Birdstrike is where to wind down with quirky aviation news and find out what happens when turtles cross runways, a cat gets lost at the airport and CEOs hold in-flight toilet paper races.
A new informal global multidisciplinary coalition of airline industry forces may be quietly emerging. Air Canada’s cabin crew union, CUPE, has reportedly been seen consorting with Spain’s Air Traffic Controllers’ union, USCA, and Qantas international pilots union, AIPA, over large jugs of sangria. The Canadian and Australian unions, impressed by the Spanish controllers’ salaries, which are said to exceed Warren Buffet’s annual income, have joined forces to see if they can share lessons on how it is done.
Each of the bodies concerned is preoccupied with aviation safety and is in complete agreement that their high pay and generous conditions are essential ingredients in avoiding accidents and ensuring on-time performance.
The newly formed British Airways-Iberia group is moving ahead with plans to make Spanglish the airline’s official language. The combined carrier has decided to move on this issue mañana, if not even more pronto. The new group chairman, Mr Antonio Vazquez, was quoted as saying “hasta la vista you good thing”, to which CEO Sr Willie Walsh replied “Si, oi’ll have a point of sangria por favor.”
As part of plans to serve Newark, an airport famous for congestion and delays, Southwest Airlines has announced an order for 25 vertical take-off-and-landing aircraft. CEO Gary Kelly said this offered a way to “beat the system”, confirming that Boeing was enthusiastic about its new three-engined B737 VTOL. The manufacturer, which has yet to commence design work, announced that deliveries will be delayed, probably beyond the first delay.
Alaska Airlines is to amend its baggage rules, following a high-profile campaign by one-time Republican presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, pressuring airlines to allow the complimentary carriage of one dead moose per adult on flights from Alaska.
The new rules exclude moose that are roadkill.To qualify for free carriage, evidence must be produced that the antlered beast was actually shot by an American. Ms Palin’s moose campaign centred on the rights of all Americans to carry hunting rifles to visit Alaska to meet hockey moms and experience “the real America”. Ms Palin said: “If visitors want to take home a little memento of their stay, mooses look just great with lipstick on.”
Alaska Airlines has worked with the FAA over the implications of the additional moose weight on operational performance as, following the Palin campaign, the airline is also now required to fly at maximum permissible altitude so passengers can see Russia from all windows on flights from Alaskan points.
The UK Government has established a highly paid 15-person committee to examine whether a focus group study should be conducted into the feasibility of a new “Air-Bridge” to connect London Heathrow Airport with Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The bridge will be the longest single- span construction ever conceived. The exciting concept follows strenuous attempts by the Conservatives’ Liberal Democrat and Green coalition partners to encourage air passengers to travel anywhere except to and from the UK.
The committee will be headed by the Bishop of Bottom Hollow and Little Barking, who leapt to prominence last year by excommunicating all airline staff in the UK, whom he described as “sinful exponents of the dark art”. The concept of the new Air-Bridge would allow passengers at Heathrow to connect, via a short 15-hour bus ride, through Schiphol Airport to lots of other places in the world. This is only slightly more than the current time taken to connect between terminals at London Heathrow.
BHP Billiton has launched a hostile takeover of the entire listed airline industry. The announcement was contained in a footnote at the mining giant’s recent AGM. When questioned on the sidelines about the transaction, a spokesman for BHP, I. Ron Steele, advised that the decision to buy all 90-odd listed airlines in the world was an afterthought and would not have a major impact on the company’s core strategy. “This is a relatively minor transaction for us,” said Mr Steele, before adding: “No, we have no intention of entering the airline business.”
Senior analyst Saul D Mysole, of Fatbank, which engineered the deal and will be receiving its modest standard 15% commission, said: “The move was a logical one. BHP’s market cap is USD258 billion and the entire airline industry’s listed value is only USD200 billion. So it is not a big deal for BHP really. The key to the transaction is that this way, the company can get its hands on vastly more debt than it could ever dream of otherwise. Nowhere else can a company make a regular return on investment of less than 1% and borrow the amount of money these suckers can. The airlines obviously have some special magic. And BHP wants in.”
A Virgin Group spokesperson today announced that Sir Richard Branson is about to introduce a spiky new, updated brand to accommodate the fast growing baby boomer market. As he embarks on his 62nd year, Sir Richard is reportedly beginning to view life differently. He was recently quoted as saying, “I’m getting too old for all this partying and young blondes. I seriously wonder if there is a lot of future in the Virgin brand. It’s had a great run, but now it’s time for something completely different, something more in keeping with my own image and the shape of the times. In short, it’s about time we all grew up.”
Close wraps have been kept on the potential new brand, but the smart money is on “Granny”®, according to some insiders who should know. This eye-catching brand would, it is believed, appeal both to the older traveller and to all those younger consumers who rely on their well-stacked grannies to provide their travel needs.
Welcome to this week's edition of Cattle Call, a round-up of quirky aviation news to start the weekend with.
Welcome to another edition of Cattle Call, a weekly round-up of quirky aviation news to start the weekend with.