Monthly Archives: August 2005

More About the Air St. Thomas Blacklisting

I’ve been somewhat curious how tiny Air St. Thomas ended up on the French government’s airline blacklist, and we have a bit more info this morning.  The French government banned the carrier from flying to St. Bart’s in the Caribbean.  The airline, which has never had an incident in 35 years, stopped flying that route in 2004.  A spokesperson for the government admits that it’s possible that Air St. Thomas has fixed whatever problem caused it to be on the blacklist in the first place and that it may nto have been removed because they haven’t requested to re-start the flights to St. Bart’s. 

KLM to Introduce All Business Class Service

Following in the footsteps of SWISS and Lufthansa, KLM will introduce all-business class service from Amsterdam to Houston.  The flights, to be operated by PrivatAir, will be operated using a Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), a modified version of a 737, with 44 lie-flat seats.  Nice.  The service will replace a three-times-weekly 767 flight between the two cities.  PrivatAir has been operating successful all business class flights between Zurich and Newark as well as Newark and Dusseldorf.

France and Belgium Name Blacklisted Airlines

France and Belgium released a list of airlines they have blacklisted from flying to their countries.  The only surprise on the list is tiny US Virgin Islands based Air St. Thomas.  No reason is given for the ban.  In case you were wondering, here are the two lists:

France: Air Koryo of North Korea;
Air St Thomas of the US Virgin Islands; International Air Services of
Liberia; Thailand’s Phuket Airlines; and Linhas Aereas de Mocambique
and Transairways, both from Mozambique.

    Belgium: Africa Lines of the Central African Republic; Air
Memphis from Egypt; Air Van Airlines of Armenia; Central Air Express
from Congo; Libya’s ICTTPW; International Air Tours Limited from
Nigeria; Johnsons Air Limited of Ghana; Silverback Cargo Freighters
from Rwanda; and South Airlines of Ukraine.

French Government Seeks Airline Ticket Tax for African Aid

The French government is planning to introduce a small tax on airline tickets to raise funds for aid to Africa.  French President Jacques Chirac said that a $1 tax could raise up to $10 billion for African aid.  Although the G8 nations pledged to consider the idea following a June summit (ie, "please don’t make us decide"), several countries (including the US, Ireland and Greece) have come out against the idea of such a tax.  Germany has backed the plan but will not introduce a tax on its own tickets.  A tax would likely be less than $3.

Great United Airlines Credit Card Deal

We’re in the late summer news slowdown period, so I thought I’d pass along a fantastic credit card offer from United Airlines.  First year free, 20,000 bonus miles for sign-up.  You’ve practically got a free trip for doing absolutely nothing.

Hundreds Swarm Peru Crash Site

Hundreds of locals have swarmed the crash site of a Peruvian 737 deep in Peru’s northern jungle.  Local police have offered a reward for anyone who finds one of the missing black boxes containing flight data, and this incentive have brought out masses of people.  Unfortunately, this has also led to a swarm of people descending upon the site to loot whatever they can find from the corpses, including digital cameras, cash, and jewelry.  Locals were seen in town carrying seats from the aircraft. 

France to Post Blacklisted Airlines

In a controversial but pro-consumer move, the French government announced that it will publish a list of airlines that have been blacklisted from landing in the country because of safety issues.  This list will preempt a similar list being prepared by the EU.  For whatever reason, some have complained about posting the list, but I think it’s a fantastic idea, and one that the US should create as well. (Of course if the US publishes this list already—tho I’m not aware of one—someone can just let me know).

Want to Buy Wayne Newton’s Plane

Wayne Newton is selling his 1969 Fokker F28, and you can buy it.  Well, maybe not YOU, specifically.  But somebody.  The plane can hold up to 65, though he has it configured for fewer than that (the interior of the plane looks quite nice).   The biggest drawback, beside the fact that you can’t afford it, is that it can’t fly cross country without stopping.  Bummer.

Northwest: Strike Is a Battle of Perception

The NY Times looks at what’s really going on with delays at Northwest during the strike.  The verdict?  Uh, well, um, it sorta depends who you ask.  Apparently either half the flights are late, or just a handful, or a bunch are cancelled, or just a few are.  I think the answer is: the airline isn’t really saying, and nobody else knows for sure.  If you have a flight booked on Northwest, check the website to see if your flight is delayed—it might be.  But it’s probably not cancelled.  Isn’t that pretty much the case every time you fly?

Malaysia Airlines’ Low Fares to Stockholm and Malaysia

Malaysia Airlines has a pretty good sale for flights to both Stockholm and to Asia.  The deals:

Newark to Stockholm: $269 round trip (doesn’t beat their $99 round trip sale from last year, but pretty good nonetheless)

2 business class seats to Kuala Lumpur: $5,100.  This is a great deal for business class.  It’s more than worth it.  If you’ve got $2,550 per person to blow, of course.