Monday, January 07, 2013

Flight route in place between Bendigo and Melbourne

Commercial  flights could be running between Bendigo and Melbourne by April.

Two pilots have been employed by newly registered company Gold Air Pty Ltd as negotiations over airport access are under way with the City of Greater Bendigo and Essendon Airport owner Lindsay Fox.

Gold Air managing director Marcel Nolet said it had taken almost four years and about

$1 million to reach this stage and said the service would have huge economic benefits.

“We want to make sure this is going to be a long term operation, not a fly-by-night operation,” he said.

“We’re looking for further funding of $1 million at this stage as well... we’re looking for business people in Bendigo who will take a share of the airline.

“We hope to start employing people in March, looking for senior managers, airport staff and call center staff.

“It will absolutely build Bendigo into a major, major city...we believe Bendigo will be a central Victorian hub, that’s our long term intention.”

Twice daily return flights and two weekend return flights are planned.

Principal consultant Neil Hansford said the airport terminal needed minor upgrades and that was separate to long-term plans for runway extensions.

“We’ve basically got to take over the terminal and convert it for scheduled services,” he said.

“Everything is in place, it’s ready, and the council needs to spend money converting the terminal back to a terminal.

“That’s got to be approved by councilors.”

The service would be aimed at business people flying to and from Melbourne, which could expand to Canberra, Adelaide and Mildura, then Sydney, Brisbane, Coolangatta and Hobart if the runway was extended.

Bendigo Business Council executive officer Patrick Falconer noted the difficulty of people traveling to Bendigo to conduct business.

“There will be a lot of skeptics because these services have been in Bendigo before,” he said.

“But that was when Bendigo was smaller with lot fewer businesses.

“I think given the size of Bendigo, the city does need an airlink and I think this is the start of the growth in air services in Bendigo.”

The company will start advertising in March with flights ranging from $130 to $180.

City of Greater Bendigo chief executive Craig Niemann said the council would be taking a cautious approach to the plans.

“As always, if any ratepayer money is to be expended we will ensure that it is done so in a responsible manner on projects that benefit our community,” he said.

“Council is yet to make any decisions on the type of assistance that might be needed.”

Mr Hansford said the size of the planes to be used meant security screening and baggage carousels weren’t needed.

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Philadelphia International Airport (KPHL) expansion must benefit all, including workers

Posted: Monday, January 7, 2013, 3:01 AM

AS PHILADELPHIA gets ready to spend billions of dollars expanding our airport, we must make sure that the project benefits the community and not just big business.

The Philadelphia International Airport is a major economic engine for the city and region. It supports over 141,000 jobs in the Philadelphia region, and brings more than $14 billion in economic activity to the area. But many of the jobs at the airport fail to contribute to our economy or our communities.

The workers who clean terminals and aircraft, push wheelchairs, help passengers with their baggage, and perform security services to keep passengers safe are paid as little as $7.25 an hour with no access to affordable health benefits or sick days. Because they earn so little, too many are unable to provide for their families and have to resort to taxpayer-funded assistance for health care and food. This is a disgrace.

Philadelphia's unemployment rate is well above the national average. It is vital that we ensure that people in our city who find work don't have to settle for dead-end jobs that fail to provide a path out of poverty.

Unless we make sure that workers share in the wealth they help create, especially at vital economic hubs like the airport, our city and neighborhoods will be unable to escape this cycle of poverty.

The good news is that workers at the airport are organizing and demanding respect for themselves and their communities. Airport workers, clergy and community supporters will testify in front of City Council members to make the case to expand the 21st Century Minimum Wage Ordinance to the airport.

This is the right thing to do. It's also good business. When workers are paid fair wages and benefits, they have more money to spend at supermarkets, clothing stores and other local businesses. They also pay more in taxes, and need less government assistance. All of this contributes to economic growth for our city and state.

Raising standards for airport workers could result in an additional $5.7 million in annual earnings for Pennsylvania residents and in the creation of more than 165 new jobs a year in Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia needs this and we should make sure it happens.

Bob Brady represents Pennsylvania's 1st Congressional District, which includes Philadelphia International Airport.


Frontier Airlines continues rapid expansion at Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey


EWING -- Frontier Airlines plans to add flights from Trenton-Mercer Airport to five additional cities -- Atlanta, Chicago (Midway), Columbus, Detroit and Raleigh-Durham -- starting in April.

The expansion plan comes just weeks before Frontier begins flights to Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, and Tampa, Fla, and New Orleans later this month. The airline has been flying to Orlando, Fla. since November. 

The new flights are expected to be announced at a press conference at 11 a.m. today at the Mercer County airport, but the route list is already available on Frontier's website:

 Frontier officials said in November that the early sales on the Orlando flights with low cost fares ranging from $69 to $89 each way prompted the company to expand to three additional Florida cities and New Orleans.

Trenton-Mercer Airport is roughly equidistant between Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, but has struggled for years to find an airline that could make the airport a viable alternative. 

Fourteen other commercial airlines have come and gone from the county airport since 1983. 

The Fort Lauderdale route will begin Feb. 2 and include flights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Fort Myers flights begin Jan. 31 and will fly on Thursdays and Sundays. The Tampa flights begin Jan. 31 and will fly on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The New Orleans flights begin Feb. 1 and will fly on Mondays and Fridays. 

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The Sunday Times apologizes and pays 'substantial' damages for claiming Ryanair broke safety violations 1,201 times

The Sunday Times has paid out "substantial damages" and apologized to Ryanair for an article published in September last year in which it alleged that the airline had broken safety rules on 1,201 occasions.  The Sunday Times said the damages payable to Ryanair will, at the company's request, be paid to an Irish-based charity, The Jack & Jill Children's Foundation.

The Sunday Times has been forced to pay Ryanair ‘substantial' damages after it wrongly reported that the airline had broken safety violations 1,201 times.

The newspaper printed an apology to the airline and paid out an undisclosed amount having printed a story in September that wrongly cited a report from the Spanish air safety agency stating that Ryanair had broken safety rules on 1,201 occasions.

It was also wrongly stated within the same article that three emergency landings were reported due to bad weather diversions from Madrid to Valencia and that most of the airlines pilots were freelance and under pressure through ‘monthly fuel league tables’.

The damages will be paid to The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation at the request of Ryanair.

The full apology printed in the Sunday Times yesterday can be read below:
An article (headlined “Ryanair accused of 1,201 safety violations”, Travel, September 23, 2012) stated that, according to a leaked report from the Spanish air safety agency (AESA), Ryanair planes broke safety rules 1,201 times in Spanish airspace in the first six months of 2012. We now accept that this was incorrect; there was no such report and Ryanair did not commit 1,201 breaches of safety rules.

In the same article we also reported three emergency landings which arose due to bad weather diversions from Madrid to Valencia on July 26, 2012. The article described these flights as having insufficient fuel to remain in holding patterns and reported claims that Ryanair was routinely abusing the mayday protocol to jump landing queues. We accept that all these allegations were untrue and apologize to Ryanair for the damage caused by this article. We have agreed to pay Ryanair substantial damages, which at the company’s request will be paid to the charity The Jack & Jill Children’s Foundation.

Finally, we reported in our article “Most Ryanair pilots are freelance” (News, ¬September 30, 2012) union claims that pilots feel under pressure to fly when ill and pilots’ claims that they are rostered for fewer flights if they fall into the bottom 20% of Ryanair’s monthly fuel league tables. We now accept Ryanair’s statements that pilots are not put under any such pressure and that the fuel-burn league tables are designed to improve fuel performance, which makes flights safer.

We also accept the Irish Aviation Authority’s assurance that Ryanair’s safety is “on a par with the safest airlines in Europe”.



WEST WINDSOR, NEW JERSEY: Town files appeal over police helicopter lessons

  Yet that’s the bill taxpayers face this year, thanks to vague language in the contract. In the contract, officers are allowed tuition reimbursement for educational courses that would better them in their career field. 

 WEST WINDSOR — When a state appointed arbitrator settled a police contract in 2011, the town never thought it would be paying more than $80,000 by 2013 for helicopter lessons.

   However the classes they can take are not specified and two officers took that as a green light to take aviation lessons.

   West Windsor is now seeking legal action to prevent having to repay the money for lessons involving a vehicle it does not own.

   Recently the town filed an appeal with the Superior Court in hopes of proving the violation and overturning an arbitrator’s Nov. 19 ruling that denied the town of abstainment.

   ”The intent of educational expense reimbursement for officers is to reimburse them on courses that have to do with their jobs,” said Township Attorney Michael Herbert. “We hope the court sees that the taxpayers of West Windsor are being sandbagged by this arbiter’s decision.”

   The town was forced to arbitration when the council decided not to take action on the contract recommendations made by the administration a couple of years ago. Because council did not vote, the contract’s decision was automatically left to the state-appointed arbiter. According to Mr. Herbert, arbiters usually rule in favor of the police.

   Since then, the arbiter has ruled the town must honor the contract and repay the helicopter lessons. Just in 2011, the two police officers racked up a $14,860 flight school bill. According to Councilman Bryan Maher, there is also $38,000 outstanding in requests, bringing the current total to $53,000 for the lessons.

   ”This is not the end of hearing about this issue moving into next year,” said Mr. Maher at the Dec. 17 meeting. “I think it’s abusive.”

   Mayor Shing-Fu Hsueh confirmed the officers are continuing their aviation courses, which could make that bill jump to $83,000 in 2013 if the court does not rule in the townships’ favor.

   ”This is the first time we have had this kind of situation and I’m very disappointed with the officers, especially since they know the township doesn’t have helicopters,” said Mayor Hsueh. “I hope the Appellate Division makes a reasonable decision, but until then there’s not much we can do about it.”

   Under the advice of the attorney, the mayor said he could not give the names of the two officers.

   Mr. Herbert was not only disappointed with the arbiter’s decision, but frustrated the police officers continue to waste taxpayer dollars for what appears to be a hidden agenda.

   ”The intent of the police officers is to go retire with a comfortable pension and then get a job as a helicopter pilot — all on the backs of the West Windsor taxpayers,” he said. “It’s a real outrage and we want to take every action possible to have this overturned.”

   The court is reviewing the case and will decide whether it will pursue a hearing. If West Windsor ends up losing, Mr. Herbert said they would explore the option of filing a petition with the New Jersey Supreme Court. Mayor Hsueh was unsure of the legal expenses associated with the legal action.

   The police contract is up in 2013, which will bring another round of negotiations to the table. Mayor Hsueh said he was confident this time council would vote in support of the administration’s recommendations to prevent another arbitration intervention.

   This time around, the mayor wants to tighten the requirements for tuition reimbursement by having Business Administrator Marlena Schmid decide what educational courses are allowed to be taken.

   The helicopter lesson situation is almost certain to impact the upcoming police contract negotiations. It appears the two officers may have made it harder for their colleagues to be reimbursed for classes in the future.

   ”The next time in negotiations police officers will get nothing. There’s going to be some real restrictions on any real tuition reimbursements,” said Mr. Herbert. “In the end, it really hurts the whole police force and the officers who are making legitimate requests for reimbursement.”

West Windsor Police Pay:

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Delivery of Boeing Dreamliners to China held up

HONG KONG | Mon Jan 7, 2013 7:07am EST

(Reuters) - China said it has yet to approve U.S. planemaker Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which has put on hold the delivery of the jet to the world's fastest growing aviation market.

China Southern Airlines Co Ltd, which has outstanding orders for 10 Dreamliner B787s, had expected to receive its first plane in 2012, but that has been delayed as the U.S. company has yet to receive certification from Chinese authorities.

Another Chinese airline, Hainan Airlines, which aimed to get five B787 airliners last year, also had to push back its schedule due to delayed certification, local media reported.

China has been increasingly assertive when it comes to exercising its right to independently certify the airworthiness of western-built aerospace equipment, such as engines, industry sources said.

Any aircraft has to obtain a certificate of airworthiness from the Civil Aviation Administration of China before it can enter the country.

"The approval process for the certification for the Boeing 787 aircraft is still in progress," the regulator said in an email reply to Reuters on Monday.

"The timing of the issue of the certificate will very much depend on the degree of cooperation of Boeing and U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. Currently the process is progressing smoothly," it added.

The Boeing 787 has already been certified by the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency.

Boeing declined comment on its customers' delivery plans.

"We are working closely with our customers to finalize the delivery and ensure successful EIS (entry into service) of the 787 with our customers in China," it said in an emailed reply.

The aircraft, the first Boeing jet to be globally outsourced to suppliers around the world, was first delivered to Japan's All Nippon Airways in 2011 after being delayed for 3-1/2 years due to technical and other problems.

Boeing said China had firm orders for 35 B787 including 10 each from China Southern and Hainan Airlines, and another 15 from Air China Ltd.

In addition, Xiamen Airlines also announced orders for six 787s, pending government approval, it said.


King Aviation a Family Affair: Mansfield Municipal Airport (1B9), Massachusetts

 Kelley Dineen never intended to work in the flight industry, you could say she just kind of fell into it.

Dineen, president of King Aviation, said she originally went to Johnson and Wales University in Providence for hotel and restaurant management, but in the recession of 1991, there wasn’t much work in those fields. She said her father, already an accomplished pilot and was running the flight school.

“When I graduated no one was hiring,” she said. “I took the summer and waitressed down the cape, but come September I had to have a job and he said go help your brother.”

The flight school has a small number of its own airplanes for instruction. Dineen said that she and her brother David run the flight school.

Dineen said that her father’s love of flying, and subsequently her own, started when he took it up as a hobby when she was about six or seven years old.

“I like the peace and quiet about it,” she said. “Even with the hum of the engine it’s quiet, I find it very relaxing.”

Dineen said that the airport itself has an array of two and four-seat planes, mostly owned by private flyers. The planes makes range from the 1940s up to modern times, including a Boeing-Steerman two-wing navy training biplane.

“They still work,” she said. “They do last longer than a car as long as you take car of them.”

Dineen said that all airplanes in the airport, including KA’s planes, go under rigorous inspection every year.

“It’s not like getting a sticker from the Mobil station,” she said.  “It can take a week two sometimes three depending if they have do to repairs.”

Dineen said that while the planes are very interesting, the biggest part of the business, like most businesses, is the people.

"You need to adapt to everybody else you can’t expect people to adapt how you operate," she said. "You need to talk, listen and anticipate problems. You definitely have to be able to multitask to do this job.

Dineen said that, as a pilot herself, her favorite planes would be for what is called a low-wing aircraft.

“I like the old old airplanes witht hose big loud radial engines,” she said with a grin. “If I could buy one of those I would, like one of the Cessna 195s… with an old big loud engine. It’s really a gas-guzzler.”

Dineen said that while the airport is used primarily for private owners, occasionally musicians, professional sports players and other celebrities come through.

She said that Jimmy Buffett, Elton John, Rush, The Rolling Stones, The Offspring, Donald Trump, Boomer Esiason, Joe Gibbs, Kyle Brady, the New Kids on the Block and Joe Andruzzi.

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Police: David LaPrade burgles airport restaurant, leaves underwear behind - Lambert-St Louis International (KSTL), St Louis, Missouri


 ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - A bold burglar hit a restaurant in the last place you'd expect this week; the airport. 

The alleged burglar busted into the Pasta House at Lambert when it was closed late Sunday night and left his cell phone and alcohol-drenched underwear behind.

Airport police arrested David LaPrade for the crime.

"He went in and he started drinking. It was later in the night as he got more intoxicated," said airport Police Chief Paul Mason. "What he did is he rearranged the stools to block any view and then he was behind the bar. And I think as he drank more and more his activity became more animated."

LaPrade was allegedly there to catch a flight the next morning. Chief Mason says he also stole chewing tobacco and cigarettes. They used video from surveillance cameras inside the restaurant to catch him. However, Mason says they can't release that video.

"We got a photograph and we put the photograph out and he was still at the airport when we caught him," he said.

He says the terminal is deserted at that time of night. Still, the burning question was how did nobody hear this, or see this? NewsChannel 5 asked airport police for an answer.

"The officer assigned to cover that beat was making an arrest of another person that he had discovered in the terminal. And again, he hid behind the bar for a good portion of the time," Mason said.

He says this was an isolated incident. This was in a part of the airport before the security checkpoints. Mason assures there was no threat to security.

"There was no danger to security at the airport because this is in a public area where the public has access to. Any of the secured portion of the airport, in addition to having whatever barriers we have up, we have 24 hour a day surveillance cameras being monitored by airport police department alarm room," said Mason. "So if someone was to do something like this to one of the gates, or attempt to do something like this to one of the gates or doors that led to the secure area of the airport, they would be immediately detected."

David LaPrade was arrested and booked into St. Louis County Jail. He's charged with second-degree burglary and property damage.

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Runway restaurant closes up shop: Trenton Mercer Airport (KTTN), New Jersey

EWING — Behind locked glass doors, stacked tables and chairs and a few cardboard boxes are all that is left of The Runway, the restaurant for the last four years in the terminal at Trenton-Mercer Airport.

The restaurant’s managers and county officials had agreed to the closure and the space was vacated yesterday, Mercer County spokeswoman Julie Willmot said. The lease was terminated after the management was unable to pay the minimum rental amount owed to the county, she said.

“The lease was procured competitively and therefore Mercer County was unable to negotiate lower rent,” Willmot said.

County officials said they will consider the financial viability and demand for a restaurant at the airport before putting the lease out to bid again.

“The county is always evaluating the configuration of the air terminal to maximize the operational needs of the airport,” Willmot said. “The viability of any restaurant will be a consideration in determining whether it is an appropriate fit for the terminal space.”

Willmot said county officials will strive to provide access to some level of food service at the airport. When asked if the county might use the former Runway space for something other than a restaurant, she said the county would consider all options.

Art Adams, who ran the restaurant with his wife, Sue Adams, and his mother, Carol Adams, was working to clear out the last of their things at the restaurant yesterday. He declined to comment on the restaurant’s closing.

Posted on both doors to The Runway’s dining room was a letter from the management and staff, saying they were closing the restaurant with “heavy hearts.”

“While we have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to serve the community here in Mercer County over these past four years. It is now time for us to pursue other business opportunities,” the letter read. “Every one of you has touched our lives and we are most grateful for your friendship.”

One of those patrons, Mervin Dissinger of Lower Makefield, Pa., said he was disappointed to find the restaurant shuttered when he visited on Wednesday. The retired pilot said he enjoyed watching the planes take off and land while he grabbed a bite to eat.

“It was all locked up,” Dissinger said. “They always provided me good service.”
Dissinger said he thought that with the success of Frontier Airlines’ new commercial flights the restaurant might have been able to turn a profit.

Frontier Airlines began flying out of the Ewing airport in November, offering cheap flights to Orlando, Fla. The Denver company has already announced it will expand service to Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers, Fla. and to New Orleans. The company said yesterday it will make another announcement on expanded service on Monday but did not provide further details.

The Runway restaurant had been struggling, and in September county officials said they had received only partial rental payments for six months. The freeholder board voted to end the lease agreement with the restaurant’s management early, giving the county the option of putting the lease out to bid and finding a new tenant.

At that time Sue Adams said the family was not making enough money to pay the $96,460 a year in rent. The annual rent had been negotiated down from $99,354, county attorney Sarah Crowley said in September. Any loss in revenue would have to be passed on to the taxpayer, Crowley said.

The Runway opened in December 2008 after Carol Adams made the sole bid on the five-year lease.

The restaurant became available when General’s Quarters, which previously occupied the space, closed abruptly earlier that year.

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September 2012:  Trenton-Mercer Airport's Runway restaurant could lose its lease  

The Runway Restaurant:

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