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Everything posted by Airband

  1. Think you might want to check your numbers again. The 29K figure more closely matches total Canadian Covid deaths with approx 2200 assigned to BC.
  2. ‘Let’s go, Brandon!’: Southwest Airlines faces flak over pilot’s purported anti-Biden signoff The Dallas-based airline said it’s investigating what was said over the plane’s public address system Sun Oct 31, 2021 - Dallas Morning News Southwest Airlines is facing turbulence on social media after one of its pilots reportedly said a phrase, used in right-wing circles as a stand-in for swearing at President Joe Biden, over the plane’s public address system. An Associated Press journalist was on the flight from Houston to Albuquerque on Friday when she heard the pilot use the phrase “Let’s go Brandon,” writing that it brought on “audible gasps from some passengers.” Audioletsgobrandon.mp3 of the pilot’s greeting was circulating widely on social media. The phrase has been used as a “code” by conservative critics of the president since a chant of “F--- Joe Biden!” broke out among a crowd at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway in early October. An NBC Sports reporter, who was interviewing NASCAR driver Brandon Brown live on air, said “You can hear the chants from the crowd, ‘Let’s go Brandon!’” That incident went viral, as some Trump supporters claimed journalists sought to censor anti-Biden sentiment, and since then many Republicans have used the phrase as a “G-rated substitute for its more vulgar three-word cousin,” the Associated Press reported. Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., ended an Oct. 21 House floor speech with a fist pump and the phrase. South Carolina Republican Jeff Duncan wore a face mask with it at the Capitol, while Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has posed with a sign featuring the phrase at the World Series. In a statement provided to The Dallas Morning News, Southwest Airlines said it is conducting an internal investigation and will “address the situation directly with any employee involved while continuing to remind all employees that public expression of personal opinions while on duty is unacceptable.” “Southwest does not condone employees sharing their personal political opinions while on the job serving our customers, and one employee’s individual perspective should not be represented as a viewpoint for Southwest and its collective 54,000 employees,” according to the airline’s statement. “Southwest does not tolerate any behavior that encourages divisiveness.” 'Pilots have been at the forefront of the fight against required vaccinations,'
  3. Opposition mounts to U.S. House plan that would boost EVs A dozen foreign automakers urged California's two U.S. senators to oppose it, saying it was unfair to the state's workers Sat Oct 30, 2021- Autonews.com by David Shepardson WASHINGTON -- A $1.75 trillion Democratic spending proposal could give a big boost to electric vehicles -- especially to the Detroit 3 automakers and the U.S. Postal Service -- but it faces opposition from Republicans, foreign automakers, Canada and Mexico. The House plan boosts EV credits to up to $12,500 per vehicle, including $4,500 for union-made vehicles and $500 for U.S.-made batteries. Vehicles would have to be made in the U.S. starting in 2027 to qualify for any credit. The EV tax credits would cost $15.6 billion over 10 years and disproportionately benefit the Detroit 3 automakers -- General Motors, Ford Motor and Chrysler-parent Stellantis NV -- which assemble their U.S.-made vehicles in union-represented plants. UAW President Ray Curry said the provision will "create and preserve tens of thousands of UAW members' jobs" and "would be a win for auto manufacturing workers." "The framework announced today supports good paying union jobs and stands to benefit our country for decades to come," he said. Foreign automakers, however, have harshly criticized the decision to give union-made vehicles a big leg up. A dozen foreign automakers on Friday urged California's two U.S. senators to oppose it, saying it was unfair to the state's workers. The Mexican government criticized the U.S. proposal, according to a letter released on Friday in which Economy Minister Tatiana Clouthier expressed her "strong concern" over the provisions, adding that it is "contrary to the regional value content rules agreed upon" in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact. Last week, Canada said the tax credit proposals could harm the North American auto industry and run afoul of trade agreements. On Wednesday, the governors of 11 states, including Texas, Florida and Arizona, said they opposed the tax credit arguing it would create a "discriminatory environment in our states by punishing autoworkers and car companies because the workers in their plants chose not to unionize." Tesla and foreign automakers do not have unions representing assembly workers in the U.S. and many have fought UAW efforts to organize U.S. plants. Honda Motor Co. said in a letter Friday "this tax credit plan would pit Americans working for the three 'legacy' companies against the American workers of other automakers." The bill would award $6 billion for the U.S. Postal Service to purchase electric delivery vehicles and infrastructure. USPS said Friday it estimates under the bill "all delivery fleet acquisitions could feasibly be electric by 2028, and a corresponding 70 percent of our entire delivery fleet by" 2030. In February, USPS awarded a 10-year contract to Oshkosh Defense, a subsidiary of Oshkosh, to build a mix of internal combustion and EV delivery vehicles that could be worth$6 billion. The EV proposal eliminates phasing out tax credits after automakers hit 200,000 electric vehicles sold, which would make GM eligible, along with Tesla. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm defended the decision to exclude Tesla from the higher credit, telling CNBC: "We want to make sure that we do everything possible to encourage that business and labor really focus on elevating the standards for everyday Americans." Earlier this month, over 100 House lawmakers signed a letter urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi to back the tax credit. The bill would create a new electric bike and three-wheel vehicle tax credit, a 30 percent credit for commercial electric vehicles and $4,000 used EV tax credit. It would authorize $3.5 billion for "domestic manufacturing conversion" grants for electric and other green vehicles and provide $3 billion to boost a U.S. loan program to retool existing auto plants to build more fuel efficient models and expand it to cover zero-emission trains, airplanes, boats and Hyperloop technology.
  4. You forgot it won't bribe drivers to buy electric vehicles with others peoples' tax dollars.
  5. Possibly preemptive? To blunt the public whining from some quarters the return to work may engender. Or an opportunity to reinforce the 'we're an engaged, progressive employer' messaging
  6. First Class Trash Flight attendant suffers broken bones in ‘one of the worst displays of unruly behavior’ in the skies The incident prompted the pilots to divert the flight to Denver, where a passenger was detained Fri Oct 29, 2021 - The Washington Post By Lori Aratani A flight attendant for American Airlines suffered broken bones in her face and had to be hospitalized after a passenger allegedly attacked her Wednesday in an incident the company’s chief executive called “one of the worst displays of unruly behavior we’ve ever witnessed.” The incident occurred on a flight from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to John Wayne Airport in Orange County, Calif. It prompted the pilots to divert the flight to Denver, where the passenger was detained. The flight attendant apparently bumped the passenger while moving through the first-class cabin, according to Julie Hedrick, president of the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, which represents those who fly for American Airlines. The flight attendant apologized, but the passenger left his seat, confronted her as she stood in the aircraft’s galley, then punched her in the face, Hedrick said. Hedrick said the flight attendant was taken to a hospital for treatment of broken bones in her face. She was later released. The incident echoed one from earlier this year in which a Southwest Airlines flight attendant lost several teeth after a passenger allegedly punched her in the face. The attacks come on the heels of an increase in incidents in which passengers have shouted obscenities, pushed and shoved flight attendants, harassed other passengers or even attempted to open the cockpit door. Hedrick said problem passengers are not a new phenomenon, but recent incidents have put flight attendants increasingly on edge. The Federal Aviation Administration, which is charged with enforcing rules on airplanes, has seen a sixfold increase over two years in its investigations of unruly passengers. “We’ve never had passengers assault us like this,” Hedrick said. “I think for flight attendants going to work today, the mental exhaustion of ‘what am I going to be dealing with?’ — you just don’t know what’s going to happen on your flight today.” Hedrick said the number of incidents involving unruly passengers has declined from peaks during the summer. Even so, she said, “it doesn’t matter when something like this happens.” In a strongly worded video message on Instagram, American Airlines chief executive Doug Parker said the carrier would push to have the passenger “prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.” He said the person would be banned from traveling on American. “This type of behavior has to stop,” Parker said, adding that the airline also is working with the FAA, which is authorized to levy fines of up to $50,000 in such incidents. The number of airline passengers cited for what the FAA terms “unruly behavior” has skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the confrontations are fueled by disagreements over federal requirements that passengers wear masks when boarding aircraft. According to the FAA, of nearly 5,000 reports of unruly behavior this year, more than 3,500 involve disputes over masks. Others have involved alcohol, prompting some airlines to temporarily suspend sales. In January, the agency implemented a “zero-tolerance” policy for bad behavior on flights. According to its most recent figures, the FAA is investigating 923 incidents and has begun enforcement action in 216 of those. In 2019, when record numbers of people were traveling, the FAA investigated 146 cases of unruly behavior among passengers. Hedrick said there is no indication that the incident on Wednesday involved a dispute over masks. She said it also is not clear whether alcohol may have been a factor. American is among several carriers that have limited alcohol sales on domestic flights. The carrier does offer alcohol in its first-class cabins. Denver International Airport officials referred calls to the local office of the FBI, which is looking into the incident. In his video message, Parker said the passenger had been arrested. The FBI office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Hedrick said the union also is looking into an incident that occurred Wednesday in Honolulu. During the incident, a passenger allegedly spit at and slapped a flight attendant while exiting an airplane. She said her union and others continue to push for a federal “no-fly” list that would bar such passengers from flying. Airlines maintain their own “no-fly” lists, but those are not shared among carriers. Hedrick said aviation workers also are pushing for increased police presence and more follow-up on what happens to passengers who are arrested. “It’s not just the masks,” Hedrick said. “Our passengers have changed. Their behavior on our flights, the safety of our flight attendants, the safety of our passengers — every day is being threatened here.”
  7. Investigators release findings into 2017 West Wind Aviation crash in northern Sask West Wind ATR 42 - TSB Final Report
  8. shÍtshow/clusterfúck doesn't even begin to describe the fiasco COP26 will be - reality bites.
  9. Right, glad we can agree on something.
  10. It's not high, it's what the product is worth. The other Trudeau tried a 'made in Canada' price with the NEP in '80. Didn't work out so well and it wouldn't again.
  11. Boeing’s 737 Max Crisis Wasn’t One Man’s Fault The plane’s twin crashes resulted from systemic breakdowns in company culture, management oversight and airplane safety regulation. No single villain is to blame. Mon Oct 18, 2021 - Bloomberg News By Brooke Sutherland The first indictment in the Boeing Co. 737 Max crisis should not be the last. Late last week, a federal grand jury charged the company’s former chief technical pilot, Mark Forkner, with deceiving Federal Aviation Administration officials in their evaluation of the Max and scheming to defraud the plane maker’s customers. Forkner is the only person to be indicted thus far in connection with the lead-up to the twin crashes of the Max, which killed 346 people, prompted a nearly two-year worldwide grounding of the best-selling jet and caused a moment of reckoning for the aviation regulators who blessed the plane as safe. Boeing’s market value remains about half of what it was before the Max was grounded; the damage to its reputation and that of the FAA is immeasurable. Forkner was an important liaison for the FAA. His responsibilities included coordinating with the regulator on information pertinent to pilot-training requirements. But he was also a mid-level manager. On Friday, he pleaded not guilty to the charges. His lawyer, David Gerger, told the Wall Street Journal that his client was being made into a scapegoat. Gerger didn’t respond to a request for additional comment. Boeing declined to comment. The Max crashes have been linked to flight-control software — known as the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System — that was originally added to guard against an aerodynamic stall, but instead repeatedly forced the planes to nosedive and set off a cacophony of alerts that overwhelmed pilots. The FAA excluded details on MCAS from manuals and training materials because officials believed it turned on only in extreme situations. They thought this, according to the indictment, because Forkner allegedly declined to inform regulators when he learned that the scope of MCAS had been expanded so that the system would activate in more normal flying conditions. A key sales pitch for the Max was that pilots who were already well-versed in flying older 737 models would need limited additional training. Proper consideration of MCAS may have led the FAA to require more extensive training, which would have been expensive and perhaps led some airlines to choose planes built by rival Airbus SE instead. “In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,” Chad Meacham, acting U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Texas, said in a Department of Justice statement on the indictment. “There is no excusing those who deceive safety regulators for the sake of personal gain or commercial expediency,” added Eric Soskin, inspector general for the Department of Transportation. If convicted, Forkner faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and 10 years for each count of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce. The facts detailed in the indictment aren’t flattering for Forkner. But the idea that he was operating as some kind of rogue employee and should shoulder this much blame defies logic. The indictment says Forkner was aware that Boeing had agreed to compensate at least one airline customer if the FAA required more significant pilot training. It doesn’t say he made that decision himself. Nor was he the one who elected to expand the scope of MCAS in the first place, without the kind of fixes and adjustments that Boeing has since made in order to get the Max flying again. It appears that he wasn’t even properly informed of the rework. “I basically lied to the regulators (unknowingly),” Forkner wrote in a message to a colleague included in the legal filings after seemingly stumbling across the increased range of MCAS in a simulated test flight. It wasn’t one person who acted for the sake of personal gain or commercial expediency; it was a culture that encouraged such behavior and a company that lacked the kind of inter-divisional coordination and quality controls necessary to churn out safe airplanes. The language in the DOJ’s statement on Forkner echoes that of a January deal with Boeing to settle a criminal charge of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government with essentially a slap on the wrist. The headline penalty was $2.5 billion, but the vast majority of that represented customer compensation that Boeing would have needed to pay regardless. The deferred prosecution agreement requires Boeing to cooperate with investigators, enhance reporting on internal controls and meet routinely with regulators to prove it’s doing all it can to discourage future infractions. But the DOJ concluded that Boeing didn’t need an independent compliance monitor, in part because its “misconduct was neither pervasive across the organization, nor undertaken by a large number of employees, nor facilitated by senior management.” Really? Forkner left Boeing in July 2018, according to the indictment. The first Max crash happened in October of that year. It took Boeing and former CEO Dennis Muilenburg many months after the second accident in March 2019 to take full accountability for the company’s role in the crashes. Boeing repeatedly pushed overly optimistic deadlines for the Max’s return, to the point where, in late 2019, FAA Administrator Steve Dickson publicly rebuked the company. It wasn’t until January 2020, 10 months into the Max’s grounding, that Boeing finally shifted its position and recommended simulator training for pilots. Despite the crash, Muilenburg was paid a total of $23.4 million in 2018, while board members — including current CEO Dave Calhoun — earned an average of $345,000 that year. Muilenburg was ousted in December 2019 but has re-emerged as CEO and chairman of New Vista Acquisition Corp., a special purpose acquisition company that raised more than $200 million earlier this year to hunt for deals in the space or air mobility industry. There’s something fundamentally lopsided about this. It’s worth noting that it’s possibly also in the U.S. government’s interest to paint the Max crisis as the work of rogue employees; a full-scale criminal prosecution of Boeing at the corporate level may have complicated the company’s ability to continue receiving federal contracts. Boeing is one of the top U.S. defense contractors and America’s only maker of large commercial jets. Casting blame on the Boeing employees who communicated with the FAA also diverts attention from why regulators failed to probe more thoroughly. The Journal has reported that officials elsewhere within the FAA knew about key changes to MCAS, even if those whom Forkner interacted with on pilot training did not. The 737 Max crisis reflects systemic breakdowns in company culture, management oversight and airplane safety regulation. If there is a primary villain in this mess, it’s not Mark Forkner.
  12. Fully Vaccinated - anti-vaxxer crowd will surely show respect and not mention it... Former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell dies of complications from COVID-19 Mon Oct 18, 2021 - CBC News Colin Powell, a former U.S. secretary of state and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, died of complications from COVID-19 on Monday, according to his Facebook page. He was 84. In the post, his family said Powell had been fully vaccinated and was receiving care at Walter Reed National Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. In a long military career that included service in the Vietnam War, Powell rose to public prominence by serving as national security adviser under President Ronald Reagan beginning in 1987, two years later becoming the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the latter role he oversaw the U.S. invasion of Panama and later the U.S. invasion of Kuwait to oust the Iraqi army in 1991. Powell, who resisted calls to run for president himself later that decade, would go on to be nominated by president George W. Bush to serve as secretary of state in 2001. Powell was the first African American to serve as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and secretary of state. Bush called him a "great public servant" in a statement mourning his death. "He was such a favourite of presidents that he earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom — twice," said Bush. Powell famously represented the administration at the United Nations, arguing that U.S. intelligence had confirmed Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction, which was ultimately proven to be incorrect. During his term as secretary of state he underwent surgery to treat prostate cancer. Supported Democrats He was later estranged from the Republican Party, endorsing Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden in their presidential campaigns. Powell called president Donald Trump's foreign policy a "shambles" and criticized his personal character. "He lies about things, and he gets away with it because people will not hold him accountable," he said in a 2020 interview.
  13. Southwest Air Asks Court to Reject Effort to Block Covid Shots Pilots made request as part of suit over labor law dispute Sat Oct 16, 2021 - Bloomberg News By Mary Schlangenstein Southwest Airlines Co. asked a federal court to reject a request from its pilots to temporarily block the carrier from carrying out federally mandated coronavirus vaccinations, saying such an order would put the company’s business, employees and customers at risk. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Association is seeking to stop the airline from moving ahead with the Nov. 24 deadline for the shots until an existing a lawsuit it filed over alleged U.S. labor law violations is resolved. The union claims Southwest illegally changed work rules during the pandemic instead of negotiating them with pilots. The carrier set the vaccination deadline to comply with an executive order from President Joe Biden that mandates all employees of federal contractors to be fully vaccinated against Covld-19 by Dec. 8. Southwest, like most major U.S. carriers, holds contracts to carry federal employees and goods, and the U.S. government is its largest single customer, the Dallas-based airline said in a legal filing Saturday. “The injunction that SWAPA seeks is extraordinary,” Southwest said. If granted, it would prevent the airline from meeting Biden’s order and force the roll back of policies adopted to implement U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to help stop the spread of coronavirus in the workplace. The possible cancellation of Southwest’s government contracts would cause “substantial harm” to the company and all of its employees, including the pilots represented by group, the airline said. ‘Unilateral changes’ The union’s original lawsuit, filed in federal court in Dallas on Aug. 30, claimed Southwest has continued to make unilateral changes that violate terms of the Railway Labor Act, or RLA, which governs airline-union relations. In addition to the vaccination requirement, the union wants to block Covid quarantine rules for pilots and an infectious disease control policy that, it says, significantly altered work conditions, rules and rates of pay, until the two sides agree on a resolution. The changes violate a “status quo” provision of the RLA by not maintaining terms of an existing contract during negotiations, the union lawsuit claimed. The federal court doesn’t have jurisdiction in the case because it involves a “minor dispute” under the RLA that can be resolved through binding arbitration instead of a negotiation process for larger disagreements that can take years to resolve, the carrier said. The union also can’t show irreparable harm because it is in talks with the airline to establish a process for pilots to request religious or medical exemptions from the mandate. Pilots are at a unique risk because adverse reactions to a vaccine could affect their ability to pass periodic medical examinations required to maintain their license. The union wants to negotiate, among other things, how such instances would be covered by long-term disability policies. Pilots also are required by the Federal Aviation Administration to not work for 48 hours after receiving vaccinations. Southwest has engaged with the union to resolve disputes and adjust policies in a way acceptable to the 9,000 pilots represented by SWAPA, and only has taken unilateral actions when necessary, the airline said. A hearing on the union’s request for a temporary restraining order is set for Oct. 22.
  14. Former Boeing chief test pilot indicted for fraud over 737 Max crashes Thu Oct 14, 2021 - The Washington Post By Devlin Barrett and Michael Laris A former chief test pilot for Boeing has been charged with allegedly lying to federal authorities about a part of the flight controls on 737 Max airplanes — a model that led to horrific crashes in 2018 and 2019 that killed hundreds of people. The Justice Department announced the indictment Thursday of Mark A. Forkner, 49, charging that he deceived the Federal Aviation Administration during the agency’s evaluation and certification of the 737 Max airplane. Two 737 Max jets crashed in late 2018 and early 2019, killing 346 people and prompting airlines to ground that model of plane while authorities investigated how its computer systems may have led to the fatalities. Boeing chief executive apologizes for lives lost in 737 Max crashes “In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,” said Chad E. Meacham, acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. “His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency’s ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 Max flight controls.” The charges against Forkner include two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce and four counts of wire fraud. He is due in federal court in Fort Worth on Friday. The most serious charge against him carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. According to the indictment, Forkner led the 737 Max Flight Technical Team, and had a responsibility to provide accurate and complete information to the FAA about differences between that plane and another version of the 737. In late 2016, federal prosecutors say, Forkner discovered information about an important change made to part of the plane’s flight controls, called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Forkner allegedly decided not to share the information with the FAA. As a result, authorities say, the manual instructing pilots how to maneuver that model of plane did not contain critical information that was needed to understand the MCAS system. On Oct. 29, 2018, a 737 Max operating as Lion Air Flight 610 crashed near Jakarta, Indonesia. While the investigation into the MCAS system was underway, a second 737 Max, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, crashed in that country. The second crash caused officials to ground all such planes while they intensified their investigation. Kenneth A. Polite Jr., the head of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a statement that Forkner “allegedly abused his position of trust by intentionally withholding critical information about MCAS during the FAA evaluation and certification of the 737 Max and from Boeing’s U.S. based airline customers. In doing so, he deprived airlines and pilots from knowing crucial information about an important part of the airplane’s flight controls.”
  15. Rolling Stones drop ‘insensitive’ Brown Sugar song from US tour setlist 1971 hit condemned by critics as ‘prime example of entitlement’ Surrendering to "the woke brigade"
  16. Airbus’s A220 ‘success’ is built on Canadian failure Wed Oct 06, 2021 - The Globe and Mail by Konrad Yakabuski Canadian taxpayers could be forgiven for holding their applause last week when Airbus SA and Air France broke out the champagne as the French carrier took possession of its first A220. At a formal ceremony in a vast hangar at Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, Air France-KLM managing-director Benjamin Smith and French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari ran out of superlatives to describe the new 148-seat aircraft that France’s flag carrier will begin flying this month on medium-haul routes across Europe. “This is not just another airplane. It’s an Airbus. And not just any Airbus. It’s a new series Airbus, an A220. And an A220 operated by Air France,” Mr. Djebbari explained. “In other words, the quintessence of French success and excellence.” Canadians and Quebeckers may beg to differ. After all, the A220 was developed in Canada by Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. and backstopped by governments here to the tune of almost $2-billion. It landed in Airbus’s lap only after a desperate and debt-strapped Bombardier was forced to surrender control of the aircraft – then called the C Series – for a mere US$1. If the A220 is the “quintessence” of anything, it is the failure of Canadian innovators to translate ground-breaking technology into commercial success. It is another example of intellectual property, developed by Canadians with Canadian tax dollars, fleeing the country. The C Series fiasco, which led to the effective dismantling of Bombardier as the company sold off its rail and regional jet businesses to pay down debts related to the C Series, also raises questions about whether a Canadian-based innovator can go it alone in a global economy dominated by foreign-based oligopolies. Bombardier tried. But its attempt to take on Airbus and Boeing was met with a ferocious response to prevent the Canadian upstart from upsetting their cozy duopoly. Airbus and U.S.-based Boeing slashed prices for their planes to undercut C Series sales. And when Bombardier did land a breakthrough order from Atlanta-based Delta Airlines, Boeing complained it had been “propelled by massive, supply creating and illegal government subsidies,” leading the U.S. Commerce Department to slap duties of 300 per cent on the C Series. Such hardball tactics were nevertheless foreseeable when Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper’s government invested $350-million in the C Series in 2008. They became inevitable when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals stepped up in early 2017 with a $372-million loan for Bombardier’s C Series and Global 7000 business jet programs. That investment followed the Quebec government’s 2015 move to inject US$1-billion into the C Series program. The direct government aid was on top of the lucrative research tax credits Bombardier was able to claim on the $6-billion it cost to develop the C Series. Canadians and Quebeckers were led to believe the government aid would enable Bombardier to bring the C Series to market on its own. Instead, as former Bombardier chief executive officer Alain Bellemare later revealed, the 2015 investment by Quebec and 2017 federal loan amounted to “bridge financing” aimed at keeping the C Series program afloat until it could be sold to Airbus. After ceding control for a symbolic US$1 in late 2017, Bombardier sold its remaining 31-per-cent stake in the C Series to Airbus in early 2020. The Quebec government, meanwhile, this year wrote off the remaining $289-million value of its 25-per-cent interest in the A220 program. Even so, under Airbus, the A220 is being touted as a “game-changer” that will enable Air France to cut operating costs by 10 per cent, carbon emissions by 20 per cent and noise levels by 34 per cent compared to the aging A318s and A319s it replaces. Air France is pushing Airbus to launch a stretched version of the A220 to replace its 200-seat-range A320s. While Airbus reaps the upside from A220 sales, Canada is left with the crumbs. Airbus continues to assemble most A220s at the former Bombardier plant in Mirabel, Que., that it inherited when it acquired a controlling stake in the C Series program in late 2017. But as the French-based manufacturer ramps up production of the A220 to 14 planes a month, from the current five, it will rely more on its plant in Alabama. The future of the Mirabel plant looks safe for now, but it is by no means guaranteed. After all, Airbus is slated to own 100 per cent of the A220 program by 2026, when it is set to buy the Quebec government’s stake “at fair market value.” That stake is currently worthless, since Airbus loses about US$400-million a year on the plane, according to analyst estimates cited by Leeham News. To reach profitability, Airbus remains laser-focused on slashing A220 production costs. It aims to cut in half the time it takes to assemble each A220 by “stuffing” the Chinese-built fuselage, adding electrical wiring and other components, before the final assembly stage as it boosts output to 170 planes a year by 2025. Airbus is also launching a business jet version of the A220 that will compete directly with Bombardier’s Global 6500 and 7500 executive aircraft, offering larger cabins and lower operating costs than the Montreal-based company’s planes. That could interfere with Bombardier’s hopes of thriving as a stand-alone business jet maker. Will the flipside of French success be more Canadian failure?
  17. Airlines Are Ripping Out Business Seats to Create a New Middle Class Premium economy lets flyers avoid the cattle-car feel of coach, and it’s super profitable for carriers. Fri Oct 1, 2021.- Bloomberg Businessweek By William Wilkes and Christopher Jasper For decades, ferrying tourists to vacation destinations has helped major airlines cover basic costs, but the front of the plane is where they’ve racked up the bulk of their profits. So when the pandemic whacked business travel, carriers were left looking for another way to pad the bottom line. Increasingly they’re finding it in premium economy, where travelers can avoid the cattle-car aesthetics of coach without spending thousands of dollars for the expansive digs of business class. And with Covid-19, growing numbers of leisure travelers are willing to splash out for a bit of extra elbow room at fares that are frequently more than double the cheapest economy seats. “People are desperate to take charge of their lives now, and airlines can no longer force them into just one or two categories,” says Juha Jarvinen, chief commercial officer at Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., which pioneered the service in 1992. The trend was already on an upswing before the pandemic, with installations of premium economy seats—not including the “plus” sections of coach, which offer extra legroom—growing 5% annually in the three years before the coronavirus hit. Researcher Counterpoint Market Intelligence predicts that pace will accelerate as more carriers embrace the idea of a separate cabin on long-haul flights featuring slightly wider seats, several extra inches of legroom, a deeper recline, bigger screens, and marginally better food and drink. The three largest U.S. carriers—American, United, and Delta—have been installing the class across their widebody fleets. Emirates introduced its first premium economy offering this year on some Airbus SE A380 double-deckers and plans to add it to 777X planes on order from Boeing Co. Finnair Oyj, which specializes in flights linking Europe with East Asia via its Helsinki hub, next year will start adding the service on all 27 of its widebodies. “The investment has been an easy decision for us,” says Topi Manner, Finnair’s chief executive officer. “Premium economy is the most profitable real estate on the aircraft, and the pandemic is reinforcing that.” Emirates’ new premium economy cabin. SOURCE: EMIRATES Seats in the premium cabin occupy barely 10% more space than coach, whereas a business-class berth typically requires three times as much room. Deutsche Lufthansa AG says premium economy generates 33% more revenue per square foot than economy and 6% more than business—and is 40% more profitable than the latter because it’s cheaper to install. The German carrier has premium economy cabins on all 102 of its long-haul aircraft and is considering stripping out more business-class seats to expand the sections. Initially, Lufthansa was concerned that the service would cannibalize its business bookings, but most passengers upgrade from coach. “Premium economy is the area we’re focusing on the most,” says Heike Birlenbach, head of customer experience. Some in the industry caution that the cost could be an issue for airlines just recovering from the financial devastation of the pandemic. A premium seat costs $8,000 to $20,000, a fraction of the $75,000 to $250,000 price tag for a lie-flat pod in business class. But it’s still about five times what carriers pay for a coach berth, and Quentin Munier, strategy chief at seat-maker Safran SA, says some carriers are struggling to scrape together the funds needed to make the change. “Many are in wait-and-see mode,” he says. Lufthansa Technik, a unit of the German carrier that specializes in cabin makeovers, says it’s had several inquiries from other airlines about adding premium economy and shrinking business—with some Asian carriers considering eliminating business class altogether. And it takes only about five days to install the berths and rewire the cabin, says Niels Dose, product sales manager with Lufthansa Technik. “It’s a pretty simple engineering operation,” he says. Today’s premium economy is similar to the business class that airlines introduced in the 1970s—a marginal increase in comfort at a substantial increase in price. But carriers in recent years have deemphasized first class, making business the key differentiator for their brands, with lie-flat seats and sumptuous service. A recent design study envisions flat berths in premium, though carriers haven’t jumped at the idea. Surveys show the most important feature of business class is the ability to get a good night’s sleep on red-eye flights, so such an offering would likely spur more business passengers to take a step down rather than encourage coach-class flyers to upgrade, says Ben Bettell, a consultant with Counterpoint. That means for the foreseeable future, aside from a few extra inches of space, the principal appeal of premium economy may still be that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you know you’re not sitting in the worst seat on the plane. “Premium economy offers an affordable escape out of economy,” Bettell says, “and perhaps more importantly an opportunity for coach passengers to improve their status.”
  18. So looking forward to COP26, it should be a really good show (assuming they can keep the lights on). Joe Biden’s rapid retreat on climate ambitions Rejecting a higher carbon price means renouncing the most effective tool for cutting emissions Thu Sep 30, 2021 - Financial Times by Edward Luce Everyone talks about the weather, goes the quip, but nobody does anything about it. Joe Biden billed himself as the long-awaited departure from the Democratic tendency to talk the talk on global warming yet fail to walk the walk. Biden would finally take serious action. In practice he is sending radically mixed signals. On Tuesday Jen Psaki, the White House spokesperson, said Biden was “looking at every means we have to lower gas [petrol] prices”, including pressing Opec to step up its oil production. Two weeks earlier, America’s president had described global warming as “code red — the nation and the world are in peril”. These statements cancel each other out. Which of them Biden really means is the $64tn question. The answer — that he agrees with both — is exasperatingly ambivalent. Biden’s oil price anxiety is simple. At over $80 a barrel, oil is at a multiyear high. It feeds into high pump prices, which contribute to rising US inflation, which wipes out much of the wage growth America’s middle class should be enjoying. That, in turn, could jeopardise Democrats’ chances of holding on to Congress in next year’s midterm elections, which would sink all of Biden’s agenda, including his plans to fight global warming. This trade off puts Biden in particular — and US politics in general — in a recurring dilemma. The drug addict who begs a little more supply to tide him over to rehabilitation rarely makes it to the clinic. There is no doubt that Biden wants to do the right thing. But he keeps encountering reasons to postpone the reckoning. The best example is his rejection of a carbon tax. Biden pledged in the election campaign not to raise taxes on Americans earning less than $400,000 a year. If that promise were confined to income, it would cover more than 99 per cent of Americans — a broad exclusion given the cost of Biden’s ambitions. But he has interpreted it far more sweepingly — to include any kind of tax, which would rule out Americans paying higher excise fees to fill up their petrol tanks. Forswearing a higher carbon price robs Biden of obvious revenues to fund the big investments in his two “build back better” bills. He is also renouncing by far the most effective tool for cutting emissions — the market price incentive. Republicans hate the carbon tax because they reject all taxes and because they do not take global warming seriously. The left distrusts a carbon tax because it relies on the market to do the job. Also because they fear it would cause a backlash. As a result, Biden’s legislation is packed with the kind of micro-regulation that would have made the Soviet Union’s Gosplan proud. The details — tax breaks for clean energy, spending on a network of electric vehicle charging stations, clean energy targets for utility companies — matter less than the method. It is as though the drug addict insisted on trying homeopathy before submitting to other means. Biden is betting on regulations over incentives. US political history tells us that this is not even second best. But even if these measures passed, which is very much in question, they would not get the US close to fulfilling the President’s goal of cutting emissions in half (from 2005 levels) by the end of this decade. “At best it would get America about a third of the way there,” a senior climate negotiator told me. Where would the rest come from? The answer entails two heroic assumptions. The first is to hope America will finally reach a point where a majority concedes to a price on carbon. The nearest moment would be after a Biden re-election in 2024. But it is a punt. America is the only big democracy where one of the two large parties refuses to admit to man-made global warming. If it was Biden versus Donald Trump, the 2024 Democratic nominee would have a hard time fighting an opponent who brands a carbon tax as socialism. Never mind that it is the free market solution. The second is that technology will fill in the blanks. The magic phrase “net zero emissions” is based on the implicit bet that humanity will find a technological breakthrough soon. The best way to incentivise that outcome would be to make carbon more expensive. It goes without saying that urging Saudi Arabia to pump up the volume is a step in the wrong direction.
  19. Airline Pilots, Crews Exposed to Increasing Levels of Radiation Longer flights have raised safety concerns for staff Thu Sep 23, 2021. - Bloomberg News By Tara Patel Airlines are exposing their personnel to increasing amounts of radiation as planes fly longer distances, with pilots receiving the highest annual doses, France’s nuclear safety institute warned in a new report. The five-year study by the Institut de Radioprotection et de Surete Nucleaire found that while the number of crew receiving annual exposure above a specific safety limit remains relatively tiny, the proportion doubled between 2016 and 2019. The government agency recommended rotating staff more frequently away from the most-affected routes. Airline crews are more exposed than people on the ground to radiation from cosmic rays, which are blocked by the atmosphere. As carriers connect farther-flung cities and use polar routes to save time and fuel, pilot unions and health experts have begun raising safety concerns about higher radiation exposure. Levels affecting pilots and cabin crew should be closely monitored, and they “should be considered exposed workers,” the report concluded. According to the IRSN, exposure to these cosmic rays is about 150 times more potent at 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) above ground than at sea level, and is two or three times higher at the poles than the equator. Commercial airline flight personnel are the second most vulnerable worker category to radiation exposure after people making nuclear fuel, it said. Steady Increase The IRSN study on airlines was part of an annual report published Wednesday on radiation in the workplace. The institute studied exposure of an average of 22,000 crew members working for unnamed carriers. Their total annual dose rose 38% between 2015 and 2019, and the average individual doses “increased steadily.” Before 2015, most of the 100 employees receiving the highest annual doses were cabin crew, but by 2019 there was an equal split with pilots, who tend to specialize in one type of plane and route. More than three-quarters of the pilots who received an annual dose of more than 5 milliSieverts (mSv) were flying wide-body planes on long-haul routes to North America and Asia, the study found. The most highly exposed flight attendants were also on these types of routes. A measure of 5 mSv represents a quarter of the maximum of 20 per year permitted by France for workers and is a level that the IRSN considers to be significant. High levels of radiation can damage cells and could lead to cancer in later life. The French study found that 96 crew members had exposure of between 5 to 10 mSv in 2019. A CT scan of someone’s head equates to about 2 mSv. The French pilot union is calling for better technology in planes to detect solar flares, which lead to higher radiation, so they can limit the danger by flying at lower altitudes or changing routes.
  20. Ready for takeoff: Porter Airlines CEO lays out plans for massive expansion and new destinations Fri., Sept. 24, 2021 - The Toronto Star By Jacob Lorinc - Business Reporter Michael Deluce, the CEO of Porter Airlines and a master of understatement, has one word to describe his experience managing an airline during the most disruptive event in the centenarian history of commercial aviation: “Different.” In a matter of months, the Toronto-based airline grounded its flights, furloughed nearly all its workers, lost millions of dollars in customer revenue, received millions in government aid, and fought its airport landlord in court over $45 million in unpaid tenancy fees. That’s certainly different. A more animated CEO might have used another term — “stressful,” maybe. “A real headache,” perhaps. But Deluce sticks with “different.” And there may be good reason for his composure. In recent months, the airline has been quietly preparing for an expansion that could shake up the Canadian airline industry. Porter doubled its fleet size over the summer and launched plans to fly to and from Pearson airport, along with international airports in Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax. It paid $5.82 billion for as many as 80 Embraer E195-E2 jets — a hefty discount, experts say — that will expand the company’s route catalogue to include sun destinations like Mexico and the Caribbean, starting in 2022. “Sweetheart deal:” Porter doubles fleet size The airline’s 30 new Embraer passenger jets are slated to take customers to sunny climes beginning in 2022 The services associated with Porter’s space at Billy Bishop airport — the comfy lounge, snacks, coffee and alcohol — will accompany the airline to its new locations, Deluce told the Star in an interview outlining his plans for the company. “This is an investment in our future. Some of our larger competitors have lost billions in ways that will permanently impair their business going forward, and that leaves an opening for us,” he said. “We’re going to deliver a superior product.” Industry experts say the airline needed to grow to survive the pandemic. When lockdowns hit, Porter, along with smaller airlines like Sunwing and Air Transat, suspended their services and laid off most employees. The country’s two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet, were dramatically reduced in size, laying off thousands of workers while cancelling flight routes on a near-monthly basis. Porter’s flights from the Billy Bishop airport on the Toronto Islands only resumed this September, after an 18-month suspension. Consumer habits shifted, too. Business travel capsized, while demand for leisure flights grew. Throughout the lockdowns, the federal government doled out more than $7.3 billion in bailout money to Canada’s airlines. Porter, one of the first to take financial aid, received a $135-million loan from Export Development Canada in May 2020. It received another $270.5 million in repayable loans in July. Federal bailouts received by Canadian airlines during the pandemic In the early months of 2021, while other airlines were negotiating the terms of bailouts with the department of finance, Porter purchased 30 Embraer passenger jets with the option to buy another 50. The price the company paid for those jets was a “sweetheart deal” given the product, said John Gradek, a former Air Canada executive who now works as a faculty lecturer in aviation leadership at McGill University. Aviation prices dropped during the pandemic while airline travel plummeted, allowing airlines with capital to get a discount on new assets. “So now they’ve got these brand-new, wonderfully equipped jets that they got for a great price. That puts them in a nice position,” Gradek said. Whether Porter can compete alongside the mega-airlines that dominate airports like Pearson remains to be seen. But Deluce says his airline can offer competitive prices and better services. “We have deep pockets to make sure we can expand into a competitive environment,” he told the Star. While Deluce insists the company won’t leave Billy Bishop airport, Porter’s expansion to new airports comes as it battles with the airport’s landlord — Nieuport Aviation — in court over the fees associated with parking airplanes. The quarrelling companies fired a series of lawsuits at each other during the pandemic, each alleging that the other had violated their contractual obligations. Nieuport alleges Porter owes as much as $45 million in unpaid fees for their planes’ parking spaces. Porter argues the fees should have been waived during the pandemic’s harshest lockdowns, when the company could not profitably operate. Porter locked in battle with island landlord Details of the lawsuits reveal how Porter once threatened to leave Billy Bishop altogether in 2018 over its terminal fees, forecasting a $35-million loss in profit if it stayed at the airport. Deluce says the company resolved those issues with Nieuport and has made Billy Bishop a “long-term part of our network.” But the legal spat between the companies continues; their dispute goes to trial in November. Gradek thinks the lawsuit is one of many ways the company is cutting down on expenses while financing its expansion — a cutthroat move by a company fighting to stay profitable. “It’s an interesting business strategy, more than anything else,” Gradek told the Star. “The airport’s owners have to be careful, because Porter is their primary source of income, and now Porter has money sitting in the bank after not paying the rent at Billy Bishop.” Legal action has worked to Porter’s advantage before. Deluce co-founded the company with his father, Robert Deluce, in 2006, amidst a bitter fight over the island airport. A few years earlier, in 2002, the Toronto Ports Authority had announced a plan to improve access to what was then known as the Toronto City Centre Airport — a smaller property hosting only Air Canada’s Jazz flights to Ottawa — by including a $15-million bridge from the downtown core to the airport. When the bridge was abruptly cancelled over political opposition, Robert Deluce — who was supposed to operate an airline at the renewed airport — launched a $505-million lawsuit against the city and federal government. He received an unspecified settlement in 2006 and bought the airport building shortly thereafter, quickly cancelling Jazz’s lease. Porter moved into the airport within the year, though restrictions on plane size have kept it from flying routes outside North America. “Michael is building on this big vision his dad had,” said Robert Kokonis, founder of Toronto-based aviation consulting firm AirTrav. “In order to grow, he now has to look around at other airports in this country and beyond.” Kokonis says the company’s expansion is a way of protecting itself from the decline of business travel, one of Porter’s core offerings at Billy Bishop. “The impact of virtual calls and remote work will have a hangover effect on business travel,” said Kokonis. “By moving flights to Pearson, they have an opportunity to tap into a larger segment of leisure consumers.” Deluce knows this. The new planes and airport locations give the company flexibility, allowing it to shift away from business travel as necessary. “Business travel will be one of the last segments of the market to recover, and it’s uncertain whether it will ever recover entirely or not,” he said. Things will be different, is what he’s saying.
  21. File under 'cultural accommodation'.... Afghan Evacuees at Fort McCoy Face Charges of Domestic Violence, Sex with Minors Thu 23 Sep 2021 - Military.com By Konstantin Toropin Two Afghan evacuees who were living at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin have been arrested in unrelated cases. One was charged with crimes against minors, the other with assaulting his wife, the Justice Department announced Wednesday. Bahrullah Noori, 20, has been indicted on four charges that allege he engaged in sexual acts with minors. According to court documents, Noori touched the genitals of one victim in three separate instances, once using force, in the barracks and bathroom at Fort McCoy. The indictment also alleges that he tried to engage in an unspecified sexual act with another minor victim. According to court documents, the victims were between 12 and 16 years old. A gender was not given for either. In the other case, Mohammad Haroon Imaad, 32, allegedly assaulted and strangled his wife on Sept. 7. The woman, who is also an Afghan refugee and is identified only by initials in court papers, reported the alleged assault to soldiers on base, who then moved her to an all-female barracks. The criminal complaint says that the woman told soldiers that her husband "beat me many times in Afghanistan to the point I lost vision in both eyes." "She stated that she had been the victim of hitting, strangulation, verbal abuse as well as rape since arriving to Fort McCoy at the hands of Mohammad Imaad," the complaint says. At one point, the woman told service members that she was concerned for the safety of her mother, who was living in an all-female barracks on base. Soldiers detained Imaad just outside the mother's room, court documents say. Both men have been arraigned and are being detained at the Dane County Jail, according to the Justice Department. The incidents appear to be the first instances of significant crimes on U.S. soil by any of the more than 60,000 Afghan evacuees, many of whom worked with U.S. service members in Afghanistan, who are making their way into the country. The Department of Defense has, in the past, dealt with instances of child sexual abuse perpetrated by Afghan people who worked closely with U.S. forces. A 2017 Inspector General report found that troops were effectively told to ignore any child sexual abuse they encountered. "DoD cultural-awareness training for U.S. personnel deploying to Afghanistan and two Human Terrain System Reports identified child sexual abuse as a culturally accepted practice in Afghanistan," the report said. Meanwhile, a 2018 UN report noted that violence against women had been “widespread throughout Afghanistan, notwithstanding the Government’s concrete efforts to criminalise these practices and establish measures for accountability.” The UN report noted that Afghanistan had an underlying cultural norm that sexual and domestic violence were “private family matters” and, as a result, reporting of incidents was rare. The report also concluded that “that the vast majority of murder and ‘honour killings’ of women resulted in impunity for the perpetrator. News of the arrests comes amid broader concerns for the health and safety of the refugees at Fort McCoy. John Kirby, the Department of Defense's chief spokesman, said that officials are aware of reports that refugees lack food and clothing, as well as alleged harassment of women by former Afghan soldiers. "I know of no specific request today to conduct an investigation, but the secretary is certainly mindful of the reports," Kirby said Wednesday. "We're certainly aware of these reports ... and we take it very, very seriously." U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., have called on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to investigate possible mistreatment or neglect at Fort McCoy. If convicted, Noori faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 30 years and a maximum of life in federal prison on the charge alleging use of force, and a maximum penalty of 15 years on the other charges, according to the Justice Department. Imaad faces a maximum penalty of 10 years.
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