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Aviation

AirAsia is a superb airline. Its aircraft are well maintained and clean, its crew are great. Yes, its ability to be anywhere near its scheduled departure and arrival times are the stuff of legend - for their persistent failures. It has an ultra-slick website that whizzes through the pages. but it's the website that is the real reason that one has to think twice about booking a flight. That's because so much of it, outside the core part of finding flights, doesn't work. Cheap fares are one thing - but not when buying them is so frustrating. But a failure today takes the biscuit. UPDATED AT END

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It's one of those interesting differences between English and American. The American charge of "interfering with flight crew" does not involve, as it would in English, a sexual act. But given that there was an assault, the American charge is clear.

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Let's accept for a moment that, good as it is, data from commercial flight-tracking services is not 100% authoritative. But it is certainly extremely persuasive. The data that was made available immediately after the crash of Ethiopian Airways flight 302 showed a remarkable similarity to similar data published after the crash of Lion Air JT610. As more and more countries banned B787 MAX, the FAA supported Boeing. Boeing said "we stand by our aircraft." Then even more compelling evidence of similarity between the crashes emerged.

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In July last year, we said Malaysia needs to review Malaysia Airlines - Boeing deal because of political issues. Now, there's another reason to look at it.

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Special offers available for Black Friday via the link below have an interesting effect: if you fly from London or Manchester, a flight to SIN costs GBP490 but a flight to other destinations via SIN can cost less. The offers are across all classes.

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News is breaking as we write of the loss of flight JT610, a Boeing 737 Max 8, the Seattle company's latest variant of its most popular aircraft. The aircraft operated by Lion Air, which has one of the newest fleets of aircraft in the industry, left Jakarta a short while ago and disappeared over the sea en route to Pangkal Pinang in the Bangka Belitung Islands.

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Bahrain International Airport has a latest check-in time after which check-desks will be closed.

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Just as AirAsia announced the "suspension" of its Tokyo Narita (NRT) to Jakarta (CGK) flights, Japan Airlines and Garuda Indonesia have said that they are to increase co-operation to improve connections between the two Asian countries.

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In late 2017, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau released its "final" report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. It was clear that the ATSB considered the issue unresolved but closed. A private enterprise search, with a contingency fee, subsequently ran for several weeks but turned up no further information. In the past few days, Malaysia's Safety Inspection Team 13 operating under the auspices of Malaysia's Ministry of Transport published what is called it's final report - but the transport minister says that, while searches have concluded and semi-final conclusions reached from the evidence gathered over four years, the book is not closed until definitive answers can be given. It's a desperate situation and, for those involved, time isn't healing.

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There's history: Malaysia Airlines's fleet used to be almost entirely Boeing. Because there were almost no components common to more than one Boeing model, stocks of parts were enormous and that translated to vast amounts of capital tied up in warehouses. AirAsia, however, like many low-cost airlines, capitalised on the fact that there are many common parts across the Airbus A300 series which means that stock costs (and the space to keep them) can be significantly smaller. Malaysia Airlines began to restructure its fleet. Then, at the height of the 1MDB scandal, the government-linked flag carrier announced it was going to buy Boeing again. And then something interesting happened in the 1MBD investigation in the USA. Current PM Mahathir and his graft-busting team need to take a look at what went on.

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With effect from today, 31 January 2018 (announced today, i.e. with zero notice), Etihad Airways has a new "global baggage policy" that isn't global.

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Almost every couple of weeks, we hear that Airbus is not achieving orders, that its order book is depleted, that if it doesn't get orders soon it's going to crash and burn. The biggest comments are directed at the biggest aircraft: the A380 with "no new orders, A380 is a failure" being the general drift.

But here's the thing: Airbus has orders in abundance: indeed, it could not satisfy its existing orders within a year if it tried.

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Having failed to buy a stake in American Airlines (did anyone understand that proposal?) Qatar Airways has signed a deal to purchase just shy of 10% of Cathay Pacific Airways - but there is still a fraction under 75% in Swire Group hands.

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UK Airline Monarch announced at 4am UK time (3 am GMT) that it had ceased trading and all of its flights were cancelled.

This is an unprecedented situation and because there are up to 110,000 passengers abroad, the UK Government has asked the CAA to coordinate flights back to the UK for all Monarch customers currently overseas. These new flights will be at no extra cost to you.

-- CAA

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A passenger who built his own mobile phone charger has been released by police in India. It had been identified by airport scanners as a possible bomb.

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