Tag Archives: Delta airlines

The pope’s mobile is on the clock

 

Hickory Dickory dock, the pope ran up the clock,

The clock struck one, and hit his bum, Hickory Dickory dock.

An old rhyme slightly adjusted and gives light to a joke that mattered, it is old and it goes like:

Q: Why does the pope kiss the ground when he arrives?
A: You’ve never flown with Alitalia have you?

That is where we are, the clock is counting down; Alitalia is on its last legs and merely has two weeks left. As sources report that EasyJet pulled out of the race and even as Delta is still on board, someone needs to be found for the remaining 40% and that is the hard ball, consider on how much of an issue Alitalia is when people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates will not take a shine to it, it might be too harsh to call Alitalia a money pit, but that is what is amounts too. The flight market is close to saturated, even as we all needed to fly (quite literally) 20 years ago, the companies started to figure out not to give their profits to the airlines. On a global scale close to 9750 planes were in the air last year at any given time, transporting up to 1.3 million people. The operative part is ‘at any given time‘, so how much travel is required nowadays? In 1998 I was flying close to 21 weeks that year, giving trainings and doing consultancy round the clock, at times living from a suitcase with added support from my laptop giving IT trainings and software training. I circled the planet twice that year, from Amsterdam, New York, Atlanta, Sydney, Singapore, Istanbul, via Munich and back to Amsterdam. I thought it was great and as long as the profits were outshining the costs, my bosses kept on sending me to more locations, it was all fine by me. These days are over, even as we see more and more airports expanding to ‘facilitate’ for more passengers, we see a dangerous curve, Stockholm Arlanda is expanding to facilitate for 40 million visitors a year. The numbers give us that the top 25 carriers facilitated for 13,718,655 passengers and if they are all tourists, that would be fine, yet the business side is not adding up. You see 15 out of the 25 had a decrease the went up to 27.3%, the lowest 10 were below 4.5%, still they were all still decreases and the largest increase came from Riga, Latvia.

Now consider that on the other side, on the airline side, apart from the element where we see that Alitalia had no operating profit between 2009 and 2015 with added low points of well over minus a quarter of a billion, the setup of airlines seems to be too odd.

I do get it, a nations having a national airline is a matter of pride, we get it, but at what cost? The airline has about 100 planes as part of the mainline fleet and the cost of doing business is just too high, there is no decent chance that whomever owns the airline might do so, so that they can say that they own an airline, it seems the weirdest of reasons, but from the financial view that is as much as we are going to get and the bad news is not done at this point.

You see, the work I used to do can be done remotely more and more, when 5G is totally here, we can see the shift where the classes can be given remotely with a phantom screen and with the presentations running in the background, the speed will enable us to give individual service to all the participants in up to three locations at the same time, almost like remotely run classroom software with camera’s in all locations. At that point we will see even less traffic required implying that the business classes on these flights will be close to a thing of the past.

The more immediate and difficult part is that none of this is the fault of Alitalia. Yes, we can look at the scandals and the past sting operations, yet the foundation is not that, it is the need of people to travel. In that light the traveller will be the one using their local airline (like many would), some will select airlines for their service and there we see groups of people seeking flights by Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways and Emirates. So these airlines are also poaching local travellers as they have shown and proven themselves to be a cut above the others. When it comes to business and tourist Italy, we see decline of both and falling harder, yet Italy is still the destination to several countries, namely Germany, France, UK and US as the largest four. These four add up to 23%; the rest is from all over. So, what makes me the specialist? I am not; I am merely using common sense. 100 planes, in an age where their power is tourism and we are going into the summer season, but that setting is a stage that represents merely 18 weeks out of 52, the numbers and the economy do not support the fleet, or so it seems.

when we consider that Rome Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino supported 42,995,119 passengers last year, there is a decent case that I am seeing it wrong, but that is from all airlines, beside Alitalia, we see Air India, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, United, Etihad Airways, Thai Airways, Asiana Airlines, Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific, Air China, Lufthansa, Ethiopian Airlines, Finnair, British Airways, SWISS, EL AL Israel Airlines, Air France, Saudia, Ukraine International, Jet Airways, Air Canada, Egypt Air, KLM, Kuwait Airways, Brussels Airlines, Aeroflot, Korean Air, China Airlines, Singapore Airlines, China Southern, Iran Air, all flying to Rome, now we see a different picture, even as the airport needs the space and growth, we see no decent numbers on how the Alitalia flights are doing, some sources were giving me ‘No Data‘ and that is fair enough, but it makes a much stronger case that unless there is someone with deep pockets that Alitalia is on its last legs and in its final stage of a mere two week notice until it shuts down. Planes would be auctioned off and the lot to be repackaged for other management styles. And I do believe that the end is not in sight, Alitalia is not the only one in such a sordid state of affairs. I believe that the business case of airlines should have changed a long time ago, and it will get worse soon enough, as the oil price goes up, so do the prices of flights. You see the one element we seem to ignore is not the drop in non-tourist passengers. It is the fact that one barrel of crude oil only facilitates for up to 4 gallons of jet fuel, the turnaround is that high, 42 gallons can only make 4 gallons of jet fuel, after that it boils down to gasoline, diesel and other items, so when the barrel goes up in price, the impact is seen quite fast. Consider that a flight from Rome to New York takes 9 hours and 40 minutes (or 2,088,000 seconds), now consider that a 747 needs 1 gallon a second, so if the oil goes up by $1, the maximum cost of a flight would go up by 2 million times the price increase and we can only get 4 gallons bet crude oil barrel making it an optional increase of $500K per flight (which is not completely true as diesel and gasoline would need to bear part of those costs too, but with only 4 gallons to the barrel, jet fuel would take the hardest hit).

That part counts too and as such tourist numbers would go down to some degree, especially from America. These are all still mere elements in the hardship calculations, but the elements are starting to add up, more optional other choices, more localised incentives and less options for Alitalia, that is the sad reality for Alitalia. As far as I was able to see, the press (the non-Italian press) did not take a look at these elements. Even as the BBC did look at one element “At the time the Irish airline was struggling to contain the fallout from a pilot shortage, which led to the cancellation of flights for about 700,000 passengers“, the abundance of competition, as well as the dangers of fuel changes were not looked at. Yet there are other sources, Bloomberg (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-18/easyjet-drops-from-alitalia-bidding-in-setback-to-government) gave us a month ago that Delta is “exploring ways to work with Ferrovie dello Stato and maintain our partnership with Alitalia in the future“, yet I am not convince that they are in it with their heart and soul. Merely a stage where their accountants can optionally see plans for the Alitalia infrastructure and options to give Delta a streamline boost and let Delta grow in other ways accepting Alitalia to some degree for some time, yet how that ‘for some time‘ develops will remain an unknown. Part of it is seen with “Delta would take a 10 percent stake, which would double within four years if certain business goals are met“, yet these business goals are not really heralded by any party. In that regard Lufthansa was open and clear by stating that Alitalia needs to shed 40% of the workforce and that is where the cost of the Delta business goals are likely to be seen as well and that 40% will remain part of the problem. The Italian government would had to euthanise 40% of the workforce in a time when it could not afford to do so and that is the issue to the larger extent. If that knife is thrust hard and deep Alitalia might be around on April 30th, yet at present that is not a given, the pressured parties are not willing to get to that point until the 11th hour and at that point it might just be too late, because in the end the airline is not the only player, the airports will try to make sure that their part of the equation remains safe and there are plenty of airlines offering to ferry people to these locations making the equation unbalanced and unrealistic for the bookkeepers of Alitalia, a sad story for an airline that only recently made it to its 10th year.

 

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Guns on a plane

The Washington post is giving us another look at a situation we saw but most of us (including me) in the light it deserves. I mentioned it a week ago to some degree, but in this (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/02/27/hypocrisy-takes-flight-in-georgia/), we see that Karen Tumulty takes an interesting look at hypocrisy. She starts pretty hardcore direct with “Republicans have been trying for years to convince us that corporations have First Amendment rights — at least, that is, when it works in their favor“, although in this light the wooden spoon should hit the democrats with equal vigour. So when we see “Protecting free speech was the principle behind the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case, which lifted the ban on corporate spending in elections and opened the spigot for unlimited outside spending” we see the first part, and with “Religious freedom is the rallying cry in a raft of efforts to give businesses the ability to deny birth control to their employees or to refuse service to customers based on their sexual orientation” part two. Yet we see the power that Karen has a much stronger point with “I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back”, in that instance I agree with the sentiment to the smallest degree and less with the action that Casey Cagle, ‘replacement’ (read: secondary) Governor of Georgia is making. You see, I saw the Delta move not in regards to enticing NRA members, as guns are not allowed on a plane, but the fact that they decided to cater to 5 million members, basically the discount was wooing almost 2% of the American to choose Delta instead of the other company that owns planes. It was just a good business strategy. In light in all this, when we use the Delta information with “Adjusted pre-tax income for the September 2017 quarter was $1.7 billion, a $182 million decrease from the September 2016 quarter”, so why they are given a $50 million jet fuel sales tax exemption t begin with is beyond me, it is not like the US government with 20 trillion in debt should be able to give tax exemptions to begin with. It does remain a matter that America is a populist culture that is emotionally blaming the largest target that makes them short sighted, a failing skill in marksmanship and overall they are not too clued in, which still remains their right to have.

But it is not about them, it is about the way that corporations are running for their life because the NRA member is the preferred member to discriminate at present, which is hypocrisy gone nuts I say. There is however another side that Delta was happy to ignore. You see, when we see: “In other words, it was a business decision, made not to promote a political agenda, but to distance the airline from controversy by treating NRA members just like its other customers” is one take, but consider that up to 5 million will now NOT be flying Delta, whilst the others are not Switching to Delta (in light to a previous annual downturn of profits) gives rise to the likelihood that Delta will have to report their numbers to be down for at least another year. In light to the reference to Delta withdrawing support from the New York City’s Public Theater shows them to be not strong of character, merely weak in the back, merely paperbacks, not a hardcover among them. So when the $50 million jet fuel sales tax exemption does not pass and they lose on customers as well on reduced cost of ‘existing’, how will Delta then look at its poor record of character?

Even as we are all likely to agree on: “There is a reasonable argument to be had over whether that kind of tax break is smart economic development on the state’s part, or corporate welfare. But Cagle’s threat makes it clear that what’s really going on here is political retribution, not economic policy” we need to acknowledge that Delta basically got caught between populist shortsightedness and 17 cadavers. Yes, I am stating it that blunt, in light of the UN ceasefire failing in Syria and the 250 fatalities in Syria in the last 2 days alone. How much outrage against the Syrian government and the Russian mercenaries was shown? Oh, no! Perhaps it does not count if it is done with plane bombs and artillery shelling?

It is cruel to set the Florida victims in such light and I do apologise for that, but it is important to see that we seem to have multiple grades of values in place and that is not fair (read: acceptable) either, especially as these NRA members, those 5 million get the hatred and bullying in light of acts they never did, contributed to or set any level of approval towards. This entire matter is exploding (with exception of the family members of these victims) by people who hate people that like guns. It feels too much like the segregation and isolation of the Jews in the Germany in the 30’s as well as the Netherlands (and several other nations) during WW2 (an exaggeration, I admit). Yet in all this, I feel that the NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch is equally off her game (at http://www.news.com.au/world/north-america/florida-school-shooting-nras-response-to-parkland-attack/news-story/9f565d930e6fe7e9a6d1fd768190f696). With ““I don’t believe this insane monster should ever have been able to obtain a firearm,” Ms Loesch responded. “This individual was nuts,” she said. “None of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others, getting their hands on a firearm.””, she is right of course, but the entire mess of calling him nuts sets the mental health issue in play and even if we agree to some extent with Joe Rogan, the comedian and podcaster of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ as he stated in one of his podcasts on “how the “gun problem” is actually a mental health problem“, he brings a decent case, but there is an issue on several matters. You see if a person is sane enough not to trigger flags when trying to buy a gun there is a more complicated matter in play, optionally not all set towards mental health, in addition, none of the parties involved have touched on the ATF failings, which I found and continued on after the Deutsche Welle brought it to my attention. That part alone is a much bigger failing on ALL the parties involved. I raised that issue 6 days ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/22/united-they-grow/), with the reference to the Deutsche Welle article. At this I understand that the NRA needs a working relationship with the ATF, but that should include showing them the failure (read: fault) of certain matters, even if that causes ‘discomfort’ of the consumers towards the issues of second hand firearms sales. Dana could have conceded there to some degree showing how certain matters could have been safer, no matter if that impacted the Florida shooting or not. Any improvement is one that both sides need to grasp.

So even if we give proper acknowledgement to “To her credit, Ms Loesch did have the guts to show up to CNN’s forum, knowing she would face a hostile crowd. And the survivors of the Florida shooting grilled her“, I equally see that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel saw things wrong. He has a point only to some degree, yet with ““I understand you’re standing up for the NRA and I understand that’s what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “But you just told this group of people that you are standing up for them. You’re not standing up for them until you say: ‘I want less weapons.’”” he shows a flaw. That is not or has ever been the function of the NRA and it is not about wanting fewer weapons, it is about stopping a person who had been flagged more than once and nothing ended up getting done, as well as keeping the American environment safer due to proper handling of firearms, as well as emphasising on the need for proper gun care and gun safety. The previous articles show that. He is correct with “stricter gun control needed to be introduced“, yet equally the ATF issue was not raised, even as the Deutsche Welle article had already hit the limelight by the time the forum happened. So why was this element not discussed there? In that regard I am happy to exclude the family and friends of the victims on that topic, but they should have been informed by the US media at large and that was not the case either.

If there is one element that Dana Loesch requires a discussion on it is given with “I had to have a security detail to get out. I wouldn’t be able to exit that if I didn’t have a private security detail. There were people rushing the stage and screaming ‘burn her’. And I came there to talk solutions, and I still am going to continue that conversation on solutions, as the NRA has been doing since before I was alive“, in that she should open the discussion on the ATF elements, as well as seeing their budget increased by close to 100%, so that the ATF can look at the current situation and get a report in place that might actually result in better gun control, because in that light not only does it serve the NRA, there is every confidence that in the end it will also serve the 5 million members that the NRA has, even if it comes with 1-2 inconveniences, in that light I can state that inconveniences have until now never resulted in fatalities, unless you are in Syria, where we see “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a daily five-hour humanitarian pause in hostilities in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, as bombardment has continued despite a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire“, apparently a 30 day ceasefire was too much of an inconvenience. Yet there is another side not mentioned. This was only brought to light just now by Fox News. We see (at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/02/27/nra-just-got-new-member-here-s-why-this-mom-two-joined-group.html) on how “a mom of kids in elementary school, I became a proud member of the NRA for the first time last week. I did so because the absence of common sense that I’ve witnessed recently is alarming to me as a parent“, this is to some degree to be expected, yet in light of the entire populist emotional mess that the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is now bringing. You see the entire emotional mess that is pushed by too many ‘gun hating sides‘, not the friends and family of those victims mind you, which I see as an excluded group as they get a pass to be as emotional as they want to be, the others should have taken some level (read: any level) of a common sense road. The entire matter worsens when we realise that in the last event there is plenty of blame to go around. Even as the FBI admits to its failure, it in equal measure should have mentioned the many times it got things right, which gives us: ‘the terrorist axiom’. Any terrorist only needs to get it right once for any valid system or solution to be under attack and soon thereafter could become less effective. That danger is very much in play here and still the ATF remained off the sniper scopes of the media at large, especially in the USA, which is a rising oddness in all this.

To me the highest issue are the politicians and populists who are stealing the limelight in the guise of those poor 17 fatalities, whilst with a brazen state of illusion going after the NRA. It is in comparison almost like me calling Bill Gates a weepy geriatric softy because Apple IOS exists, and it only exists because he could not get the Windows editions, and safe affordable windows phones hack free and fast in time for Apple to be irrelevant. it is a weird and utterly obsolete way of thinking, but that is what we face and in that regard, the Fox News article which gives us “When I joined the NRA last week it was because I was tired of being preached at by people who are unwilling to look at the problem and only want to treat the symptom. It’s easy to blame the NRA, and it’s easy to blame guns. It’s the new trendy target, but it’s not the solution” and that is the truth of the matter which all the shouting parties are ignoring as well. So, as a pro gun person, am I happy with what the woman did? I cannot tell, the article does not tell me that she is a responsible gun owner, that she is clearly trained in properly using a firearm (which can be done in one weekend), but also whether she has all the right settings and safeties in place, so that when she is working, her early teens, when they are that, and find the gun and start playing with it because it looks cool and that is how ‘cops’ and ‘detectives’ hold their guns and shoot when they go after their ‘criminals’ in their playful fantasy. The Fox article is short of certain questions that should have been asked, or have been intentionally omitted from the article, I cannot tell either way, but that is also an issue here. And even when we see the trivialisation of “Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer to kill 168 people in an Oklahoma federal building in 1995“, whilst we see no mention of the technological solution to reducing the usefulness of Semtex to terrorists as well as the control and monitoring of the sale and distribution of Semtex. So in that changes has been made to some degree, we cannot tell how well it works but changes were made, so Fox News misses the target at least twice, making the article nothing but a shot in the dark at best, a worrying one, because mothers tend to get frantically neurotic when it is about keeping their children safe and as such thousands of new NRA members could come to the NRA fold, but as a gun lover, do question if they are doing it in the proper path, because the right way does not hold any water to a mother in fear of her child and too many are seeing that no guns is not a realistic option and mothers tend to look for and demand Direct Action in that regard.

And all this merely fades into nothingness when we realise “The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that conditions in Yemen are “catastrophic” after three years of war, with a record 22.2 million people needing aid and protection“, (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/un-humanitarian-chief-calls-yemen-conditions-catastrophic/2018/02/27/651660e8-1be0-11e8-98f5-ceecfa8741b6_story.html), so when we see “Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock warned the Security Council that conflict in Yemen has escalated since November, leaving more people hungry. “Famine remains a real threat,” he warned“, a nation where close to 85% of its population is now stricken with despair, famine, disease and death. As the UN reports to the people that close to nothing has been achieved, 85% of a nation approaching death. So as we relate that to the emotional and populist activities that followed a tragedy of 17 victims in regard to their limelight. We can make that into a movie and call it ‘Guns on a plane‘, in relation to its Herpetological cousin that cost $33 million to make and made $66 million in revenue, so there would be that consideration to keep.

 

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