Prague Airport in the post – Covid19 world

24th August 2017, was a Thursday. I can’t remember why, but I came home from work straight after lunch. So at least, when the text from my brother came through, I was able to drop everything. The text said that our mother, who had been re-admitted to hospital, had suddenly weakened, and doctors gave her no more than 24 hours left on this earth. I don’t think my brother expected me to be able to get there. However thanks to the efficiency of British Airways, and to living close to Vaclav Havel Airport, by 17.15 I was taking off for London and by 20.00 at my Mum’s hospital bedside with the rest of the family. She died peacefully without seeing the next morning.

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Vaclav Řehoř, CEO of Prague Airport; Immune to the Virus?

An Airbus A380 lands over Přední Kopanina football club.

 

As this and many other European countries emerge from the toughest restrictions implemented to help control the spread of COVID-19, attention turns to the economic and social changes that the pandemic may usher in. When it comes to changes in business, one of the first candidates for change is predicted to be that of passenger air travel. The almost total collapse in demand for air travel from March onwards has already threatened the business of many airlines. Lufthansa for example has closed its Germanwings subsidiary, and will sell off many of its planes. It says that “it will take years before demand for air travel reaches pre-coronavirus levels. “

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Confessions of an Accidental Headhunter

Chapter 3;

P&G and Unilever developed marketeers; whom will Google develop?

 

“How do you do it”, people asked? How did we find those people in the ’90s, some of whom are highly respected in the marketing world today? And if I am honest, I didn’t have a clear answer then, and looking back, I cannot clearly recall now, how we did it then.

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Confessions of an Accidental Headhunter

Chapter 2; Winging it…

I didn’t have a plan.

 

I mean that I didn’t have a business plan. I had no financial plan, cash flow or P&L forecasts. Looking back, I am even more shocked that despite all my training, I had given little thought to the “brand” I was creating, no competitor analysis, no SWOT analysis. Of course for several months I was not even legally trading; yet nobody cared, least of all the clients. They wanted me to find them people. Fast. Like, today. And to my surprise, when I did , they all paid the fees.

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Confessions of an Accidental Headhunter

Chapter 1; Just Do It…

 

Late November, 1992.  Prague had been cold throughout my visit, but at the airport, built on high ground, there was another weather problem: fog.  And the airport had no modern fog landing equipment. All flights were suspended, and in the terminal building it was chaos. I had been visiting privately, staying in a rented room near Wenceslas Square. The queue for the phone boxes was huge, and anyway even if I managed to call the owner, we spoke not a word of each other’s language. I passed by the Avis car hire desk, and something about the young lady there made me act on impulse.

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“Europe Talks” – my talk in Vienna with a “conservative libertarian” student

The email from the Financial Times wasn’t one of the regular ones. It was headed “Join an exciting new project that connects people who disagree”. It continued “In an era of online finger-pointing and ideological filter bubbles, when was the last time you had a thoughtful face-to-face conversation with someone with whom you disagree?”  It described how it would work :

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Will Brexit cause Marks and Spencer to leave the Czech Republic?

It’s now less than three months to go before the UK is due to leave the EU, and there still is no agreement on the exact terms of the departure. Every day therefore the likelihood of a “Hard Brexit” increases. People are slowly beginning to realise what a Hard Brexit will mean. In particular, the talk is of the lorries, thousands of them, that will wait for days to cross the English Channel. I suddenly realised that some of those lorries will belong to M&S.

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21 August 1968; the day the tanks invaded my young head


The dramatic billboards that went up on Vítězné náměstí last week, reminding us of the events of that day, caused me to stop and stare at them for quite some time. Of course for Czechs of my age, they can invoke some painful memories that may still be hard to bear. Their lives changed for the worse, their opportunities to develop, learn, travel, limited for years, while I enjoyed those opportunities to the full. But those days made a lasting impact on me too, and created such a lasting interest in this part of Europe, that I eventually made it my home.

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Protest to the Slovak Ambassador, re police intimidation of Czech journalist, Pavla Holcová

To: emb.prague@mzv.sk

Dear Ambassador Weiss,

I write to register my deep concern about Slovak police behaviour towards Ms Holcová. I write as a British national permanently resident in Prague; as a volunteer I run a website which enables Freedom of Information requests, and I know Ms Holcová as someone who values our site as an enabler of good investigative journalism. I refer you to this OCCRP news report of what happened to Ms Holcova. If you wish to point to any factual inaccuacies, I am sure I and the rest of the watching world will be ready to hear of them. Otherwise my questions to you are as follows:
1. In what way was this encounter between Ms Holcová and the police compatible with police procedural norms in a mature European democracy?
2. Do you understand that the incident as reported suggests to the world that the Slovak police are not actually seriously seeking the murderer, and that this in turn implies that the Slovak State does not want the murderer to be apprehended?
3. Has Ms Holcová received her phone back yet? What have the police done with the data they will have taken from it? And to what legitimate purpose?
I look forward to your reply. Please note that I have posted the text of my mail to my blog page, and would expect to post your reply there too.
Kind regards
Richard Hunt

10 ways in which TV Prima let down Czech citizens

Last night’s Czech Presidential debate, presented by TV Prima, was an offence to a mature democratic society. Whether it was down to lack of professionalism, or something more deliberate, is something I cannot judge, although many people have views. And maybe it is easy for me to criticise, having been brought up with the BBC. Maybe thanks to that upbringing, it isn’t difficult for me to identify 10 ways in which TV Prima let themselves, and the country, down:

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