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Change of flight routes?

first_imgThe downing Malaysia Airlines MH17 with 283 passengers and 15 crew by a sophisticated surface to air missile is likely to cause a paradigm shift in the thinking of flight paths over trouble spots and war zones.Both the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Air Transport Association had apparently declared the flight route taken by MH17 as safe, probably because of the very high altitude the aircraft fly over Ukraine.It is understood that all airspace above 30,000ft was cleared and at the time of the tragedy there were at least 50 planes crossing Ukraine in all directions – including over the conflict area.In fact there was a Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 and an Air India 787 only 25km from the Malaysia 777 when it was shot down according to Flightradar 24.IATA’s Director General and CEO Tony Tyler said that he shared the shock and sadness expressed by so many around the world on the terrible loss of MH 17. “At this time, it is important we are very clear: safety is the top priority. No airline will risk the safety of their passengers, crew and aircraft for the sake of fuel savings. Airlines depend on governments and air traffic control authorities to advise which air space is available for flight, and they plan within those limits,” said Mr Tyler. “It is very similar to driving a car. If the road is open, you assume that it is safe. If it’s closed you find an alternate route. Civil aircraft are not military targets. Governments agreed that in the Chicago Convention. And what happened with MH 17 is a tragedy for 298 souls that should not have happened in any airspace.”Aircraft have been flying over trouble spots for decades without incident because typically insurgents lack the military hardware to reach the cruising altitudes of high flying commercial or military jets.Certainly a few commercial passenger aircraft have been shot down but typically at lower altitudes or by the military in supposed mix-ups.However with rebels and terrorists becoming more sophisticated and some countries willing to supply more capable hardware the threat of another shoot down of a high altitude passenger aircraft is all too real.There is also the deep concern that other terrorists groups wanting to emulate the “success” of the shoot down.Aviation authorities and airlines will now have to go to great lengths to assure the travelling public that air routes are well clear of trouble spots.Changing air routes particularly those from SE Asia to Europe will add considerably to the operational challenges as extra fuel will be required to fly more circuitous routes.Potentially there are a number of areas that airlines may now avoid such as Afghanistan, parts of Pakistan, Iraq, Syria as well as Ukraine.Interestingly one of the most cooperative countries for over flights has been Iran which wants the US dollars that airlines must pay to fly over its territory.And while airlines will be striving to assure passengers they are avoiding trouble spots, passengers themselves will possible start avoiding Malaysia Airlines.The double loss of MH370 and MH17 is a terrible blow to the airline. If the airline wasn’t government owned it would likely collapse from the impact of these tragedies. But it will survive.For the wider industry the losses will also have an impact as passengers rethink air travel in general despite the fact that it is the world’s safest mode of transport with 100,000 flights carrying 8.25 million passengers every day.Today the loss of a large modern commercial jet aircraft with a first rate airline is extremely rare – so two such losses in the space of 132 days is devastating to the industry’s safety record.last_img read more

Will tough spring lead to stronger prices?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Spring has brought extremely varied planting conditions to Ohio’s producers and many others in the eastern Corn Belt. Illinois has seen record levels of crop insurance corn replant claims. Many seed corn companies scrambled to get inventory to affected areas. The last half of May brought sunshine while some parts of Ohio again were slow in planting corn and soybeans as fields dried slowly when unexpected rains fell. It also brought some heavy rains, which drowned out the replanted corn in Madison and Licking counties and other parts of Ohio. Numerous producers were planting corn for the third time. Moods were tense with producers anxious to finish the job. Northwest Ohio and particularly Paulding county had rainfall totals of five to eight inches or more that flooded fields for days while miles of electric poles were doing everything but standing straight and tall.The season’s first weekly corn condition report of May 30 had the U.S. good and excellent total at just 65%. It was less than expected, bringing a quick corn rally of five cents the following day. This rally was exactly like other corn rallies this year, a one-day wonder that fell apart with price declines in the days that followed. Looking at more detail, the May 30 report had some interesting revelations in several states for the good and excellent totals: Illinois 52%, Indiana 43%, Iowa 73%, Nebraska 76%, Minnesota 68%, and Ohio 49%. At first glance it would appear U.S. corn conditions are going to struggle to reach the highs of good and excellent totals seen in the past. Typically those totals peak by mid-July and then start to decline. With the eastern Corn Belt good and excellent totals struggling to reach 50%, it will take ideal temperatures and rainfall to reach the 80% mark in those same states in coming weeks.With the poor start to corn conditions in the east, some are already suggesting the trend line corn yield will be difficult to achieve. While there is little correlation between early crop ratings and the final yield, current ratings suggest a yield below 170.7 bushels. USDA currently has the U.S. corn yield at 170.7 bushels per acre. The market will see greater volatility in coming weeks as the weekly condition report is digested in conjunction with weather forecasts. Summer weather forecasts on June 4 suggested normal rains for the west, with normal to below normal rains in the east. Temperatures for much of the Midwest are seen as normal. Analysts will be closely monitoring drought conditions in the Dakotas to see if they move beyond those areas.NASS has sent out surveys to U.S. producers during the first two weeks of June as they gather information on planted acres and grain stocks. As NASS and USDA complete these reports, for a June 30 release, it must be noted that with the March Planting Intentions Report and the March Grain Stocks Report producers returned surveys in or near record low levels. It certainly is a big concern for USDA, having done producer surveys for decades upon decades.July CBOT corn remains in tight range between $3.60 and $3.80. If July corn moves above $3.80, many are expecting heavy producer selling. Heavy producer selling beyond just a few days could easily see basis levels drop five to 10 cents or more in rapid fashion. Old corn basis levels improved two to eight cents late May and early June for several Ohio ethanol plants. With producers holding record amounts of unsold corn, large corn users will work diligently to secure needed supplies for the next three months.Funds continue to be short corn, soybeans, and wheat at near record levels. They will need to see strong evidence of changing weather or declining ending stocks to abandon many months holding short positions.last_img read more