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All Nippon Airways soars on inflight excellence and service

All Nippon Airways

All Nippon Airways — ANA — is one of the world’s leading airlines, can trace its heritage back to 1952 but was able to serve only domestic routes up to 1986 when the Japanese government relaxed its airline policies and allowed the airline to spread its wings across the globe.

The airline has evolved into a real industry trendsetter and was the launch airline for Boeing’s 787 and is the biggest operator of that plane, with 67 in service and 16 more on order.

The airline was also amongst the first customers for Boeing’s newest jet, the 777X, that will enter service in 2020.

ANA’s long-haul international fleet is made up of Boeing 777s, 787s and 767s, while its short-haul fleet is a mix of 737s and Airbus A320s.

Also, in the airline’s fleet are three A380 superjumbos which it uses on Hawaii services.ast forward to today and ANA spans the globe on 81 international routes, 120 domestic routes and has a fleet of 267 aircraft and has become the largest airline in Japan.

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All Nippon

From Sydney, ANA provides a daily overnight service, arriving in Haneda Airport (Tokyo) early the following morning, providing convenient connections to its domestic & international network. ANA will launch its much-anticipated daily Perth to Narita 787 service on September 1, 2019.

All Nippon Airways has been at the forefront for years in cabin innovation.

Its Business Class seats allow passengers to spend their time as they wish, with a lie-flat design and a staggered arrangement ensuring the convenience of direct aisle access to all.

Watch a movie, catch up on work or just sleep, the Business Class product caters for all demands.

ANA’s Business Class

The airline was also one of the first to introduce Premium Economy Class which provides an increased seat pitch for extra leg room and seat width and also provides a larger touch panel monitor.

Even the airline’s Economy Class has a generous seat pitch at 86cm (34 inches) which is 5cm more than most airlines. And the generosity doesn’t end there.

All Nippon Airways has a very generous luggage allowance of 2 pieces of luggage in all classes.

Economy and Premium Economy get 2 x 23kgs while Business Class get 2 x 32kgs.

And as a bonus, the airline has A$100 add-on fares to the entire ANA domestic network, which by the way is the largest in Japan. (domestic tax may apply).

Recently the airline announced an upgrade of its in-flight offering with all business class passengers able to pre-select meals plus revamped sleepwear and amenity kits.

Previously only ANA Mileage Club members travelling in business class were able to select meals on the airline’s website prior to departure.

ANA meals pre-order

From March this year, all business class passengers can choose meals from an expanded menu up to 24 hours prior to departure.

This includes a choice of international options plus a selection of Japanese dishes.

Those heading from Japan to North America (except Honolulu), Europe, Southeast Asia and India will be able to pre-order dishes from ANA’s “The Connoisseurs” premium meal program developed in partnership with elite chefs.

There is also an upgrade in Japanese first and business class dishware to make the meals more visually stimulating.

Customers travelling in economy or premium economy now have access to expanded dining options, although this exclusive service comes at a small cost.

The range of upgraded menu options is available for 2,500 yen (about AUD30) that can be selected up to 24 hours ahead of a flight.

Upgraded amenities will see First Class passengers receive top-of-the-line feather comforters from Nishikawa Sangyo and duck down pillows, both covered in Egyptian cotton, as well as a new blanket and cardigan.

Business Class travellers now have access to high-quality feather comforters from Maruhachi Product as well as a dual-layer pillow with a 100 per cent Egyptian cotton cover. They will be complemented by newly designed cardigans and pajamas.

Both Business and First Class travellers get new amenity kits from Globe-Trotter with high-end Japanese cosmetics.

READ: All Nippon Airways offers special economy meals.

The airline is also revamping its seating on wide-body (777, 787) domestic flights and increasing the size of its premium offering.

This is most noticeable on the Boeing 787-8 which changes from 12 premium and 323 economy seats to 28 in premium and 284 in economy.

On the 777-200, the premium seat count rises from 21 to 28 while the economy seat count drops by 20 to 364.

The airline’s new premium seats will boast a 15-inch touch screen — the largest in the domestic fleet — matched by an enhanced entertainment library and expanded Wi-Fi entertainment options.

ANA’s Premium Economy

 

The new seats will be made of “advanced fabric” and include storage for personal items, a rotating table and retractable side table, privacy partitions as well as a PC adapter and USB power.

The new economy seats are designed by automotive designer Toyota Boshoku and ANA says they are designed to maximize comfort and safety. Designers considered a full range of body types and postures to find the ideal balance for the seat as well as to determine monitor positioning.

The comfortable tailored seat distributes pressure evenly throughout the body to make sitting more comfortable. In addition, the backrest frame shape has been optimized to make it perfectly fit a range of body types.

These same seats and accompanying features have already been installed in six ANA B767-300 aircraft and the airline has received overwhelmingly positive feedback.

The 11.6-inch touchscreen is the biggest yet for All Nippon Airways’  domestic economy class and the seats also feature an ergonomic beverage holder, PC power points and USB power.

There are also transparent pockets to make it easier for passengers to see what they have in them.

“These new seats represent ANA’s commitment to advancing comfort, service and hospitality on international and domestic flights alike,’’ the airline says. “The company will continue searching for ways to raise the bar in order to remain a global standard bearer and premier air travel provider.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dropping in: watch NASA and the FAA “crash” a Fokker.

FAA crash video
The aircraft suspended prior to the "crash". Photo: FAA/NASA

Air crashes are rare occurrences but even rarer is getting two aerospace agencies together to do it on purpose.

That’s what happened when the Federal Aviation Administration and NASA got together to drop a Fokker F28  from a giant gantry at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, on June 20.

A small crowd gathered to watch the  33,000-pound jet thud to earth after hours of final preparations in the name of science.

This was the first time NASA had dropped a plane this big and it was looking to simulate an impact that was severe but survivable.

READ: NTSB confirms skydiving crash the worst US civilian accident since 2011.

The Fokker F28 is a regional jet used on short- to medium-haul flights and the crashworthiness test was conducted to advance safety research on the structural performance of the  style, design and materials for this size of aircraft.

Twenty-four crash test dummies — also a record for this kind of simulation — ranging from small children to adults were strapped into seats inside the plane.

They included one that weighed about 273 pounds as well as a US Army Warrior Assessment Manikin designed to understand the forces exerted on a human body from an explosion under a vehicle.

“It’s a common misconception that plane crashes are not survivable, when in fact many are,” said FAA chief of crash dynamics Joseph Pellettiere.

“Looking at the response of the plane, how it crushes in the dirt, as well as the kinematics of the crash test dummies inside helps us know as much as possible to make them as safe as possible.”

Inside the former Canadian Regional Airline Fokker were high-definition and high-speed cameras and the plane was painted with hundreds of dots to allow specialized cameras to track the deformation of the aircraft.

The swing test simulated an aircraft crash onto a dirt surface and the FAA said the data would help it develop guidance on how to determine crashworthiness of various aircraft.

The test results would support the development of a new performance-based rule that will simplify the certification process by eliminating or minimizing the use of special conditions to certify aircraft, it said.

Also involved in the “crash” were the FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

The FAA said reports from the test would be available to the public.

 

 

NTSB confirms skydiving crash the worst US civilian accident since 2011

Skydiving crash hawaii
NTSB Investigator Eliott Simpson briefs board member Jennifer Homendy at Hawaii skydiving crash. Photo: NTSB

A skydiving crash Friday that killed 11 people at a coastal airfield on the island of Oahu is the worst civilian aviation accident in the US since 2011 and in Hawaii since 1981.

The twin-engine Beechcraft King Air operated by the Oahu Parachute Center veered to the left and crashed on take-off Friday, ending up inverted and on fire near an airport fence.

The weather is understood to have been clear at the time with a light wind.

The National Transportation Safety Board also confirmed the plane suffered substantial damage to its tail section in 2016 during an accident in California where the pilot lost control.

The US crash investigator has a team of 11 people from around the US looking at the accident, including specialists in structures, powerplants and operations.

It has also called for witnesses with information, photos or videos to come forward.

READ: FAA bans flights over Iran as tensions escalate.

“This is the deadliest accident involving a civilian airplane I n the United States since 2011, “ NTSB board member Jennifer Homendy told reporters in Hawaii Sunday, adding that investigators would be collecting perishable evidence such as log books and records from the scene over the next three or four days.

Homendy pointed to special investigative report into parachute jump operations published in 2008 that looked at 32 accidents occurring between 1981 and 2008 and identified recurring safety issues.

These included inadequate aircraft inspections and maintenance, pilot performance deficiencies and inadequate federal oversight of skydiving operations.

“We have no idea whether any of those issues are factors in this accident but it’s something we will keep in mind as we will be evaluating and analyzing the facts around this investigation,” she said.

Asked if the plane was overloaded, the NTSB official said the plane was outfitted for 13 people but noted that weight and balance were also factors and would be part of the investigation.

Investigators would also be looking at the quality of the repairs done after the 2016 accident and whether it was inspected and passed as airworthy before being returned to service, she said.

CNN reported that army veteran and professional parachute demonstrator Larry Lemaster was among the people killed.

“I don’t have an explanation for the utter tragedy that has happened,” wife Anna Elkins wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.

“But Larry Lemaster would never want one person to waste a single minute of their life mourning his. He was doing what he loved. We spoke about this on many occasions.”

A preliminary report was expected in the next 10 to 14 days, Homendy said.

 

 

United aims high for Apollo 11 anniversary

United Apollo 11 celebrations
Buzz Adrin during Apollo 11. Photo: NASA/Neil Armstrong

United Airlines will mark the connection between its Houston hub and the first moon landing with special activities that include a dedicated in-flight “space” channel, NASA-themed food and a special “Space City” flight.

The US carrier is working with Houston First Corporation, Space Center Houston, NASA Johnson Space Center and restaurant operator OTG on a series of events during July to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic event.

READ: Red planet still beckons as NASA turns 60.

They include a special in-flight entertainment channel with 17 dedicated space-related programs developed by NASA that will be accessible on all flights starting July.

It includes documentaries about NASA’s race to the moon, views of Earth from the International Space Stations and action cam footage of astronaut spacewalks.

United Apollo 11Two restaurants in United’s terminals at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston – Ember and Tanglewood Grille – will feature dishes throughout July inspired by food eaten by the Apollo 11 astronauts.

To ensure authenticity, OTG sent its culinary team to NASA’s Space Food Systems Laboratory in Houston to learn about and taste food prepared by NASA’s food scientists

Specialty beverages, such as Tang-infused cocktails, will also be available for people traveling through Houston.

Gate lounges at Houston’s Terminal C-North will be transformed into a digital art gallery hosting vivid photography from the Apollo 11 mission while Apollo 11-themed pop-up science labs will be in United’s Terminal C and E and IAH from July 9 -11.

During the same dates, customers in United Clubs will have the opportunity to meet and take photos with retired NASA astronaut Ken Cameron.

On July 17, the same day the Apollo 11 astronauts made their first TV transmission from Earth to space, United will host a special celebration flight from its New York area hub at Newark Liberty International airport to Houston.

Customers on board Flight 355 will enjoy space-themed entertainment, inflight gifts and mingle with special onboard guests who have first-hand experience in space.

The airline is running a social media contest allowing enthusiasts to win two seats aboard the flight, while MileagePlus members will be able to bid for experiences such as VIP access to Space Center Houston’s Apollo 11 50th  Anniversary Celebration.

“From the moment former President John F. Kennedy made a bold commitment to further U.S. space exploration efforts at Rice University in Houston, the city became part of the national dialogue about how and when we would put a man on the moon,” said Rodney Cox, vice president for United’s Houston hub.

“Not only is the Apollo 11 mission rooted in Houston’s past, it also became part of United’s history when Astronaut Neil Armstrong later served on our Board of Directors.

“Knowing the deep connection both United and Houston have to this historic mission, we are honored to commemorate this remarkable accomplishment with our customers.”

Alliance profit soars to 17-year high

Alliance profit soars
Photo: Alliance

Australia’s Alliance Aviation Services is bucking the global airline profit trend and says it expects to announce the best pre-tax result in its 17-year history.

Alliance expects its 2019 pre-tax profit for the year ending June 30 to be $32.5 million, 25 percent higher than its fiscal 2018 result and ahead of analysts’ expectations.

Chief executive Lee Schofield attributed the result to the company’s continued safety focus and market-leading on-time performance of 95 percent.

“We jealously guard these attributes and support our team to deliver improvements for our customers,’’ he said in an ASX announcement released Thursday.

Schofield also pointed to the company’s successful diversification strategy that allowed it to operate in four different flying categories to more than 50 destinations.

These were contracted mining, contract mining and tourism, charter, wet leases and scheduled airline services.

“Our current fleet of 38 aircraft operates across all categories of flying,’’ he said. “An additional aircraft will join the fleet this week and a further aircraft during July”’

By the end of the calendar year, Alliance will have 25 Fokker 100 and 14 Fokker 70 jets in its fleet as well as five Fokker 50 turboprops.

The company’s success has attracted the attention of bigger rival Qantas, which earlier this year announced it had paid $A60 million to take a 19.9 percent stake in Alliance.

READ: Qantas takes a stake in Alliance Airlines

It also signaled that it wanted to take a majority stake in Alliance in the longer term to “better service the resources market”.

Australia’s competition watchdog subsequently confirmed it was looking into the competitive impact of the deal.

Qantas boss Alan Joyce said the carrier did not intend to have any involvement in the management of Alliance as a result of the 19.9 percent stake or seek a seat on the board.

He also conceded that a move to take a majority stake would involve “a complex regulatory process and approval from the ACCC”.

 

 

 

 

Boeing releases video of first taxi test of its 777X

777X

Boeing has released a video of first taxi test of its 777X.

The first flight, however, is some months away as the company awaits new engines from GE that have a fi for a durability issue.

Boeing 777X First Taxi Test

Our first #777X flight test airplane made its runway debut! Our teams performed a series of low-speed taxi tests, marking the first time this plane moved on its own power. This is one of many tests before the 777X takes to the skies later this year.

Posted by The Boeing Company on Friday, 21 June 2019

Inside the factory, the 3rd  and 4th aircraft are complete and the first two production aircraft for Emirates are under construction.

The first Emirates 777-9X sports the “777X logo” on the folding wingtip, while the second sports the airline’s tail logo design.

See our tribute to the 747’s 50th year.

AirlineRatings.com was given special access to the production line and walking around the 777-9X you are overwhelmed by the giant jet. It is massive.

The larger windows are also apparent as is the huge size of the GE G9X engines.

The driving force behind the 777X is Emirates President Sir Tim Clark, whose airline is the lead buyer with an order for 150.

Sir Tim describes the 777X as “an absolute peach”.

Key to his enthusiasm is the aircraft’s economics and greater space — it is 20 per cent more efficient per seat than the industry’s long-time benchmark the 777-300ER and its cabin is wider with bigger windows.

The Boeing 777X combines the best features of the current 777 with a longer fuselage, new engine and the composite wing design from the Boeing 787.

The 777-9X seats more than 400 passengers, depending on an airline’s configuration choices.

With a range of more than 8,200 nautical miles (15,185 km), the aircraft will have the lowest operating cost per seat of any commercial aircraft says, Boeing.

The second member of the family, the 777-8X, will be the most flexible jet in the world claims Boeing. The aircraft will seat 350 passengers and offer a range capability of more than 9,300 nautical miles (17,220 km).

Boeing 777X
Sir Tim describes the 777X as “an absolute peach”.

It also features 20 per cent larger windows and lowers pressurization altitude to reduce jet lag.

 

 

Delta expands global investment strategy with stake in Korean Air

korean air Delta

Delta Air Lines plans to boost its stake in Korean Air majority shareholder Hanjin-KAL beyond an initial 4.3 percent investment announced Thursday.

The airline said the stake demonstrated its commitment to the success and opportunities available through the joint venture with its SkyTeam partner.

It announced it intends to boost the stake to 10 percent over time.

READ: Delta gives its A220s extra legs and orders five more

“Together with the team at Korean Air, we have a vision to deliver the world’s leading trans-Pacific joint venture for our shared customers, offering the strongest network, the best service and the finest experience connecting the U.S. with Asia,” Delta chief executive Ed Bastian said in the announcement.

“This is already one of our fastest-integrating and most successful partnerships, and experience tells us this investment will further strengthen our relationship as we continue to build on the value of the joint venture.”

Delta has been growing its international footprint with equity investments in airlines such as Aeromexico. Air France-KLM, China Eastern and Virgin Atlantic.

The US carrier says the investments improve alignment with its partners “creating a more stable environment for growth amid an increasingly dynamic global landscape”.

Since launching an immunized joint venture with Korean in May 2018, the partners have strengthened cooperation by expanding joint operations in the trans-Pacific to include more than 1,400 codeshare flights.

Delta says teams at both airlines have also worked closely together to integrate sales and marketing activities as well as enhance loyalty program benefits, such as the ability to earn more miles on both loyalty programs and redeem them on a wider range of flights.

This includes co-operating on cargo operations they now say provide one of the most comprehensive route networks in the trans-Pacific market.

New services operated in partnership with Korean include services to Seoul from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Seoul as well as from Seattle and Osaka.

Korean Air has also launched a new service linking Boston with Seoul.

 

FAA bans flights over Iran as tensions escalate

A file photo of a Glbal Hawk drone. Photo: Northrop Grumman

The US Federal Aviation Administration has issued a notice banning flights over parts of Iran amid escalating political tensions after the shooting down of a $US130m American drone.

The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)  prohibits US flights in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information region above the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman due to heightened military activity and increased political tensions.

The FAA warned this represented an inadvertent risk to US civil aviation operations and the “potential for miscalculation or misidentification”.

“The risk to US civil aviation is demonstrated by the Iranian surface-to-air missile shoot-down of a US unmanned aircraft system on 19 June 2019 while it was operating in the vicinity of civil air routes above the Gulf of Oman,” it said.

Although the prohibition applies to US aircraft, it will be heeded carriers from other nations.

It comes as the world approaches the fifth anniversary of the 2014 destruction of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 by a Russian-made missile over Ukraine with the loss of 298 lives

Read: Four charged with murder over the downing of MH17

Opsgroup, which tracks aviation industry risks, said some airlines had already reported suspending operations in Iranian airspace.

“This NOTAM ensures that US operators cannot operate in the area,” it said.

“Although the official applicability is to US aircraft only, since MH17 all countries rely on advice from the US, the UK, France and Germany to highlight airspace risk.

Iran has been blamed for shooting down the US Navy Northrop Grumman RQ-4A Block 10 Global Hawk and the FAA said flight tracking applications indicated the nearest civil aircraft was just 45 nautical miles away.

Even before the order was issued, United Airlines had suspended flights from Newark Airport and Mumbai after conducting a safety review.

Australian carrier Qantas also said Friday it had adjusted its flight paths over the Middle East to avoid the  Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman until further notice.

The airline said the changes would mean a slight change tot he routing of QF1/2 and QF9/10 between Australia and London but the impact on flying time would be negligible.

The NOTAM comes as US media are reporting that US President Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran but pulled back from launching them.

The New York Times said Trump had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets such as radar and missile batteries.

The paper quoted a senior administration official as saying the operation was underway and its early stages when it was called off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airlines fight European push to tax tickets and fuel

airlines IATA tax
IATA Boss Alexandre de Juniac. Photo: IATA

Airlines are attempting to head off an attempt by Holland and France to convince European nations to end tax exemptions on aviation fuel and airline tickets.

The move is part of discussion aimed at making the European Union carbon neutral by 2050.

The Netherlands wants to end tax exemptions for air travel and has foreshadowed a 7.5 euro ticket tax for departing passengers if it can’t get a wider agreement.

France wants a tax on jet fuel — something that happens in countries such as the US and Australia but not in the EU — in an attempt to change the behavior of travelers.

But the International Air Transport Association has commissioned research that shows passengers want governments to encourage the development of new technologies and sustainable aviation fuels to reduce aviation carbon emissions “rather than impose ineffective ‘environmental’  taxes.

READ: Industry heavyweights join forces on climate change.

The survey found that almost two-thirds of passengers want governments to support the development of sustainable aviation fuels, while 62 percent favor support research and development of new technology and better operations

Only about one in five favored environmental taxes.

“Aviation takes the climate change challenge very seriously,’’ IATA director general Alexandre De Juniac said.

“For more than a decade we have set and exceeded tough targets for carbon emissions, and we plan to achieve much more.

“Public opinion has a clear message to governments: work with aviation to encourage investment in clean fuels, and new hybrid and electric technology. This will help airlines cut emissions in half by 2050.’

The IATA push comes as a sharp fall in global airline share prices in May suggests investors are expecting tougher times ahead as the industry weathers a downturn in the cycle.

The association said first-quarter results showed that global net profits weakened compared to the same quarter a year ago, driven by falls in Europe and Latin American.

There was variation among regions with North America and the Asia-pacific both seeing a rise in profitability.

Global airline share prices fell sharply by 10 percent in May and have fallen 3.5 percent since the beginning of the year.

This saw them substantially underperform the global equity market, which rose by 7.9 percent.

IATA said the May decline was due to rising concerns regarding profitability and the potential impact of a US-China trade war on airline performance.

“All three regional sub-indices fell during the month,’’ it said. “Europe (-18.4%) and North America (-12.5%) were the regions that declined most.”

The IATA report said the oil and jet fuel prices lost their strong upward momentum in May, with Brent Crude at $US62 per barrel and jet fuel at $US75 per barrel at the time it was written.

It said the futures market indicated oil would be around $US60 per barrel in December, about $US10 lower that the pricing at the beginning of May.

This partially eased the heightened concerns a month ago on the cost side for airlines, it said.

The report noted there was continuing downward pressure on base fare passenger yields, which exclude surcharges and ancillary revenues, but premium yields edged up in March.

“Overall global average passenger yields in US$ terms were 6.0 percent lower compared to a year ago in March as airlines were not able to pass through cost increases through higher base fares to customers,’’ it said.

“ As global economy growth forecasts are being revised down, industry-wide passenger yields are expected to remain under pressure.”

Electrifying Alice sparks interest in Paris

Alice electric plane
All-electric Alice from Eviation revealed at the Paris Air Show.

Israeli company Eviation grabbed attention at this week’s Paris Air Show with Alice, its futuristic entry into the electric business and commuter aircraft market, and a first order from a US customer.

The needle-nosed composite plane is designed to take nine passengers up to 650 miles (1,046kms) at a cruise speed of 240knots and is aimed at so-called “middle-mile” routes such as Paris-Toulouse or San Jose-San Diego.

It appears a good fit for newly-announced US customer Cape Air, which serves 35 cities in the US and Caribbean with 92 aircraft and specializes in shorter routes.

READ: Industry heavyweights join forces on climate change in aviation’s ‘third era”.

Alice is powered by a push propeller at the back and two on the end of each wing.

Eviation plans to complete the first flights and begin manufacturing in the US this year with certification expected in for 2021 and first deliveries in 2022.

The company says the electric aircraft’s operating costs will be about 70 percent lower than conventional planes and will provide travelers with a “cost-competitive, emission-free option”.

The plane is the culmination of four years of design and collaboration with partners from  France, Italy, Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Australia, the US and Israel, Alice represents a breakthrough on many levels.

Earlier this year, it announced it had struck a deal with electric motor company magniX to provide its 375hp Magni250 propulsion system for the plane.

It has also struck a deal with Siemens for a system that includes a 260kW electric motors with a 900kWh lithium-ion battery pack.

Eviation chief executive Omer Bar-Yohay believes Alice will redefine how people travel regionally “and usher in a new era of flying that is quieter, cleaner and cost-effective”.

“In 2017, Americans spent $US1 trillion traveling distances between 50 and 650 miles. Our goal is to undercut the cost of commuting by making middle mile trips cheaper, faster and cleaner,’’ he said

“Together with magniX we’re providing an economically and environmentally sustainable mobility solution that will forever change the face of aviation and consumer travel.”

Still on the drawing board but also unveiled at Paris was the EcoPulse distributed propulsion system, which uses a gas turbine to power the main propeller that generates electricity for electric propellers on the wing.

READ: Companies combine to build distributed propulsion plane

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