Back to the future is certainly an overused phrase, but in the case of the Qantas retro Boeing 737, it really is back to the future in more ways than one.The airline has battled severe headwinds and turbulence over the past four years but has turned the corner and spirits are lifting.The latest 737-800 adorned with a 1970s colour scheme, introduced with the first 747 in 1971, is a flagship of the new Qantas that has gone back to the future, and back to basics, to regain its mojo.And if the delivery flight of VH-XZP named after former Qantas CEO and trailblazer, the late James Strong, is any guide the new Qantas will be flying high.Guests on the delivery flight were treated to an amazing 1970s themed meal completed with flight attendants dressed in the 1970s Pucci uniform of green blazer and floral dress.The restaurant in the sky treatment however is not just for the delivery flight with the airline announcing that it is super sizing meals –and doubling the choice – on all international flights from next month.And in more news from the airline, from next month, the airline’s A330s will be fitted out with lie-flat beds in business class on domestic routes. The newest addition to the Qantas fleet touched down in Sydney on Wednesday November 19 and is a flying tribute to mark seven decades of the Flying Kangaroo logo.Qantas Airways CEO Alan Joyce joined past and present staff and executives, Boeing executives and other guests to welcome the aircraft after it was given a water cannon salute from Air Services Australia.“Seeing this brand new aircraft in classic livery inspires a real sense of pride in all that Qantas and its people have achieved,” said Mr Joyce. “For 70 years this familiar kangaroo on the tail has represented not just our airline but also the best of Australia and a sense of home for those who have seen it at airports around the world. We are especially proud to name this aircraft after our friend and former CEO, James Strong. James was instrumental in the making of the modern Qantas, including the merger with Australian Airlines.” James Strong was Qantas CEO from 1993 to 2001 and later served on the Qantas Board until his death in March 2013. And in a moving ceremony Mrs Strong unveiled a surprise bow tie beneath the name James Strong. The late Mr Strong always wore bow ties.The retro 737 also provides a fascinating snapshot of then and now for Qantas and for aviation.The Qantas Group now operates nearly eight times more aircraft than in the 1970s with 308 planes. And the airfares have taken a massive tumble.In 1974 a return economy airfare from Sydney to London was $774.70, which was six times the average weekly wage at the time. Today the London return trip starts from approx $2,600 which is just two times the average Australian weekly wage.In 1974 Qantas employed about 13,000 staff and today the staff count numbers 30,000.And in 1974 Qantas flew to just 31 international destinations and today its network of international ports is 250 and domestically 54.In 1974 Qantas prepared approx 2.4 million meals a year and now it prepares 42 million.And if you were travelling in 1974 you had two choices – first and economy. Today there is first, business, premium economy and economy.In-flight entertainment has also gone through an incredible revolution. In 1974 the IFE was audio channels and movies on a big screen on the 747. There were 2 stereo and 8 mono audio channels available.Today Qantas offers an almost endless range of IFE from your seat back with over 200 movies.
If workers don’t qualify, income-wise, for either a tax-deductible Traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, they can still fund a non-deductible Traditional IRA and later convert it to a Roth IRA, if desired. If a worker has an employer retirement plan, income limits apply to qualify to deduct a contribution to a Traditional IRA. The phase-out AGI ranges for 2015 income taxes are $61,000 for single taxpayers and heads of household and $98,000 to $118,000 for married couples filing jointly. The maximum contribution allowed by law for IRAs (Roth and/or Traditional) in both 2015 and 2016 is $5,500 for workers under age 50 and $6,500, with an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution, for workers age 50 and older. These numbers assume an earned income equal to these amounts. Workers can contribute the smaller of the annual limit allowed by tax law or their taxable compensation during the calendar year. If one spouse in a married couple filing jointly has an employer retirement savings plan and the other does not, the tax-deductibility of a Traditional IRA contribution phases out between an AGI of $183,000 and $193,000 in 2015. See https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/2015-IRA-Deduction-Limits-Effect-of-Modified-AGI-on-Deduction-if-You-Are-NOT-Covered-by-a-Retirement-Plan-at-Work. Workers can’t make contributions to a Traditional IRA once they reach age 70½. However, they can still contribute to a Roth IRA, provided that they have earned income (e.g., salary from a job or net earnings from a small business or freelance work).For more information about IRAs, visit this IRS page with frequently asked questions (FAQs): https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-FAQs-regarding-IRAs-Contributions When workers qualify by income for a partial Roth IRA contribution, they can put the remaining amount of the contribution limit into a Traditional IRA (e.g., $2,500 Roth IRA and $3,000 Traditional IRA in 2015). By Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, Rutgers Cooperative Extension, [email protected]’s “crunch time” for federal income taxes. While the tax filing deadline is usually April 15, it is April 18 this year due to a Washington D.C. holiday called Emancipation Day. Bottom line: taxpayers, including most military families, have an extra weekend to prepare their taxes. That’s the good news. The bad news is there is not much you can do now to lower your tax bill. Opportunities, such as charitable donations and Thrift Savings Plan contributions, and capital losses on investments, all went out the window at midnight last New Year’s Eve.U.S. Army photos by Pfc. Ma, Jae-sangThe only way that taxpayers may be able to save money on taxes now is to contribute to a tax-deferred individual retirement account (IRA). The deadline for deposits to 2015 traditional and Roth IRAs and SEP IRAs for self-employed workers is also April 18, 2016 (see https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Traditional-and-Roth-IRAs). Below are some key points to know about IRAs and the tax savings that they can provide:There are many types of IRAs: Roth, Traditional, Rollover, and Spousal, to name a few. Not every IRA provides an initial tax deduction, but they all provide tax-deferred growth on both the amount contributed (saved) and earnings on that money. Roth IRAs also provide the potential for tax-free growth. Income limits apply to qualify to contribute to Roth IRAs. For 2015 income taxes, the adjusted gross income (AGI) phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA was $116,000 to $131,000 for single taxpayers and heads of household and $183,000 to $193,000 for married couples filing jointly. If single workers, or both spouses in a married couple filing jointly, are not covered by an employer’s retirement plan, Traditional IRA contributions are deductible regardless of income.