Friday, September 30, 2011

A Sebastopol copter pilot’s close encounter with El Capitan

The sun moved low and an agonized climber on the face of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan clenched his thumbless and bleeding hand earlier this week as Sebastopol helicopter pilot Richard Shatto and a team of park rangers readied an audacious and highly technical rescue.

The climber, an Austrian, had been ascending 7,569-foot El Capitan with a friend Monday afternoon when he fell. His ropes stopped him but his right thumb was severed by a rope that had wrapped around it.

The thumb didn’t fall the more than 6,000 feet to the ground, but came to rest on a small ledge only about 80 feet down. The injured climber’s friend retrieved it. The pair used a cell phone to call for help.

Yosemite Park rangers, firefighters and members of the search-and-rescue team massed shortly before 4 p.m. and quickly brainstormed how best to get the injured man, whose name has not be released, safely off the granite monolith.

It was decided that time was of the essence because dusk was not far off and every passing minute made it more unlikely that the man’s thumb could be successfully reattached. The incident commander, Yosemite Valley District Ranger Eric Gabriel, made the call to attempt an unusual type of helicopter rescue.

Plane lands safely after report of smoke. Philadelphia International Airport (KPHL), Pennsylvania.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A US Airways plane that reported smoke in the cockpit has landed safely at Philadelphia International Airport.  US Airways spokeswoman Valerie Wunder says Express Flight 2588  from Knoxville, Tenn., to Philadelphia declared an emergency before landing shortly after 5 p.m. Friday.  Airport spokeswoman Victoria Lupica says the plane landed safely  but didn't taxi to the gate. She said 52 passengers and four crew members were evacuated onto the runway.  Lupica says the passengers and crew members boarded buses and  were driven to their gate. It's not immediately clear what caused the smoke in the cockpit.  No injuries were reported. US Airways Group Inc. is based in Tempe, Ariz.

Winnipeg too dangerous for Air Canada staff

WINNIPEG — This city's core area is so dangerous and riddled with crime that Canada's largest airliner is no longer allowing its pilots and flight crew to stay in downtown hotels during layovers.

In a rare move, Air Canada has issued a bulletin to its flight crews saying staff will no longer be staying at the Radisson Hotel downtown due to increasing concerns over violent crime in the area.

Flight crews will now stay at the Sandman Hotel near James Armstrong Richardson International Airport.

"Instances of public intoxication, resulting in several downtown locations being susceptible to crimes of violence and opportunity, have been observed by local police," the Sept. 23 bulletin says. "Based on concern generated by crew reports, corporate security, and keeping in mind our obligation, to the extent possible, for ensuring the safety of layover locations, a decision has been made to relocate."

And they won't be back for at least 12 months, or until the crime problem in downtown "improves," the bulletin says.

Air Canada officials said they take the safety of their staff very seriously and confirmed Friday that flight crews will no longer be staying in downtown Winnipeg.

"In this instance, we are acting out of an abundance of caution after conducting a security assessment with both local law enforcement officials in Winnipeg and our own security people," Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick wrote in an e-mail. "As a result, we will be using a different accommodation for crew layovers in Winnipeg on an interim basis."

The Air Canada bulletin also makes reference to "approximately 1,000 displaced people from rural Manitoba" who have been forced into the downtown as a result of "recent environmental issues."

The bulletin appears to link that group to the ongoing problems downtown.

Neither Air Canada officials nor Winnipeg police would identify the group. Police said they are unaware of the 1,000 people Air Canada is referring to.

Violent crime in downtown Winnipeg has jumped 25% over the past two years, according to the Winnipeg police's most recent crime statistics.

More Than 100 AA Pilots Choose Retirement. American Airlines says it has prepared for the high number of retirements

October will be another big month for retirement at American Airlines.

On Friday, the last day of the month, 129 pilots told the Fort Worth-based airline that they are retiring as of Oct. 1. It's more than 11 times the normal number in a given month.

Pilots younger than 60 who consider retirement might be able to lock in the value of their pension based on stock prices going back three months. It creates a strong incentive to retire at times when stock prices are going down.

"The down market is really taking an impact on the pilot pension values," said Scott Shankland, of the Allied Pilots Association. "The second thing is the uncertainty of the health of the American Airlines for the long term."

Even before these latest retirements, American cited the large number last month as one reason for reducing the fall schedule.

"Fuel prices are causing issues," said Rick Seaney, of "It's typically the softer season, so it's maybe a little seasonal issue, and the bottom line is the economy is not looking great right now."

A month ago, 111 pilots retired, 10 times the usual number. The moves caused American to cancel one international flight, from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

The airline also reduced the frequency of some other flights. At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, the twice-per-day flight to Tokyo was reduced to two times per week.

"It causes a ripple effect through the whole pilot ranks," Shankland said. "It causes training through the entire pilot ranks, and it takes three to five months to actually recover from that manning adjustment when you have a large group of retirements."

Now with even fewer pilots, passengers may notice fewer flights and higher ticket prices.

"Sometimes what happens is because there's fewer flights, there's more demand," Seaney said. "Ticket prices get driven up just by the sheer fact that more people want some seats than that are available for them."

Late Friday afternoon, American released this statement:

"While more of our pilots than might normally be expected made the decision to retire in on October 1, we expect to operate our schedule with minimal customer inconvenience. In preparation for a higher than usual number of retirements, we've taken a number of steps to minimize any customer inconvenience. We have made a proposal to the APA that would mitigate near-term staffing shortages that is good for both the airline and our pilots. Recent schedule reductions also have allowed us to absorb a higher retirement number than our historic rate for our current schedule."

Susan Gordon, American Airlines spokeswoman

In a statement, the Allied Pilots Association said it was evaluating a relief proposal from airline management to mitigate the higher-than-normal number of retirements in September and October.

Cargolux to take Boeing 747 freighter in two weeks

September 30, 2011 – The delay was because of General Electric Co engines not meeting performance guarantees, said Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker at an unrelated event at Boeing's plant in Everett, Washington, north of Seattle, rather than any issue with Boeing.

"There was a shortfall of nearly 2.7 percent," in the engines' fuel burn, said Al Baker, whose Qatar Airways recently took a 35 percent stake in Cargolux, and who has taken a close interest in the freight company's business. "We couldn't take an aircraft that is underperforming."

He declined to comment on whether Cargolux would receive compensation from GE for the engines not meeting agreed standards.

Al Baker, known for his vocal criticism of Boeing and rival Airbus , said postponement of the 747-8 freighter delivery was not related to negotiations over compensation for Qatar's delayed order for smaller Boeing 787s.

"It is absolutely unrelated. I cannot use Cargolux to get additional concessions from Boeing (for Qatar Airways)," said Al Baker. "There is no relationship between 787 delays and the Cargolux aircraft."

Al Baker said he expected to receive the first of Qatar Airways' 787s in the middle of next year, later than his last projection of February, due to extra time the airline wants to fit its own equipment in the planes, which he claimed would make Qatar's 787s the "most luxurious" in the skies.

Boeing declined comment on when the first 747-8 freighter -- the latest and biggest version of its storied jumbo -- would be delivered to Cargolux.

The delivery was scheduled to take place 11 days ago, but had to be scrapped at the last minute when Luxembourg-based Cargolux refused to accept delivery, without explanation.

Corporate jet users spent $460,000 on lobbying

The National Business Aviation Association, which represents corporate jet users, spent $460,000 in the second quarter to lobby federal officials on the Federal Aviation Administration's budget and other issues, according to a disclosure report.

That's the same amount the group spent a year earlier in this year's first quarter.

The trade group also lobbied on legislation involving airport expansions, securing aircraft cockpits against lasers, and it pushed for the continuation of an exemption to the alternative minimum tax on airport bonds and rules related to takeoffs and landings at New York's three commercial airports, according to the report it filed July 20 with the House clerk's office.

The group also lobbied the Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the FAA, the Internal Revenue Service, Office of Management and Budget, Securities and Exchange Commission, the White House, National Transportation Safety Board and the Small Business Administration.

The group has recently been fighting a move by the DOT to allow the public to review the takeoff and landings of private planes on the internet.

Executives indicted over faulty aircraft repairs

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal grand jury has indicted six former executives and supervisors of a Northern California aircraft repair company on charges that they cut corners and used unapproved parts.

The indictment unsealed Thursday in Sacramento charges the former employees of Lincoln-based WECO Aerospace Systems Inc. with conspiring to use uncertified parts and falsely certifying that the Federal Aviation Administration approved their use.

Prosecutors allege the faulty repairs happened on small, private aircraft between October 2006 and February 2008. No crashes or flight emergencies occurred because of the repairs, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner said.

"While it is fortunate that there are no aircraft crashes known to be associated with faulty repairs conducted by these defendants, their alleged conduct needlessly took risks with the safety of persons who used aircraft that they repaired," Wagner said. "FAA regulations are intended to ensure the safety of air travel, and those who disregard them in order to increase profits should face serious consequences."

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. purchased WECO Aerospace Systems in 2007, and Wagner said Gulfstream has cooperated in the investigation.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 20.

The indictment names Jerry Edward Kuwata, 60, of Granite Bay; Michael Dennis Maupin, 58, of Arbuckle; Scott Hamilton Durham, 39, of Roseville; Christopher Warren MacQueen, 53, of Lincoln; Douglas Arthur Johnson, 52, of Granite Bay; and Anthony Vincent Zito, 47, of Saugus, and charges each of them with multiple counts. Each man faces a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted. None could be reached for comment.

The indictment alleges that the men conspired to use cheaper and inferior parts in place of FAA-approved parts. In one instance, two of the men are accused of using a paper clip to finish a repair job and then claiming to have inserted an FDA-approved part.

The men are also charged with failing to comply with maintenance manual procedures required by the FAA. Those procedures include tests and inspections of the repaired parts before they can be returned to customers. The indictment alleges that the company in several instances didn't have the necessary equipment on hand to perform the required testing and inspections.

What were those planes doing? Training, says U.S. Navy

New Orleans -- Following residents' reports of military aircraft flying over the city, a spokesman with Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base New Orleans acknowledges that the Navy held training exercises here on Friday.

A news release from NAS JRB New Orleans reads, "A Navy C-130 aircraft accompanied by Navy F-18 Hornets made flights today, Sept. 30, over the City of New Orleans. These were routine training flights, conducted in a 'low and slow' pattern in full compliance and clearance with the FAA. These flights have concluded."

FOX 8 viewers phoned and posted notes on Facebook on Tuesday and Friday, saying they'd spotted several jet fighters -- anywhere from 6 to 10, depending on the source -- flying in formation with a larger aircraft, roughly the size of a small airliner.

We are still awaiting confirmation that Tuesday's sightings were related to military training.

FAA investigating incident at Pittsburgh International Airport (KPIT), Pennsylvania. Controllers cleared aircraft to take off from closed runway

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating a Tuesday morning incident at Pittsburgh International Airport in which four commercial airplanes and a private jet departed from a closed runway.

FAA spokesman Jim Peters said tower controllers at the Findlay Township airport between 7:20 and 7:28 a.m. sent five planes to Runway 28 Right, which had been closed overnight because of storm damage.

JoAnn Jenny, spokeswoman for the airport, said Friday that the Allegheny County Airport Authority had closed the runway around 4 a.m. after multiple lightning strikes damaged runway lighting.

It appears a computer glitch led to the confusion on the runway status. Peters and Jenny said an FAA visual aid in the tower also was damaged during the storm and did not display the closed runway information.

No employees were on the runway at the time of the departures because authority officials had still not sent over workers to complete repairs, Jenny said. The five flights all departed safely, officials said.

As soon as authority officials noticed the flights departing they contacted the tower, and the runway was cleared. Jenny said the runway was reopened around 7:50 a.m.

Jenny said the airport authority also is investigating the incident, which she said is a concern to local officials.

"We will do everything in our power to rectify the situation," she said.

Peters also reported another incident on the runway later in the morning. He said around 10:15 a.m. controllers cleared an airport employee driving a white lawn mower to cross the runway; however the tractor did not move.

At the same time, Peters said, controllers at the Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin reported that a worker driving a white lawn mower drove across Runway 28 there without permission.

Authority officials discovered that the driver in West Mifflin had selected the radio frequency that should have been used by the Pittsburgh International worker. No planes were using either runway at the time, Peters said.

Peters said the airport authority, which operates both airports, has taken steps to ensure that the problem does not happen again. He said the authority blocked all Pittsburgh International radio frequencies on tractors at the county airport.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating an incident Tuesday in which air traffic controllers allowed five airplanes to take off from a closed runway at Pittsburgh International Airport.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the FAA said the planes, including three commercial flights and a private jet, departed from Runway 28 Right even though it had been closed early that morning after runway lights were damaged by lightning strikes Monday evening.

Controllers cleared the flights for take off between 7:20 a.m. and 7:28 a.m. All departed safely. It was not clear whether any maintenance workers were working on the runway when the planes took off.

According to the statement, a visual aid in the tower also had been damaged and did not display the closed runway information. Once the Allegheny County Airport Authority reported that the runway was closed, controllers halted departures. The runway reopened at 8:25 a.m.

The incident is the second this year involving take offs from a closed runway.

On Jan. 26, a controller cleared a Republic Airlines flight for departure on runway 10C at the airport even though it had been closed five hours earlier for maintenance.

No one was injured, but controllers did have to undergo refresher training as a result of the incident.

Get moving on airport plans. Igor I Sikorsky Memorial Airport (KBDR), Bridgeport, Connecticut.

A plan to improve safety at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford has moved one step closer to reality with the ruling last week by the Federal Aviation Administration that the proposal to establish a safety area would not adversely affect the environment.

This decision should allay the fears of those Stratford residents who brought their concerns to a public hearing, and should also dilute the overall opposition in the town, whether it be environmentally based or not, to improving safety at the region's airport.

The city of Bridgeport, which owns the airport, wants to put a 300-foot strip of collapsible material at the end of one of the runways, eliminating the need for a so-called blast fence that now stands.

Opponents have inaccurately referred to the safety zone as an extension of the runway. It is, by design, incapable of serving as part of a runway. It's designed to crumble under the weight of an aircraft.

Putting in that 300-foot strip would require moving a portion of Stratford's Main Street, which is actually state Route 113. Airport manager John Ricci said he intends to apply within the month for the OKs needed to move the road.

It's time to get this process moving.

Request for Bids: Flight Training, Maintenance, Fuel - Cessna 172 and/or Diamond DA40. Southwest Secondary Learning Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The Southwest Secondary Learning Center is accepting bids for items and services related to the school's aviation program. 

Qualified service providers should respond by October 17, 2011 with a written offer to provide items or services. Bids should be on official company letterhead and include the bid number for the service or items included. 

Bids will be received by U.S. Mail at: Southwest Secondary Learning Center Attn: Lee Truitt, Program Director 10301 Candelaria Rd NE Albuquerque, NM 87112 Or by fax to: (505) 296-0510

RFB 12-001 100 LL Aviation fuel. Priced per gallon.   Fuel must be available at Double Eagle Airport on demand. 

RFB 12-002 Maintenance services for Cessna 172 and Diamond DA40 aircraft. Prices should include hourly shop rates. Bidders should include applicable certifications and service center designations for aircraft types.

RFB 12-003 Flight training services. Prices should include hourly rates for ground instruction and dual flight instruction in a Cessna 172 and/or Diamond DA40. Bids should include instructor qualifications, availability, and a company profile including applicable Part 61 or 141 certifications. Journal; September 29, 30, October 1, 2011

Oshkosh Corp. union meeting at Wittman Regional Airport (KOSH) today to consider contract proposal

Thousands of United Auto Workers Local 578 members have packed an Experimental Aircraft Association hangar this afternoon to discuss and vote on the most recent contract offer from Oshkosh Corp.

The company’s current, five-year contract with the Local 578, whose members number more than 3,000, expires at midnight tonight.

Union members on Oshkosh Corp.’s first shift and second shift were given an extra two hours off today to attend the meeting with first shift ending two hours early at 1 p.m. and second shift starting two hours later at 5 p.m.

Local 578 leadership expect the union's members to reject the contract offer from the company, but it is not clear if a rejection of the company’s offer would translate into a strike.

The company has offered 8 percent in raises over the life of the contract, increases to health insurance premiums that would raise them from $70-per-month to $280-per-month by 2016 and a $2,000 up-front signing bonus that expires at midnight tonight regardless of if negotiations continue.

At 2:30 p.m., Local 578 members continued to review the terms of Oshkosh Corp.'s contract offer in a closed meeting on the Experimental Aircraft Association grounds at Wittman Regional Airport.

There's been little sign of when the actual vote will take place, as the union's negotiating team continues to field questions from members about details of the company's proposal.
Earlier story:

With just hours to spare, members of the United Auto Workers Local 578 are expected to vote Friday afternoon on a new five-year labor contract proposal negotiated during several weeks of talks between the union’s bargaining committee and Oshkosh Corp. company officials.

The current five-year labor contract expires at midnight Friday. The employee vote on the proposal has been called for 1 p.m. Friday, said Nick Nitschke, union president.

Nitschke declined to say where the vote would be held.

Nearly 3,100 Oshkosh Corp. employees are eligible to vote. The measure needs a majority for approval, but Nitschke is not optimistic that the membership will accept the proposed contract.

“It’s the same package we’ve had before. My sense is that two thirds will vote it down,” Nitschke said.

If that happens, the next step for the union is to confer with the local union’s parent organization, the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America, regarding the possibility of a strike. A strike vote would occur no earlier than Saturday, Nitschke said.

Nitschke said he had hoped for a better proposal from the company to avoid a strike.

The company’s best monetary offer provides a $2,000 signing bonus and 8 percent in wage increases spread over the length of the five years. Company officials have said the raises and signing bonus would offset increased health insurance premiums workers would pay under the new labor deal.

The company’s final offer would quadruple the amount an employee would pay for a family health insurance plan from the current $70 per month to $280 per month in the final year of the contract, a provision the bargaining committee did not like.

The signing bonus is off the table at midnight Friday, the end of the company’s fiscal year, said John Daggett, vice president of Communications for Oshkosh Corp.

In the latest round of talks, which ended late Thursday afternoon, the company made some concessions regarding contract language in the areas of lay-off and recall procedures, promotions, vacation, holidays and time off for bereavement to come closer together, Daggett said.

Daggett said the company’s proposal makes it possible for Oshkosh Corp. to remain competitive and continue to win new contracts.

“We urge the members to ratify the contract so we can continue to build trucks to serve the brave men and women out in the theater,” Daggett said.

American Airlines flight diverted to Nashville after pilot becomes ill

An American Airlines Boeing 777 flying from Chicago to Miami was diverted to Nashville because of an ill pilot.

Flight 2050 landed safely in Nashville at 12:32 p.m. The plane had 213 passengers on board, as well as two pilots and eight flight attendants. It was still on the ground at 2:30 p.m.

Ed Martelle, spokesman for American Airlines, said "We believe one of the pilots became ill, but we don't have a lot of information."

According to Kim Lawson, deputy chief with the Nashville Fire Department, a pilot became ill during the flight and was the cause of the emergency landing. The pilot is stable and has been taken to Summit Medical Center in Nashville.

The 777 isn't a plane typically used in regularly scheduled Nashville flights, said Emily Richard, spokeswoman for Nashville International Airport. "Our runways and terminal can accommodate them though," she said.

Another passenger became ill on the flight, but there are no details on the person's condition at this time, Lawson said.

American Airlines is bringing another pilot from Dallas to Nashville to continue the flight to Miami. "He is en route now," said Martelle. "The plan is to get everyone back on board and hightail it to Miami."

He didn't have a definitive time for when the plane would reach Miami. The plane is being serviced, and once the pilot gets there, American will begin the departure process.

Three more international airlines to ply Ghana’s airspace

Accra, Sept. 30, GNA – The Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) is expected to add three more international airlines to Ghana’s airspace by the end of the year, Air Commodore Kwame Mamphey(Rtd), Director-General of GCAA announced on Friday.

He said negotiations between GCAA and the airlines on securing operating permits were far advanced and at the appropriate time, their identities would be made public.

The three new carriers would bring to 36, airlines plying Ghana’s airspace when they begin operations while domestic airlines are three.

Air Commodore Mamphey was addressing the opening session of the Third Annual Conference of Women Aviators in Africa, in Accra.

He said GCAA was progressively moving the aviation industry forward to improve the safety of the airspace, and make Kotoka International Airport (KIA) an attractive hub in West Africa.

The three-day conference organised by Women Aviators in Africa is being attended by representatives from Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Holland and the United States.

It would discuss ways to encourage African women to pursue careers in promoting the aviation industry.

Women Aviators in Africa is an organisation of African women working in the aviation industry.

Air Commodore Mamphey said, “With excellent infrastructure, a burgeoning economy, we have been continually improving the aviation industry which has been rewarded with more carriers choosing to use Ghana as a West African destination”.

He stressed the need for increased women involvement in the aviation industry because they continued to be major contributors to development on the continent.  Air Commodore Mamphey said, “As Ghana works to stem the flow of brain drain that had affected Africa, women may be the way forward to form an integral part of aviation workforce”.

Dr John Tambi, Transport Expert at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) called on operators at African airports to come together to form a single airspace to reduce the cost of operations and to ensure efficiency.

He said the history of the development of the aviation industry discouraged women from getting involved in the sector and called for it to be demystified for increased women participation.

Dr Tambi observed that women were now a missing link in the aviation industry and said it was time for women to play a leadership role in the industry.

Madam Chloe Grant, Vice President of Women Aviators in Africa said apart from the cabin crew, women working in the aviation industry was low, a situation which did not augur well for the development of the industry.

She said on global basis, women participation in the industry was estimated at six per cent while in Africa it was lower than six per cent.

New Iowa State University president Steven Leath talks about family, love of flying

Minutes after Steven Leath was introduced as Iowa State University’s 15th president on Tuesday, he dined with a group of freshman students and outgoing President Gregory Geoffroy.  “I left the press conference, and had dinner with students,” Leath told The Des Moines Register today. During the interview, Leath talked about his family, their Christmas tree farm and his new hobby of flying personal aircraft.

It has been a whirlwind week for Leath, who spent parts of three days on campus last week meeting students, faculty and administrators.  Gov. Terry Branstad called Thursday to congratulate and welcome him to Iowa. His first of many phone conversations with Geoffroy is scheduled next week, he said.  Leath said he will spend several days in Iowa each month before moving to Ames permanently sometime in January. He begins his job as ISU president on Feb. 1.  Leath met his wife, Janet, while they were both students at the University of Delaware. Married for 30 years, they have two sons.

Leath earned his pilot license three years ago, and often flies to his family’s cabin and Christmas tree farm. Both are located in the mountains of North Carolina, near where his youngest son attends college at Appalachian State University. Leath’s oldest son works as an agriculture aid to Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Unruly woman holds up flight. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (KCLT), Charlotte, North Carolina.

An US Airways flight was delayed because of an unruly passenger.

The incident happened Friday at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport aboard US Airways Flight 1663.

According to airport officials, the flight was supposed to leave Charlotte for a direct flight to St. Louis at 11:20 a.m.

TSA officials tell NewsChannel 36, the woman passenger made an inappropriate statement while on board, the flight taxied back to the gate and the passenger was removed.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police took the woman into custody. No word yet on her identity or the details of what she reportedly said.

As a security precaution, US Airways also re-checked the aircraft. Some passengers asked to be re-booked onto another flight; the airport tells NewsChannel 36, they’re in the process of re-booking flights for concerned passengers.

The other passengers aboard the plane finally left Charlotte Douglas around 12:20 p.m. for St. Louis.

Airbus A380 Engine Pylons May Need Air Holes to Avoid Fire Risk

Sept. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Airlines operating Airbus SAS’s A380 superjumbo may be required to modify equipment that connects the plane’s engines to its wings, safety regulators said, citing a risk of overheating that could cause a fire.

Test flights revealed a buildup of heat in the pylons of A380s equipped with Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc Trent 900 engines, the European Aviation Safety Agency said today in a proposed airworthiness directive which would require carriers to install ventilation holes in some of the panels covering the structures.

“This condition could, in case of a heavy fuel leak, lead to an ignition of fuel vapors, possibly resulting in a fuel fire and consequent damage to the aeroplane and/or injury to its occupants,” EASA said in the directive, which is open for consultation until Oct. 28. If made mandatory, the modifications would have to be implemented within a 10-month period, it said.

Australian carrier Qantas Airways Ltd. grounded its A380s for 23 days last year after a Trent 900 failure prompted an emergency landing in Singapore on Nov. 4. Rolls-Royce has since carried out modifications to address issues with a faulty oil pipe, and the glitch disclosed today is unrelated, Airbus said.

The planned directive would affect the Trent-equipped -841 and -842 variants of the A380, all manufacturer serial numbers, except for planes that have already been modified, EASA said.

Today’s proposal follows a bulletin issued by Airbus to A380 operators on July 25 after the manufacturer uncovered the overheating issue during its own test flights, spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said by phone, adding that the EASA directive is a standard response. Schaffrath said that the period permitted to address the problem indicates the low perceived risk.

EASA said no-one was immediately available to comment further, and London-based Rolls-Royce declined to comment.

A380s equipped with Engine Alliance turbines made by General Electric Co. and Pratt and Whitney aren’t affected.

Chicago, Illinois: Mayor Rahm Emanuel to meet with airline executives Monday

Mayor Rahm Emanuel will meet with airline executives Monday and says he will be looking for ways for Chicago to keep its edge as a transportation center.

Emanuel today pointed to the Chicago presence of United Airlines, American Airlines, Boeing and electronic booking agencies like Orbitz, and said he wants to figure out how to increase the city's importance in those areas.

"I do not want to just sit on that lead. I want to build it," Emanuel said. "So I asked for this conference. The CEOs of all the major carriers are coming, as well as the Aviation Department, which is hosting it, to discuss what are the steps necessary, so Chicago doesn't have leadership, but what does it take to keep that lead."

Emanuel said he will discuss with airline officials what kinds of improvements to Chicago's workforce and infrastructure they would like to see.

The possible privatization of Midway Airport -- sought by Mayor Richard Daley, before a $2.5 billion deal for a private company to lease the airport fell through -- isn't off the table, Emanuel said. But it isn't on the fast track, either.

"We have a period of time to make that decision," Emanuel said at an unrelated news conference in Kenwood. "We have some things that are going to come before it. At the right time, I'll look at that. As you know, as I said before, I'm against privatization. That doesn't mean you can't monetize assets, but as it relates to privatization, I'm not part of that. That's not part of the discussion."

During the mayoral campaign, Emanuel said he "has no plans to resurrect" the Midway lease proposal "in the near term." After his election, the city asked the Federal Aviation Administration to keep open its application for leasing the airport to a private operator.

India, US, China call European Union airline tax unacceptable. Joint declaration by a group of 25 countries condemns emission tax that the European Union plans to impose on airlines

New Delhi: A group of 25 countries, including India, the US, China, Japan and Russia, jointly condemned as unacceptable an environmental levy that the European Union (EU) plans to impose on airlines from January.

India, which has taken the lead in opposing the move, hosted the two-day meeting of aviation representatives in Delhi that ended with a joint declaration expressing their views. The Indian government will send a demarche to the European Union on behalf of the countries that met in Delhi next week with a copy of the joint declaration, said civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi.

“It’s one voice, one language,” Zaidi said after the summit. “Aviation (emissions) is a global problem and therefore there has to be a global solution. There cannot be a regional or a countrywise solution. All countries opposed the EU proposal. They have pointed out several illegalities. It is inconsistent of the international legal regime”

Under the planned Emission Trading Scheme (ETS), airlines using EU airspace will have to pay a fee for carbon emissions that exceed a set cap even for the leg of the flights completed over non-EU airspace. This is expected to be passed on to passengers as an additional levy. The countries that met in Delhi included Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the US. The EU’s comment on the joint declaration was not immediately available. An email sent to the EU spokesperson remained unanswered.

In a previous communication, the EU had said the ETS was not a tax but “a cap-and-trade system designed to keep emissions covered by the system within a predetermined limit... It is an emissions ceiling, and is one part of the EU’s comprehensive approach towards reducing aviation’s climate-change impacts. If an airline can manage to cut its emissions to the expected level, it doesn’t need to incur any costs at all.”

The joint declaration said ETS measures violate the Chicago Convention governing international aviation as well as World Trade Organization norms. It asked the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to continue to undertake efforts to reduce aviation emissions and urged the EU to work collaboratively with the rest of the international community to address aviation emissions.

“The members present most importantly decided to intend to continue to work together to oppose the imposition of the EU ETS on our operators and invite any other state to associate itself with this declaration,” it said.

Russia will host the next meeting of the 25 countries in November.

Aviation secretary Zaidi declined to specify the counter measures India and other countries are planning to take against the EU move.

“We are trying all possible legal, moral and diplomatic routes,” he said.

Another Indian government official present at the conference said counter measures were raised by several countries. “But it was considered too hypothetical to think of them at this time,” this official said, declining to be named. “Will EU be able to take this kind of pressure? We will see.”

Ernest Arvai, president of US-based aviation consulting firm Arvai Group Inc., said countries won’t accept the levy because once they do the EU could increase it further, depending on the escalation of the ongoing European financial crisis.

“This is just another tax for the failing euro zone, and the world wants no part of it,” Arvai said in an email. “The industry has a sound working framework for progress, and countries around the world have recognized the EU-ETS for what it really is—another tax and transfer of wealth from the efficient private sector... Never give in to a new tax—as it will only go up and never go away.”

List of those busted in drug sting at Boeing. Ridley Park, Pennsylvania.

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.

US Airways pilots told, get moving. Citing a slowdown, a federal judge rules against the U.S. Airline Pilots Association.

In a setback for US Airways' pilots union, a federal judge in Charlotte ordered the group to halt a work slowdown that the company said has delayed thousands of flights.

The U.S. Airline Pilots Association, based in Charlotte, has vigorously denied a slowdown was occurring. US Airways provided in court a statistical analysis purporting to show certain flights were delayed far more often than they should have been for any reason other than pilot behavior.

Tempe, Ariz.-based US Airways operates about 90 percent of Charlotte/Douglas International's 697 daily flights.

The airline said flights from Charlotte were disproportionately affected because USAPA has strong support here.

The West Coast US Airways hub in Phoenix did not see similar disruptions.

The main results of the slowdown effort, US Airways said, were multiple cancellations and thousands of delayed flights, causing missed connections, lost luggage and other traveler headaches.

In a court hearing last month, union members testified that the company was pressuring pilots to fly on time at all costs, even risking sending passengers over the Atlantic in potentially unsafe planes.

U.S. Chief District Judge Bob Conrad was not convinced.

"USAPA has expressly tied the success of their 'fight' for a new contract to actions by their member pilots that would slow down the airline but be cloaked by the safety campaign," he wrote in the ruling.

On Wednesday, Conrad directed the union to stop pilots from engaging in any tactics to delay flights, such as slowly taxiing to and from gates, writing up unnecessary maintenance issues and refusing to let themselves be scheduled for trips.

USAPA spokesman Capt. James Ray could not immediately be reached Wednesday evening.

US Airways spokeswoman Michelle Mohr declined to comment on the ruling or the effect it might have on the airline's already-tenuous labor relations. A company email sent to all employees said US Airways is "pleased" with the injunction. The company filed the lawsuit in July.

6-year-old contract dispute

The union and US Airways are locked in a bitter, 6-year-old contract battle that stems from the airline's two bankruptcies and 2005 merger with America West. Each side says the other's demands are unacceptable, and the talks have made little progress on substantive issues.

In Wednesday's ruling, Conrad said the picture remains bleak. "The parties have never been further from reaching an agreement," he wrote.

Anonymous communiqu├ęs

In addition to the pilots' fight with the company, the union also has an ongoing internal dispute over pilot seniority between former America West pilots (called the "West" group) and old US Airways (East) pilots.

A key issue during court hearings last month was a series of anonymous emails, text messages, phone calls and stickers that some pilots reportedly received. They encouraged pilots to hurt the airline by steps such as arriving 16 minutes late and called out pilots who weren't cooperating, nominating them for sarcastic honors such as the "Pretty Pink Panties" award.

The union contended that its leaders didn't know who sent the messages and US Airways couldn't prove it was behind the communications. Union leaders said USAPA should not be held responsible for actions of rogue pilots.

But Conrad ruled that the union erred by not explicitly disavowing the messages and taking steps to stop them.

"USAPA has ratified, if not authorized, such acts by knowing about them and failing to take any meaningful action to discourage them," he wrote.

Pilot unions' restrictions

Under the federal Railway Labor Act, airline unions can't take any job actions, such as a strike or slowdown, while negotiations are still under federal mediation.

Some similar past disputes have proved costly for pilot unions. In 1999, American Airlines won a $45 million judgment against its pilots union after an 11-day sick-out.

Wednesday's temporary injunction will remain in place until a hearing on a permanent injunction. The union has one week to direct all pilots to resume normal operations and deliver copies of the notices it sends to the court and US Airways.

It’s for Real: Lombok Finally Has Its International Airport. (Indonesia)

Mataram. The long-awaited Lombok International Airport is scheduled to become operational on Saturday at 10 a.m., officials announced on Friday, as the closure of the old airport led to confusion and cancellations.

A Garuda flight from Jakarta would be the first to land at the new airport, said I Ketut Erdi Nuke, general manager of state airport operator Angkasa Pura I at Lombok’s Selaparang Airport.

The opening of the airport was delayed several times in recent years for various reasons, including budget issues, theft of construction materials and land and environmental disputes.

But with Indonesia aggressively promoting Lombok and neighboring Sumbawa to compete against Bali as top tourist spots, a new airport was severely needed. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has set a target of one million visitors for the two islands by 2012.

With the new airport in Tanak Awu coming into operation, in the Pujut subdistrict of Central Lombok, Selaparang Airport was officially closed at 6 p.m. on Friday.

At the old airport, three flights were canceled on Friday, with hundreds of passengers stranded as a result. Airlines apparently had failed to anticipate the closure.

Lion Air and Wings Air canceled flights to Jakarta, Surabaya and Denpasar not long before scheduled departure. Passengers were asked to remain calm and were promised they would depart from the new airport the next day and spend the night at a nearby hotel. A number of angry passengers demanded refunds as some said they had planned to proceed on international flights.

“The cancelation by Lion Air may cost me dearly. I have to continue my trip to India on a Rp 5.6 million ($640) ticket and I also spent Rp 900,000 for a visa,” a passenger named Fauzan said.

A Briton who requested to be identified only as Alex said he had a ticket for Denpasar but was not notified about the cancelation. “I know a new airport is going to operate, but I heard nothing about the cancellation from Wings Air,” he said.

Erdi said the calibration of the navigation equipment at the airport already had been taken care of by the Transportation Ministry. He said that its director general for air transportation had signed off on operational certification for the new airport earlier on Friday.

“There should be no more problems, and we hope everything will go smoothly,” he said.

Under the watchful eye of police and military personnel guarding the new airport, however, workers were still busy with finishing touches on the eve of the airport’s opening.

“We have been told to repaint some furniture that had already been delivered two years ago and needed a new coat of paint,” said Nyoto, adding that he had been working overtime for days.

Workers could also be seen working on the airport’s electrical installations, and several glass window panels were not yet in place on Friday.

The Rp 945.89 billion airport is located some 40 kilometers southeast of Mataram, the capital of West Nusa Tenggara. Its runway is 2,750 meters long and 40 meters wide, allowing large-bodied aircraft such as the Airbus 330 or the Boeing 767 to land. The terminal can process some three million passengers a year.

Canceled Flights in U.S. at 10-Year High on Weather. Large carriers have scrubbed almost 104,000 flights this year through Sept. 21, or 2.36 percent of the scheduled total

U.S. airlines are canceling flights at the fastest clip in a decade as storms from blizzards to hurricanes wallop the busiest hubs, and full planes are making it harder for stranded travelers to rebook trips.

United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL), Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) and other large carriers have scrubbed almost 104,000 flights this year through Sept. 21, or 2.36 percent of the scheduled total. A full-year rate at that level would be the highest since 2001, according to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics.

The disruptions stem from a combination of foul weather in major markets such as New York and seating-capacity cutbacks to curb costs. When Hurricane Irene struck the East Coast in August, Cameron C. McCulloch faced a weeklong wait for a new ticket—so he drove the 3,000 miles from Seattle to Yale University to catch the start of classes.

“There was too much uncertainty with the flights,” said McCulloch, 21, a Yale junior. “At least with driving I knew I’d be there on time and that I could control all the factors.”

Annual cancellations have exceeded 2 percent just six times in 24 years of federal recordkeeping. Researcher computed the 2011 year-to-date figure for Bloomberg, using data reported by airlines. BTS won’t disclose its September figures until November.

‘Getting Smarter’

Airlines are “canceling sooner and getting smarter about doing it,” said Michael Derchin, an analyst at CRT Capital Group LLC in Stamford, Connecticut. “They save money when they pre-plan and recover more quickly afterwards.”

By moving jets out of a storm’s path, carriers are able to start rebuilding normal operations more quickly once conditions improve, and they don’t have to spend as much on crew pay and overnight emergency accommodations, or on fuel.

U.S. airlines are now 24 percent more likely to cancel flights after the so-called three-hour tarmac rule that was imposed in April 2010, according to a Sept. 14 study by the Government Accountability Office.

The rule provides for fines against carriers that keep fliers on planes for more than three hours after leaving the gate without offering them a chance to get off. Political support for the regulation grew after the Feb. 14, 2007, storm that marooned 130,000 JetBlue Airways Corp. (JBLU) passengers in terminals and on planes at New York’s Kennedy airport.

The severity and location of storms this year helped balloon cancellation rates.

Snow, Ice, Irene

A February blizzard hobbled United and American Airlines in Chicago and then dropped a record blanket on New York, home to the busiest U.S. airspace. Ice storms belted Delta’s Atlanta hub in January and American’s hometown Dallas-Fort Worth hub before Super Bowl weekend the next month.

Hurricane Irene’s path took it across Washington, Philadelphia, New York and Boston at the end of August. Adding cancellations from that storm to others in August and September, U.S. airlines scrubbed more than 16,200 flights in the two-month period, according to Portland, Oregon-based

Among them was the Aug. 27 trip that Yale student McCulloch planned on Alaska Airlines from Seattle to Newark, New Jersey.

He borrowed his parents’ Subaru Forester sport-utility vehicle for the 4,827-kilometer (3,000-mile) drive rather than wait to be rebooked. His younger brother flew in from Seattle a few days ago to ferry the auto back to their parents.

“I didn’t want to start the semester behind from the get-go,” McCulloch said. “I couldn’t count on flying.”

Seating Cutback

Seats already were in shorter supply this year. The industry has cut 15 percent of its capacity since 2008 when demand plummeted during the recession, making it tougher to find open seats to rebook passengers on new flights.

available and a near-record for that month, according to BTS. By comparison, planes were 74 percent full in June 1996 when airlines were adding capacity.

Airlines said they were able to rebook most Irene-grounded passengers within a few days by adding extra flights and scheduling those fliers on Tuesday and Wednesday, which are slower travel days. They also allowed passengers to change their itineraries to dodge the storm or reroute through airports that weren’t in Irene’s way, spokesmen said.

“I don’t think the airline industry opened itself up to criticism on this one,” said Jay Sorensen, a consultant with IdeaWorks in Shorewood, Wisconsin, who was previously marketing director at Midwest Airlines. “They knew the storm was coming, and they prepared and responded as best they could.”

‘Very Dynamic’

When Alaska Airlines started canceling flights for Irene, it initially appeared that some rebookings would take a week, said Paul McElroy, a spokesman for the Seattle-based carrier. That delay shrank as passengers canceled trips and the airline added more flights, allowing it to re-accommodate all New York- and Boston-bound travelers within three days, he said.

“Situations like that can be very dynamic and deceiving at first,” McElroy said. “That’s why we always tell passengers to keep checking the website or calling.”

Callie Crisp, who works in advertising for children’s books at Harper Collins in New York, got home after Irene by taking a JetBlue flight from Tampa, Florida, instead of Orlando, where she originally was scheduled to depart after a weekend visiting her family. She made it out on a Monday night, one day late, instead of waiting for a Thursday return from Orlando, she said.

“I would have missed so much work,” said Crisp, 25.

While the weather has trashed travelers’ itineraries and sapped airline sales, CRT Capital’s Derchin said the storms haven’t been severe enough to prompt adjustment of his financial models for the industry.

‘Fluky Year’

United, which operates a hub at Newark, said Irene reduced August revenue by $40 million, the most of any U.S. carrier. Delta said its biggest upheaval this year was the January ice storm, which caused 4,600 cancellations over three days. Revenue was cut $40 million by that and other storms in the same month, offset by $10 million in expense savings, Delta said at the time. That was twice the effect Delta estimated for Irene.

“It’s been a very fluky year, weather-wise,” Derchin said. ‘Irene going up the East Coast the way it did was one of those 100-year type events that happened to track in an extremely populated part of the country.””

OpenSkies Offers iPads(R) on Flights From New York to Paris. Transatlantic Airline Announces Amenity, Schedule Changes

NEW YORK & WASHINGTON, Sep 30, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- OpenSkies, the premium transatlantic airline operating flights from New York and Washington, D.C. to Paris-Orly, is now offering iPads(R) to travelers. Beginning in October, OpenSkies will be the first French flag carrier to offer the iPad as a part of its inflight entertainment offering. The new devices will be introduced on the OpenSkies Newark to Paris-Orly route in an effort to further enhance customers' onboard experience.

"As an airline, OpenSkies is known for its innovation and will continue to invest in new technology and products which give our customers a best-of-class experience in the sky," said Karin Drylie, OpenSkies Product Manager. "The introduction of the iPad to our inflight entertainment marks a significant improvement in the experience for customers, using the very latest technology to offer better image quality on a far bigger screen."

At the beginning of each trip, travelers will be handed an iPad pre-loaded with 64GB of recent films, TV and games to use for the duration of the flight. In addition, a new customer guide provides a quick and easy introduction to the specially programmed iPad, as well as a list of entertainment choices.

OpenSkies is also announcing the suspension of service between Washington Dulles Airport and Paris-Orly beginning on October 29, 2011. All customers booked on flights beyond October 28, 2011, will be contacted by an OpenSkies representative and given choices on alternative transportation or a refund to ensure they are accommodated.

About OpenSkies

OpenSkies is the premium transatlantic airline that offers guests superior service, competitive fares and exceptional value. OpenSkies currently flies from New York-Newark and Washington, D.C.-Dulles to Paris-Orly. A subsidiary of British Airways, OpenSkies is the first airline created as a result of the E.U. / U.S. Open Skies Agreement, which allows airlines to fly between any U.S. and E.U. destination. Since OpenSkies' first flight, it has flown over 200,000 passengers.

For more information about OpenSkies: or 1-866-581-3596.

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SOURCE: OpenSkies

FAA extends its lease of former control tower at Dayton airport. James M Cox Dayton International Airport (KDAY), Ohio.

DAYTON — The Federal Aviation Administration has extended into 2012 the lease of its former air traffic control tower location atop Dayton International Airport’s terminal building to allow more time to remove old wiring, equipment and any hazardous materials.

Although the lease extension with the city is for a year, city and FAA officials anticipate that the agency may need only four to six months to complete the departure work, so the lease can be terminated on 30 days’ notice. The FAA began operating in June in its new control tower at the airport.

The Dayton City Commission on Wednesday approved the lease extension, which begins on Saturday and runs through Sept. 30, 2012, the federal fiscal year. The lease continues the FAA’s current rent rate of $17,803.75 per month, or $213,645 annually, for the nearly 14,250 square feet of space.

The city’s designs for the space will be part of a 20-year master plan that the airport’s consultants are developing for the future of the airport terminal building, said Terrence G. Slaybaugh, Dayton’s director of aviation.

Noblis wins $350M FAA award to upgrade air traffic system

FALLS CHURCH, Va., Sep 30, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Noblis, Inc., a leading provider of science, technology, and strategy services to the federal government, announced today that they have been awarded the prime contract to provide support services for the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) Enterprise Communications Support Services (ECSS) contract.

Under the ECSS contract, Noblis will provide a wide-range of technology management support to the FAA's Air Traffic Control (ATC) Communications Services organization. Noblis' support to the FAA will include systems engineering, acquisition and program management services, operations management and support, business and financial management, information systems development, and management studies and analyses. Noblis will support knowledge transfer of the latest technologies, methods, approaches, and products that will lead to new, innovative solutions and best practices for the FAA and support the NextGen Enabling Programs. The ECSS contract will be the primary means for the ATC Communications Services Directorate to obtain technical services and provides a single point of accountability across the ATC Communications enterprise. This 7-year contract has a potential value of $350 million.

"This significant award by the FAA reflects the strong alignment between Noblis' strategic capabilities and the FAA's mission," says Amr ElSawy, President and CEO, Noblis. "We are excited to be expanding our relationship with the FAA and we are looking forward to providing new levels of service to the Air Traffic Control Communications Services organization."

Noblis assembled a world-class team with access to the latest expertise, technologies, and methods to support the FAA under ECSS. These contractors include ITT Corporation; TASC, Inc.; AMS; B3 Solutions, LLC; CEXEC, Inc.; COBEC Consulting, Inc.; CSSI, Inc.; Flatirons Solutions; LS Technologies, LLC; The SEMCON Group, LLC; STG Technologies, Inc.; Williams Aviation Consultants; and Noblis' mentor-protege partner, Cummings And Associates, Inc.

"This is a cornerstone win for Noblis and a great team effort," says Pat Brosey, Vice President Business Development and Marketing, Noblis. "I am pleased that Noblis effectively showcased our expertise for the FAA enabling us to prevail in such a strong competitive field. I am honored and gratified that we have received the FAA's vote of trust and confidence in our capabilities."

Noblis provides expert technical and advisory services in systems engineering, science and technology, program management, business and investment analysis, and acquisition services to government and industry. We work in essential areas, such as national security, transportation, healthcare, environmental sustainability, and enterprise transformation, to solve complex scientific, systems, process, and infrastructure problems in ways that benefit the public. In addition to supporting the FAA, we are honored to support organizations with critical national responsibility, including the Department of Homeland Security, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Labor, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

About Noblis, Inc.

Noblis is a non-profit science, technology, and strategy organization that brings the best of scientific thought, management, and engineering expertise in an environment of independence and objectivity. We work with a wide range of government and industry clients to find solutions that are practical, forward thinking, and sustainable. Noblis has been recognized as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute and as one of the Best Small and Medium Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute five times. Further information is available at

SOURCE: Noblis, Inc.