Perfect complements, Saudi Arabia edition?

Manama: A Saudi judge and former Shura Council member has suggested hiring Saudi couples as flight attendants on Saudia, the flag carrier of the kingdom, as a first step to enabling Saudi women to become air stewardesses.

“The number of stewardesses with Saudia is around 1,000 and it is possible to recruit 1,000 Saudi couples to work together as flight attendants,” Dr Nasser Bin Zaid Bin Dawood said.

“Couples can start on domestic flights and then gradually move on to international flights. The idea of recruiting couples to work together is not new and we had a similar experience in the past when husbands were recruited as guards in the girls’ schools where their wives worked as principals, administrators, teachers or assistants,” Bin Dawood said, quoted by Saudi daily Okaz on Thursday.

Here is the link, via Air Genius Gary Leff.  And here is Gary on the new air traffic control proposal.  Peter Orszag also approves.


One can be confident that privatizing air traffic control will undoubtedly be ranked among the sort of transportation milestone that the privatization of British Rail was, especially this part - 'A significant change came in 2001 with the collapse of Railtrack, which saw its assets passed to the state-owned Network Rail (NR), with track maintenance also brought in-house under NR in 2004. The regulatory structures have also subsequently changed.'

And what was the problem with Railtrack? 'The Hatfield train crash on 17 October 2000 was a defining moment in the collapse of Railtrack. The immediate major repairs undertaken across the whole British rail network were estimated to have cost in the order of £580 million and Railtrack had no idea how many more 'Hatfields' were waiting to happen because it had lost considerable in-house engineering skill following the sale or closure of many of the engineering and maintenance functions of British Rail to external companies; nor did the company have any way of assessing the consequence of the speed restrictions it was ordering, which all but brought the railway network to a standstill. The costs of modernising the West Coast Main Line were also spiralling. In 2001, Railtrack announced that, despite making a pre-tax profit before exceptional expenses of £199m, the £733m of costs and compensation paid out over the Hatfield crash had plunged Railtrack from profit into a loss of £534m, and it approached the government for funding, which it then used to pay a £137m dividend to its shareholders in May 2001.'

Nice to see how the shareholders were paid using taxpayer money, though - cannot have the shareholders be responsible for a company's losses after all. One can certainly expect that any shareholders of an American air traffic control company will expect similar treatment.

I am often struck by the petty provincialism of many on the Left. Every issue is about them and their tiny little grievances. Like the proverbial Ugly American tourist traveling the world and being appalled that the Old City of Fez is not like Peoria back home.

Yes, the problems Saudi Airlines has is just like the privatization of British Rail. Absolutely.

"And here is Gary on the new air traffic control proposal. Peter Orszag also approves." - Tyler Cowen

That's actually quite an apt description of the Right, heh. Make America Great Again.

P-a does it every time. He is not on the Right.

And of course it isn't true of America's Right. America's Right knows that foreign countries are foreign. They do things differently there. That is why American values don't travel well and nation building is unlikely to work.

Meanwhile the Left insists that Muslims are just like them - they don't really mean it. They don't really believe any of that religious stuff. What they really want is to be extras on an episode of Sesame Street. Because everyone is the same under the skin and if only we show them how much we hate W they will be out best friends forever!

"America’s Right knows that foreign countries are foreign. They do things differently there. That is why American values don’t travel well and nation building is unlikely to work."
As in Iraq?

'He is not on the Right.'

Nor am I on the left.

But I am a big fan of the Piraten focus, particularly in terms of shaping the digital world in a way that preserves the promise of the GPL and the early Internet.

@Thiago - that's why we called them neo-conservatives.

Global crusades for democracy are Trotskyite and hardly what I'd consider conservative of anything.

But they are neo-CONSERVATIVES. They are the new warriors of Conservatism. The point is, Americans always thristed for domination ober other nations.

@prior_test2 June 6, 2017 at 6:38 am: " ‘He is not on the Right.’ Nor am I on the left.


very well -- where then do you consider yourself to be ?

Reading Ross Douthat, David French, Evan McMullin, Bill Kristol, David Frum, and numerous others, I'd say the neo-conservatives have completed the short, happy journey back to Progressivism and universalist conceit.

They are just one of the factions fighti g over co trol over America and - through it - over the world.

And to think I answered what direction my politics goes by noting the 'Piraten' - or the Pirate Party. At least in terms of concerns of things like copyright reform or the GPL. Basically, our culture is no longer expanding in the sense that the government granted monopoly of copyright was intended to foster as written in the Constitution - 'To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.' Article I, Section 8, Clause 8

'Current US law extends copyright for 70 years after the date of the author’s death, and corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years after publication. But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years. Under those laws, works published in 1960 would enter the public domain on January 1, 2017, where they would be “free as the air to common use.” Under current copyright law, we’ll have to wait until 2056.1 And no published works will enter our public domain until 2019.'

This is fundamental to the basis of a free society, and has nothing to do with left or right. Other issues, such as data privacy, are equally important, but not so easily explained, particularly to anyone who grew up in the world's first for profit surveillance state.

I realize you have a real problem with reading comprehension, so let me point out the following from the last line of what Prof. Cowen wrote - 'And here is Gary on the new air traffic control proposal. Peter Orszag also approves.' Maybe you can even click on the links, though admittedly, they too involve reading.

Had lunch in the old medina last week. Better than any I've had in Peoria.

They don't have Chicago style pizza in Medina, so I know you're lying.

I always like to post this graph when I see people complaining about the privatisation of BR;

Passengers per capita has not reached its early 1900s all-high yet. It is time to make British Rail Great Again.

You'd never guess it, but "privatised" Railtrack had a safety record which was _literally_ 10x better than the previously state-owned British Rail. Deaths-per-passenger mile was falling entirely in line with historical norms and maybe a bit faster; Hatfield didn't effect the trend. But let's not put data in context, huh?

Railtrack was licensed to run a quasi-monopoly under a government regulator which controlled prices and could regulate it out of existence at a whim. Apart from private ownership it's hardly a good example of capitalism red in tooth and claw. Oh, and that £580M was not "repairs" in any meaningful sense. The network was working fine without them. They were upgrades to improve safety mandated by the government.

The point being that Railtrack was renationalized - after a catastrophic failure.

And how has Network Rail done since then? Depends on one's perspective concerning government debt and shell games, I guess - 'Until 2013, there was discussion over whether Network Rail is a public-sector or a private-sector entity. Although it was officially a private sector organisation, the fact that its debts were underwritten by the government, and it is partially funded by the government, has led to its being described as being "nationalisation in all but name". It was also claimed that the government is keen for Network Rail not to be classified as a public-sector organisation, as this would mean that the company's debt would be counted as public expenditure liabilities. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) repeatedly clashed with the National Audit Office and the Statistics Commission over whether the successor to Railtrack should be considered a private company – as the ONS believed – or included on the Government's books, as the National Audit Office argued. The NAO said that as the Government is bearing the risk that would normally be borne by equity capital, and as it can appoint, through the SRA, a director who cannot be removed by members, Network Rail is effectively a subsidiary of the Government-controlled SRA.

In December 2013, the ONS announced that from September 2014, Network Rail will be classified as a "government body". This resulted in the company's debt of £34 billion being added to the national debt.'

It is quite reasonable to point out that the British experience concerning privatized infrastructure might be repeated in the U.S., as in the end, only the profitable parts of British Rail were privatized, with the unprofitable job of actually maintaining a rail network is again the responsibility of British taxpayers.

This is Islam boldly moving into the 8th century.

Actually, there were no aieplanes into the 8th Century.

* airplanes

Nut there had been other options of air travel:

* But

I prefer the Egyptian cleric's suggestion that everyone in the office should be suckled by each and every woman who wants to work in that office. Thus creating a quasi-family tie that makes working together acceptable in Islamic law.

You know, every man who gets on Saudi Air could be given a glass of milk to consume before boarding. It could really work.

Of course it would be best if they were homeopathic Islamists. But that may be too much to hope for.

One problem with building extended networks of milk-kinship is that, even among clerics that accept milk-kinship relationships established during adulthood, the putative kinship relationship brings obligations and restrictions of its own. For example, one cannot marry a milk-brother's sister.

How will privatizing ATC create the in plane GPS control systems NextGen requires without costing all the plane owners the investment cost?

The FAA finalized the rule, in 2010 requiring ADS-B Out on almost all aircraft, about 250,000, by 2020. A recent news article estimates 75,000 planes still need the $2500 equipment and installation in the next two years.

This system needed to be agreed to with the EU especially where their smaller fleet must be equipped this year. The is much less general aviation there.

Until all craft are so equipped, GPS based control is not possible.

But with only ADS-B Out, ATC automation is limited. And free flight is limited or precluded. And the new "roads" create by ATC using GPS way points are annoying lots of people who were not under the flight paths that were defined in the 30s when beacons replaced fires on hills and mountains.

The delays have been Congress. It took the Clinton-Gore to open GPS to civilian use - creating a threat to national security. Then government had to pick the winner, which Republicans can't do. So, picking the winner in 2010 means a delay while the private sector pays to comply with the mandate.

Delays in modernizing in the 80s led to the entire thing being almost discarded because GPS was the way to go in theory. But creating all the prices is still in progress. Everything is connected. But GPS had to be demilitarized. That was a battle. SA randomly and intentionally shifted GPS readings enough to move to a second runway, or a highway. Then WAIS needed to be added to improve accuracy. That took until the late 90s.

And privatization won't build new runways and without runways planes stack on the ground or air. And new runways require jack boot taking of private property worth hundreds of millions to billions. New airports in the boonies require billions in transportation construction to serve them, and taking of private property.

Privatization of ATC won't do much.

So, meet Skyguide - 'Skyguide (Swiss Air Navigation Services Ltd.) is an air navigation service provider which manages and monitors Swiss airspace. The company, which was formerly known as Swisscontrol, changed its name to skyguide (officially written lower-case) in 2001. Skyguide is a joint-stock company under Swiss private law which is responsible, on behalf of the Swiss Confederation, for ensuring the safety of all Swiss airspace and of adjoining airspace areas in Germany, Austria, France and Italy that have been delegated to its control. For Swiss airspace, this duty extends to both civil and military air navigation services.'

And here is an example of skyguide not exactly doing a good job - 'The two aircraft were flying at flight level 360 (36,000 feet, 10,973 m) on a collision course. Despite being just inside the German border, the airspace was controlled from Zürich, Switzerland, by the private Swiss airspace control company Skyguide. The only air traffic controller handling the airspace, Peter Nielsen, was working two workstations at the same time. Partly due to the added workload, and partly due to delayed radar data, he did not realise the problem in time and thus failed to keep the aircraft at a safe distance from each other. Only less than a minute before the accident did he realize the danger and contacted Flight 2937, instructing the pilot to descend by a thousand feet to avoid collision with crossing traffic (Flight 611).'

And a bit more detail of how Skyguide worked - 'The other controller on duty was resting in another room for the night. This was against the regulations, but had been a common practice for years and was known and tolerated by management. Maintenance work was being carried out on the main radar image processing system, which meant that the controllers were forced to use a fallback system.[BFU 9] The ground-based optical collision warning system, which would have alerted the controller to the pending collision approximately 2½ minutes before it happened,[BFU 10] had been switched off for maintenance; Nielsen was unaware of this.[BFU 11] There still was an aural STCA warning system, which released a warning addressed to workstation RE SUED at 23:35:00 (32 seconds before the collision); this warning was not heard by anyone present at that time, although no error in this system could be found in a subsequent technical audit; whether this audible warning is turned on or not, is not logged technically. Even if Nielsen had heard this warning, at that time finding a useful resolution order by the air traffic controller is impossible.'

But was in the past, one could say. This, not so much - 'On 29 August 2016, an F/A-18C of the Fliegerstaffel 17 crashed in the Susten Pass in central Switzerland during a training mission. The pilot was found dead.[14] As a cause, an incorrect altitude instruction of the Skyguide Controller in Tower Meiringen is assumed.'

Mistakes happen, of course.

Not sure if you are trying to suggest Skyguide's track record implies privatisation of ATC is bad.
"Its principal shareholder is the Swiss Confederation, which holds 99.91% of its share capital." - same Wikipedia source
It has not been privatised.

It is a shell game - according to wikipedia, as noted, Skyguide is a joint-stock company under Swiss private law . Lots of ways to 'privatize' something - see above in terms of how Network Rail took billions of pounds of debt off the British government's balance sheet for a solid dozen years.

The Trump Administration is looking for any excuse possible to cut taxes, and 'privatizing' ATC at least lets people pretend for long enough that when the bill comes due, someone other than those that did the privatization in the first place are likely to be blamed.

And the point of the two articles was that a privatized ATC system was fine for safety - the Skyguide example is still seen as a thoroughly preventable tragedy in this region of Germany, caused to some degree by what seems like penny pinching to those living in Baden. Not only at the lack of staffing, but also how the telephone system was not working, so that the German air traffic controllers in Karlsruhe, who saw the imminent collision and who attempted to call the Swiss ATC center multiple times, could not reach anyone - (German link)

Überlingen had multiple causes, of course, including how the Russian trained pilot followed the air traffic controller's instructions (Russian practice) instead of the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System, and basically flew his plane into the other.

This was a regional story (and yes, I actually do know an air traffic controller in Karlsruhe, though she had nothing to do with this incident) and part of the conclusion drawn was that Skyguide was cutting as many corners as it could get away with - until it killed a plane full of Russian school children.

To be fair, couldn't be bothered to read the link that Prof Cowen put up. Just couldn't see why a private company owned 99.9% by the state would act any differently from a nationalised one. Understand that Railtrack took debt off Govt balance sheet. Surely that left it freer to invest than if it had to answer to taxpayers, given interest rates would be the same if issuers of the debt understood it to be state backed. Can't see how any other incentives are altered by the trivial distinction of a state owned enterprise. But then I am a drinker, rather than a thinker...

Future airline coups of note:

Bill and Hillary Clinton?

Up Up and Away.

Donald and Ivanka?

They don't seem to be together much, so maybe being on the plane together will improve things. No danger of hand holding.

Although the flight may be erratic if Donald tried to take the controls from the pilot.

couples, not coups, although you never know.

Actually, pilots are big losers. Sad. Donald Trump has huge genes and will Make Piloting Great Again.

This from Leff (the self-described thought leader in travel): "On the other hand one of the controversial things I believe is that 20 years from now planes will fly like cars drive and we won’t need air traffic control at all." I suppose the "thought leader in travel" believes we shouldn't invest in public transit because 20 years from now cars will fly like planes and we won't need transit.

At a meeting in a factory, a lecturer from the district Party committee tells the workers about their bright future in the USSR.
"See, comrades, after this five-year plan is completed, every family will have a separate apartment. After the next five-year plan is completed, every worker will have a car! And after one more five-year plan is completed, every family will own an airplane!"
From the audience, somebody asks, "What the hell one may need an airplane for?"
"Don't you see comrades? Let's say, there are shortages in potatoes supplies in your city. No problem! You take your own plane, fly to Moscow and buy potatoes!"

Prior_approval is beginning to resemble Mr. Smoketoomuch in the Monty Python skit.

You could at least include a link, you know -

"... we had a similar experience in the past when husbands were recruited as guards in the girls’ schools where their wives worked as principals, administrators, teachers or assistants,” Bin Dawood said, quoted by Saudi daily Okaz on Thursday.

And how'd that work out for you? That actually sounds like it would make for an interesting case study, I wonder what the results were.

Considering the likely reason for that change was this incident - 'On March 11, 2002, a fire at a girls' school in Mecca, Saudi Arabia killed fifteen people, all young girls. The event was especially notable due to complaints that Saudi Arabia's "religious police" (aka the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice) stopped schoolgirls from leaving the burning building and hindered rescue workers because the girls were not wearing correct Islamic dress, and possibly for not being escorted by a male.''_school_fire

Saudi Arabia amazes me. 2017...

And one of Trump's proudest sales jobs, apparently.

Well give Saudi Arabia for being a bit more advanced than Falls Church, Virginia (right around the corner from GMU where Tyler preaches) where female genital mutilation is openly advocated.

Saudia is always very poorly ranked. It's like a prison airline. The Royals fly their own planes. Most everyone else flies in on one of the highly ranked Gulf carriers. It must be an embarrassment to the king that his crown carrier is a fetid cattle car.

Yeah, having "stewardesses" peering out of slits in their head-to-toe burkhas will raise their rank from 82nd to 79th. It will be exciting for the passengers when the husbands take the attendants into the galleys to beat them for winking at a foreigner.

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