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Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.

Latest

The perpetual motion money grabbing machines of privatised Australian airports could hit the wall

June 18, 2009 7 Comments

The catch cry of privatised big city airports in Australia used to be ‘sweat the asset.’ But the decision by the Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese to run the plans of Sydney Airport through the wringer at Access Economics suggests that ‘sweat the owner’ could change this. This report appeared in the Crikey Daily Email to […]

AirAsia X and Jetstar and the contest between their plastic fantasic airliners

AirAsia X and Jetstar and the contest between their plastic fantasic airliners

June 17, 2009 5 Comments

The AirAsia X order for 10 Airbus A350-900s plus 5 options announced at the Paris Air Show sets up an interesting contest with Jetstar, which is supposed to get the first 10 or 15 Boeing 787-8s in the currently deferred Qantas group order for 65 of the Dreamliners. Each type is the competing Airbus or […]

BA work-for-free-plea points to a second great escape for Qantas

June 17, 2009 4 Comments

How lucky can Qantas be, or alternatively, how poorly advised has it been in recent times? First it escaped from the Airline Partners Australia private equity bid that was a dead set disaster from the start only through one of the buyers missing a deadline, and now its infatuation with a merger with British Airways […]

Virgin slips quietly into Reg Ansett’s fabled blue lagoon

Virgin slips quietly into Reg Ansett’s fabled blue lagoon

June 16, 2009 3 Comments

Very old Australians may remember the fabled blue lagoon at Hayman Island where Reg Ansett opened the Royal Hayman in 1950. It was extolled in the magazines of the day as a place where the deep and recent scars of World War II could heal, and the fears about the Korean war and the Red […]

It was a swine of a month for Singapore Airlines

It was a swine of a month for Singapore Airlines

June 16, 2009

Add the swine ‘flu pandemic, which kills travel but leaves most people unharmed, to the global financial crisis, which cripples discretionary and corporate spending, and you get a very, very bad month for Singapore Airlines. But look closer at the figures, and it is also apparent that it is managing the double crisis comparatively well. […]

Dark brother is watching you, and sometimes its own

June 15, 2009 2 Comments

Ever noticed a persistent sound of an aircraft in the sky that seems to come and go for long intervals yet is never there when you look? It’s probably a police helicopter, or a quiet fixed wing aircraft, engaged in lawful surveillance. Their existence would not be readily confirmed if it wasn’t for the fact […]

Jetstar lets slip another ‘ace’ in the coming brawl with Tiger

Jetstar lets slip another ‘ace’ in the coming brawl with Tiger

June 15, 2009

Jetstar this morning announced the transfer of one of its international routes, Perth-Jakarta-Singapore, to Jetstar Asia. Actually that’s not what it highlighted in a concurrent announcement that its Perth-Bali service would rise from four times weekly to daily from 13 August, but it is the bit that will be noticed among Qantas employees and in […]

AF447-what exactly was said when the captain last spoke to Paris?

June 14, 2009 3 Comments

Almost every possible scenario has now been attached to the fragments of factual information know publicly about the crash of Air France flight AF447 13 days ago. None of these scenarios look complete, or comprehensively convincing, even if some of the elements discussed prove to have been a material part of the causes. But the […]

The Future-Airbus thinks it will be better without attempts to curb growth in air travel

The Future-Airbus thinks it will be better without attempts to curb growth in air travel

June 13, 2009 2 Comments

Two airlines that despise each other, British Airways and easyJet, and Airbus that sells jets to both, have somehow buried the hatchet long enough to fund an independent study into the economic value of aviation. Sounds implausible for sure. But the report, paid for by the warring carriers and the world’s largest airliner manufacturer was […]

The Future-Boeing sees one, and it looks good

The Future-Boeing sees one, and it looks good

June 13, 2009

Boeing is first out of the blocks this year with a new commercial market outlook or CMO. The remarkable thing about these ritual releases is that despite predicting demand patterns which uniquely fit what Boeing or Airbus happens to make in terms of capacity or range, they always agree to within tenths of a percentage […]

AF447 is being rerun in flight simulators by other Airbus operators

June 12, 2009 5 Comments

Some details of a US carrier running one of the crash cause scenarios through its Airbus A330 flight simulators are being circulated on several private airline forums and on the public Pprune or Professional Pilots Rumour network. It has been a long standing habit of airlines with a serious interest in flight standards to do […]

Angry Flyers Lounge-Qantas makes a meal out of boarding passes

June 12, 2009 9 Comments

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time, printing out meal vouchers for delayed passengers on a boarding pass format, but….. Passing Through With Qantas We were travelling from Melbourne to Perth on Thursday evening, and our flight was delayed for two hours. Qantas announced each passenger would get $20 food vouchers so […]

No sign of China & HK recovery in Cathay Pacific/Dragonair figures for May

June 12, 2009

From the official statement just released to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and on financial wires:- Cathay Pacific Airways and Dragonair traffic figures for May 2009 show a significant fall in passenger numbers compared to the same month last year and another marked drop in the amount of cargo and mail carried. In May, the […]

Angry Flyers Lounge-One lovely day on King Island

June 12, 2009 3 Comments

One of the 51 or so voluntary redundancies at Tourism Tasmania that take effect today describes  the now defunct Kendall Airlines’ finest hour. We used to go on familiarisation trips to various parts of the state to review and report on the suppliers and their products. My angry portion of the trip is in regards […]

The Past-The A300 makes its demo debut at Le Bourget 1973

The Past-The A300 makes its demo debut at Le Bourget 1973

June 11, 2009 2 Comments

On 29 May, 40 years after Airbus was founded, Plane Talking recounted the demonstration flight debut of its original airliner, the A300 at the Paris Air Show at Le Bourget in 1973. The first officer seat for much of the flight was taken by US Republican presidential hopeful and experienced pilot Senator Barry Goldwater while […]

Virgin plays Little Endians v Big Endians over corporate travel

June 11, 2009 5 Comments

Virgin Blue has backed, to use Monty Python terminology, the Little Endians against the Big Endians in its just announced tailored corporate travel program. We’ll leave the pitch to any ads they might care to buy, as Plane Talking is no place for advertorialising. But it is the demographics of its move, and what it […]

Jetstar A330-200 cockpit fire and diversion

June 11, 2009

Jetstar statement regarding Jetstar Flight (JQ 20) Osaka – Gold Coast A Jetstar A330-200 aircraft operating directly between Osaka and the Gold Coast has made an emergency in-flight diversion but safe landing into Guam International Airport this morning. Flight JQ 20 departed Osaka (Kansai International Airport) at 20.50 pm local time/ 22.50 pm Australian Eastern […]

AF447 raises important questions about airline and pilot attitudes in computer centric cockpits

AF447 raises important questions about airline and pilot attitudes in computer centric cockpits

June 10, 2009 10 Comments

No matter what the AF447 air crash investigation discovers, there are already implications for airlines. The disaster brings back to prominence issues about the newer non-flying cultures of airline managements, their disconnection from the technical experience of their pilot cadres, and the risks of using high technology flight management systems to deliver efficiencies which may […]