3 Links I Love: Near Misses, Frontier Unhinged, Darwin Un-Etihaded, Norwegian Unprofitable

This week’s featured link:
NTSB: Air Canada close-call at SFO was even worse than first reportedSan Jose Mercury News
Any time I see general media talk about how hundreds of people were very close to perishing in a near miss, I ignore it. That’s because it usually wasn’t all that close, but the headlines have to be sensationalized somehow. This one involving Air Canada in San Francisco, however? Oh man, this was scary. This has a great account of what happened. It is incredible that the Air Canada pilots had no idea they were lined up with a taxiway. This could have resulted in hundreds of deaths. I can’t wait to hear the recommendations after the investigation is completed.

As an added bonus: listen to this anxious controller as an Emirates A380 gets his numbers mixed up and finds himself on a collision course with an Air Seychelles A330. This one quite as alarming since the systems worked to prevent it as they should have, but oh my, listening to the controller gets your heartbeat up.

Two Three for the road:

Fee-based Frontier Airlines offers SASSY insults to Kyle Clark, for free9News Denver
The email Jim Faulkner sent to this reporter is one airline comms people have probably wanted to write hundreds of times. You can’t do it, but Jim did. This is an epic note that was totally inappropriate.

Etihad shutters Swiss branding, cashes out on DarwinWandering Aramean
Finally, Etihad has made a tangible change to shrink its partner equity strategy. Etihad Regional is no more. Adria Airways from Slovenia has oddly bought the old Darwin and is having the name revert back. If Etihad is smart, it will start extracting itself from other ill-thought out investments as well.

Is Norwegian in trouble? Part 2Leeham News
I know, this is one too many links, but someone emailed me this week about dissecting Norwegian’s financial results further. There’s no reason for me to do it when Leeham News can do it better. Read through if you’re curious about this airline’s performance.

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10 Responses to 3 Links I Love: Near Misses, Frontier Unhinged, Darwin Un-Etihaded, Norwegian Unprofitable

  1. Kilroy says:

    The Frontier note is definitely inappropriate. That is something that you saw verbally at a bar with coworkers as a joke, or (at worst) write out by hand (so that it can’t be accidentally sent) before shredding or stashing in a safe somewhere.

    My favorite passive-aggressive response, and probably one of the best of all time, is the infamous letter exchange about paper airplanes during Cleveland Browns games: http://www.snopes.com/business/consumer/browns.asp

  2. Doug Hirsch says:

    Here’s what’s not being discussed about the SFO incident. The AC pilot recognized something was wrong with the approach. The mistake was asking reassurance from ATC, rather than immediately declaring a missed approach.
    It’s almost the same mistake as the Asiana disaster. Pilots are taught that a botched approach should result in a go-around, but are under a great deal of social pressure from peers, ATC and dispatch to keep the landing slot and schedule, rather than err in the direction of safety. It’s that social pressure which needs to be central to this conversation.

    • DougYWG says:

      I have read that the pilot complained he could see lights on the runway. ATC assured him the runway was clear. Despite that, I don’t get it. The runway is lit up like a Xmas tree and the taxiway isn’t. How could he miss it? Two of them?

  3. Doug Hirsch says:

    ATC should be trained to say, “if in doubt, go around.”

  4. IIRC, July 7th was a cool Bay Area night and there might have been some low clouds. But, then again, if that was the case, ILS wouldn’t allow a plane to do what happened.

    I still can’t believe that SFO has had another close call with a plane trying to land. Despite the lack of space between the runways, the approach is pretty long and straight. How could two planes completely muck it up in just about 4 years?

  5. It was totally inappropriate. I should have written it, gotten it off my chest then walked away and moved on. It’s also a lesson to see one’s own hypocrisy. I’m no different than those with all the inappropriate tweets, posts, etc that I complain about to others.

    • haolenate says:

      Jim, when I was Director of Sales & Marketing for a regional, I had to “manage” the press as well. The email you sent is one I wish I would have sent, many times! I may be one of the rare few out there who got a kick out of it. Not many people understand the relationship we may have with the press, and there are a handful I’ve had some fairly long calls with, and follow-ups with their bosses (or the journalist themself) after “WTF” moments when they totally botched a story or quote, etc.

      Another airline rep did this in Pittsburgh, I believe, except via text message – so you aren’t alone.

      • Jim Faulkner says:

        Thanks so much for sharing your post. I appreciate hearing it. When I see innocent people humiliated for no reason (the flight attendants in the story), I have to stand up for them.

  6. MK03 says:

    As someone who isn’t European, I don’t really get how Norwegian is struggling. From what I used to read on CAPA (which really seems to be into LCCs for some reason), Norwegian was actually doing pretty well despite of (or because of?) its aggressive expansion. I know the LCC market in Europe is quite crowded (with Ryanair, easyJet, Wizz, Vueling, and Transavia among others in the mix) but I was into the assumption that Norwegian was one of the better performers.

    Also, given Ethiad’s departure from Darwin Airline, is it possible that Etihad itself is in trouble? I’ve read rumors elsewhere that they might be having some financial problems and only the oil money is preventing things from going very wrong. And could this also mean the end of Air Berlin, given that airline’s struggles.

    Finally, that SFO near-disaster looks scary. Weird how one of the planes involved was a Philippine Airlines jet. If the worst case scenario happened, I wonder how the people over here would react.

    • CF says:

      MK03 – Well, Norwegian has really over-extended itself with much quicker expansion in expensive widebodies than before. It also has a complex corporate structure and is just making everything very complicated for itself. The numbers show it’s not working.

      As for Etihad, it’s certainly not doing well but Abu Dhabi wouldn’t let it fail. It is, however, just pulling back from the equity strategy which is used to love.

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