June 2012 Archives
A selection of quotes, significant, trivial and amusing, extracted from my notebook following the 68th Annual General Meeting of IATA that took place in Beijing from 10-12 June.
"I want emphasise this is your AGM...agree or disagree we want to hear from you." Tony Tyler, IATA director general. Nobody said anything - in public at least.
"There is no need for the Chinese to retaliate as China has ordered their airlines not to participate so that avoids the problem." Tony Tyler, IATA director general, responding to a question on the European Emissions Trading System at a press conference.
"I think I'm British myself." Tony Tyler wryly responds to a question at the press conference from a British newspaper scribe on whether the UK would be missing out if a third runway at London Heathrow is not built. He doesn't want the UK to lose out either!
"I know many airlines cannot wait for the GDSs to meet their needs." Tony Tyler in announcing IATA's move into global standard setting around airline distribution and especially integrating the sale of ancillaries into the booking process.
"The board has been very pleased with the input from our 242 members on the proposed changes - it shows how much interest you have in IATA." Peter Hartman, IATA Board chairman and KLM chief executive, outlining changes to IATA's rules and regulations.
"The basket of changes is an improvement but it is not the last word." Peter Hartman, IATA Board chairman and KLM chief executive.
"Qatar Airways has agreed to second this motion." Peter Hartman, IATA Board chairman and KLM chief executive. This deceptively simple sentence showed Akbar Al Baker, 2011's main dissenting voice, had bought into IATA's raft of changes. Peace had broken out.
"There is a breath of fresh air into IATA." Akbar Al Baker, chief executive (seen below right), Qatar Airways, asked if he is satisfied with the changes being made at IATA.
"I am happy to speak out...many do not have the courage to speak out." Akbar Al Baker, chief executive, Qatar Airways.
"I would like to thank everyone for their confidence in me by voting me on to the Board of Governors." Akbar Al Baker, chief executive, Qatar Airways joined IATA's inner circle at the 2012 AGM.
"I will still piss when I am not satisfied." Akbar Al Baker, chief executive, Qatar Airways when it was put to him by CNN's Richard Quest that perhaps IATA's top airlines felt it would be better to have the vocal Gulf carrier boss heard "pissing" inside the tent rather than "pissing" in from the outside.
"You must be pissed off." CNN anchor Richard Quest (below left) asks outgoing Thai Airways president Piyasvasti Amranand about being booted out by the carrier's board (he is).
"I see oil prices staying high and volatile for a long time." Bronwyn Curtis, chief economist (above left), HSBC.
"People think we have a basket of money under our desks and we just keep on using it...this is just not correct." Akbar Al Baker, chief executive, Qatar Airways on the perception in the west that the Gulf carriers have unlimited government funding.
"If everyone is treated equally badly, I don't mind, that is OK." Thai's Piyasvasti Amranand (below right) on whether states should support their airlines.
"Forget about all this crap talks about ETS and other taxes." Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways, gives his advice to governments who don't support their air transport industry.
"Regulators think the sun shines through their assholes...it is time for them to sit down and let airlines get on with their business." Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways.
"It doesn't work on its own." Alan Joyce, chief executive of Qantas, explains that a network carrier can only be successful running a low-cost long-haul unit if it has the feed from short-haul services.
"I will not tell you." Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways, when asked if his carrier is going to join an alliance.
"In their present form, probably yes." Tim Clark, president Emirates on whether the days of the global airline alliances are numbered.
"[Airlines] will disengage from the old ways of doing business in alliance structures." Tim Clark, Emirates.
"There will be fewer CEOs sitting here...a lot of airlines will be missing from the scene." Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways, on what the industry could look like at the 2013 AGM.
Lufthansa enjoyed a smooth debut of the Boeing 747-8I - and its new business class - on 1 June between Frankfurt and Washington DC and is now looking forward to receiving the remaining four aircraft it has slated for delivery this year to enable it to expand the stretched jumbo's network.
The inaugural flight (LH416) was operated by D-ABYA ("Brandenburg") - the first of 20 747-8Is that Lufthansa has on order. It departed Frankfurt on schedule with 313 passengers and 20 crew on board. The 747 took off at a weight of 377.6t (831,700lb) and a payload of 50t. On the flightdeck were three senior Lufthansa 747 captains including the airline's 747 technical pilot Capt Elmar Boje along with Capt Carsten Asmus and Capt Christian Krauss.
Also on board the celebratory flight was Boeing's 747 programme chief Elizabeth Lund and Lufthansa group chief executive Christoph Franz. During an interview with Flightglobal (below), Lund expressed her confidence in securing additional 747-8I orders during 2012.
After initially cruising at Mach 0.85 - and overtaking an Air Canada 777-300ER that had departed Frankfurt just ahead of the 747 - the crew then slowed slightly to M0.843 to ensure the flight didn't arrive early for the celebrations in Washington. Midway through the flight, while cruising at 36,000ft, Capt Boje reported a combined fuel flow of 9.6t/h (at M0.843) from the four General Electric GEnx engines, with a ground speed of 479kt (886km/h) and a 20kt headwind.
The 747-8 touched down at Washington Dulles at a weight of around 296t, meaning it had burnt around 80t of fuel during the 7h 58min flight. Capt Boje says that for initial flights the airline is taking a very conservative approach to reserve fuel quantities for the new variant.
The 362-seat 747-8I provides Lufthansa with a significant increase in premium seat capacity over the 747-400s that it is slated to replace. The major difference is the size of the business class cabin, which rises from (typically) 66 seats in the -400 to 92. The cabin is now split between the main deck (60 seats) and upper deck (32 seats) and debuts Lufthansa's new lie-flat business class seat product (below).
In contrast, Lufthansa's 30-strong 747-400 fleet is configured with an all-first-class upper deck (eight seats) and the business cabin in the nose and forward maindeck. The 747-8's first-class cabin retains the same capacity but is now located to the nose and features some product improvements (below).
As the airline introduces an additional four 747-8s this year it will expand the network from Frankfurt to include Chicago, Los Angeles, New Delhi and Bengaluru. The first five aircraft do not have on-board internet capability, but this will be addressed from the sixth aircraft onwards (due in 2013) which will be equipped with a KU-band antenna.
However the airline will have to wait for its 11th aircraft - scheduled in 2014 - before it receives a 747-8 with performance capabilities closer to Boeing's original brochure promises. This second batch of 747s will incorporate a block change of improvements including an engine upgrade, weight-savings and upgraded flight management computer capability.