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Articles by Ben Sandilands

In-flight mobiles will be annoying — but not dangerous

Plane Talker Ben Sandilands confesses all about the new rules allowing gate-to-gate use of small electronic devices on Qantas and Virgin flights.

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Is air travel becoming less safe?

We have witnessed three fairly big plane crashes in the last two weeks, and already nervous flyers are even more on edge. But is this an anomaly, or is air travel less safe than we think? Crikey’s aviation reporter explains.

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Crikey Clarifier: what happens now with MH17?

What is happening with MH17’s data flight recorders? What country has jurisdiction over the site? And is there a cover-up going on? Crikey’s aviation reporter takes us through the story so far …

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MH17: decency and respect needed for victims — but it may be too late

There are procedures in place to honour those who have died in and ensure a fair and proper investigation. But so far, the Russian-backed separatists have not shown much willingness to abide by them.

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MH17: why a commercial jet was flying over a war zone

The Russian separatists who shot down MH17 allegedly thought it was a military target — though it was easily distinguishable as a commercial plane.

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MH17: Malaysia Airlines’ hideous failure of duty of care cost hundreds their lives

Malaysia Airlines – and Singapore Airlines and a few other carriers — have prioritised fuel economy over passenger safety — and almost 300 people have paid with their lives.

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Think plane seats are uncomfortable now? Just you wait …

If Airbus and Boeing have their way, the merely uncomfortable and irritating act of air travel is about to become downright torturous, with stand-up or “crotch crusher” “seats” mooted for planes.

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What you need to know about the PM’s ‘clapped out’ VIP jet

The failure of the prime ministerial jet yesterday — it broke down on the tarmac — is a timely reminder that it might be time to upgrade.

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Capacity crunch: will cutting flights pull Qantas out of its spiral?

Qantas’ decision to abandon its domestic capacity goal is a landmark in the recovery of the airline. CEO Alan Joyce is trying to stem losses in an unsustainable industry war.

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The cost of finding MH370 is reasonable — and justified

It’s been six weeks since MH370 went missing, but a lack of survivors doesn’t mean the search mission is a waste of time.

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A new airport for a demanding growth corridor few even imagined

The battle will turn to infrastructure between New South Wales and the feds now there’s agreement on the location of Sydney’s second airport. An explosive population demands it.

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Crikey Clarifier: we might have found MH370 — now what?

Kilometres above the likely wreckage, Australian seamen prepare to follow the sonar and find missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Crikey’s aviation expert explains what happens now.

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Hopes sink: vital clues about flight MH370 could be lost forever

Even if the voice recorder and “black box” are found, they would only provide sketchy details about what happened to the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight.

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What the MH370 search will — and won’t — find

The search party for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight is now fuelled by satellite imagery rather than speculation.

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The search for flight MH370: what role Australia will now take

Crikey’s aviation expert looks at the key developments on day 12 of the events that began as a routine red eye Malaysia Airlines flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing …

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Crikey Clarifier: what we know — and why only now — about MH370

The disappearance of flight MH370 has gripped the planet like few stories before. With so many twists and turns — and misinformation from authorities — we asked our aviation expert the pertinent questions …

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The next place to start looking for flight MH370: the beaches of WA

Debris from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could find its way to Australian beaches. As authorities explore possible terrorism motivations of the pilots, the search map is narrowing in the Indian Ocean.

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Did the Chinese find flight MH370? In Malaysia, there are no straight answers

Western media has found traces of the missing flight — so why are the authorities keeping quiet?

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Four days on, a recovery operation for MH370 remains stalled

There can be no recovery operation for doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 — or questions answered on what happened to it — until any wreckage is found. Crikey’s aviation correspondent reports.

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Virgin’s blues no match for the deterioration of Qantas

Virgin released its own set of bad numbers today — but the spotlight continues to shine on a Qantas in crisis.

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Flying monkeys: Qantas wish list won’t save Joyce’s management

Alan Joyce has said the Qantas Sale Act is preventing the national carrier from further capital raising. This is nonsense.

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Qantas junked? It’s too late to save the flying kangaroo

Australia’s airline has been junked by two credit ratings agency. So what can Alan Joyce and the Qantas board do about it? It’s probably too late to save the flying kangaroo now.

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Qantas’ playing field isn’t level — it has poor managers running it

Qantas should have a much stronger balance sheet than it has, writes Crikey’s aviation expert writes. So why is the airline in crisis? Most of the cuts are self-inflicted.

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Fare game: Qantas bumps up fuel surcharge

Qantas blames the falling Australian dollar for bumping up fuel surcharges on its flights. But there’s a complex game of cat and mouse at play with the airlines chasing scarce tourist dollars.

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Asiana 777 crash shines light on Australian safety authorities

As investigators pick over the wreckage of the deadly Asiana 777 plane crash in San Francisco, Australian safety authorities have a lot to learn. Especially about themselves.

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