Thursday, October 20, 2011

US Airways Boeing 767 diverted to Logan International Airport (KBOS), Boston, Massachusetts.

A US Airways flight was diverted to Logan International Airport Thursday night after reports of an electrical odor in the aft galley.  There were 187 passengers on Flight 710, according to Massport. The Boeing 767 left Philadelphia at 6:08 p.m. and was headed to Zurich, Switzerland. The plane landed at Logan about 7:54 p.m. at Gate #B-23.  The passengers are being taken off before the flight attendants exit.  Nine crew members were also on board. Massport says four crew members complained they were sick.  The aircraft never declared an emergency.

No change to low fares, assures REDjet CEO

REDjet will not be abandoning its low fares model.

This is the assurance of the airline’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ian Burns as he rejected claims that such a step would become necessary in the case of expanding its list of destinations to smaller Caribbean islands.

The claim had come from LIAT’s CEO Brian Challenger, who stated earlier this week in
another section of the press that REDjet would have to change its aircraft to accommodate flights into certain islands, leading to a move away from its current low fare model.

Burns however, said that the model would not be changed as the airline had entered the market because of the need for low airfares in travelling throughout the region.

“REDjet is a low fare airline. REDjet’s business model is what it is and if we were flying to destinations that did not meet our model that would be silly. We have a very simple business model and we will not be moving away from our low fares,” he said.

Speaking to members of the media during a briefing on Monday at Island Inn, he explained, “We are not here to do damage to anybody, we are here to grow markets. If you look at the statistics on the Guyana route for example, this is what has happened. Market has grown by 83 per cent, we have put roughly 85 per cent capacity onto that route,” he explained.

“People can be always sceptical about things but you always have to look at the evidence and the evidence is that REDjet is growing markets,” he said, adding that “the low fare model has worked the best in countries and regions whose economies have been suffering the most because people are more cost conscious and therefore they need affordable transport”.

Passenger on US Airways Flight to Honolulu ran for cockpit, wanted to jump out of plane: hero cop

When a hysterical passenger aboard a Hawaii-bound flight made a dash for the cockpit, two Jersey City police officers heading to a wedding tackled and guarded him until touchdown before turning him over to authorities, officials said.

"They are two fine, outstanding officers and they carry on in the fine tradition of the Jersey City Police Department," said South District Commander Charles Nierstedt of officers Paul Fennel and Robert Taino Jr., who were on U.S. Airways Flight 20 from Phoenix, Ariz., to Honolulu when the man "apparently went crazy."

Taino said the flight was about two hours out of Honolulu at about 6:30 p.m. yesterday when they realized there might be a problem and they told the crew that they were cops.

Flight attendants were scurrying about and no one was being served, Taino told Lt. Edgar Martinez. Moments later flight attendants ran to the back of the plane with an oxygen tank for the man, Martinez said.

Next, the cops saw a man in a sweater having a panic attack and saying he had to get off the plane and was going to try to get off at 40,000 feet, Martinez said Taino told him.

All of a sudden the head flight attended had other flight attendants station themselves at all exit doors and by then, the man had no shirt on, was waving his hands in the air and screaming "He's got a gun. Who's gonna shoot me me?" Martinez said.

"Stop him!" yelled the head flight attendant as the man bolted toward the cockpit and the two Jersey City officers, along with two passengers, tackled him at the front of the plane and held him down, Taino told Martinez.
A flight attendant gave Taino a set of plastic wrist restraints and the cops cuffed the man and led him to the rear of the plane, where they watched him until the wheels touched down, Martinez said.

They turned the man over to agents of the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and the Honolulu Sheriffs Department at the gate, Martinez said.

The cops were on their way to Honolulu to attend the wedding of a Jersey City police sergeant, Martinez said. Today all three officers are visiting the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

Taino is a recipient of the police department's Combat Cross award and Fennel is a recipient of an departments Excellent Police Service award, Martinez said.

U.S. Airways spokesman Andrew Christie said the airline has no comment on the incident, which is in the hands of law enforcement. The FBI has not replied to an email seeking information on the man and whether charges have been filed against him.

Glare on chopper operator: Pawan Hans-run copters involved in six accidents this year

New Delhi, Oct. 20: The Dhruv crash near Ranchi that killed three crew members has prompted the BSF to revisit an old question: Is Pawan Hans Helicopters Ltd capable of flying and maintaining choppers that are being used for anti-Maoist operations in Jharkhand?

Many in the BSF, which had under its wings six Dhruvs, or Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) — one of which crashed yesterday — feel there is a need to probe Pawan Hans’ efficiency as an operator.

The Dhruv, which exploded mid-air before disintegrating into pieces, is the second BSF chopper flown by Pawan Hans that crashed this year.

The ministry of home affairs, on the other hand, is in a dilemma on whether to continue with the company. Officials said pilot training was prohibitively expensive and well-trained pilots were liable to quit after a few years in sight of greener pastures.

“Therefore, we have to depend on these companies,” said an official grudgingly.

Special DGP Arvind Ranjan said Pawan Hans was operating the choppers and BSF itself could do little. “We are sending a team to Jharkhand. It is difficult to say anything before the DGCA comes up with a report on its inquiry,” he told The Telegraph.

On May 13, a Chetak helicopter carrying BSF deputy commandant Vivek Chaudhary as co-pilot crashed near Mount Abu in Rajasthan, killing three others. Former minister of state for home Gurudas Kamat was to fly on the same chopper but due to a snag in the craft travelled by road and was saved.

In May, a Pawan Hans-operated Eurocopter carrying Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Dorjee Khandu crashed, killing him. The investigation report on the accident, submitted by a three-member team, had indicated pilot error and violation of DGCA norms by Pawan Hans, sources told The Telegraph.

“There have been half-a-dozen accidents involving Pawan Hans-run choppers this year alone,” complained a BSF pilot on condition of anonymity. “The Mi-172 that crashed in the Northeast earlier was also being flown by Pawan Hans,” he added.

The operator has been suspended from flying choppers in the Northeast following Khandu’s death.

The ALH is considered a robust machine. It s used for colourful daredevilry during air shows in India and abroad. However, maintenance and adherence to DGCA rules by Pawan Hans has come under the scanner time and again. Yesterday, the aircraft was “burnt mid-air”.

For the ministry of home affairs, however, there are few choices.

The BSF, which owns five ALHs, six Mi-17 helicopters with military registration and a Cheetah chopper, has no pilots to fly them. In fact, five of them are deployed in Naxalite-affected areas while one aircraft is at Bangalore-based Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, where Pawan Hans pilots train on it.

A few years ago the ministry went on a drive to train pilots from the central paramilitary forces. Over the past two years, 14 pilots from the central forces have been trained.

Four licence-holding pilots are trained on Chetak helicopters while 10 others are trained on single-engine Scheweizer choppers. But, the BSF owns neither of these choppers.

For each of the four pilots, the government spent Rs 1.35crore on their training only to keep them idle while Pawan Hans faces flak but continues to fly aircraft.

For conversion of licences to fly either the Mi-17 series or ALH Dhruvs, paramilitary pilots need a certain number of flying hours.

“But Pawan Hans pilots are training on BSF choppers. So we do not get the opportunity to fly. For Mi-17s, the ministry of defence has said it does not have enough resources to spare for training BSF pilots,” said an “idle” BSF pilot.

So, what do they do? “We sit and move files,” said the pilot.

Suggests time has come to consider alternative uses for airport property. Danbury Municipal Airport (KDXR), Danbury, Connecticut.

During the past few weeks, two airplane crashes at homes near the airport reminded us that the Danbury Municipal Airport is a safety threat. One person died, and a house occupied by 91-year-old Jennie Valerie was clipped by a plane. According to this newspaper, the area around the airport has suffered six fatal crashes since 1983. That's not good.

Noise is another issue: Airport neighbors have been complaining about it for years. When the airport was built, there weren't many homes in the area and there weren't many flights. Now the neighborhood is densely populated and noise from planes, jets, and helicopters degrades the quality of life, day after day, for thousands of people.

So Danbury's airport, like any airport, comes with some high costs. What's the benefit?

Danbury's leaders claim it's good for the local economy, but they haven't produced the data to prove it.

Recently, Mayor Boughton convened a task force to study how the city-owned airport might generate more money. That's a great question. After costs are deducted from total airport revenues of $528,000, the facility contributes about $40,000 annually to the city. That's not a lot of money to compensate for all the risk and vexation this airport causes.

And in the context of a city budget of $260 million a year, $40,000 is an insignificant contribution. If Danbury's airport were a business, it might have been out of business long ago.

The financial picture looks worse when you consider that nearly 40 percent of the airport's revenues came from lease payments by just two restaurants, Olive Garden and Red Lobster. They pay about $200,000 every year to lease a tiny fraction of the airport's land.

The payments from those two restaurants alone amount to five times more than the net revenues of the entire airport. Look at it another way: without the money it gets from businesses that have absolutely nothing to do with aviation, the airport would be deep in the red.

The obvious conclusion: The real problem with the airport... is that it's an airport.

The airport property -- 200 acres in a prime location across from the Danbury mall and at the intersection of two highways -- might be a lot more valuable if put to other uses.

If just two restaurants can contribute five times more than the airport as a whole, how about 10 restaurants? Imagine a movie theater, athletic fields, stores, housing, medical facilities, a park?

Instead of being a public nuisance, the property might become a valuable asset.

I don't pretend to have the specific answers. But is the city bothering to talk to people who might be able to contribute good ideas -- such as developers who might put this land to better use? Why not think about alternatives to keeping an outdated, dangerous, and essentially unprofitable airport alive? Why not consider such questions?

The problem with Mayor Boughton's airport task force is that it isn't charged with asking the right questions.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with thinking about how to generate more money from airport operations. There's plenty wrong with not thinking about alternatives -- such as closing the airport and putting all that valuable real estate to some better use.

Maybe it's time to shut this airport down. For sure, the time has come to consider that possibility.

Strat Sherman

FAA dedicates air traffic control tower at Memphis International Airport (KMEM), Tennessee.

There were times Thursday, Oct. 20, during the dedication of the new $72.6 million air traffic control tower at Memphis International Airport that noise from the arriving and departing jets drowned out the elected and appointed leaders.

Bustling air traffic is just one indication of how complicated growth is at an airport where there is rarely, if ever, time to stop the airport’s business and build something new.

“Memphis is one of the test beds for some of the things that we are doing with the latest and newest innovations,” said Federal Aviation Administration administrator Randy Babbitt, a former Eastern Airlines pilot who flew into and out of Memphis a lot during those days.

Planning for the new 336-foot control tower began in 2008 to replace the nearby 1977 tower, which is already being stripped of some materials. Demolition of the structure will begin the first full week of November.

The old tower reflected the era when it was built and the 20 years that followed – including no security fence. Memphis FAA Air Traffic Manager Michael W. Baker would occasionally see an airport patron hoofing it to the terminal, take a shortcut and walk past his window at the old tower.

Ground surveillance radar is on one of two screens at each station in the new tower, which the controllers moved into this past June.

“We didn’t have any ground surveillance system,” Baker said of the era when the old tower opened. “If the weather went down and we couldn’t look out the window and see the airplane, we just relied upon pilots to tell them where they were and hope they were accurate – that they knew where they were.”

The new tower was designed with a view toward the next 20 years of developments. That includes the new NextGen airspace system, which includes a satellite-based system of managing air traffic.

“We’re reaching critical mass in a lot of places,” Babbitt said. “What NextGen brings us is this elimination of the gap between days when the weather is good and days when the weather is bad. Right now delays really build up when it’s bad.”

The FAA is touting NextGen as a way to allow more air traffic to fly closer together on new routes that are more direct with a reduction in delays.

“We have more approaches in the country that use satellite technology to land than we do the old analog ILS (instrument landing) system,” Babbitt said after the ceremony with the new tower in the near distance. “Last year we crossed over. It’s so much more efficient.”

Jeff Plant, the Memphis FAA technical operations manager, said the new tower includes lots of NextGen technology and the ability to add other parts later.

“We have the new interim voice switch, which is all communications that come in here via chat lines, telephone lines, all the frequencies,” he said. “That is a bridge system to the new NextGen communications system.”

Baker, who is a 29-year veteran of the evolving air traffic control system, said coordination is still the most important element.

The controllers at the top of the tower direct the aircraft during taxiing, takeoff and landing. Once the planes are in the air, tower controllers hand them off to another group of controllers below who guide the aircraft while they are in the air, within a 40-mile radius and no higher than 16,000 feet.

When aircraft move beyond the radius or higher than the 16,000-foot ceiling they are guided by another group of controllers at an FAA facility on Tchulahoma Road.

“For as much as there are a number of folks that like to look at data and crunch numbers and consider it a matrix-driven type of organization – in reality, it’s not all about the science. It’s about the art of it and a computer can’t do art,” Baker said. “Having a human there and then having the equipment so that they can make sense of what the information is they are deriving from the equipment.”

At the top of the tower, controllers were in place for the 3 p.m. rollout of FedEx jets carrying loads for the U.S Postal Service. That involved more than 100 jets in what constitutes the afternoon rush hour for the world’s second-busiest cargo airport.

In terms of “moving individual airplanes,” Baker said Memphis International is “the busiest cargo mid-shift operation on the planet.”

Farther down the tower in a room lit by radar and computer screens and a plastic Halloween pumpkin, other controllers observed a tradition of keeping the room dark, which was once a requirement because of the technology.
“You had to keep the radar room completely pitch black otherwise you couldn’t see the radar scope,” Baker said, recalling his start in the business. “Now everything is digital. I know we keep it dark in the radar room. We could turn the lights on and it would be just as fine. It’s a culture change. Personnel is the only reason we keep it dark.”

Kestrel Aircraft may build plant in Berlin, New Hampshire not Brunswick

BRUNSWICK — In July 2010, Maine rolled out the red carpet to welcome Kestrel Aircraft to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station.

"The international appeal and worldwide demand we foresee for the Kestrel airplane will benefit jobs throughout the state, boost Maine's economic competitiveness and showcase Maine's world-class innovation economy," former Gov. John Baldacci told a crowd that included U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, and other dignitaries.

But now, because of difficulties obtaining financing, Kestrel may not build the composites for its turboprop airplanes in Brunswick after all.

In a worst-case scenario, Kestrel Chief Executive Officer Alan Klapmeier said Wednesday, the company won't assemble the planes in Brunswick either, leaving only a maintenance and repair operation at Brunswick Landing.

Although Klapmeier said he was initially drawn to the area because of the concentration of composite companies and an experienced labor pool, he said Kestrel has been unable to secure the financing to keep the entire aircraft production arm of the company in town.

Now the company is looking at places including Berlin, N.H., to do what Klapmeier in September 2010 told the Town Council he would do in Brunswick: build composites.

Trouble with tax credits

Working through Coastal Enterprises, a Wiscasset-based private, nonprofit community development institution, the company was hoping to fund its $100 million project through the federal New Market Tax Credit program. The program helps bring jobs and investments into low-income or distressed areas, as identified in the U.S. Census.

If awarded the full amount, Kestrel would have received $39 million in tax credits that CEI could turn around and sell at a discount to investors.

But Kestrel has only received a fifth of the amount it was seeking. In April, the company was allocated $7.8 million in tax credits, enough to get Kestrel Aeroworks – the maintenance and repair operation – off the ground, but not enough to start manufacturing airplanes.

According to Charles Spies, chief executive of CEI Capital Management, there are no more tax credits available at CEI until January 2012. But even then, Spies isn't sure CEI will receive any more credits to allocate because the New Markets program is so competitive.

That's bad news for Kestrel.

"The financing we've gotten to date is not the amount or the schedule we'd originally anticipated," Klapmeier said.

As a result, he has started looking around to see if other states may be able to provide more funding to get the project off the ground.

What makes Berlin attractive is that, like the former BNAS census tract, it qualifies for New Market. But because it is more rural than Brunswick, and 20 percent of New Market's allocations must go to non-metropolitan areas, Klapmeier said Kestrel would have a better chance of receiving the rest of its tax credits.

Moreover, Berlin is designated a severely distressed area, while the census tract in Brunswick is merely eligible for the tax credits. Additionally, there may be other funding opportunities in New Hampshire separate from New Market, Klapmeier said.

Berlin also has a new biomass energy plant that could supply cheap heat and power to Kestrel. Because building composites is the most energy-intensive part of the airplane construction process, Klapmeier said it makes sense to consider putting a plant close to the energy source in Berlin.

"We're looking at New Hampshire, (and) we're looking at several other locations" where there are tax credits available that are not available in Brunswick, Klapmeier said, although he wouldn't say where.

Some is better than none

Even if Kestrel builds composites in Berlin, Klapmeier said he intends to transport the finished parts to Brunswick for assembly – a geographically dispersed business model he said is common in the aircraft industry. He said he also expects to utilize Southern Maine Community College's composite program to train employees.

"Part of our view of Berlin is that it's close to (Brunswick), 67 nautical miles in the airplane," he said. "We would still be training people here, moving people back and forth, we would see this as being relatively co-located."

But he acknowledged that building a composites plant in Berlin would mean fewer jobs in Brunswick.

"There are jobs that would end up in Berlin that could have been in Brunswick if all of the financing had worked," Klapmeier said, but "getting part of the jobs or most of the jobs is still better than getting none of the jobs."

He said there is a possibility, although not a certainty, that more than 300 jobs would still be created in Brunswick. If Berlin falls through, however, Kestrel could move not only its composite plant, but its entire aircraft manufacturing company out of Brunswick Landing.

Steve Levesque, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority, the public municipal corporation created to redevelop the former air base, doesn't believe that will happen.

In an Oct. 14 email to Town Manager Gary Brown, Levesque said "this doesn’t affect the final assembly facility in Brunswick." The message was a response to Brown, who previously sent Levesque the text of a New Hampshire Public Radio story reporting that Kestrel was considering Berlin. Brown sent Levesque's four-line response to the entire Town Council the next day.

But Klapmeier said the company has been wooed by several states in addition to New Hampshire, and all options are on the table if the Berlin deal doesn't work out – a result that he admitted is undesirable, but not out of the question.

The Berlin deal "is clearly our first choice," Klapmeier said. "We're not going to say it's our only choice and we're not going to go out of business if we can't get the financing."

Klapmeier admitted that he may have been naive to think the company could do everything at Brunswick Landing. Now that he realizes he can't, he said he's trying to find the next best possible deal for Brunswick, which he believes would be a plant in Berlin.

"What nobody understands or believes is, we're committed to Maine because this is where we want to be," he said.

At the very least, Kestrel Aeroworks has to stay at Brunswick Landing for seven years under the conditions of the New Market tax credits already received. Klapmeier has also signed a 20-year lease for half of Hangar 6 at the former air base.

Even so, MRRA may end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars if Kestrel pulls part of its company out of Brunswick Landing.

Impact on MRRA

Last year, the town helped Kestrel apply for a $300,000 community development block grant that was awarded in July.

According to a Feb. 23 memo from the town's economic development specialist, Brian Dancause, the grant was supposed to fund Kestrel's plan to "design, develop, certify and manufacture 6 to 8 passenger carbon composite turbo-prop aircraft at Hangar 6, Brunswick Landing" – specifically, the installation of a paint booth, electrical and plumbing upgrades, and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Part of the agreement is that Kestrel must create 10 more full-time jobs before June 30, 2013, in addition to the 16 in place as of July. Six of the additional jobs have to go to people from low-income households. As of Sept. 20, the company employed 21 people, according to MRRA.

If the company fails to comply, normally the town would have to repay the full amount of the grant to the state. But because MRRA and Brunswick signed an indemnification agreement, MRRA is on the hook for the $300,000, not Brunswick.

Klapmeier estimated that even if Kestrel Aircraft (the aircraft manufacturing company) pulls out, leaving only Kestrel Aeroworks behind, an additional 25 jobs will still be created.

Levesque said the grant has not been used and none of the scheduled work at Hangar 6 has been done.

"If they're not going to go forward," he said, "we're going to use money for other projects.

Mobilizing to keep Kestrel

According to state Sen. Stan Gerzofsky, D-Brunswick, Maine's congressional delegation and state officials are mobilizing to try and keep all of Kestrel in Maine.

"We're not losing jobs to New Hampshire, period," Gerzofsky said Wednesday.

Gerzofsky has proposed that Kestrel put its satellite manufacturing facilities in more rural parts of Maine, in order to take advantage of the rural preference under the New Market Tax Credit program.

"I've been working hard these past couple of weeks to try and make sure we can be in a position to offer them anything anybody else can," he said. "If they're having trouble with these tax credits in Maine and not New Hampshire, I want to know why."

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, has also recently met with Kestrel representatives. In a statement issued by a spokesman Wednesday she said she will "continue to work with them to do everything we can to make it possible for them to locate those jobs here in Maine. Brunswick has the people and the facilities to support the kind of work Kestrel wants to do and I think this is the right place for those manufacturing jobs."

But Klapmeier, whose prototype airplane and leased Hangar 6 were the backdrop for last January's ceremonial first transfer of U.S. Navy property to MRRA, emphasized that he doesn't want anyone to have false hope that it will be possible for Kestrel to keep all branches of its company in Brunswick, or in Maine.

"I'm not sure that, given the learning process that all of us have gone through on this," he said, "that there's a rabbit in the hat that could be pulled out."

Michigan: Allegan flight school, plane rental assets seized, six planes go on auction block

ALLEGAN – The sky was the limit for Dodgen Aircraft and Skykid Aviation until the businesses were grounded earlier this month when a bank seized their assets and put them on the auction block.

On Tuesday Byron Township-based Miedema Auctioneering will sell off the assets – including six aircraft – via its online division.

Scott Miedema, president of the auction company, said the seizure of the aircraft at Allegan Municipal Airport's Padgham Field, 740 Grand St., was one of the more unusual repossessions he has been involved with.

The planes had their propellers chained to their landing gear to prevent them from flying away before the auction. One plane was still airborne when Miedema showed up with bank representatives and attorneys to seize the assets because of unpaid debts.

“The bank had been working with them for a few years,” Miedema said. “It was an open business, so we went down with the bankers and the attorneys and just walked in, basically, and said 'time's up.'”

The owners of the business were not happy, but handled the situation professionally, Miedema said.

The seizure of the business will not affect operations at the city-owned, said Rob Hillard, city manager for Allegan.

“We plan to continue to work with Dodgen as a fixed base operator at the airport,” Hillard said. Department of Public Works Director Aaron Haskin serves as airport manager.

Officials from Dodgen and Skykid were not available for comment.

The six aircraft involved in the auction are all older single-engine propeller-driven models. 

The newest is a 1979 Piper Warrior II while the oldest is a 1967 Piper Cherokee.

All of the planes are being sold as is. One, a 1974 Piper Warrior, has no engine.

Because the planes were part of a flight school they received more rigorous maintenance and have more thorough flight records than many aircraft of similar vintage, Miedema said.

The starting bid on each plane is $5,000.

Other equipment from the companies, including a host of parts, a Ford pickup truck and a John Deere tractor, also is part of the auction.

Lightning strikes Finnair planes, disrupts flights

Lightning hit ten Finnair planes in mid-air on Wednesday night, forcing some of the aircrafts to return to Helsinki-Vantaa airport. The unusual event is causing flight delays and cancellations on Thursday.

The national carrier says maintenance inspections have been performed on all affected aircrafts. Some of the planes sustained minor damage from the flashes.

Finnair spokesperson Inka Ikonen told YLE News that passengers onboard planes struck by lightning were never in danger.

"What made this unusual was that there was a lot of lightning, which is exceptional for this time of year. When lightning strikes a plane, there's a very bright light, and obviously you can sense some movement in the plane. You may get scared, but there's no danger."

A charter flight to the Greek vacation resort Chania was forced to return to the airport after being hit by a lightning bolt. The plane was, however, able to take off again on Thursday morning. On the domestic front, air controllers ordered Finnair flights to Oulu, Vaasa and Joensuu to turn back to Helsinki-Vantaa ten minutes after departure late on Wednesday.

Finnair cancelled all flights due to depart from Helsinki-Vantaa airport to Hamburg and Geneva on Thursday morning.

Marketing plan vetted by airport board: De Kalb Taylor Municipal Airport (KDKB), Illinois.

DeKALB – The good news about DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport is it has the capacity to increase its operations, said Roger Hopkins, the city’s economic development consultant.

“This is a pretty good general aviation airport. It’s improved pretty significantly over the last 10-12 years,” he told the Airport Advisory Board during its Wednesday meeting.

But the city has not fully capitalized on its potential, he said. Operations per day are low compared to neighboring cities with municipal airports.

A marketing plan introduced during the Oct. 10 Committee of the Whole meeting could foster changes. City officials are hoping to use it to attract more business to the airport to make it more financially self-sufficient.

For the past few years, the airport has operated with a deficit that the city’s general fund has filled.

Hopkins said some ways to change that is to open up more hangar space for corporate and recreational aviators. The report suggests the city convert at least one hangar – now used as a warehouse for maintenance equipment – into a corporate hangar if DeKalb can acquire another industrial building nearby.

Hopkins said that would help the airport gain a new building without having to build one.

But board member Jack Bennett said the city should not forget local, private aircraft owners who he said often store their planes on farm fields or in airports in Sandwich and Rochelle.

Appealing to those aviators by building hangars for their smaller planes could help create business and a more active and positive culture at the airport.

“This has been a policy that has not encouraged private aviation, and I would like to see one that would,” Bennett said.

Hopkins said the city still has to work to appeal to corporate, freight and other business uses of the airport to bring in money and fill in the airport’s deficit.

Both he and Airport Manager Tom Cleveland said the airport does see a lot of use from corporate jets when executives from companies such as Sonoco, Schnucks and AT&T fly in to check on locations in the DeKalb County area.

Northern Illinois University also has used the airport for transporting its basketball and volleyball teams, Cleveland said.

But there could be opportunities for freight and other passenger travel if the city commits to a marketing plan that directly targets those businesses. Hopkins said getting other economic developments in play – such as developing more hotels conducive to large business gatherings – would have a ripple effect for the airport.

The plan also calls for marketing land near the airport to business developers. City officials hope for some light industrial or commercial development along Peace Road near the airport.

The board reacted positively to the report, and said it would keep the report for another month and make more formal recommendations at its November meeting before forwarding the plan to the city council for approval.

More jets over New York county due to new flight paths

Associated Press

NEW YORK — More jets will be flying over New York's Nassau County due to the most extensive reshaping of mid-Atlantic region flight patterns in decades.

The new flight paths out of Kennedy Airport begin on Thursday.

According to Newsday, the Federal Aviation Administration says more commercial aircraft will be visible along the North Shore. But FAA officials say noise levels will increase only slightly because the planes' altitude will be between 5,000 to 10,000 feet.

In April, the FAA estimated that the new departure routes out of JFK would send up to 200 jets a day over the North Shore.

The new flight patterns are designed to allow for more efficient use of the airspace and to cut flight delays.

Information from: Newsday,

Pakistan International Airlines Boeing 747 aborts take-off as fumes fill cabin

MULTAN: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) jet bound for Saudi Arabia with 508 people on board was forced to abort take-off Thursday when fumes engulfed a terrified cabin, officials and passengers said.

The Boeing 747 on flight PK 3539 carrying mostly pilgrims to Jeddah taxied towards the runway in Multan despite concerns from passengers on board.

“When we boarded the plane, we felt a strange smell and smoke inside. We complained to the crew but they ignored it and told us it was because of roasted meals,” Shamshad Begum, a female passenger, told AFP.

“The plane went for take-off but stopped minutes later when passengers protested strongly and there was chaos,” she said.

PIA spokesman Sultan Hassan said there were 493 pilgrims bound for Makkah and Madina and 15 crew on board when take-off was scrapped.

“The hydraulic system of the plane failed just before take-off and its fumes came inside the cabin. We off-loaded the passengers and sent them on another plane,” Hassan told AFP.

Local media has been rife with horror stories of technical faults and chronic delays blighting the ailing national carrier in recent weeks.

PIA operates special flights every year to transport thousands of pilgrims to holy cities of Makkah and Madina for Hajj. This year, the company has dedicated seven jets to transporting passengers to Saudi Arabia.

The airline, which has been on the verge of going bust, provides the only direct services from Pakistan to Britain, Europe and North America.