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Greek Parliament Expected to Vote on Deeper Cuts; Interview With CEO of Aegean Airlines

Aired September 26, 2011 - 14:00   ET


RICHARD QUEST, CNN ANCHOR, QUEST MEANS BUSINESS: From delays to delivery. Boeing's Dreamliner becomes a reality.

Greasing the wheels of the market, prospects of a plan in Europe set shares at bay.

And entering a new domain, ICANN's chief exec says there is more to the Web than

I'm Richard Quest. I mean business.

Good evening.

We'll have Dreamliner coverage for you in a while, but we must begin tonight. As always we have on so often on this program, a plan is in the making. The plan to deliver Europe from its debt crisis and it is likely to be built on three pillars, creating a much bigger bailout fund, bolstering the banks and telling Greek bond holders they will have to take a sharp haircut.

In the streets of Athens, seeing more strikes and protests, lawmakers are driven to inflict more austerity on the people. That is the scene in Athens.

John Defterios joins me now from the Greek capitol.

John, what we are witnessing, both in Athens and in Washington, and now of course, in Brussels, is the making of a plan. But the core of the plan still seems to be Greece goes bust.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, in fact, if you were looking, Richard, for some clarity at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings, you didn't get it over the weekend, because there was some ideas floated. And one of the ideas was the fact that Greece and some of the other more desperate countries with high debt levels, like Italy and Portugal and Ireland, right now, perhaps may see 50 percent of their debt cut, if you expand the facility, from $600 billion, now in terms of the rescue fund, to $2 trillion. And that is why the banks were rallying today.

But we have to focus on the prize here, for Greece. They put forward another $38 billion of austerity cuts, in terms of pension cuts coming forward, a property tax proposal on the table, furloughing some 30,000 state workers right now. And they need to get that final 8 billion euros of funding

The troika was set to be here early in the week. They did not provide any clarity right now. I think it is because that new proposal is on the table. So we have some daylight, that 150 percent of GDP for Greece is not going to work. But are they going to go to a 50 percent cut in the debt over the next two to three weeks and push this fund up to $2 trillion. That is why the markets rallied in the banking sector today.

QUEST: All right. The 2 trillion euros or dollars, that relates to the avoidance of contagion. But in terms of Greece persuading Germany, Finland, and all the other countries that have to vote on their bailout plan, and on the ESFS, how far are they getting with that?

DEFTERIOS: Great point. Prime Minister George Papandreou left this evening to go to Berlin. Tomorrow he is going to be addressing German industrialists there and have a bilateral meeting as well, with Angela Merkel. The message from Greece to Germany, face to face, is we have been promising a lot over the past six to nine months. We do plan to deliver $38 billion in terms of austerity to close the loop here, if you can help us get over the last hurdle.

The real question I think, Richard, now is, will Greece use this as an opportunity to provide real reforms in the labor market and refocus the economy from a consumer driven economy to one that can be export driven, at least in Southern Europe?

Let's bring in a member of the private sector. Eftichios Vasilakis, he is the chief executive officer of a company you know, Richard, of course, which is Aegean Airlines.

It is nice to have you on the program.

I want to clear something up here. Because there is an obsession almost, on whether the investors and the government debt need to take a 50 percent haircut? Is it important to say, look, 150 percent of GDP in this economy cannot be managed. Let's not kick the can down the road. Let's draw a line now and say, yes, we do need to restructure the debt permanently.

EFTICHIOS VASILAKIS, CEO, AEGEAN AIRLINES: I think, John, for the last 18 months almost, Greece has been outside of the market. Which means we have to rely on managed, politically supported, (inaudible) financing. That means that the way that this can be done, the way that this can be managed can be done through lower interest rates, through pushing out the debt, it is an important issue. But it is not the key issue, I believe, here in Greece. The key issue is how to be able to combine the downsizing and restructuring of the public sector to make it more efficient and at the same time the refocusing of the development in the private sector.

DEFTERIOS: I've been coming to this country for the better part of 20 years. I've never seen a society so torn apart right now. Between the public sector pointing to the private sector, saying the private sector hasn't paid taxes. The private sector saying that the state sector, one- fifth of all workers in the state, is too much; the society is almost torn apart. Will the government use this as an opportunity to truly restructure the labor market and refocus away from the consumer, into the various sectors that Greece can succeed in, or not?

VASILAKIS: I think both sides, both the private sector and the government, have to restructure. The government has got more restructuring to do. Because it has more of a lag of efficiency and the public sector, and at the same time its finance have brought, primarily, the crisis, the country into crisis. However, the private sector also has to look very hard to identify the areas in which development or opportunities have to be found. And this has to be more extrovert; it has to do more with investment coming from abroad. It has to do with looking at what we can export, whether it is services, or products, to other countries.

And this is something that focused development on the private sector, targeted development, with a plan for three or four areas where we can compete, is I think what is key for the country to go forward.

DEFTERIOS: OK, we'll have to leave it there, but it was nice to have you on the program.

VASILAKIS: Thank you.

DEFTERIOS: Eftichios Vasilakis is the chief executive officer, Richard, at Aegean.

We are supposed to see the vote in parliament, behind me, tomorrow night on that $38 billion of austerity cuts, particularly the property tax proposal tomorrow evening, Richard.

QUEST: John Defterios, who is in Athens tonight.

And it is a crucial week for the Eurozone. Now there are a number of hurdles which must be overcome if they are to find a way out of this crisis. Jim Boulden is with me.

Jim, how often have we started off by saying there are a number of hurdles?

JIM BOULDEN, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It is an important weak for the euro.

QUEST: Oh, for goodness sakes!

Why is this week any more important than previous weeks?

BOULDEN: Well, a lot of people have been looking toward the end of this week, Thursday, when Germany votes on the expansion of the EFSF. So, a lot of people have been saying, well that is important. And then we heard earlier that, you know, a long time, for the past couple of months that Finland might cause trouble. And they have to vote this week as well. There is a list of countries that need to vote. I think eight have voted so far, and approved this expansion.

QUEST: Right.

BOULDEN: Out of the 17, and we are just getting through that list. Slovakia won't vote, we hear, until the end of October. So we have time. It is just that this week, if Germany, were to say no, if Finland were to say no, it would turn the whole thing into more of a-

QUEST: Are they going to say no?

BOULDEN: No, of course not.


BOULDEN: No, it is politicized. So we're going to say, guys-

QUEST: So why are we getting excited?

BOULDEN: I don't think we getting excited, but the market wants to see hurdles. And today we think because of over the weekend, nothing bad happened at the IMF, so the markets liked it today and started buying the banks. The banks were way up because of this idea it will be approved for Greece. That is just a confidence measure.

QUEST: What about this business of the way in which they are going to leverage?

BOULDEN: Well, the-


QUEST: Hey, mind you-

BOULDEN: As you will see, in my-


QUEST: You shouldn't quite get-it is not healthy to get quite so excited about the-

BOULDEN: About the ESFS.

QUEST: And the mere thought of leverage. You eyes lit up like a school boy's.


BOULDEN: Here's the thing, what they are voting on is not about leverage. They are voting on what decision back on July 21. So first they have to vote on the first enhancement.

QUEST: Right?

BOULDEN: The rumors are there is another enhancement to the enhancement. That would include leverage. That would be the Tim Geithner plan, if you will. And then it would be this idea that once you vote on this, then they might have to vote on another change to this fund.

But the idea of leverage would be you have-you have, let's say you have only 1 trillion of loan guarantees of euros; then you would have leverage that would let you go up to 3 or 4 trillion. The idea is to have it so large that the markets finally agree.

QUEST: Why has it taken them so long?!

BOULDEN: Well, it has only been 18 months.


QUEST: We shouldn't laugh.


QUEST: But the-

BOULDEN: The EFSF was created in May 2010.

QUEST: Right.

BOULDEN: Went into force in June, finally got staff together in December of 2010. Then had to loan money to Ireland, then loan money to Portugal, and now they are trying to change it. And there are rumors they are going to change it again.

QUEST: All right. Christmas is coming.


QUEST: I'll buy a T-shirt, EFSF.


QUEST: Could be something catchy.

All right. Many thanks, Jim Boulden.

Now, when we come back in just a moment, it is a very busy program tonight. We will have "Future Cities" from Chicago. And we hope to be in Seattle to talk about the dream come true for Boeing. It is the plane that is called the game changer. The question is, who is going to be changing what? In a moment.



QUEST: Israel is taking action against slowing economic growth. And today its central bank cut rates for the first time since March 2009. The country's benchmark interest rate has now fallen to 3 percent, down from 3.25 percent.

The cut is intended to minimize the negative effect on the global economic slowdown. What is happening in Israel is a good example of how the European problems and the U.S. difficulties are now transmitting themselves around the world to smaller countries. Israel, the Bank of Israel says slow down will be steeper than previously expected.

We got a hint of that last Monday, when I spoke to Israel's central bank governor, Stanley Fischer. Now, obviously, he didn't give me any indication of that he was going to cut interest rates within seven days, but listen carefully, and you do understand why these governments are so concerned.


STANLEY FISCHER, GOVERNOR, BANK OF ISRAEL: We certainly worry because it affects us enormously. We export 45 percent of GDP; 70 percent of that goes to Europe and the United States, which are the focus of the current slowdown. So it worries us a lot. It will have an impact on us if the slowdown gets worse. So, we watch it very closely. We hope for the best and we prepare for the worst.

QUEST: If you were addressing the European finance ministers, as Tim Geithner did last week, what would you tell them? Is it time-is it time for-for economists like yourself to tell them to get their act together?


FISCHER: Well, if I were just an economist with any affiliation to a particular country or particular central bank, I might say something like that. But since I am the governor of the central bank of a relatively small country, I would probably much more circumspect, in suggesting that time is getting short. And the challenges are great. That there are solutions and that it is necessary to decide whether to make big decisions to stabilize the situation in Europe, in particular.

QUEST: That is the point. Alistair Darling was telling me last week, the window is closing, the opportunity is getting less. Would you agree?

FISCHER: That is the nature of crisis. And time goes by, you deal with something, then the next problem comes along. And the time between those problems gets shorter and shorter. And in some cases of crisis I've worked with, people don't act in time, and in others, they do. And we hope this will be one of them in which they do act in time.


QUEST: Stanley Fischer, the governor of the Bank of Israel, talking to me last week.

When we come back in just a moment, we are heading States' side, we're in future city-land.


QUEST: We're in Chicago, after the break, where the city is grappling with the prospect of longer, hotter summer days, "Future Cities".


QUEST: Welcome back. Chicago is nicknamed the Windy City. And right now, on Michigan Avenue, Chicago, it is a comfortable 14 degrees Celsius there. Delightful time in Chicago if you happen to be there at the moment. What will be a pleasant autumnal afternoon.

Of course, that won't last for long. Even though Chicago is known for its bitterly cold winters, with temperatures hitting the minus 20s, the city is getting warmer. And as the city's climate changes, so must its infrastructure. It is a really fascinating challenge that Chicago faces.

By 2020 Chicago's climate action plan aims to make it resilient to rising temperatures and storm waters. And to help do that it is using the power of plants. Since 2008, across the city they have installed more than 370,000 square meters of green roofs; 18 years it has added more than 36 square kilometers. It is all part of Chicago's plan to be a "Future City".


QUEST (voice over): Asphalt and alleyways, a city paved over, trapping the Earth's elements in this concrete jungle, Chicago is feeling the heat of the future. Like most cities, this one is experiencing what is called the urban heat island effect, where the lack of greenery and the surface of solid ground results in higher temperatures and limited places for rainwater to flow. So now, Chicago, normally known for brutally cold winters is facing the reality of climate change.

City planners were told they can expect their days to get warmer and wetter, with summers feeling more like those in the Southern states of America.

KAREN WEIGERT, CHIEF SUSTAINABILITY OFFICER, CITY OF CHICAGO: I think one of the great selling points of Chicago is the quality of life. It is one of the things that we all loved when we lived here. And it is one of the things that when people come to visit, they often notice.

QUEST: In 2006 the city took steps to maintain this quality of life by forming the Chicago Climate Action Plan.


QUEST: We leave our coverage of "Future Cities" now and we go straight to the United Nations where Syria is addressing the General Assembly.


QUEST: The -- the foreign minister of Syria talking there at the GA, the United Nations General Assembly.

Richard Roth is at U.N. headquarters in New York. And for some analysis, we also have Arwa Damon joining us -- starting with you, Richard, listening to the minister, he talks about popular demands manipulated by outside groups, armed groups and also criticizes, once again, the U.S. and the Europeans for their sanctions policy.

But really not a hint of any movement.

RICHARD ROTH, CNN UNITED NATIONS CORRESPONDENT: No, he talks about reforms that have been going on and revamping the constitution. But as we were just listening to a few seconds ago, he also warned that the U.N. Security Council, in effect, has no business trying to do something about internal Syrian matters.

Just to give you the state of play, inside the Security Council there are still dueling resolutions that lay dormant, a deadlock between Russia and China on one side, blocking any sanctions efforts, and the U.S., France, Britain and others pushing, saying now is the time, things have gone on too long, toward sanctions against the Assad regime. A U.S. official telling me here that as the report -- the remarks by the foreign minister that it's now long clear that Assad must go.

The U.S. has sanctioned this speaker, the foreign minister, saying he is a colleague of Assad and is just as responsible for the human rights violations there -- Richard.

QUEST: Arwa -- Arwa Damon joining us.

This is a speech that is going over the fences, but obviously designed for domestic consumption.

ARWA DAMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Either designed for domestic consumption, Richard, or for the consumption of those countries who continue to support the Syrian regime. This very much was a speech aimed at justifying Syria's position, aimed at justifying the ongoing security crackdown.

The foreign minister there continuing to blame these armed groups for the unrest, saying that the Syrian government is intending on protecting its people, that is why it is cracking down, that the Syrian president is committed to implementing these reforms and continues to do so.

And he spoke about how that was one side of the story that he felt was not being reported, that was not being focused on. He also was specifically blaming foreign forces for the unrest in Syria, saying that it was part of a larger conspiracy.

This is the exact opposite of what we have been continuing to hear from activists, from various human rights organizations who say that the reforms the government speaks about are quite simply a smokescreen and that they have absolutely no faith that this is a regime that has any intent on actually wanting to change -- Richard.

QUEST: Arwa Damon joining us this evening from Beirut.

We thank you for that.

Arwa and Richard giving perspective to the Syrian foreign minister talking at the United Nations as part of the General Assembly.

In a moment, taking the heat out of the European debt crisis -- there is a plan.

The question is, is it going to work?

And how serious is the contagion from Europe to the rest of the world?

The former adviser to President Reagan.



This is CNN.

Returning to the debt crisis in the Eurozone and the perspective as it might be seen from overseas, with a Dow Jones that is up more than 190 points. And 11000 starting to look tantalizingly close.

Let's turn to Professor Martin Feldstein, the Harvard economics professor, chief economic adviser to President Reagan.

Professor Feldstein joins me from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Delighted, as always, sir, to have you on the program.

And, look, we -- we'll get to the U.S. deficit in just a second. But I -- I'm curious of your perspective. The inability of the Europeans to get to grips with the sovereign debt crisis, how worried are you that this is basically a ticking time bomb that's going to expected?

MARTIN FELDSTEIN, ECONOMICS PROFESSOR, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: I think it is a very serious problem. I think that it's not just Greece and Portugal. I think the big uncertainties are what's happening in Italy and in Spain.

QUEST: The idea of leveraging up a fund the E -- the bailout fund, based very much on Tim Geithner's TARP fund in the U.S., is this the answer to simply show fire and brimstone that they will stand behind countries?

FELDSTEIN: Well, I wonder if they're really going to be able to lever it up as much as they're talking about. I mean the idea of -- of taking the European Stability Fund, somehow or other getting 400 plus billion euros and then tripling that amount, it's not clear who's going to be standing behind that, who's going to be providing the credit, other than perhaps Germany. So I don't know whether the Germans, in the end, are going to want to be on the hook for more than a trillion euros.

QUEST: From day one, we were always told that Greece didn't need a bailout until it went -- needed a bailout, of course. And now we've been told Greece isn't going to default until, perhaps, it actually does default.

So I ask you, Professor, has it -- is it the markets that have changed the scenario or, frankly, is the scenario all playing out as it was always going to play out?

FELDSTEIN: Well, certainly I and -- and others have been saying from the very beginning that the Greek situation is impossible, that Greece will have to default. If you look at the level of Greece's debt, 150 percent of GDP, rising 10 percent of GDP this year, an economy that is collapsing with 16 percent unemployment, well, it's not surprising that this can't go on and that Greece is going to have to default, cut in half, probably, the size of its debt.

QUEST: If that happens and it managed to be contained, are you confident that, actually, Italy doesn't need a bailout and Spain doesn't need assistance, providing the macroeconomic situation in the Zone doesn't get any worse?

FELDSTEIN: Well, but you prefaced it by saying assuming that it's contained. Well, if it's contained, then it's contained.


FELDSTEIN: Then it doesn't go to Italy and it doesn't go to Spain.

But the danger is even if money is poured into Greece so that there's at least the pretense that it's not defaulting, just a small haircut on the private bonds, even if that is pulled off, there's nothing to give us total confidence that Spain and Italy won't be in trouble, that the Spanish mortgages or the Italian fiscal debt or the Italian banks are in such good shape.

And the danger is that even if Greece is kept afloat, we could see runs on these two larger countries that push them into a -- an insolvent position.

QUEST: Professor, forgive me for not having time to get to the US. We'll do that the next time. But your comments have been most important and interesting on the European-Eurozone question.

Many thanks for joining us.

Professor Martin Feldstein joining us from Harvard.

And as Professor Feldstein was just talking about Spain and Italy, particularly Spain, it's worth us staying there, where the economic crisis has seen off the government of the socialist prime minister, Jose Zapatero. Parliament is now being dissolved, earlier today, so he can call early elections in November.

Our Madrid bureau chief, Al Goodman, joins me now.

So we know Zapatero is not running, or at least isn't leading his party. So it -- it's good-bye, basically, in that respect. Now he has to just hope that he hasn't done enough damage that his party loses the election.


Well, you're absolutely right. The economic crisis forced Zapatero's hand last April, when he announced he wouldn't seek a third term. It forces him, in calling these early elections for November 20th, he was hoping, he had said repeatedly he would serve out his full term until the end of March.

So this was very much on his mind today as he talked about the decision.

And here's what he had to say in terms of the pending dagger of the crisis over Spain.

Let's listen.


JOSE LUIS RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO, SPANISH PROMISES: We have a difficult situation in Europe as a consequence of the uncertainty surrounding Greece. But our forecast is that the international markets' and international institutions' confidence in Spain has become stronger. And, therefore, right now, I don't have any reason to adopt any major financial measure to strengthen the stability any further ahead of the election. But if it's necessary, I would do it.


GOODMAN: Now, Richard, whether he has to do anything or not, he's still the prime minister until November 20th. But polls are showing a huge leap for the opposition Conservatives, who are already acting, in the eyes of many, like they're going to be running the government.

His own Socialist candidate, his former deputy prime minister, has got an uphill battle, according to the polls -- Richard.

QUEST: All right. OK. Very briefly, Al, and it's a slightly improper question bearing in mind there's an election taking place.

Uphill or impossible?

GOODMAN: For the Socialists, extremely uphill. You would need some major thing to turn around here, according to everybody I've talked to and according to the polls. A double digit lead for the Conservatives.

QUEST: All right...

GOODMAN: It looks like the two time loser, Rajoy, will be the prime minister if things go this way -- Richard.

QUEST: And I need to preface my slightly improper comments by pointing out it's an election and anything can take place once the voters have the power of the cross (ph).

Al Goodman is in Madrid for us tonight.

It's a good day if you like rising prices of financial shares, banks, insurers and the like. Much in demand across the continent. All the major markets made healthy gains, as you can see from your screen. The Xetra DAX was up strongly. The finish was less impressive than what we saw earlier on in the day. Remember, the DAX has been clobbered the most. Therefore, it's now getting the best gains.

And the banking shares, Allianz, ooh, a nice gain for Deutsche, Commerce and my Barclays' shares. I think I paid 60 pence for them, you'll remember, at the height of the crisis, now 156, but down heavily from where at three pounds. You'll get rid of them one day.

Gold -- the price of gold continues to fall from record highs. It plunged about 10 percent last week, down prices -- down almost $40 an ounce today, $1,600. Trades say they've seen a swift and sudden change over the past week.


LOU GRASSO, MILLENNIUM FUTURES: What you have is -- is gold and silver, the metals, the investment metals, we'll call them, are not really trading on fundamentals anymore. It's become an emotionally driven market. And that goes to the up side and the down side. It's no longer a supply- demand picture, it's how the feelings are at the time.

And I think a couple of weeks ago, you started to get people to fear that Europe was melting down, that the U.S. was going to follow as far as the equities were concerned and people just wanted to have some cash.


QUEST: Of course, down, probably because so many people decided to invest in it.

New rules in the U.S. futures markets are forcing some investors to pay more to trade gold, silver and copper. And that helped to contribute to Monday's drop in gold price.

And this is way the markets are trading. A strong rally, nearly 2 percent, 11000 within grasp. I'm not sure we'll make it today, but as you can see, that's a nearly 200 point gain for the Dow Jones Industrials.

When we come back in a moment, our coverage of the Dreamliner -- a dream come true. The plane it calls a game-changer is being finally delivered to customers.

We're talking to Jim Albaugh, the CEO of Boeing Commercial, in a moment.


QUEST: The weather forecast first. And if you're traveling around the continent, or, indeed, around the globe, Guillermo is at the World Weather Center.

It's getting nippy. The cold has arrived.

GUILLERMO ARDUINO, ATS METEOROLOGIST: But you are going to have a very nice week, I'll tell you that in a second.

Let me start with a typhoon at any time making landfall in the Philippines, a very important story here. We see at the center of the system clearly defined as it comes into Luzon. We estimate that making landfall is going to happen within 10 hours or so. It is a significant system. It is going to bring a lot of rain. It has already brought some rain.

Let's go there. We're going to go to Manila. We'll show you how people are getting ready, actually, to proper for this. And not only Manila, but father to the north.

Manila is not right there on its path. I'm talking about the center of the system. But, of course, the outer feeder bands are going to impact the city.

And I focused on Manila because of its size. But the system is making landfall to the north, where we have some towns, we have some mountains over there. Look at the size of the system, Richard. It is 2,000 kilometers in diameter. So it's pretty large and it's bringing a long a lot of winds and, also, already, significant precipitation.

Virac, 200 millimeters. That's enough to cause a landslide. That's enough to flood a city or a place -- a place.

Well, let's see, Europe, promise you that things are going to be fine, even though it feels nippier in the morning. Well, we have high pressure here, Richard, right now. So especially in Central Europe, especially into Turkey, where things are clearing out, and Cyprus, especially in Munich, when we have, actually, Oktoberfest going on, 14 degrees right now, a little bit chilly. And sunny skies or clearer skies at this hour, because it's already 8:49.

But look, high pressure and also the warm air is going up north. It's not going to make it up to London, but you have time to plan your week ahead and to go into areas like France.

In the next hours I -- I think that Paris is going to see clouds. But then we have the jet here that is actually dodge the weather in two areas. To the north is where we are going to see the cold conditions, to the south in a large area of Europe is going to be fine, except for Italy and farther to the south.

Well, let's see exactly what I'm talking about in Munich. And you see here the city. We're going to zoom in. And, of course, you know, as I said, we are going to have sunshine or mostly sunny skies. The same on Tuesday and Wednesday, 22 degrees. That sounds good to me. It's above average. We're talking about like three degrees or so.

Twenty-four, the high for Tuesday. That's pretty good, Richard, you know?

Nippy in the morning and in the evening. And I always remind our viewers, this is the time of the year when if you do not carry a sweater, you may get -- you may catch a cold, because you think, ah, it's going to be fine, you leave home or the office at 12 midday. Then when we come -- when you come back, it's cold at night. So remember that. Remember my words. When you sneeze, you're going to think of me.

Thirty in Rome, 25 in Istanbul and 30 in Madrid. So it looks pretty good.

Apart from the story that we have the cyclone in here, we cannot ignore what's going on in Vietnam. Plenty of precipitation in the mid portions of the country, Richard. But high pressure for Hong Kong looking fine -- back to you.

QUEST: All right, Guillermo, many thanks, indeed.

Now, having your own domain name can make you look pretty flashy. Any of us can do it if your preferred suffix is still available. What's really impressive is if you can have your own dot-whatever.

Join me at the super screen and you will see what I mean.

We're not just talking about dot-coms or dot-uks or dot-anything else, because available from 2012, ICANN, which is the corporation that gives names and numbers and addresses, is changing the rules.

This is how it works. Already, of course, you're aware of dot-com. Now, the dot-com group, they're -- oh, my word, what a fine specimen of dot-com. There's already 100 million or so dot-coms,, It's a dot-brand regimen -- legitimate name for well financed organizations. A fine figure of a dot-com.

However, selling dot-com brands might sound like an unnecessary complication because you can now get, for instance, dot -- or you will be able to, after next year, you'll be able to pay a considerable amount of money and get things like dot-quest. You'll be able to get dot-you, dot- anything.

And finally, what it will all mean overall, there will be an enormous number of dot-everythings from coms, uks, infos. You pay the right amount of money and you can have your own dot -- your name or your company.

I spoke to ICANN'S chief exec and president, Rod Beckstrom, earlier this week.

He told me that the reason they're making dot-anybody is because of demand.


ROD BECKSTROM, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ICANN: The global Internet community shaped this program, wanted this program and carried it forward. And they feel that -- that consumers around the world and organizations around the world would like to have these choices and privileges.

QUEST: And, of course, what wasn't technically possible when dot-com and dot-org came along has now technically become possible.

BECKSTROM: Yes. And when, you know, when dot-com was created in 1985, Jon Postel, who allowed that to happen or enabled it, said, you know, maybe there will be 1,000 or so registrations under this and this will probably be the last top level domain.

Today, there's almost 100 million domain names under dot-com.

So it's hard for any of us to envision how the Internet continues to evolve and grow, much to the benefit of mankind, I think.

QUEST: You're going to charge, as I read it, some astonishing amount of money for your own top level domain, aren't you?

BECKSTROM: You're going to have to spend a fair amount of change, yes.

QUEST: Come on, come on let's...


QUEST: -- let's -- we're grown men. We can -- we can...


QUEST: -- we can say the number without wincing and being in pain.


QUEST: How much is it going to cost to have dot-quest?

BECKSTROM: Sure. Well, ICANN is itself -- is a non-profit organization...

QUEST: Ah, ah...

BECKSTROM: -- but you're going to have to pay us $185,000 just with your application fee and $25,000 every year. But that's a small amount of what it's going to cost, you know, if you're going to really operate dot- quest, because you've got to have the technology and the servers and the lawyers and the marketing.

So many parties estimate that the cost of just applying is roughly a half million dollars.

QUEST: Why so expensive?

It costs me next to nothing to buy my dot-com.

BECKSTROM: Yes, the reason is we've got to -- the -- the Internet is a very important thing that we've got to maintain the security of. And there's -- there's background checks we do, legal checks. You've got to have a business plan. We have to make sure your technology operations are -- are up -- up to scratch. And -- and there's all kinds of appeals because other parties might want to have dot-quest.

QUEST: So if somebody asks, somebody out there has got the money and decides they want to buy a dot-quest and I say no, it's mine, or, in a more realistic example, dot-CNN, then that -- you can end up in a -- in a bidding war. Somebody buys dot-CNN for half a million and then they could go and squat on it.

Or are you going to prevent squatting?

BECKSTROM: If you -- there are protections to prevent squatting. And there's seven different types of significant intellectual property protections in the program. You would need to own dot-quest, most likely, or the mark upon dot-quest, a service mark or trademark. If someone else owned it, as well, well, then -- then there is a -- an elaborate process to work through.

QUEST: How close to creaking is the system?

It's grown so fast. And, yes, we've had billions, if not trillions of dollars, poured into it.


QUEST: But one does get the feeling sometimes that it has grown faster than the infrastructure actually can cope with.

BECKSTROM: Sure. You know, one of the nice things about the I thought, one of the amazing things, is how decentralized it is. And that tends to make it very resilient. Even the domain name system is very decentralized. So there's no one single point of control for all of it. There's operations all over the world.

Like here in the U.K., there's one organization, Nominet, that runs the operations of dot-UK has things around the world. There's many other operators like that.

So it's -- there's not a single point of failure in the system. But, clearly, constantly growing traffic and volumes. The domain name system itself is used, some people approximately, a trillion times a day.

QUEST: Well...

BECKSTROM: It's one of the highest trans - you know, volume transaction systems in the world.

QUEST: Are you going to be into it?


BECKSTROM: There's...

QUEST: Thank you.

BECKSTROM: Thank you.


QUEST: I think he is head of the Internet. Something tells me it.

Tonight, a long awaited dream becomes a reality for Boeing. Its 787 Dreamliner saw its first official delivery earlier in the day to a Japanese carrier, ANA. The historic hand over was three years late, plagued by production problems and billions of dollars in cost overruns.

Now, Boeing has high hopes its Dreamliners will put it back on top, ahead of rival, Airbus.


JIM ALBAUGH, CEO, BOEING COMMERCIAL AIRPLANES: This truly is the first new airplane of the 21st century, the first significant change in how airplanes are built since the 707 over 50 years ago.


QUEST: So, this is why the Dreamliner is considered to be such an important aircraft. It's a twin engine aircraft. And if you look, actually, at the composite materials that are used within it, basically, the plane is all made of composites. It is considerably lighter, therefore, it makes for a big improvement in fuel-efficiency, as much as 20 percent Boeing are guaranteeing for airlines.

But then you've got other things, like the engine. This is the Rolls- Royce Trent 1000, which is powering them. There's also the GEnx. Now, you've got the feathering around the engines at the rear, so they'll be instantly -- this is one of those planes that will be instantly recognizable when we see it at the -- at airports.

And for the passengers on board inside, there will be -- go through the windows, wider cabins, different lighting. And these windows, which you touch and they then get lighter and darker.

Let me just give you some ideas of the little things that you might want to know just when you see a Dreamliner. This is the plane's spotters coming, the plane spotters. And I'll show you some of the things just to keep an eye out for as you're looking through. Look for this, very distinctive, the round cone fellow at the end. That will be -- clearly tell you it's a -- it's a -- a Dreamliner.

Then you've got that feathered engine. That will also tell you it's a Dreamliner.

You can't see it as clearly, but I think you can on this next picture, if you show -- if we -- if I can push the right button. You'll see here, the engine, the way in which the plane's ring goes across, that will tell you it's a Dreamliner.

And, finally, if you want to know what I think is one of the easiest ways to spot a Dreamliner, look at this nose that just goes straight down and out. That you can't miss -- 820 of them.

And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight.

I'm Richard Quest in London.

Whatever you're up to and wherever you're flying in the hours ahead, I hope it's profitable.

See you tomorrow.