Play Your Part partners Brand SA CEO Miller Matola, and CEO of Heartlines Garth Japhet at the Play Your Part breakfast meeting, held in Sandhurst, Johannesburg recently. (Image: Nosimilo Ramela)Brand SA introduced its latest campaign, Play Your Part, to representatives of government departments, business and NGOs at a recent breakfast meeting in Sandhurst, Johannesburg.The campaign encourages South Africans to do whatever they can, no matter how big or small the contribution, to create a better country. It also aims to connect and celebrate citizens who are already playing their part and making an impact in their communities.Speaking at the breakfast meeting on 17 August 2011, Brand SA CEO Miller Matola said: “Play Your Part is a national movement for social change, contributing to social cohesion and national unity.”The Brand SA has collaborated with Forgood, an online social network with a humanitarian focus, to create a facility whereby willing South Africans can connect with each other to share stories about the work they are doing, exchange ideas for projects and secure resources.“There are amazing people doing amazing things every day, everywhere in our country, this is a platform for them to share their stories, and to celebrate great stories,” said CEO of Heartlines Garth Japhet.The online resource gives information to people who are keen on doing something in their respective areas, but do not know how to go about it.“Play Your Part will help connect people who are interested in the same things. It will also connect them with the opportunities they are looking for,” he said.Japhet added that the Play Your Part site, powered by Forgood, will also provide regular news updates and list events taking places various communities.Play Your Part enables users to create their own profiles, join the campaign and start making a difference.Business joins inFinancial Times CEO Rochelle Josiah said her publication endorses the initiative and would be playing its part through some of its own projects.Michelle Gerszt, marketing executive of the Smile Foundation, spoke about how her NGO is playing its part by helping children with facial abnormalities access free corrective plastic and reconstructive surgery.“We help children with abnormalities such as cleft lips and palates, burn victims, those with facial paralysis and other conditions. The medical staff who work with us all work for free: they volunteer their time to help our young patients. They are playing their part in changing the lives of young people and their parents.”Gerszt said her organisation is proud to be part of the Play Your Part initiative as it promotes the same values as the foundation. “The work we do brings people together for the purpose of making a difference in the lives of those in need.”She added that the Smile Foundation had a skills development programme in place to equip medical teams with the necessary techniques and knowledge.“Instead of bringing in specialists from other countries, we have our own doctors and nurses trained and skilled to perform these complex surgeries. We are investing in the medical teams we work with and we support the public hospitals we work in by purchasing equipment that can be used by the departments of plastic and reconstructive surgery.”Pieter Pretorius, general manager for the country’s power utility Eskom, said his company’s 49m initiative was also making a difference in South Africa.“We are proud to be associated with the Brand SA’s Play Your Part. The campaign speaks to the same ideas as our project: 49m is about mobilising people to play their part in building a better future for South Africa. We want to encourage people to reduce their consumption of electricity, thereby reducing our carbon footprint.”Pretorius added that people can make small changes like remembering to switch off any lights or appliances that are not in use. “It’s not about sacrificing, but rather about being considerate. The power we save today is the power we’ll need tomorrow to light our rooms, watch our televisions and boil our kettles.”Government adds its supportZeng Msimang, director of strategy and content for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, said the Play Your Part campaign has helped the government raise funds to provide famine relief to Somalia.She added that although the initiative is a local one, the department would promote it across all countries it works in.“For us Play Your Part is about being patriotic and it starts with our diplomats. We want it to start internally with the way we treat and behave towards each other.”
Officials hope 80 per cent of the airberlin workforce will stay employed. Photo: Christian Brinkmann/airberlin. Bankrupt German carrier airberlin will cease long-haul flying by October 15 as leasing companies progressively withdraw widebody Airbus A330 jets.The airline on Monday cancelled its Dusseldorf-Los Angeles service and said it would axe its Hamburg- Munich and Cologne/Bonn- Munich services from September 29.The moves come as the board is negotiating to carve up the company between preferred bidders Lufthansa and Britain’s easyJet. Among those also bidding was British Airways parent IAG.Talks are set to continue with the suitors until October 12 and the parties are not revealing the purchase price. However, German media have reported creditors expect the sale to realise 250-350 million euros.“Further adjustments to the flight plan will follow in the coming days,’’ airberlin said in a statement. “Stable flight operations are a prerequisite for the successful completion of the forthcoming transactions and subsequent transfer into new ownership.”Officials overseeing the break-up of Germany’s second biggest carrier hope that up to 80 per cent of employees will stay in work as part of the deal.They said an offer from Lufthansa for turboprop arm Luftverkehrsgesellschaft Walter (LGW), the Austrian holiday airline NIKI and parts of airberlin would save several thousand jobs.EasyJet’s offer to take over some of the airberlin fleet “will also create job opportunities for new employees’’.“We are on the way to achieving good job prospects for around 80 per cent of our colleagues with our bidders,’’ said airberlin chief executive Thomas Winkelmann.“Furthermore, there is currently great demand for qualified employees on the labour market.“The Federal Employment Office will therefore inform our company headquarters in Berlin about available vacancies.”Airberlin entered administration after loss-making Gulf carrier Etihad, which owns almost 30 per cent or the carrier, refused to stump more cash. It was kept flying thanks to a 150-million-euro German government bridging loan the administrators are now optimistic can be repaid.Lufthansa has indicated it would take about 3000 of the airberlin’s workforce of more than 8000 as it looks to secure more than 70 single-aisle planes, including 38 it already leases.However, the chief representative from administrator Kebekus and Zimmerman, Frank Kebekus, cautioned that the carrier had “not yet achieved the aim of the negotiations”.In what appeared to be a move to short circuit any backlash from staff, Kebekus warned any move to threaten the stability of flight operations would endanger the negotiations.Almost 200 pilots called in sick at short notice earlier this month, causing the company to cancel 110 flights.Insolvency administrator Lucas Flother also rejected suggestions that politics had played a role in the in selecting investors as “completely absurd’’.“In fact, such attempts would be pointless and inconsequential,’’Flother said. “I would simply not allow such a thing to happen.’Bids for airberlin technick, the carrier’s maintenance arm, are due by October 6 and several parties are said to have expressed interest.
JetBlue’s funky T5 at JFK. Photo: JetBlue. Getting a bite in the Big Apple is set to become even tastier for JetBlue customers thanks to the airline’s first restaurant upgrade at its home T5 terminal at New York’s JFK International Airport.The budget carrier announced plans to add seven new restaurants in the first major upgrade to the T5 concession program since moving into the bespoke terminal in 2008.Also poised to benefit are passengers on partner airlines Aer Lingus, Hawaiian Airlines and TAP Portugal.JetBlue’s “recipe for success” at T5 includes niche stores and restaurants that offer a taste of the carrier’s hometown all got their start in New York City.READ: Virgin Atlantic opens up Brazil with GOL codeshare.Construction will take place this over the US fall and will see JetBlue welcome Melt Shop, Otto’s Tacos, Ovenly and Shake Shack.Also on the menu: T5 Chef’s Kitchen which will include to-go offerings from KorillaBBQ, The Little Beet and Lil’ Sweet Chick.“We take our position as New York’s Hometown Airline seriously,” said JetBlue product development director Mariya Stoyanova.“Rather than the typical chains, we offer customers traveling through T5 a real and delicious taste of New York from places that real New Yorkers frequent.“ Besides wanting to showcase all that our birthplace has to offer, we remember being a New York start-up and are always looking to give back to the community that’s supported us from the very beginning.”The new restaurants join existing offerings 5ivesteak, Artichoke Pizza, Deep Blue Sushi and Piquillo.Other outlets offering a flavor of New York include Baked by Melissa, bar Veloce, Dylan’s candy bar and New York Minute.JetBlue says it designed its T5 terminal from scratch to give customers “an amazing ground experience”.It allows passengers to surf the Web for free and offers more than 30 restaurants and food outlets as well as more than 20 retailers.The terminal was designed to complement the historic Eero Saarinen building (now the TWA Hotel) and hosts all JetBlue flights as well as those of its partners.