Thursday, September 15, 2011

Frontier trims Milwaukee flights. Airline says it will drop unprofitable service to six cities

Frontier Airlines plans to cut nearly a third of its 67 flights from Milwaukee in November in a move it says will eliminate routes that lost a total of $25 million in the first six months of this year.

Frontier's service to six cities will be grounded. Frontier is the only carrier between Milwaukee and three of them: Green Bay, Madison and Dayton, Ohio.

Other airlines provide service between Milwaukee and the other three routes that Frontier plans to drop: Cleveland, Des Moines and Minneapolis.

Frontier employees were informed of the decision last week, said Peter Kowalchuk, a spokesman for the airline. He said there will be job cuts related to the route eliminations, but he didn't specify how many.

"It's a relatively small reduction in our overall capacity and it's a relatively small reduction in overall revenue, but it has a significant impact on Frontier overall," in terms of financial losses, Kowalchuk said.

The move also comes as many airlines are putting growth plans on hold, with high fuel prices and a sluggish economy forcing them to reconsider which flights make money.

Delta Air Lines Inc. has said it will reduce 2012 flying by 2% to 3%. United Continental Holdings Inc., the company that runs United and Continental Airlines, plans to hold next year's flying flat at 2011 levels. Southwest Airlines Co. says it won't grow next year and probably not in 2013, either.

While it is eliminating some routes, Frontier is also reducing the number of flights on some others. Frontier has studied the profitability of every route, Kowalchuk said.

"That analysis has demonstrated to us that the smaller aircraft in the routes we fly - those aircraft are almost totally based in Milwaukee - are loss-making routes," he said.

The planes currently flying those routes seat either 37 or 50 passengers, and will be either redeployed to a temporary charter business or Republic's contract flying business, Kowalchuk said.

Several of those planes came to Frontier through the acquisition of Midwest Airlines, he said.

"These days airlines can't afford to lose money and keep the route operating, hoping it'll turn into a profit eventually," said a spokesman for, a website that records airline schedule changes.

Frontier informed Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport that it was making the reductions, said Pat Rowe, airport spokeswoman.

Frontier is owned by Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc., which bought it and the former Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines in 2009.

Hawaii: Bird Mitigation at Local Airports Costs Hawaii Taxpayers Millions of Dollars.

Hawaii taxpayers are funding the transport of 400 Nene geese from property surrounding the Lihue airport on Kauai to the islands of Maui and Hawaii.

But transporting the endangered species to a new habitat doesn’t come cheap: catching, transporting and quarantining the Nene for up to a year to help them adjust to their new habitat will cost $18,000 per goose. That’s a total of $7.2 million.

State transportation spokesperson Dan Meisenzha say the protected state fowl, which was brought to the area many years ago by a former Kauai hotel owner with a resort near the airport, has a population that is growing by 20 percent a year.

During the 106,815 take offs and landings in the last year at Lihue airport, there have been just 41 so-called “airstrikes” where a bird or owl hit an airplane.

While no Nene geese have been involved in airstrikes, state wildlife and transportation officials say because the population is on the rise, the endangered birds could cause problems for airliners soon.

However, some Kauai residents are critical of the plan.

Bob Warren, who lives in Kilauea, said he loves the geese, but the cost to move them to another island is exorbitant. He has up to 60 geese living on his property. They follow his wife around the yard as she gardens and they enjoy looking at themselves in his pool.

Warren said that Dr. Mel Levine from Rougemont, North Carolina, was the man responsible for the survival of the Nene. His Sanctuary Farms raised the Nene in the 1970s and then repopulated Hawaii. The well known pediatrician and author took care of the birds for free. Sadly, he passed away this year, Warren said.

Warren also pointed out another potential flaw in the plan to move the birds: Nene geese are more protected on the islands of Kauai and Lanai because there are no mongooses on these islands to eat the eggs or attack the birds.

But the pricey bird relocation isn’t the only bird related expense that taxpayers are funding at local airports.

Taxpayers also spend nearly $407,937 a year at Lihue airport to staff 6 people to keep birds, dogs, cats and other wildlife away from the runway during take offs and landings.

Statewide, there are a total of 27 employees working at state controlled airports to keep birds off of runways. That is at a cost of $1.6 million per year.

Bird mitigation staff at other airports include:

* 6 people on the Honolulu International Airport at a cost of $381,249;
* 5 people at the Kawailoa airport at a cost of $83,399;
* 1 people at Dillingham air field at a cost of $78,769;
* 5 full time and one part time person at Kahului airport at a cost of $393,035;
* 1 person one day a week at Kapalua airport on Maui at a cost of $18,019;
* 1 person on Molokai at a cost of $86,366;
* 1 part time employee on Lanai at a cost of $43,510;
* 1 employee in Hilo at a cost of $91,264 per year.
* Personnel provided at Kohala as requested and in Kona twice a year for site visits.

Meisenzhal of the state Department of Transportation, said the these federal employees mainly protect the runways by firing off gunshots before planes land or take off to scare the birds away and look for nests to ensure birds are not living in the area. They can shoot to kill if necessary, he said.

New aircraft to help MASKargo expand network

TOULOUSE: Malaysia Airlines Cargo Sdn Bhd (MASKargo), which has taken delivery of the first of its four A330-200F aircraft, plans to expand further its network and capacity.

Managing director Shahari Sulaiman said the four A330 would complement its two 747-400F freighters in the current fleet.

“The combination of these two aircraft types will allow MASKargo to grow its network by the better managing capacity to demand.

“The A330-200F frieghters allow us to develop new trade lanes between Asia, Europe and Australia which may not be viable using a bigger capacity aircraft,” he said yesterday after a handover of the new aircraft from Airbus SAS.

Shahari said the A330-200F was now the most modern mid-sized fleet as well as being fuel efficient.

The new aircraft will increase MASKargo's capacity into Narita, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Amsterdam, Sharjah and Penang.

“The destinations for the new freighters are Osaka, Taipei and Karagandy. We will tap the lucrative Russian market via Karagandy in Kazakhstan.

“The first flight is expected to commence in the first week of October,” Shahari said.

MASKargo is also talking to several parties, including authorities in Chengdu and Chongqing, China, to start operations in both cities.

China now contributes about 35% to its revenue. MASKargo expects the ratio to remain although the value would increase because of higher contributions from its operations in the Far East.

Virgin Galactic to take off within 12 months: Branson

British business magnate Richard Branson hopes to launch a vessel into space within the next 12 months, kicking off an era of commercial space travel.

"The mother ship is finished... The rocket tests are going extremely well, and so I think that we're now on track for a launch within 12 months of today," he told CNN's Piers Morgan late Wednesday.

"This could be the beginning of a whole new era of space travel, which will be commercial space travel."

His company, Virgin Galactic, hopes to one day send people into space and launch satellites for a fraction of the cost of government-run programs, as well as eventually offering high-speed intercontinental flights.

"About an hour between Los Angeles and London is not completely out of the question," Branson said, adding that it will likely take many years before the company can offer such a service.

In the meantime, Virgin has sold some 430 tickets for space travel -- at $US200,000 ($A194,000) a pop -- for an estimated $US86 million.

"It's not a cheap thing to build a spaceship company and it's been fantastic to have people all over the world sign up," Branson said.

The company plans to begin by taking tourists on sub orbital flights before eventually soaring higher. Branson has said in the past he hopes to one day build a hotel in space.

A number of private companies are rushing to fill the gap left by NASA, which ended its 30-year shuttle program in July with the completion of the final Atlantis mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

Earlier this year, the US space agency distributed nearly $270 million in seed money to four companies -- Boeing, SpaceX, Sierra Nevada and Blue Origin -- to boost their bids to be first in the new space era.

Clamour growing among Northern Ireland businesses for the axing of ‘stupid’ air tax. £60 passenger levy will sound the death-knell for our economic recovery, top bosses warn.

Aviation tax could sound the death-knell for the province’s economic recovery, leading business figures have warned.

The warning comes after an open letter was sent to Chancellor George Osborne asking for an early decision on air passenger duty (APD).

Executives from more than 20 leading firms have told George Osborne they are concerned Northern Ireland will lose its only transatlantic route.

In February the Belfast Telegraph revealed the popular Continental service from Belfast to New York (Newark) was in danger due to tax hikes introduced recently by the Treasury.

As it stands a levy of £60 is being imposed on each US-bound passenger travelling from Northern Ireland — compared to a €3 charge from Dublin Airport, which the American carrier is currently absorbing at huge cost.

Bro McFerran, managing director of Allstate, which is the second largest US employer in Northern Ireland, has told of his fears for his company if the contentious issue isn't resolved.

“If Continental pulls out of Belfast it will make us less competitive and it’s less likely that we’re going to be growing our company, going forward,” he said.

“We’re going to have to pay more for the links, it’s going to take more time to get there, and it’s going to discourage some of our potential customers from coming over to see us, so therefore we’re less likely to get so much business in the future.”

Mr McFerran said the route is crucial to his business — and to the province’s economic future.

“We send at least 400 people on flights across the Atlantic every year and at any given time we would have eight or 10 people in the US. But I know from talking to Continental that they are severely hamstrung because of the air passenger tax, and it seems to me to be absolutely crass stupidity that the Government carry on with this tax.

“We’re a 100% export company so it’s very difficult for us to do export business without flying out of the country, so they’re taxing us on every journey that we do out of the country to try and gain business. It just doesn’t make sense at all.”

A consultation aimed at examining existing air tariffs closed in June. A Government response is expected in November.

But the local business community is calling for action to be taken now, before, as Mr McFerran says, it is too late.

He said: “Continental has made it clear that they will not under any circumstances continue to subsidise this route because, effectively, they are just writing a cheque for thousands of pounds to the Government every time a plane takes off from Belfast.

“It’s a completely unsustainable situation from their point of view and if they pull out it may affect Northern Ireland’s ability to attract inward investment.”

He added: “We have a lot going for ourselves here if you can hop on a plane in New York, get off at Belfast and see all the wonderful things Northern Ireland has to offer. But if you have to go through Heathrow or Dublin it means we’re setting ourselves back 20 years.”

Tony O’Neill, Moy Park business development director, said APD must be addressed.

He said: “For us to continue to grow and bring investment, one of the basic necessities is easy access to international air routes.

“If APD is not addressed urgently, airlines providing these routes will pull out of Belfast and our ability to bring further investment to Northern Ireland will be greatly hampered.”


An open letter sent to UK Chancellor George Osborne has been approved by 23 business chiefs from 21 firms: NI Chamber of Commerce; NYSE Euronet; Belfast International Airport; George Best City Airport; Wrightbus; Allstate Northern Ireland; Bombardier Aerospace Belfast; B/E Aerospace (UK) Ltd; NI Public Sector Microsoft; First Derivatives plc; Moy Park Ltd; Liberty Information Technology; Lightstep Technologies; Ulster & London Ventures; The President’s Club; NI Independent Retail Trade Association; Barrhead Travel; Europa Travel NI Ltd; Selective Travel Ltd Belfast; Oasis Travel, Continental Airlines.

YAK-52 Smoke Grenade Mounts

by siriusconinc on Sep 15, 2011

Criticism of new harbour float plane terminal continues. Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre.

The concrete docks at the new Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre are eight inches too high to accommodate the float planes using them, according to commercial seaplane companies deadlocked in meditation with the owners of the new facility.

Greg McDougall, president of the two largest companies operating in the harbour, Harbour Air and West Coast Air, said Thursday that the height of the docks coupled with the wave action at the new terminal, have him wondering whether it is suitable at all for float planes.

“An airplane has been damaged over there,” McDougall said in an interview. “It was a Beaver aircraft that was at the dock there and it has triggered a whole bunch of concerns we have about moving over there wholesale.”

The two key float plane companies have refused to move into the new facility and have been unable to agree with the flight centre over the terms of their lease. The damage to aircraft is the latest problem to be raised.

Jobs, Tourism and Innovation Minister Pat Bell confirmed Thursday that there are design issues with the new terminal.

“There are some issues with the floats right now and that is the reason for the delay in moving over to the new flight centre,” he said. “I am told there is some risk of damage to aircraft as a result of the design of the floats.

“We are having some professionals look at that to provide advice as to whether or not that is the case.”

Another issue — McDougall said fuel lines had been contaminated — is being addressed, Bell said.

He said the city has extended its lease to Harbour Air and West Coast Air for another month as a result of the concerns. McDougall said according to the terms of their lease with the city, they can remain at the temporary site until September 2012.

Bell also said mediated talks between the float plane operators, who account for 90 per cent of the float plane traffic in the harbour, and the Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre, are at a deadlock. He has asked mediator Dan Doyle to re-engage the two parties in an attempt to resolve the stalemate.

He expressed frustration over the delay in resolving the dispute between the airlines and the terminal operator, saying he originally wanted it settled by summer.

“Obviously we have not accomplished that.”

The main issue between the float plane operators and the centre is the cost of leasing float plane space. The floats at the temporary facility are owned by the two airlines and any cost of operating them is built into passenger rates. The new fight centre intends to charge a rental rate amounting to $9.50 per passenger for the 300,000 people who fly in and out of the harbour every year. That amounts to almost $3 million a year, McDougall said.

McDougall said the new facility cost B.C. Pavilion Corp., owners of the convention centre, $22 million.

In contrast, the temporary float where his two companies operate has a $2 million cost.

“We have always said it makes no sense to pay these high rates,” he said.

The airline companies are considering a terminal of their own near the helijet terminal east of Canada Place, but Port Metro Vancouver is resisting.

The float plane terminal has been a long-simmering issue after the two largest float-plane companies refused to move in when it opened May 25. Doyle was called in to mediate talks held over the summer.

NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert re-ignited the issue Thursday by calling a press conference at Harbour Green, overlooking the temporary floats used by Harbour Air and West Coast Air, and the new terminal 200 metres to the East at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver-Centre, blamed the stalemate on the government for entering into a “boondoggle” of a public-private partnership (P3) with Ledcor and the Clarke Group, who formed a joint venture to develop and operate the flight centre.

“How did this issue go so horribly wrong?” he said.

Chandra Herbert said the Liberal government “created the mess” by making it a P3 project rather than a not-for-profit operation, something the two float plane companies are calling for.

Bell said there is “plenty of responsibility to float around” over the failure to have the flight centre fully operational.

“I don’t think the responsibility rests with any one party in this, but it is a very challenging file.”

He also said if mediation fails, the government has other options but he would not specify what the next step might be.

“My preferred outcome is a mediated solution, “ he said.

Representatives for the flight centre had no comment by press time.

Safety review ordered for new Vancouver float-plane terminal

A long-running dispute over float plane operations in Vancouver harbour has taken another twist, with reports about potential design flaws at a new, privately operated facility built at a cost of about $20-million.

“Even if we had a lease agreement – which we don’t, even after months of mediation – we would have serious safety concerns about moving [to the new facility],” Harbour Air chief executive officer Greg McDougall said Thursday.

There has been at least one incident of a plane being damaged at the recently opened Vancouver Harbour Flight Centre, and operators have had to take “extreme measures” to ensure planes are not damaged by the docks, which are about 25 to 30 centimetres higher than docks at a nearby facility operated by Harbour Air, Mr. McDougall said.

The higher docks and the new terminal’s location – in a site less sheltered than Harbour Air’s current base and subject to swells – mean planes have a difficult time safely getting to and from the docks, Mr. McDougall said.

The new terminal has been designed to exacting safety and engineering standards, VHFC president Graham Clarke said Thursday, adding that the sole incident involving a plane contact with the dock featured a small plane on the terminal’s first day of operations and resulted in minimal damage.

Flights land and take off daily from the new terminal without incident, he added.

“Saying it’s a safety issue is completely a red herring,” Mr. Clarke said. “It really is a financial issue.”

An engineering study has been commissioned to determine whether there are any safety or design concerns at the new terminal, B.C. Tourism Minister Pat Bell said Thursday.

“We are doing a review of the floats to determine whether they are appropriately designed and whether there is any hazard associated with them,” Mr. Bell said, adding that the report is expected in the next week or so.

The new terminal – located at the north end of the Convention Centre expansion on a site leased from BC Pavilion Corp.(PavCo) – opened in May and was built by two private companies, the Clarke Group and the Ledcor Group.

The VHFC was to be the new home of float plane operators, including Harbour Air, that had been bumped from a Burrard Street base in 2003 to what was to have been a temporary Coal Harbour site to make room for the Convention Centre expansion.

But as the new facility drew near completion, Harbour Air and other operators balked, saying fees at the new facility were too steep and would result in a $12 increase on trips in and out of the harbour.

The operators also complained about the way the lease and the facility had been awarded, saying they had been shut out of the bidding process – claims rejected by the VHFC.

The dispute was a headache for the city – which wanted to complete a seawall path and has for years been fielding float-plane-related noise complaints from Coal Harbour residents – and for the province, which owns PavCo.

To try to resolve the issue, PavCo gave the VHFC a rent break for nearly 25 years, which allowed the VHFC to lower its rates.

The lower costs were enough to draw a couple of smaller airlines to the VHFC, but Harbour Air held its ground. The province brought in a mediator and talks went on over the summer.

At a press conference Thursday on the waterfront, within view of both terminals, NDP MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert called the new terminal a “boondoggle.”

“It’s surprising that we are still not finding an answer to this problem,” Mr. Herbert said, adding that operators had proposed a non-profit terminal rather than the for-profit version supported by the provincial government.

Under the terms of its lease with the city – which has been repeatedly extended – Harbour Air was able to stay at its Coal Harbour terminal until September, 2012 or until a new terminal was completed, whichever came first. But Harbour Air maintained it couldn’t move to the new facility without a reasonable lease.

With safety concerns and an engineering report now in the mix, the city has extended Harbour Air’s lease on a one-month basis, pending the result of the safety review.

The mediator had booked out several weeks ago but has been asked to return, Mr. Bell said.

FAA awards grant, new firefighting, air rescue building: Austin Straubel International Airport, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Renderings of the Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Facility.

ASHWAUBENON - Austin Straubel International Airport has received a $7.9 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to build a new firefighting and air rescue building.

The new facility will provide direct access to the airport’s taxiways and runways allowing the department to respond faster to emergencies.

The relocation also clears the ways for future expansion of the terminal area and will produce approximately 25 full-time construction jobs for the next year.

The new building will contain four drive-through vehicle bays for the department’s two large firefighting vehicles, a quick response vehicle, disaster trailers, light towers and a command vehicle. It will also include a communication center, training area, conference room, exercise area, a decontamination area, restrooms, kitchen, bunkrooms and storage areas.

Additional project funds will come from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Bureau of Aeronautics and Brown County.

Groundbreaking is expected to take place before the end of the year and the project should be completed by spring 2013.

VIDEO: British Airways Film Premiere Trailer on Facebook

British Airways (BA) has launched a teaser ad on Facebook featuring a pilot walking towards a bi-plane in the pioneering days of aviation to trail its forthcoming brand campaign.

The new film premiere trailer from British Airways.

The Facebook ad shows just a few seconds of footage from the campaign that the airline hopes will position BA as the world’s foremost trusted and reliable airline.

The teaser features the time and date for the unveiling of the finished campaign on Facebook : 11 am on September 21.

The campaign is being developed by BBH. It has been overseen by managing director of brands and customer experience Frank van der Post and head of brands, insight and customer proposition Abi Comber.

Initial brand work was carried out last year by head of global marketing Kerris Bright, who left the company in February and is yet to be replaced.

The airline has just begun a pilot recruitment campaign using a Youtube film as the main vehicle.

The seeding of the Facebook campaign is being undertaken by the agency Being.

Find out more about the new campaign exclusively at

Cityjet rolls out new multi-platform ad campaign

Airline CityJet it to launch a £1m pan-European campaign to highlight its position as the largest carrier from London City Airport.

Created by Euro RSCG, the multiplatform campaign will focus mainly in London, but will also run across the Benelux countries, Ireland (Dublin), and Scotland (Edinburgh and Dundee.) utilising 96-sheet billboards, 48-sheers, Metropoles and Europoles in Dublin, Dundee , Eindhoven and Rotterdam.

Print media will also feature across national and regional publications, such as The Scotsman, The Times, The Independent, Evening Standard, Dundee Courier, Edinburgh Evening News, the Irish Times and more.

The digital campaign will feature banners, pop ups, screensavers and homepage takeovers across Reuters, The Times, Skyscanner, MSN, NRC and LinkedIn, while a 2-week TV campaign will run at the end of October on TV3 in Ireland.

Christine Ourmières, CEO for CityJet, commented: “Over the last twelve months CityJet has secured its future as the premier carrier out of London City Airport serving key business destinations throughout the week and high-end leisure destinations at weekends. The majority of our customers are frequent flyers who are loyal to us because they appreciate the added value services we can offer them as a small, niche carrier. The new campaign is designed to reflect our understanding of their expectations.”

Included within the campaign is the new strapline: ‘Cityjet. Now You’re Flying’.

Says André Cini, Chief Commercial Officer, CityJet, ‘By choosing to fly with us, our customers aren’t just choosing to get from A to B, they are choosing to travel properly, with an airline that knows how it’s done well and, more importantly, is ready to go the extra mile to make their journey a good one. Many of our customers are regular commuters and it’s important to them that their journey is made as personal and as pleasant as possible. For them, flying CityJet is an emotional choice, not just a practical one, and the creative heart of the campaign is designed to echo that sentiment.’

There are 20 different executions for the new campaign which uses the airline’s brand colours – navy, red and taupe. All are bound together by the creative use of the airline’s distinctive red ‘swoosh’ which is evident in the CityJet logo.

The swoosh appears in a variety of different guises, each designed to profile a unique facet of the company’s personality or service. For example, the swoosh appears as a golf bag to promote CityJet’s free carriage of golf clubs together with the slogan ‘The best caddy I ever had’; as a slice of lemon on a glass to highlight the personal onboard service with the slogan ‘I love it when they remember my favourite tipple’; as part of London’s Tower Bridge to profile the central location of London City Airport with the slogan ‘Direct to the heart of London’; as the sails on a windmill with the slogan ‘I’m a big fan of the Amsterdam service’ and more.

The new creative was developed by Euro RSCG which has retained the CityJet account since its rebrand in 2009.

"Our brief to Euro RSCG was to create a campaign and a brand personality that would resonate with a time poor, discerning, urban audience. We wanted them to develop a creative feel that was short and snappy and that not only communicated CityJet’s services and routes, but also illustrated the airline’s unique capability to make their customers feel like individuals, not passengers. By using the brand colours and honing in on the swoosh they’ve developed a distinct and stand-out creative look and feel in a very crowded market.’

The new look above-the-line campaign will also follow through to CityJet’s social media streams on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube and will be supported with a Facebook photo competition.

CityJet pushes key message of customer service

IRISH AIRLINE CityJet has decided to promote its customer service over the price of fares in a new £1 million marketing campaign that will debut next week, mostly in Ireland and Britain.

The campaign will largely comprise outdoor and print media over a five-week period but will also include two weeks of advertisements on TV3 at the end of October.

Its tag is: “CityJet. Now You’re Flying.”

“We want to get away from network pricing and maximise our personality to show that we deliver excellent service,” CityJet’s chief commercial officer André Cini told me this week. “I’m selling the customer experience.”

Ryanair and Aer Lingus might scoff and argue that they offer better value on competing flights. And pricing is a key issue for customers in the recession.

Cini’s response is that CityJet doesn’t charge for luggage, for booking seats or for onboard refreshments. He also argues that you can get a flight from Dublin to London City Airport for as little as €59 if you book ahead.

Cini said CityJet, which is owned by Air France KLM, is “on the way” to breaking even this year. “This is a great achievement,” he said.

Operationally, its Dublin to Pau route, which launched in May, has proved difficult for the airline. Cini said this was the result of the short time it had to market the route in advance of its launch.

“The first two months were very bad but the summer was much better. I’m sure it can be a success.”

The route won’t operate during the winter months but Cini hopes it will return next April.

Washington: Governor Gregoire talks worker training for the aerospace industry

Gov. Chris Gregoire pumped up the state's aerospace industry Thursday, promising to tailor worker training to its needs and asking for its help to maintain Washington as the "center of aerospace" in the world.

There are plenty of aerospace companies, states and even whole countries that would like to strip Washington of that title, she said.

One prize for which the state is competing is the location of a new plant to build the 737 MAX, a variant of the world's best-selling airplane that's built in Renton. Boeing is expected to make that decision in about six months.

The Renton plant is in the running, but as Gregoire said, "We take nothing for granted." Boeing got the contract to build new refueling planes for the U.S. Air Force in part because of a strong community partnership that lobbied for a Washington-built plane, she said.

A new 737 variant will feature a highly fuel-efficient engine that requires some redesign of the airplane.
The effort to keep the 737 plant in Washington – Project Pegasus – is already under way. It will include a "candid assessment" of the strengths and weaknesses of the state's aerospace industry.

"Where are we competitive? Where are we not?" are the questions the assessment will answer, Gregoire said.
One of the top priorities is workforce training, she said. "That workforce is so important to the aerospace industry," she said.

Gregoire gave the keynote address Thursday to the Sixth Annual Governor's Aerospace Summit, presented by the Aerospace Futures Alliance of Washington at ShoWare Center in Kent.

The Boeing Co. was named "Aerospace Company of the Year" at the summit.

Gregoire's speech came just hours after the release of the latest state revenue forecast, which shows a $1.4 billion revenue shortfall. Gregoire said it wasn't the best day of her life.

"It ain't going to be easy, but we will get through this," she said.

Gregoire was a little late for her speech at the summit, attended by owners, employees and other representatives of some of the roughly 650 aerospace companies in the state. The City of Renton was a summit sponsor.

Gregoire repeatedly returned to worker training as a key factor in keeping the state's aerospace industry competitive. Washington is home to about 84,000 aerospace workers.

"No one can compete with Washington state's talented workforce," she said.

The state is already coordinating between the aerospace industry and the state's colleges and universities to ensure that the skills being taught are the ones the companies need in their workers, she said.

She also pointed out that about 30 percent of the Machinists in the state, about 7,500 workers, are eligible to retire. "We need to be on the tap of our game to fill those jobs," she said.

Gregoire also spoke about some of the legislative accomplishments that have helped Washington's business community. Last year, the Legislature approved the first-ever reform of the state's unemployment  compensation system, a priority for The Boeing Co. That reform saved businesses about $300 million, she said.

In the upcoming legislative session, Gregoire will propose a simplification  of the state's business and occupation tax, which will help businesses who operate in a number of government jurisdictions. Cities have already expressed concern about the idea, she said, because local governments also rely on the B and O tax for revenue.

No cause determined for ABC chopper crash

A month-long investigation by transport safety staff has not found a cause for an outback helicopter crash that killed three ABC staff.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has released its preliminary report but it could be up to 11 months before the final report is ready.

Paul Lockyer, John Bean and Gary Ticehurst died in the crash after sunset near Lake Eyre in South Australia on August 18.

The ATSB has checked the helicopter's major components and investigators have spoken with witnesses.

The report says no cause for the crash has been identified at this stage.

It says the helicopter had been maintained in accordance with air frame and engine manufacturer's requirements and was allowed to fly at night.

Both engines of the 23-year-old chopper had been removed nine days before the crash for a routine service but the craft had then flown for 15 hours with no reported problems.

A witness had reported seeing a glow coming from the helicopter before it hit the ground, but the report has ruled that out.

It concludes there is evidence a fire at the crash site happened after impact.

A GPS and other instruments from the aircraft are being examined further.

The report says the pilot had been checked for proficiency and had a medical examination in line with aviation requirements and had no record of any problems.

$9m Horn Island airport upgrade

Torres Shire Council Mayor Pedro Stephen, Premier of Queensland Anna Bligh and Torres Strait Regional Authority Chairperson John (Toshie) Kris at the official opening of the Horn Island airport upgrade.

AUSTRALIAN, State and Local government agencies marked a significant milestone last Monday with the official opening of the $9.9 million upgrade to the Horn Island Airport. Horn Island (Ngurupai) Airport provides a critical link between Torres Strait island communities and is the major gateway for travel in the region.

Torres Strait Regional Authority Chairperson Toshie Kris said the project would have a significant positive impact on the region, with the airport now providing capacity for larger passenger aircraft and heavy freight.

“Torres Strait residents and visitors to the region rely heavily the Horn Island Airport for all aspects of their livelihood and wellbeing,” Mr Kris said.
“There are no other existing passenger transport systems, such as road or rail, between the regions nearest metropolitan city, Cairns and the Torres Strait.”
He said three tiers of government had achieved a positive outcome with the success of the airport upgrade.

The project was undertaken with support from the Torres Strait Regional Authority, the Department of Transport and Main Roads, and the Torres Shire Council, who are the owners and operators of the Horn Island Airport.

“Passenger transport to Horn Island has been limited for many years to the Qantas Q300, with the Horn Island airport runways unable to safely support heavier aircraft,” Mr Kris said.

“This limited carrying capacity resulted in higher airfares and freight costs and substantial delays in delivering air cargo and mail to the Torres Strait.”

The airport can now cater to the larger Q400 aircraft. Torres Shire Council Mayor, Pedro Stephen said all community members, local organisations and commercial interests in the Torres Strait welcomed the airport upgrade.

“This is the gateway to Australia and as such, it is an international airport run by Local Government in a bilateral Commonwealth Territory, ratified under the 1985 Torres Strait Treaty between Papua New Guinea and Australia,” Mr Stephen said.

Premier Anna Bligh said the state government was a major player in air safety improvements for the region, investing more than $5.55 million in 10 Torres Strait airports.

“Air services are vital for this area. Many remote communities depend on their airports for access to medical services, schools and major centres where they can connect wtih other services important to their economy and lifestyle,” Ms Bligh said.

Member for Cook Jason O’Brien said the government was proud of its contribution.

“We’ve funded, over the past two financial years, more than $2 million of improvements to runways at local airports, including those on Mer, Erub, Poruma, Saibai, Mabuiag, Boigu and Badu islands, and at the Northern Peninsula Area Airport on the tip of Cape York,” he said.

“The State and Federal Governments have also funded a $462,000 installation of new animal-proof fencing to improve runway safety on Badu Island, Saibai Island and Kubin.”

Aviation Career Day planned at Grove Field in Camas, Washington.

The Camas Washougal Aviation Association will sponsor Aviation Career Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Grove Field in Camas. The focus of the event is on youth and careers in aviation.

Professional recruiters, including Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Central Washington State University, Oregon Air National Guard and the U.S. Naval Academy, will be on hand. Airplane rides will be offered for $20 each.

The CWAA also has planned a steak dinner from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday at Grove Field. Cost is $15 per person. All proceeds from food sales and airplane rides will go to the CWAA Scholarships Program to benefit young east Clark County aviators. For more information: 360-600-0239.

Aviation Career Expo Saturday At Chicago Executive Airport (KPWK) Chicago/Prospect Heights/Wheeling, Illinois.

Chicago Executive Airport will host an Aviation Career Exposition on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Hangar 10 located on Wolf Road south of Hintz.

The exposition will feature information on careers in aviation, aviation departments from colleges and universities, the United State Armed Forces Aviation, local flight schools and aviation-orientated organizations and groups.

There will also be a keynote address by Jamail Larkins, president of Ascension Aircraft. The expo will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Repaving takes off this week at Greeley-Weld County Airport (KGXY), Greeley, Colorado

A Lafarge road miller scrapes the old asphalt off the hangar taxiway as trucks wait to haul away the waste at the Greeley-Weld Airport on Wednesday afternoon in Greeley. The project will cost $600,000 to be paid by Federal Aviation grant, the city of Greeley and Weld County.
Photo Credit:  ERIC BELLAM
A road grader works on the hangar taxiway at the Greeley-Weld Airport on Wednesday afternoon in Greeley. The project will cost $600,000 to be paid by Federal Aviation grant, the city of Greeley and Weld County.
Photo Credit:  ERIC BELLAM

Giant trucks hauled away rocky remains of stripped pavement this week at the Greeley-Weld Airport for a project to improve its taxilanes.

Airport manager Gary Cyr pointed to the newly barren hangars where pavement had long overstayed its welcome.

“They are gonna love this,” he said of the tenants who will return next month to freshly paved storage hangars.

The project, funded by a $600,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration, will replace 14,000 square yards of pavement with 3,500 tons of its new liquid counterpart.

The reconstruction comes just weeks after the airport took on extra traffic from the Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport closure for runway repairs.

“It was crazy here,” Cyr said. “We had to have two and three people working the line when it’s normally done by one.”

Wrong airport landing in South made by Colgan Air

WASHINGTON — Just call him "Wrong-Way Colgan."

A pilot for Colgan Air, which operated the Continental Connection flight that crashed in Clarence Center due to pilot error in 2009, landed at the wrong airport in Louisiana on Sept. 7.

Bound for Lake Charles, Continental Connection Flight 3222 from Houston, with 23 passengers and three crew members aboard, touched down instead at Southland Field, a private airport eight miles to the southwest in Carlyss, La.

After some confusion, passengers were bused back to Lake Charles — and Colgan once again found itself on the defensive over the quality of its pilots.

"I can't help but note that this landing error occurred at 10:29 p.m., and Continental Flight 3407, operated by Colgan Air, crashed at 10:17 p.m. — two late-night flights," said Karen Eckert, whose sister Beverly Eckert was among the 50 people who were killed in that February 2009 crash.

"Even though, thankfully, no lives were lost this time, you have to wonder if the pilots were again fatigued, distracted or just inept — issues we have targeted for improvement with our Airline Safety Act," which passed Congress last year.

A spokesman for Pinnacle Airlines, Colgan's parent, termed the mistake an isolated incident — but one the airline is taking seriously.

"The crew is relieved of duty while we conduct a thorough investigation to ensure that we have all of the facts," said Joe Williams, director of corporate communications for Pinnacle. "Safety is a top priority for Colgan, and when the investigation is complete, we will file a report with the FAA and take any actions that are warranted."

Landing at the wrong airport "has got to be one of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a pilot," said Rory Kay, an aviation safety consultant and captain for a major international airline.

And it's been happening at least since 1938, when Douglas "Wrong Way" Corrigan flew out of New York bound for Long Beach, Calif. — but ended up in Ireland instead in what many later dismissed as a publicity stunt.

In fact, according to a Web-based compilation of incidents that Kay cited, the Louisiana incident is at least the 24th time a pilot landed in the wrong place in the last 15 years.

Those incidents have occurred all over the world — but this is the third time a regional plane operated on behalf of Continental has accidentally landed in Carlyss instead of Lake Charles.

It's an easy mistake for a pilot to make because the two airports are close to each other and on the same latitude, said Sam Larsh, manager of Southland Field.

In the case of Flight 3222, the trouble apparently began when an air traffic controller in Houston cleared the pilot to make a visual approach, meaning the crew was relying on its judgment rather than autopilot to guide the plane to its destination.

"If you're coming from Houston at night, you're flying across a big area of black," Larsh said. "You look out, and there's an airport. You're flying at 200 mph, and there's a reason for a pilot to think: 'Oh, there it is,'" although the airport with the commercial passenger terminal is still 8 miles away.

That would not have happened if the plane were on autopilot and if it had been programmed correctly, which is what would happen in most countries.

"I can't think of another country" that still allows controllers to clear pilots for a visual approach and allows them to land the plane on their own, Kay said.

Nevertheless, Kay acknowledged, the incident raises questions about the plane's pilot.

"What was the level of training and direction given to the guy?" he asked.

Rep. Kathleen C. Hochul, the Amherst Democrat whose district includes the Clarence site of the Flight 3407 crash, is asking the same question.

She said she's preparing a letter, to be signed by other lawmakers and sent to Colgan and Continental, expressing concern about the Louisiana incident.

"It's absolutely unacceptable that we have another incident here that's causing us to question whether pilots are getting sufficient training, whether they had enough rest," Hochul said.

Larsh said the incident at his airport brought to mind the Buffalo-area crash, too.

The night it happened, Larsh's cellphone roused him out of bed, and the caller ID said "Colgan," as an airline official was calling to tell him what happened.

"I was thinking: Colgan, Colgan — why does that name sound familiar?" Larsh said. "And then I thought: 'Buffalo.'"

US airlines say pilot fatigue rule would cost jobs

(Reuters) - Big U.S. airlines told the Obama administration on Thursday complying with a regulation in the works to combat pilot fatigue would cost $2 billion a year and over time cut 27,000 jobs directly tied to the industry.

The carriers' top trade group, the Air Transport Association, said in a letter to the White House budget office the cost of the fatigue rule also would result in the loss of thousands of airport, manufacturing and other jobs related to the airline industry.

Airlines would not be able to raise prices sufficiently to meet the costs of complying, forcing carriers to cut capacity and eliminate jobs, ATA said.

Service to small communities, which is very important to members of Congress, could be especially vulnerable, the association said.

The industry estimates over 10 years were provided by Oliver Wyman consultants, which analyzed the economic assumptions used by the FAA.

"These job losses are staggering, particularly at a time when unemployment persists above 9 percent and job creation is at the top of the agenda for the president and Congress," said Nicholas Calio, ATA president and chief executive.

Airlines joined defense companies and other industries in using the prospect of job losses to blunt proposed Obama administration regulations or congressional efforts to cut federal spending.

Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed through a bill on Thursday that would curb the enforcement powers of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The legislation, which has broad support from business, was triggered by the board's anti-labor suit against Boeing Co (BA.N).

ATA also called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to revise the pilot fatigue regulation, saying the current proposal is not based on science and operational experience and does not demonstrate safety benefits.

The FAA plan, proposed in 2010, would increases rest requirements and set varying limits for how long pilots can fly on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Congress ordered the agency to draft rules by August and the changes are in the final stages of review.

The rule was triggered by a 2009 crash of a Colgan Air commuter plane near Buffalo that killed 49 people. Investigators raised pilot fatigue as an issue, but it was not cited as causing the accident.

Military authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh Downed an Unpiloted Azerbaijani Plane

Military authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh have reported downing an unpiloted plane that they say was on a reconnaissance mission for Azerbaijan inside the airspace of the Armenian republic.

The NKR Defense Army’s information and propaganda department said on Wednesday that the incident happened two days ago in Karabakh’s Martuni district and taking down the aircraft was due to special measures undertaken by anti-aircraft and radar units of the local defense army.

“Simultaneously with ceasefire violations along the Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact the recent period has also seen a marked activity of the enemy’s air force,” the NKR Defense Army said in a press release, stressing the increased frequency of flights of unmanned aircraft of Azerbaijan’s air force along the entire perimeter of the line of contact, with some of them violating Karabakh’s airspace. At the same time, it is stressed that Karabakh’s anti-aircraft defense forces have taken corresponding steps to prevent such intrusions.

The NKR Defense Army says it has the parts of the downed plane and a special commission has been set up to investigate the case.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. to cut global workforce by about 540 jobs

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. announced on Thursday that it is trimming its worldwide workforce of 18,000 by about 540 jobs to remain competitive in the helicopter design, manufacturing and service industry.

Paul Jackson, the company's director of communications, called the move to cut about 3 percent of the workforce "a difficult decision." The company is not disclosing a breakdown of where the job cuts will be.

Sikorsky is headquartered in Stratford and has about 9,000 employees in Connecticut.

Jackson said the company does not yet know how many layoffs will be necessary until it is clear how many of the eligible unionized workers in Connecticut accept a voluntary separation package.

He said Sikorsky, whose parent company is the Hartford-based United Technologies Corp., has experienced strong growth while other manufacturers have had to downsize, move or close. Still, he said, the company needs to reduce its workforce as it goes forward.

"Our sales have increased nearly 40 percent since 2007, and we've been able to expand our workforce by nearly 59 percent since then. But those rates aren't sustainable," Jackson said. "We are entering a new world, with moderating growth in line with U.S. and international economies and their impact on our commercial and military customers."

All five branches of the U.S. armed forces use Sikorsky helicopters, as well as military and commercial operators in 40 nations, the company's website says.

In the U.S., Sikorsky has manufacturing and assembly plants in Stratford, Troy, Ala., and West Palm Beach, Fla. The company also has engineering and design centers in Alabama, Kentucky, Montana and Texas. In addition, Sikorsky has manufacturing and assembly facilities in Mielec, Poland, as well as joint venture manufacturing operations in Turkey and China. Sikorsky has a presence in other states and countries as well.

Sikorsky to Cut 3% of Workforce

Company said the growth level is unsustainable.

Sikorsky informed employees in Connecticut and Poland on Thursday that the company is laying off about 3 percent of its global workforce.

The company has not provided exact number on how many that will impact at each location and no information has yet been posted on the state Department of Labor Web site.

The reason is that eligible union members in Connecticut have been offered a voluntary separation package, the company said in a statement.

“We will not know how many involuntary reductions may be necessary until the results of that offer are known,” the company statement said.

Sikorsky officials said the company has experienced strong growth, sales have increased nearly 40 percent since 2007 and they’ve been able to expand the workforce by nearly 59 percent since then, but these growth rates aren’t sustainable.

Directorate General of Civil Aviation air safety chief gets the boot

MUMBAI: Bir Singh Rai, deputy director-general of the Directorate of Air Safety, has been removed from the post. He was in charge of air safety from 2010 onwards. In the last one year, Rai's probe reports into air accidents and incidents were rejected by the aviation regulator for being misleading.

A senior DGCA official confirmed that Rai has been removed from the post of deputy director, airsafety. DGCA Bharat Bhushan was not available for comment.

The two most controversial reports filed by Rai pertained to the Kingfisher Airlines runway overrun in 2009 and the Air India Express aircraft incident in 2010. The Air India Express aircraft operating the Dubai-Pune flight had plunged suddenly several thousand feet after the aircraft's auto-pilot disengaged.

In the Kingfisher Airlines runway overrun, the investigation report noted it as an "incident" instead of calling it an "accident", by going against the definition for these terms as laid down by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

"Both the investigations reports filed by Rai had technical discrepancies. After the DGCA had these reports on its website, the aviation regulator had to pull them out following complaints," said a commander.

IndiGo commences Singapore flight

SINGAPORE: Low cost air-carrier IndiGo on Thursday commenced its daily direct flight service between Delhi and Singapore.

IndiGo said it would operate daily-direct flight services between Singapore-Delhi and Delhi-Singapore at an affordable return fare of SGD 276 or INR 9,999 (all inclusive).

IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh, who was on the maiden flight to Singapore, said, "Singapore is a key market for us and launching operations in this market is in line with our growth strategy outlined for the South-Asian skies."

He added, "We hope to create the same magic and success in the international market and look forward to a great experience with our customers."

"It is our consistent endeavor to make the journey hassle free for our customers and provide them high quality experience at the best yet affordable prices," he said.

IndiGo has appointed the Walshe Group as its General Sales Agent for Singapore.

Texas: Driscoll Children's Hospital gets a dedicated helicopter for emergency transports

CORPUS CHRISTI — Sick kids may get a quicker ride to Driscoll Children's Hospital now that the hospital has a dedicated helicopter and pilot for emergency transports.

The hospital has signed a partnership with Corpus Christi-based air ambulance provider HALO-Flight, which has agreed set aside a helicopter and pilot solely to fly children to and from the children's hospital. The companies plan to announce the partnership at a news conference today.

Although HALO-Flight has provided emergency transports for Driscoll Children's Hospital for more than 20 years, there were times when the nonprofit air ambulance company couldn't provide the service because the helicopters were being used elsewhere, forcing Driscoll to find other modes of transportation.

This new partnership should make emergency transports speedier and more dependable, particularly as Driscoll extends its insurance coverage to more than 90,000 children in the Rio Grande Valley, CEO Steve Woerner said.

Jeremy Goodman, the hospital's business operations manager, said he expects Driscoll will cut back on the number of ground ambulance trips outside Corpus Christi now that the hospital can rely more heavily on a helicopter, which can get children to the hospital faster.

"This is going to serve those children so much better," Goodman said.

The hospital operates its own fleet of four ambulances.

The new partnership, signed last month, also means Driscoll Children's Hospital likely will cut back on its use of other air ambulance services that operate with fixed-wing planes instead of helicopters, Woerner said.

Mike Stanton, who owns Western Flyers Air Service in McAllen, said he's not yet sure how the partnership between Driscoll and HALO-Flight will affect his business.

"I'm hoping it doesn't go down, but you don't know what the future holds," he said. "Nothing is guaranteed."

Western Flyers Air Service primarily provides charter flights but bolsters its business with air ambulance transports, including some for Driscoll Children's Hospital, Stanton said.

The hospital still will need to rely on planes at times because they can fly in poor weather that grounds helicopters, Goodman said.

With the arrangement, HALO-Flight will offer Driscoll speedier service because it no longer will be delayed in configuring an aircraft for the mission, said Tom Klassen, executive director of HALO-Flight.

Dedicating a helicopter to Driscoll also allows HALO-Flight to expand its business, Klassen said. The nonprofit recently hired two new pilots and is in the process of buying another helicopter, bringing its total to three.

"I think it's a win-win for both companies," he said.

Report darkens Bombardier’s C Series hopes

Airlines are taking a “wait and see” approach to the new C Series plane that Bombardier Inc. is gearing up to produce, putting in jeopardy the company’s target of having 300 orders for the jet by the time it enters service in 2013.

That’s the conclusion of RBC Dominion Securities after it conducted a survey of 26 global airlines to determine how interested they are in the plane that will vault Bombardier into direct competition with Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS in the narrow-bodied segment of the commercial airplane market.
The airlines surveyed have a favourable view of the plane and the 20 per cent reduction in fuel consumption that Bombardier is promising, but are wary of the costs of adding a new type of aircraft to their fleets, concerned about price, and cautious about whether the C Series will meet its performance targets and be ready for delivery in 2013.

The most serious concern Bombardier has to overcome is airlines’ reluctance to add aircraft from a new manufacturer to their existing Airbus, Boeing and other fleets, RBC analyst Walker Spracklin said in a report that outlined the results of the survey.

“Several airlines explained that introducing a new aircraft like the C Series would involve added efforts and costs for training as well as replacement parts and maintenance, whereas upgrading to new engines from Airbus or Boeing would be a faster and simpler process,” Mr. Spracklin wrote.

Both Airbus and Boeing have announced plans to put new, more fuel-efficient engines on their A320 and Boeing 737 planes, which dominate the narrow-bodied market, but will also face competition from other airplane makers in addition to Bombardier.

Airbus is offering a choice of the same Pratt & Whitney engine that Bombardier is offering on the C Series or an engine developed by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric Co. and Safran SA of France. Boeing is offering a variation of the CFM engine on its Boeing 737 Max.

Another engine maker, Rolls-Royce Holdings PLC, said on Thursday that it expects to be offered an opportunity to build a new engine for another new narrow-bodied plane. Rolls-Royce did not identify the manufacturer but Embraer SA of Brazil is expected to join the competition in the segment, which is the largest slice of the commercial aviation market.

Bombardier has won firm orders for 133 planes, 119 options and 10 purchase rights.

It was in the running for a Delta Air Lines Inc. order for 100 planes, but Delta said this week that it is putting off an order for planes seating between 100 and 150 passengers after reaching a deal with Boeing earlier this summer to buy 100 larger narrow-bodied airplanes. The Delta delay underscores how airlines are cautious about the plane, in part because they’re worried about the health of the U.S. and European economies.

“The C Series aircraft program is tracking well – both in orders and in its development,” Bombardier spokesman John Arnone said Thursday. “[This year] has seen significant momentum for C Series with 43 firm orders so far this year.”

Separately, Bombardier said Thursday that final assembly of its Global 7000 and Global 8000 business jets will be done at its factory in Toronto.

With a file from Bloomberg

VIDEO: United States Forest Service's Air Tanker Base at East Texas Regional Airport (KGGG), Longview, Texas.