Posts Tagged ‘sydney’

Checking In on a Typical Mayor Gavin Newsom Press Conference a Half-Decade Later: Who Lost Qantas?

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Well, nobody really “lost” QANTAS, but SFO used to have the big Australian carrier like for a half-century and now it doesn’t so that’s what SFGov was upset about back in the day. Let’s review.

Here’s 2009, from Qantas:

“In 1954, San Francisco became Qantas’ first US mainland destination and we have a long association with the city. We are delighted to showcase our new aircraft to the people of San Francisco.”

And here’s 2009, from Newsom:

“San Francisco International Airport was designed to accommodate the new A380 aircraft, and we are extremely pleased today to welcome Qantas Airways in the first commercial A380 flight to SFO,” said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. “This state-of-the-art, environmentally sensitive new aircraft provides yet another bridge of friendship between San Francisco and Australia, and we look forward to continuing our long and successful partnership with Qantas.”

Now IRL, the Airbus A380 was and is just another airplane in the sky. And IRL, the state of the art of large commercial aircraft would be to use two large engines instead of the A380′s four smaller engines. And calling it “environmentally sensitive” was and is a bit of a stretch and, in fact, these days it’s considered a guzzler and so much so that Airbus is considering certifying completely different engines.

Anyway, what happened soon after this press conference in 2009 is that Qantas shut down operations at SFO and went to Texas. So instead of upgrading airplanes coming into town, they just upped and quit on us, they couldn’t wait to get out of here.

Why? Because it made sense for them to do so and also the airport people at Dallas Fort Worth came up with millions of dollars to throw at Qantas.

Who knows, Qantas might come back to SFO at some point (but it doesn’t really matter all that much).

Pretty much everything he said at his press conferences turned out to be wrong – this is just an example.

The Coked-Up Cruise Ships of San Francisco’s Pier 35 South – A Recent Bust for Cocaine Up in Fishermans Wharf

Friday, February 17th, 2012

The P&O* Cruises Aurora was just in town up near Fishermans Wharf at Pier 35 South for part of her 2012 World Cruise.

But three of the passengers on this ship got busted for blow, deets here.

Click to expand

*Peninsular and Oriental

QANTAS Abandons S.F. for Texas – No More Qantas Rolls-Royce Ka-Booms over the 415 – SFO’s Airbus A380 Cargo Cult

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

How long has it been since three-star-rated former Mayor Gavin Newsom left office – has it been a week or two? Well, we’ll leave that to the judges and justices ‘n stuff, but, irregardless, it’s been long enough* for Qantas Airways Limited to announce that its abandoning the San Francisco Bay Area, g’night, mate.

Why? Well it’s ’cause they’ve been losing mad dollars on non-stop flights betwixt SFO and Cindy, Australia for donkey’s years. Enough is enough they figure, so future flights from Down Under will alight in Dallas, Texas. (Some Bay area travel(l)ers are not amused, not at all.)

Now, weren’t we due for superjumbo Airbus A380 double-decker service by now for those non-stop flights to Oz? Oh yes, but instead of getting that, we’re losing the non-stop, regular-jumbo Boeing 747-400 service we have now. I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking how could this be, San Francisco is a “natural amphitheater,” a “world-class” city even. Well, not anymore, or at least SFO isn’t a “world-class” airport anymore.

However, there’s a silver lining. You see, them Rolls-Royce engines, those RB211′s and those Trents 500 and up, well they blow up sometimes, ka-boom! Call it an “uncontained failure” they do. And QANTAS well, that’s pretty much all they run these days, the Rolls-Royce. (Just look at Australia’s national flag, why not, for the reason.) So, less Qantas = less less RR = less ka-boom over our heads.

For example, check out this Qantas flight out of SFO just last summer. It had passed the Farallones with almost full tanks and then, kaboom, Rolls-Royce engine #4 exploded. Oh well. Everybody made it back safe tho. Check it on the YouTube.

Flight 74 getting a little sparky high above the deep briny – not what you want to see looking out your window. Time to dump your avgas and circle back to Millbrae:

Click to expand

I hear you, you’re saying that’s the old Rolls-Royce. But, you know, that Qantas A380 engine that blewed up just after leaving Singapore late last year, that’s the new RR – indeed, that was a fairly recent vintage Trent 900 engine that destroyed itself. Oh well. The Aussie A380s have been patched up and now Qantas is flying them as far as they want again, to Los Angeles among other places. But not very long after the flights started again, yet another Qantas Rolls Royce engine went kaboom - this one was a contained failure, so that’s some consolation, anyway. Check it:

“A Qantas spokeswoman said yesterday the Rolls-Royce RB-211 engine would be replaced and the aircraft would be in service shortly. She said the latest incident involving Qantas jets and Rolls-Royce engines did not indicate any pattern of trouble. ”We certainly don’t view it that way at all,’ the spokeswoman said.”

O.K. fine. Whatever you say, lady.

Now with the SFO cargo cult. Leave us review:

“Cargo cult activity increased significantly during and immediately after World War II, when the residents of these in some Pacific islands observed the Japanese and American combatants bringing in large amounts of material. When the war ended, the military bases closed and the flow of goods and materials ceased. In an attempt to attract further deliveries of goods, followers of the cults engaged in ritualistic practices such as building crude imitation landing strips, aircraft and radio equipment, and mimicking the behaviour that they had observed of the military personnel operating them.”

See where I’m going here? Didn’t we just get done re-doing SFO so that we could handle five or six A380 superjumbos at a time? Hells yes! We saw a few test runs from aircraft with Airbus, Emirates and Qantas livery over the past few years.**

But those big metal birds didn’t come back.

No cargo for us.

So am I saying that it was a stupid idea for SFO to prepare for the Age of the Super Jumbo Jet? No, not really. I don’t know all the deets of how things costed out, and who knows, it wasn’t impossible that official San Francisco’s dream of somehow besting Los Angeles could have eventually worked out. But if you could have seen how proud SFO officials were of their A380-only, double decker jet bridges in the new International Terminal back in the day, well, you’d be thinking cargo cult too.

Who knows what the future will bring. International air travel will increase like gangbusters over the coming decade, so we’ll probably get some use out of those dusty double-decker jetways sooner or later. And maybe then Qantas will be back, with or without A380s. (The Q has abandoned us before, and we made do.) Or maybe Emirates will get a little more MPG from the non-Rolls-Royce, American-made GP7200 engines on their A380s so they’ll be able to make a non-stop superjumbo hop to the Bay Area from the Mid-East. Maybe.

(And maybe by that time SFO will be called Willie Lewis  Brown Jr. International Airport, I’m seriously, that’s what the other former Mayor of SF wants, he wants us to chuck the extremely well-known SFO moniker for WLB. Can you imagine?)

Anywho, if you want to go Sydney after May 2011, your only choice will be United Airlines. Now, that flight is on an old jet that the President of United says is “unacceptable,” but at least you don’t have to fly to Los Angeles on your way Down Under.

So long, Qantas.

*They waited a only a few days – what a joke!

**Man, what a load this was:

“Sensitive to the politically charged nature of outsourcing and offshoring, the Airbus chairman for North America, Allan McArtor, said 50 percent of the A380′s components are being made in the United States. McArtor hailed the new aircraft as quieter and more fuel efficient than wide-body jetliners of the past. Final assembly of the plane will be done in Toulouse, with the first test flights scheduled for next year.”

50% American content? Absolutely not. There’s a bit of American content in A380′s (some of them have more and some less) but it ain’t nowhere near 50% and there’s no way it could have been 50%. Airbus is run by the Euros – why would they go out of their way to employ Americans?

“G’Day Airbus!  Qantas A380 Arrives at SFO

Qantas' A380 arrives at the International Terminal“On January 14, 2009, SFO welcomed Qantas Airways’ new A380 as it arrived from Sydney – the first Airbus A380 to bring scheduled passengers to SFO. The aircraft’s arrival was celebrated with a party at its gate in the International Terminal.   Sponsored by Tourism Australia, the party featured Australian music, meat pies and sausage rolls, and a kangaroo.

The International Terminal, which opened in December 2000, was specifically designed to easily handle the arrivals and departures of large capacity airplanes such as the A380, the largest passenger aircraft in the world.

SFO’s International Terminal, with the country’s only built-in A380-ready gates, is the future for comfortable and convenient international air travel,” said John L. Martin, Director of San Francisco International Airport. “We welcome visitors from our sister city, Sydney, and look forward to offering regularly scheduled Airbus flights and connections for all of our international visitors.”

The International Terminal features five gates that can be used by the A380 – three with double loading bridges and two with triple loading bridges. SFO was the first airport in the United States to offer triple loading bridges. The third loading bridge extends to the A380’s top deck, which allows the aircraft’s 500-plus passengers to be conveniently and directly loaded or off-loaded from the gate to the aircraft in 40 minutes – approximately the same time it takes to load a 747-400. Moreover, SFO can accommodate a rapid turnaround for the Airbus. SFO is the only airport in the United States with such a high level of built-in readiness.

Qantas currently offers daily nonstop service between SFO and Sydney on its 747-400 aircraft. The airline plans to bring its A380 aircraft to San Francisco on a regular basis in the next few years.

David de Rothschild’s Somewhat Flaky Plastiki Expedition Finally Makes it to Australia

Monday, July 26th, 2010

Well, he and his Plastiki crew finally made it, all the way from Sausalito, California to Cindy, Australia. Let’s hear it for “heteronormative postmodern causeo-European hubris,” or something like that.

With some major repairs along the way and a friendly tow down the east coast of Oz, he eventually got the job done so you got to hand it to him.

Check the site, check the blog, check the Flickr.

As seen yesterday down under, in a darling little harbour:

via drexplore

All the way to the bottom, Davy. You made it!

Je vous lève le chapeau, Mr. de Rothschild.

Plastiki Approaching Island of Kiritimati After 35 Days Asea – Oprah Impressed

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Here’s the update: Plastiki voyage leader David de Rothschild and crew are heading straight towards the northern Line Islands at a pace slower than walking.

Appears as if they’re slowly making a bee-line to tiny Teraina, Kiribati (aka Washington Island). Or Tabuaeran (Fanning Island) – that’s in the area as well. big old (bigger than San Francisco anyway) Kiritimati (aka Christmas Island)

Be sure to check out the action at Oprah.com.

DdR at the CAS last year:

Anyway, they said they would try for the Lines, and it looks like they’ll make it.

Stay tuned….

Catching Up With the Voyage of the Plastiki – Landfall Near Hawaii Expected Soon

Monday, April 12th, 2010

I don’t know, if Plastiki voyage leader David de Rothschild really were such a self-centered douchebag” “media hound, wouldn’t he be heading towards one of the Hawaiian islands, like Oahu or the Big One? (Numerous reports have stated that Hawaii is on the itinerary.) You know, there’d be a huge reception for him and his crew in ‘Lulu, with a concomitant media circus ‘n stuff.

But it appears as if the Plastiki is heading towards the nearby, not-all-that-populated Line Islands. So credit David for that, anyway.

See? San Francisco is off the map way up near the top right corner of your PC screen and the Hawaiian island chain is in the upper left corner of the graphic:

And do I blame him for skirting around the North Pacific Garbage Patch? Not really, for three reasons.

1. All them exposed two-litre bottles in the Plastiki’s hull make it the slowest pig on the high seas. And depending on conditions, that place isn’t the easiest to navigate through, so lots of extra time would be needed.

2. Garbage patch trekking’s been done already, by similar voyages; and

3. You can’t actually see the Garbage Patch – it looks like any other part of the Pacific. So, unless you are equipped for studying it, the whole place is kind of banal.

Anywho, I’m curious to see where this venture ends up. I’m quite confident this Andersonian craft  is seaworthy enough to make it all the way to Cindy, Australia, but how it gets there - that should be interesting.

The Plastiki plods along while the haters (“heteronormative postmodern causeo-European hubris”) hate. I’m thinking it’s still possible for David to beat the haters and win this one.

We’ll see.

FlavorPill.com Needs an American Editor in Australia – A $400 per Week Working Holiday

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Let’s review here - Tourism Queenland’s recent Best Job in the World promotion had some bloke getting paid $100k to be a caretaker on an Australian island. The whole thing was quite popular worldwide and some people figure that it got the Australian tourism industry eight figures worth of free advertising all told. (Or course, if you wanted to be considered seriously, it really helped to be young and cute, just like in the real world.)

All right. Today, comes now FlavorPill.com to offer you another job down under. They want you to apply by February 15th, 2010 to be their new part-time online editor in Melbourne (it’s near Cindy, I think) starting September 1, 2010. They’ll pick up your airfare and they’ll put you up for 12 days but it’ll be up to you to live on $400 a week for a year or whatever.

And, oh yes, you’ll need to qualify for a Working Holidays in Australia visa and that means you’ll need to be between 18 and 30 years old. So you have to be kind of young, but nobody will care what you look like. Bonus.

Just think, this could be you with a cute attentive beach kangaroo:

And this is how you’ll look surfing down under with your cute, attentive boyfriend:

This is something betwixt the best and worst jobs in the world. Keep that in mind as before you become one of the world’s highest-paid part-time bloggers (as you struggle to afford a daily cup of coffee.)

Its you:

Come Out and Live, Play and Work in Australia as the New Flavorpill Melbourne Editor! Flavorpill Announces Job Opportunity for a Young American; Visa Program and Travel Deals Available for Others Wanting to Work and Play in Australia

Los Angeles, CA – (February 9, 2010)  Thanks to a visa program and some great travel deals available on Australia.com/workandplay, Flavorpill, an online source for culture, events and current news in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and London, is getting ready to launch Flavorpill Melbourne! There’s just one thing missing: an editor.

Americans ages 18-30 can apply for the Managing Editor position at http://flavorpill.com/australia/submit.html. Just tell why you deserve the position and what experience you have with writing, editing and social media. The deadline for entries is February 15, 2010.

“The ability to go to Australia for up to 12 months, get a job and experience our unique and diverse adventures through the Work and Holiday Visa program makes the opportunity with Flavorpill’s new Melbourne newsletter a dream job. This is a great way to add to one’s resume by joining the locals and getting off the beaten path,” said Tourism Australia Vice President Americas Daryl Hudson.

More deets, after the jump.

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Recalling the Close Call United Flight 863 had with Mount San Bruno Back in 1998

Monday, July 6th, 2009

There wasn’t all that much coverage of the incident back in the day, so the time that a United Airlines Boeing 747-400 out of SFO with 300 people aboard came super close to crashing into 1,576-foot-high San Bruno Mountain is worth remembering.

Did the pilot at the controls really forget how to steer the plane after one of the engines failed and lots of vibration began? Pretty much. But everybody treated this near miss as if it were an actual accident and procedures for pilot training are now better because of it.

The proper way to clear San Bruno:

IMG_9113 copy

Click to expand.

Some of the locals of San Mateo and San Francisco living around the mountain won’t ever forget hearing and feeling that particular flight.

That’s something to think about when you’re out and about near the mountain, huh?

Qantas Flirts with San Francisco, But It’s Just Not That Into Us

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Does this huge, somewhat ungainly superjumbo jet seen above SFO today look somewhat familiar? It should, as we’ve seen its kind before. But Qantas is proud that it has the first scheduled Airbus A380 flight into San Francisco. These paying passengers came all the way from Cindy, Australia.

Check out the photos of our welcome at the International Terminal. (The kangaroo QANTAS had in Sydney yesterday at the start of the flight was a bit more lively than the specimen we had this morning at SFO, it appears. And for some reason, the Emirates A380 seems to be more luxurious. And there was no sign of Ralph Fiennes. But that’s not the problem.)

The problem is that this is all a tease and the big new metal bird is going to spend its time in sunny Los Angeles. Why? Read on.

The A380-800 looks stubby because it is. Its wings is too big for its body! But that will pay off once stretched models start coming out in a few years. Then this series of aircraft will look better proportioned, more like the graceful stretched Boeing 747. Click to expand:

via Joit’s photostream

Now back a half-year ago, the Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services got all huffy at LAX and threatened that it would “move its flagship Airbus A380 services to San Francisco” unless Los Angeles upgraded its facilities.

Of course we’ve got mad upgrades up here in the 415. But not as many Australians want to come to the Bay Area compared with SoCal, and Oneworld connections with American Airlines are easier in LAX than in the Bay Area, and yada yada yada. So Qantas and El Lay patched things up and S.F. got left at the altar.

We’ll have to make do with regular old 747 service to Oz for a while longer anyway. But our cargo cult terminal upgrades for the new superjumbos should be worth the effort down the road, especially when the economy recovers.

And these days you can fly down under for cheap, so check the details after the jump.

G’day mates.

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