AuthorTopic: 🛬 Death of Aviation: Last Flight of the 747  (Read 10625 times)

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🛬 Won’t You Please Buy A Used Airbus A380?
« Reply #90 on: August 08, 2019, 12:20:19 PM »
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelgoldstein/2019/08/07/wont-you-please-buy-a-used-airbus-a380/#2a44a830261c

Aug 7, 2019, 09:49pm
Won’t You Please Buy A Used Airbus A380?
Michael Goldstein

Two Airbus A380 aircraft sit on the ground at the Tarmac Aerosave SAS storage and recycling facility against a background of the Pyrenees mountain range in Tarbes, France, on Sunday, Feb. 17 , 2019. Airbus SE’s A380 superjumbo may be ending© 2019 Bloomberg Finance LP

Are you looking for a great new entrepreneurial opportunity? Why not buy some used Airbus A380s and start your own airline? Second-hand aircraft have been a launching pad for billionaires from Sir Richard Branson, who started Virgin Atlantic with a used 747, to the late Kirk Kerkorian, who turned a used DC-3 into an airline asset he later parlayed into ownership of MGM.

Such an opportunity may be here again for the right (and well-financed) entrepreneur. Since Airbus announced the coming end of A380 manufacture, airlines like Singapore, Lufthansa and most recently Air France have been rushing towards the exits of A380 ownership. Reports are that seven Airbus A380 aircraft are in storage in France, almost 3% of the total of 238 manufactured. A pair have reportedly been scrapped.

Still, all the potential airline mogul needs to do is create a start-up airline (or charter, or, possibly, a freight carrier) with routes that can keep a 500-seat A380 or two packed full. With seven planes parked and more coming, (Lufthansa is returning its aircraft to the manufacturer as part of a deal for new aircraft) Airbus will no doubt cut you a sweet deal on a used A380, original list price $446 million.

There’s just one problem. The budding airline entrepreneur will need to figure out how to make money with the airplane, apparently something that neither most airlines or Airbus have figured out. (An exception may be Emirates, which owns 111 of the world’s 238 A380 aircraft and has aggressively used them to build traffic through Dubai Airport, which leads the world in annual international travelers with 88 million.)

Ironically, Virgin Atlantic, the creation of entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, was a launch customer for the A380, ordering six in 2001. It finally canceled the order in 2018 without ever taking delivery.
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LAS VEGAS - JUNE 15: Founder and President of Virgin Group Sir Richard Branson (L) and burlesque artist Dita Von Teese appear on a lift in front of a painting of Von Teese on the side of a Virgin Atlantic Airways 747-400 aircraft at McCarranGetty Images

While entrepreneurs willing to take a chance on the A380 can no doubt get a substantial discount off the $446 million list price, the plane’s costs of operation and maintenance remain substantial. You’ll still need a large crew (Qantas operates the plane with three in the cockpit, 21 in the cabin), and pay a cost of operation estimated at $26,000 to $29,000 an hour, one of the highest in the airline industry. Those four engines are thirsty; that cost included roughly $17, 467 worth of fuel.

Simple Flying quoted the Australian Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics , “To achieve break-even at 80% seat factor (440 seats occupied including first class and business class), average ticket price should be about $700 one way and $1400 return.”

Compounding the usability problem, only a relative handful of world airports are specifically designed to accommodate the A380. The Top 20 airport list is led, of course, by Dubai. Most of the world’s busiest airports are on it, including Los Angeles, Tokyo, London Heathrow, Paris, New York JFK, Beijing, Shanghai, and Frankfurt. Not on the list is the world’s busiest, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, reflecting the fact that no US carrier has ever operated the A380.

Other airports can accommodate the A380, but at many, operations will create complications. Not only does the aircraft weigh more than a million pounds when fully loaded with passengers, luggage, cargo and fuel, it needs a special jet bridge to efficiently handle loading of its double-decker configuration.

The A380 was designed to fly huge numbers of passengers to various “hub” cities. The idea was that once they arrived, passengers going elsewhere would board another plane and fly to their destination. However, most passengers prefer flying point-to-point, which is now possible in much smaller, more efficient aircraft. Travelers heading from New York to Singapore, for example, no longer must fly to Los Angeles or San Francisco and switch to a different aircraft. Singapore Airlines now offers a 19-hour direct flight, using Airbus’ own twin-engine A350 900ULR.

While there is an almost non-existent used market for A380 aircraft, there is still demand for an even older jumbo, the Boeing 747. However, that market is driven by demand for dedicated air freighters. While a cargo version of the A380 was designed, production delays frustrated launch cargo customers FedEx and UPS to the point where they cancelled their orders.
Picture/image created in 2004.

A rare photo illustration of Airbus' A380F freighter concept. The A380F was designed to carry 150 tonnes over 10.400 km on its three decks. However, only the passenger version of the A380 was ever built. AFP PHOTO/EADS (Photo credit should read2004 AFP

Without freighter orders, Airbus decided to concentrate on the passenger craft, so no freighter was ever built. It is unclear whether conversion of existing passenger aircraft to freighter configuration would even be possible, let alone economic.

Just as no airline at this point seems to buy a new A380, few to want to buy, lease or rent a used one. But entrepreneurs won’t be stopped, so there is at least one exception, the Portuguese-based charter operator Hi Fly. Hi Fly became the first charter airline with an A380 in 2018.

The operator was busy last summer bailing out customers like Norwegian and Air Austral. Both airlines had similar problems; Boeing 787 Dreamliners grounded for engine checks during the height of the tourist season. Each contracted with Hi Fly to supply a “wet lease” A380, complete with crew and maintenance . But this summer, One Mile At A Time says the Hi Fly A380 is “Still Doing A Whole Lot Of Nothing.”

Nonetheless, the CEO of Hi Fly, Paulo Mirpuri, is sanguine about the future of the A380. He told Forbes.com, “The aircraft is performing well, flying all over the world, the main markets out of Europe so far being in Africa, USA, and South America. Other than for planned maintenance over the last winter, the aircraft has been operationally available with a high degree of dispatch reliability.”

Like a true entrepreneur, Mirpuri clearly believes in his product. “Hi Fly plans to expand further its fleet of A380s. It is a technically very advanced aircraft, loved by the passengers and it fits well in a number of missions and routes.”
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Death of First Class to be followed shortly by Death of Economy Class.

But hey, you can rent a Private Jet!

RE

First class is fading fast. Here's why that's bad news for economy travelers, too
Christopher Elliott , Special to USA TODAY Published 7:30 a.m. ET Aug. 9, 2019 | Updated 2:39 p.m. ET Aug. 9, 2019


Frequent domestic first class flyers have noted a decline in premium service, smaller seats and lack of leg rests. USA TODAY

First class isn't what it used to be, at least according to frequent airline passengers like Bonnie Friedman. She's been flying in the front of the plane for years and has witnessed the slow and sad decline of premium service.

"It was never fabulous," says Friedman, a communication consultant who lives on Maui. "But in the last three or four years, it has most definitely lost what little luster it had. The planes are cheaply made, the seats are smaller, the bathrooms almost too small to get into — and I’m a small person."

In first class. Yes, first class.

Friedman, like a lot of other air travelers, has noticed a marked decline in premium service. Seats have shrunk. Leg rests vanished. The food is barely edible, and the service is unacceptable.

And let's be clear about what we mean by first class: We're talking about domestic flights and generally excluding the competitive transcontinental flights, where airlines still make a half-hearted attempt to put the "first" into first class.
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If you're thinking, "What do I care if first class is in a tailspin? I only fly in economy class," then think again.

First class is the best an airline can do, and economy class is arguably the worst. But the two move in tandem, so as first class falls off a cliff, the good people in the back of the plane suffer, too, as airlines reduce seat size and slash service. We're all in this together.

The decline of first class raises two important questions: First, why the cuts? And second, what can you do about it?

Also: Try these innovative tactics to get an airline upgrade
Why first class isn't what it used to be

George Hoffer, a professor emeritus of transportation economics at Virginia Commonwealth University, has tracked the fall of first class. Part of the reason, he says, is that the equipment has changed.

"The wide-body jets have been replaced by less spacious, single-aisle aircraft," he notes. "Essentially the same crowded cabin feel is shared by all classes."

The smaller planes are more fuel-efficient and make more sense from an operational point of view. But the folks up front sure do miss that extra space, he adds.

Hoffer says the first-class experience has also been cheapened by the upgrade game of mile-collecting frequent fliers. It's simple economics: When your first class seat is "free," you get what you pay for.

"It diminishes the conspicuous consumption component of the total value obtained from first-class seating," he says.
How far first class has fallen

You don't have to look far for examples of the fall of first class.

John Moore, a career counselor from Chicago, says he can barely recognize first class anymore. "It actually used to be an amazing experience," he says. "But it's gone down the tubes."

In-flight meals have all but disappeared, replaced with snacks — or nothing.

Of course, most airlines don't even bother calling it first class anymore. It's now  "business" class, as if renaming it can somehow lower our collective expectations. Nice try, airlines.

Gail Cunard, a retired CEO from Savannah, Georgia, says first class today is "appalling." On her latest flight to California, her first-class ticket didn't even get her into the first-class lounge. There was no priority seating for her, no in-flight snack. 

"The menu was nothing to rave about," she adds. "And the meals were served on plastic plates."
What to do about losing first class

It's no coincidence that the fall of first class coincides with products such as "basic" economy, better known as last class. Airlines are trying to cut their way to higher profits, and they expect us to be grateful for it. Funny, but we aren't.

In a perfect world, the class system wouldn't exist. Every seat would come with a humane amount of space, reasonable service, and basic amenities such as the ability to check a bag and make a seat reservation. But we don't live in a perfect world.

The solution is simple: Whenever possible, fly on airlines that treat all of their customers well. A one-class airline like Southwest, where all passengers have adequate leg space, stands out. The old JetBlue, before it foolishly embraced the class system, comes to mind, too. Even a carrier like Alaska Airlines, which has a premium class, is worth recommending.

The decline of first class is worrisome for all airline passengers. Because, as the front of the cabin goes, so goes the back. If premium service is the best an airline can do, I can only imagine what its worst is. Maybe we're about to find out.

But there are still perks: These US airlines provide amenity kits to help flyers relax
Where to still find first class

Transatlantic and transpacific routes. Even domestic airlines go the extra mile on the long-haul routes — mostly because there's competition from carriers that still understand a luxury experience, such as Emirates and Singapore.

Transcontinental flights. American carriers sometimes operate special aircraft on the most popular transcontinental routes. It's almost like flying across the Atlantic, but travelers say it's usually a slight downgrade.

Private jet. If you want a true first-class experience, you might be better off chartering your own aircraft or buying a plane. If you can afford it. 
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🛬 The Uncomfortable Truth About Business Class Downgrades
« Reply #92 on: August 26, 2019, 01:27:58 AM »
If I buy a 1st Class or Biz Class Seat, I better fucking get it, or whoever runs that airline is going to get a fax an hour until I get at minimum a FREE First Class ticket to Europe for a Bucket List Trip!

RE

https://www.dmarge.com/2019/08/business-class-downgrades.html

The Uncomfortable Truth About Business Class Downgrades

Riches to rags.

    James Booth 7 hours ago


Forget the champagne headaches and strained smiling muscles; there’s a business class risk more humiliating than both.

It’s not over-indulging in edamame eggplant relish when you should have been preparing for a meeting.

Nor is it having your ‘charm radar’ ruined by the friendly flight attendants, realising kids cry in business class too, or HBO-cheating on your partner.

No, the worst thing that can happen to you when flying business is arriving at the check-in desk, only to be told, “I’m sorry sir, but due to an unscheduled aircraft change, we have had to downgrade you to economy.”

Because – let’s face it – despite the pretentious menus, heightened expectations and the passengers who turn the pages of The Financial Review as if each article had insulted them more personally than the last, business class still beats economy.

However, as has been the topic of hushed discussion on frequent flyer forums, Tripadvisor and Reddit for some years now, business class downgrades are a real phenomenon which – due to their rarity – few travellers know how to deal with.

“Why did I get downgraded to business class?” may be the most depressing thing you’ve asked Google since a Buzzfeed quiz told you to break up with your partner, but it may also save you a lot of money and heartache.

Am I entitled to compensation? Why did it happen to me? How often does it happen? Where do I go from here? These are all valid questions that we are now going to answer.
Why business class downgrades happen

Generally speaking, airlines don’t overbook business or first class. So if you’ve been booted from business, your flight route has likely been reassigned a jet with a smaller Pointy End capacity (due to weather, or some other unplanned contingency).

Because the secret to seamless air-control (or preventing meteorological interruptions) has yet to be discovered by any airline – high end or not – this means that no matter who you book with – Qantas, Emirates, Singapore Airlines, Etihad or British Airways, to name a few – it’s always possible you could be downgraded.
How does the airline decide who to downgrade?

In this scenario, there are two “next steps” that might occur. Either economy will be full too, in which case your airline may ask you to travel on a later flight, with a cash incentive. Or, if there are still seats in cattle-class (in either economy or premium economy), as Traveller reports, “a manager decides who gets dumped, and most airlines apply a couple of crude measures.”

What do these measures involve? According to industry experts, first candidates for a downgrade are those who paid for their seat using reward points (because the airline is legally obliged to give those who parted with cash.. cold hard cash).

Next on the chopping block are those who paid with cash, but who aren’t high tier loyalty members, and so on and so forth until the right number of people is achieved.

RELATED: How To Travel In Economy & Make It Feel Like First Class
What are my rights after a business class downgrade?

If you’re in the EU, where regulations protect passengers from downgrades and flight cancellations better than anywhere in the world, you are entitled to between 30 and 75 per cent of the ticket price depending on flight length.

Unfortunately, in the rest of the world, this law does not exist, which means the quality of the airline you picked comes into play – most airlines will refund the difference between your business class ticket and the economy (or premium economy) class seat you ended up in (and the high-end ones might go further). But there are no guarantees.

Oh and – as always – there’s a catch because, if you’re downgraded from business to economy the refund will likely be the difference between the business class fare and the fully flexible (i.e. the most expensive) economy fare.

In other words: you go from lie-flat to livid.
Is it possible to avoid a business class downgrade?

In a word: no. However, loyalty to a particular airline will reduce your chances, if you are really worried about this distant possibility (not to mention all the other benefits that come with joining a frequent flyer program).
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Death of Aviation,What it's like to eject out of a military jet
« Reply #93 on: August 31, 2019, 07:07:50 PM »



A complex explosive sequence propels pilots out of doomed planes.


When things go terribly wrong in a military aircraft, the pilot's last resort is the equipment they're sitting on: the seat. And it cannot fail, ever.

The 200-lb ejection seat, with its 3,500 or so parts, is a remarkable piece of technology that not only gets pilots out of a crashing plane but also ensures they survive the experience more or less unscathed. If the pilot ejects above 16,400 feet where oxygen is scarce, sensors on the chair will let it free-fall to get its occupant down to breathable air as fast as possible, and only then will the parachute open.

British company Martin-Baker, and its French subsidiary Safran Martin-Baker France, control 56 percent of the world's ejection seat market. Their seats equip the aircraft of 93 air forces worldwide, including the US’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the French-made Rafale, and the Eurofighter. Other major ejection seat manufacturers are American company Collins Aerospace (whose newest seat is the ACES 5) and Russian outfits NPP Zvezda and AO. All told, ejection seats have saved an estimated 12 to 13,000 lives since the mid-1940s.

Martin-Baker's latest major in-service seat is the Mk16. Here’s how it works.


https://www.popsci.com/what-aircraft-ejection-is-like/?utm_source=pocket-newtab
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

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🛬 British Airways tells passengers not to turn up at airports, as airline's bi
« Reply #94 on: September 09, 2019, 08:06:57 AM »
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/09/08/british-airways-tells-passengers-not-turn-airports-airlines/

British Airways tells passengers not to turn up at airports, as airline's biggest ever strike begins



More than 1,500 flights have been cancelled as the company was accused of bullying its own staff by union bosses Credit: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

    Jamie Johnson

9 September 2019 • 7:08am

British Airways has told its passengers not to turn up at airports as the biggest strike action in the airline’s 100 year history begins on Monday.

More than 1,500 flights have been cancelled as the company was accused of bullying its own staff by union bosses, who warned they could continue the action until the end of the year.

Some 280,000 people will be affected by the strike which is set to continue on Tuesday, costing BA £80m in lost revenue.

BA and The British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) are clashing after the union rejected a proposed 11.5 per cent pay rise for its pilots, taking their pay package to around £200,000 a year.

BALPA says that BA “has resorted to breaking agreements and threatening pilots who will strike, which is bound to make matters worse” after they emailed their 4,300 pilots on Friday warning that strike action would be a ‘serious breach’ of their contract.
BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said: "British Airways must now put the needs of its staff and passengers first and accept that its pilots will not be bullied or fobbed off." Credit: BALPA

The airline further threatened to withdraw a travel perk, where staff can book tickets for ten per cent of the full fare plus taxes, for three years if they chose to strike.

BALPA branded the airline’s behaviour “illogical and irresponsible” and “will further deepen the fall out with their pilots.”

Flights to New York, Delhi, Hong Kong and Johannesburg have all been affected, with the airline telling passengers: “If your flight is cancelled, please do not go to the airport.”

One passenger, Kenneth Farrington, told the BBC that he thought his holiday “was in ruins.”

Travellers have been offered full refunds, flights on different carriers, or the option to fly on a different date, but should not turn up at the airport without a confirmed flight.

On Sunday, 50 flights were cancelled over fears of a lack of space to park planes at Heathrow and Gatwick, and the knock on effect will last well into the week.

Long haul captains at the airline earn an average base salary of £167,000 a year, while co-pilots take home £70,000. British Airways say they made a “fair” offer of an 11.5 per cent pay rise over three years, plus a one per cent bonus.

The deal was already accepted by members of the Unite and GMB unions, which represent 90 per cent of British Airways’ staff.

BALPA says that now the company is in better financial health, its members should see a greater share of the profits and have a mandate for strike action until January, raising fears of Christmas travel chaos.

British Airways said on Sunday: “We're extremely sorry for the problems caused by the strike action called by the pilots’ union, BALPA on 9, 10 and 27 September.

“We continue to be available for constructive talks with BALPA, on the basis that there are no pre-conditions to those talks.

“If you have a flight booked with us on those dates, it is likely that you will not be able to travel as planned due to BALPA’s strike action. We are offering all affected customers full refunds or the option to re-book to another date of travel or alternative airline.”

On Sunday, BALPA General Secretary Brian Strutton said: “British Airways needs to wake up and realise its pilots are determined to be heard.

“They’ve previously taken big pay cuts to help the company through hard times. Now BA is making billions of pounds of profit, its pilots have made a fair, reasonable and affordable claim for pay and benefits.

“BALPA has consistently offered up chances for the company to negotiate a way forward. British Airways must now put the needs of its staff and passengers first and accept that its pilots will not be bullied or fobbed off.

“But the company’s leaders, who themselves are paid huge salaries and have generous benefits packages, won’t listen, are refusing to negotiate and are putting profits before the needs of passengers and staff.

“This strike will have cost the company considerably more than the investment needed to settle this dispute.

“It is time to get back to the negotiating table and put together a serious offer that will end this dispute.”

This is the second time in a month that BALPA have been involved in pay disputes with airlines, after Ryanair pilots were reportedly demanding pay rises of up to 121%, according to the airline.

Ryanair accused BALPA of "excessive and unexplained demands for pay increases" and a secret memo seen by the Telegraph, which was drawn up by the airline, showed pay package demands of up to £350,000 a year.

Strike action has already taken place twice this summer, with more disruption planned for later this month.
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🛬 Empty terminals as British Airways tells passengers to avoid travelling
« Reply #95 on: September 09, 2019, 01:38:40 PM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/sVcu6ZZM6SU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/sVcu6ZZM6SU</a>
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🛬 Review: ANA New Business Class “The Room”
« Reply #96 on: September 22, 2019, 12:30:42 PM »
What do you notice about that beautiful bar & lounge?

IT'S EMPTY!

RE

https://samchui.com/2019/09/21/review-ana-new-business-class-the-room/#.XYd34maIaUl



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ANA have launched a new Business Class "The Room" on their B777-300/ER aircraft. Currently, the new Business Class is available between Tokyo Haneda and London Heathrow. There will be a total of 12 completely redesigned B777-300/ER's featuring this new product.

Upgraded aircraft will have four cabins, including 8 First Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 64 Business Class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, 24 Premium Economy Class in a 2-4-2 configuration, and 116 Economy Class seats in a 3-4-3 configuration, making a total of just 212 seats.

ANA B777-300/ER seat map

I started my journey at Tokyo Haneda Airport. This trip is an invite from ANA. Opinions are my own.

Tokyo Haneda Airport

ANA Lounge Haneda Airport

There are 2 ANA Lounges at Haneda Airport. One is near gate 110 and the other one is near gate 140 with limited operating hours. I visited the one near gate 110, which is closer to the boarding gate.

ANA Lounge Haneda Airport

The ANA Lounge is well designed and organized, it has a minimalistic feel. I was visiting around 15:00 so it wasn't overly crowded as compared to morning or evening peak hours. I strongly recommend a walk inside the lounge (turn left) as it is quieter toward the back side of the lounge.

In terms of food, ANA Lounge didn't disappoint. There is a cold salad bar, sushi, rice balls and several hot items such as beef hamburg and Japanese chicken curry with rice. There is sake, beer machines and soda machines around.

There are 2 food serving areas, my advice is to use the one towards the rear of the lounge (left) as it is much quieter as most people use the one closer to the entrance.

There is also a ramen bar near the main food area. It is by order only. The lounge is very bright and I could enjoy food and watch planes go by from the window.

ANA Lounge Haneda Airport

There were a few shower suites in the ANA Lounge, of which I took advantage of to freshen up before my 12 hour flight to London. Notably, There is a Dyson hair dryer!

Boarding of my flight was given in the priority order of First Class and ANA Diamond members, then Business Class then Premium Economy and finally Economy. It was done with utmost efficient and in a very organised manner.

There was a typhoon that swept over Tokyo 2 days ago prior to my journey, so ANA flight network operation was disrupted and there was a 5 hour delay on my flight. Luckily, the flight was still operated by the new Business Class configured B777-300/ER.

The Room - New Business Class

There are 3 sections of New Business Class (total 64 seats) which span over more than half of the B777-300/ER fuselage. My seat was 17K, located in the 3rd section. It is a reverse facing seat. You can notice how wide the seat is immediately.

ANA New Business Class "The Room" ANA New Business Class "The Room" ANA New Business Class "The Room" ANA New Business Class "The Room"

If you happened to sit in the middle seat, there is a divider to protect your privacy. It can also be lowered to create a pair seat for 2.

ANA New Business Class "The Room" middle seat ANA New Business Class "The Room" middle seat

The seat felt a bit short/stubby from the first glance but I didn't have any problem sitting up right. There was good legroom in the up right position.

ANA New Business Class "The Room"

I was very impressed with all the features and its design. All very clean and neat.

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🛬 How to Get 150,000 Stranded People Home in Two Weeks
« Reply #97 on: September 26, 2019, 01:41:14 AM »
Something to think about the next time you book a flight on Orbitz or Expeia...

RE

https://www.wired.com/story/get-150000-stranded-people-home-2-weeks/

09.25.2019 07:00 AM
How to Get 150,000 Stranded People Home in Two Weeks

The UK has a fund to bring home passengers left hanging after the collapse of travel agency Thomas Cook. In the US, travelers wouldn’t be so lucky.
passengers boarding plane


The collapse of tour operator Thomas Cook is forcing the UK government to arrange travel home for 150,000 people.Photograph: Durmus Genc/Getty Images

When the British travel agency and tour company Thomas Cook went bankrupt and folded on Monday, it was more than the end of the world’s oldest travel company. Thomas Cook opened in 1841, but when it closed 600,000 people still had trips booked with the firm—which bundled packages of flights, hotels, and so on. About 150,000 of them were actually on those trips—150,000 people who woke up Monday morning to find that they didn’t have a ride home. But don’t panic! Stiffen the upper lip. Evacuating vast numbers of people from Europe to England is kind of their thing, after all. The UK has a plan, and the plan has a codename: Operation Matterhorn.

Keep calm and carry tourists: The UK’s Civil Aviation Authority is spinning up a massive logistical engine with a minimum of fuss. Transport secretary Grant Shapps called it “the biggest peacetime repatriation in UK history.” And, honestly, it sounds kind of remarkable. (Repatriating stolen artifacts from Britain back to Egypt or Greece? Nah. Those Greeks have lost their marbles. But repatriating stranded people from Egypt or Greece back to Britain? Let’s do this thing.)

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Thomas Cook had been in trouble for a long time—a crushing debt and Europe-wide uncertainty over post-Brexit travel forced the company to get £900 million ($1.125 billion) in bailout funds from a big Chinese shareholder in August. It sought £200 million more from the government last weekend … and didn’t get it. Hence, no more Thomas Cook, which at the time of its demise employed 21,000 people, and at its peak, provided full-service tour packages to 19 million. So its disappearance is a significant thump to the global tourism economy.

Thomas Cook is the largest British travel provider to go pfft, but it’s not the only one, nor the first. Which is part of the reason the UK in the early 1970s created something called Air Travel Organiser’s License, or ATOL, alongside the privatized Civil Aviation Authority. “It’s a holiday protection scheme. For every holiday booked, £2.50 goes into a fund that accumulates and is used to deal with situations like this,” says Richard Taylor, a spokesperson for the CAA. “Over several years, that builds up to quite a large amount of money.”

How much, exactly? As of last weekend, about £170 million, just sitting there, waiting to help people. Which is good, because the last time this happened, when Monarch Airlines went bust in 2017, it cost the CAA £60 million to repatriate 85,000 people, about half the number they’re on the hook for now. (That’s according to the Financial Times, which estimates that the total costs of repatriating and reimbursing the 600,000 people with Thomas Cook tickets in their pockets could top £600 million. A problem for another day.)

OK, so, money in hand, how does the CAA get humans onto airplanes to replace Thomas Cook’s 34 grounded aircraft? “It’s not as complicated as you might think,” Taylor says. “We’ve got the full flight program of the original Thomas Cook flights, and we are simply wet leasing aircraft from other airlines to replace those flights.” Wet leasing is renting planes with crews, a common practice in air travel. “Luckily, there’s quite a lot of spare aircraft around at the moment,” Taylor says.

CAA plans to rent 40 to 45 planes, everything from shorter-haul, narrow-body Airbus 320s from providers like EasyJet to wide-body aircraft from British Airways and Virgin for longer overseas trips from, like, North America. They’re even leasing one double-decker A380 from Malaysia Airlines.

Those planes will swap in for the slots the Thomas Cook flights would have flown. Different flight numbers, probably, but for all intents and purposes—to regional air traffic control and airport authorities, at least—they’re the same. The CAA set up a website for travelers to check their new flights, and it’ll shock you to hear that it seems to be functioning despite begging to be DDOSed. CAA is estimating it will end up running about 1,000 flights total, but “I’m not sure we know the exact number,” Taylor adds. He figures it’ll be something like 50 flights a day, maybe more.

Even people who only booked flights rather than full travel packages with Thomas Cook are going to be covered, though technically ATOL doesn’t apply to them. “Otherwise they’d be just stuck with no way to get back,” according to Taylor, as though it’s obvious that a quasi-governmental agency would function in a helpful and logical way.

That wouldn’t happen in the US. A spokesperson for the Federal Aviation Administration, domestic equivalent of the CAA, says the agency has neither regulatory authority over failed airlines nor access to anything similar to the ATOL fund. The US State Department has mechanisms for evacuating US citizens caught in global crises, but apparently not for business upheavals. “In the past, airlines have cooperated to transport stranded passengers, offering them available seats at reasonable fares,” says Martin Dresner, a professor at the University of Maryland who studies air transport and logistics. “But I believe that this has been voluntary.”

Two weeks after it started, Operation Matterhorn will stop. A government investigation of the Thomas Cook collapse looks likely to follow, and more reimbursements and work with creditors will come after that. But everyone will be home. “Things could always go wrong,” Taylor says. “But by and large, it should all run quite smoothly.” Somehow flying on a UK carrier in a global crisis seems more pleasant than flying a US airline under the status quo.
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Death of Aviation - Musk Plans to Reach "Mars" in a few months !
« Reply #98 on: October 01, 2019, 11:18:25 AM »
Elon Musk unveils new Mars rocket prototype, expects missions in months

The goofy fuq'r has completely lost it  :coffee:


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-spacex/elon-musk-unveils-new-mars-rocket-prototype-expects-missions-in-months-idUSKBN1WE0OJ
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Re: Death of Aviation - Musk Plans to Reach "Mars" in a few months !
« Reply #99 on: October 01, 2019, 04:15:44 PM »
Elon Musk unveils new Mars rocket prototype, expects missions in months

The goofy fuq'r has completely lost it  :coffee:


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-space-exploration-spacex/elon-musk-unveils-new-mars-rocket-prototype-expects-missions-in-months-idUSKBN1WE0OJ

Good article.

Quote
“The critical breakthrough that’s needed for us to become a space-faring civilization is to make space travel like air travel,” said Musk...

Last I looked you don't have to pass through the Van Allen belt to get to Atlanta. Elon willl lose his money in much the same way he has lost his mind.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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🛬 Planning To Fly A Year From Now? Better Double-Check Your Driver's License
« Reply #100 on: October 01, 2019, 08:26:45 PM »
Let me see your PAPERS!!

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/CzhIPvEanMg" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/CzhIPvEanMg</a>

My DL isn't "Real ID Compliant", but I generally use my Passport for ID when I fly, so assuming the planes are still flying next year, I should be OK to Jet Set around and burn more carbon.

RE

https://www.npr.org/2019/10/01/766112076/planning-to-fly-a-year-from-now-better-double-check-your-drivers-license

Planning To Fly A Year From Now? Better Double-Check Your Driver's License
3:29

October 1, 20194:31 PM ET
Heard on All Things Considered
Brian Naylor in 2018.


A person opens the door of a Department of Licensing office in Lacey, Wash. Starting Oct. 1, 2020, travelers will need a REAL ID-compliant driver's license or other accepted form of ID to pass through airport security.
Ted S. Warren/AP

Starting Oct. 1, 2020, when the REAL ID law takes effect, you'll need a star at the top of your driver's license if you plan to fly anywhere in the United States. Essentially an enhanced driver's license, it will be required at the airport gate, unless you have another accepted form of ID. And officials are worried that one year out, many people don't yet have one.

Congress passed the REAL ID Act in 2005 to address concerns of the 9/11 Commission, which found that it was too easy for people to obtain driver's licenses, posing a security risk. To get a REAL ID, you typically need to present a birth certificate or green card, a Social Security card and two documents that show your address.

A study done for the U.S. Travel Association shows that only three out of four Americans have gotten a REAL ID driver's license (indicated by a star at the top). Erik Hansen, vice president for government relations at U.S. Travel, says that's going to be a problem for would-be airline passengers next year.
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"Unfortunately it means they're gonna learn the hard way what the Department of Homeland Security has said," Hansen tells NPR. "If you don't have one of the compliant IDs, either a REAL ID or one of the alternatives, like a passport, you're actually gonna be turned away at the checkpoint and you're not going to be allowed to board your flight."
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Hansen says an estimated 78,000 people could possibly be turned away on the first day of the new requirement, at an estimated cost to the economy of $40 million in lost travel-related spending.

A REAL ID-compliant license will also be needed to access most federal buildings and military bases.

As Hansen noted, there are alternative forms of ID that are acceptable, including passports and military IDs. But at a recent hearing, Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who chairs the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said that's not really going to help. "I think we need to heighten awareness about this," Wicker said. "Most people don't have a passport. And most people are not in the military or veterans, so it's going to be that driver's license nine times out of 10."

At that hearing, the acting deputy administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, Patricia Cogswell, said her agency is "doing everything it can to get the word out" about the upcoming deadline, but it's complicated. Some people have valid licenses that are not REAL ID compliant. And some states issue both compliant and noncompliant licenses. "So they may be renewing their license not fully understanding that they are getting a non REAL ID-compliant license."

REAL ID has been fought by many states that objected to the new law, saying it's a form of national ID and/or too expensive to implement. And in the past, Congress has extended the deadline to give those states a chance to comply. Hansen, at U.S. Travel, is not expecting the TSA to move the deadline again. But, he says, there are things the government could do.

"I think realistically we just can't solve this by trying to send 182 million Americans to the DMV within the next year," he says. But Congress can take steps to modernize the REAL ID Act. For instance, Hansen says, allowing travelers who are enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program, which was implemented after the REAL ID Act became law, to go through the checkpoint regardless of whether they have the Real ID. Hansen says that would ensure "we're not just racing to catch up with the past."

The TSA has put up signs and is verbally warning travelers of the looming deadline. And the agency advises travelers who aren't sure if their license is compliant to check with their state driver's license agency.
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🛬 Why So Many Airlines are Going Bankrupt
« Reply #101 on: October 10, 2019, 02:17:35 AM »
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/cnfoTAxhpzQ" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/cnfoTAxhpzQ</a>
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🛬 Costs pile up for airlines as Boeing 737 Max grounding enters eighth month
« Reply #102 on: October 13, 2019, 06:38:16 PM »
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/13/boeing-737-max-grounding-enters-eighth-month-driving-up-airline-costs.html

Costs pile up for airlines as Boeing 737 Max grounding enters eighth month
Published Sun, Oct 13 20199:00 AM EDTUpdated 2 hours ago
Leslie Josephs @lesliejosephs
   

Grounded Boeing 737 MAX aircraft are seen parked in an aerial photo at Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, July 1, 2019.
Lindsey Wasson | Reuters
   
Key Points

    Costs are piling up for airlines as the 737 Max heads into its eighth month.
    The planes have been grounded since mid-March after two crashes killed 346 people.
    Boeing’s board stripped CEO Dennis Muilenburg of his chairman role so he can focus on getting the planes back.


The worldwide grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, now in its eighth month, is driving up costs for airlines as they cancel thousands more flights into 2020.

American and United this week joined Southwest in removing the planes, grounded since mid-March after two fatal crashes killed 346 people, from their schedules until January.

Boeing executives have said they expect aviation regulators to clear its best-selling plane to fly again in the fourth quarter, but the Federal Aviation Administration said it has no firm timeline for lifting the grounding.

That has forced airlines to repeatedly push back when they expect the planes to return to their fleets. The resulting lost revenue is denting airline profits and dashing their growth plans. The capacity constraints are also becoming a bigger headache for travelers, which in addition to facing canceled flights, are getting bumped more frequently.

The impact is becoming more pronounced as the grounding continues longer than expected. Airlines not only lack access to the more than 370 Max jets that were in fleets worldwide at the time of the grounding but also the hundreds more they expected Boeing to deliver this year. The fuel-efficient planes are a key part of these airlines’ growth strategies.

American Airlines on Wednesday said it canceled 9,475 flights in the third quarter because of the grounding order, which hit its pre-tax income by about $140 million. It expects to cancel 140 flights a day until it expects the planes to return, which would mean more than 14,000 cancellations in the fourth quarter and early January.

American reports earnings on Oct. 24. The airline had 24 of the 737 Max jets in its fleet at the time of the grounding and has 76 more on order.

Airlines are canceling flights ahead of time to avoid having to give complementary last-minute, alternative flights, trips that fetch a premium.

“That’s a close-in fare that another passenger is not paying,” said Credit Suisse airline analyst Jose Caiado. “I think they explicitly want to avoid doing that around Christmas and New Year’s.”

Airlines are trying to use similar or larger aircraft to rebook travelers and limit disruptions.

Even if regulators deem the planes airworthy again, airlines need at least a month to train pilots and perform maintenance work on the planes before passengers can fly them.

Boeing took a $4.9 billion after-tax charge in the second quarter to cover compensation to airlines affected by the grounding. It has developed software fixes for the 737 Max after crash investigators implicated an anti-stall system that misfired, repeatedly pushing the nose of the planes down in both disasters ⁠— a Lion Air flight in October 2018 and an Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max in March ⁠— but it hasn’t yet handed it over to regulators for review.

American’s CEO Doug Parker said the carrier has had conversations with Boeing but doesn’t have a firm number compensation figure yet.

“It’s hard until we know when the airplane is really going to be back in service to ascertain what the damages are,” he said in an interview.

On Friday, Boeing said its board stripped CEO Dennis Muilenburg of his chairman role so he can focus on getting the Max back to service.

The rising costs don’t only apply to airlines with Max planes in their fleets. Delta Air Lines doesn’t have any Maxes and it won market share from airlines hamstrung by the grounding. In “the second quarter as well as the third quarter, we certainly were a beneficiary of the MAX not operating,′ CEO Ed Bastian said on an earnings call Thursday. That, along with higher travel demand in general spurred more flying, driving up its non-fuel costs, mainly in employee wages. The airline said it plans to hire 12,000 workers, including more pilots and flight attendants, through the end of next year.

When the Max returns, it may not be all good news for U.S. carriers, whose stock is already underperforming the broader market.

That added capacity could drive down fares, said Credit Suisse’s Caiado.
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A mysterious set of patents filed recently by a U.S Navy researcher has caught the eyes of technologists and conspiracy theorists alike.


https://themindunleashed.com/2019/10/navy-patents-ufo-like-compact-nuclear-fusion-reactor-and-hybrid-space-sea-crafts.html
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Death of Aviation: The experimental X-37B
« Reply #104 on: October 31, 2019, 01:16:55 PM »

Here’s What We Know The Shadowy X-37B Was Up To During Its Record 780 Days In Space
The experimental X-37B is blazing a trail to new and more flexible space-based capabilities as threats to existing assets in orbit grow.
BY JOSEPH TREVITHICK
OCTOBER 28, 2019

Although largely overshadowed by the announcement of a raid in Syriathat led to the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, one of the U.S. Air Force’s two top-secret X-37B unmanned, reusable space planes is back on solid ground after a record-setting 780 days circling the planet. Just what it was doing up there since its launch in 2017 remains largely classified, but the marathon mission comes as the United States, and potential adversaries, is increasingly exploring new options for getting payloads outside of the Earth’s atmosphere, or otherwise accessing space, that are faster, more flexible, and are less predictable.

The X-37B in question landed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Shuttle Landing Facility at approximately 3:51 AM on Oct. 27, 2019, after finishing what was formally known as Orbital Test Vehicle Mission 5, or OTV-5. The Air Force had first launched this space plane from the Kennedy Space Center’s Launch Complex 39A on Sept. 7, 2017. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket boosted it into the highest inclination orbit of any of the OTV missions to date, an immediate test point that demonstrated an expanded operational envelope for the X-37B. When the development of this space plane first began in 2006, the Air Force said it expected it to be able to stay in orbit for up to 270 days.

“This program continues to push the envelope as the world’s only reusable space vehicle. With a successful landing today, the X-37B completed its longest flight to date and successfully completed all mission objectives,” Randy Walden, the director of the Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, or RCO, said in a statement. “This mission successfully hosted Air Force Research Laboratory experiments, among others.”


https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/30699/here-what-we-know-the-shadowy-x-37b-was-up-to-during-its-record-720-days-in-space
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