Friday, March 30, 2012

Foreign Airlines Enjoy Preferential Treatment in Nigeria, Says Agbakoba

Human rights activist and Head of Agbakoba and Associates, Olisa Agbakoba,  has said that foreign airlines enjoy preferential treatment in Nigeria, expressing concern  that this  tends to infringe on regulations that guide the operations in the country.

He  also noted in a statement made available to THISDAY that the international carriers capitalise on loopholes created by Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) which their countries signed with the Federal Government.

“Many aviation analysts and stakeholders in the Aviation sector blame the audacity of foreign airlines to commit infractions on the preferential treatment they enjoy. The foreign operators have long capitalized on the loopholes created by the BASA (Bilateral Air Services Agreement) to gain economic power; this has led to an ability to challenge the authority or regulators.”

Agbakoba regretted that since the demise of Nigeria Airways Limited (NAL),  other Nigerian carriers play second fiddle on international routes, thus giving the foreign carriers the opportunity to dominate international air transport from Nigeria.

“Since the death of Nigeria Airways, Nigerian operators play second fiddle in the global airline business. A Central Bank of Nigeria of Nigeria (CBN) report showed that all the foreign airlines operate more than 200 weekly flights into Nigeria with Arik playing a nominal role. The major international airlines repatriated over N200 billion in one year.”

Agbakoba said that to stem this unfavourable situation,  there was the  need to introduce Aviation Cabotage, which will make it compulsory for Nigerians and others traveling on government expense to patronise Nigerian airlines, except when Nigerian carriers or their partners are not traveling to that destination.

“There is need to introduce Aviation Cabotage; a framework that will trap and keep these resource flights without necessarily hampering Nigeria's international aviation obligations. It is therefore recommended that a National Aviation Reform project should incorporate wide range policies including development of regulations, legal frameworks and infrastructures.”

He said that one of the required legal framework is the FLY NIGERIA BILL similar to (FLY AMERICA Regulation) which when passed would require Federal employees, dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees, and other persons performing Nigeria government financed air travel to travel Nigeria carriers.

The Fly Nigeria Act, he said, would make it mandatory for Federal Government employees, consultants, contractors, and other public officers embarking on a government sponsored trip to use a Nigerian registered airline when one is available on that route.

This,  he said,  would lead to expansion of airline operations which in turn would create jobs as more personnel would need to be employed.

He remarked that support for Aviation Cabotage would increase airlines revenue, encourage code share and interlining operations between Nigeria registered and foreign airlines.

It will also increase contribution to the Gross Domestic Product of Nigeria; increase in adequate international traffic which would lead to an increase in revenue which in turn would lead to an expansion in airplane fleets as well as a general modernization of the industry, he said.

Agbakoba added that this would also attract partners for abroad routes expansion programme, observing that this would encourage aviation manpower development through retention of human resources who are being poached from Nigeria with higher salary offers by the Middle East and Europe.

He said that this would necessitate infrastructural development and improvement to meet operating requirements.

Fly Nigeria Act, the eminent lawyer observed would protect the local aviation market, remarking that such protection may come in the form of restriction of the frequency of flights allocated to foreign carriers, multiple entry Points etc.

On fare disparity by foreign carriers,  he said that the recent ultimatum given to British Airways, Virgin Atlantic Airways and all international airlines operating in the country to dismantle the regional fare imbalance between what Nigerian passengers pay for international flights and their counterparts in the West African sub-region or face a ban from operating in Nigeria,  was a step in the right direction.

“While we agree with the Minister of Aviation that Nigerian passengers do not deserve this kind of exploitation and commend the actions of the Federal Government, we encourage the Nigerian Government to take a further step and introduce a policy dissuading Nigerians from flying these international airlines through the passage of The Fly Nigeria Bill. The Fly Nigeria Bill will ensure that all Federal employees and their dependents, consultants, contractors, grantees, and others performing government financed foreign air travel by Nigerian air carriers. A lot of the passengers who fly these international airlines fall into this category.”

He stressed that an immediate passage of the Fly Nigeria Bill will utilise market forces to trap and keep these resource flights within Nigerian airlines without necessarily hampering Nigeria’s international aviation obligations in the long run.

Sun Lakes, Arizona, resident flew with WWII Flying Tigers

Henry D. Wagner

Henry D. Wagner, a Word War II pilot who flew with the famous Flying Tigers, died March 13. He was 93 and lived in Sun Lakes.

Born and raised in San Jose, Wagner graduated from the University of Oregon only a few months before the attack on Pearl Harbor. On Dec. 24, 1941, he received his notice to report for U.S. Army Air Corps cadet flight school starting in January 1942. Upon completion of flight training, he was sent to South Carolina for training on the B-25 Mitchell Bomber, ultimately becoming an instructor.

After two years, he requested assignment to active duty and was sent to China, by way of India, to serve in the 14th Air Force. Major Gen. Claire Chennault of Flying Tiger fame was the commander.

The Flying Tigers conducted highly effective fighter and bomber operations along a wide front that stretched from the bend of the Yellow River and Tsinan in northern China to Indochina in the south, from Chengtu, China, and the Salween River in the west to the China Sea and the island of Formosa in the east. They were also instrumental in supplying Chinese forces through the airlift of cargo across "The Hump" in the China-Burma-India Theater.

By the end of World War II, the 14th Air Force had achieved air superiority over the skies of China and established a ratio of 7.7 enemy planes destroyed for every American plane lost in combat. Overall, military officials estimated that more than 4,000 Japanese planes were destroyed or damaged in the China-Burma-India Theater during World War II. In addition, they estimated that air units in China destroyed 1,100,000 tons of shipping, 4,836 trucks, 580 bridges, 1,225 locomotives and 712 railroad cars.

Functioning as group operations officer, Wagner was very much a part of that action. On one occasion, he received the Distinguished Flying Cross when his squadron flew into Hong Kong and sank thousands of tons of shipping in one low-level pass over the harbor. He credited a small contingent of B-24 bombers that flew at high altitude with creating a distraction from his main force.

On another occasion, he returned from a nighttime bombing raid over a Japanese airbase, only to discover that the Japanese had bombed his airbase while he was away. He creatively landed on a taxi strip alongside the runway.
He was honorably discharged as a major in 1946 and spent 42 years in the graphic-arts business, selling Heidelberg printing presses. He met his first wife, Peggy, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and they raised two daughters and a son.

He lost his first wife in 1989, but while on one of 90 business trips to Hawaii, he met Ethel, his second wife, also on business. They married in a traditional Hawaiian ceremony on the beach at sunset on May 22, 1992.

After he retired, Wagner and his wife moved to Sun Lakes so he could enjoy his favorite sport: golf. He was a member of the Sun Lakes Rotary Club, the VFW and Palo Verde Golf Club.

He is survived by his wife, Ethel, daughter Patty Elms, son Bill Wagner, stepsons Doug and Paul Budner, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Aer Lingus chief paid €1.2m last year

AER LINGUS chief executive Christoph Mueller’s remuneration rose by 9.9 per cent to €1.244 million in 2011, according to the airline’s annual report.

Mr Mueller received a basic salary of €475,000 last year, the same as in 2010. He also earned an annual performance-related bonus of €611,000, a pension contribution of €119,000 and other benefits of €39,000. In 2010, Mr Mueller was paid €1.132 million.

Chief financial officer Andrew McFarlane received a total remuneration of €1.055 million last year. This compared with a payment of €209,000 in 2010. However, this payment only relates to Mr McFarlane’s time as an executive director following his appointment as such on October 3rd, 2010.

Mr McFarlane received a basic salary of €330,000 last year. Aer Lingus said Mr McFarlane had “voluntarily agreed” to reduce his salary by 23 per cent to this level.

Mr McFarlane also received an annual performance-related payment of €366,000, a pension contribution of €107,000 and a “deferred transformational performance scheme bonus” of €204,000. The transformational bonus was earned “specifically for delivering Greenfield savings” in 2011, the report states. This payment has been deferred until the last quarter of 2012. Greenfield is the cost reduction programme aimed at reducing Aer Lingus’s overheads by €97 million a year. It has yet to be fully implemented.

The report also shows that Mr McFarlane was granted conditional awards of 407,970 shares under a long-term incentive plan (LTIP) relating to performance between January 1st, 2010, and December 31st this year.

In April 2011, he was granted conditional awards of 500,000 shares under the LTIP relating to his performance from January last year to the end of 2012.

The annual report shows that chairman Colm Barrington was paid €126,000 last year, the same level as in 2010.

In total, the company paid its non-executive directors €472,000 in 2011 compared with €520,000 in the previous year.

The bonus paid to Mr Mueller represented 128.5 per cent of his salary while Mr McFarlane’s was 110.9 per cent. Mr Mueller has agreed to voluntarily permanently freeze his salary at €475,000.

The report states that in 2012, the annual performance-related bonuses would be subject to a cap of 150 per cent of basic salary for Mr Mueller (the same level as last year); 100 per cent for “certain senior executives”, 75 per cent of salary for “certain other senior executives” and 40 per cent and 30 per cent respectively for the other two categories of senior management.

The airline’s 3,700 staff will share €6.25 million from an employee gain-sharing incentive scheme relating to the Greenfield cost reduction program.


Narita to open Tokyo's first biz jet terminal

Tokyo's first dedicated business-jet terminal opens Saturday as Japan tries to lure millionaire tourists from China and investment from multinationals adding Asian offices.

The facility at Narita Airport, the nation's biggest international gateway, will have dedicated customs and immigration counters, allowing travelers to avoid the lines. The center will cost ¥250,000 ($3,040) per plane, said Hiroaki Suda, a spokesman for state-owned Narita International Airport Corp. There will be 18 parking spaces.

"We want to prepare ourselves so business leaders from overseas can come to Japan, adding to the country's growth," said Kunihiko Muroi, a parliamentary secretary at the transport ministry. "We also want Japan's young small and medium-size business owners to be flying around the world."

Japan has also expanded Tokyo's two airports to boost international flights, begun building new roads to ease congestion and drawn up plans to merge stock exchanges to help Tokyo compete with Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai. The terminal may also boost the use of business jets in Japan, where the fleet totaled 55 at the end of 2010, compared with 12,074 in the U.S., according to the Japan Business Aviation Association.

"We have high hopes for the new terminal," said Junichi Nagano, president of Tokyo-based business-jet operator Japan Jet Charter Co. "It's a big breakthrough for Japan's gateway."

The company will add an additional plane by the end of the year, as demand for business jets from overseas, including China, grows, he said. That would raise the carrier's fleet to four.

The new center is located about 100 meters from the Terminal Two tarmac. It's opening alongside wider expansion work at the airport that has boosted the total annual capacity to 250,000 takeoffs and landings a year from 235,000. That will rise to 270,000 by the end of next March, Kosaburo Morinaka, Narita Airport's president, said Thursday.

"Access to airports and landing slots in Tokyo has always been a problem," said Ernie Edwards, president of plane-maker Embraer SA's executive-jet division. By contrast, Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing all already have dedicated business-jet centers.

The facility at Narita, about 70 km from downtown Tokyo, will be only the fourth dedicated business-jet terminal in Japan, following two in the Nagoya area and one in Kobe, according to the Japan Business Aviation Association.

"This was a problem in Japan, where general aviation wasn't a priority," Francois Chazelle, Airbus SAS's vice president for corporate jets, said at a Shanghai business-jet show this week. The new Narita facility "is a big step."

Tokyo's airports had 2,573 business jet takeoffs and landings in 2011, according to figures from the transport ministry. That was little changed from a year earlier, even following the March 2011 quake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

There were about 5,000 business-jet movements at Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka airports last year. A total of 2,387 flights nationwide involved flights to or from the U.S. South Korea was the second-most popular destination, while China ranked third.

Aircraft manufacturers expect business-jet use in China to surge, as rising wealth spurs purchases. Cessna Aircraft Co. and Embraer both have plans to build aircraft in the country because of anticipated local demand. The country's fleet may increase to 2,470 planes by 2030 from 150 in 2010, according to Montreal-based Bombardier Inc.

While the new Narita facility will ease arrivals for business-jet travelers, it will still take at least 30 minutes to reach central Tokyo, even by helicopter. For that reason, operators are also pushing for a dedicated terminal at Haneda airport, near the heart of the capital.

"We should have business-jet facilities at Haneda, not just Narita," said Kazunobu Sato, vice chairman of the Japan Business Aviation Association. "We'll keep pushing for more takeoff and landing slots."

Charlottesville Albemarle Airport had record-breaking year

 A record-breaking 406,373 passengers passed through the gates at the Charlottesville Albemarle Airport in 2011, officials confirmed this week.

That represents a nearly 10 percent increase from 2010, when the airport saw 366,631 passengers. Passenger traffic bottomed out in the 2009 fiscal year, when 347,441 people passed through CHO.

“When I first got here, we just had Piedmont Airlines here,” said Bill Pahuta, the airport’s interim executive director. Pahuta is in his 37th year with CHO.

“I think this last recession … we saw the biggest dent [in passengers] … It affected every market in the country and Charlottesville was no exception. But I think we bounced back quicker than others.”

Today, the airport has four airlines — USAirways, Delta, American Eagle and United. CHO lost Northwest in 2010, but gained American Eagle last year, which helped bring the numbers back, according to Jason Burch, the airport’s director of air service and marketing.

“Every year, there’s a new dynamic to the numbers,” Burch said, adding that airline mergers typically affect regional airports like CHO more than larger airports.

Bill Schrader, a member of the airport’s advisory joint commission, praised the airport’s staff and leadership for the accomplishment coming off the height of the recession.

“The management of the airport has done a tremendous job of reaching out … to make sure that all the travel departments [at local businesses] all know what CHO has to offer,” Schrader said.

Like many other industries in the area, higher education, medicine, federal workers and the healthcare industry are the airport’s sustaining forces. Burch said they monitor what’s going on at the University of Virginia and about 15 major employers in the area to help govern their decisions on air service.

Schrader said he thinks several factors are behind the record-breaking numbers in 2011 — the addition of American’s service and a number of airline mergers and acquisitions, which have freed resources and larger aircraft to service smaller airports. Most passenger service at CHO is provided by 50-seat regional jets, although the airport is capable of handling much larger aircraft.

“We’ve been the beneficiary of receiving some larger planes that have helped us so that people are not restricted on the number of seats that are available,” Schrader said. “American has been very happy with the volume of traffic between here and Chicago,” he continued. When it comes to numbers, “Everything we’d told them before they started has come to fruition.”

The airport had a $128.7 million impact on the local economy, directly or indirectly supporting 1,267 jobs in 2010, according to a statewide industry analysis published earlier this year by the Virginia Department of Aviation.

Burch and Schrader said they think CHO’s prices are very competitive when travelers consider the big picture, which includes the cost of driving to Dulles or Richmond, traffic, tolls and parking.

Runway extension

According to the airport’s leadership, a key element to sustainable growth at the airport, an 800-foot runway extension, should be completed in June. The project will bring the total length of the airport’s single runway to 6,800 feet.

The longer runway will allow planes with more passengers to use CHO. Hot and humid weather conditions reduce aircraft performance, meaning planes need either a longer runway or lighter load to operate safely.

The addition of a parallel taxiway, lighting and painting upgrades will complete the $40 million project, although a timetable for those features hasn’t been determined. The project is, however, about a year ahead of schedule, according to Pahuta.

And in addition to improving the airport’s passenger capacity, Schrader said the extended runway also builds in a measure of safety because new aviation navigation and monitoring equipment is part of the upgrade.

Executive director search

Pahuta joined the airport nearly 40 years ago as a public safety officer. He worked his way through the ranks to become the airport’s deputy executive director and assumed the role of interim executive director last month when Barbara Hutchinson stepped down after more than 20 years with the airport. Hutchinson had served as executive director since 2007.

The airport authority board will oversee the process of selecting a new executive director. Pahuta said he expects the board, with input from the airport commission, to hire a firm to conduct a nationwide search.

“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve gotten to be a part of all the growth,” Pahuta said, reflecting on his long tenure. “I was at the right place at the right time to experience all the growth and that experience is invaluable, really.”

Although they’ve experienced tangible growth, Burch said they’re prepared to adapt to whatever might be on the horizon.

“At this point, air service development is all about retention. That does not mean we’re not looking at where we need to go next.”

By the numbers

Passenger traffic statistics for the  Charlottesville Albemarle Airport by fiscal year:

2011: 406,373

2010: 366, 631

2009: 347,441

2008: 355,176

2007: 363,998

SOURCE: Charlottesville Albemarle Airport

Man allegedly flashes laser at private jet, and then police helicopter

The FBI is now investigating an incident in which an 18-year-old North Hollywood man allegedly pointed a laser at a private jet landing Thursday night at Bob Hope Airport, and then at the police helicopter sent to find him, officials said.

At about 8:45 p.m., the private jet pilot contacted airport police to report being “hit by a green laser twice on approach to the airport,” said Victor Gill, a spokesman for the airfield.

Police helicopters from Los Angeles and Pasadena were dispatched to investigate the incident, Gill said. When the man allegedly then beamed the laser at the Pasadena airship, “police zoomed in on him pretty quickly,” Gill added.

The man was arrested about 10:10 p.m. and the laser was recovered, Gill said.

No injuries or impacts to airport operations were reported.

Los Angeles Police Officer John Gallagher of the North Hollywood bureau confirmed the man was arrested, but could not provide further information on his identity, citing the FBI investigation.

Pointing a laser at an aircraft or the path of an aircraft is now a federal crime and can fetch up to five years in prison.

Canadian air force looks to poach pilots from the RAF

OTTAWA — Faced with a shortage of pilots, Canada’s air force is turning its attention to Britain and is looking to hire out-of-work military aviators from that country.

One has been hired so far, with another 20 to 25 skilled pilots and eight other personnel to be enrolled in the Canadian Forces sometime this year.

Britain is undertaking significant reductions to its defence budget and the Royal Air Force expects to cut 5,000 personnel over the next five years. Among those will be 170 pilots who are in various stages of training.

But that could provide a windfall for the Royal Canadian Air Force, which is looking to scoop up some of the laid-off pilots, according to documents obtained by the Citizen.

“Royal Air Force pilots are renowned for their advanced skill levels and many have trained or had experience with the Canadian Forces throughout most of their careers,” the documents produced last year point out.

“As part of this process, these individuals would eventually become Canadian citizens,” the documents note. As a result, Canada gets a significant benefit of skilled and experienced personnel who require minimal training, according to the military.

“Successful skilled ex-RAF enrollees will join the (Canadian Forces) in a phased approach over the coming four years,” Capt. Jean-François Lambert explained in an email Friday. “The goal is to achieve a swift and direct impact to address skilled personnel shortages by attracting candidates who require minimal conversion training.”

The first ex-RAF pilot was enrolled into the RCAF in November and the service expects to accept another 20-25 pilots and eight air combat systems officers this year, he added.

It is unclear how many ex-RAF pilots Canada hopes to eventually hire.

Last year the Citizen revealed the air force was not training enough pilots to meet its needs while at the same time it faced a wave of retirements as well as the recruiting of skilled staff by commercial airlines.

Lt.-Gen. André Deschamps, the head of the air force, had told Vice Admiral Bruce Donaldson, the vice chief of the defence staff, that he could not produce the 125 new pilots he needed each year, according to a Defence Department document leaked to the Citizen.

To fill part of the gap, the air force had asked its retired pilots to rejoin the service.

Canada’s air force is also facing what it calls an “experience gap.” It has recently recruited members with limited experience and a large number of members who are close to retirement. What it doesn’t have are enough personnel with a mid-range of experience who can perform both operations and conduct training.

The initiative to recruit former RAF personnel “will help stem personnel shortages and mitigate our experience gap,” noted Lambert.

The Canadian government has significantly increased the pay and benefits for the military over the years. But like a number of employers, the air force is facing the loss of baby boomers who are reaching the end of their careers.

At the same time, civilian companies such as Air Canada are recruiting members of the RCAF.

The RCAF has also had difficulties attracting personnel to other aviation jobs.

Last year, the Citizen reported that the service was launching a drive to find more flight engineers for search-and-rescue helicopters as it struggled to fill those ranks decimated by retirements and recruitment of highly trained staff by private firms.

The exodus of flight engineers has been building over the last several years, with a 2010 air force report warning that such personnel levels were “dangerously low.”

That situation could become even worse as over 60 per cent of the air force’s flight engineers are in a position to retire with pensions, air force officers have warned.

Flight engineers play a critical role on the helicopters, operating the rescue hoist, helping guide the aircraft as it manoeuvres in confined areas, and performing the job of an inflight mechanic.

A Canadian Forces “Tiger Team” report in April 2010 highlighted the problems, noting there were only 12 operational flight engineers available to support the search and rescue mandate for the main search and rescue (SAR) units.

Indianapolis makes push for more non-stop flights

INDIANAPOLIS - City and airport officials have begun a campaign to land more non-stop flights in and out of Indianapolis. Deputy Mayor Michael Huber said it's key to "economic development," and a priority for some of the city's biggest employers.

"Time is the main reason," Huber said. "What we hear is time and time is money."

Melissa Dobson of Westfield agrees. Dobson flies regularly to Hartford, Connecticut on business.

"Every time I take two small planes to get there and it takes eight hours of out my day when it should take three or four," Dobson said.

Todd Goers, flying home to Charlotte, also expressed frustration over the lack of options. His itinerary took him from Indianapolis to Cleveland to Charlotte.

"I'm hoping I have a smooth connection and I get on, because I have 45 minutes to make my connection and there's always the possibility that this flight will be late and I won't make it and not get home tonight and that would be extremely aggravating," Goers said.

Catching non-stops has become more difficult in recent years. Indianapolis now has 34 non-stop destinations (two of which are seasonal.) That's down from 45 in 2005.

It's not just Indianapolis. Airport Authority Chairman Mike Wells said the decline in non-stops is industry-wide. Like drivers, airlines have taken a hit at the pump. They want to make sure the planes they fly are full of passengers.

Wells said, "The issue is with oil over $100 a barrel it's very difficult for airlines to fly over existing hubs and go to a non-stop city" [if the planes aren't flying at capacity.]

He said that's why they're going after key business cities, mostly on the west coast, which has very non-stop destinations. Wells said the top contenders include San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Texas and Seattle. They're also pursuing additional non-stops to cities like Los Angeles.

Wells said the business community is a key player in the push.

"Yes, they're very interested. In fact, we've been in discussions with some to actually provide an economic commitment to the airlines so if they had non-stops from here to there, say San Francisco, they'd buy so many dollars worth of tickets, and those things can help get service sometimes," Wells said.

Huber noted it's not just about serving the businesses in central Indiana, "but for people outside our city. Having great accessibility means greater visibility and it puts us on the map with people who make business decisions, those people who are looking at new branches to locate their companies or new business ventures they want to invest in."

Of course, it's not just business travelers who put a premium on non-stop flights. Dawn Holtzapple, headed on spring break with her family said non-stops are a priority.

"Very much so. We hate connections, especially with the kids," she said. "The day drags on and it makes it much longer and with a six-year-old boy tempers flare eventually."

Wells said a work group would spend the next several months working on a plan to attract more non-stops, which includes identifying the most viable destinations and the airlines best suited to take on those routes.

AVWest Grows Bombardier Order Book With Five Global 6000 Jets

MONTREAL, QUEBEC--(Marketwire - March 30, 2012) - 

Bombardier Aerospace today announced that AVWest of Australia has placed firm orders for five Global 6000 ultra long-range jets, featuring the new Vision Flight Deck. The total value of this overall order is approximately $292.5 million US, based on the 2012 list price for typically equipped aircraft. 

"Bombardier''s Global aircraft portfolio is unique to our industry. Together, the Global aircraft family offers range, cabin volume and flight deck commonality that is unmatched by any competitive product," said Steve Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Business Aircraft. "AVWest and Bombardier have a solid, long-standing relationship. We are delighted that they continue to place their confidence in Bombardier and the Global aircraft family." 

AVWest is a large Australian corporate jet operator and also owns and operates the Perth Jet Centre, providing 24-hour ground handling for all types of business aircraft as well as full Fixed Based Operation (FBO) and VIP services. Their current fleet of modern aircraft and helicopters includes a large cabin Challenger 604 and three Global Express XRS jets. In June 2011, Bombardier confirmed that AVWest placed firm orders for four Global 7000 and two Global 8000 jets. 

"The Global 6000 jet is today''s perfect solution to connecting key long range city pairs non-stop." said Tim Roberts, Principal, AVWest. "In addition, the Vision Flight Deck and the overall commonality with the forthcoming Global 7000 and Global 8000 aircraft make it the obvious choice for AVWest." 

The Global 6000 jet features the largest cabin of any in-service purpose-built corporate aircraft currently on the market - offering more cabin volume and more floor space than its closest competitor. No other in-service business jet in the ultra long-range segment matches the high-speed range capability delivered by this aircraft. 

Described as a breakthrough in business aviation, the Vision Flight Deck is designed to deliver a completely new cockpit experience. By combining the best in technological advancements with superior designer aesthetics, it provides pilots flying Bombardier Global aircraft an unprecedented level of control and comfort. The Vision Flight Deck introduces the Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion® avionics suite, providing an integrated flight deck to ensure interoperability between systems. 

About Bombardier
A world-leading manufacturer of innovative transportation solutions, from commercial aircraft and business jets to rail transportation equipment, systems and services, Bombardier Inc. is a global corporation headquartered in Canada. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2011, were $18.3 billion, and its shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD). Bombardier is listed as an index component to the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America indexes. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier. 

Follow @Bombardier_Aero on Twitter to receive the latest news and updates from Bombardier Aerospace. 

Bombardier, Challenger 604, Global, Global 6000, Global 7000, Global 8000, Global Express, Vision Flight Deck and XRS are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries. 

Pro Line Fusion is a registered trademark of Rockwell Collins. 

LIAT not out to price gouge

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua – Regional legacy carrier LIAT has sought to allay fears that now it once again holds the monopoly on inter-regional travel that it will be ramping back up its airfares.

The recent suspension of flights by REDjet had raised concerns in some sectors that this could lead to an escalation in air fares for regional travel.

However, in a media release issued yesterday (March 28), LIAT announced to its customers and the general travelling public that it had no intention of seeking to take advantage of REDjet’s suspension of services by raising its fares in a manner that would result in any “unnecessary increase” in ticket prices.

Corporate Communications Manager Desmond Brown pointed out that since the suspension of flights by REDjet, there has been no increase in the fares offered by LIAT.

“In fact, to the contrary, LIAT has intensified its campaign to provide discounted seats for regional travel beginning with a series of special fares offered to distressed REDjet passengers,” Brown said.

“This was expanded to include special fares for the on-going international cricket series, as well as other promotional fares to the travelling public. These are in addition to LIAT’s regular offering of special ‘Just Go’ fares available on our web site.”

Brown noted that LIAT is very conscious of its central role in air transportation in the region and continues to do all possible within its constraints to provide the public with affordable fares.

He further pointed out, that as is the case with other airlines LIAT’s tickets are sold in several fare classes from the lowest to the highest class.

“On each flight tickets are sold in several fare classes. Each seat is allocated and sold in a particular fare class on each flight. LIAT has not reallocated the number of seats available in its various fare classes for any flight since 16th March 2012 at 8:00pm,” Brown said.


Bimini seaplane ride 'grows a ton'

A US Navy fighter pilot's sea plane company will begin twice weekly scheduled flights between Fort Lauderdale and Bimini today, telling Tribune Business the company had "grown a ton" in less than a year following its $200,000 start-up investment.

Rob Ceravolo, chief executive and president of the Key West-based seaplane outfit, Tropic Ocean Airways, told Tribune Business he had been well-received by Bimini residents after being approved to operate into the Bahamas last June. 

Mr Ceravolo told Tribune Business: "I used to travel to Bimini. I always thought it would be a good idea to start a seaplane service there. We had a lot of calls for it, and we decided to try it out. 

"We started out in Key West last June. Our first Bimini flight was last June. Since then we have been operating on-demand service. We are hoping to add Miami and West Palm Beach later on, but we are taking it one step at a time. My company doesn't have any big financial backer. I've been doing this on my own, on a navy pilot's salary."

Mr Ceravolo said he had invested about $200,000 of his own money into the company, and added: "I started out with just myself and a friend of mine, and we added three pilots. In less than a year we have grown a ton. Our planes are very well kept. If you take care of your planes they will take care of you. 

"We have very strict standards and operating procedures. I've probably invested $200,000 of my own money. I sold a house to help make this happen. You can say this is my retirement plan. We have been very well received by the locals here in Bimini."

Mr Ceravolo said the seaplanes currently have the capacity to carry up to five passengers; four at a time on the scheduled flights. "We are hoping to invest in larger seaplanes. If we see a very big demand and need more capacity we will be looking at the Cessna Caravan, but right now it's just a step-by-step approach."

The flights are about 35 minutes, and will land in the harbour on North Bimini, allowing passengers to disembark at the seaplane ramp just blocks away from Guy Harvey's Big Game Club and Bimini Bay, avoiding the long taxi and ferry boat ride required if passengers arrive at the South Bimini airport. 

Tropic is teaming up with the Big Game Club and Bimini Watersports to offer guests an adventure travel package including airfare, accommodations, and water sports activities. 

Bimini Big Game general manager, Michael Weber, told Tribune Business: "We are in the process of purchasing a floating dock, which will be on the south side of the property. That will enable the plane to disembark right at the resort. It will be treated like a boat would. It's all very exciting. Right now they will disembark at the old Chalk's ramp."

In the year since it began operations ,the airline has had some notable flights, including donating two flights to transport Christmas gifts to the children of Bimini as well as bringing John Hemingway, grandson of Ernest Hemingway, back to the island.


An end to adventure at Blue Ash Airport

There is just something about driving along Glendale-Milford Road in Blue Ash on a sunny spring day, having the shadow of a what appears to be a giant dragonfly cross over your head and a nimble Cessna 172 float down onto a runway before you.

Frank Sinatra is singing, “Let’s get away from it all,” or should be.

The executive who steps out of the plane looks like he’s heading home to a family dinner after a quick business trip, or could be.

Brightly painted Navajo Chieftains and Cirrus SR22s look ready to jump into the air at a moment’s notice. And air travel, and life, seem as simple as they used to be.

After more than 30 years of debate between the cities of Cincinnati and Blue Ash, the Blue Ash Airport is scheduled to close in early June.

Its loss is about more than the City of Cincinnati shedding properties or suburban land coming open for development.

The 91-year-old airport is not only a rare Hamilton County asset, it is a state of mind.

What nearby resident hasn’t watched a quick take-off from the 3,500-foot runway and dreamed of the days when a flight to Chicago took an hour, start to finish, and didn’t require body scans or baggage hassles?
Who can imagine parking your car and being in the air 10 minutes later? Or – unique to Blue Ash – arriving from out of town and literally walking across the street to your hotel?

What Glendale-Milford Road traveler doesn’t find some sense of relief at the wide expanse of airport land, rustic structures and jaunty planes breaking up the corporate sprawl?

Other regional airports will be happy to snap up services. But once the airport is closed, Blue Ash will never be quite Blue Ash again.

No new development will make up for the sense of adventure, spontaneity and romance of a small, historic airport, or of the people connected to it.

Duncan Latta is the mechanic for Aviators Flight Center at the airport, who also flies animal rescue missions. Recently, he took one leg of a Mississippi-to-New York mission to save a litter of pups about to be euthanized.

Bob Larbes started working at the airport in 1941 as a line boy, washing windshields and cleaning tobacco chew off the side of airplanes. He became a pilot, flew Flying Fortresses in World War II and returned to Blue Ash to become a legendary flight instructor, putting more than 1,000 local residents in the sky.

Brian Rust is a businessman whose company moved nearby in part because of the airport. He finds flying out of Blue Ash not just cost effective, but exciting. “I’m sitting beside the pilot and he’s telling me to look down here, or showing me what a gauge does,” he says. “It takes the fear out of flying.”

For Don Bang, who took flying lessons at the airport at age 78, the airport is “a passion thing.”

For businessman and pilot Ted Catino, it’s economic development – a drawing card Blue Ash needs.

 “The people who come here are adventurous and have a unique lifestyle, and having those people in your community changes the community,” he says. “Lose the airport, and they’ll go elsewhere.”

But wherever they go, they’ll never find exactly what Blue Ash Airport was – personal, informal, charming, simple, stitched right into the side of a suburban community.

Jim Kirby flies his family out of the airport to see relatives in Akron and Florida, sometimes reserving a plane at 7 a.m. and being in the air by 9 a.m.

With his dad at the controls, 3½-year-old Jason Kirby sits in a carseat beside him, listening to air traffic control with a headset and greeting take-off with, “Go, go, go!”

“I’m still hoping,” his dad says wistfully, “that when he’s 10, he can start take flying lessons here.”


FAMILY Island resorts are reporting high occupancy levels and strong bookings through April, with one hotel manager telling Tribune Business that bookings were up 8-9 per cent through next month and the remainder of the year.

Brook Castelsky, general manager of the Cape Santa Maria Beach Resort on Long Island, told Tribune Business that April bookings were up substantially year-over-year.

He said: "This weekend we will be at approximately 80 per cent. We're experiencing a fairly successful Spring Break, and looking forward to finishing up strong after Easter. Spring Break is a big time of the year for us, second after Easter. Through April and throughout the rest of the year our bookings are up between 8 and 9 per cent. April is up dramatically, so we are pretty excited about our April bookings this year."

Stephen Kappeler, general manager, of the Cape Eleuthera Resort and Marina, told Tribune Business that April bookings for the property were also looking good.

"Everything is well. Everyone is working, and in fact we are sold out for the next 15 days," he said. "I think generally for us, February and March were a bit softer than expected, but I think we are looking at a good April. We have the 'Ride for Hope' and the 'One Eleuthera' event, which is going to fill up a lot of rooms on the island after Easter.

"April is going to be a very good month. The fish have started to run, and we have a lot of visitors here to do fishing. Things are looking good."

Michael Weber, general manager of the Bimini Big Game Resort and Marina, a Guy Harvey Outpost property, told Tribune Business that occupancy levels were picking up at the property.

He said: "Occupancies are picking up as we're moving into Spring and into the Summer. We're already sold out for the Memorial Day weekend, which is a good sign, as two months out we are already sold out for a holiday weekend. The booking window is usually 30 days or so, but it's nice to see that already a holiday is sold out two months in advance.

"We are seeing some nice gradual bookings for our weekend business in the summer. We have been reaching out to some new markets like weddings, small meetings and that sort of thing. We are opening up to different markets versus just fishing and diving. It takes a little time to cultivate the market, but we are trying our best to get the Big Game Club into those markets and it seems to be working slowly. We are happy about that."

Mr Weber said business at the Bimini Big Game marina was picking up slowly. "The beginning of the month was not that great,' he added.

"We had 25-35 mile per hour winds blowing for almost 10 days. We had a few boats that were stuck here that couldn't leave, and the other ones that wanted to come here couldn't. The marina has been suffering a little bit, primarily due to the weather, but as we come into our high season we are pretty optimistic."

Kyle Mayse, manager of Sandals Emerald Bay in Exuma, told Tribune Business that the resort was running at occupancy levels in the 70 per cent range, and was also projecting a strong April.

Mr Mayse said: "Things are not looking too bad. We are running in the 70 per cent range. Last week we were actually full. We have more persons on property than we had last year, and we are benefiting from greater exposure. Getting more airlift into Exuma is always a challenge but we are working on that. Things are looking pretty good for April. We have quite a few groups coming in. April is looking very strong."

Edward Kinney, Ritz-Carlton's vice-president of corporate affairs and brand awareness, told Tribune Business that the Abaco Club at Winding Bay was performing steadily.

Mr Kinney said: "Everything is pretty much how it has been. We continue to add new members both on the golf side and the destination club side."

Residents won't have to cede homes to airport

 Though it can be noisy, living just across the street from Southeast Iowa Regional Airport doesn't bother Bill and Sue Roberts, and they've put themselves to work on an extensive renovation of their old house.

Some nights they go out and watch the planes coming in for landings at runway 36, at the southernmost end of the airport.

"We love to watch the airplanes come in when they light up the runway at night," Sue Roberts said. "It's beautiful, kind of like Christmas."

When they bought their home in 1993, they didn't know their home was situated within runway 36's protection zone, which Federal Aviation Administration regulations require to be clear of occupied residential structures or other concentrations of persons. Since finding out, the Robert's have discussed the issue at numerous public meetings over the years, and it wasn't always clear whether they would be able to keep their home.

"When we bought our property we had no idea this was going to be an issue," said Sue Roberts. "That's why it was such a shock to find out they might take it."

The Roberts own one of four properties within the runway protection zone. They received the good news Thursday night that the FAA will not require them or their neighbors to vacate their homes.

The Southeast Iowa Regional Airport authority made the announcement during a meeting to update its master plan. Jerry Searle of Ankeny-based Snyder and Associates said the airport must indeed pursue purchasing the properties, but only when the owners are willing to sell.

"We agreed that when these properties become available for acquisition, the airport owner has to make a good faith effort to acquire those properties," Searle said.

As is, the land acquisition agreement would require the FAA to pay for 90 percent of the purchasing cost, with the SE Iowa Regional Airport paying the other ten percent.

"You're saying that the FAA is willing to wait until properties become available to acquire them? Are they going to be willing to wait 10, 20, 30 years?" Sue Roberts asked.

"That is part of our plan," said airport director Mary Beaird. "As long as that plan is in place, that is what it will be."

Beaird added it was possible the FAA could change its position in coming years, but for now residents in the RPZ are in the clear.

"Every indication is that they are willing to wait," Beaird said.

Bill and Sue Roberts were pleased with the outcome.

"Last year we didn't think we had a choice," Sue Roberts said. "It sounds like the FAA is willing to be fair and help us relocate if we need to."

Runway 36's protective zone has been an issue for residents of the area at least since the late 1970s. Tom Greene of Summer St. bought a home within the RPZ in 1977. He remembers men in suits knocking on his door the next year and telling him they were going to seize his home.

He said the FAA has backed off substantially since then, but the issue remained unresolved since it was brought up again in a master plan meeting in September 2010.

Snyder & Assoc. has worked with the airport to update its master plan since 2008 at a cost of $80,000. Searle led the presentation of the update Thursday night.

He said the thresholds for runways 30 and 18 were set to be displaced 500 and 600 feet respectively. He also mentioned several improvement projects scheduled for this year, including refurbishing the airport's storm sewer system and reconstructing a taxiway near runway 18.

"What's interesting is this runway was constructed in 1944. The original pavement that's out there today has been there since 1944. That is absolutely amazing, to have pavement last that long," Searle said of runway 18, which he added will nonetheless eventually need to be reconstructed. "If you can go 65 years with the same pavement, you must have been doing something right. So you guys have been doing a good job of maintaining this over the years, but again, fire a warning shot across the bow. It isn't going to last forever."

The FAA is currently in negotiations to purchase a vacated property in the runway 36 protection zone. Residents will be watching closely to see what kind of price the FAA offers the owner for the property.

Aviation law service

Soon after a Pacific Blue pilot began defending charges in the Queenstown District Court and a report was released on a separate incident when passenger jets crossed flight paths above the resort, a worldwide specialist aviation service for law firms to access aviation experts is being launched in Queenstown. 

Sydney-based international aviation consultancy firm AvLaw Aviation Consultants announced yesterday it was launching the interNEWS service to provide law firms with access to a range of aviation experts across all technical and operational disciplines. 

Pilots, aircraft engineers, safety specialists, and aircraft accident investigators will be able to register on the database for the service, which went live online yesterday. 

The interNEWS service will be operated in New Zealand by AvLaw Pacific operations regional manager Alan Ferguson, of Christchurch. 

The official launch tomorrow coincides with the 31st annual Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand (ALAANZ) conference in the Heritage Hotel, Queenstown, starting tomorrow and finishing on Tuesday. A total of 85 aviation law experts from around the world will attend. 

Asked what prompted the service, managing director Ron Bartsch, of Sydney, said yesterday the firm realized there was a big demand for specific aviation experts. 

"I realized law firms really need access to people that are experts in the technical and operational side of things, how best to develop and present expert reports and how to be good witnesses on the stand."


Jet Booking Directs Online Booking Makes Private Jet Charter Quicker And Easier Than Ever Before

Since the launch of their new website in Q4 2011, Jet Booking Direct have experience a growth in private jet charter requests, including increased demand from India. This surge in demand is partly down to the booking process introduced on their website.

London, UK (PRWEB) March 30, 2012
The online quote system is arguably the most refined in the industry for private jet charter. Split into three, easy to digest and quick to fill out sections, the form features live validation which helps the client ensure they have filled in their information correctly. This helps reduce time wasted at both ends, streamlining the booking process. Further, the form uses a database of over 10,000 airports to help the client and broker choose the most appropriate for their journey.

When the user submits the request, a page displays the details of their flight as well as a Google Map, plotted with the airports and a connecting “flight path”. Feeding back to the user after they have submitted has proved valuable, and also is a method of allowing them to check the information they have entered is correct. Despite the form allowing the user to submit a complete private jet request, statistics obtained via Google indicate it takes on average 2 minutes for the user to fill in.

Most impressively perhaps is that the booking process Jet Booking Direct employs is entirely bespoke, allowing the charter company to continually refine and adjust the system in line with client feedback. This is advantageous over third-party systems usually employed by charter companies, mainly because it places full control over the charter in the hands of the broker, and most importantly, the client.

The website is also mobile optimised, meaning clients can request quotes with ease via their iPhone or Android smartphone. This ability to request quotes on the move, without needing to download an app, has proved popular with significant leads coming though the mobile platform.

Aside from the booking form, the Jet Booking Direct website has received widespread praise for being one of the smarter and easier to use charter websites. Built using the latest web technologies, the website also features regularly updated empty legs, private jet news, a stunning fleet page and information on the other services offered by Jet Booking Direct. These include helicopter charter, luxury Yacht charter, and exotic holiday deals.
For the original version on PRWeb visit:

Authorities Probe Drug Trafficking Scheme Involving Delta, TSA Workers

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Authorities are probing a drug trafficking scheme involving Delta Airlines and Transportation Security Administration workers in Los Angeles and Hawaii.

John Tai of Carson is among several arrested for allegedly having drugs and cash flown to and from California and Hawaii.

Investigators say TSA or Delta Airlines employees would find a checked bag after it had been screened and put drugs or cash inside.

A passenger would then pick it up at baggage claim like any other bag.

A federal investigation has already found that hundreds of thousands of pounds of methamphetamine was smuggled between the two states over the past two years.

Daniel Field expects air traffic spike for Masters Week

Daniel Field will have a busy week coming up.

Becky Shealy, vice president of business development for Augusta Aviation, said between 500 and 600 aircrafts will land at the airport between Monday and Sunday of Masters Week.

“We on an average day see from 10 to 20 aircrafts,” she said. “Masters Week we anticipate seeing 80 to 100 planes on the field.”

The aircrafts, privately owned by corporations or individuals, must reserve an incoming landing slot for all flights beginning Monday. Air traffic controllers begin operating the Daniel Field tower on Wednesday, Shealy said.

Typically, Wednesday is the busiest traffic day at Daniel Field followed by Friday. However, Shealy expects lower traffic numbers on Friday and Sunday this year because they fall on Easter weekend.

Many travelers using Daniel Field land in Augusta during the morning and takeoff the same night. Although most planes don’t park overnight, Daniel Field is prepared to host overflow from Augusta Regional Airport where the private plane terminal is under construction and affecting some parking areas.

Last year, Daniel Field was in the midst of construction that forced them to operate from a triplewide trailer and portable restrooms during Masters Week. A newly renovated terminal opened March 6.

Pilots and crew members will be treated to catered lunches in the new terminal space. They can also relax in 25 zero-gravity lounge chairs.

“Everything’s fresh and new,” Shealy said. “We’re just excited to be one of the major gateways of the city.”


Outlook 2012: Sky’s the limit for Sudbury’s airport

Getting a flight in an out of Greater Sudbury Airport just keeps getting better.

Last year Bob Johnston, CEO for the Greater Sudbury Airport, shared the strategic goals for the future growth of the airport. The first goal was to firstly improve the scheduled air travel services.

That meant competitive fares and increase in flight frequency and network destinations.

“Passenger service has increased and passenger numbers have increased dramatically. We are growing,” said Terra Glabb, Director of business development, Greater Sudbury Airport.

“In 2011 we had 211,181 passengers through the airport — a 17% increase from 2010.”

They credit the increase to the lower priced airfares, nicer aircraft and flying is simply becoming a better option to driving.

Air Canada added an express service last fall offering five return flights daily. Their new express service is with a Q400 aircraft that boasts of quiet comfort.

While Porter Airlines now offers four daily return flights to Toronto’s Billy Bishop airport with connections to domestic and international flights. Business travel has improved immensely accommodating same day service between Sudbury and Toronto.

Weekend service has also been improved with Porter Airlines adding a second Saturday round trip this past January and a third Sunday flight starting April 22.

Bearskin Airlines has 14 daily flights and introduced the Saab340 this past fall which accommodates 34 passengers with stand-up cabin, lavatory, leather seats and refreshments.

“We are expecting another 20% increase in passenger numbers,” said Glabb.

In addition to the increased flight service the Greater Sudbury Airport had set a goal to increase their use of land north of the terminal.

With more than a 1,000 acres of land to work with there is substantial potential for major growth.

“We have five new hangars that went up at the airport this year,” said Glabb. Part of that development has been to bring in the services of water, sewer and hydro.

“The airport is a great place especially for private pilots they can establish their business here. Most businesses are generally aviation based. We have a couple of doctors who fly for business and pleasure, engineering companies and construction companies.

“We also have Geotech Aviation Ltd. who provide geophysical airborne surveys and employ about 30 people and they are expanding dramatically.”

In 2011, the Discovery Aviation Academy was launched offering private commercial pilot licenses. The academy offers a two-year full-time program designed to graduate commercial pilots who have the experience and real-world exposure to make them employable in the Canadian aviation industry.

Cambrian College has also formed a partnership with Discovery Aviation and is offering the Business Fundamentals Certificate program. Students have the opportunity to pursue business studies and commercial flight training at the same time. The new program begins this fall with 25 students already registered.

“This spring we will be opening up a $3.3-million land development project with more buildings and hangars going up this year,” said Glabb.

With all this growth, the coming year is expected to be as successful as the past one with increased passenger numbers and business activity.

Gulf Air Increasing Flights Between Kenya And Bahrain

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Bahrain ’s national carrier Gulf Air said Thursday that in order to meet increasing passenger numbers, it will increase its flights between Nairobi and Manama from five to seven times a week in each direction.

A statement from the airline issued in Nairobi said with 14 weekly flights between Bahrain and Nairobi , travellers across the Gulf Air network can take advantage of the fast and easy connections via Bahrain on Middle East-India subcontinent service (ME, ISC) and Europe network in less than three hours.  

    “We expect to see continuing strong demand on our Nairobi route and will continue to cater to our customer base there,” Gulf Air CEO Samer Majali said in the statement.

The frequency increase will provide greater choice of flights for passengers to fly to their destinations with short transit times at Bahrain airport in both directions.

The new frequency in particular connects Nairobi to more new markets via Bahrain , which include Copenhagen , Rome , Chennai, Kochi , Lahore , Jeddah, Amman , Beirut , Istanbul and Larnaca.

Gulf Air is currently operating an Airbus A320 in a two-class configuration of 16 seats in Falcon Gold and 120 in Economy, and has the capacity to carry 4 tons of freight to and from Nairobi .

Majali said the Nairobi service, which the airline launched only in July last year, is one of the successful routes in recent times.

    “We have seen tremendous response from our customers from Kenya heading largely to London , Saudi Arabia , Doha , UAE, Mumbai, Karachi and Bangkok .

    "We have also been enjoying a very good support from customers in Bahrain , GCC, Indian Subcontinent and Far East, who find our flights more convenient to reach Kenya —all of which has encouraged us to increase our frequency to daily service,” he said.

The airline said it will be building upon the success of the route since its opening last year, as it recognize the key importance of the Nairobi market as a marker of the strength of the airline’s regional network connecting the wider Africa.

    “The airline hopes to further grow the market and take advantage of demand opportunities on offer across the entire Gulf Air network,” it said.


AMR Corp. reports $619 Million Loss in February

The parent of American Airlines reported a net loss of $619 million for the month of February and said it had reached deals with more aircraft owners to return planes or secure new financial terms.

The monthly report from AMR Corp. comes as the third-largest U.S. airline by traffic prepares arguments for a likely trial on its efforts to replace some of its existing labor contracts with fresh terms it said are essential for its survival.

The February net loss included $375 million in reorganization items, with the monthly operating deficit pegged at $186 million on revenue of $1.81 billion. The company reported an operating loss of $5 million in January and a $234 million net loss.

AMR's cash position improved during February. The company ended the month with $4.64 billion in cash and short-term investments compared with $4.04 billion at the end of January.

The company also said in a regulatory filing that discussions had advanced with aircraft owners and leasing companies, agreeing to fresh terms covering 136 planes. It has rejected leases on 40 jets and returned one, and also reached an agreement to return all 39 of its ATR turboprop planes by the end of 2013. 


Former airports authority chairman kills self, wife

Photo Courtesy Cedar Crest College
Charlie and Adrienne Snelling accept an award at Cedar Crest College, with which they were very involved. The couple was found dead Thursday morning in their Upper Macungie Township home. 

The former chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority killed himself and his wife of 61 years at their home in Pennsylvania on Thursday, airports officials confirmed. Charles D. Snelling, 81, had cared for his wife, Adrienne Snelling, for years since she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

 Snelling, an inventor active in Republican politics, had served on the authority for nine years after being appointed by President George W. Bush. He chaired the authority from January 2010 to December 2011, then remained on the board. He attended the most recent meeting last Wednesday, airports authority staff said.

The authority controls both Dulles International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport but is also managing the Dulles Rail project that is building Metro’s 23-mile Silver Line.

Many knew Charles D. Snelling as a successful businessman and major figure in Republican politics, but close friends knew him as a husband devoted to his wife of 61 years, the college sweetheart he called "my dear, sweet Adrienne."

He cared for her as her Alzheimer's disease worsened the last few years, happy to nurture her as she had done for him for six decades. What one friend called "a great love affair" ended Thursday when he killed her and then himself in their home in Upper Macungie Township.

"For the past several years our mother had been afflicted by Alzheimer's, and together they struggled greatly to manage the effects of this devastating disease," their family said in a statement.

"After apparently reaching the point where he could no longer bear to see the love of his life deteriorate further, our father ended our mother's life and then took his own life as well. This is a total shock to everyone in the family, but we know he acted out of deep devotion and profound love."

Snelling had been nursing his dementia-stricken wife for more than six years, according to an autobiographical essay he published on the New York Times website in December. The couple, both 81, celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary March 21.

Charles Snelling, a 1954 Lehigh University graduate, was an engineer, entrepreneur and inventor and a major figure in Republican circles, from the Lehigh Valley to Harrisburg to Washington, D.C. He was a regular guest columnist in The Morning Call and had most recently published a piece in Sunday's paper about the fiscal dangers posed by the public pension system.

Adrienne Snelling, a 1952 Cedar Crest College graduate, was a respected fine arts photographer who published two books and frequently exhibited her work. She was appointed to the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts by former Gov. Tom Ridge.

The couple had five children.

Friends were stunned by news of the deaths. Attorney Bruce Davis, who knew the Snellings for four decades, called their relationship "a great love affair."

"They had a special bond, a special relationship, which they shared with their friends," he said. "It's understandable to people that knew them well that they would leave their family, leave life together."

Jane Baker, a former Republican Lehigh County executive and state representative, learned of their deaths before the family issued its statement and said she "wouldn't be surprised" to learn that Snelling had taken his ailing wife's life, and then his own.

"Two years ago [in 2010] their Christmas card was a picture of them, walking hand in hand, backs to the camera, and it said, 'going home,' " Baker said. "Some people who got that card were very upset, because that was the message.

"His wife was a lovely person," Baker said. "I know it was a very difficult time for Charles caring for his wife, and it's certainly a sad ending."

Ed Donley, retired chairman of Air Products, knew Charles Snelling for more than 50 years and worked with him on educational and political activities.

"I know that [Adrienne] has had Alzheimer's disease, which my wife has as well," Donley said. "It's a difficult disease and difficult for any family to live through that experience. She was a very decent, gracious person, both of them were."

In his writings, Snelling frequently expounded on his core beliefs of personal responsibility and human freedom, describing himself on his Facebook page as a Libertarian/Republican and secular humanist.

His pages-long resume hints at the scope of his accomplishments and the range of his interests, listing membership in scores of civic and governmental bodies.

He held 20 patents in the fields of cryogenics and thermodynamics.

He had served on the Lehigh County Republican Committee executive board since 1975 and spent a four-year term on Allentown City Council, including three years as president. At 70, he was appointed to the board of directors of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which manages Reagan and Dulles airports.

In his Times essay, however, Snelling paints these accomplishments as secondary to his love for his wife.

Calling her "my dear, sweet Adrienne," he wrote how she had remained a happy and loving person despite the ravaging effect of Alzheimer's disease on her memory.

Tending to her in her illness is not "noble, it's not sacrificial and it's not painful," he wrote. "It's just right in the scheme of things."

The Snellings met at a Cedar Crest College sophomore dance. Charles Snelling was with a blind date and sat at the same table with a young woman he described as "ravishingly beautiful, bright, well-groomed, well-spoken, mannerly, disciplined and circumspect. Her name was Adrienne Celeste Angeletti. … She was, unfortunately, on the arm of the Yalie who had come to Cedar Crest College for the dance as her date."

Nevertheless, Snelling wooed the young beauty and they married March 21, 1951, the first day of spring break. They spent their honeymoon in Bermuda.


Republic Airport Issues Noise Alert: Military jets to operate from Republic Airport as part of bicentennial observances of the War of 1812

Military jets at Republic Airport.

As part of the planning for a national bicentennial observance of the War of 1812 on April 1 and 2, Republic Airport will be hosting two F-18 jets from the US Navy's precision demonstration team.

The Blue Angels will touch down at Republic Airport on Sunday and then take off for a familiarization flight over New York Harbor during Monday.

Their activities are expected to produce the type of noise expected from military aircraft applying full power for takeoff.

Children should be informed of the aircraft’s arrival and purpose so that they are not startled by their arrival into the region, the jet noise they will produce or their anticipated flights to and from New York City.

“As always, we welcome these aircraft and what they represent, offering a powerful tribute to the men and women who continue to defend our freedoms,” stated Airport Director Michael Geiger. 

During their stay, the Blue Angel F-18’s will be based at SheltAir Aviation, located along New Highway on the north east side of the airport.