Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pakistan International Airlines Haj operations hit air pocket

KARACHI: The Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Haj operations are going to be even more painful for the pilgrims this season as 10 aircraft out of the fleet of 39 have been grounded due to technical faults, sources said on Thursday.

The national and international flight schedules of the national flag carrier are severely affected as out of 39-plane fleet, only 29 are operating, resulting in daily cancellation of flights and long delays, causing huge financial losses to the airline.

The grounded aircraft include two Boeing-777 planes, two Boeing-737 planes, two ATR and four Airbus A-310, the sources said.

Since PIA’s total aircraft for Haj operations have been reduced to 29, this is going to be quite problematic for the pilgrims travelling through the national flag carrier, totaling 113,563.

The Airbus A-310 has a passenger capacity of around 195, Boeing-777 has a capacity of 215-350 passengers and Boeing-737 has a capacity of 118 passengers.

As these aircraft are no more available to operate, PIA would be having severe difficulties to re-arrange 305 Haj flights, they said.

As per the earlier schedule, PIA had to operate 46 Haj flights from Lahore and Islamabad each, 48 from Karachi, 24 from Multan, 66 from Peshawar, seven from Sialkot and 68 from Quetta to transport 113,563 pilgrims.

Spokesperson for PIA did not respond to comment on the situation.

The national flag carrier has been making huge losses for the last several years, allegedly due to mismanagement and induction of friends and cronies by previous and present governments.

According to aviation experts, the airline has accumulated losses of more than $2 billion and is only kept afloat by dole outs by the government. 

23 days after Indian Air Force MiG crash in his field, government yet to calculate farmer’s loss

When on September 6, an MiG crashed into his paddy field near Shambu barrier, the Indian Air Force officials told 66-year-old Prem Chand not to worry and assured him that he would be duly compensated for the loss.

The only thing Chand needed to do to get the compensation from the IAF was to submit an estimate of loss calculated and certified by government officials.

“An IAF official told me that the (crashed) aircraft was insured and they would get compensation from the insurance company. He advised me to get the estimates of my loss calculated by the local authorities and submit the same to IAF to claim the compensation,” Chand told The Indian Express on Thursday.

Ironically, more than three weeks after the crash, he is still running from one government office to another to get his loss estimated.

IAF authorities say they are waiting for the “certified estimates from civil officials”. The claim for compensation can be processed only after they gate the estimates.

Chand claimed that he managed to get loss of crop estimated at Rs 30,000 after an assessment by the Ghanaur Naib Tehsildar and Patwari of the area. He also submitted an undertaking saying he “did not have the insurance cover for the crop”.

“I lost the crop in about a bigha of land. But the bigger loss is due to the huge quantity of aircraft fuel that spilled over from the crashed MiG. A huge chunk of land has now been rendered infertile due to the seepage of fuel,” he claimed.

“As per my estimates, which I reached at after speaking to the experts, about Rs 1 lakh is required to lift the oil-laden soil and replace it with normal soil,” Chand, who retired as a teacher, said, alleging that the government officials are either not serious about his case or are unaware of the procedure.

“Patiala deputy commissioner marked my application to Rajpura sub-divisional magistrate (SDM), who in turn marked it to Ghanur Naib Tehsildar to make estimate for loss caused to land by oil spillage. When I inquired from Ghanaur Naib Tehsildar, he said, it was PWD (buildings & roads) who is supposed to make such an assessment. I went to the PWD office at Patiala, but was told that SDO was in a meeting at Rajpura. When I called up at his office today, a clerk from his office said that it is the Panchayati Raj SDO who is the right official to prepare such an estimate,” Chand said, narrating his ordeal.

Contacted, Patiala DC, Vikas Garg said a physical verification of the land affected by oil spillage has to be done. “From my office, the application had to be routed through SDM, who was to decide on marking the same to the concerned official,” Garg said.

Rajpura SDM J K Jain was not available for comment. A call to his office was answered by a woman who said Jain was on leave till October 10.

Meanwhile, an IAF official in the loop for forwarding such loss estimates to authorities at New Delhi, said that the certified estimates from civil authorities were still awaited. “His (Chand’s) case for compensation could be processed by IAF only if certified estimates by civil authorities reach us and we forward them to higher authorities at New Delhi,” he said.

Notably, the MiG-21 Bison fighter aircraft had crashed into Prem Chand’s paddy field on September 6, while pilot had ejected to safety. The crash had taken place near Shambu barrier, about 15 km from Rajpura in Patiala district. The crash site was few meters away from busy National Highway. The aircraft was on a routine sortie and was returning to Ambala from Rajpura side.

California: Three men charged with conspiracy and fraud. Case involves former executives and supervisors at WECO Aerospace Systems Inc.

Two Granite Bay men and a Roseville man were charged Thursday with conspiracy and fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce, and mail fraud.

Jerry Edward Kuwata, 60, and Douglas Arthur Johnson, 52, both of Granite Bay, and Scott Hamilton Durham, 39, of Roseville, were charged along with Michael Dennis Maupin, 58, of Arbuckle, Christopher Warren MacQueen, 53, of Lincoln, and Anthony Vincent Zito, 47, of Saugus.

The defendants are all former executives and supervisors at WECO Aerospace Systems Inc., an FAA-certified air repair station based in Lincoln, which was purchased in 2007 by Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Federal Aviation Administration regulates air travel and publishes regulations that FAA-certified repair stations are required to follow, which include the use of parts that are approved for repairs, and tests and inspections that stations are required to conduct before a repaired part can be returned and reinstalled into an aircraft.

WECO was permitted to repair, among other items, rotables and converters. In repairing these parts, a certified repair station is required to use FAA-approved parts.

According to the 36-count indictment, the defendants regularly directed WECO technicians to use unapproved parts in repairs. On one occasion, Maupin and MacQueen allegedly used a paper clip to complete a repair.

During the repair of an aircraft part, a certified repair station is required to comply with the manufacturer’s Component Maintenance Manual, a step-by-step guide for conducting a proper repair. The indictment alleges that the defendants regularly failed to follow the manufacturer’s manual.

According to the indictment, the defendants did not have the equipment needed to perform many of the tests required but performed repairs of parts and returned those parts to customers, falsely certifying that the part had been repaired in accordance with FAA regulations.

There have been no known instances in which a fraudulent WECO repair resulted in an aircraft accident.

Upon learning of the allegations, the FAA issued an emergency order suspending WECO’s repair station certificate. Since finalizing its purchase of WECO in 2008, Gulfstream has fully cooperated with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of this case, according to the news release.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum statutory penalty for the conspiracy to commit fraud and fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce of 15 years in prison, a fine of $500,000 and three years of supervised release.

The maximum statutory penalty for each count of mail fraud is 20 years in prison, a fine of $250,000 and a three-year term of supervised release.

Memorial services for Lundells have been set. Father, son died in plane crash. Concannon Radial Rocket, N91TX. Accident occurred September 19, 2011 in Socorro, New Mexico.

Seth Lundell (left) and Dr. Mark Lundell, from October 2010.

Seth Lundell liked to tell folks that he had never met a stranger. "They were just friends he hadn't met yet," his sister Betsy Lundell recalled.

Seth, 20, and his father Mark, 60, died on Sept. 19 in a plane crash outside of Socorro, N.M.

Mark, a vascular surgeon who owned Scottsdale Vein Center, was an experienced pilot. The Paradise Valley resident and his son, who also had his pilot's license, were flying back from Louisiana after picking up a new experimental airplane, family members said. Mark and Seth were the only two on board.

A celebration of life for Seth is planned for 5 p.m. Friday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6840 E. Gold Dust Ave., Scottsdale.

A celebration of life for Mark is planned for 5 p.m. Saturday at Mesa's Falcon Field Airport, 4800 E. Falcon Drive.

Fellow pilots will honor father and son with separate missing man formations over the airport.

It was Seth's spirit, smile and grace that made his mother, Deborah, call Seth the "dessert" of her family. Seth, a 2009 graduate of Arcadia High School, was the last born of six children.

The elder Lundell instilled his love of aviation in his six children early on. As the four boys and two girls were growing up, he and his wife would pile the kids into a World War II Twin Beech AT-11 trainer and fly around the country to air shows.

In lieu of flowers, family members are asking for donations to a fund to honor the Lundells' aviation legacy. The Mark Lundell M.D. and Seth Lundell memorial fund has been established at Bank of America.

"Your donations will allow our father and both our brothers to continue to share their love of flight to future generations of aviators through the Young Eagles Project," Besty wrote on the Lundells' Facebook memorial page.

Seth was the second Lundell child to die in a plane crash.

Jacob Lundell was 21 when he died in a crash at the Casa Grande Municipal Airport in 2005.

Mark, who was observing Jacob practice touch-and-go landings, removed the body from the wreckage and drove it to his Paradise Valley home to allow the family to say goodbye.

That prompted a police probe, but no charges were filed. Report

GPS unit found in copter crash that killed Richmond man. Robinson R-44, N8324F.

Dan Logghe

Federal officials investigating a helicopter crash that killed two Macomb County residents in northern Michigan have recovered a hand-held navigation device that might shed light into what caused the fatal crash last weekend.

Investigators located the GPS (global positioning system) unit that will be sent to the National Transportation Safety Board’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. for analysis, said NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson.

“That might be helpful to us in determining whether the helicopter crashed before arriving at the pilot’s destination point or later when they were leaving the area,” Knudson said Wednesday.

Dan Logghe, 46, of Richmond Township, was piloting the Robinson R-44 helicopter when it went down Friday night in Caledonia Township in Alcona County, which is approximately 85 miles north of Bay City. Mark May, 33, of Sterling Heights, was a passenger on the aircraft.

Logghe was a vice president and co-owner of Logghe Stamping Company, a family-owned metal stamping operation in Fraser that supplies the auto, defense and other industries. The helicopter was registered to the company, according to Federal Aviation Administration records.

According to the NTSB, Logghe and May left for a hunting trip from Logghe’s home in northern Macomb County in the helicopter about 6:30 p.m. Friday. They were heading to a cabin in Alcona County but relatives never heard from them over the weekend.

At 10 a.m. Monday, Logghe’s family filed a missing persons report with the Michigan State Police. About an hour later, hunters in Alcona came up the wreckage. The aircraft had struck several trees on its descent and caught on fire when it crashed.

Witnesses told investigators the helicopter was spotted going in and out of clouds Friday evening and weather conditions were rainy. An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Wednesday night or on Thursday.

“We’ll get toxicology tests from the autopsy as we try to look at the pilot’s 72-hour background to determine if there were any issues that would compromise his ability to operate the aircraft, all of which is standard,” Knudson said.

Investigators expected to wrap up their probe by Wednesday night or Thursday, he added. The cause of the accident may take up to 12 months to finalize.

Logghe was married with two children. Funeral arrangements were being handled by Kaatz Funeral Directors in Richmond with a memorial luncheon scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

Embraer Rises on $200 Million Lufthansa Order, Brazil Tax Break

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Embraer SA, the world’s fourth- largest planemaker, headed for a one-week high after Deutsche Lufthansa AG ordered five jets valued at a total of more than $200 million, and Brazil’s government gave tax breaks to defense suppliers, including aircraft builders.

Embraer advanced 2.8 percent to 11.91 reais at 1:09 p.m. New York time, the highest level on a closing basis since Sept. 21. The benchmark Bovespa index gained 0.6 percent.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Europe’s second-biggest airline, said it will buy five of Embraer’s 195 regional jets. The order was part of a $1.5 billion capital expenditure program that included seven aircraft from Airbus SAS, the German carrier said today in a statement.

“Embraer has had the advantage of a weak currency and a backlog in orders, which has been a surprise to the upside,” Marcello Paixao, money manager at Sao Paulo-based quant fund Principia Capital Management, said in a telephone interview. “That combination has been a big plus because a lot of their costs -- labor and energy -- are in reais, while the planes are sold for foreign currency.”

The real advanced 0.8 percent to 1.8269 per dollar, from 1.8408 yesterday. The currency has lost 13 percent this month, the worst performer among 25 emerging-market currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

Brazil plans to give a tax break to suppliers of defense systems and products, including aircraft, satellites, vehicles and software. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is scheduled to sign a decree today to enact the tax break.

GE Aviation holds symposium for potential suppliers to Auburn plant - Alabama.

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama  - GE Aviation is the latest company that's attempting to help the state's aerospace and aviation industries reach new altitudes.

The industry giant's jet-engine division hosted a business supplier symposium here this morning in advance of GE Aviation's new multimillion-dollar engine coatings plant slated to open in Auburn next year. The plant is expected to have up to 400 employees in a few years.

But Mike Sims, general manager with GE Aviation, told attendees to not limit their options to the Auburn plant, but look at ways of doing business with GE around the world and even with other aerospace companies.

Aviation is about a $20 billion industry for GE and the company spends more than $1 billion annually in research and development on just the aviation side of its operations, Sims said. GE Aviation has 83 facilities in 11 countries with around 37,000 employees.

It also has 13,000 suppliers and the capacity to add many more as the industry continues on its current growth path.

Sims said GE Aviation left this year's Paris Air Show with $27 billion in new orders for engines and components - some of which are not even commercially available yet. Airlines and militaries have all indicated they will be increasing spending on aviation and aerospace in the future, fueling that continuing growth.

More than 100 businesses from across Alabama are participated in today's symposium to learn what it takes to do business with GE - from the company's supplier selection process to the quality and regulatory requirements that come with being an aviation industry supplier.

Companies were able to break out into face-to-face sessions with GE representatives at the symposium, which was presented with the Tuscaloosa County Industrial Development Authority.

U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, delivered the keynote address and said he would have preferred that GE Aviation had chosen Tuscaloosa for its Alabama facility, but is glad it's coming to Auburn.

"As a leading producer of both commercial and military aviation products, I am pleased that GE's Alabama footprint will be expanding to include additional relationships with Alabama businesses as well as a new facility in Auburn," he said.

Sims said GE is just getting started with its growth in Alabama.

"We're committed to enhancing GE Aviation's presence in Alabama - and between the new Auburn facility and the supplier relationships that are sure to come out of this symposium, we're well on our way," said Sims. "We look forward to decades of work with the hardworking people of Alabama."

Sims said he hopes to leave the symposium with as many as a dozen viable new suppliers for GE Aviation.

Emirates eyes new jets to replace older aircraft. Airline plans $1b bond issue as it diversifies funding options

Dubai: Emirates could announce further aircraft orders at this year's Dubai Air Show as it seeks to speed replacement of older planes and add routes to poorly served destinations.

Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation and Chairman and CEO of Emirates airline and Group, was "reflecting a wish that we'd like to do more" when he said on Wednesday that the carrier could add to its jetliner backlog, President Tim Clark said yesterday in a phone interview.

The airline wants to accelerate the retirement of older jets because of high fuel prices, and also needs extra planes to offer services to less busy destinations to make use of gaps between periods of high activity, the executive said.

Models being examined include the Airbus A350 and extended-range versions of Boeing's older 777, Clark said, adding that Emirates is also seeking an update on the US company's plans for a "next-generation" 777.

While more A380 superjumbos would be welcome, he said, the fleet is restricted by handling limitations at Dubai International Airport.

Clark said that Emirates is in discussion with Airbus over the implications of likely delays to the A350-1000 variant as the plane is given extra thrust, adding that he'd have liked the jet to have gone ahead according to original plans.

He added that there's no reason to expect first examples of the baseline A350-900 to meet weight and specifications, given problems with other recent jetliner models.

Bond issue

Emirates airline is also planning to issue $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in bonds, a senior official was quoted as saying yesteday, to counter uncertainty about financing as European banks struggle.

Brian Jeffrey, senior vice-president of corporate treasury, told the Arabic language daily Al Bayan, that the airline was considering the new bonds to finance aircraft purchases, given funding challenges faced by European banks.

Emirates, which issued a $1 billion bond in June, said diversifying funding options is always on the table.

"Emirates is always open to new financing opportunities as part of our overall diversified funding strategy. At this time we have no firm plans to release a new bond," the airline said in an emailed statement.

The global aviation industry faces growing uncertainty over financing due to Europe's debt crisis and worries surrounding French banks, which play a key role in the global aircraft financing market.

Emirates last tapped the bond market with a five-year 5.125 per cent issue in June which was massively oversubscribed.

37 facing drug charges in sting at Boeing plant. Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

People were led away in zip-tie restraints after the FBI raided the Boeing facility, located in Ridley Park, Pa. Action News has blurred the faces of agents to protect their identities. .

PHILADELPHIA — A four-year undercover federal investigation into the distribution of illegal narcotics at Boeing’s Ridley Township plant yielded charges against 37 individuals, including the former president of United Aerospace Workers Local 1069.

Michael Patterson, 53, of Eddystone, was among 28 Delaware County residents charged Thursday in the sting conducted by the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.

Patterson was charged with three misdemeanor counts of attempted possession of two prescription painkillers. He faces a maximum of three years in prison.

Current union President Chris Owens did not return a phone message seeking comment.

Patterson, who had resigned from his union position last year, was among 14 individuals charged with the misdemeanor of attempted possession of prescription drugs.

The other 23 individuals were indicted for illegally distributing narcotics, a felony carrying much steeper penalties. Those individuals face maximum penalties ranging from 10 years in prison with a $500,000 fine to 260 years and a $13 million fine.

“It’s a wide range, just like out there on the street,” U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger said. “Some drug dealers deal more. Some drug dealers deal less.”

The individuals allegedly dealt several prescription drugs, including painkillers oxycodone and fentanyl, which is commonly prescribed to cancer patients; the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam, better known as Xanax; and buprenorphine, commonly known as Suboxone, which is used to treat addiction to opioids like heroin.

Federal agents raided the Boeing plant Thursday morning, arresting 27 employees at the facility. Nine others were arrested off-site. One individual, who Memeger did not identify, had not been arrested as of Thursday afternoon.

Two union officials, John Mozzani and Andy Duris, were among those charged. Both Mozzani and Duris are north side union committeemen.

Mozzani, 49, of Trainer, was indicted on three felony counts of distributing oxycodone and aiding and abetting criminals. He faces a maximum of 60 years in prison and a $3 million fine.

Duris, 55, of Secane, was charged with a misdemeanor count of attempted possession of oxycodone, which carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison.

The 37 defendants include both current and former employees and one nonemployee, Memeger said, though he would not provide their specific job responsibilities.

“They held various positions at Boeing … including the manufacturing of aircraft,” Memeger said. “What we also know from the course of this investigation is that these individuals purchased drugs and were using drugs (on property).

“But during the investigation, we took affirmative steps to coordinate with Boeing, to make sure that the steps and mechanisms were in place at Boeing to ensure the quality and safety of the airplanes that were being constructed.”

Memeger said no aircraft accidents had occurred as a result of employee drug use related to the sting.

The probe was launched after Boeing officials contacted federal law enforcement regarding suspicious drug activity. Company officials fully cooperated with the investigation, Memeger said.

The case is being investigated by assistant U.S. attorneys Faithe Moore Taylor and Ashley Lunkenheimer.

The charges allege that each defendant either sold a controlled substance to an FBI cooperator or bought what was believed to be a prescription drug from the cooperator. The drugs sold by the cooperator were placebos.

Memeger described the drug operation as a “nebulous” of individual drug dealers, saying federal investigators did not have enough evidence to establish conspiracy charges. However, he stopped short of saying the individuals were unaware of their fellow drug dealers.

Asked whether the drug dealing was a daily occurrence that may have lasted for years at Boeing, Memeger refused to speculate on anything beyond the charges announced Thursday.

“I’m not in a position to generalize what was going on throughout the Boeing plant,” Memeger said. “What I can talk about is what we were able to identify and what we determined was probable cause to bring charges against these defendants.”

He added that the source of the drugs was not a prominent focus of the investigation, but noted such drugs are easily found in family medicine cabinets and sold by unscrupulous doctors.

Memeger forwarded to Boeing officials all questions regarding employee drug testing, recalled aircraft or the specific positions of charged individuals.

Boeing spokesman Damien Mills did not field questions, but issued a statement on behalf of the company.

“An internal Boeing investigation determined that potentially illegal activities were being conducted by certain employees at the (Ridley) Boeing facility,” Mills said. “Boeing reported the company’s findings to federal law enforcement officials and cooperated fully with the subsequent investigation and interdiction.

“Boeing commends the U.S. Attorney’s office and other federal law enforcement agencies for their rigorous and thorough investigation, throughout which we took appropriate steps to ensure safety of our employees and the absolute integrity and quality of the products we produce for our customers.”

With more than 6,000 workers, Boeing is the county’s largest employer. Last week, the company celebrated 50 years of production of the workhouse Chinook helicopter and a new production facility.

The fuselage of the tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey also is produced at the Ridley plant.

Memeger said the investigation at Boeing remains ongoing.

Here is a list of those arrested on drug charges at Boeing plant in Ridley Township, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office:

Ted Battista, Morton, 53

Kevin Bishop, Philadelphia, 43

Robert S. Bromley Lester, 52

William Corcoran, Glenolden, 55

John L. D’Agostino, Media, 64

Vincent Demsky, Ridley Park, 49

Andy Duris, Secane, 55

Stephen Ellis, Springfield, 41

John Fitzpatrick Morton, 41

Jeffrey Forbes Middletown, Del., 51

Charles F. Haux , Lincoln University, 50

Ralph J. Highley, Franklinville, NJ, 52

Michael Homer Oxford, PA, 49

Amanda Jarrel, Folcroft, 23

Francis King, New Castle, Del., 59

Ray O. Langley, Philadelphia, 65

Thomas Lees, Brookhaven, 51

William Mann, Collingdale, 32

Gerald McKenzie, Upper Darby, 55

John Mozzani, Trainer, 49

Margaret M. Mozzani, Trainer, 51

Michael Patterson Eddystone, 53

Victor Phillip, Boothwyn, 51

Darryl Purfield, Springfield, 46

Mark Reese, Boothwyn, 48

Mark D. Robertson, Upper Chichester, 50

Joseph A. Salvato, Holmes, 59

John F. Shalkowski, Lumberton, NJ, 47

Richard Sommers, Lincoln University, 49

Craig Steckel, Morton, 46

Daniel Sullivan, Norwood, 53

Jonathan Sullivan, Media, 60

William B. Summers, Boothwyn, 52

James Swan, Springfield, 27

George Torres, Darby, 27

William W. Wilson, Ridley Park, 54

Christopher Young Collingdale, 53.

Below is a list of the charges the defendants face, and maximum punishments if found guilty:

Kevin Bishop, distribution of oxycodone, 1 count 20 years in prison; $1 million fine;

Robert S. Bromley, distribution of oxycodone, 1 count, 60 years in prison; $3 million fine

William Corcoran, distribution of oxycodone, 6 counts, 120 years in prison; $6 million fine;

John L. D’Agostino, distribution of oxycodone, 7 counts;possession w/intent to distribute oxycodone, hydrocodone, alprazolam, zolpidem, clonazepam, phentermine, 1 count 143 years in prison; $7.25 million fine

Stephen Ellis distribution of oxycodone, 4 counts 80 years in prison; $4 million fine

John Fitzpatrick distribution of dextroamphetamine, 2 counts 20 years in prison; $1 million fine

Charles F. Haux distribution of oxycodone, 12 counts 240 years in prison; $12 million fine

Ralph J. Highley distribution of suboxone, 1 count 10 years in prison; $500,000 fine

Amanda Jarrell distribution of buprenorphine, 1 count 10 years in prison; $500,000 fine

Francis King distribution of oxycodone, alprazolam, zolpidem, 1 count; distribution of alprazolam & zolpidem, 1 count; distribution of oxycodone, 1 count; 50 years in prison; $2.5 million fine

Ray O. Langley distribution of oxycodone, 6 counts; distribution of fentanyl, 7 counts 260 years in prison; $13 million fine

William Mann distribution of oxycodone, 2 counts 40 years in prison;$2 million fine

Gerald McKenzie distribution of fentanyl, 1 count 20 years in prison; $1 million fine

John Mozzani distribution of oxycodone, 3 counts; aiding and abetting; 60 years in prison;$3 million fine

Margaret M. Mozzani distribution of oxycodone, 6 counts; aiding and abetting; 120 years in prison; $6 million fine

Mark Reese distribution of oxycodone, 5 counts 100 years in prison; $5 million fine

Mark D. Robertson distribution of oxycodone, 2 counts; att. possession of oxycodone & fentanyl, 1 count; att. possession of fentanyl, 1 count 42 years in prison; $2 million fine

Joseph A. Salvato dist. of oxycodone, 9 counts; dist. of fentanyl, 2 counts 220 years in prison; $11 million fine

Richard Sommers distribution of buprenorphine, 3 counts 30 years in prison; $1.5 million fine

Craig Steckel distribution of oxycodone, 3 counts 60 years in prison; $3 million fine

Daniel T. Sullivan distribution of oxycodone, 3 counts; att. possession of oxycodone, 2 counts 40 years in prison; $2 million fine

Jonathan Sullivan distribution of oxycodone, 1 count 20 years in prison; $1 million fine

Christopher Young distribution of buprenorphine, 1 count 10 years in prison; $500,000 fine

Ted Battista attempted possession of oxycodone & fentanyl, 1 count; att. poss. of fentanyl, 2 counts; 1 year in prison each count

Vincent Demsky att. possession of oxycodone, 1 count 1 year in prison each count

Andy Duris att. possession of oxycodone,1 count 1 year in prison each count

Jeffrey L. Forbes att. possession of oxycodone & fentanyl, 3 counts; 1 year in prison each count

Michael Homer att. possession of oxycodone, 1 count 1 year in prison each count;

Thomas A. Lees att. possession of oxycodone, 1 count 1 year in prison each count

Michael Patterson att. possession of oxycodone & fentanyl, 3 counts; 1 year in prison each count

Victor Phillip att. possession of oxycodone, 2 counts 1 year in prison each count

Darryl Purfield att. possession of oxycodone, 3 counts; att. possession of fentanyl, 1 count; 1 year in prison each count

John F. Shalkowski att. possession of fentanyl, 2 counts 1 year in prison each count

William B. Summers att. possession of oxycodone, 1 count 1 year in prison each count

James Swan att. possession of oxycodone, 2 counts; att. possession of fentanyl, 1 count 1 year in prison each count

George A. Torres, III att. possession of fentanyl, 1 count 1 year in prison each count

William W. Wilson att. possession of oxycodone, 1 count 1 year in prison each count

There’s no impounding of aircraft as far as Kingfisher is concerned. -Sanjay Aggarwal, CEO, Kingfisher Airlines.

New Delhi: Kingfisher Airlines​ Ltd is struggling to stay afloat as it deals with multiple financial and operational issues, including debt of Rs. 7,057.08 crore as of 31 March, a continuous run of losses, disputes over leases and grounded planes. The latest moves by India’s second largest carrier as part of the revival exercise include doing away with the low-fare Kingfisher Red brand. That announcement by chairman Vijay Mallya on Wednesday grabbed the most attention on a day when the carrier held its annual general meeting (AGM) in Bangalore. The AGM was, among other things, meant to instill confidence among shareholders worried about the company’s future.

The low-fare division comprises the rebranded Air Deccan, which Kingfisher acquired in 2007.

The company is taking a contrarian call in a market known for customers who demand value for money. Market leader Jet Airways​ (India) Ltd, for instance, is increasing the proportion of economy class seats on its planes.

With Kingfisher reverting to its original model of being a full-service airline across all categories, all planes will get business class seats. At the same time, it will also squeeze in more economy class seats.

Kingfisher chief executive officer Sanjay Aggarwal, who moved to the airline from budget carrier SpiceJet Ltd last year, spoke in an interview about the reasoning behind the shift in strategy, issues with aircraft lessors and the future of the carrier. Edited excerpts:

We understand that there have been defaults in payments to international aircraft lessors and some of them have sought to repossess planes, others have said they will not renew leases. You have had meetings with them in London.

We are in constant touch with our lessors. I believe your views are ill-founded.

So there are no defaults?

There is no impounding of aircraft as far as we are concerned. There is a difference... As I have said, we are in constant dialogue with them.

Of the 66 aircraft in your fleet, seven ATRs and some A320s are grounded because of lack of spares. Is that not harming operations or is it better to ground them rather than fly in the current market?

The figure is not that high. Some of the ATRs are grounded for scheduled maintenance, which any airline would have at any given time. Plus the Airbus A320 problems that we ran into last year (over half the A320 fleet was grounded because of engine problems), we are completely not out of it. From 14 aircraft (that were grounded) we are down to four, out of which two will be back in service soon. Yes, we are not out of the woods yet, but we will be there soon.

What changes with the end of Kingfisher Red?

It will all be a dual-class configuration, business and economy on (the) A320, all ATR aircraft will have a single configuration—Kingfisher class. The entire airline will be full service. There will be fewer first-class seats and more economy seats.

How would you qualify full service?

The first element of a full service is selling tickets through a GDS (global distribution system), which is what we are already doing; a strong loyalty programme like the King Club; third is the network with regional connectivity, lounge access for our guests. So it’s just the meal approach on our flights which will change. There will be no selling of food, but all this will take about four months.

Did you hire a consultant to determine that you need to go back to the full-service model?

No. Most of the things we are already doing. This is based on our customer feedback and our internal assessment, which says they have a clear leaning towards our Kingfisher class product. The conclusion was clear. They were looking for a simplified business model and that’s what they expect from this.

Jet Airways has been converting most of its flights to an all-economy configuration, while you are planning to instal business class seats in single-class aircraft.

It’s unfair to comment on the Jet model. They have their own assessment and we have our own of where we need to go. They are making their own choices. We are taking this route keeping the competitive and market environment around us.

We understand the airline will have 8-12 business class seats and the rest economy versus the current configuration of 21-32 business class seats and 114-158 economy ?

I wouldn’t want to specify that for commercial reasons.

Overall, the number of seats you offer in the market will go up by 10%. How much will the revenue go up by?

I think we will be adding 10% more capacity in the market and it will be at just a one-time cost to the company (by way of additional seats). There would be some revenue increase, but it’s not fair to calculate it right now.

There have been several announcements on fund-raising. When do you expect the funds to actually come in?

The board has already approved a rights issue, and we have the ability of going for a GDR (global depositary receipts). We are pursuing both. We are optimistic on an investment in the near future.

Markets write off Kingfisher Airlines​’ new strategy

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd’s decision to exit the low-fare segment is baffling, to say the least, especially at a time when the country’s largest airline, Jet Airways​ (India) Ltd, is expanding the proportion of low-fare flights. The markets, however, seem to have made up their minds on how this will affect the airline—Kingfisher Airlines’ share price fell by 7.5% on the National Stock Exchange, touching a new low in the process. At current prices, the company has a market value of only Rs. 1,137 crore, a fraction of the size of its revenue (Rs. 6,500 crore) and of its assets (Rs. 9,500 crore).

Currently, Kingfisher Airlines prices about 75% of its seats at “low-fare”, while the remaining are priced at relatively higher levels. This is similar to the model currently followed by Jet. But while Jet is reportedly looking at increasing the proportion of “low-fare” seats, Kingfisher has chosen the exact opposite path. It will now focus on its full-service carrier business, as “there are many guests who prefer to travel with full-service benefits”.

With the kind of mess Kingfisher Airlines is in with its debt, it perhaps makes sense for it to exit parts of its business. In the June quarter, it reported losses before tax and exceptional items of Rs. 388 crore, which worked out to a loss of Rs. 1,138 for every paying passenger it flew during the period. A year ago, it incurred losses at the rate of Rs. 920 for every paying passenger it flew. Of course, high interest burden had a lot to do with the losses. But it is evident from the above-mentioned numbers that flying fewer passengers could alleviate the company’s problems.

But this is not what Kingfisher plans to do by exiting the low-fare business. It will convert all its aircraft into full-service planes, and it actually expects its capacity to go up by 10% in a few months. Based on its current results, it appears that the losses will continue to mount. Kingfisher’s bet, however, seems to be that it will be able to extract better prices from customers. Of course, the pertinent question here is if the market can absorb this large influx of full-service seats at relatively higher prices. In other words, will passenger load factors sustain at current levels with higher fares? The stocks markets seem to have concluded that the experiment will be a failure. Meanwhile, low-cost airlines such as SpiceJet Ltd and IndiGo may benefit from the reduction in capacity of “low-fare” seats, thanks to the exit of Kingfisher Red.

Velocity RG, N360TV: No mechanical failure evident in plane crash. Raleigh Executive Jetport at Sanford-Lee County Airport (KTTA), Sanford, North Carolina.

SANFORD -- The private-plane crash that killed an Apex man this week probably was not caused by mechanical failure, according to early findings by an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.

Software consultant Kirk Aragon, 43, died Sunday after the 1996 Velocity RG airplane he was flying crashed into a wooded area near Raleigh Executive Jetport in Lee County.

Brian Rayner, a senior safety investigator at the NTSB, declined to say whether a pilot error caused the crash. He said it would be up to the five-member federal safety board to make the determination once the report is complete. "I don't have any evidence of a mechanical malfunction at this time," he said. It could take up to a year for the NTSB to issue its final report on the cause of the incident.

But investigators are already piecing together a narrative of what happened after the crash - including details about a dramatic effort by the pilot to escape the flaming wreckage.

Rayner was on site Tuesday still examining remaining parts of the plane found on Breezewood Road.

Aragon's plane went down about 12:45 p.m. Sunday, minutes after radioing to air traffic control that he was departing. A pilot who was in the air at the time told investigators that Aragon's plane appeared to be lower than usual and losing altitude before crashing.

"The entire airplane was consumed by fire," Rayner said. "The engine was significantly damaged; the gears are melted together; the instruments have been destroyed."

Aragon did not file a flight plan, so his destination is unknown, Rayner said. But it's likely that Aragon was taking a short flight around the area. Officials have not yet been able to recover the pilot log book, which would indicate whether Aragon was training for another license or certification. The log book may have been on the plane.

Rescued from fire

Aragon was alive immediately after the crash and managed to separate himself about 10 feet from the plane, said Deep River Fire Chief Larry Kelly. A trio of area residents managed to reach Aragon before the fire department arrived and helped to remove some of his clothing.

"They helped to keep him calm until we could get there," Kelly said. "He was conscious. I was able to talk with him to find out if anyone else was in the plane. He was in a lot of pain. He did not give any indication of what happened."

Aragon suffered what appeared to be second- and third-degree burns, Kelly said.

He was taken to UNC Hospitals in Chapel Hill, where he later died from his injuries.

A family man

Aragon was an avid pilot and family man, said former co-worker Warren Myers.

Myers met Aragon in 2007 when both worked for Opsware, a software company that was later bought by Hewlett-Packard.

"Flying was a hobby for him, but that doesn't encompass it," Myers said.

Aragon had a wife and two young daughters, Myers said.

"He talked about them more than anything else," he said. "I think the biggest thing to know about him is I never once heard him say anything unkind either to another co-worker or client. He was the consummate professional and family man."

Funeral arrangements were being handled by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home in Cary.

Private airport operators plan to snap credit line to Air India

New Delhi: The country’s five private airport operators, which control over 60% air traffic, are planning to put state-owned Air India on cash-and-carry for not clearing dues totalling R556 crore. Under cash-and-carry, the airline can fly from the airport only after making upfront payment for using the facilities.

Cash-strapped Air India owes R243 crore and R218 crore to Delhi International Airport (DIAL) and Mumbai International Airport (MIAL) respectively as on July 2011.

“If Air India continues to default on payment of outstanding we would be left with no option but to allow the airline to operate only after receiving prior payment,” said an executive of a private airport.

The airport companies under the banner of Association of Private Airport Operators (APAO) has also written to civil aviation minister Vayalar Ravi for an early clearance of dues by the airline. The APAO has communicated to the ministry that the financial viability of the airport firms would be adversely affected if dues remain unpaid.

“In case of delay in payment of dues the cost of equity would go up. Eventually it will hurt private investors in the sector,” said a DIAL official wishing not to be named.

The airline has an accumulated loss of over R20,000 crore and a total debt of over R60,000 crore of which R21,000 crore is the working capital loan. It has asked the government to provide R6,600 crore to pare part of its debt and clear vendor payments.

The government has already infused R3,200 crore in the airline as equity since February 2010.

Group says airport priced land too low. Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport (KBWG), Bowling Green, Kentucky.

An environmental group contends that the price tag for more than four acres of land proposed for sale at the Bowling Green-Warren County Regional Airport is well below market value and runs contrary to airport objectives.

Leslie Barras, a Louisville attorney for Karst Environmental Education and Protection, said the 4.6 acres to be sold to KYCORE for $494,500 “appears to be a substantial discrepancy in the fair market value,” according to a letter she sent to Tommy Dupree, a Federal Aviation Administration administrator.

A 2000 report from the Property Valuation Administration said the highest and best use of airport property was more than $500,000 an acre, the letter said.

But airport manager Rob Barnett said the proposed sale price is only slightly below its independently appraised value of $515,000.

Barnett said the FAA gave the go-ahead to accept the offer, saying there was wiggle room in the negotiations.

The sale of the property meets all FAA requirements and will allow the airport to get a new, larger airport maintenance facility inside its perimeter, he said. The building to be sold is 6,600 square feet and the board hopes to build a replacement facility of up to 10,000 square feet.

The property in question is outside the airport fence at 2325 Airway Court, adjacent to the former home of the late Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Charles Reynolds. The home was airport headquarters before being sold to house KYCORE.

The airport board needed a larger maintenance facility and had considered expanding it.

“But that wasn’t financially prudent,” he said.

Barnett said KYCORE representatives contacted him in June about possibly purchasing the property to use for more office space for operations of one of its companies. Barnett said he did not know specifically which companies would be housed in the space.

“So we made the request to the FAA to transfer the land,” he said.

Proceeds from the sale will be plowed back into the airport, which is acceptable and was deemed appropriate by the FAA, as was published for 30 days in the Federal Register.

“It is outside of any runway protection zone,” Barnett said.

But the KEEP letter said “approval of the conveyance of land and improvements and construction of a new airport building through this proposed action: (1) subverts the federal-aid airport planning process; (2) should be evaluated through at least an Environmental Assessment as related actions with cumulative impacts; (3) contradicts the position of local managers and elected officials that the airport location presents public safety concerns because of contiguous encroachments; and (4) represents a sale of public assets that does not appear to be based upon fair market value.”

Barnett said having a new maintenance facility has been a part of the airport’s master plan for years.

Barras in her letter asked her comments be placed in the administrative record for this proposed action.

“We look forward to FAA’s review of and response to our objections and concerns,” she said.

Dupree could not be reached for comment.

Despite the letter, Barnett said he expects a final contract agreement on the sale of the property to move forward. After that occurs, they will seek qualifications of a contractor to do a design-build of the new maintenance facility. Having just one contract makes the project move forward faster.

Emirates: powering ahead?

If Dubai’s emergence as a regional trade hub was founded on its creek, its emergence as a global transportation centre is rooted in its busy airport and fast-growing airline, Emirates.

Boston Consulting Group has issued a report arguing that, at its current rate of expansion, Emirates will become the world’s biggest wide-body carrier by 2015. Its regional competitors, Etihad of Abu Dhabi and Qatar Airways, won’t be far off the top 20. But BCG warns that turbulence will increase as they boost their long-haul operations in an increasingly competitive international market.

Dubai’s ‘Aerotropolis’ strategy – a city flourishing around the busy east-west air corridor it serves – has developed as fast as the city’s debt and real estate woes pulled the emirate back from its hubristic rise over the past decade.

Protected by tax-free, low-cost domestic environments, Emirates and other state-owned Middle Eastern airlines can ramp up global operations quickly, threatening established legacy carriers.

Over the past five years, Emirates has tripled capacity and revenues as it opened up 32 new destinations. Yields have reduced from 28 per cent to 23 per cent, but BCG notes this came within the context of a problematic market place.

Emirates has grown with implicit government support, allowing it to borrow to expand more cheaply, while not having to pay corporate tax, benefiting from cheap labour and minimal airport fees at its Dubai hub.

Similar advantages are at hand for its smaller regional competitors, Etihad and Qatar Airways.

Dubai established itself as a trade entrepot thanks to its strategic location in the Gulf and now its central position between established and emerging markets is driving air traffic.

Over the past five years, passenger traffic through the Middle East increased by 45m with another 45m increase forecast over the next five years – or 11 per cent compound annual growth.

Europe, South Asia and Africa are the largest drivers of volume traffic through the region. Northeast Asia is growing faster from a lower base.

But Emirates and its regional competitors face a conundrum: margins weaken as they expand and come into more direct conflict with an increasingly congested global marketplace.

BCG’s pricing analysis indicates that Middle East megacarriers’ most profitable passengers are those travelling into the region (35 per cent) or transiting from the Middle East, through the Gulf, onto other international destinations.

The 45 per cent of passengers who use a Gulf city to transit between cross-continental city pairs are less profitable, the report says. So the easy money made on regional traffic is subsidising Middle Eastern carriers’ entry into European and Asian destinations with a high proportion of cross-continental traffic. BCG concludes that this may be a good starting point but as a strategy it has limits. As these megacarriers continue to expand, they will transfer “a significant allocation of capacity to unprofitable customer segments”.

The region’s carriers not only face increasing competition from local low-cost carriers and each other – their continued rapid global expansion could start to undo their seemingly inexorable money-making efforts.

Wisconsin: Green Bay gets $500K to improve airline service

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay is getting a $500,000 federal grant to help improve its airline service.

The U.S. Department of Transportation is providing the money as part of a program that helps small communities develop solutions to local air-service needs.

Green Bay was one of 29 communities nationwide to get a grant.

The Transportation Department says the money will be used to provide a revenue guarantee as well as to pay for marketing year-round service to the west.

The federal grant program began in 2002 to help small communities deal with challenges of local air service, including high fares, insufficient levels of service and lack of competition. The recipients can use the money to provide financial incentives to carriers and pay for marketing programs to promote existing local service.

Feds Say Public Was Never in Danger in Massachusetts Man's Thwarted Terror Plot

(Hat tip to Jim!)

Federal officials say the public was never in danger in a Massachusetts man's alleged plot to blow up the Pentagon and the U.S. Capitol using remote-controlled airplanes filled with explosives.

They say the explosives delivered to Rezwan Ferdaus were always closely monitored.

The 26-year-old was arrested Wednesday and accused of plotting to blow up the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, as well as attempting to assist Al Qaeda in attacking U.S. troops overseas.

Rezwan Ferdaus of Ashland, Mass., was arrested Wednesday in Framingham after undercover FBI agents delivered weapons Ferdaus allegedly sought for the alleged plan. The stash included what he thought was 25 pounds of C-4 explosives, as well as three grenades and six fully-automatic AK-47 assault, a press release from the Department of Justice reads.

Ferdaus was arrested after he took the materials and locked them in his storage unit, according to an affadavit that says the storage unit was rented under a false name in June.

WestJet, Emirates ink interline agreement

Canadian discount air carrier WestJet Airlines Ltd. and Emirates Airline have signed an interline agreement which they said will make global travel easier for WestJet customers and boost business and tourism in Canada from the cities served by Emirates.

Interline deals allow an airline's passengers to transfer onto another carrier on a single ticket and bag check. They can lead to code-share agreements, which allow the partners to put their designation on each other's flights, enabling them to serve more cities without technically expanding their service.

Emirates currently flies to Dubai from Toronto three times a week.

The United Arab Emirates-based air carrier has clashed in recent years with the Canadian government and WestJet rival Air Canada over additional landing rights as it tries to expand in Canada.

WestJet, meanwhile, has been expanding its partnerships with international carriers. The Calgary-based company said in June that it was in the process of inking a code-share deal with Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), an interline partner since February. It also plans to ink three or four code-share agreements this year as it moves to expand its reach.

Bristow widens Traffic Collision Avoidance System II offering

A team of Bristow engineers are developing a series of kits allowing the fitment of TCAS II (Traffic Collision Avoidance System) to a wider number of aircraft.

The company's Technical Services division installed TCAS II on a helicopter for the first time in 2008 in conjunction with Rockwell Collins and is now offering the system for fitment on other models of aircraft.

The system is in use on the AS332L1 and has been certified on the Sikorsky S-92. The department is now working on a kit for the Sikorsky S-76C+ and C++ and is investigating potential fitment onto the Eurocopter EC225, although Eurocopter is working on its own TCAS II system.

The company decided to fit the system after a series of air proximity incidents over the North Sea. With TCAS II, pilots are now more aware of traffic around them - if the system detects possible traffic confliction, it will urge the pilot to climb or descend as appropriate.

'As a company, we are always looking to improve our flight safety,' explained Keith Woodgate, production manager at Bristow Technical Services, speaking to Shephard at the Helitech 2011 exhibition in Duxford.

'We led the development of systems such as HUMS for oil and gas helicopters, and that is now a mandatory requirement on offshore helicopters, so its not impossible to imagine that systems like TCAS II could eventually go the same way.'

Fitting the system to the aircraft is no easy feat. As well as the cockpit interface, the system also has two large antennas which need to be fitted on the topside and underside of the aircraft. In the cockpit, rather than integrate TCAS directly into the avionics system, which would be extremely costly, the TCAS II kit uses a separate display.

On the S-92 because pilots were not keen on the technical team drilling holes in their clean instrument panel the engineers decided to remove the approach plate clip holders at the edge of the cockpit and fit the TCAS II panel there.

On the S-76, the engineers have found space in the instrument panel to fit the traffic display.

The TCAS II modification is one of a number of systems developed by the Technical Services division, which completed changes to the Bell 412s being used by 84 Squadron in Cyprus. The company also created automatic float deployment systems for the AS332 and EC225 and came up with the idea for rear view mirrors to be installed to give pilots a visual inspection of the engines in flight.

The company is not the only one to be developing a TCAS for helicopters. Bond Aviation Group has also created a kit based on the Honeywell TCAS II for use on the AS332L2 Super Puma.

Tony Osborne, Duxford

Lawrence County gets $3M grant to extend airport taxiway. Black Hills Airport-Clyde Ice Field ( KSPF) Spearfish, South Dakota

Lawrence County’s Black Hills-Clyde Ice Field airport will use a $3.15 million Federal Administration Aviation grant to complete work on a 6,400-foot-long taxiway, according to its board of directors.

Chairman Bob Golay said the taxiway extension will lead to significant safety improvements at the airport near Spearfish where arriving and departing planes sometimes share the only runway.

Airport manager Ray Jilek said the taxiway will be extended by nearly 4,000 feet. In addition, the county will provide approximately $60,000 for the project. The state also will contribute 3 percent in matching funds, Jilek said.

The project also will shore up the parking area near the taxiway to accommodate larger corporate planes

Singapore Airlines plane carrying F1 driver Vettel forced to land in Frankfurt

GENEVA (AFP) - A Zurich-bound Singapore Airlines (SIA) Airbus A380 reportedly carrying Formula 1 racer Sebastien Vettel was forced to land in Frankfurt before arriving at its destination three hours late on Wednesday.

Skyguide, which manages air traffic, said the delay was due to a problem onboard the super jumbo jet while a Singapore Airlines spokesman told Swiss newswire ATS that it was due to thick fog which covered Zurich airport at the scheduled landing time.

While approaching Zurich airport at around 8am (2pm Singapore time), the pilot suddenly interrupted the maneuver and regained altitude. The aircraft then headed to Frankfurt before taking off again for Switzerland. It finally landed in Zurich at 11.30am.

Problems with Rolls Royce engines in A380 aircraft - the world's biggest passenger plane - came to light after a Qantas super-jumbo made an emergency landing in Singapore in November last year because of a mid-air engine explosion.