Friday, February 25, 2011

Moon hits the dust

Moon hits the dust

To no one’s great surprise, on Monday President Obama canceled the Man on the Moon program started by his predecessor Present Bush the younger. It always looked like a forlorn hope. Common comments were that it was under funded and motivated by the wrong impulses. Some very uncharitable persons suggested it was more about getting some good vibes by appealing to public pride in past achievements to counter adverse vibes from other directions.
In its place President Obama has directed NASA to develop a more focused and creative cost effective interplanetary explorations strategy.
Some have said the decision is long over due and that the previous plan was sub optimal. It has for instance been recently suggested that a better plan would be to aim for the colonization of one of the moons of Mars as a first step in the extensive exploration of Mars which seems generally regarded as the next major step in man’s further exploration of the solar system.

On the seventh anniversary of the Columbia disaster, President Obama unveiled a sweeping change of course for the nation’s space program Monday, putting an end to NASA’s post-Columbia moon program and shifting development and operation of new rockets and capsules from the government to private industry.

Requesting some $19 billion for NASA in fiscal 2011, the administration announced plans to pump an additional $6 billion into NASA’s budget over the next five years to kick-start development of a new commercial manned spaceflight capability, including some $500 million in 2011.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

RFID TagSource launches RFID for the aircraft industry

RFID TagSource launches RFID
RFID TagSource announced the launch of the AeroTag family, a high memory passive RFID tag designed specifically for use in the aircraft industry.

The new tags have been developed within the guidelines set by the Air Transport Association and meet ATA Spec2000 and SAE-AS5678 specifications. They boast four-kilobytes of memory and a lightweight rugged design, which makes them well-suited for manufacturers supporting the Airbus A350 XWB RFID initiative.

Enabling aircraft industries to store maintenance history information directly on aircraft parts, the AeroTag product line features integrated circuits from Tego. AeroTags outfitted with Tego silicon can be configured to store up to 32-kilobytes of data.

The EPC Class 1 Gen2 tags operate in the 860-960 MHz frequency range and are made of a durable fire resistant plastic that is capable of withstanding temperatures up to 158° F (70° C).

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Delta Airlines Loses More Dogs

Delta Airlines Loses More Dogs
Earlier this year, Delta Airlines lost a dog who was supposed to be flown from Mexico City to Detroit. Then they made headlines for mixing up a couple of kids and sending them to the wrong city. And then they managed to send a puppy from Atlanta to California, instead of Maine. As if three strikes weren't enough, last week they once again created travel chaos, with the end result of one dog forced to fly several unplanned flights and another dog dead.

Michelle Reid and her kids recently returned to the states from nearly two years in Germany, where her husband is working with the U.S. army. Last week, the family's two dogs — Guinness, an English bulldog, and Lola, a shih tzu — were supposed to join them. Having flown overseas when the family first moved, the dogs were veterans and, after all the necessary health checks, and following Delta's "happy, healthy, jet-set pets" guidelines, the dogs were loaded up for the first leg of their trip.

When the dogs landed in Atlanta from Stuttgart, Guinness was found unresponsive. The family is awaiting necropsy results to understand what killed their healthy, 6-year-old dog. Lola was held over in Atlanta as a precaution, her flight to Seattle re-booked for the next morning.

But instead of flying to Seattle, Lola was put on a plane to Dallas. Then she was supposed to be flown to Spokane, via Salt Lake City. Yet, when she stopped in Utah, she ended up on the wrong flight to Seattle.

This isn't Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?; this is a real family who had no idea where their dog would end up next, or when she would make it home, after just learning of the death of their other dog. After her original international flight, it took Lola four more flights in one day to make it home. I don't know any human whose patience could withstand that; I can't imagine what it would be like for a dog being shuffled from cargo hold to cargo hold.

"All four airports were aware of the loss of Guinness," said Michelle. "You would think all four would take the time to make sure everything would go without complication for Lola."

Like the other people who have been victims of Delta's disorganization, it's been difficult for Michelle to get any answers. Nearly a week later, she's still getting the run-around, with no new information about what went wrong with her dogs. "Even following the rules to the best you can," Michelle said, "you never know exactly how your furry family is going to actually be treated during travel."

After the uproar surrounding Paco, the dog lost in Mexico City, Delta's General Manager of Baggage Service Recovery blogged that they "take pet travel very seriously and do everything possible to ensure that all animals travel safely and securely." Their track record says otherwise.

Delta may have transported 70,000 animals last year (though how many died is unknown, since they aren't required to report most animal deaths), but to so egregiously mishandle a dog after the loss of her companion — not to mention all the other high-profile cases of incompetent animal transport this year — shows a serious lack of commitment to safe pet travel and to addressing customer concerns.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Can Customer-Centric E-Business System Achieve Competitive Advantage for Airline Industry?

airlines informations

The main objective of this study is to provide significant new insights into the development and implementation of e-business strategies that will lead airlines to a competitive advantage.

The success of application of e-business strategy to airline industry depends on the value added of e-business to airlines. Currently, many airlines are looking at e-business to protect their assets and to secure customer's loyalty, and to be successful in today's competitive environment. In view of the new features of Internet, the core question of this paper is:

Can an e-business system utilising Internet technology to achieve competitive advantages for airlines?

To provide an answer to this question, the researchers conducted an online survey and develop a Customer Centric E-Business (CCEB) System Model, using China ShenZhen Airlines as a case study.

The work in this paper is organised as follows: Introduction; Section 1: Research Goals, Literature Review, Research Methods, Original Contribution, and Research Outcomes; Section 2: Research Flow Chart; Section 3: Findings and Results; and Section 4: Other Considerations. Furthermore, the work presents some pertinent strategies for airlines based on Michael Porter's Five Competitive Force Model.

With respect to the typology suggested by Porter, the results indicate that Porter's model was essential in evaluating the airline industry under both descriptive and elucidative aspects.

Many e-commerce principles were pioneered by the airline industry. These include the first business-to-business electronic information exchange and industry-wide electronic marketplace. This environment provided unprecedented opportunity for operations research (OR) modelling. Airlines continue to derive billions of dollars annually from these and derivative models. The availability of reliable, low-cost communications via the Internet is not only providing new modelling challenges within the airline industry, but it is also providing similar opportunities in other industries [1].

Electronic Commerce is defined as "buying and selling of goods and services through electronic technology utilising on line services such as Internet, interactive television, commercial online services and screen telephones so that an organization's objective can be achieved."[2]

In the 21st century digital technologies will push beyond the existing boundaries in all these spheres of our lives [3]. The transition from brick-and-mortar business to "clicks" business is happening in all sectors of the economy [4]. Any size business can have an e-commerce strategy; from a sports club selling T-shirts with their name on, to a medium-sized business selling widgets, through to a traditional retail behemoth like Wal-Mart [5]. Some e-commerce companies sell only over the Internet; others sell both over the Internet and in standard brick-and-mortar distribution channels [6]. Most airline managers realize that a major business transition is taking place. Some believe the various processes by which business strategies are developed will need to change. New value propositions are being promoted by e-commerce, and it is being used to give airlines competitive advantage.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Q4 Passenger Numbers Up In Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways which joins the ranks of global airlines as a full SkyTeam member reported that an 8.9 percent rise in passenger volumes in the final quarter of 2010 after the introduction of new routes and more frequent flights to Juba in south Sudan.

Passenger numbers rose to 829,000 in the October-December period, its fiscal third quarter.

Kenya Airways

"Uptake of total production at 2,333 million revenue passenger kilometers represents a 8.9 percent growth," it said.

The load factor rose to 69.8 percent from 67.8 percent in the 2009 period.

"The Northern Africa region grew by 16.9 percent in capacity owing to the introduction of flights into Juba in southern Sudan on the Embraer aircraft and Djibouti."

"The improved passenger numbers reflect a better performance for KQ this financial year, which the share price is likely to rally on," said Victor Odendo, an analyst at Apex Africa Capital.

Kenya Airways said the number of passengers ferried to Europe grew 5.4 percent to 102,493.

The airline, which is 26 percent owned by France-KLM, said the amount of cargo it carried was barely changed on the previous year at 15,195 tonnes for the three months due to capacity constraints on its narrow-body aircraft.

The airline said earlier this month it planned expansion this year on its African routes, which will involve acquiring five new aircraft.