Saturday, March 31, 2012

Syrian pilot flees to Jordan

AMMAN - A Syrian pilot fled to Jordan Saturday morning, Amman-based Khaberni news website reported.

The pilot, who crossed the barbed wires on the border line between Jordan and Syria, left his helicopter on the Syrian territories, according to Khaberni.

The pilot flew by his helicopter from a military airport in Daraa in southwestern Syria, and headed towards the Jordanian borders, the report said, adding that the pilot also escaped anti- aircraft missiles.

The report could not be independently verified till the moment.

Amphibious Aircraft in the sea off Abalone Caye in Punta Gorda, Belize

A private, U.S. registered Amphibious Aircraft, crashed while landing in the sea off Abalone Caye in Punta Gorda, Belize. 

There were no fatalities and only the pilot, James Glen Wagner, 57 years old, a US National of Lake Land, Florida, was on board at the time. 

While the cause of the crash is still unknown, police say that on Saturday, March 24, 2012, shortly after 3:30 p.m., Wagner was landing the plane in the sea and it flipped over. 

Wagner was submerged in the water but managed to escape the aircraft unhurt. 

The information we gathered indicates that the eight seater, had just finished dropping off 7 tourists in the Placencia area and was landing off the Abalone Caye area to pickup other tourists, who were out fishing, when it flipped.We have also learnt, unofficially, from a source that this aircraft has been in Belize for close to two weeks. We could not reach the civil aviation department for comment.

American Airlines improving its Los Angeles International Airport terminal despite bankruptcy

Even though it's mired in bankruptcy proceedings, American Airlines is touting a series of improvements to its terminal at Los Angeles International Airport - one of the five hubs the carrier will heavily develop as it restructures financially.

The aim, officials say, is to improve service to travelers as a way to drum up business and drive down costs.

"We're in bankruptcy, but that doesn't mean we're not improving the customer experience," Mary Frances Fagan, director of corporate communications for American Airlines, said while showing off a series of renovations inside LAX's Terminal 4.

"We're proceeding ahead with business as usual and implementing plans we've had on the drawing board for a while," Fagan said. "One of those things was make the facility we have here at LAX bigger, better and more useful for the customers."

Just days before Fort Worth, Texas-based American filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November, the company opened its first Flagship Check-in facility for discerning travelers passing through LAX.

The premium concept - reserved for select travelers or those who pay an extra $125 - is akin to registering at a hotel, complete with a doorman, red carpet and personalized service hidden just past a discrete doorway tucked between Terminals 4 and 5.

After checking in, travelers are whisked up an elevator and moved to the front of the security line.

Two months later, crews literally worked

overnight to transform the entire ticketing lobby inside Terminal 4 to resemble similar concepts adopted at airports in Chicago and Orlando.

After complaints that the space was too small and narrow, American Airlines created additional room by equipping the west end of the terminal with six banks of self-serve kiosks, where coach passengers can retrieve their own tickets.

The east end of the building was refurbished for first-class travelers, complete with tall signs that serve as dividers. Travelers are then able to take an escalator up to a new security station that sits above the check-in desk.

The simple move eliminated paparazzi photographers who had previously gathered on a bridge that led to the terminal's original security checkpoint, which is still used by coach passengers.

"We knew there was an issue at the checkpoints with the paparazzi creating a logjam and disturbing our celebrity passengers," Fagan said. "You just don't see them gathered up there anymore."

As part of its restructuring plan, American will cut flights from smaller airports while bolstering departures from LAX and airports in Dallas, Chicago, Miami and New York by 20 percent over the next five years.

The carrier also is purchasing new fuel-efficient planes that will lead to cost savings over the long run, Fagan said. In the next several months, American also plans to upgrade several airline gates inside LAX's Terminal 4.

Fagan declined to say how much the airline is spending on the terminal renovations, citing it as "proprietary information" while noting that many of the plans were in place before the carrier filed for bankruptcy in November.

"When you spend a little money to improve customer service ... it makes people want to come here and it ultimately saves jobs," Fagan said.

Ever since American filed for bankruptcy, the carrier's flight attendants, mechanics and ground workers have staged demonstrations to protest a plan to eliminate 13,000 jobs while also reducing wages, health benefits and pension contributions.

Last week, American executives asked a bankruptcy judge to break its labor contracts in an attempt to speed up the company's reorganization. A ruling is expected later this month.

"I understand American Airlines has got to sell its product by beautifying its facilities, but they need to show some of that same respect to their employees," said Donny Tyndall, president of Transport Workers Union Local 502, which represents 1,150 maintenance and ground crew workers at airports in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Las Vegas, Tucson and Phoenix.

"Just a small portion of that renovation could save hundreds of jobs for this company, but instead they are rubbing it in our faces," Tyndall said. "It's really sad to see these fine people who have given their adult lives to this company and then treated like they are nothing." 


Air India's financial revamp plan cleared

Grappling with a fragile financial position, Air India's financial restructuring plan (FRP) has been approved by a consortium of banks, which may enable the ailing carrier save several hundred crore in the first year itself.

As part of the FRP, Air India signed four agreements with the SBI-led consortium late Friday. These were Master Restructuring Agreement, Working Capital Facility Agreement, Appointment of Facility Agent Agreement and Appointment of Trustee Agreement, airline officials said.

“The Cabinet approval for infusion of funds is still awaited and is expected to be received some time next week,” the officials said.

Implementation of the FRP would begin after the Union Cabinet approves additional equity infusion into the airline, they said. Officials of at least 19 banks were present at the signing ceremony here.

One of the major highlights of the agreements is conversion of about Rs.10,500 crore of the airline's working capital in to long-term loan, carrying an annual interest of 11 per cent.

“The first year interest would accumulate in a funded interest term plan,” they said, adding these would lead to substantial savings of about Rs.1,000 crore in 2012-13 itself.

In addition, non-convertible debentures (NCDs), guaranteed by the government, worth Rs.7,400 crore would be issued, the officials said, adding proceeds from the NCDs would be used to repay the lenders.

Apart from this, part of the working capital of about Rs.3,500 crore would be restructured as cash credit arrangement. Under the FRP, Air India has proposed that the government should infuse equity of about Rs.30,231 crore in the 2012-21 financial period.

It also includes conversion of short-term working capital loan of Rs.7,000 crore into cumulative preferential shares or NCDs and more time to repay a debt amount of about Rs.14,000 crore.

The government has so far infused equity of Rs.800 crore in 2009-10, Rs.1,200 crore in 2010-11 and another Rs.1,200 crore in 2011-12.

The debt-ridden carrier has outstanding loans and dues worth Rs.67,520 crore, of which Rs.21,200 crore is working capital loan, Rs.22,000 crore long-term loan on fleet acquisition, Rs.4,600 crore vendor dues besides an accumulated loss of Rs.20,320 crore.

In December last year, the airline had a total of Rs.21,714.38 crore as short-term working capital loans. It pays an interest of over Rs.2,600 crore annually.

The financial restructuring exercise began in May 2010 with SBICaps being appointed financial advisers to the transaction.

The FRP is based on the airline's overall turnaround plan aimed at providing immediate relief to Air India through provisions such as funded interest term plan, repayment moratorium of long term loans and upfront equity infusion by the government. 


Search for clues begins in Alberta copter crash as RCMP identifies pilot killed - Bell 206 JetRanger, Kananaskis Heli Tours

Investigators will focus their immediate attention on interviewing the survivors of a helicopter that crashed into a mountain while on a sightseeing trip near Banff National Park, a Transportation Safety Board official says.

John Lee said any information that is considered “perishable” like witness accounts, or the wreckage itself, is the top priority for investigators. Other information, such as weather data or emergency communications, he said, is already stored on databases and can be retrieved later.

“Perishable evidence is paramount at the moment,” Mr. Lee said on Saturday. “We, of course, have some more interviews to conduct with the passengers.”

The pilot, Matthew Goodine, 28, of B.C. died while being airlifted to hospital after the helicopter hit Grotto Mountain, near Banff National Park, on Friday morning.

Two British couples suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the crash and police say they have been released from hospital.

The helicopter's operator was Kananaskis Heli Tours.

Mr. Lee said the wreckage will need to be airlifted out of the remote location, which he said will likely happen in the next few days depending on the availability of a helicopter capable of the job, as well as weather and safety conditions at the crash site.

Investigators, Mr. Lee said, will look at the wreckage to determine if there was any obvious mechanical failure, and he said they could ship any suspect pieces to Edmonton for further investigation.

He said the cost of the job, as well as the logistics, will be handled by the operator's insurance company.

Police said it started to snow around the time of the crash and it was windy and snowing all day off and on. The weather also impeded rescue efforts, police said.

Mounties have said they didn't hear about the crash until about two hours after the chopper went down, saying officials at Canadian Forces Base Trenton notified them after getting a signal from an emergency beacon.

Police said it was then another two hours before a search and rescue team from Kananaskis EMS got to the site by helicopter.

Mr. Lee said he didn't know what time the beacon signal was received, but he said that information is preserved electronically and can be examined later.

Police said it took several hours to get all of the victims out of the wrecked chopper and to hospitals.

They said the pilot was the first to be taken off the mountainside, but his injuries proved too severe.

Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub, N7276D: Accident occurred March 30, 2012 in Sleetmute, Alaska

NTSB Identification: ANC12FA028 
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Friday, March 30, 2012 in Sleetmute, AK
Aircraft: PIPER PA-18, registration: N7276D
Injuries: 2 Fatal.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On March 30, 2012, about 1730 Alaska daylight time, a ski-equipped Piper PA-18 airplane, N7276D, sustained substantial damage when it collided with trees and snow-covered terrain following a loss of control while landing, about 26 miles south of Sleetmute, Alaska. The airplane was being operated as a visual flight rules (VFR) cross-country personal flight under Title 14, CFR Part 91, when the accident occurred. The uncertificated pilot, and the one passenger, both sustained fatal injuries. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed, and no flight plan was filed. The accident flight originated at the Sleetmute Airport at an unknown time.

During a telephone interview with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigator-in-charge (IIC) on March 31, a witness and personal friend of the pilot and passenger, reported that the airplane was being used to shuttle fuel and camping supplies to a remote cabin on the banks of the Holitna River. He said that before the airplane arrived, he and another friend used snow machines to pack-down a makeshift landing site on the frozen, snow-covered river. After the pilot finished transporting all of the fuel and supplies, the pilot and passenger departed the site to check the condition of the river ice upstream. About 30 minutes later, he said he saw the airplane flying towards the makeshift site, flying "low and slow" over the treetops as it approached. He said that as the airplane flew towards the landing site threshold, it began a slight right turn, and then he heard the engine speed increase to a very high rpm setting. The airplane then nosed down abruptly, and it began a 3/4 spiral turn downward, while descending from view into the trees at the approach end of the site.

The airplane collided with the snow and tree-covered terrain in a near-vertical attitude.

On March 31, the NTSB IIC, along with two Alaska State Troopers, and a Federal Aviation Administration operations inspector from the Anchorage Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), examined the wreckage site. No mechanical anomalies were noted during the wreckage examination.

The closest weather reporting facility was the Sleetmute Airport, 26 miles north of the accident site. At 1716, a weather observation from the Sleetmute Airport was reporting, in part: Wind, 020 degrees (true) at 4 knots; visibility, 10 statute miles; clouds and sky condition, 9,000; temperature, 39 degrees F; dew point, 16 degrees F; altimeter, 29.30 inches Hg.


 RED DEVIL, Alaska —Alaska State Troopers say two men died Friday evening after their plane crashed while attempting to land near the Holitna River. 

 It happened about 5:30, when troopers say the Super Cub's pilot, 42-year-old Richard Wilmarth of Red Devil, attempted to land on a private airstrip. 

His passenger, Sleetmute Tribal Administrator Kenneth Mellick, also died in the crash. The 45-year-old was also an Alaska Power Association board member. 

Troopers say that the cause of the crash has not yet been determined and the investigation is ongoing. A plane crash Friday near the village Red Devil killed two men landing on a private airstrip, Alaska State Troopers said. 

The red and white Piper Super Cub, registered to pilot Richard Wilmarth, was landing close to the Holitna River when it crashed for reasons so far unknown, according to troopers. Wilmarth, 42, and passenger Kenneth Mellick, 45, both died, troopers said.

Investigators from the Federal Aviation Admistration and the National Transportation Safety Board were said to be looking into the cause of the crash.

Mellick, a resident of Sleetmute, was the village's tribal administrator and an Alaska Power Association board member.

The bodies of Wilmarth and Mellick will be flown to Anchorage for an autopsy, troopers said.

Sleetmute and Red Devil are both along the Kuskokwim River.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - A man who was piloting a plane when it crashed near Red Devil was not a certified pilot and took the plane without his father's permission. 

The plane crashed Friday evening, killing Richard L. Wilmarth, 42, and a passenger, 45-year-old Kenneth Mellick, according to Monday's Anchorage Daily News ( ). Mellick lived in Sleetmute, where he was the village's tribal administrator and an Alaska Power Association board member.

Richard C. Wilmarth said his son struggled with drug abuse and was in and out of trouble, so he never got his pilot's license. But, he said, his son was a capable pilot and had been doing better the last few years.

The younger Wilmarth took the Piper Super Cub to ferry fuel, food and camping gear to a remote cabin where some friends were planning to spend the weekend snowmachining. The plane crashed south of the western Alaska village of Red Devil as the two were checking out conditions for snowmachining. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

Wilmarth said his son had been flying the Super Cub since he was a teenager. But, he said, he told him not to fly this winter because he didn't want him using all the aviation fuel.

Two of the friends were on the ground when the plane crashed and told transportation investigator Clint Johnson what they saw. Wilmarth had already dropped off the supplies when he took off with Mellick. They were heading back, maybe 25 minutes later, sometime after 5 p.m. Friday, Johnson said. Both the men on the ground saw the plane coming in.

"When they first saw it, it was low, very slow," Johnson said. They heard the engine rev up.

"They noticed the airplane was nose down, spinning, and got about two spins in before it hit the ground," Johnson said. It slammed into the ground nose first, he said.

Johnson and two state troopers flew out to the crash site over th e weekend. Johnson said he found nothing wrong mechanically with the Super Cub.

The witness descriptions indicate the plane went into "an aerodynamic stall" and that the pilot lost control, Johnson said. He said the investigation is in its early stages.

Richard L. Wilmarth lived in Red Devil in the family home where he spent much of his youth, his father said. The crash happened about 40 miles south of Red Devil. The family settled there so the older Wilmarth could work as a miner.

"I had told him not to use the airplane, although he was a very capable pilot, who was flying that same airplane when he was 13, 14 years old," the father said.

Smoke Reported On China Eastern Flight At Los Angeles International Airport

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Los Angeles Fire Department reports the situation is static after smoke was reported on a passenger jet at LAX Saturday.

Reports came in of smoke in the cockpit of an Airbus jet just before 12:15 p.m.

A representative for LAX confirmed there was a problem with a power unit on China Eastern flight 586. The aircraft was an Airbus 340-600.

The flight was preparing to leave gate 105 of the Tom Bradley International Terminal when the smoke was reported.

The fire department says there was no flame and no injuries.

Low-cost airlines vie for Kingfisher routes

After the cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines withdrew its Hyderabad flights, several other airlines are vying to fill the vacated airspace. 

The national carrier, Air India, has reintroduced its Hyderabad-Kolkata flight while SpiceJet, amongst the low-cost carriers, is at the forefront in this competition.

“We we have already announced services from Nanded (Maharashtra) to New Delhi, Mumbai, Trivandrum and Aurangabad,” said a SpiceJet spokesperson, a route operated chiefly by KFA.

The forecast is that the Chennai-based SpiceJet might make Delhi airport its second base for regional flights. Meanwhile, the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here at Shamshabad, serving as the hub for the two airlines' southern region operations, will witness enhanced to and fro traffic.

A number of airlines have applied to the DGCA for a go-ahead to ply the routes vacated by KFA, which had begun with 35 to and fro flights and come down to seven. “The void is huge,” said an airport official and so is the passenger strength. Under these circumstances those airlines that can afford to cash in on the situation, would grab the opportunity.

Air India has already announced its summer schedule and a bonanza of specials, such as an increase in the number of seats on certain sectors for the holiday season, new flights and sectors on its domestic and West Asia network and several special fares.

Lucknow airport, which had refused to service KFA due to non-payment of dues, is also being tapped by various airlines.

More flights the key to tourism industry success

Opening up more flights is the key to a successful tourism industry, says one of the businessmen at the heart of Malta’s tourist revival.

Tony Zahra, the president of the Malta Hotels and Restaurant Association, told members of the Jersey Hospitality Association this week that the Mediterranean island transformed a declining tourist industry by signing a deal with Ryanair allowing them to base an aircraft there.

He says that the move opened up new markets and brought visitors flooding back. 
But the Malta solution may not work for Jersey – Economic Development Minister Alan Maclean says Ryanair’s aircraft cannot operate in Jersey because our runway is too short.

Silver Airways set to deploy new planes on Bahamas routes

SILVER Airways yesterday said it has received Us regulatory approval to operate Saab 340Bplus aircraft, which it will use on its Florida-Bahamas route network.

Darrell Richardson, chief executive of the Fort Lauderdale-based airline, said: "This is a momentous day for our airline, and one that will certainly be celebrated by our employees and passengers - many who were pleasantly surprised today as they boarded our new, enhanced aircraft. 

"We are committed to providing our customers with the highest-quality flight experiences by delivering premium service, and the comfort and convenience they value and deserve."

Silver Airways has secured agreements with Saab Aircraft Leasing to purchase 12 Saab 340Bplus aircraft. The airline has accepted delivery of the first three to date, with the remaining aircraft expected to complete integration into the Silver Airways fleet by September 2012. 

Silver Airways operates more than 100 daily scheduled flights to and from 29 gateways in Florida, the Bahamas, Montana, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The company is owned by Victory Park Capital, a Chicago-based investment firm. 

The Silver Airways fleet is comprised of three Saab 340Bplus aircraft (maximum seating capacity of 34 passengers) and 21 Beechcraft 1900D aircraft (maximum seating capacity of 19 passengers). The new aircraft will be used to upgrade service on existing routes, increase frequencies and allow Silver Airways to add new service in additional markets.


South Sudan: Government Forms Committee to Investigate Wau Plane Crash - Feeder Airlines Fokker 50, ST-NEX, Flight FDD-360

Juba — South Sudan has formed a technical fact finding committee to investigate the cause of a plane crash at Wau Airport on Thursday morning, according to officials.

Multiple eyewitnesses told Sudan Tribune that no lives were lost in when the Feeder Airlines commercial flight crashed near the capital of Western Bahr el Ghazal State.

Mayom Kuoc Malek, South Sudan's Deputy Minister of Transport told Sudan Tribune that he learned of the incident from relative of some of the passengers who survived the crash but did had not received a detailed report.

He said that the fact finding committee he was establishing would discover whether a technical or human error caused the accident.

Morris Ukel, who works at Wau Airport, said that the plane crashed on Thursday at 9:30am but declined to comment on reports that some passengers had lost some of their belongings.

"It was an unfortunate incident but we thank God that no lives were lost. There were only slight injuries" Ukel told Sudan Tribune.

He attributed the cause to a technical failure, explaining that one wheel refused to return inside plane after takeoff.

Feeder Airlines, which takes its name from the aviation network which operated in southern Sudan in the 1970s, has been running out of Juba Airport since 2007 connecting Juba, Rumbek, Malakal and Wau.

The company also flies to the Sudanese capital Khartoum and Uganda's Entebbe Airport.


Fiji floods and stormy weather strands travellers

Travel plans came to a standstill yesterday for people heading to Fiji, and there's little hope of stormy weather clearing in the next few days.

The main runway at Nadi International Airport was closed leaving travellers stranded in Fiji and disrupting the travel plans of at least 1000 in Auckland.

Heavy rains on the west of the main island of Viti Levu caused rivers to burst their banks. Officials said the rains were worse than the six-day deluge in January that claimed 11 lives.

Tutukaka resident Kate Malcolm was in Fiji for her sister's wedding when the storm hit. Malcolm told the Herald on Sunday a 800m stretch of road had been washed away and Navo Bridge been damaged.

The Dive Tutukaka manager is staying at the Intercontinental Resort and Spa with her daughter and partner, and said winds gusts reached between 40 to 60km/hr.

Malcolm said about 60 people had checked into the Intercontinental Hotel yesterday morning, after they had tried to reach Nadi airport and were turned back.

Her father, former Minister of Immigration Aussie Malcolm, had tried to leave Fiji yesterday. He told the Herald on Sunday he had flown by helicopter to Nadi airport hoping to get a flight out but found on arrival all flights leaving Fiji had been cancelled.

The hotel had begun to conserve water in preparation for resources running out. Malcolm said the running water had been shut off and all the restaurants apart from one had been closed.

Air New Zealand cancelled a flight to Nadi on Friday and two flights yesterday, affecting 700 passengers.

An Air New Zealand spokesperson said extra flights would be available today if the weather improved.

Air Pacific diverted a Nadi flight to Apia on Friday and cancelled a flight from Los Angeles to Nadi. Qantas and Air Pacific cancelled nine flights from Auckland yesterday and were uncertain about flying today.

Aer Lingus chief's pay deal flies past O'Leary's

Mueller earned €1.24m for running the smaller airline

AER Lingus chief executive Christoph Mueller has overtaken Michael O'Leary when it comes to pay, even though he runs the smaller airline.

Mr Mueller was paid €1.24m last year, according to the Aer Lingus annual report published yesterday. His pay is up 10pc compared to 2010. Revenue was up 6pc in the same period. Passenger numbers were up 1.8pc to over 9.5 million last year.

The massive pay packet is made up of salary of €475,000 and a €611,000 performance bonus. He also receives a pension contribution of €119,000.

Mr Muller's pay packet is more than the €1.1m pay of Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary in 2010, the latest figures available for the bigger airline. Mr O'Leary has also made a fortune from share options.

Ryanair has a market capitalisation of €6.5bn compared to €500m for Aer Lingus.

Aer Lingus chairman Colm Barrington was paid €126,000. Director fees for most directors, including businessman Leslie Buckley and trade unionist David Begg, are set at €32,000 a year, according to the annual report.

Net profit at Aer Lingus for the year rose 65pc to €71.2m.

That rise was in part down to exceptional items including a one-off €21m gain booked when the company handed back a leasehold interest in its Dublin headquarters.


Aer Lingus is no longer state controlled, but Mr Mueller's pay is sure to prove controversial because the Government still holds a 25pc share in the business.

That stake is set to be sold off as part of the privatisation target set by the bailout providers.   Ryanair owns 29.8pc of Aer Lingus.

In his chairman's statement, Mr Barrington said he believed Ryanair's stake in Aer Lingus was damaging to the company.

"Ryanair's actions during the year, including the issuing of unsuccessful High Court proceedings in relation to our annual general meeting, disruptive behaviour at our annual general meeting and investor day. . . represent a continuing attempt to distract Aer Lingus and are not in the best interests of all shareholders," he said.

Ryanair said yesterday that it bought back 15 million of its own shares due for cancellation at €4.45 each, in line with a stated plan to buy back €200m of shares.

Airline's image on the up

Indonesia's major carrier has a history marked by tragedy but it is straightening out its act.

After nine "fatal events" since 1970, culminating in the 2007 Yogyakarta crash that killed 21 and injured many more, Indonesia's national carrier has refreshed its fleet and is now compliant with best-practice maintenance and safety standards. Garuda Indonesia has also overhauled its inflight service in a bid to become one of the best airlines in the world.

It must be doing something right - the carrier has come up as best international airline for January 2012 in a recent Roy Morgan survey of airlines.

It's the latest in a long list of accolades, so Sky Report decided to do our own survey to see if the punters actually agree with the press releases.

We took to social media to seek the opinions of recent Australian Garuda customers. And apart from some minor gripes about food, the mood was generally very positive.

Each of the respondents (we got about 10 via Twitter and SourceBottle - we're no Roy Morgan) said they had chosen Garuda on price. (One got Amsterdam-Sydney for $1000 return.) Several had not chosen at all - the choice was made by a travel partner. One respondent wasn't happy at the time, telling Sky Report he said to his wife: "Why did you book them? They fall out of the sky."

However, he was pleasantly surprised by the experience of flying with them.

None knew of Garuda's hard-targeted transformation drive, in play since 2008, but each had glowing things to say, ranging from "the smiling crew was amazing with our 13-month-old baby", to "the inflight

entertainment was great". Some said the economy cabin appeared to be roomier than others in which they had flown.

To sum up, one of our respondents, who flew Garuda to Bali for a conference and "wouldn't have considered booking them myself", had this to say: "Overall, the experience was so good we've made a point to rave about it to anyone we know that travels to Bali. Their service had the effect of breaking the flight up so that when we arrived we felt fresh and relaxed. It certainly opened my eyes. Watch out Jetstar; I think Garuda is going to show you the value in treating passengers as people and not cattle." High praise indeed.

Service, please

This may be old news to some but there is only one public bus that stops within Australia's busiest airport, Sydney.

Sky Report discovered this on a recent trip, when we walked out the wrong door for the taxi queue and found ourselves at a bus stop, with only one STA service using it. Fortuitously for us, it was for the 400 service - which heads to Randwick, where we wished to go - so we jumped aboard.

But not everyone wants to go to Randwick (or Burwood, where the bus ends up) and with Sydney Airport passenger movements expected to reach 50.6 million by 2020 (from exceeding 35.7 million at present), the one-bus-only situation is a puzzling ineptitude.

Of course, there's a train to Central (expensive) and a fair few private shuttles (requires some organisation) but if those aren't ideal for flyers, they certainly don't suit the millions of commutes a year that airport workers clock up.

"More than 16,000 people from surrounding neighbourhoods and beyond, employed by hundreds of companies, work at the airport every day and many of them have no choice but to drive to work," says the Sydney Airport communications manager, Tracy Ong.

The public transport woes and flow-on traffic congestion are a key feature in the Joint Study on Aviation Capacity for the Sydney Region, released last month, which optimistically contains a raft of recommendations to improve the airport run for everyone.

Much publicised are the Commonwealth and NSW governments' plans to improve major roads around the airport, as well as a strategy to encourage rail use by reducing the cost of the train to something akin to the regular CityRail fare.

But what of those not directly on a train line? Well, the joint study does note the need for new bus services - but only two.

"A significant portion of airport users are from Sydney's lower north, with a concentration of commuter/staff trips to Sydney [Kingsford-Smith] Airport from the Sutherland Shire - both areas which are not currently well served by public transport to the airport," the report says.

It suggests as a "possibility" the introduction of a St George-Sutherland bus service largely for airport staff, and a lower north shore service.

But it also notes the good folk of the leafy lower north aren't exactly great users of public transport.
"While the pool of commuter patronage from the lower north shore is relatively small to warrant a direct service, a Metrobus service could provide a direct bus link from the lower north shore to the airport, also connecting other areas in between," it says.

Confiscation crazy

Next time the guy in front of you in the airport screening queue is emptying his pockets of coins, keys, money clip and the remains of his lunch into a plastic tray, spare a thought for your counterparts in the US and what they get held up behind.

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) allows its officers a blog and on it, they've itemised some of the zanier items they have confiscated.

From snakes to stun guns, the TSA sees it all and, according to Reuters, confiscates an average of four pistols a day.

Spear guns are apparently commonly confused for something that can be carried on. One officer even detected a chainsaw (not exactly a discreet item), fully fuelled with petrol.

And you thought your can of hairspray was a hazard ...

Route watch

Qantas has ceased flying its own planes between Hong Kong and London. Qantas fares booked for Australia-Hong Kong-London will now have the latter leg provided by British Airways.

In the meantime, Hong Kong Airlines has launched a business-class-only service between London and Hong Kong.

The airline is flying one service a day on Airbus A330-200s between Gatwick and Chek Lap Kok.

Reported and advertised fares have been running about a half to a third of the cost of business class on Cathay Pacific.


Tulabut: No-loko promo

By Noel G. Tulabut 
My Palm Notes 
 Saturday, March 31, 2012  

MORE tourist arrivals. 

This is what definitely the new Philippines’ Air Asia flights would bring to Clark (Central and Northern Luzon areas too) and other destinations where it has just opened routes to.

With its maiden Clark-Davao-Clark and Clark-Kalibo-Clark flights, Air Asia would be serving as bridge to these foremost places of interest in the other two major islands of the Philippine archipelago. Considered as a gateway to Mindanao, Davao is the largest city in the country with its bustling metropolis that is highly progressive. The Kalibo route, on the one hand, is a jump-off point to the famous Boracay beaches and other destinations in the western Visayas like Iloiolo and Bacolod.

You see, the so-called catchment area of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark has about 25 million people throughout northern and central Luzon. This means a potential travel market not only for Air Asia but also for other airlines that ply the Clark routes.

Two regional directors of the Department of Tourism – the respectable Ronnie Tiotuico of Region 3 and the youthful Art Boncato of Region 11 – agree that there will be “spikes in visitor and tourist arrivals” in their places of operations. While they are still recalculating exact projections in the visitor arrivals, they both agree that Air Asia’s flights would boost tourism and business.

Air Asia flights between Clark and Davao would make it a lot easier now for tour operators and event organizers to be planning trips, meetings, conventions as the two places (including Subic which is 30 minutes away from Clark via the SCTEX) are known for great places for both leisure and business.


Air Asia (of Malaysia) first mounted Clark flights some seven years ago and its big boss Tony Fernandes could only be thankful for the success of his growing aviation empire.

Prior to the Philippines’ Air Asia’s inaugural and pioneering flights on March 28 where Tony personally sent off passengers from Clark, the company is successful too in their operations in Indonesia, Thailand and other regional hubs and destinations.

Its slogan “Now, Everyone Can Fly” is becoming a reality as it stages more and more budget flights to various regional destinations. With their reasonable airfare rates, I was able to bring my family (with mother-in-law and a nephew in tow) to Malaysia and Singapore in 2005 via DMIA of course. I remember writing a column piece after that trip titled “Have budget flight, will travel” which was commended by then CDC President Tony Ng.

What is more significant now with Air Asia is that its Philippine operation is anchoring their pricing schemes on a more transparent manner.

The lovely broadcaster-turned-corporate executive Maan Hontiveros, president and CEO of Philippines Air Asia, has made it a point that there will be no hidden charges in their announced airfares.

That will be a “no-loko promo” there.

It means that if they announce it for P275 each for either a Kalibo or a Davao flight, then, that should be it. No more add-ups of government taxes, surcharges and what have you.

It means not straining your eyes trying to look for the fine prints of this and that charges which is usually the case with other budget carriers.

It also means that the flying public can expect better and much affordable airfares, even as other airlines mount the same routes first pioneered by Air Asia such as the Kalibo and Davao flights.

Maan says that “transparency will be the hallmark of (their) offers and promos” while making it clear though that Philippines Air Asia is not “cheap” as it boasts too of two brand new A320s that were custom fitted with leather seats and all. Another two similar aircraft are coming direct from Airbus Industrie’s plant in Toulouse, France in time for the Puerto Princesa, Palawan flights this April.

“Low fare but high value,” she adds.

Air Asia and other airlines’ flights and the infra build-up in Clark are a result of hardwork of Clark leaders like Chichos Luciano and Ping Remollo, president of Clark International Airport Corp. and Clark Development Corp., respectively.

Air Asia flies twice daily from Clark to Kalibo (7 AM and 8:35 AM) and twice daily also to Davao, 10:10 AM and 5:50 PM, with the latter being mounted until April 20, 2012 only.


During the launching of Air Asia’s inaugural flights last March 28, DOTC Secretary Mar Roxas witnessed the signing of agreement between Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao and the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark. It was a sister airport undertaking that is fully supported by Davao City Mayor Sarah Duterte (who flew in to Clark the day before) and Mabalacat Mayor Marino Morales.

Also present during the program were BCDA, CIAC, CDC, DOTC officials who were recognized by Sec. Roxas as part of the government team that put some action on much needed infrastructure like airport and the aviation industry.

In Davao, the Metro Angeles City Chamber of Commerce and Industry through its president Dr. Frankie Villanueva has signed a sister chamber agreement with the Davao Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

This particular pact is part of the Partnership for a Better Infrastructure by the Research, Education, and Institutional Development Foundation, Inc.


Indonesia: Soaring fuel costs hurting local carriers

Increasing global oil prices have forced domestic carriers to adopt efficiency programs as the rise has significantly inflated operating costs, an airline executive says.

Pujobroto, the vice president for communications for national flag carrier Garuda Indonesia, said that the airline has felt the impact of the aviation turbine fuel (avtur) price hike for the past several months.

With the price increase, the airline’s fuel spending accounted for 35 to 40 percent of its budget, up from 20 to 25 percent, when crude oil prices were below US$100 per barrel, Pujobroto told The Jakarta Post in Jakarta on Friday.

Crude oil prices have continued to increase since they reached about $100 per barrel early this year.

Brent crude oil rose to $122.39 per barrel in London on Friday

Pujobroto declined to confirm that the airline had increased its domestic fares to cope with the surge in the operating costs.

However, he acknowledged that the airline’s fares for certain routes had almost reached the top level of the government’s fare ceiling.

For international routes, Pujobroto said that Garuda had imposed a surcharge to help the airline cope with the increase in fuel prices, adding that the surcharge was regularly adjusted in line with fluctuating
fuel prices.

Pujobroto said that he did not know the amount of the imposed surcharge, adding that generally the airline imposed a fuel surcharge of $20 per passenger for the first flight hour, and a lower rate in subsequent hours, depending on the destination and the duration of the flights.

“We also have reduced the number of our promotional fare tickets due to the rising oil prices,”  Pujobroto said.

In addition, he said, to reduce the airline’s fuel purchases and to generate more revenues, the company had purchased several auxiliary power units (AUP) last year.

Instead of using fuel, an aircraft equipped with an AUP could use it to heat itself before take off, he said.

Contacted separately, Indonesia AirAsia (IAA) spokeswoman Audrey Progastama said the airline had also felt the pinch of rising oil prices.

However, in contrast to Garuda Indonesia, IAA had chosen an alternative to reducing the number of promotional fare tickets offered, Audrey said.

“We are optimizing the sales of our ancillary services such as baggage fees, onboard meals, merchandise, and duty-free gifts,” she told the Post.

For low-cost carriers, ancillary service are an important component of generating revenue.

However, both airlines said that they had not seen reduced demand from their customers so far.

They were optimistic that demand would remain strong this year due to the nation’s healthy economy. 


Fears over thugs using laser pens at airports across Scotland

Glasgow Airport is one of the worst for laser pen attacks.

And aviation chiefs yesterday told of their fears of a disaster if the yobs beaming the lasers at planes are not stopped.

There have been 107 incidents at the airport in the last year.

Glasgow ranks highest in Scotland and fourth in the UK for laser attacks, behind Manchester, Birmingham and Heathrow.

Civil Aviation Authority spokesman Richard Taylor, said yesterday: “Shining a laser pen at a pilot is extremely dangerous.

“It is happening at a crucial time, usually when the aircraft is just about to land. Luckily, there have been no major accidents at Glasgow but we do not think we are far off from something really dangerous happening.”

The attacks are thought to have come from blocks of flats in Knightswood and Drumchapel.

Chief Inspector Fraser Lamb, of Strathclyde Police, said: “Shining a laser pen at someone operating machinery is a crime and we will be dealing with it as such.”

Glacier Park International Airport to start flights to the Bay area, California

KALISPELL- Soon, flights from Kalispell into Northern California will be offered for a more affordable ticket price.

Allegiant Air is about 4 weeks away from launching air service to the Oakland/San Francisco bay area from Glacier Park International Airport (GPIA).

The airline already offers service to Las Vegas twice a week.

Northern California is a strong market for travel to and from the Flathead Valley through GPIA, making it a natural choice to add the flight.

Flights to the bay area will start on April 27th.

Singapore bags top prizes in international UAV design competition

 SINGAPORE: Singapore has bagged top prizes in two categories in an international Unmanned Aerial Vehicle design contest.

Two teams from Nanyang Technological University faced competition from over 90 groups hailing from China and Taiwan.

They were placed first in the "Best Navigational Flight Design" and "Best Fundamental Design (Motor)" categories.

The annual contest is organized by Taiwan's National Cheng Kung University.

The Singapore-developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicle 'AE-3' can snap clear pictures in difficult situations, thanks to a self-stabilising feature.

It's the brainchild of aerospace engineering students from Nanyang Technological University.

"Unmanned Aerial Vehicles out there that cost between S$30,000 to S$40,000. Now, given S$1,000, our team can actually build one of similar capability in less than three days. This is because we are using open-source hardware," said Low Hsien Meng, one of the students who participated in the contest.

The second plane, called 'the Plane', can carry loads more than twice its weight, thanks to its specially-designed wings which can produce significantly more lift.

Abdul Hanif, who led the team that made 'the Plane', said: "We are all beginners in this area, so we had to look up information on how to build the plane and where to get the materials."

The cost to build the two flying machines is about S$4,000 and this means the potential for commercialization is there, said Assistant Professor Yongki Go, who supervised the projects.

He said: "By having it mass market product, many people or many organizations can purchase it for various applications, whether it is something that's for everyday application, like monitoring traffic and so on, or more complex tasks such as search and rescue mission in a difficult area."

Singapore seems poised to take on the growing Asia Pacific Unmanned Aerial Vehicle market which is expected to be worth US$11.5 billion in annual spending over the next decade.


Aging Grumman on track to fly again

The Ippolito brothers. Joel Ippolito, left, and his brother David, right, donated money for the flying restoration of the Canadian Warplane Heritqage's Grumman Tracker because they say the museum embodies their own passions: airplanes, history education. 
Canadian Warplane Heritage museum

The last time the Royal Canadian Navy’s Grumman Tracker 1577 flew, its engines seized and its civilian owner was lucky to get it back on the ground in one piece.

And that’s how it has sat since the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum acquired the veteran, twin-engine sub hunter in 1997: one piece of its collection that languished in the hangar and looked great but couldn’t fly.

All that is going to change, thanks to two brothers with shared passions for aircraft, history and education.

Joel and David Ippolito, who grew up in Hamilton, are going to help get the plane back on track in the sky.

If all goes as planned, the Tracker will fly again in about two years, says museum spokesperson Al Mickeloff.

Although the museum was able to get the Tracker whole, all systems and controls are being rebuilt or replaced, including the engines — the most costly single items.

The museum has acquired two overhauled, but in excellent condition, replacement Wright Cyclone radial engines for the plane with a lot of help from the Ippolito boys — probably better known around Hamilton, California and Florida for their family firm, the Ippolito Group of Burlington. The produce and transport company was founded in the 1930s by their parents, Carmelo and Filomena.

Joel, 54, president and chair of the company, says he and David, 49, have been involved in community projects and were casting about for something more to do. They decided the CWH was a good fit because it suited their passion for aviation and their keen interest in Canadian military history, and it provides educational opportunities for the community.

So they kicked in “a couple hundred thousand” because “it’s really nice to be able to do something that involves one’s passions,” says Joel.

David, who has been flying fixed wing aircraft for 25 years and recently got his helicopter licence, is looking forward to getting certified on the Tracker and being able to fly it.

“He’s a very good pilot,” says Joel.

The Tracker design dates to 1952, when leading U.S. manufacturer Grumman produced the first one.

Canada bought 100 of them, built by de Havilland Canada under licence in Downsview, Ont.

Canada planned to use the planes on the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure and even had them built 18 inches shorter than their American counterparts so they would fit the ‘Bonnie’s’ hangar below decks.

When the Bonaventure was retired in 1969, the Trackers flew ashore and took up coastal surveillance and fisheries patrol missions in the early 1970s. The last Tracker was retired from duty in 1991.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage’s Tracker is navy serial number 1577, the 76th one built by de Havilland. It entered service on Dec. 10, 1959.

After Bonaventure was paid off (decommissioned) and sold for scrap, the Tracker was sent to the Canadian Forces School of Aerospace Technology & Engineering (CTSATE) at Canadian Forces Base Borden in 1970 for instructional purposes and eventually sold into the civil aviation market.

Its engines seized and its new owner decided to sell it.

“It’s a gorgeous plane and we’re thrilled to have Joel and David aboard with the museum,” says Mickeloff.

When it flies, the Tracker will carry the paint scheme appropriate for its service aboard HMCS Bonaventure.



Purpose: Carrier-borne, folding wing, anti-submarine search and attack aircraft.

Manufacturer: de Havilland Canada under licence
Crew, passengers: two pilots and two crewmen
Power: Two 1525 hp Wright R-1820-82 engines
Performance: Maximum speed of 287 knots (532 km/h); cruising speed 130 knots (240.9 km/h)
Service ceiling: 10,000 ft (305 m)
Range: 1,200 nautical miles (2,228 km)
Weights: Empty: 17,357 lb (7,945 kg); loaded: 24,500 lb (10,984 kg)
Dimensions: Wingspan 69 ft 8 in (21.23 m); length 42 ft, 3 in (12.88 m)
Height: 16 ft 3½ in (4.96 m)
Wing area: 485 sq. ft (45.1 sq. m)
Armament: Provision for six Mk 43 torpedoes and/or CRV7 rockets in bomb bays or under wing pylons.

Canadian Wings

Kenya Airways seek funds to expand its fleet of planes

 Kenya Airways on Friday launched 250 million U.S. dollars rights issue to raise funds to increase its fleet and expand the air route network to link Nairobi to all African countries and the rest of the world.

    The national carrier is seeking to raise the money the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) to fund its expansion plans that will see it more than double the number of its aeroplanes to 115 in the next ten years.

    The company said it will also take bank loans to finance the ten-year expansion plan that will cost 3.6 billion dollars when completed.

    The rights issue has already attracted 49 per cent subscription after the Kenya government that owns 23 per cent of the company and the KLM that owns 26 percent of the company said they will take all their rights.

President Mwai Kibaki who launched the fund raising process said the expansion besides improving inter-connectivity will allow flexibility in movement of both cargo and passengers.

Kenya Airways plans to double its fleet numbers from the current 34 planes to 68 through the expansion plan.

    "Efficient aviation infrastructure facilitates internal and external trade through the quick movement of passengers and cargo.

    "The government is committed towards making investments in air transport infrastructure across the country," he said during the launch of the Kenya Airways Rights issue in Nairobi.

The president challenged Kenyan airports authority to hasten expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International new passenger terminal Unit 4 to enhance the national carrier’s capacity to meet increased traffic demands.

Kibaki urged Kenyan airports authority to involve other private sector players under Private Public partnerships to fast-track expansion of all airports and related infrastructure.

    Transport Minister Amos Kimunya expressed government’s commitment to implement policies geared towards the realization of a well regulated air transport sector.

    In order to consolidate Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s position as regional hub of choice for airlines operating in the continent, Kimunya said the government was not only expanding and modernizing infrastructure in the airport but was also seeking to acquire Category One status to facilitate direct flights from Nairobi to the United States.

He affirmed that the government supported the national carrier’ s rights issue to ensure the undertaking is not only successful but also guarantee expansion of the airline attainment and even surpassing of the company’s targets.

    The Chairman of the Kenya Airways Board Evanson Mwaniki said the airline had made Africa its strategic focus owing to growing trade between Africa and the rest of the world.

During the event, Kibaki challenged investors to take a greater business and social advantages to reap benefits from the millions of travelers who transit through the country annually.

    "Today, Kenya Airways remains the fastest growing airline on the African continent and is pursuing an ambitious network expansion strategy to link all African countries with the world," Kibaki said.

    "Through this, Kenya Airways has made Nairobi, a regional air transport hub allowing for quick connections to most African cities," he said.

He noted with appreciation that through well chosen alliances and partnerships, Kenya Airways has dominated the African continent skies with the airline’s convenient regional and international connections becoming the lifeline for travelers from Africa and the rest of the world.

Kibaki affirmed that for Kenya Airways to achieve its ambitious growth plan, the national carrier needed to mobilize significant financial resources both in the form of debt and equity to invest in new planes and other facilities.

    "The rights issue we are launching today will be East Africa’s largest Rights Issue. Kenya Airways is our national flag carrier airline.

    "To retain this status, Kenyans have to continue to own more than 50 percent of the airline’s shares," he said.

Saying the government and other Kenyan investors ownership of about 60 percent of Kenya Airways shares offers them the priority to buy 886 million of the 1,477 million shares on offer, Kibaki emphasized that it was imperative for the Kenyan investors to take up the new shares offered to them.

    "The government of Kenya and KLM have committed to take up their full entitlement in the Rights Issue.

    "I hope that you will join us in investing in Kenya Airways and help turn its renewed dreams into reality," he said.

Kenya Airways Group CEO Dr. Titus Naikuni said since it was privatized, Kenya Airways has been a successful airline and managed to grow its revenue to one billion dollars.

    "We are seeking to raise funds to finance acquisition of aircraft that will join our fleet in 2014. So far, we have had positive reaction from the market," said Naikuni.

Royal Dutch KLM CEO Peter Hartman thanked the government for supporting the rights issue.

    "The decision by the government to take up rights gave KLM confidence to do the same," he said.

Civil Aviation Minister John Maginley says “no” to suspending REDjet licenses

St. John’s Antigua- Civil Aviation Minister John Maginley yesterday indicated that Antigua & Barbuda will continue to leave the door open for low-cost carrier REDjet to resume flights here.

He was speaking against the backdrop of news that the Trinidad & Tobago government has revoked the licenses it granted to the Barbados-based airline effective Friday.

Reports indicate that the Barbados Civil Aviation Department also sent correspondence to REDjet less than two weeks ago in which it disclosed plans to suspend the Air Operators Certificate it had issued to the airline.
“We have not withdrawn it (nor) have we considered doing it,” Minister Maginley said in a short statement on the matter to OBSERVER Media.

REDjet’s decision to suspend its operations announced on March 16 affected its Antigua to Guyana service that was introduced last November as well as its Antigua to Barbados service that was due to come on stream in June.

The Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA) said its decision was based on the actions of Barbados.

On March 28, the TTCAA gave REDjet 14 days to respond to its decision even as it questioned whether the carrier had the capacity and ability to provide a continuous and reliable service.

“The Trinidad and Tobago Civil Aviation Authority (TTCAA), and by extension the Ministry of Transport, very much regrets this course of action, but given the regulations, have no choice but to act in the best interest of not only the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago but our Caribbean counterparts,” the authority said in a statement.
Local aviation expert Patrick Ryan says the T&T authorities would have taken several issues into consideration before making their decision.

“One of the things the air licensing authority has in place is that when they review and do an audit on airlines, they must show that they must show that they have the financial resources to have a maintenance programme in place, a spare parts programme in place and so on,” he explained.

“What I suspect is that because REDjet’s announcement due to financial reasons that they have temporarily ceased flying, Trinidad authorities are really asking them to prove, if they ever start back, to show to them they have the financial resources in place,” Ryan added.


Refunds offered after airshow traffic chaos

People who had tickets to the Air Force's 75th anniversary show at Ohakea in the Manwatu today, but were unable to enter due to the traffic chaos, will be refunded the ticket price. 

A 30km-long traffic snarl-up prevented thousands of people from attending the airshow. Some people were so put off by the congestion they just decided to go home. 

Police earlier attributed the traffic jam to a collision between a car and a motorcycle in the area around 9am, however a witness who passed the accident shortly after it occurred said the traffic began building up closer to the air base itself. 

The queue increased as an estimated 60,000 people headed to Ohakea for the airshow. 

By 10am, traffic was backed up at least 30km to Levin and beyond. It was still stalled at midday and police expected the problem to continue throughout the afternoon. 

The airshow, to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Royal New Zealand Air Force, was expected to be a huge event. More than 10,000 people bought tickets online and another 50,000 were expected to turn up at the gates. 

Those trapped in traffic had doubts they would even see the show as they crawled towards the air base at around two kilometres an hour. 

Nic Steenhout, 40, said he left his home in Palmerston North at 9am. The journey would usually take 25 minutes but by 11am he was yet to reach halfway. 

"We might not be there till after lunch at this rate. This is the military, you would expect them to be quite logistical and organised," Steenhout said. 

"A whole lot of people are getting out and walking." 

Steenhout was unable to see the planes flying from the road, he added. 

Local resident Leslie Potroz said the traffic had built up from 8am - an hour before the show kicked off.
"It's terrible. It's been there all morning, since I went to get the mail. There must be a lot of disappointed people. A lot of people are turning around." 

The motorcyclist involved in the accident near the air base was taken to Palmerston North Hospital with serious head injuries. 

From Monday, ticket holders will be able to have their ticket price refunded through Eventfinder.

Bell 427, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), 5N-POL: Accident occurred March 14, 2012 in Jenta Mangoro, Jos, Plateau State - Nigeria

Deputy Inspector General Haruna John
The remains of Haruna John, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police who was killed in a helicopter crash in Jos on Wednesday, 14th March 2012 would finally be buried today in Jalingo, Taraba State.

Ahead of the burial, his corpse was flown into Jalingo from Abuja on Thursday and was received by Taraba State Governor, Mr. Danbaba Danfulani Suntai on behalf of the government and people of the state.

Receiving the corpse, Mr. DanbabaSuntai, who was accompanied by his Deputy, AlhajiAbubakarSaniDanladi and other top government functionaries expressed his administration’s preparedness to give a befitting state burial to the late DIG of Operations.

The corpse, which arrived Jalingo Airport at about 2:30pm aboard a Dana Chartered Aircraft, was accompanied to the state by a powerful delegation headed by Assistant Inspector General (AIG) Philemon Ibrahim Laiha and other top Police Officers.

Also in company with the corpse which was placed in a casket draped in Nigerian National colours of green and white was the deceased wife, Olayinka and his children.

From the Airport, the casket was driven to the residence of Haruna John’s immediate Juniour brother and Nigeria’s Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Ambassador Musa John where a Christian wake keep would be held for the deceased. 

THISDAY gathered that the Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed DikkoAbubakar  is expected to arrive Jalingo yester night ahead of the burial while the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim is expected to lead the federal government delegation to the burial ceremony.


Mandala Airline Fully Poised and Selling Tickets for April 4, 2012 Resumption of Flights

The Ministry of Transportation has delivered a formal Air Operating Certificate (AOC) to the commissioners and directors of Mandala Airlines.

The certificate was signed on February 20, 2012, to allow flight operations to commence on April 4, 2012, using three Airbus A320 aircraft.

As quoted by, Bambang S. Ervan, spokesman for the Transportation Ministry, confirmed that the AOC was only delivered one month after its actual signing.

Mandala Airlines ceased operations on January 13, 2011, when it was unable to meet financial obligations for the lease of aircraft used to serve their customers.

Mandala Airlines will return to the skies flying initially on routes between Jakarta-Singapore-Medan-Singapore-Jakarta and Jakarta-Singapore-Denpasar (Bali)-Jakarta.

PT Angkasa Pura II, the airport authority for Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, confirmed there are two Airbus 320s with Mandala liveries parked at terminal 3 of Jakarta’s Soekarno-Hatta International Airport. He also confirmed that the airport operators had been asked to prepare for the delivery of a third Airbus before April 4, 2012.