Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Sit and rotate, South Africa


Apparently it’s your fault, my fault and the fault of everyone else who ever considered the word “choke” part of polite conversation.

Says our coach that, because of that tormented label, they had failed to put a rather average New Zealand team to the sword.

I wonder, coach, where’s that “up yours” attitude that has made civilisation what it is today? When they told Amelia Earhart that flying across the Atlantic was not a woman’s place did she apologise for having a dream, retiring quietly to the kitchen for a future of apple pie and mom’s best biscuits? Did she swap her aviation ambitions for domestic bliss? Did she trade her leathers for an apron and a friggen floral skirt?

Hell no boss man, she raised 1 x middle finger to her pubic naysayers and went on to become a legend of her time.

When the Springboks faced an All Black team that was twice as good and three times as polished in the 1995 World Cup final did they attempt to just “stay in touch”, save face, hold on for dear life, emerge from the battle with their honour intact, or did they raise one times gigantic finger of stubborn resilience – getting in the face of the opposition and grinding out a famous win that united this land? Eh?

Hell even Julius Malema, a perennial underachiever and guaranteed imbecile has managed to carve a profitable existence out for himself.

Just because someone calls you an empty vessel of political rhetoric with little or no value to add to a modern democracy, a forgotten child of a revolution long dead, a power-hungry mongrel and perfect example of everything that is wrong with African politics, it does not mean you cannot rise to the top of the steaming pile of corruption and lawlessness that is the ANC.

Whatever we may think of the kid, he’s got some balls.

So I ask you this Corrie, “Why do you guys allow yourselves to be intimidated by a word?”

The fact of the matter is a simple one sir. Most South Africans will not begrudge their team for losing a game against opposition that played better on the day, as long as their team played a reasonable game themselves...and as long as the loss is not against the international equivalent of the Upington under 19C team.

When you fold in a messed heap chasing a score most provincial teams would have managed at a canter it says little about your ability and skill chief - but everything about your attitude, your lack of self belief and good old fashioned “**** you” spirit of resilience that has enabled humanity to conquer the highest mountains, discover new lands and reach for the stars.

When you say “it’s your fault” for using a frivolous word to describe the team’s psyche it sends out the message that this group of talented sportsmen are soft of mind and meek of heart. When you point to the shackles of the past as the ball and chain that stops our boys from achieving the success we all dream of, it says that we are a people who live in the past, who fear the future, who dare not take one giant leap...

I don’t buy that.

Here’s to that wondrous day when this team asks us to sit and rotate. I know I’d be more than happy to oblige.







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Handling ageing staff a thorny issue

How then do employers deal with an increasingly ageing work force? And when do employees hear the voice of friends and say to themselves "the work is done"?

The starting point is that it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of age under the Human Rights Act 1993.

In July 2009 the Supreme Court of New Zealand found in McAlister v Air New Zealand Ltd that the airline had discriminated against Mr McAlister on the grounds of age.

He had reached the age of 60, which according to International Civil Aviation Codes, was too old to be a pilot-in-command.

The Supreme Court agreed with the Employment Court which found unlawful discrimination on basis of age. Air New Zealand was ordered to reinstate Mr McAlister and work around any international age restrictions.

In a difficult economic climate, there is less turnover of staff. There is now a growing tension for employers between pressure of junior staff seeking promotion and the decisions of older workers to remain in their jobs.

It is not that experience and dedication are not appreciated, but in order to grow, businesses need a healthy churn of staff.

Companies need to move and expand. They need to attract young people who will innovate and evolve the business.

They can not do this if they can't offer these employees promotion and opportunities to develop.

Then there is the issue of those employees who are no longer able to cope with jobs that they previously excelled in.

Inevitably, most of us slow down, and become less adaptable to new situations and technology.

The absence of a compulsory retirement age leaves employers with a quandary. In the past, there was a natural expectation that employees would retire at 65, and therefore some slowing of performance may have been tolerated where employees were near retirement age.

4. Week of safety talks

OVER 30 participants from civil aviation organisations across the Pacific are meeting at the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji headquarters in Nadi to discuss ways of improving regional air transportation systems and services.

Speaking at the opening of the week-long International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Development of National Performance Framework for Air Navigation System workshop, permanent secretary for Public Enterprises, Tourism and Communication Elizabeth Powell said safety in the provision of air transport was paramount because of the high importance placed on tourism passenger safety.

"For countries, such as ours, for which tourism is a key industry, it is equally important to implement measures that ensure environmental sustainability if we are to grow our economy and improve the quality of life for our people," she said.

Ms Powell said collaboration and consultation between CAAF and Airports Fiji Limited had recently seen the development of a National Performance Framework based on the ICAO's stringent requirements.

"This document will be revised at the completion of this workshop and will be expanded to include issues unique to Fiji's domestic operating environment," she explained.

Participants from Fiji, New Zealand, Nauru, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu are attending the workshop facilitated by the Pacific Aviation Safety Office and ICAO.







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Waiting for a Skyhawk

The Ashburton Aviation Museum is waiting with bated breath in anticipation of Defence Minister Wayne Mapp's decision on the Government's mothballed Skyhawks.

Museum president Ron McFarlane believes the Government will make a decision on the Skyhawks within the next two weeks, and he is hoping one is headed this way.
He said the museum has been keen to acquire a Skyhawk ever since they were retired 10 years ago.
Mr McFarlane said the museum's hangers were filling up fast and the Skyhawk was a large plane, but was a more than welcome addition and important piece of New Zealand jet aviation.
He was unsure of the cost involved to secure and transport one of the Skyhawks from Blenheim, if they were to be made available to New Zealand aviation museums.
The 17 Skyhawks have been stored pending the Government's option to sell the aircraft to a suitable bidder.
American company Tactical Air Services has been in negotiations with the New Zealand Government for several years to purchase the aircraft, but had not come up with the money to secure them by the December deadline last year.






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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Boeing suspends shifts after power outage By KOMO-TV STAFF

AUBURN, Wash. - First shift operations at Boeing's Auburn plant have been suspended Monday after multiple transformers failed at the site over the weekend, triggering an evacuation.

The Boeing Co. ordered all employees out of the Auburn site after the Saturday morning outage, and the plant has been closed ever since.

Only emergency operations personnel remain on the job.

A spokesperson with Boeing said the company was assessing all of its buildings on site and had restored power to some of them over the weekend.

Crews are hoping to restore power to more buildings overnight.

Boeing employees who work in Auburn are advised to call a special hotline - 1-800-899-6431 - for the latest updates on when shifts will start and operations will return to normal.

The Auburn Boeing Plant, opened in 1966, is the largest airplane parts plant in the world with 2.1 million square feet and 265,000 parts being manufactured each year.

With 4,800 employees, the Boeing plant is the third major employer in Auburn.

Neha Jain

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2. Boeing (NYSE:BA) Expands GoldCare Program

Boeing (NYSE:BA) Expands GoldCare Program
According to, Boeing (NYSE:BA) is going to extend its GoldCare service to include its Next-Generation 737 product line in light of recent popular demand.
Discussions are going on now within the company and multiple customers will likely adopt GoldCare solutions for their 737 fleets.
“We’ve designed GoldCare to bring value to our Next-Generation 737 customers by boosting airplane reliability, which will reduce cost and improve efficiency throughout the airplane’s lifecycle,” said Jay Maloney, vice president, Fleet Management for Boeing (NYSE:BA) Commercial Airplanes.

3. American to add flights from Dublin's Terminal 2 in April

Beginning April 5, American Airlines will resume nonstop service between Dublin and its hub at Chicago O'Hare, The Associated Press reports. The carrier will fly one daily round-trip flight on Boeing 767-300 aircraft seating 30 in business class and 195 in coach.

In a press release, AA says it will "move its operations into Dublin Airport's new Terminal 2 that opened in late 2010. That means customers will be able to pre-clear U.S. immigration and customs prior to boarding their flight. On arrival in Chicago, customers will be treated as domestic rather than international passengers. They will be allowed to make connections in American's Terminal 3 at O'Hare and will not need to claim and re-check baggage before continuing on their next flight."

MORE ON AA: American attendants downplay strike threat -- kind of

"We are delighted to resume our service to Dublin and to relocate in Dublin's newest terminal," Loretta Kuss, Director – Passenger Sales – Chicago, says in AA's release. "We look forward to welcoming back our Irish customers and hope they will enjoy the U.S. Customs and Border Protection pre-clearance benefits made possible by our terminal move."

The aptly named website Airlines and Destinations says AA's current schedule indicates that the carrier "plans to operate the route year-round."

American did not say in its release when it last flew between Chicago and Dublin.

Neha Jain

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Checking In With Air New Zealand

Prince William Australia

Recently I wrote about some great ideas circulating the airline industry. Topping the list was Air New Zealand, which continues its relentless leadership in innovation and customer service. The last time I last covered the company’s virtues in some depth was 2007, so a recap is overdue.

In 2008 Air New Zealand’s paperless check-in kiosks completely eliminated the check-in counter in key centers in New Zealand. No lines, just technology that works and friendly staff ready to help if you need it.

In 2009 the airline introduced ‘The Bare Essentials of Safety’, a cheeky pre-takeoff safety briefing. Body painted baggage handlers, pilots and flight attendants made passengers switch back on to the instructions on what to do in an emergency.

I’ve touched on ‘cuddle class’, a groundbreaking economy seating design Air New Zealand introduced in 2010. What makes this truly innovative is not just the fact that nobody’s done it before, but that so many other airlines are fixated on generating premiums by only improving the first class and business class experiences. Focusing on economy shows that Air New Zealand cares about all of its passengers and adding value to every part of its business.

Other recent innovations include being the world’s first airline to introduce induction ovens on flights, allowing it to serve fresh pizza, burgers, toast and eggs the way you like them; offering mobile connectivity on its new Boeing 777 Dreamliners; and involving passengers in the development of inflight snack options, and entertainment through a new website developed in collaboration with YouTube. Degustation, communication, participation. What a menu.

Air New Zealand’s recent cornerstone investment in Virgin Blue to give it more exposure to the Australian market in challenging times is yet another example of the company’s positive, outward-focused mindset.

Wherever you find it, this kind of consistency is the hallmark of a truly great company. Everybody wins. Take a bow, Air New Zealand.

2. Roam Free on the Fantastic New Zealand Freeway

Air New Zealand Offers Free Rental Car Program for Lucky Visitors

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Reserve your chance to roam free in New Zealand by registering for the Fantastic New Zealand Freeway promotion, Air New Zealand’s free rental car program going on until December 31, 2011.

“Best Business Class to Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific”
Before you arrive in New Zealand, register online to tell Air New Zealand where you’d like to go. When one of the two cars (brand new Toyota Camry Hybrids playfully named “Jeffree” and “Freeona”) is available, Air New Zealand will send registered visitors in the area an email alert. The first person to reserve the car receives up to seven days of freewheeling fun.

With a bottomless tank of gas and mobile phone included, visitors lucky enough to nab a ride are encouraged to document and share their travels via “happy snaps” and upload their photos to the Air New Zealand website. A GPS tracker is also included to publish Jeffree and Freeona’s whereabouts in real time as they make their way around New Zealand .

3. Air New Zealand's Rico Raps With Snoop Dogg (VIDEO)

Leave it to Air New Zealand to nab Snoop Dog for a video with their slimy, supposedly-cute-but-just-creepy spokespuppet, Rico.

Air New Zealand has had plenty of controversial ads with "Rico" in the past, from the "cougar" ad of January 2010 to the new lewd crop of ads that debuted in October 2010 (most referencing women and their anatomy).

The new video is inexplicably odd and there is no rhyme or reason why Snoop has to be in this video in the first place.

4. Prince William Flew 'Cattle Class' In New Zealand?

When Prince William visited New Zealand and Australia earlier this month, he traveled around while there like every other regular Joe: in coach.

The Telegraph reports that William, along with his entourage, flew an Air New Zealand flight from Auckland to Christchurch, where William attended a memorial. His alias? Mr. Pinkerton-Smith.

Although Air New Zealand refused to confirm the reports, a spokesman told the paper: "We don't release details regarding individual customers."

Prince William caused quite a stir Down Under when he mentioned that he and his soon-to-be new bride, Kate Middleton, might honeymoon there. William said "I have always wanted to dive the barrier reef. I will have to come back, maybe we'll have a honeymoon in Cairns?"

Neha Jain

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