Thursday, November 26, 2015

Delta suing its regional carriers over canceled flights

ATLANTA — Delta Airlines is suing its regional carriers over canceled flights caused by a suspected pilot shortage.

According to the lawsuit, it’s costing Delta millions of dollars.

The airline is taking aim at both Republic Airways and Shuttle America, which operate small regional flights for Delta all over America. Delta says the airlines are inconveniencing its customers.

“We try to avoid them but usually it’s when we fly Charlotte to Columbia, it will be a carrier of Delta and it’s canceled a lot. We try to avoid those flights if they can,” one passenger said.

The Atlanta-based airline giant filed a lawsuit recently moved to federal court against the two carriers claiming they breached their contract by causing Delta to cancel flights and rework schedules, which is costing Delta millions of dollars in lost revenue.

An aviation expert Channel 2's Rachel Stockman spoke with says the pilot shortage is due, in part, to the fact that regional pilots are now required to have 1,500 hours of flight experience.

The increase is a result of safety concerns following the 2009 regional plane crash in Buffalo, New York, where 50 people were killed.

Airline passengers say while the cancellations are inconvenient, the increased regulation makes them feel more comfortable.

Republic Airways denies it breached its contract with Delta and has filed a motion to have the lawsuit dismissed.

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Motat rallies to save the world's last remaining Solent flying boat

Motat's senior aviation volunteer Norm McKelvey has overseen the restoration of more than 20 aircraft.

It's the last of its kind and sits in an Auckland aviation workshop waiting to be fixed.

The world's only remaining Solent Mark IV Flying Boat is housed at the Museum of Technology and Transport (Motat).

But the vessel has fallen into disrepair and will require major work to preserve it.

The flying boat was first restored in the 1980s by retired members of its original flight crew as well as enthusiasts from the Solent Preservation Society.

Motat's senior aviation volunteer Norm McKelvey says the museum's aviation display hall was built to house the vessel.  

The Solent was moved outside when the workshop was extended years later.

"Unfortunately a delay occurred and instead of being outside for a few years it was out for five years," he says.

"It has fallen into disrepair as it had been outside in the weather for so long."

The first phase of the aircraft's restoration was funded by Air New Zealand and focused on the interior of the aircraft.

But the restoration of the plane's exterior has been put on hold until the museum can fund it.

"As it is with any plane, it costs money to restore them and you need quite a lot of money to accomplish what needs to be done," McKelvey says.

The museum aims to return the Solent to the way it looked during the 1950s.

Motat's commercial manager Jeff Morris says the Solent was constructed in 1949.

"This majestic flying boat once graced the Pacific skies ferrying passengers along the Coral Route," Morris says.

"The route was labelled the most romantic in the world by those who flew it."

Built in Belfast, the Solent would transport passengers from Auckland across to Fiji, Samoa, Tahiti and the Cook Islands.

Mckelvey, a retired aircraft engineer, says the aircraft played an important role in the growth of Air New Zealand as it allowed the airline to branch out and cover more of the Pacific.

Gala dinner

Motat is hosting a gala dinner and charity auction to raise funds for the restoration of the Solent.

California-based journalist and culinary historian Richard Foss will be the guest speaker at the "Dining in the Skies" event.

His talk will cover the history of inflight foods and will look at how meals were prepared on Zeppelins, flying boats and other airliners.

"Over the years, the vessels that carry humans in the air have presented the most challenging cooking environment to ever exist," Foss says.

"But cooks and engineers rose to the challenge and some strange things were tried."

The formal event will take place at Motat's Aviation Display Hall on December 3 from 6pm.

Visit for more information or to donate to the restoration project.


Authorities: No evidence of plane crash in Banana River, Merritt Island, Brevard County, Florida

Update, 6:40 p.m.:

Several Brevard County agencies have called off the search for a possible crashed plane after no evidence was found in the Banana River.

Agencies searched with a helicopter and boats, but were unable to find anything.

The Coast Guard will still search the scene as a precaution.

Brevard County Sheriff's Office deputies said they would not know if there was a plane crash until they finish searching the river.

6:08 p.m.:

Emergency personnel are investigating reports of a possible plane crash in the Banana River.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office, Brevard County Fire Rescue, Satellite Beach police and U.S. Coast Guard have all been notified of the possible crash.

A 911 caller reported seeing a plane crash into the Banana River just south of the Pineda Causeway, according to police scanner traffic.

Patrick Air Force Base officials have also been notified.

A Brevard County Sheriff's Office helicopter with thermal imaging is searching the water.

FLORIDA TODAY journalists are at the scene and investigating.

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