Monday, September 12, 2011

Aerial mustering and firefighting could cost more under carbon tax. (Australia)

The Flying Doctor is exempt from carbon tax, but most other regional aviation is not.
Photographer: (Emma Pedler)

By Sarina Locke
Tuesday, 13/09/2011

The regional aviation sector says mustering cattle and fighting bushfires from the air will cost more from July next year, if the carbon tax gets through Federal Parliament.

The 18 bills that make Clean Energy Future package will be introduced today.

The package includes an exemption for fuel used in emergency medical flights, like the Royal Flying Doctor Service, but not for other rescues and emergencies.

Chief executive of the Regional Aviation Association, Paul Tyrrell, says airlines will have to put up ticket prices, because fuel could go up by 6 cents a litre.

"Across our members, our conservative estimate is around $11 million a year extra in fuel costs."

But the policy think tank, the Climate Institute, says global oil prices are rising anyway, and play a greater role than carbon tax in pushing up airline ticket prices.

Emissions from Australian domestic air travel are expected to more than double by 2030, according to government figures.

The Climate Institute's William McGoldrick welcomes the legislation as a way to set up a cleaner energy future.

"Aviation is one where there is a good opportunity for airlines to invest in alternative fuels and in much greater levels of fuel efficiency, and if they do that, they can dramatically cut their pollution liability and this about encouraging them to do that."

Gulf Air Airbus A320: Directorate General of Civil Aviation blames slippery runway for aircraft mishap.

T Ramavarman, TNN 
Sep 13, 2011, 06.00AM IST

KOCHI: The DGCA team probing the aircraft accident in which a Gulf Air A320 flight slipped off the runway at Cochin International airport on August 29 has found that the slippery runway may have contributed to the mishap. Meanwhile the airport authorities have ruled out any such possibilities.

"They (the probe team) had done some tests on the runway and have found that the rubber formation in the runway may have contributed to the skidding of the aircraft. They have detected some defects in the front wheel of the aircraft as well. Apart from the pilot's error these factors must have also contributed to the mishap,'' the DGCA sources told TOI here on Monday.

"The probe is still on, and we are analyzing DFDR (Digital Flight Data Recorder) data. We have also asked Gulf Air to supply us the details of the training given to the pilots, to assess whether they are properly trained," the DGCA officials said.

The officials of the Cochin airport however said tests conducted as recently as September 3 show that the runway's friction levels are much higher that what is internationally stipulated.

"As per the International Civil Aviation Organisation's (ICAO) norms the friction coefficients of the runways should not go below 0.34, while the value was 0.61 to 0.86 till recently. On the day of the mishap the average value was hovering between 0.52 and 0.84. The value at the spot where the ill-fated aircraft touched the runway was 0.75 to 0.85. We did another test on September 3 and the value was above 0.5,'' airport director A C K Nair said.

However as part of proactive maintenance procedure, airport authorities are trying to further improve friction coefficient of the runway so that at every point the runway will have a minimum of 0.6 level, which will be almost double of the minimum required level advised by the ICAO, the airport officials said. .

The airport officials and Gulf Air officials said they had not yet received any report from the DGCA on the mishap so far.

"Until the report is received, and the inspections by the insurance company and Airbus authorities are completed, we will not be in a position to repair the aircraft. The crews are also not flying currently, pending the report of the investigation committee," the Gulf Air spokesperson said.

The airline also disclosed that the passenger who was injured in the mishap had already left the hospital after treatment.

Stranded tourists flown from Stewart, British Columbia.

Some visitors who were stranded in Stewart, BC when heavy rains and flooding washed out road access there last week are set to board the first charter plane out of the community to Prince Rupert.

By Lauren Benn - Terrace Standard
Published: September 12, 2011 4:00 PM
Updated: September 12, 2011 5:27 PM

Some visitors stranded in Stewart were flown out today after heavy rains and flooding chewed sections of HWY 37A and collapsed a bridge, isolating the town by destroying road access.

Just under half of the 117 tourists with vehicles stranded there this past week will make it out today on a charter plane which will circle to Stewart and back to Prince Rupert several times. Tomorrow, they will meet their vehicles in Prince Rupert that were loaded onto two barges this morning at 10:30 a.m. The barges take about 18 hours to get there from Stewart.

“There's over 60 in this first group,” said Peter Weeber, Stewart's chief administrative officer who has been co-ordinating relief efforts there. “Another 19 are being flown out tomorrow.”

The rest are willing to wait it out, explained Weeber, saying that transportation was prioritized by those with medical issues, flight and travel plans, hotel bookings, and R.V.s were a consideration too. The R.Vs were too big to take on the barges, said Weeber.

“There's a full caravan of RVs that are still here because they would have took up the whole barges,” he said. “But they're waiting it out.”

For those who will make it to Prince Rupert today and tomorrow, shuttles have been arranged to transport them to their vehicles, and hotels and accommodations have been booked, Weeber said, adding that other ways to get out of Stewart include taking a helicopter to Meziadin Junction on HWY 37A 65 kilometres east of Stewart where a shuttle service has been arranged to pick them up.

“Some of the people have left their rental cars here and we've loaded them on a barge,” said Weeber.

And those who plan on leaving Stewart by vehicle are waiting for the construction of a temporary single-lane bridge to be finished. The bridge will create to-and-from access to the community after parts of Bitter Creek Bridge crumbled early last week, leaving Steward isolated.

“The Ministry of Transportation has advised that it is still too early to give an exact date of opening,” posted Weeber in Facebook group created to inform the public about. “Every effort is being made to have it open as soon as possible.

A temporary date has been set for Friday September 16th, he said in a Facebook posting.

“Working with the ministry of transportation has been outstanding,” he said, as he and others have been working with the ministry to get road access up and running.”There is nothing more that could possibly be done to make this go any faster.

“Every contractor in our community has been working 'round the clock,” he said, explaining that equipment necessary to restore damage has been coming in daily on barges.

Despite it all, Weeber said this has been a positive experience for the community.

“The community spirit here is incredible, everyone has really pulled together to make tourists feel welcome,” he said.

Sunday evening, a community pot luck was held.

“It was a full Gymnasium full of tourists and locals,” said Weeber. “There must have been a couple hundred there, but they were coming in and out so there was probably more than that.”

Some community members also took tourists who couldn't afford accommodations into their homes, he continued.

On the Facebook page dedicated to monitoring the Steward floods, family members of those stranded thanked the community for all their efforts.

“Hey....that's my mom and dad!,” wrote Julie Severance Jones on the Facebook page under a picture of those in line getting food at the potluck. “Thank you all in Stewart for taking care of them while they have been stranded in your wonderful loving town!”

After tomorrow's plane, how long other tourists will be stranded is still unknown. But Weeber said, for many of the RVers, it is part of the adventure.

Updates on road conditions there can continue to be found on the Drive BC website, and that and other information can be found on the Stewart Flood Watch Facebook page.

High Point, North Carolina: Popular High School Aviation Program Needs Funding

8:03 p.m. EDT, September 12, 2011

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP)—  An popular aviation program at a high school in High Point is trying to apply for grants in order to stay afloat.

The Aviation Academy at Andrews High School will graduate its first class at the end of this school year and is 150 students strong. It is one of only two schools in the state with an aviation program and one of only 50 in the country.

Dr. Cynthia Waters, who runs the program, said it will take about $50,000 a year to keep the program going.

"We don't have any money coming in anymore, so we're self-supporting, mostly through me writing grants," Waters said.

The federal grant that started the program ended last year. That means if any of the equipment breaks, including a $30,000 flight simulator, there is no backup, Waters said.

More than half the students in the program want to become pilots. Junior Kevin Beugger got his pilot's license at 17 and said he actually may be better at flying than driving.

"Well, it's not necessarily me that's the problem driving. Flying you have fewer things to worry about. It's just you," Beugger said.

A handful of other students are close to joining Beugger in getting their private pilot's license as well.

Flights from Tampa to Cuba begin

Sep 12, 2011 by ABC Action News

ABC Action News anchor Linda Hurtado and photographer Tim Jones visited the island nation on one of the first flights from the Tampa Bay area.

Editorial: Capitalize on new Tampa-Cuba flights

A Times Editorial
In Print: Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The resumption last week of direct flights between Tampa and Havana after 50 years marks a crowning moment for Tampa Bay's Cuban-American community. The move will make it easier and cheaper for Cuban-Americans in the area to visit family, and it clears the way to expand business and cultural ties between the island and the bay area, which share a rich history. Local leaders should capitalize on the flights before other communities erode the region's competitive edge.

For years, Cuban-Americans in the area were forced to travel to Miami to catch a direct flight to Cuba. The inconvenience added days and hundreds of dollars to the costs. But President Barack Obama relaxed the restrictions this year, expanding flights to 13 new gateways beyond Miami, Los Angeles and New York. For the bay area, whose 80,000 Cuban-American residents rank it third behind only South Florida and metro New York, the move could make the difference in reconnecting families while expanding cultural and business ties along the way.

The trade embargo still forbids tourist-only travel. The new rules relax travel restrictions only on relatives and those visiting the island for business, educational or humanitarian reasons. But the categories of permitted travel are broad enough for the Tampa Bay area to carve a niche in the Cuba trade. Leaders from the Tampa-area chambers of commerce have already met to explore how Tampa International Airport can become a major gateway. Given the Cuban immigrant experience in Tampa — reflected in the food, architecture and the once-thriving cigar industry — the city could parlay Ybor City and the old ethnic clubs into must-sees for academics and others going to and from the island.

Tampa deserved to win these new flights because of the area's Cuban-American population. But to sustain the business, and to keep the charters operating, local leaders need to expand the appeal of using Tampa's airport as a gateway. More airports are obtaining federal permission to fly directly to Cuba; Tampa needs an experience for travelers that draws them away from South Florida, Atlanta or New Orleans.

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, who worked doggedly for years to get the local flights, has asked the airport and area business leaders to come together on a plan for making Tampa a focal departure point. Steve Burton, the airport board chairman, has worked to build the Cuba ties, too. This effort should continue. Tampa worked too long for these flights not to a lay a foundation for keeping them.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu must speak on Motlanthe emergency landing reports -Democratic Alliance.

By David Maynier
12 September 2011

David Maynier says that, if true, this is the second such incident involving the DP

Sisulu should make a public statement on alleged emergency landing in New Zealand

The Democratic Alliance (DA) believes that the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Lindiwe Sisulu, should make a public statement on the alleged emergency landing of an aircraft transporting Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe to New Zealand to attend the Rugby World Cup 2011 (see EWN report).

An aircraft transporting Deputy President Motlanthe was reportedly forced to carry out an emergency landing at Wellington International Airport in New Zealand over the weekend.

If the reports are true, this will be the second time that the deputy president has been involved in an emergency landing. An aircraft transporting the deputy president was forced to carry out an emergency landing in the Congo almost two years ago on a return flight from Libya.

The defence department is ultimately responsible for the safety of the deputy president when travelling.

Minister Sisulu should therefore make a public statement and explain:
  • whether the aircraft was the Falcon 900, operated by the South African Air Force's Squadron 21, or whether the aircraft was chartered;
  • whether the deputy president, passengers and crew were in any danger at any time; and
  • whether it will be necessary to convene a board of inquiry to look into the matter?
We cannot allow the safety of the deputy president to be compromised. The Minister should reassure the public that the deputy president was not in danger at any time.

The alleged incident also raises questions as to why the deputy president could not have travelled to New Zealand on a commercial aircraft? This would not only have been a safe, but also a more economical option.

The DA will therefore submit parliamentary questions on the:
  • type of aircraft used by the air force to transport the deputy president;
  • the names of the passengers accompanying the deputy president on the flight;
  • all the relevant details concerning the alleged emergency landing; and
  • a breakdown of the costs of the deputy president's trip to New Zealand.
Statement issued by David Maynier MP, DA Shadow Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, September 12 2011

TAC Air Calls for FAA Investigation into Metro Airport Fixed-Base-Operator. Chattanooga, Tennessee.

by Bill Mitchell on September 12, 2011 - 4:56pm

There are now two fixed-based operators serving general aviation at the city-owned Chattanooga Metro Airport.

But long-time operator, TAC Air, says the city is not playing fair.

Its asking the FAA to step in and take a look.

The outcome could change the way things are done at airports around the country.

As commercial airports go, Chattanooga Metro is not one of the busiest.

And the recession has cut general aviation, and private aircraft ownership almost in half.

That increases pressure on the companies who rent space at airports to serve business and private aviation.

Tac-Air has been the fixed base operator since 2002.

But, in August, Wilson Air Service began operating in a 5-million dollar building owned by the airport board.

Tac-Air says that's not fair.

PAM MCCALLISTER, TAC AIR GEN. MGR. "Its really made it difficult for us to compete fairly with them, they really don't have to have a return on their investment."

The fact that Tac Air is having to change it's operation seems to have been the city's goal.

MAYOR RON LITTLEFIELD, AUGUST 8, 2011 "..and I hope that this will spark the other FBO operator to do some new and inspiring things with the properties they manage."

Pam McAllister says her company has had to lower fuel prices since the new facility opened.

PAM MCCALLISTER "At the time we were very competitive with what Wilson was offering nationally, in fact they were about 50 cents a gallon higher that us at that time."

Tac Air says it will ask the FAA to take a look at the issue of private companies competing against government-owned facilities.

PAM MCCALLISTER "Its not technically a lawsuit, we're taking a different route, dealing with the FAA directly."

Christina Siebold, representing airport CEO Mike Landguth, says Metro Airport will let the FAA decide.

VOICE OF CHRISTINA SIEBOLD, CHATTANOOGA METRO AIRPORT "We'll give that agency an opportunity to review the questions raised in the letter and issue their findings before we make a public statement."

TAC Air says there are similar lawsuits underway across the country.

City leaders say the new facility is just creating competition, which is good for general aviation in Chattanooga.

TAC Air, Chattanooga, Tennessee: Government Competing With Private Business?

September 12, 2011 6:14 PM
John Pless

Imagine for a moment that all of the gas stations in your community were owned by one company, but then one day a competitor opened up and offered gas for less money. Would it be fair for that competitor to be the government using tax payer dollars to build the station?

That's basically the kind of issue that's taking off at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

When private aircraft land in Chattanooga there was, up until last month, only one place to stop and fuel up or lease hangar space. It's called TAC Air, that's a subsidiary of Truman Arnold Companies. TAC Air operates airport-based stations called FBO's at a dozen airports around the country.

But a second FBO opened in August called Wilson Air Center that's got TAC Air fighting for it's business.

"It's subsidized by state grant money of $4.5-million that they received to build the facility and another $3-million in stimulus funds to complete their ramp and it gives them an unfair competitive advantage against us," TAC Air general manager Pam McAllister said.

The new FBO belongs to the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport Authority, a government agency that contracts with Wilson Air to manage day-to-day operations.

But Airport Authority officials said the monopoly TAC Air enjoyed for years was turning pilots and business away because prices for hanger space and fuel was too high. They said the complaints from pilots kept stacking up to the point where they decided to build another FBO.

TAC Air's point is they can't compete with a taxpayer-subsidized operation. Both sides say the price for jet fuel has decreased significantly since Wilson Air Center began operations.

"Therefore they can price their services lower than we can so that's our concern, how do we make this level for all of us especially now that we're competing against our landlord, basically," McAllister said.

Airport officials declined an on-camera interview but Christina Siebold, director of marketing and communications for CMAA, sent the following statement:

"Because it appears that the issues raised by TAC Air will be resolved through the Federal Aviation Administration’s routine administrative proceeding, we will give that agency an opportunity to once again review the questions raised in this letter and issue their findings before we make any public statements. In the meantime, we will continue working with all of our airport partners to provide the highest level of service and competitive pricing for our customers."

Beechcraft Super King Air 200: North Dakota State University Spends $322,919 Annually on “Lease-to-Own” Private Plane Payments

Published on September 12, 2011
Written by Kate Bommarito

BISMARCK, ND – New documents obtained directly from NDSU’s attorney, Special Assistant AG Daniel Hull, attest to the fact that NDSU is in a 10 year dollar-out lease agreement, paying $322,918.88 annually for the lease of President Dean Bresciani’s Beech B-200 King Air.

The lease, arranged through the NDSU Development Foundation, is a ten year, dollar-out lease, running from July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2017. Over the course of the ten years, the university makes quarterly payments of $80,729.72 directly to the current finance company, GE Capital Public Finance, Inc. At the end of the lease term, on July 1, 2017, NDSU will pay $1 and become the sole owner of the aircraft.

At the August 30, 2011 interim Higher Education Committee meeting, NDSU President Bresciani told committee members that NDSU has been in such a poor financial position that it has not been able to fill many of the university’s senior leadership positions, a point he also made at the May meeting of the State Board of Higher Education:
NDSU has not been luxuriating during this period…We have required consistent cuts across campus to the level of not filling senior leadership positions at the Vice President level on down. We have changed the process for approving new personnel at the University. I literally have to sign off on every new hire that takes place at NDSU…That’s how tight things have become.
Currently, the salaries for Vice Presidents at NDSU fall between $150,000 on the low end and $228,000 on the high end. Were it not for the leasing of the airplane, NDSU could afford to hire two, senior level administrators.

And that calculation does not take into account possible savings on the substantial operating costs for the King Air. One of the attorneys working on the transaction in June, 2007, informed the NDSU Development Foundation that: “As NDSU will be the equitable owner of the aircraft under the dollar-out lease, NDSU needs to be registered with the IR. In addition, NDSU needs to be the registered owner of the aircraft for FAA purposes.”

In the interim session, the ND Legislature’s Government Services Committee is conducting a review and analysis of state owned aircraft, looking for ways to make more efficient use of state owned resources. NDSU was at first dismissed from the study, on the grounds that the plane was owned by the private foundation. The Government Services Committee is chaired by Rep. Jeff Delzer (R-Underwood) and Sen. Lonnie Laffen (R-Grand Forks).

The first objective of the interim study, according to the background memo, is to “Receive and review information regarding which state agencies own or lease airplanes, the reasons why the agencies own or lease airplanes, and the frequency of use of the airplanes.”

In prior articles, PlainsDaily has covered President Dean Bresciani’s frequent use of the King Air B200 for his trips between Fargo and Bismarck. NDSU policy (section 1.2) dictates that “Employees must choose the most prudent and economical means of travel, considering such factors as: travel expenses, time away from the office, and the needs of the University.”

In addition to his annual salary, Bresciani also receives an annual car allowance of $11,000 and a housing allowance of $20,000.

Last week, PlainsDaily reported that NDSU told Legislative Council’s financial analyst Brady Larson that they did not own the King Air and were only leasing it from the NDSU Development Foundation. This article and the accompanying documents should provide more detail and any necessary corrections to that information.

Read More:

Delta flight believed to have struck bird on approach. Norfolk International Airport (KORF), Virginia.

"We're a coastal airport, there are all kinds of birds," Shank said. "It's not something that happens everyday, but it's not real rare either."

By Jon Cawley,
5:02 p.m. EDT, September 12, 2011

NORFOLK — A Delta Airlines flight crew reported striking a bird while on approach to Norfolk International Airport Monday.

The crew of Delta flight 5174 reported to airport officials that a bird struck the aircraft as it approached the airport about 12:30 p.m., said Wayne E. Shank, the airport's executive director. Flight information, posted on the airport's website indicated the flight originated in Detroit.

Shank said there was no confirmed damage to the aircraft and no passengers were injured. The incident did not cause a disruption at the airport, he said.

It is not clear what type of bird may have been involved. Shank said some remains found on the plane's fuselage were swabbed and sent to the Smithsonian Institution for identification, but it may take some time to get the results.

Delta Station Manager Kevin McDaniel could not be reached for further information Monday afternoon.

Shank said bird strikes involving aircraft occur a handful of times each year at the Norfolk airport, but there has never been an incident where a collision caused the plane to fail in flight.

"We're a coastal airport, there are all kinds of birds," Shank said. "It's not something that happens everyday, but it's not real rare either."

The last such incident occurred in April when an adult Bald Eagle slammed into an incoming plane and was killed, Shank said. The female eagle was part of a nesting pair at Norfolk's Botanical Gardens that was featured on an "Eagle Cam" along with their three eaglets.

Continental Express: Jackson-Evers International Airport (KJAN), Jackson, Mississippi

POSTED: 4:35 pm CDT September 12, 2011
UPDATED: 5:03 pm CDT September 12, 2011

JACKSON, Miss. -- A plane headed from Knoxville, Tenn. to Houston, Texas, made an emergency landing Monday in Jackson, airport officials said.

The Continental Express airplane reported a popping noise and then smoke in the cockpit. The plane, which was carrying 52 passengers, diverted to the Jackson Evers International Airport.

The airport rolled crash crews and equipment, but the plane landed without incident at 11:45 a.m., authorities said. None of the 52 passengers aboard were injured.

The plane was inspected, repaired and returned to flight status, Jackson airport officials said.

Oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico claim 139 lives in helicopter crashes: Mechanical failure most common cause

Public release date: 12-Sep-2011
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

A new study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy finds that helicopters that service the drilling platforms and vessels in the Gulf of Mexico crash on average more than six times per year resulting in an average of 5 deaths per year. From 1983 to 2009, 178 crashes resulted in 139 deaths, including 41 pilots and 3 co-pilots. Mechanical failure was the most common cause, leading to 68 crashes (38 percent of the total), followed by bad weather (16 percent of the total). While the challenges such as bad weather and long travel distances associated with helicopter flights in the Gulf related to oil and gas operations are recognized, this study is noteworthy for examining the circumstances of the crashes. The article is published in the September issue of Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, part of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, examined fatal and nonfatal crash records of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) from 1983 to 2009. Analyses determined that the most common result of mechanical failure in both fatal and nonfatal crashes was loss of engine power, which occurred in almost one-third of fatal crashes. The majority of forced landings following mechanical failure occurred in water, with 20 percent resulting in the sinking of the helicopter despite the fact that most helicopters are being equipped with pilot-activated flotation devices.

Bad weather was the second most common precipitating factor for fatal and nonfatal crashes and was responsible for the largest number of deaths. In fact, bad weather was the only factor that significantly increased the risk of pilot death when a crash occurred. Pilot error was a major contributor to 83 crashes (47 percent), with poor decision-making the most prevalent error. For example, the NTSB conclusion for many of the bad-weather crashes was that the pilot should not proceeded in given the forecast or observed bad weather.

"This study raises concern about the safety of helicopter flights related to oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly during bad weather," said Susan P. Baker, MPH, professor with the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy and the paper's lead author. "Our findings suggest that efforts to reduce crashes and deaths must address mechanical failure, non-activation of flotation devices, and pilot error." Baker is a licensed private pilot and received the Aerospace Medical Association's Harry G. Moseley Award in 2010 for her work applying the public health model to aviation safety.

The researchers also examined crash trends over the study time period and found an increase in the most recent time period, 8.2 annually during 2000 to 2009 versus 5.6 during 1983 to 1999. Following 2007, however, the researchers measured a decrease in crashes.

"While the apparent deterioration in safety over time is alarming, I am encouraged by the most recent data," said Baker. "Only time will tell whether this is a temporary statistical blip or the beginning of a positive trend."


Additional authors of "Helicopter Crashes Related to Oil and Gas Operations in the Gulf of Mexico" are Dennis F. Shanahan (associate faculty at the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy), Wren Haaland (consultant to the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy), Joanne Brady (Columbia University) and Guohua Li (Columbia University).

The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.

UNCUT: Jet Ski Aborts Seaplane's Landing. Kenmore Air, Lake Union, Washington. Seaplane's Close Call Helps Make Case For Safety Measures

Chris Egert
KIRO 7 Eyewitness News

Posted: 2:18 pm PDT September 12, 2011
Updated: 2:35 pm PDT September 12, 2011

SEATTLE -- Home video of a close call on Lake Union between a seaplane and a Jet Ski may help make the case for new safety measures on the busy urban lake.

Labor Day had great weather and provided a stunning flight for Kenmore Air passengers headed into Seattle from Victoria, BC.

It was such a nice day, Chris Rudell said he decided to record the landing on a blue, boat-dotted Lake Union.

"At the last second the pilot just hit the engine as hard as he could,” said Rudell.

The rider of a personal watercraft was headed right where the plane was going to land.

The pilot had to pull up and make another run at a landing.

“Finally he found a really narrow hole and he just planted the plane in there,” said Rudell.

The plan landed safely and then pilot used the opportunity to make sales pitch.

"Kenmore (Air) is interested in getting the city to set up some float plane-only lanes at Lake Union, so your support for that would be appreciated,” the pilot told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News morning co-anchor Chris Egert.

"Seems like something should be a bit more organized there,” said Rudell of the lake.

On Monday, Kenmore Air shared some of the particulars of what it calls a "seaplane safety zone."

“It may be as loosely set up as just a few buoys out on the lake that a pilot can activate a light and let boaters know seaplanes are about to take off or land, and that they just move to the side,” said Tim Brooks with Kenmore Air.

Kenmore Air says it is working with the Washington Department of Transportation on a grant that would "support seaplane activity,” while at the same time, not make too many waves with Lake Union boaters.

The discussion is in the preliminary stages. 

Watch Raw Video:

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's pilots took precautions’

SA Time: Monday, September 12, 2011 11:45:17 PM

Johannesburg - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe's private jet did not have to make an emergency landing in New Zealand, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) said on Monday.

“On the plane's first scheduled approach to the airport, the pilots noted a warning light suggesting that the there might be something wrong with the plane brakes or tyre,” SANDF spokesperson Ndivhuwo Mabaya said in a statement.

“As a precautionary measure, they decided to miss their first landing slot in order to circle the airport whilst verifying the cause of the warning light.

“As a standard procedure the airport placed the emergency vehicles on standby.”

Motlanthe's plane landed safely at the Wellington International Airport on Saturday, said Mabaya.

The Democratic Alliance said earlier that this was the second time Motlanthe had been involved in an “emergency landing”.

Motlanthe's plane had to make an emergency landing on an unlit runway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2009 after missing a fuel stop, he said.

He had been returning from an African Union summit in Libya.

DA MP David Maynier said it would have been safer and more economical for him to have taken a commercial aircraft rather than a military jet on Saturday.

“We cannot allow the safety of the deputy president to be compromised,” he said in a statement.

However, the SANDF said it provided the safest air transport for politicians because its pilots were “among the best in the world”.

Motlanthe's spokesperson Thabo Masebe said he concluded his visit to New Zealand on Sunday.

During the visit, he met New Zealand Prime Minister John Key to discuss the strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.

He also met the Springbok team in Wellington to give them moral support ahead of their opening World Cup game against Wales.

He later attended the match, which the Springboks won 17-16.

'Miracle on the Hudson' plane moves locations. US Airways Flight 1549, Airbus A320-214, N106US.

HARRISON, N.J. - The wings from the "Miracle on the Hudson" aircraft are heading south.

Two trucks - one with each wing - will travel from New Jersey to Charlotte, N.C. and are due to arrive Wednesday evening.

The jet, piloted by Captain "Sully" Sullenberger, safely crash-landed in the Hudson River in January 2009.

The wings are the final piece of the U.S. Airways jet to make the journey to the Carolinas Aviation Museum.

The plane's fuselage was delivered in June.

The entire airplane is expected to be assembled and on display by the end of November.

Bangkok Air cancels jet order

Published: 13/09/2011 at 12:00 AM

Bangkok Airways has cancelled its order for four Airbus A350 jets after suspending the launch of long-haul flights that would have been served by the new-generation wide-body aircraft.

The Airbus A350, which Bangkok Airways says it no longer needs.

The privately owned airline and the European plane maker confirmed the termination of the contract under a mutual agreement that saw Airbus not confiscate deposits for the order, which was first placed at the end of 2005.

Bangkok Airways president Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth said yesterday that the cancellation was in line with the carrier's revised strategic plan to shelve its intercontinental start-up and prepare for domestic and regional expansion.

"Over the next five years, we would rather consolidate our domestic and regional operations, and that diminished the need for us to acquire larger aircraft," Mr Puttipong said.

He said the carrier has for decades been a key player in the regional network in Asia and will focus on expanding to more Asian destinations.

The termination of the A350 order underscores Bangkok Airways' conservative approach to expansion amid a hostile operating environment characterised by high fuel prices and fierce competition.

Furthermore, it reflects the management style of Mr Puttipong after assuming full leadership from his father, airline founder Prasert Prasarttong-Osoth, a few years ago.

Mr Puttipong, a professional commercial pilot with captain status, has made known for a while his preference for consolidating the airline's position as a leading regional operator.

He said any new aircraft that Bangkok Airways acquires in the short term will most likely be narrow-body Airbus jets _ A319s or A320s _ which are already in the airline's fleet.

Bangkok Airways was the launch customer for the A350, specifically the -800 version, and its decision to drop the order means that Airbus will transfer the early delivery slots to other buyers.

An Airbus spokesman said Bangkok Airways could transfer or sell its delivery positions to other airlines.

An industry source earlier this year said Thai Airways International had explored the possibility of taking over the A350 delivery slots from Bangkok Airways to help expedite its fleet renewal plan. No deal was struck, though.

The A350-800 that Bangkok Airways cancelled carries a 2011 list price of US$237 million. It has the shortest fuselage of all versions in the A350 family of mid-sized wide-body airliners, touted for their fuel efficiency and composite materials.

The A350-800 accommodates 270 passengers in a typical three-class cabin configuration, with a flight range of 8,500 nautical miles.

Airbus postponed development of the A350-800 earlier this year, setting back initial deliveries to mid-2016. There were 131 of the jets on order as of last month.

Air ambulance decision questioned

September 12, 2011
By Michele Young
Daily News Staff Reporter

A Vancouver man who has been a pilot and worked in the aircraft industry says the dedicated air ambulance helicopter announced for this region last month is inadequate and would work better with a non-profit organization behind it.

But one of the Kamloops residents involved in the lobby effort for the service disagrees, saying all air ambulance helicopters have limitations and the parties involved are making the best decisions possible.

Hans Dysartz was involved with the creation 26 years ago of the STARS non-profit air ambulance in Alberta, which is now moving into Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

He said he doesn’t speak on behalf of STARS, but saw how communities rallied around the air service with support and donations.

It also means STARS operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with helicopters that have de-icing and night vision capabilities.

He has talked with B.C. politicians for years about setting up a similar system here, so he was particularly irked when Premier Christy Clark announced on Aug. 30 a dedicated air service for the Thompson Okanagan that the province is funding.

Donations of all kinds pour into STARS every year, keeping costs lower than they would for a government-funded service, Dysartz said.

“The current model doesn’t give them that option to get involved. By involving them at this level, people in the communities build their own helipads, add their own navigation aids. In one town in Alberta, the community groups put out fuel caches for the helicopters,” he said.

“Community spirit was fantastic.”

But Bob Gray, who has been involved with a couple of groups trying to get air ambulance in Kamloops, said a similar model was tried a few years ago and failed.

BEARS didn’t get off the ground like STARS did because it didn’t have the oil and gas money that STARS did, for one reason, he said.

“BEARS tried it here. There is a totally different corporate mentality and citizen mentality in B.C. than there is in Alberta,” he said.

He commended STARS for its success, while noting flying conditions are also different in B.C. than in Alberta.

“When you start looking at the whole history, the whole evolution, it’s apples and oranges.”

Dysartz was also critical of the Bell 412 currently being used in Kamloops for air ambulance, but Gray noted it’s commonly used for air ambulance work.

Last month’s announcement didn’t specify what type of helicopter would be used in Kamloops, he added. It will go out for a call for proposals to meet specific requirements.

“It’s generated a huge amount of interest across Canada because it’s created an opportunity,” Gray said.

Cameron Heke, STARS manager of media and public relations, said in a telephone interview from Calgary that 75 per cent of the organization’s funding comes from corporate donations and grassroots fundraising. The remainder is from government health service agreements.

STARS flies to emergencies as much as possible.

“We fly at night. All pilots are trained to use night vision goggles. We fly to remote locations, into mountainous areas, we do search and rescues as well from time to time,” said Heke.

Gray pointed out that some of the STARS helicopters were just grounded because of tail rotor problems. No chopper is perfect, he said.

“I really don’t care what flies here. The key is dedicated with a budget. The aircraft is yet to be determined.”

Dan Froom, a B.C. Ambulance Service spokesman, said the not-for-profit model might offer opportunities in the future.

But the provincewide system is cost effective, integrates air and ground transport and comes under government regulations, he said.

“There’s also the accountability that comes with being a provincial service,” he said.

“We’re tasked with providing emergency health services for the citizens of B.C. We don’t just provide air service. We provide emergency medical services to all of B.C.”

The type of helicopter that will be used for the dedicated service in Kamloops hasn’t been decided yet, he said. The Bell 412 was available and has worked so far, but that could change with the request for proposals.

“I have no idea what we’re going to end up with. We’ll put it out to industry, we’ll balance the need and assessment,” he said.

FAA proposes $1.1 million fine against Everett, Washington, company for improper 737 repairs

Published: Sep 12, 2011 at 11:24 AM PDT

EVERETT, Wash. -- The FAA is proposing a $1.1 million fine against an Everett company for allegedly making improper repairs to dozens of Southwest 737s.

The agency says Aviation Technical Services "failed to accomplish all the work required by three FAA airworthiness directives calling for five repetitive inspections and a one-time inspection to find and repair fatigue cracks in the fuselage skins of the planes."

The company also didn't install fasteners in the rivet holes within the required drying time of sealant, the FAA said.

While 44 Southwest 737-300 aircraft are involved in proposed fine, the 737 that suffered a hole in its fuselage during an April flight was not among the aircraft in question. The FAA says Aviation Technical Services did not perform any inspection or repair work on that plane before its mishap.

ATS has 30 days to respond to the FAA.


Alberta, Canada: Slave Lake honors pilot killed fighting fires

Published: September 12, 2011 12:59 p.m.
Last modified: September 12, 2011 1:08 p.m.

Slave Lake in northern Alberta will honor a helicopter pilot who was killed while fighting the wildfires that whipped through the town in May.

Jean-Luc Deba of Montreal was at the controls of a Bell 212 chopper when it crashed into Lesser Slave Lake.

Rescuers reached the scene quickly, but couldn't save the 54-year-old pilot, who was trapped in the wreckage about 30 metres off shore.

Slave Lake Mayor Karina Pillay-Kinnee confirms that town council has voted to pay tribute to Deba by making him an honorary citizen.

She says on her blog that the fire-ravaged town has remained in touch with his family and will be forever grateful for his sacrifice.

The cause of the helicopter crash remains under investigation.

Majority of charter pilots foreign, says Susi Air

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
Mon, 09/12/2011 1:16 PM

Local charter aircraft company Susi Air, whose Cessna 208B Grand Caravan crashed in Yahukimo, Papua last week, says the majority of its pilots are not Indonesian.

The crash killed two pilots, Australian David Cootes and Slovakian Thomas Munk.

The company employs 179 pilots, but among these "as many as 175 were hired from other countries," Susi Air president director Susi Pudjiastuti said last week.

She added that Susi Air had become known as a place for foreign pilots to clock up flight hours.

"They usually spend three years here, and then move to another country," Susi said as reported by

She added that the company maintained standards in recruiting new pilots, including a minimum requirement of at least 1,000 flight hours.

Bulgaria to Probe Tour Operator, Air Carrier over Stranded Tourists

September 12, 2011, Monday

Bulgaria's Sofia Prosecutor's Office will probe the Bulgarian Alma Tour tour operator and the Bulgaria Air airline carrier concerning the nearly 700 Russian and Finish tourists stranded in the country's southern Black Sea city of Burgas.

Even though the conflict between the two companies is purely intercorporate, it can still be probed into, Margarita Nemska, spokesperson of the Sofia Prosecutor's Office, has pointed out, as cited by Pari.

Economic crime police authorities in Sofia are also investigating the case.

500 Russian and 180 Finish tourists were stranded at the Black Sea airports of Burgas and Varna after Bulgaria Air, Bulgaria's national airline carrier and heir to Balkan Airlines, cancelled Friday and Saturday 4 flights to Moscow, St. Petersburg and Helsinki that were booked by the Bulgarian tour operator Alma Tour, who according to the airline owe them some EUR 3.5 M.

Part of them were able to return home on a flight paid for by the Russian tour operator and on the Bulgarian government plane, ordered by Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov to be flown to Burgas to aid in the transportation of the neediest, such as children, pregnant women and people who might be ill. The craft with a capacity of 90 transported about 200 of the initially nearly 1000 tourists Saturday.

In order to rescue the otherwise very strong tourist season, hotel owners in Bulgaria's largest summer resort Sunny Beach decided to accommodate, free of charge, the tourists still stranded in Burgas.

Among conflicting reports on the exact number of tourists, remaining in Bulgaria, it is also unclear how they will get home.

According to the largest private TV channel bTV about 400 tourists, including 170 from Finland still could not board a flight home as of late Sunday evening.

Bulgaria Air announced mid-day Sunday that it is resuming flights to Russia and the Baltic Republics for tourists of Alma Tour Fly, despite the ongoing dispute with the tour operator Alma Tour.

Private jet emergency landing: Close call for Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe at Wellington International Airport in New Zealand.

Mon, 12 Sep 2011 5:00

The private jet carrying Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was forced to make an emergency landing on Saturday afternoon, Eyewitness News reported.

Emergency officials at the Wellington International Airport in New Zealand were placed on standby when his plane reported problems with its right wheel.

The deputy president was in New Zealand for South Africa's opening Rugby World Cup match against Wales.

It is understood that Motlanthe's plane landed safely at the airport.

He was involved in a similar incident back in 2009, when his plane was returning from an African Union (AU) summit in Libya. His jet made an emergency landing on an unlit runway in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after missing a fuel stop.

Motlanthe is due to return to South Africa on Monday afternoon.

His office was not available for comment.

Local media in New Zealand have quoted his spokesperson denying the incident.

Meanwhile, plane spotters in Wellington have confirmed that Motlanthe's plane was involved in the emergency landing.

Beginning Today: Helicopter crews will inspect utility lines. Xcel Energy will conduct a visual inspection of its electric transmission lines in Minnesota

Published September 08, 2011, 12:00 PM

Beginning Monday Sept. 12 and continuing for three to six weeks, Xcel Energy will conduct a visual inspection of its electric transmission lines in Minnesota by helicopter.

Xcel Energy’s transmission lines stretch across southern Minnesota from the Wisconsin border to the South Dakota border, crisscross the central portion of the state from the Twin Cities to the St. Cloud area, and span an area from the Twin Cities north to the Canadian border.

The helicopter flights enable crews to look for defects or loose fittings. Trouble spots that could cause power outages will be identified and later repaired.

The patrols will occur during daylight hours, and the helicopter will fly within 50 feet of the lines or hover near a transmission structure if something needs a closer look, officials said.

The helicopter flight schedule is dependent upon weather and other factors, but tentatively the schedule is to begin in northern Minnesota. Lines in southeastern Minnesota near Zumbrota, Zumbro Falls and Dodge Center will be patrolled next.

Helicopter Heroes rescue woman after cow attack

12 September 2011 Last updated at 10:03 ET

The dangers that herds of cattle can pose have been highlighted after a woman was tossed into the air by a cow in North Yorkshire.

Irene Pitham, from Coventry, was walking through a field in Nidderdale earlier this year when the animal turned on her.

Mrs Pitham was rescued by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance and the drama was caught on film by the BBC's Helicopter Heroes production team.

Helicopter Heroes is shown weekdays at 09:15 BST on BBC One. 

A Coventry man has described how he feared his wife had died after she was chased and attacked by a herd of cows on holiday.

Irene Pitham, 58, was thrown 8ft (2.5m) into the air while walking her dog in the Yorkshire Dales.

Her husband, Mike, said: "I thought that they'd killed her because she went up so high and then hit the ground and then didn't move at all."

It is thought the couple's dog alarmed the cows and their calves.

Mr Pitham, also aged in his 50s, described what happened: "One of the cows ran forwards and put his nose under my wife's backside and flipped her into the air.

"She went right over the top and then hit the ground. She didn't move. I just feared the worst. She didn't seem to be breathing or anything."

Mrs Pitham has now recovered from her head injury but has no recollection of the attack. She said: "I think it will affect him [my husband] more. I don't think he'll go into a field of cows in future."

Her rescue by the Yorkshire Air Ambulance on 19 May featured in the first episode of the new BBC One series of Helicopter Heroes on Monday.

Lockheed Martin Awarded $84.3 Million to Provide New Training Technology for the U.S. Air Force C-130J Program

ORLANDO, Fla., Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The U.S. Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) an $84.3 million contract to provide the first phase of the C-130J Maintenance and Aircrew Training System (MATS) II program.

Under the award, Lockheed Martin will deliver four weapons systems trainers for aircrew instruction and provide program management and engineering services.

The Air Mobility Command, Air Combat Command and Air Force Special Operations Command will begin instruction on the weapons systems trainers in 2014. The training systems feature the latest simulation technology, including an electronic motion platform, an enhanced visual system and distributed mission operations networking that allows aircrews to train with remote and virtual participants.

The equipment allows aircrew and maintenance personnel to engage in extensive ground-based training prior to training on the aircraft. Aircrews also are able to perform real-world mission rehearsals using the immersive and realistic training systems.

"These new systems will help the Air Force maximize aircrew and maintenance training while minimizing costs of operating aircraft for training," said Jim Weitzel, vice president of training and engineering services in Lockheed Martin's Global Training and Logistics business. "The training systems allow personnel to practice airmanship skills, operational missions and emergency and maintenance tasks in a low risk, high benefit environment."

MATS II complements the original C-130J MATS program, which Lockheed Martin has managed since 2000, to provide a comprehensive range of training devices and training support services, including aircrew and maintenance personnel instruction, program operations and engineering services.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 126,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The Corporation's 2010 sales from continuing operations were $45.8 billion.

For additional information about Lockheed Martin, visit our website:

SOURCE Lockheed Martin

A380 for Riyadh; Air Arabia, flydubai soar. Emirates to honour kingdom's 81st National Day

Published Monday, September 12, 2011

Emirates will operate the first ever A380 service into Riyadh this month, in honour of Saudi Arabia’s 81st National Day.

Operating into King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, on September 23, the one-off Emirates A380 service will operate as a commercial flight, giving customers the opportunity to be on the inaugural A380 service to the city.

“As the capital city of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh is an integral part of Emirates’ operations to the Kingdom. The A380 is our flagship aircraft and it is fitting that we mark the occasion of the country’s National Day by operating this one-of-a-kind aircraft into Riyadh,” said Ahmed Khoory, Emirates’ Senior Vice President, Gulf, Middle East and Iran.

The A380 has been operational between Jeddah and Dubai since February 2010, with strong demand from business and leisure travellers in both directions. The popular aircraft boasts 14 private First Class Suites, 76 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 399 seats with ice Digital Widescreen in Economy Class.

“The superior A380 product is an excellent fit for discerning Saudi travellers and our customers in Riyadh are eager to try the award-winning service for themselves. King Khalid International Airport is well equipped to handle the A380 and we are working closely with the relevant authorities to ensure next week’s one-off operation is successful,” said Khoory.

Emirates flight EK817 will depart Dubai at 16:55 on 23rd September and will arrive in Riyadh at 17:45 the same day. The return flight, EK818, will depart Riyadh on 23rd September at 20:45 arriving in Dubai at 23:25 the same day.

Emirates’ A380 will be the first ever superjumbo to touch down at King Khalid International Airport.

With 15 A380s currently in its fleet, Emirates is the largest operator of the environmentally friendly double-decker aircraft, operating services from Dubai to London Heathrow (double-daily), Manchester, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Toronto, Seoul, Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai, Jeddah, New York, Hong Kong, Sydney and Auckland. Additional A380 destinations that have been announced include; Rome, Kuala Lumpur, Johannesburg and Munich.

The flight will operate as a regular commercial flight and tickets to travel on the flight can be booked through

Emirates currently operates to four cities within Saudi Arabia including; Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Al Medinah al Munawarah.

Flydubai launches Tbilisi route
Flydubai will launch two direct flights a week to Tbilisi in Georgia from Nov. 4. Tbilisi will be flydubai's 45th destination.

Flydubai received an official seal of approval from the Deputy Minister of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, George Karbelashvili, who hailed the entry of flydubai into Georgia as an important milestone in the development of relations between the two nations.

On his official visit to the UAE and accompanied by Georgian state television, Deputy Minister of Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, George Karbelashvili, commented: "Flydubai's entry into Georgia is a momentous step in UAE-Georgia relations and I am sure flydubai's connection between Tbilisi and Dubai will help to establish and strengthen ties between the countries. We have a number of common areas of interest such as banking, real estate, oil and gas and tourism; and this is the opportunity to step-up collaboration in these sectors while exploring new relationship avenues."

Ghaith Al Ghaith, CEO, flydubai said: "We are grateful to the Georgian authorities for welcoming flydubai into Tbilisi. As Georgia's largest city as well as its industrial, social, and cultural centre, Tbilisi is gaining prominence in the Middle East both as a business and leisure destination. Also, improving air links between Dubai to Central and Eastern Europe is of great strategic importance to us. There are more than 55,000 expatriates from this region residing in the UAE and more than a million tourists visiting the emirates every year. We hope our network of direct flights will play a part in making travel between the UAE and Central and Eastern Europe easier and more affordable."

Tbilisi is flydubai's 45th destination, with the UAE low-cost airline currently operating five routes to former Soviet states: Yerevan (Armenia) Baku (Azerbaijan), Yekaterinburg and Samara (Russia) and Ashgabat (Turkmenistan). In addition, flydubai will be launching two additional routes to Russia with flights to Kazan beginning 14 September 2011, and flights to Ufa beginning 17 September 2011. The airline's flights to Ukraine will take off to Kiev and Kharkiv from 16 September 2011 and to Donetsk from 17 September 2011.

Air Arabia expands

Air Arabia announced on Monday that it will shortly introduce direct service to two new destinations in Ukraine, expanding its presence to three major cities in that country, including Kiev, Kharkiv and Donestsk; reaching 67 across its global network.

Beginning October 7th and 12th, Air Arabia will offer regular service to Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city, and Donestsk, a major urban centre in eastern Ukraine with a population of 1.5 million. The launch of service to these two Ukranian cities will complement Air Arabia’s existing flights to Kiev, which the carrier serves five times a week.

Service to Donestsk will be twice weekly, including flights on Tuesdays and Fridays. Air Arabia flights will depart from Sharjah International Airport at 12:20PM and arrive at Donestsk International Airport at 15:40PM. Return flights will depart from Donestsk on the same days at 16:40PM and arrive in Sharjah at 21:50PM.

Air Arabia will offer service to Kharkiv every Wednesday, departing from Sharjah International Airport at 10:00AM and arriving at Kharkiv International Airport at 14:10PM. Return flights will depart from Kharkiv on the same day at 15:10PM and arrive in Sharjah at 21:00PM.

“We are especially pleased to introduce two new destinations in Ukraine, a nation with strong economic and cultural ties with the UAE and wider Gulf region,” said Adel Ali, Group Chief Executive Officer, Air Arabia. “All of us at Air Arabia look forward eagerly to the imminent launch of service to both Donestsk and Kharkiv”

“Eight years and over 20 million passengers since Air Arabia pioneered the low-cost airline model in the Middle East and North Africa, we continue to set our sights on entering new markets and further expanding the reach of our award-winning service,” Ali added. “Today’s announcement underscores our commitment and ability to offer even more destinations, at the most competitive fares, and meet the evolving needs of our passengers.”

By offering 8 flights per week between Air Arabia’s primary hub in Sharjah, UAE, and three destinations Ukraine, Air Arabia has underlined its commitment to offering unmatched service to this nation of more than 46 million people.