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Boeing suspends testing of new long-haul 777 jet

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Boeing suspends testing of new long-haul 777 jet | The Thaiger

Boeing is suspending testing on its new long-haul 777X aircraft, yet another setback as the US aviation giant tries to rebound from the 737 MAX crisis.

The so-called “final load” tests are part of the aircraft certification process, overseen by inspectors from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and meant to subject the plane to “loads and stresses well beyond normal operational loads,” a Boeing spokesman told AFP in an email.

“During final load testing on the 777X static test airplane, the team encountered an issue that required suspension of the test,” the spokesman said.

“The testing conditions were well beyond any load expected in commercial service. The event is under review and the team is working to understand root cause.”

A source close to the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity said a door of the plane blew out during the test. Such an occurrence is rare during final load testing, an industry source said.

The 777X was originally scheduled to take off on its first test flight this summer. That date has been postponed until early 2020 by Boeing, due to problems with its General Electric engine.

The company spokesman declined to say whether the latest setback would further delay the schedule.

The FAA investigates issues that come up during structural testing of aircraft, the agency said.

During these tests, the plane is placed under extreme stress to verify its structural strength. To check the wings, for example, a system of fasteners are connected which allow examiners to bend them up and down.

Traditionally, these tests push the aircraft to the breaking point estimated by the manufacturers, and are essential to obtain certification from regulators.

The suspension of the testing for the 777X comes as Boeing is in the process of completing changes required by regulators on the 737 MAX, which has been grounded worldwide after two crashes that resulted in 346 deaths.

Civil aviation authorities have stepped up their inspections since the disasters, most notably the FAA, which has been accused of cozy ties with Boeing.

In an effort to reinforce its independence, the US regulator has become much more detailed and demanding, according to industry sources interviewed by AFP.

Boeing’s 777X, which is meant to replace the 777 and can carry 400 to 425 passengers, has already been ordered by eight airlines, including Emirates.

It is meant to compete with the A350 of European manufacturer Airbus.

Up until Friday, industry experts had said the first deliveries of the 777X probably would not take place before 2021 because the test flight period and approval process should be extended, due to the delays caused by the engine issue.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Travel

Travel giant Thomas Cook teetering on financial collapse

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Travel giant Thomas Cook teetering on financial collapse | The Thaiger

Unable to adapt to the move online as smaller, nimbler travel companies thrive, Thomas Cook, the household name in international travel, is close to financial collapse. And the collapse could leave up to 150,000 British tourists stranded overseas.

The iconic British travel giant Thomas Cook say they’ve failed to find any further private investment to stave off collapse and now relies on an unlikely government bailout. The group is blaming “Brexit uncertainty” as the major problem with their current malaise.

The operator announced they needed £200 million (US$250 million) – in addition to the £900-million rescue deal secured last month – or else face administration, which could potentially trigger Britain’s largest repatriation since World War II – customers who are currently overseas.

A source close to the negotiations told AFP the company had failed to find the £200 million from private investors and would collapse unless the government intervened. Without another bailout by its Chinese major shareholder Fosun, the brand’s financial options are few.

But ministers are unlikely to step in due to worries about the pioneering operator’s longer-term viability leaving it teetering on the brink of collapse and stranding up to 150,000 British holidaymakers abroad.

“We will know by tomorrow if agreement is reached,” the source told AFP. The firm’s shareholders and creditors are scheduled to meet from 9 am (0800 GMT) on Sunday morning, followed by a meeting of the board of directors in the afternoon.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association, which represents workers at the company, called on the government to rescue the firm.

“It is incumbent upon the government to act if required and save this iconic cornerstone of the British high street and the thousands of jobs that go with it,” said TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

“The company must be rescued no matter what.”

Two years ago, the collapse of Monarch Airlines prompted the British government to take emergency action to return 110,000 stranded passengers, costing taxpayers some £60 million on hiring planes.

The government at the time described it as Britain’s “biggest-ever peacetime repatriation”.

Thousands of workers could also lose their jobs, with the 178 year old company employing about 22,000 staff worldwide, including 9,000 in Britain.

Chinese peer Fosun, which was already the biggest shareholder in Thomas Cook, agreed last month to inject £450 million into the business. In return, the Hong Kong-listed conglomerate acquired a 75% stake in Thomas Cook’s tour operating division and 25% of its airline unit.

Creditors and banks agreed to inject another £450 million under the recapitalisation plan announced in August, converting their debt in exchange for a 75% stake in the airline and 25 percent of the tour operating unit.

Thomas Cook in May revealed that first-half losses widened on a major write-down, caused in part by Brexit uncertainty that delayed summer holiday bookings. The group, which has around 600 stores across the UK, has also come under pressure from fierce online competition.

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

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Phuket

Vietnam Airlines opening direct Phuket to Ho Chi Minh City flights

Bill Barnett

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Vietnam Airlines opening direct Phuket to Ho Chi Minh City flights | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett c9hotelworks.com

Vietnam Airlines will commence direct flights between Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Phuket on October 27.

Flights will operate three days a week, on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday. The airline is also launching direct Ho Chi Minh City to Denpasar (Bali) service.

Vietjet Air, the popular new low-coast airline out of Vietnam, is currently servicing the increasingly popular route.

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Tourism

Sampling Saigon street food with XO Tours

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Sampling Saigon street food with XO Tours | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: XO Tours

Find yourself in Saigon and looking to learn more about the local street food scene? Well, if your sense of adventure is in intact and you prefer to receive your knowledge first hand, then XO Tours can provide you with a fascinating and insightful trip through the streets of Saigon.

Sitting on the back of a moped and driven by charming ladies dressed in the traditional Ao Dai outfits, this is truly a unique perspective in which to experience the Saigon food scene. The ladies look splendid when wearing the Vietnamese national garment which is a tight-fitting silk tunic worn over trousers, the sight is quite something to behold as a legion of elegantly dressed women ferry their hungry tour guests throughout the city, descending on each local food stop and enjoying whatever is offered up.

Itʼs worth mentioning that these professional and licensed tour guides are also well trained and have a high level of competence in regards to driving, if anything, their cautious nature of females is your ally in regards to taking on the Saigon traffic.

Saigon is a vibrant and exciting city, replete with charming parks, wide boulevards and glorious tree- lined avenues and streets. It’s a destination that invites exploration, which is what makes this tour a fitting approach. The open air nature of a bike tour allows you the freedom to really feel the city, to partake of its smells, its sounds and to really feel its energy. If you are truly looking to know Saigon, this could be one of the better ways to understand its nuances.

XO stands for Xe Om, which are motorbike taxis in Vietnam. The concept was bought about by Mr Tung who is a native to the area but moved back from USA, XO Tours was the first motorbike tour company in Vietnam to hire female tour guides, and very much pioneered the concept, even though there are many copies of the format to this day.

The whole tour is really quite comprehensive, with careful attention given by the hosts to your needs as well as accurate descriptions of the food and their backstories. As you buzz through the many districts you will notice how each area carries a certain style and approach to their food, a localisation of the food contained within the environs that make up this fabulous city. Neither is there is any chance of going hungry on this tour, indeed we suggest that you do arrive famished, so you have an opportunity to experience all the gastronomic grandeur of the entirety of this tour.

XO Tours take guests practically through all the districts, and they have security backing things up, so there is never any need for concern, and you can feel assured of your safety during the entire time. The tour lasts for a good four and a half hours, but when you do arrive at the end, it will feel as barely any time as passed at all.

The food and drinks is virtually unlimited, with the time on the bikes between the food stops a great opportunity to take “digestion breaks”. The tour is conducted at night, when most of the street food is available.

The writer travelled as guests of XO Tours To learn more, visit xotours.vn

WRITER: Shannon Green

Sampling Saigon street food with XO Tours | News by The Thaiger Sampling Saigon street food with XO Tours | News by The Thaiger

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