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♥ Monday, August 2


Thai Airways and Singapore's Tiger to form budget carrier

On Monday 2 August 2010, 13:35 SGT

Singapore's budget carrier Tiger Airways and Thai Airways will launch a low-cost airline expected to start operations next year, they said Monday, potentially hastening a shake-up in the region.

Thai Tiger Airways will fly domestic and international flights from Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok, starting in the first quarter of 2011, the statement said.

Thai Airways and another Thai entity will hold 51 percent in the airline with the remaining 49 percent under Tiger Airways.

No details were given on the investment cost for the new budget carrier but the two partners were to hold a media conference call later Monday after signing the memorandum of understanding in Bangkok.

Thai Airways said the venture would allow it to beef up its presence in the fast-growing budget travel market in Asia.

"With its disciplined approach to the low-cost model, Tiger Airways has proven that it has the right approach to competing effectively in the growing low fare travel market in Asia," said Thai Airways president Piyasvasti Amranand.

"We believe that this move will provide revenue opportunities for Thai (Airways) and allow Thai to be more competitive in the region with the anticipated growth in the low cost market... which we expect will lead to growth in air travel in the Asian market."

Tiger Airways, partly owned by national carrier Singapore Airlines, has rapidly expanded its route network in the Asia-Pacific region since establishing operations in 2004.

The carrier flies to 37 destinations in 11 countries and has a fleet of 19 Airbus A320s, with plans to expand to 68 planes by December 2015.

Analysts from the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA) said the new budget carrier could potentially hasten a shake-up for the industry in the region, where some markets are still inhibited by entry barriers.

"The new joint venture... raises the bar in low cost airline operations competition in Asia and could have a major impact on the pace of airline liberalisation in the region," Sydney-based CAPA said in a commentary.

"There will be many more moves in this regional tapestry of low cost airline competition before the end game, but Tiger's announcement today should not be underestimated in scope."

4/9 '10 loves x3 8:54 PM

♥ Sunday, August 1


Close shave for SIA plane

By yahoosingapore – August 1st, 2010Email Facebook Twitter Print

A Singapore Airlines plane was involved in a minor collision after its right wing-tip struck the tail of another plane while departing from Beijing’s International Airport.

Singapore-bound SQ803, Boeing 777, was taxiing out to the runway when its wing-tip hit the tail of a stationary Air China Boeing 737 at about 9am on Saturday.

An SIA spokesman confirmed the incident to The Straits Times.

Two hours later, all 248 passengers on board the SIA flight were told to disembark.

“Engineers were inspecting the plane to see if the aircraft could be fixed immediately,” said the spokesman.

Initial investigations have put the cause down to pilot error due to poor visibility.

4/9 '10 loves x3 4:52 PM



"Black box" recovered from Pakistan crash site

Reuters - Sunday, August 1SendIM StoryPrint

ISLAMABAD - Pakistani investigators found on Saturday the data recorder from AirBlue flight 202, which crashed in heavy rain near Islamabad this week killing all 152 people onboard, officials said.

The Airbus 321 crashed on Wednesday into a steep and heavily wooded hillside overlooking the capital shortly before landing after a flight from the southern port city of Karachi.

"It has been recovered from the scene, from the tail of the plane," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters near the site of the crash.

The Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority, Junaid Ameen, told the private television channel Geo that both the cockpit voice recorder and the flight data recorder -- the so-called "black box" -- had been found.

Thick fog and rainy weather are considered the most likely reasons for the worst aviation accident on Pakistani soil.

While Wednesday's crash is the worst aviation accident inside Pakistan, the state-owned airline PIA has had worse disasters. In 1979 and 1992, PIA jets crashed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Kathmandu, Nepal, killing 156 and 167 people, respectively.

Within Pakistan, the last major aviation accident was in 2006 when a PIA plane crashed near the central city of Multan killing 45 people

4/9 '10 loves x3 1:32 AM



Out of pilots, Philippine airline grounds flights

AP - Saturday, July 31SendIM StoryPrint

MANILA, Philippines – Good morning, passengers, and welcome aboard. We're expecting clear skies today, but we're out of pilots.

National air carrier Philippine Airlines had to cancel at least five flights Saturday _ one to Hong Kong, the others to domestic destinations _ after several Airbus A320 pilots decamped for jobs abroad.

Brain drain _ the decamping of professionals, including teachers and nurses, for better jobs abroad _ has long plagued the impoverished Southeast Asian nation. About 10 percent of the population of 94 million works abroad, sending home the money that provides the bloodline for the economy.

PAL spokesman Jonathan Gesmundo went on TV and radio stations to apologize to the public for the cancellations, which he said were caused by the sudden departure of nearly dozen pilots for better-paying jobs overseas.

He said the pilots did not inform the management, but that this was not a group action.

"In the past few days, pilots had not been reporting for duty. This has caused problems for us," Gesmundo said.

PAL said in a statement it will be filing appropriate charges against the pilots "who chose not to report for work immediately after submitting resignation letters. Most of the pilots still owe PAL the cost of their aviation school training, which run into millions of pesos per pilot.

"The indiscriminate resignation of the A320 pilots for flying jobs whose salaries PAL is unable to match, is in violation of their contracts with PAL as well as with pertinent government regulations that require resigning pilots to give PAL six months to train their replacements," it said.

Gesmundo said the airline was adjusting its schedule and will probably bring in bigger aircraft to accommodate the stranded passengers.

The indebted flag carrier has said it would lay off some of its 8,000-strong work force because of financial losses in the third straight year.

4/9 '10 loves x3 1:16 AM

♥ Thursday, July 29


PARIS - French police have arrested an Air France stewardess on suspicion of stealing thousands of euros in cash, cards and jewelry as passengers slept on long haul flights, a newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Police investigating thefts over several months on flights between France and the Far East picked up the 47-year old attendant identified as Lucie R. after she landed from Tokyo on Friday, Le Figaro said.

"Her bank accounts showed an absurd gap between her lifestyle and her declared income," the newspaper quoted a police investigator as saying.

Police launched an investigation in January after about 4,000 euros' was stolen from five passengers. The robber took advantage of sleeping passengers, taking euros, yen, and Swiss francs as well as watches, jewels, credit cards and even cheque books.

According to the newspaper, the woman, who worked mainly in business class, began her spree in March 2009 to ease financial problems and has confessed to 26 thefts.

Since January, there have been about 140 thefts, the newspaper said. "The Japanese were ideal prey because they travel with lots of cash -- euros and yen -- instead of paying with credit cards," a police source said.

Police found travelers' cheques, blank cheques and bank card numbers at her home, the newspaper said.

4/9 '10 loves x3 5:46 PM



By Kamran Haider

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani passenger plane crashed in heavy rain near Islamabad on Wednesday, killing all 152 people on board, officials said, in the worst aviation accident in Pakistan.

The Airbus 321, belonging to a private airline crashed into a heavily wooded and hard-to-access hillside while flying from the southern port city of Karachi.

Federal Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said 115 bodies had been recovered so far but bad weather and difficult terrain above the city had hampered search efforts.

"Unfortunately, no one survived ... Many bodies are not in good shape," Kaira told a news conference.

Twelve bodies had been identified so far, but "the crash was very terrible. There was fire. It's difficult to recognise the bodies."

Passengers' remains were badly damaged in the crash and DNA tests would be used to identify the victims, he said.

Two Americans were among the victims, a U.S. embassy spokesman told Reuters. He had no further details.

While thick fog and rainy weather are considered the most likely reasons for the crash, Kaira declined to rule out sabotage and said all possibilities would be investigated.

Kaira said the plane's "black box" data recorder had yet to be recovered.

The plane lost contact with the control room of the Islamabad International Airport at 5:43 a.m. British time. It was carrying 146 passengers and six crew members.

"The pilot was given directions to land either on runway I or II," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters. "The plane was at 2,600 feet before landing but suddenly it went to 3,000, which was unexplained."

"If the visibility to the runway was so poor then it should have been diverted."

Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhatar said the control tower at the airport had been sealed and a team would examine the data recorder and radio traffic between the plane and the tower.

"If you look at the position of the wreckage it's clear that the plane went beyond safety margins. It should have manoeuvred within five miles of the runway but it did not happen," said Ejaz Haroon, managing director of state-run airline PIA.

The crash site is on the Margalla Hills facing Islamabad, about 300 metres up the side of the hills. Smoke could be seen from some districts of the city after the crash.

While Wednesday's crash is the worst aviation accident on Pakistani soil, PIA has had two worse disasters. In 1979 and 1992, PIA jets crashed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Kathmandu, killing 156 and 167 people, respectively.

Within Pakistan, the last major aviation accident was in 2006 when a PIA plane crashed near the central city of Multan killing 45 people.

NEW PLANE

The military sent three helicopters to the site and troops also were deployed. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani surveyed rescue operations from the air and the government declared Thursday a day of mourning for the victims.

AirBlue began operations in 2004 with a fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, according to its website www.airblue.com. It flies primarily domestic routes as well as to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Manchester in Britain.

Spokesman Raheel Ahmed said this was the first crash for the airline and that an investigation was being launched.

"It's too early to speculate," he said about the cause of the crash. "The civil aviation authorities will also be involved."

Airbus confirmed one of its planes was involved in the AirBlue crash.

"We regret to confirm there has been an accident with an Airbus aircraft and we will provide more information when we have more confirmed data available," said Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath.

At Islamabad's international airport in the moments after the crash, passengers in the departure lounge scanned the television screens for news.

"I'm not surprised something like this has happened," said Ahmed Fairuz, a passenger awaiting departure. "The weather is just too bad for flying."

Aviation industry sources in Europe said the aircraft was leased from International Lease Finance Corp, the leasing unit of U.S. insurance giant AIG.

Los Angeles-based ILFC was not available for comment and there was no immediate confirmation of these details.

The A321 is the largest of the A320 family of single-aisle jets produced by EADS subsidiary Airbus. This particular type of aircraft, which can seat up to 185 passengers, has been in service since 1994

4/9 '10 loves x3 5:43 PM

♥ Wednesday, July 28


Singapore Airlines (SIA) chief executive Chew Choon Seng will step down at the end of this year when his contract expires, the carrier said Tuesday.

The airline said in a brief statement to AFP that an announcement on Chew's replacement would be made once the board has made a decision on the candidate.

Chew, 64, joined SIA in 1972 and rose through the ranks to become chief executive in 2003.

That year, he steered the airline during one of its worst crisis when travel demand was squeezed by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) health scare.

SIA reported Monday a first quarter net profit of 253 million Singapore dollars (185.65 million US) as the travel industry continued to recover from the global economic slump that started in 2008.

The April-June performance was a sharp turnaround from a year ago when SIA incurred a net loss of 307 million dollars as travel demand slumped because of the downturn.

SIA is one of the world's leading carriers and is consistently voted by travellers as one of their favourite airlines

4/9 '10 loves x3 11:23 PM



By Kamran Haider

ISLAMABAD - A Pakistani passenger plane crashed in heavy rain near Islamabad on Wednesday, killing all 152 people on board, officials said, in the worst aviation accident in Pakistan.

Two Americans were among the victims, a U.S. embassy spokesman told Reuters. He had no further details.

"There are no survivors. We believe all are dead. We are recovering the remains of the dead bodies from the wreckage," Imtiaz Elahi, chairman of the state-run Capital Development Authority, a city municipal body.

The Airbus 321, belonging to private airline Airblue, crashed into a heavily wooded and hard-to-access hillside while flying from the southern port city of Karachi. More than 90 bodies had been recovered so far, but the bad weather was making recovery efforts difficult.

"We have suspended the air operation because of rain. It will take a long time to clear the area. There's no way to transport bodies from the site except via helicopters and even helicopters cannot land there," said Aamir Ali Ahmed, senior city government official, said.

Rescuers said they had to dig through the rubble with their bare hands, with fire and thick smoke hampering their work. The fire has since been extinguished, but access to the hillside remained limited to pedestrians and helicopters.

"You find very few intact bodies. Basically, we are collecting bodies parts and putting them in bags," police officer Bin Yameen.

The plane lost contact with the control room of the Islamabad International Airport at 0443 GMT. It was carrying 146 passengers and six crew members.

"The pilot was given directions to land either on runway I or II," Interior Minister Rehman Malik told reporters. "The plane was at 2,600 feet before landing but suddenly it went to 3,000, which was unexplained."

"If the visibility to the runway was so poor then it should have been diverted."

Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhatar said the control tower at the airport had been sealed and a team would examine the "black box" data recorder and radio traffic between the plane and the tower.

"If you look at the position of the wreckage it's clear that the plane went beyond safety margins. It should have manoeuvred within five miles of the runway but it did not happen," said Ejaz Haroon, managing director of state-run airline PIA.

The crash site is on the Margalla Hills facing Islamabad, about 300 metres up the side of the hills. Smoke could be seen from some districts of the city after the crash.

While Wednesday's crash is the worst aviation accident on Pakistani soil, PIA has had two worse disasters. In 1979 and 1992, PIA jets crashed in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and Kathmandu, killing 156 and 167 people, respectively.

Within Pakistan, the last major aviation accident was in 2006 when a PIA plane crashed near the central city of Multan killing 45 people.

NEW PLANE

The military said it had sent three helicopters to the site and troops had also been moved there. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani surveyed rescue operations from the air and the government declared Thursday a day of mourning for the victims.

Airblue began operations in 2004 with a fleet of Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft, according to its website www.airblue.com. It flies primarily domestic routes as well as to the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Manchester in Britain.

Spokesman Raheel Ahmed said this was the first crash for the airline and that an investigation was being launched.

"It's too early to speculate," he said about the cause of the crash. "The civil aviation authorities will also be involved."

Airbus confirmed one of its planes was involved in the Airblue crash.

"We regret to confirm there has been an accident with an Airbus aircraft and we will provide more information when we have more confirmed data available," said Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath.

At Islamabad's international airport in the moments after the crash, passengers in the departure lounge scanned the television screens for news.

"I'm not surprised something like this has happened," said Ahmed Fairuz, a passenger awaiting departure. "The weather is just too bad for flying."

Aviation industry sources in Europe said the aircraft was leased from International Lease Finance Corp, the leasing unit of U.S. insurance giant AIG.

Los Angeles-based ILFC was not available for comment and there was no immediate confirmation of these details.

The A321 is the largest of the A320 family of single-aisle jets produced by EADS subsidiary Airbus. This particular type of aircraft, which can seat up to 185 passengers, has been in service since 1994.

4/9 '10 loves x3 11:17 PM

♥ Saturday, July 24


Emirates’ recent announcement to equip all 90 of their new Airbus A380 aircraft with Wi-Fi networks is generating a lot of buzz among travellers.

According to a Bloomberg report, the paid-for-service will be made available in June 2012 and will allow the use of devices such as laptop computers, Apple iPhones and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry smartphones while in flight.

Some responses to a question posed on Yahoo! Answers, “How will Wi-Fi networks on airplanes change your flying experience?” revealed mixed reactions.

Some respondents raised concerns, such as the possible issue of the Wi-Fi signal causing interference with the airplane’s navigation instruments, and the possibility of terrorists taking advantage of the network to create chaos.

One user, “lady”, highlighted that connectivity on the plane may not be a good thing as bosses might expect their employees to work on the plane instead of resting.

“Arnaki” also lamented that his time on the plane was “the only sanctuary I have to shut off my Blackberry”.

Despite concerns raised, the general public sentiment was positive.

One respondent, “Ricky”, emphasised that a Wi-Fi connection would be useful for businessmen and that cost would not be an issue as it would be shouldered by the company. However, he added that pricing would need to be carefully considered, to make the service attractive for ordinary travellers’ use.

Felicia Goh, 23, a public relations coordinator, agreed. “It’ll be good to stay connected with friends and family through social networks, but I don’t think I want to pay for the service as it is not a necessity.”

Undergraduate Terence Chang, 24, offered a more practical view – he would be willing to pay a reasonable price for the service if on a long-haul flight as the cost would likely only be a small fraction of the plane ticket.

So are more airlines likely to offer Wi-Fi networks on their aircraft in the near future?

Singapore Airlines spokesman Nicholas Ionides told Yahoo! Singapore: “There are no immediate plans as yet to feature Wi-Fi on our aircraft, but we do monitor trends and listen to feedback provided by our customers and we have been studying it. Should there be any changes to our in-flight product offerings, an announcement would be made.”

4/9 '10 loves x3 12:34 AM

♥ Sunday, May 30


British Airways cabin crew launch new strike

AFP - 1 hour 1 minute agoSendIM StoryPrint.LONDON (AFP) - – British Airways cabin crew started a fresh five-day strike on Sunday with little sign of a breakthrough in the long-running dispute between their union and the airline.

The latest strike by crew in the Unite union is set to disrupt travel in the half-term school holidays, with another five-day stoppage planned from June 5.

Unite, Britain's biggest trade union, said it believed the 12 days of strikes since March had already cost BA 84 million pounds (121.5 million dollars, 99 million euros).

The walkout affects flights from BA's London Heathrow hub, the world's busiest international passenger airport.

BA said it would increase its flying schedule in the coming week as more cabin crew than expected had decided to work as normal during the strikes.

Its schedule of long-term flights from London Heathrow will be increased to more than 70 percent -- up from more than 60 percent this week.

The short-haul schedule from the airport will rise to more than 55 percent of flights, up from more than 50 percent this week.

"We are very disappointed that Unite are continuing to take strike action," BA said.

"We will continue to do all we can to minimise the disruption.

"At Heathrow we plan to operate a substantial part of our longhaul schedule and there will be a number of flights to every destination across our shorthaul network."

Talks between the two sides ended without agreement on Friday, with Unite accusing BA chief executive Willie Walsh of blocking a resolution to the dispute on travel perks for cabin crew.

Unite's joint leader Derek Simpson offered to conduct talks in the "full glare" of the media so people would be able to see how "unreasonable" BA chief executive Willie Walsh was.

"I prefer these negotiations to be in front of a camera. Let the world see what this is all about. If people could see what he is doing, they would know who to blame," he told BBC television.

"It is all about confidence of management in the workforce and of workforce in the management. Clearly there has been a breakdown. If we could get the confidence back a deal is do-able."

Simpson claimed Walsh said he would only meet for further talks after Unite's annual conference, which opens Monday, in Manchester, northwest England, and continues until the end of the current strike.

This month, BA posted a record annual pre-tax loss of 531 million pounds.

The airline, which has been hit hard by the decreased demand for air travel, is slashing costs and merging with Spanish rival Iberia in a bid to return to profitability.

4/9 '10 loves x3 9:11 PM

♥ Wednesday, May 26


Asian carriers dominate 2010 World Airline Awards .Fri May 21 18:33pm EmailShare
TwitterFacebookDeliciousStumbleUponIM StoryPrint.Asiana Airlines has claimed the Skytrax Airline of the Year 2010 title, ahead of Singapore Airlines and Qatar Airways.

Asiana Airlines pips Singapore Airlines to Airline of the Year Award 2010. Photo Credits - Getty Images

More than 17.9 million air travelers from over 100 different nationalities were included in this year’s survey, which recognizes the best in the global airline industry. It was certainly a good year for Asian airlines, with Cathay Pacific, Thai Airways and Malaysia Airlines also making the Airline of Year Award's top 10 list:

1. Asiana Airlines
2. Singapore Airlines
3. Qatar Airways
4. Cathay Pacific
5. Air New Zealand
6. Etihad Airways
7. Qantas Airways
8. Emirates
9. Thai Airways
10. Malaysia Airlines


Other categories airlines were voted on include “Best Low-Cost Airline,” which was won by Air Asia, ahead of Air Berlin and Virgin Blue. Dragon Air was named “World’s Best Regional Airline,” with Silkair and Bangkok Airways coming in second and third, respectively.

Singapore Airlines wins Best Cabin Staff award. Photo Credits - Getty Images

The “Most Improved Airline” award went to Garuda Indonesia, and “Best Cabin Staff” to Singapore Airlines. Ethiad’s topped the vote for “Best First Class” cabin, while fellow Middle Eastern airline Qatar Airways topped the “Best Business Class” category. Malaysian Airlines won the award for "Best Economy Class."

Emirates was named the winner of the "World's Best Airline Inflight Entertainment Award" at the 2010 World Airline Awards, with Singapore Airlines and Virgin Airways coming second and third respectively.

For the full list of categories and winners, go to Worldairlineawards.com.

4/9 '10 loves x3 11:00 PM

♥ Tuesday, May 25


Fresh BA cabin crew strike takes off
AFP - Tuesday, May 25SendIM StoryPrint.LONDON (AFP) - – Thousands of air travellers faced renewed disruption on Monday as British Airways cabin crew began a five-day strike, grounding many flights to and from its main London hub.

BA said however its services were "off to a good start" despite the latest walkout in the long-running and increasingly hostile dispute between the airline and Unite, Britain's biggest trade union.

The strike, which began at midnight (2300 GMT) Sunday, affects BA's hub operations at London Heathrow, the world's busiest international passenger airport. BA flights from London's Gatwick and City airports were not disrupted.

Flights to and from Glasgow, Manchester, Amsterdam, Paris, Milan and Munich were among those most affected in a reduced timetable. Three of nine scheduled flights to New York were cancelled.

Striking workers mounted pickets outside Heathrow, many wearing badges reading "Brutish Airways" and chanting slogans attacking BA chief executive Willie Walsh.

While BA and Unite have reached broad agreement on pay, the spat is now focused on heavily discounted flights available to off-duty cabin crew -- key perks which have been taken away from striking workers.

"Our operations around the world have got off to a good start," BA said in a statement.

"The numbers of cabin crew reporting at Heathrow are currently at the levels we need to operate our published schedule.

"At Heathrow, our aim is to fly as many customers as we can during the strike period."

At 1700 GMT, BA said it had operated more than 60 percent of long-haul flights and 50 percent of short-haul flights.

It said it had leased up to eight staffed aircraft from other British or European airlines.

The airline said some of its aircraft were having a "keep the flag flying" slogan painted along their fuselages to highlight that they would continue operating throughout the strike.

Discussions broke down Saturday after dozens of leftwing protestors stormed the talks venue.

BA chief Walsh has faced accusations that he is trying to break the unions at the airline. Unite accuses the flag carrier of imposing changes on cabin crew and refusing to negotiate openly and fairly.

Walsh insists that the airline is struggling for its very existence.

The dispute soured further Monday as Tony Woodley, Unite's joint leader, accused Walsh of wanting "regime change" in the union's cabin crew branch.

Striking workers rallied near Heathrow in west London, waving flags from an open-top bus.

One 42-year-old cabin crew member from south London said: "It's personal now."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said: "I was happy that we were allowed to strike, but I'm devastated that we have to."

Britain's Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said the strike would not resolve the outstanding issues and urged a resumption of talks.

"The jobs of all BA staff depend on the airline's future competitiveness and the loyalty of all its customers and, in order to protect both, I now urge BA cabin crew to keep flying and keep talking," he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron "wants to see as little disruption to passengers as possible," his spokesman said.

"The best way to achieve this is for the two parties to resolve the situation as soon as possible," he told reporters.

The new strike comes after BA posted a record annual pre-tax loss of 531 million pounds on slumping sales.

The airline, which is slashing costs and merging with Spanish rival Iberia in a bid to return to profitability, has been hit hard by the global economic downturn which has decreased demand for air travel.

Unite plans two more five-day strikes, starting on May 30 and June 5.

4/9 '10 loves x3 9:50 PM

♥ Monday, May 24


Black box found after fiery India plane crash
By AIJAZ RAHI,Associated Press Writer - Monday, May 24SendIM StoryPrint.MANGALORE, India – As crash investigators pulled the black box from the charred, twisted wreckage of an Air India plane Sunday, Koolikkunnu Krishnan marveled that he escaped the crash alive.

Of the 166 passengers and crew aboard when the plane overshot a hilltop runway and plunged over a cliff at dawn Saturday, 158 were dead. Krishnan and just seven others survived.

"I've been thinking, 'Why me? Why me?' And I can only think that God wanted to give me a second life," he said from his hospital bed in Mangalore.

Investigators and aviation officials combed through the wreckage of the Boeing 737-800 strewn across a hillside to try to determine the cause of India's worst air disaster in more than a decade. They recovered the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder, which they hope will give them important clues, the Press Trust of India news agency reported.

A four-member U.S. forensic team also arrived in India to help in the investigation, said Harpreet Singh, an Air India spokeswoman.

By Sunday evening, 146 of the 158 bodies had been identified and were being handed to grieving relatives for burial, said Arvind Jadhav, Air India's chairman and managing director.

The cause of the crash was not clear and government officials declined to speak about the status of the investigation or any possible causes of the crash. The black box would be sent to New Delhi on Monday for decoding and further investigation, they said.

The flight from Dubai to Mangalore carried many of the millions of Indians who work as cheap labor in the Middle East back to their families for a rare visit during India's summer holiday season.

Krishnan, a 45-year-old maintenance worker in Dubai, was coming back to Kasargod, his village in southern India, for the first time in two years to see his wife and two daughters.

"I was literally counting the minutes before I would reach home, while the plane was landing," he said.

After the plane touched down at Mangalore's Bajpe airport, everything seemed to be fine, he said, but within seconds there was a shudder, the aircraft began swinging from side to side as if it had hit something and then it crashed, he said.

"People were screaming, children nearby were wailing loudly," he said.

The plane had broken apart, a fire had started and smoke was beginning to fill the aircraft, he said. Everyone was strapped into their seats.

"I struggled to open my seat belt and then climbed out of the plane. Then I hung onto the roots of a tree and crawled uphill," he said.

"I didn't think of anything at the time. All I knew was that I had to get out and get far away from the plane. The fire was spreading fast. Behind me I could feel other people jumping out but I didn't turn back to look," he said.

While Krishnan suffered shockingly minor injuries _ pulled shoulder muscles and a cut in his forehead _ many of those trapped in the aircraft were burnt nearly beyond recognition.

"I couldn't believe that he could have survived such a major crash," said Krishnan's wife, Bindu. "It's like he's been reborn."

Aviation experts said the eight survivors were seated in the center of the aircraft, near where it broke open, and they managed to get out before a fireball engulfed the plane.

"In this case it was pure luck of the draw," said Sidney Dekker, a professor of flight safety at the School of Aviation at Sweden's Lund University. "The luck of where you are in the airplane relative to how the fuselage disintegrates going into the ravine."

But most could not escape, and dozens of their relatives arrived Sunday on special Air India flights from Dubai and the southern Indian states of Karnataka and Kerala to take the bodies of their loved ones.

Mohammed Mustafa said his brother Naseem and three other relatives had taken the flight home to attend a wedding Tuesday.

"I lost them in this tragedy. Three of them, we could identify three of them yesterday. And late night, at around 12 o' clock, we found the fourth body. Now we have come for the funeral," Mustafa said.

Many of the victims were so badly burned their relatives could not identify them and experts had to be flown in to conduct DNA tests, said S. A. Prabhakarsharana, a local official.

"Since yesterday we have been trying to identify my brother's body," said K. Kushala.

One of the victims was Mahendra Kulkarni, a telecommunications company director in the Emirates, who was flying back to India with his ailing mother-in-law after she had slipped into coma, their cousin Nandit Banawalikar said.

Mohammed Siddiqui, 27, boarded the doomed flight within hours of a telephone call from his family in Kerala informing him of his father's sudden death.

He was rushing to attend the funeral on Saturday. Now his family was mourning a second time, said Abdur Rehman, a friend who was taking his body home.

The crash was the deadliest in India since a November 1996 midair collision killed 349 people. Saturday's crash happened when the plane overshot the runway, airline officials said. Aviation experts said Bajpe's "tabletop" runway, which ends in a valley, makes a bad crash inevitable when a plane does not stop in time.

Kapil Kaul, an aviation expert at the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation, said the while India's air safety record is very good, he hopes the crash will push officials to establish an independent national safety board to ensure standards remain high as the booming economy drives more traffic into the skies.

4/9 '10 loves x3 11:09 PM

♥ Saturday, May 22


By Harish Nayak

MANGALORE, India - An Air India Express airliner crashed outside an airport in southern India on Saturday, killing 158 people when it burst into flames after overshooting a table-top runway and plunging into forest below.

There were eight survivors after the Boeing 737-800, which had come from Dubai with 166 people on board including crew, appeared to skid off the runway in rain at Mangalore airport in Karnataka state, Air India director Anup Srivastava said.

At least 146 bodies had been recovered, said M. Nambiar, a top official in the Civil Aviation ministry.

"We had no hope to survive, but we survived," Pradeep, a survivor who is an Indian technician working in Dubai, told local television.

"The plane broke into two and we jumped off the plane. As soon as the plane landed, within seconds this happened."

Local television showed a fireman carrying what seemed to be the remains of a child from the smoking wreckage. Charred bodies lay in the forested terrain.

All the passengers were Indian nationals, an Air India official in Dubai said. Many were likely Indian migrant workers in Dubai. The pilot was Serbian and said to be very experienced.

Air India Express is the budget arm of the loss-ridden state-run carrier Air India, which has been fending off growing competition from private airlines.

The flight's black box has been recovered, the United Arab Emirates state news agency WAM said. But Air India official Nambiar said the search for the flight data recorder was still going on.

The crash appeared to be an accident, Indian officials said. One TV report said the plane hit a radar pole on landing.

"There was no distress indication from the pilot. That means between the pilot and the airport communication there was no indication of any problem," V.P. Agarwal, director of Airports Authority of India, told local television.

Indian officials said the plane crashed around 6 a.m. . TV images showed it struck a forested area, and flames were blazing from the wreckage as rescue workers fought to bring the fire under control.

"While landing at the airport, the plane deviated and hit something," said Krishna, another survivor. "It caught fire and we fell out. We looked up and saw some opening and came out through that route."

BOOM INDUSTRY

It was India's first major crash in a decade, which has seen a boom in private carriers amid growing demand from India's middle class.

A series of near misses at major airports, including Delhi and Mumbai, have sparked debate about how India's creaking infrastructure was failing to keep pace with an economic boom.

Indian Law Minister Veerappa Moily told CNN-IBN TV that he had opened a new runway at Mangalore airport just 10 days ago. The ill-fated Air India airliner was two years old.

Boeing said in a statement it was sending a team to provide technical assistance to the crash investigation.

The last major crash in India was in July 2000 when an Alliance Air Boeing 737-200 crashed into a residential area during a second landing attempt in the eastern city of Patna, killing at least 50 people.

With growing competition from private carriers, the Indian government agreed to inject $1.1 billion into Air India if the ailing state-run carrier came up with the same amount in cost cuts and extra revenue.

The airline lost $875 million in the fiscal year ended March 2009.

Hundreds of Air India pilots went on strike in September 2009 to protest at management plans to cut pay incentives. The strike was called off when aviation minister Praful Patel said the grievances would be dealt with.

4/9 '10 loves x3 10:09 PM



.By Alistair Scrutton

NEW DELHI - An Air India Express passenger plane from Dubai crashed outside an airport in southern India on Saturday, killing at least 160 people when it burst into flames after overshooting the runway and ploughing into a forest.

There may have been five or six survivors, local media said.

One eyewitness said the plane skidded off the runway in rain at Mangalore airport in Karnataka state.

Air India said the plane was a Boeing 737-800, with 166 people on board, including six crew members. Air India Express is the budget arm of state-run carrier Air India.

"At least 160 passengers have died in the crash," V.S. Acharya, home minister of the southern state of Karnataka, told reporters. "At least five to six people have been taken to hospital, their condition is not known."

First indications are that the crash was an accident, officials say.

Television channels said the plane crashed around 6:30 a.m. . TV images showed it struck a forested area. Flames were seen blazing from of some of the wreckage as rescue workers fought to bring the fire under control.

"The plane had broken into two. I jumped out of the plane after it crashed. I saw two other people also come out," Abdullah, a survivor from the plane, told local channel TV9 from hospital.

"There was tyre-burst kind of noise. I tried to get out of the front but saw that there was a big fire. So I went back again and jumped out from there."

One television channel showed a fireman carrying in his arms what seemed to be the remains of a child. Charred bodies and an engine lay in the forested terrain.

"The flight had already landed. There was slight rain. The flight skidded off," eyewitness Mohiuddin Bava told CNN-IBN channel. "After that it caught fire. Villagers, everyone there, came to rescue. The plane wings are right in front of me now."

Air India Express is the low cost arm of Air India. The budget airline started about five years ago. This is the first crash involving an Air India Express plane, according to an Air India spokesman.

Air India is a state-run loss making carrier. The government has been trying to infuse funds to revive the airline against stiff competition from private carriers.

4/9 '10 loves x3 2:49 PM

♥ Tuesday, May 18


LONDON (AFP) - – British aviation regulators bring in measures Tuesday to reduce the airspace closures fiercely criticised by airlines, as European skies were hit by new shutdowns caused by volcano ash clouds.

Plumes of thick ash from Iceland's Eyjafjoell volcano, which in April shut down much of Europe's airspace for a week last month, drifted over the continent Monday, closing major airports and cancelling some 1,000 flights.

Britain, the Netherlands and Ireland closed airspace, with London Heathrow, Europe's busiest air hub, and Amsterdam-Schiphol among those affected.

Airlines, which have lost millions of dollars due to the ash alerts, have expressed their fury with what they viewed as unnecessary restrictions introduced by overcautious safety watchdogs.

In a bid to keep the skies open for business, British aviation regulators introduce new measures from midday Tuesday that will to allow flights in thicker ash than previously permitted for a certain amount of time.

The new area -- called a "Time-Limited Zone" -- was created after discussions between regulators and manufacturers, said regulator the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Experts believe high concentrations of volcanic dust can damage plane engines and even cause crashes.

But a CAA statement said: "Aircraft and engine manufacturers... have agreed that it is safe to allow operations in the new zone for a limited time.

"This means that areas of our airspace that would have previously been closed can safely open, further minimising disruption."

To operate in the new zone, airlines must present regulators with a safety case which includes the agreement of the manufacturers, said the CAA.

This had already been achieved by British airline Flybe, which will be allowed in the zones from midday.

British Airways chief executive Willie Walsh led the attack on Monday's flight restrictions, labelling them "a gross over-reaction to a very minor risk."

His criticism was echoed by KLM after the disruption to Dutch airspace.

"The closure was unnecessary. The flight control service should have first measured the concentration of ash and then took a decision," said KLM spokeswoman Joyce Veekman.

Irish airline Ryanair attacked the computer-generated projections used by safety authorities to work out the no-fly zones, saying they were insufficiently detailed.

Chief executive Michael O'Leary said: "It is frankly ridiculous that the flight plans of millions of air passengers across Europe are being disrupted on a daily basis by an outdated, inappropriate and imaginary computer-generated model and it is time that these charts were done away with."

The international airline industry body, IATA, has estimated last month's shutdown -- Europe's biggest since World War II -- cost carriers some 1.7 billion dollars (1.4 billion euros).

Eurocontrol, the intergovernmental agency coordinating air traffic control, said around 1,000 flights in Europe were cancelled by Monday's ash alert.

In the Netherlands, some 500 flights into and out of Amsterdam-Schiphol were axed after it was shut for seven hours until re-opening at 1100 GMT. Some 60,000 passengers were left stranded around the world by the closure.

London Heathrow and London Gatwick were also hit by a new round of delays and cancellations following a six-hour shutdown early Monday.

In Ireland, Dublin airport reopened at midday (1100 GMT) after a 17-hour shutdown as the cloud moved east. Almost 300 flights were cancelled, disrupting 36,000 passengers, The Irish Times newspaper said.

In Iceland, there was no sign of the volcano stopping.

The Eyjafjoell eruptions, which began on April 14, have peaked three times, with the latest surge of activity coming Friday.

"There is really no way of telling when it will stop... magma is still emerging," Icelandic geophysicist Magnus Tumi Gudmundsson said.

4/9 '10 loves x3 9:47 PM

♥ Thursday, May 13


SINGAPORE (AFP) - – Jetstar, the low-cost offshoot of Australian flag-carrier Qantas, said Wednesday it will launch long-haul flights from Singapore to Australia, North Asia and Europe to tap on growing demand.

The new budget service is expected to commence from Singapore's Changi airport late this year, Jetstar said in a statement.

"Jetstar continues to grow strongly as we build our pan-Asian presence," chief executive Bruce Buchanan said in the statement.

Company spokesman Simon Westaway said Jetstar's plans to operate the long-haul budget service out of Singapore reflects the carrier's ambitions to tap growing demand for air travel in the region.

"IATA figures say the Asian market is now the largest in the world," Westaway told AFP after a press briefing in Singapore.

"It's only going to expand. The reason that we are doing all the investment in Asia is that we want us to be an Asian success in Asia because that's where the growth is."

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) said earlier this year the Asia-Pacific region had overtaken North America as the world's largest air travel market with 647 million passengers in 2009.

Jetstar's experience from its international flights out of Australia has demonstrated that there is travel demand even in a shrinking market if the pricing is competitive, Westaway said.

He cited the Australia-Japan route as an example where Jetstar has enjoyed 35 percent growth in annual traffic even though the overall market is shrinking.

"So even in contracting markets, what's happening is that the customer base is moving towards the value-based providers because of obviously affordability," he said.

Westaway said the first long-haul flight out of Singapore is expected to take off in December but the destination has not yet been finalised and that the carrier will offer competitive fares.

"We will be very low-fare in the market. We will try to bring the overall low fares down by around 30 percent," he said.

Jetstar's fare pricing is on average 35-40 percent below that of Qantas, Westaway said.

Two new A330-200 jets will be deployed for the new service and Jetstar will be taking delivery of the first aircraft in November.

The carrier already operates long-haul services from Australia to destinations including Bali, Tokyo, Osaka, Bangkok, Phuket and Honolulu.

It's Singapore-based affiliate Jetstar Asia currently flies to short-haul destinations from the city-state.

4/9 '10 loves x3 11:40 PM

♥ Wednesday, May 12


TRIPOLI (AFP) - – A Libyan plane arriving from South Africa disintegrated on landing at Tripoli airport Wednesday, killing 103 people but leaving an eight-year-old boy as the sole miracle survivor, officials said.

Sixty-one Dutch citizens were killed in the crash, the Dutch tourism federation ANWB said, while Libyan Transport Minister Mohammed Ali Zidan listed "Libyans, Africans and Europeans" as among the dead.

Zidan told a media conference that an inquiry was under way to determine what caused the Afriqiyah Airways Airbus A330 to break up massively as it was landing, but he ruled out terrorism.

Libyan television showed teams of emergency workers wearing face masks sifting through the wreckage of the plane, which was scattered in a wide arc across the landing area.

"There were 104 people on board -- 93 passengers and 11 crew members," Zidan said, adding that the remains of 96 victims had already been recovered.

There was only one survivor, an eight-year-old Dutch boy who was being treated in hospital, he said.

The Dutch foreign ministry said the boy was undergoing surgery at a Tripoli hospital for broken bones.

"He is being operated on for fractures from the crash," ministry spokeswoman Ozlem Canel told AFP in The Hague.

"We don't know how serious his injuries are. We know he is being operated on for fractures," she said.

Canel said the government could not confirm that the boy was, indeed, Dutch.

"We don't know for absolutely sure that he is a Dutch citizen," she said. "Hopefully when the operation is over and we are able to see the boy, then we will be able to confirm that he is a Dutch citizen."

Last June, a 12-year-old girl was the sole survivor of a Yemeni plane crash off the Comoros.

Witnesses spoke of the Afriqiyah Airways plane inexplicably breaking up as it came down to land in clear weather at around 6:00 am (0400 GMT).

"It exploded on landing and totally disintegrated," one security official told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity. Another official said the plane had burst into flames just before landing.

Bongani Sithole, an official of Afriqiyah Airways at Johannesburg airport, said the crash happened "one metre (yard) away from the runway."

Minister Zidan said no terrorism was involved.

"We have definitely ruled out the theory that the crash was the result of an act of terrorism," he said, adding that the two black boxes of the aircraft had been recovered.

The plane was new and had only been acquired by the airline in September.

Afriqiyah Airways listed 93 passengers and 11 crew members on board its flight 8U771 from Johannesburg, which was reportedly due to fly on from Tripoli to London's Gatwick airport.

"Sixty-one Dutch people were killed in the accident," ANWB spokesman Ad Vonk told AFP.

The passengers had been in two separate organised tour groups on their way to Brussels and Dusseldorf, with a stop-over in Tripoli, he added.

A South African aviation official said most of the passengers on the plane were making connections to Europe.

Seven passengers were booked to connect to Gatwick in London, 32 to Brussels, 42 to Dusseldorf in Germany, and one to Charles de Gaulle in Paris, said Nicky Knapp, spokeswoman for Airports Company South Africa.

Britain said it was "urgently" investigating reports that Britons were on board the plane.

Afriqiyah Airways said in a statement on its website that it will offer transportation, assistance and accommodation to relatives of victims of the crash wishing to get to Tripoli.

Wednesday's crash was the deadliest air accident in Libya since December 22, 1992 when a Libyan Arab Airlines plane crashed near Tripoli airport killing 157 people. Related article: Recent deadly plane accidents.

Twenty-two people were killed in an oil company plane crash in January 2000.

In other major accidents, 79 people were killed when a Korean Air crashed in Tripoli in July 1989. And 59 people died in a Balkan Bulgarian Airlines crash near Benghazi in December 1977.

Afriqiyah started operations with five leased planes and signed a contract with Airbus at an exhibition in Paris in 2007 for the purchase of 11 new planes.

It was founded in April 2001 and at first fully owned by the Libyan state. The companys capital was later divided into shares to be managed by the Libya-Africa Investment Portfolio.

4/9 '10 loves x3 10:31 PM

♥ Wednesday, May 5


DUBLIN (AFP) - – Aviation chiefs grounded flights into and out of Ireland and Northern Ireland on Tuesday as ash from an Icelandic volcano drifted in, causing fresh travel chaos for thousands of passengers.

After last month's lengthy airspace shutdown across Europe that crippled air travel, Irish and British air authorities announced a new aerial closure from 0600 GMT due to the risk to plane engines from the ash.

"Ireland falls within the predicted area of ash concentrations that exceed acceptable engine manufacturer tolerance levels," said the Irish Aviation Authority (IAA).

Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus and budget carrier Ryanair cancelled hundreds of flights, throwing travel plans for air passengers into disarray.

Britain's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said airspace over Northern Ireland -- a British province -- would be closed from 0600 GMT.

"Airspace over Northern Ireland will also be closed from 0700 local time (Tuesday) morning," it said in a statement.

The air authority also closed down airspace over the Outer Hebrides islands off the northwest of Scotland at 1700 GMT Monday due to the ash cloud.

The new alerts should not disrupt aircraft overflying Ireland from Britain or Europe, or southern British airports including Heathrow, Europe's busiest air hub, authorities in the two countries said.

The cloud of ash came from the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjjoell volcano, whose drifting dust was behind last month's shutdown that left hundreds of thousands of travellers stranded across the globe.

Airspace was re-opened after about a week following emergency talks between European governments, airlines and regulators.

The IAA said all flights into and out of Ireland would be grounded from 0600 GMT to 1200 GMT Tuesday due to the dangers posed by the new volcano cloud.

"The decision is based on the safety risks to crews and passengers as a result of the drift south of the volcanic ash cloud caused by the north easterly winds," said the authority in a statement.

It added that "over-flights of Ireland from the UK and Europe will not be impacted tomorrow. Flights in mainland Europe will operate normally."

Information from the London-based Volcanic Ash Advice Centre (VAAC) suggested that the no fly-zone' would affect Dublin and other airports across the country, said the IAA.

Hundreds of flights were due to depart and fly into Dublin airport throughout the day, with more from Shannon and Cork in the south of the country and Ireland's smaller regional airports.

Ryanair said it had cancelled all flights into and out of Ireland between 0500 GMT and 1300 GMT Tuesday.

"The first wave is clearly one of the busiest parts of the day so it will have a fairly significant effect on the operation tomorrow," airline spokesman Stephen McNamara told the BBC.

Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus said it had cancelled all British and European flights scheduled to depart and arrive into Dublin, Cork, Shannon and Belfast airports before 1200 GMT Tuesday.

IAA chief executive Eamon Brennan struck an upbeat note, however, saying it was hoped restrictions could be removed later Tuesday.

"We are quite optimistic that it will dissipate and we are quite optimistic for Dublin and for Shannon (airports) tomorrow afternoon but we will make a reassessment for that in the morning," he told the BBC.

The international airline industry body, IATA, said last month's shutdown cost carriers some 1.7 billion dollars (1.3 billion euros) and called on governments to pick up at least part of the cost, angered by their handling of the crisis.

Eurocontrol, the continent's air traffic control coordinator, said more than 100,000 flights to, from and within Europe had been cancelled between April 15 and 21, preventing an estimated 10 million passengers from travelling.

4/9 '10 loves x3 9:42 PM

♥ Wednesday, April 28


Singaporeans are simply obsessed with eating. For the best food, they will queue endlessly, they will traverse the island, and they will eat at all hours. Many have been known to come back after migrating simply because they miss their favorite foods. Much of it is humble but insanely delicious street fare found in food centers and coffee shops throughout the island.


1. Chicken rice
It’s everywhere -- at hawker stalls, food courts, luxury hotels and even at the zoo, but Singaporeans just can’t get enough of it. Chicken rice is often called the “national dish” of Singapore. Steamed or boiled chicken is served atop fragrant oily rice, with sliced cucumber as the token vegetable. Variants include roasted chicken or soy sauce chicken. Don’t miss out on the dipping sauces -- premium dark soy sauce, chili with garlic, and pounded ginger. Play around with different combinations to discover new tastes.

If you are put off by perpetual queues at legendary Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (Stall 10, Maxwell Food Centre), you can dine in air-conditioned comfort instead at Boon Tong Kee.

Singapore food porn: Exotic hawker fare from around the world – on CNNGo .

2. Char kway teow
There is no stopping Singaporeans from indulging in this high-fat hawker favorite. Flat rice noodles stir-fried with lard (for best flavor), dark and light soy sauce, chilli, de-shelled cockles, sliced Chinese sausage, bean sprouts, Chinese chives and sometimes prawns and egg. Essential to the dish is good “wok hei” or breath of wok, the qualities and tastes imparted by cooking on a wok using high heat. Many now choose to omit the cockles but char kway teow will always be incomplete without the sinfully rich fried pork lard pieces.

One of the island’s best char kway teow is at a humble hawker center in the east. Hill Street Fried Kway Teow at Block 16, Bedok South Road, #01-187. tel +65 9042 131. .

3. Wonton or Wantan mee
The name “wonton” literally means "swallowing of cloud" in Cantonese. Indeed, the dumplings with their flowy translucent skins resemble wispy clouds when suspended in soup. Most Singaporeans prefer the dry version of the noodles. Wonton noodles look simple but the perfect one is elusive. The thin egg noodles need to be of the right texture, the sauce has to be well-balanced, and the pork or shrimp dumplings ought to be juicy and meaty. At many places, you’ll find the sliced char siew (Chinese BBQ pork) is often papery dry and red with artificial dye but that hardly deters fans of the dish who seem to prize the noodles and dumplings.

Try the cult favourite Hong Mao Wonton Mee but note they open early and close early (7am to 4pm, closed Mondays) and there is at least a half-hour wait. 128 Tembeling Road.

CNNGo lists 40 Hong Kong foods we can't live without .

4. Carrot cake (chai tow kuay)
No, not the sweet Western cake loaded with orange carrots. This "carrot" is more of a white radish (daikon). Rice flour and grated radish is mixed and steamed into large slabs or cakes. These are cut up into little pieces and fried with preserved turnip, soy sauce, fish sauce, eggs, garlic and spring onions. It’s amazingly good. You can have it “white” or “black” (with sweet dark soy sauce added). Also known as fried carrot cake or chye tow kueh, this grease-laden belly warmer is available at many hawker centers.

Look for old stalwart Heng Carrot Cake at Stall 28, Newton Food Centre, Newton Circus Road.
.

5. Chili crab
Another national signature, chili crab is one of the most requested dishes for anyone who comes to Singapore. There are more than a dozen ways to do crab (black pepper, salted egg yolk, cheese-baked, etc) but chili crab remains the bestseller. It’s certainly not something to be consumed daintily. The spicy chili-tomato gravy tends to splatter, but crab enthusiasts love it so much, they’ll mop everything up with mini mantou buns.

Roland Restaurant claims to be the creator of the dish. They are at Block 89 Marine Parade Central #06-750, tel +65 6440 8205. .

6. Bak kut tehBak kut teh, meaning "pork rib tea" is most likely of Hokkien or Fujian origin, NOT FROM MALAYSIA. Meaty pork ribs are lovingly boiled for hours with lots of garlic, pepper, medicinal herbs and spices. Early 20th century port coolies often relied on this as a tonic to strengthen bodies and health. These days, bak kut teh is simply enjoyed for its taste. There are two styles -- the clear, peppery Teochew broth and the darker, more herbal Hokkien stew. You tiao (fried crullers) are the perfect croutons for soaking up the soup, and a hot pot of Chinese tea (ideally Tieguanyin) helps dissolve or wash down the fats ever present in the meaty ribs.

For the Teochew variety, try Ng Ah Sio Pork Ribs Eating House at 208 Rangoon Road, tel +65 6291 4537. For the Hokkien version, try Sin Heng Claypot Bak Kut Teh at 439 Joo Chiat Road, tel +65 6345 8754.

CNNGo finds the best meat restaurants in Singapore
.

7. Sambal stingray
Singaporeans love their seafood and they love their spices. Sambal is a versatile chili paste blended with spices, shallots, candlenuts and often belachan (fermented shrimp paste). Sambal-coated cuts of stingray are wrapped in cleaned banana leaves and grilled to smoky perfection. The sweet, tender flesh is a perfect canvas for all the complex spices and BBQ flavor.

Check out award-winning Leng Heng Seafood BBQ and enjoy your BBQ by the sea. Stall No. 6, East Coast Lagoon Food Centre, East Coast Lagoon Road. .

8. Fried Hokkien mee
Yet another dish favored by hardworking laborers of the past. Thick yellow egg noodles mixed with rice vermicelli are cooked in a rich seafood stock, and tossed with prawns, squid, small strips of pork belly and deep-fried lard pieces. A small kalamansi lime is always given should you prefer some tangy juice to cut through the greasiness of the dish.

Tian Tian Lai (Come Daily) is practically an institution, and deserves its hype. Come to Block 127 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #02-27, tel +65 6251 8542.
.

9. Rojak
Rojak is actually a Malay word used to describe something made from a random mix of unrelated things. But any derogatory undertones are erased when one refers to the fruit salad that bears the same name. Rojak does have an odd mixture of ingredients. Bite-size pieces of fruits, vegetables, dried tofu, fried you tiao (dough fritters) and cured cuttlefish are tossed in a prawn paste sauce topped with crushed peanuts. Grated bunga kantan (pink ginger buds) add a sensuous fragrance. The result is a wild mix of sweet, spicy, sour and savory flavors.

HK-Hollywood superstar Chow Yun Fat is a fan of Balestier Road Hoover Rojak. The rojak here has jellyfish instead of cured cuttlefish. Block 90 Whampoa Drive, #01-06 Whampoa Drive Food Centre. .

10. Bak kwa
This chewy snack is like salty-sweet BBQ jerky. Bak kwa (dried meat) is made from pork although now halal versions made from chicken exist. These squarish BBQ meat sheets are popular as gifts for friends and relatives at Chinese New Year. Throngs will form at shops despite elevated prices. Bak kwa can be eaten on its own, with bread or with homecooked food.

The king of bak kwa is undisputedly Lim Chee Guan at 203 New Bridge Road, tel +65 6227 8302. Or try Bee Cheng Hiang’s spicy pork at its 28 outlets islandwide.

4/9 '10 loves x3 8:13 PM


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