Delta Flight Takes Unplanned Potty Break In Billings By Billings Gazette Staff

 A direct Delta flight from New York City to Seattle on Saturday night made an unplanned stop in Billings for what several passengers considered an emergency — a potty break. While enroute, the Boeing 757’s toilets “ceased functioning, with passengers queuing up and indicating they needed to visit the toilet,” according to a Delta incident report.

On a good day, the coast-to-coast flight can take about six hours. “All toilets were full and passengers needed to ‘go really bad,’ "the report states. So the flight, traveling near the Canadian border, diverted hundreds of miles south to Billings where it landed about 6 p.m. But, because a gate was not available, the airplane had to taxi to a cargo area where pilots were again told there were several “passengers that needed to find a lavatory very urgently.” Ground crews rolled a stairway to the airplane so passengers could “disembark to find relief of built-up pressures,” the Delta report said.

Kevin Ploehn, the Billings director of aviation and transit, said ground crews escorted the passengers safely into the terminal where they could do their business and wait while the plane’s toilets were serviced. The plane was also refueled so it could take off again, he said. Flights do get diverted to Billings Logan International Airport occasionally, but not normally to answer the call of nature. “I’ve heard of flights getting diverted, not here, because toilets overflowed and that blue water was rolling down the aisle,” Ploehn said. “That can’t be very pleasant.”

Delta Crew Accused Of Mistaking Passenger For Trafficking Victim

By Michael Bartiromo

 

An Atlanta-area woman says she’s upset with Delta Air Lines and U.S. Customs and Border Protection after she was mistaken for a human trafficking victim upon returning from an international vacation. Stephanie Ung, 26, told WXIA that she and a friend had just returned from a trip to Cancun, Mexico, when they were stopped by Customs and Border Protection at the Atlanta airport and questioned for over an hour — which was just long enough for Ung to miss Thanksgiving dinner with her family. “I just kept telling them that I wanted to go home for Thanksgiving dinner, with my family and that they were making me late, but they just didn’t care,” Ung told the station through tears. “They just laughed.” According to WXIA, Ung was never told why she was being questioned, though she believes that she and her friend were racially profiled and subsequently suspected of being the victims of a trafficking operation.

 

“I know human trafficking is huge within the Asian community, right, and that’s the only reason why I could see [them] stopping me. That and the fact that I was in a dress,” she told WXIA. Ung wasn’t entirely wrong in her assumption, although Delta claims the incident had nothing to do with her ethnicity or dress. In a statement released by the airline, Delta claims that another passenger alerted the crew to a passport issue concerning the two women, which led them to believe a “human trafficking event” might be taking place.“On a recent Delta flight from Cancun, two customers were observed by another customer to not be in possession of their passports — a possible indicator of a human trafficking event. Delta took the concern seriously and contacted the appropriate authorities who addressed the customers upon landing,” the airline said in a statement obtained by WXIA.


But while their suspicions turned out to be false, Delta insisted that its crew is trained to “practice best judgement to ensure the safety of all customers” and “look out for signs of possible trafficking.”The airline also took umbrage with accusations of discrimination, adding that they have reached out to Ung and her friend to discuss the matter. Ung, meanwhile, says she was in possession of her own passport throughout the flight, but still feels that Delta and the unknown passenger who alerted the crew should “mind [their] own business.” That said, Delta isn’t the only airline that takes a proactive approach to human trafficking. In 2011, Alaska Airlines flight attendant Shelia Fedrick came to the aid of a teenage girl whom she suspected to be — and was indeed — the victim of a human trafficking operation. She, too, urged her fellow airline workers to follow their instincts in these situations. “If you see something, say something,” said Fedrick when recalling the incident earlier this year. In 2013, The Washington Post had further estimated that around 50,000 women and girls are the victims of similar trafficking operations bound for the United States every year, “mainly for prostitution.”

JetBlue to Launch Daily NY-JFK Nonstop Flights From Worcester

by María Corina Roldan


MIAMI – JetBlue will launch a daily nonstop service between Worcester Regional Airport (ORH) and New York’s JFK starting on May 3, 2018.According to JetBlue, the airline will become the only commercial carrier to serve Worcester. The new route is expected to be operated by their Embraer 190 aircraft which features two-by-two seating. “This latest growth in Worcester is yet another example of JetBlue’s ongoing commitment to our Massachusetts customers and our leadership position in the region,” said Robin Hayes, president and chief executive officer, JetBlue. New York service is not the first route of the carrier to Massachusetts; JetBlue has existing nonstop flights between Worcester and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Orlando International Airport (MCO) that were launched in November 2013.

Massport CEO, Thomas P. Glynn, said Worcester Regional Airport provides essential connections to Central Massachusetts thanks to JetBlue that “has become a terrific partner in bringing those connections” to customers. “We are excited for JetBlue’s service to JFK to begin next year and look forward to the new opportunities – for both businesses and visitors – it will bring to the heart of the Commonwealth,” Glynn concluded. Service between New York and Worcester will add some new connection options to and from domestic and international destinations such as Sarasota, Florida; Antigua, St. Lucia; and Cartagena, Colombia. Worcester customers may take connections to JetBlue’s Mint destinations in the west and the seasonal service in the Caribbean. [[PASTING TABLES IS NOT SUPPORTED]] In New York, JetBlue arrives at JFK’s Terminal 5 where the airline offers nonstop flights to more than 70 destinations. JetBlue serves nine airports throughout New England, The airline is also Boston’s largest, with up to 150 daily departures to more than 60 destinations across the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America.

Air France Retrieves Stranded A380 From Canada - Flight Dashboard

David Kaminski-Morrow


Air France has retrieved the Airbus A380 stranded in Canada, flying it back to Paris, but the aircraft will not be returned to service for several weeks. The aircraft (F-HPJE) had been parked in Goose Bay since 30 September after it diverted following uncontained failure of one of its Engine Alliance GP7200 powerplants. Air France tells FlightGlobal that its own crew, rather than Airbus personnel, flew the aircraft back to Paris Charles de Gaulle on 6 December. It landed around 22:00. The aircraft has been taken to the H6 hangar at the airport, a facility which was specifically designed for A380 maintenance. Air France says the aircraft will undergo checks for "a few weeks" before it is returned to scheduled service.

The A380 suffered failure of its starboard outboard engine during a flight to Los Angeles. Its engine was subsequently replaced in Goose Bay, having been transported by an Antonov An-124, and the A380 departed Canada with all four powerplants functioning, says the airline. Air France says the detached engine has been shipped to the UK for further analysis to determine the nature and cause of the failure, which included the loss of its fan disk.

Lufthansa is Certified as a 5-Star Airline: Skytrax


Lufthansa has been Certified with the highest 5-Star Airline rating by SKYTRAX, the international air transport rating organisation. SKYTRAX has bestowed this distinguished honor to only nine other airlines in the world, and Lufthansa is the only European airline to earn this accolade. The Certified 5-Star Airline Rating recognises the highest overall quality performance and excellence in ground and inflight product provided by Lufthansa to it’s customers. A critical factor for an airline to achieve 5-Star Certification is consistency of standards, and this is where Lufthansa ranks highly across their network and different cabin types, with a core feature of the Lufthansa 5-star experience being consistent staff service quality across frontline customer touchpoints.

“The award is a well-deserved recognition of our major efforts to make Lufthansa one of the world’s leading premium airlines again,” says Carsten Spohr, Chairman of the Board of Deutsche Lufthansa AG. “We have caught up because we made huge investments in our fleet, updated all our cabins, introduced digital services, opened new lounges and improved service on board and on the ground. The combination of premium offerings with the quality and professionalism of our employees has earned Lufthansa the status of a five-star airline,” Spohr adds. “Everyone at Lufthansa can be proud of this certification, especially our colleagues in the cabins and cockpits and on the ground who fulfil our premium promise every day in their interactions with our passengers. I am convinced that the most important factor in getting the fifth star was that we have the best employees.” Edward Plaisted, CEO of Skytrax, said: “The achievement of 5-Star Airline status by Lufthansa is not only a great accolade as the first European airline to reach this target, but is a clear recognition of the improvements they have made in recent years, particularly in all areas of the front line service delivery.”


New Business class to be introduced by Lufthansa

The onboard service standards across all cabin types are meeting a high standard, and Lufthansa cabin staff service quality has developed to a point where it is very competitive within Europe, and performs well against many leading Asian and Middle Eastern airlines. The seat product consistency is good across the Lufthansa fleet, with economy class seat comfort on widebody and narrowbody aircraft being competitive within the industry, whilst the premium economy seat performs close to Best Practice across much of the rating criteria.


New Business class to be introduced by Lufthansa

In long haul Business Class, Lufthansa currently has one of the most consistent fleetwide, long haul flatbed seats. A key factor behind Lufthansa gaining 5-Star Airline Certification is the recently announced new business class cabin and seat that will be delivered when the airline receives their first Boeing 777X aircraft. Short haul business class meets the European standard, based on economy style seating with middle seats left vacant. Lufthansa First Class seat product meets a high standard of personal comfort to customers, and the current product is well rated.


Lufthansa Signature Service

Lufthansa delivers a consistent standard of inflight entertainment across the fleet for programme choices, the quality and relevance of film, TV or music options, together with items such as headsets, reading materials, inflight WiFi and phone service. On the ground, Lufthansa has continued the roll-out of its new Business and Senator lounge products, which are available with increasing consistency across the network. Customers can already see the refreshed interior décor and furniture in most lounges, and in-lounge dining quality and choices have improved. The “Welcome lounge” facilities in Frankfurt provide one of the best premium arrival experiences in the industry, and the First Class terminal in Frankfurt continues to delight those customers lucky enough to travel at the front end of the aircraft.


About Lufthansa

Lufthansa is the biggest airline within the Lufthansa Group. As one of the world’s largest and most prestigious airlines, Lufthansa flies to 165 destinations in 73 countries on 4 continents. Headquartered in Cologne and with hubs in Frankfurt/Main, Munich and Dusseldorf, Lufthansa employs more than 55,000 people. As an industry innovator, Lufthansa has long been committed to environmental care and sustainability, operating one of the most technologically-advanced and fuel-efficient fleet in the world. Its long-haul fleet includes the Boeing 747-8 and the Airbus A380, the industries’ two most environmentally-friendly passenger aircraft. The airline is the largest European operator of the A380 and was also the launch customer for the new Boeing 747-8.

Crisis averted?


After Glitch, American Airlines Says Your Christmas Flight May be Saved

By Chabeli Herrera


Crisis averted? It seems Christmas is not ruined — yet. After a computer glitch that gave too many American Airlines pilots vacation time in December and put more than 15,000 holiday flights in jeopardy of cancellation, according to estimates by the Allied Pilots Association, the airline is now close to a resolution. Out of 200,000 flights American will operate in December, “only a few hundred” currently don’t have pilots, said American Airlines spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello in an update Thursday, after the malfunction was made public Wednesday. But the Allied Pilots Association, which represents 15,000 American Airlines pilots, refutes that number. The Fort Worth, Texas-based union said in a statement Thursday that it’s able to view in “real time” the December flight crew announcements. While American Airlines says only a “few hundred” flights remain without pilots, the Allied Pilots Association says the true number of flights still in jeopardy on cancellation is in the “thousands.”

 “That data does not support management’s statement regarding December flights that ‘only a few hundred are currently unassigned to pilots,’” the union said. In fact, it estimates that “thousands” of flights are still unassigned to pilots. “We remain seriously concerned about the potential for significant schedule disruption for our passengers, pilots, and fellow employees during the critical holiday travel season,” the union said.


While both groups are looking at the same system, Aran Coello said that American is also taking into account its reserve pilots available for the month, which is part of the airline’s forward schedule. American has more reserve pilots on hand in December than normal months, she said, which will help cover the gaps caused by the glitch. “When reserve is included, and you look at the number of pilots jumping in to sign up for trips, there are only a few hundred flights left that still need to be covered,” she said. American has offered 1.5-times regular pay to pilots who volunteer to fly the affected flights, the majority of which run from Dec. 17 to Dec. 31. “That number of open flights continues to decrease thanks to our pilots who are stepping up  The leading airline has not yet canceled any scheduled flights in December as a result of the glitch, Aran Coello said, and “will continue to work to ensure both our pilots and our customers are cared for.”


American Airlines And Pilots Work Out Deal To Save Holiday Flights December 1, 20176:37 PM ET David Schaper

 

There is no need to charter a sleigh pulled by reindeer for your air travel to holiday destinations after all. American Airlines and its pilots have worked out a deal to staff cockpits in late December after a scheduling snafu threatened to cancel thousands of flights.Because of what the airline is calling "a processing error" in its scheduling system, American mistakenly allowed many more pilots to take time off over the holidays than it should have.

American apparently did just that. After a meeting Friday between union leadership and American's senior management, they reached "an agreement in principle addressing our respective needs, and we have withdrawn our grievance," the Allied Pilots Association said in a statement.

 

 

American Airlines has a deal with its pilots to keep its end-of-the-year flights staffed. The airline had inadvertently given too many pilots the holidays off.

Wilfredo Lee/AP

Capt. Dennis Tajer, who serves as spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, told NPR earlier this week that many of his fellow pilots "went to their sons, daughters, husbands and wives and said, 'Guess what? I'm off for Christmas! First time in 10 years!' "

But it turned out to be too good to be true, and Tajer said more than 15,000 flights between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31 were without a captain, first officer or both assigned to fly the plane. He said the scheduling mess-up threatened to cancel many of the flights.

The airline tried to cover the scheduling error by staffing flights with reserve pilots and offering some pilots premium pay to work. But the union filed a grievance saying the airline's efforts to restrict premium pay and trip trading for December flights violated terms of the pilots' contract.

The timing of the snafu couldn't have been worse, said transportation professor Joe Schwieterman of Chicago's DePaul University. "You look at the holiday season and [full flights] and you throw this kind of problem into the mix and no doubt, travelers get nervous," he said. "Many dread the crowds already without this lingering uncertainty."

The world's largest airline had a lot on the line, and not just because of the possibility of ruining holiday travel plans for thousands of occasional customers.

"American has a huge business traveler base that they need to keep happy," said Schwieterman, adding that he expected the airline to "open the wallet to fix this the best they can."

American apparently did just that. After a meeting Friday between union leadership and American's senior management, they reached "an agreement in principle addressing our respective needs, and we have withdrawn our grievance," the Allied Pilots Association said in a statement.

American Airlines thanked its pilots "who are doing their part to cover the holiday schedule and beyond."

"We can assure our customers that among the many stresses of the season, worry about a canceled flight won't be one of them," the airline's statement adds. "In short, if Santa is flying, so is American."

 


American Airlines And Pilots Work Out Deal To Save Holiday Flights Updated: December 1, 20176:37 PM ET David Schaper

 

There is no need to charter a sleigh pulled by reindeer for your air travel to holiday destinations after all. American Airlines and its pilots have worked out a deal to staff cockpits in late December after a scheduling snafu threatened to cancel thousands of flights.Because of what the airline is calling "a processing error" in its scheduling system, American mistakenly allowed many more pilots to take time off over the holidays than it should have.

American apparently did just that. After a meeting Friday between union leadership and American's senior management, they reached "an agreement in principle addressing our respective needs, and we have withdrawn our grievance," the Allied Pilots Association said in a statement.

 

 

American Airlines has a deal with its pilots to keep its end-of-the-year flights staffed. The airline had inadvertently given too many pilots the holidays off.

Wilfredo Lee/AP: Capt. Dennis Tajer, who serves as spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, told NPR earlier this week that many of his fellow pilots "went to their sons, daughters, husbands and wives and said, 'Guess what? I'm off for Christmas! First time in 10 years!' "


But it turned out to be too good to be true, and Tajer said more than 15,000 flights between Dec. 17 and Dec. 31 were without a captain, first officer or both assigned to fly the plane. He said the scheduling mess-up threatened to cancel many of the flights.The airline tried to cover the scheduling error by staffing flights with reserve pilots and offering some pilots premium pay to work. But the union filed a grievance saying the airline's efforts to restrict premium pay and trip trading for December flights violated terms of the pilots' contract.


The timing of the snafu couldn't have been worse, said transportation professor Joe Schwieterman of Chicago's DePaul University. "You look at the holiday season and [full flights] and you throw this kind of problem into the mix and no doubt, travelers get nervous," he said. "Many dread the crowds already without this lingering uncertainty." The world's largest airline had a lot on the line, and not just because of the possibility of ruining holiday travel plans for thousands of occasional customers.


"American has a huge business traveler base that they need to keep happy," said Schwieterman, adding that he expected the airline to "open the wallet to fix this the best they can." American apparently did just that. After a meeting Friday between union leadership and American's senior management, they reached "an agreement in principle addressing our respective needs, and we have withdrawn our grievance," the Allied Pilots Association said in a statement.


American Airlines thanked its pilots "who are doing their part to cover the holiday schedule and beyond." "We can assure our customers that among the many stresses of the season, worry about a canceled flight won't be one of them," the airline's statement adds. "In short, if Santa is flying, so is American."

 

Spirit Airlines Launches 11 New Routes, Including Fort Lauderdale-Seattle Flight  

By Emon Reiser  – S FL Journal


Vying for more vacation travelers, Spirit Airlines Inc. has launched new routes to tourism hot spots including Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Las Vegas and Montego Bay, Jamaica. The Miramar-based discount airline (Nasdaq: SAVE) on April 12 will start daily, seasonal flights between Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Spirit CEO Bob Fornaro said on an earnings call earlier this month that the airline will be adding more flights to vacation destinations to draw more dollars from leisure travelers. More new routes from Spirit, announced today:

Pilot Shortage Hitting Business Aviation By Russ Niles  November 19, 2017


https://cdn.avweb.com/media/newspics/325/p1bvb5m3cvdjl20e1q5k1trr9u36.jpgWhile regional airlines seem to be the hardest hit so far by the tightening supply of pilots, business aircraft operators are also feeling the pinch. As with the regionals, deep-pocketed larger airlines are outbidding smaller operators for the pool of experienced jet pilots and there is an inevitable result from that. "It's really a buyers' market and the buyer is the pilot now," Dennis Tajer, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association (APA) told Reuters. "If you don't pay pilots the market rate you're going to lose them.”


Single-aisle airline captains are paid an average of $268,000 a year by American Airlines while a salary survey done by the National Business Aviation Association shows a Challenger captain gets about $130,000. Bizjet operators are starting to react, however. Jet Aviation spokesman Don Haloburdo told Reuters corporate pilot salaries have increased about 20 percent in the past year.


He said a mitigating factor is that bizjet sales are flat at the moment but are expected to increase when the next generation of aircraft, like the Global 7000 and new Gulfstream G500 and G600 models, begin deliveries. “That’s where our industry is going to have a very significant challenge finding qualified crew members,” he said.

Guest Blog: Why Privatizing ATC Would Break The System

By James Van Laak


https://cdn.avweb.com/media/newspics/325/p1bvbsl2rf1pcmi331mqksdc14fi8.jpgOne of the most important conversations going on in aviation today has to do with the proposal to remove the air traffic control organization from the FAA and turn it into a privatized entity. Proponents claim that this would free the function from the bureaucracy and petty budgetary pressures of the FAA and lead to more efficient operations. They also claim that it would result in more rapid modernization of the air traffic control system. Opponents to the privatization proposal base most of their arguments on three points. First, they point out that air traffic control function is working well today, and that there is no reason to fix something that is not broken. Second, they claim that moving to a privatized system will inevitably lead to a user-fee system dominated by the airlines, which would penalize the general aviation sector. Third, they point out that this entity would have a monopoly control of the air traffic control system with minimal oversight by the government, a recipe for corruption and gross mismanagement.


As a pilot with over 47 years of experience operating under the FAA’s authority and five years as a senior executive at the agency, I have a strong opinion about these issues. In summary, I find the privatization arguments to be weak and driven by political dogma, and the arguments against completely valid. But beyond my traditional aviation credentials, I am also an expert in the design and operation of complex systems. This leads to a different and, in my view, more important conclusion about the issue based not on whom the controllers work for, but how the system works. Air transportation as we know it today is a complex system that requires many different elements to work together well, not just ATC. Obviously air traffic control is a critical piece of that system, but it is neither the only one nor even the most important. Other elements are required to ensure that the flying public is safely transported to their destinations. These include:


  • Pilot training, certification, regulation and enforcement
  • Airport design, construction and operation
  • Aircraft design, construction and operation
  • Aircraft maintenance and modification regulation and oversight
  • Avionics and navigation systems design, certification, maintenance and oversight
  • Air traffic procedures, including airspace design and special-use airspace management
  • Weather information dissemination and air traffic avoidance procedures
  • And many more


Our safe and effective air transportation system works as well as it does because all of these elements are predominantly under the control of one agency that can make them work together. Airmen are trained and overseen to make sure that safe operating practices are followed. Flight standards inspectors ensure that the navigational and airport systems comply with established standards. Aircraft are designed and maintained to be safe. Aircraft navigation systems meet the requirements of the air traffic control system so that both know what to expect from each other, across countless combinations of ground, air, airspace and weather conditions. This integration would not be as effective if the many functions belonged to different organizations even within the government. Pulling a critical piece out of the government to create a new and far more contentious barrier to coordination would be damaging and would certainly result in more near misses and more. It is true that some countries have implemented a privatized air traffic control function, but their ability to do so benefits from American leadership of the overall aviation system. FAA regulations, standards and processes form the foundation for most of the world and thereby hold the system together.


All pilots know that the FAA has problems in the way it does its job, so it is fair to ask how many of these might honestly be made better by moving air traffic to a privatized organization. By my count, damn few.  If perchance some improvement was found in one or two functions, it would be far outweighed by the breakage caused when air traffic was separated from the world air transportation system as a whole.This leads to the most important conclusion of all: Air traffic control should not be privatized because doing so would gravely weaken the safety and effectiveness of the premier air transportation system on the planet.

Airbus Envisions Autonomous Airliners

By Mary Grady | November 23, 2017


Airbus has created a new innovation center in Shenzhen, China, near Hong Kong, where it will pursue research that would enable a single pilot to fly commercial aircraft, according to Bloomberg News. Airbus Chief Technology Officer Paul Eremenko told Bloomberg this week, “We’re pursuing single-pilot operation as a potential option, and a lot of the technologies needed to make that happen have also put us on the path towards unpiloted operation.” Eremenko said a projected pilot shortage drives the research. Airbus said in a news release the new innovation center will work to “accelerate R&D, application, and industrialization of in-flight experience, connectivity, new energy, and urban air mobility [and] cultivate an integrated hardware and software ecosystem.”

 

“I think the general aviation space in China is just opening up,” Eremenko told Bloomberg, in Hong Kong. “There’s an opportunity for China to sort of take a leap ahead, as it has been prone to do in other areas, and design the aerospace system, design the regulatory regime to be future looking, forward looking, to enable urban air mobility.” The new Innovation Centre is part of an “extended worldwide innovation ecosystem” which includes the Silicon Valley innovation centre, A^3, which is working on the Vahana flying taxi.

 

Vintage Fliers: Lufthansa Restores Historic Aircraft


Miquel Ros, For CNN • Updated 17th November 2017


(CNN) — While flying is still considered a quintessentially modern way to travel, many airlines have now clocked up decades of history. And one is taking its heritage very seriously. German airline Lufthansa has been busy restoring classic examples of its former fleet for displays and experience flights. It's just brought back into service the oldest aircraft in its fleet, a Junkers Ju-52, and is set to recommission a Lockheed L-1649A Starliner from 1957. Lufthansa has also been actively involved in the recovery of a 1970s Boeing 737 -- known as Landshut -- with an infamous past as the target for a hijacking. So what are the stories behind these illustrious old flying machines?

 

Photo Here:P 'Auntie Ju' Ju-52 (D-AQUI): German airline Lufthansa is preserving its aviation heritage. It has restored an example of the Junkers Ju-52 (also known as "Tante Ju" or "Auntie Ju"), which was the workhorse of many airlines and air forces around the world. This one, D-AQUI, started its operational life in 1936 and has been back in Lufthansa's fleet since 1984.

 

Before and after World War II, the Junkers Ju-52 (also known as "Tante Ju" or "Auntie Ju") was the workhorse of many airlines and air forces around the world. While thousands were built, only a handful are still operational and in flying condition. One of them is D-AQUI, which has been in Lufthansa's fleet since 1984. This particular aircraft has come full circle. It started its operational life in 1936 with Luft Hansa, the pre-war German airline that preceded the modern Lufthansa (although there is no legal continuity between the two entities). It was then transferred to a Norwegian airline and, after the German invasion of Norway, spent the war in Scandinavia fulfilling transport duties. In 1955 it was retired from commercial service in Norway, disassembled and transported by sea to Ecuador.


After several years of service in the Amazon basin, it was discovered and purchased by an American citizen, who took it to the United States and subsequently sold it to "The Six Million Dollar Man" writer Martin Caidin.  In 1984 it was bought by Lufthansa to mark its 60th anniversary. The Ju-52 was flown back to Europe, making 16 stops along the way. Once in Germany it was thoroughly restored and put back into service on panoramic flights.  The aircraft, which sports the Luft Hansa 1936 historical livery, has a packed schedule during summer months. Between May and October it's usually booked up, attending air shows and carrying passengers on a unique flying experience around Germany and Austria. "It is not unusual to have elderly people, who flew on Ju-52 when they were very young, take their grandchildren on board," explains Wolfgang Weber, a Lufthansa spokesperson. The Ju-52 spends winters at Lufthansa Technik facilities in Hamburg, where it's subject to intense maintenance work. Taking care of such an old aircraft represents a challenge for the maintenance crews. Parts and spares are hard to come by and very often have to be manufactured from scratch. For flight information, visit the Deutsche Lufthansa Berlin-Stiftung website. See More....http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/lufthansa-vintage-aircraft/?iid=ob_lockedrail_topeditorial

Alaska Airlines to connect Seattle and Pittsburgh

By Breaking Travel News

Alaska Airlines to connect Seattle and Pittsburgh

Alaska Airlines will add a non-stop, daily service between Seattle and Pittsburgh next autumn. This new service is currently the only non-stop flight offered from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to Pittsburgh International Airport. The new route provides a link from the West Coast to the thriving business community in Pittsburgh, which is continuing to grow as more technology companies look to establish a presence in the city. “Alaska continues to meet the needs of valued Seattle guests with new service to the Steel City,” said John Kirby, vice president of capacity planning at Alaska Airlines. “We are pleased to add Pittsburgh to our growing list of destinations from our hometown of Seattle.  “With the addition of Pittsburgh, Alaska flies nonstop to 90 destinations, which is more than twice as many as any other airline.”

Cuba


At the same time, Alaska announced that it will end a daily flight between Los Angeles and Havana, Cuba. The last flight is planned for January 22nd. The airline will redeploy aircraft used to serve Havana to markets with higher demand. “Travel is about making connections, and we were honoured to have played a role in helping people make personal connections by traveling between the US and Cuba,” said  Andrew Harrison, chief commercial officer for Alaska Airlines. “We continually evaluate every route we fly to ensure we have the right number of seats to match the number of people who want to go there.” About 80 per cent of Alaska’s flyers to Havana visited under a US allowance for individual “people-to-people” educational travel. Changes to US policy last week eliminated that allowance. Given the changes in Cuba travel policies, the airline will redeploy these resources to other markets the airline serves where demand continues to be strong. Alaska started the Los Angeles-Havana flight on January 5th this year.

Boom: A Plane Faster Than Concorde With Fares A Quarter Of The Price?

Boom-FlyingBy Maureen O'Hare, CNN


Photo: If realized, the Boom concept plane could fly New York to London in 3.4 hours or Los Angeles to Sydney in six.

 

 (CNN) — A Colorado startup wants to build supersonic passenger planes faster than Concorde but with fares a quarter of the price -- and Virgin Galactic has just got on board. The Boom airplane would travel at Mach 2.2 -- more than twice the speed of sound and 2.6 times faster than any other airliner -- and fly from New York to London in 3.4 hours. That's San Francisco to Tokyo in 4.7 hours or Los Angeles to Sydney in six. That transatlantic trip cuts the standard seven-hour journey by more than half. With a round-trip price tag of $5,000 it's not exactly "affordable" travel, but for the world's business elite, it's a steal.

 

Virgin options 10 planes


Boom-at-HeathrowThe Virgin Group has optioned 10 Boom planes, in a deal reported to be worth $2 billion. It's certainly piqued British entrepreneur Richard Branson's interest: His Virgin Group optioned 10 planes. The deal, if it's followed through, could be worth a reported $2 billion. Boom has also optioned 15 additional planes to an unnamed European carrier, the firm told TechCrunch, racking up a potential income of $5 billion. Despite the big figures, the reality of a supersonic passenger jet remains small. Denver-based Boom is still working on a third-scale prototype that isn't slated to fly until 2017. CEO and founder Blake Scholl recently told Fortune he couldn't say when full-size planes would be ready for commercial flights. So right now it's just one of many new supersonic and hypersonic plane concepts promising shorter and shorter flight times, with none yet to see a runway.


How will they do it?


So how does Boom plan to do it? And how will it avoid the pitfalls encountered by its glamorous, doomed predecessor Concorde? Modern aerodynamics, carbon fiber composites, the latest engine technology and a smarter business strategy, it says.


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To reduce weight, the plane will be made of a carbon-fiber composite instead of aluminum. Seats will be similar to standard domestic first-class -- so no fancy laydown beds or hefty fripperies. There'll be just 40 of those seats too, making it a lot easier to fill than the 100-seater Concorde -- a strategy, says Boom, that cost Concorde dear. They'll be split into two single-seat rows, so everyone has an aisle seat AND a window seat -- and no turf wars over armrest space. Then there's the view from the windows: Boom plans to cut flight-time by flying at 60,000 feet, meaning passengers will be able to see the curvature of the Earth.

Newly Released FBI Documents Pertaining To The D.B. Cooper Hijacking


FBI closes DB Cooper investigation after 45 years

Jul. 13, 2016 - 2:31 By Adam Housley, Fox News, LA

Newly released FBI documents pertaining to the D.B. Cooper hijacking case include a letter that may only deepen the mystery surrounding the notorious unsolved crime which marks its 46th anniversary this week.

 

“I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be caught,” says the undated, typewritten letter from a person claiming to be the man who said he had a bomb and commandeered a Northwest Airlines flight from Portland to Seattle on Nov. 24, 1971. After releasing passengers and crew members, the man then ordered the pilots to fly to Mexico, only to parachute out the back door somewhere over Washington's rugged wooded terrain with $200,000.

 

“I didn’t rob Northwest Orient because I thought it would be romantic, heroic or any of the other euphemisms that seem to attach themselves to situations of high risk,” he said. “I’m no modern-day Robin Hood. Unfortunately (I) do have only 14 months to live.”

 

The carbon-copy letter was turned over to the FBI three weeks after the hijacking by The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and the Seattle Times, which were each mailed a copy and published stories about its contents. The letter was in an envelope with a greater Seattle area postmark.

 

Last month, the FBI released a copy of the letter that was sent to The Post in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by acclaimed D.B. Cooper sleuth, Tom Colbert, a Los Angeles TV and film producer. He believes the letter is real. “We have no doubt it’s from Cooper and the reason is that he cites he left no fingerprints on the plane,” he said. “The reason that’s critical is because it’s absolutely true. There were no prints found in the back of plane,” Colbert said. “They found 11 partial prints that’s all; sides, fingers, tips and palm. But no prints of value were found.”

 

The FBI wrapped up its D.B. Cooper investigation last year without identifying the hijacker or ruling out the possibility that he could have been killed in the treacherous jump. The FBI says it considered 800 people as suspects. The FBI also never established the authenticity of the letter to the four newspapers, or, for that matter, four other letters that also purported to be from the hijacker. Those letters were sent a few days after the hijacking. The FBI got its biggest lead in the case in 1980 when a young boy walking along the Columbia River in Washington found a bundle of rotting $20 bills whose serial numbers matched the ransom money serial numbers.

 

“My life has been one of hate, turmoil, hunger and more hate; this seemed to be the fastest and most profitable way to gain a few fast grains of peace of mind,” the letter said. “I don’t blame people for hating me for what I’ve done nor do I blame anybody for wanting me to be caught and punished, though this can never happen.”

The person wrote that he wouldn’t get caught because he wasn’t a “boasting” man, left no fingerprints, wore a toupee and “wore putty make-up.” They could add or subtract from the composite a hundred times and not come up with an accurate description,” the letter said, adding, “and we both know it.”

 

The person also wrote that he was “not holed up in some obsure (sic) backwoods town” and was not a “psycho-pathic killer. As a matter of fact I’ve never even received a speeding ticket,” the person wrote. FBI agents in the field apprised FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover of their investigation into the letter, according to other documents the FBI turned over to Colbert along with the letter. “Efforts were made by (Washington Field Office) to preserve the letter and envelope for latent fingerprints,” read one of the documents, an FBI memo. “However, both were handled by an unknown number of individuals at ‘The Washington Post’ prior to being obtained by WFO.”

 

“As a matter of fact I’ve never even received a speeding ticket.”

- Letter related to D.B. Cooper hijacking case

 

The memo also said that agents couldn’t figure out the significance of the typed number “717171684” opposite the name “Wash Post” in the bottom left corner of the letter. In another memo, agents in Seattle requested that the FBI lab determine if the paper on which the letter was written could conceivably be from government stock, “noting that it resembles the carbon copy of the airtel material used by the Field Offices.”

 

Since January, the FBI has released more than 3,000 documents to Colbert, who formed a volunteer team of 40 former law enforcement officials to investigate the hijacking. The FBI said in court papers that it has more than 71,000 documents that may be responsive to Colbert’s lawsuit. Colbert and his team believe D.B. Cooper is an individual named Robert Rackstraw who flew helicopters in the Vietnam War and is now 73 and living in the San Diego area. In March, Rackstraw sent the judge presiding over Colbert’s FOIA lawsuit a rambling 9-page letter that the judge took to be a motion to intervene in the case. In his letter Rackstraw said that he was not D. B. Cooper and accused Colbert of ruining his life. The judge responded to the letter by issuing a ruling that rejected Rackstraw's motion. In July, Rackstraw sent another letter to the court in which he again said he was not the hijacker.  

  

“They could add or subtract from the composite a hundred times and not come up with an accurate description,” the letter said, adding, “and we both know it.”

 

The person also wrote that he was “not holed up in some obsure (sic) backwoods town” and was not a “psycho-pathic killer.”

 

See Video: FBI closes DB Cooper investigation after 45 years

Bird Slams Into Miami-Bound Flight.

(Bird Was  Only Casualty)

By Howard Cohen,

 Miami Herlad 


An American Airlines Airbus A319 bound for Miami from Mexico City was slammed in the nose by a bird.As Flight 1498 approached Miami International Airport at around 11 a.m. Tuesday, the large bird hit the front end of the plane and became embedded in the nose, WPLG Local 10 reported. Birds crash into planes often — the FAA reported more than 160,000 bird strikes in a 25-year period between 1990 and 2015. Sometimes the results are deadly — and not just for the feathered victims.


A United States Air Force E-3 Sentry crash-landed at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska in 1995 after being struck by a goose, which led to 24 fatalities. Most famously, US Airways Flight 1549 had to crash land in New York’s Hudson River in 2009 after ingesting multiple Canadian geese. The heroics of pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, who guided the plane into the frigid waters off Manhattan, became known as Miracle on the Hudson because all 155 people aboard were rescued by nearby boats and there were no fatalities. Tom Hanks played Capt. Sullenberger in director Clint Eastwood’s film, “Sully.”


No word on whether Miami’s incident will spawn a movie — no injuries were reported — but the incident was certainly novel. The bird remained stuck and sticking out of the plane’s nose, causing airport personnel on the tarmac to snap photos of the damaged aircraft as the flight sat at gate D22. Airport personnel snap photos with their phones of a bird embedded in the nose of an American Airlines Airbus A319 at Miami International Airport. “It is true that we deal with bird strikes, that does happen, but never like this,” an unnamed employee told WPLG. Animal services removed the unfortunate bird and the plane is out of service until repairs are completed.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Hacked Airliner Systems

                                   By Russ Niles


The Department of Homeland Security has reportedly told a cyber security conference it was able to hack the internal systems of a Boeing 757 sitting on the ramp at Atlantic City Airport with no help from anyone on board or anywhere near the aircraft. “We got the airplane on Sept. 19, 2016. Two days later, I was successful in accomplishing a remote, non-cooperative penetration,” DHS cyber security expert Robert Hickey is quoted as saying by Avionics Today.  “[Which] means I didn’t have anybody touching the airplane, I didn’t have an insider threat. I stood off using typical stuff that could get through security and we were able to establish a presence on the systems of the aircraft.” Hickey was speaking at the CyberSat Summit in Virginia Nov. 8.


How the hack was done is classified but Hickey suggested it gave the hackers comprehensive access to the aircraft’s systems. Hickey noted that newer aircraft like the Boeing 737 MAX and 787 and Airbus’s new A350 have more robust security but 90 percent of the fleet has the same vulnerabilities as that 757. Two years ago a security researcher claimed to have gained access to an airliner's flight systems through its entertainment system but those claims were never verified.

Workhorse SureFly Octocopter
(Personal Helicopter)
By AVweb  

 Ohio-based Workhorse Group, which builds hybrid electric trucks for UPS, FedEx and others, thinks it's time to rethink the design characteristics of the traditional helicopter. The first stab at it is the SureFly VTOL aircraft. It attracted huge attention at the Innovations Center at AirVenture Oshkosh this past summer. Aviation Consumer Editor Larry Anglisano took a close look and prepared this product video. $200,000 and 2 years out from production.  ($1000. Deposit down.) Taking orders on their website:


  • Manual Flight mode, grab the joy stick.
  • Autonomous mode with a GPS (talks to Satellite)
  • Will fly by the end of the year
  • Foldable arms so you can garage it
  • Has a 2 liter, 4 cylinder gas engine.


The Octocopter is roomy than a regular helicopter and has 8 motors, Independently, which controlled each propeller. Other features are:


  1. Holds 2 passengers
  2. Goes up to 70 miles for short hops
  3. Has a battery backup
  4. Travels 35 Miles Per Hour
  5. Payload 400 lbs.


    Negotiations with FAA for a certificate by year end. The Octocopter doesn’t require too many hours of flight testing either.

             Transport Canada Reinforces

                             Pot Ban

                                                   By Russ Niles


    Transport Canada is reminding pilots that while the rest of the country may be changing its attitude toward marijuana, it hasn’t relaxed its stance. On July 1, 2018, possession of small amounts of pot and its recreational use will be legal in Canada. Provinces are developing intoxication detection and enforcement standards for drivers caught impaired behind the wheel. TC officials told delegates to the Air Transport Association of Canada meeting last week that any amount of TCH, the psychoactive chemical in cannabis, found in a pilot’s bloodstream will result in immediate suspension of flight privileges and that will last until the TCH is flushed from his or her system.


    Unlike water-soluble ethanol, TCH attaches to body fat and can persist for varying periods of time at detectable levels after one exposure. While the consequences of intoxication are potentially harsh, the chances of being caught are low, however, since Canada doesn’t mandate random drug and alcohol testing in pilots and clearly has no plans to implement such a regime.

    At the same meeting, Transport Minister Marc Garneau was asked by industry officials to consider mandatory testing in light of a fatal crash involving a seriously drunk pilot. In the absence of any regulatory support, the industry is left to police the sobriety of its pilots on its own and it can be tricky legal ground because random testing is a court-tested violation of the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


    Garneau cited the Charter in his answer to the question but the Transportation Safety Board supports random testing and says the government could justify it under the country’s Human Rights Act. As we reported last week, the 34-year-old captain of a cargo flight took off with a blood alcohol content of more than .24 and the aircraft crashed in mountains north of Vancouver, killing him and his 32-year-old first officer. The TSB also said a possible scenario for the crash was suicide.

    92nd Anniversary of the Eastern Air Transport 1929 Ford Tri-Motor Owned by EAA

    November 10, 1925 -November 10, 2017

    Still Flying

     92nd Anniversary EAA 1929 Ford Tri-Motor November 10, 1925

     

    In 1923 Colonial Airlines was first conceived when a charter service known as the B-Line came into being at Naugatuck, CT. On November 10, 2017 is the 92nd Anniversary of Ford unveiling the Tri-Motor airplane. November 10, 1925. Colonial in 1925 a small operation had established a scheduled service between Boston and New York, acquiring the first domestic Air Mail Contract when the Post Office Department transferred Air Mail service to private operation under the Kelly Act of 1925.

     

    During this period the name of the company was changed first to Colonial Airlines, then to Colonial Air Transport. Chairman of the Board of Directors was John Trumbull, a former governor of Connecticut. Irving Ballard, a Vice-President of the Boston Chamber of Commerce was made a Director, as were Juan Trippe, T.Q. Freeman, William Rockefeller, Harris Whittimore and Sherman Fairchild. All of these men were well known and prominent citizens.

     

    One of Eastern’s Ford Tri-Motors is still flying; it belongs to EAA today. The EAA1929 Ford Tri-Motor visited the Miami Executive Airport back 8 months ago (2017). The Video of that Event is on the website. An EAA TriMotor Captain, Check Captain and the KTMb Tower-Chief Louis spoke together in this video (the pilots and support crew and up-close video of ground operations)  during the EAA 1929 Ford Tri-Motor's visit to Miami Executive Airport. Music is "Dixie ... Flight of 8 flew and you can see on the video the 7 passengers boarding and their flight in Miami. Clck here for Video of that Event.

    777 Partners Announces Re-Launch Of World Airways

    The Airline will become the first long haul low cost carrier based in the US, operating Boeing 787s on routes to Asia and Latin America

    By David Zapata,

    Provided by 777 Partners Investment


    MIAMI, Nov. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/-- 777 Partners, a US based investment firm, announced today that it has acquired the intellectual property of World Airways, Inc., the iconic US airline known for its worldwide operational capabilities,  and is planning to re-launch World Airways ("World") as a low cost, long haul airline flying state of the art Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft. Initial funding for certification and aircraft acquisitions is being provided by 777 Partners. Discussions are underway with Boeing for an initial order for up to ten (10) 787-aircraft.


    Ed Wegel, Founding CEO of World commented, "World has a rich and storied history dating back to 1947. It was once the world's largest independent charter airline, and served the US military and other clients with great distinction for many years. "Today, we are proud to begin preparations to launch scheduled operations from the US to Asia and Latin America. We will be partnering with low cost, short haul carriers in the US and in the regions we serve to provide connecting traffic to and from our initial planned gateways. We plan to announce our new brand look and feel within the next few weeks, under the direction of our Founding CMO, Freddie Laker."


    Managing Partner of 777 Partners, Josh Wander, said, "777 Partners is humbled by the opportunity to participate in the relaunch of World, a seminal brand in the history of US commercial aviation. We are determined to pay proper homage to World's rich heritage by delivering a transformative flying experience rooted in safety, technology and service to the large segment of the traveling public historically priced out of international travel." For more information about World Airways, visit worldairways.com or follow on twitter @worldairways and like on Facebook at facebook.com/flyworldairways.


    About World Airways

    World Airways will be the first long haul wide body low cost carrier based in the US. It will operate the Boeing 787 on routes from the US  to Asia and Latin America, and plans to be based at Miami International Airport with planned initial operating hubs at MIA and LAX.


    About 777 Partners

    777 Partners is a Miami based investment firm focused on a broad spectrum of specialty finance businesses, asset originators and financial technology and services providers. Our overarching thesis is to incubate new ventures and to make control investments in businesses with scalable profiles and ambitious management teams operating in attractive markets. 777's senior management team is composed of industry veterans with backgrounds in private equity, venture capital, investment banking, financial technology, insurance, actuarial science, asset management, structured-credit, ABS, risk, analytics, complex commercial litigation and computer science. For more info, please see www.777part.com.

    A Reborn World Airways
    By Justin Bachman

    World Airways wants to use 787s for discount flights to Asia and Latin America. But old names on new carriers have a bad track record.  Nostalgia runs deep in the U.S. airline business—witness attempted resurrections over the years of Braniff, Pan American, Eastern, and People Express. The newest effort in the everything-that’s-old-is-new-again business is a low-cost venture that aims to fly Boeing Co. 787s to Asia and South America, replicating the type of long-haul operation that Norwegian Air has sought to pioneer with the 787 in Europe. An investment firm, 777 Partners, said Wednesday it acquired rights to fly as World Airways, a carrier that took to the skies after World War II as the armed forces’ dominant troop transport service. World, which was based in suburban Atlanta, shut down in 2014 after the U.S. Air Force canceled a key contract and creditors withdrew funding. Now it’s coming back.

    “World has a rich and storied history dating back to 1947,” Chief Executive Officer Ed Wegel said in a statement. “It was once the world’s largest independent charter airline, and served the U.S. military and other clients with great distinction.” His investment group says it’s in discussions with Boeing to buy 10 787s.

     

    Wegel has had a long career in the airline business and some history in the brand resuscitation game. Most recently, he co-founded a charter carrier using the old Eastern moniker with a focus on flights to Cuba—in 2014, he placed orders for 10 Boeing 737-800s, plus options on 10 737 Max jets. Wegel was also involved with a 1990s relaunch of the People Express brand. A decade before, that carrier had managed to combine low fares with quality service and for many became a valued carrier before things went south; People was sold to the parent of Continental Airlines in 1986. This newest endeavor aims to offer “a transformative flying experience rooted in safety, technology and service to the large segment of the traveling public historically priced out of international travel,” said Josh Wander, a managing partner at Miami-based 777.

    Whether there is goodwill associated with an old brand is up for debate, especially since so many other revival attempts failed. Miami-based Eastern struggled with the restoration of commercial air service to Cuba last year, especially in the largest Cuban travel market of Florida. In June, Phoenix-based charter airline Swift Air LLC acquired Eastern’s name, assets, a few Boeing 737s, and some customer accounts, including flights for the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers

     

    People Express attempted another reboot as a low-cost carrier in the summer of 2014, basing flights in Newark, N.J., the original airline’s home. That People Express was led by Jeffrey Erickson, who founded Reno Air in 1990 and later served as chief executive of TWA. The carrier suspended service in less than three months. And finally, the iconic Pan Am brand—created in the 1920s and perhaps the most famous airline name in the history of commercial flight—has been employed for multiple revival efforts. They all failed, too.

    747 "The Queen of The Skies: Flies Final U.S. Passenger 

    By Mary Grady


    Boeing’s 747, the iconic humped two-decker jet, flew its last flight for United Airlines on Tuesday. The four-engine widebody has lost ground to more-efficient modern aircraft. A United Airlines crew flew the final trip, from San Francisco to Honolulu, tracing the same route as the first United 747 flight in 1970. “From a 1970s-inspired menu to retro uniforms for flight attendants to inflight entertainment befitting of that first flight, passengers will help send "The Queen of the Skies" off in true style,” United said in a news release.

     

     The 747 will remain in Honolulu, United said, and passengers on the final flight were booked to go home on a different airplane.  British Airways, Korean Air and a few other international airlines still fly the jets on passenger trips. Boeing will continue to produce the 747-8F, exclusively for freight operators. The freighter can carry up to 224,900 pounds, with a range of 4,120 NM, and the ability to open up the whole nose of the airplane is a key feature when loading large items. See Videos

    Uber Signs With NASA to Develop Air Taxi Routes
                                                          By Paul Bertorelli


    Uber has signed a deal with NASA to develop software for the air taxi it plans to have in service within five years. At a web conference in Lisbon on Wednesday, Uber’s Jeff Holden said the company is teaming with NASA to develop a range of technologies designed to track and de-conflict its human-carrying quadcopters from each other and from other manned aircraft.Earlier this year, Uber announced plans to develop an on-demand air-taxi system that will initially test in Dallas, followed by Los Angeles by 2020. The company said it hopes to launch UberAir before the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.

    “Technology will allow LA residents to literally fly over the city’s historically bad traffic, giving them time back to use in far more productive ways,” Holden said, according to a report in USA Today. “At scale, we expect UberAir will perform tens of thousands of flights each day across the city,” he added. Uber hired NASA veterans Mark Moore and Tom Prevot to run the program. Moore, an electric aircraft expert, will oversee aircraft vehicle design and Prevot will handle air traffic management.

    United Airlines Waves Goodbye to Boeing 747 from Heathrow

    By Breaking Travel News

     

    United Airlines waves goodbye to Boeing 747 from HeathrowAs United Airlines celebrates the retirement of the Boeing 747 from its fleet, crowds of well-wishers have gathered at the Queen’s Terminal on to bid a fond farewell to the ‘Queen of the Skies’ and witness the very last United Boeing 747 flight to depart from London Heathrow.


    Marking this historic occasion, customers, guests, United employees as well as the flight captain and crew of the last Boeing 747 flight, joined United managing director sales, United Kingdom and Ireland, Bob Schumacher, before the departure of United flight 900 to San Francisco for a special gate celebration with entertainment from retro girl band, The Tootsie Rollers.


    “On January 22, 1970, the Boeing 747 made its very first commercial flight from New York to London for Pan American World Airways, which later became United Airlines at Heathrow, and so what better way to mark the end of an era spanning almost four decades by saying farewell to the ‘Queen of the Skies’ here in London,” said Schumacher.


    “Our customers in the UK can now enjoy a significantly enhanced onboard experience as the state-of-the-art Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner replaces the 747 on one of our two daily services from London Heathrow to San Francisco.”

    El Al After Nine-Year Hiatus, Non-Stop Flights From Miami To Israel   Are Back With El Al

                               By Chabeli Herrera,

                                          Miami Herald


    Israeli airline El Al’s nine-year Miami hiatus is over. El Al launched non-stop service between Tel Aviv and Miami Wednesday, marking the airline’s return since it canceled service at MIA in September 2008. Then, an economic crisis drove up fuel costs and rates, forcing the airline to stop serving Miami, said Yoram Elgrabli, El Al’s managing director for North and Central America. But now, the airline is ready to return to North America, Elgrabli said. Thanks to a long courtship from Miami International Airport, the airline selected Miami as its sixth route into North America. The carrier also serves New York (to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport), Los Angeles, Boston and Toronto.


    Aviation Director Emilio González says “This is a day we’ve been working on for literally years.” Beginning Wednesday, the airline is offering three weekly roundtrip flights on 279-seat Boeing 777-200 aircrafts for the nearly 12-hour flight to Tel Aviv. El Al is the second to bring nonstop flights from the Middle East to Miami in recent years. Qatar Airways inaugurated flights to Doha from Miami in June 2014.


    The return of the route is a major win for the airport, which has been in talks with El Al since February 2016, when El Al officials visited MIA. Aviation Director Emilio González and a group of executives from MIA flew to Tel Aviv in February 2017 to continue discussions with the airline at Ben Gurion International Airport, where El Al has a major hub. MIA airport director Emilio Gonzalez says the airport has been working “literally for years” to bring El Al flights back at a press conference at the airport on Wednesday, November 1. “This is a day we’ve been working on for literally years,” González said at a press conference to inaugurate the new route Wednesday, adding that securing the flight was “very important” for the growing airport. El Al is the seventh new airline to begin flying to MIA in this year.


    Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he’s been convinced Miami needed an Israel flight since a trip he took to the country in 2011.“This is about economic development, this is about connectivity between two great nations and two great areas,” Gimenez said. A direct connection with Israel, which has a robust start-up and entrepreneurship community, could help bolster Miami-Dade’s burgeoning start-up community, Gimenez said.Ready to kick off direct flights to Tel Aviv Wednesday were travelers Jack Mayer and Ivy Faske, who were on their third trip to the country – but their first on a non-stop flight from Miami. Faske said they booked the trip, a two-week stay in Jerusalem, as soon as they heard El Al was bringing back flights. The couple loves visiting Israel, said Faske, who called it “a special place.”


    This is about economic development, this is about connectivity between two great nations and two great areas. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said “ “If it was up to my wife, she’d live there,” Mayer said.  Now that they can hop on a direct flight from Miami, they plan to take advantage of the opportunity as often as possible. “We really like to go, so, yeah, we’ll probably go over for a week in [maybe] three months,” Mayer said.

    American to Say Adios

    to MD-80s in 2019

    by Flight Dashboard

    Edward Russell

     

    American Airlines has set 2019 as the year it will retire its Boeing MD-80 fleet, replacing the venerable rear-engined aircraft with modern Boeing models. While the MD-80 lacks the storied history and iconic shape of the likes of the retiring Boeing 747, it was a workhorse of American and other US carriers' domestic fleets from the 1980s through the early 2000s making it an everyday sight at airports around the country. The US fleet of in-service MD-80s and MD-90s peaked at 683 in 2000, Flight Fleets Analyzer shows. At the time, it was second only to the 1,077 Boeing 737 family aircraft - not including the DC-9 competitors the 737-100 and -200 - in US airline fleets. American has said before that the MD-80 would exit its fleet by the end of the decade, but had not publicly stated a firm date until the announcement on 30 October that it will close its St Louis pilot’s base in September 2018 due to retirements of the aircraft.


    The St Louis base, which the airline acquired with Trans World Airlines (TWA) in 2001, only includes the MD-80. Fort Worth-based American plans to finish 2017 with 45 MD-80s in its fleet, shrinking to 26 by the fall of 2018, a spokesman told FlightGlobal on 30 October. All of the carrier's MD-80s will be based at its Dallas/Fort Worth hub once the St Louis pilot base closes. The 140-seat aircraft is being replaced by 160-seat Boeing 737-800s.


    MD-80 LEGACY


    American was the first major US carrier to commit to the MD-80 – if only tentatively at first – when it agreed to "rent" 20 from McDonnell Douglas in 1982, the Flight International archive shows. The airframer essentially leased the aircraft to the airline under a deal that allowed it to return the aircraft after five years with no penalty, or earlier with a cancellation charge.

    Asset Image


    Prior to American's rental agreement, AirCal, the first Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines and Muse Air were the only US carriers operating the MD-80, Fleets Analyzer shows. TWA followed American with an order for 15 of the type later in 1982. Initially, American planned to primarily use the MD-80 to replace Boeing 727-100s in its fleet, citing 37% better fuel efficiency for the former compared to the latter, the archive shows. However, it instead opted to use the aircraft for growth when it placed what at the time was its largest order ever for 167 MD-80s, including 67 firm and 100 options, in 1984.With the 1984 deal, American had "firmly pinned its future" on the MD-80, Flight wrote in March 1984.

    Asset Image


    American's MD-80 fleet grew to 260 by 1993, the database shows. The count remained unchanged until 1999 when it increased to 279 following the acquisition of Reno Air, and then jumped to an all-time high of 362 in 2001 following American's merger with TWA.American operated more than 300 MD-80s through 2007. The fleet has shrunk every year since as aircraft have been retired.

    US Customs and Border Protection CBP Starts Biometric Exit Technology At Miami International Airport By Mark Nensel


    US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is set to deploy its federally mandated rollout of facial recognition biometric exit technology on an unidentified “select flight” from Miami International Airport (MIA), the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) division said Oct. 20. Biometric exit technology has been deployed by CBP at several US airports to-date, including Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), where CBP is implementing the technology on one daily flight from the US to Dubai; Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH), where the technology is being tested on one daily flight from the US to Tokyo; Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), only on “select” flights; Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport (LAS), on one daily flight Guadalajara, Mexico; Houston’s Hobby International Airport (HOU), only on select flights; and John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York.


    According to CBP, “the primary mission of any biometric exit program is to provide assurance of traveler identity on departure, giving CBP the opportunity to match the departure with a prior arrival record. This capability enhances the integrity of the immigration system and the ability to accurately detect travelers that have overstayed their lawful period of admission to the United States.”


    “Through our consultations with the airlines and airport stakeholders, and based on the success of several pilots, CBP determined that facial recognition was a viable exit solution,” CBP deputy executive assistant commissioner-office of field operations John Wagner said. “With the expansion of this technology we will be looking at different flights, airports, lighting conditions, and internal IT configurations to demonstrate to our stakeholders that this solution is flexible, reliable and easy for travelers to use.”


    In CBP’s biometric exit process, using the flight manifest, the agency builds a flight specific photo gallery using photographs from the travel document the traveler provided to the airline. CBP then compares the live photo against the document photo in the gallery to ensure the traveler is the true bearer of the document. If the photo captured at boarding is matched to a US passport, the traveler—having been confirmed as a US citizen—is automatically determined to be out of scope for biometric exit purposes and the photo is discarded after a short period of time.


    CBP tests of biometric facial recognition boarding technology, in partnerships with airlines, are also underway. Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines is testing e-gates at both JFK airport and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), and New York-based JetBlue Airways is testing technology that allows passengers to self-board without scanning a boarding pass at Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

           NextGen Brings Noise Complaints

                                                By Mary Grady


    Flight-path changes implemented due to NextGen have resulted in noise complaints in neighborhoods across the country, but due to the way the NextGen technology works, it may be difficult to address those conflicts, according to an Associated Press story published this week. David Grizzle, a former FAA chief operating officer, said it’s not possible to redesign procedures to fix the problems without losing out on NextGen’s advantages.


    “There is an intrinsic issue of concentrating noise in particular places that comes with precision-based navigation that is inescapable,” he told the AP. The FAA said that despite complaints from residents, “simply reverting to previous air traffic control procedures is not viable.” The new procedures are “interdependent,” and any changes would have a domino effect, the FAA said.


    Airport neighbors say constant, noisy flights above their homes affect their quality of life and property values. In some cases, those flight paths previously were routed across less densely populated areas, or were switched around frequently to offer some relief. Residents have complained the FAA failed to adequately explain the planned changes in advance or provide opportunities to comment, as they were required to do. Several court cases are pending, and in August a federal court said the FAA was “arbitrary and capricious” in revising flight procedures. The FAA said in a statement it is working with residents near airports around the country through “noise roundtables” to balance community interests with needed improvements to the national airspace system, according

    Drone Integration To Move Forward

                                                         By Mary Grady


    The integration of drones into the National Airspace System will accelerate with a pilot program directed by the FAA, the Transportation Department announced on Wednesday. The initiative will implement a directive signed by President Donald Trump this week that aims to develop a regulatory framework to allow more complex low-altitude operations; balance local and national interests; improve communications with local, state and tribal jurisdictions; address security and privacy risks; and accelerate the approval of operations that currently require special authorizations. The potential economic benefit of integrating drones into the nation’s airspace is estimated at up to $82 billion and up to 100,000 jobs, according to the president’s directive.


    The pilot program will evaluate a variety of operational concepts, including night operations, flights over people, flights beyond the pilot’s line of sight, package delivery, detect-and-avoid technologies, counter-UAS security operations and the reliability and security of data links between pilot and aircraft.


    “Stakeholders will have the opportunity through this program to demonstrate how their innovative technological and operational solutions can address complex unmanned aircraft integration challenges,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “At the same time, the program recognizes the importance of community participation in meaningful discussions about balancing local and national interests related to integrating unmanned aircraft.” The DOT is seeking proposals from private/public partnerships to participate in the program. The DOT said it will publish a notice in the Federal Register soon with more details about how proposals will be evaluated and how the program will work.

    It Is Seven Times More Difficult To Get A Flight Attendant Job At Delta Than Enter Harvard

    by Tyler Durden

     

    One of our preferred "off beat" economic indicators is how many workers apply at any one given moment in time for jobs that are hardly considered career-track. An example of this is the number of applicants for minimum wage line cook jobs at McDonalds, or flight attendant positions at Delta Airlines; conveniently, this is a series which we have tracked on and off for the past 7 years. As regular readers may recall, back in October 2010, the Atlanta-based carrier received 100,000 applications for 1,000 jobs, an "acceptance ratio" of 1.0%. Things appeared to improve modestly in 2012 when Bloomberg reported that Delta had received 22,000 applicants for 300 flight attendant jobs: this pushed the acceptance ratio slightly higher to 1.3%, as by this point the job market had improved somewhat, and there were far better job career options available.

     

    Fast forward to today when things have turned decidedly more grim for the US job market once again, at least based on this one particular indicator. According to CNN, Delta is once again on the hunt for new flight attendants, and has roughly 1,000 open positions for 2018, although this year the competition is virtually unprecedented: so far, Delta has received more than 125,000 applications for this hiring round, which all else equal would result in an acceptance ratio of 0.8%. Note, we said "virtually unprecedented" because this year ratio of applicants to open positions is identical to last year, when 150,000 people applied for 1,200 flight attendant jobs, resulting in an identical, 0.8% acceptance ratio. So what makes it such a tough gig to land?

     

    "You need to not only be a customer service professional, but also a safety expert," said Ashton Morrow, a Delta spokeswoman. Political correctness aside, you have to be young, relatively good looking, preferably a female (sorry, sexism does exist)... oh and willing to accept next to minimum wage. Even so, one would think one is trying to get into Harvard: applicants first submit an application, then chosen candidates submit a video of themselves answering a set of questions. Selected candidates are then asked to come in for an in-person interview. Last year, 35,000 people made it to the video interview part. The candidate pool was then whittled down to 6,000 people for in-person interviews.

     

    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.”

    Air Canada Follow-up Article October 24, 2017:

    Air Canada Crew Says Radio Didn't Work During SFO Landing:
     FAA Sunday's incident follows a July scare when another Air Canada jet nearly struck planes on the ground By NBC Bay Area staff

    Federal Aviation Administration officials are investigating an incident at San Francisco International Airport involving an Air Canada plane that appeared to have a radio communication breakdown while landing.  FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said air traffic control cleared Flight 781, an Airbus A320, to land on Runway 28R on Sunday night. The Air Canada crew acknowledged the instruction when they were about six miles away from the airport, Gregor said. "The tower controller subsequently instructed the Air Canada crew multiple times to execute a go-around because he was not certain that a preceding arrival would be completely clear of the runway before the Air Canada jet reached the runway threshold," Gregor said, adding the crew onboard the plan did not acknowledge any of the controller's instructions.

    A supervisor then resorted to using a red light gun to alert the Air Canada flight to go around. Gregor said flashing a light gun is standard protocol when an air crew is not responding to radio instructions.

    Air Canada Flight 781 landed on Runway 284 at 9:26 p.m. The Air Canada crew after landing told the tower they had a radio problem, according to Gregor.

    "A radar replay showed the preceding arrival was in fact clear of the runway when Air Canada landed," Gregor said.


    Video FAA Changes San Francisco Landing Rules After Close Call

    No More Air Berlin Flights From Miami —

    Or Any Place Else

    By Miami Herald


    TOBIAS SCHWARZ AFP/Getty Images


    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

    Clean-Up

    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 T