Boris Johnson’s dubitation, CEOs for gun control, Monarch’s reign ends

Planet Business: Ryanair’s cancellation crisis and other grim events in perspective

Checking out of checking in: An empty Monarch Airlines departures area at Birmingham airport, England. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

Checking out of checking in: An empty Monarch Airlines departures area at Birmingham airport, England. Photograph: Oli Scarff/AFP

 

Image of the week: Dethroned Monarch

Taking the heat off Ryanair for a while, Britain’s Monarch Airlines ceased trading on Monday in the biggest airline collapse of its kind in the UK, leaving about 2,000 employees out of work. Specially chartered planes had to be deployed to pick up 110,000 stranded passengers. The 50-year-old airline was hit hard by advice to tourists not to travel to Tunisia and Egypt’s Red Sea resorts after terrorist attacks, while “the decimation of Turkey” was also part of the “root cause”, chief executive Andrew Swaffield wrote in a letter to staff. The fall of sterling also sent Monarch’s dollar-purchased fuel and aircraft bill soaring, meaning Brexit is partly to blame.

In numbers: Maintaining altitude

10

Percentage rise in passenger traffic in September for Ryanair compared to the same month last year, despite flight cancellations.

97

The “load factor” for the airline last month, up two percentage points, meaning its flights were, on average, an astonishing 97 per cent full.

€50 million

Ryanair currently estimates that the cost of its flight cancellation debacle will be less than this. It still forecasts an annual net profit of €1.4 billion – €1.45 billion, give or take a few scratch cards.

The lexicon: Dubitation

Did you mean habituation? No, google “dubitation”. You know, doubt or uncertainty or hesitation? Formal, archaic, 15th century? But how might it be used in a sentence? “I don’t think I have ever known so many to be sunk in gloom and dubitation about Britain and the world,” the UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson told the Conservative party conference on Tuesday. The impression being given, Johnson claimed, was that the UK would end up bottling out of Brexit and ending up “in some dingy anteroom of the EU, pathetically waiting for the scraps, but no longer in control of the menu”. But there’s no doubt about it Boris, better the anteroom than the cold outdoors.

Getting to know: Tim Sloan

Tim Sloan, the chief executive of American bank Wells Fargo since last October and previously its chief operating officer, was this week’s recipient of the now familiar, but still scathing criticism that he must be either guilty of uselessness or corruption. “At best you were incompetent, at worst you were complicit,” US Senator Elizabeth Warren told him as he appeared before a Senate banking committee to answer for Wells Fargo’s bang-to-rights unauthorised customer accounts scandal. Sloan responded to Warren’s call for him to be fired with the claim that he was the right man for the job because he had been at Wells Fargo for 30 years and was busy making “fundamental change” since succeeding the last CEO. An incredulous Warren had this reply: “Are you kidding?”

The list: CEOs for gun control

“Business leaders” have been living up to their name of late in the US, registering their objections to various Donald Trump outrages. But which ones have spoken out in favour of gun control?

1. Bob Iger: “Where is the outrage here?” the Disney chief executive and potential Democratic 2020 presidential candidate said this week. One Disney employee was murdered in the Las Vegas massacre, two were wounded and more than 70 were witnesses.

2. Howard Schultz: The former Starbucks boss made a “respectful request” to coffee drinkers in 2013 that they don’t bring firearms into his stores. In a world of comfy armchairs, ominous bulges don’t fit.

3. Chip Bergh: “You don’t need a gun to try on a pair of jeans,” the Levi Strauss chief executive observed last year, when he also asked customers to leave their guns at home.

4. Mark Zuckerberg: “It’s hard to imagine the loss from the shooting in Las Vegas,” the Facebook chief executive said. “It’s hard to imagine why we don’t make it much harder for anyone to do this.”

That’s it. In a society in which it is seriously suggested that everyone arm themselves to protect themselves, there’s a dearth of CEOs willing to “wade into the debate” as talking about this issue is inevitably framed.

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