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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