Miscellaneous Roundup Friday 23 July 2010

I wrote recently about

Boeing's latest 20 year prediction/projection for airplane sales

At the time, I was surprised to see Boeing so dismissive of sales of
smaller regional jets
, projecting only 1920 to be sold over the next
20 years, causing the worldwide RJ fleet to shrink from its present
total of 3010 planes down to 2080 in 2029.  In comparison, Boeing
was projecting sales of 21,160 single aisle passenger jets over the same
time period.

There has now been a release by

Bombardier Aerospace, showing their projections for the next 20 years

Bombardier, which focuses on regional jet type planes with under 100
seats, unsurprisingly has a very different view of the future. 
They say that there will be 5,900 sales of planes capable of carrying
between 60 – 99 passengers – nearly three times more than Boeing
dismissively projects.

Mitsubishi alone projects selling some 1,000
of its MRJ jet (70 – 96 passengers, and not even yet in production –
first commercial flight not expected for four years) during the same 20
year period.

Russian airplane manufacturer Sukhoi took
three orders totaling 67 planes for its 100 seater Superjet 100 at the
Farnborough Air Show this week, while Embraer announced orders for 184
of its under 100-seater jets.

It sort of seems like Boeing has
massively guessed wrong on this one
, doesn't it.

Occasionally we hear of passengers
pilfering other passengers' belongings
from the overheads during
overnight flights when the cabin is dark and most people sleeping. 
But how about one of the flight crew?  An Air France flight
attendant was arrested last Friday on charges of having stolen many tens
of thousands of dollars of cash and belongings from passengers during
142 separate long-haul flights.

She preferred Paris to the Far East flights
because they carried wealthy passengers. She helped herself to expensive
watches, jewels, check books and credit cards during the time they
slept.  She stole euros, yen and Swiss Francs and was caught when
officials cross referenced flights and crew members, finding her on all
flights that had reported thefts onboard.

Air France said it was only responsible for
belongings checked in and stored in the hold.  Anything stolen on
board was a travel insurance matter.  Hmmmm.

Have you ever rolled your eyes at the
ridiculous process that forbids companies from charging eg 3% more for
using a credit card to pay for something (instead of paying by
cash/check) but which instead allows them to offer a cash discount and
to claim that the advertised price is the cash discount price and to get
the 'real/normal' price (for using a credit card) you have to increase
the advertised 'discount' price by 3%.

We now see a similar doublespeak approach
to discounting by NCL
.  They are forbidding travel agents from
discounting their cruise prices, but they will allow travel agents to
provide extra-value perks such as on-board ship credits, worth up to 10%
of the total cruise price.

So that's not a discount?

Talking about cruise lines, readers continue
to send in lavish praise for Seabourn, including travel agency
owner Les who replied to my last Seabourn comments by sending me a
message from the Seabourn cruise he was on at the time, saying

Greetings from the Seabourn Sojourn in the North Seas between The
Shetland Islands and Trondheim, Norway.

She is indeed a beautiful ship with lots of options and great spaces. 
It's easy to see why she and the Odyssey are getting such positive
reviews.  With 90% of the suites having verandahs, it is a quantum leap
from their original fleet.  The crew is anxious to please and the guests
are happy.

I am delighted and appreciative to announce
that this excellent cruise line is extending their sponsorship of our
.  Please look for another special mailing from them
next week, and then again in mid August.

Remember, in January,
government's extravagant bluster about giving us the best high speed
rail network in the world
(click link for my analysis and
discussion).  While the US government drops $8 billion into this
amorphous project – $8 billion that is vanishing without trace or a
single mile of true high speed rail track
, Argentina is about to
invest $10 billion into its rail network.

How is it possible that Argentina can
outspend us on rail investments?  Easy.  They

called in the Chinese
, who are bankrolling the development. 
Perhaps we should place our own national rail future in the hands of the
Chinese, too?

In another piece of minor rail news, a new
high-speed rail service that links Narita International Airport to
central Tokyo opened last Saturday. The ride takes 36 minutes to cover
some 51km and is 15 minutes quicker than the old service.

There will be 54 trains a day and the cost
is about $28 oneway – vastly less than the outrageous taxi fares some
unsuspecting travelers end up paying.

One nice thing about a train is that you
seldom experience an 'engine falling off', and even if one
somehow did, the consequences would probably not be too severe.

But last Saturday, passengers on a Saudi
Airlines 747 taxiing on a runway preparing to takeoff from Cairo were
stunned to see the outer engine fall off the plane's right wing. 
It spun along the runway, hit a perimeter fence, and knocked a huge hole
in it.

This caused the airport to close completely
for two and a half hours while the runway was cleared of debris. 
As for the plane, it didn't fly off, but returned to the terminal.

See also my article earlier this week about

bits falling off the wing of an American Airlines plane while in flight

Lastly this week, we in the US have just
enjoyed the first visit by new British Prime Minister David Cameron
When not being hit up with various BP related issues, he managed to
offer a voluntary conciliatory statement that acknowledging that the
British were the junior partner to the US, back in 1940, in World War 2

An interesting statement, not least because the US didn't enter WW2
until December 1941.

Other people pointed out that Britain, some
five times smaller than the US, actually lost more soldiers in combat
during the conflict than the US.  How extraordinary to see
Britain's Prime Minister voluntarily diminishing his country's
contributions to one of the world's most dire conflicts.

Perhaps we should not be surprised then to
learn that rather than charter a plane to fly himself and his small team
of officials to the US, he bought seats on a regular scheduled British
Airways flight.  Now for the part that is surprising – and don't
let your financial controller or travel manager find this out :  He
didn't even fly First Class.  The Prime Minister of Great
Britain flew Business Class
(What? No courtesy upgrade by BA???). 


We await with interest to learn if President
Obama intends to follow suit and travel similarly.

2 thoughts on “Miscellaneous Roundup Friday 23 July 2010”

  1. Actually, a motor fell off a Central Line Underground Tube train here in London a few (10?) years back. It damaged the track quite a bit, derailed the train, and caused a closure of part of the line for a few days while the damage was cleared and the track was repaired.

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