US 5G rollout: Emirates to resume Boeing 777 flights to US

US 5G rollout: Emirates to resume Boeing 777 flights to US
Emirates President Tim Clark. (CNN’s Quest Means Business)
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Updated 20 January 2022

US 5G rollout: Emirates to resume Boeing 777 flights to US

US 5G rollout: Emirates to resume Boeing 777 flights to US
  • The airline said its Boeing 777 service to Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, Newark, Orlando and Seattle would resume Friday

RIYADH: Dubai carrier Emirates said it would resume its Boeing 777 flights to the US amid an ongoing dispute over the rollout of the new 5G services there. 

The airline said its Boeing 777 service to Chicago, Dallas Fort Worth, Miami, Newark, Orlando and Seattle would resume Friday.

Flights to Boston, Houston, and San Francisco, which saw Emirates deploy its Airbus A380 jumbo jet, will resume Boeing 777 flights on Saturday.

Tim Clark, Emirates president, apologized in a statement but warned that American officials had come up with only a “temporary reprieve” for the situation.
“A long-term resolution would be required,” he said.

Airlines across Asia and several in the Middle East and Europe said they were canceling some flights or switching models, with much of the initial disruption hitting the Boeing 777, for decades a workhorse of long-distance air travel.

Clark told CNN the carrier had not been aware of the extent of the problem until Tuesday and called it "one of the most delinquent, utterly irresponsible" episodes he had seen, a CNN reporter tweeted.

"We were not aware that the power of the antennas in the United States have been doubled compared to what's going on elsewhere. We were not aware that the antenna themselves have been put into a vertical position rather than a slight slanting position, which then taken together compromise not only the radio altimeter systems but the flight control systems on the fly by wire aircraft," he said.

Qatar Airways, another carrier from the GCC which operates both 777s and A350s to the United States, said it is still operating as normal while it was evaluating the situation.

Saudia Airlines, the Kingdom's national carrier, didn't announce any reaction to the situation yet. Saudia didn't respond to an email seeking comments that was sent to the Jeddah-based carrier in the morning.

Emirates flights to New York's JFK, Los Angeles and Washington DC will continue to operate.

UAE’s Etihad Airways is currently operating flights to New York, Washington DC and Chicago via the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The US’s plan to operate 5G networks will not impact the current airline’s passenger flights, Emarat Al Youm added, citing the company’s spokesman. 

Emirates Airlines had suspended some of its flights to the US, amid concerns with its deployment of 5G mobile network services. 

A Saudi pilot told Arab News: “The most undesirable outcome of interference is the indication of an undetected wrong height information given by the radio altimeter.”

“Depending on equipment model and aircraft type, this kind of error could have significant adverse impacts on flight safety,” Khalid Jameel added.

He said the potential error could impact a number of aircraft systems including Terrain Awareness Warning Systems (TAWS), Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance Systems (TCAS), Airborne Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS), WINDSHEAR Detection Systems, Flight Control Systems, and Autoland Systems.

Dubai's Emirates, the largest user of the Boeing mini-jumbo, kicked off a slew of industry cancellations or aircraft changes late on Tuesday, saying it would suspend nine U.S. routes.

Japan's two major airlines, All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines, said they would curtail Boeing 777 flights.

ANA said it was cancelling or changing the aircraft used on some U.S. flights. JAL said it would not use the 777 on U.S. mainland routes "until safety is confirmed," according to a notice to passengers reported by airline publication Skift.

Korean Air Lines said it had switched away from 777s and 747-8s on six U.S. passenger and cargo flights and expected to also change planes used on another six flights on Wednesday.

Taiwan's China Airlines said on Wednesday it would reschedule some flights, while Hong Kong's Cathay Pacific Airways said it would deploy different aircraft types if needed.

Air India, which serves four U.S. destinations with Boeing 777s, said those flights would be curtailed or face changes in aircraft type starting from Wednesday.

The airlines said they were acting in response to a notice from Boeing that 5G signals may interfere with the radio altimeter on the 777, leading to restrictions.

A spokesman for Boeing had no immediate comment.

The 777 last year was the second-most used widebody plane on flights to and from U.S. airports with around 210,000 flights, behind only the 767, according to data from FlightRadar24.

Industry sources said Boeing had issued technical advisories noting potential interference, but that flight restrictions were in the hands of the FAA, which has for now limited operations at key airports unless airlines qualify for special approvals.

Radio altimeters give precise readings of the height above the ground on approach and help with automated landings, as well as verifying the jet has landed before allowing reverse thrust.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has warned that potential 5G interference could affect height readings that play a key role in bad-weather landings on some jets and airlines say the Boeing 777 is among models initially in the spotlight.

Despite an announcement by AT&T and Verizon that they would pause the 5G rollout near airports, several airlines still canceled flights or switched aircraft models. Others said more cancellations were likely unless the FAA issued new formal guidance in the wake of the wireless announcements.

"While this is a positive development toward preventing widespread disruptions to flight operations, some flight restrictions may remain," Delta Air Lines said.

The world's largest operator of the Boeing 777, Dubai's Emirates, said it would suspend flights to nine U.S. destinations from Jan. 19, the planned date for the deployment of 5G wireless services.

WORKHORSE JET
The announcement of cancellations came despite the wireless carriers delaying turning on some 5G towers near key airports.

Airline industry sources said the decision had arrived too late to affect complex aircraft and crewing decisions for some Wednesday flights.

British Airways opted to switch aircraft on its daily flight to Los Angeles to an Airbus A380 from the usual Boeing 777 service, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

That entails pre-positioning a flight crew in Los Angeles to fly the Airbus superjumbo back to London on the return leg.

Web tracker Flightradar24 said the A350 may also be used. The radio altimeters on the two Airbus jets have been cleared while the planemaker is still assessing its other models.

The 777 mini-jumbo is a workhorse of the long-haul travel market that remains depressed following COVID-19, while its freighter equivalent has reshaped the aviation route map during the pandemic, according to a spokesperson for Flightradar24.

Not all 777 flights are affected. Emirates, which is also a major user of the larger A380, will switch to the larger aircraft for Los Angeles and New York but keep flying the 777 to Washington, which is not affected.

President Joe Biden hailed the agreement with the wireless carriers, saying it would allow more than 90% of wireless tower deployment to occur as scheduled. He said they would work to "reach a permanent, workable solution around these key airports."

(With Reuters)


ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading

ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading
Updated 6 sec ago

ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading

ECB to force UK-based investment banks to relocate staff, trading
  • Banks could be required to appoint a head of trading desk within the euro area legal entity or may be asked to ensure the desk has the adequate infrastructure and number and seniority of traders

FRANKFURT: Too many global investment banks continue to serve euro zone clients out of London and the European Central Bank plans to force them to relocate senior staff and trading activity to the bloc, ECB supervisory chief Andrea Enria said on Thursday.

The ECB has long battled the industry’s biggest players, who are reluctant to relocate activities after Brexit, despite explicit demands by the ECB, which supervises the bloc’s biggest financial institutions.

In a sign that patience is wearing thin, Enria said the ECB will issue “binding decisions” to key investment firms, prescribing action on a case-by-case basis.

“We want to ensure that incoming legal entities have onshore governance and risk management arrangements that are commensurate, from a prudential perspective, with the risk they originate,” Enria said in a blog post. “The extent of the actual relocation and specific booking configuration will depend on the current set-up of each bank.”

Banks could be required to appoint a head of trading desk within the euro area legal entity or may be asked to ensure the desk has the adequate infrastructure and number and seniority of traders to manage risk locally, the ECB said.

They could also be asked to establish a solid governance and internal control framework of remote booking practices and to ensure limited reliance on intragroup hedging.

Of the trading desks assessed by the ECB at seven key institutions, around 70 percent still used a back-to-back booking model, a frowned upon practice in which a firm transfers risks to a third party or to another intragroup entity which then hedges it.

It also concluded that 20 percent of desks were organized as split desks, in which a duplicate version of the primary trading desk located offshore is established within the euro area legal entity to manage the part of the risk originated there.

These practices remove risk management expertise from the euro zone entity, leaving the local unit vulnerable in case of market turbulence.

“It is our duty to protect the depositors and other creditors of the local legal entity, prevent the disruption of banking services and safeguard broader financial stability in our area of jurisdiction,” Enria said. 


Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit

Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit
Updated 10 min 30 sec ago

Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit

Russian pipeline gas exports to EU fall 4.5% as supplies through Ukraine get hit

RIYADH: Russia’s gas pipeline exports through its main trade routes — an aggregate of Nord Stream 1, Ukraine transit, and Yamal pipeline — fell 4.5 percent on May 16, a recent market note issued by Rystad Energy said.
The dip is caused due to a near 30 percent decline in the flows via Ukraine’s gas transportation system.
The European benchmark for natural gas prices — Dutch TTF M+1 — surged 15 percent on May 12 as Moscow placed sanctions on Gazprom units that operate in countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia since the start of the Ukraine war, according to another note from RE.
The Russian government has barred 31 companies from conducting transactions and entering Russian ports including Gazprom Germania and Europol Gas -– the owner of the Polish part of the Yamal Europe pipeline.
The Yamal-Europe pipeline is seen as a potential alternative route to the Russian transits via Ukraine that has been put in jeopardy due to the ongoing war between the two countries.
Russia had previously halted supplies to Poland and Bulgaria to take action against “unfriendly” countries that refuse to make payments in rubles, according to Bloomberg.
Shipments via Ukraine, on the other hand, were also curtailed on May 11 after a key cross-border entry point was put out of action because of troop activity on the ground.
“Current gas contracts could be deemed null and void because of this decision and supplies could be stopped unilaterally by Gazprom, citing a regulatory order outside of their control,” Kaushal Ramesh, a senior analyst at Rystad Energy said in a May 12 note.
“There is historical precedent for Gazprom stopping gas flows as they did several times between 2005-2014,” Ramesh pointed out then.
While this situation is not probable, it will put pressure on Europe “to arrange for additional LNG, speed up plans for a buyer’s alliance and potentially consider demand-side measures such as gas rationing,” the analysis said.
The EU, however, has been taking precautionary measures to ensure appropriate storage levels. The current stock is expected to last through most of 2022 taking into consideration the possibility of a complete halt of Russian flows.
But the outlook for winter 2022 supply is now much more pessimistic, the note said.
As Europe and its allies in the US and the UK impose a wide range of sanctions targeting Russia over the war in Ukraine, they are yet to find alternatives to Russian gas that makes up 40 percent of their consumption.


Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown

Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown
Updated 11 min 55 sec ago

Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown

Oil prices extend losses on fears of economic slowdown
  • Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Moscow would send any oil rejected by European countries to Asia and other regions

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Thursday, following earlier gains, on concerns that high fuel prices could hurt economic growth, but planned easing of restrictions in Shanghai and a tight supply outlook capped losses.

Brent crude futures for July were down $1.25, or 1.2 percent, at $107.86 a barrel by 0932 GMT. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for June fell $1.96, or 1.8 percent, to $107.63 a barrel.

Front-month prices for both benchmarks fell about 2.5 percent on Wednesday.

“Slumping stocks led by the US retail sector raised concerns about growth, and with that, demand for fuels,” Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.

Heavy falls on European and Asian stock markets followed Wall Street’s worst day since mid-2020, as stark warnings from some of the world’s biggest retailers underscored just how hard inflation is biting.

The looming possibility of a European Union ban on Russian oil imports has been supporting prices, however.

This month the EU proposed a new package of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation.”

That would include a total ban on oil imports in six months’ time, but the measures have not yet been adopted, with Hungary among the most vocal critics of the plan.

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak said on Thursday that Moscow would send any oil rejected by European countries to Asia and other regions.

Novak said Russian oil production was about 1 million bpd lower in April but had increased by 200,000 bpd to 300,000 bpd in May with more volumes expected to be restored next month.

On Wednesday, the European Commission unveiled a 210-billion-euro ($220-billion) plan for Europe to end its reliance on Russian fossil fuels by 2027, and to use the pivot away from Moscow to quicken its transition to green energy.

Also, US crude inventories fell last week, an unexpected drawdown, as refiners ramped up output in response to tight product inventories and near-record exports that have forced US diesel and gasoline prices to record levels.

Capacity use on both the East Coast and Gulf Coast was above 95 percent, propelling those refineries close to their highest possible running rates.

In China, investors are closely watching plans to ease coronavirus curbs from June 1 in the most populous city of Shanghai, which could lead to a rebound in oil demand from the world’s top crude importer.


UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO

UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO
Updated 8 min 53 sec ago

UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO

UAE healthcare platform NMC appoints Jean-Philippe Sarther as CFO

ABU DHABI: Integrated private healthcare platform NMC OpCo. Ltd. has appointed Jean-Philippe Sarther as its new chief financial officer.

In a statement, NMC stated that the new appointment will instill robust governance at every level of the organization, which is expected to ensure business growth. 

In a career that spans over 25 years, Sarther has worked across various industry sectors in Europe and the Middle East. He had previously held the position of CFO in companies like Tristar Group, GEMS Education, and Axiom Telecom. 

“JP’s (Jean Philippe Sarther) expertise and experience with both public and founder-led private companies make him the ideal partner as we embark on NMC’s next phase of growth, marked by a clear direction and focus on governance throughout the organization,” said Michael Davis, CEO of NMC.


Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president
Updated 22 min 14 sec ago

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Indonesia to lift ban on palm oil exports from Monday: president

Jakarta: Indonesia will lift its ban on palm oil exports next week, President Joko Widodo said Thursday, relieving pressure on the global vegetable oil market that hit peak prices because of the suspension, the war in Ukraine and global warming.

“Based on the supply and the condition of cooking oil and considering there are 17 million people in the palm oil industry; farmers and other supporting workers, I decided that cooking oil export will reopen on Monday, May 23,” he told an online briefing.

Indonesia's Palm Oil Association appreciates the government's decision to lift a palm oil export ban from May 23, as storage tanks were reaching full capacity, secretary general Eddy Martono said on Thursday.

Separately, palm oil farmers union SPKS in a statement said it hopes plantation activities will soon return to normal due to the removal of the ban.