Ghosn flight ‘will harm Turkey’s jet sector’

TC-TSR, a private jet which was used during the escape of ousted Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn from Japan to Lebanon through Turkey is pictured in an unknown location, July 5, 2019. (Reuters)
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Updated 05 January 2020

Ghosn flight ‘will harm Turkey’s jet sector’

  • The former Nissan chief flew in secret from Osaka to Istanbul, and from there to Beirut
  • The private jet sector will suffer because of the breach of security, an expert says

JEDDAH: Fugitive businessman Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan to Lebanon via Istanbul is a “serious blow” to Turkey’s private jet industry, aviation experts said on Sunday.

The former Nissan chief was awaiting trial on charges of misusing company funds and understating his salary, but jumped bail on Dec. 30. He flew in secret from Osaka to Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, and from there to Beirut.

“Smuggling this man from Osaka is an internal matter for Japan,” a Turkish aviation expert told Arab News. “But not checking him appropriately in Turkey is our own mistake, and compromised international aviation security.” 

Turkish authorities are investigating a flight from Osaka that landed in Istanbul at 5.15am, and another that left for Beirut 45 minutes later. 

 “The pilot should notify authorities about everyone on the aircraft, and they should be checked in at the international transit section of the airport,” the expert said. “There are no exceptions.”

The private jet sector will suffer because of the breach of security, the expert said. “It will have big repercussions in the short term. Many business jets will now have to undergo a detailed examination once they reach Western airports. 

“They may also have their flight permissions denied for a certain time because they have lost their prestige and reliability.”

About 100 jets operate in Turkey’s private aviation industry. “This incident will seriously undermine the sector,” the expert said.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Ghosn was assisted by a former US special forces operative, Michael Taylor, now working as a private security contractor, who it described as an “expert in the art of clandestine getaways.”
According to the Journal, the Turkish investigation showed that Taylor and another man had traveled from Dubai to Osaka with two large black cases aboard a private jet on Saturday, the day before Ghosn escaped.


British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

Updated 37 min 33 sec ago

British Airways burning through cash, CEO urges unions to engage

  • Job losses necessary as cash reserves of IAG, British Airways’ parent company, would not last forever

LONDON: The boss of British Airways said its parent company IAG was burning through $223 million a week and could not guarantee its survival, prompting him to urge unions to engage over 12,000 job cuts.
British Airways came under heavy attack from lawmakers in parliament on Wednesday, who accused it of taking advantage of a government scheme to protect jobs while at the same time announcing plans to cut its workforce by 28 percent.
Planes were grounded in March due to coronavirus restrictions, forcing many airlines to cut thousands of staff as they struggle without revenues. Airlines serving Britain now face an additional threat from a 14-day quarantine rule.
In an internal letter to staff seen by Reuters, Alex Cruz, the chief executive of British Airways said the job losses were necessary as IAG’s cash reserves would not last forever and the future was one of more competition for fewer customers.
BA also wants to change terms and conditions for its remaining workers to give it more flexibility by, for example, making all crew fly both short and long-haul.
Cruz said IAG, which also owns Aer Lingus, Iberia and Vueling, was getting through $223 million a week, meaning that it could not just sit out the crisis. The group had €10 billion of liquidity at the end of April.
“BA does not have an absolute right to exist. There are major competitors poised and ready to take our business,” Cruz said in the letter.
He urged two unions which represent cabin crew and other staff, GMB and Unite, to join in discussions to mitigate proposed redundancies. Pilots union BALPA is “working constructively” with the airline, he added.
Cruz also joined other airline bosses in criticizing Britain’s quarantine rule, due to come into effect on June 8, calling it “another blow to our industry.”