Don’t get your Germanwings over France

Regular readers will be aware that France is to air safety what Scotland is to gastronomy and New South Wales is to probity in government. Today's news, though, had me genuinely shaking with incredulity and rage. Not the fact that Germanwings flight 4U9525, flown by 23-year-old A320-200 D-AIPX crashed mid-morning on 25 March (Europe time), … Continue reading Don’t get your Germanwings over France

No, white people, we don’t get to decide what’s racist

Boston Review editor Simon Waxman wrote a piece this June in the Washington Post, saying that the US Army's┬ádecision to name its weaponry after Native American tribes - like the Apache helicopter above - is worse than the Washington Redskins' decision to keep its gross racial slur name. Waxman is white and not of Native … Continue reading No, white people, we don’t get to decide what’s racist

A Qantas of solace

Qantas announced its financial results today. Predictably, they were a car crash (Qantas still hasn't had a plane crash [*], but they're definitely a crash). $646 million operating loss, and $2.6 billion in one-off write-offs from revaluing the company's aircraft fleet. No rock and roll fun. Fiddling and burning As Qantas CEO for the last … Continue reading A Qantas of solace

Why security and safety theatre is the worst

Safety and security are brilliant. Safety and security theatre is bullshit. If you support safety and security theatre measures, which includes nearly all routine airport security, you are helping to make everyone worse off and nobody safer. Whilst world-travelling over the last month, I discovered that most European carriers [1] now allow the use of … Continue reading Why security and safety theatre is the worst

Long-haul flying: we’ve never had it so adequate

Something which gets neglected by most travel writers - I think because long-haul economy-class flying is inherently a bit shit - is the immense extent to which the actually-flying bits of the long-haul rigmarole have improved over the last 15 years. The pre- and post-flying bits have worsened, of course, which makes short-haul flight far, … Continue reading Long-haul flying: we’ve never had it so adequate

Only sentimentalism could have saved the Australian car industry

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth over the news that Toyota will follow its fellow foreign-owned carmakers GM Holden, Ford and Mitsubishi in ending car assembly in Australia. But at least from an economic point of view, there shouldn't be. The basic problem for the Australian car industry has nothing to do with … Continue reading Only sentimentalism could have saved the Australian car industry

Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

The death of Great Train Robber (which, rather like the Holy Roman Empire, is a descriptive phrase that falls down on all possible counts) Ronnie Biggs has led to some predictable, polarised reactions: the geezer-ish "he was a fackin' legend!", and the handwringing "but he was a violent cwiminal!". Both are fairly stupid. Ronnie Biggs … Continue reading Ronnie Biggs wasn’t a hero or a villain, just an idiot

Consistency, aviation and discrimination

The average woman weighs less than the average man, as does the average child. This is undeniably true. By far the most important cost for the average aeroplane flight is fuel, which is directly dependent on total take-off weight. This is undeniably true. The average woman joining a passenger aeroplane flight carries more luggage than … Continue reading Consistency, aviation and discrimination

Why credit ratings weren’t important in the Thameslink deal

I've not abandoned this blog - just, whilst struggling with painful paid work on the kind of social media and consumer goods marketing work I tend to post here (it's rewarding and worthwhile paid work, but whilst working on it for pay I'm not so keen to blog on it for no money), most of … Continue reading Why credit ratings weren’t important in the Thameslink deal

Dull Friday quiz

Since I've been blethering on about aviation, that's the quiz topic: 1) Which single airport (domestic or international) is the most popular passenger destination for people flying out of Boston Logan Airport? 2) Where was Air Berlin headquartered for the first 12 years of its existence? 3) Out of the top 40 international destination airports … Continue reading Dull Friday quiz