I don't know much about the airline business. But I think I know bad p.r. when I see it. And the grounding of Boeing 787 Dreamliners in Japan today is most decidedly bad p.r.
Here's a report this morning from Reuters that I think tells the story rather quickly:REUTERS - Japan's two leading airlines grounded their fleets of Boeing 787s on Wednesday after one of the Dreamliner passenger jets made an emergency landing, the latest in a series of incidents to heighten safety concerns over a plane many see as the future of commercial aviation.
All Nippon Airways Co said instruments aboard a domestic flight indicated a battery error, triggering emergency warnings to the pilots. Shigeru Takano, a senior safety official at the Civil Aviation Bureau, said a second warning light indicated smoke.
Wednesday's incident, described by a transport ministry official as "highly serious" - language used in international safety circles as indicating there could have been an accident - is the latest in a line of mishaps - fuel leaks, a battery fire, wiring problem, brake computer glitch and cracked cockpit window - to hit the world's first mainly carbon-composite airliner in recent days.
"I think you're nearing the tipping point where they need to regard this as a serious crisis," said Richard Aboulafia, a senior analyst with the Teal Group in Fairfax, Virginia. "This is going to change people's perception of the aircraft if they don't act quickly."
Most definitely a bad situation, and one that Boeing's competitors will no doubt try to take advantage of.
THIS AND THAT
Los Angeles had a banner year for tourism in 2012, according to the Los Angeles Times. The Times said the city set a new record with 41.4 million visitors. That's a 2.5 per cent hike over the 40.4 million folks who came to check out the city in 2011. International visitors make up 15 per cent of that amount, and for the first time ever the Chinese led the way, with 339,000 visits. I suspect we'll see a lot more of that in the future with other cities. I could be wrong, but I believe Canadians were traditionally the number one source of international tourists for L.A. ... Barbara DeLollis at USA Today Travel reports that the Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotel group will open the Lion Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia in May. The building was designed in 1817 and was once called home by a princess in the royal family. The hotel is in the historic Admiralteysky district, just two blocks from the renowned Hermitage Museum. Other hotel openings of note this year are the Peninsula Paris in December, the Quin Hotel in New York City in late March in midtown, the Shangri-La at the new Shard building in London in May and the Andaz Maui at Wailea sometime this summer. This will be the first resort for Andaz, a boutique chain by Hyatt. Wailea, if you've never been, is a fabulous stretch of beaches on the driest part of the wonderful island of Maui.
JAUNT.CA DEAL OF THE DAY
Jaunt.ca, a division of Torstar, has a deal for beautiful Punta Cana for $1,175 ($789 plus $386 in taxes).
- 7-night all-inclusive stay at the 4-Star Occidental Grand Punta Cana, located in Punta cana, Dominican Republic
- Includes return airfare from Toronto to Punta Cana, and round-trip airport/resort transfers in the Dominican Republic
- Accommodations in a Junior Suite, featuring 1 king-size bed plus sofa bed, and balcony or terrace with garden or pool view. Max. occupancy: 3 adults + 1 child or 2 adults + 2 children
- Daily breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
- This mega-resort has over ten restaurants and bars to choose from
- The resort has a host of activities from merengue dance lessons and horseback riding to scuba diving and spa services
- Located on one fo the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean with 300m of waterfront
- Valid for travel on the following departure dates: January 25, 27 & 28, 2013
- Pricing (per person, plus tax):
Child (2-12 yrs): $687
- Valid passport required for travel from Canada
- This offer is 100% non-refundable at time of booking