Straight & Level 29 January

Citywings it over lookalike logo

While American Airlines is deflecting brickbats over its

new stars and stripes colour scheme, the lesser-known Isle of Man regional carrier Citywing has been sidestepping its own livery quagmire.

Citywing emerged after management bought out Manx2. But its new bird logo, based on the Manx shearwater (Puffinus puffinus), bore an uncanny resemblance to that of Ecuadorian carrier TAME, whose chief was not best pleased when we mentioned it to him.

Faced with the possibility of being engulfed by, er, “Shearwatergate”, Citywing hastily acknowledged the similarities and said it would make a few adjustments to distinguish its insignia.

The result is that there’s a markedly different bird flying on Citywing’s Let L-410s.

Can’t be certain which species inspired TAME but any ornithologist will tell you that Ecuador has its own shearwater (Puffinus subalaris) on the Galapagos Islands.

Below (from top) are the new, the previous and the TAME logos.




Citywing_old_plus_TAME.jpgDream one-liners

It’s no laughing matter for Boeing or its customers, but the Dreamliner’s grounding because of dodgy electrics is… er… sparking its share of humour.

Such as the news presenter, who might have wished he could do a second take, after declaring the “787 programme is up in the air right now”.

Or, what do you call passengers scared to fly in the Dreamliner? Battery chickens.

One colleague remarked of the revolutionary transport: “Just be grateful they didn’t call it the Firebird.”

And there is speculation the NTSB may compel Boeing to replace the battery’s aircraft.

Big name in Gulf

Qatar’s new hub at Doha is the latest project to bear the name of Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, emir of the Gulf state, but even this $15 billion bit of Arabian aggrandisement falls short of the egomania demonstrated by another local Hamad.

Because over the water from Hamad International airport, 300km east, lies the island of Al Futaisi, an unremarkable feature of Abu Dhabi geography were it not for the eccentric Hamad bin Hamdan al-Nahyan. Hamad has contributed to the beautification of the desert landscape by carving his name in block capitals (above), 2km long and 500m tall, in a sort of Arial Narrow font version of the Nazca lines.

It’s possible, of course, he’ll dig a colossal arrow pointing west towards the new airport, in a supersized version of the one painted on a London gasometer to stop Heathrow-bound pilots landing at Northolt.

But given that the car-crazy Hamad also built a Jeep the size of a house, don’t hold out for any intervention by logic.

hamad-c-Digital Globe.jpgChop the pilot

Lennart Rooth sends in this snap from Stockholm Arlanda airport. “For a long time people in the industry have said that one day we will have pilotless aircraft,” he writes. “Has that day arrived?”



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