Saturday, December 15, 2012

Caesars casinos expand charter flights: Atlantic City International Airport (KACY), New Jersey

Caesars Entertainment seems to be borrowing from the old Frank Sinatra song, “Come Fly With Me.”

The casino giant is partnering with Republic Airways for new charter flights that will carry an estimated 30,000 to 35,000 visitors a year to Atlantic City for gambling, hotel and entertainment packages starting in early January.

Don Marrandino, president of the Bally’s, Caesars, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat casinos in Atlantic City owned by Caesars Entertainment, said expanded air service is key for rebuilding the resort town’s customer base following Hurricane Sandy’s damaging blow to the local economy.

“It’s more important now than ever to get people to come here,” he said.

The charter flights will allow Caesars to broaden its reach outside of the typical drive-in markets to bring more overnight visitors to Atlantic City. Marrandino mentioned Cleveland, Toronto, Montreal and Richmond, Va., as the types of cities that Caesars hopes to tap.

“They eat, shop and enjoy the Boardwalk and everything else in town. They’ve always been a huge component,” Marrandino said of the importance of charter passengers.

Overall, Caesars will team with Republic to fly casino customers to Atlantic City from 30 to 40 cities. Marrandino declined to disclose the routes or schedules, citing proprietary reasons in the ultra-competitive casino industry.

The new deal with Republic will allow Caesars to expand its charter service over previous years. In the past year, Caesars flew more than 400 flights to Atlantic City from 30 to 40 cities along the Eastern Seaboard, Marrandino said.

“We have a pretty robust plane program that we’re looking to make even bigger,” he said. “We’re going to fly more planes than last year. That’s our strategy, and obviously we’re reaching farther out there. We’ll bring 30,000 to 35,000 people to town.”

In addition to the Republic deal, Caesars will operate flights with other charter operators, including the locally based Gold Transportation. Marrandino said Caesars uses Gold and other operators for about 50 flights per month.

Caesars Entertainment, the world’s largest casino company, has entered into a three-year deal with Republic for flights to Caesars casinos in Atlantic City, Tunica, Miss., and Laughlin, Nev. Flights will operate using 99-passenger regional jets. Marrandino noted that the Republic jets will be more fuel efficient than the 130-seat aircraft that Caesars previously used for Atlantic City charters.

Atlantic City International Airport is hopeful that Republic will use the casino charter flights to test the market for possible scheduled service in the future. The airport, located about 10 miles outside Atlantic City in Egg Harbor Township, currently is limited to only one scheduled carrier, Spirit Airlines. Airport officials are eager to sign up new carriers following a $25 million expansion project that has added new gates, a bigger baggage-claim area and a federal station for processing international travelers.

“If they increase the number of charters, it will benefit us to the extent of more landing fees, they will buy more fuel and those types of things,” Kevin Rehmann, a spokesman for the South Jersey Transportation Authority, the airport operator, said of the Republic flights.

Rehmann noted that Republic already has entered the New Jersey market. Republic’s Frontier Airlines subsidiary launched scheduled service in November out of Trenton-Mercer Airport to Orlando, Fla. Frontier plans to add flights from Trenton to New Orleans and the Florida cities of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and Tampa beginning in January and February.

“I certainly think we have more to offer than Trenton,” Rehmann said. “Anytime that they can give us additional service will be great.”

Indianapolis-based Republic flies smaller, regional jets to feed traffic to major airlines, including United, Delta, American and US Airways. Peter Kowalchuk, a Republic spokesman, downplayed the possibility of starting scheduled service to Atlantic City. For the time being, Republic will concentrate on the charter flights to the Caesars casinos, he said.

“We fly a schedule with city pairs and times and frequencies set by our customer, which is Caesars. We will fly their schedule,” Kowalchuk said.


Controller alerts Air Canada flight after it descends too low too soon in New York landing

Preliminary report prepared by Transport Canada.

OTTAWA—An air traffic controller had to alert the pilots of an Air Canada flight after they descended too low during a bad weather approach to New York’s La Guardia airport.

The airline has launched an internal probe into the Nov. 27 incident involving Air Canada Flight 748, which happened as the twin-engine Embraer 170 jet was arriving from Montreal.

The pilots were using electronic aids to guide the aircraft through the low clouds, rain and late-day darkness to a landing on Runway 4 and had been told by air traffic control not to descend below 520 metres until passing an approach fix.

But with autopilot engaged for the approach, the Embraer jet started down to the runway too soon, busting the altitude restriction issued by the controller, according to a preliminary report prepared by Transport Canada.

The jet — still enveloped in cloud — continued down and was just 300 metres above the borough of Queens when the controller sounded the alarm about the premature descent.

“The aircraft was one mile outside the (fix) when it reached 1,000 ft. and (air traffic control) issued an Altitude Alert,” the report said.

The pilots quickly aborted their faulty approach, circled around and made a successful landing at the busy airport on their second try.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada conducted a preliminary investigation into the incident but has handed the file over to the airline to pursue internally, a spokesperson said Thursday.

Airline spokeswoman Isabelle Arthur said the controller told the crew that there “appeared to be a discrepancy with the aircraft altitude indication.”

“As per operating procedures the crew did a go around and landed without incident,” Arthur told the Star in an email. “These types of events are extremely isolated and we always conduct internal reviews to ensure we maintain the highest levels of safety standards and operations.”

Arthur did not say whether the discrepancy had been attributed to human error or a mechanical problem.
Preliminary report prepared by Transport Canada.

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LaGuardia Airport (KLGA), New York: Northeast Queens Elected Officials, Residents Protest Airplane Noise

Residents from Bayside and Douglaston joined northeast Queens elected officials for a large rally Saturday to protest a noisy flight pattern out of LaGuardia Airport that began early last summer.

Earlier this month, elected officials representing northeast Queens said they were upset that the route now appeared to be permanent and the Federal Aviation Administration had still not met with community leaders.

“They promised they would have a follow-up meeting after the six-month test period was over,” said State Sen. Tony Avella, D-Bayside, who organized the weekend protest in front of his Bayside office. “Ten days ago, we learned that the FAA did some kind of environmental review and released what is known as a categorical exclusion, which means that no further study is necessary. This is not acceptable. Some people have lived in this community for generations and we’re not going to let their quality of life be destroyed.”

The FAA could not be immediately reached for comment.

Last summer, residents of Bayside and Douglaston said the flight pattern resulted in planes flying over their communities every minute of the day.

Elected officials had been told that the route was part of a test period and that public comment would be solicited once it was completed.

But community leaders said they were never given the opportunity to voice their complaints.

“Three months ago, I didn’t know what a contour study was – and why should I?” said Janet McEneaney, a Community Board 11 member who led a local charge to prevent the pattern from becoming permanent. “We never had a public comment period. And now I’m told it’s over. I think we need to have a seat at the table.”

U.S. Rep.-elect Grace Meng said airplane noise had been the key issue she had spoken to northeast Queens residents about during her recent campaign.

“The FAA’s mission says that it needs to be accountable to the public, but they are not doing that right now,” she said.

State Assemblyman Edward Braunstein, D-Bayside, said the frequency of planes over northeast Queens has made life miserable for many of its denizens.

“This is not a minor inconvenience,” he said. “People can’t talk on the phone or watch TV. We are not going to quit on this.”

Avella said he was still attempting to set up a meeting with the FAA. This coming week, he will meet with the Port Authority following his recent introduction of a bill that would require noise studies to be conducted prior to allowing new flight patterns.

“This has everything to do with economics and corporate greed,” said Warren Schreiber, president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance. “They want more planes taking off from LaGuardia Airport.”

Avella said the communities affected by the flight pattern include Bayside, Douglaston, Little Neck, Flushing, Bay Terrace and Whitestone.

Akhilesh Yadav's helicopter fails to land due to poor weather

ALLAHABAD: Poor visibility combined with inclement weather played truant, as the much awaited visit of chief minister Akhilesh Yadav was thwarted when his helicopter Yadav could not land at the Police Lines ground. The helicopter scheduled to reach Allahabad had to return to the state capital, informed Samajwadi Party (SP) district president, Pandhari Yadav.

During his Yadav was scheduled to inaugurate the Alopi Bagh flyover connecting areas including Bairahna, Madhavapur and Daragunj to the old city. From here he was scheduled to visit the Kumbh Mela area to take stock of preparations.

A steady stream of visitors and locals had gathered to catch a glimpse of the young CM who was visiting the city for the first time after assuming charge. But as news of the cancellation of his visit spread, the dejected crowd returned to their respective places and traffic was opened on routes which had earlier been closed in the wake of the VIP visit.

Police personnel who had lined up along the entire route since morning as part of massive security arrangements looked relaxed after receiving the information.

Police Lines ground where the helicopter carrying the state chief minister was scheduled to land was converted into a virtual fortress with rows of police vehicles of administrative and police personnel parked in the vicinity. Police and PAC personnel had cordoned off the entire area and put up barricades on routes on which the entourage was scheduled to pass.

Traffic cops posted at various crossings manned the traffic even as police patrol cars parked nearby monitored the movement of commuters and public.

For the local Samajwadi Party leadership it was a moment they had been waiting eagerly for but the weather deprived them of the opportunity, said president of the party's city unit Pappu Lal Nishad.

Party leaders had made a beeline to Police Lines since morning to welcome their leader whom they had expected would make some big announcement for the city and its people, said youth leader Abhishek Yadav.

Apart from official engagements, Akhilesh Yadav was also scheduled to visit the house of state advocate general, S P Gupta and attend the marriage function at the residence of a high court judge before returning in the afternoon.

Since morning on Saturday a thick blanket of fog had covered the whole city due to which the helicopter which was earlier scheduled to land at Police Lines ground at 8.45 am reached there at around noon but had to return without landing due to poor weather.

Up in arms against the Kumbh Mela authorities for failing to expedite the process of allotting land to various akharas and mahamandaleshwars, the saint community on Saturday tried to march up to the spot near Alopi Bagh flyover where the chief minister was scheduled to take part in the inaugural ceremony.

They were refrained from going there by the heavy posse of police personnel stationed at the site after which they sat on a dharna at Triveni Bundh area. They shouted slogans against the mela authorities and demanded intervention of the state government in resolving the issue.

They left the spot after sometime on receiving information about the cancellation of the CM"s visit.

Opinion » Too many accidents from pilot error - Thailand

December 16, 2012 1:00 am 

 Aircraft "crashes" are always caused by "pilot error" except in cases where proven mechanical failure has occurred.

"Weather" is no excuse!  If the weather is unsuitable for the flight, don't take off! Your article mentioned  "The airship's systems were working properly during a flight that morning," - Thai aviation should grow up and report the TRUE facts about the too many aircraft accidents which have happened and are happening in Thailand, largely due to PILOT ERROR.  Either a pilot is well-trained or he is not.  Constant and intensive training costs money, but saves lives and valuable aircraft!  And, most important of all, saves the reputations of those dedicated officers and enlisted technicians who bet their lives on the safe operation of the aircraft under their control!

John David Williams



Spy plane searches missing fishermen

GEN. SANTOS CITY, Philippines — An American navy spy plane is assisting local search and rescue efforts for hundreds of fishermen from this city and nearby Sarangani province who went missing at the height of the terrifying Typhoon Pablo last week.

The spy plane, one of Philippine-based US maritime surveillance aircrafts, was sent to the high seas off the Pacific Ocean and adjoining territorial waters on authority of the American embassy in Manila, Gen. Santos City Mayor Darlene Antonino-Custodio announced Thursday.

Custodio, chair of the Task Force Maritime Search and Rescue SarGen (Sarangani-Gen. Santos City), said the P-3C Orion aircraft of the US Navy is complementing the local search for possible survivors among hundreds of fishermen caught by the strong wind of Typhoon Pablo along the fishing grounds bordering the Philippines and Indonesia.

Reports showed that some fishermen have been fished off the target areas in batches, the latest of which comprised of seven fishing boat crew from this city.

Custodio said the deployment of the surveillance aircraft was facilitated by the US Agency for International Development, which has been assisting relief operations for typhoon victims in the provinces of Compostela Valley and Davao Oriental.

She said service of the US spy plane was a “big help to us” because it enables “rescue teams to cover a wider portion of the search area at the soonest possible time.”


Boeing 737-800, Trinidad & Tobago registration 9Y-PBM, operated by Caribbean Airlines as flight 523: Inquiry still in limbo - Accident occurred July 30, 2011 in Georgetown, Guyana

(Trinidad Guardian)    

The co-pilot of CAL’s flight BW 523, which crash-landed in Guyana last year, has resigned and the captain of the flight is currently employed at another CAL division, the airline has said.

A report on the crash-landing—still outstanding almost 18 months after the incident—is now expected early next year after the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Washington recently reviewed an initial report from the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, head of T&T’s Civil Aviation Division Ramesh Lutchmedial said yesterday.

CAL chairman Rabindra Moonan was asked about several aspects of the issue earlier this week and the company supplied answers to the T&T Guardian. The company said the co-pilot had resigned and the captain of the aircraft was now employed in another department of the airline, pending the release of the official report.

On the status of the report about the crash, CAL said as far as officials were aware, the report was still being prepared by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority.  “They have given no indication as to when it will be released.  We are not aware that any US authorities have asked us to change any systems as a result of the report. This is improbable since the report has not yet been released,” CAL added.

Lutchmedial said a meeting was held with the NTSB in Washington last month at which the NTSB reviewed a report by the GCAA. Lutchmedial added, “The NTSB recommended that segments of the report by the GCAA be redrafted so a final report  will be issued later, possibly next year. We cannot give details of the report until then.”

On questions about lawsuits filed against the company by some passengers over the crash, the company said aviation insurers had appointed a firm of specialist aviation attorneys to represent CAL.  CAL officials subsequently said there were about four lawsuits in the US against CAL in connection with the incident. They said the sums involved were “not much,” each in the vicinity of  several thousand US dollars.

CAL said the damaged aircraft—known as the “salvage”—was still in Guyana and in the custody of the GCAA until the release of the report. The airline added, “It now belongs to the insurers, who have paid the owners in full. After the release, they will determine how it is to be disposed of.”


NTSB Identification: DCA11RA092
Scheduled 14 CFR Non-U.S., Commercial operation of Caribbean Airlines
Accident occurred Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Georgetown, Guyana
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration: 9Y-PBM
Injuries: 1 Serious,161 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On July 30, 2011, at 1:25 am local time (0525 UTC), a Boeing 737-800, Trinidad & Tobago registration 9Y-PBM, operated by Caribbean Airlines as flight 523, overran the runway upon landing at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Georgetown, Guyana. Of the 156 passengers and six crew on board, there was reportedly one serious and multiple minor injuries. Weather was reported as raining at the time of the accident. Preliminary details from local authorities indicate that the airplane fractured in two pieces as a result of the overrun. The flight was a scheduled passenger flight from Piarco International Airport, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago.

The accident is being investigated by the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The NTSB has designated a U.S. Accredited Representative as the state of manufacture. All inquiries should be directed to the Guyana CAA at:

Civil Aviation Authority
Fairlie House Lot 96
Duke St

Skydiving Santa injured in crash landing at the Mango Hill Christmas Tree event

A skydiving Santa at the Mango Hill Christmas Tree event was injured when he overshot his landing point and crash-landed.
 Picture: Tabatha Waterhouse 
Source: Supplied

Revelers at a community Christmas party north of Brisbane looked on in shock as a skydiving Santa crash-landed in a park.

Crowds were kept back as paramedics treated the Santa – known as Marty – for lower leg injuries at the Mango Hill Christmas Tree event.

A Department of Community Safety spokesman said the 60-year-old was then taken to Redcliffe Hospital following the festive mishap.

A flyer spruiking the family event billed Santa’s arrival as a main attraction, saying he would drop in – “from a great height” – at 5.15pm.

But the plan went awry when the man parachuted from his light aircraft and overshot the mark by approximately 20 metres.

Local Mark Waterhouse said it took about 30 or 40 seconds for the crowd gathered to realize what had happened.

“Everyone was in a state of shock, even when (Santa) landed he tried to get back up but just collapsed,” he said.

“He was seriously injured and two ambulances attended the scene.”

“(Organizers) are trying to put the show on as normal and directing crowd away from him by playing music.”

 It is believed this is the first time the Mango Hill Progress Association had a Santa parachute from a light aircraft.

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Toxicology tests show pilot died from natural causes

BURBANK, Calif. - The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office says an Alaska Airlines pilot whose body was found on a freeway offramp in Burbank died of natural causes. 

The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that coroner's investigators made the determination in the death of 55-year-old Clifford Morris of Richland after getting results from a toxicology test.

Police say there were no signs of injury or foul play, and Morris' wallet was with him. 

The death initially raised suspicions because of where the body was found. 

Officials have given no explanation for why Morris was on the off-ramp. 

Morris was scheduled to helm a return flight to Seattle from Burbank's Bob Hope Airport on Oct. 2nd, but didn't report to work. His body was found that night on the offramp near the airport.


NEW JERSEY: Atlantic City Airshow moving to a Wednesday in June


The Atlantic City Airshow is slated for June 26, a move that would break one tradition, return to another and ultimately might make better business sense.

If event partners object or performer availability changes, the event could move to a different date. But June 26 would not have been considered unless organizers were confident in its potential economic benefit to the resort, Greater Atlantic City Chamber President Joseph Kelly said Friday.

Current schedules for the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds show neither are set to appear in Atlantic City in 2013.

Nonprofit marketing group the Atlantic City Alliance seemed on board with the show’s move to a Wednesday in June.

“We love midweek events,” ACA spokesman Jeff Guaracino said Friday. “And having blockbuster events, midweek, early in the season, is a terrific recipe for having a strong summer season. Our challenge will be communicating to fans that there’s a switch this year from August to June.”

That move from the August timing of the past 10 years would put the event outside the peak tourist season of July 4 through Labor Day. In addition to a strong start to the season, it could mean a bigger boost for business because it might draw people to town when they wouldn’t otherwise be there, Kelly said.

And June 26 is a Wednesday. That reduces competition with airshows elsewhere and other events. For years, that was the logic behind running the Atlantic City event midweek. After testing a Friday show last summer, organizers said they’d go back to a weekday.

“I don’t want to say, ‘better’ because I don’t know. I can tell you that date (would) kick off the summer season with a significant event before the Fourth of July,” Kelly said. “And I believe school is out by then — and that’s important to us because this has become a family event.”

Kelly spoke less than 24 hours after addressing questions about the show failing to appear on next year’s schedules for the Blue Angels and Thunderbirds. The Thunderbirds have headlined the annual event in Atlantic City since its revival in 2003.

At the time, he declined comment on the date until meeting again with ACA and other collaborators including the Atlantic City Convention and Visitors’ Authority and local casino, government and public safety personnel.

That, however, was before The Press of Atlantic City noted the local event among those sanctioned next year by the International Council of Air Shows.

The council’s website lists the Atlantic City Airshow Thunder Over the Boardwalk as scheduled for June 26.

Organizers keep wide-ranging dates as options every year as they put the shows together. But in the past, August has worked best for purposes of scheduling and economic strategy, Kelly said.

“We try to offer as much flexibility in our scheduling to garner the highest-quality performers,” he said. “The economic impact, as it relates to (the) chamber’s involvement, is equally important. It’s what we try to balance.”

The U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights will perform in Atlantic City next year, according to the council’s site.

“It is a significant part of the show (that), like the Thunderbirds, have been a tradition at the show. It is an honor to get to host those folks,” Kelly said.

Kelly attributed the Thunderbirds’ uncharacteristic absence from the lineup to scheduling demands on the popular military stunt pilots. During 2013, they and the Blue Angels will revisit just 25 — fewer than half — of the 64 spots on their 2012 itinerary, their schedules show.

The Thunderbirds’s absence was blamed for a 30 percent drop in attendance at the Bethpage Air Show when they skipped it two years ago. Crowds went from 357,000 in 2010 to 251,000 in 2011, according to a statement released Tuesday by U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y.

Schumer’s release was prompted by the Thunderbirds releasing a 2013 itinerary without the Long Island event. His public plea noted the show’s upcoming 10th anniversary. The Thunderbirds also would maximize the event’s economic benefits for the area, which was decimated by Hurricane Sandy, he said.

The Thunderbirds didn’t initially plan on going to Jones Beach in 2012 either, but Schumer pressed for them to come last year, too. His lobbying seemed to work again: the Thunderbirds updated their schedule to include it.

U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, R-2, is trying for the same results, spokesman Jason Galanes said Friday.

“Congressman LoBiondo is engaged in ongoing conversations with the Air Force about this year’s (Atlantic City) Airshow,” Galanes wrote. “Without question, the Thunderbirds are a crowd-favorite at the annual event, which last year drew 800,000 spectators.”

Air shows typically make bids for crowd-pleasers such as the Knights, Angels and Thunderbirds eight months or so before the stunt squads release their schedules. Once those itineraries go public, organizers normally regroup to ensure the dates still work before confirming plans.

In Atlantic City, however, organizers will not consider a date unless they know with near certainty that it’s economically viable, Kelly said.

The city also has tested out a major event in late June for the past two summers with multi-day concerts at Bader Field: Orion Music +More Festival June 23-24 and Dave Matthews Band Caravan stop at Bader Field June 24-26, 2011. Those events worked out well from a public safety standpoint, Sgt. Monica McMenamin said Friday.

“We also send officers for training during off-peak times,” she said. “So during the summer — June, July, August — we keep manpower at its peak.”

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Southwest Owes 5.8 Million Free Beers To Passengers

Southwest Airlines has settled a class-action lawsuit filed by a Chicago attorney over the discount carrier's decision to stop honoring vouchers for free alcoholic drinks, which it had given to travelers who bought a premium ticket. The settlement could be worth $29 million or more.

Adam Levitt, an attorney and the original plaintiff, said Southwest had for years awarded customers like him, who bought tickets through its premium-priced "Business Select" program, vouchers for drinks that otherwise cost $5 each. Vouchers did not include expiration dates.

On Aug. 1, 2010, Southwest, the third-largest airline in the Chicago market, changed its policy. It said Business Select passengers may use their vouchers only on the day of travel printed on them, essentially voiding all previously issued vouchers.

Levitt contended the policy change was a breach of contract. He filed suit on Nov. 16, 2011, on behalf of himself and all Southwest customers who earned eligible drink vouchers before Aug. 1, 2010, through their ticket purchase but didn't redeem them. The settlement does not include passengers who earned drink vouchers through Southwest's frequent-flier program, Rapid Rewards.

The settlement, approved this week by a federal-court judge in Chicago, entitles eligible fliers, even if they no longer possess the original paper vouchers, to new drink vouchers for each one they say they earned but didn't redeem. Those vouchers will be good for one year. Eligible consumers will be notified, starting in a couple of weeks. Southwest is required to set up a website about the settlement, publish newspaper advertisements about the settlement and attempt to contact eligible customers via e-mail.

"This settlement is a grand-slam result for the class, as consumers are recovering 100 cents on the dollar," said Chicago attorney Joseph Siprut, who represented the class against Southwest.

Siprut said his firm fought for a claims process in which physical possession of the old drink voucher was not required. "Class members just have to submit a form saying they had a certain number of vouchers that were never redeemed, and they can get replacement vouchers in equal number," he said.

The settlement estimates that 5.8 million eligible vouchers, issued between October 2007 and August 2010, were not redeemed. Valued at $5 each, that makes the settlement worth $29 million. Separately, Southwest is on the hook for attorney fees that could range from $1.75 million to $7 million. The court will decide that later, Siprut said.

Southwest, known for being consumer friendly, did not respond to a request for comment.

"Airline customers are very savvy," Siprut said. "They are sophisticated travelers and they don't take kindly when airlines break their promises to consumers, or pull a bait-and-switch on people."

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Qatar Airways boss: why Boeing 787 Dreamliner has no first class

Exclusive: Peter Hughes caught up with Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, on the first Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight to London Heathrow. 

By Peter Hughes 

2:49PM GMT 14 Dec 2012

The world’s most advanced airliner touched down in London on Thursday, marking the start of the first long-haul commercial service into the capital using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The plane has been in operation for just over a year, but the seven airlines that have so far taken delivery have used it on short-haul routes.

Qatar Airways used one of its three 787s to make the seven-hour journey from Doha, Qatar’s capital, to Heathrow. In doing so it gave passengers their first chance to test the biggest claims Boeing makes for the way it has improved passenger comfort. I was aboard the 787 on its inaugural commercial flight last year from Tokyo to Hong Kong, but in a four-hour flight one couldn’t be sure whether the lower cabin pressurisation and higher humidity had really made a difference.

On the flight to London, I was aware of the improvement. After an uncivilised 5am check-in in the Middle East I arrived in an icy London considerably less frazzled than usual after that length of time in the air. Undoubtedly the cabin atmosphere was a factor, but the general airiness also helped. A high ceiling – despite appreciably larger overhead lockers – subtle lighting and windows 30 per cent larger than on the 767 make the Dreamliner feel positively cavernous.

All this is made possible by Boeing’s use of composite materials. Fifty per cent of the airframe, including the wings, is made of what has been patronisingly and inaccurately called plastic. Lighter and stronger, it is cheaper to maintain and, thanks in large measure to a new generation of engines developed by Rolls-Royce and General Electric, contributes to 20 per cent better fuel consumption and less CO2 emissions than older aircraft of similar size.

Qatar eventually expects to have 60 Dreamliners in its fleet. It has firm orders for 30 and options on a further 30, but it was the airline’s bad luck to launch its 787 service exactly a month after a serious teething problem came to light. In November Boeing issued an alert about a possible leak from a fuel line caused by “improper assembly”. In the United States, where so far only United has a 787 in its fleet, the Federal Aviation Authority ordered a mandatory check. The fault, it said, could potentially lead to fire, engine failure or the aircraft’s running out of fuel. Boeing responded rather huffily that there were “multiple layers of systems to ensure none of those things happens”.

Speaking to me on the flight to London, Akbar Al Baker, chief executive of Qatar Airways, acknowledged that airlines took a risk buying a new aircraft type so early in its life, particularly one as technically innovative as the Dreamliner. He admitted Qatar had experienced several problems. “To a certain extent an airline can digest those problems, but of course we cannot accept it if those problems are persisting and are major. Qatar Airways has had a couple of major problems but we are going to overcome them.”

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Jetblue Embraer ERJ-190, N281JB, Flight B6-1327: Electrical Smell In Cockpit

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BALTIMORE —  A Jet Blue flight from Boston made an emergency landing in Baltimore Friday evening, forcing the evacuation of 84 passengers.

Flight 1327 experienced what the airline called a "mechanical issue on board." The captain elected to declare an emergency and was met by emergency vehicles, Jet Blue said in a statement.

The husband of one passenger told NewsCenter 5 that the passengers were forced to use the plane's emergency slides.

The passengers and a crew of four got out safely. The airline said no one was injured.

LINTHICUM, Md. (WMAR) - Officials at Baltimore Washington Thurgood Marshal Airport are trying to figure out what caused a JetBlue plane to make a quick emergency landing. 

 According to JetBlue, there were 84 customers and 4 crew members on flight 1327 from Boston to Baltimore when it experienced a mechanical issue. The captain then elected to declare an emergency landing at BWI, where it they landed safely.

After the plane landed safely, it was met be emergency personnel and taxied off of the runway where passengers were removed and taken to the terminal.

There were no reported injuries.

There is no word on what the potential mechanical problem was.

Boeing Investigates 787 Dreamliners for Electrical Issues

December 14, 2012, 7:12 p.m. ET

The Wall Street Journal 

Boeing Co. is continuing to investigate electrical issues on its new 787 Dreamliner after the replacement of electrical-system parts on at least four aircraft, which followed last week's emergency landing of a United Continental Holdings Inc. jet and the grounding of a Qatar Airways jet.

A third jet, a 787 first delivered to United Airlines in September, is currently out of service as crews are replacing a suspect power panel and generator. A fourth aircraft, an undelivered 787—destined for Qatar Airways—had a power panel replaced following a test flight at Boeing's Everett, Wash., factory, according to people familiar with the matter.

A failed generator was initially identified by United as the source of the electrical issue that caused a 787 flight from Houston to Newark to divert to New Orleans International Airport last week, but indications now point to a different electrical issue, prompting an examination of panels and other components that distribute electricity to the aircraft systems.

Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney on Friday told CNBC that the electrical issues were considered to be normal for a new jetliner and on par with the plane maker's experience with the 777.

An FAA spokeswoman said the agency "is working closely with Boeing to identify the root cause of recent generator issues with Boeing 787 aircraft," adding that afterward, "we will work with Boeing to develop appropriate safety actions."

New airplanes, including Boeing's 777 in the mid-1990s and Airbus's A380 late last decade, have faced well-publicized teething problems. But the Dreamliner's electrical system is more critical to the operation of the aircraft than any of Boeing's previous designs.

Boeing's design eliminates a hot and hard to maintain system that bled hot air from the engines to power many of the jet's systems, in favor of a more-electric design that powers everything from the starting of the jet's engines and de-icing the wings to the cabin environmental system.

Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said the plane maker continues to work with United, Qatar and United Technologies Corp.'s Aerospace Systems unit—which supplies the 787's electrical system—to "make a final determination" of the cause of the issues.

Both the Dreamliner involved in the New Orleans emergency and recently delivered Qatar 787, were delivered in late-November, within days of each other to each airline.

The incidents haven't slowed the deployment of the aircraft as both United and Qatar inaugurated two new long-range routes with jet, connecting Houston to Amsterdam and Doha to London this week, respectively, and United spokeswoman Christen David said the 787 involved in the New Orleans landing is now back in service.

Boeing flew the 787 with two Japanese customers until late August, 11 months after its first delivery in September 2011 and has added six airlines in the past five months, rapidly accelerating deliveries, now having handed over 39 jets.

By contrast, Airbus, a unit of European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. delivered 41 double-deck A380 jets from 2007 through 2010.

—Andy Pasztor contributed to this article.


Tax funds fuel boom: Greenwood Municipal Airport (KHFY), Indianapolis, Indiana

The Greenwood Municipal Airport has gotten an infusion of tax dollars this year to pay for projects that it would have taken five years to complete on its own.

Those projects have helped bring in about $40,000 more in fuel sales and hangar rental fees during the past few months. The purchase and renovation of a hangar is expected to generate another $56,000 in rental income next year, about a 20 percent increase.

The added income will help the city-run airport near County Line Road and Emerson Avenue fund its $831,800 yearly budget and should leave money left for future projects, airport manager Ralph Hill said. The airport no longer needs property tax dollars to pay its bills and should soon be able to contribute money to support other city government services.

This story appears in the print edition of Daily Journal:

Etihad Airways’ Lahore-bound flights escape mid-air collision in Pakistani airspace: report

Islamabad: Two international flights fortunately escaped mid-air collision in Pakistani airspace as the Radar Control System in Pakistan’s Pisni area is shut for maintenance, a report said on Friday 

According to a report, the fortunate incident occurred between Thursday and Friday night, when two Lahore-bound International airlines flights’ internal Airbourne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) alarmed the pilots about the situation.

The Etihad Airways’ flights 241 and 622 were flying over 34,000 feet altitude in Pakistani airspace, sources told a private news television. They added that the incident occurred because the radar system in Pasni area was turned down for maintenance purpose while audio frequency system was unreachable because of bad weather.


Two passenger aircraft flying from UAE to Pakistan escape mid-air collision  

Reports say both aircraft were flying at same altitude when aircraft collision avoidance system alerted pilots about imminent collision 

Two passenger aircraft flying from the UAE to Pakistan escaped a mid-air collision disaster in Pakistan airspace on Friday morning, report said.

One flight was flying from Abu Dhabi to Lahore while the other flight was on its way from Dubai to Lahore on Friday early morning when disaster was avoided after aircraft collision avoidance system activated and alerted the pilots about imminent disaster.

Without identifying the airlines, Pakistan media reports said both were foreign carriers.

The flights were flying over the Pakistani city of Pasni at 1am local time on Friday morning when both the aircraft had come closer to a collision but aircraft collision avoidance system activated and alerted the pilots. Both the aircraft were flying at 34,000-feet altitude.

Reports said audio frequency was not functioning properly because Pasni radar had malfunctioned and communication between the pilot and air-controller was not taking place at the regular intervals.

The report didn’t how many passengers were flying in the two aircraft.


Why I Fly! Video by Aspen Avionics


Published on December 14, 2012

By Aspen Avionics

 AOPA Summit attendees Anthony Lowenstein (Private Pilot), Jeff Turcotte (ATP Pilot and Instructor), and Nancy Auvil (Student Pilot), and Chris Peterson (Commercial Pilot and Instructor) talk to Aspen about their inspiration for flying and their experience with glass panel technology.

Air India Express to get its own wings

Air India Express, the low-cost arm of Air India Charters, will become an independent company in five years after cutting the umbilical cord with the parent company, top officials of Air India Express said here on Thursday.

Addressing the media after the 187th board meeting of the company, Air India Express deputy chief operating officer Captain Pushpinder Singh also said that the airline’s headquarters in Kochi would become fully functional from January 2013.

“AI Express will have its own crew and aviators in the next five years. Commanders and pilots who are on deputation with us from Air India will return to the parent company gradually and these posts will be filled through fresh recruitment,” he said.

Steps were being taken to recruit more pilots. “We have 180 pilots against the actual requirement of 250. Of these, 166 are on deputation from Air India. We are planning to recruit 60 commanders and 50 pilots,’’ he said.

He added that the salary for pilots would be revised to make it the best in the industry. However,   they were focusing on optimum utilisation of its aviators to provide better service. “It has been decided at the meeting to hire pilot instructors from abroad. These foreign instructors will enhance the strength of the existing commanders and will also ensure that trainee pilots are getting ready to join service at the earliest.

“Instructions have also been given to upgrade senior commanders as instructor pilots,” he said.

In the next three years, AI Express  will acquire 14 aircraft taking the total number of flights to 35. “Though we have 21 aircraft at present, we are able to use only 17 due to shortage of pilots,’’ he said.

Regarding the AI Express headquarters in Kochi, Capt Singh said senior officers from operations, flight safety, commercial, finance and flight coordination would be deputed to  the Kochi office. “A call centre for Kerala will be set up in the first quarter of 2013,’’ he said.

Ministry of Civil Aviation Joint Secretary Rajashekera Reddy, Retired Air Chief Marshal Fali H Major, Air India finance director S Venkat, Air India engineering director K M Unni, commercial director Deepak Brara and Air India Express chief operating officer Ansbert D’Souza were present at the board meeting.


New T-hangar unveiled at Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport (M41), Holly Springs, Mississippi

Photo by Sue Watson
 Pictured in front of the Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport addition are (from left) Mike Tagert, Al Beck, Bill Dawson and Tony Roberts.

The Holly Springs-Marshall County Airport recently opened a new T-hangar that has space for six airplanes.

The facility is built to maintain environmental control and already has a list of pilots who want to store their planes in the new hangar, according to Justin Hall, airport manager.

In the dedication ceremony, airport board chairman Russell Johnson harkened back to the late airport director, Bill York, who he said was the person with the vision for airport expansion.

“Bill York several years ago had some dreams,” Johnson said. “He had vision that a young man, Justin Hall, is carrying out.”

In prayer dedicating the hangar, pastor Tony Roberts thanked the Father for the gifts of the community.

“This community recognizes our labors and ingenuity have a small outcome, but it comes from Your blessing and Your favor,” he said, in asking God for economic blessings to the community from the airport improvements.

Al Beck, with the airport commission, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Hall recognized the City of Holly Springs and Marshall County Board of Supervisors for structuring the airport commission through the Industrial Development Authority. The governments fund the airport on a 50:50 basis.

He also cited Charlotte Saunders and John Jewell Aircraft for their long-standing contributions to the airport as fixed-base operators.

The cost of construction of the hangar – $400,000 –  is paid for through a $228,000 multimodal program grant from the Mississippi Department of Transportation. The remainder of the cost came from a loan from Bank of Holly Springs.

“For years, the airport has been here, but was not visible from Highway 78, but now it is,” Hall said. “IDA sees the airport as an economic tool to attract business.”

Mike Tagert, MDOT commissioner for the Northern District, was present at the grand opening. 

“It is a true celebration,” he said. “We like to work with communities that invest in themselves. The T-hangar will be seed for future airport development.”

Those large industries seeking sites in Mississippi always ask where is the local airport, Tagert said.

“We have a long-term commitment though these are tough times,” he said. “In these days, any amount of money dedicated to multimodal is really important. This is an investment that has a definite return, and not so far away.”

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Cyndy Hollman finds Greenville great fit for job as flight instructor

Cyndy Hollman is chief flight instructor at Airwolf Aviation. 
/ Donna Isbell Walker/Staff

Cyndy Hollman grew up thinking she would become a dentist, and she majored in biology at College of Charleston. 

 But then, says Hollman, “aviation really found me.”

Hollman, who moved to Greenville five months ago, is chief flight instructor for Airwolf Aviation, teaching students from age 10 to 80-plus.

She’s flown as a commercial pilot, too, but it all started at the fast-food restaurant where she worked during college. Instructors from the flight school on Johns Island were regular customers at the restaurant, and Hollman got to know them.

“One guy asked me if I wanted to go flying, and I said, ‘Sure,’ ” Hollman recalls. “I had no idea what type of airplane we were going in or anything, and he took me in a little two-seater Cessna, and I loved it. I thought it was the coolest thing. And he came back a couple days later with a log book, with my first lesson in there, and he said, ‘I think you should pursue this.’ ”

Hollman got a job at the Charleston airport, and that same pilot continued to give her flying lessons in his spare time. Eventually, she got her certification as a private-plane pilot, “but I still never thought that I would do anything with it.”

As much as she loved flying, Hollman worked as a paramedic, restaurant manager and veterinary technician before deciding on a career in the friendly skies. She just never really thought that aviation was the right fit for her.

“I thought it was for people who were really smart and had a lot of money,” says Hollman, who grew up in a working class family with a single mother who struggled to make ends meet after the deaths of Hollman’s father and brother in a house fire.

Hollman taught at the flight school on Charleston’s Air Force Base, and she spent three years flying for commercial airlines.

Pilots have to be well-rounded, says Hollman, mastering aerodynamics, physics, maintenance and meteorology, and being able to think on their feet in sometimes-stressful situations.

But most aviation students find, like Hollman, that they love the feeling of flying above the clouds.

“You see so many things that most people never ever get to see. The sunsets look different when you’re at 5,000 feet. I think it’s very rewarding, especially for young people,” Hollman says, explaining that flying lessons can inspire a newfound interest in math and science among kids who’ve never shown a previous aptitude or interest in the subjects.

Hollman has become a big fan of Greenville since she moved here.

“I flew in the airlines, and we overnighted in a lot of cities. I’ve always liked Greenville. It’s very lively, it’s friendly, people are happy. There’s a lot of greenery around. Downtown is great, it’s safe, you can walk around at nearly all hours.”

And the Upstate has plenty of folks who are eager to learn aviation, which suits Hollman just fine.

“I do love flying, but I actually love teaching more. ... It keeps your mind very active, you’re always learning new things. But when you teach, it keeps aviation new and fresh because you always see the students the first time they solo, and they’re so happy.”

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Shake up at Cayman Islands Airports Authority: Chief Financial Officer dismissed, chief executive on leave

The Cayman Islands Airports Authority board of directors has, within the past week, dismissed the authority’s chief financial officer and placed the authority’s chief executive officer on paid leave. 

In an interview Thursday, the board’s deputy chairman Steve McField confirmed that authority chief executive officer Jeremy Jackson had been placed on “required leave” as of Monday. Meanwhile, authority chief financial officer Shelly Ware was dismissed by the board last Friday afternoon, Mr. McField said. “The board is conducting an audit of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority and until those matters are concluded and the board comes to a final decision on those matters, Mr. Jackson has been asked to take leave,” Mr. McField said. 

Kerith McCoy has been named acting chief executive officer for the meantime, Mr. McField said. Robert Harris will fill in for Mr. McCoy as chief operating officer. The position of the chief financial officer was not immediately replaced, 
Mr. McField said. 

With regard to Ms Ware’s dismissal, Mr. McField said: “Ms Ware was dismissed from her position by the board, as the board had the right to do pursuant to her contract of employment and the Labour Law. At this time it would be prejudicial, probably, and irresponsible for me if I would say anymore about the ongoing situation until the audit is completed and the board has made a final decision on the report.”

Attempts to reach Mr. Jackson regarding the staff shake up were not successful by press time. Ms Ware also could not be reached 
for comment. 

Asked about the nature of the audit, Mr. McField responded: “It is a complete audit of the CIAA. That has been conducted by the board for the last month or more.” 

Mr. McField said that no “criminal authorities” had been contacted in the course of the audit. 

Questions have been raised as to whether the airports authority board had the legal authority to terminate the organisation’s chief financial officer. Mr. McField, who is an attorney, responded on behalf of the board Thursday. 

“All employees in the Cayman Islands Airports Authority are employed by the board and work for the board and are responsible to the board and the board has the responsibility for the administration of the Cayman Islands Airports Authority,” Mr. McField said. 

Asked whether the staff shake up had any relation to the recent investment proposal made by a Canadian government-owned company for Owen Roberts International Airport, Mr. McField simply replied: “No.” 

The Canadian government-owned company’s proposal for Owen Roberts International Airport involves a capital investment of US$200 million from private sources in order to double the capacity of the Grand Cayman airport and extend the runway, in exchange for a 30 to 40 year concession contract. 

In October, representatives from Canada and the Cayman Islands-based Paramount Group held three days of talks with officials from the Cayman government and business sector. 

The proposal by the Canadian Commercial Corporation – the Canadian government’s international contracting and procurement agency – follows the same concession structure it used in an ongoing US$700 million Quito International Airport project in Ecuador, according to a copy of the presentation the Canadians made to the 
Cayman Islands Airports Authority.

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Missouri: New Helicopters at Mercy Unfazed by Harsh Weather

Mercy Springfield Communities is now sporting three brand new EC135 helicopters, after the hospital invested $12 million to upgrade the existing aircraft. The advanced helicopters allow pilots to fly in weather conditions they previously could not have endured. KSMU’s Rebekah Clark reports.

The three new aircraft make it easier for pilots to navigate in weather that causes reduced visibility and low clouds, according to DJ Satterfield, the director of Mercy’s Life Line Air Medical Service. Each helicopter holds updated technology that allows them to operate under the FAA’s Instrument Flight Rules, just like commercial airlines.

“It does give us new technology that really gives us a huge layer of safety and some technology in the avionics that lends us to fly in the clouds. It will take a few months to get us up to speed to that, but that alone, with the autopilot and radar and some of those technologies, we feel adds a huge layer of safety.”

The hospital has been using helicopter air medical services since 1984, when the center invested in its first aircraft. Since then, they’ve added two more vehicles to the fleet, which are routinely used as part of the emergency response team at the hospital. Satterfield says the medical service goes on about four emergency flights a day. He says that they’ve never had an accident since they bought the first helicopter back in the 80s.

He says to think of the Life Line unit as an ambulance in the air.

“The medicines that we carry and the supplies, along with the monitors, equipment, is really a mini emergency room. So in any given day, certainly the high profile stuff with accidents on the road, but really what we see as much of would be heart attacks, strokes and then just general surgical and medical emergencies.”

Next Tuesday Dec. 18, Mercy is hosting a blessing and celebration of the new helicopters at 10:30 a.m. in the parking lot just south of Mercy Clinic-Smith Glynn Callaway at the intersection of E. Walnut Lawn and S. Maryland Avenue.

The event will allow people to come and get a closer look at the new aircraft.

“It’ll be short and sweet, but we’ll get these commissioned and in service that day, and we’re excited.”

In case of bad weather, the event will be postponed.

For KSMU News, I’m Rebekah Clark

Judge sends Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent to jail for Norfolk airport theft: Norfolk International Airport (KORF), Virginia

NORFOLK -   A judge today sentenced a former TSA agent to six months in jail for stealing $500 cash from a passenger at Norfolk international Airport.

 Circuit Court Judge Charles Poston sent TSA supervisor John Irwin to jail for taking money from a screening tray while the passenger was being searched. Irwin, 60, had pleaded guilty to grand larceny.

The theft occurred during a passenger screening at Norfolk International Airport, according to stipulation of facts filed with the court.

The victim, a passenger from New York, was flying from Norfolk on Nov. 16, 2011. The passenger told a TSA agent that he had a medical condition and needed to be patted down, the report says.

The man emptied his pockets, setting an ink pen and $520 cash in the gray bin. An agent told the passenger he needed additional screening. The passenger objected but followed the agent to a private area, the report states.

Irwin took the pen and money from the bin and put it into a drawer, the report says. When the passenger returned and asked about his money, Irwin said he hadn’t seen or heard anything about it. The passenger reported the incident to Norfolk airport police, the report says.

When the passenger returned, Irwin noticed it was the man who gave his fellow employees a “hard time,” the report says. “I just didn’t let on that I had the money,” Irwin told police.

In court, defense attorney Michael Davis argued that Irwin was stressed by family and financial problems and had a rare lapse of judgment. Davis said his client worked at TSA for 13 years and had no criminal record. Irwin apologized in court.

But prosecutor Suzanne Richmond told the judge that Irwin was in uniform when he stole the money. She said that Irwin told investigators that he was mad at the passenger for complaining about the additional screening. “This is not a normal case,” she said.  

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More minor turbulence for Sun Air's plans: Hagerstown Regional Airport-Richard A Henson Field (KHGR), Hagerstown, Maryland

Sun Air is delaying its plan to expand commercial service at Hagerstown Regional Airport until early 2013, according to Phil Ridenour, the airport’s director.

The company started flying between Hagerstown and Dulles International Airport in northern Virginia on Nov. 5, four days later than the carrier first expected. The delay was attributed, in part, to delays caused by Superstorm Sandy.

Only one passenger from the public flew any of the legs on the first two round-trips between Hagerstown and Dulles. Someone from the Federal Aviation Administration also was a passenger on opening day.

The company’s plan was to start with 14 flights a week, then increase to 24 flights a week after about a month.

However, the company has postponed that expansion, Ridenour said.

He said Tuesday that Sun Air hasn’t been able to get all of the planes and to train all of the pilots it needs.

“We hope to go with the increased flight schedule starting January 3rd,” Ridenour said.

Reached by email, David Hackett of Sun Air responded that he was on the road and didn’t have time to comment.

Ridenour said Tuesday that some passengers have used the Sun Air service to Dulles. He wasn’t able to provide exact numbers by Thursday afternoon.

“It’s been fairly low,” he said, “but on the other hand, we haven’t done a lot of marketing for that service yet, just simply because there’s only two flights a day.”

In August, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved Sun Air to serve both Hagerstown and Lancaster Airport in Lititz, Pa., through Sept. 30, 2015.

Sun Air is receiving a federal Essential Air Service subsidy for serving a community that is not close to a major market.

The company is using nine-passenger planes.

Sun Air replaced Cape Air, which ended its service between Hagerstown and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 31.

Thailand: Blimp repairs to cost B30m

The army will spend at least 30 million baht to repair its troubled blimp which crash-landed in Pattani province on Thursday while on duty.

The army inspected the surveillance blimp after the accident and estimated the damage at around 30 million baht.

Army Chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha on Friday ordered the repair and said the army had no plan to ground the aircraft.

The 350-million baht surveillance blimp has been used to patrol the skies in the southern border provinces to aid security authorities to fight insurgents. It was used during Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra's visit to the region on Thursday, when it crash-landed at 4pm at the Bor Thong air base in Nong Chik district of Pattani.

Earlier reports said two military pilots and two technicians who were on board when the airship crashed escaped with minor injuries.

But an army source confirmed on Friday that three pilots were on board during the accident and all were safe.

The inspection revealed that the blimp's propeller, motor, and gondola (passenger cabin area) would have to be repaired at the cost between 20 milliona and 30 million baht, the source said. The envelope fabric has to be replaced at the cost of 15 million baht, the source said.

The blimp's insurance was said to have expired, said the source, adding that the accident damaged more than 50% of the airship.

The source said many military officials have argued that the airship should no longer be used because of high maintenance and repair costs.

The army will have to pay at least 50 million baht a year for its maintenance, according to the maintenance contract with Aeros, a US blimp manufacture and repair company. The airship also requires helium fuel that costs an estimated 2.52 million baht per flight.

The army tried to downplay the accident, insisting the blimp did not crash-land.

Deputy army spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree said that the airship was forced to perform an emergency landing because the crew noticed turbulence after the airship rose to around 20 metres.

"We confirmed that the airship did not crash-land because of an accident during a mission. The blimp had to perform an emergency landing because of turbulence," he said.

The army purchased the surveillance airship in 2010 when Gen Anupong Paojinda was the army chief, amid criticism it was yet another waste of taxpayers' money.

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177th Air National Guard Fighter Wing hold simulation at Naval Air Station Wildwood: Cape May County Airport (KWWD), New Jersey

LOWER TOWNSHIP – Crash recovery technicians from the 177th Air National Guard Fighter Wing arrived in force last week for a training exercise hosted by the World War II-era facility.

“It all went pretty well,” said Naval Air Station Wildwood Museum deputy director Bruce Fournier. “So much so, they have asked to return later this month for another drill.

“They were great to watch. It was a good training situation for them because the airplane isn’t operational,” he added. “Without engines, it is much lighter to work with and, of course, not as costly if something were to go wrong.”

According to Fournier, some 20 Air National Guardsmen participated in the drill, which simulated removal of a damaged aircraft from a runway.

Fournier said the road to NAS Wildwood from the fighter wing’s home at the Atlantic City International Airport in Pomona came by way of Texas.

“We received the F-16 as surplus property from Sheppard Air Force Base and it was shipped up here in pieces on a flatbed truck,” said Fournier. “We reached out to the 177th for help re-assembling the aircraft last summer and this is our way of paying that good work back.”

The two-seat F-16 arrived from Sheppard AFB on June 1. Sheppard AFB, home of the U.S. Air Force 82nd Training Wing, is located in Wichita Falls, Texas.

NAS Wildwood Aviation Museum boasts over 26 aircraft displays as well as exhibits of military memorabilia, engines, photographs, and interactive exhibits that allow visitors to discover the science of flight and more.

“We’re very pleased with this reciprocal arrangement with the 177th,” said Fournier. “We’re not just a museum, we are part of the community here. We’ve hosted the events ranging from Governor Christie’s town hall meeting to high school proms. We couldn’t be happier about sharing our facilities with the Air National Guard.”

Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum is located in Historic Hangar #1 at the Cape May Airport, New Jersey. Cape May Airport was formerly Naval Air Station Wildwood, which served as a World War II dive-bomber training center.

The museum is dedicated to the 42 airmen who perished while training at Naval Air Station Wildwood between 1943 and 1945.

During the winter months, the museum is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. It is closed Christmas and New Year’s Day. For more information, call 886-8787.

New air cargo security measure to hit Nunavut, Nunavik December 31: Shippers could pay extra security costs, require more time

If you’re shipping cargo from an airport in the North in the new year, and you’re not a “registered shipper,” expect longer waits and a more thorough search of your goods.

That’s because the federal Air Cargo Security Program is kicking into gear starting Dec. 31, in an effort to “help our economy and position Canada as a strong partner in global efforts against terrorism,”  Transport Canada’s website declares.

The program affects all airports designated by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority.

That takes in all larger Canadian airports, and includes Iqaluit, Kuujjuaq and Yellowknife, as well as most large southern airports.

From now on, all cargo may be screened and searched if you’re not a “registered shipper” with Transport Canada.

To become a registered shipper, a company will need a business number issued by Revenue Canada, a Canadian business address, and a referral from an airline confirming you are a regular cargo shipper.

It’s free to sign up as a registered shipper, but additional costs might be added if you’re not and your cargo is screened.

That cost is up to the air carrier to decide.

Representatives from Canadian North and First Air did not get back to Nunatsiaq News about how much this could cost unregistered shippers. 

First Air does give a warning about possible delays on fact sheet about the new changes

It warns customers to “allow extra time” for dropping off cargo for screening and processing.

Canadian North’s fact sheet says any shipments not from a registered shipper will incur “additional security costs to you” and this might “potentially delay your shipments for screening processing.”

Lack Of Radar No Big Deal - Civil Aviation Minister John Maginley

Antigua st. John's - No country regulated by the Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) is mandated to have a working radar system in place, according to Civil Aviation Minister  John Maginley.

Speaking with Caribarena on Thursday, Minister Maginley sought to quell concerns about the damaged radar system in the Air Traffic Control (ATC) department of the VC Bird International Airport.

The Minister said all commotion about the subject is unwarranted since Antigua and Barbuda continues to use a recognized and well-regulated system.

“There is no country governed by ECCAA that has a radar,” Maginley said. “All the countries governed by ECCAA use what is called a procedural approach and that has been ongoing for a while.”

The aviation minister noted that the radar is used to assist ATCs in directing air traffic but it is not a mandatory device and its absence, he said, does not make the airport any less safe.

Nonetheless, he pointed out that government has for some time been trying to “upgrade” the country’s aviation system to bring it in line with other destinations like St. Maarten, the French islands, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago.

“We are working on it. This year, if I recall correctly, they brought in a consultant who has made some upgrades. I know it is down. Consultants have made recommendations and the mechanical parts have been fixed. I think the issue now is the size of the UPS and they are working with ECCA on what is the right size of the thing,” Maginley said about the current situation.

That notwithstanding, he maintains that the country’s aviation system operates quite effectively with the procedural approach, and says this has been confirmed with ECCA.

Whenever the radar does come on stream, Maginley says this would only be the beginning of the process, as training of staff and other mechanical upgrades within the ATC department would also need to accompany the activation.

“It requires training and an upgrade. Its not just simply about putting it in. It is an ongoing progress and the technical people are working with ECCAA to see how soon we could get to that,” the minister said.

The consultant, Dr. Vincent Richards, recently proposed to Cabinet the upgrade process that will bring bring Antigua and Barbuda in line with Trinidad the regional leader for air traffic control, and the place where many of the region’s air traffic controllers are trained.

But, as with most things in the twin-island state lately, the Minister said the issue at this moment is one of funding. Government has simply not been able to disburse the budgeted $714,407 required for the ‘Restoration of the Airport Radar’ initiative proposed in the 2012 Estimates.


Caribarena continued its investigations into the matter on Thursday, speaking with more experts in the field, and in the process coming up with further revelations about the country’s airspace.

One senior air traffic control officer (ATCO) here said the airspace controlled from the V.C. Bird International Airport surrounds the islands of Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, Redonda, St Kitts and Nevis, and basically covers an area of 10,000 square miles and a vertical height of 24,500 feet.

This number, he said, was recently reduced due to airspace lost as a result of the control area not being equipped with radar.

According to the ATCO, all other countries within the region that have control over the airspace of other territories (such as Antigua does) are equipped with radar.

“The airspace extends about 80 miles to the east, 70 miles to the west, 26 miles to the south and 53 miles to the north. Within the airspace, St. Kitts and Nevis controls a block of airspace, which is about 625 square miles and extends to a height of 6,500 feet,” this newspaper’s source explained.

Antigua’s airspace is bordered by Guadeloupe’s airspace to the south, Puerto Rico’s airspace to the west and north (above 15,000 ft), Saint Maarten airspace to the north (below 15,000 feet) and Trinidad and Tobago Oceanic Airspace to the east.

 The source went further to point out that the unique characteristic of Antigua’s airspace is that it is the only ECCAA-regulated OECS territory airspace of that size with an accompanying volume of air traffic.

“In other words the airspace is very busy when compared to St.Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada and Dominican airspace.

Dominica only has a vertical height of 7,000 feet, above which Guadeloupe and Martinique airspace takes effect. St Lucia also has a limited area of space that it occupies and its vertical height only goes up to 13,000 feet when compared to Antigua’s 24,500 feet height. St .Vincent and Grenada also go up to 13,000 ft in height,” the source said.

Antigua and Barbuda was the first OECS territory to invest in a radar system. This was back in the year 2000. The country is sandwiched by neighbouring territories that are all radar environments.

And according to this source, a challenge exists for aircraft flying from Puerto Rican airspace into Antiguan airspace of having to adjust to “an antiquated means of air traffic control”.

He added: “Saint Maarten has less airspace than Antigua but had to invest in radar because of the (sheer) volume of traffic which goes through there on a daily basis.”

Concerning Antigua’s situation, he said: “It was so important that the former chief of ATC and now an ECCAA Director along with his deputy at the time who is now an ECCAA employee successfully articulated to the Government the need to get the radar. If the need was there in 1997/1998 it has to be even more relevant in 2012,” the source said.

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