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Southeast Asia

Flying in the dark – Lion Air crash investigation update

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Flying in the dark – Lion Air crash investigation update | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Komite Nasional Keselamatan Transportasi

As an investigation into the ill-fated JT610 Lion Air flight continues, questions are now being asked if the pilots actually knew how to fly the plane – that they may not have had full knowledge of the latest model, the Boeing 737 Max 8 jet.

A lawsuit against Boeing was filed last Thursday. The parents of one passenger are suing Boeing, claiming that the plane had an unsafe design. The suit alleges “Boeing failed to communicate a new safety feature that hadn’t existed in previous 737s”.

For its part, Lion Air’s operational director accuses Boeing of “withholding information” from the company’s pilots in the manuals about a safety feature that can automatically lower the airplane’s nose to prevent a stall.

But the Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg told Fox Business Network last week that information was available as part of the training manual. Then on Wednesday last week, a Boeing spokesperson stated in an email that the company could not “discuss specifics of an ongoing investigation” but claimed the company “provided two updates for our operators around the world that re-emphasise existing procedures for these situations.”

“We are confident in the safety of the 737 Max 8. Safety remains our top priority and is a core value for everyone at Boeing.”

Lion Air has had a patchy safety record exacerbating a ban from European and US airspace between 2007 and 2016. Those bans have since been lifted, with the international civil aviation organisation giving Lion Air its top rating in terms of safety this year. Aviation experts consider the purchase of the Max 8 fleet may have been a tangible part of that boost to a top safety rating.

Mary Schiavo, a CNN aviation analyst and the former inspector general of the US Department of Transportation, says one of the selling points of the Boeing 737 fleet is that pilots can move from one plane to another easily if they are already trained on one of the jets.

She also said that updating a manual can be a long process for manufacturers and airlines and that, in this situation, there may have been an oversight. Schiavo speculates that Boeing likely “assumed it would save the plane when it looks like it might have doomed the plane.”

A Federal Aviation Authority emergency directive sent to all Max 8 operators on November 7, in the wake of the Lion Air crash, explains that pilots can stop a malfunctioning automated system on those planes by pressing two buttons. The FAA bulletin said that “all carriers were to revise their manuals within three days”.

“This condition, if not addressed, could cause the flight crew to have difficulty controlling the airplane, and lead to excessive nose-down attitude, significant altitude loss, and possible impact with terrain.”

Last Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Southwest Airlines, a US budget carrier with a new fleet of MAX 8 planes, replaced two malfunctioning AOA (sensors that measure the plane’s angle related to airspeed) sensors, in the three weeks before the fateful Lion Air crash.

As of today, the flight’s cockpit voice recorder is still missing, thought to be buried in the mud at the ocean floor off Jakarta. The ‘ping’ to help locate the recorder went quiet about a week after the crash. The CVR would provide vital evidence into the pilot’s actions and conversations leading to the incident.

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Bangkok

Miss Philippines wins Miss Universe 2018 – Thailand in Top 10

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Miss Philippines wins Miss Universe 2018 – Thailand in Top 10 | The Thaiger

PHOTO: philstar.com

Just in case you needed to know…

Miss Universe 2018, the 67th Miss Universe pageant, was held today at Impact, Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi Province. Miss Thailand made it into the event’s Top 10.

Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa crowned her successor, the pageant winner, Catriona Gray of the Philippines.

The 24 year old Filipina-Australian was crowned this morning at the Impact Arena in Bangkok beating 93 other female contestants from across the globe.

As in every Miss Universe pageant, the top five contestants were asked individual questions to determine who would make it to the Final 3. The final three beauties were then asked a standard question to find out who will bring home the title.

The top five contestants were Gray, Miss Puerto Rico Kiara Ortega, Miss Vietnam H’Hen Nie, Miss South Africa Tamaryn Green and Miss Venezuela Sthefany Gutierrez.

The show was hosted again by US comedian and game shaw host, Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham, while television personality Carson Kressley and runway coach Lu Sierra provided commentary and analysis throughout the event.

American singer-songwriter Ne-Yo performed during the competition.

Contestants from 94 countries and territories participated in this year’s pageant, surpassing the previous record of 92 contestants in 2017.

Miss Philippines wins Miss Universe 2018 - Thailand in Top 10 | News by The Thaiger

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Southeast Asia

“Best Country in Asia.” Japan.

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“Best Country in Asia.” Japan. | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Travelience

“Japan is ranked the best country in Asia and fifth globally. Thailand ranks 27th globally”

DataLeads reports that a survey conducted in 80 countries shows that Japan and Australia are the only Asia-Pacific countries that features in the top 10 best countries of the world.

The ranking of countries is measured through factors like entrepreneurship, openness to business, adventure, citizenship and overall quality of life.

The survey evaluated 80 countries across 24 rankings drawn from a survey of more than 21,000 global citizens measuring 75 dimensions that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment.

Japan is ranked the best country in Asia and fifth globally. Australia also features in the top ten list of best countries of the world. It is ranked seventh globally and second in Asia. It has scored well on indicators like entrepreneurship, being open for business and cultural influence.

Singapore, the bustling city-island, is ranked 16 globally and third in Asia. The country has high GDP along with a low unemployment rate. However the increasing population has given rise to concerns of income equality and rising cost of living.With world’s second largest economy after the US, China is ranked 20 globally and is the fourth best country to live in Asia. Although the country has a booming economy there are concerns like the substantial level of rising pollution in the country that affects the quality of life.

South Korea is ranked 22 globally and is the fifth best country in Asia. The country has witnessed a steady growth and has reduced poverty significantly. It is the world’s seventh-largest exporter and 11th-largest economy overall.India is ranked 25 globally and is the sixth best country in Asia.

It is followed by Thailand that is ranked 27 globally and seventh in Asia.Malaysia is ranked 34 globally and is eighth best country in Asia. The country has “gone a long way toward reducing poverty, moving the share of households living below the poverty line from more than 50 per cent in the 1960s to less than 1 percent in 2015”.

Malaysia is followed by Indonesia (41), Vietnam (44) and Philippines (49).Sri Lanka is ranked 51 globally and is the 12th best country in the region. Health standards and literacy are high in the country although poverty remains a concern. It is followed by Myanmar (63) and Pakistan (74).

SOURCES: DataLEADS, Asia News Network

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No tickets. No travel agents. Back in 2001 the new Air Asia was a gamble.

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No tickets. No travel agents. Back in 2001 the new Air Asia was a gamble. | The Thaiger

Stepping onto an Air Asia plane these days, or one of its regional affiliates, it’s hard to imagine that back in 2001, ex-music business executive had to mortgage his house and raise venture capital to buy a failed airline. That new airline would revolutionize the aviation business.

Re-lanching it as Air Asia, the airline has re-shaped the Asian aviation industry and spawned a generation of copy-cat budget wannabes that are trying to emulate the Air Asia success story.

Tony Fernandez said there would be no tickets and no travel agents. Bookings would all be handled ‘online’. Most pundits thought he was insane. But that was only the start his ideas to re-shape the airline business.

TechWireAsia reports on the rise and rise of the Air Asia model and how it has changed the way we fly around the region…

“In the age of digital transformation, companies either hop onto the latest technology bandwagon willingly or are forced to adopt modern approaches because of customer demands and competitive market forces.

But Malaysia’s low-cost airline AirAsia was born with a desire to be digital-first — even though it wasn’t a digital native to begin with.

AirAsia’s coming of age story is a well-documented one and a real-life case of having champagne tastes on a beer-bottle budget.

In 2001, former Warner Music executive Tony Fernandes – now AirAsia Group CEO – made the ultimate business leap. He mortgaged his house, convinced a group of investors to buy an ailing airline for a quarter of a million US dollar and set out to relaunch it as Asia’s first budget carrier.

Backed by a childhood dream to own an airline and zero experience in the aviation world, Fernandes proved his naysayers wrong. Today, AirAsia has smashed numerous firsts to hold the crown as the world’s best low-cost airline, winning the prestigious Skytrax title every single year in the past decade.”

Read the rest of the story from TechWireAsia HERE.

No tickets. No travel agents. Back in 2001 the new Air Asia was a gamble. | News by The Thaiger

Virgin’s Richard Branson (the pretty one on the left) after losing a bet with Air Asia’s Tony Fernandez

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