27 March 2007
26 March 2007
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) based in London plays a similar role in setting environmental standards to that played by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) with respect to aviation and emissions. The European Commission's DG Environment also takes close interest in ship emissions.
Again like aviation, the environmental impact of shipping is being ameliorated as new technology is introduced but it would seem that the growth in cargo volumes is more than offsetting this progress.
24 March 2007
EU position on EC proposal to include international aviation in its emissions trading scheme not yet established
- European Transport Commissioner, Jacques Barrot
- German EU Transport Council President, Wolfgang Tiefensee
- UK Secretary of State for Transport, Rt Hon Douglas Alexander
- US House of Representatives' Congressmen Oberstar, Costello and LoBiondo
23 March 2007
As signaled, implementation would be delayed by five months until March 2008 when British Airways moves into Terminal 5 at London Heathrow. In addition elements of the new agreement could be suspended by individual EU member states if the United States does not agree to an exchange of eight and ninth freedom traffic rights within two years. The US Congressional reaction to the latter will be interesting.
The US Secretary for Transportation, Mary Peters, has already issued a short statement welcoming the deal.
In a bilateral air services agreement signed on 26 July 2005 the United Kingdom exchanged eight and ninth freedom traffic rights with New Zealand. Air New Zealand was fortunate to be able to double the number of London Heathrow slots it holds when it did.
22 March 2007
Major beneficiaries of this announcement will be Etihad Airways and Emirates Airline who between them will be able to operate an additional 56 flights per week to major Australia cities by 2011.
One cannot but help wonder what influence this announcement will have on institutions deciding on how to react to the current bid for Qantas shares.
One suspects that the timing of this announcement just ahead of a decision by European Union Transport Ministers on the proposed EU-US "open skies" agreement is not entirely coincidental.
UK media reports in the Daily Mail and on Reuters suggest that the United Kingdom will not oppose the deal but has been seeking a one-year extension of the restrictions on access to London Heathrow. Why? This would be to allow British Airways to consolidate all its Heathrow operations in the new Terminal Five, due to open in March 2008, before facing new competition.
20 March 2007
I attended the negotiation of this agreement in Fiji and Tonga.
This followed a news story in the Press last week reporting on two passengers being denied boarding on Air New Zealand flights allegedly because of overbooking. Overbooking itself is not illegal. The Ministry of Consumer Affairs initially urged passengers to read the fine print on their tickets. Unfortunately it turned out that most New Zealand domestic airlines had failed to update their fine print which referred to the Carriage by Air Act 1967 (or in some cases the Carriage Act 1967 [sic]). This Act was replaced in mid 2004 with a new Part9B (this starts at s.91U) of the Civil Aviation Act 1990 which carried over provisions relating to possible compensation for delay (New Zealand legislation is available online). The speeches in Parliament from the Third Reading (18 March 2004) of the Civil Aviation Amendment Bill are available in Hansard.
Here are the updated Air New Zealand Conditions of Carriage. At the time of writing the Qantas Conditions of Contract had yet to be corrected [they subsequently have been].
18 March 2007
17 March 2007
There is also available on the web a presentation by Gapminder founder Hans Rosling using this software at TED last year. It is well worth taking the time to watch.
On 20 February 2007 Aviation Daily reported on what the major critics were saying in their most recent filings.
Tiger Airways, established in 2004, is owned by Singapore Airlines (49%), a private equity firm, Indigo Partners (24%), the founders of Ryanair (16%) and Temasek (11%).
The airline intends to operate Airbus A320 aircraft and will now decide on a base airport and seek safety certification.
To highlight just one very interesting piece of analysis, Figure 4 (page 14) is a graph showing the connectivity of various international airports around the world including Auckland. The measure of connectivity used is more fully explained in an IATA Economics Briefing on Airline Network Benefits from January 2006. The disappointment to me is that some other key aviation hubs from a global perspective, such as Dubai, are not included in the graph.
Among other things, the New Zealand Institute discussion paper also looks at transport costs, the nature of the goods being shipped from New Zealand by air and sea, and has some conclusions about the importance of Air New Zealand to our economy (pages 23-24).
I think the phrase "tyranny of distance" used in the discussion paper comes from the Australian transport history book "The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History" written by Prof Geoffrey Blainey and first published in 1966. It is still an excellent read.
Representative James Oberstar (D) and two other Congressmen, Jerry Costello (D) and Frank LoBiondo (R), wrote on 14 March 2007 to US Secretary for Transportation, Mary Peters, questioning aspects of the deal, according to reports from the Associated Press and Financial Times. The following day ALPA issued a media statement in support of the letter.
Qantas has released a media statement commenting on the implications of the new arrangements.
15 March 2007
14 March 2007
The United States and Canada have both issued official statements on the new arrangements.
This continues the implementation of the Canadian Government's new "Blue Sky" policy.
11 March 2007
Competing at the next level up, Bree moved when she should have been doing a sit-stay. Well it was hot in the sun and ...
On 27 January 2007 I posted on the last time they competed.
Today I went along late, left early and concluded that I am definitely not 100% health wise yet.
10 March 2007
I travelled on successor airline Swiss International (LX) this month between Bangkok and Switzerland. The standard of service was very good. Swiss is currently around one third the size of Swissair in terms of staff numbers.
At a very well-timed Chatham House conference in London on international aviation this week key players in this long-running drama started to outline their current positions:
- John Byerly, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Transportation Affairs
- Jacques Barrot, European Commissioner for Transport
- Rt Hon Douglas Alexander, UK Secretary of State for Transport
- Martin Broughton, Chairman of British Airways
There has also been reaction from two other UK airlines with a direct interest, Virgin Atlantic and bmi. Reporting includes that in the Times NEW, Financial Times, BBC, The Independent, the International Herald Tribune and The Economist.
One cannot but help think that early US Department of Transportation approval of the Virgin America reapplication could help make the deal more acceptable in Whitehall.
In a related posting on 9 January 2007 I noted the conditions imposed on Air New Zealand to allow it to complete the purchase of Ansett Australia. There is some evidence that the Australian Government has learnt from that experience.
A question, however, that remains for me in this proposed deal is what will be the impact of a more highly geared Qantas balance sheet in the face of external shocks and the inevitable cyclical industry downturns. The Age touched on this issue on 16 February 2007 in a report by Malcolm Maiden and opinion piece by Kenneth Davidson which suggested that this should have been grounds to veto the bid. Whether this is an appropriate grounds for government intervention is another question.
On Monday afternoon this week I returned from meetings in a rather cold Geneva, Switzerland. I started coughing in the taxi from the airport and things went rapidly downhill from there - I will spare readers the gory details. I simply note that have yet to make it into the office and suspect that I won't be competing with my dog Morgan in the annual Titahi Bay Canine Obedience Club ribbon trial tomorrow - my wife, Wendy, might take him though. The doctor concluded that I had managed to catch a good dose of influenza, probably on the flights over.
As I usually have an annual 'flu shot ahead of the Southern Hemisphere winter, have made sure that other vaccinations are up to date and carry a few basic medications with me, catching a virus is rather frustrating. This has got me looking at the fine print at the back of the itinerary prepared by the travel agent. They list two web sites that are worth looking at:
Both have a good range of health information for travellers.
Previous health problems while travelling have usually involved me catching heavy colds. Food poisoning caught in Samoa and Tonga has probably been the most serious for me but a full recovery was made relatively rapidly in both cases. Friends have not been so fortunate and I have heard some serious sagas involving tropical parasites.
This week I have also had the results back from a series of hearing tests. Suffice to say that they help explain why I have never really had a great appreciation of music, particularly of the modern pop kind!
So much for my individual health issues. On a wider scale, I am very conscious of what a devastating impact viruses can have on the community in general and the role that international air transport in particular can play in their spread. SARS and avian 'flu have provided us with warnings in recent years. A colleague of mine has spent much of the last two years involved in the transport aspects of contingency planning as New Zealand prepares for what many regard as inevitable pandemics.