Archive | August, 2005

Gate Gourmet HR director tells his personal story

Andy Cook, the newly appointed Gate Gourmet HR director who walked straight into the industrial dispute that brought the company and British Airways to a halt, puts his personal side of the story in our sister publication Personnel Today. He has minor regrets and major justifications concerning the affair. You can read his views here. […]

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The coolest industrial process I’ve ever seen

In this job I’ve been round an awful lot of factories – some of them fascinating, some of them, umm, not so fascinating. But the most extraordinary thing I’ve ever seen close-up is friction stir welding. (The Boeing 777 folding wing mechanism was pretty neat too – and the only thing in Seattle that Boeing […]

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That’s a heck of a lot of sandwiches!

With the A380 getting on for 200 hours in the air and aircraft bearing airline liveries sitting in Toulouse it seems almost bizarre that not so long ago things like the upper-deck loading were being seriously mentioned by critics as show-stoppers. I first wrote about this issue in March 2001 when Airbus had just persuaded […]

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Why are there all these crashes?

The loss of a TANS Boeing 737 yesterday was the fifth major airliner accident in 21 days and takes the death toll to at least 338. That is a pretty awful record and the cost in human misery scarcely bears contemplation. So just what is going on? I wish I knew. What we’ve seen is […]

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Griffin to take shuttle flights one at a time

of its 26 members, including five shuttle flight veteran Susan Helms,
criticised NASA heavily in the report for an absence of managerial
accountability and management arrogance, which saw ideas dismissed out
of hand.

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Ban airlines, don’t smear them

The European Commission has been talking about creating a so-called blacklist of unsafe airlines for just short of a decade now. It hasn’t managed to produce one yet, but suddenly transport commissioner Jacques Barrot is planning to come up with a firm proposal. Good luck to him, he’ll need it. Frenchman Barrot’s remarks were at […]

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When depressurisation drills go wrong

There are mysterious aspects to the loss of the Helios Airways Boeing 737 last weekend, but the fact is that if the depressurisation emergency procedure is not followed rapidly and efficiently then things can quickly go wrong. At least two reports of earlier incidents show just what can happen. In this 1998 incident the highly experienced […]

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Blenheim Festival of Flight 14 August

Flight International subeditor Simon Rees writes about his experiences at the recent Blenheim Festival of Flight:   Despite the dicey weather, Blenheim Palace was the place to be for fans of classic aircraft and air displays last weekend. To celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ending of Second World War, the palace and Flight Festivals […]

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No engine, no pilot, no problem

Although the US Air Force has got into difficulties with its RQ-4A Global Hawks, the incident that sparked the trouble is actually quite comforting. One of our reporters listened in as military controllers warned nearby aircraft that a Global Hawk was returning Edwards AFB after an engine failure. It’s the sort of situation that, if […]

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BA’s perfect storm

Everybody is surprised at how this tiny dispute was able to leap from one little-known company to a major flag-carrier in a few hours and then bring the giant to its knees within minutes – rather like a computer virus. But it doesn’t take much. Behind the Gate Gourmet dispute is the chronically deficient business […]

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