Today I was deeply saddened and pained to hear about the death of The Queen, Britain's longest-serving monarch, who away earlier this afternoon at the age of 96 after 70 years on the throne. Buckingham Palace said the Queen “died peacefully” this afternoon at Balmoral. The Queen's eldest son, Charles, who has now ascended the throne and will be known as King Charles III, paid tribute to his much-loved mother. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will be remembered as a stalwart of our times. She provided inspiring leadership to her nation and people.
The King and Camilla, now the Queen Consort, will remain at Balmoral on Thursday night and return to London on Friday.
Buckingham Palace had confirmed on Thursday lunchtime that Queen Elizabeth II had been under medical supervision after her doctors had become "concerned" about her health. Tributes poured in following the death of the Queen earlier this afternoon on a dark, gloomy, and rainy day in the UK. Listening to the bulletins as rain pours down felt fitting. Feels as if even god is crying. She served the country so dutifully all the way to the end.
My thoughts are with her family at this time. Her Majesty’s decades of dedication and service have been unwavering, and your legacy will live on. This is an end of a great era in global history, and I am not sure anyone can quite match the long service and dedication that she gave. Ma’am, thank you for everything. We will be forever indebted to you.
You need a holiday to recover from your holiday because holidays are exhausting. You may have just returned from somewhere really amazing, like we did from a week in Dorset, and with two young kids in tow (1 and 4), and where you had the best time. However, after a week or two of "What shall we eat?", "Whatever you want", "Daddy, can I have this/that?", "Daddy/Mummy, I want to go back home...", "Meh, you need a holiday!".
When I was single, I used to get exhausted when travelling because of my annoying need to only have the most authentic experience, and to stay away from multi-national brands like KFC, Starbucks, MacDonald's etc. everywhere, and sometimes, sadly it never comes true because the world has become too small, connected, congested, and globalized. Now, as a father to two adorable yet very demanding and attention-seeking toddlers, as a parent it is natural for me and my wife to become exhausted just because of a lack of sleep and because of the "always-on" mode with kids.
But one thing is for sure, when I travel, with my family on holidays or even on business, I want to know that I have experienced the same food and lifestyle as the locals, and not the over-priced and under-valued rubbish they serve tourists. The internet has no doubt made holidays even more exhausting because it is somewhat full of great insider tips that will lead me to the best local food. Nevertheless when I get to the restaurant, I discover it's the usual tourist rubbish and then I wonder why I even trusted any celeb or influencer to know anything about the destination. Don't trust them, I say. Go and get lost in the place and discover the undiscovered yourself, I say.
Occasionally, I do stumble onto the authentic experience like I did on my trips to Nepal or Malta for example. Generally if you are looking for an authentic and genuine food experience then, as most Brits know, a long queue or a large crowd is often a good sign. In the UK you can find two identical restaurants right next to each other where one is packed and the other is more or less empty, and nobody really knows why but the vide is different between the two.
The air show was delayed for two years during the pandemic
This week saw the welcome return of the Farnborough Air Show. Running from 18-22 July, visitors were treated to displays, press releases, panel roundtables, exhibitions from the aviation industry, including aerospace, defense. Issues such as Environmental, Governance and Sustainability (ESG) were high on the agenda, with aircraft manufacturers and airlines promising smarter technology, cleaner fuel, and greener business. This means more room for highly fuel efficient and quieter aircraft, and hopefully less expensive to operate.
As an example, Airbus and CFM International are collaborating to flight test CFM’s cutting-edge open fan engine architecture on board an Airbus A380. The Flight Test Demonstrator is aimed to mature and accelerate the development of advanced propulsion technologies, as part of CFM’s Revolutionary Innovation for Sustainable Engine (RISE) demonstration programme.
“New propulsion technologies will play an important role in achieving aviation’s net-zero objectives, along with new aircraft designs and sustainable energy sources,” said Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, astronaut Tim Peake, and British Transport Secretary Grant Shapps visited the show in the first two days. The Prime Minister met some of the 1,500 exhibitors at one of the world’s biggest aerospace and defense trade shows. In a speech, Mr Johnson said: "I’m glad that I finally made it to Farnborough, this famous air show, in the climactic weeks of my time as Prime Minister."
The photos in this blog were taken over the five days, in a period in which we experienced the hottest day ever in the history of records in the UK (40.2C) on Tuesday July 19, followed by the obligatory rain showers. Hence why you seen a blue sky in some photos and a dark grey in others.
Were there many orders?
With this being the first show in four years (and with a delay due to the Pandemic), it seemed and came across as a quieter affair compared to previous shows. There wasn't the much anticipated fanfare that happened in previous years. But one thing was clear: Boeing seemed to do quite well in terms of orders. Though Airbus, meanwhile, managed to conduct just two sales on the premises of the airshow, one for the A220 and one for the A321neo. However, it had secured a big win just ahead of Farnborough, with China’s top three carriers ordering almost 300 A320 family aircraft on 1 July, 2022. This chart from AeroTime shows a breakdown of the orders made in this year's show, and Boeing has certainly made more orders in 2022:
The Boeing 737 MAX 10
The largest of the 737 MAX family, the Boeing 737 MAX 10, made its international debut at the Farnborough International Airshow 2022. During the show, the aircraft ran on a blend of sustainable aviation fuel. Before the show, Boeing had already received more than 3,300 net orders for 737 MAX narrow bodies, and kicked off the Farnborough Airshow with firm order signings with Delta Air Lines, Inc. for at least 100 Boeing 737 MAX 10 jets and with All Nippon Airways parent ANA Holdings for twenty 737 MAX 8s, along with two Boeing 777-8F cargo variants.
Also, Qatar Airways made official an order for 25 Boeing 737 MAX 10 aircraft, with options for a further 25 of the type. "We are honored that Qatar Airways has decided to add Boeing’s single-aisle family to its fleet, deepening our relationship with this world-class airline," said Stan Deal, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The 737 MAX 10 is ideally suited for Qatar Airways’ regional network and will provide the carrier with the most capable, most fuel-efficient airplane in its class," he added. The order, worth $3.4 billion at list prices, capped a largely one-sided show dominated by Boeing's efforts to shore up the MAX 10, whose future lies partly in the hands of regulators and Congress.
Qatar Airways displayed its Boeing 777-300ER (FIFA World Cup 2022 Livery), 787-9 Dreamliner and Qatar Executive Gulfstream at the airshow.
The Boeing 737 MAX 10 leaves Farnborough after the show back to Seattle via Reykjavik. The 737 MAX 10 will continue test flights and obtain its type certificate before it can begin scheduled operations. The delay, caused by the problems of the 737 MAX 8 and the extended scrutiny of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), is a major stumbling block in its commercialization. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
The Boeing 777X
One of the highlights of 2022’s edition of the show was the huge Boeing 777X, the world’s largest and most efficient twin-engine jet, which the manufacturer showed off in both static and flying displays. With new breakthroughs in aerodynamics and engines, the 777X will deliver 10 percent lower fuel use and emissions and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition. The 777X is based on the original 777, but is much larger, more powerful, and is ready to serve the next generation of long-haul air travel, and generally passengers prefer large aircraft, and this will not disappoint!
Even though the 777X has been delayed by over five years, we are in this interesting period where the airlines that were affected by the delay have almost got over that part now. The COVID-19 Pandemic, if anything, has helped that cause. With any new aircraft, airlines are usually cautious. It is going to be great for the passengers and great for the airlines, too!
Warm champagne anyone?
The show also saw the introduction of some interesting features that we may see. Thanks to the team at Turningleftforless for taking this video of a "Champagne on Demand" as demonstrated by Adient collaborating with Boeing to explore improved comfort, functionality of commercial aircraft seating and interiors. My mate, James Nixon (ex- A380 captain), queried "Why does any airline exec think passengers want to drink warm champagne?".
Airbus A350-900 XWB and the Airbus A220-300
Airbus brought its A350 test aircraft for display flights throughout the show. Also, Airbus showcased an ITA Airways A350-900 and an Air Baltic A220-300 aircraft on the ground.
Air Baltic's A220. One of the biggest orders for the aircraft came from Delta Air Lines, Inc. Delta Air Lines firmed up orders for 12 A220-300 aircraft, bringing Delta’s total firm order for A220s to 107 aircraft – 45 A220-100s and 62 A220-300s. The A220s will be powered by Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
New British Airline: Hans Airways
Start-up carrier Hans Airways moved a step closer to launching flights between the UK and India, with the lease of an A330-200 aircraft and the start of crew training. According to the CEO, Satnam S. Saini, the aircraft is weeks away from launch.
The airline plans to launch flights between Birmingham airport and Amritsar as a key destination using an ex-Air Europa A330 and with a two class configuration – economy (branded Anand Class) with 274 seats and a seat pitch of 31 inches, and premium economy (Anand Plus) with 24 seats and a seat pitch of 56 inches.
Updating the media on progress Barry Humphries, CBE, Hans Airways’ board director and former head of air services policy at the UK Civil Aviation Authority, said:
“With the loss of flights operated by India’s Jet Airways and British inclusive tour operators Thomas Cook and Monarch Airlines, there is room for a third UK airline flying between UK and India (complementing British Airways and Virgin Atlantic.) All of us are working exceptionally hard and on schedule to be that third UK designated carrier.”
Supernal's eVTOL vehicle cabin
Black Eagles and the Boeing Stearman (Aerosuperbatics Wingwalkers)
Future is Boom?
Boom Supersonic announced the updated design of Overture with 4 engines. Carrying 65–80 passengers at twice the speed of today’s airliners, Overture will fly Mach 1.7 over water with a range of 4,250 nautical miles.
Boom further said that the new design is the culmination of 26 million core hours of simulated software designs, five wind tunnel tests, and the careful evaluation of 51 full design iterations resulting in an economically and environmentally sustainable supersonic airliner. Boom also announced a market-expanding alliance with Northrop Grumman to develop special mission variants for the U.S. Government and its allies.
The question here is, will it better what Concorde achieved and will passengers pay for and enjoy the experience? United Airlines have already proudly stated that they plan to offer services on Boom. But will it be a success? We shall see. Maybe a debut at future Farnborough Airshows?
Aircraft on display
The much anticipated annual World Travel Market, the leading global event for the travel industry, generating more than £2.8 billion of business contracts between attendees, opened it's doors to the media and invited guests in London at the London ExCel with a spectacular display of song, dance and plenty of glamour on the morning of the 6th of November. It's the key event for the world's travel and tourism industry, with practically the who's who of the industry coming together to discuss important issues, close important deals and reveal new product and service offerings in a world exclusive. Below are some exclusive snippets I gathered from the action-packed three-day event.
Here is what I had to say about the importance of attending the event:
BBC News anchor Aaron Haslehurst opened the event for the media with an overview of the year for the industry. He summarised that the industry is more optimistic in 2017/8 than last year with over £3 billion in business and is set to grow. He also revealed that Italy and Greece are actually enjoying the high growth of tourism despite Brexit happening, and this trend is set to continue. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Alex Cruz, the CEO of British Airways, gave an inspirational talk on his thoughts and strategy to make the national flag carrier a leading five-star airline while at the same time keep costs down. Despite being a tough year for the airline, Mr. Cruz is optimistic that 2018 will be a fruitful year for British Airways, and that cutting down on certain things, such as free in-flight food & beverages on European and Domestic routes is the correct thing to do because the majority of passengers would prefer that. Aviation experts predict that the introduction of paid services, such as in-flight Wi-Fi could also bring in extra income for airlines. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Cricket legends attend the WTM 2017
When the world comes to London!
China's economic growth will see a trend in the independent traveller- whereas before it used to be that group travel was popular in the country. Chinese visitors to the UK will also increase in the coming year. A particular reason is the awareness about global tourism generated in China via digital and social media platforms such as WeChat: Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Slovenia, one of those countries that deserves more attention than they get. With great food, wine and spectacular views, this is a country that offers a lot for the tourist and is not that expensive either. Foodies delight, Slovenia will be a major hit list in 2018 according to industry experts. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
THY Turkish Airlines had one of the biggest stands I have ever seen displayed by an airline. The award-winning airline has constantly been voted the best in Europe and offers more routes worldwide than any other airline...will they be the next Singapore Airlines? We shall see. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
SAUDIA- Saudi Arabian Airlines unveiled new Business and First Class seats and products during the WTM 2017. They have ambitious plans to operate to over 200 routes by 2020 and maybe even plan more routes to London, a traditional destination for them, and to emerging markets such as India and China. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
Busy dramatic London sky earlier today. An Airbus A300B4 of DHL on approach to Heathrow's runway 27L (at around 3,000 feet and descending on the ILS glideslope), while a BA Embraer E190 crosses paths at around 2,000 feet on approach to City Airport (they are using runway 09 today). Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
(L to R) John Pullman, Reuters Global Head of Video and Pictures; Maisie McCabe, Deputy Editor of Campaign; Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations for News and Publishers at Google; Nathalie Malinarich, Mobile Editor, BBC News Online; and Nic Newman, Research Association at Reuters Institute at the Reuters Tomorrow's News 2017 event in London, June 14, 2017. Photo Copyright Navjot Singh
It’s been a year of huge change and disruption for the global news landscape. On the evening of 14 June at One Marylebone in London, the Tomorrow’s News 2017 event hosted by Reuters unveiled some of the key news consumption shifts in the last 12 months, what’s influencing news attitudes and behaviours, and what the future holds. Some of the key questions revolved around fake news and to understand what are facts worth and how they are verified.
The lively discussion was attended by some of the key influencers in the media industry.
On the discussion panel were Nic Newman, Research Association at Reuters Institute; Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations for News and Publishers at Google; Nathalie Malinarich, Mobile Editor, BBC News Online and Maisie McCabe, Deputy Editor of Campaign. The discussion was chaired by John Pullman, Reuters Global Head of Video and Pictures Reuters.
The opening and closing speeches were conducted by Jeffery Perkins, Commercial Director, EMEA, Reuters. The discussion revolved around a report published by Reuters, which included a global survey of 1,711 Reuters.com users, and the findings which show that while fake news can be damaging for both news brands and advertisers, brands which advertise on trusted news sites can benefit. Unfortunately, Ben de Pear – Editor of Channel 4 News could not make it to the event because he was busy covering the tragic news of the fire at Grenfell Tower in west London.
Some of the findings of the report included:
Some of the highlights of the event included:
Chinnappa said that Google is “trying to give the answers that the users are looking for when they search, which is a very specific thing. So, for us, when you look at false news, on some levels, that’s news spam. It’s people trying to game the system. And we’ve been trying to fight that from the beginning of Google. He noted that as a father he understands the need for security and privacy of content on the site, especially when it comes to graphic content- and that Google is working very hard to make sure that brands and individuals are not lined in with the graphic content and are moderating the content that is published. He also mentioned that it is a challenging task.
Malinarich noted that brand attribution or recognition on social media is difficult. “If you spend your whole day snacking on Facebook, you know you’ve read things about Trump or whatever it is, but you don’t who wrote them or made the video at the end. …it’s just kind of a jumble in your head and you remember the actual stories and the headlines, but you don’t really remember who provided that.” One of the best things I heard was when she said that the problem with mainstream media is that the majority of the key decisions on stories are made by a select few group of networked people and not the mainstream junior staff and that is challenging to change. Does that mean that stories are biased or that editors tell their staff to write stories to shift the public’s viewpoint of someone in government or create a base for a public debate through influence? Maybe.
The way people buy online advertising, McCabe said, was to look for the cheapest way to find people who look like they might be interested in their brand. “That means they don’t pay attention to necessarily where the ad is going to run, so then you have the situation where people are chasing numbers by any means. It’s definitely something advertisers need to be wary of.”
On fake news, Newman said “Whose responsibility is it? Is it publishers, is it platforms, is it users? In this world, it’s all of those. Users get the benefits of greater choice, but downside of that is they have to do more work themselves to work out what is true and what isn’t.
They are, and they relish that. They see that trade off when you talk to them. From a publisher’s point of you, they need to do more about transparency. From a platform point of view, they need to do more as well to show the value of brands.
One of the key trends that nobody spoke about was Big Data and the effect it could have on the publishing and media industries. I mean, for example, if you have one person who has spread fake news then how much of an effort in terms of time, money and human resources would it take to turn that mistrust with the public into a credible and trustworthy piece of news? How much of a help would Big Data have in this, if any?
Other main areas of discussion revolved around the following key areas:
(L to R) Nic Newman, Research Association at Reuters Institute; Jeffery Perkins, Commercial Director, EMEA, Reuters; Madhav Chinnappa, Director of Strategic Relations for News and Publishers at Google; Nathalie Malinarich, Mobile Editor, BBC News Online; Maisie McCabe, Deputy Editor of Campaign; and John Pullman, Reuters Global Head of Video and Pictures at the Reuters Tomorrow's News 2017 event in London, June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Noodles, green peppers, diced chicken thigh, Chinese spices and voila! Though, I am just a student...chef in the making.
The tube strike in London has brought some positive news...had an interesting commute to work on an old London bus this morning- complete with a conductor, who not only collects tickets but provides a full customer service and controls the number of passengers on the bus: "Hold on tight then", "No passengers allowed to stand up on bus"... Last time I took one of these was in the 1980s!
Sad to read about the death of British writer AA Gill, who provided inspiration to many writers, including me. I was never his friend but it was clear from his writings that the man possesed a talent and gift for words that rarely you come across in the industry...his mind spoke and his fingers danced...the heavens have gained a gifted food critic.
The UK Sunday Times columnist told the newspaper last month that he had been diagnosed with the "full English" of cancers. Gill, who had been having chemotherapy, said that he did not "feel cheated" and had been "very lucky" in his life. Sunday Times editor Martin Ivens said Gill had been "a giant among journalists" and the "heart and soul" of the paper he joined in 1993.
May god bless AA Gill. Amen
Many congratulations to my mate and colleague, Owen Smith, for being voted in third in the BBC's Countryfile readers photo competition. Owen made it into the top ten shortlist in his first photography competition, out of over 700 entries. He was voted by over 300 of his friends and family to come third in the public vote. You can see the final top 10 here, which includes some stunning shots.
With less than 20 days to go to Christmas, official figures revealed today by YouTube Ads Leaderboard show that the digital Christmas ad by UK retailer John Lewis named ‘Buster the Boxer’ tops their annual festive leaderboard globally. However, supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s ‘The Greatest Gift’ was most popular with the British audience.
Supermarkets and department stores continue to dominate the digital ad space during the Christmas season; however, luxury retailers such as Burberry and pure-play digital companies such as Very.co.uk are also showing promising results.
As Christmas adverts have become a key part of the holiday season, much like the Super Bowl in the US, people across UK – and the world – are turning to YouTube to search for the best. As a result, there has been a 53% increase in the number of UK views of the 2016 top 10 vs the 2015 top 10.
The top 10 Christmas ads* of 2016 in the UK were:
1. Sainsbury's OFFICIAL Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift
2. John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 - #BusterTheBoxer
3. M&S 2016 Christmas Ad: Christmas with love from Mrs Claus
4. Waitrose Christmas TV ad 2016 | #HomeForChristmas
5. The Tale of Thomas Burberry - Burberry Festive Film 2016
6. Very.co.uk Christmas Advert 2016 - Get More Out of Giving
7. Big Dilemma (Asda)
8. The Argos Christmas Yetis TV Advert
9. Aldi Christmas Advert 2016 – Kevin The Carrot
10. #BootsChristmas TV advert 2016 - the gift of beauty
And the leaderboard globally* was as follows:
1. John Lewis Christmas Advert 2016 - #BusterTheBoxer
2. Sainsbury's OFFICIAL Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift
3. The Tale of Thomas Burberry - Burberry Festive Film 2016
4. #Zeitschenken – EDEKA Weihnachtswerbung
5. Neste Natal, agradeça com Coca-Cola
6. Apple - Frankie’s Holiday
7. M&S 2016 Christmas Ad: Christmas with love from Mrs Claus
8. Come Together – directed by Wes Anderson starring Adrien Brody – H&M
9. TEMPTATIONS™ - Keep them busy (30)
10. Coming Home for Christmas | Heathrow Airport
* Both leaderboards are ranked based on an algorithm that includes paid views, organic views and how much of a video people watched. The UK list includes only views from people in the UK. For both lists we applied a filter to capture the ads that were referring to Christmas.
“It’s fantastic to see our Very.co.uk Christmas advert riding high in the YouTube Christmas Ads Leaderboard. YouTube plays an important part in every campaign we run, and never more so than at Christmas due in part to the ‘Christmas ad battle’ where you see people crowding around monitors to watch adverts, or sharing links on email.” Said Kenyatte Nelson, Group Marketing Director at Shop Direct.
“This year we created a longer-length Christmas ad specifically for YouTube, which allows us to tell our Christmas story in greater depth. YouTube as always is a great partner in getting the content we create in front of the people we think it will resonate with, and we’re thrilled to see our Christmas ad getting such a great response.”
David Black, MD of Branding at Google UK, said: “We see people coming to YouTube again and again to look for their favourite Christmas ads. In fact, they start searching before the ads are launched on TV - we have seen a 40% year on year increase in Google searches for Christmas ads.
“Brands know the value of YouTube as the destination for Christmas ads and when they use paid, owned and earned media together, they see strong results. They see YouTube as a platform for creativity and storytelling, where they can harness the power of sight, sound and motion to connect with consumers.”
“More brands than ever are making Christmas ads that users love. Now, the likes of H&M, Burberry, Coca-Cola and even Heathrow Airport are joining John Lewis and Sainsbury’s and performing brilliantly this year.”
“Here in the UK, Sainsbury’s quintessentially British commercial, playing on our love of stop-motion animation, has captured the public’s imagination. It’s great to see UK brands leading the way with Christmas ads, and exciting to see American, Brazilian and German brands tapping into this opportunity to put themselves at the heart of a global cultural moment every year.”
...a great man in Hammersmith. I know very well from my time while working at the Walt Disney company in Shanghai and Suzhou how much important it is to provide excellent customer service....it could be a smile, a hello, a greeting by addressing your first or second name (The Ritz-Carlton way!) or just a simple genuine gesture or action that speaks volumes and effectively says "Thank you...you're a valued customer and we want you to come back to us." This barista (he was too shy to have his photo taken) at a Starbucks store went one step ahead and asked me for my name and wrote it in a stylish signature. THIS is what customer service is all about. Will be back for sure.
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