Air NZ rated number two in the world for safety behind Qantas

Seems Air New Zealand is doing well in the safety stakes…must be all those cringe-worthy inflight safety videos.

An annual survey of the world’s biggest airlines has seen Qantas named the world’s safest for the third year running.

The Australian carrier was praised for its “extraordinary fatality-free record in the jet era?, while Virgin Atlantic was the only UK airline to make it into the top 20.

In a separate ranking for low-cost airlines, two British carriers featured – Flybe and Thomas Cook.

The lists (see below for a full breakdown) were compiled, an independent plane safety and product rating website.

The website provided safety ratings for 407 airlines, awarding them up to seven stars for safety. Of those surveyed, 148 were given the top seven-star safety ranking but almost 50 had just three stars or less. ?? Read more »

Who wants to sit by an obese man ‘the size of an infant hippopotamus’?

"What weighs more than a Suzuki Swift, less than a Hummer and smells like the decaying anus of a deceased homeless man? No idea? How about, what measures food portions in kilograms and has the personal hygiene of a French prostitute? Still nothing? Right, one more try. What's fat as f***, stinks like shit and should be forced to purchase two seats on a Jetstar flight?"

“What weighs more than a Suzuki Swift, less than a Hummer and smells like the decaying anus of a deceased homeless man? No idea? How about, what measures food portions in kilograms and has the personal hygiene of a French prostitute? Still nothing? Right, one more try. What’s fat as f***, stinks like shit and should be forced to purchase two seats on a Jetstar flight?”

Every time I travel I sit on planes praying that the fatties coming down the aisle just keep on moving…I shudder to think about how some of them even manage to sit down, let alone use a tray table.

If they have to use a seat belt extension I think they are probably too large to travel. Have a thought about this poor bastard then.

As rage letters go, they don’t come much more furious than the epistle sent to an Australian airline by a passenger seated next to a man as big as ‘an infant hippopotamus’ and who smelled like ‘blue cheese’ and a ‘Mumbai slum’.

Traveller Rich Wisken wrote on a blog that he paid an extra $A25 (?13.50) for an exit row seat, expecting to travel from Perth to Sydney with more room than a normal economy seat.

But he found himself seated beside an obese man, leaving him to feel that he was pinned to his seat ‘by a fleshy boulder.’

When he tried to change seats, he found those that were empty were taken by passengers who had stretched themselves out to lie in comfort.

Mr Wisken returned to his exit row seat and ‘it was then I realised that my fate was sealed.

‘I made my way back to Jabba the Hutt (the blob creature in Star Wars) and spent the remainder of the flight smothered in side-boob and cellulite, taking shallow breaths to avoid noxious gas poisoning.’

It might be gathered by now that Mr Wisken was not at all happy with the four-and-a-half-hour flight and has penned a furious letter to the airline, Jetstar, a subsidiary of Qantas.

Of course it was Jetstar.

What made his ordeal worse was to find that two days later a flight to Melbourne he’d book with the airline was cancelled, as was a rescheduled flight.

On his third attempt, the flight was delayed for two hours.

On receiving his angry, but humorous, letter of complaint, Jetstar emailed him with an offer of a $A100 (?54) voucher in compensation, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reports today.

‘Awesome work, Jetstar!’ he wrote.

‘Two of my flights in the past two days have been cancelled. You’re so lucky that my favourite pastime is wasting both time and money getting to and from airports.

‘Imagine how annoyed someone who doesn’t LOVE wasting time and money would feel about this situation. Man, I’d hate to be that guy…’

This is the start of his email to Jetstar.

Dear Jetstar…

Do you like riddles? I do, that’s why I’m starting this letter with one. What weighs more than a Suzuki Swift, less than a Hummer and smells like the decaying anus of a deceased homeless man? No idea? How about, what measures food portions in kilograms and has the personal hygiene of a French prostitute? Still nothing? Right, one more try. What’s fat as f***, stinks like shit and should be forced to purchase two seats on a Jetstar flight? That’s right, it’s the man I sat next to under on my flight from Perth to Sydney yesterday.

Fran O’Sullivan on Labour and Air New Zealand

Fran O’Sullivan holds Labour and David Cunliffe to account over their silly scare-mongering over Air New Zealand.

Air New Zealand has frequently been a political football for politicians of all stripes who have wanted to calibrate its operations towards spurious “national interest” grounds which owe more to politics than this country’s future.

So it was no surprise that this week Labour politicians claimed all sorts of calamities potentially face the airline – including another financial disaster on the scale of the 2001 bankruptcy (yes, I’m thinking of you, David Cunliffe) – simply because the Government has reduced its stake. It is an absurdity.

It sure was.

There has been a lot of political hogwash about the sell-down by the National-led Government and the underlying philosophy of the mixed-ownership model.

But in essence, Labour invented the mixed-ownership model with its 1980s privatisation of the Bank of New Zealand and its later recapitalisation of the airline in 2001 which put it in the box seat with an 82 per cent stake (later reduced to 76 per cent after a rights issue).

It’s also worth recalling that the Clark Government wanted Air NZ to form an alliance with Qantas a decade ago, which would have resulted in the Government’s stake being reduced to 64 per cent. No Labour politician – including Cunliffe – raised a squawk then about how allowing another player onto the Air NZ share registry would result in the airline heading towards the knacker’s yard, though arguably (and in hindsight) given Qantas’ subsequent fortunes that prospect would have held more water than the subjects of this week’s politicking. ?? Read more »

Just when you didn’t think Jetstar could go any lower

Jetstar just cannot get good headlines

Jetstar says it will investigate who defaced a passenger’s luggage in transit, using stickers to spell out “I am gay” on his suitcase.

The man posted a photograph of the red suitcase on Twitter yesterday, saying the wording was done using ticket stubs from checked luggage on his flight from Perth.

“Utterly disgusted to find my luggage front and centre on the luggage carousel looking like this,” said the married father-of-two, who gave only his first name, Aaron.

The post caused anger among his followers, who described the incident as disgusting and unbelievable.? Read more »

Brothels cop subpoenas

There are going to be a lot of nervous?politicians?in Australia and the Health Services Union corruption scandal widens. Fair Work Australia has now issued subpoenas to brothels:

BROTHELS and escort agencies are among nine companies served with subpoenas seeking evidence against federal independent MP Craig Thomson.

Fair Work Australia issued the subpoenas to businesses this week, with all but two of them companies involved in the sex industry. The subpoenas demand receipts, notes, phone logs or CCTV footage dating back as far as 2003.

The industrial agency has accused Mr Thomson (below) of using his Health Services Union credit cards while he was its national secretary to pay for brothels, travel for him and his partner, and hotels.

A subpoena was sent to Qantas Holidays seeking details of a hotel booking. Another went to?Yellow Pages?publisher Sensis, asking for requests for phone numbers for brothels and escorts such as Sydney Escorts and Young Blondes.


? NZ Herald

Qantas has apologised?for serving?up a?plate?full of maggots. This is David Farrar’s preferred airline now that he is cross with Air New Zealand changing their air points system:

Qantas has apologised to a Melbourne passenger who found maggots in her airline food.

The woman was flying home from the US last week, when she found a packet of trail mix was infested with maggots.

The airline said it has contacted the supplier and is investigating the incident.

I don’t really know why they apologised, that is a high protein meal with more calories than most kids in South Auckland go to school with.


Maerk’s loss was bad, Fonterra’s is a disaster

When is Len Brown going to act and tell his union mates to pull their heads in. The current industrial strife has now seriously crippled financially the viability of the Ports of Auckland of which his council is the 100% owner.

The Maritime Union laughed when Maersk withdrew their $20 million per annum business from POAL. I wonder what they think now that Fonterra has withdrawn their $1.4 billion worth of business from the Port.

If Maersk was a blip in trade then the lose of Fonterra’s business is a disaster. That business will now be flowing into the coffers of Tauranga and Napier.

Couple that with the news before Christmas that Tauranga has now got permission to allow significant dredging to enable ships bigger than the MV Rena to dock and the strategic brilliance of the Maritime Union is looking as good as?Napoleon’s?for invading Russia in winter.

The Ports of Auckland should withdraw all offers of settlement now and play Qantas style hardball in order to put a halt to the economic sabotage and blackmail that the Maritime Union is playing by. Shut the port, Contract out all the jobs, re-open with the freedom and flexibility of contractors.

It is high time this union?nonsense?was knocked on the head.


POAL should do a Qantas

Damien Grant writes in the Herald:

Last month, its CEO, Tony Gibson, wrote an embarrassing article in which he admitted that his primary competitor, the Port of Tauranga, was more efficient, more profitable and that despite paying unskilled dock workers $91,000 a year, he was unable to make them do more than 26 hours of work.

Can you imagine the CEO of Westpac writing in the New Zealand Herald that his staff were less productive than those of BNZ, that they were paid too much and he could not get some of them to put in 40 hours?

Gibson needs to look no further than the example set by Alan Joyce, the CEO of Qantas. When his unions threw a wobbly, he grounded the fleet. Joyce showed courage, stared down the union, took some short-term heat but saved his airline.

It is a very competitive market, both for port business and for labour, something the union fails to recognise.

The Ports of Auckland is owned by Auckland Council, where councillors voted 12 to nine to back the port’s management, with left-wing troglodytes such as Sandra Coney and eight others voting to support the union.

I’m not meaning to be disrespectful (okay, maybe I am) but working on the docks is not skilled employment. Knowing how to remove an appendix is skilled. Moving a container is something someone with basic literacy and functioning limbs can learn over the course of a few weeks.

They are earning $91,000 a year because Parsloe knows a council-owned company does not need to make money and that management will back down from a fight.

A LGOIMA request of emails to and from Sandra Coney and Mike Lee should be very illuminating.

Gibson should sack the entire workforce and start again. At $91,000, there will be no shortage of applicants, even if he has to fly them in.

He will not because his political masters will not let him.

Down in Tauranga, the local council floated 45 per cent of its port’s shares to the public. The business is therefore run along standard commercial lines. Its CEO is winning clients such as Maersk and exploiting the underlying competitive advantage it has over the hapless Jafas.

Government ownership places constraints on a business that produce the sort of nonsense we are seeing at the wharves.

Unions sense weakness and seek advantage, commercial discipline is lost and there is no consequence for failure, no risk of insolvency and no reward for profit.

The state-owned enterprise model is an improvement, but there is no discipline like the discipline of the market.

Gibson should sack the entire workforce and tender out the work. Let’s see how the union fares then.

Time to break the Maritime Union

The Maritime Union is striking again:

Ports of Auckland faces yet another strike – for 48 hours from this morning ((Friday)) – in an increasingly bitter dispute which has already disrupted shipping three times this month.

The strike from 7am by more than 300 dockers covered by the Maritime Union will carry the row over unsettled collective employment negotiations through the first dawn of 2012.

There has been no attempt by either side to break the impasse since the workers at the port’s two container terminals held two 24-hour strikes last weekend, including on Christmas Day, and issued notice of a fifth round of stoppages early next month.

The Port has now offered a 10% pay increase, which in this economic climate is very generous. The Union responded by giving notice of yet another strike, which is now in effect. It is still not clear what the Union actually wants, except to ensure that it retains a total monopoly of stevedoring at the Ports of Auckland.

It is now time to break the strike and break the union at the same time.

One option would be to do what President Reagan did to striking air traffic controllers in the US thirty years ago. Sack the lot of them and employ new people. Unfortunately, John Key is no Reagan and New Zealand doesn’t really?have?the laws to enable the government to do this in any case.

John Key could promote a law change to have union officials, who act in bad faith, held personally liable for the damage that they cause to others. Bad faith provisions were brought in by Helen Clark’s government but there is currently no real liability associated with bad faith actions.

Perhaps the best route, however, would be for the Ports of Auckland to follow the same path as Qantas did recently. They should simply make all members of the Union redundant and, like Tauranga, and put its stevedoring out for competitive tender by private operators. The Labour politicians in the Auckland Council won’t like it a bit, but will not ultimately have the political courage to stand in the way of management. There will be a period of disruption, no doubt, but as Qantas discovered, that is far preferable to a slow economic death at the hands of self-serving unionists.

The formation of an alternate union also has merit. It seems the Maritime Union is hell bent on destroying the Port and the jobs that go with it. Give them their wish.

The government should also move forthwith to repeal section 55 and section 65A of the Employment?Relations?Act 2000 that provides for employers to deduct union dues from salary on behalf of unions. This is a very simple adjustment and could very easily be part of an Omnibus Bill.

The hold of the Maritime Union over the Ports of Auckland and the many?businesses?reliant on trade through the port must be broken.

Is this the sort of union nirvana that Labour wants to bring back?

Last week Labour released their employment policies and front and centre in them was a return to the style of union bully tactics we had in the 70s and 80s. Darien Fenton on launching the policy and strategies told us that their plans would resemble the arrangements that Australia “enjoys”.

I wonder how the public in Australia is enjoying their unions now:

Qantas Airways grounded all of its aircraft around the world indefinitely on Saturday due to ongoing strikes by its workers.

The Australian carrier’s entire fleet of 108 aircraft will remain grounded until unions representing pilots, mechanics and other ground staff reach an agreement with the airline over pay and conditions, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told a news conference in Sydney.

“We have decided to ground the Qantas international and domestic fleets immediately,” Joyce said.

Flights already in the air when the announcement was made were to continue to their destinations.

Staff will not be required to show up at work and will not be paid starting Monday, Joyce said.

Joyce said he made the decision early Saturday and then gained the approval of the Qantas board.

The airline had been forced to reduce and reschedule flights for weeks because of a series of strikes and overtime work bans over staff concerns that their jobs are being moved overseas.

As is usual the union shave tried to muscle unreasonable demands from the company and as a result the board has decided that it is cheaper for the company in the longrun to shut down for a period of time rather than continue to suffer ongoing?unpredictability?from stroppy unions.

The tourism industry has been brought to its knees by unions:

“Now we are facing the uncertainty of this decision, forced by the unwillingness of unions to accept the globally competitive nature of tourism and aviation,” he said.

“The 500,000 people directly employed in Australia’s $94 billion tourism industry do not deserve to have their livelihoods threatened by this, which could be the straw that breaks the camels back.”

This sort of thing is precisely what labour has promised to deliver to us after the generale election should they win. Their opening address clearly signals a return to the cloth cap socialism that dogged this nation in the 70s and 80s. Rampant unionsim that saw projects like the Mangere Bridge stalled for year after year after year through industrial sabotage by the unions.

Qantas has shown us what we can expect if Phil Goff and his band of mediocrity are returned to the?treasury?benches.