Monday, January 16, 2012

Vinapco may lose money owed by bankrupt Indochina Airlines

Vietnam Airlines' jet fuel arm Vinapco said it might not be able to recover the 24 billion dong ($1.14 million) it lent to the now bankrupt Indochina Airlines (ICA).

Tran Huu Phuc, Vinapco's general director, said ICA's owner, song-writer Ha Dung, told him even if Vinapco sued him, there would be nothing he could do. It is the third year that Vinapco hasn't been able to recover ICA's debt, Phuc said.

Vinapco has considered bringing Ha Dung to court, but the possibility of recovering the debt is "still unknown", he said. The situation is getting worse since ICA has had its licensed revoked recently, Phuc said.

Vinapco repeatedly sent documents and contacted ICA in an effort to settle the unpaid debt in 2009. It brought Ha Dung and his company to the Hanoi Economic Court at the end of 2010.

But since Ha Dung was absent in the first trial, and did not send any authorised representative, the court failed to issue any verdict. Vinapco then brought the lawsuit against Dung to a court in HCM City, but the final result has yet to come out.

Last July, the HCM City People's Court issued a verdict asking Ha Dung to pay $1.3 million to Asia Commercial Bank before declaring bankruptcy. Ha Dung has been banned from travelling abroad since.

As of last year, ICA owed around $70 billion ($3.6 million), 800 million dong ($41,000) of which was owed to 35 travel agencies in Hanoi.

These creditors are also considering lawsuits.

ICA's flight license early last month was officially revoked by the Ministry of Transport because the carrier hadn't operated for 12 months.

ICA, the first Vietnamese private carrier to obtain a license, in May 2008, was established by composer Ha Dung, who also acted as the airline's general manager.

It began flying on November 25, 2008 with 2 leased Boeing 737-800 aircraft. But it hasn't flown since November 2009 because of financial problems.


Critics say Peotone destined to be Illinois' second MidAmerica

SPRINGFIELD — Evidence of a downturn in the aviation industry is visible in every corner of Illinois, but that isn’t slowing Gov. Pat Quinn and state transportation officials from moving “as fast as humanely possible” to build a third airport near Chicago.

Over the past five years, the state has seen a more than 10 percent drop in the number of people flying in and out of the state’s nine main airports.

In recent months, American Airlines — a key air carrier in Chicago and downstate — joined its counterparts in bankruptcy.

Southwest Airlines announced it was pulling flights by its newest acquisition —AirTran — out of the Quad-City International Airport in Moline and the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.

And airports from Marion to Decatur have seen passenger air service flounder.

But even with those red flags flying in the aviation world, efforts to build the controversial South Suburban Airport at Peotone are moving forward.

Supporters, including Quinn, Will County officials and members of Congress from the area say the project will create jobs and serve as a relief valve for additional growth at O’Hare International Airport and its smaller Chicago counterpart, Midway.

Critics say the Peotone push is likely to turn into an expensive boondoggle mirroring the mostly unused MidAmerica Airport in St. Clair County.

“Today I want to reaffirm my commitment to build a third airport at Peotone as fast as humanly possible,” the governor told lawmakers in his annual budget speech.

The state has already spent $33 million to buy land for the Will County facility. Quinn wants to spend another $110 million for land acquisition. Millions more will be needed to build and equip the facility.

“We firmly believe the South Suburban Airport will benefit the people of Illinois and provide … much-needed infrastructure, jobs and potential for economic growth,” Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell noted in a recent email.

Analysts scoff at that assessment.

“You’ve already got one major fiasco called MidAmerica. Don’t do it again,” warns Michael Boyd, a Colorado-based aviation consultant who has been sounding the warning bells about Peotone since the late 1990s.

With Quinn’s backing, the south suburban airport recently took a step forward in the federal approval process, receiving a green light from the Federal Aviation Administration for its Existing Conditions Report, which identifies the area’s population, employment trends and existing transportation, while accounting for impacts to schools, churches and parks.

IDOT is working along three different tracks as it attempts to shepherd the airport through the approval process. Along with acquiring land, Tridgell said the state is working on an airport master plan and an environmental impact survey.

But for all of the positive news coming from IDOT about the project, there remains no guarantee the project in Peotone won’t become Illinois’ second MidAmerica. An audit of MidAmerica showed the facility had an operating loss of nearly $12 million in 2010.

On its website, MidAmerica officials acknowledge their own problem with a note saying no passenger service is available at the facility.

“MidAmerica is a monument to dishonest planning,” Boyd said.

Meanwhile, the loss of AirTran in Bloomington represents a blow to what was once one of the fastest growing regional airports in the nation. Officials say the airport will lose about 40 percent of its traffic once its No. 2 carrier leaves town.

But, the Bloomington facility is not the first downstate airport to face the loss of a major carrier.

AirTran also pulled out of the Quad-City International Airport. Local officials hope the addition of Allegient Airlines will take up some of the slack.

State and federal subsidies have also done little to keep air carriers in Marion, Decatur and Springfield. A $1 million experiment launched in 2008 to link three downstate airports with Midway in Chicago lasted just six months.

For now, there is no target date for opening an airport in Peotone.

“We continue to diligently work with the FAA, along with state, regional and local leaders, to advance the project as quickly as possible,” Tridgell said.

Boyd, however, says the project is being fueled more by politics than need.

Said Boyd, “It’s a solution looking for a problem. It’s a political project.”

Critic of Peotone airport project predicts losses

PEOTONE —  A Colorado aviation consultant is predicting a proposed airport in the far southern Chicago suburb of Peotone could end up losing money.

Aviation consultant Michael Boyd says that the Peotone airport could find itself in a situation similar to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in southwestern Illinois.

MidAmerica has struggled since opening with great fanfare in 1998. It continues to lose money, posting roughly $12 million in red ink in 2010, according to an audit last year. Critics have persistently labeled it a $330 million boondoggle, and officials have had to work hard to lure and keep cargo business.

"You've already got one major fiasco called MidAmerica. Don't do it again," Boyd said. "MidAmerica is a monument to dishonest planning."

Boyd told The Associated Press on Monday he had no direct ties to either opponents or supporters of a Peotone airport, adding he based his comments on more than a decade of closely following the project as an analyst.

For the Peotone airport, Illinois has spent $33 million toward the purchase of more than 2,000 acres, and the site is expected to require more than 5,000 acres. Quinn wants to spend another $110 million to purchase land. Construction would require millions more.

It would be the Chicago area's third major airport. The Peotone airport's supporters, including Gov. Pat Quinn, say the project will create jobs and provide needed relief at O'Hare and Midway.

"We firmly believe the South Suburban Airport will benefit the people of Illinois and provide much-needed infrastructure, jobs and potential for economic growth," Illinois Department of Transportation spokesman Guy Tridgell said in an email.

But Illinois has seen a more than 10 percent drop in the number of people flying in and out of its nine main airports during the past five years. Key Chicago carrier American Airlines' parent AMR Corp. filed for bankruptcy protection last year. And Southwest Airlines has announced it's pulling flights by subsidiary AirTran from the Quad-City International Airport in Moline and the Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington.


Committee to debate reopening Waldo Lake to float planes, gas boat motors.

Facing legal challenges to its ban on gas-driven motor use on Waldo Lake, the state is considering reversing the controversial rule it established two years ago.

An advisory committee composed of stakeholders is reviewing the rule and the impact it’s had on small businesses, said Scott Brewen, director of the Oregon Marine Board. The committee’s report on the impact should be out by the end of the month, and the committee will also advise the board whether the rule — which bans gas boat motors and float planes at Waldo Lake — should be reconsidered.

If the board decides to review the rule, he said, there could be a public hearing in April. The board would then vote on whether to keep the ban.

“So whatever the board decides, it’s done before the summer boating season,” Brewen said.

Legal challenge

In October, advocates for a less-restrictive ban on gas boat motors teamed up with a group representing seaplane pilots to file an appeal to the ban. The appeal is pending in the Oregon State Court of Appeals, but Brewen said the court will wait to see whether the state reconsiders the rule.

The more-than-a-decade-long debate about gas-powered boats at the Lane County lake about 40 miles southwest of Bend centers on concerns about noise and pollution, said Keith Kendrick, vice president of Waldo For Everyone! The group is involved with the appeal because it wants low-horsepower, four-stroke gas motors allowed on the lake.

“We are talking about slow-moving boats,” he said.

The lake has a 10-mph speed limit for boats, Kendrick said, so there wouldn’t be any ski or power boats.

Clear and deep

Flanked by wilderness on three sides, the lake is known for its clear, deep water. The second deepest lake in the state, behind Crater Lake, Waldo has an average depth of 128 feet, and its deepest point is 420 feet, said Duane Bishop, Middle Fork District ranger for the Willamette National Forest. The nearly 10-square-mile lake is encircled by trails and has three shoreline campgrounds as well as a picnic area.

“People go to Waldo Lake to have a pseudo-wilderness experience,” he said.

The state implemented the gas motor ban, which had been discussed for about 15 years, in early 2010. In the two summers since, lakegoers have been able to experience Waldo in a new way, said Doug Heiken, conservation and restoration coordinator for Oregon Wild, a Portland-based conservation group.

“This crown jewel, spectacular world-class lake got to be enjoyed with peace and quiet,” he said.

He said gas motors from boats and float planes present a danger for spills in the lake.

While Waldo Lake was only lightly used as a recreational stop for float planes, Columbia Seaplane Pilots Association president Aron Faegre said it is important to have it as an emergency-landing option for float planes traveling over the Cascades.

“We want to support the goals of the lake, but we don’t think it needs to exclude us,” he said.


Pakistan International Airlines contemplating purchase of new aircraft

The Pakistan International Airlines is contemplating replacement of 13 old, but workable, aircraft with the same number of new aircraft to be purchased to enable the management add new routes and destinations.

Reliable sources said that at a time when the national carrier is faced with a crunch, the move seems incomprehensible.

It would not be a profitable scheme, they added.

According to information available here, PIA management has decided to purchase 13 new airplanes, on lease, to improve the "efficiency" of the national carrier at a time when it faces shortage of funds even for repairing its existing aircraft for routine services.

On the one hand ,the airline management trumpets that, with new fleet, it would introduce service to new destinations and further enhance frequency to popular routes to increase revenue, while on the other hand it plans to remove some existing aircraft which could be made serviceable.

The PIA at present has 39 aircraft of different models being operated on various international and domestic routes everyday but the management is interested to buy 13 new airplanes in coming months.

Sources believe that there would be a window of opportunity to earn kickbacks from the sale of old aircraft and new purchases, which would bring gifts for people at the helm of affairs.

Expressing concern over transparency on the sale and purchase of aircraft, sources demanded that the government should monitor PIA management's financial and business plans for averting possible scam.

Not only the plan to acquire new aircraft, and replace them with operational aircraft, seems highly dubious in terms of financial dealings.

It is also technically inappropriate as far as flight operations are concerned.

New airplanes would be available after several months' gap, as training of crew members, including pilots and engineers, would be required.

Official sources said that since training of staff is mandatory with the arrival of new airplanes, there would be likely suspension of various flights, resulting in loss of revenue and further bringing the management under pressure.

The existing aircraft are all repairable, with fewer expenses, if proper maintenance is ensured and timely spare parts are made available.

It is a myth, they said, that old aircraft such as B 747 is a fuel-guzzler and costs heavily in flight operations.

On the contrary, as per PIA's calculation, Boeing 747, having 468 seats, cost per hour is Rs 1.72 million while Boeing 777-340 ER, a relatively newer aircraft with capacity of 393 passengers, costs Rs 1.8 million per hour as per average estimate, while smaller series of Boeing 777 consumes around Rs 1.4 million per hour average.

Similarly, B737 has capacity of 118 passengers and its operation cost per hour is Rs 0.473 million; ATR42 has 48 seats and its flying cost is Rs 162 million; and A310L has capacity of 205 passengers with per hour cost of Rs 0.867 million.

This calculation proves that the difference between the aircraft expense and revenues is not as significant as, on the other hand, there is no harm in operating older aircraft for particular endowment, such as Boeing 747 and 737, particularly for domestic, Umrah and Hajj flights.

It would be more prudent if the management enhanced the fleet with purchase of new smaller aircraft to make its domestic operations cost-effective and use bigger aircraft on longer and traffic-oriented routes.

This way, the airline would be able to operate flights properly, and timely, to maximum number of destinations and earn handsome revenues to pay back cost of new aircraft.

Sources in PIA said that airline management should also refrain, at least for the time being, from promoting projects which affect the budge badly, such as FM radio and poor fashion shows., etc, till it gains strength and becomes a profitable venture.


San Marcos aviation company has grown into globe-trotting business


With the more than $19 million in private capital Berry Aviation raised last year, Berry says he plans to add a fourth hangar in San Marcos as well as another plane or two in Afghanistan.

SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos Municipal Airport is about as low-key as you can get. A mile or so east of Interstate 35, visitors are greeted by plowed fields before they spot the control tower.

Yet inside a group of large hangars, Sonny Berry has grown his business, Berry Aviation, into something more out of a Tom Clancy novel.

Berry talks about the perils of landing planes in Afghanistan — such as mortars, one of which exploded near his planes at Bagram Airfield in the Parwan province last year.

"We're a specialty aviation provider, is what we call ourselves," said Stan Finch, director of operations. "Just because there's not any one term that really fits."

In roughly three decades, the aviation company has become a globe-trotting business, providing services and flight support for a diverse list of clients. That roster ranges from college sports teams to U.S. counternarcotics agents in Afghanistan to corporate executives — and even flying government personnel to a U.S. ballistic missile defense site in the Marshall Islands. The company owns 23 planes, had

$50 million in revenue last year and recently raised $19 million to expand further.

All that grew from a man who started the company predominantly to support his love of flying. "I still can't believe it," Berry said.

In 1983, Berry started his business in Austin with a twin-engine Piper Seneca. He'd taken up flying and needed a way to pay for his expensive new hobby.

His revenue for 1983 was about $10,000. By the mid-1980s, business had picked up. But then the real estate market and savings and loan industry tanked.

"All of a sudden, we didn't have anything to do to pay for our flying," Finch said.

Then they noticed a civilian plane flying into Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio.

It turned out the plane was flying classified documents, as a courier service for the Department of Defense — essentially a private mail system for the government.

"I thought, 'Well, we can do that,'" Finch said.

The contract came up for bid, and Berry Aviation won it, starting a 22-year partnership that lasted until 2009. That opened the door for a partnership with the federal government, which has expanded in a variety of ways.

Berry's company now provides flight support — transporting personnel and other materials — for the U.S. government in Afghanistan (where the company operates four planes) and in carrying personnel to the a ballistic missile defense site in the Marshall Islands.

In doing such operations, the company's pilots have had to become experts at flying — and landing — in tough conditions.

"We land in some pretty weird places in Afghanistan," Berry said. "And you don't want to stay there very long. They don't just throw rocks at you over there."

Last August, an insurgent lobbed a mortar into the Bagram airbase that exploded near two of Berry's planes. No one was hurt.

In fact, Berry's company has never had a pilot or passenger killed or injured. And they've kept a reputation for quality that's given them an edge over larger competitors, they said.

"We're not the cheapest," Berry said. "And we do things, we like to think, the ... safest way you can possibly do it in these remote areas. And that's one of the reasons why we're so well-liked and sought after by different governmental agencies."

Government work is the biggest part of Berry's business, but he's also diversified into light cargo shipping for the auto and oil field industries.

For example, one of his planes might go to Mexico, pick up a load of light bulbs and fly them to an assembly plant. It's fast-paced work; contracts are awarded quickly, and planes are expected to be in the air in less than an hour.

"The dollar value that we carry is nothing, compared to the dollar value lost if they have to stop the assembly line," Berry said.

And of course, the company still runs charter flights for people across the United States, ranging from executives to sports teams to people on casino junkets.

Inside its San Marcos headquarters, Berry and Finch showed off their control center, where they monitor all their planes. Several were shipping auto cargo. Another plane was flying college athletes to Norman, Okla.

Finch pointed to a plane flying from California — it was carrying Japanese tourists to the Grand Canyon. "That's all that plane does," he said.

Last year, Berry Aviation dipped into the private capital markets for the first time, raising more than $19 million.

Berry has big plans, such as adding another hangar to his three in San Marcos. He said he also wants to add another plane or two to his Afghanistan operation.

And he's looking at starting an air carrier in the Central African country of Chad. With counterterrorism operations moving from the Middle East to Africa, many governments might have business there in the future, he reasoned.

Berry Aviation employs more than 200 people worldwide, 125 of whom work in San Marcos. Berry says he'll hire another 10 to 20 next year in San Marcos.

Still, that makes Berry Aviation a small company compared with some of its competitors.

And Berry and Finch, both Austin natives, clearly take pride in being able to beat the bigger boys; they repeatedly mention that they're one of the smallest companies in their field.

"What we have discovered over the years is that we have to be really, really good at air transportation and the support services that go along with that," Finch said. "In some respects, that's a pretty generic thing. And then we get the right people that really know a particular line of business, and we're able to leverage that expertise here at the mothership, into being really good and being able to compete head-on with these companies that are only able to do one thing well.

"They're one-trick dogs," he said. "And we're not a one-trick dog."


3 Billion Gallons of Jet Fuel Saved

SEATTLE, Jan. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Aviation Partners, Inc. (API) announced that as of 2:56 pm PST on Sunday, January 15, 2012 its unique patented* Blended Winglet Technology has saved the worlds commercial and business aircraft operators an estimated three billion gallons of jet fuel. This represents a global reduction in CO2 emissions of more than 32.2 million tons. Aviation Partners' Winglets are now flying on more than 5,000 individual airplanes, and more than 20 airplane types worldwide.

API's Blended Winglets are an addition to the airplane wing tip that efficiently adds effective wingspan. The Winglets reduce the drag caused by wingtip vortices, the twin tornados formed by the difference between the pressure on the upper surface of an airplane's wing and that on the lower surface. By reducing drag, Blended Winglets, increase fuel efficiency and boost range. The Blended Winglets, which feature a large radius and smooth chord variation in the wing-to-winglet transition area, have demonstrated more than 60% greater effectiveness over conventional winglets with an angular transition.

One of the unique features of API's technology is that it can be installed during production or retrofitted to existing (i.e. in-service) aircraft. API has Blended Winglets certified and in service on the Gulfstream II, Hawker 800 series, Falcon 2000 series and Falcon 900 series aircraft. API's joint venture with The Boeing Company, Aviation Partners Boeing (APB), has Blended Winglets certified and in-service on the Boeing 737-300, -500, -700, -800 & -900, 757-200 & -300 and 767-300ER/F series aircraft. Both companies have additional airframe development programs in-work for Blended Winglets, and API is looking at radical new Winglet technologies for the future.

API expects the amount of fuel saved to grow exponentially to more than seven billion gallons in the next 4-5 years. Joe Clark, CEO of API and Chairman of APB, said, "We are proud to be the world leader in the field of fuel savings for the airlines and private aviation," adding that, "We look forward to adapting our new technology to both existing airplanes and new production designs in the near future."

API is doing its part in a changing world, for more information and to see the fuel savings counter in real time, fly to .

Aviation Partners, Inc.

Seattle, Washington based Aviation Partners, Inc. (API) is the world leader in advanced Winglet technology. API's patented* Performance Enhancing Blended Winglets have been designed and certified for a number of commercial and business aircraft; applications include Boeing, Falcon, Hawker and Gulfstream airframes. Over 5,000 in-service aircraft have saved an estimated 3 billion gallons of fuel. In addition to the 5-7% improvement in fuel burn, Blended Winglets have reduced global CO2 emissions by over 32 million tons. Additional airframe programs are in-development for existing Blended Winglet technology, and future Winglet designs will lead to greater incremental improvements in performance, fuel savings and emissions reduction. (* patent #5348253)

SOURCE Aviation Partners, Inc.

No ordinary sign: Model of plane will serve as a monument

GREEN —  Buried deep off the road, on the periphery of the Akron-Canton Airport, the location of the MAPS Air Museum may as well be classified information — even for locals.

The 21-year-old museum sits several football fields east of Massillon Road, aka state Route 241. Several small roadside signs guide drivers down International Parkway to its home inside a one-time National Guard hangar.

Come this spring, though, the museum’s presence will land squarely in plain view along Massillon Road.

“Everybody will see this!” said Museum member Bob Sours, as he gazed at a full-sized replica of a tattered P-51 Mustang airplane now being restored by volunteers at MAPS.

By March, the 1,000-pound model plane will be complete. The museum, with a hand from and blessing of the city, will mount the plane on a mono pole just off of the road. MAPS Executive Director Kim Kovesci said a brick wall on the ground, circling a portion of the plane, will bear the ‘MAPS’ name.

“This won’t be a sign; it’s a monument,” he said.

The model plane also will rotate on its axis in the wind.

“It doesn’t look too good now, but it’s going to be beautiful,” Kovesci said.

The P-51 was a World War II-era American fighter plane. The model replica at MAPS was cast from a mold of an original P-51, so its dimensions are identical — 32 feet long with a 37-foot wingspan.

This particular one sat on display outside the 100th Bomb Group Restaurant near Cleveland Hopkins Airport. Until, that is, a storm and wind gusts mangled and toppled it from its perch. Last spring, the P-51 was offered to MAPS. Usually, museum volunteers restore real planes. This was only a model.

“But we knew if we didn’t go up there and get it, we’d kick ourselves later,” Kovesci said.

In a single day, working dawn to dusk, volunteers dismantled it. Then it was trucked to the museum. Last fall, work began in earnest. The rotting structure needed overhauled. Then came five gallons of fiberglass to rebuild pieces. By the time it’s mounted, they’ll have invested 3,000 man-hours.

Sherwin-Williams donated $1,000 for paint. The Miller Foundation chipped in another $2,000. And member Larry Lewis has trucked scrap metal from the museum for cash to help pay for the project.

The P-51 model will be dubbed ‘Jean Ann II,’ in honor of another museum member, Bob Withee, who flew P-51s in the war. A decorated pilot, he’d named both those war planes after his wife, Jean Ann.

Read more and photos:

ANA and Hawaiian Airlines to Launch Code-Share and Frequent Flyer Program

TOKYO, Jan. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- ANA, Japan's leading carrier, and Hawaiian Airlines, Hawaii's leading carrier, today announced the expansion of their marketing and operational partnership with the signing of a code-share agreement for passenger flights within Japan and Hawaii. The agreement was signed between Shinichiro Ito, President and CEO of ANA, and Mark Dunkerley, President and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian and ANA commenced cargo code-sharing in December 2010. Under this agreement, ANA placed its "NH" code on Hawaiian's daily Haneda-Honolulu service.

Starting on January 19, 2012, ANA customers will be able to book connecting flights on Hawaiian Airlines between Honolulu and Kailua-Kona/ Lihue/ Hilo and Kahului through ANA. In addition, Hawaiian Airlines will place its flight code on ANA operated flights between Tokyo's Haneda International Airport and Honolulu, as well as flights that connect to Hawaiian's own daily Haneda service from Chitose, Osaka (Itami), Osaka (Kansai), Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Oita, Kagoshima and Okinawa, enabling its customers to book these flights directly through Hawaiian.

ANA and Hawaiian started a joint Frequent Flyer Program on December 28, 2011. With this partnership, ANA Mileage Club members can now earn and redeem miles on all Hawaiian Airlines operated neighbor island flights. At the same time, Hawaiian's HawaiianMiles members can now earn and redeem miles on all ANA operated codeshare flights.

Shinichiro Ito, ANA President and CEO, said, "We are pleased to welcome Hawaiian Airlines as our code-share partner and look forward to cooperating with each other on our Japanese and Hawaii networks. This will give our customers access to a wider network across Hawaii's neighbor islands."

Mark Dunkerley, president and CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, said, "This new agreement expands our relationship with the leading airline of Japan and allows both carriers to offer travelers more choices and more value than we could independently."

About ANA Group

All Nippon Airways is the eighth largest airline in the world by revenues and the largest in Japan by passenger numbers. Founded in 1952, it flies today to 76 domestic and international cities in a fleet of 228 aircraft serving a network of 164 routes. ANA has 33,000 employees and operates more than 1,000 flights a day. In 2009, it carried 44 million passengers and generated revenues of $13.7bn. ANA has been a core member of Star Alliance since 1999 and more than 20 million members belong to its Frequent Flyer Program (ANA Mileage Club). ANA is the launch customer for the world's newest and most advanced passenger aircraft, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

ANA currently operates code-share arrangements with Air Canada, Air China, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Continental Airlines, EGYPTAIR, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, SWISS, TAM Airlines, Turkish Airlines, THAI, United, US Airways and more.

About Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian has led all U.S. carriers in on-time performance for each of the past seven years (2004-2010) as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation. In addition, consumer surveys by Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Zagat have all ranked Hawaiian the top domestic airline offering flights to Hawaii. Hawaiian was also the nation's highest-ranked carrier for service quality and performance in the prestigious Airline Quality Rating (AQR) study for 2008 and 2009.

Now in its 83nd year of continuous service in Hawaii, Hawaiian is the largest provider of passenger air service to Hawaii from the state's primary visitor markets on the U.S. mainland. Hawaiian offers nonstop service to Hawaii from more U.S. gateway cities (10) than any other airline, as well as service to Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, American Samoa, and Tahiti. Hawaiian also provides approximately 150 daily jet flights between the Hawaiian Islands.

Hawaiian Airlines, Inc. is a subsidiary of Hawaiian Holdings, Inc. HA -0.34% . Additional information is available at

SOURCE Hawaiian Airlines, Inc.

Airbus, Boeing Rivalry Intensifies: Airbus Logs Record Jet Orders

Small Plane Boosts EADS Unit; Firm Aims to Ramp Up Boeing Rivalry With Large Model

The Wall Street Journal 

Airbus is expected on Tuesday to unveil blowout order numbers for last year, likely setting an industry record for jets sold in one year and potentially booking almost twice as many orders as rival Boeing Co.

But beneath the rivals' lopsided order totals, the competition is much tighter.

Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co., booked big sales of its small, single-aisle A320, while Boeing logged the best year to date for its long-range, two-aisle 777. As a result, the gap in the dollar value of the two companies' sales is closer than their order totals would suggest. The imbalance highlights intensifying pressure Airbus faces to win orders for its big two-engine A350 model, now in development, to counter Boeing's dominance in the segment.

The average catalog price of Boeing planes ordered last year was roughly $145 million, while the Airbus average through November was roughly $105 million, based on data published by the companies and analyzed by The Wall Street Journal. Airbus Tuesday will release full-year numbers, as Boeing did recently.

Airbus through Nov. 30 booked new orders for 1,521 planes, and 1,378 orders net of cancellations. The 11-month gross tally, its most recent figures, already topped a full-year record of 1,423 gross orders set by Boeing in 2007, and the net was only 35 planes shy of the record, also set by Boeing in 2007.

But 92% of Airbus's orders through November were for its A320 family single-aisle models. It booked 126 orders for big planes, or 71 net of cancellations, although those figures may have improved in December. Airbus sales were boosted by a new, more fuel-efficient version of the A320 family, dubbed the Neo, which accounted for 86% of A320 orders through November.

The Neo's success forced Boeing in July to respond hastily with a promise to update its competing 737 model.

Boeing landed only 150 firm orders for the planned 737 Max. Boeing executives predicted orders will rise this year.

While Airbus cleaned up with its small, new model, Boeing did so with its large 777, which first entered service in 1995. Boeing sold 202 of them, more than in any previous year.

The 777's continued strength is significant for Boeing because it faces expensive delays with two new models: its cutting-edge 787 Dreamliner and a modified version of its venerable 747 jumbo jet. The 777's longevity means Boeing's investments in its current versions are largely completed and so each unit delivered is highly profitable.

Large, long-range models like the 777 can be money-spinners. Giant jetliners—such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380—are built in relatively small numbers and require expensive customization. In contrast, slightly smaller models such as the 777, Dreamliner and Airbus A350 and popular A330 are produced in large numbers with limited customization.

Large, long-range models like the 777 can be money-spinners. Giant jetliners—such as the Boeing 747 and Airbus A380—are built in relatively small numbers and require expensive customization. In contrast, slightly smaller models such as the 777, Dreamliner and Airbus A350 are produced in large numbers with limited customization.

Highlighting the 777's popularity, Airbus in December canceled production of its competing A340 model.

Sales of the four-engine A340 evaporated in recent years because it was more expensive to operate than the 777.

The A340's failure was a blow to Airbus, which a decade ago spent several billion dollars to create bigger versions of the plane.

The A340 died because the 777 "is a better airplane," said Tim Clark, president of Dubai's Emirates Airline, which ordered 50 of the year's 777s. Large 777 models can consume as much as 12% less fuel than rival A340 models do, which were "priced out of the market," Mr. Clark said in a recent interview. Emirates operates both models.

Larry Loftis, who heads Boeing's 777 program, said "simple physics" of fewer engines helped the 777 eliminate the A340. "As the price of fuel went up, there wasn't much of a choice for our customers," Mr. Loftis said.

"It is true that the 777 has, over time, edged the A340 out of the market," said Airbus Chief Operating Officer John Leahy, the company's top airplane salesman.

Airbus is replacing the A340 with the A350, which the company expects to enter service in 2014. But the plane has faced several delays.

Airbus officials have said that its development remains challenging. And orders for A350s have slowed, following several strong years. In the first eleven months of last year, the A350 garnered more cancellations than new orders.

Airbus hopes the A350 will eventually eclipse the older 777. Boeing is assessing how to react and will probably modernize the 777 in a few years, industry officials have said.

"We will be in a position, if the market requires, to put in a very significant upgrade of the airplane." Mr. Loftis said.

"With A350 challenges, the 777 appears to have a long run ahead," Douglas Harned, an analyst at Bernstein Research in New York, wrote in a recent report that dubbed the 777 "the big winner" among large jetliners.


New York: Some Nassau County Residents Complain Skies Are Louder Than Ever

Leonard Schaier, Citizens for Quiet Skies over North Hempstead, with new FAA map 
(credit: Mona Rivera/1010 WINS)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some residents along Nassau County’s North Shore said the Federal Aviation Administration’s new flight plans are making their lives miserable.

Community activist Leonard Schaier, of the group Citizens for Quiet Skies over North Hempstead, has been fielding complaints from his neighbors.

“They can’t go to sleep because of new landing patterns at LaGuardia, we have a group of people in the East Hills-Roslyn area who can’t get a full night’s sleep because they’re awake at 5 o’clock in the morning from airplanes landing at LaGuardia,” he said.

The FAA announced new flights plans for 200 planes a day last fall but insisted the aircraft would fly at 10,000 feet — too high to be heard.

“The problem is, is that when they made those changes it had a ripple effect and the ripple effect is what is driving, primarily, the landings down lower which is causing the problems,” Schaier said.

The FAA said the redesign would allow for more efficient use of airspace and cut flight delays plaguing New York airspace.

Meanwhile, new rules to cut helicopter noise on Long Island have stalled in Congress.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport to get tall new control tower

Squeezed between business districts and bustling with corporate jets, Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport is about to get safer – and its control tower far more visible.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to build an ultra-modern 12-story tower by mid 2014, replacing a squat control tower built 41 years ago, when the airport was mostly used by small planes and bordered by cow pastures.

"We're just happy to have a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance airport efficiency and safety," said Clara Bennett, the airport's manager.

Costing more than $9 million in federal grant money, the new tower will be 117 feet tall, more than twice the size of the old five-story tower. It will feature a tubular design and be equipped with sophisticated aircraft-tracking systems.

"It will be a taller facility that gives controllers more room to work, and will allow us to install the latest air traffic technology," said Kathleen Bergen, FAA spokeswoman.

Although the tower is being designed to handle increased air traffic, there's not much growth in sight. Executive Airport, like the rest of aviation, has been hit hard by the recession, officials said.

Since 2008, air traffic has decreased about 25 percent, from 200,000 take offs and landings per year to 150,000, Bennett said. Still, it is one of the region's busiest general aviation airfields, home to more than 700 aircraft, including about 115 corporate jets.

Although Executive Airport's neighbors have long protested expansion plans, fearing more air traffic and noise, Bennett said the tower will play no role in promoting growth.

"Air traffic activity is really driven by the economy and demand, not projects such as this," she said.

Linda Bird, president of Lakes Estates Homeowners Association, said neighbors don't oppose the new tower because it should enhance safety. However, she said the federal money would have been better spent on hiring more inspectors to ensure planes are well maintained, in light of several crashes around the airport in the past decade.

"We do not have an adequate number of inspectors on ground," she said. "That's where the money needs to be spent."

A groundbreaking ceremony for the new tower is to be held at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. In conjunction with the tower, a 6,900-square-foot base building is to be constructed on the south side of the airport. The old tower is slated to be torn down when the new one goes into operation.

Also to be demolished will be an old airport fire house near the tower site. The station was shut down four years ago when a new one opened on the north side of the airfield.

Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport was built in 1941 as an auxiliary training airfield to the Fort Lauderdale Naval Air Station, now Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. When the current control tower opened in September 1970, Richard Nixon was president.

"The existing tower is in dire need of replacement," Bennett said. "It' doesn't meet current FAA standards."

Kharkiv airport commissions new apron

The Kharkiv international airport has commissioned a new apron, the press service of DCH Group, the key asset of which is Kharkiv airport, has reported.

The report says that the apron is an element of the airport complex and used as a parking site for aircraft and servicing aircraft near the airport's terminals.

The new apron can accommodate up to 21 medium haul aircraft of all types.

Director General of New Systems AM (the operator of the airport, part of DCH Group), Volodymyr Vasylchenko, said that thanks to the new apron, the airport would be able to considerably accelerate the servicing of aircraft.

The first aircraft to use the new apron was a Fokker-100 of Austrian Airlines.

Kharkiv airport has a runway 2,220 meters long and 50 meters wide, and two passenger terminals with capacities of 100 and 650 passengers per hour respectively.

DCH was created on the basis of assets under the name of UkrSibbank Group after two partners of the group (Oleksandr Yaroslavsky and Ernest Haliyev) decided to separate their assets.

The group has assets in the spheres of industry, finance, construction and related sectors such as construction materials and development.

Among the assets controlled by DCH are chemical giant OJSC Cherkasy Azot, construction and developing firms, a glass container producer, the Kharkiv-based Metalist Football Club, and Kharkiv Airport.

Royal Bank of Scotland Said to Be Near Sale of Aviation Unit to Sumitomo Mitsui

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc is close to agreeing to sell its aircraft-leasing unit to Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., Japan’s second-biggest bank by market value, for about $7.3 billion, said a person with knowledge of the talks.

RBS may sign an agreement within the next 24 hours, said the person, who declined to be identified because the talks are private. The Edinburgh-based lender was seeking to sell the unit for $6 billion to $8 billion, the person said.

Sumitomo Mitsui fended off competing offers from China Development Bank Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. Sumitomo Mitsui became the leading bidder after concern grew that state-owned China Development Bank would struggle to gain government approval for a purchase in a timely manner, a person with knowledge of the talks said on Jan. 12.

At $7.3 billion, the disposal would be RBS’s biggest since it received a 45.5 billion-pound ($70 billion) government bailout, the biggest bank rescue in the world. Chief Executive Officer Stephen Hester has sold or wound down more than 160 billion pounds of assets since taking over from Fred Goodwin.

The bank said last week it plans to sell or close its cash equities, mergers advisory, corporate broking and equity capital markets operations at a cost of about 3,500 jobs worldwide.


A spokesperson for Sumitomo Mitsui in Tokyo wasn’t immediately available to comment outside business hours. Officials at RBS declined to comment.

Sumitomo Mitsui plans to buy “several hundred billion yen” of assets being sold by European lenders, President Koichi Miyata said in an interview in December. The bank has received 7 trillion yen ($91 billion) of offers from European banks including infrastructure project loans, Miyata said.

Lessors buy planes and then lease them to airlines for monthly fees, seeking to profit from the residual value by selling aircraft after about 15 years. RBS’s aviation business is one of the biggest after General Electric Co.’s Gecas and American International Group Inc.’ International Lease Finance Corp.

CAW set strike deadline at Viking Air aircraft manufacturing and repair firm

VICTORIA - The union representing 270 aircraft mechanics, machinists and other workers at Viking Air says they'll go on strike Thursday if there's no labour agreement.

Viking Air is restarting production of the Twin Otter, a propeller-driven airplane originally made by de Havilland and its successors.

The company is based on Vancouver Island near Sidney, B.C., and has a satellite plant in Calgary.

The Canadian Auto Workers union's contract with Viking Air expired at the end of October 2010.

CAW Local 114 gave the company 72-hours strike notice on Monday, but says its negotiators expect to keep talking this week.


Kamloops could see more WestJet flights in future with turboprop plan

WestJet’s consideration of adding smaller, turboprop airplanes could land Kamloops some extra flights, the airport manager said Monday.

“In general, it’s markets much like ours that there is a need for a couple of flights in the day,” said Fred Legace.

The Calgary-based airline is looking at establishing a regional, short-haul service that would create a stronger WestJet network among smaller cities.

Turboprop airplanes would be used, similar to those flown by Horizon Air when it used to have Kamloops on its winter schedule, Legace said.

“It’s precisely airports like ours, that are slightly smaller markets, that this move would target, he said.

“In airline terms, to service a market, two flights a day is ideal, minimum. One flight a day is difficult because there’s only one choice to fly,” he said.

“So schedule is king. More flights during the day is better than fewer.”

Currently, WestJet only has one flight in and out of Kamloops each day, connecting to and from Calgary. It tried a Vancouver connection a few years ago, but that schedule didn’t take off.

Legace said WestJet is putting the expansion idea to its employees. He didn’t know how well it will fly.

“I’m speculating that it would be good here,” he said.

“You can run that kind of a market and build your system.”

The turboprop aircraft being associated with the proposal is a Bombardier Q400, Legace said.

“It’s built in Canada for Canadian winters. It’s a good tough little airplane,” he said.

“I think it opens up a whole bunch of possibilities for WestJet. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but it opens up a much broader regional market for them.”


Don't miss: Singapore Airshow

February 18-19

The Singapore Airshow is one of the world's top three aviation events.

Rated as one of the world's top three aviation events and the largest aerospace and defence event in Asia, the Singapore Airshow brings together the globe's aviation community to trade.

On the closing weekend, the public is treated to an exciting aviation extravaganza that features dazzling aerial displays, including The Roulettes - the elite aerobatic display team from the Royal Australian Air Force. 

Static exhibits include some of the world's most advanced aircraft and equipment, while music and cultural events, fairground attractions, food and collectables add to the carnival atmosphere.

It's held beside the sea at the purpose-built Changi Exhibition Centre.

Wisconsin says it has wooed aircraft start-up from Maine

AUGUSTA — Wisconsin appears to have won the bidding war for a promised 600 new manufacturing jobs originally expected to come to Maine.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker announced today that Kestrel Aircraft Corporation will establish its manufacturing and business headquarters in Superior, Wisc. The company had planned to locate its facility in Brunswick at the recently decommissioned Brunswick Naval Air Station. However, the start-up had also been approached by other states after CEO Alan Klapmeier sought additional financing.

Klapmeier in December met with Gov. Paul LePage and members of his administration to discuss ways to keep the aircraft manufacturing company in Brunswick. However, there were signs last week that those efforts were running up against stiff competition.

On Monday, Walker announced that his administration had delivered a financing package that would bring Kestrel to Superior.

Klapmeier said his inability to obtain additional tax credits from Maine forced him to consider other locations. In November, The Forecaster reported that Kestrel was eyeing a manufacturing facility in Berlin, N.H., after Klapmeier appeared in a report by New Hampshire Public Radio.

Kestrel had hoped to fund a portion of its $100 million project through Coastal Enterprises, a Wiscasset-based private, nonprofit community development institution, and 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.

Kestrel hoped to receive $39 million in tax credits, but 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.

News of the financing struggles prompted renewed efforts by state officials to keep Kestrel in Brunswick.

Last week LePage highlighted the state's effort to support Kestrel, including a  $300,000 Community Development Block Grant, a lease write-down rate that carries a value of $250,000 per year, a local property tax exemption carrying a value of $105,000 per year, $750,000 in direct building improvements and  commitment from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) to issue $10 million in tax revenue bonds.

With those commitments already made, the LePage administration sought additional information from Kestrel before sweetening the pot.

"All that is left is for our team to receive updated and thorough financial information from Kestrel," LePage said last week in a statement. "As governor, it is my responsibility to ensure prudent use of Maine’s business development programs."

The company had planned to lease one of the former U.S. Navy base's prime locations, the state-of-the-art Hangar 6. The company's plan to build a single-engine turboprop in Brunswick had excited state officials, who touted the company's promise of 600 jobs.


Dash 8 Limits its Operations

A Solomon Airlines spokesperson has indicated that the Airlines PNG Dash8, currently on lease to Solomon Airlines, will have to limit its operations because of minor technical issues.

"There are two issues identified with the Dash8, one is the HF radio, which is integral to all operations for aircraft's in this region, and the second is to do with the GPS," the Solomon Airlines said in a statement.

The statement says that the HF issue has been an ongoing one where those routes that are of close proximity to Henderson are the only ones able to communicate with Flight Service centre.

"With distant areas, when the aircraft reaches cruise levels, the radio communication is rendered as for the safety of the traveling public, the Dash8 is unable to operate such routes."

The statement says that another problem on the Dash8 is related to the GPS, or Global Positioning System, which is also not picking up vital data on longer routes such as Lata.

"In the past couple of weeks, we have been awaiting information from Airlines PNG on a permanent fix to this issue to have full operational use of the Dash8 again. This has not been forthcoming although Airlines PNG have had up to three engineers on the ground at Henderson reviewing all the Dash8 Avionics system to find a solution without success."

The airline apologized, especially to the people of Lata, for the disruption in service and has assured the traveling public that additional Twin Otter flights will be brought in to assist in the backlog and hope that Airlines PNG finds a solution to the issues soon.

‘No Tagbilaran airport runway closure,’ Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines

There is no plan to close the Tagbilaran City airport runway and suspend the flights, according to a top Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) official in Manila in dismissing an unverified report.

CAAP Assistant General Manager Ed Costes clarified that if ever there is a runway repair in the future, interruptions in flight schedules are still remote.

He categorically declared these to Gov. Edgar Chatto and Tagbilaran airport manager Edgardo Solis in a phone discussion on Friday to clarify the issue raised on the weekly broadcast of Kita ug Ang Gobernador.

Costes confirmed an allocation for the P30 million runway asphalt overlay, but there is yet no definite schedule for its implementation this year.

But once the runway repair is set, overlay works can be done at night to avoid airport operation interruption, the high CAAP official said.

In himself explaining to the governor, Solis admitted that the issue was triggered by his swift perception of a concrete re-blocking of the runway in the event of crack repair.

This came to his mind in a tourism meeting in the wake of the improvement of the city airport terminal building facilities this month.

CAAP assured the governor that improvement works like the installation of new air-conditioning units and expansion of terminal building’s second floor for bigger pre-departure area start this month.

Before CAAP-Manila’s straight clarification, Chatto immediately called Solis to the Governor’s Mansion to get instant clarification on the alleged runway closure plan.

The governor told the city airport official it would be hard and awkward that he should not first be informed when in fact he was the one constantly following up the P32 million improvement works while preparing for the new Bohol airport on Panglao island.

CAAP will not execute phases of the city airport improvement without coordinating or consulting with the Bohol leaders, particularly the governor, or according them even just the due courtesy of information.

Solis admitted to Chatto that in any essential runway repair or improvement work, his agency should inform the governor and the public in general six to eight months before the implementation.

The Boholanos “should not be caught in the dark,” the governor told the Tagbilaran airport official in a statement made firmer by CAAP-Manila’s own assurance of no flight disturbance if ever runway repair is done.

Costes sounded clearly to Chatto in the presence of Solis that the airport operation shall not be hampered, a position that exactly jibes with the stance of the governor.

The CAAP central official stressed that in the event of a runway repair, which has no final schedule yet despite its allocation in the 2012 budget, an overlay that can be done at night is appropriate to avoid flight interruption.

To be most sure, the governor will formally manifest his position to CAAP-Manila this week so that the latter can in turn formally explain the phases of the city airport improvement, much less on the issue of suspended flights if the runway is repaired.

He will reiterate in his letter against the disturbance of flight traffic at the Tagbilaran airport while awaiting the readiness of the new Bohol airport, which the Aquino administration includes among the country’s top essential infrastructures for public-private partnership execution.

From Solis’ end, Chatto wanted to be briefed on foreseen consequences of the city terminal building improvement such as the need to augment the power transformer which has a capacity for only the existing facilities.


Philadelphia International Airport (KPHL) expansion price scheme criticized.

PHILADELPHIA — A major airline hubbed at Philadelphia International Airport continued to voice its displeasure about footing the bill for a controversial expansion plan.

Reiterating statements made in December 2010, US Airways said it was concerned with the proposed escalating price scheme for a plan that may not work.

The airport’s capacity enhancement plan would cost about $6.4 billion and would be completed in phases over the next 13 years. The plan would to add one new runway and extend two existing runways. Airport officials said the additions would reduce delays by allowing for simultaneous, independent aircraft operations in poor weather conditions.

But US Airways spokesman Todd Lehmacher was critical of the plan, saying the delays originate in the sky, not on the ground.

“The primary cause of delays is not runway capacity, it’s airspace congestion,” he said, adding that the skies between Washington D.C. and New York City are some of the busiest in the world. “Until something is done to ease airspace congestion, a new runway system will not solve Philadelphia’s runway problems. Once that’s been addressed, then we can look at the potential benefits of new runways.”

Airport Chief of Staff Christine Derenick-Lopez agreed that airspace was a cause of delays at the airport.

“I don’t think we ever said that airspace wasn’t also a problem,” Derenick-Lopez said. “If we just focus on the airspace, that will not solve the delays. We still need that full, independent runway.”

In 2007, the airport, along with the Federal Aviation Administration, partially implemented its controversial NY/NJ/PHL Metropolitan Airspace Redesign Project.

The plan, which was also implemented at airports in New York and New Jersey, included a new departure heading south out of Philadelphia along the Delaware River.

Delaware County paid nearly $886,000 in legal fees, but ultimately lost its fight against the plan when the U.S. Supreme Court denied a petition to hear the case in 2010. The county maintains the redesign was developed without regard to Environmental Protection Agency or FAA regulations, and poses serious threats to the health of county residents.

US Airways said the economics of the expansion plan could force the airline to drastically reduce services.

Airport officials previously stated airport revenue bonds would constitute two-thirds of the expansion’s funding, while a variety of other funding sources — including user fees and additional grants — would make up the difference.

But US Airways’ analysis shows frightening numbers, Lehmacher said. Airline analysis shows the enhancement project threatens to raise airline costs by $3.6 billion over the next 13 years, he said.

“It’s easy to say just pass it on to the customer. But you have to keep in mind, the leisure customer is very price discriminate,” he said. “The ultimate reality is, we can divert services. We’re not at that point yet, but the economics are simple.”

And while the city has said the expansion plan would bring thousands of construction jobs, with fewer flights running into and out of the airport, airlines may cut back on employees, Lehmacher said.

However, Derenick-Lopez said airport officials have yet to see any cost estimates from airlines as they continue to negotiate an agreement.

“We are currently negotiating the next use and lease agreement,” Derenick-Lopez said, adding that the current agreement expires at the end of the year. “We have a lot of time to negotiate.”


Unpaid Kingfisher pilots may call in sick

Pilots have threatened to call in sick this week to protest against non-payment of salaries and deteriorating working conditions

New Delhi: Several pilots of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd have threatened to call in sick this week to protest against non-payment of salaries and deteriorating working conditions.

Some Kingfisher pilots may call in sick starting Tuesday, following a similar protest by state-run Air India​ Ltd’s pilots that disrupted about 40 flights on Saturday, according to three airline executives, who declined to be named. “There is no patience left among employees,” said one of the executives, referring to the delay in salary payments.

A second executive at the airline said pilots are communicating through a dedicated Facebook page created by Kingfisher employees, as the airline does not have a labour union or a welfare society.

“I doubt calling in sick will solve any problem. Plus, unlike other airlines, there is fragmentation here,” the executive said. “There are just two type of people left in Kingfisher—those who have resigned (and are serving notice periods) and those who are waiting to leave.”

Kingfisher’s pilots have been hired by rivals such as IndiGo and GoAir that are expanding their fleets. Many pilots at Kingfisher are serving notice periods or are waiting to be paid salaries for the past two months, the executive said.

Hitesh Patel, vice-president at the Vijay Mallya-controlled airline, said in a 5 January email to employees that salaries will be disbursed in the last week of the month, but there has been no update since. “As you may know, about 4,100 employees got the November salary last Saturday, balance November salary will be paid on 15 January and December salary by 31 January,” Patel said in the email.

His email came a month after the airline’s chief executive Sanjay Aggarwal wrote to employees giving similar assurances.

A spokesman for Kingfisher said the company has started paying overdue salaries on Monday.

The airline’s financial troubles led to the salaries being delayed and the withdrawal of facilities to employees including cab services to airports.

“You need to hire a cab even for a 3am duty,” said the second executive. Transport services are provided to cabin crew and pilots by all airlines. At Kingfisher, the service was snapped last year as payments hadn’t been made to vendors, the executive said.

“It is common practice the world over for crew to make their own transport arrangements to or from work,” said the spokesman. “In India, companies do provide transport and so does Kingfisher in most cases. Where transport is not provided, costs are reimbursed.”

Air India was able to get the pilots back to work because of the backing of the government, said an analyst. “Kingfisher pilots do not have that option, and if salaries are not paid for two months, it does put a lot of stress on their minds,” said Mohan Ranganathan, a Chennai-based aviation expert and a member of the Civil Aviation Safety Advisory Council. “This is a cause for worry as the airline regulator audit has identified several shortcomings in maintenance. Questionable maintenance and stressed pilots is a worrisome combination.”