I’m never sure whether to be reassured or not that the biggest reason for aircraft to crash is through pilot error, rather than mechanical failure or terrorism. In the case of the Air France Airbus 330 crash in July 2009, in which 228 people perished, pilot error is the culprit once again.
The statistics show that many of the things that typically worry passengers — turbulence, engine failure, the possibility of hijacking etc — are much less dangerous than the simple risk of someone in the cockpit making a mistake. Read more
When a Rolls-Royce engine on a Qantas jet blew up last November, the engine-maker and the airline joined Toyota and BP in a list of companies fighting to repair damage to their global reputations.
But the Rolls-Qantas incident was of a different order and degree from the Toyota car recall and the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion. The settlement announced on Wednesday seems to reflect that. Read more
A bust-up between British Airways and trades unionists is a top business story in the UK this morning. What makes the dispute cat nip for news journalists is its political dimension. The ruling Labour Party and the opposition Tories are neck-and-neck in the polls as they head towards an anticipated May 6 general election. Looming strikes – and ministers’ responses to them – are therefore seen as potentially swaying voters.
EADS was meant to be the model European company. That long ago ceased to be the case, unless the model it was highlighting was a feeble, if not to say broken, one.
But the company still holds up a mirror to the continent and the flurry of news in recent days makes uncomfortable reading for European business. Read more
My FT column this week is on Richard Branson and space commercialisation. Read more
Richard Branson is an ambitious man. Ask him about the potential for his Virgin Galactic business – as I did at the unveiling of his space capsule in the Mojave desert in California on Monday – and he does not hold back.
Virgin Galactic has ordered five vehicles that can take six passengers into sub-orbital flight about 110km above the earth’s surface at a time. But Sir Richard thinks that, in 10 years’ time, it could have 40 of the six-passenger craft flying twice a day each. Read more
Add one more item to the advantages of owning a private jet, or having access to one. The New York Times points out that Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple, could have registered on several waiting lists for liver transplants around the US because he was able to fly on short notice to any city.
In practice, we do not know why Mr Jobs ended up having a liver transplant in Tennessee – or indeed why he had one at all, although it presumably relates to the bout of pancreatic cancer for which he had surgery in 2004. Nor do we know how he got to Tennessee from California. Read more
My column in the FT on Thursday is about luxury and premium good in the downturn: Read more