AA 777 Damaged, In Hong Kong Fire     

                              By Russ Niles

An American Airlines Boeing 777 was damaged Monday evening at Hong Kong Airport when either luggage or cargo being loaded on the aircraft caught fire. The fire occurred just as a container was being put in the aft cargo hold. Video from the scene shows a ramp worker falling from the hold and being helped away by coworkers. No passengers or flight crew were on the aircraft, which was to have left for Los Angeles in the early evening.

Early reports suggest an oil leak on the loading apparatus might be to blame for the fire. Passengers are being put on other flights to L.A. as the aircraft was clearly damaged by the fire, which was put out quickly by firefighters.

Airbus Says VTOL Project On Track

              By Mary Grady

Airbus will be ready to fly its full-scale electric VTOL technology demonstrator by the end of next year, the company said last week. The project, which is being built by the company’s helicopter division, is designed to carry up to four passengers from crowded city centers to nearby destinations such as airports or train stations.

The team recently completed testing of the propulsion system, including the ducted propellers, electric 100-kilowatt Siemens motors and all electrical systems. “We now have a better understanding of the performance of CityAirbus’ innovative electric propulsion system, which we will continue to mature through rigorous testing while beginning the assembly of the full-scale CityAirbus flight demonstrator,” said Marius Bebesel, CityAirbus chief engineer.

In the first half of next year, Airbus said, the development team expects to reach the “power on” milestone, meaning that all motors and electric systems will be switched on for the first time. The first flight is scheduled for the end of 2018. CityAirbus will be designed to fly on fixed routes with a cruising speed of about 65 knots. The test aircraft will be remotely piloted at first; later, a test pilot will be on board. When the aircraft begins operations in 2023, Airbus says, it will initially be operated by a pilot “to ease certification and public acceptance,” but the goal is to provide fully autonomous operations.


Controllers Ignore Mayday Calls

By Russ Niles

Canadian officials say they’ll talk to their counterparts in India after air traffic controllers reportedly ignored a series of Mayday calls from an Air Canada Boeing 787 and ordered the crew to enter holds instead. The Dreamliner had finished a 16-hour flight from Toronto to Mumbai on Sept. 18 but a runway overrun by a SpiceJet Boeing 737 closed the active runway. Rather than going to its alternate, the aircraft was put in a series of holds by Mumbai controllers. After an hour of turning left, the Air Canada plane was getting low on fuel so the crew asked for clearance to its alternate. They were told the unidentified alternate airport was unavailable because it was at capacity and unable to take any more traffic.

After consulting with their dispatchers, the pilots decided to head for Hyderabad, about 350 miles away, but were told by controllers that Hyderabad wasn’t taking any more aircraft, either. Because of their fuel situation, the pilots called a Mayday but were put in a hold. A second Mayday resulted in a diversion. It took a total of four Maydays to convince controllers to give them a direct route to Hyderabad where the airliner landed safely. “The operator reported that ATC continued trying to divert the flight or attempted to place it in another hold,” Canada’s Transportation Safety Board said in its report. “The flight crew had to declare MAYDAY four times before ATC cleared them for the approach into VOHS. The TSB is in contact with India’s AAIB.”

No More Air Berlin Flights From Miami —

Or Any Place Else

By Miami Herald


Air Berlin Ending Flights MIA.jpgThis file photo taken on September 29, 2016 shows aircrafts of German airline Air Berlin standing on the tarmac at the Tegel airport in Berlin. Bankrupt German airline Air Berlin must ground all flights by the end of October, the firm said on October 9, 2017, as talks continue with prospective buyers Lufthansa and Easyjet.

Bankrupt German airline Air Berlin says it’s preparing to end flights at the end of October. The Dpa News Agency reported Monday that in a letter to employees the airline, Germany’s second largest, said that flights under the airline code AB “according to the current state of things, will no longer be possible after October 28 at the latest.” Flights operated by subsidiaries Niki and LG Walter, which are not insolvent, will continue.

Air Berlin declared bankruptcy in August following years of losses and the decision of its biggest shareholder, Gulf airline Etihad, to cease financing. Air Berlin has offered service between Miami and various German airports, but previously published reports indicated it would discontinue its Miami service on Oct. 15. It has been a member of the OneWorld Alliance, whose primary U.S. partner is American Airlines.

Air Berlin said it is currently in talks with Lufthansa and Easyjet about selling parts of its business. The company said in the letter that “in a few days we'll know more” about that.

Spirit Airlines Seeks Incentives To Add 225 Jobs At South Florida Headquarters
By Brian Bandell and Emon Reiser 

The director of Miramar's Economic Development Department is recommending that the city commission approve $135,000 in incentives for Spirit Airlines Inc. to expand its headquarters and add jobs.

In preparation for an Aug. 23 meeting, Eric Silva, director of the department, advised that the city commission approve the Qualified Target Industries (QTI) award for Project Beachfront, which "operates one of the largest fleets of any major U.S. airline with more than 400 daily flights to 59 destinations in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean." That company wants to hire 225 new employees with average salaries of $71,789 — 150 percent of the average wage in Broward County. The description of "Project Beachfront" matches Spirit's (Nasdaq: SAVE) own description on its "About Us" page on Spirit.com. Spirit confirmed to the South Florida Business Journal that the jobs "of various professional level jobs" would be at its Miramar headquarters.

 "Spirit Airlines is a growing company and we expect this growth to continue," said Paul Berry, a spokesman for Spirit. "There are various entities in Florida and other states that offer incentives for employee growth and we occasionally apply for these incentives. If we are able to hit certain growth thresholds, Spirit will be eligible to receive these incentives." Officials with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, which works with companies on job incentive deals, could not immediately be reached. If local municipalities and economic development agencies don't approve incentives for Spirit, the jobs may go to Texas, according to documents filed with the city of Miramar. The company also plans to invest $10 million in 70,000 square feet of Class A office space for the new positions. The Miramar QTI tax rebate of $135,000 would be part of a $1.35 million total award. Broward County would contribute a $135,000 tax rebate, with the balance coming from the state.

The company would have to create the jobs before receiving the tax rebate. In a separate deal offered by Miramar to the company, the city would pay the airline company $500 for every resident of Miramar who it hires and retains for at least five years. The maximum award under this deal would be $112,500. The new jobs would be a significant addition to the airline's Miramar presence, which currently encompasses 400 employees. Spirit is in growth mode, aiming to expand by 15 to 20 percent annually. 

Air Force Taps Retirees To Soften Pilot Shortage

By Geoff Rapoport

Facing down a critical shortage of pilots, the Air Force is turning to its retirees to pick up the slack. Under the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty (VRRAD) program, the Air Force plans to put retirees back in uniform to serve in roles that require aviation experience, but don’t involve actual flying. The goal is to reduce staff demands on current aviators to keep them in the cockpit.

“We will match VRRAD participants primarily to stateside rated staffs that don’t require requalification in a weapon system, with emphasis on larger organizations like major command staffs,” said VRRAD Rated Liaison Maj. Elizabeth Jarding. “They’ll fill critical billets that would otherwise remain vacant due to the shortage of active-duty officers available to move out of operational flying assignments.” The Air Force has reported that the service is 1,500 pilots short of the number of pilots they need with numbers getting worse every year. The Air Force expects to need 1,600 new pilots per year and is currently able to train only 1,100.

Pilot candidates for the VRAAD program must have retired within the last five years in the rank of captain, major or lieutenant colonel, be under 60 years old, able to pass a Class II flight medical and have either been qualified in an Air Force aircraft in the last five years or served in a rated staff position in the last ten years. Participation in the program will be limited, for now, to 25 retired pilots with an active-duty tour lengths of 12 months.

Trump Takes Heat From Airline Pilots Over Approval Of Norwegian UK Flights

By Hugo Martin


Photo: Kyrre Lien / AFP/Getty Images

Donald J. Trump ran and won the presidency on the motto “America first.” But a union representing 57,000 pilots in the U.S. and Canada says the Trump administration has abandoned that credo when it cleared a low-cost foreign carrier to fly routes from the U.K. to the U.S. The U.S. Department of Transportation approved a permit this month to allow Norwegian UK to fly regular routes to the U.S. under a previous agreement with airlines in the European Union. The airline, a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, is based at Gatwick Airport in England. The pilots union opposed the approval, saying it suspects that Norwegian UK does not pay employees fair wages, giving the carrier an unfair advantage against U.S.-based rivals.

 “The Trump Administration’s decision to approve Norwegian Air UK’s application to serve the United States is another blow to U.S. workers and does not deliver on all the talk about defending U.S. jobs against unfair foreign competition,” Capt. Tim Canoll, president of Air Line Pilots Assn. International, said in a statement. But the Department of Transportation approved the permit, saying the agency considered and rejected the same argument when it gave approval last year — under the Obama administration — to another Norwegian Air Shuttle subsidiary based out of Ireland. Other carriers that support Norwegian UK said the U.S. cannot be asked to judge labor agreements between foreign carriers and their crews because that might prompt foreign governments to do the same for U.S. carriers flying abroad. Norwegian UK defended itself in a filing with the Department of Transportation, saying the new routes benefit America by increasing competition, lowering air fares and creating thousands of jobs at airports and travel agencies in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Transportation approved a permit this month to allow Norwegian UK to fly regular routes to the U.S. under a previous agreement with airlines in the European Union. The airline, a subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, is based at Gatwick Airport in England. The pilots union opposed the approval, saying it suspects that Norwegian UK does not pay employees fair wages, giving the carrier an unfair advantage against U.S.-based rivals. “The Trump Administration’s decision to approve Norwegian Air UK’s application to serve the United States is another blow to U.S. workers and does not deliver on all the talk about defending U.S. jobs against unfair foreign competition,” Capt. Tim Canoll, president of Air Line Pilots Assn. International, said in a statement.

But the Department of Transportation approved the permit, saying the agency considered and rejected the same argument when it gave approval last year — under the Obama administration — to another Norwegian Air Shuttle subsidiary based out of Ireland. Other carriers that support Norwegian UK said the U.S. cannot be asked to judge labor agreements between foreign carriers and their crews because that might prompt foreign governments to do the same for U.S. carriers flying abroad. Norwegian UK defended itself in a filing with the Department of Transportation, saying the new routes benefit America by increasing competition, lowering air fares and creating thousands of jobs at airports and travel agencies in the U.S.


Virgin Atlantic Expands Manchester Airport Offering For 2018

Breaking Travel News

Virgin Atlantic has announced its biggest ever season of flying from Manchester Airport, with nearly 40,000 more seats available to book in 2018. Flights to both New York JFK and Atlanta have been upgraded and will now be operated by both the A330 and the largest aircraft in Virgin Atlantic’s fleet, the Boeing 747, which boasts 455 seats per aircraft, providing even more opportunity for holiday-makers and businesses across the north-west to get to the US than ever before.

In total, the airline will now offer over 350,000 direct seats between Manchester and US airports – all of which include complimentary food and drink on board, and access to Wi-Fi. Shai Weiss, Virgin Atlantic chief commercial officer, commented: “This year was a landmark year for Virgin Atlantic in Manchester, as we launched our hat-trick of new routes and coined the phrase ‘ManFran’ when we introduced the city’s first flight to San Francisco. 

Virgin Atlantic now flies to seven US and Caribbean destinations direct from Manchester, including the trio of new routes launched this year to San Francisco, Boston and New York. There are also easy one-stop connections to over 200 destinations including Los Angeles, Miami, Tampa and Cancun thanks to the airline’s partnership with Delta Air Lines via Atlanta and New York JFK.  Stephen Turner, commercial director at Manchester Airport, said: “To see Virgin Atlantic increase capacity on two of its most popular routes is incredibly pleasing and something which our passengers will welcome I am sure.

“The airline has an excellent selection of routes across America from the UK’s global gateway in the north, which as well as offering great holiday destinations, has also unlocked a wealth of economic opportunities for the region, most notable the carrier’s San Francisco service.”

Hurricane Maria: Florida Attorney General's Office Hears Complaints Of Price Gouging By Airlines

Gabrielle Russon, Orlando Sentinel


Photo: Florida governor Rick Scott talks about the volunteers who are assisting with the relief effort for Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria, during a visit to the Osceola County Services warehouse, in Kissimmee, Fla.,

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s office has received 17 complaints from people who accused airlines of price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Maria, staff said Thursday. Their complaints joined a chorus of anger and desperation as they saw prices topping more than $1,000 to evacuate family members from Puerto Rico. One man saw prices as high as $10,000, a state document shows. “Can anything be done about the price gouging going on right now with the airlines?” a Port St. Lucie woman wrote. “People in Puerto Rico are in desperate conditions and they cannot afford to pay $1500 for a one-way ticket out!” Oversight for airline consumer issues falls to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Bondi’s spokeswoman said the office forwarded complaints to federal authorities — and to airlines for voluntary compliance.

"These airlines must do the right thing and look out for all victims of this disaster," Bondi said in a statement. Hurricane Maria crippled the San Juan airport, but by mid-week the Federal Aviation Administration reported flights in and out “increased dramatically” to more than 400 arrivals and departures. The 17 complaints to Bondi’s office criticize multiple major airlines and were made from Sept. 22 to Sept. 27. Some shared a quick slice of their personal stories. Like a man trying to help his wife get back home. Or a Floridian shopping for airline tickets so two families who had medical issues or small children could reach the mainland. A Tallahassee man noticed a flight costing up to $10,141 to travel on a roundtrip, non-direct flight from Orlando to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico departing Oct. 6. “I have screen shots to prove it,” he wrote Monday in his complaint to the attorney general’s office.

Airlines Were Accused Of Price Gouging Before Irma. Some Are Capping Fares Before Maria

By Chabeli Herrera

Taking a page from Hurricane Irma’s book, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson is asking airlines to proactively limit the cost of their flights for travelers trying to get out of Hurricane Maria’s path. And airlines are agreeing. On Monday, Nelson sent a letter to CEOs at 10 major U.S. airlines asking them to regulate the prices of their flights to areas that will likely be impacted by Maria — and to do it earlier than they did in the case of Hurricane Irma earlier this month. Prior to Hurricane Irma making landfall in Florida, airline fares skyrocketed into the thousands of dollars due to a spike in demand, a regular practice for last-minute tickets that nevertheless had frantic travelers claiming price gouging. Eventually, some airlines started capping flights out of Florida at $99, but not until after the outcry.

In his letter, Nelson, the ranking member of the Senate’s Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, thanked airlines who ultimately capped their flights, but encouraged them to do so sooner with the case of Category 5 Maria, which is on track to hit the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have imposed caps to flights from Puerto Rico ahead of Hurricane Maria. “I urge you to begin the process now for implementing capped airfare and ensuring that refunds are promptly issued for canceled flights. I also request that your policies on capped airfare be communicated clearly and in writing so that affected residents can evacuate quickly and safely,” he wrote. “Individuals and families should not be forced to delay or cancel their evacuation efforts because of confusion over the cost of airfare.”

Operation Airdrop Brings Help From Above

                             By Geoff Rapoport

Doug Jackson didn’t set out to found the largest private disaster airlift operation in history, but Operation Airdrop took on a life of its own. Jackson, who owns a vehicle trailer dealership, was using some of his trailers to drive relief supplies to the Gulf Coast when he got the idea to work with a fellow pilot and friend to coordinate relief flights by general aviation pilots. Twelve days ago, Jackson was organizing missions on his cellphone with a notepad between flights, when the Operation Airdrop command center spontaneously self-organized. The Operation Airdrop command center collects data from pilots on payload capability, relief organizations on supplies needed, and donation depots on supplies available.

Missions are planned in the afternoon, so pilots arrive at the airport the next morning to find their cargo waiting on a pallet, appropriated weighted for their aircraft capacity, and a recipient expecting those particular supplies at the destination. In the command center, “we have an air traffic controller who works the Tower at Love Field, we have a former C-130 driver, we have a loadmaster, we have flight instructors and we have IT specialists,” says Jackson. Most amazingly, Jackson told AVweb, they just showed up wanting to help: “There wasn’t really anybody in charge. Everybody knew their job, no one fought, they just did their job when it needed to be done. That’s the part that’ll stick with me for the rest of my life.”

In total, Operation Airdrop organized over 500 sorties moving more than a quarter million pounds of supplies by air. More than 200 pilots and aircraft, based as far away as Arizona and Iowa, flew Operation Airdrop missions with a 100% completion rate. Operation Airdrop has ceased flights into Texas, but Jackson isn’t back to his day job. Jackson is working with the operator of a King Air fleet to move Salvation Army personnel from Texas to South Florida where they’re now more urgently needed. Jackson hopes people will remember the role played by general aviation in disaster relief on the Gulf Coast this summer. “In our five hundred plus flights, we didn’t get a single noise complaint.”

Sebring, Lakeland Airports


By Russ Niles

Airports throughout Florida are reporting varying degrees of damage from Hurricane Irma and the two most familiar to pilots outside the state are cleaning up. Reports out of Sebring Airport are sketchy but it appears the site of the Sport Aviation Expo took a big hit. In email communications with AVweb, officials for the Expo say the airport suffered “devastation” and that airport officials were unable to take time to speak with us directly. The big need on Wednesday was fuel and there were reports that aircraft could not get into Sebring. We’ll have more details as they become available. At Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, Sun ’n Fun officials report damage but nothing they can’t fix.

The storm toppled trees and tipped over Duffy’s Tower, a portable tower on wheels. There were some buildings damaged but the airport is on the mend and being used in the relief effort. “On the bright side, power was restored Wednesday, and we are incredibly proud of our team, especially an amazing group of 35-plus Central Florida Aerospace Academy students that are tirelessly working to get our campus in working order,” SNF said in a statement. “On top of our cleanup effort, we are also serving as hosts to FEMA, the 82nd Airborne Division and several aviation organizations who are coordinating supply drop off and delivery to many parts of Florida.” 

Naples Airport

Clean-Up Begins

By Russ Niles


https://cdn.avweb.com/media/newspics/170/p1bpsnnq5f116o1c37fei13b9sam6.jpgThe CEO of Naples Jet Center at Naples Airport in Florida told AVweb he and everyone else involved in the cleanup after Hurricane Irma are writing a new playbook. “None of us have ever been through anything like this before,” Matt Hagans told AVweb after meeting with airport and FAA officials at the airport on Tuesday.

He said it could be 10 days before power is restored at one of Florida’s busiest business airports and in the meantime, the whole community is dealing with devastation it likely never envisioned. “The level of damage to infrastructure is incredible,” he said. “There are millions of trees down.”

Hagans, whose official title is CEO of Eagle Creek Aviation Services, the company that owns the FBO, said his business was damaged but will recover.

Hangar doors at the FBO were damaged or ripped off in winds that hit 142 MPH as the eye of Irma passed directly over the popular resort town on the west coast of southern Florida. All the aircraft had been evacuated and there was no staff on site when the hurricane hit and Hagans said he’s grateful there were no injuries.

“We are obviously disappointed that our hangar was damaged, but we are fully aware that the damage could have been much, much worse – and we’re particularly grateful that our employees heeded the warnings and evacuated the area before the storm hit,” he said. The runways at the airport were cleared to allow National Guard operations but the airport has been NOTAM'd closed.

Princess Juliana Airport

Severely Damaged

By Geoff Rapoport

Princess Juliana Airport, on the Island of St. Martin, has been severely damaged by Hurricane Irma’s Category 5 winds. Maho Beach, where tourists take photos under jets landing on the island’s 7,500-foot runway, is entirely underwater in recent photos.

The same photographs show a thick layer of sand covering 30 feet of the runway overrun area. Winds reported at 185 miles per hour knocked down fences, destroyed jetways and threw heavy objects through windows in the terminal. The terminal area forecast from the airport immediately prior to the storm advised pilots they could expect winds from a heading 300 at 140 knots, gusting to 160 knots.

Princess Juliana Airport is the island’s only airport capable of supporting heavy jets, which is limiting efforts to aid the beleaguered island. One government official said 95% of the island has been destroyed by Irma. The runway at Saint Martin Grand Case Airport, on the island's north shore, is only 3,900 feet long. At least two people have been killed on the island by the storm, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in decades.

Built for bottleneck: Is Florida growing too fast to evacuate before monster storms?

By Nicholas Nehamas

Hurricane Irma mercifully weakened before it swept much of Florida with hurricane-force gusts. But the gridlocked madhouse caused by the largest evacuation in Florida’s history shows just how vulnerable runaway development has made one of the nation’s fastest-growing states, emergency planners say.

“We have to stop and take a deep breath and ask, ‘What are we doing?’ ” said David Paulison, a former Miami-Dade County fire chief brought in to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency by President George W. Bush after the agency’s response to Hurricane Katrina was harshly criticized. “The more people we put here, the worse it’s going to be for evacuation.”

Irma could have been Florida’s worst nightmare: A massive Category 5 hurricane wide enough to hit both of the state’s densely populated coasts, where growth has boomed despite the obvious risks of living on the water in an area regularly walloped by storms. The push for more development — one of Gov. Rick Scott’s central policies in his successful effort to revive Florida’s economy — is elevating the risks to both people and property, said Craig Fugate, FEMA chief under President Barack Obama and the state’s emergency management director under Gov. Jeb Bush. “We’re trying to evacuate more people over the same infrastructure,” Fugate said. “It’s something Florida has to revisit.” Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/weather/hurricane/article173494726.html?#emlnl=Afternoon_Newsletter#storylink=cpy

Jetblue Is Open For Business In Cuba With Two Havana Ticket Offices

By Chabeli Herrera and Mimi Whitefield 

Photo: JetBlue Flight 387 taxis onto the runway under a water canon salute as it departs for Cuba.

On August 31, 2016. JetBlue became the first U.S. airline in more than 50 years to initiate commercial flights with Cuba, kicking off with a flight from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Santa Clara, Cuba. CARL JUSTE [email protected]

As the business of regularly scheduled flights between the United Stated and Cuba undergoes growing pains, JetBlue Airways has set up shop on the island. The New York-based airline opened two ticketing offices for Cuban travelers in Havana Friday, another sign of its commitment to the island. The city ticket office is located in Havana’s Vedado neighborhood near Revolution Plaza, and a second ticket office opened in Terminal 3 of the capital’s José Martí International Airport. The airline has similar offices across the Caribbean, including in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The dual openings come almost a year to the day since JetBlue inaugurated commercial flights to Cuba from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Aug. 31, 2016. Although other airlines soon followed, JetBlue’s flight was the first regularly scheduled commercial flight from the United States to Cuba in more than half a century.In its first year of commercial service, JetBlue has carried 390,000 passengers between the two countries and operated nearly 2,000 Cuba flights.The openings of these offices allow us to offer a truly personalized experience for our Cuban customers with face-to-face interactions when arranging JetBlue travel. Since then, several airlines have joined and left the Cuban market. Overblown expectations led to a frenzy of new flights — at first. Then airlines started to pull back, beginning with American Airlines in December, which announced it would cut flights from Miami to Holguín, Santa Clara and Varadero from two daily to one.

Shortly after that in January, the airline opened its first Cuba ticketing offices in Havana and at the airport where it has also installed self-service kiosks. With 70 weekly flights to six Cuban cities, American has more Cuba flights than any other U.S. airline. Other airlines did not fare as well. Silver Airways cut service to nine Cuban destinations altogether in April. Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines both completely eliminated their Havana routes — from Miami for Frontier and Fort Lauderdale for Spirit — in June. That same month, Southwest Airlines announced it would phase out its routes between Fort Lauderdale and Varadero and Santa Clara by Sept. 4, retaining only its twice daily Havana flights. Silver Airways, Frontier Airlines and Spirit Airlines have completely cut service to Cuba. Only Delta Air Lines, with one daily flight from Miami to Havana, has remained totally unscathed. It opened a Havana ticket office in Vedado last November in preparation for its inaugural flight to Havana on Dec. 1.

JetBlue downsized to smaller planes on several routes, including from Fort Lauderdale, to Havana, Santa Clara, Holguín and Camagüey on May 3l, dialing back capacity across all routes by 300 seats a day. The airline now offers daily service from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Clara, Camagüey, Holguín and Havana. It also offers daily flights from New York’s JFK International Airport and Orlando to Havana. Havana remains a hot ticket for U.S. airlines and there’s still more interest in serving Havana than the 20 daily slots allowed by the U.S. Department of Transportation. JetBlue, American, Southwest and Delta all want additional routes to serve the Cuban capital but since there are only three abandoned routes available, DOT has opened a new carrier selection proceeding.

Aer Lingus Flies Into Miami For New Year-Round Route

 Breaking Travel News 09-04-17


Aer Lingus’ inaugural service direct to Miami, Florida, has taken off from Dublin Airport.

Flight EI141 operated by an Airbus A330-200 series is the first ever scheduled service between Ireland and Miami, Florida. Renowned for its beautiful beaches, art deco architecture and Cuban-inspired cuisine, Miami marks Aer Lingus’ thirteenth direct route to North America and will operate as a three times weekly service from Dublin year-round. Together with Orlando, Aer Lingus now flies daily to Florida direct from Dublin.


Growing its long haul network continues to be the key strategic focus for Aer Lingus as it expands its Dublin Airport base into a major European transatlantic gateway. The convenience of US customs and border protection services at Dublin has enhanced the continued growth of Aer Lingus’ Dublin operation as a connecting gateway. Passengers from Britain can take advantage of the new service thanks to Aer Lingus’ easy transatlantic connections from 18 key UK airports. When connecting in Dublin, Aer Lingus guests can pre-clear US customs allowing them to pass through domestic channels upon landing for a smooth and swift arrival in the USA.


“We eagerly look forward to welcoming Aer Lingus and its passengers to Miami International Airport and Miami-Dade County,” said Miami-Dade aviation director Emilio González. “In addition to becoming MIA’s 22nd European route, Dublin will be the airport’s first pre-clearance trans-Atlantic destination – allowing passengers to clear customs before they leave Ireland and arrive in Miami as domestic fliers. “We are proud to partner with Aer Lingus on this first-ever connection between Miami and Dublin, and to continue MIA’s route network expansion throughout Europe.”

Harvey Blocks Major Air Travel          Artery Through Houston

by Jon Ostrower  


Dramatic Recovery:


Houston's airports took a direct hit by Hurricane Harvey, leaving commercial air service at a standstill and a major air transit artery blocked just days before one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. George Bush Intercontinental Airport was shut down Sunday to all but military and relief flights for the storm-battered city. The airport is expected to remain closed at least until Thursday, August 31 at noon CT, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. IAH, shorthand for the Houston's biggest airport, is the 14th busiest airport in America with 20 million passengers flying through in 2016. It's the second largest hub for United Airlines. (UAL) Houston's Hobby Airport, a hub for Southwest Airlines, also remained closed Monday and wasn't scheduled to reopen to commercial flights until Wednesday at 8 am CT. With more rain expected to pound the city in coming days, it was unclear when the airports might reopen. A decision to reopen ultimately falls to the city.

Travelers at United's other hubs said flights were operating with long lists of standby passengers who would've otherwise flown through Houston. A United spokeswoman said it was adding capacity elsewhere in its network to account for the Houston closure. United customers who were flying from Houston on Friday ahead of the Labor Day holiday weekend were already receiving cancellations notices from the airline. Airlines will move planes around and add flights to accommodate passengers who would've flown through Houston. Carriers will "rob Peter to pay Paul to pad their schedule," said Ken Jenkins, principal crisis response strategist at NavAid Crisis Consulting Group. But already congested airports mean open gates in other cities are scarce. "It's a huge undertaking, especially when you're a huge airline like United and Southwest," said Jenkins.

The impact of Houston's closure is also likely to ripple across airline operations throughout the country in coming days as pilots and flight attendants based in Houston, country's fourth largest city, aren't able to get to their assignments. Once back online, don't expect airports to return to immediately return to normal, he said. "The number of passengers is going to be exponentially higher" at the airports as airlines catch up from days of backed up travelers returning to the airport, he said. Despite the flooding across the city, infrastructure at IAH appeared to be largely functioning Monday. A live webcam stream showed the automated trains that connect the terminals functioning and relief flights continued to land throughout the day.  IAH sits 96 feet above sea level, compared to 46 for Hobby.

At Hobby, the status was less certain. Photos on social media Sunday showed the airport partially under water. By Sunday evening, Southwest was able to fly out five of its 737s from its Hobby hub, airlifting around 500 stranded  customers to Dallas. The FAA said instrument landing systems for arriving planes were offline at both airports.

SWA Evacs Houston; ACA Coordinating Relief

By Geoff Rapoport

Volunteer pilots wanting to lend a hand to those impacted by Hurricane Harvey are encouraged to offer their services through the Air Care Alliance (ACA) or other established public-benefit flying organizations. Pilots are needed to fly supplies in and to fly people and animals out from areas that have been cut off from assistance by post-hurricane flooding. However, the ACA cautions “that during an emergency FEMA and other relief groups tend to be overloaded with offers of help. Most who are actually asked to fly missions do so through the various flying organizations in the ACA, or for local agencies and social service organizations. Thus we urge you to volunteer and fly with them.” Persons needing assistance flights or wishing to volunteer can both submit inquiries to the ACA here.

Meanwhile, Houston Airport will remain closed through Thursday and major disruptions are expected as the stubborn storm finally begins moving away from Texas eastward. The aviation stories are many and will filter out over the next few days but early in the unfolding disaster, Southwest Airlines flew 500 people stranded at Houston Hobby Airport to safety at Dallas Love Field. Flooding from Hurricane Harvey forced the FAA to shut down Houston Hobby Airport over the weekend, along with roads in and out of the airport, leaving hundreds stranded inside. Southwest is reported to have received special authorization from the FAA to evacuate five 737s worth of stranded fliers and airport employees.

Spirit Airlines Flies Travelers Stranded by Hurricane Harvey Out of Houston

             By Emon Reiser, SF Journal

Spirit Airlines Inc. is among the airlines assisting with evacuation efforts as Hurricane Harvey batters the Texas Gulf Coast. The Miramar-based airline (Nasdaq: SAVE) yesterday flew two empty planes from Fort Lauderdale to Houston and left the beleaguered city with 189 people, only ten of which were Spirit customers.

The Miramar-based airline transported 189 people to Chicago and Detroit. They were more than 800 people were left stranded as officials on Sunday closed Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport (HOU), according to our sister paper, the Houston Business Journal. That number dwindled to a few hundred as of yesterday as Hurricane Harvey dumped water on the airports' runways.From Houston, Spirit dropped the travelers off in Chicago and Detroit, where they could seek shelter or rebook flights. Paul Berry, a spokesman for Spirit, said more planes may be sent to Houston upon request. Other major airlines are assisting with evacuation efforts, according to the Houston Business Journal. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co.(NYSE: LUV) flew 486 people to Dallas Love Field, and Chicago-based United Airlines(NYSE: UAL) took 272 passengers to Chicago.

Hurricane Harvey is causing historic damage in Texas. It made landfall Friday night as a Category 4 storm and has since been downgraded to a Tropical Storm. Many areas in Houston are inundated with flooding and thousands still need to evacuate. The storm is expected to make landfall in Louisiana next.

NTSB Cites Fuel-Management Hazard

By Mary Grady


https://cdn.avweb.com/media/newspics/170/p1bonudavh1uq219ks1t6u18sn8es6.jpgBetter fuel management by aviators could prevent an average of 50 general aviation accidents a year, the NTSB said in a GA Safety Alert issued Tuesday. “The idea of running out of fuel in an aircraft is unthinkable, and yet, it causes more accidents than anyone might imagine,” the alert notes. “Fuel management is the sixth leading cause of general aviation accidents in the U.S.” Pilot error contributed to 95 percent of the fuel-management-related accidents; equipment issues contributed to just 5 percent.

The safety board suggested several strategies that would help to reduce the number of fuel-starvation accidents. Don’t rely exclusively on fuel gauges, visually confirm the quantity of fuel in the tanks before takeoff. Know the aircraft's fuel system and how it works. Have a fuel reserve for each flight. Don’t try to stretch the fuel supply — stop and get gas. The full safety alert is posted online.

British Airways Calls On UK Border Force To Improve Services At Heathrow

                        By Breaking Travel News

British Airways has called on the UK’s border force to tackle serious inefficiencies that are causing British citizens and visitors to endure long queues and frustrating delays when arriving at UK airports. In a submission to the Home Office, the airline has raised concerns that families returning from holidays face long queues to pass through immigration. The airline also stated that with Brexit just round the corner, more than ever, the UK needs to show that it’s an easy place to travel to. When launching Terminal 5’s eGates in 2015, the Home Office said: “Automated technology, such as eGates, give border force the ability to process a higher number of low risk passengers more quickly and using less resource.

“This reduces queue times as well as freeing border force officers up to focus on other priority work such as cracking down on the smuggling of dangerous goods and identifying potential victims of trafficking.” Yet, routinely at Terminal 5 only one third of the 29 state of the art eGates are open. In addition, they are usually shut prematurely at 23:00 while customers are still making their way off flights causing massive queues and frustrating delays. Ensuring as many of the eGates as possible are in use not only means faster passage for eligible travellers but it also eases waiting times for those customers not able to use the automated gates including those travelling with children under the age of 12.

Ragbhir Pattar, British Airways director of Heathrow, said: “We recognise some of the steps being taken by border force to improve the service they provide to travellers. “However, more focus must be put on operating in the most efficient and flexible way and ensuring passengers’ needs are put first. “It is a constant frustration to us and to our customers that after a long flight they have to stand in queues, sometimes for over an hour, just to get back into the country. “And it is a dreadful welcome for visitors to the UK to be faced with a packed immigration hall and the prospect of a frustrating delay to the start of their holiday or business trip.

“It adds insult to injury when you’re stuck in a queue but can see numerous gates which just aren’t being used. “We wholeheartedly support the essential role the border force has to protect the UK but more must be done to prevent these unnecessary delays.”


Pilot Freaks Out Passengers With ‘Horrific’ Tornado Warning New York Post

Ladies and gentlemen, buckle up for some tornadoes! The pilot of a Newark-bound United flight delivered a chilling warning that kicked up a storm among his terrified passengers, according to a report. He announced that the flight — which had already been delayed in Chicago two hours on Tuesday — would encounter terrible storms, including twisters, passengers told NJ.com. “He seemed angry,” said Pamela Kent, a Princeton resident who was traveling with her daughter Jessica. “He said, ‘We’re going to be flying through horrific storms, including tornadoes.’”


Adding to the apocalyptic atmosphere, the pilot also instructed passengers on the overbooked flight to “get to know your neighbors,” Kent said. The pilot then returned to the cockpit and closed the door, she added. There were tornado warnings across Warren County in New Jersey and in parts of Pennsylvania late Tuesday as heavy rain pummeled the mid-Atlantic region. When the plane finally prepared to taxi, the pilot got back on the intercom to notify the passengers that the plane had to return to the gate because of a maintenance issue, Kent said.


That was the last straw for about 50 passengers, including Kent, who demanded to be let off to seek alternate ways to reach Newark. “It was a general feeling of being rattled,” she said. “You want a pilot to have confidence. There was not that feeling.” By then, the crew also had “timed out” of their shift and had to be replaced, NJ.com

reported. The 5:54 p.m. flight finally took off at 1:14 a.m. Wednesday and landed in Newark at 3:58 a.m.

United Airlines said it was looking into the incident. “We would never put our crew or our passengers in a situation where it was unsafe to fly,” airline spokeswoman Natalie Noonan said. “The safety of the passengers and the crew is always our  No. 1 priority.”

Delta Air Lines Launches Video Chat Reservations Service By Breaking Travel News

Delta Air Lines’ latest innovative test program at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport allows customers to video chat from the airport with a specialist – a first for US-based airlines. Five interactive digital screens with individual receivers are now featured at the redesigned Delta Sky Assist so customers can connect face-to-face with Delta specialists. Customers simply pick up a receiver, initiate the live video chat with one touch on the screen and are on their way to anything from changing a flight to sharing feedback. “More and more people are choosing video chat to connect in their everyday lives, so we wanted to bring that channel to Delta customers,” said Charisse Evans, vice president, reservations sales and customer care. “We have the best specialists in the business – and now, they’ll be able to deliver customer solutions in an even more personal, face-to-face way.”

The Delta Sky Assist pilot project is the next phase in the Delta reservations team’s mission to listen, care and connect in the platforms customers prefer. Delta already encourages customers to contact reservations via social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, in addition to email and the telephone.  Furthering Delta’s commitment to implementing innovative solutions that are available to all customers, one of the video screens is located on the wall at a height to better serve customers with disabilities.

This is just the latest example of Delta leading the industry with innovative enhancements to the customer experience, following the recent pilot projects at DCA that allow eligible customers to enter Delta Sky Club and board the aircraft using only their fingerprints.


Over the past year, Delta has led the industry on a number of customer solutions with a redesigned gate and boarding experience, biometric-based self-service bag drop, RFID baggage handling, real-time bag tracking via the Fly Delta mobile app, more efficient and high-tech automated screening lanes and a ground-breaking app that helps Delta pilots avoid turbulence for a more comfortable flight. Delta will review the video chat test to understand if it creates a better engagement opportunity for the customer, while capturing employee feedback to drive improvements. This feedback will drive additional innovative customer touch points.

        Jetblue Will Test Facial-

        Recognition Boarding Technology

                                  By David L. Harris,

                       Boston Business Journal

JetBlue Airways Corp. said Wednesday that it will begin to test facial-recognition technology as part its the boarding process. The New York-based airline said that it will collaborate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and SITA, an information technology company based in Switzerland, to test a new paperless and deviceless self-boarding process. JetBlue will be the first airline to integrate with the U.S. agency to use biometrics and facial recognition technology to verify customers at the gate during boarding. The airline, which has a large presence in Florida, will start testing the technology at Boston's Logan International Airport. The program will start in June on flights from Logan to Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport.

Customers can participate without any prior enrollment or registration after they've gone through the normal security screening, JetBlue said in a release. Customers who opt in during the boarding process can put away their boarding passes and devices and simply step up to the camera for a quick photo, the airline said. The custom-designed camera station will connect to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to instantly match the image to passport, visa or immigration photos in the CBP database and verify flight details. The customer will be notified on an integrated screen above the camera when they are cleared to proceed to the jet bridge. JetBlue said the technology will allow crew members from behind the counter to interact with customers and assist throughout the process. JetBlue will issue iPad minis to crew members, giving them mobility to monitor and manage the boarding process while interacting with customers, the company said.“We hope to learn how we can further reduce friction points in the airport experience, with the boarding process being one of the hardest to solve,” said Joanna Geraghty, executive vice president customer experience at JetBlue, in a statement. “Self-boarding eliminates boarding pass scanning and manual passport checks. Just look into the camera and you’re on your way.”

This Famous WWII Bomber Factory Will Now Be Used to Test Driverless-Car Tech

Where Rosie Once Riveted, Cars Will Now Drive Themselves

By Keith Naughton

Self-driving cars will begin taking test laps this December on the site of a famous World War II airplane factory in Michigan where Rosie the Riveter helped produce a shiny B-24 Liberator bomber every hour more than seven decades ago. Driverless cars — some without steering wheels, accelerators or brake pedals — will race at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour around a 2.5-mile loop that includes a triple-decker overpass, a 700-foot tunnel and a decommissioned federal highway. The test track, known as the American Center for Mobility, is under construction on the grounds of the former Willow Run factory that was a critical cog in Detroit’s famed Arsenal of Democracy during World War II. Contractors work at the construction site of the American Center for Mobility in Ypsilanti, Michigan, on Aug. 15, 2017.

Automakers, suppliers and technology companies will share the $110 million facility to accelerate the arrival of autonomous cars. Eventually, the 500-acre center will feature fake suburban neighborhoods, rural country roads and urban streets with robot pedestrians darting into traffic. The test track will include a full-size freeway interchange with looping on and off ramps. “Here’s the reality: These vehicles are going to happen and it is going to transform mobility in the world,” Debbie Dingell, a Democratic congresswoman from Michigan, said during a tour of the facility Tuesday. “And it’s either going to happen in America or it’s going to happen in China or India or western Europe. And we are not going to let that happen.”

Earth movers and front loaders are now building bridges and overpasses on the vast site where the factory was leveled a few years ago. The test track spills out onto the adjoining U.S. 12 highway, where autonomous test cars will take over two eastbound lanes as regular traffic is rerouted to the westbound lanes on a 1.5-mile section of the lightly traveled roadway. Dingell was accompanied by Bob Latta, the Ohio Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection panel. In a rare show of bipartisanship, Latta’s panel last month unanimously approved legislation that allows manufacturers to test thousands of self-driving vehicles on public roads while safety regulators come up with rules for driverless rides. The bill would also prohibit states from regulating the mechanical, software and safety systems of autonomous cars.  “We’re looking five and 10 years out,” Latta said. “We don’t want to have legislation out there or regulations that are going to stymie development” of autonomous vehicles.

Latta said developing self-driving cars is imperative because U.S. roadway deaths jumped 14 percent over the last two years, with more than 40,000 people dying in crashes in 2016. Federal statistics show that 94 percent of highway fatalities are the result of human error. “I’d like to think right now that the United States is on the forefront” of developing self-driving cars, Latta said. “We want to stay at the front, so we don’t want to put roadblocks up.”

Detroit and Silicon Valley, vying for supremacy over autonomous autos, each have official test sites in their backyards. GoMentum Station, a decommissioned Naval base in Concord, California, also was named an official test site. There, 20 miles of roads weave around empty barracks, a mess hall, gymnasium and bowling alley. “I’m tired of this California versus the Midwest” competition, Dingell said. “We need to give a whole hell of a lot more credit to what is happening here and what is being built in Michigan, Ohio and the Midwest. We are at the forefront of that innovation.”

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces $162.4 Million in Infrastructure Grants to 72 Airports in 31 States,
 By Marcia Alexander-Adams

 WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao today announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award $162.4 million in airport infrastructure grants to 72 airports in 31 states across the United States as part of the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program (AIP). “The Airport Improvement Program helps to maintain our aviation infrastructure and supports safety, capacity, security and environmental improvements,” said Secretary Chao.  “This is an important investment in these airports and the economic vitality of their respective communities.” The airport grant program funds various types of airport infrastructure projects, including runways, taxiways, and airport signage, lighting, and markings, all of which help to create thousands of jobs. To date this year, the U.S. Department of Transportation has announced more than 1,351 new grants to nearly 1,205 airports for a total of $2.1 billion.  These grants will provide funds for 564 runway projects and 475 taxiway projects that are important to the safety and efficiency of the nation’s system of airports.

Airports are entitled to a certain amount of AIP funding each year, based on passenger volume. If their capital project needs exceed their available entitlement funds, then the FAA can supplement their entitlements with discretionary funding. Those airports receiving discretionary grants are listed here, while the entitlement grant recipients can be found on our website.

  • Pago Pago International Airport in the American Samoa, $3 million – funds will be used to repair runway 05/23.
  • Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport in San Jose, CA, 3.2 million – funds will be used to purchase six zero emissions vehicles and to build the infrastructure for charging stations.
  • Miami Executive Airport in Miami FL, $3.1 million – the grant will be used to construct a new taxiway.
  • Miami International Airport in Miami, FL, $23.5 million – funds will be used to reconstruct Taxiway R.
  • McCall Municipal Airport in McCall, ID, $ 1.1 million – funds will be used to construct an airport apron the area where aircraft park.
  • Owensboro-Daviess-County Airport in Owensboro, KY, $.4.1 million – funds will be used to construct an aircraft rescue and firefighting building. 
  • Montgomery County Airpark in Gaithersburg, MD, $2.3 million – grant funds will be used to repair the airport taxiway.
  • Greater Cumberland Regional Airport in Wiley Ford, WV, $5.4 million – funds will be used to repair Runway 05/23. 
  • Freemont Municipal Airport in Freemont, MI, $1 million – grant funds will be used for the rehabilitation of Runway 18/36. As a participant in the State Block Grant Program, the state of Michigan administers AIP funds for general aviation airports, including Freemont Municipal Airport, in the state.
  • Detroit Lakes-Wething Field in Detroit lakes, MN, $2 million – funds will be used to construct a runway safety area at the end of the runway.
  • Raleigh-Durham International Airport in Raleigh, NC, $1.6 million – grant funds will be used to purchase four zero emissions vehicles and to build the infrastructure for charging stations. 
  • Dickinson-Theodore Roosevelt Regional Airport in Dickinson, ND, $2 million – funds will be used to widen the taxiway. 
  • Hector International Airport in Fargo, ND, $4.4 million – the project will fund the repair of a taxiway.
  • Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, NJ, $1 million – the grant will fund the repair of Runway 05/23. 
  • Trenton Mercer Airport in Trenton, NJ, $3 million – grants funds will be used to repair the taxiway. 
  • Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport in Cleveland, OH, $7.3 million – funds will be used to purchase snow removal equipment. 
  • Cuyahoga County Airport in Cleveland, OH, $11.3 million – grant funds will be used to repair and extend Runway 06/24. 
  • Claremore Regional Airport in Claremore, OK, $1.9 million – the project will fund the repair of Runway 17/35.  
  • Grants Pass Airport in Grants Pass, OR, $1.1 million – funds will be used to construct a taxiway. 
  • Pittsburgh International Airport in Pittsburgh, PA, $ 12.3 million – grant funds will be used to construct a deicing pad on the airport. 
  • Donaldson Field in Greenville, SC, $ 5.1 million – funds will be used to repair a taxiway. 
  • Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Fort Worth, TX, $1.5 million – grants funds will be used to extend Runway 16L/34R.
  • Waukesha Airport in Waukesha, WI, $1.8 million – grant funds will be used for the expansion of the apron. As a participant in the State Block Grant Program, the state of Wisconsin administers AIP funds for general aviation airports, including Waukesha Airport, in the state.

The FAA will issue AIP grants to the airports over the next several weeks in time to take advantage of the summer construction season. The grants will ensure the projects at these airports are either under construction or completed prior to the onset of the winter season.

FAA Airport Grants Translate Into Vital Infrastructure Updates

By Rob Mark August 15, 2017

The FAA announced more than $162 million in grants as part of its Airport Improvement Program.

In government dollars, $162 million might seem like chump change, especially when it gets split up 72 ways. But for the recipients of the airport grants announced yesterday by the FAA, the money means an opportunity to add or repair much needed airport infrastructure.

Yesterday’s award is part of the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program, grants awarded to airport sponsors to keep help their facilities in top-notch condition in order to fulfill their role in the National Airspace System. The AIP grant program pays for new runways and taxiways, as well as their rehabilitation, airport signage, lighting and markings, all of which help create thousands of jobs.

AIP funding is money returned to system users through their aviation fuel taxes, airline ticket taxes and air freight charges. The individual amounts awarded to each airport are determined by passenger volume at each facility. A few of the grant recipients in this round of funding include: Miami Executive Airport FL, receiving $3.1M for a new taxiway; Montgomery County Air Park MD, receiving $2.3M to repair a taxiway; and Waukesha WI, receiving $1.8M to expand the airport apron.

Ryanair Calls On UK Airports To Limit Passenger Alcohol Consumption

By Breaking Travel News

Ryanair has called on UK airports to take “necessary measures” to prevent excessive alcohol consumption, in the wake of increased disruptive behaviour from passengers travelling from British airports. The CAA reported a 600 per cent increase in disruptive passenger incidents in the UK between 2012 and 2016 with most “involving alcohol”. As a result Ryanair urged the airports to take more responsibility for this safety issue. Measures suggested include the banning the sale of all alcohol in bars and restaurants before 10:00. The low-cost carrier also urged the mandatory use of boarding cards when purchasing alcoholic drinks in bars and restaurants (in the same way a boarding card is needed for airport purchases) and limiting the number of drinks per boarding pass to a max of two.


Ryanair has already taken a number of measures to prevent disruptive behaviour on its UK flights, and customers are not permitted to consume their own duty-free purchases on board.  Customers flying from Glasgow Prestwick and Manchester to Alicante and Ibiza are no longer permitted to bring duty free alcohol on board the aircraft, and those who have purchased duty free alcohol will be asked to put it into the hold or leave their purchases behind. Ryanair spokesman Kenny Jacobs said: “It’s completely unfair that airports can profit from the unlimited sale of alcohol to passengers and leave the airlines to deal with the safety consequences.

“This is a particular problem during flight delays when airports apply no limit to the sale of alcohol in airside bars and restaurants. “This is an issue which the airports must now address and we are calling for significant changes to prohibit the sale of alcohol at airports, particularly with early morning flights and when flights are delayed. “As the largest airline in Europe, Ryanair’s number one priority is the safety of our customers, crew and aircraft and we operate strict guidelines for the carriage of customers who are disruptive or appear to be under the influence of alcohol. “Given that all our flights are short-haul, very little alcohol is actually sold on board, so it’s incumbent on the airports to introduce these preventative measures to curb excessive drinking and the problems it creates, rather than allowing passengers to drink to excess before their flights.”


UK Government Reveals Aviation Policy Consultation

By Manchester Airport News

Manchester Airport will be expanded as the aviation sector develops in the UK. Shaping aviation to help boost economic growth, connectivity and skills will be at the centre of a new strategy to prepare the industry for the next the decades and beyond, the government announced today. The public are being asked to have their say on how this vital sector should respond to a range of technological, security, environmental and customer service challenges. The review also looks at how the government can support future growth in an industry which directly supports 240,000 jobs and contributes at least £22 billion to the UK economy each year.Transport secretary Chris Grayling will today launch a public discussion to help shape and promote the future of the aviation industry both up to 2050 and beyond. Airport bag check-ins in town centres and a ‘luggage portering’ service are among a series of innovative ideas the public is being asked for views on. Other issues include possible new forms of compensation for noise or designing targets for noise reduction.

The government is also keen for views on how it should support and regulate emerging technologies around personal travel. The document also discusses how we can make best use of existing capacity at all airports around the country. The secretary of state announced the strategy at the launch of a £1 billion programme to double the size of Manchester Airport’s Terminal 2. The project will create 1,500 jobs, allow for more international destinations, and grow passenger numbers from 27 million to 45 million a year. Grayling said: “Aviation is central to our future prosperity as we leave the European Union. “As a global, trading nation we want to build on the great industry we have today and create opportunities for people up and down the country. “Our new aviation strategy will look beyond the new runway at Heathrow and sets out a comprehensive long-term plan for UK aviation. “It will support jobs and economic growth across the whole of the UK.

At Manchester a £1 billion investment programme will provide passengers and airlines with world-class airport facilities, and deliver a major boost to the UK’s growth prospects and international competitiveness. Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, said: “We welcome the secretary of state’s recognition of the important role that airports across the UK will play in driving economic growth, and commitment to looking at how airports like Manchester and London Stansted can make best use of their existing capacity.”

The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK, representing 70 airlines, has welcomed the government‘s vision for the future of UK aviation. Commenting on the launch of the new aviation strategy call for evidence document, Dale Keller, chief executive of BAR UK said: “We commend the government’s recognition that aviation is a principle enabler and driver of the UK economy and the need for a cohesive and effective strategy to deliver growth and consumer benefits. “Global connectivity will be paramount to the UK’s success as we leave the European Union and it is essential that issues like border security, the customer experience, and tackling the world’s highest passenger tax, are intrinsic to the new strategy. “It is vital that this important piece of work does not remain a strategic document, like the stagnated 2003 White Paper, but is quickly and decisively acted upon with an effective implementation programme.”



House Appropriations Committee approves major $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease Research Funding at NIH


WASHINGTON, D.C., July 19, 2017 – Today the House Appropriations Committee approved an additional $400 million increase for Alzheimer’s and dementia research for the fiscal year 2018 budget. The Alzheimer’s Association, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), and its advocates applaud the House Appropriations Committee for once again approving a significant increase for Alzheimer’s disease research funding at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This bipartisan proposal was led by House Appropriations Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.). House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghusyen (R-N.J.) and Ranking Member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), as well as Labor-HHS Subcommittee Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), played a critical role in today’s announcement. 


“We are pleased Congress recognizes the large human and financial toll this fatal disease has on our nation, and continues to take decisive action in the fight to end Alzheimer’s,” said Alzheimer’s Association and AIM President and CEO Harry Johns. Today, more than 5 million people are living with Alzheimer’s. Without medical breakthroughs, the Alzheimer’s Association estimates that by mid-century the number of people with the disease is set to nearly triple, and the costs of Alzheimer’s are projected to more than quadruple to $1.1 trillion. Research is the only option to one day prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer's.  “With soaring prevalence, lack of treatment, and enormous costs, Alzheimer’s disease is a crippling triple threat unlike any other disease,” said Johns. “In order for us to change the current trajectory of the disease so that we can save lives and money, we need consistent and meaningful investments in Alzheimer’s research from the federal government.”


Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in the country at an estimated cost of $259 billion in 2017, with $175 billion of those costs borne by Medicare and Medicaid. Following an historic increase of $400 million for fiscal year 2017, Alzheimer’s and related dementia research funding at the NIH is now $1.4 billion. The Alzheimer’s Association International Research Grant Program, through philanthropic support, has committed over $385 million to more than 2,500 best-of-field grant proposals, leading to field-changing advances. According to Thomson Reuters InCites (formerly Web of Science), the Alzheimer’s Association ranks as the highest impact nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's disease research in the world, ranking in overall impact behind only the Chinese and United States governments.  


Alzheimer’s Association®

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s. For more information, visit alz.org.


Brad Paisley Calls to Cure Alzheimer’s ‘In Memory

of Glen Campbell

By Sterling Whitaker


Brad Paisley turned to social media not only to remember Glen Campbell, but also to call for a cure for Alzheimer’s “once and for all” in memory of the entertainment icon. In an Instagram post Tuesday (Aug. 8), Paisley writes, “Alzheimer’s is a thief. And although it may rob someone of their memories, it cannot touch their legacy. And what a legacy you leave behind Mr. Campbell.” He shared a picture of himself jamming with Campbell onstage, extending his trademark cowboy hat in tribute to the singer and guitarist. “Let’s figure this disease out once and for all. In memory of Glen,” he adds, ending with the hashtag #endalz. Paisley’s mother-in-law, Linda Wayne Williams, died after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s and dementia in November of 2016.


His wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, chronicled her mother’s struggle in a book titled Where the Light Gets In. Paisley and Williams both participated in a disco-themed event in June of 2017 to raise awareness and funds to fight the disease, for which there is no known cure. Campbell died on Tuesday at the age of 81 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. At the end of his life he was living full-time in a Nashville care facility, and his daughter, Ashley, admitted that he was in such bad shape that he didn’t even know that his final album, Adios, had been released in June. “We don’t want to sugarcoat it,” she told the Boot. “He has no idea that he has an album out. He had no idea when he won a Grammy.”

Tributes have poured in from every corner of the entertainment world, with Keith Urban praising Campbell’s musical influence and “humanity,” while Jake Owen turned to Facebook Live to share his cover of “Wichita Lineman.” John Mayer stunned the crowd at his Nashville gig on Tuesday night with a jaw-dropping cover of “Gentle on My Mind,” calling it “my favorite song in the world.”

Air Lease Corporation Completes Order For 12 Boeing

737 MAX Planes

By Breaking Travel News

Boeing and Air Lease Corporation have finalized an order for 12 of the 737 MAXs first announced at the 2017 Paris Air Show. The agreement also includes two new orders for the 787-9 Dreamliner. “These additional orders reflect ALC’s highly successful placements to date of our MAX and 787 order book and the need to fulfill the incremental demand we are experiencing for these aircraft across both existing and new customers for ALC,” said John (Plu ger) Plueger, Chief Executive of Air Lease Corporation. The deal includes five 737 MAX 7s and seven 737 MAX 8s, bringing ALC’s total MAX orders to 130. The leasing company has now ordered a total of 49 Dreamliners.

 “ALC understands the value and flexibility these airplanes will bring to their customers all over the world, said Boeing Commercial Airplanes president Kevin McAllister. “We’re excited to grow ALC’s order book and look forward to continuing our strong partnership.”The 737 MAX is the fastest selling airplane in Boeing history. The MAX family incorporates the latest technology CFM International LEAP-1B engines, Advanced Technology winglets and other improvements to deliver the highest efficiency, reliability and passenger comfort in the single-aisle market. The 787-9 will provide ALC’s airline customers with long-range performance capabilities and excellent operating economics.

Delta Air Lines breaks ground on $4bn LaGuardia Airport developmentDelta Air Lines Breaks Ground On $4bn LaGuardia Airport Development

                            by Travel News

Delta Air Lines has broken ground on its $4 billion, 37-gate facility at LaGuardia Airport, a major component of the transformation of the vital hub into a completely rebuilt, unified 21st-century airport. Delta chief executive Ed Bastian joined New York governor Andrew Cuomo, incoming executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey Rick Cotton, Queens Borough president Melinda Katz, and other dignitaries for a press conference and ground-breaking to mark Delta’s largest airport investment in its history. “LaGuardia is a pillar of New York’s transportation network and a key driver of economic growth,” Cuomo said.

“The ground-breaking at Delta’s facilities represents another step forward as we build an entirely new airport at LaGuardia.” He added: “Together with our private-sector partners, we are making rapid progress to create the world-class gateway to the Empire State that New Yorkers deserve.” Delta’s new state-of-the-art terminal will feature four concourses with 37 flexibly sized gates that can accommodate Delta’s full fleet; a new, larger Delta Sky Club with a Sky Deck; new hold rooms with more seating; 30 per cent more concessions space; and sustainable and scalable technology befitting of an airport of the future. “We know the new LaGuardia is one that New Yorkers will be proud to call their hometown airport,” said Bastian. “And we are confident that this investment will further cement Delta as the number one airline in New York, with the best customer service and experience on the ground as well as in the air.”

The airline will provide $3.4 billion toward the project, one of the largest private investments in a public asset in New York State.

Delta’s new facility builds on the more than $2 billion the airline has already invested into New York airports over the past seven years and underscores its commitment to LaGuardia, to New York and to providing its customers and employees at LaGuardia and across the state with a world-class experience at one of the airline’s most important hubs. The Delta project is part of the overall LaGuardia Airport redevelopment effort that broke ground in June 2016 on the new roadway configuration and on the LaGuardia Gateway Partners passenger terminal concourses on the western half of the new airport.

Air Canada Flight Misses By Four Feet

By Geoff Rapoport

New flight recorder data says Air Canada flight 759 (ACA759), an Airbus A320, descended as low as 59 feet above ground level and the 55-foot tall 787 on Taxiway C before beginning to climb out on its go-around—coming potentially as close as four feet from a collision. At four minutes to midnight on July 7, ACA759, which had been cleared to land on Runway 28R at San Francisco International, instead lined up on Taxiway C, on which three aircraft were holding for takeoff. After prompting by one of the pilots of United Flight 1 (UA1), the first in line for takeoff on Taxiway C, who was well positioned to see that ACA759 was not headed toward a runway, the tower controller instructed ACA759 to go around. After advancing the thrust levers at 85 feet above ground level, the aircraft continued to sink to a minimum altitude of 59 feet, before overflying at least two more aircraft. Altitude figures in the NTSB report are likely based on the A320’s radar altimeter, according to an A320 pilot who spoke with AVweb about the incident. The extent to which the accuracy of the radar altimeter may have been influenced by extremely close proximity to aircraft underneath has not yet been reported by the NTSB.

According to initial interviews with the flight crew, both pilots appear to have been confused by the absence of lighting on Runway 28L, which had been closed for construction. Its lights were turned off at the time of the incident, and a 20.5-foot wide flashing X had been placed near the threshold. The Air Canada pilots reporting believing that Runway 28R was actually 28L and they therefore believed that Taxiway C was Runway 28R According to the NTSB, the pilots “did not recall seeing aircraft on Taxiway C but that something did not look right to them.” At 0.7 miles from the runway, the Airbus crew had asked the tower to confirm there were no aircraft on 28R and that they were cleared to land. The NTSB only learned of the incident two days after the fact, at which point the cockpit voice recorder had been overwritten by subsequent flights.

Air India Plane Flies With Wheels Out, Forced

To Land Early

 By Saurabh Sinha, Times of India


NEW DELHI: Air India has grounded two pilots who forgot to retract aircraft landing gear after takeoff and then flew all the way from Kolkata to Nagpur with the wheels out. While the flight's destination was Mumbai, flying with the wheels out meant flying low and more fuel burn due to which the plane had to land at Nagpur after running low on fuel. The pilots realised that the wheels had been out all the while only while preparing to land at Nagpur. The lapse happened on AI 676 that took off from Kolkata last Saturday (July 22) with 99 Mumbai-bound passengers on board.

"After takeoff, both the women pilots forgot to retract the landing gear. As a result, the brand new Airbus A-320 continued to ascend at a very low climb rate. The plane finally gave up climbing after reaching an altitude of 24,000 feet as the extended landing gear meant very heavy drag. It then levelled out (continued flying at 24,000 feet as opposed to the usually assigned level of 35-37,000 feet) and flew at 230 knots (426 kmph) for the next 1.5 hours," said a source.

Aircraft are designed to fly with minimum drag for enhanced fuel efficiency and extended range. Since AI 676 was flying at a much lower than the optimal level and that too with wheels out, it meant more fuel burn due to extra drag. By the time the A-320 was near Nagpur, it was very low on fuel and the pilots decided to divert there as the plane could not have made it to Mumbai. "When preparing to land, they decided to lower the landing gear. At this point they realised that the wheels had been out all the while from Kolkata," said the source. AI spokesperson Dhananjay Kumar said the airlineis investigating this case. "The pilots were de-roistered (taken off flying duty) after the incident was reported," Kumar said.

Expressing disbelief at this lapse, a senior AI pilot attributed this to "human error and/or casual approach". "This lapse shows extremely poor situational awareness and complete breakdown of crew resource management between both women pilots on that flight. The post-take off check list includes checking if the landing gear has been retracted. They realised the landing gears were down only while preparing to land at Nagpur after running low on fuel. In such poor situational awareness, it is a miracle that they realised the plane is running low on fuel," said a senior commander.


Pilots are also surprised why and how the cabin crew or passengers did not complain of noise and vibrations associated with flying at lower altitudes. They may have felt flying in monsoon means more turbulence than usual, said a pilot. Flying at higher altitudes where air is less dense leads to improved jet engine efficiency, which translates into less fuel burn.

Passenger Makes Premature Exit From Arriving SFO Flight
By Michael Bodley, SF Chronicle

A 17-year-old boy opened an emergency exit door of a Boeing 737, stepped out onto the wing and jumped to the runway after the SFO Flight landed at San Francisco International Airport Tuesday afternoon, officials said. It was not immediately clear why the boy on a flight that originated in Panama City pushed open the weighted emergency exit door of the Copa Airlines flight, officials said. The boy had been seated in an emergency exit row on Flight 208, according to the airline. He opened the door and slid down the wing to the tarmac just minutes after landing around 2:30 p.m., while the plane was still taxiing on the runway.

A flight crew member closed the exit door and the plane was able to pull into its gate, where passengers filed out without further incident, the airline said. After jumping off the aircraft, the teenager was first apprehended by a construction crew on the airfield then detained by San Francisco police, Doug Yakel, a spokesman for SFO, said in a statement. The boy was later transferred to the custody of federal investigators. See Video at: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Official-Passenger-makes-premature-exit-from-11725798.php

    Silver Airways Announced New Leadership And Future Fleet Upgrades Valued At Up To $1.1 Billion

By Emon Reiser, SFL Journal

Effective Aug. 7, Steve Rossum will replace Sami Teittinen as the company's CEO. The company said Teittien, who was appointed to the role in 2014, is leaving for personal reasons. “I leave knowing that Silver is in the right place both strategically and tactically to continue to execute its plans under the leadership of Steve, Jason [Bewley], and the team," Teittinen said. "Most importantly, I have complete confidence that the Silver brand and our 700 team members will continue to grow and thrive as the company enters this exciting new chapter." Silver's Chief Financial Officer Jason Bewley has also been appointed president and will keep his CFO role.  The company also announced it has signed a letter of intent to renew and expand its fleet with up to 50 new ATR-600 series aircraft with 40 seats. The deal is valued at up to $1.1 billion, with an initial order for 20 ATR-42-600 aircraft with 30-50 seats to be lease financed by Silver. The agreement allows the company to upgrade to the larger series ATR-72-600 aircraft.

Silver will take delivery of up to four ATR planes this year starting in the fourth quarter, depending on regulatory approvals. The rest of the aircraft deliveries are expected by the first quarter of 2020. The airline will replace its existing fleet of 21 Saab 340B Plus aircraft "over time," the company said. It aims to expand further into the Caribbean and Southeastern United States. "Silver is at an exciting and very promising point in its ongoing strategic plan, and I am very pleased to have the opportunity to join this excellent team of aviation professionals," Rossum said.

Rossum was previously a partner at Smith, Gambrell & Russell LLP, where he was the CEO and managing director of the law firm's aviation consulting business. He had been working with Silver as an external general counsel and fleet transactions advisor. He was also a senior executive at Pinnacle Airlines, which became a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines. Rossum was the general counsel of AirTran Airways, Reno Ai and DHL Airways. He also held CFO and other senior management positions at AirTran National Air Cargo and ASTAR Air Cargo. He holds bachelors degrees from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a law degree from Emory University School of Law.

“We want to thank Sami for his leadership and wish him the best with his future endeavors,” said Gregory Segall, CEO of Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management, LLC, whose affiliates own Silver.“And we welcome Steve to the team. He has been an important contributor to Silver’s recent accomplishments in a key advisory capacity, and he’s the right person to lead the company forward."

 MIA Will Allow US, Canadian Passengers To Clear Customs

With Mobile App

By Keith Larsen, SF Journal


The Miami International Airport announced today that U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors will now be able to clear passport control by using the airport's mobile application. The airport said it is the first airport in the world authorized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to integrate Mobile Passport Control into its mobile application. “The goal of our mobile app has always been to put as many services as possible in the palm of the traveler’s hand,” said Miami-Dade aviation director Emilio T. González. “Now, in addition to easily finding their way to all they need at MIA, U.S. citizens and Canadian visitors can also breeze through passport control with the same customer-friendly travel app.” Since the airport relies heavily on international travel, the ability to clear passport control with the app will mean that people will be able to get in and out of the airport quicker, potentially making Miami International Airport (MIA) a more attractive airport to travel through for business.

Here’s how to navigate the app for first time users.

  • Download the app for free at the iPhone and Google Play app stores.
  • Create and save a traveler profile
  • Provide airline information and answer five questions about your travel itinerary.

Mike Silva, public affairs liaison for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that users of the app who are approved to clear passport control will get a receipt to go to the mobile passport control queue. There, they show the receipt and pass through without having to answer additional questions from a customs officer. Users of the app who do not get an all-clear code will be referred to an officer for further examination. Users can also set an in-app reminder to submit their information upon arrival, and pending customs declarations are saved within the app and accessible from the home screen.

The app, MIA Airport Official 2.0, also provides passengers with airport information including a turn-by-turn, blue-dot navigation with estimated walk times, real-time flight updates, and personalized shopping and dining information.

Miami International Airport is America’s second-busiest airport for international passengers and over 44.6 million travelers passed through its terminals in 2016. The airport ranks10th in the U.S for total passengers and the 30th in the world.

Table of
News Articles

  • Air Canada Flight Misses
  • Air India Flies Wheels Out
  • Air Lease Corp,12 Boeing
  • Aer Lingus Flies Into Miami
  • BA Calls UK Border Force
  • Brad Paisley Alzheimer’s
  • Built for Bottleneck
  • Copa Airlines
  • Delta Breaks Ground LGA
  • Delta Launches Video Chat
  • FAA Airport Grants Vital
  • Harvey Blocks Major Air
  • Jetblue Facial- Recognition
  • Jetblue Opened 2 Ofc. Cuba
  • MIA Passengers Mobile App
  • Naples Airport Clean-up
  • NTSB Cites Fuel-Mgm't
  • Operation Airdrop Help
  • Princess Juliana Damaged
  • Ryanair, UK Limit Alcohol 
  • Sebring/Lakeland Airports
  • Silver Air 1.l M Upgrades
  • Spirit Flies Travelers
  • SWA Evacs Houston
  • UK Reveals Aviation Policy
  • UA Pilot Tornado Warning
  • USDT Announces $162.4M
  • WWII Bomber Factory

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