Tuesday. 16/11/2021

The Monocle Minute

Image: Shutterstock

Opinion / Gabriel Leigh

Expecting to fly

The Dubai Airshow took off on Sunday looking like many flights in Europe or the US do these days: absolutely packed. That’s good news for the emirate, which has put together the biggest in-person industry gathering since the pandemic began. It’s also good news for the aviation sector as a whole, as it seeks to make the most of the recent momentum as it heads towards recovery.

The show is happening at a charged moment, not least because it comes on the heels of Cop26. With aviation in the firing line over environmental concerns, there’s an eagerness among participants to get out there and talk about how they’re addressing the issue. And yet in many ways it’s as if nothing has changed: big jets were roaring overhead all afternoon for hours in the flying display. Military uniforms and blue suits weaved between the static displays, checking out weapons and enjoying commercial aircraft tours.

Dubai’s crown prince Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (pictured) stopped by for a brisk tour of the spotless Emirates A380 on display. The super-jumbo is enjoying a bit of a global comeback after being all but grounded as passenger numbers sank. Notably, when the crown prince arrived at Boeing’s main event – a new, still-in-testing jet called the 777X – he forwent the chance to look inside. Emirates airline has voiced its frustration with delays to the development of the aircraft, which is destined to be Boeing’s new flagship. The aerospace company hopes to deliver it by late 2023 but many are taking a we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it approach.

The pandemic has interrupted aviation’s growth curve and the question of sustainability looms large. But it’s clear that there is strong demand, a desire to get back in the air and meet others in person. Turbulence is expected but, for the industry, the Dubai Airshow seems to be heading in the right direction.

Gabriel Leigh is Monocle’s transport correspondent.

Image: Reuters

Terrorism / UK

Threat analysis

Police in the English city of Liverpool have declared Sunday’s explosion outside a hospital a terrorist incident. Shortly before 11.00, a taxi burst into flames at an entrance to Liverpool Women’s Hospital, killing one passenger and injuring the driver. It was later reported that the driver, cabbie David Perry, had realised that the passenger was carrying a bomb and locked him in the car before escaping. The city’s mayor, Joanne Anderson, has declared Perry a hero, while counterterrorism detectives have arrested four men in connection with the incident. The motive behind the attack is unclear but the fact that it occurred on Remembrance Sunday, when the UK pays homage to its war dead, while a service was taking place nearby, has been posited as a potential reason. Whatever the motives, it serves as a reminder after a year of relative quiet that terrorism remains a threat to Western societies.

For more on this story, tune in to the latest edition of ‘The Monocle Daily’.

Image: JasonParis, Flickr

Politics / USA

Mending fences

Joe Biden finally signed a $1trn (€875bn) bipartisan infrastructure package into law yesterday. While the package will finance significant improvements to the country’s bridges, airports, waterways and public transit – including new technologies such as zero-emission buses and ferries – it might also help to heal historical wounds in some cities.

A “Reconnecting Communities” fund will give grants of up to $2m (€1.75m) to neighbourhoods that have been cut up by highways. It means cities such as New York, whose Cross Bronx Expressway (pictured) has divided its namesake borough from Manhattan for almost 70 years, might be able to make some initial moves to cap the highway with a park – physically stitching the community back together and healing decades of social disconnection. It’s a reminder that, when we talk about infrastructure, it’s not just about buses and trains getting us from A to B but a chance to improve quality of life too.

Image: Getty Images

Transport / South Korea

Air miles

The prospect of air taxis flying around the already crowded skies above our cities will fill many urban dwellers with trepidation. The South Korean government, which last year laid out its plan to start commercial urban air travel by 2025, is keen to reassure the public that urban air-mobility vehicles (UAM) are safe. Last week, German company Volocopter showed off its zero-emission, all-electric Volocity air taxi, the first of its kind, at Seoul’s Gimpo Airport. Although it can operate autonomously, the two-seater, 18-rotor Velocopter 2X (pictured) on show in Seoul had a pilot. The government is hoping that air taxis will be up and away within the next four years, cutting travel time in the city by two-thirds. The initial cost from Incheon International to central Seoul will be KRW100,000 (€74), which many will consider a price worth paying to avoid the South Korean capital’s rush-hour traffic.

Image: Getty Images

Music / Global

Sing along

The date has been set: fans of the Eurovision Song Contest in the US will get their own version, American Song Contest, on 21 February 2022. The Eurovision-like show will feature a musical act from all 50 US states, plus five US territories and the capital Washington (infamously not a state). It will be broadcast on NBC and there are high expectations in terms of audience figures, mostly based on the popularity of the Eurovision Song Contest, which remains a remarkable success story and reaches more than 180 million viewers a year. Eurovision is, of course, known not merely for music but for its extravagant performances. Just look at this year’s winner, Italian rock band Måneskin (pictured), which has topped charts around the world. Although it will be hard to match the flavour of the original contest, we hope the US version will keep the quirkier elements of Eurovision that we love, too.

For more on the American Song Contest, tune into today’s edition of ‘The Globalist’ with Monocle's Eurovision correspondent Fernando Augusto Pacheco.

M24 / The Stack

‘The Stahl House’ and ‘Get Familiar’

We speak to the team behind The Stahl House, a new book on an iconic modernist house. Plus: a new Dutch title called Get Familiar explores the intersection between hip hop culture and the world around us.

Monocle Films / Turin

The new urban rowers

We wake up bright and early to meet creative director Luca Ballarini at the Circolo Canottieri Caprera, a rowing club on the banks of the river Po in Turin. We follow his slender boat and glide along the river beside charming palazzi, castles and bridges, while the rest of the city comes to life.

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