Sunday, March 18, 2012
Kingfisher to submit recovery plan to regulator this week: Carrier seeks to further reduce global ops, pull out of loss-making routes, get back $40 mn deposit from airline body Iata
Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, roiled by a cash crunch that’s threatening to take it apart, will this week outline a recovery plan to the aviation regulator so it can continue flying, two airline executives said.
The plan entails a further curtailing of international operations, pulling out of all loss-making routes, renegotiating high-cost aircraft lease rentals, tapping foreign loans for working capital, and getting back its $40 million deposit from the International Air Transport Association, or Iata, an umbrella body for airlines.
Kingfisher Airlines also plans to disburse salaries in a phased manner to its employees, who have not been paid since December, one of the two executives said, requesting anonymity.
The meeting is crucial for Kingfisher Airlines as it has failed to convince the director general of civil aviation (DGCA) of its ability to meet regulatory requirements in running its fleet.
The regulator has issued a show-cause notice to the airline asking why it should be allowed to continue operations. DGCA can initiate tough measures against the airline if it fails to convince the regulator about its potential for recovery, since the cash crunch can affect flight safety.
“Half-a-dozen management representatives met promoter Vijay Mallya on Friday to chart out a realistic recovery plan,” the airline executive said. “Mallya would meet DGCA E.K. Bharat Bhushan on Monday.”
Bhushan said he is free to meet Kingfisher Airlines executives to discuss a recovery plan, and that he is monitoring the airline’s operations.
A key element in the recovery plan is to get back the $40 million deposit kept with Iata, which has suspended Kingfisher Airlines for the second time in two months from the Iata clearing house (ICH) system for defaulting on payments.
Airlines use the ICH system to settle payments for interline agreements. Every Iata member is required to keep a deposit with the body for such settlements.
Kingfisher Airlines, which has not made a profit since its inception in 2005, has been cancelling flights since 17 February because of a severe cash crunch. It is operating about 100 fights a day out of its latest revised schedule of 175. A year ago, the airline used to fly 340 flights a day.
“Mallya had met Iata director general and chief executive officer Tony Tyler on Friday to discuss the issues. If Iata agrees (to refund $40 million), it will help the airline give salaries in a phased manner,” the Kingfisher Airlines executive mentioned earlier said.
Iata spokesperson Albert Tjoeng said in an email he would not disclose information on the matter as it was “commercially sensitive”.
He confirmed, though, that Tyler met Kingfisher Airlines representatives on Friday. “They discussed the participation of the airline in the Iata settlement systems, which includes the Iata clearing house (ICH), billing and settlement plan (BSP), and cargo accounts settlement system (Cass),” he said.
Kingfisher Airlines’ participation in the settlement systems will be reinstated after it fulfils the cash deposit requirements, he added.
“Even if the airline is suspended from ICH, BSP and Cass, the airline can still settle directly with other airlines, travel agents and freight forwarders. Kingfisher continues to be an Iata member in good standing,” Tjoeng said.
A Kingfisher Airlines spokesperson declined to comment.
The second Kingfisher Airlines executive said the carrier has assured its employees of part salary payments by next week. “The plan is to give salaries in phases. The December salary would be disbursed by (the) month-end. The priority would be for low-rung employees,” he said, also declining to be identified.
A Kingfisher pilot who attended a meeting with Mallya in Delhi last week confirmed that the promoter has assured disbursal of salaries. “He assured us that the payment of salary dues will be done in phases, but did not give any date for that. Mallya said he is in talks with various investors for raising funds,” he said.
The first Kingfisher Airlines executive said the airline is renegotiating the high cost of aircraft lease rentals. “Kingfisher Airlines signed many of its aircraft lease agreements when the rates were at their peak. Now, the rates have come down by 30%. The airline is making the most during the crisis,” he said. “Another option is to curtail international operations further or discontinue (them) for the time being. These steps would be finalized after the DGCA meet.”
The airline will also tap external commercial borrowings (ECBs) for working capital loans once the Finance Bill is passed and the Union budget proposal to allow airlines to raise working capital through foreign loans is formalized.
The move could potentially provide relief to most airlines in the country, including Jet Airways (India) Ltd and Air India Ltd, which, too, are strapped for funds and weighed down by accumulated debt. India’s airline industry is laden with a combined debt of $20 billion, the pre-budget economic survey said last week.
“The industry has been marred by cost inefficiencies and is bearing the brunt of aggressive price cuts, rising costs, expensive jet fuel, a weaker rupee, high interest payments and, hence, mounting losses,” rating agency Icra Ltd, said in a recent report.
Indian airlines are likely to post a combined loss of a $2.5 billion in 2011-12, worse than the $2 billion loss of 2008-09, when traffic was declining and crude prices had spiked to $150 a barrel, consulting firm Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation estimated in a February report. Jet fuel accounts for 45% of an airline’s operations cost.
Submitted by the sheriff's office
Plane wreckage found
This is the area of the crash.
Authorities have located the airplane that crashed in the Diablo Mountains and the deceased victim of the accident.
The sheriff's office and other agencies had been searching for a plane they believe crashed this week somewhere near New Idria.
On Saturday, the sheriff's office confirmed the crashed plane wreckage was located in the Diablo Mountains between Panoche Road and New Idra Road.
Investigators found serial numbers from the wreckage and confirmed it was the missing plane.
"The pilot has not yet been identified due to being burnt beyond recognition. The San Benito County Sheriff's Office Coroner Division will be trying to positively identify the pilot through DNA," according to a statement from the office.
At about 11:40 a.m. Thursday, the sheriff’s office received a call of an “overdue plane from the U.K.” flown by a single occupant, Ron Ratliff, who had been delivering the twin engine Beechcraft Bonanza to the San Jose airport. The Federal Aviation Administration reported that it went missing about 8 p.m. Thursday over the Diablo Mountains near New Idria and Clear Creek.
The county’s search and rescue unit was joined by deputies and two fixed-wing airplanes, from the California Highway Patrol and the Civil Air Patrol.
The sheriff’s office had reported that based on the last known location, speed and altitude, the crash site was likely within a 10-mile radius between New Idria and Highway 25 in the Diablo Mountains in a sparsely populated area of southern San Benito County.
Posted by Kathryn on 11:32:00 PM
The Mennonite community of Blue Creek in the Orange Walk district is mourning the tragic loss of Christopher Reimer, 23, who died when his ultra-light aircraft crashed near the Blue Creek airstrip around 8:00 Sunday morning, March 11.
Two of his friends on the ground said they witnessed how the wing of his aircraft collapsed in mid-air 100 feet up, and he plummeted to the ground. He suffered severe body injuries and did not survive, even though he was rushed to hospital.
His ultra-light aircraft was of the type that rather resembled a hang-glider with an engine suspended beneath the wing, which turned a pusher propeller behind the pilot’s seat.
Christopher, who flew for fun, took off that morning to fly a few spins around the Blue Creek community and was coming in for a landing when he crashed near the runway.
Christopher was the third eldest of the five sons of Edward and Caroline Reimer, and had only recently learnt to fly after he acquired the ultra-light aircraft earlier this year. He was unmarried, and is survived by his parents and four brothers.
Funeral services were held at the Evangelical Mennonite Missionary Church in Blue Creek at 4:30 Wednesday evening, March 14.
Nigel Carter of the Belize Civil Aviation Department explained that because the ultra-light is not considered an aircraft under international aviation codes of safety, Belize law would not have required Reimer to have a pilot license, such as is required to fly a proper aircraft.
In addition, no license or certificate of airworthiness was necessary for the ultra-light, since it was not considered an aircraft in the eyes of the law.
Carter said the Aviation Department does issue an aeronautical information circular about ultra-lights, which the Mennonite community would have received.
This general information bulletin would have specified certain guidelines for the construction of an ultra-light and stipulated the rules of the air which an ultra-light pilot would be expected to observe, such as flying only in daylight with good visibility, since the pilot would be navigating by sight. The ultra-light pilot would also have to avoid the well-traveled air lanes used by commercial flights.
Reimer’s ultra-light was really little more than a large kite which was big enough to support the weight of a man.
Its small engine gave it enough lift to fly at a very slow speed, and its slow approach speed also meant it needed very little space to land. The lift of its wings would allow an experienced pilot to execute a “dead stick” landing.
Posted by Kathryn on 11:22:00 PM
Domestic aviation has significantly contributed to the growth and development of industry in Guyana and has provided a basis for job creation and investment opportunities throughout the country.
The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (GCCA) said approximately 57% of incoming passengers by air are tourists utilising both scheduled and chartered air services. As such it is imperative for local operators to provide efficient and competitive services to the travelling public in order to satisfy the increasing demand for tourism travel.
In Guyana civil aviation provides a link between the coastal areas and communities in the hinterland, many of which are inaccessible by other means of transportation.
The GCCA said there is currently a boom in the mining sector and aviation is playing a key role in ensuring goods and supplies meet mining camps in the hinterland areas as the role of aviation in the mining sector is anticipated to be even greater as the price of gold climbs to unprecedented levels.
Further emphasising the direction and importance of aviation, the GCCA said the industry currently employs approximately 2,000 people which will increase as the global industry expands.
The establishment of the Caribbean Aviation Safety and Security Oversight System (CASSOS) as recognised body of the Caribbean Community to share aviation expertise among Member States has served to alleviate the lack of technical expertise and provide the necessary support for technical and regulatory oversight of civil aviation for the Region as a whole and Member States individually.
Air Canada maintenance firm shuts down plants - - Union fears Aveos job losses in Montreal, Winnipeg, Vancouver
A handout photo of an Aveos operation, Airframe Solutions. Aeros is a aircraft mainitenance provider, Air Canada being it's biggest customer.
Photograph by: Bob Hendriks, Aveos
A notice posted at Aveos Fleet Performance Inc.'s Winnipeg plant on Sunday says the company has 'ceased the operation of airframe maintenance.'
Lorne Hammerberg on Aveos lockout
Aveos Fleet Performance Inc., a private company that maintains many of Air Canada's aircraft, shut down its plants on Sunday, locking out at least 2,400 workers and telling them not to return to work.
Approximately 1,800 of the affected employees are based in Montreal, while 350 are in Winnipeg and 250 are in Vancouver, according to the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
"The maintenance component that supplies work to the Air Canada fleet has effectively ceased operations," Lorne Hammerberg, the union's local president in Winnipeg, told CBC News.
"The base manager and his senior managers came down today to the hangars, told the guys they were no longer in operation and to remove themselves from the premises."
Aveos posted a sign at its Winnipeg plant late Sunday afternoon, stating, "We regret to advise you that effective immediately, Aveos Fleet Performance Inc. has ceased the operation of airframe maintenance."
Union officials in Vancouver confirmed that employees at the Aveos plant there had been told to go home and leave all their equipment and personal items behind.
Aveos officials did not return calls by CBC News for comment on Sunday.
Job losses feared
Hammerberg said he fears total job losses at Aveos, since there has been no talk of restructuring the company to date.
Aveos started out in 1937 as Air Canada Technical Services, the airline's in-house maintenance division. It became an independent company an October 2007 and was renamed Aveos the following year, according to its website.
Hammerberg said the Aveos plant in Winnipeg has maintained Air Canada's Airbus and Embraer fleet.
"Between ourselves, Montreal and Vancouver, we have the expertise to do any type of aircraft," he said.
Air Canada is the firm's largest customer — it provides about 90 per cent of its maintenance overhaul work. Its exclusive contract expires in June 2013 and Air Canada has issued a request for proposals for future contracts.
'Absolutely no joke'
Hammerberg said union officials had heard there were "some financial issues with the company" over the past couple of weeks, but they had no idea a total shutdown was in the works.
"At first, I thought it was a joke because, of course, management has not informed anybody in the union that this was happening," he said. "I started making phone calls, and it was absolutely no joke."
The union does not know what the latest development could mean for Air Canada's maintenance program, he added.
The union, which represents aircraft machinists, mechanics, baggage handlers and ramp personnel, has feared for the future of Aveos after Air Canada moved to subcontract some of its work offshore.
Air Canada has moved maintenance of landing gear and engines out of Aveos's facilities and is subcontracting work to other maintenance providers, including in China. The airline has also delayed some work until the fall.
Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick told CBC News the airline did not have much to say about the situation at Aveos.
"We do not comment about speculation concerning our suppliers," Fitzpatrick said in an email late Sunday.
Fitzpatrick said the bulk of Air Canada's scheduled heavy maintenance is done by Aveos, but added the airline has "always obtained additional services from other [maintenance, repair and operations] providers."
WINNIPEG — The Aveos aircraft maintenance facility in Winnipeg has shut its doors, throwing 350 people out of work, in what some fear may just be a sign of things to come for the business with facilities across the country.
Sunday afternoon, staff at the Winnipeg shop were told by management the facility was closing immediately. Union leaders say similar closures are underway across the country, including Vancouver, in what could amount to hundreds of more jobs being lost. Aveos also has facilities and locations in Montreal and Toronto.
Aveos is the private firm created in 2007 when Air Canada converted its technical services division, which did all of the maintenance and repair work on its planes, into a stand-alone operation.
In Winnipeg, Sunday’s closure is the culmination of several rounds of layoffs, weeklong furloughs and suspicions about the company’s finances.
Air Canada makes up about 90 per cent of Aveos’ customer base, but the union says Air Canada has been sending maintenance work that’s exclusive to Aveos to other companies recently.
"A couple weeks ago, we started to get some real bad feelings from the company financially," said Lorne Hammerberg, president of Local 714 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. "I think everyone is in shock and disbelief."
The closure affects everyone from highly skilled, licensed aircraft technicians who make $35 per hour to data entry clerks.
Posted by Kathryn on 11:04:00 PM
Kershaw Aviation Group CEO Josh Kershaw
Queenstown helicopter company Kershaw Aviation Group has launched an internal investigation into the death of a pilot in Indonesia at the weekend.
Auckland pilot Shri Rama Krishnan, 42, died along with two Indonesian passengers when a six-seater Squirrel went down in high altitude during a routine food supply trip on Saturday.
Kershaw Aviation Group boss Josh Kershaw says two members of the company are on their way to the mining town of Tembagapura to work with authorities as people try to establish the cause of the crash.
“We are still not in a position to comment on what may have happened, but will be working very closely in the coming weeks with air accident investigators to establish exactly that,” Kershaw says.
“Safety is our number-one priority and we will also be conducting a full internal investigation into this incident.”
Kershaw says his deepest condolences go out to Krishnan’s wife, family and friends.
“Shri has been working with us for the past 12 months and we are all devastated by the news,” he says in a statement.
“He was an extremely good, very well-respected and experienced pilot who will be sadly missed.”
Krishnan had logged 3100 flying hours.
The Squirrel left an airfield at Tembagapura at 8.12am on Saturday. It’s believed the chopper encountered bad weather and attempted to turn back before the control tower lost contact at 8.30am.
The wreckage was found in steep and difficult terrain on Sunday morning.
“This is a route he would have travelled many times and he had previous extensive experience in similar environments,” Kershaw says.
The Squirrel was suited for the environment and territory and was equipped with the latest technology including a tracking system, he says.
It also had a pilot oxygen system on board due to the high altitudes at which it worked.
Posted by Kathryn on 10:51:00 PM
JUNEAU, Alaska -- The actions of the lone survivor of the deadly 2010 Coast Guard helicopter crash off the Washington coast directly contributed to the deaths of his colleagues and the destruction of the aircraft, according to the Coast Guard's commander in Alaska, Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo.
Ostebo, in administrative remarks for Lt. Lance Leone's personnel file, said Leone's failure to perform his required duties directly contributed to the accident. A copy of the remarks was obtained by The Associated Press.
This comes less than two weeks after the Coast Guard dismissed negligent homicide and other charges against Leone in connection with the crash.
Leone, who is based in Sitka, was called to Juneau to meet with Ostebo on Sunday.
The potential for administrative action -- like having remarks entered into Leone's personnel file -- was known at the time of the dismissal. Ostebo's report does not detail any possible punishment; it merely says that Leone is to adhere to all applicable laws, regulations and policies and that any "additional violations can lead to further administrative actions and/or military justice action."
Leone refused to sign the report, on advice of counsel.
He was the co-pilot of an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flying from Astoria, Ore., to the crew's base in Sitka, when it hit an unmarked span of low-hanging wires and crashed off the Washington coast. Killed in the crash were pilot Sean Krueger, of Connecticut, and crewmen Brett Banks, of Wyoming, and Adam C. Hoke, of Montana.
Leone, who has earned Coast Guard awards and accolades, had recovered from his injuries and been cleared for flight re-training when he was charged last year with negligent homicide, dereliction of duty and destruction of government property.
He was accused of not actively navigating or challenging Krueger's decision to drop in altitude seconds before the helicopter hit a 1,900-foot span of wires and crashed.
An investigating officer, who presided over a three-day military hearing in December, recommended to Ostebo that the charges be dropped.
The wires, the site of at least two other accidents, were the Coast Guard's responsibility. They sloped from 190 feet to about 36 feet. At the time of the 2010 crash, marking balls were not along the span but instead pooled near a pole, above land at the low point. The helicopter hit at about 114 feet, according to testimony and the hearing record.
One of the prosecutors, during the December hearing, said there was no requirement that the lines be marked since they were lower than 200 feet. The crash's lead investigator in testimony said the unmarked wires contributed to the accident but also said there was no reason for the aircraft to be flying so low.
Leone's civilian attorney John Smith argued during the hearing that Leone had programmed the helicopter on a track that would have missed the wires, but that Krueger deviated from it, dropping in altitude as he flew over a Coast Guard vessel in the channel. Seconds later, the aircraft struck the wires.
This point was not challenged during the hearing. The investigating officer, Capt. Andrew Norris, in his report in January said the helicopter had been on a track that would have avoided the wires before Krueger deviated from that track.
In Ostebo's administrative remarks, he states that Leone at some point during the flight, "entered a course and heading into the onboard navigation system that had the aircraft fly directly toward a charted navigational hazard." He said Leone did not warn Krueger of the hazard he'd "directed the aircraft toward."
He does not specify that hazard but the report then goes into the last seconds of the flight, just before the wires were struck.
"As the co-pilot, your duties included serving as the safety pilot and ensuring the safe navigation of the aircraft," Ostebo said near the beginning of his remarks. "Your failure to perform your required duties directly contributed to the crash of the aircraft and the deaths of the crew."
Smith, in an email Sunday, said this "is a sad day for the CG and Coast Guard aviation." CG refers to Coast Guard.
Smith said Ostebo's "failure to acknowledge the CG's failure to properly mark, inspect and maintain the wires, and its failure to act on reports of the unsafe condition from its own senior (non-commissioned officers), exposes the action against Lt. Leone as mere scapegoating."
A message seeking comment was left with the Coast Guard Sunday.
Norris, during the military hearing, also investigated whether Leone was derelict in his duty for not advising Krueger that they were flying too low at certain points in the flight and recommending a rise in altitude. The allegation arose from the hearing. Prosecutors said they didn't seek it.
Norris, in his January report, said he believed there were "reasonable grounds" to believe Leone had "committed the crime of negligent dereliction of duty" for not questioning or speaking up about the altitude. But he said proving that required speculation as to what Krueger may have done if Leone had spoken up, and he said he did not believe the government could prove this link "to a reasonable fact-finder."
Norris said he didn't believe disciplinary action was warranted in that instance but said it could be addressed through training and other "non-punitive measures."
Posted by Kathryn on 10:36:00 PM
KARACHI – The Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority conducted recruitment interviews of 762 candidates under the Aghaz-i-Haqooq-i-Balochistan package at the Quetta International Airport.
These less educated candidates came from far-flung areas of Balochistan province. The CAA is engaged in improving air travel and providing modern facilities at the airports in Balochistan.
The CAA spokesman said that on the special directive of Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar, the CAA director general issued directives for providing jobs to less educated local youth in the CAA. Advertisement was issued in different newspapers in the country for youth having technical skills.
Interview of 762 candidates were conducted in phases. However, the appointment letters of the successful candidates would be issued.
He added that the decision has been made to provide employments not only to less educated people but also to highly educated youth. The advertisements have also been issued in the national and regional newspapers for the posts of general manager to deputy manager and staff for new Gwadar International Airport project, he added.
He further said providing modern travelling facilities at all international and domestic airports in Balochistan is objective of the Civil Aviation Authority and keeping it in view modern ILS system has been installed at the airport, meeting longstanding demand of the people of Balochistan particularly business community.
Under the system, landing and takeoff of aircraft has been made possible for 24 hours while in the past takeoff and landing of aircraft was possible during day light. He said the promotion of employees working at Quetta, Gwadar, Turbat, Pasni and Panjgur airports have also been made during recent days on merit. He said officers and staff working at all airports in Balochistan have been vaccinated against Hepatitis.
Air Canada has asked the Canada Industrial Relations Board to step in after an unusually high number of pilots phoned in sick over the weekend, forcing some flights to be cancelled or delayed.
Up to 100 flights in and out of Pearson airport were cancelled and scores more delayed Sunday. Most of the affected flights were being run by Air Canada, whose staff was legislated back to work several days ago.
“Air Canada experienced numerous delays and cancellations over the weekend. While weather, a disruption caused by a fire at our major hub in Toronto, and other factors affected our operation, some impact was the result of a higher-than usual pilot book-offs,” airline spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said.
“While Air Canada supports the right of its employees to book off when they are unwell or otherwise unfit to work, we cannot condone such activities as part of industrial action to disrupt our operations and we have asked the CIRB to intervene.”
The overnight fire — described as a small electrical fire — closed one of five runways at Pearson, affecting arrivals and departures by numerous airlines including Air Canada, WestJet and United. The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured.
Dense fog further curtailed flights.
A day earlier, Air Canada cited “operational challenges” after more than dozen flights were cancelled and others were delayed, mostly out of Montreal’s Trudeau airport.
Some pilots flocked to Twitter to refute the implication that pilots are taking illegal job action. Fog surrounding Montreal, they said, had caused the delays.
Neither the pilots’ union nor the Air Canada Pilots Association returned requests for comment Saturday night or Sunday.
EU's strategy of levying a climate tax on airlines has provoked widespread criticism
The European Union has hinted that it hopes to avoid levying its controversial carbon-emissions tax on flights from China, if Beijing introduces its own carbon-trading scheme to cover aviation.
However, the debate is set to continue after China responded by saying that it will take time to set up its own market for the trade in carbon emissions.
Peter Liese, a member of the European Parliament and rapporteur for the inclusion of aviation in the EU's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), said that the EU is willing to negotiate with China.
"We have noticed with great interest that there are discussions about an emissions trading scheme in China. If this scheme also covered aviation, we could exempt flights from China to the European Union," said Liese.
Starting this year, all airlines using EU airports are required to buy permits under the ETS. However, many non-EU countries, including China and the United States, have opposed the scheme and criticized it for being "unilateral".
Jiang Kejun, a researcher at the Energy Research Institute of China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said that Liese's suggestion would be feasible if China can set up an emissions trading market.
"It would avoid (paying) double fees. However, it will take time for China to build its carbon emissions trading market," Jiang said.
China has selected seven provinces and cities, including Beijing and Tianjin, to begin preparations for the pilot. Energy-intensive and highly polluting industries are likely to be included in the project.
"It's too early to talk about aviation because it must be based on a nationwide carbon emissions trading market. The regional pilot projects were unable to cover aviation," said Jiang.
Tensions escalated in February when representatives of 32 countries gathered in Moscow to discuss potential retaliatory measures against the scheme.
Following the meeting, Su Wei, director-general of the climate change department under the National Development and Reform Commission, said that the EU scheme violates international law.
For example, the Kyoto Protocol makes a distinction between the efforts that developed and developing nations have to make to address climate change, but these "differentiated responsibilities" are not accounted for in the EU ETS.
Liese criticized the Moscow gathering for not offering an alternative solution to tackle carbon emissions, but revealed that "behind the scenes, China, the US and others are negotiating on real solutions with the European Union", something he feels "optimistic" about.
Zhou Dadi, former director of the energy research institute of the NDRC, said that China will base its policy decisions "on Chinese conditions rather than buying the medicine based on the prescription given by the EU".
He explained that China is actively exploring effective measures, including establishing a carbon emissions trading market and imposing energy and carbon taxes to support low carbon development.
The top priority for China is to introduce energy and resource pricing reforms this year, laying a foundation for the carbon market and carbon taxes, he added.
Airlines from both EU and non-EU countries have criticized the ETS for distorting competition.
"The current scheme is neither global nor fair," said Frank Puttmann, director of group communications at Lufthansa AG, Europe's largest airline by passenger numbers and fleet size.
Puttmann said that European airlines will suffer disproportionately from the scheme, because rival airlines that only use EU airports for some of their flights will be in a better position to spread the costs.
Lufthansa is expected to incur an additional expense of 130 million euros ($171 million) in 2012. "The additional cost for emission certificates will reduce our financial ability to invest in new eco-efficient technology, for example modern and fuel-efficient aircraft or engines," said Puttmann.
Finnair OYJ expects to incur additional costs of 5 million euros in 2012. Kati Ihamaki, vice-president of sustainable development at the airline, said that "passing on costs to (ticket) prices will be difficult, because emissions trading will not apply to all international airlines equally".
Goh Choon Phong, CEO of Singapore Airlines Ltd, said that the EU ETS is unfair as it only charges airlines for the leg of a journey in and out of Europe.
"Under the system, an airline that makes its passengers fly with a halt somewhere close to Europe will pay less than an airline that flies non-stop, even though the former would have used more fuel," he said.
James Hogan, CEO of Etihad Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, said: "We have invested many millions of dollars to ensure that we operate a young and highly efficient fleet, but are still being penalized."
Etihad has increased ticket prices for flights in and out of Europe by $3 from this month.
Victoria Moore, general manager for communications at the Association of European Airlines, said that AEA members have only made a per-passenger profit of 2 euros and 40 cents over the last decade.
The AEA estimates that member airlines have only made an average profit of 0.8 percent per passenger over the past decade, while the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said that its members have only generated cumulative profit in three of the past ten years.
Despite the high costs of compliance, Simon Retallack, strategy manager of the London-based non-profit company The Carbon Trust, believes that the aviation industry "needs to play a part in order to help avoid the risks associated with dangerous climate change".
Dirk Willem te Velde of the Overseas Development Institute, a London-based think tank, said that in the absence of a global tax, the EU's ETS is a viable solution to global climate change because, based on fleet sizes, the developed nations will pay much more under the scheme, while emerging countries will pay less.
The AEA estimates that costs of compliance for its 33 member airlines will amount to 9.9 billion euros between 2012 and 2020. In comparison, the China Air Transport Association estimates a compliance cost of 17.6 billion yuan ($2.8bn) for Chinese airlines over the same period.
The 2012 payments will be calculated after each airline's annual carbon output has been added up, and will be paid in early 2013.
The EU first launched the ETS in 2005 to fulfill its own emissions-reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol. Airlines were not originally included in the scheme because the protocol made the United Nation's International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) responsible for reducing the environmental impact of the aviation industry.
The EU proposed extending its ETS to aviation in 2006 because of what it saw as a lack of progress on the issue at ICAO.
For the EU, the inclusion of aviation in the ETS is a matter of common sense. Last year, Connie Hedegaard, the EU's commissioner for climate action, said: "Emissions from aviation are growing faster than from any other sector, and all forecasts indicate that they will continue to do so under 'business-as-usual' conditions."
But the move has aroused fierce international opposition. Last year, the US Air Transport Association attempted to stop the scheme. In a case presented to the European Court of Justice, the ATA argued that tackling emissions must be undertaken on a global basis.
The US airlines lost the case. The ECJ's Advocate-General Juliane Kokott said the EU was within its rights to take unilateral action because the ICAO has not yielded significant progress after more than a decade in operation.
Increasingly, the imminent threat of a trade war has led both EU politicians and airline associations to pressure the ICAO into urgently offering a global solution.
"We don't want a trade war," said Tony Tyler, director-general of IATA. "Europe's unilateral and extra-territorial EU ETS plans are clearly not acceptable to non-EU governments. We hope that the European states will be sincere facilitators at the ICAO."
Meanwhile, an ICAO working paper obtained by China Daily shows that the ICAO plans to "develop possible options for a global market-based-measure scheme by June 2012 for consideration by the (European) Council".
How Chinese airlines will respond to the scheme remains uncertain, because they are being instructed to take contradictory action by the Chinese and European governments.
The Civil Aviation Administration of China has formally instructed airlines not to join the EU ETS without government approval.
But the EU is not backing down. Airlines that do not comply will be fined 100 euros for each tonne of carbon dioxide emitted for which they have not surrendered allowances.
"Chinese airlines are stuck between two conflicting laws, and resolution can only come through negotiations between the two governments to achieve a compromise," said Mark Bisset, an aviation-finance partner at Clyde & Co LLP, a law firm headquartered in London.
The EU ETS legislation exempts flights from countries with "equivalent measures" to tackle carbon emissions, but Bisset said those "equivalent measures" are not defined in the legislation.
"The danger is that when EU airlines see Chinese airlines being excluded from the scheme based on measures by the Chinese government they do not believe are equivalent, they will take actions against the European Council," Bisset said.
For example, British Airways, part of the International Airlines Group, has endorsed the EU ETS. But a company spokesperson said: "We believe that any concessions which might be made to non-EU airlines should also be applied to EU airlines operating on the same routes."
Meanwhile, South Africa is planning to introduce its own emissions trading scheme later this year, a move not supported by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA).
Elijah Chingosho, secretary-general of AFRAA, said: "it is wrong for different countries to come up with their own emissions trading schemes, be they EU countries or any other countries."
Australia is also planning to introduce its own emissions-trading scheme in 2015, and intends to link it with the EU ETS.
Some members of New Hebron Missionary Baptist Church had worshiped there in Little Rock for 60 years.
Like Ms. Ellen Dunbar.
"I came here in 1951 and I joined New Hebron in 1952. I came with 3 small children. I lost a son in 73. But my two children were here with me this morning."
For almost a hundred years the church sat at 930 Maxwell Street.
That was until Dassault Falcon Jet needed to purchase the church property to expand at Little Rock national airport.
Pastor, Rodney Smith says it was bittersweet.
"Because we were leaving the place that many had been at for so long, weddings, funerals and baptisms."
The church settled with the airport commission for 7-hundred thousand dollars.
"And fast forward to today a celebration for the church but getting here wasn't easy."
After four years, they sing praises in their new church at 7615 Woodson Road in Southwest Little Rock.
Now happy and blessed, back then,
"We just wanted to be made whole. And we didn't feel like that happened. So it was a little bit of a disappointment."
Disappointed in the fact that their old church was paid for.
They were hoping the airport would do the same for their new church.
They didn't, but Pastor Smith, says it all worked out in the end, when they decided to buy a church already standing and just renovate.
"This situation came along at a fraction of the cost of what it was going to take to build. And on top of that we were able to hold the majority of our funds. So from a financial standpoint we came out a lot better."
His wife, Danielle, says "It was a very trying time it was really scary, because New Hebron was my husbands first church to pastor. And then to have to go through that situation so quickly, it was very difficult, but i am just rejoicing."
Rejoicing, but with advice for those going through eminent domain.
In Southwest Little Rock, Deedra Wilson, KARK 4 News.
INDORE: After birds' menace, the Ahilyabai Holkar Airport authorities are battling a new problem in the form of stray animals roaming on the runway. The presence of wild dogs and jackals on the runway is giving nightmares for the airlines operating from here.
Airport officials are now planning to seek the help of forest department to deal with the problem.
On Friday, a jackal was spotted on the runway during landing of Delhi-Indore flight. The pilot had great difficulty in landing the aircraft safely.
"Though this was first such incident after shifting of airport operation to the new terminal building in February, we still are taking no chances. We will be taking up the issue with the forest department officials to keep wild dog and jackal away from the runway," said an Airport official seeking anonymity.
When contacted, DFO Saeed Khan told TOI, "The forest department has not received any request from airport authority in this regard. We are willing to assist in every possible manner to deal with the problem."
Even in the past, the department has been sending its team to catch wild animals from the airport area, he added.
"We usually send our rescue team with cage, who set trap and catch jackals and leave them in forest," said Khan adding that in the recent past, forest department had caught three jackals at the airport.
However, he said that wild dog doesn't come under wild animal category and hence it was the responsibility of civic body to catch them.
He further said that airports are generally located on the outskirts of the city and are surrounded by villages and areas without much habitation making it easier for wild animals to stray in. In the areas around Indore airport, jackal, wild dog and few other wild animals are found.
Airport Authourity of India (AAI) has marked Indore airport as sensitive in view of the large number of presence of birds around the airport. Since June 2011, eight incidents of bird-hit have been reported at Indore airport damaging the aircraft.
Posted by Kathryn on 9:52:00 PM
The scene of the crash. The pilot suffered only minor injuries, but was sent to Albany Medical Center for treatment.
Photo by Doron Tyler Antrim/Hudson-Catskill Newspapers
NEW BALTIMORE — A man was injured after the small plane he was piloting hit a tree and landed in a clearing in New Baltimore this evening, authorities and witnesses say.
An as yet unidentified man took off from the private Wayne Delp Airport not far from the crash site and was attempting to return after experiencing engine troubles, according to the Greene County Sheriff’s Office.
It is then that he reportedly crashed into the tree, spun around and landed in a small clearing on the property of Steve Pilatich at 62 Jennings Road.
Pilatich witnessed the crash, and along with a second person, rendered assistance to the man, who was bleeding from the nose, but otherwise unhurt.
The incident was reported around 5:30 p.m.
The man was transported to Albany Medical Center and is being treated for facial lacerations, the sheriff's office said.
The plane was described as a 2/3 scale replica Jenny, a World War I-era biplane.
The airport did not wish to comment on the incident.
Posted by Kathryn on 9:41:00 PM
David Sughroue (credit: Sacramento County Sheriff's Dept.)
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A Carmichael man has been arrested after pointing a laser at a California Highway Patrol helicopter Saturday night.
CHP alerted the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department that someone was pointing a green laser at their helicopter from the patio of an apartment in the 4900 block of Marconi Avenue.. The helicopter crew was able to direct Sheriff’s patrol units to the exact location.
Deputies arrested 49-year-old David Sughroue. He was inside the apartment and in possession of a laser pointer, according to deputies.
He was booked in the Sacramento County Main Jail for a felony charge of discharging a laser at an aircraft on $50,000 bail.
Posted by Kathryn on 9:28:00 PM
KUWAIT CITY (AP) — Kuwait Airways, the Gulf state's national carrier, canceled flights for a second day in a row Sunday as it scrambled to cope with a strike by workers.
The action by Kuwait Airways employees follows a work stoppage by customs officials that began last week and is blocking truckloads of goods from entering the country. Workers are demanding higher pay and other benefits.
Kuwaitis are used to well-paying government jobs and a cradle-to-grave social security system that is increasingly becoming a burden on the state. Calls for better working terms have grown louder as the past year's Arab Spring uprisings reverberated across the region.
Kuwait Airways grounded its flights starting Saturday evening and extending into Sunday, according to airline spokesman Adel Boresly.
They affect incoming and outgoing flights on nearly two dozen routes including to regional hubs Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Doha, Qatar, as well as Western destinations such as New York and Frankfurt, Germany. It is unclear when flights will resume.
"We are evaluating the situation (until) the strike is off," Boresly said.
Kuwait Airways operates a fleet of 17 jetliners and focuses mainly on flying to Middle Eastern, European and Asian destinations. It has struggled financially for years, in contrast to the turbocharged growth of regional rivals such as Dubai's Emirates.
Meanwhile, store shelves at some supermarkets are running empty as striking customs workers, who began walking off the job Tuesday, refuse to allow hundreds of trucks to cross the border.
That is prompting merchants to hike prices, with the cost of some goods such as dairy products, detergents and diapers rising significantly.
Oil exports do not appear to be affected by the customs strike.
Marzouq Awwad, secretary of the customs workers' union, vowed to continue the job walkoff until its members' demands are met. He said workers have allowed 97 trucks carrying perishable items such as fresh fruits, vegetables and dairy products to cross the border since the strike began.
"The union is not at war with the citizens, and is only on strike until the government and union reach an agreement," he said.
Power plant employees and university professors are also threatening to walk off the job unless they too get increased pay and retirement benefits.
Members of Kuwait's Cabinet are in talks with labor leaders to try to resolve the dispute. Finance Minister Mustafa al-Shamali has repeatedly said the country's budget is strained, and cannot afford the pay increases of as much as 40 percent that unions are calling for.
Thousands of customs workers and other civil servants launched a similar wave of labor unrest in September and October that temporarily disrupted shipping traffic and threatened the country's vital oil exports. Like in the latest strike, they were joined by Kuwait Airways workers.
Kuwait is OPEC's fourth largest oil exporter, and it relies on revenue from crude sales to cover the bulk of its budget.
Kuwaiti authorities have faced sporadic protests in recent months, though they have not been as big as the major pro-reform demonstrations seen elsewhere in the Arab World.
The small nation's parliament has the most powers of any elected body in the Gulf, and opposition lawmakers openly criticize the ruling family.
In January last year, Kuwait's emir, Sheik Sabah Al Ahmed Al Sabah, ordered 1,000 dinar ($3,559) grants and free food coupons for every Kuwaiti. Neighboring countries such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar followed with handouts of their own as they sought to dampen calls for political reform.
The federal government will spend $5.4 billion upgrading regional airstrips where passenger numbers are growing faster than at major city airports.
In 2010, 22.5 million passengers travelled through regional airports, up from 16.8 million in 2005, a Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) report published on Monday shows.
As well, the average annual growth rate for passenger movements at regional airports exceeded that for major city airports for the first time, over the five years to 2010.
The growth rate was 6.1 per cent, against 5.7 per cent in major cities.
Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said the figures showed the long-term outlook for regional aviation and airline operators was very positive.
"The industry has consistently shown it can adapt to the growing reliance of Australians on aviation both for business and leisure as well as continuing its important role in delivering vital services to regional communities," he said in a statement.
Most of the growth in passenger numbers on regional air routes was due to more people travelling between major cities and regional areas.
However, the number of airlines serving regional airports continues to fall, to 28 in 2010 from 33 in 2005, the BITRE said.
Mr Albanese announced the government will spend $5.4 billion to upgrade 31 airstrips in remote areas in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia, NSW, Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
Work on the first of these projects will begin in April.
The work will include installing pilot-activated solar airstrip lighting, clearing trees and shrubs, repairing runways and improving fencing and drainage.
Mr Albanese said the upgrades would help air services, such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Australia Post and freight and transport services, continue operating in isolated regions.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Many flights were grounded going in and out of the Albuquerque International Sunport because of high winds on Sunday.
Air travel has been at a standstill since Sunday morning, which is certainly bad news for all the NCAA tournament fans that came to the city for this week's games.
Nearly every flight was delayed or cancelled on Sunday afternoon, thanks to the potential dangerous combination of whipping winds and zero visibility.
Sunport spokesman Dan Jiron said there is some hope for evening flights.
"Things look to be improving now, hopefully by later afternoon and into the evening we'll be able to resume operations but really not a whole lot is happening right now," Jiron said.
Read more and watch video: http://www.koat.com
Air Nelson passengers are unlikely to be affected by the weekend grounding of most of the fleet of ATR aircraft operated by its sister Link operator, Air New Zealand said today.
The company has re-scheduled jet services, rather than its turboprop fleet, to help ferry passengers stranded by the weekend grounding of most of the ATR fleet.
Air New Zealand yesterday cancelled most ATR services after hairline cracks were found around windows of the cockpit in one aircraft during routine overnight maintenance in Christchurch.
Mount Cook Airline general manager Sarah Williamson said inspections were continuing on the rest of the fleet in conjunction with the French aircraft manufacturer ATR.The ATR-500 aircraft are operated by Mount Cook – an Air New Zealand Link operator. It expects to have around two-thirds of its normal seat capacity today with three ATR aircraft in service and additional flights from other Air New Zealand aircraft.
Air Nelson Technical helps maintain the ATR fleet, and one of the aircraft was currently in the Nelson hangar undergoing scheduled heavy maintenance, Air Nelson Technical manager Rob Burdekin said today. He said they were waiting for direction from the company on the next step with the aircraft.
"We don't know the status of the aircraft we have here. Our staff and engineers are well-equipped here to deal with the situation in-house," Mr Burdekin said.
He added that the discovery of the problem during a routine check was an indication the system was working as it should.
Ms Williamson expected more aircraft would be back in service later today, following inspection.
Yesterday's cancellations affected around 3000 passengers as about 60 one-way services were grounded.
The ATR-500 aircraft have been in service with Mount Cook since 1999 and have an average age of 10.9 years. The 68-seat aircraft operates to 10 destinations around New Zealand.
Air New Zealand announced in October last year it would be upgrading the ATR fleet with the purchase of seven new-generation ATR72-600 aircraft, with purchase options for a further five worth a total of $340 million.
The first two planes were scheduled to arrive in October and December this year with the rest delivered by 2016.
The expansion would double the current ATR fleet and add a further two million seats to the New Zealand regional market annually.
Air NZ chief executive Rob Fyfe said the purchase of larger aircraft, including the 23 Air Nelson Q300 aircraft over the past six years, and the lowering of fares had led to an average annual increase in regional passenger numbers of 5.6 per cent since 2003.
Regional airlines carried about 4.3 million passengers in the year to September this year.
Air New Zealand could not be reached for comment on whether the new ATR aircraft might be introduced earlier.
Mr Burdekin could not speak for the airline but doubted that would occur.
MANILA, Philippines - Soaring fuel prices in the world market have prompted Philippine Airlines (PAL) to seek a fuel surcharge increase by as much as $100 per ticket on international flights.
In an interview, PAL President Jaime Bautista said the flag carrier had no recourse left but to petition the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to raise the rate it collects from passengers booked for international flights. “Fuel cost is still our single biggest expense. We need to do this,” he said.
The fuel surcharge, imposed on top of regular fares, is a temporary relief given by the CAB to allow airlines to mitigate losses from the upward spiral of the cost of jet fuel.
Fuel accounts for 40 percent of an airline’s operating cost per passenger and is considered the second highest, next to labor.
The International Air Transport Association recently said jet-fuel price has increased by 9.7 percent to $137.1 per barrel from March 2011.
For Manila to the United States, except Honolulu, PAL will seek $300 from the current $200; Manila to Australia, $200 from $150; Japan, India and Beijing, $100 from $75; Shanghai, $85 from $75; Korea, Bangkok, $80 from $75; Taipei, Hong Kong and Macau, $55 from $45.
PAL will file its petition before the CAB today.
PAL Spokesman Cielo Villaluna said the figures cited are tentative as of Friday afternoon. “The proposed increases are subject to final assessment discussion by PAL. However, filing will be done Monday [March 19].”
PAL is 95-percent owned by tobacco and beer magnate Lucio Tan, while Airphil Express is 99-percent owned by the Lucio Tan group. PAL already raised its fuel surcharge for the Visayas and Mindanao routes on March 14.
Flights from Manila to Visayas now carry a P352 fuel surcharge, while passengers bound to Mindanao from Manila are charged P463 per ticket. Fuel surcharge for Manila to Luzon will remain.
Airphil Express also sought an increase in fuel surcharge for its flights from Clark and Manila to Luzon, from P250 to P300; while flights to Visayas will increase to P400 from P300. The fuel surcharge on flights to Mindanao will also jump to P500 from P400.
For its inter-Visayas and inter-Mindanao flights, the fuel surcharge will increase to P300 from P250. The fuel surcharge for flights from Visayas to Mindanao will rise to P350 from P300.
Meanwhile, Zest Airways Inc. also sought a P100 adjustment.
Flights bound to Legaspi, Marinduque, Masbate, San Jose, Tablas, Virac and Busuanga, the budget airline wants to collect P350 in fuel surcharge. For Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Calbayog, Catarman, Cebu, Iloilo, Kalibo, Tacloban and Tagbiliran, Zest Air applied for a P400 fuel surcharge. Its Manila to Davao and Cagayan de Oro flights may carry a P500 fuel surcharge if its application is approved.
The CAB has set on March 28 a hearing to tackle Zest Air’s application and on April 10 for Airphil Express’s petition.
Bautista said on Friday that PAL was expecting a 10-percent to 12-percent increase in domestic traffic this 2012.
He also said the number of passengers is expected to grow to 10 million at end of this year.
PAL is also looking at an increase in its average load factor from 70 percent to around 78 percent or 79 percent this year.
The markets in every city are growing. That’s why there are new airports that are being developed to support the growth in market. Also, we have new airplanes coming in,” said Bautista when he was asked where the traffic increase would be coming from.
This year PAL is taking delivery of two Boeing 777-300ERs and four Airbus A320, which can be used for its planned Darwin, Australia, flights.
PAL currently has a fleet of 13 Airbus A320s and four Boeing 777s.
We are still studying Darwin in Australia as a new route. We can operate our AirbusA320 from Cebu to Darwin. From Cebu, the travel time is less than four hours. We will use a smaller airplane to develop a new market,” said Bautista.
Meanwhile, Vivienne Tan, PAL’s executive vice president-commercial group, said on Friday evening the flag carrier will “excite the market with new programs that will aim to strengthen loyalty of our passengers.”
During its 71st anniversary, PAL unveiled its new marketing campaign, “Love, Your PAL,” which depicts PAL’s gratitude to its loyal customers over the last 71 years.
Passengers buying regular- fare tickets from March 15 to 21, 2012, can buy a second ticket for as low as P77 on domestic routes, $7 on regional destinations, and $277 on international flights.
“All the issues and problems that have hindered our growth last year are behind us now. I am proud that the work of the PAL team has resulted in a great rebound in our sales and passenger count.”
The PAL chairman’s daughter added: “I ask your support by patronizing our attractive offers that go beyond price.”
“We have laid the foundation to strengthen our brand image and reinforce our brand equity. This year we will further reinforce our superiority over other local carriers,” Tan said.
Posted by Kathryn on 8:14:00 PM
Cebu Pacific’s direct flight to Hanoi is expected to help generate more trade and investments between the Philippines and Vietnam, according to Vietnam’s ambassador to Manila Nguyen Vu Tu.
Cebu Pacific began its twice weekly to Hanoi on March 17.
The flights depart Manila at 10:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Saturdays and arrive in Hanoi at 12:30 a.m. Its return flights leave Hanoi at 1 a.m. and arrive in Manila at 5 a.m. the following day (Wednesday and Sunday).
The Vietnamese ambassador, the Aquino sisters Ballsy Aquino-Cruz, Pinky Aquino-Abellada and Viel Aquino-Dee, and Cebu Pacific chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei were among the first passengers of the Hanoi-bound flight.
"In the past two to three years, relations of the two countries have seen marked improvement. Now that CEB is flying direct to Hanoi, it is adding to the betterment of people to people connection. It will facilitate trade, business and investment between two countries. More importantly, it will facilitate educational exchange between two countries. The Philippines has a lot to offer for Vietnamese students," the ambassador said.
There were 18,000 Vietnamese who visited the Philippines in 2011, a 300 percent increase from the previous year.
"We do hope with this additional route from CEB, we will witness another 300 percent increase for 2012," Vu Tu said.
"CEB, you’re helping people in Vietnam to find out that it is more fun in the Philippines and also you will be helping Filipinos to taste Vietnamese coffee and Vietnamese food. You will enjoy coffee in Vietnam," he ended.
For his part, Gokongwei commented that the CEB flights to Hanoi "reinforce our commitment to continue expanding the links between the Philippines and the Asia-Pacific region and promote air travel to destinations previously not easily accessible to many passengers."
Gokongwei said the addition of Hanoi to its international network makes it easier for the Vietnamese to enjoy the shopping, eco adventure and entertainment attractions that the Philippines can offer.
Last year, CEB carried close to 12 million passengers.
Posted by Kathryn on 8:06:00 PM