Preliminary deposition, witnesses to be called by the defence for Todd McKenney case in October. Pants removal expert, Denis:

The Pope is staying at the Opus Dei centre in Kenthurst Sydney for his three private days of retreat prior to World Youth Day. A helicopter will take him from Richmond RAFF Base to Kenthurst.

Is Chris Masters preparing a Four Corners program about the management of SBS?

Is there a sniff of legal action in the air over this claim about departing Today Tonight producer, Andrew Bourke in The Australian ‘s Media section gossip column by Amanada Meade today? Letters are being sent to The Australian , lawyers consulted. A lot of bad blood between the two media groups could spillover into court, and include Nine network executives and others.

The ACT chief Minister, Jon Stanhope , has directed his staff to find as much dirt on the new opposition leader, youngish Zed Seselja, as they can. The problem is this: Zed is clean. Stanhope, on the other hand, is tainted with an odour that refuses to be washed away: his latest gaffe is the gas-fired power station debacle. Yesterday, he announced yet another major new Power Station project, after weeks of exposure over his bungled “Gas project mark1”. The troops say he is resigned to a policy of “attack is the best line of defence”. One wonders how much longer a weary Canberra electorate will tolerate his media games.

Qantas is flying A380s on the SYD-LAX route from October 20. Maintenance, however, could be a problem. Qantas’s maintenance software — a ridiculous agglomeration of tens of separate systems — requires large changes in order to work with the A380. They’ve known of this requirement for the better part of two years, but it’s only now, with the date the planes actually start flying looming, that the scoping study is actually being undertaken. With any luck they’ll have started the requirements gathering on the changes by the time the planes start landing in Sydney. With an optimistic estimate of six to twelve months work required to get the systems up and running (keeping in mind that software changes are slow and error-prone), it seems Qantas will be outsourcing a lot of A380 maintenance to Singapore and LA. And why? Because Qantas’s sh-t-scared, buck-passing IT department couldn’t bring themselves to tell the boss that they needed the money to make the necessary changes.

It would appear that Civil Air (the ATC union) and Airservices are at loggerheads again. Much to-ing and fro-ing has occurred since Airservices introduced a “new procedure”, late last year, whereby non endorsed and/or rated controllers give other controllers breaks. Civil Air has claimed that it is illegal under the CASRs, Airservices Australia said “no it’s not”; CASA said “whatever Airservices says is fine as long as they subjected it to a safety assessment”. Blair Henderson, Vice President at Civil Air, sought clarification of the legalities from CASA, he got no response by the deadline he gave, as such the National Executive has made the following directive to members.

The National Executive directs members to take the following steps if Airservices insists on utilising the Short Break Procedure as described in the National ATS Administration Manual. Members shall advise supervisors when they believe they require a break and that airspace should consequently be declared TRA or TIBA.

If Airservices decides not to declare airspace TRA or TIBA and proceed to use the Short Break Procedure, controllers should:

  1. Record the refusal of Airservices to provide a break on the Mic Record,
  2. During handover state that they are handing over to a non-endorsed controller and accept no liability,
  3. Make a general broadcast to all stations advising no rated controller will be available to provide an ATS service for the next 20 minutes.

It would seem that the “staffing crisis” is now going to have a bigger impact. All this leading into what appears to be unfruitful negotiations needed to be finalised by Christmas. And another free tip —  despite the cost of fuel, make sure you’re planning a “road trip” for your Christmas vacation; because travel by air is likely to be (more) “unreliable”.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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