11/28/2012

After a big lottery win

In Monopoly terms, a lucky Chance card: Throw double six, go to Cape Town, pass Go (on holiday) and collect rand, sun cream and swim wear!


For the first time that I have noticed, a flight from Geneva recently went directly to Cape Town. The flight PTI737, a Boeing 737, took off at 10h35 in the evening of Monday, 26 November, so would have landed in Cape Town the next morning. Just nice time for a swim at St James, a trip up Table Mountain or a visit to Kirstenbosch botanical gardens.

Unfortunately for most readers, this would have cost the passengers quite a lot of money. As can be guessed from the flight number (matching the aircraft type), and the aircraft operator (PrivatAir, a Geneva-based company which does not operate standard scheduled services from Geneva), this is almost certainly mainly for the rich and (maybe) famous! In fact, I did write a blog about a different PrivatAir aircraft, recognised as being a BBJ (Boeing Business Jet).

I am not too surprised to see a flight to Cape Town, as there has long been a strong South African presence in Switzerland. However, much of this presence, at least as far as the really wealthy are concerned, is likely to be in Swiss Germany, quite possibly linked to either Glencore or Xstrata. Before the recent merger, both of these mining companies had a South African CEO.

Around 30 years ago there were actually direct flights from Geneva to Johannesburg. They were, however, somewhat unpopular with the people living around the airport: if my memory serves me right, they were Boeing 747s which called in here from Zurich before heading South. As such, with a full passenger complement and full fuel tanks, they made a h*ll of a din!

This PrivatAir would also have had lots of fuel on board, but probably not as many passengers as in a mainly economy class aircraft. Nonetheless, the takeoff over Vernier registered about 88 dBA, one of the highest readings of the day and much more than the four other Europe-bound aircraft which took off after 10 pm. This is what I can foresee as a possible problem if/when Geneva hosts more long-distance flights, including ones leaving at the end of the evening. However modern and quiet the aircraft might be, a full complement of fuel and passengers will require full power on takeoff.

Sleep well!

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