Aerophobia

The fear of flying affect 6% of the USA’s population, or around 20 million people!

That is a lot of anxiety for what would otherwise be a very enjoyable and pleasant way of getting around. I identify way more with arachnophobia, than aerophobia. I mean eight legs! Say no more.

I have witnessed the following scene playing out many a time; you’ve reached cruising altitude and is looking forward to some hospitality, yet the seat belt signs remain on. Eventually the captain comes on and apologize in advance for upcoming turbulence. The cabin fills with unnecessary panic and volunteers start administering last rites. A few even consider switching religion, as it is a known fact that Christianity custom procedures are the least stringent. Admittedly, for those seated over wing, it is unsettling to see what turbulence can do for wing movement, but it was designed to do just that. Not sure why people would think the wings will tear off … toilet paper hardly follows the perforated line either. But in all fairness, more engineering went into wing design, I hope. The truth is, at cruising altitude the pilot has the luxury of space and time to correct whatever goes wrong. Thus making this probably the safest part of your journey, even if Mother Nature throws in a free roller-coaster ride.

Check out this informative video from Business Insider, if you wish to learn which portion of your flight is considered the most dangerous, according to Boeing.

danger of flying 01

So next time you are experiencing a bumping ride, find solace in knowing that the plane was designed to become a giant glider, if the pilot runs out of other suitable alternatives.

Instead of worrying what can go wrong, why not focus on what can go right? Check out this post.

Or what about some useful tips on planning and preparing for your next adventure?

Top 10 Airline Statistics

Your next holiday has spent months in planning and budgeting and on your day of departure, you casual enters the airport, ticket (and passport) in hand. You glide through the formalities and eventually board a plane, eager to start your next memory harvesting excursion. Chances are you have chosen the specific airline in a balancing act between convenience (date/time of departure, flight duration and layover time, if applicable) and ticket price. I am almost sure you never took the size of your chosen airline group’s fleet or profitability into account. Not that I blame you. Nobody does. Truth be told however; the airline industry is big business and the top 10 players certainly means business!

top 10 airlines 01

2014 Reported Revenue (expressed in USD Billions)[*]:

  1.  42.65 – American Airlines
  2.  40.36 – Delta Air Lines
  3.  38.90 – United Airlines
  4.  31.90 – Lufthansa
  5.  26.50 – Air France / KLM
  6.  26.24 – Emirates
  7.  21.46 – Aer Lingus / BA / Iberia / Vueling
  8.  18.61 – Southwest Airlines
  9.  16.99 – China Southern Airlines
  10.  14.69 – China Eastern Airlines

top 10 airlines 02

Let’s stick with these 10 for now and learn a bit more about them.

Destinations serviced in 2014:

  1.  352 – United Air Lines
  2.  339 – American Airlines
  3.  316 – Delta Air Lines
  4.  306 – Air France / KLM
  5.  271 – Lufthansa
  6.  255 – Aer Lingus / BA / Iberia / Vueling
  7.  217 – China Eastern Airlines
  8.  210 – China Southern Airlines
  9. 144 – Emirates
  10.   97 – Southwest Airlines

top 10 airlines 03

2014 Reported Revenue per passenger (expressed in USD)[*]:

  1.  532 – Emirates
  2.  303 – Air France / KLM
  3.  301 – Lufthansa
  4.  282 – United Airlines
  5.  237 – Delta Air Lines
  6.  221 – Aer Lingus / BA / Iberia / Vueling
  7.  220 – American Airlines
  8.  186 – China Eastern Airlines
  9.  168 – China Southern Airlines
  10.  137 – Southwest Airlines

top 10 airlines 04

Employees per Aircraft [*]:

  1.  364 – Emirates
  2.  193 – Lufthansa
  3.  168 – Air France / KLM
  4.  147 – China Southern Airlines
  5.  139 – China Eastern Airlines
  6.  113 – Aer Lingus / BA / Iberia / Vueling
  7.    80 – American Airlines
  8.    67 – Southwest Airlines
  9.    67 – United Airlines
  10.    63 – Delta Air Lines

top 10 airlines 05

Properly managed airlines are not just concerned about sweating their assets, passenger safety and their passenger load factor, but also need to plan ahead and juggle the age of their fleet (and the return on investment) against future growth vs replacement rate. Here are their confirmed orders, as of January 2018 (Boeing/Airbus):

  1.  231 – American Airlines (109/122)
  2.  204 – Emirates (163/41)
  3.  202 – United Airlines (157/45)
  4.  194 – Southwest Airlines (194/0)
  5.  172 – Delta Air Lines (33/139)
  6.  167 – Aer Lingus / BA / Iberia / Vueling (17/150)
  7.  130 – Lufthansa (20/110)
  8.    69 – China Southern Airlines (49/20)
  9.    51 – Air France / KLM (22/29)
  10.    26 – China Eastern Airlines (6/20)

As of 30 November 2017, Airbus’ overall backlog of jetliners remaining to be delivered stood at 6,616 aircraft – representing the equivalent of approximately nine years of production at current rates.

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[*] It is important to note that some of the above airline groups have cargo, airport services and other business units as well, to help bolster their revenue streams.

Enough with all the capitalism, why not learn a bit more about the communist leader Ho Chi Minh?

The World Map

With the arrival of the internet and the digital age, the world might have become a mere global village, but our view of the physical entity might have been slightly tainted all along.

This is what the typical map looked like, way back when at school …

map 01

Nothing wrong with it. We all knew that the world is round and this map … well, isn’t. The “problem” with this map however is the projection. When you convert any 3D object into a 2D one, some form of compromise needs to take place. The Mercator projection is by far the most used type of map projection, ever since it was introduced by Gerardus Mercator in 1569. It soon became popular among navigators, as a straight line on the map equates to a line of constant true bearing, to plot a straight line course. Great, if you are a pirate cruising the seven seas. What our educators failed to bring to our attention is that the true area (or landmass) is greatly distorted towards to top and bottom of the map.

We grew up with the knowledge that to the right we have a colossal Russia, supported by a rather large China and of course the massive United States on the opposite end. Shame, slap-bang in the middle was this forgotten backwater of a place called Africa, we tend to overlook. (Ever wondered why we reference “first world” and “third world”, but no mention ever of the “second world”?!)

On a Mercator projection, the scale is distorted, the further you move away from the equator. For example: Greenland appears to be enormous, where in fact – based on land size – it is slightly bigger than Saudi Arabia. This brings us then to Africa. If you correct the distortion, this continent starts to become rather big. This is what you can fit into it…

map 02

If you want to play around with this yourself, hop over to thetruesize.com.

There is no right or wrong way to draw a map – it really comes down to what you view to be important and what you would like to portray. But don’t rely on other people’s opinion of what the world really looks like. With sufficient planning and preparing, you can grab your passport and go see for yourself!!

map 03

Check out these interesting airline statistics.