The battle for the sharing economy has moved into the air where new entrants like Airpooler and Flytenow have come up against FAA regulations. Via Brookings. FAA Says No to Private Air Travel for the Masses. Excerpt:

Most Americans probably think that private air travel is only for the 1 percent, or more likely the 1 percent of the 1 percent, with the cost of private jets in the millions of dollars. Travel in small aircraft is much cheaper, but still inaccessible to most people due to the time, effort, and cost of becoming a private pilot.

The new sharing economy could change that. Just as Airbnb allows individuals to rent out all or part of their homes, and Uber and Lyft are testing out ridesharing services, two new startups are aiming to bring private air travel to the masses. Airpooler and Flytenow offer a simple service that is basically a teched-up version of the craigslist ridesharing board. Pilots post flights that they are planning to take, which passengers can sign up to share.

Travel in small planes is not only convenient, but can be surprisingly economical for passengers. A flight from Washington, DC to New York City in the 1959 Piper Comanche that I co-own with another pilot would take about 1.5 hours and cost about $125 in gas. Split four ways, the cost comes out to about $31 per passenger, a bit more expensive than a bus but much cheaper than Amtrak.

Is it legal for a private pilot to share flight costs with passengers? It definitely is as long as the pilot was going to make the flight anyway. In other words, if I’m going to New York I can bring along a friend and split the cost of gas, but if my friend asks me to fly him to New York as a favor then I have to do it for free or not at all. This may sound like bureaucratic hair-splitting, but the rules are the rules. However, apparently they may not apply to flights arranged over the Internet.

A very interesting article (thanks to Crawford Kilian for pointing it out on Twitter). Via Yle Uutiset. Finland’s poor at nearly one million. Excerpt:

Professor Juho Saari of the University of Eastern Finland says that about 800,000 Finns are currently suffering from temporary or short-term unemployment. The term refers to people whose income has fallen below poverty levels due to temporary constraints such as studies or brief bouts of unemployment.

The group of long-term unemployed currently numbers at 100,000 people. Homeless people and breadline customers are counted among long-term jobless. According to the generally accepted definition, people living below the poverty line have to survive on less than 60 percent of the median Finnish income. This means that in 2009, for instance, anyone earning less than 1080 euros a month was poor by definition.

“More than 20,000 Finns are fed weekly by breadline food,” Saari says.

Finnish employment figures are looking bleak, with no new jobs or economic upswings on the horizon. The unemployment rate in the south-central city of Lahti stood at 18.7 percent in July, currently the highest among large cities.

Long-term unemployment and the resulting poverty cause numerous problems in society. For many, the financial want is often short-term, and may not lead to health or welfare issues.

According to Statistics Finland the current unemployment rate in Finland has dropped from 10.7% some two months ago to 7% in July with 193,000 persons out of work.

Something I predicted as soon as MH17 went down (no international airline can survive two crashes within a calendar year). Via Reuters. Malaysia Airlines to cut 6,000 jobs, spend $1.9 billion on restructuring -Khazanah. Full detail given it is breaking news but Reuters will have more to come:

Malaysia Airlines will cut 30 percent of its workforce as part of a restructuring that will cost 6 billion ringgit (1.14 billion pounds), majority investor Khazanah Nasional [KHAZA.UL] said on Friday. Khazanah said the carrier will trim its staff by 6,000 to 14,000 as it seeks to stem long-running losses worsened by two aircraft disasters this year. The state fund said the airline will be de-listed from the Kuala Lumpur exchange by the end of 2014, adding that Ahmad Jauhari Yahya will stay on as chief executive until July 2015.

Khazanah said it aims to return the airline to profitability within three years of its de-listing, and plans to re-list the carrier in three to five years from now. On Thursday, MAS said its second-quarter net loss widened to 307 million ringgit from 176 million a year earlier, though the result was an improvement from the net loss of 443 million ringgit in the first quarter.

Yesterday Qantas announced one of the biggest corporate write-downs in history but is stating that it is keeping to its promise of only 5,000 job cuts while Virgin Australia also had a full year loss of $355.6-million.

Tough time to be in the business of Aviation.

Even tougher time to work in that industry.


Another good pickup by (and via) Graduate Fog. Hey, Christian Dior – what’s a ‘reception internship’? Excerpt but click through to read the detail including job advertisement and responses from Christian Dior. Excerpt:


One of the world’s most exclusive and expensive luxury fashion brands has advertised a six-month ‘reception internship’ at its head office in central London. Yet Christian Dior Couture has told us that the low wage offered for the front desk role in their Knightsbridge headquarters is down to “budgetary constraints”.

The tactic of adding ‘internship’ or ‘intern’ to a regular role title is being used by an increasing number of cheapskate employers trying to justify a paying a low wage (or no wage at all). But those brands don’t usually charge £100,000 per dress, as Christian Dior Couture does. Here is the advert, which appeared on

The position description is lengthy and detailed. It is not an internship and is a job. Given that Graduate Fog is also a recruiter I can’t/won’t add them to my blog roll BUT will include them in a new PeakJobs Resources topic (with added sites of interest for Australians who are now getting more exposed to this exploitative work practice.)

Via CNN Money and thanks to a tweet from fellow Twiterati and good bloke Michael VanDervort. Longer work-week looms for French workers. Excerpt then a comment.

Sacre bleu! French workers may face the end of their cushy 35-hour work-week. In an interview with a French newspaper before becoming the nation’s economics minister, Emmanuel Macron said he’s open to loosening strict government regulations that enforce 35-hour work weeks.

France’s economy has been stagnant for years, and any substantial boost to working hours could improve its competitiveness. The country registered zero growth in the second quarter and is struggling with high levels of unemployment.

Macron said he supported allowing employees to vote within their workplace to expand their work week. If the majority of workers wanted an expanded week, the employer could extend hours. “The key to a recovery in France is to liberate our potential energy to create activity,” he told Le Point. His words have re-ignited the debate about working hours across the country. Most politicians within President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party do not support a change.

Mon Dieu! I need to look into this further and see what the French are saying about this possible change.

Via DW. Rwanda steps up the fight against human trafficking. Excerpt:

Human trafficking is a growing problem in Rwanda, say the country’s police, although they are reluctant to give precise figures or even speculate. Nevertheless, there are many examples. Just last year, seven girls who had been dragged off to neighboring Uganda were successfully liberated. Police reported that the girls were forced into prostitution after having been lured with promises of good employment.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has now taken up the issue. “How is it possible that our children – particularly girls – have become a commodity, even though we are aware of the problem?” he asked in parliament.

Stopping human trafficking is ‘a national duty’

Human trafficking must stop, said Kagame in a recent parliamentary debate. He announced that the security forces needed to become more active. Equally important was to raise awareness among the general population. “This issue cannot be left solely to the police,” said Kagame, adding that it was the responsibility of all Rwandans to combat this problem.

In an interview with DW, Rwanda’s deputy chief investigator Tony Kuramba said the police were stepping up their efforts and had carried out operations in areas where children were known to be at risk. Kuramba said that the police had other strategies which he did not want to elaborate on at present.

Nice words. Words are wind.

This is a true job killer (according to the latest data from the BLS there are currently 198,000 couriers and messengers employed in the US). Not all these jobs will go but more than those that will replace them and only if the FAA approves. Via The Atlantic. Inside Google’s Secret Drone-Delivery Program. Click through for the 22-second vision of what the possible future of home delivery looks like. Excerpt and a couple of comments:

A zipping comes across the sky.

A man named Neil Parfitt is standing in a field on a cattle ranch outside Warwick, Australia. A white vehicle appears above the trees, a tiny plane a bit bigger than a seagull. It glides towards Parfitt, pitches upwards to a vertical position, and hovers near him, a couple hundred feet in the air. From its belly, a package comes tumbling downward, connected by a thin line to the vehicle itself. Right before the delivery hits the ground, it slows, hitting the earth with a tap. The delivery slows, almost imperceptibly, just before it hits the ground, hardly kicking up any dust. A small rectangular module on the end of the line detaches the payload, and ascends back up the vehicle, locking into place beneath the nose. As the wing returns to flying posture and zips back to its launch point half a mile away, Parfitt walks over to the package, opens it up, and extracts some treats for his dogs.

The Australian test flight and 30 others like it conducted in mid-August are the culmination of the first phase of Project Wing, a secret drone program that’s been running for two years at Google X, the company’s whoa-inducing, long-range research lab.

Though a couple of rumors have escaped the Googleplex—because of course Google must have a drone-delivery program—Project Wing’s official existence and substance were revealed today. I’ve spent the past week talking to Googlers who worked on the project, reviewing video of the flights, and interviewing other people convinced delivery by drone will work.

Taken with the company’s other robotics investments, Google’s corporate posture has become even more ambitious. Google doesn’t just want to organize all the world’s information. Google wants to organize all the world.

The vision is taken in Warwick, Queensland. Apart from being the ONLY PLACE in the WORLD where I have got a parking ticket it only happens to be a few hours down the road and relatively remote so an ideal place to be doing ‘secret’ testing. As for the more permissive UAV standards in Australia, I suspect they are due more to slowly occurring regulations, rather than complacency. CASA will no doubt catch up on it’s FAA counterparts.

I still haven’t got over that parking ticket…


Data Sources

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics. Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey: Employed persons by detailed occupation and age, 2013 annual averages. Accessed 29 August 2014.