Sunday, January 15, 2012

Money from air board verdict sought. Attorney filing paperwork to claim payment owed

JEFFERSONVILLE — An appeals case lost by the Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners may cost the county sooner, rather than later.

Attorney John W. Mead said he will file a request for a certified judgment in order for his client to get paid for a jury verdict that totaled $865,000.

“I’m going to ask the judge to certify the judgment against the air board as a judgment against the county,” he said.

Mead said he planned to file the paperwork Friday.

The Clark County Board of Aviation Commissioners lost an appeal in mid-December that ordered the board to pay $865,000 to property owner Margaret Dreyer after her land was seized through eminent domain. Dreyer’s property lies at the end of a proposed 7,000-foot runway expansion at Clark County Regional Airport. The air board needed to acquire the 72-acre parcel in order to complete the runway expansion and allow for the relocation of Bean Road.

But Mead said that the air board only needed to acquire a portion of his client’s property.

“The airport only needed a small piece of this ground to relocate this road,” he said. “For whatever reason, they wanted the whole parcel.”

Clark County Air Board Attorney Jack Vissing said while the air board could have left a portion of the property unclaimed, it was swamp land and it would have left the Dreyer’s with an unmarketable remnant.

“That was the thought behind taking the last section,” he said. “The FAA wanted it, too.”

Vissing added the Federal Aviation Administration — which has granted $11 million to the airport for the runway expansion — advised the air board to take the whole property.

However, the disparity over taking the property was that an appraisal conducted on behalf of the air board failed to use the “highest and best use” of the property. Instead of valuing the property as light industrial, the land was appraised as agricultural property and offered a substantially lower dollar figure.

The difference in the appraised amounts — one for the air board and another on behalf of the Dreyers — equaled nearly $890,000.

A jury returned a verdict that valued the property at $865,000.

According to the air board, more than $200,000 was available to go toward the judgment for the case, but following the court ruling, the county will have to find a way to pay more than $600,000 for taking the property. In addition, the board must pay the Dreyers’ attorney fees totaling $24,035, and interest of up to $194 per day.

By certifying the jury verdict to a judgment against the county, it will allow Mead to collect the money owed to his client.

“I’m going to file a plain old mandate action,” he said.

In order to cover the costs for the mandate, the county could issue its own mandate judgment above the tax levy, bond for the funding or sell county property to raise the funds necessary to cover the payment.

The air board would not be on the hook for the payment because it operates as a county department, and therefore the county is responsible for covering the payment. Also, the 2012 budget for the air board, which was lowered from $430,000 to $355,000 at Monday’s council meeting, is not enough to cover the payment.

One other possible source of funds, which also were discussed during Monday’s council meeting, was a year-end surplus of $1.78 million for the county.

“Maybe they ought to hang on to that,” Mead said. “If they have $1 million sitting in a bank they can use that [to pay the mandate.]”

Clark Regional Airport Manager Melodee McNames said the air board plans on requesting an additional grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to pay for the judgment. She added that they will file a formal letter with the FAA to fund the judgment that totaled $865,000, of which $203,000 has already been paid, leaving a $662,000 request to go to the FAA.

How quickly a funding source for the mandate is identified may ultimately determined the amount that is paid for taking the property. Mead said that for each day the judgment is accruing 8 percent interest, so the more time that passes the more the judgment will cost the county.

The City of Superior Gets Ready for a Big Announcement

Governor Scott Walker will visit the Superior airport for a big announcement Monday. He says the news is about a large job expansion.

There is some speculation that this announcement will confirm that Superior will be the site of a Kestrel Aircraft's new airplane manufacturer.

Eyewitness news sat down with Alan Kleipmyer, the founder of Cirrus who now owns Kestrel Aircraft.

He said Friday it was between Superior and a city in Maine, for a facility that could bring in 600 jobs.

The announcement is set for Monday morning in the Kestrel hangar of the airport.

Helicopter busy with hospital transfers

THE North Coast Westpac Life Saver Helicopter had a busy week for medical emergenices responding to nine missions - eight of which were hospital transfers.

Three of these missions were carried out 'back to back'commencing on Wednesday at 4.15pm and running through to Thursday at 6am.

A Westpac Lifesaver Helicopter spokeswoman said inter hospital transfers involve airlifting patients, who are in a serious condition which may be deteriorating or unstable.

"During the hand over from the transferring hospital's emergency or intensive care team, the doctor on call will determine what if any medical procedures need to be effected before transport ing the patient.

"On arrival at the destination hospital the doctor effects a transfer of care before leaving the patient."

Last Monday was a particularly busy day for the crew.

An elderly female, who had suffered a heart attack and was listed as stable was transferred from Coffs Harbour to Gold Coast airport.

The same day a 20-year-old French national, a near drowning victim, was transferred from Maclean hospital to Lismore Base Hospital.

Then a three-month-old infant suffering an obstructed bowel was transferred from Lismore Base Hospital to the Mater Hospital in Brisbane.

On Tuesday, a female patient was transferred between from Grafton and Lismore hospitals.

On Wednesday, a 70-year-old male hemorrahagic patient was airlifted between Lismore and Gold Coast hospitals.

While a 28-year-old pregant female involved in a motor vehicle accident, was flown from Lismore airport in the company of a midwife to Royal Brisbane Hospital.

On Thursday a 33-year-old female suffereing a drug overdose was transferred between Lismore and Gold Coast hospitals.

On Friday, a female patient with renal failure was flown between Grafton and Tweed Heads hospitals.

Then on Saturday the helicopter was called to assist in the search for three people thrown into the water off Moonee Beach after their catamaran tipped.

Peachtree City’s Great Georgia Airshow is taking year off to retool

To give organizers time to prepare for an expansion, the Great Georgia Airshow will be on hiatus this year.

But it will come roaring back to Peachtree City Oct. 12-13, 2013, officials said.

Airshow Director Angie Faulise said the airshow board made the decision to ground it this year so time could be taken to examine every facet of the airshow. The goal is to begin preparing for the airshow to expand, not just in the number of aircraft but also in terms of patrons, Faulise said.

In the meantime, the board is recruiting interested persons who can offer their expertise in any part of the airshow experience, as they are trying to get fresh eyes on a 14-year juggernaut event that draws the most out-of-town visitors to Peachtree City. Interested persons can email The board currently meets on the second Wednesday of each month, but committee meetings will be set later according to the schedules of each member.

As it turns out, the timing of the hiatus works out well, as the military has mothballed its demonstration teams due to tight budgets, Faulise said. There is some hope the teams can be resurrected in future years if funds become available, she added.

Funding was not a problem for the airshow last year, and neither was patron satisfaction, Faulise said.

Though word of the hiatus is just beginning to spread, Faulise is already getting feedback from patrons who say they will miss the airshow this year. And while the decision was difficult, Faulise points to the potential for growth for the annual event.

The time off will be used for a detailed examination of everything that happens at the airshow with an eye on improvement, Faulise said.

“Every facet of the airshow will be opened up and taken a look at,” Faulise said. “We will see what works well and what we want to keep, and what we need to make the airshow viable for the next 15 years and beyond.”

There are more parking lots that can be used to bus in patrons, Faulise noted. And there is some more room on the ramp for more aircraft.

One of the main focus points for the hiatus will be how to derive more value for the airshow sponsors, as they have been very loyal to the event, Faulise said.

Another focus will be to look at “best practices” that can be adopted from other successful airshows across the country, Faulise said. The airshow is also wanting to take a close look at its community relations.

The airshow performers who have visited Falcon Field over the years have enjoyed the shows because the crowd is closer than at other airshows, Faulise said. So they are jumping at the chance to come back here in October 2013, she added.

“And we really have nice people coming to our show, and they enjoy that,” Faulise said.

The airshow has already put out the request for military support so whatever demonstration teams are available will have the date on their calendar too, Faulise said.

The airshow is a joint presentation from the Dixie Wing of the Commemorative Air Force, located at Falcon Field, and the Peachtree City Kiwanis Club. The airshow is also a fund-raising opportunity for a number of volunteer organizations such as the Boy Scouts who sell refreshments and also school groups.

It takes some 300 volunteers a day to put on the annual event, and that doesn’t include the presence of police and fire personnel on hand.

Minister to look at options for airports

THE MINISTER FOR Transport is to engage with unions and potential investors before making a final decision on the future of Cork and Shannon airports.

Leo Varadkar had initially signalled that a decision would be made early this year, following a recommendation to Cabinet.

However, the Minister has now said he will bring a “memo for information” before Government shortly with a further “memo for decision” to be presented to Cabinet later this year. This follows a report received last month from consultants Booz on the various options for the airports.

“When it comes to timescale, I need to spend a little more time in consultations and discussions,” the Minister told the Dáil last week.

“I have not yet had a proper chance to talk to the unions, for example, some of the stakeholders in the various regions and some of the businesses that are interested in investing.

“Given that any decision to proceed with separation could require legislation, getting it all done this year is ambitious but possible.”

Mr Varadkar said that over time Cork airport’s debts would “have to be paid off by passengers using Dublin airport”.

“Cork is working very well as an airport but the difficulty there is the enormous debt that has arisen from the new terminal which it will not be able to pay off on its own,” he explained.

He said Shannon had a “great future as a passenger airport but also as one which is concerned with avionics and aero-industry”.

Mr Varadkar said the status quo at Shannon was not “working and the airport is in decline”.

The Irish Times last month revealed that Booz recommended that Shannon be separated from the Dublin Airport Authority and placed into a separate corporate structure with a remit to expand its activities.

Booz also concluded that debts associated with Cork meant it should remain with the DAA for the immediate future, although with greater autonomy.

UK: Manchester Airports Group could float to fund Stansted bid

Manchester Airports Group is considering a partial floatation as it looks to raise funds for the acquisition of Stansted or Edinburgh airport.

A range of options are currently on the table as part of a strategic review of the business, which could include a share issue or the formation of a joint venture to fund its expansion.

Rival airports operator BAA has been ordered by the Competition Commission to sell Stansted and either Glasgow or Edinburgh airports.

A MAG spokesman said: “With stretching growth targets across our airport portfolio and major developments ahead, including the £650m Manchester Airport City, we are finalising a strategic review of our business with a view to realising our ambition to become the premier airport management and services company, including the option of adding a quality airport to the group.

“Like any growing business we explore all options to fund our growth plans to drive greater shareholder returns.”

BAA has already contacted potential buyers for Edinburgh, which has 9.4 million passengers a year, and first round bids are being sought by mid-February.

But is is appealing against the ruling to sell Stansted, which has 18 million passengers annually.

MAG, which already owns East Midlands, Humberside and Bournemouth airports as well as Manchester, had previously expressed an interest in swooping for BAA's assets, but appeared to cool on the idea last year.

MAG chief executive Charlie Cornish was understood to be reluctant to incur the costs of preparing and submitting a bid unless it had a strong chance of being successful.

In July MAG said it would prioritise the £650m Airport City scheme, an enterprise zone led by the group's property arm MAG Developments which is set to create up to 21,000 jobs in the area around the airport.

Now the group is understood to have approached a number of funds with its acquisition plans, including Greater Manchester Pension Fund and Canadian infrastructure investor Borealis.

MAG previously formed a consortium with GMPF and Borealis to buy Gatwick Airport, but it pulled out of the race in 2009 after refusing to meet BAA's price of £1.5bn.

The airport was later sold to US-based investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners for around £1.5bn.

Manchester city council has a 55 per cent stake in the group, while each of the nine other Greater Manchester local authorities own five per cent each.

Together they benefited to the tune of £20m in dividends paid for the year to March 31, 2011, when MAG reported profits of £80m on revenues of £350m.

New medical helicopter in talks for airport

City of Medina, Flight Services in negotiations with hospital

MEDINA - The city of Medina may soon have a medical helicopter stationed nearby.

After the Cleveland Clinic made the decision to relocate the one stationed at Medina Hospital, the city and municipal airport started talks with a different hospital to relocate its air services to Medina Municipal Airport in Sharon Township.

While the city of Medina owns the local airport, it is leased to and operated by Flight Services of Medina. Owner Earle Olson has asked the city to help pay for the upgrades needed for the new helicopter base. He made a presentation to Medina City Council Jan. 9 during an executive session to get feedback on the proposal. They gave him the go-ahead to pursue a contract with the unnamed hospital.

Council would need to give its official OK before the relocation could take place. Sharon Township trustees approved the placement of a temporary modular building for the proposed crew quarters at their Nov. 8 meeting.

Water and sewer utilities would need to be installed to service the proposed base, crew quarters and hangars. A concrete pad, which Olson is asking the city pay for, would also need to be added to allow for a jet fuel tank to be installed, at the expense of Flight Services. Right now, the municipal airport isn't equipped to host hospital operations.

"We needed to put all those pieces together and see if council would be willing to do it," said Mayor Dennis Hanwell.

The proposed jet fuel tank would also allow the Cleveland Clinic helicopter to refuel there if needed, as well as open the airport up for usage by small jets. Although Medina Hospital no longer plans to station a helicopter at its facility, it will still have aircraft landing there.

Hanwell said the additions could benefit the city in the long-term by attracting more businesses that might use such services.

Ranks of 'ghost airports' grow as Spain’s economic boom dissipates

MADRID (AFP) — Built during a boom and now deserted, Spain's growing ranks of ''ghost airports'' may not be the international air hubs their creators dreamed of – but they are still burning up cash.

When Badajoz airport, near the Portuguese border in western Spain, saw its last commercial flight take off at 8:05 a.m. on Tuesday morning, it became just the latest of many eerie signs of the country's sharp reversal of fortune.

Among them is the private airport in the eastern city of Castellon, still deserted after opening in March last year. Critics complain it pays for staff and even pest control – all it lacks are flights and passengers.

''At the time the airport was a reasonable idea because it was linked to a broader tourism promotion project,'' says Eva Martinez, a member of the regional parliament from the opposition Socialist Party.

But the airport turned out to be too much. ''The nearest airport, in Valencia, is barely 50 kilometers (30 miles) away,'' Martinez says.

Now Castellon and the highly indebted Valencia region, which has begun raising taxes and cutting spending on services such as healthcare, is haunted by the costs of the ghost site.

''It wouldn't have mattered if the airport had stayed as just an idea,'' says Martinez.

''The problem is that it is built now,'' she adds, detailing the 7.2 million-euro budget a ghost airport runs, which must be paid for ''even when it is not functioning''.

This includes 424,000 euros to pay seven staff and 90,000 euros a year for falcons and ferrets, used by airports to keep birds and rabbits away from the planes and runways.

On top of all this is 30 million euros spent on advertising.

''It is an absolute scandal that in the economic situation we are in, with the Valencia region in ruin, we continue to spend money on this airport,'' Martinez says.

Spain, where economic growth was driven for years by a building bubble that burst in 2008, has more international airports for commercial flights than any other country in Europe: 48 public and two private.

Four of the public ones now find themselves with no regular commercial flights.

At Badajoz, the carrier Air Nostrum, owned by Iberia, announced in November that it was abandoning the airport ''due to the sharp fall in reservations'' in ''the economic crisis that has affected the Spanish domestic market''.

Badajoz was built in 1990 but was hard hit by the economic slump from 2008.

In 2011, just over 56,000 passengers used Badajoz, 8.3 percent fewer than in the previous year, according to figures from airports agency AENA.

It had logged a record of 75,000 passengers in 2007, the year before the worst of the financial and economic crisis struck. In 2010 it started work to double the size of its terminal, car parks and runways.

The ghost sites appear a paradox in a country whose public airports overall received 204 million passengers in 2011 – described by AENA as the second best results in their history.

The first of the two private airports, in Ciudad Real, south of Madrid, opened in 2008 and may close now following its last flight by budget airline Vueling in October.

Apart from these, ''airports that have less than 100,000 passengers a year, that is less that one flight a day, are really ghost airports too,'' says Germa Bel, an economist at Barcelona University.

''In Spain, there are some 15 airports like this,'' adds Bel.

''There is certainly going to be a lot of debate about what to do with them. It is quite annoying to close an operating theatre in a hospital and keep open an airport with 30 or 40 people working there and no planes landing.''


Nok Air beats earnings goal with B220m

Nok Air posted a better-than-expected profit last year despite higher costs inflated by the devastating floods in the fourth quarter.

The budget airline ended 2011 with net earnings of close to 220 million baht, higher than the 193 million it estimated when the deluge hit its home base at Don Mueang Airport on Oct 25, forcing it to flee to Suvarnabhumi Airport. The evacuation cost about 100 million baht, said chief executive Patee Sarasin.

Earnings for the first three quarters cushioned the negative flood impact.

Mr Patee was cautiously optimistic about the airline's outlook for 2012, though he expects sluggish performance in the first half as travellers cut back before a recovery in the second half.

"People will spend money on fixing their houses in the first half," he said.

He predicted a revival of travel sentiment in the second half if there was not a repeat of the floods.

Mr Patee hoped Nok Air could report higher profits this year than 2011, but did not provide any figures.

Its revenues are projected to reach 5.9 billion baht, up from around 4 billion last year, partly because of a 15% increase in aircraft capacity.

The return to its home base at Don Mueang, expected by February or early March, will likely improve its operating costs, efficiency, punctuality and ticket sales.

Heavy congestion at Suvarnabhumi has caused the airline to spend more jet fuel waiting for take-off slots, causing flight delays and frustrating passengers.

After moving to Suvarnabhumi, Nok's on-time average plunged to 28% before improving to 75-80% recently. Its pre-flood record at Don Mueang was 96%.

Several passengers prefer to travel via Don Mueang, as it only takes 5-10 minutes from landing to reach ground transport.

This year, Nok Air targets 5 million passengers, 1 million more than last year's record of about 4 million, as a result of increased capacity with the additional seats offered by its new Boeing 737-800s.

There will be 12 aircraft in Nok Air's fleet this year compared to 14 last year as two jets, the B737-400s, leave service this year.

The fleet consists of five B737-800s, five B737-400s and two ATR 72 turboprops.


Two key executives resign from SpiceJet

Chief commercial officer Samyukth Sridharan, associate vice-president A.K. Maheshwary quit even as carrier expands

New Delhi: Two key executives, including chief commercial officer Samyukth Sridharan, at low-fare carrier SpiceJet Ltd have resigned at a time when the airline is expanding regional operations and set to post a loss this fiscal.

Sridharan resigned late last week after the airline’s chief executive Neil Mills returned from his new year’s break outside the country, according to two officials at the Gurgaon-based airline, who did not want to be named. Sridharan has a bachelor of technology degree in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and a postgraduate diploma from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

Sridharan, who joined the airline four-and-a-half-years ago, was one of the few top managers at the airline who had stayed back after Kalanithi Maran took control of the carrier in 2010. Sridharan declined to comment on the reason for his exit.

SpiceJet’s associate vice-president (legal) and company secretary A.K. Maheshwary, who has been with the firm for the past decade, has also resigned, the officials said.

Mills did not reply to a text message and a phone call seeking comments.

“SpiceJet has always struggled to have a stable management structure. Frequent changes in the top order is a big negative,” said Kapil Kaul, South Asia chief executive for consultancy Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa).

The exit could affect the airline’s fiscal performance at a time airlines are struggling with high costs and low yields, Kaul said. “SpiceJet will post, like most in the industry, a large loss for the current fiscal and the uncertainty at the top increases near-term challenges,” he said.

SpiceJet is the fourth largest airline in the country and is adding 15 Bombardier Q400 regional aircraft to its fleet to expand into smaller towns and cities. The Q400 aircraft is flying in the country for the first time and the carrier has been focusing on adding new city pairs to its network.

SpiceJet, which reported Rs. 101.16 crore and Rs. 61.45 crore profit in the past two fiscals ended March 2011, has posted losses in the first two quarters of the current fiscal. It lost a combined Rs. 312 crore in the first two quarters, or nearly double the profit it made in the two preceding years.

The company is expected to report third quarter earnings this month.

The airline is estimated to post a loss of Rs. 163.5 core in the third quarter while Jet Airways​ (India) Ltd (excluding the JetLite unit) is expect to report a Rs. 325 crore loss, according to estimates by Mumbai-based brokerage firm Fortune Financial Services (India) Ltd.

Air India​, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, Jet Airways, SpiceJet and GoAir may report a combined record loss of $2.5 billion in the year to March, the worst ever performance of airlines since 2004, according to Capa.

SpiceJet shares rose 4.6% to Rs. 20.50 on BSE on Friday, outperforming the benchmark Sensex’s 0.73% gain.

8 Endangered Sea Turtles Board Plane To Warmer Climate.

BOSTON -- On the coldest day of the winter, eight rescued and endangered sea turtles from Massachusetts are headed south by private plane to warmer temperatures.

The recovering cold-stunned turtles are being cared for by the New England Aquarium and were transferred Sunday afternoon from Hanscom Field Airport in Bedford.

More than 40 young turtles had become trapped on the north side of Cape Cod this past fall and slowly became hypothermic as the waters cooled. They stranded in December and were rescued by staff from the Massachusetts Audubon Sanctuary at Wellfleet Bay.

With eight turtles now medically stable, officials at the South Carolina Aquarium approached North American Jets owner, Mason Holland, to see if the seven Kemp’s Ridleys and one hybrid sea turtle could hitch a ride south.

Holland agreed because he had an aircraft in the Boston area doing demonstration flights over the weekend.

Once the turtles arrive in South Carolina, they will head to the aquarium where they will finish their rehab and eventually be released in the late spring.

Kemp’s Ridleys are the world’s most endangered sea turtle species.

Employment Opportunity: Airport Lineman/Rescue and Firefighting Personnel. Pitt-Greenville Airport (KPGV), Greenville, North Carolina.


Aviation line service/fuel handling or Firefighting experience preferred but not required. Accredited training/courses in Firefighting or fuel handling may be substituted for actual experience. Valid North Carolina Driver's License required. Starting salary $9/hour. Inquire at the Administration Office of Pitt-Greenville Airport Authority. Closing Date for Applications is Friday, January 27, 2012. EOA/AA.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum to target Canadians in 2012 marketing campaign. Cape May County Airport (KWWD), Wildwood, New Jersey

LOWER TWP. — Naval Air Station (NAS) Wildwood Aviation Museum will receive $20,000 funding for marketing in 2012 through a grant from the New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel & Tourism.

The Aviation Museum will provide a 25 percent match for the grant with its own funds.

The marketing plan will blend the museum’s general marketing strategies targeting Mid-Atlantic visitors with “Bienvenue Aux Québécois!” or “Welcome Quebecers!” The museum will utilize several partnerships, including working with the Cape May County Department of Tourism to target visitors from out of state and Canada. Museum staff performed extensive research on international tourism trends before proposing the 2012 advertising campaign. Major factors considered included the Canadian exchange rate to the U.S. dollar, the trend toward the use of new technology and e-communications.

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located in Historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport. Cape May Airport was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center. The museum is dedicated to the 42 airmen who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945.


Shetland Islands Council facing multi-million bill for runway work after it is sued by airport operator. (UK)

The photograph shows the extent to which the infil has been sucked out by heavy seas.

Shetland Islands Council faces a possible £2.5 million bill to rebuild a runway extension at Sumburgh Airport after being sued by its owners, Highlands and Islands Airport Limited.

It has emerged that the east end of the east-west runway is so prone to damage and erosion in south-easterly gales that gaps several feet deep have been discovered beneath the tarmac. On several occasions during the more extreme gales large areas around the end of the runway have been smashed up, requiring urgent repairs.

Since the extension was built into the sea in 2006 HIAL has spent around £400,000 keeping the runway intact but it said the council – which designed it and managed the construction by Balfour Beattie – refused to contribute.

The structural problems are deemed so serious that HIAL says it has no option but to rip up and rebuild the extension during spring and summer at a cost of around £2.5 million. The design contract was due to go out to tender this week.

The remedial work will involve digging out the small stone infill which was packed inside the massive outer rock armouring shipped over from Norway. It will be replaced with larger-gauge rock which will not be prone to being sucked and washed out by the notoriously wild seas that surge into the voe.

According to HIAL managing director Inglis Lyon the local authority has refused to even engage in talks about repair costs over the course of several years, pitching the two former partners in Sumburgh Airport’s future into conflict.

“Thus far SIC have blanked us,” Mr Lyon told The Shetland Times. “We’ve worked very hard over the last few years to engage with SIC who have just not engaged at all.”

Over the course of five years he said HIAL had built up a file on the dispute “as thick as your arm”.

HIAL got the two sides before an independent adjudicator last year – a service intended to resolve disputes and avoid expensive and tedious court action. According to Mr Lyon after technical evidence was presented by both sides the ruling was that the SIC was wholly contractually liable for the defects and the costs. The council disputed aspects of the finding and it went to the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

A two-day hearing was held the week before Christmas into what Mr Lyon said was “a technicality”. He expects a ruling in six-to-eight weeks which will determine how much the council has to pay.

The council declined to comment due to the legal proceedings not yet having concluded.

The gravity of the subsidence problems with the runway and the long-running wrangle over liability has been kept well out of the public arena until now despite the SIC and HIAL being publicly accountable bodies. However, HIAL’s early attempts to extract cash from the council were reported on in 2008 when about £250,000 had been spent on running repairs.

The problems with the flawed runway extension go back to February 2007, just five months after it was completed, jutting out into the sea beyond the Ness Boating Club and marina.

Mr Lyon said: “Some of the repairs have been quite dramatic and some of the situations we have found ourselves in have been quite challenging where we’ve come in after heavy swell and heavy seas to find large parts of the tarmac and the subsequent infill missing – washed out to sea.

“When the excavations were done they did find voids underneath the tarmac which clearly shows that what was put down is no longer there.”

He likened the action of the sea to a piston effect, or a bicycle pump, pushing air through then sucking the infill out. It meant he had to act to end the cycle. “I can’t allow the situation to continue. I have to get something done.”

He moved to quell any fears about aircraft safety in the meantime, saying the extension is the “runway end safety area”, not part of the actual landing and take-off area for flights. He also said that the major repairs would be done without having to close the runway to planes.

An extension was also built into the sea at the west end of the same runway. Together the two extensions cost over £10 million and were intended to allow planes to increase their payload, including allowing the Saab 340 to carry a full load of passengers and luggage.

The west end extension has not suffered to the same extent. Pipes were laid within its structure with holes up to the surface, which appear to prevent the build up of pressure from incoming waves.


Now, American Airlines quits India

On the heels of Air Asia discontinuing its India operations, the bankrupt American Airlines has decided to end services between Chicago and New Delhi, leading to loss of around 150 jobs. The airline had been flying the New Delhi-Chicago route since November 2005.

However, according to sources, the American carrier will continue to offer travel choices between the US and India in conjunction with its OneWorld Alliance partners British Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Finnair, via either London's Heathrow and through its code share partner Jet Airways via Brussels.

The airline sent out an internal email on January 9 to its employees, saying it will end the Chicago-Delhi services from March.

"We will cancel the Chicago-Delhi services effective March 1, 2012. Some operational and business changes that occurred prior to the company filing for re-organisation will result in a reduction of around 150 airport-related (airport services work group) employees," the email had said.

The airline said it will refund the passengers affected by the ending of services. It plans to close its operations in New Delhi and reduce airport jobs.

"American Airlines at present offers passengers a daily non-stop flight from Delhi to Chicago's O'Hare airport and back, flying Boeing 777 aircraft. The airline's last India -bound flight will leave Chicago on February 28 and the last return flight will depart Delhi on March 1," the sources said.

The airline has indicated that the outlook for its Chicago-Delhi-Chicago services was clouded by the financial performance of these flights, besides weak global economy and high oil prices, they said.

Recently, low-cost Air AsiaX too had announced soaring airport and handling charges, besides rising fuel prices as reasons for winding up its services to Delhi and Mumbai. The American airline announced the end of its Chicago- Delhi services even though its international traffic remains stronger than domestic one, the sources said.

For December 2011, its international traffic had risen by 3.7 per cent, while its US domestic traffic had fallen by 3.9 per cent, they said. American Airlines and its parent, AMR Corp, filed for bankruptcy protection on November 29, 2011.


$400,000 in forgotten coins left at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints

Airline passengers leave about $400,000 a year in coins they forget to, or choose not to take with them as they scramble to catch flights, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

In 2010, that loose change amounted to $409,085.56. That's $376,480.39 in dollar coins, quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, plus foreign currency worth $32,605.17.

People who leave money behind may be rushing through a checkpoint for a variety of reasons, and travelers heading to foreign countries may simply feel they have no use for U.S. change, said David Stempler, president of the Air Travelers Association.

Then there's the jingle factor: Coins just aren't that appealing in an increasingly cashless society.

"Many people aren't carrying change these days anyway," Stempler said. "It just weighs down in their pockets and purses. I know in the city I see a lot of people giving it to homeless people just to get rid of the change."

Passengers at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York left the most change in 2010 ($46,918.06), followed by Los Angeles International ($19,110.83), Hartsfield Atlanta International ($16,523.83), San Francisco International ($15,908.02), and Miami International ($15,844.83), according to the TSA.

The TSA "makes every effort to reunite passengers with items left at the checkpoint," agency spokesman Greg Soule said. Money that can't be returned to its owner is used to finance agency operations.

Republican Rep. Jeff Miller of Florida wants to change that.

Legislation he's proposing would give the money to the United Service Organizations to help operate their welcome centers for U.S. military personnel around the globe.

"Allowing TSA to keep unclaimed taxpayer money for any and all purposes is an egregious breach of its duty to the public that it serves," Miller wrote in a recent letter to House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y. "This money should be put to good use, and there is no better organization to use this money wisely than the USO."

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Santa Clarita Valley, California: On the wings of philanthropy

By Michele E. Buttelman/The Signal

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of articles about the “Faces of Philanthropy” — the people involved in the nonprofit world of the Santa Clarita Valley.
Joyce and Lee Shulman in their Valencia home with framed photos of vintage aircraft.

Lee and Joyce Shulman, of Valencia, may be grounded as pilots, but their passion soars for Angel Flight West.

The unique nonprofit brings pilots, planes and people in need together.

The Shulmans are working to bring a chapter — known as a community service council — of Angel Flight West to the Santa Clarita Valley.

Angel Flight West provides free air transportation to people in need, such as a person who requires specialized medical treatment or families separated by disasters.

The Shulmans have been involved with Angel Flight West for more than 20 years.

Moving to the SCV

The duo were born and raised in Michigan. In 1977, they moved to Beverly Hills.

The couple, married in October of 1967, have been married 44 years.

The Shulmans have written a book about keeping romance alive in a long term relationship.

The book “I Do Again — The Renewable Marriage” teaches couples how to form a marriage renewable contract.

“We try to practice what we preach,” he said.

This is the second marriage for both Shulmans, who have six children, five  grandchildren and three great-grandchildren (with another on the way) between them.

The energetic couple works as psychotherapists with individual, marriage and corporate clients and moved to the Santa Clarita Valley in 1997.

“We love the Santa Clarita Valley,” Lee Shulman said. “We think it is heaven on earth.”

Joyce Shulman said the SCV is “the most community aware and community helpful place we’ve ever lived.”


Joyce Shulman earned her pilot’s license in 1964.

“I got my license two-and-a-half years before we were married,” she said.

Lee Shulman was in the U.S. Army Air Corps in WWII.

He enlisted to become a pilot, but the military had other ideas for him.

The Army discovered his talent for cryptography (secret codes) and put him to work on the Japanese code.

He was shot down in a B25 in Burma.

“I survived a crash in 1943 and spent three-and-a-half months in traction,” he said.

He obtained his pilot’s license to overcome his fear of flying.

“I was scared to death to get near an airplane,” he said. “I started to take flying lessons to overcome my fear. I got my pilot’s license in 1958.”

His fear of flying has allowed Lee Shulman to develop techniques to help others with the same fear.

He now has more than 5,000 hours of flight time.

“I love aviation; it is one of my passions,” he said. “Joyce and my family is my number one passion, my profession is number two, jazz music is number three and flying is  a passion,” he said. “I have to say chocolate is also a passion.”

The couple’s love of flying made their association with Angel Flight West a natural.

Angel Flight West


Angel Flight West recently completed its 50,000th mission to provide free non-emergency transportation.

“We love to fly, and we love to contribute,” said Joyce Shulman. “This organization brought together two of our passions.”

Joyce Shulman said it has been three years since she soloed a plane and needs to renew her medical certificate. Lee Shulman, who now boasts a pacemaker, lost his pilot’s medical certification.

“We no longer fly Angel Flight missions,” Lee Shulman said. “But we found there are other ways for us to volunteer.”

The Shulmans said children are among the best passengers.

“Sometimes the most memorable part of their treatment is the flight in the airplane,” Joyce Shulman said.

Giving back

Angel Flight West isn’t the only nonprofit the Shulmans work for and support.

They support Carrousel Ranch, Child & Family Center, Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer, Canyon Theatre Guild and Repertory East Playhouse.

Currently, they are working to get the word out about Angel Flight West.

“We want people to know that this service is here,” Joyce Shulman said. “We are here to help. Flying for Angel Flight has given more to me than I have given to it. It is has given me a lot of pleasure.”

Among the goals the Shulmans have for Angel Flight West in the SCV are to let other nonprofits know about the Angel Flight missions, to recruit pilots, to let the public know about Angel Flight and to raise funds.

“The most important thing now is to let people know about the availability of Angel Flight to the community,” Lee Shulman said.

To learn more about Angel Flight West in the Santa Clarita Valley call Lee or Joyce Shulman at (661) 263-2680 or call Angel Flight at 1-800-4 AN ANGEL (26 26435). Email: The Shulmans are also available to speak to groups about the mission of Angel Flight West.

Original article and photo:

Employment Opportunity: Cert. & Continued Airworthiness Engineer Manager - Teledyne Continental Motors, Mobile, Alabama

Continental Motors, Inc. Continental Motors, Inc., a leader in the manufacture and supply of engines and components for small aircraft, has immediate openings at our facility in the Brookley Industrial Park in Mobile, AL. Cert. and Continued Airworthiness Engineer Manager, Cost Accounting Pricing Quality Engineer  

Intermediate Programmer/Analyst Project Engineer / Manufacturing Engineer Layout Inspector / Human Resources Manager 

For details, go to under "Careers". Send cover letter with salary history and resume to and mention "MPR" desired position in the subject line. No faxes or phone calls. EOE/M/F/D/V respond by 1/23/12. 

Employment Opportunity: Intermediate Programmer/Analyst - Teledyne Continental Motors, Mobile, Alabama.

Continental Motors, Inc. Continental Motors, Inc., a leader in the manufacture and supply of engines and components for small aircraft, has immediate openings at our facility in the Brookley Industrial Park in Mobile, AL. Cert. and Continued Airworthiness Engineer Manager, Cost Accounting Pricing Quality Engineer  

Intermediate Programmer/Analyst Project Engineer / Manufacturing Engineer Layout Inspector / Human Resources Manager 

For details, go to under "Careers". Send cover letter with salary history and resume to and mention "MPR" desired position in the subject line. No faxes or phone calls. EOE/M/F/D/V respond by 1/23/12.

Morristown Municipal Airport (KMMU) Contracts with PlaneNoise™. (Morristown, New Jersey)

PlaneNoise™, a provider of affordable and comprehensive airport noise complaint management solutions, today announced that Morristown Municipal Airport (MMU) in Morristown, NJ has agreed to use PlaneNoise™ Complaint Box on a trial basis to enhance its noise complaint handling process.

“The PlaneNoise™ Complaint Box product will assist Morristown Municipal Airport in implementing its aggressive noise abatement program by providing increased intelligence on where complaints are being generated, how often and by whom,” said PlaneNoise™ Founder and President Robert Grotell. “PlaneNoiseTM will provide airport management with critical data needed for planning, improved airport user and stakeholder interactions and further enhancing the airport’s overall community compatibility.”

PlaneNoise™ Complaint Box is an innovative, web-based aircraft noise complaint management application that automates and simplifies the tasks of noise complaint collection, investigation, response, database management and reporting.

“Complaint Box’s unique automation tools and anytime data access will allow us to handle noise complaints in a much more efficient manner and better utilize staff resources,” said Rosemary Rizzo, Noise Abatement Officer for Morristown Municipal Airport. “We are always looking for ways to improve operational systems and to continue being a responsible neighbor to our local communities. PlaneNoise will accomplish both.”

PlaneNoise™ is a service of Grotell Consulting, Inc., an aviation noise consultancy established in 2007 serving public and private clients with a focus on noise complaint management solutions, aircraft noise policy as well as government relations and community affairs.

To find out more about PlaneNoise™, please visit