Friday, July 10, 2009

QANTAS has really lost it

Two current reports below. First episode: Fed-up passengers revolt over 18 hour flight delay in Perth. What with incessant mechanical problems and contemptuous treatment of their passengers they have become Australia's Aeroflot (the old Soviet airline). They were a first class airline once but no more. I would fly Singapore airlines now. THEY understand courtesy and efficiency. Nobody seems to give a stuff at QANTAS any more. I think they need former boss Geoff Dixon back. Not all his decisions were good ones but at least he seemed to be in charge. Has anybody ever heard of Alan Joyce, the present boss? That he is a former planning executive at the failed Ansett airlines hardly recommends him. General Cosgrove is on the board. Maybe he should get more involved somehow. He definitely is the "take charge" type

POLICE have been called to Perth's domestic airport to calm outraged passengers stranded overnight after their Qantas flight failed to leave. One radio listener, John, told radio station 6PR the A330 that passengers were screaming and yelling and Qantas staff called police after ongoing delays.

He said the aircraft had been hit by lightning on its way to Perth from Sydney and had been grounded until engineering advice could be obtained from France. Qantas confirmed the aircraft had been subject to a lightning strike and was ruled unfit to fly.

Passengers claimed they were kept in the dark with no communication from Qantas, leading to frustration and anger. Channel 7 reporter John Taylor said all media had been cleared from the terminal by Australian Federal Police amid rowdy scenes. Just before 8am, after waiting all night, passengers were told the flight had been cancelled and advised to go home and book new flights after 10am.

"A mate of mine has been stuck overnight, being told every hour that it will be another hour until they leave,” one Perth Now reader said. "She has slept on the floor of the terminal, when she could have gone home and come back. 18 hour flight to Melbourne? No thanks.'' The passengers were angry that there was no provision for them to re-book their flights at the airport.

A Qantas aircraft has now been arranged to take the passengers to Melbourne via Sydney at 2.30pm, which will means the flight will have taken 18 hours. Qantas claims school holidays had meant there was a high demand on flights and it had been difficult to arrange alternatives.


Qantas Airbus A380 aborts landing at Heathrow Airport

A QANTAS Airbus A380 had to reportedly abort a landing at London's Heathrow Airport because of a problem with its front landing gear. According to The Aviation Herald website, Qantas flight QF-31 from Singapore aborted the approach last Saturday (July 4) due to a problem with the nose gear steering. A video posted on YouTube by a plane spotter appears to show the superjumbo performing a go-round at Heathrow before performing a safe landing on runway 27L.

But due to the jet’s to loss of steering, the A380 was unable to vacate the runway and had to be towed to Terminal 4, forcing airport operators to close the runway for about 30 minutes. The Aviation Herald said the A380 was repaired and headed back to Singapore after a delay of two hours.

The Airbus A380 is the largest passenger airliner in the world and made its maiden commercial flight from Singapore to Sydney on October 25 2007. The Airbus fleet has made headlines recently over a spate of incidents involving the Airbus A330 and A310 models...

Qantas said the incident was not linked to recent problems the Airbus fleet. [So was it a QANTAS maintenance problem?]


Consumer advocate goes all Bolshie

This smacks of Leftist hatred of success more than anything else. Coles and Woolworths are already cheaper than smaller stores and are popular because of that. If people want REALLY cheap goods (with reduced choice of brands) they can always go to Aldi. No surprise that this is the work of a former apparatchik for the British Labour Party. He will simply destroy his organization. People subscribe to their magazine because of the wide range of reviews that it has carried up until now. And sales of their magazine are a major source of their revenue

CONSUMER advocate Choice will take on the might of the big two supermarkets in a grassroots campaign aimed at bringing down Australia's grocery prices, which are among the highest in the developed world.

In an extraordinary move, the chief executive of Choice, Nick Stace, has ordered his policy and campaign teams to drop all other issues and shift their attention to the grocery sector, The Australian reports.

Mr Stace, a former spin doctor for British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said he hoped the new grassroots campaign would force Coles and Woolworths to lower prices. He has also called for Choice to be given "super-complainer powers", a device used in Britain to force the consumer watchdog to investigate certain issues.

The aggressive move comes after the Consumer Affairs Minister Craig Emerson made the shock decision to scrap the Grocery Choice website five days before its relaunch by Choice. The $13 million website was part of Kevin Rudd's election promise to ease cost-of-living pressures on working families and improve competition in the grocery sector.


Tough school principal gets results in Queensland school

Where there's a will, there's a way, it seems. But good order in schools should not have to rely on one exceptional person

A QUEENSLAND high school principal says she makes "no apology" for handing out more than 600 suspensions in a zero tolerance approach to violent and unruly students. Leonie Kearney, of Tullawong State High School, said the tough stance had led to a dramatic improvement in student behaviour and safety since she started at the school in 2007, with suspensions acting as "a wake-up call".

"In 2007 behaviour management was one of the major stressors to our staff," Ms Kearney said. Students were swearing at teachers, bullying and assaulting others. So in 2008, 653 short-term suspensions were handed out, up from 78 in 2006. And seven of the 1321 students at the school were excluded.

Ms Kearney said behavioural expectations had been set high and students were now meeting them. "As a high school principal, I make no apology for taking strong disciplinary action for students who behave badly," she said. "Poor behaviour has no place in our school. "Our school is a place for learning. It is not a drop-in centre for those . . . hell-bent on the destruction of others. "We have the belief that every one of our students has the right to learn, our teachers the right to teach and all are able to participate in the teaching-learning process free from distraction and in safety."

Parents & Citizens Association president Andy Carl said behavioural problems had reversed, while respect had risen among students and their parents, who were now proud to be a part of the school. "I think you have just got to be tough with kids and I think a lot of schools aren't tough enough," Mr Carl said.

Queensland Association of State School Principals president Norm Hart said discipline crackdowns using suspensions and exclusions had been highly successful in improving student behaviour.

Ms Kearney said suspensions this year were down by a third. "I expect it to go down even more this semester," she said. The State Government is considering whether to grant school principals even stronger powers ito quell bad student behaviour.


Community anger over police station sell-off in NSW

It's hard enough as it is to get a police response to problems

THE New South Wales Government is offloading police stations in a fire sale of public land to fill dwindling coffers. Nine police stations and another 200 buildings and parcels of land, including the Sydney Fish Markets, are now under the control of the Government's real estate agent. Residents of Rockdale, Malabar, Mosman, Berowra and Brooklyn are angry they are being robbed of their police stations despite 20 murders in five years across those areas.

The Police Association said yesterday Earlwood, Canterbury, Mt Victoria and Blackheath were also in the sights of a Government desperate to sell $12 million worth of police stations.

Opposition finance spokesman Greg Pearce said it was the start of a massive $350 million sell-off of everything from schools and nursing homes to sports venues. "People are always concerned about police stations going," he said. "What they have here is cuts across the whole spectrum. When people realise what is being put on sale I think that will strike a chord as well."

He raised concerns over the State Property Authority - effectively the Government's real estate agent - acquiring 200 more properties from other departments, saying the move would make them easier to sell if the Government decides to do so.

Historic Strickland House, which has two beaches and overlooks the Harbour at Vaucluse, is one property with the authority. The body - which last year sold 63 government buildings, built three and returned a dividend to the Government of $32.5 million - last night denied the buildings and carparks would be sold. However there was no denying the sale of the police stations.

A group in Malabar called Save Our Station staged a rally on Sunday and collected 4400 signatures on a petition in a last-ditch bid to save their station. Domestic attacks are up 7.4 per cent in the area, there have been 10 murders in five years and ecstasy possession has soared from 14 offences five years ago to 83 last year. "We are currently dealing with vandalism, graffiti and anti-social behaviour. How can they sell this station?" group organiser Carlos Da Rocha said.

Paul Hannen, of the Police Association, said he expected the list of police stations being considered for sale to grow. He said officers at Brooklyn, where the station will be auctioned this month, and Berowra were as upset as the community. "The officers are not happy with the closure of Brooklyn," Mr Hannen said.



In his latest offering, conservative Australian cartoonist ZEG has some pointed comments about the sell-off of NSW police stations

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