Sunday, April 01, 2012

Visionaries are building everything from sexy furniture to rainforest hotels out of airplane parts

Airplane crews have retirement plans, but disposing of retired airplanes is a bit more difficult.

After all, you can't just chuck a 43,090-kilo airplane into a garbage can.

With up to 12,000 aircraft likely to be decommissioned by 2020, according to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA), and replaced by newer models, aircraft owners must find ways of dealing with the retirees.

Too dangerous to fly, too strong to die. Unfortunately they can't all be luxury hotel suites.

For aircraft at that awkward stage when they're no longer safe to fly, but still too sturdy to demolish, there are airplane limbos like the storage facility at Marana Aerospace Solutions in Arizona or the Mohave Air and Space Port in California.

But as with limbo, the idea is that it's all temporary. 

"We'll be able to get some great mile-high beds out of this one."

"If an aircraft is out of service, it may simply become cost-prohibitive to keep it in storage," says Terrance Scott, environmental communicator for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. While Boeing is not actually in the aircraft recycling business, it plays a significant role as a co-founder of AFRA.

"(Upon decommissioning), an owner may decide to sell it to a leasing company or prospective buyer or they may decide to sell it to a 'scrapper' and recoup a portion of their investment based on the price of metals and materials."

According to Scott, some parts actually make it back onto an airplane, but in different forms.

"Boeing is also looking at potential uses of recycled materials for aircraft interior parts, such as galley carts, seatback trays, seat components and overhead bins," says Scott.

Dismantling planes is another option, but expensive and difficult.

In an interview with Flightglobal, Phil Donohoe, director of sales and business development at UK-based P3 Aviation, a company that specializes in airplane parts, said that a Boeing 737 takes three to four weeks to dismantle properly.

So, what are some better, greener options for recycling an airplane?

Let us count the ways, courtesy of the following visionaries.

Make furniture

Nothing to jazz up a waiting room like some cool airplane art. The kind you can also sit on.

Futuristic rivets, elegant curves, gleaming surfaces and the ability to withstand extremes ... it's easy to see why furniture designers would intrigued by the potential of decommissioned airplanes. 

The unquestionable leader in this admittedly niche industry is MotoArt, a California-based company that's been designing sleek, sexy beds, tables, chairs and sculptures constructed from deconstructed airplanes for nearly 12 years. 

"We have over 100 designs and have produced thousands of pieces that you find nearly in all parts of the world, from the Dubai Burj, to the Sears Tower, and even as far away as the North Pole," says managing partner Dave Hall.

Germany's bordbar, the first company that thought to revamp airline trolleys as multifunctional and decorative furniture, customizes trolleys.

This can mean incorporating butterfly patterns or corporate logos, transforming the trolley into a filing cabinet or mini-bar, complete with shelves, glass front and remote-controlled LED lighting.

The bordbar trolleys start at €979 (US$1,300).

"We sell our products around the globe, with approximately 220 wholesalers," says bordbar co-founder Valentin Hartmann. "There is definitely a market for trolleys."

The market is also competitive.

German company Skypak also specializes in glammed-up airline trolleys, selling luxurious, attention-grabbing designs like the Pure Gold trolley, decorated with 24-karat gold leaf.

The company's star product, the Luxury Crystal trolley, is covered in 82,000 Swarovski crystals.

Skypak's trolleys start at €1,380 (US$1,833), but luxury trolleys go for anywhere from €3,900 (US$5,180) to €27,800 (US37,000).

Attorney: Oahu-bound passengers stuck in San Francisco 'ready to riot'

A Honolulu-bound United Airlines flight out of San Francisco has been stuck on the tarmac of San Francisco International Airport this afternoon and the passengers "are ready to riot," said the husband of one of the passengers.

"They've been held prisoner for 24 hours — either on the plane or on the floor of the airport," said Honolulu attorney Michael Rudy.

His wife, Dr. Cheryl Lynn Rudy of Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children, is stuck on United Airlines Flight 73 and needs to get back to work to tend to patients Monday.

"They're starting to riot on the plane," said Michael Rudy, who has been speaking to his wife on her cell phone. The crew is "trying to get them to remain calm."

But United Airlines spokeswoman Mary Clark said the passengers were inside the airport and not in the plane.

"They're not on the plane," she said. "They're in the airport and they can leave and do whatever they want for the next nine hours."

Dr. Rudy did not respond to repeated phone calls and texts to her cell phone.

The original 767-400 plane experienced "an aircraft maintenance issue," Clark said, and a replacement plane is en route to San Francisco from Honolulu.

The new flight is scheduled to leave San Francisco at 1:40 a.m. Monday and arrive in Honolulu at 3:50 a.m.

It originally was scheduled to depart San Francisco at 4:40 p.m. today local time and arrive in Honolulu at 6:59 p.m., Clark said.

Dr. Rudy was among the passengers aboard United Airlines flight 73 on Saturday that never left, her husband said.

After three hours on the tarmac, Rudy said, the crew announced that it had a mechanical issue.

Passengers were finally removed from the plane after midnight and were given the option of taking a shuttle bus to a nearby hotel, which Dr. Rudy did, her husband said.

She and other passengers were told to meet the shuttle bus at 4 a.m. this morning.

But Dr. Rudy and the other passengers arrived at the airport today to find "no plane and no crew," Michael Rudy said.

"They waited for nine hours and finally boarded at 1 p.m. today," Rudy said. "They've been kept sitting on the tarmac for another 2 1/2 hours and they (United's crew) won't let them get off the plane. They were told there were problems with the luggage inspection, they've been told the plane is overweight."

"People are starting to riot. They won't let them leave their seats."


Phelps, Vilas County, Wisconsin: Rescue Teams Search For Passengers After Plane Crash

PHELPS - Vilas County rescue teams are searching for three people after reports that their high wing tail wheel plane crashed in a field just north of Phelps.

The Vilas County Sheriff's Department received a call from the FAA just after 7 p.m. Sunday that a plane crashed.

According to the Vilas County Sheriff, Frank Tomlanovich, rescue teams discovered the plane around 7:30 p.m. in a field off Davies Rd.

Sheriff Tomlanovich said at least three people were in the plane when it made an emergency landing.

As of 8 p.m., none of the people onboard have been accounted for.

Variable wind causes minor plane crash at Lincoln Regional Airport (KLRG), Maine

Several volunteers use a logging machine and some strapping to right a Glasair 1 airplane that went off the runway and nosed over at Lincoln Regional Airport on Sunday, April 1, 2012. 

It's a somber moment for airplane co-owners Mark Weatherbee and Brian Souers [right] as they gaze at the Glasair 1 airplane that went off the runway at Lincoln Regional Airport and flipped over with Souers at the helm on Sunday, April 1, 2012.

Its co-owner, Mark Weatherbee of Lincoln, looks over the Glasair 1 airplane that went off the runway at Lincoln Regional Airport and flipped over on Sunday, April 1, 2012. 

LINCOLN, Maine — Brian Souers wanted to be one of those pilots who never crashed an airplane, but a few seconds of sudden, nasty tailwind derailed that goal.

Souers was landing his Glasair 1 experimental craft at Lincoln Regional Airport at about 2:50 p.m. Sunday when a gust lifted the tail of the plane, which went off the runway, flipped onto its nose and landed on its back, he said.

“The wind has been variable all day,” Souers said. “I feel bad about the [damage to the airplane], but I certainly feel good that it wasn’t worse than it was.”

With some assistance from other pilots at the airport, Souers climbed out from under the plane with cuts and bruises. The plane had damage to its nose and propeller, a cracked cockpit canopy and a break at the top of its tail. It is repairable, Souers said.

Firefighters treated him at the scene and police took a report for referral to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pilot Caio Furtado was in his plane on a taxiway awaiting Souers’ landing so he could take off when the crash occurred. The 29-year-old Enfield man said Souers was the victim of unpredictable conditions and bad timing.

Weather forecasts predicted 16 mph gusts from the south, not the northwest winds that Souers encountered, Furtado said. The gust hit the speedy Glasair just as he was landing. A few seconds later and it might not have made any difference.

When the gust hit, Souers braked and wrestled to keep the aircraft centered in the runway, but the plane went off the left side, where his braking and the soft ground made it easy for the plane’s two front wheels to dig into the soft ground, Furtado said.

“The problem is, when you have a tailwind and it is gusting like that, you can lose control of the plane very easily,” Furtado said, “especially when you have a tail-wheeler like he does.”

A tail-wheeled craft like Souers’ doesn’t typically allow for a tail-first landing. They must land front wheels first, which keeps the airplane’s tail aloft and vulnerable to sudden changes in wind, Furtado said.

Crashes and emergency landings are a fairly rare occurrence at Lincoln Regional Airport. The last reported incident on the 2,800-foot runway occurred when a new Hangar 1 Vodka blimp was forced to land there last May because one of its ground-crew pickup trucks needed repair.

The owner of Treeline Inc., a local logging and trucking company, Souers lives in Lincoln and has been a pilot since he was 18, logging about 400 hours of flying time, he said. He and almost a dozen other pilots and spectators at the airport used a Treeline crane to right the plane and pull it off the runway to its hangar.

He and plane co-owner Mark Weatherbee each have about 80 hours in the Glasair, Weatherbee said. 

Souers apologized to Weatherbee for damaging their plane. Weatherbee told Souers not to worry about it and said he was glad that Souers wasn’t hurt.

“You’re a good pilot,” Weatherbee gently told Souers. “I’m sure you will fly again.”

Pilot, three passengers escape troubled landing at Lincoln Park Airport (N07), New Jersey,

The pilot of a single-engine Cessna and his three passengers escaped injury during a troubled landing at the Lincoln Park Airport on Sunday afternoon.

Gaston Picatoste, 36, of Union City, was attempting to land a 1960 Cessna 210 when he reported having mechanical difficulties. The plane, approaching from the north, first struck Jacksonville Road and then hit a guardrail causing a section of the landing gear to break away, according to police. The pilot brought the aircraft to a skidding stop on the runway.

The Lincoln Park police and fire departments, and the Lincoln Park First Aid Squad responded to the accident, which was reported at 1:42 p.m. 

No further information was available about the origin of the plane or the identity of the passengers.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the accident.

Qantas apologizes for maggots in trail mix

Qantas has apologized after a mother traveling on a flight from LA to Melbourne was given a pack of trail mix infested with maggots.

Victoria Cleven, 42, said she was given two packets of the trail mix as a snack during the flight last week, the Herald Sun reports.

She opened one of the packets in the darkened plane and began eating the nuts and dried fruits without turning her overhead light on.

"It tasted strange, and I turned the light on and looked at the rest of the packet, and just started seeing maggots coming out of it everywhere," she said.

"I couldn't talk. I was nearly throwing up. I was beside myself."

Her 15-year-old son checked two other packets of the Australian-made trail mix and found they also contained maggots.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline had contacted the supplier and is currently investigating how the issue occurred.

"Qantas sincerely apologizes to Mrs Cleven for the incident that occurred on her return flight from LAX to Melbourne,” the spokesman said.

Ms Cleven, who paid $1600 for her ticket, said she was offered $400 as compensation by the airline. 

SilkAir Pilot: He Attacked Me

By Shaffiq Alkhatib
The New Paper
Monday, Apr 02, 2012

A SilkAir pilot accused of assault by a former neighbor claimed in court that the latter was the aggressor and had attacked him.

Taxi driver Chua Hock Kwee, 57, had filed a magistrate's complaint against Ajmer Singh Ajit Singh on May 22, 2010.

When the case went to court on Monday, Mr Chua testified that the pilot had punched him on the left cheek at a coffee shop in Changi Garden Condominium at Upper Changi Road North at around 7pm on May 8, 2010.

On Tuesday, Ajmer Singh, 46, who is chairman of the SilkAir branch of the Air Line Pilots Association Singapore, took the stand to give his version of events and also revealed that he had lodged a magistrate's complaint against Mr Chua on July 15, 2010.

The court heard that the pilot was a member of the condominium's management committee strata title (MCST).

Ajmer Singh said that he was at home that evening, cooking for his four children, aged between five and eight years old, when he received a call asking him to go to the coffee shop.

The caller, security guard Ranjit Singh, told him that a resident, Mr Yong Fah Nam, wanted to speak to him.

The accused told District Judge Roy Neighbour that he went downstairs about 20 minutes later and saw Mr Yong and Mr Chua drinking beer.

He said Mr Yong appeared flushed and he saw more than 10 green beer bottles on the table.

"Mr Yong attempted to stand but was unable to and sat down. He was polite. He leaned back on his chair, put his hands on my hips and started talking to me," Ajmer Singh said.

Mr Yong then complained to him, claiming that the MCST was not doing its job as he had spotted Mr Ranjit Singh drinking coffee at the coffee shop.

Mr Yong felt that Mr Ranjit Singh should have been in the guardhouse, the court heard.

Ajmer Singh said: "I advised Mr Yong that the security officer was entitled to his coffee break and he remained silent.

"I also advised him that if he has any complaints, he could write to the MCST and we would respond."

Mr Yong then accused him of putting "sand in his rice bowl", Ajmer Singh said.

"He said that I had asked to have two 'base stations' that were installed in his house to be removed.

"I told him that the decision was made by the MCST and not me. And when the decision was passed, I was not even in the council."

It was not mentioned in court what these "base stations" were.

Ajmer Singh told the court that Mr Chua, who was with Mr Yong, drinking beer, suddenly lunged forward and attacked him.

He recalled putting up his hands to protect himself.

Mr Chua, who is represented by Mr Kertar Singh and Mr Anil Singh Sandhu, then fell on Mr Yong, the court heard.

The pilot said that Mr Chua hit his head on Mr Yong's right shoulder.

Ajmer Singh, who is represented by lawyer Subir Singh, said he tried to back off but Mr Chua got up and started hurling vulgarities at him.

"Mr Chua shouted that he was a gangster and challenged me to a one-to-one duel outside, at the road leading to the condominium.

"He was violent, angry and very aggressive. He was also reasonably drunk."

Ajmer Singh said he did not want to fight Mr Chua who became "more violent and aggressive". The latter then went into the coffee shop, took out an object from a drawer and rushed out.

It was not mentioned in court what this object was, but Ajmer Singh said it was "shiny".

He said Mr Chua charged towards Mr Ranjit Singh, who was nearby.

"Ranjit quickly picked up the nearest chair he could find to ward off the attack."

Called police

Ajmer Singh said the security guard then called the police who arrived minutes later.

He told the court that he filed a police report three days later.

Ajmer Singh said that Mr Chua and his girlfriend, said to be Mr Yong's tenants, started harassing him after this incident.

"Whenever I passed by, I would be harassed by means of gestures and vulgarities from Mr Chua and his girlfriend," he said.

He feared for his family and made three more police reports after this and the magistrate's complaint.

Ajmer Singh also told the court that Mr Chua's unit was raided by the Central Narcotics Bureau on March 19 this year.

But Mr Kertar Singh objected to this accusation as it was not put to Mr Chua during his cross-examination earlier.

The case will resume on April 9.

Anyone convicted of voluntarily causing hurt can be jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

This article was first published in The New Paper.


Aviation industry to take off in China


China's business jet market could help propel the aviation industry

As the aviation industry in China is set to take off, Chinese and foreign companies are banking on the business of corporate aircraft.

"We are very optimistic about the prospect of China's business jet market. Compared to Europe and the US, this industry lags behind the economic level of China nowadays," said Du Jianyu, vice-president of Big White Bear Jet Co, Ltd.

Du's company was founded last year in Beijing, and focuses on aircraft management, charter flights and aircraft purchase consulting. It will become a member of China's business jet operators this year, an industry that currently has less than 20 players.

Right now, China doesn't play a significant role in the business jet industry. The number of registered business jets last year on the mainland was 132, less than 1 percent of that in the United States. But industry insiders expect the number to surpass 1,000 in 10 years.

The Chinese Luxury Consumer White Paper 2012, released last week by the Industrial Bank Co Ltd and the Hurun Report Research Institute, suggests that there are 63,5000 ultra-high net worth individuals with assets of more than 100 million yuan ($15.8 million), an increase of 10 percent compared with last year.

Makers and operators in the business jet industry are anxious to tap the consumption ability of the upper class. Since the idea of traveling via a business jet is still new to China, they are eager to promote their products and services to China's rich.

Aviation industry to take off in China

During the Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition last week in Shanghai, more than 150 companies, most of which were from overseas, displayed more than 30 business jets and advertised their unique services.

Francois Chazelle, vice-president of Airbus, said that his company sold 10 business jets last year, half of them to clients in the Greater China area.

"For Airbus, China is the market with the fastest growth, and the speed is quite steady," he said.

Currently there aren't any companies in China that manufacture business jets. Aviation Industry Corp of China, the country's largest State-owned aircraft producer, announced recently that it will work with US-based Cessna Aircraft Co to manufacture business jets.

"I don't think China will have the ability to make business jets independently in 20 years, but there is huge room for doing operations business," Du said, hinting that Chinese companies have remarkable advantages in applying for flight routes and cost control in China than foreign operators.

Chinese authorities have promised to open otherwise tightly controlled low-altitude airspace in several cities and regions on a trial basis this year to boost the aviation industry.

In China's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the central government said general aviation will be one of the pillars of the country's economic development. The plan calls for developing the industry, building a large number of airplanes and relaxing airspace restrictions. However, usually it takes days for the authorities to approve a flight application of a business jet.

But because of Du's previous experience in the aviation industry, he has a network of acquaintances to help him.

He also stressed that Chinese companies have big advantages in bringing down the cost that go with owning a business jet, such as housing or servicing an aircraft.

"We have our operation based in the mainland, and our planes can call most airports in provincial capitals, which will save a lot of money in plane maintenance," he said.

Companies outside of Chinese mainland are also determined to join the fierce competition.

"We recognize the importance of the Asian region to the future of business aviation and hope to build a stronger pool of client networks around the globe," said Bjorn Naf, CEO of Metrojet, a Hong Kong-based operator and maintenance provider of business jets. He said the company is considering opening offices on the mainland.

GE Capital Corporate Aircraft Finance, a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric Co, has marched toward China's burgeoning business aircraft market.

"We're very confident that the China corporate aircraft industry will take off because of real demand from growing business activities and because they improve efficiency and productivity," said David Henderson, head of Origination Corporate Aviation Finance at GE Capital Asia.

As a key finance provider in the corporate aviation market, GE Capital Corporate Aircraft Finance has a global portfolio exceeding $9 billion and owns more than 2,000 aircrafts. With more than $25 billion in transactions funded worldwide, it has funded the purchase of more than 100 aircraft across seven countries in Asia.

Compared with local bank lenders that compete in the same arena, Henderson said he believes capital from GE will leverage the specialty and powerful resources it has in the aviation market to offer tailor-made financial solutions to customers.

Besides, financing the acquisition of a corporate aircraft by a specialist corporate aircraft financier can free up capital and banking lines that are better used for core business activity.

Terry Sharp, general manager marketing of GE's commercial aircraft programs, expects the number of business jets in China to reach 500 to 1,000 units in the next five years. As the number of aircrafts in China grows, more service companies will be necessary.

Honeywell Aerospace, one of the world's leading corporate aviation spare parts providers, recently announced the opening of a technical operations center at its Shanghai headquarters. The new facility allows service engineers to support technical inquiries, troubleshooting and documentation questions on the full range of Honeywell mechanical and avionic products.

"Though current fleets are relatively small, the high purchase plan level in China will generate significant new aircraft demand if realized," said Briand Greer, president of Honeywell's Aerospace Asia Pacific.

Army downplays airspace changes

A proposal to modify restricted airspace over Fort A.P. Hill would have no significant impact on the environment.

That’s according to a recently completed  environmental assessment, which looks at potential impacts on such things as wetlands, endangered species, vegetation, air quality, transportation, cultural resources and other categories.

 The Army installation, which encompasses more than 76,000 acres in Caroline and Essex counties, wants to ease its longstanding airspace restrictions to allow it to get full use of its training sites.

 Military pilots currently cannot exceed 5,000 feet mean sea level. The plan is to replace that with a  three-tiered replacement: from the surface to 4,500 feet; from 4,501 feet  to 7,500 feet; and from 7,501 feet to 9,000 feet.

 A.P. Hill  officials say the current restrictions limit the height of certain training, along with operations of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Jets, for example, provide close air support for training exercises, and transport aircraft drop paratroopers over landing zones.

 According to the document, “Although the restricted airspace provides room for their training activities, it limits the approach that the aircraft can take as they approach the installation, and often requires them to circle the area before beginning their training exercise.”

 Raising the airspace ceiling would also enhance high-angle artillery training. Soldiers must have that training prior to deployment to war zones. No increase in the frequency of artillery training is planned.

 Fort A.P. Hill manages its restricted airspace and provides air-traffic advisories. The Federal Aviation Administration manages the nation’s  air traffic.
 According to the environmental assessment, there would be a few minor adverse effects with the planned modifications. For example, light from aircraft and artillery could be visible for longer periods.

 One long-term minor beneficial impact would be improved and more consistent air-traffic conditions over the installation and in the region, the report says, along with improved safety of air-to-ground training.

 The Army says that, overall, there would be no increase in the type or frequency of training activities.

 Public comments on the draft finding of no significant impact will be accepted by the Army through May 17. Documents are available for review at Caroline County’s Bowling Green, Milford and Port Royal library branches, and at the Essex County public library in Tappahannock.

Southwest Airlines says evacuation 'false alarm'

DALLAS (AP) - A Southwest Airlines spokesman says a suspicious device found on an airplane caused Dallas Love Field to be evacuated for nearly an hour before authorities determined it was a false alarm.

Paul Flaningan said Sunday a Southwest crew member found the device on an empty plane getting ready to fly to Amarillo. Flaningan said he didn't know what the device was but that the owner came back to retrieve it.

Flaningan said Love Field was closed for nearly 45 minutes and the airport was up and running again.


Air Pacific to operate on a reduced schedule

Air Pacific will continue to operate daily outbound flights on a reduced schedule, due to weather, flooding, and resultant crew staffing shortages. 

Per the request of the government, all inbound returning flights will continue to be empty and the airline will not be carrying any passengers or commercial cargo only humanitarian relief supplies until further notice.

For domestic flights, some Pacific Sun domestic services, especially flights between Suva and Nadi will operate today however it will be slightly delayed and subject to weather conditions.

Customers are asked to contact Air Pacific and Pacific Sun for further information.


Aéroclub Roland Garros,Piper PA-250 Aztec E (FMEE/RUN)

Démarrage et roulage du Piper PA-23(F-OPAE) vers la piste 12 par le taxiway "Fox" .On peut voir un Robin DR400,un Autogyre,un FK-9 ELA et le Cap 10B.Filmé pendant les journées portes ouvertes de l'Aéroclub Roland Garros(Mars 2012) 

Aircraft noise limits may stop new homes

AN airport that doesn't exist and a suburban airfield could stop vast tracts of land from becoming the solution to Sydney's housing crisis.

Extended noise restriction zones being considered by aviation authorities reveal that if Badgerys Creek is selected as the site for the city's second airport, the state government would be unable to build homes on a massive 99sq km zone within the southwest growth region.

Even if Badgerys Creek is finally scrapped, the new zones will ensure developers cannot build on 21sq km of land surrounding Camden.

The draft federal guidelines, currently before the National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group, reveal a plan to classify an extra 128sq km of Sydney as affected by aircraft noise without a single flight pattern change.

New suburbs would be added to the noise zones surrounding Sydney Airport, which experts predict will have a dampening effect on real estate values. Development would also be banned on any greenfield site within the extended zones.

The Urban Development Institute of Australia NSW found that under the new contours, 97sq km of land around Sydney Airport and 10sq km around Bankstown airport would be reclassified as affected.

"What the Commonwealth government is proposing is a series of giant footprints across Sydney that will sterilise large tracts of land for development in greenfield areas and dictate what infill development takes place," UDIA chief executive Stephen Albin said.

"We've already got a major undersupply problem which is pushing the dream of home ownership beyond the reach of many people now, and will make it impossible for future generations if the problem isn't fixed.

"These draft guidelines present perhaps the biggest threat to our ability as a city to fix our housing supply and affordability crisis."

WSROC president Alison McLaren said the draft federal guidelines needed to be reconsidered.

Camden mayor Greg Warren said airport noise was not a major issue but the future was dependent on the decisions being made now.

"These two levels of government need to get their ducks in the row and start talking to each other about what they are doing," Mr Warren said.

Paris airport keen on attracting more passengers from India: SkyTeam, a global alliance of airlines, looking to rope in Indigo

Air France has indicated that Indigo could find a place in SkyTeam, a global alliance of airlines including Air France. This could boost the connectivity options for Indigo.

Meanwhile, the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris plans to make the airport more and more attractive for Indian passengers to use it as a transit point for travel within Europe or to the US. Excerpts from a joint interview with Mr Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO, Air France, and Mr Pierre Graff, Chairman and CEO of Paris Airport.

What does the ‘Hub 2012' plan for Charles De Gaulle Airport, Paris, mean for Indian passengers?

Mr Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO, Air France : India has been a known destination for Air France. But it is also a difficult market due to those carriers who are putting enormous pressure and terrible competition. What we would like to convince Indian passengers, especially those who are in the high-end segment or business passengers who want quality service, is that it is much more convenient to take a direct flight rather than go through Gulf countries.

One of the key elements is conviction and that is attached with the quality of service to which Air France is associated. The second key element is efficiency and comfort which is provided by the hub. Especially for those who want to go to Europe, Paris is best located as the geographic centre.

What do you have for the Indian carriers?

Mr Pierre Graff, Chairman and CEO of Paris Airport: We are very interested in the fast growing country and we are doing our best to attract passengers from it. My hope is that Air France is capable of attracting maximum passengers. In 2011, the traffic from India increased by 18.4 per cent. From China it was 9 per cent, so growth from India was very impressive. Our policy is to develop best to attract fast growing traffic. In Europe, the market is more mature but growing quiet slow. So it is very important to us to capture emerging economies such as India and China.

ADJ: In Air France, we have specific means to address Indian customers. We have Indian staff speaking various Indian languages on board and on ground. So it is easy to welcome Indians in France, especially for those who are not comfortable with French.

What is the percentage of revenue you get from India?

ADJ: Air France KLM gets 3-4 per cent of revenue from India. It has been stable. China has increased much faster and its share is 5-6 per cent. We expect China's share to double by 2018 and India should do the same. Now the key thing is competition in India, they capture more traffic from India to Europe than China to Europe.

Air France and KLM are part of the SkyTeam but SkyTeam does not have a presence in India. Are you looking to take steps in this direction?

ADJ: We are looking for a partner. We cannot name the partner. It is difficult to give a timeline for getting a partner on board, considering the current financial situation of the Indian aviation industry.

Indigo is a low-cost carrier, but it could be partner of SkyTeam. If we consider Indigo network would feed big Indian cities, then we would consider that. However, let me clarify that no formal discussion is taking place at this moment.

We have three partners in China. It would be a pity if we do not get a partner from India.

Any plan to change the frequency to India or bring the A380 to India?

ADJ: Difficult to say. The Indian market is a difficult market for us. It is very price sensitive. Business traffic is not very big. We are not the only company facing such a situation. The Indian market for European carriers is difficult. Putting A380 for India is not in the short-term plan. It could be in the coming 3-4 years, but not now.

What could be the impact of carbon tax, being imposed by the European Union?

PG: First, there should not be the impression that non-European carriers will reduce operation in and out of Europe, as there is a market. I do not see major departure from the current trends by the Indian, Chinese or US carriers.

What I see perhaps is retaliatory actions on European carriers. These carriers could be levied additional tax, additional fees, and more overflying charges. You can slow down the distribution of traffic rights. We will try to avoid the situation through our own means. We need to take a decision within the multilateral frame work and not in unilateral framework.

ADJ: Price of carbon ETS is $8 a tonne. For Air France-KLM, at this price the cost for buying equivalent number of ETS to pay equivalent number of credit would be €40-60 million. We have fuel surcharge which is a major challenge for all the airlines and now if we increase carbon ETS, it would be another burden on passengers. Impact on fare would be 70 cents to 1 dollar if the price remains below $10/tonne. 


Zenair CH 601 UL Zodiac, ZK-JFN: Accident occurred April 01, 2012, near Fuller Road,South Head, Kaipara - New Zealand

Two men killed when their plane crashed into a paddock north of Auckland yesterday were retirees who had only recently bought their plane. The two-seater microlight that the men co-owned crashed into a paddock at South Head on Kaipara Harbour about 1pm yesterday, killing them both.

Farmers in the area heard the plane flying overhead but when the sky fell silent nobody realised the plane had crashed. Murray Foster, a flight instructor and friend of the men who were aged in their 70s, said they were returning from a visit to the Ohakea Air Show in Manawatu and were attempting to land when they crashed. Foster said the long-time friends, one a qualified pilot and the other a trainee, had flown their plane to Paraparaumu on Friday and caught a ride with friends to Ohakea.

 He received a text from the trainee at 8.50am on Sunday that said the pair were beginning their return. Foster, who the men were staying with, said he received three more texts - one near Kawhia and the other near Raglan. The third, which said they would be in Dargaville by midday, was received while Foster was on his way to pick up the men up from the Dargaville Aero Club where they kept their plane. Upon arrival at the club he heard a faint mayday call had been sent, though it did not reveal much. "When you leave a mayday call you give where you are, your position and where abouts you're going to land. You don't have time to say exactly what's happening."

Foster said he then spoke with search and rescue representatives and between them they mapped the approximate area where the men could be. It appeared they were trying to land when they crashed, he said. At the scene yesterday, a visibly shaken woman said she did not hear the crash but came across the wreckage. The main part of the plane lay just a few hundred metres from Fuller Rd. Pieces of the plane appeared to have broken apart upon impact and were scattered across the paddock.

Resident Paul Protheroe said the community was shocked. "It was overcast with a stiff easterly wind. I thought a neighbour who owns a light aircraft was buzzing about in the air. When I heard about the crash I was worried it was him." No-one heard the plane go down. It was only when a neighbour spotted the wreckage they realised there had been a crash. "It's just shocking for the families involved and shows how fragile life is," Protheroe said. Foster said the men, who were from Waiuku and Auckland's North Shore and whose names were expected to be released today, were coming to stay with him last night. "They come up here regularly to fly and they always come and stay with me. [The trainee] has been staying with me since Tuesday and the other guy came on Thursday and he stayed for the night...

On Friday morning they left to go to Paraparaumu." While the trainee had been studying for his licence part time for two years, his friend had flown for several years, including overseas. Ad Feedback He once had his private pilot's licence but had lost that based on a medical but still held his recreational pilot's licence. The pilot was an experienced mariner and former captain of cargo ships and had also captained the Spirit of Adventure for several years, he said.

 "They were really good guys. They were very professional blokes, both of them were." Foster said it was not uncommon for people to learn to fly at that age. Some of his students were in their 80s, he said. Both were cautious men who were thorough with their planning. Foster said he had checked their flight plan himself. "The planning was good." Meanwhile, police worked to remove the bodies last night before bad weather rolled in.

A Civil Aviation spokeswoman said the wreckage would remain in place until their investigators had carried out their scene examination. They were not expected on scene until mid-morning. Police Inspector Gary Davey said there was no early indication of what caused the crash. "We are appealing to any witnesses who saw or heard anything in South Head to contact local police."

Frantic mayday calls as pilot tried to make an emergency landing

Two old friends were killed yesterday when the light plane they bought only weeks ago crashed into a paddock just after they made a frantic call for help.

The mayday - which said their engine had failed and they were making an emergency landing - followed a series of text messages to another friend with updates on their progress and hopes to be home by midday.

The Aucklanders were flying back from a weekend away at the Ohakea Air Show in Manawatu when their Zenair Zodiac crashed into a paddock at South Head, north of Helensville.

They had taken off from Paraparaumu at 9am. When they had not arrived at Dargaville - where they kept their plane - by midday as expected, they were reported missing.

Before the plane went down at a Fuller Rd farm, the pilot made a mayday call. Other flyers reported it to the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Wellington.

Pilot Richard Jowsey said the call was heard at the Parakai Airfield.

"The guys received the call. They were totally shocked and very concerned.

He [the pilot] said, 'Mayday, mayday, mayday.' He said his engine had failed and they were going to put down using the emergency landing procedure," Mr Jowsey said.

"That mayday call shook them up to hell at the airfield. It was pretty broken up and scratchy."

The mayday call was also heard by an instructor at the Dargaville Aero Club, where the plane was due to land.

Murray Foster, a friend of the men and their flight instructor, said a colleague also heard the call.

"They said it sounded like the guys, but it was very weak. I called them back on the radio to see if I could contact them ... I couldn't."

Mr Foster said the men had been very excited about their trip away.

They landed in Paraparaumu and stayed with friends for a night, before driving to the Ohakea air force base, near Bulls, for the annual air show.

"It was their own plane. They only just bought it - they'd had it about a month or six weeks. [The pilot] had owned several planes before and he was experienced," he said.

"They did a lot of flight planning; their planning was really good. I helped them with it and they were very particular about their planning.

"They were really good guys ... It's very, very sad."

One pilot was experienced, the other man was still in training.

The pair stayed with Mr Foster for several days before they set off on Friday.

Yesterday, while the qualified pilot flew the plane, the trainee sent Mr Foster updates by text about their trip.

"The first text said they were going okay. The next one, from Raglan, said they were worried about the weather in Dargaville. I gave them the okay and said the conditions were fine.

"They said they'd be here at lunchtime.

"I got another text saying there was too much noise and they couldn't ring me from the plane. And then they didn't arrive."

The Rescue Co-ordination Centre responded to the mayday calls by dispatching the Northland Emergency Services Trust helicopter to the last known location of the Zenair Zodiac.

As its crew searched the area, a farmer found the wreckage in a paddock near his house.

Chief pilot Pete Turnbull said the plane was badly damaged.

"There was still a small fire burning ... There were no signs of life."

The farmer and his wife were upset by the tragic find.

Emergency services converged on their property and moved quickly to cover the wreckage, with the bodies still inside, with tarpaulins.

The wife said it was a terrible situation, but out of respect for the victims' families she did not want to speak about the accident.

Mr Jowsey, an experienced pilot who knows the area well and has flown over it many times, suspected that as the plane glided in for the emergency landing, it was struck by a "king wave" of wind.

The area is known for its gusty conditions, he said, and while the pilot appeared to pick the "perfect spot" to land, the wind might have been the fatal factor.

"It was probably a combination of bad weather and bad luck. It's horrible. It would have been a hell of a slam ... It would have been quick."

From what he heard on the mayday call, Mr Jowsey did not believe the crash was the result of pilot error.

"He did all the right things, I think. He's died bravely trying to save his plane and passenger.

"Were it not for the easterly gusty conditions, he would have probably walked away from that."

Crash countdown
9am yesterday
The Zenair Zodiac takes off from Paraparaumu.

The men text a flight instructor, giving updates on their progress.

They are reported missing after failing to arrive in Dargaville on time and after mayday calls are made from the plane.

The Northland Emergency Services Trust helicopter is dispatched to search for the Aucklanders.

The men are found dead in the wreckage in a farm paddock at South Head.

Brandon lands passenger air service?

The teasing tweet came today at 6:54 a.m. proclaiming: "Brandon Lands Passenger Air Service."

And once the link to the city’s website was clicked, readers were presented with a photo of the mayor dolled up to look like an extra from the Pan Am TV series.

"Mayor Shari Decter Hirst is pleased to announce that the City of Brandon has signed a deal for regular scheduled air service with Pan Am Airlines to start today, April 1st. This major accomplishment ‘came out of the blue’ or maybe more appropriately ‘from thin air’," the text from the website read.

"As the City of Brandon has been lobbying Air Canada and WestJet to make themselves at home in Southwestern Manitoba, Mayor Shari got a call and the rest is history!"

It was an April Fool’s prank designed to attract both the attention of the public, and to show the city is being creative about making a serious bid for air service, Decter Hirst told The Sun.

The move came on the heels of the city’s petition to attract WestJet air service soaring past the 10,000-signature mark last week.

Decter Hirst said last week they are "absolutely ecstatic" to have reached such a milestone in less than two months.

The petition launched on Feb. 8 in an effort to help demonstrate the strong market for regular air service.

Support in the form of signatures has been coming in from people not only in Westman, but across Canada and around the world.

A WestJet representative said last week the airline is still in the "very early stages of this process," with the current focus on the selection of a regional aircraft.

"It’s great to see the enthusiasm of your community," wrote Jennifer Sanford, WestJet media relations advisor in an email to the Sun.

The city is maintaining regular contact with the airline, and continues to build up its business case.


Gulf carriers have mixed results: Larger and budget airlines report profits but state-owned carriers suffer

Dubai: Airlines in the Middle East delivered a combined annual profit of approximately $1 billion (Dh3.67 billion) in 2011, according to estimates by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

IATA said that if rising oil prices don't eventually turn the predicted profit of Gulf airlines into a $200 million loss this year, the carriers are forecast to deliver an annual profit of $500 million, up from the $300 million IATA originally predicted.

Meanwhile, the Centre of Asia Pacific Aviation (Capa) predicted that Middle East carriers have a profitable year ahead in 2012.

"Despite the regional disruptions and spiralling price of oil [last year], passengers in the region kept flying and Middle Eastern carriers increasingly developed their links with the rest of the world," the Capa report said, adding that financial results for the carriers were unevenly spread across the region.

Emirates results awaited

It pointed out that some of the region's largest carriers were able to report profits.

Emirates expects its fiscal year 2011-12 (year ending March 31, 2012) results to be lower than the previous year's record $1.6 billion, due to higher oil prices, and Etihad Airways reported a maiden net profit of $7 million in 2011 and expects to improve on this performance in 2012.

Qatar Airways, having achieved a $205 million result in 2010-11, expects to be profitable for the same period, as per Capa analysis, albeit results are expected to be dragged down by high oil prices, which touched $125 a barrel in recent weeks.

The region's budget carriers also turned in profit in 2011, with Air Arabia reporting a solid result of $74.6 million and Kuwait-based Jazeera Airways declaring its best ever result with a net profit of $38.9 million.

Jazeera Airways' outlook is for another year of financial growth, Capa said, although it is keeping a "strict rein" on its fleet and network growth. Air Arabia, on the other hand, has aggressive expansion plans, both for its main operation at Sharjah International Airport and its secondary hubs in Morocco and Egypt.

But the improved outlook does not mean that some regional carriers are still not suffering, Capa pointed out, adding that the regional unrest brought about by the Arab Spring hit profits, notably among the smaller and state-owned airlines.

Perennially troubled Gulf Air and Kuwait Airways, for example, both suffered during the year.

"Gulf Air reportedly lost around $500 million and is looking at another round of government-assisted restructuring to whittle this down to $210-$265 million. The Bahrain government is looking at a bailout package for the airline," the report said.

Routes closed down

The beleaguered carrier was forced into dropping six routes between February and March, citing commercial reasons. These included Athens, Milan, Geneva, Kuala Lumpur, Damascus and Entebbe.

Oman Air, on the other hand, which is in the midst of its ambitious redevelopment programme, does not expect to report profits until around 2014.

Finally, Royal Jordanian, which was profitable in 2009 and 2010, suffered a record loss of $81.4 million last year. The Amman-based carrier has initiated a network rework in light of the results and will prune four routes and reduce capacity on another seven over March/April-2012.

International traffic to and from the Middle East is now edging back towards the double-digit levels seen in 2009 and 2010, when growth by airlines in the region appeared unstoppable, Capa said.

Big 3's fleet orders

Even with around 750 aircraft on order by regional carriers, capacity remains closely aligned with demand in Middle East, the study said. "The ‘Big 3' of the Gulf region — Emirates, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways — are expected to take delivery of at least another 50 new aircraft over the remainder of the year," it stated, adding that Etihad Airways is scheduled to take delivery of six more aircraft in 2012.

Qatar Airways and Emirates, meanwhile, are expected to each take delivery of two aircraft per month this year. While deliveries for Qatar Airways will include five Boeing 787s, Emirates' aircraft will comprise widebodies — either A380s or Boeing 777-300ERs.

The report also stated that while Qatar Airways has announced 15 new routes for 2012 — three of which already launched, Emirates kicked off the year with the launch of six new routes in the first three months of the year, with plans to launch at least five more during the year.

Etihad Airways, on the other hand, has been focusing on growth through acquisitions to expand its global network rather than adding large numbers of new routes. The Abu Dhabi-based carrier added just two new routes this year and announced two other planned route launches. 


KLM cityhopper Embraer ERJ-190-100STD wet landing RWY 26R at Berlin-Tegel [full HD] by YellowFlap

KLM cityhopper Embraer ERJ-190-100STD making a wet crosswind landing on runway 26R at Berlin-Tegel (TXL/EDDT), coming from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS/EHAM).Flight number: KL 1829; codeshare: DL 9572, AZ 382231/03/2012; 16:22
 Video taken by YellowFlap with a Canon EOS  550D

WestJet introduces child-free cabins


Young children and airplanes often just don't mix, whether you're a child-free passenger getting your seat kicked and eardrums pierced by restless or scared young ones, or the exhausted parent trying desperately to calm those same kids.

Now Canadian airline WestJet says it has the solution: kid-free cabins.

In an April Fools Day prank released Sunday, WestJet announced the new service on board select flights.

"We've heard from many of our guests that they're tired of kids screaming and running up and down the aisle and are looking, quite simply, for some peace and quiet," Vice President of communications Richard Bartrem says in a tongue-in-cheek video posted on WestJet's website.

The video also introduces WestJet's solution for travelling with young ones: a new program called Kargo Kids, wherein children get to fly in a "special VIP" area of the plane - the cargo hold.

In the video, a WestJet counter agent helps two harried parents plunk their crying, fussy children into a so-called "travel toboggan," or cargo bin. As peaceful music plays in the background, the baby and pre-schooler are seen winding down the baggage belt. A little blonde girl with her hair in two braids waves goodbye to her parents.

"Your child will be whisked away on a magic carpet ride and your work is done," Bartrem says with a grin.

"Your child's toboggan will arrive safely with the luggage, and other kids, who will be boarding that flight."

The Kargo Kids area features a WestJet counsellor, Bartrem says, who will make sure the kids are safe and supervised.

"With plenty of toys and a state-of-the-art feed trough, your children will be able to run, play, scream and eat all they want, while you enjoy your flight in peace and quiet," Bartrem says.

Cue a shot of the same harried parents now sighing contently and leaning back in their seats, eyes shut in relaxed bliss.

"From all of us at WestJet - you're welcome," Bartrem says.

The video ends with a child in a wooly monkey toque wishing everyone a happy April Fools Day.

WestJet was founded in 1996 and flies to 76 cities in North America and the Caribbean.

Tourism Minister Hopes For REDjet Resolution

The true potential of regional tourism, especially the event-based niche, will only be realized through viable travel options for those in the Caribbean.

This was pointed out by Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, as he addressed the launch of the eighth annual Digicel Barbados Reggae Festival 2012 at the Mount Gay Visitors Centre, Spring Garden.

He stressed that facilitating intra-regional travel was imperative for the industry. "Events drive regional visitors and we all know right now, with all that is happening and our other challenges with respect to regional travel, that we also need to have more events to attract [regional tourists]...It is not often realised that the Caribbean is actually our third largest source market, Canada is our 4th - it's the U.K., U.S. and CARICOM [that are our main revenue generators].  So getting traffic to come here around events is important," Mr. Sealy underscored.

Directly addressing REDjet airline's suspension of flights since March 17, the Tourism Minister said "...the cost of travel in this region is simply prohibitive.  I am told that there are some discussions on with respect to other players and we may be able to get some specials around the Reggae Festival.  Certainly the resources of the Barbados Tourism Authority will be working feverishly behind that effort.

"Obviously, with the demise of REDjet, and the way the fares have gone right back up in the air, it is a big problem.  I sincerely hope that once and for all we can come up with a meaningful, long-term resolution for that situation...

I sincerely hope that something can be done to get REDjet back up in the air; and if in the unfortunate case REDjet flies no more, I would sincerely hope that another venture along those lines can come into reality very soon so that the consumers of Barbados, and the rest of the Caribbean can benefit," Mr. Sealy stressed.

The Tourism Minister revealed that despite these challenges,  this year's Reggae  Festival, which will be held from April 22 to 29, had already seen bookings from Trinidad, St. Lucia, Jamaica, the U.S. and Germany.

He observed that "...a lot of the visitors from the region, may or may not stay in a five star or four star hotel...but they will stay in guest houses, they are still going to rent cars, they are going to eat in restaurants...And, therefore, they are adding value to the Barbadian economy, and we need to encourage it."

Minister Sealy remarked that the organisers had more than proven the value of the festival.  He recalled that [in 2008] "there was an inexplicable bump in travel from the region to Barbados around that April period - it was to attend Reggae on the Hill.

Kind of like under the radar, this product, in its rudimentary stages, was making a significant contribution to regional tourism; and at that point we took a deliberate decision that from the following year, we would recognise it as a legitimate event that was driving tourists to Barbados.

"And, I am happy to say that since then, since 2009, I have been a part of every launch of this Reggae Festival.   The Barbados Tourism Authority has been a partner, and we have seen significant returns from that partnership," he said.

Adding that the event had evolved and continued to be a quality product, the Tourism Minister asserted that it could "become one of the world's premier music festivals...I think they can get there."


Cayman Airways plane hits jet bridge in Montego Bay

Cayman Airways flight KX621 was stuck in Jamaica on Friday evening after the aircraft hit a bridge on the tarmac at Montego Bay. A spokesperson for the airline said that as the plane was taxiing to the gate after arriving at the airport from Kingston the “tip of the aircraft’s left wing came into contact with a jet bridge.” 

CAL said the bridge was incorrectly positioned on the tarmac and the marshaller directing the CAL plane was unaware of the potential obstacle. The captain reportedly felt the brief impact but the airline claimed it not detectable to the 45 passengers on board and the aircraft taxied to the gate normally.

Maintenance checks confirmed the need for the aircraft to remain in Montego Bay until replacement parts are flown in for repairs and the flight’s onward departure to Grand Cayman was delayed out of Montego Bay until after midnight.

Other flights were subsequently delayed up to an hour on Friday afternoon and through Saturday but Cayman Airways said it had contacted all affected passengers.


Wales rugby star Gavin Henson apologizes for alcohol-fueled flight behavior

Gavin Henson has apologized for drinking and “behaving inappropriately” on a flight from Glasgow to Cardiff and admits he is “truly embarrassed” by the incident.   The 30-year-old Cardiff Blues player was suspended after an incident on a flight from Glasgow back to the Welsh capital on Friday night.  Henson issued a statement today and said: “I would like to publicly apologize for drinking on that flight, which is inappropriate behavior.”

Gavin Henson has apologized for his "inexcusable", alcohol-fueled behavior during a flight on the morning after a Cardiff Blues game.

The Blues have suspended the player pending Monday morning "discussions" on what action they may take.

Henson said: "I have let my team mates, coaches, management, sponsors and indeed my family down with my actions.

"Drinking on that plane was inexcusable and I know that I must take responsibility for it."

Henson, 30, was a wing replacement in the 31-3 defeat by Glasgow on Friday.

In the game's wake, he admits to drinking alcohol on a night out and continuing to do so on the team's flight back to Cardiff on Saturday morning.

In a statement Henson said: "I would like to publicly apologize for drinking on that flight which is inappropriate behavior.

"I admit I had been out drinking in Glasgow on the Friday night following our game against Glasgow Warriors and had stupidly carried on drinking on the flight, for which I am truly embarrassed about.

"I can see that drinking and behaving inappropriately on that flight as a professional sportsman at 7am has caused offense to members of the public, the Flybe Airline staff and passengers.

"I know that I have let my team mates, coaches, management, sponsors and indeed my family down with my actions.

"Drinking on that plane was inexcusable and I know that I must take responsibility for it.

"I also accept that in the light of this I need to learn from it and ensure this does not happen again.

"I am prepared to co-operate 100% with the Cardiff Blues' wishes and will do everything that I need to do in order to make amends and enable the Blues to focus on our biggest game of the season next weekend [at Leinster in the Heineken Cup].

"I remain fully focused and committed to Cardiff Blues and I hope they can accept my apology."

The airline Flybe said it was carrying out its own investigation.

A spokesman for Flybe said: "With regard to flight BE3431 from Glasgow to Cardiff on March 31, Flybe can confirm that it is gathering information from its own staff as well as those at both airports and will make no further comment at this time."

Read more:

New Salalah airport to handle 2 million passengers

SALALAH — The Salalah Airport Development Project is one of the major aviation projects in the Sultanate and the work is under way as 25 per cent of the project has already been completed. In a statement to the media, Dr Ahmed bin Mohammed al Futaisi, Minister for Transport and Communications, said there are about 4,000 workers on the ground to complete the airport project on time.

Besides the main contractors, about 150 supportive and beneficiary companies are working on the project, including 20 construction companies, 30 sub-consultancy companies which support the main contractors in preparing detailed designs and construction operations and 100 suppliers to supply construction materials, tools and equipment.

The new passenger terminal has been designed to accommodate 2 million passengers a year in the first stage with a total area of 66,000 square metres. The design takes into consideration the future needs of the airport so that the capacity can be increased to 6 million passengers. 

The terminal provides high quality services, such as car parks for 3,000 vehicles, retail shops, restaurants and other services. The terminal is also provided with 29 elevators and 13 electric stairs, in addition to public service areas, workshops for Oman Airport Management Company, Oman Air and a yard for fuel stores.

Dr Al Futaisi was accompanied by Sayyid Mohammed bin Sultan al Busaidy, Minister of State and Governor of Dhofar, Shaikh Said bin Ali bin Nafl al Mashali, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communications for Civil Aviation Affairs. Speaking on the occasion, Al Busaidy hailed the ongoing efforts by the ministry in developing the Salalah airport and the progress made on the project.

The visit also included the civil works including the 4-km-long new runway, which will run parallel to the current one. The runway, which will have the capacity to receive all kinds of aircrafts, is provided with the latest navigation equipment such as auto pilot as per international standards. Dr Al Futaisi toured the new 57-metre-high control tower, which is provided with the latest air control systems. Work on the tower is under way.

It is worth mentioning that Salalah Airport Development Project includes 26 buildings for infrastructure services of the project including an integrated centre for air control, centre for data and technological system, in addition to designing the passenger terminal to include 8 tubes between the passenger terminal and aircraft, as well as other 10 aircraft parks.

The project also includes a terminal for air cargo (100,000 tonnes) to meet the growth in the business and economic activity in air shipping activity. It also includes network of roads and bridges to ensure easy access and exit to and from the airport.

The project also includes fixing land radars to monitor ground movement of the airport which meet international specifications and standards. The passenger terminal will be provided with technological system that facilitates movement of passengers. It will also be provided with advanced security systems and three belt conveyors for the luggage. — ONA


Fire service dept ill-prepared in Karnataka: Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Crash of Boeing 737, Air India Express, Flight IX-811/812, VT-AXV on May 22, 2010.

Bangalore: Despite the Mangalore air crash and the fire mishap at Carlton Towers here, the Department of Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services does not have separate standard operating procedures (SOPs) to deal with different emergencies, a CAG report has revealed.

Except for Bangalore and Hubli, other cities in the state did not have special equipment to manage fire-accidents in high-rise buildings, according to the report for the year ending March 31, 2011, tabled in the just-concluded legislature session.

An Air India Express carrier from Dubai crashed at Mangalore on May 22, 2010 killing 158 people, including the crew members. In one of the major fire accidents in high-rise buildings, nine people lost their lives and 57 others were injured at Carlton Towers here on February 23, 2010.

"Even one year after the crash, the Department had neither finalized a standing operating procedure for air crash accidents nor conceived specialized training for search and rescue operations in such situations", it said.

As the Department was identified during 2004 as the 'first responder' for all emergencies, it needed to function as a multi-hazard response unit, but it was seen that it had been following only a common SOP for all kinds of emergencies.

"As the nature of response required was different for different emergencies, like fires in high-rise buildings, floods, earthquakes, landslides, air crash, etc., separate SOPs were to be designed to ensure a quick and appropriate response to the type of emergency," the CAG said.

"This was, however, not done, handicapping the Department in providing the appropriate response during emergencies".

Vacancies in the post of operating staff aggregated 2,521 (40 per cent) as of December 2011 and the Department, responsible for fire prevention, fire safety, fire fighting, suppression besides disaster preparedness and management, had not initiated the recruitment process despite government's approval in December 2009, due to non-finalization of cadre and recruitment rules.

The report said even the basic vehicles/equipment such as jeeps, utility vehicles, water tenders and bouzers, and portable pumps had not been procured to the extent possible.

Hazmat vans required for dealing with industrial disasters had also not been procured.

Search and rescue units had not been established at the metropolitan, district and taluk levels as planned. The value of the property lost and saved as assessed by the Department was not reliable as this was not professionally done.

According to the report, while obsolete wireless sets had not been replaced, repeater facilities had not been established in 18 of the total 30 districts. Ten out of 11 posts sanctioned for the communication wing remained vacant, it was pointed out.

The CAG has recommended that the department should periodically assess its performance so as to be in a position to determine training, equipment and personnel needs, modify and improve the programs and make informed strategic decisions about the level and type of service it should provide.


PZL-Bielsko SZD-50-3 Puchacz, Grampians Soaring Club, VH-XJI: Near Ararat Airport - YARA, VIC - Australia

TWO people were killed in a glider crash at Ararat Airfield yesterday. Investigators will today examine the wreckage to determine what could have caused the fatal crash. 

 Paramedics were called to the crash site about 100 metres east of the rural airstrip at about 3.20pm after reports of a downed aircraft in the area.Police said both occupants, a man in his 50s and a 21-year-old woman, were killed.

 Paramedics unsuccessfully performed CPR on the man who later died on the scene. It’s believed he was instructing the woman, a student pilot, who died on impact. It's believed the glider was being towed by a plane at the time. 

A witness associated with the Grampians Soaring Club said the glider nose-dived shortly after take off."The aircraft is demolished. It would take a lot of people to pick up the pieces. It's very devastating," he said. 

Some witnesses reportedly heard an explosion-type sound from the aircraft although the cause of the crash is still a mystery. Police will prepare a report for the coroner.

 Other glider accidents in Benalla earlier this year saw two men taken to hospital with back and pelvis injuries. In a separate accident, an 80-year-old woman was seriously injured when her glider was dragged 30 metres.

Police have confirmed a second person has died as the result of a glider crash in Ararat this afternoon.

A 21 year old woman and a man believed to be aged in his 50s, both died at the scene.

The glider they were in crashed at the Ararat Airfield at 3.20pm.

Police on-scene said the glider was being towed into the air by another aircraft, when at approximately 200 feet, it disconnected "for unknown reasons" and crashed.

Emergency services including police, ambulance, fire and rescue units attended the airfield within minutes.

Police say the Australian Transport Safety Bureau will also join the investigation.


Two people died after a glider crashed during take-off in Victoria's southwest.

A 21-year-old woman died immediately in the crash at 3.20pm (AEST) on Sunday.

A man, believed to be in his 50s, died at the scene before paramedics could get him to a hospital.

Police say the glider crashed about 100m from the Ararat airfield.

A witness told AAP the glider had been towed by an aircraft and there was no obvious reason for the crash.

"We were watching them take off and there's nothing that we could identify that is the cause of the accident," said the man, who did not wish to be identified.

"It's a mystery."

The scene of the glider crash at Ararat airfield.