Boeing 777-9X Artwork

Ranting About Boeing

So I need to state before you get any further, that this is going to be a bit of a rant, but I’m extremely frustrated with Boeing right now and this is my platform to vent.

But seriously Boeing, how can you act like the way that you are acting right now and think that it’s acceptable behaviour? With the recent announcement of the machinists voting to pass their new contract by 51% states that something isn’t right. So basically what has happened is Boeing said, either you vote in favour of what we are proposing or we’ll be moving to another state to begin production of our next aircraft, the 777X. Feel free to vote no, but when the production of the current 777 aircraft’s have been completed, you’ll be out of a job.  Oh by the way, we don’t exactly have a firm timeline of the current 777 production schedule either.  That’s roughly translated into, we’re going to make sure that we do everything in our power to close up shop as quickly as we can.

The Seattle Times is reporting that the vote passed by only 600 votes, 51 percent to 49 percent. In earlier versions of the contract, Boeing tried sweetening the deal by adding bonus’ and other elements to the contract.  However, most of these sweets wouldn’t be rewarded for 5 to 7 years, so roughly 2019-2021. Sweet deal? More like a sour deal because when these discussions were happening, Boeing was stating that there was work on the books for approximately ten years on the new 737 MAX and 777X.

So if the machinists accepted the contract the first time around, they would have received their “bonuses” about the same time they would be entering into contract negotiations again because at the time this was all being discussed, work was projected to be good for ten years. The machinists said no, so Boeing sweetened the deal again.  However, this is when they also added the catch that they are starting to look into other locations throughout the country to build a new plant and start aircraft productions elsewhere.

Fast forward to this last week when the machinists accepted their contract, because it was either that or they were out jobs. That’s really the gist of it all and that’s extremely unprofessional and selfish of Boeing.  I know that there are many other large corporations that are playing the same games, but I firmly believe this one tops the cake right now. Hey machinists, do what we say, not what we do. All while Boeing’s CEO, Mr. W. James McNerney, Jr., will be making close to $20 million once all is said and done.

Lets look at things a little deeper and we’ll find one of the reasons that Boeing is doing what they are doing.  It’s called the 787-8 aircraft.  This aircraft was going to be the next aircraft of aircraft’s.  It was going to make companies like Airbus cry because it was stated to be so awesome.  Well, things didn’t exactly go as planned and time and time again the aircraft was further delayed for delivery.  Then, when the aircraft finally does actually get off the ground, countless other problems follow it. The project has lost billions of dollars and instead of really owning up to many of the issues, Boeing releases the newest member of the family, the 787-9.  Hey… look over here, shiny new aircraft with very few problems.  Don’t mind that aircraft over there, it’s just a big pile of never ending issues. Boeing continues to lose money on the 787-8 because they are still so far behind on the deliveries that selected airlines have just given up and cancelled their orders.

So in reality, what I believe is really happening here is that Boeing needed to find a cash cow because they have lost so much money on the 787 that they wanted to recover it somewhere. Instead of the upper levels of Boeing taking a little less in their paychecks, they are using their own version of the trickle down effect. We’ll count the money that we are losing and then those loses will trickle all the way down to the bottom.

In the end, it’s a game of smoke and mirrors and sadly the machinists are the ones getting the short end of the stick. I just hope that from here forward, Boeing is able to get their act together and move forward.  While the 787 program is a bit of a mess, let’s hope that future programs such as the 737 MAX and 777X work so that ten years from now, we aren’t in the same place again feeling a little day sha voo.

 

SFO+terminal+outside

Starting 2014!

Many of us, including myself, are happy to see a new year begin.  Time to put away the things of the past and keep heading into the future.  Myself, like many of you, are also setting goals for the upcoming year as well.  So in keeping in fashion with the start of the new year, here are some of the items I intend to accomplish during 2014.

Completing my Bachelor’s degree.  Spoke to my Academic Advisory a few weeks ago and they finally updated my Program Evaluation to reflect the changes to the program.  Yes, I found out I have two more classes that I now need, but this evaluation is much better.  Anyway… there is a small light at the end of the tunnel.

More fitness focused. I want to make it a point to become more fitness focused.  Whether that means cycling more often, heading to the gym more frequently or just getting out and walking.

Eating Better.  I’ve made some improvements in my diet, but now it’s time to take it up a notch because my body has become comfortable with the level that it is at now.  Time to change that up.

Making More Time.  Yes, that one might sound a little odd, but I need to make more time for things.  More time to write in my journal.  More time to write a post or two here. So maybe not so much that I need to make more time, I just need to make more time for myself.

Launch My Project.  I have a relatively large project that I’m presently working on.  While I’m not ready to announce exactly what it is, I’m putting a great deal of effort into it and I want to see it really come to life over the course of this year.

Refrain from Negativity. 2013 proved to be a challenge in this department, but then the issues were resolved. While it was a hard path to travel down, some times various elements are better out of your life instead of part of your life.  That was a huge mindset that I had to shift and it was difficult, especially when I was striving to be the good friend.  Anyway… that being said, it’s better to stay away from someone/thing negative instead of trying to resolve it and attempt to fix the issue.

I think that these are some great goals for me for this coming year.  Stay tuned and we’ll see how well I do in the coming months.

A320_virgin_america

Keeping Travelers Entertained

Whether you travel by air all the time or not-so-often, we are all used to the safety demonstration that is given by the flight attendants prior to departure. Some airlines perform these demos “old-school” with the flight attendants doing the demonstrations themselves, while other airlines take advantage of the video equipment available on board to show a video demo.

That being said, over the last number of years, we’ve seen a handful of unique and creative video demonstrations from airlines like Virgin Atlantic, Delta Air Lines and Virgin America. Perhaps one of the most famous videos was made by Delta a few years back that included, the now famous, finger wave. Over the last couple of days, we’ve had the chance to see two new safety videos released by Delta Air Lines and today, Virgin America.

Delta has released a few new versions of the last couple of months and the one that was released this last week was for the holiday season. Now, in true Virgin America fashion, they released their brand new safety demonstration and as you can watch below, it’s exactly that Virgin America feeling that we’ve come to know and love. What makes the Virgin America demo even more spectacular is that it was produced by Virgin Productions, so it truly is a Virgin produced product.

Thanks Delta and Virgin America for keeping the traveling public entertained, even if it just for a couple minutes. One last thing, thanks Virgin for your catchy little tune.

Delta Increases West Coast Service

New routes support expansion of International offerings from Sea-Tac International Airport

Delta 737-900ER

The Boeing 737-900ER in Delta colors (Photo Credit: Boeing Corp.)

Delta Air Lines will offer new daily nonstop service to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport from San Francisco International Airport as well as increased service fromLas Vegas’ McCarran International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport, beginning next year. The new service is designed to provide customers access to the airline’s growing trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific network from its global gateway in Seattle.

Details of Delta’s new and expanded Seattle service include:

  • Six new daily nonstop flights from San Francisco beginning March 29, 2014, increasing to seven daily flights on June 5, 2014.
  • Two additional flights from Las Vegas for a total of three daily nonstop flights beginning Jan. 6, 2014, increasing to five daily nonstop flights on April 1, 2014.
  • Two additional flights from Los Angeles for a total of seven daily nonstop flights beginning June 5, 2014.

“San Francisco, Las Vegas and Los Angeles are the three largest West Coast-to-Asia markets in the United States,” said Mike Medeiros, Delta’s vice president – Seattle. “Their addition into this local market will bolster domestic service as well as continue to help support our growing international portfolio in Seattle.”

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Efforts to extend Amtrak service beyond Oklahoma City towards Kansas City

Efforts to bring Heartland Flyer rail service through Wichita gain speed

Amtrak's Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma.

Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma.

By Bill Wilson, The Wichita Eagle

Wichita’s pursuit of the Heartland Flyer passenger rail system has gained momentum, with state support, City Council support and a possible train station in downtown Wichita.

With an initial planning study for expanded rail service in hand, the Kansas Department of Transportation has joined the city’s ongoing pursuit of the Amtrak passenger route that runs from Dallas to Oklahoma City, with expansion possibilities from Fort Worth to Kansas City.

Officials from KDOT, Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration have told the architect of the city’s passenger rail effort, council member Pete Meitzner, that his first goal has been met.

“We’re at a point where they have confirmed independently that the (initial planning) study done a year ago is a good first step that gets us in the game,” Meitzner said.

“We were afraid we weren’t in the classroom as a state, but we’ve got a chair now.”

The Wichita City Council has signed on to efforts launched nine months ago by Meitzner to pursue the rail service, making funding more passenger rail studies a lobbying priority for the upcoming legislative session.

The effort is supported by Wichita commercial developer Gary Oborny, who has a letter of intent to buy the city’s downtown rail hub, Union Station, and convert it into key hospitality, office and retail space.

Oborny said a rail terminal is in his plans for the building. If he lands Union Station from its owner, Cox Communications, Oborny said, he’ll save space for the Flyer.

The reason? Bringing people to Wichita, he said.

Amtrak's Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma

Amtrak’s Heartland Flyer in Oklahoma

“The key isn’t just passenger rail,” Oborny said. “That’s a nice component, but the whole rail story is really about access to Wichita. If we want to drive commerce in our city, our gates and doors have to be open 24/7 every way we can think of.”

That commerce effort, launched by the Wichita Metro Chamber, where Oborny sits on the board, can be enhanced by rail passengers stopping in downtown Wichita.

“That’s why this effort is crucial,” he said. “The one thing we have to do right now is make sure we’re on the field and ready to play.”

Meitzner’s effort has landed critical allies in KDOT Secretary Mike King, a Hesston native, and his governmental affairs chief, Lindsay Douglas. King is continuing talks with Oklahoma officials who are more interested — today — in a more northeast route for the Heartland Flyer toward Tulsa that could be a roadblock to the Wichita effort, Douglas said.

“They have indicated to us at this point in time they’re interested in funding additional work,” she said. “They are interested in offering new service, but the towns north of Oklahoma City along the Heartland line are interested in service there, too. So there might be a sort of competing interest there.”

Douglas said the next step to move the Kansas Heartland line along is an environmental study, costing $3 million from Kansas and $2.3 million from Oklahoma, less with federal assistance.

And there are plans for a regional passenger rail workshop with the Federal Railroad Administration, a significant outreach to the feds showing that Kansas and Oklahoma are serious enough about passenger rail to need federal funds, Douglas said.

But, the immediate key toward the Heartland Flyer’s future in Wichita may lie in Gov. Sam Brownback’s budget proposal, which will be released on Jan. 16, and in the willingness of the federal government to provide grant funding, Douglas said, for future studies and for a project with an uncertain price tag. The latest project estimates, from 2011, are a little more than $87 million to run from Newton into Texas, although that number is fluid as the project develops and as time passes, officials said.

“Right now, there are a lot of demands on funds at the state level,” Douglas said. “Depending on the governor’s budget that comes out on the 16th, we’re all trying to figure out where our resources are and prioritize our investments. There are opportunities for federal funds, and we’re making sure that if federal funds become available, we can apply and be competitive.

“If funding becomes available, we’re in a good position to apply with the service development plan done.”

It’s all because Meitzner keeps pushing the passenger rail issue, Douglas said.

“It’s really opened from my standpoint our eyes to Wichita as a willing partner in this initiative,” she said. “They’ve really opened our eyes to different economic development opportunities there and what having that line through Wichita would do for the area. It’s been a good thing, working through these discussions.”