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Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. Worked at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book.

Direct links to a selection of television and radio contributions can be found at foot of this page. Scroll down.

Join the conversation here or on Twitter at @aviationcomment

A retweet, comment or other publication by any means does not constitute an endorsement.

Quoted Content subject to creditline 'Julian Bray'

NUJ Life Member and Equity Full Member.

During career an active MCIPR, MMC & MBDS

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Sunday, 25 June 2017

30 easyJet passengers bumped off flight as aircraft 'goes technical' but smaller bird used as replacement

An easyJet flight took off with a couple of empty seats after turning away around 30 passengers, it has emerged. 
An EasyJet flight on the  Glasgow to Luton schedule on June 18 led to an Airbus A320 jet 'going technical' and taken out of service. The airline substituted a smaller A319 aircraft but that has a fewer number of seats. 30 to be precise.
The staff following protocol and EU regulations randomly selected passengers not to fly, the replacement smaller jet then took off but still with 2 seats empty, as reported by the Independents' Simon Calder.
Intending passenger Joe Bond, from Brighton, said he was in a group of 12 who arrived at the airport with some 60 minutes to spare but heard their names called over the speakers, as they were denied boarding from the flight.
He said: 'As the queue formed, my name, and those of my girlfriend, cousin and a few other people, were announced on the public address system and told that the plane had been downgraded and we would not be allowed to board. 
'We were told they couldn’t let us know earlier because of the way we had checked in, and that the way we had checked in was the reason we had been selected.' 
He said he was not asked if he could volunteer to give up his seat but the airline claims passengers were asked at bag drop and at the gates. 
An easyJet spokesman later commented: 'Unfortunately due to a technical issue with the A320 aircraft that was scheduled to operate flight EZY74 from Glasgow to London Luton on 18th June, easyJet had to change the aircraft to a smaller A319 aircraft. As a result of this some passengers were unfortunately unable to travel on the flight.
'easyJet adheres to our obligations under regulation EU261 and we asked for volunteers to offload at bag drop and at the gate in return for compensation. We provided passengers who didn’t travel with alternative flights to London on the same day and we’ll be providing them compensation of £218 (250Eur) each.
'We are investigating why the aircraft departed with two empty seats as this should not have happened and we'll look to put measures in place to ensure this does not happen again.
'easyJet sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused.' 


JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476,

Saturday, 24 June 2017

2017 Paris Airshow records an eyewatering 14,000 LEAP and 2,850 CFM 56 aeroengine order book...

For CFM Christmas is clearly early this year with a record Paris Air Show order book!

LE BOURGET, France — 21 June 2017 — CFM International has secured a record number of orders during the 2017 Paris Air Show. 

These included orders for 1,658 LEAP and CFM56 engines, in addition to long-term service agreements, at a value of more than $27.3 billion U.S. at list price.

The orders reflect the worldwide wholesale move to single-aisle aero fleets.

The company is set to leave the Show with a 2017 order book of more than 2,850 engines and total LEAP orders on the books for more than 14,000 engines.

“This air show has far surpassed all of our expectations,” said an excited Gaël Méheust, President and CEO of CFM International. “It is highly gratifying and humbling to have so many airlines put their faith in CFM to power and support their single-aisle fleets.  Now, it is our job to reinforce, every day, that they have made the right choice.”

A recap of the week’s activities:
  • Spring Airlines: 120 LEAP-1A engines
  • IAG:  110 LEAP-1A engines & RPFH
  • GECAS:  200 LEAP-1A engines
  • CDB Leasing:  92 LEAP-1B engines
  • Spice Jet:  40 LEAP-1B engines
  • Tibet Financial Leasing:  40 LEAP-1B engines
  • ICBC Leasing:  80 LEAP-1A engines
  • ALAFCO:  40 LEAP-1B engines
  • BOC Aviation:  20 LEAP-1B engines
  • Lion Air:  100 LEAP-1B engines
  • Aviation Capital Group:  40 LEAP-1B engines
  • China Southern:  100 LEAP-1A engines
  • Air Lease Corporation:  50 LEAP-1A engines
  • China Eastern:  140 LEAP-1A engines & RPFH
  • K5 Aviation:  2 LEAP-1A engines
  • Avolon Leasing:  150 LEAP-1B engines
  • Okay:  30 LEAP-1B engines
  • Blue Air:  12 LEAP-1B engines
  • Ryanair:  20 LEAP-1B engines
  • CALC:  100 LEAP-1B engines
  • Norwegian:  4 LEAP-1B engines
  • Japan Investor Advisors:  20 LEAP-1B engines
  • VEB Leasing: 40 LEAP-1A engines
  • VEB Leasing:  44 LEAP-1B engines
  • Delta Airlines:  20 CFM56-5B engines
  • Arkia:   Rate Per Flight Hour agreement
  • Turkish Airlines: Rate Per Flight Hour agreement
  • Air Lease Corporation:  24 LEAP-1B engines
  • Ethiopian:  20 LEAP-1B engines
*LEAP-1A:  Airbus A320neo
*LEAP-1B:  Boeing 737 MAX

CFM International
CFM International, is a 50/50 joint company between General Electric (GE) and Safran Aircraft Engines.  The company claims the LEAP engine has experienced the fastest order take up in commercial aviation history. ... 

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476,

Friday, 23 June 2017

Could this be the immediate answer to the Grenfell Tower homeless?

All these apartments (and many more) are standing empty ......

A little off our Aviation Safety agenda, but as fire and security are major concerns we have been following the Greenfell Tower disaster withy increasing dismay, clearly the UK and the minority Conservative government has a major and continuing problem with dozens of tower blocks being clad with combustible materials that are likely to go up in flames, as it did in the Grenfell Tower disaster, when over seventy people (and possibly more) needlessly lost their lives.

But it seems to us, no one in authority, is urgently working out how all these families and couples can be immediately and comfortably moved out to a place of safety, whilst remedial work is carried out, panels removed and sprinkler systems installed, or perhaps whole tower blocks knocked down and low rise properties built in their place.

 Well we might just have the answer, admittedly it is radical but this is an emergency and with some support could work to everyones' advantage. We are also sending this message to MP's and hopefully someone will actively run with it, and bring some relief to all those affected.

During the boom years in Northern Spain, many, many thousands of well appointed roomy low-rise apartments were constructed, but then economic times suddenly changed and whole populations moved as new work opportunities were created ( mainly with the holiday industry) in the South. The legacy is vast conurbations, that are already built to a high structural standard, but remain empty, and with very little cosmetic work and Spanish Government agreement could be made available to displaced UK families within days.

Families could be given the option of moving permanently (with support) to Spain, or just for a short fixed period of time whilst their tower blocks in the UK are either repaired or demolished. Spain would welcome the investment, on the plus side the cost of living in this region of Spain is far less than in the UK, and for the majority of the year somewhat warmer too!

The Northern Spanish region of Galicia is unlike Southern Spain, it's more like Wales, very green and the temperatures more in line with the UK during a good Summer! The main port is Vigo, a popular port of call with cruise lines, and known to the British as Lord Nelson captured the City twice and sank the Gold-laden Spanish Armada in the Bay of Vigo . The gold is said to be still there!

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476,

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


A few of us will fondly remember the Concorde supersonic jet which last flew in 2003, and even fewer are happy to keep it as a fond memory, and a technological folly as successive Governments on both sides of the channel (UK and France) habitually starved the ongoing Concorde development of much needed funding. Now a new attempt to reintroduce supersonic travel is being touted around.

Aviation expert Julian Bray broadcasting live on BBC World Service last night, cautioned that a long road lies ahead even if early supersonic jet prototypes are to be flying by 2018. The time gained is marginal when you consider that everyone now has access to the internet streaming and Skype so the demand for rapid transit between distant cities for eye to eye contact is not that important as the internet is still much faster!

Now a Mr Blake Scholl, armed with a scale model of his prototype is pounding the corridors of the Paris Air Show, trying to whip up some enthusiasm for ritually tearing up stacks of $1000 dollar bills, for a new bash at it. Mr Scholl, styles himself founder and CEO of Boom Technology, Scholl says air travel could again be supersonic in just a few years time and he has the answer. But could it be Boom AND bust?

Scholl says he's flying BOOMs first prototype by end of 2018.  "We're looking at passengers in the early 2020s. That flight from San Francisco to Tokyo that takes 11 hours today will with Boom shrink to less than five and a half hours."

Scholl speaking on BBC World Service last night said his aircraft would benefit from aerospace technology enhanced aerodynamics, utilise carbonfibre construction and turbo fan jet engine concepts.  He conceded The Concorde project never turned a profit, but Scholl says new development technology makes his company's jets faster and less costly for passengers.  What he does not say is where the development funding is coming from but points to the fact that five airlines have already signed up to operate the Boom Supersonic just as soon is it can be safely delivered

"Concorde was designed half a century ago with slide rules and wind tunnels. Today we've got better aerodynamics, new materials, better engines, and all that adds up to a 75 percent reduction in operating cost," he said. Scholl said 1,300 supersonic jets could be built over 10 years, according to third-party projections. Aviation Expert Julian Bray says its more a case of Boom or bust, hopefully backers have very deep pockets or it might be a case of the latter...

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476,

Tuesday, 20 June 2017


Air Accidents Investigation Branch      

The AAIB has sent a team to investigate a light aircraft accident in Hertfordshire.

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476,


Paris: Tuesday 20th June, 2019: At the start of the Paris Airshow today, organisers of the UK Farnborough International Airshow detailed plans for the 2018 show taking place from 16 – 22 July 2018 at the Farnborough International Exhibition & Conference Centre. 
Under its new branding, the long-standing aerospace trade event outlined some of the new features planned for 2018 under the banner ‘The Future Starts Here’.
The show is seeking to attract exhibitors from a greater number of industry sectors including Aerospace 4.0 – the term representing the growing digitisation of aerospace manufacturing - The Farnborough show is planning for an expanded presence in business aviation, space and cargo sectors alongside the more traditional sectors of commercial, defence, rotary and MRO.

Farnborough International Commercial Director, Amanda Stainer commented: “Over 80percent of space is already allocated with a number of new exhibitors including CASIC (China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation) exhibiting for the first time in the Space Zone.”

“International participation is also on the increase and our Delegations Programme and other networking features such as Meet The Buyer set to return in 2018. We’re also expecting a number of aircraft debuts.”

Farnborough International also unveiled a series of new developments, including an interactive product showcase in Hall 3, spotlight exhibitors and the launch of FINN – Farnborough International News Network - a video-led news channel that will produce daily highlights of the show. 

The Innovation Zone will once again be demonstrating future technology.

It is almost 50 years since Concorde first appeared at Farnborough, and supersonic commercial aviation is now back again.
Today FIL confirmed the presence of Boom at FIA18. Boom Supersonic intends to surpass Concorde by building a faster and more economical 55-seat supersonic airliner.
As well as exhibiting and giving a keynote lecture, Boom will give the latest updates on their XB-1 supersonic demonstrator.

Farnborough International and FINN are exhibiting at the Paris Airshow in Hall 2B on Stands No G155 and G145.

JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476,

Monday, 19 June 2017

Finsbury Park Mosque Terrorist Incident possibly used a hired boxvan from Pontyclun in South Wales under new 'soft touch' DVLA check

Finsbury Park Mosque Terrorist Incident possibly used a hired boxvan from Pontyclun in South Wales under new 'soft touch' DVLA check. BBC News picture shows Wales Police entering the Pontyclun Van Hire base earlier this morning (Monday). A 48-year old male is in police custody.


Julian Bray Aviation Security expert writes: Is this the box van from South Wales, used in the Finsbury Park terrorist incident overnight? One person killed and 10 seriously injured, as a white hire van was driven into a crowd departing a North London Finsbury Park Mosque following a late night service to mark the breaking of a Ramadan fast.  

Fleeting overhead images captured from a news helicopter briefly included the distinctive side of the suspect van, and we seem to remember a number of these vans being used at Cardiff Airport.

If this is the case, then clearly the current investigation needs to be immediately widened to include South Wales and other regional hire centres. 

Hiring such a van is now relatively easy, due to recent DVLA changes, as the hirer only has to provide a generic DVLA check code, valid for a period of 21 days,  thand the hire company need make not further security checks in order to hire out vehicles.and commentators are concerned that now the DVLA no longer issue a detailed paper counterpart driving licence in addition to the credit card size driving licence it is even easier to hire a van as the  Pontyclun Van hire website suggests;


Welcome to Pontyclun Van Hire

Established for over 25 years, Pontyclun Van Hire
provide quality vans, trucks and other vehicles 
for hire in the South Wales area.
We are open seven days a week,
including bank holidays, enabling you
 to collect and return your vehicle exactly
when it suits you.
The DVLA website says:

View or share your driving licence information
You can use this service to:
  • view your driving record, for example vehicles you can drive
  • check your penalty points or disqualifications
  • create a licence ‘check code’ to share your driving record
  • with someone, for example a car hire company
The ‘check code’ will be valid for 21 days.
You’ll need:


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB) has sent an investigation team to Spanhoe Airfield, Corby, Northants. .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The AAIB has sent an investigation team to Northamptonshire.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The AAIB this morning (18 June 2017) sent an investigation team to investigate a light aircraft accident in Northamptonshire. The accident occurred near to Spanhoe Airfield, Corby, Northamptonshire. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sunday, 18 June 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The future of the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget may be in doubt as Eric Trappier of Dassault appointed new Chair of GIFAS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Eric Trappier, Chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation, named new Chairman of GIFAS (June 2017)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Trappier - © Dassault Aviation - X. Béjot
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Executive Committee of the French Aerospace Industries Association (GIFAS) met on 8 June 2017 and it could have far reaching consequences on the future of the Paris Air Show *** due to start on 19 June at Le Bourget Airport.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The GIFAS Executive Committee has decided, they say "to make the Association’s governance evolve for more performance and efficiency in the interests of the industry and its members" and elected Mr Eric Trappier, Chairman & CEO of Dassault Aviation, the current Deputy, as the new Chairman of GIFAS.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The operational mandate of the newly-appointed Chairman is set to start to coincide with opening of the 2017 Paris Air Show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mr Eric Trappier, known within the industry as a committed  cost cutter takes over from M. Marwan Lahoud, who has served as GIFAS Chairman since 2013.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Also appointed is Mr Fabrice Brégier, as Deputy-Chairman. Mr Fabrice Brégier is the COO of Airbus and Chairman of Airbus Commercial Aircraft.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Biography: Mr Trappier: bio_eric_trappier_uk.pdf

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            *** Julian Bray Aviation expert writes: The rapid expansion of the Farnborough Air Show site in the UK, with the opening of extensive new permanent double level exhibition halls, has raised a question mark over the future of the Paris Air Show, as many exhibitors and customers from world markets are now seeking a wider non-European marketplace and will  be 'keen' to be associated with an outward looking marketing operation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The appointment of Mr Trappier signals that GIFAS will follow a firmly eurocentric line in future and that spiralling operational costings for the Paris Air Show, will be put under the microscope. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Paris Air Show is likely to re-evaluate its continuing association with Le Bourget; following recent criticism, from some exhibitors, that the venue urgently needs new investment and the overall region is in a financially depressed area and does not promote the right international image . 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Friday, 16 June 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            British Airways Mixed Fleet (employees joined from 2010) all out strike called by Unite Union for 16 days in July 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Earlier today Unite union members employed by British Airways’ so called mixed fleet (post 2010 employees) have announced a two week ( although its from July 1st to July16th ie 16 days)  strike, after the airline refused ( the Union claims) to accept the union’s final compromise position on outstanding issues relating to sanctioning of striking cabin crew following previous bouts of industrial action, writes Aviation Expert, Julian Bray.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            In a clear hardening of their negotiating position, Unite said it would ‘vigorously’ pursue legal action against British Airways to the ‘highest court in the land’ on behalf of 1,400 cabin crew, who they claim were sanctioned for taking strike action in a long running pay dispute. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The actual strike timetable has been published with union members labour being withdrawn from 00:01 Saturday 1 July to 23:59 Sunday 16 July 2017.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Unite Union says British Airways has  'a blacklist' designed to levy sanctions on striking cabin crew. Sanctions have in the past included mixed fleet BA cabin crew seeing bonus payments ( running into hundreds of pounds) withdrawn and the scrapping of staff travel concessions.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Last week Unite say they suspended a planned four-day strike by British Airways’ mixed fleet cabin crew, (due to start today), in an attempt to resolve the dispute through fresh negotiations. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Talks at the conciliation service ACAS earlier this week, saw Unite Union claiming  ‘deep frustration’ over British Airways’ alleged failure to send its key decision makers to the talks. This Unite writing to British Airways management with a final compromise positon for acceptance by noon today.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Commenting Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: “The refusal by British Airways bosses to meaningfully consider our compromise offer is deeply disappointing. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “A resolution to this long running dispute was within the grasp of British Airways, but instead of grabbing that opportunity, bosses rebuffed it. It now means British Airways faces an entirely avoidable two week strike and prolonged legal action on behalf of over 1,400 mixed cabin crew. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “Unite believes the divisive way British Airways has targeted striking members of cabin crew is unlawful and amounts to blacklisting. The airline should be under no illusion of Unites' intent to pursue justice on behalf of  members 'all the way to the highest court' in the land. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            “We would urge British Airways’ bosses to come to their senses and think again.”
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To date, the union says there has been a total of 26 days of strike action since the beginning of January which has led to the cancellation of flights and the airline chartering, or ‘wet leasing’, aircraft from other airlines such as Titan Airways, Vueling and Thomson Airways to cover striking cabin crew. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Operationally the airline may decide to combine flights, charter in from other code share airlines, and operate a pre- empted positioning of extra aircraft to maintain mixed fleet schedules, which are thought to only cover some 33% of BA routes.   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Since 2010 all British Airways new cabin crew employees join what is called ‘mixed fleet’, where despite promises that pay would be 10 per cent above the market rate, the union claims basic pay starts at just £12,192 with £3 an hour flying pay. Unite estimates that on average ‘mixed fleet’ cabin crew earn £16,000, including allowances, a year.  BA disputed the calculation and claims the minimum or lowest rates are from £21k per annum.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The airline also used a busy news day to slip out the news that the BA computer meltdown has cost the airline (so far) £80 million. To add to its woes, the Heathrow baggage conveyors for some BA flights broke down yesterday leaving many fliers without their luggage, as they were forced to leave it behind or possibly be denied boarding. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,   Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE  ISDN LINK,Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            May Report of the IATA Airlines Financial Monitor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            May 2017 Report of the IATA Airlines Financial Monitor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Key points:   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Global airline share prices performed strongly in May, surging 7.8% to be up more than 20% over the past year. Gains were observed in all 3 regions, but European airline shares led the way again this month, with a 14.3% rise.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The latest financial results for Q1 provide further evidence of the squeeze on airline profit margins, reflecting higher costs and weak yields. Industry-wide free cash flow also eased in Q1, compared with the outcome in Q1 2016. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The fall in Brent crude prices in April extended into May and despite some recovery, the monthly average price fell almost 4%. Jet fuel prices behaved in a similar fashion and were down 5.6% for the month overall. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • The strong start to the year for passenger and freight demand growth has continued. The passenger load factor set a new record high in April while freight loads consolidated recent gains. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Growth in premium passenger traffic has exceeded its economy counterpart in many key markets in the past year. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            • Passenger yields remain 3-5% lower than a year ago amidst ongoing signs that the downward trend in yields of the past three years may have bottomed.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            View full report

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,   Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thursday, 15 June 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            LONDON TOWER BLOCK BLAZE: TIME TO CALL EXPERIENCED TRAUMA INVESTIGATORS, POSSIBLY THE AAIB?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Was the external 'cosmetic' cladding to blame?                                                   Picture Reuters

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Julian Bray Aviation Expert writes: Having just returned from a short cruise break with Royal Caribbean, and seen throughout that trip a seemingly never ending slate of tragedy befalling London, it is beyond belief that a London tower block blaze could have ignited so quickly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Seventeen have so far perished, and sadly the numbers are expected to rise. The pace now changes from being 'search and recovery' to that of a 'recovery' operation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BBC World News satellite television news images show a sheet of billowing acrid smoke and sheets of flame licking up the outside of the structure. Let us all be clear, Sprinklers are good but are not the universal panacea.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They may have retarded an internally contained blaze but clearly not the cavity between the recently applied external cladding by a specialist contractor Rydon, who are remaining very tight lipped, with the exception of a somewhat terse statement.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The company and its directors, and possibly other public officials, may be facing charges under the new corporate manslaughter act, depending on the detailed evidence obtained by investigators.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Rydon cladding system a mixture of metal plates - an undefined mineral or wadding type insulation, obviously fire retardant but is seems from the fly ash raining down on the neighbourhood, clearly not totally inflammable, the pad or 'sandwich' floated i.e. deliberately a space was left, behind the pad, so the resulting cavity allowing rainwater to pass, has possibly turned the whole lot into a massive 'flume' or 'chimney' literally 'turbocharge' fanning the flames, however any investigation may suggest most of the fatalities may be as a result of, not fire, but smoke inhalation, a silent but deadly killer. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clearly to an investigators mind, this should be formally declared a crime scene, and the higher evidential level of criminal investigation carried out.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            No internal sprinkler system however sophisticated could have halted the flames travelling upwards through the external recently applied external cladding. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            To understand how this works take a look at a barbeque fire starter called a barbeque chimney, it is simply an open ended tube  an external insulated handle, a holes punched in the side plus a retaining grid at the base.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Charcoal and a small igniter is place inside and within minutes, the charcoal is red hot. That in effect is what has probably happened here.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clearly something is very wrong, and although everyone 'in authority' is saying that we should refrain speculating until the official review and a report is published. I would suggest the opposite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            People need an interim report quickly, and those who are homeless as a result rapidly and properly rehoused within days. It is well known that many absentee overseas owners buy up London property as an investment and then keep it empty.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The Mayor of London can enact emergency bylaws to requisition such property, if the Government declares a national emergency, which it clearly is as this is not the only tower block built 'and upgraded' to alike specification and with identical cladding systems. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            An efficient external regulatory authority should be involved, and who better than the AAIB The Air Accident Investigation Branch? I say this as a tower block structure can be compared to that of an upended aircraft fuselage, both contain a high number of people, wrapped in metal and cladding, and fire can spread in certain circumstances, very rapidly. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Had this been a classed as an aircraft accident, there would already been an AAIB investigation team physically on site, and a formal investigation started, I repeat, there would immediately be an identifiable team of independent regulatory investigators on site, and with the regulatory power to close down or suspend ALL like structures until they could be declared safe and fit for purpose.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Evidence collected would also be legally protected, and as we learned during the shoreham accident, the evidence can be withheld from police, prior to the AAIB investigation being completed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I am suggesting there would be no 'waiting for the council' or buying time by faceless officials. The investigation would be very publicly underway, and like an oncoming express train there would be no way to delay it or fudge the findings.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Finally our condolences to all those in anyway affected by this terrible tragedy, and to those in the emergency services who now have to make some sense of this terrible event.     

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert,   Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thursday, 8 June 2017

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BRITISH AIRWAYS STILL NOT OUT OF THE RUMOUR MILL OVER WORLDWIDE COMPUTING FAILURE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Currently docked in St Petersburg, Russia, surrounded by seven other cruise ships!
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clearly St Petersburg is a must see destination, and what better way to experience it?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Steaming through the Baltics to St Petersburg, on a state of the art cruise ship, having days ago, walked onto the Royal Caribbean International ship at Southampton, dropped the cases, for direct delivery by unseen hands, directly to my stateroom, and headed for the nearest on-board pub (Two Poets... and only just an hour away from the next meal.... and Bobby Davro on the theatre bill tonight ) you really have to wonder why people many with families, still put up with the likes of British Airways under the 'cut and slash budget style' chair and CEOship of Bilbao born Mr Cruz ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But then up pops his boss Willie Walsh who runs the IAG group, the parent company. Clearly Mr Walsh read our earlier blog suggesting that he steps up to the plate, rather than leave it to the gentleman wearing a high viz jacket, standing in the middle of his office to deliver yet another soothing twitter message...which in reality had the opposite effect.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Effectively BA ceased in many peoples eyes to be the UK national flag carrier, when it sold out to the Spanish based group and is now just another generic marketing brand alongside several others competing for attention, from the airline's parent company. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We advised on this blog that Willie Walsh should step in after the right old 'Horlicks' created by a mysterious worldwide computer crash that only seemed to take out the BA computer network and no other.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Having listened to Mr Walsh, what he says seems to be a rational argument you would feed to a lay person, who just uses e-mail and possibly surfs a bit the type of IT we all enjoyed back in the 70's, but it is a bit of a stretch to put the whole thing down to an "engineer".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Pardon for asking, but don't engineers wear hard hats, twist things with spanners and fix the rest with hammers?  If Mr Walsh had said technicians or computer personnel, it might not have raised a huge question mark over the whole explanation, and he might have go away with his remarks not being put under the microscope    

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is how the BBC Technology Correspondent reported it :
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Put simply, an "engineer" cut the data centre's power, messed up the reboot and fried the circuits, he has said. His explanation has raised eyebrows amongst former British Airways IT workers I've spoken to. There are big red "panic" buttons to cut all the power in the computer room".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Leaving aside the idea of big red failsafe buttons. What Mr Walsh is suggesting is the UPS (uninterruptable power supply) was affected - UPS keeps the network afloat for twenty minutes using battery power when the mains goes down) but it all went downhill almost instantly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            What isn't explained is was the so called technician working on the new TATA computer hardware accelerators?  These  are being introduced to the BA system by the Tata Indian computer consultancy group who recently imported a number of Indian trained and born 'engineers' to work on the BA system and to work at the BA engineering site in Wales? 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You see where Mr Walsh has seemingly given the game away?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BA Engineering as we have previously reported 'hopped into bed' with the TATA Consultancy group a few years back, and effectively handed the whole shooting match over to the Indian Company and its imported to UK,  Tier 2 UK Visa holders.... the Unions keep getting this wrong, its not a question of jobs being lost and exported to India. Indian nationals are being imported to the |UK, and probably only they know how the TATA 'secret' hardware accelerators operate...  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clearly the statement Mr Walsh was handed, originated from BA engineering (who currently have care and control of all computing systems)  so the natural choice of words would be 'engineer' rather than 'technician', 'IT worker' or 'computer consultant'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Simply old terminology has a habit of sticking around. But somehow the system went down not power down but with a bit of a bang or a power surge and in the process took out any emergency back up and we are not taking about a UPS system that anyone can buy off the shelf for a couple of hundred dollars (or are we?).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But let us examine all the chestnuts?  BA would not taken the system out during a busy period? Well yes they would, as its still a worldwide airline and has aircraft in the air around the clock ,but there is nothing to stop sections of the system being worked on either by re-routing or a simple swap out of a unit or two. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It happened over a bank holiday period.. This would suggest the system was operating at maximum capacity, under the old pre TATA consultancy collaboration ie 'in-house' BA would have had hundreds of long experienced BA Computer technicians, on the payroll and working on the spot, affectionately nursing the old legacy systems along, and not accepting digital instructions from a remote location such as Wales or possibly Mumbai. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The on-screen text of some of the 'fail messages' would also suggest by their construction, the author was not a native of the UK and English not his/her first language!  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Once you introduce any form of extensive external computer consultancy, you put your system at their mercy, it could well be that whole sections of your house systems could be digitally exported to that firms global network and in the switching process the  melt down happened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            But Mr Walsh was so clearly not mentioning TATA Consulting and refused to confirm if their people had control of the BA (possibly legacy (ie old) computing units).  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            So you'll get the idea, that we are not impressed with the explanation and the panacea that an independent firm will conduct an investigation is one step nearer, however if that independent firm is one of the big accountancy groups turned consultants that too could present problems.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Better if BA/ IAG  called in the British Computer Society and really sourced an independent IT firm, but there again would TATA allow its secrets to be shared with the investigation firm? The old BA system would seem to be installing these secret TATA hardware accelerators, which are we understand the intellectual property of the Tata consultants and they certainly would not be willing to have a third party reverse engineer their top secret work!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            JULIAN BRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industry, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   AIR DUBAI CRASH MARCH 2016 Television 2-way with CBC Canada via 'upmarket' SKYPE

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   AIR DUBAI CRASH 19/03/2016 Julian Bray first reaction