mandag 24. juli 2017

Finnair gjør det godt - Check-In

Overhaler SAS og Norwegian på indtjening

Finnair har præsenteret et halvårsresultat før skat på 548 mio. kroner, og har således klaret sig bedre end SAS og Norwegian, der begge kom ud med store underskud.
Selvom magtbalancen i nordisk luftfart er tippet, og Norwegian i dag transporterer flest passagerer blandt de nordiske flyselskaber, så er selskabet bestemt ikke bedst til at tjene penge. Det er i stedet Finnair, der otte kvartaler i træk har haft en positiv bundlinje.
Resultatet for første halvår af 2017 blev et overskud før skat på 73,5 mio. euro, hvilket svarer til 548 mio. danske kroner. Anderledes så det ud hos både Norwegian og SAS. Hos det norske lavprisflyselskab blev det til et underskud før skat på 986,7 mio. norske kroner, hvilket omregnet til danske kroner svarer til 783 millioner. SAS realiserede i perioden fra 1. november til 30. april et underskud før skat på 905 mio. svenske kroner svarende til 700 mio. danske kroner.
Dermed har det finske luftfartsselskab overtaget den indtjeningsmæssige førertrøje blandt de tre store børsnoterede flyselskaber i Norden. Og der er mere på vej, for Finnair forventer, at årsresultatet for 2017 bliver en fordobling i forhold til 2016.
“Den gunstige første halvdel af året giver et solidt fundament for os til at bygge det fremtidige Finnair. I anden halvdel af året vil vores kapacitet vokse med omkring 15 procent. Det tredje kvartal er sæsonmæssigt det stærkeste i vores forretning, og de gunstige markedsforhold ser ud til at fortsætte. Derfor forventer vi, at vores sammenlignelige driftsresultat for hele året bliver det dobbelte af sidste år,” siger Finnairs koncernchef Pekka Vauramo.

Asien-vækst
Finnairs omsætning voksede i første halvår med 7,4 procent til næsten 1.188 mio. euro, hvilket er 8.850 mio. omregnet til danske kroner. Det hænger sammen med de mange aktiviteter, der er igangsat for at accelerere væksten.
Selskabet åbner nye ruter, og øger kapaciteten på eksisterende nøgleruter. Det har også betydet, at Finnair i andet kvartal har haft det højeste antal passagerer nogensinde i et kvartal. Næsten 5,7 mio. passagerer rejste med Finnair i årets første halvår, hvilket var 7,5 procent flere end i samme periode året før.
Det er især selskabets ruter til Asien, der bærer væksten, og salget på ruterne til især Japan, Sydkorea og Kina udviklede sig bedre end forventet. Rent faktisk udgjorde omsætningen på Asien-trafikken 387,5 mio. euro i første halvår (2.882 mio. kroner), mens Europa-trafikken tegnede sig for 397,7 mio. euro (2.954 mio. kroner). Dermed vil Asien-ruterne inden længe udgøre den største del af omsætningen hos det finske flyselskab.

Stigende indtægter fra tillægsydelser
En andet område, hvor Finnair satser markant er de såkaldt ancillary revenues, som på dansk kaldes supplerende tillægsydelser. Det handler om at salg af favoritsæder, ekstra bagage, adgang til WiFi og andre ydelser før og under rejsen, som ikke er en del af selv billetprisen. Det er et område, hvor lavprisflyselskaberne præster godt, men Finnair har formået at hente 70 mio. euro, hvilket svarer til 520 mio. kroner i første halvår af 2017 samt en stigning på 16,8 procent i forhold til perioden året før.
Dermed får Finnair 12,3 euro (næsten 93 kroner, red.)  i kassen, for hver passager, der er ombord på et af selskabets fly. Det tilsvarende beløb hos Norwegian er 137 norske kroner per passager, hvilket omregnet til danske valuta er omkring 109 kroner. SAS halter stadig bagefter på dette område, da selskabet i halvåret fra 1. november til 30. april blot fik en indtægt på 23 svenske kroner (18 danske kroner) per passager for selskabets tillægsydelser.

AirBaltic med verdensrekord - Check-In

AirBaltic Bombardier CS300 i Riga Airport. (Foto: airBaltic)

AirBaltic sætter bemærkelsesværdig rekord

AirBaltic fløj i fredags det sjette fly af typen Bombardier CS300 hjem fra Canada, og efter blot 62 minutter på jorden, var det på vej i luften på første kommercielle flyvning.
Lettiske airBaltic fortsætter med at modtage nye fly fra den canadiske flyproducent Bombardier. I slutningen af november sidste år modtog selskabet det første CS300-fly, og i fredags ankom det sjette fly af typen til Riga Airport direkte fra Montrèal.
Men det fik ikke lov til at stå ubeskæftiget hen ret længe. Fly tjener kun penge, når de er i luften, så airBaltic var ikke sen til at sætte det nyankomne fly i kommerciel drift. Det nye CS300-fly med registreringen YL-CSF landede kl. 11.15, og kl. 12.17 kørte flyet ud fra gaten på en ruteflyvning til Zürich. En turnaround på 62 minutter for et nyleveret fly, er ikke mindre end en ny verdensrekord.
Efter at have gennemført returflyvningen til Zürich ventede der endnu to flyvninger, da CS300´eren skulle en tur til Berlin og tilbage igen, inden der kunne holdes fyraften efter ankomsten til Riga fredag aften kl. 22.24.
Bombardier CS300-flyene, der er indrettet med 145 sæder, har det lettiske flyselskab bestilt 20 eksemplarer af. Hidtil er der kun leveret otte eksemplarer af flyet, og de øvrige to flyver hos Star Alliance-selskabet SWISS.

Vil vokse med en million passagerer
AirBaltic har i øjeblikket en markant fremgang, hvilket er i henhold til planerne. Tilgangen af de nye fly skal være med til at understøtte planerne om at vokse fra de nuværende 3,2 mio. passagerer, der forventes at flyve med selskabet i 2017, til 4,2 milioner i 2021. Det skal ske ved at benytte større fly, anskaffe flere fly, eller en kombination af begge dele.
Indtil videre ser det ud til, at planerne holder. I juni måned satte airBaltic endnu engang passagerrekord med 372.210 rejsende, og med 1.565.462 passagerer i første halvår af 2017, er der udsigt til, at passagerforventningerne til året kan indfries.
Også belægningsprocenten udvikler sig positivt. I første halvår havde airBaltic en belægning på 73,5 procent, og alene i juni var 83,1 procent af samtlige udbudte sædekilometer solgt, hvilket svarer til en fremgang på næsten to procentpoint i forhold til samme måned året før.
AirBaltic har den lettiske stat som hovedaktionær, mens Jet Time-ejeren Lars Thuesen i foråret erhvervede 20 procent af aktierne.

Kina øver med Russland i Østersjøen - NRK

Kina og Russland viser styrke i Østersjøen

Kinesiske krigsskip skal denne veka øve i Østersjøen saman med den russiske marinen. Landa rundt følger nøye med på det som blir sett på som ein maktdemonstrasjon.

Den russiske ubåten "Dmitri Donskoj", som er verdas største ubåt, segla denne veka gjennom Storebælt på veg til feiringa av 100-års jubileet til den russiske marinen i St. Petersburg 229-30. juli. Det er uviss om denne deltek i den kinesisk-russiske øvinga denne veka.
FOTO: SARAH CHRISTINE NOERGAARD / AFP

 Publisert i går, for 9 timer siden– Akkurat som det auka russiske og kinesiske nærværet i Østersjøen er ei politisk markering, kjem det til å vere ei politisk markering frå statane rundt ved å skugge fartøya  til Sveriges Radio.
Gunnhild Årdal

Måndag startar øvinga «Marine Cooperation 2017» (tidlegare «Joint Sea 17») med base i den russiske enklaven Kaliningrad, som ligg ved Østersjøen mellom Polen og Litauen.

Første fellesøving så langt nord
Øvinga skal vare i fire dagar, og involvere både krigføring med ubåtar og luftforsvarsøvingar.
Kinesisk destrøyer
Ein kinesisk destroyer fotografert med ein mobiltelefon på veg gjennom Storebælt til Østersjøen. Kina vil for første gong bruke destroyeren Heifei som var bestilt for mindre enn to år sidan i tillegg til ein missil-fregatt og eit supplyskip. I tillegg bidreg Russland med rundt 10 skip.
FOTO: HO / AFP
Russland og Kina har hatt årlege fellesøvingar sidan 2012, men då i Middelhavet og Sør-Kinahavet. Det er første gong dei opererer saman så langt nord.
Dalsjö antar at NATO-landa Danmark, Tyskland og Polen kjem til å samarbeide om å overvåke øvinga, og meiner Russlands opptrapping er kontraproduktiv, ettersom den fører med seg tilsvarande opptrapping frå Nato si side.
Nato har lenge skulda Russland for å provosere med sin aktivitet i Østersjøen, og har på si side utplassert 4000 mann i Baltikum. Det har vore mykje uro i dei baltiske statane etter blant anna Russlands annektering av Krim og innblanding i Ukraina.


Nato har også trappa opp i Østersjøen. Her frå ei øving i 2015 nord i Polen.
FOTO: JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP


Kina bygger opp sjøstyrken
Kina seier ifølge den offisielle China's People Daily at øvingane ikkje er retta mot nokon «tredjepart», og at øvinga er eit ledd i å utvikle det kinesisk-russiske «omfattande strategiske partnarskapet».
Dei kinesiske krigsskipa har også hatt ei øving i Middelhavet på veg nordover, og Magnus Nordenman i Atlantic Council seier til CNN at det heng saman med den økonomiske makta dei har. I takt med auka handel vil dei vil vere i stand til å sikre seg tilgang til hamnene i nord. Førre veke opna dei ei militærbase i Djibouti på Afrikas horn.


Eit av Kinas mange nye krigsskip, ein type 055 destroyer, her på eit verft i Shanghai.
FOTO: WANG DONGHAI / AP

Kina har også skutt fart i skipsbygginga, og det er venta at dei innan 2030 vil ha ei flåte på rundt 500 skip. USA har til samanlikning 350.
– Ein av kjenneteikna på ei stormakt er å ha sjømakt, og Kina er i den kinkige situasjonen at dei ser seg sjølv som ei supermakt, andre oppfattar dei som ei supermakt, men dei har ikkje endå den fulle kapasiteten til ei supermakt, seier Yvonne Chiu, assisterande professor i politikk ved Universitetet i Hongkong til CNN.

·        Les også: Kinesisk isbryter på klimatokt i Arktis

søndag 23. juli 2017

Fly med SAS - Anbefalt av Bjørn Kjos

Et par ting: Ved å fly Norwegian oppsøker du problemer. Gjør som Kjos anbefaler: Fly SAS. Ennvidere: Var det nødvendig å fly tilbake til Oakland  i stedet for til SeaTac sør for Seattle? Kan det være høyere landings- og parkeringsavgifter på sistnevnte? Ville jo ha spart litt fuel også. Flyet er forresten produsert i Seattle, på Everett nord for byen. (Red.)
Nytt Norwegian–fly strandet i USA

Reisende fra Providence til Bergen har fått beskjed om at flyet er forsinket på grunn av tekniske problemer.
6 timer siden

Søndag morgen måtte Norwegian-flyet fra Oakland/San Francisco til Oslo snu etter to timer i luften. Årsak: Det oppsto oljelekkasje i den ene motoren, og kapteinen valgte derfor å returnerere til Oakland-flyplassen.
Flere hundre passasjerer har fått beskjed om at det blir minst ti timer å vente før flyet kan lette.
Søndag formiddag fikk også passasjerene som skulle fløyet med flight D81830 fra Providence i delstaten Rhode Island til Bergen dårlig nytt:
Flyet er forsinket på grunn av tekniske problemer.

I en SMS fra flyselskapet heter det at ny avgangstid ikke er fastsatt, og at passasjerene må innstille seg på en natt ekstra på USAs østkyst.
Lørdag: To fly måtte snu
Også lørdag fikk to Norwegian-fly problemer. Først måtte et fly på vei fra Gardermoen til Larnaca på Kypros snu ikke lenge etter avgang på grunn av at flyets kontrollsystem indikerte teknisk feil.
Kort tid etter kom det melding om at nok et fly måtte snu.
Flight DY1804 fra Gardermoen til Malaga med drøyt 160 passasjerer måtte lørdag ettermiddag, like over Sandefjord, ta den tunge veien tilbake til Gardermoen etter tekniske problemer.
Boeing 737 400-flyet var innleid av Norwegian fra GetJet Airlines, og er drøyt 27 år gammelt.
Norwegian: – Forstår at det er frustrerende
Norwegian sier selskapet jobber på spreng for å finne alternativer til de som er berørt.

– Vi har fått noen uforutsette tekniske utfordringer på noen av flyene våre som dessverre gjør at en del passasjerer dessverre er forsinket. Vi oppdaterer kundene løpende via SMS når vi har noe nytt å melde. Vi oppfordrer alle som har spørsmål om sin flyvning til å kontakte vårt kundesenter, sier Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen, kommunikasjonssjef i Norwegian, til TV 2 søndag ettermiddag.
Han understreker at sikkerhetshensyn er det viktigste for selskapet.
– Vi forstår veldig godt at det er frustrerende med forsinkelser, men sikkerheten kommer alltid først, sier Sandaker-Nielsen til TV 2.
Sover på gulvet
Søndag ettermiddag er det fortsatt natt på flyplassen i Oakland hvor passasjerene som måtte returnere på grunn av motorfeil oppholder seg. Mange har ikke klart å skaffe seg hotellrom.

– Noen har skaffet seg hotellrom, men andre tilbringer natta på flyplassen uten noe steder i nærheten å kjøpe mat, forteller Tora Skog, en av passasjerene, til TV 2.
– Flere passasjerer har kontaktet TV 2 og sier de ikke får bistand til å skaffe seg overnatting etter sikkerhetslandingen i Oakland?

– Vi har hatt en ikke-planlagt sikkerhetslanding og gjør alt vi kan for å hjelpe passasjerene med hotellrom. Det er vanskelig å få tak i ledige rom akkurat nå, men vi gjør det vi kan, sier kommunikasjonssjefen.

lørdag 22. juli 2017

Over Atlanteren med single isle fly - Mange følger Norwegian - Check-In

Primera Air får i 2018 otte Airbus A321-fly på dansk register. (Foto: Primera Air)

Danske Primera-fly til seks nye USA-ruter

Primera Air vil fra næste forår flyve til New York og Boston fra tre europæiske baser med de nye Airbus A321neo-fly, der bliver indregistreret i Danmark.
Der er lagt op til et gigantisk slagsmål på de transatlantiske ruter mellem Europa og USA. Det bliver konsekvensen af de mange lavprisruter, der er under etablering i trafikken over Atlanten.
Nu melder dansk-lettiske Primera Air sig på banen med seks nye USA-ruter i 2017. Selskabet vil etablere baser i Paris-Charles de Gaulle, London-Stansted og i Birmingham Airport. Fra alle tre baser vil Primera Air fra april næste år tilbyde daglige flyvninger til New York-Newark samt fire ugentlige afgange til Boston og senere på sommeren løftes sløret for yderligere to transatlantiske ruter.
Danskregistrerede flyPrimera Air vil fra Paris benytte de nye A321neo-fly på ruterne. Der bliver i 2018 leveret seks fly af typen A321neo samt yderligere to langtrækkende A321LR, og samtlige otte fly bliver indregistret i Danmark hos Primera Air Scandinavia A/S.
“Det glæder os at kunne annoncere vores nye baser og ruter til USA. Med vores helt nye Airbus A321neo-fly vil vi operere ruter, der traditionelt kun betjenes med langdistancefly. Som følge af en uovertruffen effektivitet ved disse nye fly, bliver vi i stand til at tilbyde hidtil uset lave priser til passagerer fra Frankrig og Storbritannien til USA. Samtidig kan vi tilbyde et produkt og servicekoncept, der kombinerer lave priser og høj kvalitet, hvilket er perfekt for både fritids- og forretningsrejsende,” siger Andri M. Ingolfsson, der er koncernchef for Primera Air.
Flyene vil blive indrettet med to kabineklasser, henholdsvis Premium og Economy. Samtidig stiller Primera Air i udsigt, at alle passagerer vil få adgang til WiFi og strømstik ved sæderne. Flyene vil få en konfiguration med 16 sæder på Premium og 182 på Economy.
Ifølge Primera Air vil flere europæiske baser med tilhørende nordatlantiske ruter blive etableret i løbet af de kommende år efterhånden som selskabet får leveret i alt 20 nye Boeing 737 MAX 9ER, som er i ordre i øjeblikket.

Hård konkurrence
Med den offensive udmelding fra Primera Air er der lagt op til en intens konkurrence med først og fremmest Norwegian, men også islandske flyselskaber som Icelandair og WOW air, der i dag henter op imod 20 procent af de nordatlantiske passagerer fra de britiske og franske marked. Norwegian har netop etableret de første USA-ruter fra Storbritiannien og Irland baseret på de nye Boeing 737 MAX 8-mellemdistancefly.
Herudover er der også udsigt til en hård konkurrence med det britiske lavpris- og charterflyselskab Thomas Cook Airlines, der i dag flyver fra en række britiske lufthavne til Nordamerika.
Billetpriserne starter ved 149 euro, eller omkring 1.100 danske kroner, for en enkeltbillet til New York.
Primera Air, der er ejet af islandske Primera Travel Group, har afdelinger i Riga og København. Selskabet flyver til flere end 70 lufthavne i Europa og ejer rejsearrangører i Danmark, Sverige, Norge, Finland, Island og Estland.

fredag 21. juli 2017

GPS fyller 40 - Avionics


July 1977: Rockwell Collins Receives ‘World’s First’ GPS Satellite Signal

By S.L. Fuller | July 20, 2017

GPS receiver Rockwell Collins
GPS receiver. Photo: Rockwell Collins

Rockwell Collins in 1977 received “the world’s first GPS satellite signal,” the company said. Forty years ago, Rockwell Collins’ receiver station was six feet tall and had two seats.
“Working well after midnight on July 19, 1977, a Rockwell Collins engineer named David Van Dusseldorp sat on the rooftop of a company building in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, adjusting an antenna every five minutes to receive a signal from the world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite known as NTS-2,” Rockwell Collins said. “Within a small window of time, the satellite was turned on and the message was successfully received and decoded by the team working the GPS receiver below.”


To commemorate the 40th anniversary, the company invited retirees to share firsthand stories at an event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“We had leaders and team members working together, and I knew we could meet the challenge put before us,” said Van Dusseldorp. “The future of GPS was uncertain at the time, but I really felt like we had just accomplished something important.”
The Rockwell Collins GPS-4000S is the modern version of the 1977 receiver. The newer technology has the ability to process the transmissions of up to 10 GPS satellites and two space-based augmentation systems (SBAS) geostationary satellites simultaneously, the company said. The GPS-4000S is only 7.78 inches tall. Even smaller is the Micro GPS receiver at only one inch in height. It can use data from up to 121 GPS satellites, and Rockwell Collins said it “consumes the least power of any receiver in its class.”

T-50 PAK FA viser seg frem på MAKS - AIN Defence

Russia’s MAKS Show Highlights T-50 PAKFA Progress


 - July 21, 2017, 7:28 AM
A pair of Sukhoi T-50s performed a ‘super-maneuvering’ flight display at the MAKS show (Photo: Vladimir Karnozov)
The highlight of the MAKS 2017 International Aviation and Space Salon held this week at Zhukovsky near Moscow was a maneuvering flight display by a pair of Sukhoi T-50s, and news that this fifth-generation Russian fighter is going into production. A new medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAV was on display, as were some new versions of existing Russian aircraft. The show, held from July 18 to 20, attracted 18,000 to 24,000 daily visitors. A total of 170 aircraft were on display, about half of which flew.
Gen. Victor Bondarev, commander of the Russian Air and Space Force (VKS), declared the first phase of the T-50 acceptance trials complete. The jet is also known as the PAKFA, the Russian acronym for Perspective Aviation Complex of the Fifth Generation. Manufacturer Sukhoi will now begin construction of an initial batch of 12 operational examples. First deliveries to VKS shall take place in 2019. Bondarev also announced the start of a second phase of the testing that will focus on refining the platform and onboard systems.
Making its public debut was the Yakovlev Yak-152 piston trainer, the prototype of which made its first flight in September last year. Two examples took part in the flight display and one more was on static display. The Russian defense ministry placed an order for 150 such aircraft. The Yak-130 twinjet trainer was shown in a new version distinguished by an optical sight, laser rangefinder and target designator in the nose and various new sensors. It also features a 23-mm GSh-23-2 twin-barrel cannon set semi-recessed under the fuselage. At the show it was announced that a more powerful engine will be developed for the type, delivering three tonnes of thrust, some half-a-tonne more than current production examples.
Although the SR-10 trainer with forward swept wing and a single turbojet engine was on display before, it was taking part in the flight display for the first time. Its developer KB SAT said that the performance of the 3.1-tonne-gross-weight airplane will be further improved after replacement of the AI-25TL engine with the newer AL-55.
Russian Helicopters unveiled two new rotorcraft in the static display, the VRT300 and VRT500. The first is undergoing flight trials. Clearance for production is expected by year-end, so that deliveries can start late next year. The VRT300 will provide the basis for development of a larger rotorcraft with a gross weight of up to two tonnes.
A new version of the Mi-28NE attack helicopter was on display this year. The helicopter comes in an export version whose deliveries commenced last year to Iraq. This version features a mast-mounted radar and twin controls for both crewmembers. There are also new members in the prodigal Mi-8/17 family. The Mi-171Sh-VN is intended for special forces and anti-terror troops, with improvements made to reflect the Syrian experience and increase top speed to 280 km/h (151 knots). Self-protection is provided by the President-S set, an export version of which is being supplied to Egypt. In addition, an “Arctic” version of the Mi-8AMTSh was on display. Meanwhile, certification of the Mi-171A2, expected to be announced at MAKS, has been postponed for “later this year”. UTair has agreed to be the first commercial operator for this model.
Myriad unmanned vehicles were on display, including the Orion from Kronshtadt Group (KT). This MALE UAV has a gross weight of 1,200 kg (2,600 pounds) and can loiter for 24 hours at altitudes up to 7,500 m (25,000 feet). Its fuselage and wing are made of composite materials. For foreign customers the company has developed an exportable reconnaissance version with imaging sensors. According to KT, there are now some 2,000 UAV projects in more than 60 nations.
A new version of the MiG-35 multirole fighter was shown, and one of the few deals to be announced at the show was the signing of an MoU between Russia and Malaysia on the long-mooted upgrade of the RMAF MiG-29 fleet.
View a slideshow from the show.

Fartøyer gjennom Bosporus - BBC

 

Watching Russia's Syrian build-up from central Istanbul

  • 20 July 2017
  • From the section Magazine       
Russian corvette Mirazh passes through Istanbul en route for SyriaImage copyright Getty Images
Image caption Russian corvette Mirazh passes through Istanbul en route for Syria                
 
The ship spotters of Istanbul have become a key resource for diplomats and intelligence experts, alerting the world to the scale of Russia's campaign in Syria.
It's almost midnight. I've just got to sleep at the end of a long day travelling to Istanbul, when my phone beeps with a message.
"Slightly bad news," it says.
"Alexander Tkachenko will enter Bosphorus at 04:20.
"Very inconvenient. There is absolutely no guarantee we will see anything at all."
The Alexander Tkachenko is a massive Russian roll-on roll-off passenger ferry that has passed through the Bosphorus several times before, carrying military trucks and other equipment bound for Syria on an open deck.
The boat may not have visible cargo this time. And in any case, 4.20am is well before dawn at this time of year in Turkey. It will still be dark. But that won't stop Yoruk Isik, who sent the message, from getting up to position himself at a good vantage point on the banks of the Bosphorus Straits in the heart of Istanbul with his binoculars and zoom lens camera.
Yoruk IsikImage copyright Monica Whitlock
He'll be ready to tweet the news of the ship's passage to his many avid followers, who now include diplomats and intelligence analysts worldwide.
And he's inviting me to come with him, though he adds: "I will feel very guilty if there is nothing on board."
Of course, I get up too. That's what I've come for.

Find out more

On the Black Sea: The Voyage Begins is available to listen to and download on the BBC iPlayer. The second part in the series will be broadcast on the BBC World Service on Wed 26 Jul 2017 at 03:32 BST.

Welcome to the wacky - but politically, increasingly important - world of ship-spotting.
It's an international, highly collaborative, fraternity - yes, they're mainly (though not all) men - and Isik is one of its most passionate, energetic members.
He's a big man in every sense of the word - bear-like, generous and funny.
Devrim Yaylali and Yoruk Isik on a Bosphorus ferryImage copyright Monica Whitlock
Image caption Yoruk Isik (right) with fellow ship spotter Devrim Yaylali, on a Bosphorus ferry
And he keeps himself going on strong coffee - the third love of his life, after his wife and ships - because he doesn't get much sleep.
"Many times I get up at two, three or four o'clock in the morning to see things," he says. "Yes, it's very painful. I destroy many days like this." And he laughs.
It's easy to understand how his addiction started. Partly it comes from living in Istanbul.
The Bosphorus - the gateway to the Black Sea for ships coming from the Mediterranean - isn't the only waterway in the world that's crowded with international shipping, but no other shipping lane as busy as this runs through the heart of a huge city.
Maps showing the Bosphorus
So Istanbul's 15 million residents can watch massive warships and cruise ships, container vessels and tankers passing before their eyes.
Only 700m wide at its narrowest point, the Bosphorus is so busy that to avoid accidents, the Turkish authorities operate a one-way system, regularly changing the direction of travel according to demand. Ships going the other way must wait at the northern or southern entrance.
USS PorterImage copyright Yoruk Isik
Image caption The USS Porter transits the Bosphorus
Isik has his favourite vantage points for spotting - most of them at one of the Strait's many bends. But often he just watches from his own balcony.
"This ship spotting is a mirror of international relations, politics, what is happening now," he says.
 
"The trade wars between Russia and Turkey, the US presence in the Black Sea supporting its Nato allies, or Russia trying to reinsert itself in the Middle East - it is all happening in the middle of this town!"
Isik - who earns a living as an international affairs consultant - logs the passage of boats of all kinds.
One he lay in wait for recently at a waterside cafe was the largest construction vessel in the world, the Pioneering Spirit, the length of six jumbo jets, passing through the Bosphorus on its way to lay the TurkStream gas pipeline off the Russian coast.
A tweet from the account of @YorukIsik about the ship Pioneering SpiritImage copyright @YorukIsik
It's so big that the strait had to be closed to other shipping as it went through.
But it's warships that most fascinate Isik and his ship-spotting friend Devrim Yaylali, who edits the Bosphorus Naval News website.
Yaylali, an economist, has been watching ships for even longer than Isik - since he commuted across the Bosphorus to school in his early teens, during the Cold War.
He was so curious about Soviet ships that one day he even skipped a school exam to photograph the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, now the flagship of the Russian navy, on its inaugural passage through Istanbul.
Today Isik and Yaylali are kept busier and busier - naval traffic through the Bosphorus has increased since Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, on the northern side of the Black Sea, in 2014.
A tweet from the account of @YorukIsik about a Russian warshipImage copyright @YorukIsik
The Kremlin has been strengthening its military defences in Crimea - and modernising its Black Sea fleet based in the Crimean port of Sevastopol.
"Russia has already bought three brand new Kilo Class submarines - and a fourth is about to come," Isik says.
"That shows their interest in asserting influence over the Black Sea."
On the deck of the Filchenkov, someone wanted a shot of Yoruk IsikImage copyright Yoruk Isik
Image caption On the deck of the Filchenkov, someone wanted a shot of Yoruk Isik too
But Nato has said it will bolster its naval presence in the region in response.
In April, Isik spotted the UK destroyer HMS Daring passing through Istanbul - a rare Royal Navy operational deployment to the Black Sea.
"The current situation is more scary than the Cold War to me," he says. "There is the possibility, if not of more hot military action, certainly of more military face-offs."
A tweet from the account of @YorukIsik about HMS DaringImage copyright @YorukIsik
But for now the greatest danger of a face-off is over Syria - and since the start of Russia's involvement in the war there nearly two years ago, Isik and his fellow Istanbul ship-spotters have played a key role in alerting the world to the scale of the Kremlin's military commitment.
All Russian ships travelling to Syria from Sevastopol or Russia's other Black Sea base at Novorossiysk must pass through the Bosphorus.
And sometimes, Isik says, Russia seems keen to flaunt its controversial campaign.
His most famous shot, taken in December 2015 - and retweeted around the world - was of a Russian soldier standing on the deck of a landing ship holding a shoulder-launched missile, an Igla rocket, as the vessel passed through the centre of Istanbul.
The Caesar KunikovImage copyright Yoruk Isik
Image caption A soldier with a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile can be seen on board the ship
Russian warships, like those of other Black Sea nations, have full rights of passage through the Bosphorus in peacetime. Non-Black Sea states have more limited naval rights.
But that image - taken shortly after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane for allegedly violating its airspace - was judged so provocative by Ankara that it sent a diplomatic note to Moscow in protest.
"I didn't even see (the rocket) with my naked eye - only when I downloaded the picture," Isik says.
A soldier carrying an Igla rocketImage copyright Yorik Isik
Image caption When Isik zoomed in on his photos he could see a soldier carrying an Igla rocket on his shoulder
"In the end, I couldn't decide whether it was done on the order of Moscow - or just the initiative of the soldier or captain."
As for the Aleksandr Tkachenko - the ship we've both given up our sleep for - it eventually emerges as predicted out of the early morning mist round a bend in the Bosphorus - loaded with row upon row of olive-green Kamaz military trucks.
Isik throws himself into a photographic frenzy.
The Alexander TkachenkoImage copyright Yoruk Isik
Image caption The Aleksandr Tkachenko carrying a cargo of military trucks on its way to Syria, just after dawn
"I'm quite excited," he says, "because when the Russian government made a contract with this ship one-and-a-half years ago, it was secret, they didn't announce it - and this shows their approach to the war. Nato ships are stronger than Russia's navy - but with what they have, Russia successfully launched a campaign 1,000 miles from Sevastopol."
"I was the first to notice that Russia was carrying military vehicles on civilian vessels and it showed even more that they were deepening their commitment."
"So, Tim, do you feel the excitement of the ship spotter right now?" Isik asks.
"I love mystery, and it's like a puzzle when we see ships carrying things from point A to point B - and with the help of other ship spotters you can solve this puzzle."
Novocherkassk and USS RossImage copyright Yoruk Isik
Image caption Russia's Novocherkassk (left) and the USS Ross - separated by a tiny Turkish coastguard vessel
Join the conversation - find us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.

tirsdag 18. juli 2017

F-35 7% dyrere - FlightGlobal

Lower buys raises overall F-35 acquisition costs by 7%

Lower procurement rates for the Lockheed Martin F-35 have reversed the programme’s positive gains since 2015, raising overall development and procurement costs by almost 7% through Fiscal 2044.
After years of stabilizing and reducing total programme costs under Joint Programme Office executive officer Lt Gen Christopher Bogdan, lower planned procurement rates over the next 27 years drove overall, inflation-adjusted costs from $379 billion to $406.5 billion, according to a Selected Acquisition Report (SAR) summary released on 11 July.

The US Air Force decreased its maximum annual aircraft procurement rate from 80 F-35As per year to 60. The change extended planned purchases of F-35s by the Department of Defense by six more years from Fiscal Year 2038 to 2044.

The decreased production quantities and and six-year procurement phase extension not only led to higher programme costs, but an increase in unit recurring flyaway estimates over the programme’s lifetime and an increase in average procurement unit cost and program acquisition unit costs, according to the JPO.

The JPO maintains that research, development, test and evaluation costs have remained steady and that negotiated near term unit recurring flyaway costs continue to decline.
At the start of the JSF programme, the June 2002 SAR estimated total acquisition costs at $226.4 billion, or $312.3 billion in current dollars.

The US Marine Corps, Navy and USAF had also planned to order 2,866 aircraft in 2002, but the navy later lowered its buy, reducing the total F-35 purchase to 2,443 aircraft today.
The overall cost estimate was released a day after the DOD awarded Lockheed a $4.49 billion undefinitised contract adjustment with a $5.57 billion ceiling for the 11th lot of low-rate initial production (LRIP). The deal is a placeholder while the JPO negotiates final LRIP lot 11 prices with Lockheed for 90 airframes and with Pratt & Whitney for F135 engines.

The JPO says the negotiations for Lot 11 should result in a lower price than finalised in LRIP lot 10, which resulted in a $94.6 million flyaway unit cost for the F-35A.

Norwegian til Singapore - FlightGlobal

Photo: Norwegian

Norwegian to make Singapore launch in September
20    April, 2017 - SOURCE: Flight Dashboard - BY: Mavis Toh - Singapore
Norwegian will launch services from London Gatwick to Singapore on 28 September.
The long-haul low-cost operator will operate four-times weekly on the route, rising to to five-times weekly during the northern winter season between October and March.
The services, operated by its UK subsidiary, will use Boeing 787-9s configured with 344 seats in two classes, says Changi Airport Group in a statement.
"Our transatlantic flights have shown the huge demand for affordable long-haul travel, so we are delighted to expand into new markets and offer our first route to Asia from the UK," says Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos.
"The UK is at the heart of Norwegian's ambitious plans for growth so it is a significant moment not only to launch this exciting new route, but also for it to be the first long-haul route to take to the skies with our new 'Norwegian UK' subsidiary."

FlightGlobal schedules show that Norwegian will compete with Singapore Airlines, British Airways and Garuda Indonesia between Singapore and London.

mandag 17. juli 2017

Malaysian MH17 remembered - Al Jazeera Videos

Justice elusive 3 years from MH17 crash in east Ukraine
Relatives still await justice for downing of Malaysia Airlines civilian flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine three years ago

Air crash investigator inspects the crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, near the village of Hrabove (Grabovo) in Donetsk region, Ukraine, July 22, 2014 [File: Maxim Zmeyev/Reuters]
by
Loes Witschge is a journalist and producer at Al Jazeera English online.

When he walked onto the crash site, Robby Oehlers was hit by grief and the smell of kerosene. "[The smell] was still so penetrating, it made my eyes burn," Oehlers says.
He had a list of items that his cousin Daisy and her boyfriend Bryce had brought with them. "They had travelled with a light blue suitcase, which was one of the first things I saw. I took a picture and sent it home, but it wasn't theirs."
Three months before, on July 17, 2014, Daisy, 20, and Bryce, 23, had boarded flight MH17 on their way to a holiday in Bali. But about three hours into the flight from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Boeing 777 was hit by what an international team of investigators have said was a surface-to-air BUK missile launched from an area in eastern Ukraine that, at the time, was controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
The Malaysia Airlines aeroplane disintegrated in the sky and there were no survivors among the 298 passengers and staff.
Oehlers, a singer from the Netherlands, had grown impatient in the months after the downing of the flight. When, in October, Daisy's remains still had not been identified, he decided to take matters into his own hands and visit the crash site in hopes of finding a trace of his disappeared relative.
"On television, I had seen there was still a lot of stuff lying around at the crash site. Not just wreckage, but personal belongings like passports, too. I thought if that stuff hasn't been picked up, they just haven't looked hard enough - she must still be lying there among the debris," he told Al Jazeera in December 2014.
For some time, Oehlers surveyed the field. "I recognised the fabric that had covered the seats and I could see bones. I saw a toy with a name written on it in children's lettering and a pair of shoes near the cockpit," he says. "There were so many things lying around there. I thought, 'How dare they leave this here for so long?'"
Initial recovery efforts for MH17 were hampered by the fact that the plane's wreckage fell down scattered across a rural part of eastern Ukraine where pro-Russian separatists were at war with Ukraine's armed forces. It took 24 hours for the first international responders, a team of observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, to arrive at the scene. Human remains lay on farm fields for days, exposed to Ukraine's hot summer temperatures.
With 196 victims coming from the Netherlands, the small European country was hit hardest by the tragedy. Forty-two victims were of Malaysian nationality, and 27 Australians lost their lives.
Repatriation got under way on July 23, when the bodies of 40 victims were flown back to the Netherlands. On May 2, 2015, the Dutch government announced the repatriation mission had been concluded. But when a Dutch journalist found a piece of bone on the crash site that turned out to belong to one of the victims in January 2017, victims' relatives called for another search of the site where the debris had come down.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 lost contact with air traffic control less than three hours into the flight and crashed about 40 kilometres from the border with Russia [Cassandra Ede/EPA]
Elusive justice
From the outset, Russia has denied any involvement. They initially claimed that flight MH17 was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet and later said that if a missile was responsible for the downing of the plane, it would have been launched from Ukraine-controlled territory.
A criminal investigation has been carried out by a joint investigation team (JIT) set up by the Netherlands - which plays a coordinating role - Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine. But three years after the crash, not a single suspect has been named - and questions have been raised about whether a trial will ever take place at all.
Oehlers is pessimistic about the prospect of seeing someone prosecuted for the death of his cousin. "[The chance of it happening is] very small," he says. "I think bigger political interests will outweigh those 298 victims."
On September 28, 2016, the JIT released a report which claimed investigators had obtained "irrefutable evidence" to establish that the plane had indeed been shot down by a BUK missile from an agricultural field near Pervomaiskyi, at the time controlled by pro-Russian fighters. They also announced they had identified about 100 people who could be linked to the downing of the plane, or the transport of the responsible launcher.
Further investigation of these persons is currently under way, but it is unknown when the prosecutors will be able to name potential culprits.
"There is no planning, there is no timeline," JIT spokesperson Wim de Bruin tells Al Jazeera. "We keep repeating that this process will take a long time."
On July 5, the Dutch government announced that the five countries forming part of the JIT agreed to let prosecution and sentencing take place in the Netherlands. The option of setting up a special United Nations tribunal was vetoed by Russia two years ago.

The announcement did not go into what the chances of a trial actually taking place are. "The decision [to hold a trial in the Netherlands] wouldn't have been made if there wasn't the conviction that [the investigation] would lead to a trial," de Bruin says. He concedes that a trial might happen in the absence of suspects. 
For Dutch member of parliament Pieter Omtzigt the investigation is taking "too long". He suspects Russia and Ukraine have deliberately slowed the process down by withholding information - most notably radar imagery.
"As a politician, I can't and won't look into the work of the independent judiciary branch, but it seems very apparent that some countries didn't cooperate with us," Omtzigt tells Al Jazeera.
Ukraine never handed over primary radar data, claiming that its installations were broken or down for maintenance at the time. "That's not very credible when you're at war, to turn off all radar at the same time," Omtzigt says. Russia failed to produce primary radar imagery until two days before the release of the JIT's September 2016 report - and even then it was only half of what they earlier reported they had. 
On October 13, 2015, the Dutch Safety Board presented its final report, which found the airplane had been downed by a BUK-missile from eastern Ukraine, against the backdrop of the reconstructed Boeing 777 [Michael Kooren/Reuters]
Time stopped
"There's a life before July 17, 2014, and a life after July 17, 2014. That was the case for us back then and it's still the case now," says Evert van Zijtveld, the Dutch president of the foundation for relatives of MH17 victims.
Van Zijtveld's old life ended that day not long after 5pm, when he got home from the last day of work before he and his wife would go on vacation. In the morning, he had taken his two children Frederique, 19, and Robert-Jan, 18, as well as his parents-in-law to Schiphol airport. Frederique had recently graduated from high school and Robert-Jan was about to enter his final year of high school - their grandparents wanted to reward them for their achievements with a vacation in Indonesia.

"When I got home, I received a phone call from a relative who asked me what airplane my children and in-laws had been in. He told me a plane had gone missing, and that's when I knew," van Zijtveld tells Al Jazeera.
"It's three years ago, for everybody else that's a very long time," he says. "But for us, it's like it happened yesterday. Time stopped on July 17, 2014."

It's very simple: our loved ones have been murdered and the killers are walking free somewhere in the world. They have to be arrested, they have to appear in a court of law and they have to be punished
Evert van Zijtveld

For van Zijtveld, the first few months after the downing of the plane felt like he was living in a film, but they were only the first part of a harrowing journey for him and his wife, Grace. After Frederique and Robert-Jan were buried, remains belonging to them were identified on more than one occasion.
Van Zijtveld and his wife opened the grave once, but decided against it when more remains were found. Instead, they cremated them and scattered the ashes on the ground of the national monument which will be inaugurated on the third anniversary of the crash: a memorial forest with 298 trees planted in the shape of a ribbon.
Van Zijtveld visited the military airbase in Gilze-Rijen where wreckage of the Boeing has been reassembled for the investigation. The victims' relatives foundation he heads waged a lengthy battle to get access to security camera footage of the victims captured at Schiphol airport - the last available moving images of their loved ones. And van Zijtveld voraciously researches what is being written and said about the crash.
"Everything that has to do with what happened to MH17 is important to me, it doesn't matter what," he says. 
Debris of the MH17 plane crash brought back from the crash site in eastern Ukraine is on display for friends and family of the flight's victims at airbase Gilze-Rijen in Rijen, The Netherlands, March 3, 2015 [Robin van Lonkhuijsen]
Putting the pieces together
Amid the many official reports, deliberate misinformation campaigns and conspiracy theories - one of which asserted the CIA had planted a bomb on the aircraft - circulating online, a wealth of research has been published by Bellingcat, a website by "citizen investigative journalists" who rely on publicly available information such as YouTube videos and Google Maps for their reporting.
The website is headed by Eliot Higgins, who was formerly known under his alias, Brown Moses, and has a track record of breaking news stories on the Syrian conflict through his open-source investigations.
"Very quickly after the event people started digging stuff out," he tells Al Jazeera. "There's so much material compared to Syria, because pretty much anyone can post what they like - there was just so much to find."
Bellingcat has published a series of reports in which the citizen journalists claim to have identified the exact BUK missile launcher that shot down the plane, the route by which it had been transported from Russia and the exact wheat field from which the missile had been fired - a finding which was vindicated by the September 2016 JIT report.
Criticism - not least by Russian media - has left Higgins and his team unperturbed and, in January 2016, the collective went as far as handing a list with the names of about 20 Russian soldiers who they thought were involved in the downing of the plane to prosecutors in the Netherlands.
Higgins admits to having felt frustrated early on about the fact that the JIT still has not announced any names of suspects, but he has since come round. "We've come to realise that they get one chance to get this right," he says.
Van Zijtveld trusts that investigators are doing everything in their power to gather the evidence necessary to convict the perpetrators of the downing of flight MH17, but stresses that he wants to keep seeing progress. "We think it's taking a long time and we've said that as the relatives of the victims we have no patience for the Dutch public prosecution or the JIT countries. They need to show us they are taking steps, otherwise we will get restless," he says. "And they've showed us that."
International politics, van Zijtveld continues, should be no excuse for slowing down the search for the truth: "It's very simple: our loved ones have been murdered and the killers are walking free somewhere in the world. They have to be arrested, they have to appear in a court of law and they have to be punished."
Looking back on his trip to eastern Ukraine nearly three years on, Oehlers is glad that he went. Like van Zijtveld, Oehlers still follows the news on MH17 closely - he spends about two hours a day gathering information online in hopes of finding answers about what happened to his cousin. 
"If I wouldn't have gone myself, I would have been completely lost in what everybody is saying online, on Twitter and in the investigations. I might have gone in the direction of [believing] conspiracy theories," he says.
"Now, because I've seen the crash site myself, at least there are some things I can rule out."

In Ukraine, Oehlers never did find anything that belonged to Daisy or Bryce. But a day before he left eastern Ukraine he received a phone call from back home. Daisy had been identified by her hip bone.