Just when you thought volcanic ash risk exaggerated One senior executive at Cathay Pacific Airways who knows something about passenger airliners flying through volcanic ash is general manager airports Peter Langslow. On June 24, 1982, Langslow was a young university student travelling from London to Perth to see his parents on British Airways Flight 9, sometimes referred to as the 'Speedbird 9' or 'Jakarta incident', which flew through a cloud of volcanic ash from Mount Galunggung, 180 kilometres southeast of Jakarta. All four engines on the Boeing 747 flamed out, smoke filled the cabin, oxygen masks dropped and the flight commander, Captain Eric Moody, announced to his terrified passengers: 'This is the captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damndest to get them under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.' Langslow recalled yesterday that in fact most passengers remained remarkably calm, although it has been recorded that several wrote quick notes to their loved ones. Captain Moody did a heroic job in trying to restart the engines as the aircraft went into an angled dive. He was able to get them going on and off, but by the time the aircraft touched down in Jakarta, it was operating on two and a half engines, one having failed altogether and another at half power. Despite good visibility, the crew had to make an instruments landing as the windscreen of the aircraft had been blacked out by the volcanic ash. And Langslow's main recollection of the extraordinary drama? 'After the emergency landing, we were looked after by the Cathay Pacific team in Jakarta and looked after very well. The airline's name didn't mean anything to me then, but it's extraordinary that I should have gone on to spend my entire working life with Cathay Pacific.' Can't buy satisfaction There are some things money just can't buy. A little bird tells us that Swire and Cathay Pacific Airways veteran Philip Chen Nan-lok is leaving the group and giving up his HK$14 million pay package in the pursuit of greater job satisfaction. We understand many companies are more than happy to offer Chen a lucrative package of cash and the much-coveted 's-factor', including PCCW with the post of deputy chairman under the leadership of Richard Li Tzar-kai. Chen's sudden announcement this week that he is leaving in June to pursue 'other interests' shocked his colleagues. A Swire veteran of 33 years, he was chief executive of the airline from 2005 to 2007. He became chairman of John Swire & Sons (China) after transferring from Cathay three years ago. Technology victim Our beloved Chief Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen wafted into Hong Kong's HK$346 million pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai with media in tow the other day, wanting to show off the technological advances of 'Asia's world city'. Tang was there to inspect the site ahead of the May 1 opening. But sadly for him, the touch-screen he was inspecting refused to respond no matter how much he poked and prodded it. We totally understand if Tang wants to get a refund for the ticket. Oops, we meant a refund from the government contractor. Silver lining for charity The billionaire chief executive of Rusal, Oleg Deripaska, will donate to charity two-thirds of the US$62 million of stock he was given for helping the largest aluminium maker sell shares in Hong Kong. The stock will be sold after a two-year lock-up and the proceeds will be spent on local economies in the 20 cities and regions where Rusal operates. The money will be given to Volnoye Delo, his charitable fund, and Rusal's centre for social programmes. Giving away a huge amount of money to charity is one thing, but defending his entitlement to bonuses remains a top priority. Deripaska, who controls 48 per cent of Moscow-based Rusal, is defending the bonus as the shares trade 14 per cent lower than their January initial public offering price. His basic pay is five times more than the comparable compensation for the chief of BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company. Melbourne-based BHP Billiton paid its chief executive US$10.4 million in the 2009 fiscal year, including a base salary of US$2 million. Deripaska's remuneration includes a base salary of US$10 million, with a cash bonus that may be 200 per cent of his pay. His justification: 'To take a company with a negative US$10 billion value last year and make it worth US$20 billion, to not lose a single key asset, to restructure capacities and make it the world's lowest-cost producer means management should be rewarded.'