There’s a huge backlog of models and none of them have arrived (29 awaiting delivery at present). Some are as much as 4 months away, some are now 7 months overdue and frankly it must be time to write off JC Wings ever producing the 748F Cargolux cutaway. Surely a retailer somewhere has had the balls to ask what’s going on with it? Add to that the SAS A343 and A330 (January), the ANA Cargo 767 (February)…what exactly do JCW think they’re doing? It smacks of arrogance that money is taken for pre-orders and the manufacturer just sits there unchallenged. Not one has even had the customer service initiative to turn round and say to the pre-paid buyers, “this probably isn’t happening, do you want the option of a refund or carry on waiting?”
I’m giving all of the JCW outstanding orders until the end of May, then cancelling the lot. There’s no point in letting others sit on my money when it could be best used buying something else. That will also be the last JCW order until such times as there is evidence to show they can be trusted again. Of course they won’t care, but it makes me feel better. Come to think of it I’m little surprised Phoenix didn’t make this!
This will be a somewhat disrupted May. I’m running out of time for reviewing new models this month, there will only be two reviews on Monday and Wednesday next week, what they are will depend on what arrives between now and then! There won’t be another review until I get back to the UK on June 6th, so you can expect a fair few in June as I catch up! Plus you never know what I’ll have found at the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos; they often have old stock and one off left overs!
I don’t often do this but I have two reasons to fully document the Virgin Atlantic experience this time round, one professional the other because I want to! I usually just enjoy the whole thing, but it may be the last time we ever get to fly on an A340-600 on the way back. All the current bookings are on two-way 787-9’s. Expect a travel report. Eventually!
And now for something completely different.
I am a staunch supporter of Heathrow Expansion and the Airport’s management has now trumped the Prime Minister by meeting – and exceeding – all of the requirements laid down to get approval. With the London Mayoral elections over (which the PM’s party lost), the EU vote on June 23rd (don’t get me started on why we should stay in the EU, just vote STAY!), a descision has got to be made, probably when parliament recesses for the summer so nobody can scream too loudly when it doesnt’t go their way. It could be me screaming of course if they give it to Gatwick and anything is possible – UK governments are ntoriously cowardly.
Heathrow – because of London, is the most desirable airport in the world to fly to. Airlines pay tens of millions to acquire slots (the record is £75m ($110mUS) set this year. That’s when a slot even becomes available. Even with the expansion, it’s been delayed for so long it will be full again by 2035-40 with no hope of any future runway beyond that – a legally binding condition of the third being built. The only people who want Gatwick are Gatwick and the Prime Minister and the usual bunch of nimbys; Not In My Back Yard types. You know the sort, they buy a house under a known flight path then moan about the aircraft.
There is one voice screaming no to the Third Runway, that may be a little surprising, especially when you learn that IAG by virtue of owning British Airways, Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, owns 56% of the slots at Heathrow. IAG Chairman Willie Walsh is dead against it. He says it’s because the cost will be passed on to “his” customers. Really though, its because BA is far more concerned at the increased level of competition 40 new long haul destinations will mean. It has huge value in its slot ownership, which will devalue for a few years, it has a massively dominant presence at the most in-demand airport on the planet and that means it can charge premium fares. We all know premium fares = precious profits! So while Willy whiles away his time whining, we all really know what’s given him the willies; the possibility BA may be pushed down a few pegs in the pecking order.
So can we please just get on and build it? Throw in High Speed Rail 2 at the same time and lets move Britain forward…