In the 100th year of the first commercial flight it is fascinating to look back at some of the major breakthroughs that have changed aviation for the passenger and to look at how passenger dress and cabin appointments have changed.When the 707, DC-8 and Comet 4 jets entered service in the late 1950s, there was a scramble to get a seat with many airline’s flights running at an extraordinary – for the time – load factor of 90.8%. Typically airlines flights were only 60 per cent full as this was before computer reservations and of course the internet, which have enabled airlines to dramatically increase the loads on flights.Passengers loved the jets. In the first five years of jet operations, Pan American’s overseas traffic doubled as the airline took delivery of more than 50 new Boeing 707s and Douglas DC-8s.When Pan American launched its jet service its founder and President Juan Trippe said: “Mass travel by air – made possible by the jet age – may prove to be more significant to world destiny than the atomic bomb. For there can be no atom bomb potentaiily more powerful than the air tourist, charged with curiosity, enthusiasm and good will, who can roam the four corners of the world, meeting in friendship and understanding the people of other nations and races.” Mr Trippe was so right.In 1960, for the first time, the number of passengers crossing the North Atlantic by air surpassed those on ocean liners. Pan Am was offering a return trip across the North Atlantic from only $298 – just slightly above what the one-way fare had been in 1952 – or just three weeks’ average salary.Tourist class or economy class as it was now called, dominated air travel in the 1960s to the point where first class had been reduced to just a small section of the jet’s cabin.And that cabin was luxurious with lounges and seating in economy class was very spacious with a seat pitch of up to 40 inches. Passengers wore the latest fashions with men in suits and women wearing pearls. Carry on was still just a hat and a book and overhead storage was just a hat rack.Meals were spectacular affairs– even in economy. The rationale was there was no in-flight entertainment to speak of, so passengers had to be occupied.Not only were fares plummeting, so were traveling times. Australia’s Qantas was able to slash the London-Sydney route from 48 to 27 hours, while the Sydney-San Francisco route tumbled from 27 hours to 18 hours. Interestingly, because of the enormous distances traveled by its passengers, Qantas had one of the biggest first class markets with 23 per cent of its travelers opting for the front end in the mid-1960s.In the US in 1950, air travel accounted for just 14 per cent of travel, with bus and train accounting for 38 per cent and 48 per cent respectively. Thanks to the piston engine Douglas DC-6 and Lockheed Constellation, by 1959 when the first US jets entered service 47 per cent of travelers were in the air, while bus and train had been relegated to 24 per cent and 29 per cent.In the 10 years to 1959, air travel leapt 250 per cent in the US. Ten years later in 1969, the number of passengers traveling by air in the US would triple – thanks to the new jets.And in the 50 years since 1964 the world wide aircraft fleet has grown from 3,137 to a massive 24,613 aircraft. Global passenger numbers have leapt from 412,000 a day to 8.5 million, while fares have dropped by 84 per cent. Air travel is booming!
6 October 2010Yoza, a library of mobile novels or “m-novels” that harnesses cellphone technology and popularity to promote reading and writing among South African youngsters, is being incubated by the Shuttleworth Foundation while it looks out for sponsors or partners.Yoza offers young people a growing library of free, hip, interactive novels, encouraging them not only to read but also to participate in commenting on and reviewing them, and to submit their own stories – with the aim of turning reading into a social, sharing experience.“For the foreseeable future, the cellphone, not the Kindle or iPad, is the e-reader of Africa,” Steve Vosloo, founder of Yoza and fellow for 21st century learning at the Shuttleworth Foundation, said in a statement at Yoza’s launch in August. “Yoza aims to capitalise on that to get Africa’s teens reading and writing.”Yoza is available on MXit (go to Tradepost > MXit Cares > mobiBooks), on WAP-enabled mobile phones at www.yoza.mobi, as well as on Facebook.Pilot project: making KontaxYoza is part of the Shuttleworth Foundation’s m4Lit (mobiles for literacy) project, which began as a pilot initiative with the publication of a 20-page story called Kontax, in English and isiXhosa, in September 2009, followed by Kontax 2 in May 2010.Readers were encouraged to comments on chapters, vote in opinion polls related to the story, and enter a writing competition.“The uptake was tremendous,” the foundation said in a statement. “Since launch, the two stories have been read over 34 000 times on cellphones. Over 4 000 entries have been received in the writing competitions, and over 4 000 comments have been left by readers on individual chapters. Many of the readers asked for more stories and in different genres.”Catching the reading bugYoza was launched on the back of this response – in order to complement, not attempt to replace, the printed page. Yoza’s m-novels are written in conventional language, with “txtspeak” only used when a character is writing or reading SMSes or instant message chats.Most importantly, the m-novels offer “compelling, entertaining reading for teens in South Africa,” says the Shuttleworth Foundation. “The aim is to captivate teens and inspire them to catch the reading bug.”Competitions with airtime prizes prompt readers to answer the questions at the end of chapters, keeping them engaged and coming back for more.Write a story for Yoza and submit it at www.yoza.mobi/write – if they like it, they’ll publish it.Yoza’s initial line-upIncluded in the initial line-up are four m-novel series – Kontax, Streetskillz, Sisterz, and Confessions of a Virgin Loser – with a sequel to each to be launched near the start of each month from October onwards (Streetskillz 2, Sisterz 2 and Kontax 5 are already live).Yoza Classics will feature a range of public domain titles such as the school-prescribed work Macbeth. “The idea is not necessarily that teens will read the whole of Macbeth on their cellphones, but if they have to read Act 1, Scene 1 for homework and they don’t have a textbook, then they can do so on their phones.”There is no charge for the actual stories, though users do pay the usual mobile data charges. To keep these low, Yoza uses images sparingly – data charges on local cellphones range from 5c to 9c per m-novel chapter.Current story languages include English and isiXhosa, an Afrikaans story is on the way, and the ultimate aim is to publish in all 11 South African languages. Yoza encourages the public to get involved in translating its m-novels into local languages – “if you translate it, we’ll gladly publish it”.“Over the next six months, the plan for Yoza is to build a library of cellphone stories of multiple genres that are available to teens not only in South Africa, but ultimately throughout Africa,” says Vosloo, noting that Kontax has already been published in Kenya through MXit.Seeking sponsors, partnersWhile the Shuttleworth Foundation is incubating the project, it will need to be sustainable from early 2010, and is actively seeking sponsors or partners.“There is a growing awareness around the impact that a lack of books has on literacy levels in South Africa,” says Vosloo. “Books are scarce and prohibitively expensive for most South Africans. Stats show that 51% of households in South Africa do not own a single leisure book, while an elite 6% of households own 40 books or more. Only 7% of schools have functioning libraries.“What South Africa’s teens do have access to are cellphones, with stats indicating that 90% of urban youth have their own cellphone. The take-up and interaction with the first two Kontax stories clearly demonstrates that cellphones are a viable platform for local teen reading and writing.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday made light of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s visit to the Taj Mahal, saying it is Lord Ram’s “kamaal” (wonder).Mr. Adityanath had to visit the Taj Mahal under “pressure from the Centre”, the SP leader charged. “See how time changes… BJP did not consider it as heritage… and now the CM is cleaning West Gate of the Taj Mahal with a ‘jhadu’ (broom),” Mr. Yadav told reporters here.“He (CM) is wielding broom there. We have nothing to do with it. It is Lord Ram’s ‘kamaal’,” he said.Tourists from all over the world visit the monument, he observed.“I am waiting for him to get clicked on that seat (with the Taj Mahal in the background),” he said.“BJP men had termed the Taj Mahal as Shiva Temple. Some termed it as a blot on Indian culture. ,” he said.Damage controlMr. Yadav had visited the Taj as the U.P. Chief Minister over two years ago on Valentine’s Day and sat on one of the benches in front of the monument along with his wife and Kannauj MP Dimple Yadav.Mr. Adityanath’s visit is seen by many as a damage control exercise after a series of controversies erupted, beginning with a UP tourism department booklet not mentioning the white marble monument in its list of development projects in the state.Last year, Mr. Adityanath had said that the Taj does not represent Indian culture and that visiting dignitaries should be given the Gita rather than Taj replicas.