The Punt: Aerosexual excitement
It's not exactly the reason you want an Airbus A380 – the world's largest passenger airliner – landing at your airport, but aerosexuals were very excited by the appearance of one of the aircraft at Shannon this week. The Air France plane was en route from Los Angeles to Paris and unfortunately had to touch down at the airport due to a medical emergency. The aircraft had 518 passengers and crew on board and it was reported that this was the largest number of air passengers ever to land in Ireland in a single aircraft.
But The Punt is nothing if not a fan of trivia. In fact, back in the mid-'90s an Air Canada 747 transit flight landed at Shannon with 538 passengers and crew on board. Put it in your next pub quiz.
Airbus A380s have landed at Shannon before, but this week was the first time one landed loaded with passengers. Shannon, with its long runway, was used last year by British Airways as it tested airports in Ireland and the UK for their ability to handle the massive aircraft in the case of a diversion. Neil Pakey, the CEO of Shannon Airport, no doubt wishes fully-loaded A380s were landing there all the time and for all the right reasons.
Brits join table for US lunch
THE AMERICAN Chamber of Commerce Ireland knows how to put on a shindig. Its lunches held regularly throughout the year, more often than not in the Four Season's beautiful ballroom, never fail to impress. Yesterday's annual presidents' lunch was no different.
This was Louise Phelan's inaugural event as president of the organisation. Hours after snagging an award for being the most trusted chief executive in the country, the PayPal boss gave a rousing speech calling for speedier progress in US/EU trade talks. Valid and important points, though we've heard it all before.
What really caught our eye was the news of AmCham's new sponsor. It must be Google, you might think, or Microsoft, or some other US giant that employs half of Dublin. But it's actually Barclays. The last time we checked, Barclays was British-owned. Still, we can understand why it would be keen to build a relationship with AmCham, whose members seem to involve half the NASDAQ.
Barclays Bank Ireland head of global corporates Rob Roughan followed Ms Phelan to the stage and won his audience straight away.
He introduced himself by giving his phone number and then promised two tickets to a major match at Old Trafford to the first person who texted him with the correct answer to this question: which continent is home to six of the 10 fastest growing countries of the last decade?
The Punt, sadly, got it wrong. The right answer was Africa. A smart cookie over at Vodafone took home the prize.
Great minds think tax cuts
IT looks like Michael Noonan may not be the only one thinking tax cuts are the way to go.
Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty announced this week that his country will emphasise tax reductions for families ahead of both lowering its debt burden and boosting spending.
Mr Noonan has said the level at which workers hit the higher rate of tax here is too low, and any tax cuts would focus on a potential widening of the band.
And it's all to reduce the burden on hard-pressed voters. Mr Flaherty, it seems, has a similar idea.
Speaking in a Bloomberg interview in Melbourne, where he's attending a meeting of business leaders from Australia and Canada, Mr Flaherty, below, said the government's top priority will be to lower taxes once the country moves to a surplus position, starting next year.
"The No 1 priority, because it's in our platform, is reducing taxes on families," Mr Flaherty said.
Great political minds think alike.