29 December 2009

Second Decade of the Millenium Review

Dateline: Tuesday December 31st 2019. No one would have believed you if one could have predicted 20 years ago what we have seen this past decade when we were pre-occupied with Y2K and the millennium?

Sir Tony Blair was rehabilitated and elected the Head of the United Nations. He was a surprise compromise choice after the two term Al Gore whose tenure was historic in a global climate agreement in 2017, the first Caucasian Secretary General since the disgraced Kurt Waldheim. After 16 rounds of deadlock – Blair was elected in 2019.

The final round of GATT - known as the Havana Round after the Havana conference in 2017 – resulted in true harmonization and real teeth in worldwide global commerce. The most significant accomplishment was achieved last year 2019 with the Worldwide Agreement on Tax. Known commonly as WAX.

2020 next year will be a leap year which means also an Olympic Year – to be held in Mumbai. After much controversy over the selection of Mumbai over hotly favoured Cape Town

The Microsoft company was split into 4 separate companies early in the decade marking the then biggest company breakup in US corporate history. Of the So Called Teen Bills (after the late Philanthropist and Microsoft Founder Bill Gates) only three survive. The Operating System business became free ware in 2015 and is now mostly a standards and maintenance organization. Office Solutions and Corp Systems were re-merged into Corp Services Corp. The Universal Arts Company (after its merger with Electronic Arts and Universal-NBC) became the largest Entertainment Content Company in the world. Google Electric itself a merger of Google and the former GE has become the leading infrastructure company after the forced divestiture of their media interests.

Airframers: The Boeing Power Series engined 797 Narrow Body Family finally appeared and has been met with universal acclaim as the last in the conventional start of the art in aircraft design. The corresponding Airbus Bombardier A500 Series narrow body aircraft which first flew in 2018 is still hotly favoured to be the aircraft of the next decade with its controversial design and advanced technologies particularly in the use of hydrogen fuels. Airliners are now threatened as a species with the adoption of CommLink (see below). The heavy burden of environmental and security charges as well as the continued milking of the travel business made it the cigarette revenue source of its time. The last of the fewer than 50 Airbus A380s built will be retired as gas guzzlers sometime in the next 2 years despite having such few hours on their airframes. With most having been converted to freighters after the oil crisis in 2012. The two year delay in redesigning the 787 after the delamination incidents early in the mid sized Boeing model was matched by a corresponding delay in A350 which had a rather serious overweight problem. Both Boeing And Airbus Bombardier now have essentially just two product lines – the narrow body and the wide body. The last 777 rolled off the line in 2015.

For Airlines – the two Global Airline Alliances remain the focus of the regulators. Skyteam and Star now comprise more than 60% of the world’s total passengers. The Term GAA becomes a common term for all that is wrong in customer service. With the merger of Singapore Airline, Emirates and Virgin Atlantic into the Virgin Airline Group under one common brand – they are now the largest single airline brand worldwide. Ryanair finally softened its stance after Michael O’Leary retired his chairmanship in 2018 he had left the day to day running of the European arm in 2014. Its long haul operation was not a success and it was abandoned in 2016. The long haul part was finally merged into a revived Aer Lingus. Southwest and Easyjet merged their infrastructure businesses but retained the individual brands. Air Asia’s spree of buying second tier airlines worldwide seems to continue unabated but is seen as a bottom feeding exercise in a declining market.

In hospitality after a hotly contested merger battle for the hand of Intercontinental Hotel Group – they merged with Hilton. In Quick Succession Marriott acquired Hyatt and then at the low end the Choice Group. The JW Marriott Group is still vying with Hilton. The third member of the Troika is Carlson Accor Group.

In Distribution Jim Davidson finally retired after 8 years of running mega corp AmaLogix. John Martin an industry unknown from Banking is the youngest head of an Open Distribution Company (ODC which moniker replaced the archaic term GDS in the early part of the decade). He heads the multi-faceted Sabreport group.

With the huge adoption of CommLink – the virtual meeting business – and the high cost of fuel, total travel finally peaked in 2017 and has fallen 2 % in the last 2 years of the decade. The Travant Group which emerged from the spin out of Google’s once secret Troogle project and the merger with the hotel switch company and the remnants of the non-content components of the largest Travel Company in the world Expedia. The largest second largest travel company famous for its kiosks and tour operating business is now the Thomas Cook company (formed from a merger of Thomas Cook, American Express Travel and JTB).

In Travel Tools – the OTP – Open Travel Platform and its subsequent offspring UTP – Universal Travel Platform standard (itself built on the OML standard) was widely adopted as the master standard by which all players in the value chain would communicate. With the adoption of the Havana Round and UN mandated via IATA on WAX (see above) simplifying global government revenue harmonization processes – financial fulfillment has been vastly simplified. The abolition of the financial clearing houses of BSP and ARC (remember them!) further reduced the cost and simplified the way in which consumers purchased travel. The sunset of the use of non-electronic money in 2018 has also further simplified process. Fraud however remains a constant problem particularly after the global bank clearing brownout that occurred in 2013.

And that’s the way it is on December 31st 2019. Have a good new decade. This will be Professor Sabena’s final posting – he has pleasure in announcing his retirement this day.

Enjoy and Cheers

With thanks and acknowledgement to GreenAviation and Design Q for the images.

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