Monday, August 29, 2011

Boeing loses out as Kenya Airways goes to Brazil for Embraer jets

Kenya Airways will this morning sign a purchase agreement that will see the national carrier buy up to 26 jets from Brazilian firm Embraer in a deal that aligns the airline’s expansion plan and threatens the dominance of US aircraft maker Boeing.

The national carrier has been aggressively moving into new markets, especially in Africa, a move that has put a strain on its fleet, which stood at 31 in March.

An Embraer spokesperson yesterday said the deal will include the supply of 10 jets and the rights for KQ to purchase an additional 16 whose delivery is expected from the second half of next year.

“The deal also includes purchase rights for 16 aircraft, which could be either the Embraer 190 or other models of the E-Jet family,” Ghislain Bouman, the firm’s press officer for Europe, Middle East and Africa said in an interview with the Business Daily.

KQ’s decision to buy Brazilian jets, which are mainly used in domestic and short regional routes, is set to shift the balance of power in the sale of planes in Kenya that has remained in the hands of Boeing.

It is also a blow to European Airbus whom Kenya Airways has been mulling to offer contracts following delays by Boeing to deliver planes agreed on in 2006.

Of the 31 planes KQ is operating, 25 are Boeing and six from Embraer, up from three held two years ago.

The Brazilian firm has in the past year launched a charm offensive in Africa as it seeks to cut the dominance of Boeing and Airbus.

This is in line with the push by Brazil to boost trade with continent as emerging countries gradually shift their economic dependence away from rich nations.

Trade between Brazil and Africa has increased more than five-fold to $26 billion since 2003 and its embassies in the region have doubled to 34 in its quest to grow business for their companies.

Embraer has been angling for a piece of the African Market following recent expansion announcements by airlines. In his recent visit to Kenya, Mr Mathieu Duquesnoy, Embraer’s Vice President - Commercial Aviation, Middle East & Africa – who will also be presiding over today’s signing said his firm was willing to arrange credit lines through the Brazilian government’s export credit agency for smaller airlines wishing to buy its planes.

Industry data shows that Africa is expected to generate demand of upto 800 aircrafts before 2030.

For KQ, the new planes will help rev up its earnings through increased passenger traffic on its current and planned new routes as well as bring on board fuel efficient jets - a key profit driver since fuel accounts form a significant portion of the airline’s operating costs.

“As we continue to focus on the expansion of our network with longer routes from our hub in Nairobi, the acquisition of new Embraer 190s is key to our growth strategy,” said Kenya Airways’ managing director Titus Naikuni in June when the national carrier expressed its intent to buy more Brazilian jets.

“The E190 jet fits well with our expansion strategy, giving us an opportunity to expand our network and increase our frequencies.”
The firm is keen on planes that consume less fuel and have lower maintance costs as it races to put a lid on costs at a moment when its faced with ballooning costs compounded by employee wages.

Its share price has also fallen by over 36 per cent in the past year to the current price of Sh31.25.

Battle for travellers

The Embraer deal will add fresh impetus to the ongoing battle for African travellers pitting Kenya Airways, Ethiopia Airlines and South African Airlines.

It also signals Kenya Airways’ shifting preference towards the cheaper Brazilian aircraft, while cooling off debate over the rivalry between Boeing and Airbus, which Kenya Airways was planning to turn to following delay in the delivery of nine Boeing planes, commonly referred to as Dreamliners.

KQ has announced plans to start flying into Jeddah in Saudi Arabia and Beirut in Lebanon in addition to Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso launched recently.

Other routes on its radar include Abuja in Nigeria, Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro, Port Louis in Mauritius and Asmara in Eritrea in a push to connect more African cities from Nairobi in a market that generates 49 per cent of its Sh85.8 billion revenues. Its net profit grew to Sh3.5 billion in the year to March compared to Sh2 billion in a smilar period last year.

The firm plans to raise Sh20 billion this year, according to Kestrel Capital, to fund the acquisitions.


Bimini seaplanes will soar again. The 30-minute charter from South beach is sold out for Labor Day weekend.

August 29, 2011

Biminites will see the return of seaplane service from South Florida, as a new charter operator reports the upcoming U.S. Labor Day weekend is already fully booked up.

The 30-minute charter will be operated by South Beach Seaplanes and offer service out of Watson Island, Miami Beach, directly to the Bimini Seaplane Station in North Bimini, just minutes away from the Bimini Bay Resort & Marina. It is one of the features the seaplane's founder, Christian Eiroa, said would make the route attractive to many South Floridians.

"South Beach Seaplanes will offer a very high level of personalized service and comfort, while giving busy South Floridians and vacationers the option of flying when their schedules permit on one of the safest aircrafts available for seaplane travel," Eiroa said. 

In an interview with Guardian Business, Eiroa estimated South Miami travellers to Bimini via airplane had to contend with an hour drive plus a two-hour airport wait just to get to Bimini. Once there, he said most of those travellers were headed to the Bimini Bay resort, adding a taxi and boat ferry ride to their travel time. According to Eiroa, South Beach Seaplanes will eliminate much of that time and hassle, which is part of its high-end service pitch.

"When we host people in Miami, we want to give them high-end service," Eiroa said. "I fly a lot and by the time passengers make it to the airplane, we are so frustrated. So we are trying to eliminate that traumatic experience as soon as they step onto the airplane."Bimini Bay's general manager, Bill Lee, welcomed the additional airlift and service levels the charter is promising.

"We are excited seaplanes have returned to Bimini Bay Resort & Marina," said Lee.

"The personalized service guests will receive on South Beach Seaplanes will only enhance their trip to Bimini, with that high-class service continuing once they arrive at the resort."The charter will operate a nine-seater Cessna Caravan N578DD amphibious craft for an introductory price of $999 each way. That translates to less than $230 round trip at full capacity. The service will also provide another option for Biminites wishing to travel to Miami. Passengers will be able to take the "empty-leg" - the unchartered portion of the Miami-Bimini route, for $150.

Due to restrictions in the charter license, those seats cannot be scheduled and sold like a typical airline. Eiroa said the company is actively working on setting up a calendar on its website, however, so it is easy to access what the availability for those legs is.Many will remember the storied Bimini-Miami seaplane service operated by Chalk's International Airways. Started in February 1919, it was reputed to have been a rum-runner during prohibition times. By the 1990s it serviced Paradise Island - making marine take-offs and landings in Nassau Harbour a common site.

Chalks was a contender for the title of oldest continuing operating airline in the world when, just a few minutes after takeoff on December 19, 2005, Flight 101 crashed into Government Cut channel off Miami Beach. Twenty souls, including two crew members, 11 Bahamian passengers and seven American passengers, never made it to Bimini as a result of that tragedy.Chalks was flying a Grumman G-73T Turbine Mallard on that ill-fated flight, which investigators concluded crashed as a result of fatigue failure in the right wing. The South Beach Seaplanes charter will be flying the Cessna Caravan N578DD, which Eiroa says is now one of the most common seaplanes in use, and among the safest forms of air travel available.

It is one of the latest models of the Caravan, with Eiroa saying it is in common use by companies like DHL and Fedex.

Travellers may feel safer flying the new charter because of a trick Eiroa said he learned from his wife - fly low. The seaplane will only fly at about 1,000 feet altitude, he said.

Royal Air Force jets escort Nigerian aircraft to Cambridge airport

A plane from the Nigerian Air Force has had to be escorted into Cambridge Airport by two RAF fighter jets.

The Hercules was flying into Cambridge for maintenance work but had a radio failure over France and was shadowed by fighters for hundreds of miles.

Its arrival at the airport at 19:30 BST on Saturday was accompanied by a high level of security.

Marshall Aerospace at Cambridge are specialists in servicing transport planes from all over the world.

The escorting RAF Typhoon jets took over from French Mirage jets as the Hercules entered British airspace.

They then circled Cambridge airport for some time before returning to Lincolnshire, while police and special branch waited on the ground.

The Nigerian crew were interviewed by immigration officials before being cleared for entry.

The MoD said: "Quick reaction alert aircraft are launched to intercept aircraft which cannot be identified by another means, i.e the aircraft is not talking to Air Traffic Control, has not filed a flight plan and is not transmitting a recognisable radar code."

The Nigerian aircraft is expected to be at Cambridge airport for four months.

Sikorsky S-92A: St. John's chopper makes emergency landing

A Cougar helicopter flight that left Monday morning destined for offshore rig east of Newfoundland turned around and made an emergency landing in St. John's without incident.

Emergency vehicles were called to the Cougar airbase at the St. John's International Airport before the Sikorsky S-92A chopper landed after noon.

The flight was originally scheduled to land on the Henry Goodrich offshore drilling rig, which is currently working for Statoil.

A Cougar helicopter crashed into the ocean east of St. John's on March 12, 2009, killing 17 of the 18 people onboard.

That helicopter was also returning to St. John's on an aborted flight to offshore oil production facilities.


Tupolev 154M, Polish Air Force, 101: Accident occurred April 10, 2010 in Smolensk, Russia

NTSB Identification: ENG10RA025 
 Accident occurred Saturday, April 10, 2010 in Smolensk, Russia
Aircraft: TUPOLEV TU154, registration:
Injuries: 89 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On April 10, 2010, about 0656 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a Tupolev Tu-154M, Tail Number 101, operated by the Polish Air Force as flight PLF101, crashed during approach to the Military Aerodrom Smolensk "Severnyi", Russia. All 89 passengers and 7 flightcrew were killed, including the President of Poland. The airplane was destroyed by impact and postcrash fire.

Following the accident, the governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Poland concluded a bilateral agreement that the regional international independent safety investigation organization, the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), would conduct the investigation. Although the airplane was operated as a "state" aircraft, by the mutual agreement, the investigation was conducted following the guidance provided in ICAO Annex 13 Standards and Recommended Practices. As the United States was state of design and manufacture for the TAWS and FMS units, the NTSB was requested to support the investigation activity.

For more information on the accident investigation, contact MAK at

The remains of an MP who died in the April 2010 Smolensk plane disaster have been exhumed at the request of his daughter.

Zbigniew Wassermann; photo - PAP archives

Krakow-born Zbigniew Wassermann was an MP for the national-conservative Law and Justice party (PiS).

According to the prosecutor's office, the undertaking has not been made due to any doubts that Mr Wassermann was incorrectly identified.

Rather, the examination is being conducted due to “doubts [raised by his daughter Malgorzata] concerning the assertions contained in the documentation of the forensic examination received from Russia.”

Prosecutors added that “out of consideration for the victim's closest family” precise details of the examination would not be discussed.

However, the work is expected to be completed in a matter of days.

The case of Zbigniew Wassermann is not unique. Indeed, the family of Przemyslaw Gosiewski, another Law and Justice MP who perished in Smolensk, has filed for a similar undertaking to be carried out.

After inconsistencies were discovered between old Polish hospital records and the results of a Russian autopsy, the Polish miliary's prosecutor's office decided to exhume the body of the late Law and Justice MP Zbigniew Wassermann in Kraków on Monday morning.

Mr Wassermann died in the April 10, 2010 airplane crash in Smolensk, Russia, that killed a total of 97 people, including President Lech Kaczyński.

The request to exhume Mr Wassermann's body was made by his daughter, Małgorzata Wassermann.

When interviewed by TVN24 reporters she said that, “there is no doubt that the document from the Russian autopsy is a fraud.”

She said that her father had undergone a serious operation 21 years ago which resulted in the removal of some of his organs. According to the Russian autopsy, however, her father still had those organs, she said.

Investigators then looked at Mr Wassermann's medical records before deicding to exhume his body.

Ms Wassermann could not reveal what the Russians had written as the cause of her father's death, explaining that the information was sensitive as it formed part of the investigation.

New Aberdeen business park 'to create up to 2,000 jobs'. (Scotland)

Artist's impression of ABZ development The plan is for a 54-acre business development at Dyce in Aberdeen

Up to 2,000 jobs could be created at a new business park next to Aberdeen Airport, it has been claimed.

Plans for the £100m 54-acre construction at Dyce - called ABZ - have been unveiled, led by Ribnort.

The aim is to have the business park's units ready for occupation from summer next year.

George Stevenson, founding director of Ribnort, said: "Attracting new and retaining existing business in the north east is vital to the economy."

He added: "The site, which comprises the land between Dyce Drive, Aberdeen Airport and Wellheads Drive, is in an absolutely ideal position in terms of its location adjacent to the A96 and the future Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

"Securing a four-star hotel at ABZ will further boost the region's reputation as a tourism destination."
Airport managing director Derek Provan said: "I am delighted that after a number of years in the planning, Ribnort and Aberdeen Airport have been able to deliver a robust development plan for this site."

The land is earmarked for business park development in Aberdeen City Council's local development plan, and detailed planning permission is being dealt with.

Enterprise, planning and infrastructure convener Kate Dean said: "The city council is committed to providing much-needed high-quality development land to allow our industries to grow in order to help our local economy and to keep Aberdeen at the forefront of the Scottish and UK economies.

"This major scheme is an excellent example of the city council, the developer and Transport Scotland working together to secure major development in a strategic location close to Aberdeen Airport and the line of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route."

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Aérospatiale AS 355F-2 Ecureuil II, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), VH-NTV: Accident occurred August 18, 2011 near Cooper Inlet, Lake Eyre, South Australia - Australia

NTSB Identification: WPR11WA393 
 Accident occurred Thursday, August 18, 2011 in Marree, Australia, Australia
Aircraft: AEROSPATIALE AS355, registration:
Injuries: 3 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 18, 2011, at 1008 universal coordinated time, an Aerospatiale AS 355F2, VH-NTV, operated by Australian Broadcasting Corporation, collided with terrain shortly after takeoff near Marree, Australia. The helicopter was substantially damaged and consumed by a postaccident fire. The pilot and two passengers were fatally injured. The flight was operated under the pertinent civil regulations of Australia.

The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Australia. This report is for information purposes only and contains only information released by the Government of Australia. Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB)
P.O. Box 967, Civic Square
Canberra A.C.T. 2608
Tel: +612 6274 6054
Fax: +612 6274 6434

ABC helicopter pilot Gary Ticehurst, pictured covering the Sydney to Hobart yacht race for the 25th time. Picture: James Elsby 
Source: The Australian 

Pilot Gary Ticehurst

Gary Ticehurst potentially helped save the lives of 20 plus sailors by hovering over their stricken vessels throughout the day in horrendous conditions, answering their Mayday calls and passing crucial information on to search and rescue officials.

Ticehurst had covered more than 29 Sydney to Hobarts from the air, making him one of the most experienced pilots in world sailing. Every year he brought stunning pictures to the ABC’s TV audience and enabled radio reporters to close in on the action.

Cinematographer Andy Taylor ACS describes how valuable his flying skills were to a shoot,
“With little more than a nod and a wink to the cameraman, he would manoeuvre into position, then literally ‘fly the shot’ like some kind of magical camera platform. Beautiful creative shots that usually developed into breathtaking and picturesque reveals, sometimes tracking around the subject at very low levels. He would occasionally cue the cameraman to slowly zoom as he slowed the chopper to a hover, but generally all we needed to do was hold the camera as steady as possible, watch the horizon and hit the record button.”
Fellow chopper pilot Dick Smith knew Ticehurst well and said the crash had shocked the tightly knit helicopter community.
“He was a lovely bloke; we’re going to miss him greatly.

A memorial service for Gary Ticehurst will be held at Rushcutters Bay Park, Sydney, at 11.30am today.

Gary Ticehurst, aviator for the military, police and the media, did many things in his life but nothing was as demanding as the 1998 Sydney-Hobart yacht race. The fleet was stricken by a deadly storm and he was obliged to perform far above the call of duty. Taking a mayday call from the yacht Winston Churchill, he deployed for hours, hovering above the flailing vessels and directing rescue craft.

Controlling his machine, with his own media crew on board, he survived merciless buffeting by howling winds in what might be regarded as the performance of his life. He was credited with saving more than 20 lives. Even in normal conditions, he was capable of reading ''the wind, the light and the sea'' and performing an ''aerial ballet'', an ABC cameraman said.

Gary Edwin Ticehurst was born in Newcastle on October 10, 1950, son of a customs officer, Ted Ticehurst, and Wanda (nee Fenton). The family moved to Narwee in Sydney's south and Ticehurst went to Narwee Boys High. He received a scholarship at the University of NSW and studied mechanical engineering.

Ticehurst was keen on Australian football and made surfboards that he sold to keep himself in pocket money. He did not finish his degree, joining the army instead. He attended the Officer Training Unit, Scheyville, in 1972 and became a second lieutenant. He then went to Point Cook in Victoria to do a course in military aviation.

Ticehurst was posted to the 161 Reconnaissance Squadron based at Holsworthy but flew assignments throughout Australia. He also served as an exchange officer in Britain and with the British Army in Germany.

Ticehurst married a secretary, Anne Baxter, in 1979 and a year later left the army. He did a course at the NSW Police Academy and became a helicopter pilot in the newly formed Police Air Wing.

He stayed with the police for 18 months, then formed his own company, G & A Helicopters, which secured a contract with the ABC. Ticehurst had two children, Michelle, born in 1982, and Matthew, born in 1986.

As a television helicopter pilot, Ticehurst knew what was needed and often thought of the shots before the cameramen. He formed another company, Film Helicopters Australia, and worked on films such as Australia - allowing brilliant footage of the Kimberley landscape - the Matrix series, Superman Returns, Fool's Gold and many others. Director Bruce Hunt said: ''Gary's enthusiasm and talent made the shots sing.''

Ticehurst and Baxter divorced in 2005 and he later married a management consultant, Teresa Hall. He kept up his work, flying a twin-engine Squirrel for years. During his flying career, he chalked up more than 16,000 chopper hours. The Squirrel served Ticehurst well until the final tragic moments on August 18, when it crashed at Lake Eyre, killing him, ABC journalist Paul Lockyer and cameraman John Bean.

Ticehurst is survived by his father, his widow, his former wife and children, son-in-law Damien Smith, and sisters Glenys Holmes and Denise Mackey and their families. He was looking forward to the birth of his first two grandchildren.

Malcolm Brown

A memorial service for Gary Ticehurst will be held at Rushcutters Bay Park, Sydney, at 11.30am today.

Securing Planes At South Jersey Regional Airport (KVAY) Mount Holly, New Jersey.

In the wake of Hurricane Irene hitting the county this weekend, the South Jersey Regional Airport in Lumberton has opened their hangars to house privately owned planes to ride out the storm. In the photo, Ryan Forbeck from Shamong, who works the flight line, wheel chocks one of the planes.

Kochi international airport partially opened. Runway excursion. Gulf Air Airbus A320-200, A9C-AG, Performing Flight GF-270. India.

The Hindu The Gulf Air aircraft, stuck in slush, after it shot off the runway at the Cochin International Airport on Monday.
Photo: H. Vibhu.

The runway at Cochin International Airport, which was closed from the early hours following an accident involving a Gulf Air flight, was partially opened for flight service by afternoon.

Airport officials told Business Line that three flights had landed at the airport, that of Oman Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines and IX 411 Air India Express. The officials said that only 10 domestic flights and an international flight were cancelled and the remaining flights were rescheduled.

Meanwhile, the two-member team from the DGCA led by Assistant Director, Mr Durai Raj, has reached CIAL and started their investigations. The ferry flight of Air India carrying the rescue operation equipment to lift the nose wheel system and tow the damaged flight is expected to reach any time.

The airport company has also engaged two of its cranes of 50 and 60 tonnes capacity to lift the aircraft that had skidded off the runway into the muddy area damaging its nose wheel. CIAL has also engaged a bigger size crane of 100-tonne capacity from Cochin Shipyard Ltd to support the clearing of the damaged aircraft from the runway.

The Gulf Air flight A320 had shot off the runway at the city's international airport as it touched down the tarmac early this morning. The accident occurred at 3.50 a.m. Airport officials attributed the accident to turbulent weather and the consequent low visibility standards.

Operations at Cochin International Airport will be back to normal by 11.30 p.m. tonight.

The runway needed at least 3,100 metres to operate for bigger aircraft like 737s.

The Gulf Air flight from Bahrain, which was involved in the accident, is lying 31 metres right to the central line. The exact position of the flight right now is 2,300 metres south of 09 westerly approach, he said.

Except for one passenger, airport officials could complete the check-out formalities within 55 minutes after the incident, Mr Kurien said.

One person, who suffered fracture, has been hospitalised while six others were discharged after giving first aid. 


Airbus A320-200, A9C-AG, Performing Flight GF-270: Accident occurred August 29, 2011 at Cochin International Airport (COK) - India

Kochi: It was a close shave for 137 passengers onboard a Gulf Air plane when their plane skidded off the runway at Kochi airport in Kerala. Seven passengers were injured in the incident. 

 Some passengers in panic, jumped down from the aircraft through the emergency door even before the ladder was brought to the flight, airport sources said.

The runway has been closed for bigger aircraft following the incident, airport director ACK Nair said.

One passenger who was injured has been admitted to a nearby hospital and the others were discharged after first aid. It would take another 10 hours for the airport to be fully operational. However, smaller ATR aircrafts can land, he said.

The incident occurred at 3.55 am when the Bahrain-Kochi flight shot 5-10 metres off the runway. It was an Airbus A-320 plane.

Reports say one of the wings of the plane also broke off. Officials say heavy rain and wind was responsible for the incident.

The emergency exits of a Gulf Air passenger plane are seen deployed after it skidded off the runway at the Kochi International airport in the southern Indian state of Kerala August 29, 2011. According to the commander of the Gulf Air flight, heavy rains were the main cause for the aircraft to skid off the runway while landing. At least one person suffered injuries. 

Portuguese airline TAP to be privatized despite rise in losses

Lisbon, Portugal, 29 Aug – The Portuguese government has kept airline TAP – Air Portugal on its list of privatisations to be carried out despite the company posting increased losses in the first half of the year, according to the Portuguese press.

In the first six months of 2011, the company posted a loss of 137 million euros, as compared to a loss of 79 million euros in the same period of 2010.

The 73.4 percent rise in losses was mainly due to a rise in fuel prices, an expense that rose 43 percent between January and June, reaching a total of 325 million euros.

The agreement between the Portuguese government and the group know as the “troika” made up of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the European Commission (EC) and the European Central Bank (ECB), decided that the airline should be privatised along with airport manager ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal, rail cargo company CP Carga, water company Águas de Portugal, postal company Correios (CTT), television station Rádio e Televisão de Portugal (RTP) and the insurance arm of state financial group Caixa Geral de Depósitos.

The International Airlines Group (which resulted from the merger of British Airways and Spain’s Iberia) has already requested details of the operation.

TAP’s 10 routes to Brazil, with a total of 75 flights per week, are the main attraction for airlines such as Qatar Airways and Angola’s Taag.

A partnership with TAM-LAN, which was the result of a merger between Brazil’s TAM and Chile’s LAN, is also seen by specialists as more beneficial in terms of developing TAP’s Brazilian and African routes, which have potential growth of 7 percent by 2014.