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December 23rd, 2011:

Cathay Trims Plans for Cargo Flying

Clear the Air says:

So, like we said, no way do we need a third Chep Lap Kok runway !


DECEMBER 20, 2011

Cathay Scales Back Cargo Ambitions


Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said Monday it will scale back plans to expand cargo flying next year and defer the arrival of two newBoeing Co. aircraft, in the latest sign that the slowdown in air freight is deeper and more pronounced than many expected.

The airline’s Hong Kong base is the world’s largest air-cargo hub, but has suffered double-digit declines in traffic since the summer because of slowing export shipments of consumer electronics and other goods from the heart of China’s manufacturing center in the neighboring Pearl River Delta region.

Hong Kong International Airport said Monday that cargo traffic in November fell 6.6% from a year earlier, reflecting the widespread destocking many manufacturers had flagged as customers run down inventories due to the uncertain economic climate.

Passenger airlines have borne the brunt of the reduced demand, with aircraft flying less than half full, according to the International Air Transport Association. The trade group expects the weakness to continue until mid-2012.

Air-cargo specialists also have been forced to react, with FedEx Corp. last week announcing plans to delay the delivery of new Boeing 777s used on flights from Asia to the U.S. Rival United Parcel Service Inc. also has trimmed capacity.

Cathay had hoped demand would strengthen in the second half of 2011 but said in a statement that it now will expand its cargo capacity by 10% next year, down from a previous forecast of 17%. The airline said it is deferring delivery of two new fuel-efficient Boeing 747-8F freighters due next year, citing weak market conditions. It has already received four of its 10-plane order, with another four arriving next year and the final pair in 2013.”This decision will also allow us to defer a portion of our near-term projected capital spending to accommodate the 767 purchases within our previous estimates,” Dave Bronczek, president of FedEx Express, told analysts on a post-earnings conference call last week. “The combined 767 and 777 actions … will contribute to the overall Express profitability.”

The airline’s cargo traffic fell 9.8% in November from a year earlier, with volume down 13.8

FedEx will delay delivery of 11 Boeing 777 freighters, though last week unveiled a new deal to buy 27 of the smaller Boeing 767-300F aircraft.

The world’s largest air cargo shipper acknowledged that the 777 deferrals are partly a continuation of efforts to adjust its network for the recent slowdown out of Asia. But it said the main reason for the action is the higher financial return it expects to reap by bringing in the fuel-efficient 767s to replace older MD-10 aircraft.

Write to Doug Cameron at and Bob Sechler at

Corrections & Amplifications
FedEx Corp. is the world’s largest air cargo shipper. An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Fedex was the world’s largest package shipper.

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Idling ban makes a difference

Clear the Air says:

The SCMP omits the fact that, as well as the first two red minibuses at a stand allowed to idle their engines, if a passenger sits in the third bus , it can also idle its engine and the one behind also ! So if the stand operators have one person sitting in each of the following minibuses , they can all run their engines legally.

i.e. a pointless and flawed piece of legislation in its current state.

Idling ban makes a difference

Research carried out by South China Morning Post shows air quality could improve by 30 per cent, but lax enforcement may offset the benefits

The ban on idling engines could improve air quality by at least 30 per cent, according to a test conducted a day before and a day after by the South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583announcementsnews) .

However non-compliance as a result of lax enforcement and polluting vehicles could also offset these potential benefits.

The Post took measurements at idling hot spots between 7pm and 9pm on December 14 and 16, in Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, to assess the effectiveness of the ban, introduced on December 15.

Using a hand-held device that automatically registered air quality data every two seconds, the Post measured the carbon monoxide reading at each hot spot for about four to five minutes on both days.

Air quality improvements were recorded in parts of Tung Choi Street, Mong Kok, where red minibuses line the left and middle lanes on a 100-metre stretch between Fife Street and Argyle Street.

On the day before the ban was introduced, about eight out of 15 red minibuses parked on the street had their engines idling.

The new law allows idling for a maximum of six buses for the three bus routes operating from the street.

On the second day, only six out of 16 buses were found idling.

Readings taken during a four-minute walk along the street showed carbon monoxide readings had dropped by 30 per cent from 7,400 micrograms on the first testing day to 5,200 micrograms.

There was also a noticeable improvement near a news stand close to the end of the street, where the average reading fell from 7,300 micrograms to 3,100 micrograms.

The stand owner said he felt the street was becoming “a lot more peaceful” than before.

But air pollution readings fluctuated outside an electronic product shop in the middle of the street, rising from 7,200 micrograms to 7,700 micrograms.

There was also an increase in Fa Yuen Street near Tung Choi Street, possibly due to more buses idling.

However, a semi-covered red minibus station next to Langham Place in Mong Kok remained a hot spot despite the ban, with more than 12 minibuses inside the station running their engines on both days the measurements were taken.

Average readings from a five-minute air sampling at one of the passenger queuing areas hit more than 18,000 micrograms on the first day, and a huge 59,000 on the second day.

The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) sets the maximum hourly allowable carbon monoxide levels at 30,000 micrograms.

A spokesman said the Post‘s findings, based on these short periods of measurement, should not be benchmarked against the department’s objectives.

Dr Lau Ngai-ting, who is with the University of Science and Technology’s environment division, said longer measurement periods would be needed to ascertain the benefits of the ban. But he wondered if other emission sources, including moving vehicles, might have overshadowed the improvements.

“No doubt there are incremental benefits if engines are switched off, but these can also be offset by other factors like moving traffic nearby,” Lau said.

This idea was supported by the Post’s findings. At one point on the second day, the maximum reading soared to a maximum of 157,000 micrograms as a diesel minibus overtook a LPG-powered bus and closed in on the air sampling device. “The reading was quite consistent until the diesel bus came closer and pushed the reading to this extremely high level,” said Nancy Fong Siu-pui, a research student who helped the Post with the measurement.

Lau said clamping down on idling engines was just one way of reducing pollution. Other measures, such as tighter vehicle emission standards and monitoring of ageing and polluting vehicles, were also required.

People working in the area said they had not yet seen officers enforcing the ban. One elderly worker said the pollution was better in the cooler weather, but worse in summer. “I am used to it,” he said.

The EPD did not respond directly when asked if officers patrolled the bus station and issued warnings to drivers breaching the ban, but it promised to refer the issue to the Transport Department.

Across the harbour in the section of Lockhart Road between Cannon Street and Percival Street, there was little change in the pollution readings. This was because most drivers had already started switching off their engines before the ban, with no need for air conditioning now the weather has cooled down.

China decides to accept PM2.5

By Guo Kai (Global Times)

08:10, December 23, 2011

The Chinese government has released a four-step schedule to monitor the PM2.5 pollution indicator in the next five years, the minister of environmental protection announced Wednesday.

In a speech at a national environment protection conference, Minister Zhou Shengxian said that indicators for PM2.5, ozone and carbon monoxide will be added to the national standard.

To fulfill the monitoring of PM2.5 and ozone, Zhou gave a four-step plan: from next year, PM2.5 and ozone will be monitored in Beijing, Tianjin and HebeiProvince, the Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta, municipalities and other capitals.

In 2013, 113 key cities and environmental protection model cities will be added. In 2015, all prefecture-level cities will come into the program before a 2016 nationwide rollout.

Zhou said the country will also improve a joint mechanism on air pollutants in key areas and a warning system will be set up to advise the public when heavy pollution shrouds the skies.

PM2.5, particles with a diameter less than 2.5 microns, aroused public attention in late October after different results of air quality monitoring tests were simultaneously released by Beijing’s weather forecast station and the US embassy in Beijing.

“At that time, I dared not to go outside, as the haze covered the city, but the official data said the pollution was not so heavy,” Chen Zhenyun, a resident in Beijing, told the Global Times yesterday.
It is good news that the government will follow the new standard, commented Pan Xiaochuan, a professor at Peking University, on his microblog yesterday.

“It is reasonable to bring in these new changes in steps, because some regions have better technical and economic conditions to carry out the monitoring,” Pan said while answering Web users’ questions on the PM2.5 measurement on Weibo.

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranges the PM2.5 measurement from 10 to 35 ug/m3 (microgram per cubic meters), and China will adopt the 35 ug/m3 standard, which is commonly used for developing countries, Pan said.

Technically, it is not difficult to monitor PM2.5 as it is similar to the PM10 monitoring principles, Zhu Jianping, deputy director of environmental monitoring department, told the Beijing Times.

However, Zhu said that the biggest problem is financing. “PM2.5 monitoring equipment costs between 80,000 yuan to 380,000 yuan ($12,620-$59,943).

“A preliminary estimate shows that more than 338 prefecture-level cities have to invest more than 2 billion yuan on the equipment,” said Zhu.

“It would be a simple way for the public to judge the concentration of PM2.5 on the basis of visibility,” said Pan.

The hazard of PM2.5 is from the toxic chemical substances absorbed by the particles which can cause cancer and metal poisoning.

Electric Supercar Blows Doors Off Tesla


A group of gear heads from Croatia has produced a car designed to show that “electric vehicle” doesn’t have to mean “something my granola-eating neighbor drives.”

Rimac Automobil, named for its founder, Mate Rimac, unveiled the Concept_One at the International Auto Show in Frankfurt. Designed as a sleek sports car it is powered entirely by batteries, and can, the company says, hit 62 miles per hour in 2.8 seconds, and reach a limit of 190 mph. The batteries carry 92 kilowatt-hours, or enough to power an average American home for three days — or drive the car 372 miles, enough to get from New York to Pittsburgh. (The Tesla Roadster, also a very impressive electric hotrod, hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, has a top speed of 125 mph and has a battery range of 245 miles.)

PHOTOS: Top 10 Fastest Electric Vehicles

green energy

The engines put out the equivalent of 1,088 horsepower, enough to beat some internal combustion models. The motive force to the wheels is divided among four engines that can each be controlled independently. That allows the torque to each wheel to be adjusted as necessary. A computer subsystem controls each pair of wheels and, according to Rimac, can make adjustments thousands of times each second.

The body is light, made of carbon fiber, and the battery is placed near the center of the car for better weight distribution.

NEWS: Electric Car DIYers Rev Up at Summit

This isn’t the only electric supercar out there: there’s the Tesla Roadster, which boasts a similar 0 to 60 acceleration and Audi rolled out a high-performance electric concept car, the e-tron, in 2009. But if nothing else it shows once again that newer body designs and advances in control technologies can build an electric car that is both powerful and environmentally friendly.