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Aviation

Having failed to buy a stake in American Airlines (did anyone understand that proposal?) Qatar Airways has signed a deal to purchase just shy of 10% of Cathay Pacific Airways - but there is still a fraction under 75% in Swire Group hands.

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UK Airline Monarch announced at 4am UK time (3 am GMT) that it had ceased trading and all of its flights were cancelled.

This is an unprecedented situation and because there are up to 110,000 passengers abroad, the UK Government has asked the CAA to coordinate flights back to the UK for all Monarch customers currently overseas. These new flights will be at no extra cost to you.

-- CAA

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A passenger who built his own mobile phone charger has been released by police in India. It had been identified by airport scanners as a possible bomb.

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A travel company much favoured by our own team in Asia has closed its doors. It's a shame: we'll miss them.

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A Sri Lankan man, legally in Australia, released from a psychiatric hospital yesterday morning was under arrest within hours for making threats aboard a Malaysia Airlines aircraft that had just left Melbourne. The aircraft turned back after passengers overpowered him. Australian police are in wonder at the bravery of the passengers and their resilience at the disruption of their travel.

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As the world expressed outrage at the widely distributed video of United Airlines staff physically abusing a man who refused to surrender his properly paid for and allocated seat because the airline decided to bounce four people so that it could move its own staff from Chicago to Louisville, the company's CEO, Oscar MUNOZ issued a statement. Then he tried again. And then, as the company's share price began to fall, again. It was only in the third statement that he came close to an apology for the brutality.

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It takes a special kind of stupid to let a passenger board an aircraft, take his seat - and then tell him to get off because the flight is over-booked. But that is nothing compared to sending three large "security" officers to physically drag him, kicking and screaming, off the plane.

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Malaysia is no stranger to the type of aircraft accident where a plane skids off the runway. It's barely news because low speed slithering in very wet conditions puts the plane part way onto the grass and after it's been towed out and the undercarriage checked, it's back to business as usual. So why has Saturday's incident at Sibu take so long to clear and why is there concern to ensure a "thorough investigation"?

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The pilot of a Bombardier Challenger 604 executive jet has reported that his aircraft suffered "significant loss of altitude, abnormal flight attitudes and accelerations beyond the certificated flight envelope." Damage was substantial. It is reported that a large freighter passed at approved separation (the distance between two aircraft in flight) but that there was significant turbulence resulting. It is said that the freighter was an Airbus A380.

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In 2016, Emirates flew more than 194,000 flights and of those more than 60 were diverted because of a medical emergency. The cost of each ranges from USD50,000 to USD600,000, says the airline. So it needs to find ways to reduce diversions where there is no additional risk to the passenger.

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We've been trying to access the website at united.com for several minutes. Aside from a pop up about location, nothing else has responded. But what we do know from other media is that United was grounded by the FAA, apparently at the airline's request, for all domestic flights for a period of two hours. International flights were not affected.

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The group of nations that has been searching the oceans for signs of the lost Boeing 777 that was Malaysian Airlines MH370 say that they have taken all reasonable steps to locate the aircraft and have failed to find any signs of the crash site. There is no doubt that the aircraft has been lost, and little doubt over which ocean it was lost in. But that's all that can be said with any confidence, except that there has been almost no question raised over whether the aircraft itself might have had a fault.

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