Sunday, October 2, 2011

India: 12 Mangalore air crash bodies mistakenly claimed by kin

HYDERABAD: Following the Mangalore air crash of May 2010, in least 12 cases, the body remains were mistakenly identified and claimed by relatives.

Families which claimed them based on morphological features and personal effects performed the last rites presuming they had rightly identified the mortal remains of their kin.

These facts were revealed after DNA profiling by the Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD) in Hyderabad. DNA-based identification is more effective in identification, said Dr Madhusudhan R Nandineni, senior scientist, CDFD.

Following the crash, the remains of 136 victims were handed over to their families who identified. But the remains of 22 others were not identified.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Ontario-bound cat escapes cargo hold and gets lost at Edmonton airport

EDMONTON — A woman who was trying to send her beloved pet cat to Ontario says she was devastated to learn the chubby feline escaped from Air Canada’s cargo hold.

Vanessa Summerfield says she was shipping George back to her home province to stay with relatives until she could find an affordable, pet-friendly place in Fort McMurray.

But she recently got a call from the airline saying there had been a loose bolt on the cat’s carrier and it had gotten loose at the Edmonton International Airport.

Baggage personnel managed to catch the cat once when the plane arrived in Edmonton from Fort McMurray, but not after he escaped a second time.

Air Canada says it handles all animals with care and is doing everything it can to locate him.

The company is even putting out cat food in an attempt to lure him out of hiding, and airport staff have been asked to keep an eye out for him.

“We have about 4,000 employees,” said airport spokesperson Traci Bernard. “People like RCMP, people like security — they do patrols throughout the airport, so even just ensuring they have an awareness of a missing animals means they can be looking for that animal.”

Summerfield said she has had George for six years.

“I was hysterical, upset, angry, I just couldn’t believe this actually happened,” she said, adding there was nothing wrong with the carrier when she took George to the airport.

While Summerfield still holds out hope her cat will be found, she is also hoping no other pet owner has to go through this situation in the future.

“Really ask every question you can and really be sure when you’re sending (your pet) on an airplane.”

http://www.guelphmercury.com

Canada: Calgary police remove drunk man from German-bound jet

A Frankfurt-bound jet that was taxiing for takeoff had to return to the gate in Calgary when a passenger caused a disturbance.

Police in Calgary say the man was on a Lufthansa flight Sunday afternoon when the crew made the call to remove him from the plane.

Officers say he was intoxicated and was removed without incident.

They say he isn't being charged.

Police say the man was not a Canadian citizen, although they couldn't say for sure if he was German.

Dangers of putting pets on planes: hundreds of reports involving deaths, injuries, losses. What you need to know before you fly with your pet.

CLEVELAND - Jean and Michael Hoffmann didn’t think twice before taking their six-year-old, tiny dog Cooper with them on their trip to Arizona in March.

“We travel with Cooper all the time, as much as we can,” Michael Hoffmann said. “When we put out his travel kennel, and unzip the top, he actually jumps into it.”

They said Cooper enjoys the Arizona weather and family activities. “He goes out to dinner with us,” said Jean Hoffmann. “He loves it!”

While Cooper has had some health issues in the past, the Hoffmann’s said their vet cleared him to fly from their home in Minnesota to Scottsdale.

“He's been on planes at least three or four times, mostly to Arizona,” Jean said.

During the flight, the Hoffmann’s said they couldn’t see how Cooper was coping.

“It’s an airline rule that the animal will remain under the seat for the entire flight,” Michael said. “With all the cabin noise, it's hard to tell what's going on with the dog. It wasn't until we landed that we discovered that the dog was having serious, serious issues breathing.”

After landing at Sky Harbor Airport, they rushed Cooper outside and out of his kennel. “The dog was collapsed on the sidewalk and its tongue was blue,” Michael said.

Copper’s situation was touch and go for days. “We tried to take the precautions we were told to take,” said Jean. Cooper required emergency surgery, but he survived. He’s now back in Minnesota living a normal, happy life.

The Hoffmann’s said they’d love to bring Cooper back to Arizona, with one exception. “I would probably drive,” Jean said.

INCREASE IN PET PROBLEMS ON PLANES

The Hoffmann’s are not the only pet owners who have had to deal with problems on flights. We looked through hundreds of animal injury, death and loss reports collected by the Department of Transportation. From 2009 to 2010, we found the number of incidents increased from 29 to 55, or 90 percent, on U.S. operated airlines.

While the DOT said the number of incidents is small compared to the millions of animal transports each year, we found some airlines had more incidents than others.

Delta reported the highest number of incidents between 2008 and May of 2011. It had 39 total cases of deaths, injuries and losses. American Airlines had the next highest number of incidents, followed by Alaska Airlines.

In response to those incidents, Delta responded:

Delta takes the lost or harm of any animal very seriously, and their safe transports is our top priority. In an effort to further reduce risk during animal transfer, on Feb. 15, 2011, we changed our policy to no longer accept any American, English or French Bulldogs.

American Airlines sent the following statement:

Our Traveling With Pets webpage on our website AA.com covers all of this. And we encourage our customers to be familiar with these policies, because we don’t want any harm to come to a treasured family member.

Alaska Airlines issued this memo:

Every pet injury or death during one of our flights is taken seriously and while the number of pet injuries and deaths on Alaska Airlines flights has decreased in the past several years, we continue to be vigilant in safeguarding the pets in our care.

PROTECTING YOUR PETS

“The figures are skewed towards those who allow pets in cargo and potentially the bigger carriers,” said Dr. Billy Griswold, an Emergency Veterinarian practicing in the Valley.

We found the majority of the incidents involved dogs, specifically English, French and American Bulldogs and Pugs – otherwise known as short-nosed breeds.

“It makes many of those dogs have more difficulty breathing," explained Dr. Griswold who also said some breeds have more problems than others.

“But singling out all the dogs in a breed would be difficult, because there are a number of pugs, bulldogs that we see that still can breathe functionally,” Dr. Griswold said.

He recommends having your pet examined and getting a health certificate before you travel, and plan far in advance.

To prevent injuries during travel, pay attention to the environmental conditions. “Heat, poor ventilation, cold potentially and trauma associated with efforts to escape shifting of baggage,” he said.

Dr. Griswold is against using sedation on animals, even if they’re flying under your seat. “It depresses their respiratory and cardiovascular systems,” he said. “It makes it more difficult for pets to maintain their balance.”

He said pre-existing conditions may explain why pets pass away onboard flights. “Those diseases that weren’t too big of a problem at home can suddenly become a life threatening illness,” Dr. Griswold said.

http://www.newsnet5.com

Nigeria: Insecurity - Senate President David Mark Wants VIPs, Air Travellers Frisked

Abuja — SENATE President David Mark said, Monday, that if the country must witness rapid economic growth and meet its Vision 20:2020, there was urgent need for an overhauling of the aviation sector.

The Senate President said against the backdrop of insecurity in the country, airport officials must subject all travellers including VIPs to thorough check, adding that while outside the country, everyone irrespective of status must remove shoes and made to go through other checks.

Mark, while inaugurating the Senate Committee on Aviation, called for thorough improvement of the nation's airports, arguing that the nation's airport are incomparable to those in South Africa and other parts of the world.

Seven committees were yesterday inaugurated of the 56 that were set up last week. Also inaugurated were Rules and Business chaired by Senator Solomon Ita Enang, Senate Services headed by Senator Suleiman Adokwe, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions headed by Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun as well as Nigerian Air Force headed by Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali.

Mark charged the new committees to work towards justifying the confidence reposed on them by the Senate.

He said: "With the current terrorism and overall security challenges threatening the nation, there is the urgent need to beef up security at the airport as well as ensure that there are no sacred cows in the laws guiding passengers. With the current terrorism and security threats, increased security at the airport is imperative. Everybody should obey the law to avoid disaster."

Charges Aviation c'ttee

Charging the Senate Committee which has Senator Hope Uzodinma to work towards upgrading of facilities of airports across the nation for airline operators to adopt international best practices, the Senate President also frowned at the importation of fairly- used aircraft into the country, adding that Nigeria must not be dumping ground for old craft.

He said: "Aviation industry requires total overhauling. We are not talking about the operations of private airlines, that is their problem. If an airline is not operating on schedule, that is its problem but there are fundamentals that government is responsible for.

"No airport is up to standard in the country. Even the Murtala Muhammed Airport has problem now, few things work and few others don't work. You can then imagine what happens at state airports. None is worthy to be called an airport. Even the one in Abuja is also having one problem or the other."

Mark stated that the difference between developed and the developing nations is the ability of the developed nations to discover issues of urgent attention and go ahead to effect corrections, adding, "but we always operate a fire brigade approach here".

Also speaking on the College of Aviation, Zaria, Kaduna State, the Senate President, who recalled that the institution which was the oldest in Africa, is beset with poor and obsolete facilities, adding, "It should be better than private aviation school because it is a federal institution."

Also inaugurating the Committee on Agriculture, Mark who called for the repositioning of the sector to make it one of the highest revenue earners for the country, however stressed the need for mechanised farming and other enhanced farm implements rather than statistics that do not impact on the lives of rural farmers.

According to him, with the calibre of Ministers and members of Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development chaired by Senator Emmanuel G. Bwacha, if the nation fails to improve the sector, it might be very difficult to do so in future, adding, "We should be able to take agriculture to a higher level with the kind of Minister and the Minster of State we have in Agriculture.

The members of Committee also have practical experiences. So, if we cannot make it in agriculture now, we may never again with the calibre of people we have in the sector now."

Seven committees were yesterday inaugurated of the 56 that were set up last week. Also inaugurated were Rules and Business chaired by Senator Solomon Ita Enang, Senate Services headed by Senator Suleiman Adokwe, Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions headed by Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun as well as Nigerian Air Force headed by Senator Saidu Ahmed Alkali.

Mark charged the new committees to work towards justifying the confidence reposed on them by the Senate.

Speaking while inaugurating the Committee on Airforce, Senate President Mark who called for staff welfare as well as proper funding of the sector considering its capital intensive nature, stressed that for efficient Air Force, efforts must be made to train and retrain staff while their welfare should be considered top priority.

According to him, "If we want the best from the men and women of the Nigerian Air Force, we should look after their welfare so that when they want to put their lives on the line, they would not have a second thought."

Speaking before the inauguration of his Committee, Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, Senator Solomon Ita Enang who pledged the readiness of his committee to ensure a near uniformity and standard in the Standing Orders of both the Upper and Lower legislative chambers, stressed that he will achieve this through regular conferences and seminars with all the Houses of Assembly across the country.

According to Enang, "This may be a further step towards deepening democracy while the study of legislative procedure may be pursued in our secondary and tertiary institutions."

Meanwhile, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Airforce, Senator Sa'idu Ahmed Alkali Committee on Nigerian Air Force has assured of the committee's resolve to device an action plan that will help review legislations relating to the Air Force with a view to repositioning it to make it function more effectively and efficiently.

According to him, "We shall in the course of time engage and dialogue with the Nigerian Air Force to determine the status of their operation fleets with a view to making them serviceable and functional."

Also speaking on expectations from his Committee, Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Emmanuel Bwacha noted that the Committee will examine some of the enabling laws guiding the operations of parastatals within its jurisdiction with a view to reviewing them as well as make them more effective.

He also promised to ensure that the Committee will help in boosting agriculture by ensuring that laws of international standards were put in place as well as engage stakeholders through dialogue in ensuring food security and rural development.

Conflict

According to him, "the significance of this inauguration is remarkable as it signals the beginning of a critical assignment for us as custodians of the people's right to quality public service. We will recognize the pivotal role of agriculture in national economic growth and development, its potential multiplier effects that permeate the entire society especially at rural areas.

"Our task is to see how we can effectively contribute to converting the huge opportunities within the sector into meaningful development that touches the lives of Nigerians."

In his remarks while inaugurating the Committee on Banking, Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu urged the Committee to ensure that rural banking was encouraged as that will help carry those in the villages along, adding that banking loans must be friendly to the manufacturers and those in Agriculture.

http://allafrica.com

Air France picks new unit head-paper

Oct 2 (Reuters) - The chief of staff of former French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde has been chosen to become head of the main French airline unit of Air France-KLM as part of a management reshuffle at the carrier, newspaper La Tribune reported on Sunday.

The new structure would see current Air France-KLM Chief Executive Pierre-Henri Gourgeon surrender his current operating responsibilities for the airline unit, opening up the post for another executive.

Alexandre de Juniac, a top civil servant who once headed defence contractor Thales, will take up his new post on Jan. 1, the newspaper reported, citing a source close to the matter.

"Informally, the decision was taken. Now we have to respect the process," the source said.

The separation of the Air France operational role from the CEO job at the parent company would be part of a restructuring aimed at making it easier for the holding company to integrate additional units such as Italian carrier Alitalia, which has held long-running talks on being taken over by Air France-KLM, the paper said.

Air France-KLM, Europe's largest airline by revenue, has a 25 percent stake in the Italian carrier. 

http://www.reuters.com

Privatization of Nepal Airlines Corporation

BY MANOHAR SJB RANA

One of the main objectives of NAC is to optimize profits. However‚ its other objective of offering economical fares and rates to the people of Nepal to fulfill its social responsibilities goes quite contrary to or are quite incompatible with the objectives of profit optimization

The issue of privatizing the state owned Nepal Airlines had been in the media for quite a long time—more than a decade and half. Some months ago, during the investigation, by the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament, regarding the purchase of one A-330 and one A-320 aircraft by NAC, the media had flashed news that the government was planning to convert NAC into a public limited company, with 51 per cent share to be retained by the government, and the rest going to the strategic partner and the people or the private sector.

One of the main objectives of NAC is to optimize profits. However, its other objective of offering economical fares and rates to the people of Nepal to fulfill its social responsibilities goes quite contrary to or are quite incompatible with the objectives of profit optimization. In order to meet its social responsibility, NAC has been made to operate its domestic services on unprofitable routes by keeping fares and rates at uneconomically low levels due to political reasons.

Even though Nepal is a republic now, the government still regards appointments of Board Directors and senior managers as their prerogative. Besides, they are using such appointments as a reward for political patronage or as the gift of the government. Such appointments have deprived Nepal Airlines of competent management professionals at senior management levels.

Nepal Airlines is undercapitalized. Besides, it has to clear its dues and loans by itself, as the government has not expressed its commitments to inject further capital. It also needs to introduce at least one aircraft, either narrow-body or wide-body, in its fleet within a span of few months on the basis of its business plan in order to be able to sustain its operation and to meet the competition of the international operations as the two B-757s may be grounded for good at any time or may require huge sum of money for maintenance. The DHC-6/300s, Twin Otters, which it has been using for domestic operations are more than 30 years old and needs to be replaced by modern age aircraft immediately.

The main objectives of privatization are to increase efficiency and economy in operation, make the management accountable to the shareholders and to generate resources, both human and financial from the market to improve the operation of the enterprises.

Experience of the airline industry has shown that the state owned airlines have become more efficient after privatization as a result of being able to attract capable senior managers from the private sector. They have also been able to finance huge re-equipment programs without direct state subsidy or equity injections. Moreover, they have been able to get private loans on preferential interest rates without guarantee from their sponsoring government. The example of the British Airways will be instructive.

It has become necessary to privatize the airline in order to give it continuity and to run it successfully by making it to sustain its future operations. But, outright sale of ownership to some individual/ organization will neither be in the interest of the country nor its people. Therefore, the share of ownership should be allocated approximately in the ratio of 3:5:2. That is, 30 per cent to the Promoters (those who manage), 50 per cent to the general public and 20 per cent to its employees, so that a large number of people can participate in its management.

If the government opts for some control over its management, it may retain approximately one-fourth of the shares and allocate about the same percentage to the Promoters and the rest to the employees and the general public. Because with 51 per cent of share-holding, the government would again have a say and undesirable control over its management which may influence its activities in the same manner as has been observed in the case of poor-performing state owned enterprises. Our experience has shown that the performance of the public limited companies which has more than 50 per cent of government share-holdings has been very unsatisfactory. Therefore, the government should consider and also initiate full privatization of NAC by selling all its shares to the private investors approximately in the ratio as mentioned above or it should reduce its control to the minimal.

The local business entrepreneurs also have the expertise and are competent enough to run business enterprises in a successful manner. Therefore, the government should give priority to the private entrepreneurs or business community of the country for a stake in the national flag carrier. It should design the processes/ modalities of privatization in a way that encourages investment from the local/ national entrepreneurs, rather than with the intentions of handing it over to the foreign parties (investors) in the name of strategic partnership. With such a modality, the government will not only provide an opportunity to the private entrepreneurs to prove their competence but will also help to manage NAC with the participation of its own people in line with the liberalized economic policy.

Rana is with NAC
http://www.thehimalayantimes.com

Newest 737 model lifts Boeing's spirits: Company could catch up to Airbus soon

Asian airlines, particularly those in China and India as well as low-cost carriers in Southeast Asia, are expected to be among the early buyers of the B737 Max, the latest edition of the single-aisle jet that has drawn more than 9,000 orders since it entered service in 1984.

"As we look forward, we see the potential of hundreds more commitments (for the B737 Max) in months rather than years," said Randy Tinseth, vice-president for marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The B737 Max is the US planemaker's answer to the A320neo, the next generation of the Airbus A320, the European planemaker's best-selling aircraft which was first rolled out in 1988.

Boeing and Airbus have been competing head-on in the largest segment of the aircraft market _ the narrow-body jet _ where the B737 Max and A320neo belong.

Boeing forecasts global demand for 23,370 new aircraft in the segment over the next two decades at a value of US$1.95 trillion.

The demand for narrow-body aircraft represents 70% of the total of 33,500 new planes that airlines are expected to put into the skies in next 20 years, or 48% of the combined $4-trillion market value of all new aircraft purchased over that period.

Though the true dogfight is between Boeing and Airbus, which in the past decade or so split their market for narrow-body jets almost equally, there are other competitors as well. They include Canada-based Bombardier's C-Series, Brazil's Embraer 195s and the Chinese Comac C919.

Boeing has secured 496 orders for the B737 Max from five airlines since its Aug 30 launch. Airbus has booked orders for 1,245 A320neos in the nine months since it was launched.

As no more large orders for A320neos are foreseen in the short term, market watchers expect the B737 Max could catch its rival by the end of this year.

The B737 Max, Mr Tinseth said, would offer 16% lower fuel consumption than the current A320 and a 4% fuel-burn advantage over A320neo as well as a 7% operating cost benefit over the forthcoming Airbus.

Boeing is also claiming that the B737 Max would offer a 10-12% fuel burn improvement over today's 737NG (Next Generation).

The most visible difference on the B737 Max line will likely be the chevron-edged nacelles, first introduced in the mid-sized wide-body B787 Dreamliner and also found on the new B747-8, the next generation of the jumbo jet.

The B737 Max will come with one single engine type: the yet-to-be built Leap-1B from CFM International, a joint venture between General Electric and Snecma. On the other hand, the A320neo offers CFM's Leap-X as well as a Pratt and Whitney turbofan power plant, the PW1000G.

Boeing has scheduled the first B737 Max delivery in 2017, one year behind the A320neo's targeted roll-out.

Mr Tinseth said the date was conservative and that Boeing would like deliveries to happen earlier if possible.

"We will be very conservative with our schedules, we want to make sure we'll absolutely meet our commitment (in 2017)."

Both Boeing and Airbus faced delays with recent planes _ Boeing's B787 and B747-8, Airbus's A350 XWB and A380 superjumbo _ and have grown more cautious from delivery timeframes.

Boeing has yet to announce the price for B737 Max, but with the improvements, industry watchers said the updated aircraft would likely come at a premium over B737NG.

The name Max was adopted for the new B737 "because it optimises everything we and our customers have learned about designing, building, maintaining and operating the world's best single-aisle airplane", said Nicole Piasecki, vice-president of business development and strategic integration at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing said carriers could continue to count on the strong reliability record of the 737 family, with on-time departure rates as high as 99.7%.

The 737 Max will offer passenger appeal through the new 737 Boeing Sky Interior, with spacious cabin headroom, overhead bins that disappear into the ceiling yet carry more bags, and LED lighting that can bring any colour into the cabin.

http://www.bangkokpost.com

Five expatriates face trial for ‘swindling’ Emirates airlines

DUBAI — Five Pakistani men allegedly swindled Emirates airlines of more than Dh130,000 by booking online travel tickets using others’ credit cards.

They are also accused of falsifying details in travel tickets and using forged documents to travel.

The defendants, including two salesmen, two businessmen and a visitor, faced charges of fraud, forgery of official e-document, use of forged document and use of unofficial documents (credit cards) belonging to others in the Court of First Instance on Sunday.

An Iranian security and safety officer told the prosecutor that the defendants booked tickets online in and before May using credit cards of people staying in the United States and Australia. In his statement, he said that they used to take a Dubai-Karachi-Dubai flight after buying tickets by giving the number of a credit card claiming it belonged to the person who was going to travel, which was untrue.

Accordingly, the travel tickets were issued to them. The accused managed to travel about 43 times in a very short time. “They would mostly leave in the morning flight and take the evening flight the same day. Thus, the Emirates airlines lost a total of Dh130,426.

An Emirati police major quoted the visitor as admitting that he and his accomplices formed a criminal racket specialised in ticket booking fraud. One of them was assigned with bringing customers to buy the swindled e-tickets. The visitor admitted to the major that they used others’ credit cards. One of the salesmen admitted to the major that he travelled more than 20 times with Emirates airlines in that way.

An Emirati policeman said during the investigation that one of the businessmen on trial offered him travel tickets for good bargains. He also handed him five tickets which the policeman deposited later at the Anti- Economic Crime Department of the Dubai Police. Part of the criminal evidence are documents found in the laptops of the defendants which related to e-booking of travel tickets. —

http://www.khaleejtimes.com

Piper PA-28R-180 Cherokee Arrow, Joel T. Woodruff (rgd. owner), N7581J: Accident occurred June 27, 2010 in Dixon, Montana

NTSB Identification: WPR10FA330 
 14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Sunday, June 27, 2010 in Dixon, MT
Probable Cause Approval Date: 06/27/2011
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28R-180, registration: N7581J
Injuries: 4 Fatal.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The airplane departed with the pilot and three passengers for a sightseeing flight. Recorded radar data showed that the airplane departed the airport, proceeded north over a national forest, and then traveled south. The last radar return indicated that the airplane was at an altitude about 300 feet above ground level and 2,800 feet mean sea level (msl), following a river. Witnesses reported seeing a blue and white single-engine airplane matching the paint scheme of the accident airplane flying low over the river about the same time as the last radar return. The wreckage was located 4.5 miles south of the river at an elevation of 4,600 feet msl in mountainous terrain. The accident scene was confined to the immediate vicinity of the wreckage, and had been subjected to a localized ground fire. The confined configuration of the wreckage was consistent with a vertical descent and ground impact. Examination of the airframe and engine found no preimpact malfunctions or failures that would have precluded normal operation. Toxicology revealed that an inactive metabolite of marijuana was detected in specimens from the pilot. No blood was available for testing and the findings indicate only that the pilot likely used marijuana in the days or weeks preceding the accident.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:
The pilot’s failure to maintain adequate airspeed and aircraft control while maneuvering, resulting in an aerodynamic stall and collision with mountainous terrain.

HISTORY OF THE FLIGHT

On June 27, 2010, approximately 1600 mountain daylight time, a Piper PA-28R-180, N7581J, impacted mountainous terrain 10 miles southwest of Dixon, Montana. The airplane was owned by a private individual, operated by Northstar Jet, and was rented to the pilot, who operated it under Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91. The private pilot and his three passengers were killed. The airplane was substantially damaged, and consumed by a post impact fire. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan had been filed. The flight originated from the Kalispell City Airport, Kalispell, Montana, about 1409.

The airplane was reported missing on June 27, 2010. A search was conducted by the Sanders and Lake County Sheriff Departments. The wreckage was located by aerial search crews on the afternoon of June 30 th in rugged and remote mountainous terrain. A ground search and rescue team confirmed four fatalities at the accident site.

The Lake County Sheriff and the airplane’s owner conveyed that the pilot had rented the single engine, blue and white airplane, and departed with one passenger from Missoula International Airport, Missoula, Montana, about 1330. Around 1409, he departed Kalispell City Airport with three passengers for a sightseeing flight. Initial radar data showed the airplane departing Kalispell and heading north over the Flathead National Forest, then traveling south along the east side of Flathead Lake. The last radar return was at 1552, located in the vicinity of Dixon, at an altitude of about 300 feet above ground level (agl), 2,800 feet mean sea level (msl). Witnesses reported seeing a blue and white single-engine airplane flying low over the Flathead River between Perma and Dixon around 1600.

PERSONNEL INFORMATION

The pilot, age 25, held a private pilot certificate for airplane single-engine land issued on June 26, 2009, and a second-class airman medical certificate issued March 21, 2008, with no limitations. The pilot’s logbook was not located, and is presumed to have been destroyed in the post impact fire. The operator and the pilot’s certified flight instructor (CFI) both stated that the pilot had received all his flight training at the Missoula International Airport, had accumulated about 100 hours of total flight time, and had about 30 hours in the accident airplane. Rental records indicate that the pilot’s most recent flights in the accident airplane were on November 25, 2009, and June 25, 2010.

AIRCRAFT INFORMATION

The four-seat, low-wing, retractable landing gear airplane, serial number 28R-30971, was manufactured in 1968. It was powered by a Lycoming IO-360-B1E 180 horsepower (hp) engine and was equipped with a Hartzell model HC2YK-1BF two bladed constant speed propeller. Review of copies of maintenance logbook records showed an annual inspection was completed on April 9, 2010, at a recorded total airframe time of 6,234.5 hours. The engine time since major overhaul (TSMO) was 1,772.9 hours. An entry dated June 9, 2010, stated that the airplane had been stripped, repainted, and a successful test flight had been performed. The operator reported that the airplane departed Missoula with full fuel tanks (50 gallon) and that no fuel was taken on at Kalispell City Airport.

Airplane climb performance can be estimated utilizing the rate of climb verses density altitude chart provided in the PA-28R-180 Owners Handbook (gear & flaps up, gross weight 2,500 pounds). The calculated density altitude at 5,000 feet msl and 27 degrees Celsius is 7,500 feet. The estimated rate of climb at maximum gross weight is 480 feet per minute.

METEOROLOGICAL INFORMATION

The weather observation recorded at Missoula International Airport (36 miles southeast of the accident site) by the automated surface observation system (ASOS) at 1553, was winds from 140 degrees at 3 knots; 10 statute miles visibility; sky clear; and the temperature at 27 degrees Celsius.

MEDICAL AND PATHOLOGICAL INFORMATION

An autopsy was performed on the pilot on July 3, 2010, by the State of Montana Medical Examiner, Missoula. The autopsy findings state the cause of death was “blunt force injuries.”

Forensic toxicology was performed on specimens from the pilot by the FAA Bioaeronautical Science Research Lab CAMI, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The toxicology report stated that 0.0029 ug/ml tetrahydrocannabinol Carboxylic Acid (marihuana) was detected in brain tissue, tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marihuana) was detected in muscle tissue, and 0.0304 ug/ml tetrahydrocannabinol carboxylic acid (marihuana) was detected in urine.

WRECKAGE AND IMPACT INFORMATION

Search teams located the wreckage the afternoon of June 30, approximately 10 miles southwest of Dixon at an elevation of 4,685 feet msl, which also corresponded to a position 4.5 miles south of the Flathead river. The wreckage was positioned near the bottom of a heavily wooded steep valley populated with lodgepole pine trees and young maples. The slope of the hill side was measured to be 28 degrees. The wreckage was positioned on the ground with the left wing, right wing, engine, and tail in their appropriate positions. The right wing pointed up hill, and the wreckage was orientated on a 069-degree magnetic bearing line, measured from tail to nose. The center fuselage and cabin area had been completely consumed by a post impact fire. Two trees directly adjacent to the wreckage, behind the left wing, had evidence of fresh breaks and damage consistent with recently being topped, and another tree exhibited fresh damage to the trunk and branches at the same elevation as the topped trees. Tree branches and needles below showed browning consistent with fuel blight. Blackened ground and charred vegetation were consistent with a localized ground fire around the wreckage.

Control continuity was established from all control surface bell cranks to their cockpit connection points. The right horizontal stabilator was sheared off at the interface between it and the empennage, about 40 percent of the left stabilator was present, and the vertical stabilizer with the rudder attached was present on the empennage. Fragments of the stabilator were located beneath the topped trees. The stabilator trim jack screw was extended 1 inch, which corresponds to a neutral pitch setting. The fuel selector valve was located but the fire damage was too extensive to be able to determine valve position. Both main landing gear were in the down position, with ground divots next to each mount. The nose landing gear appeared to be in the in transit position. The flap handle was down, and the right flap was flush with the wing upper skin. The left flap and aileron were separated from the wing, and located on the ground a few feet downhill from the wing. The engine was separated from the engine mount, and laid inverted in line with the centerline of the fuselage.

The entire engine was black and sooted from thermal exposure. The engine intake manifold and exhaust manifolds were impact separated from the engine; the throttle body had separated from its mounting pad. Both magnetos were attached to the engine, and the fuel distribution valve was present with all four fuel lines leading to the engine cylinders. The engine could not be rotated by hand. The propeller was attached to the crankshaft propeller flange, and the spinner was undamaged. Both blades exhibited minimal leading edge damage, and the outer third of each blade was bent aft approximately 15 degrees. Further examination of the engine by the manufacturer’s technical representative revealed no anomalies that would preclude normal engine operation prior to impact.

============

KALISPELL - A quest to erect a memorial for two Daily Inter Lake reporters who died in an airplane crash near Perma in June 2010 has been accomplished, with a sense of relief and reward for those involved.

A group of six people set out from a remote logging road in rugged, mountainous terrain on the morning of Sept. 24, bushwhacking about six miles through thick timber to the crash site about 8 miles southwest of Perma.

After reaching the site, the group used a satellite phone to call in a helicopter from Missoula carrying a 45-pound stainless steel cross bearing the names and birth dates of reporters Erika J. Hoefer and Melissa Weaver and "Eternal Friends 6-27-2010," the date of the crash.

"It was great to see that helicopter coming in from up above with that cross in a basket underneath," said Bill Hoefer, Erika's father. "It was such a relief because I know we couldn't have gotten it in."

Putting the cross in place was the culmination of a determined effort that was easier said than done, to say the least.

"It's been my focus for a year, along with a few other people who helped us out, that's for sure," Hoefer said. "The good thing is we got it done. I was just so happy."

A single-engine Piper airplane took off from Kalispell City Airport the morning of June 27, 2010, for a scenic flight, carrying Hoefer, 27, Weaver, 23, and two men from Missoula, Brian Williams, 28, and the pilot, 25-year-old Sonny Kless.

When they did not return as planned that afternoon, a massive search was launched.

The wreckage was located three days later, with all four on board deceased.

Soon after a funeral for Hoefer in her hometown of Beloit, Wis., Dillon Tabish, then an Inter Lake reporter, suggested some type of memorial for his two friends, and the idea took hold with Bill Hoefer.

"Dillon mentioned that we might be able to hike back there and leave something there," Hoefer recalls.

Hoefer returned to Montana last October to scout out the possibilities, at one point meeting with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council and tribal officials for permission.

"I was able to talk to the council while they were in session and they were just absolutely wonderful," Hoefer said.

In addition to approving his request, tribal officials advised him to provide a photograph of the memorial and coordinates for its location within lands that are considered part of the tribes' timber base.

"They told me they would flag that area because it is a logging area. They would literally designate that as a memorial site because it is sacred ground and they would never log it," he said.

Todd Donahue, a Missoula helicopter pilot who was involved in extracting the wreckage, volunteered his services in flying Hoefer and Tabish over the crash site to scout out the potential for reaching it on foot.

Hoefer then enlisted the services of a metal worker in Wisconsin to build the cross, first consulting with Weaver's parents, Billings residents Dan and Cathy Weaver.

"I contacted her parents and asked what they thought, and they liked the idea as much as we did, so we just talked back and forth," Hoefer said.

Plans were set to carry out the task in June this year, and around the anniversary of the crash roughly a dozen family members and friends converged on Missoula, some from as far away as Boston.

But there was a big problem: Montana's late spring weather and lingering snowpack of up to 3 feet had buried much of the rough logging road that would be used to reach the area, where creeks were flowing high. The conditions were such that the expedition was called off.

"That would have been a disaster," Hoefer said. "I don't think we could have done it."

"We were really disappointed," Tabish said. "This is something the whole year we had been focused on."

But Hoefer was determined. He and his wife, Candy, and daughter, Jessica, made the roughly 1,700-mile drive back to Montana in September to try again.

For the hike, Hoefer and his daughter were joined by a friend of his from Missoula, Erik Luther, along with Tabish and, most importantly, two members of the Sanders County Search and Rescue team who had escorted National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration officials to the crash site last year.

Brian Krick and Erich Pfalzer, both U.S. Forest Service employees from Trout Creek, volunteered their entire day toward the effort, providing some much-needed confidence for bushwhacking through some rough country. A tribal saw crew was needed during initial efforts to reach the crash site.

"You can't get an idea of what it's going to be like until you're right there looking at the terrain," Tabish said.

"For the first two miles maybe, it was OK, but after that you dive downhill and you're going through brush and trees and rock slides," he said.

The group was aided by a GPS navigation device, but a meandering course still was necessary to travel through the terrain. When the group approached the site, the work of the saw crew that worked in the area became apparent and the exact location of the fiery crash was unmistakable.

"It was still kind of a charred piece of land. There is melted metal and glass. There are no big pieces left," Tabish said.

After erecting the four-foot high cross, the group reflected on Hoefer and Weaver.

"Sometimes it feels like it happened 10 years ago and sometimes you'll hear or see something that makes it seem like it happened just yesterday," Tabish said, adding that the cross will be a permanent presence.

"It's heavy duty. We hammered that thing down good. That thing is going to stay there forever," he said.

The mostly uphill hike back took longer, with the group returning to their vehicles from the 12-mile round trip at about 8 p.m. The next day the Hoefers met with the Weavers and mutual friends at a Missoula hotel to share memories.

"They've been able to come together as families, and I guess that's the only good thing you could ask for in a tragedy like this," Tabish said.

And for Bill Hoefer, the quest is complete.

"The likelihood of anybody ever finding it is probably slim," he said of the memorial cross. "But we know where it's at."

Trans-Tasman plane plans stall

A Firstline investigation has revealed that a proposal to reclassify trans-Tasman travel as "domestic" has hit problems, and may never happen.

Two years ago the Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand said they were aiming for a "domestic-like" experience when flying across the Tasman.

But the plans have hit some turbulence.

It's claimed making trans-Tasman travel domestic would reduce fares by at least 20 percent.

“If it came off, that would have been a good thing for the travellers because it probably would have made it a bit easier and saved a bit of time,” says Flight Centre’s Mike Friend.

Just over two years ago Kevin Rudd and John Key announced a range of initiatives to make Tasman travel "near-domestic".

But more than two years on what has happened?

3 News requested documents updating progress from the department of Prime Minister and Cabinet under the Official Information Act earlier this year.

But the request was refused because the briefings are confidential and "no public interest in this information was identified, which would be sufficient to override the reasons for withholding it".

Given that there were more than 2 million trips across the Tasman in the last year, some would argue there is a public interest.

So we requested the information from MAF and Customs and received 40 reports with more than 160 parts blacked out.

“I think the processes we have now are vastly improved on what we had back in 2009,” says Auckland Airport’s Craig Hughes.

The reports reveal a range of measures including ‘Smartgate’ have been successfully introduced and helped to significantly speed up the process.

But a proposal from Jetstar to use domestic terminals for trans-Tasman flights appears to have been ditched. The reasons why are blacked out in the reports.

Firstline has also uncovered big delays in the x-ray transfer project.

That would see x-rays of your bag being taken in Australia, assessed while you were flying back to New Zealand, and if you had no risky goods you could walk straight out of the airport terminal.

The documents reveal that plan was meant to be running by the end of 2010.

It's now hoped to be in place next year but there's no guarantee it will ever be a reality.

http://www.3news.co.nz

$1.35 million stolen from Athens airport bank branch; robber poses as contractor.

ATHENS, Greece -- Police in Greece say euro1 million ($1.35 million) has been stolen from the Athens airport branch of Alpha bank after a man posed as a subcontractor's employee.

Police say the man arrived at the bank ostensibly to take some measurements as part of a redesign for the branch. He persuaded the employees to lead him to the bank's vault, where he took out a gun and forced a teller to open the safe.

The robber locked the employees in the vault and made off with the money. Police say security cameras have recorded a man matching the suspect's description leaving the airport by taxi Sunday afternoon.

http://www.forbes.com

Helicopter and Plane Rides Over Golden Gate Could Be Subjected to New Rules. Federal authorities could restrict the airplane and helicopter tours companies offer over the Golden Gate.

Dramatic views of the Marin mountains, the San Francisco skyline and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge are popular -- so, too, are the helicopter and airplane rides offered by private companies to enjoy these views. But much of that awesome landscape is protected federal land, and now the Federal Aviation Administration and National Park Service are working on a public plan that could limit these airborne tours, according to the Marin Independent Journal.

Two companies offer tours over the area: San Francisco Helicopter Tours and San Francisco Seaplane Tours. The FAA allows up to 2,900 flights over the area per year, but under the new rules, the FAA could limit the number of trips, how long the trips can go and where, in order to protect wildlife -- and residents -- from noise.

"There are concerns for wildlife being flushed out and being disturbed by hovering aircraft. It affects sea lions as well as birds," Alexandra Picavet, a spokeswoman with the National Park Service, told the newspaper.

The timing is no accident, either: with the America's Cup race coming to the area in 2013 and with the Golden Gate Bridge celebrating its 75 anniversary in May, a spike in tourism to the area is expected.

http://www.nbcbayarea.com

Iran to become regional aviation hub

Managing director of Iran's Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) says the country is planning to become a major aviation industry hub in the region.

“President [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad has approved the organization's mission to turn the country into an aviation hub,” Manouchehr Manteqi said during a ceremony held at Mehrabad Airport on Sunday for the test flight of the Antonov 158 passenger plane.

He added that the Antonov Company was Iran's strategic partner with updated technical know-how, IRNA reported.

The official said the Moscow air show was Iran's international debut in the industry where the country was introduced as manufacturer of its own special brand of plane parts.

“Studies have shown that Antonov 158 suits Iran's climatic conditions and has been test-flown in certain parts of the country,” he added.

Manteqi said the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey, Morocco, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan were other countries with extensive plans to become regional and international aviation hubs.

http://presstv.com/detail/202386.html

Have goat? Will travel, as Santaco Airlines opens for masses

If ever you need to fly with your goats there is now a solutuion – Santaco, the taxi organisation, will allow passengers to take their bleating friends along when it takes to the skies.

This was the reassurance by Santaco president Jabulani Mthembu at the inaugural flight from Lanseria to Bisho on Friday.

During the launch of the airline, which was attended by President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Transport Sbu Ndebele, Mthembu said people would never feel left out.

“In certain airlines, people are able to put their dogs in cages and take them with them on the airline. Why can’t we do that for our people who have been supporting us for years?” said Mthembu.

He said people going home to conduct traditional ceremonies could use the airline.

While most cartoonists had a field day when the organisation announced they would be launching an airline, the dream has become a reality.

It was thought that rude taxi drivers who had a tendency of stopping anywhere would be in the driving seat of the airline.

On Friday, as promised by Mthembu, passengers were treated like royalty and were welcomed aboard by warm smiles from the attendants who assisted everyone to their sets – unlike the rude taxi marshals who at times choose where you should sit.

When everyone was seated, a message came through the PA system. “Welcome aboard Santaco Airline, our Zola Budd, and this is your Captain Dudly Snell and I hope you enjoy your journey to Bisho with me.”

If you have used taxis you know it rarely happens that you are greeted by a taxi driver.

As the plane took off, Mthembu was close to tears as people sang “Shosholoza” and clapped.

While in mid-air a R10 note was passed from the back towards the front, as is done in a taxi.

When the note got to the front it was passed back as it was alleged the pilot did not have change. This caused much laughter in the plane as most people could identify with the no change issue.

Santaco spokesman Thabisho Molelekwa said it had taken a lot of hard work for the day to finally arrive.

“Many people thought this would never happen. It has finally happened and we are thankful to all those who have supported us,” said Molelekwa.

There were no chicken feet or dumplings for lunch on the flight but a platter of cold meats, fruit, cheeses and croissants were served to passengers.

“This is great. People thought we would be eating cow heads and all. Look at us we are getting food that is available in hotels. Our people will be getting the best service,” said Thandeka Mnisi.

On the return flight from Bisho to Lanseria, deputy general secretary Simon Magagula led the song “Wahamba nathi siyabonga” (God you have walked with us, we thank you).

After that he said a prayer, which had many people joking that God is always with those who travel in taxis and now he is going to be overworked with having to worry about those in the air.

President Jacob Zuma applauded Santaco for their brave step in launching the country’s first fully black-owned airline.

“The Santaco Airlines venture is also significant because it is a practical example of economic and social emancipation,” said Zuma.

The airline is owned by more than 100000 taxi owners, which makes it one of the most broad-based black empowerment ventures in the country.

He said the airports around the country handled more than 18 million passengers per year but while the number might look big most people did not have access to air transport.

Zuma said this was due to the high cost of air travel and to some extent an unfortunate perception that air travel was the exclusive preserve of a privileged few.

“It is also correct and proper for the taxi industry to move a step higher into the aviation sector.

“The industry is a major player in the public transport industry carrying an average 15 million passengers a day countrywide.”

In the coming months Santaco will make a full announcement on how much the air tickets will cost and which areas the airline will be travelling to.

“We have conquered the skies and we are looking into going into sea transportation and launching our own bank.

“Next time we invite you we might be heading to the seas,” said Mthembu.

http://thenewage.co.za

New Delhi, India: Aera tells government it’s not against private airports’ interests. Regulator defends its approach in a letter to the aviation ministry, says passengers need to come first

New Delhi: The country’s airports regulator, countering official criticism that it was acting against the interests of airports built under public-private partnerships (PPP), has said passenger interests need to be considered while providing for a fair return on investment.

Sharing benefits: A file photo of passengers at the Hyderabad international airport. Differences have cropped up between private airports and Aera on how tariffs should be decided. Photo by Bharath Sai/Mint.

Sharing benefits: A file photo of passengers at the Hyderabad international airport. Differences have cropped up between private airports and Aera on how tariffs should be decided. Photo by Bharath Sai/Mint.

Besides, nearly all airports under the regulator are already profitable, Airports Economic Regulatory Authority (Aera) chairman Yashwant Bhave said in a letter to civil aviation secretary Nasim Zaidi.

“Aera does not see its regulatory approach as militating against the financial interest of the airport operators,” Bhave said in the letter, reviewed by Mint, adding that the ministry of civil aviation’s (MoCA) observation came as a surprise.

The aviation ministry recently sent a note to the Prime Minister’s Office indicating “the present regulatory approach of Aera is not conducive for the healthy growth of PPP mode airports”, according to Bhave’s letter.

“Aera, on its part, has also from time to time actively sought the views of government and particularly in the context of its regulatory approach, apart from issues specific to a particular airport. MoCA has so far not given any views or indication that Aera’s regulatory approach is not conducive for healthy growth of PPP model airports,” Bhave wrote in his letter.

The ministry said the note did not reflect its view, but that of private airport operators.

“We have no view,” said a ministry official who declined to be identified. “For any grievances of the airports, there is already an appellate tribunal. There is no question of our coming into the regulatory approach.”

The airports built under public-private partnership are GMR Infrastructure Ltd’s Delhi International Airport Pvt. Ltd and GMR Hyderabad International Airport Pvt. Ltd; GVK Power and Infrastructure Ltd’s Mumbai International Airport Pvt. Ltd and Bengaluru International Airport Pvt. Ltd; and Cochin International Airport Ltd, also run by a private operator. Other airports in India are managed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) and the Indian Air Force.

Differences have cropped up between these airports and Aera on how tariffs should be decided. Aera, which came into existence in late 2009, wants a single-till approach to deciding airport tariffs, aimed at lowering the development fees these new airports collect from passengers. The airports want a dual-till or a middle-of-the-road hybrid approach that will still increase the burden on airlines and passengers.

Passengers need to come first, the regulator said.

“When almost the entire non-aero is contributed by the passengers, Aera felt that the advantage of surpluses arising therefrom should also benefit the passengers in terms of lowering of their charges, notably UDF (user development fee). In the Indian context, choosing between single-till and hybrid-till is not really an issue of sharing surpluses between airlines and airports, but between passengers and airports. Under single-till, UDF will generally be the lowest,” Aera said in its letter.

In his defence on the viability of airports, Bhave said the private airports under Aera’s jurisdiction, except the Delhi airport, are profitable, viable and sustainable.

Delhi International Airport’s cash-flow problems do not arise “on account of Aera’s regulatory approach, but according to the airport operator, primarily on account of large revenue share”, Bhave said.

The airport operator, which has spent $3 billion (nearly Rs. 15,000 crore today) in modernization between 2006 and 2010, has to share 46% of its total revenue with AAI as a part of the privatization agreement of 2006.

Bhave said Aera was awaiting the view of the ministry on various issues, including the rate of return on equity that airport investors should get.

“During our past meetings, I had requested you to let us have your views on the fair rate of return on equity. You had indicated that this is within the ambit of Aera, and Aera may take an appropriate call,” Bhave wrote in his letter, adding that the Hyderabad airport operator has been granted a 18.33% return while the Delhi airport operator was seeking a 24% return to its investors.

G.R. Gopinath, the founder of erstwhile low-cost carrier Air Deccan​, said that while India needs swanky airports and the investors need fair returns, the passenger should drive policy.

“We definitely need these modern airports from the cowsheds we earlier had,” he said, referring to the Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad airports. “But we have to ensure they now don’t become a stumbling block for growth. The government has to ensure it doesn’t become a real estate game; at the same time, the investor (should) get a fair return. They have to ensure the biggest stakeholders are the passengers.”

Gopinath suggested more competition among airports. “We have to have aggressive privatization, but not cartelization.”

http://www.livemint.com

Travel alert issued in wake of Anwar al-Awlaki's killing


WASHINGTON (KABC) -- The State Department has issued a worldwide travel alert in the wake of the attack that killed al Qaeda leader Anwar al-Awlaki.

The government says the killing of al-Awlaki has raised the risk of anti-American violence, and they fear that supporters of the cleric will seek to avenge his death.

ABC News has learned that the FBI is warning police around the country that the killing of al-Awlaki could provoke revenge attacks in the U.S. The American-born radical was taken out Friday by a U.S. force of drones and support aircraft that fired three hellfire missiles killing what U.S. officials call "the most dangerous man on the planet."

"He can no longer threaten America, our allies or peace loving people around the world," said Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

"This country is much safer as a result of the loss of Awlaki," said Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.

In the new travel bulletin, the Department of Homeland Security warned that al Qaeda in Yemen could soon "attempt to retaliate directly against the homeland for Awlaki's death."

"Due to Awlaki's popularity online, we are concerned about the possibitliy that autonomous extremists may react violently," the bulletin adds.

This means that al-Awlaki could be seen as a martyr, inspiring some loner, unknown admirer to attack out of revenge.

A second American-born terrorist perished in the attack - Samir Kahn, who edited al-Awlaki's online magazine which targeted the U.S. There may also have been another important victim, too

U.S. officials said they believe but cannot confirm that al Qaeda's top bomb maker, Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, was also killed in the attack.

Al-Asiri is described as the "evil genius" of al Qaeda, responsible for plotting and devising ways around airline security. His loss would be another staggering blow to al Qaeda. 

http://abclocal.go.com

Investment in New Zealand flying school being considered

A Hawaiian-based New Zealand businessman is eyeing opportunities here for investing in a flying school.

Michael Burgess has worked in finance in London, Geneva, Zurich, Dubai and New York.

He's here for the Rugby World Cup but is also exploring investment opportunities, including a flying school with Mauna Loa Helicopters, one of the biggest helicopter training schools in the United States, where he is the business development manager.

Mr Burgess says many trainee pilots in the US come from other countries, particularly emerging economies such as India and China where there is a demand for aviation but no local flight programme.

But he says there is a security concern around foreigners coming into the US to learn to fly, particularly after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Mr Burgess says they would like to expand to New Zealand in case the US rules change preventing foreign pilot students from studying there.

He says at this stage they are trying to establish whether to set up a business from scratch, or to buy and develop an established business.

Mr Burgess says setting up a school from scratch, including bringing training helicopters from the United States, would cost more than $3 million.

He's in talks with existing schools and airports about expanding the industry.

A recent Trade & Enterprise report says training makes up $54 million of the $9.7 billion industry. That's forecast to rise to $70 to $100 million by 2015.

http://www.radionz.co.nz

Indonesia: Sumatra Air Crash Passengers Were Killed on Impact, Officials Believe

Government officials say the passengers aboard a CASA 212-200 airplane would not have survived its crash in North Sumatra last week, but an aviation expert said it was possible some perished while waiting to be rescued.

Initial reports from a search and rescue helicopter that spotted the aircraft, operated by Nusantara Buana Air, said the plane appeared relatively intact, which gave rise to hopes of survivors.

But further investigation showed the nose of the aircraft was smashed, the wings were broken and the fuselage had a long crack.

“Initially, there was the hope that the aircraft was still intact. But in reality, it was not. The aircraft suffered severe damage,” aviation expert Dudi Sudibyo said on Sunday.

He said that even if some of the passengers had managed to survive the initial impact in Thursday’s crash in Langkat district, they would have been unable to withstand the cold in the mountainous area.

“The nose of the aircraft was damaged and in that situation, we assume the pilots were seriously injured or killed,” Dudi said. “The airplane crashed at an altitude of more than 2,000 meters, so you can imagine how cold it is.”

Dudi said the search and rescue team was fast and efficient, but “it is unfortunate that the terrain was extraordinarily difficult and that the weather was poor, so that the helicopter could not approach.”

Vice Air Marshal Daryatmo, who heads the National Search and Rescue Agency, also said those on board probably died from the extreme impact.

Daryatmo said on Saturday that all the bodies were found in their seats, and there was no evidence suggesting an attempt to open the aircraft’s doors.

In Medan, Transportation Minister Freddy Numberi said bad weather was to blame for the crash.

“Based on our preliminary conclusions, the crash of the plane, which was flying 14 passengers and four crew members crew to Kutacane in Aceh, was caused by bad weather,” Antara news agency quoted the minister as saying.

The plane appeared to have crashed amid thick fog and strong winds averaging up to 30 kilometers per hour, he said.

“The aircraft was airworthy and the pilot fit,” Freddy said.

All 18 bodies have been airlifted to Medan.

The plane took off from Medan at 7:28 a.m. on Thursday and went missing 35 minutes into its flight to Kutacane.

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com

Kingfisher drops its fish



Life seems to have come a full circle for Kingfisher Airlines. In 2006 it had decided to launch Kingfisher First, the business-class segment of Kingfisher Airlines brand. At that time its chairman, Mr Vijay Mallya, had told Business Line: “Our economy is growing.

The propensity and willingness to spend is there. When we launched the airline, we were clear that we were not targeting the Rs 400-Rs 500 category of passengers. There is a discerning class that is willing to pay for service.” But in the same year he acquired Air Deccan and renamed it Kingfisher Red to provide low-priced air travel. Now he has announced that he is getting out of the low-end business.

The move comes when the company is recasting its debt. Loans in excess of Rs 1,300 crore and funds from promoters of approximately Rs 745 crore have been converted into share capital.

The interest rate on the recast loans has been lowered to 11 per cent and the repayment period extended to nine years.

Better performance

During the most recent quarter ended June 2011, Kingfisher delivered a better financial performance than other listed Indian carriers.

On domestic operations, it reported an EBITDAR (Earnings before Interest, Depreciation, Amortisation, and Rentals) margin of 15.4 per cent which compares very favourably with 6.4 per cent and 7.2 per cent reported by others .

Moreover, analysts say the Indian market is big enough to support both low-cost and full-service carriers. Only 2 per cent of Indians fly. So there is a market that is expanding and is waiting to be tapped (see Table).

Unlike Jet Airways, which gives a break-up of how many passengers it flies on the full-service Jet Airways and how many on its low-cost arm JetLite, Kingfisher only gives consolidated figures for Kingfisher Airlines and Kingfisher Red together. This makes it difficult to figure out which of the two segments is doing badly.
Hard decisions

Analysts estimate that, currently, about 70 per cent of Kingfisher's domestic operations are on Kingfisher Red. So, if this is being shut down, one can only guess the losses that it must be incurring.

Analysts say the airline is trying to send out the message that it is willing to take hard decisions and focus on its niche of being a full-service airline.

“The low-cost segment is a growing segment but does everyone have the focus and capability to run and sustain a low-cost operation?” asks Executive Director, Pricewaterhouse Coopers Pvt. Ltd., Mr Dheeraj Mathur.

http://www.thehindubusinessline.com