Japan Airlines grounded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft today “after detecting smoke or gases that may have come from faults with the main battery,” according to the BBC.
Last year, all 787s were grounded for three months, CBS reports, after a “fire in a lithium ion battery aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport. That was followed nine days later by another battery incident that forced an emergency landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways 787.Today’s battery problem was noticed during scheduled maintenance. No passengers were on board the plane at the time.
According to the Los Angeles Times, “The lithium-ion battery system was found to ‘venting’ gas while the plane sat at Narita International Airport in Japan, Boeing said.”
The political protests currently taking place in parts of Bangkok don’t seem to be affecting travel to and within Thailand. And that should be no surprise. Despite events — a coup, floods and protests that closed an airport among them — that have rocked the country in recent years, travelers remain unfazed about visiting Thailand.
Not only are tourists still coming, but they’ve been arriving in increasing numbers in recent years, according to government data.
The story adds:
Indeed, despite the recent turmoil, Bangkok was this year named the world’s most popular tourist destination, beating London for the top spot in the “Global Destination Cities” Index. The capital is set to receive some 15.98 million visitors this year, with Chinese tourists in particular coming to the city to shop, since it’s inexpensive compared to regional rivals like Singapore and Hong Kong.
Still, some countries are alerting their citizens to be careful during the current protests. The U.S. State Department hasn’t issued a travel alert, but the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok yesterday released a message for U.S. citizens:
Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to local news media reports.
The longest commercial flights in the world — Singapore Airlines’ flights 21 and 22, running between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey — are slated for cancellation The Economist’s Gulliver blog reports. The flights traverse 9,525 miles in about 19 hours.
Qantas’s 8,576-mile route between Sydney and Dallas now has the top honor, according to USA Today, with Delta’s Atlanta to Johannesburg flight (8,434 miles) a close third.
Singapore Airlines cancelled the flights as part of a deal with AirBus, the Economist writes, in which “Singapore will get five new A380s and 20 new A350s, and the manufacturer will buy back the A340-500s that the airline uses on its super-long-haul routes.”
A direct flight to Iran? According to the Iranian airline Asseman, it’s possible, if relations improve. The airline’s managing director, Abbas Rahmatian, points out that because the airline recently transported President Hassan Rouhani to the United Nations meeting, it was requested to open up flights to the United States and Canada. Apparently the airline has 33 planes in operation and are completely capable of overhauling them.
While direct flights between the United States and Iran seem a little far off, it’s not surprising that Iran’s airline industry would want to look outwards; currently more than 60 percent of Iran’s total 220 planes are grounded because of technical and logistic issues. “Iranians airlines are facing great losses due to the low price of domestic flight tickets,” Sirous Baheri, managing director of Airtour Airline, which also operates in Iran, said, as reported by the website Skift. “They are currently having difficulties competing with foreign airlines.” Things are so bad that the deputy transport minister recently called for 16 of the country’s airlines to merge because they were in bankruptcy.Open Iranian airlines up to foreign markets like the United States and Canada, maybe they will have the potential for competing again. Of course that will depend on diplomatic relations improving. There’s the usual strict U.S. State Department travel warning, and because the United States does not have diplomatic relations in Iran, you can’t expect any consular services while there (although you could go to the Swiss embassy who handles all that stuff for the United States). And of course you need a visa.
So while you wait for those direct flights to open up, you may want to consider a few other methods of travel.
As China grows, so does how much the country’s inhabitants travel, especially when it comes to business travel.
While the United States has lead the pack in terms of spending on business travel, Americans are about to be overtaken by the Chinese: by 2016 China will have the world’s largest business travel market, according to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
What does that mean?
For one, China will have to grow its airports. Several airports already have had to double or triple their capacity, and over the next decade China is planning to build about 100 new airports. Because of the growth in travel within China, next year Beijing Capital International Airport is to surpass Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport as the world’s busiest airport.
Secondly, other surrounding countries like Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong can expect to benefit, as 95 percent of the travel will stay within Asia.
As business travel grows in China, the rest of the world will have to watch and see how the country deals with it. As Joe Bates, vice president of research at GBTA, told the Los Angeles Times, “the real question is can they keep up with the demand.”
And the Chinese better work on managing their business travel stress.