Qantas' happy flights of fancy

Qantas' happy flights of fancy

It's not always a case of what goes on the plane, stays on the plane for the glitterati of the aviation world. At a gala dinner for the launch of Qantas' union with Emirates, MC and Collingwood Football Club president Eddie "Everywhere" McGuire reflected on why he was not on the "party plane" from Sydney to Dubai on Sunday, as Emirates president Tim Clark and federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese remembered the launch flight with much fondness.

"It was a very happy flight, ladies and gentlemen," Clark told about 700 guests in a giant tent at resort Atlantis on Dubai's artificial island, The Palm.

Albo called a toast and pointed out that "many of you on the flight last night would have had plenty of practice [charging glasses]".

It was a very Australian night in Dubai. Singer Jessica Mauboy did a few numbers while Kerri-Anne Kennerley saved one for last.

But it was disco queen Gloria Gaynor who brought the crowd, including Qantas boss Alan Joyce, to its feet. Qantas chief spinner Olivia Wirth and union boss partner Paul Howes soaked up the vibes, as did senior Qantas executives Simon Hickey and Lyell Strambi, top federal transport bureaucrat Mike Mrdak, former Liberal MP Bruce Baird and chef Neil Perry.

Holiday rancour

Watch out Newcrest Mining shareholders: Anzac Day is just 22 days away. While for most people, the approach of a public holiday means some well-earned rest and relaxation is just around the corner, the prospect must bring shivers to Newcrest investors.

After lunch on Thursday, as Australians turned to the Easter long weekend, Newcrest announced a gold production downgrade. Last year, it announced a gold production downgrade on the eve of Anzac Day. And in 2011, it announced a gold production downgrade five days before Christmas.

It seems a day off in Australia has a debilitating effect on the company's mines - even those in Papua New Guinea or Indonesia. Clearly, shareholders need to end this menace now and should write to their MPs demanding the abolition of public holidays.

Golden myopia

Any doubt that they breed them thin-skinned on the Gold Coast was well and truly dispelled by the seaside city's local rag on Tuesday.

News Limited's Gold Coast Bulletin devoted 465 words - its equivalent of War and Peace - to defending home town honour. At issue, BusinessDay's Saturday feature on the various shonks found on the coast and the parlous state of its tourism and development-driven economy.

The Bulletin's sookfest didn't contradict any facts in the piece - the development collapses, the fraudsters, the lifestyles of crooks like conman Peter Foster. Instead, it took aim at the reporter (CBD, coincidentally), who "travelled here on a junket funded by the ratepayers of the city he went on to attack".

At Fairfax Media, we don't allow commercial considerations to influence our journalism. Do they do things differently on the coast? No, says Bulletin deputy editor Ken Robinson - he says the point was to question whether press junkets represent "value for money".

CBD also loved the bits where the Bulletin complained about things that weren't actually in the original story, such as calling the place "a pretend city" or "nothing but a Byron Bay with highrises".

Well, if that's how you lot think of yourselves, go for it.

Samoan overload

Never mind the push into Asia, ANZ's chief teller Mike Smith might have to roll up his sleeves and help out in the Pacific. ANZ's two branches in American Samoa were swamped by queues last week after the Bank of Hawaii shut down there. The bank is putting on extra staff but urged angry Samoans to use ATMs in the meantime.

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