border and back into the UAE. The process is relatively straightforward though it does appear to change without notice.

The folks in the Oman immigration office are charming. Very impressed.