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.
LAN and TAM’s proposed LATAM merger is only the start of a global plan that will link all of the world’s airlines identified by three-letter acronyms. Apart from the operational efficiency this will create, it will also generate major savings on paint, as the total number of letters will reduce by at least 25%. Next in line is SAS, followed by ANA, TAP, SAA, KAL and JAL. Once the group is completed, it will sponsor a Scrabble promotion to invent the best new name out of all available letters.
Following its effective ad campaign and safety video, Air New Zealand has decided cost savings can be achieved by attiring all flying staff only in spray-on clothing. Said CEO Rob ‘Painted Face’ Fyfe, “as one of the most environmentally conscious airlines in the world, we have assessed that the resultant weight reduction move alone will reduce our carbon emissions by 2,000 tonnes a year.”
In order to embrace social media more actively, Ryanair has announced it will only accept service complaints made on Twitter. CEO Michael O’Leary believes any complaint that takes more than 140 characters to explain must be unfounded and an overreaction. Mr O’Leary defended his policy, stating “there is no reason why someone should need more than four letters to make themselves clear.”
Aeroflot Airlines will undertake an around the world non-stop commercial flight, according to Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin. Mr Putin will personally command the flight, dressed only in a very tight t-shirt and shorts. He will also conduct the in-flight refuelling by climbing across the wing in minus-60 degree conditions to connect up a hose to the support tanker. Technicalities are still being worked out, most importantly how to arrange for the best photo-shoots while the President is on the wing.
Boeing and Airbus will join forces to construct a next generation refuelling tanker. The manufacturers announced they will each construct one wing and one half of the fuselage and tail. Project CEO James McEnders: “We are hopeful this aircraft will be ready for the next generation. We are however making no commitments at this stage, nor making sideways comments about how our partner will most likely fail to meet either the timeframe or the performance criteria.” By combining on the construction, the companies hope to avoid years of international trade disputes, but this risks causing thousands of lawyers to forfeit their annual Porsche bonuses. A spokesman for the lawyers union has indicated that legal action is now likely against this “appallingly blatant conspiracy”, saying “if I don’t get a new Boxster for Christmas, I’m going to have to wash last year’s.”
A major finance house has predicted that oil will reach USD300 a barrel in 2010. Advisors at Fat Bank say they are “confident that the price of a barrel of oil is about to soar beyond USD200 and perhaps even up to USD300”. Senior analyst Robbert Baron said from Monte Carlo: “The fundamentals for this move are just right. We know there is plenty of speculative money around and, with Christmas coming on, we need to make sure we get half decent bonuses. In short, the timing is ideal. This is a perfect time to be long in oil.”
Fed up with passengers ignoring final boarding calls, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has announced plans to replace the traditional three-tone xylophone PA announcement jingle with three blasts from a vuvuzela. An ACSA spokesman stated: “Our office is still awash with those annoying plastic horns from the World Cup - what better way to put them to use and help get the planes away on time.” ACSA also plans to use as many as possible in foundations for apron extensions.
The European Commission has announced plans next month to close European skies for 48 hours as a trial, in case computer modelling produces another ash cloud over the region. The UK Meteorological Bureau said “We can produce another model any time you want.” To make the trial more authentic, the Commission will also promulgate a rule requiring airlines to compensate passengers for not flying to any destination of their choice over the 48-hour period. Compensation is also to cover an overnight stay at a five-star hotel of choice, with complimentary dinner and as much expensive wine as passengers can consume.
The US Department of Transportation, when asked, confirmed it would consider a similar trial, but a spokesman for the US Air Line Pilots Association challenged the idea: “In the US we already have a 19th century PastGen system which provides a near-similar effect on a daily basis, so we see no need for any such trials.”
The Commission said it was also considering establishing an annual Euro-Ash Cloud Day, following reports that many European residents said it had been “jolly nice and quiet without all those aeroplanes flying around”. For these purposes the EC will redefine a day as lasting for 48 hours so that a complete weekend’s silence can be observed. When asked for comment, IATA director general and CEO, Giovanni Bisignani, was, for once, speechless.
Emirates Airline has announced plans to buy European manufacturer Airbus. A spokesman for the Gulf carrier, which boasts a massive order book with Airbus of more than 90 A380s and 70 A350s, said: “We believe this will be a sound move for all concerned. We decided that we were spending so much time negotiating with Airbus for aircraft purchases that enormous cost savings would be made by simply buying the manufacturer.”
An Airbus spokesman, confirming the bid from Emirates, said: “This is an industry first and just one more example of the sort of consolidation many have been talking about.” In response to enquiries, Boeing declined to comment, but did confirm that Emirates had a lot of orders with them too.
Spain's air traffic controllers are to strike again in Dec-2012 in support of 30% salary increases. Head of the controllers’ union, Mr Multo Euro, announced the action “in order to restore parity with double the Prime Minister’s salary”. Salaries have not been increased since late 2011. “This is most unfortunate,” he continued, “with the fall in property prices, this is an ideal time to be investing in cheap real estate for the long term and more money for us now would be just right.”
Rebutting claims from Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero that it was inappropriate for controllers to be earning twice his salary at a time when Spain was facing severe economic cutbacks, Mr Euro justified the differential: “If the Prime Minister walks off the job for a couple of days hardly anyone notices; but if we do, we can upset millions of people and cause huge economic damage.”
This collection of "It could be true..." items comes from the light-hearted closing pages of CAPA's boardroom strategy journal, Airline Leader. CAPA is running a series of these items over the New Year holiday. For more quirky news - real and fake - see CAPA's funny blog Birdstrike.