PCDU Episodes:

Here is a full list of all PCDU Episodes since #1 back in 2009. Click on a title to visit the episode page & download or listen to the episode from there.

PCDU Episode 77: Qantas Crisis: After the Grounding

Almost one year after the QF32 incident, Qantas is again in the news around the world and for a short time again appeared to be on the brink of a major disaster. At 5pm on Saturday the 29th of October, Alan Joyce (CEO of Qantas) announced that he & the board of directors had decided to ground all of Qantas’ domestic & international flights (about 108 aircraft). This unprecedented step disrupted the travel plans of almost 70,000 passengers in order to avoid a “death by a thousand paper cuts” due to ongoing damage from industrial disputes with three unions.

The three unions represented the pilots, engineers and baggage handlers working for Qantas’ “mainline” operations. The Jetstar, QantasLink and JetConnect operations were not involved in the grounding.

We have assembled a collection of discussions with a number of people involved in the disputes or monitoring it from the outside. It is our intention that we provide you with an overview of what has happened, why it happened and where things might go from here. Unlike the commercial broadcast media, our time is not rigidly controlled so our guests are able to take their time to explain their views & concerns without being restricted to sound bites.

While we also express our own views during this episode, we have tried to present enough information for you to get a better understanding of the situation & form your own decisions.

The discussions in this episode include:

We’d also like to thank Colin Lipiatt, the Manager of Coporate Communications at Virgin Australia, for taking the time to chat with us about their ability to quickly respond with extra capacity to help affected travellers. While we couldn’t include him in the show, he provided plenty of useful information for us.

While putting this episode together we did attempt to contact Qantas’ media department to arrange a representative who could talk to us about the items raised during the discussions listed above. Unfortunately we did not hear back from them and can only assume that, like Anthony Albanese (Minister for Infrastructure & Transport), they were too busy dealing with the big issues and the mainstream media to spare any time for us.

We trust that you’ll enjoy this special episode of content specifically covering the Qantas Grounding situation. It’s been a marathon effort to arrange & record the interviews then put it all together for you. It has certainly been educational & eye opening for us as we discussed the issues with our guests, and that’s got to be a good thing :)

The Aus Air Services advert is provided courtesy of Star FM 94.3

PCDU Episode 66: That Wasn’t in the Script!

It’s been a while since we got down & dirty with the Australian commercial airline scene so with that in mind, we called up Ben Sandlilands from the PlaneTalking blog on Crikey.com.au for a chat. There’s some amazing developments going on in the “big iron” side of people moving here in Australia and we went through the following subjects:

  • The joys of ash clouds (Thanks Chile!)
  • Virgin Australia taking on Qantas & Jetstar with their new pricing structures & business class, including just what kind of passenger they were targeting at the front of the cabin
  • Qantas & JetStar’s industrial issues with their unions
  • Tiger regrouping & focusing on routes where it can do the most damage to the others (watch out Melbourne <-> Sydney and maybe even the Golden Triangle of Melbourne, Sydney & Brisbane)
  • Strategic’s foray into the Pacific

In this episode we also include an interview with Kathy Mexted, a freelance writer who we met *way* back at the Centenary of Flight airshow in 2010. Flying is in Kathy’s blood by birth & by marriage and she’s been writing articles for a variety of aviation magazines as well as working on a book about being the spouse of an airline pilot. We’re very happy to announce that Kathy’s also going to be producing some content for us in the near future mostly covering Recreational & General Aviation areas.

Finally, we’re including some new music in our show as Steve’s found out about the royalty free production music by JewelBeat. Watch out for whole new background tracks & cross-over music in this & future episodes :)

PCDU Episode 33: Four Degrees of Separation from Ben Sandilands

In this episode we join noted aviation journalist Ben Sandilands from Plane Talking to review the latest news & information. When we called Ben, he was experiencing a heat wave of 11 degrees Celsius at his home in the mountains near Canberra. Meanwhile, here in Melbourne we were thinking winter was upon us as the temperature dipped to 15 degrees Celsius. Four degrees of separation but a very different pair of perspectives on cold vs hot.

Fortunately, we were all spot on with our news analysis, including such topics as:

  • Use of composites in airliners and the indications that it won’t really be effective for another 10 to 20 years
  • QANTAS still claiming that they’re going to get their 787-9s on a date that would be before Air New Zealand (the launch customer) despite Boeing making a statement contradicting this
  • The changes that are afoot with the Virgin Blue group being under new leadership:
    • Brett Godfrey’s farewell bash
    • John Borghetti not getting the top job at QANTAS but, perhaps, getting something better with running Virgin Blue
    • Fleet choices and the possibility that they’ll get A330s or B767s, especially on high density routes like Sydney to Melbourne
    • The likelihood that they’ll rebrand the group (Virgin Blue, V Australia, Pacific Blue, Polynesian Blue) under a single name
  • Singapore Airlines having veto rights over the name Virgin for any new international airline
  • Tiger Airways recording a profit and becoming more of a stable, solid threat in the market
  • Australia’s transport minister Anthony Albanese wanting to restrict cockpit access to only the two pilots flying and any check pilots or safety reviewers
  • The F35 and how Australia seems to be one of the few countries NOT getting upset about all the delays and problems

After chatting with Ben, we have an interview with James Baldwin & Glen Somerville from EmptyJets, an organisation that gives you the chance to get rides in charter aircraft that would otherwise be flying empty on positioning flights. From helicopters to Gulfstream Vs, they’re all on the list and well worth checking out.

After that we dive into the mail bag where:

  • Matt McCabe compares the cost of learning to fly here in Australia against the USA
  • Errol Cavit enjoyed the Red Bull show and will be catching up with us when he comes over from New Zealand (for a Sci Fi convention, no less)
  • Vince Bezzina who volunteers at the RAAF Museum at Point Cook was checking if we knew about the DC6 coming to Australia from South Africa. Oh yes, do we ever!

We also have a couple of shout outs to:

  • Damien Rose who is now a private pilot and on his way to a commercial license (and speaking of the cost of learning – Damien sold his house to fund all this! He must have a VERY understanding wife, that’s for sure :)
  • Steve Cooke from the Flying Podcast in the UK has released his latest episode on a topic that’s very important for Grant: ballooning

PCDU Episode 27: Trans World Adventures

The common theme in this episode is about going around the world, first by bringing Saj Ahmad (Fleetbuzz Editorial) in the UK and Ben Sandilands (Plane Talking) in Australia together to talk about financial reports from QANTAS, Virgin & Tiger plus general discussions about airlines in Australia, past, present & future.

We then chat with Ken Evers & Tim Pryse, a couple of local lads who are going to fly a Gippsland Aeronautics GA-8 Airvan around the world to raise funds to help fight against malaria. You can read more about their epic journey at Millions Against Malaria.

We also give a few shout outs & read some mail:

  • Tom for listening to all 25 episodes in less than a week – now *that’s* masochism :)
  • Steve Cooke in the UK and his Flying Podcast that gives a great perspective on flying in the UK and Europe.
  • Christie Walker who we’ll be chatting to soon and is interested in learning more about Australian airline cadet pilot programs
  • Grant’s sorry for being behind on all the emails that have come in

As usual, our theme music track is “YouNameIt5” by Brian Simpson (aka t3cat5) and our sound effects come from SoundSnap.com.

The Jetstarisation of QANTAS is not over yet

Thanks to an opportunity presented by Shashank Nigam, Grant’s just had an article about the ongoing Jetstarisation of QANTAS published on Shashank’s Simpliflying site.

It provides a background on the birth of Jetstar, its growth to date and how it is destined to consume more of QANTAS’ mainline routes & aircraft. Head on over to Simpliflying and check out the article.

Thanks to Shashank for giving us the opportunity to gain further exposure to the global aviation world, it’s very much appreciated :)