Tuesday, July 16, 2013

SpiceJet phases out expats on falling rupee

NEW DELHI: The falling rupee has made airlines act in an area where they have dragged their feet for years - phasing out expat pilots. Low cost carrier SpiceJet has brought down its number of expat pilots, all of whom are commanders, from over 100 a year ago to just 25 now. With an expat commander getting almost three times more than the average Indian commander's monthly pay of Rs 5 lakh, the airline is looking at saving Rs 90 crore per annum.

Even the remaining 25 expat commanders are set to be eased out by the end of this calendar year. Airline sources said the expats are now only for the Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, as being a new plane in India, there are not enough desi pilots for it. "The Boeing 737 fleet is being operated fully by Indian pilots for the past three months. We are now the only airline in India whose mainstay fleet is operated only by Indian pilots," said the source. Airlines spend more on expat pilots for mainly three reasons: They have to be paid in dollars apart from being provided with accommodation here and free return ticket to their home countries every few months. "We were trying to phase out expats as per the aviation regulator's guidelines but the rupee's fall made us expedite the process. We did that by speeding up the training process of our pilots," said sources.

All Indian airlines have a significant number of expat pilots despite the fact that thousands of commercial pilot license holders remain without a job even after spending up to Rs 30 lakh for training.

Source:   http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Airline in a holding pattern

Brindabella Airlines has ceased its service between Orange and Sydney for the next six and a half weeks while its pilots are trained to fly larger planes.

Customers only found out about the suspension yesterday when they attempted to book tickets for flights and were told the airline was off air until September 1.

When the airline restarts in Orange it will continue to offer three flights per day, but all flights will be in larger 30-seater Jetstream 4100 planes.

One businessman, who declined to be named, said he was shocked by the announcement but said the airline needed to lift its game if it was to return.

“I’ve been trying to support them,” he said.

“Rex (Regional Express) have been more reliable, Brindabella have cancelled services and I’ve missed meetings... it affects people who have planned their whole day.”

“If they’re going to come back in September they’ve got to be fair dinkum... even if it’s next year... they’ve got to do it properly.”

Brindabella’s chief commercial officer James Blake played down the suspension saying it was “a softer period for bookings” but would not elaborate on the cause of the downturn.

He said the larger planes would allow cabin crew to serve passengers snacks and refreshments enroute to Sydney.

“Brindabella Airlines will continue its flight crew training program, which will result in the majority of its pilots being trained to operate the airline’s Jetstream 4100 aircraft,” he said.

The businessman said he flew to Sydney at least once a fortnight, but was often forced to catch the earlier Rex flight in the morning to get to Sydney in time for meetings.

“I hope they come back at an earlier time,” he said.

“The later departure doesn’t suit because you can’t do a full day of business.”

Aerodrome Committee chair Cr Chris Gryllis said the decision to cease the service was up to Brindabella, but he hoped the airline returned.

“The management have very enthusiastically promised us they want to stick around,” he said.

But the businessman said there was little point having two airlines if one was not viable or reliable.

Passengers who had flights booked during the suspension have been contacted by Brindabella to discuss their options, Mr Blake said.


Source:   http://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au

Air India risking flight safety by altering operating norms for A320: Pilots

Mumbai: Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) today accused Air India of arbitrarily changing the flight operating procedures for narrow-body A320 aircraft, affecting flight safety.

Air India has denied the allegations saying that the changed norms fully comply with all operating standards and do not in any way compromise air safety.

“Without any detailed study and without ensuring adequacy of power, any alteration of the certification process is a gross violation of original certification of airworthiness and serious flight safety violation,” said ICPA, the apex body of erstwhile Indian Airlines pilots.

“We would like to inform that even the manufacturer (Airbus) specifies that if the company decides to set all engines acceleration altitude to 800 ft and select a higher one-engine inoperative acceleration altitude, a detailed study needs to be performed by company’s flight operations engineer,” the ICPA said.

The body alleged that Air India neither conducted any such study nor has it consulted any other department like flight safety and training prior to modifying the standard operating system.

“Air India has also not notified the Director General of Civil Aviation on the modified procedure and has not received any approval for the same,” the ICPA said.

Meanwhile, rebutting the ICPA allegations, Air India said that safety of the aircraft, passengers and operations is paramount for the carrier.

“Air India would like to reiterate with emphasis that safety of aircraft, passenger and operations is paramount at Air India. And the changes in flight operation procedures, notified by the airline recently, fully comply with all operating standards and do not in any way compromise air safety,” the statement issued by Air India said.


Source:  http://www.firstpost.com

Company gets go-ahead for aerial photography with remote-control helicopters: Bermuda

Remote-controlled helicopters will soon be photographing the Island from above.

The Department of Civil Aviation announced yesterday it has given the go ahead to a Bermudian company to carry out this kind of aerial photography.

Bermuda Aerial Media has been granted an Aerial Work Certificate (AWC) to conduct operations with their remote controlled helicopters for filming aerial photography.

Bermuda Aerial Media are the first, and at present only, company permitted to conduct such operations in Bermuda, Government said.

Dr Grant Gibbons, Minister of Economic Development, congratulated the owners of Bermuda Aerial Media, Connor Burns and EJ Burrows, for their proactive approach to gain this certification.

“By achieving this distinction, they have demonstrated to the Civil Aviation technical staff, their ability to develop safe and comprehensive operating procedures,” he said.

“They have also demonstrated, by a series of flight tests, their ability to handle their aircraft in a variety of emergency situations.”

Dr Gibbons added, “This is an open market for young entrepreneurs, photographers and videographers. It should be noted that the Department of Civil Aviation is willing to work with any individuals to assist with getting the aerial work certification. It is vitally important to maintain safety standards and strict regulations regarding the operation of small unmanned aircraft in a congested island such as Bermuda.”

The Department noted approximately one third of the airspace above the island lies within the airfield Air Traffic Control zone and flying these unmanned aircraft or drones in such airspace could pose a hazard to conventional air traffic.

“It is essential that comprehensive procedures are established, which are acceptable to the Department of Civil Aviation and Air Traffic Control,” a statement said. “Use of these vehicles for commercial gain, for example aerial photography, is only permitted when approval has been granted in the form of an Aerial Work Certificate.

“In today’s marketplace, these remote controlled vehicles are freely available from specialist suppliers and are affordably priced, from a few hundred dollars for a simple machine to $15,000 and up for a complex model.

“The Department of Civil Aviation, strongly advises individuals who wish to become involved in the use of these aircraft either for pleasure or financial gain to contact the Department for guidance before they commit themselves to a purchase.”

In addition, the Department would also like to take this opportunity to advise the public that all forms of aerial activity are subject to regulatory control and restrictions.


Story and Photo:   http://www.royalgazette.com

Ryanair to run Winter sun flights from south coast

RYANAIR will run a winter timetable from the south coast this winter - three years after they halted the off-season operations.

The low-cost operator, which has been flying from Bournemouth Airport since May 1996, said they would be running six routes out of the airport to winter sun destinations as a result of high demand from Bournemouth this summer.

These include Lanzarote, Gran Canaria, Tenerife, Malaga, Alicante and Barcelona-Girona.

In total there will be nine weekly outbound flights and 3,400 weekly seats flying in and out of the airport, said Ryanair's Lesley Kane.

Back in 2010 the airline stopped flying from Bournemouth Airport over the winter months, citing the government's air passenger duty tax as the problem.

They insisted, after announcing the move nearly three years ago, that the measure was not long-term.

But this year, their winter break was longer than usual, with flights beginning again on March 14 - later than in previous years when they started in February.

The airline blamed the oil prices for the delay in beginning their spring/summer schedule and said they predicted demand for Bournemouth Airport to pick-up around mid-March.

Ms Kane, head of marketing, said: “Since we launched the spring/summer timetable back in March we have seen an increase and a strong demand for the flights.

 “We have 16 routes this summer and we have seen a really strong positive demand which gives us a positive outlook for the winter.”

She could not give any long-term commitment to the measure beyond this winter, saying they needed to make sure it was successful for this year first.

“Hopefully it will be (successful) and we will be back on a year-long basis”, she added.

“We enable people to save money. They are moving away from package deals and doing them themselves now.

“Back in 2001 we flew 85,000 passengers in and out of Bournemouth and this year we will fly 466,000-470,000 passengers.

“We want to carry on growing. We have a great relationship with the owners of Bournemouth airport - Manchester Airports Group - and we are looking to work with them to grow passengers.” 


Source:  http://www.dailyecho.co.uk

Air China touts new Frankfurt-to-Chengdu nonstops

PRC flag carrier Air China said that its newly opened Frankfurt Chengdu nonstop flights make Chengdu the closest inland Chinese city to Europe.

According to the carrier, it takes European travelers just 10 hours to fly from the heart of Europe to China´s “Land of Plenty” imbued with oriental charms.

While Beijing is the seat of many dynastic governments and Shanghai the heart of Chinese commercialism, Chengdu, tucked away in southwest China, is the birthplace of Shujin, or Sichuan Brocade, a silk fabric of unique workmanship that traces its origins to the Warring States period of over 2,000 years ago.

Chengdu´s history as a tea trading centre provides visitors with a cross section of authentic Chinese tea culture, the carrier said. It´s also the hometown of the famous Giant Panda; the city is the world´s only habitat for both pandas in captivity and in the wild.

The city, which has played host to China-EU Fair seven times, is western China´s important manufacturing and export base, and also a western China´s city with the largest number of Fortune 500 companies operating.

Air China debuted its Frankfurt – Chengdu route on May 19, the first nonstop route ever opened between western China and Europe by a Chinese carrier. With Air China´s network with Chengdu as a regional hub, European travelers can transfer quickly and easily to other parts of China.

Find out more at www.airchina.com.

Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis: New aviation tax is reasonable

Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said he is a "bit surprised" at the reaction to the government's decision to implement a processing fee for private aircraft flying into The Bahamas. In fact, he feels it is "reasonable". "We think that's eminently reasonable.

We don't think that it is unreasonable to ask private aircraft flying into The Bahamas to contribute to the cost of processing that entry," he told reporters outside of the House of Assembly yesterday.

"In fact, I'm a bit surprised at the reaction to it. We believe it's a modest fee that's being placed on each aircraft."

Effective July 1, The Bahamas announced another customs tax on small private planes of $50.

While Halkitis said it's "regrettable" that some people may be offended because "they didn't get notice", he stressed the need for the financial burden to be shared when taking into account the country's current economic climate.

"We introduced a processing fee of $50 per aircraft. For example, for someone who is flying in a private aircraft, they will pay customs a $50 fee to process their entry into The Bahamas. That's per aircraft," he said.

"In The Bahamas, we not only have to provide for the Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) but we have to provide for airports in at least 21 islands.

There are multiple airports on these islands." "We have to make sure that they are safe, manned by competent personnel, are clean and that customs and immigration are there. We believe that if we asked for a modest fee of $50 per aircraft, that's reasonable.

"Overall, our message in this budget has been that the country is growing. We have to provide a lot of services. If we are going to do that, we are going to have the share the cost of doing it because we want it to be done in a reasonable manner," he added.

This recent decision has not been sitting well with some aviation industry insiders.

Jim Parker, president of Caribbean Flying Adventures, a leading online pilot's guide for The Bahamas and the Caribbean, warned that The Bahamas stands to lose anywhere from $16-20 million in revenue annually if the government does not revisit the latest taxes being imposed on that sector.

"It will hurt the tourism sector and reduce tax revenues as well. The bottom line is that government revenues from private aviation tourism will decline rather than increase as a result of this ill-advised action," he told Guardian Business this week.

"Any trained economist will confirm that the extra $50 is going to be more than offset by a loss of revenue to the tourism industry and the government taxes on those revenues as pilots stop flying to The Bahamas. I think any economist that is looking at this situation holistically would have told the policymakers that this decision would be shooting themselves in the foot. For the sake of $2 million, conservatively they are going to lose $16-20 million in the tourism sector. It's a bad decision that needs to be reviewed."

There are approximately 40,000 private flights a year from the United States to The Bahamas that spend an average of $4,000 to $5,000 per visit, resulting in anywhere from $160 million to $200 million in annual revenue.

Halkitis remains confident that the fee is necessary and the country's tourism sector will not experience a major fallout as a result.

Click here to read more at The Nassau Guardian

Air Tattoo celebrates best of British

Two spectacular joint fly-pasts featuring the Royal Air Force’s Red Arrows have just been announced for next weekend’s Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford.

On Saturday, July 20, the world’s premier aerobatics display team will fly in formation with British Airways’ brand new Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft.

The giant, two-decked airliner is the first of 12 ordered by British Airways. It only arrived in the UK from Toulouse earlier this month. The airline’s new 469-seat A380 will begin flying to Los Angeles from September 24 and to Hong Kong from October 22.

On Sunday, July 21, the RAF Red Arrows will perform a fly-past with an Airbus Military A400M, the RAF’s future transport aircraft that is scheduled to replace the legendary C-130 Hercules when it enters service in 2015. The A400M was officially named ‘Atlas’ at a ceremony during last summer’s Air Tattoo.

Air Tattoo Chief Executive Tim Prince said the announcement continues an Air Tattoo tradition that has seen iconic aircraft such as Concorde and the US Air Force’s F-117A take part in some of the most memorable joint fly-pasts ever seen in the UK.

He said: “The two fly-pasts are very much about highlighting ‘the best of British’.

“The Red Arrows apply the same commitment to precision, flexibility and speed to their incredible displays as the wider Royal Air Force does in delivering effective Air Power on operations around the world.”

Peter Nye, British Airways’ senior first officer who will be flying the airline’s A380 in the formation alongside three pilot colleagues, said: “We’re looking forward to producing this very British display for aviation fans at the Air Tattoo alongside the Red Arrows.

“A lot of careful planning has gone into the fly-past and we are sure it will be a real spectacle. And although only a handful of people get to experience what it’s like to fly as a Red Arrow, British Airways’ A380 will be open to everyone from September.”

Squadron Leader Jim Turner, Team Leader of The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, said: “Flying in formation with the first British Airways Airbus A380 and also the Airbus Military A400M will be iconic moments for the Red Arrows in 2013 as well as for everyone watching the flight at the Air Tattoo.

“The event will tangibly showcase both British engineering and excellence, from the A380’s Rolls-Royce engines and hi-tech wing design, to the Red Arrows’ precision flying and our BAE Systems’ Hawk jets.”

Speaking about the A380, he added: “We are delighted to mark this special moment in British aviation history, with the A380 joining up with us for a fly-past before our planned display at RIAT.

“Flying in formation with such large aircraft is something the pilots enjoy and demonstrates the skills and abilities of all of the air and ground crews involved in making this happen.”

Officially formed in March 1965, the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team, the Red Arrows, has performed in 54 different countries.

The team is flying with its traditional nine aircraft in 2013 – its 49th display season. As the public face of the RAF, the Red Arrows are ambassadors of Great Britain.

They assist in recruiting into the RAF, contribute to defence diplomacy when displaying overseas and support wider British interests through the promotion of the country’s industry – demonstrating the capabilities of its equipment and expertise.

Tim Prince added: “For the Red Arrows to team up with the world’s greatest airline and the world’s latest military airlifter can only mean one thing; Air Tattoo audiences are is in for a spectacular treat on July 20-21.”

The Royal International Air Tattoo takes place at RAF Fairford on July 20-21.

Admission starts from £40. For a full list of all the visitor opportunities and to purchase tickets, visit airtattoo.com. All under-16s go free. Free parking. 


Source:  http://www.stroudnewsandjournal.co.uk

Wizz Air to fly Poland to Israel

The Budapest-based airline will be initially making three flights a week from Poland to Israel, plus new routes from Tel Aviv to Vilnius and Cluj-Napoca in Romania.

“The low fares that Wizz Air offers will make these very popular destinations for Israelis flying to Europe. We are confident that Tel Aviv will benefit from tourist inflows throughout the year," says a statement by the airline.

The Katowice to Tel Aviv flights will be the first low-cost route from Poland to Israel. (pg)


Source: http://www.thenews.pl

Emergency Transmitter Probed in 787 Fire: British Investigators Say It Is One of 'Several Components Being Looked at in Detail'

July 16, 2013, 9:18 a.m. ET

By  JASON DEAN

The Wall Street Journal


Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed it is examining the emergency locator transmitter on a Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner as one of "several components being looked at in detail" in the probe of Friday's fire on the jet at London's Heathrow Airport.

In a brief statement Tuesday, the AAIB, which is leading the investigation of the incident on the Ethiopian Airlines jet, gave no information about what may have triggered the fire. It said it is still "premature to speculate on the causes of the incident at this stage."

The AAIB statement confirmed that the emergency transmitter's maker, Honeywell International Inc.  has been invited to join the investigation.

Honeywell said Monday that it had sent technical experts to Heathrow to assist in the probe, at the invitation of British investigators, and would work closely with Boeing and the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which is also assisting the investigation.

Honeywell said the transmitters were certified in 2005 and "we've not seen nor experienced a single reported issue on this product line." The company said it is awaiting "analysis and output of the investigation before drawing any conclusions."

The one-paragraph AAIB statement Tuesday said, "The traveling public can be sure we are investigating all possible causes and following up all leads."


Source:  http://online.wsj.com

Skylon space plane 'will transform high-speed aviation'

Alan Bond, chief engineer at Reaction Engines, says the ability of the Skylon plane to transform into a rocket will open up space travel for the human race.



The Skylon can take off from a standard runway before accelerating to speeds of 19,000 miles per hour taking people to Earth’s stratosphere in just 15 minutes. 

Alan Bond, chief designer of the Skylon said the breakthrough on creating a device that can cool the air entering an engine allowing it to operate normally at speeds of Mach 5 will transform high-speed aviation.

"It enables an airplane, very much a fast airplane, but an airplane nonetheless, to take off, accelerate at up to five times the speed of sound, turn itself subtly into a rocket, fly into orbit, do a job and come back again.

"The second thing it enables, is a very high speed terrestrial aircraft. For example an aircraft carrying 300 passengers could go from Europe to Australia in about four hours."

He said: "We are looking at a revolution in transportation equivalent to the jet engine. 


Story, Video, Comments/Reaction:   http://www.telegraph.co.uk

Emirates A380 to serve Barcelona

Following its successful launch in July 2012, Emirates has announced it will commence a daily A380 service to Barcelona from February 1 2014.

Increasing overall capacity by almost 44 percent, Emirates’ new 517 seat A380 service will be the first permanent A380 service to operate into Barcelona El Prat Airport, replacing the route’s existing Boeing 777-300ER service and offering 2198 additional seats per week between the two cities.

“Barcelona has been one of the most successful new destinations of 2012,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates divisional senior vice president commercial operations — west.
 

“In line with this steady growth we feel that the time is ripe to announce the launch of our A380 service, which will continue to connect customers in Spain with Dubai as well as key destinations in Australasia, the Indian Subcontinent and the Far East.”

The new upgraded capacity will also offer strengthened support for popular markets from Barcelona, with the Emirates A380 servicing 12 destinations in Australia and the Far and Middle East, enabling customers to enjoy a seamless A380 experience.

In February this year, Emirates’ popular A380 aircraft was welcomed into Barcelona El Prat Airport by hundreds of onlookers as the airline operated two ad-hoc A380 services to meet the destination’s burgeoning demand.

“The A380 has been a part of our fleet for almost five years and continues to peak customer interest wherever it flies. Introducing the A380 to Barcelona permanently will not only increase our capacity but will also further highlight our commitment to the city,” added Frach.

The 517-seat Emirates A380 offers 14 Private First Class Suites, 76 lie-flat beds in Business Class and 427 spacious seats in Economy Class.

The Emirates A380 currently serves a total of 21 destinations with a further four destinations to launch in the next six months including Brisbane on October 1, Los Angeles on December 2, Mauritius on December 16 and Zurich on January 1.


Source:   http://www.arabnews.com

Passengers stranded at Palawan airport due to runway light problems; no night takeoffs, landings until July 31

Until July 31, there will be no takeoffs or landings at night at the Puerto Princesa International Airport, due to a problem with the runway lights there.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines announced this so technicians can fix the lighting system, radio dzBB's Palawan affiliate James Viernes reported.

While the policy is in effect, flights can land or take off from the airport only before 6 p.m., the report said.

The dzBB report said this may affect up to six evening landings and takeoffs a day.

While the ban on night flight operations is in effect, the airport expects the first flight to arrive at 7 a.m., and the last flight to leave at 5:45 p.m.

On Monday, several passengers were stranded as flights could not land or take off at night due to the problem with the runway lights.

The lack of working runway lights prevented takeoffs and landings at the airport, radio dzBB's Palawan affiliate James Viernes reported Tuesday.

At least two planes of Philippine Airlines Express and Zest Air could not land at the airport Monday night, the report said.

On Tuesday morning, the passengers were still waiting for their replacement flights, it added.

However, the report said that while there could be no takeoffs or landings at the airport at night due to the runway light problem, flights can resume in the daytime.


Source:   http://www.gmanetwork.com

Chamber head: Caribbean Airlines not serious about Tobago

State airline Caribbean Airlines  (CAL) is not serious about working with Tobago, head of the island’s arm of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Diane Hadad lamented yesterday.

Hadad was one of the presenters at the Chamber’s third pre-Budget breakfast meeting at its Westmoorings headquarters.

She said the Chamber and CAL were among the groups that met recently to discuss the island’s needs, including the Ministry of Finance and the Tobago House of Assembly.

“I was very disappointed with the national airline’s presentation. Nothing in it said they were serious about Tobago. It was really disheartening because they said their directive was to be financially viable,” she said.

She compared the air bridge between the islands to the Public Transport Service Corporation (PTSC).

“The air bridge is our PTSC. We have to go to Trinidad for almost everything...it is indispensable,” she said.

She also said the island needed a new airport, not just a refurbished one. It also needed more direct flights. She said suggestions were made to the Ministry (of Finance) to consider the fuel subsidy as one of the ways to make the island more attractive to foreign airlines.

Procedures to move transit passengers from Trinidad to Tobago, currently “quite a nightmare”, was also something that needed serious consideration, she said.

The port facilities and processing speeds in Tobago also need an upgrade she said.

“When you have to deal without port facilities just to bring in things from Trinidad is a challenge. We have unreliable shipment times. I want us to understand how we do business...it is very costly and hard. Our ports need to be addressed if we want to encourage manufacturing. We can’t say we want to move from tourism and into manufacturing if we don’t have proper infrastructure in place,” she said.

Tobago was also suffering from a labor shortage, she said, because workers preferred working for the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) rather than the private sector.

She said the daily rate of absenteeism was 25 percent and very frequently people gave no notice and just left their jobs to go to work for the THA.          


Source:   http://www.trinidadexpress.com

Cebu Pacific Air readies expansion plans to EU, Asia

Cebu Pacific Air re-scheduled its presentation to the European Union (EU) Air Safety Commission later this year to better prepare for its expansion in the region.

In a statement, Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution said they chose not to attend the June 26 EU Air Safety Commission meeting last June 26 in Brussels.

The EU partially lifted a ban on the entry of Philippine carriers after authorities showed progress in addressing safety concerns.

This allowed the national flag carrier Philippine Airlines to resume flights to Europe.

Iyog said Cebu Pacific took steps to comply with EU regulations but a recent incident in which one of their aircraft overshot a runway in the Davao International Airport showed that they still need to make more improvements.

Cebu Pacific previously announced long-haul expansion plans to Dubai and is looking at other regions like the Middle East, Australia, parts of Europe and the US.

Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, Jr. lauded the lifting of the EU ban saying it will help achieve the country’s target of 10 million foreign tourists by 2016.

“The (lifting of the EU ban bodes well for) the Philippine aviation industry as this means that the EU now recognizes the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) as a competent agency that qualifies airlines in the Philippines,” he said.

Jimenez identified the United Kingdom, Germany and France among the key European markets with stable tourist arrivals in the country

European tourists numbered 213,598 visitors from January to May this year, an 8.5 percent increase from the 196,794 in the same period last year. “We expect a significant increase from these markets, to include those from adjacent countries, once the PAL flights are made available,” he said.

Source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net

Saudi Arabian Airlines reportedly refuses Israeli passport holders to purchase tickets

Saudi Arabian Airlines reportedly is discriminating against Israeli citizens by refusing to let them fly from U.S. airports. 

The New York Post reported that for customers booking on online, the airline’s website has no drop-down menu options for anyone holding an Israeli passport, even though, as the Post pointed out,  there is a drop-down menu option for Antarctica citizens. The airline appears to  prevent passengers simply looking to transfer in Saudi Arabia to another country, as well. 

“No city in the world has closer ties to Israel than we do, and yet Israeli citizens are being discriminated against right here at JFK. It’s not only illegal; it’s an affront to who we are,” said public advocate, and mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio, who conducted a recent telephone sting on the Mideast nation’s airline.

When a member of de Blasio called the airline --trying to book a ticket from JFK to Mumbai, India -- identifying themselves as an Israeli passport holder, the caller was told by an agent that they would not be able to fly.

“Since you have Israeli nationality, you will not be allowed to go on Saudi Airlines,” the agent said, after consulting a supervisor.

Federal law says an “air carrier or foreign air carrier may not subject a person in air transportation to discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex or ancestry.”


FoxNews.com has reached out to Saudi Arabian Airlines seeking comment and has not gotten a response.
Source: http://www.foxnews.com

Good Times for Air Travelers

Air transport passengers in Nigeria will now start getting compensations for delayed, cancelled or overbooked flights from this week, writes Adeola Akinremi

If you've ever arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airports in Lagos or any of the nation’s airports after a long hour travel without your luggage arriving with you, it can be a nightmare trying to figure out why the luggage is left behind in the country where you embarked on the journey.  In most cases, passengers are left in such difficult situation without help from the carrier.  Perhaps more worrisome to passengers these days is cancellations and delays of some local and international flights without prior notice. In all of those cases, the airline owes you for your trouble. Sometimes it's good customer service, and other times it's the law.

From this week, erring airlines will no longer go scot- free as passengers flying from Nigeria will be able to enforce their rights through the law. The Federal Government, through the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) will this Friday begin the implementation of the passengers’ Bill of Rights, which seeks massive compensations for passengers whose rights are unnecessarily trampled upon by the airlines especially the domestic operators.

For instance, if you're bumped from a flight involuntarily, or you arrive at your destination and your luggage is delayed, you're entitled to a refund, not  just vouchers or a discount on a future flight often offer by airlines.

The Bill of Rights says: “If you are involuntarily denied boarding, the airline must explain your rights in a written document, which must state how the airline decides who gets to stay on an oversold flight. You may keep your ticket and use it on another flight. If you choose to make alternative arrangements, you can request an “involuntary refund” for the ticket. You have a right to choose between quiet and entertainment in-flight.”

The Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Dr. Fola Akinkuotu, insists it was high time airline operators stopped maltreating their passengers, adding that the implementation of the bill of rights would help put an end to unfair practices by airlines.

“It is not good for passengers to get raw deals from the airlines. What is sauce for the geese is also sauce for the gander. We have a responsibility to ensure that the bill of rights works.

“We need to make sure passengers get good deals and value for their money. We need to let them know that air transport is the best way to go, and that they will get good deals and value for money.”

According to NCAA the new set of rights would apply to passengers departing from an airport located within the Nigerian territory to another airport within the country; passengers departing from an airport located in another country to an airport situated within Nigeria; and to foreign air transportation with respect to non-stop flight segments originating at a point within the country.

However those passengers travelling free-of-charge or at reduced fares not available directly or indirectly to the general public will not benefit from the rule.

For flight delays, the Bill of Rights adds:  “Flight delays are a usual occurrence in air travel.  When they occur, they come with inconveniences to passengers.  That is why the new NCAA Bill of Rights provides that whenever an airline anticipates a delay of its flight beyond its scheduled time affected passengers are entitled to the following rights, if domestic flight: For a delay beyond 1 hour, carrier shall provide refreshment, telephone call, SMS or e-mail; in the case of a delay for 2hrs and beyond, carrier shall reimburse passengers the full value of their tickets. For a delay between 10pm and 4am, carrier shall provide hotel accommodation, refreshment, meal, 2 free calls, SMS, E-mail and transport to and from the airport.”

When an international flight delays between two and four hours passenger shall be entitled to refreshment and two telephone calls, SMS or E-mail. A delay of four hours or more shall entitle a passenger to a meal, two telephone calls, SMS or E-mail and when the reasonably expected time of departure is at least six hours after the time of departure previously announced, a passenger shall be entitled to hotel accommodation and transportation between the airport and place of accommodation.

Unlike before, now if your suitcase arrives smashed or torn, the airline will usually pay for its repairs. If it cannot be repaired, they will negotiate a settlement with you to pay its depreciated value. The same applies for clothing packed inside according to the Bill of Rights.  So passengers are encouraged to report external damage and/or pilferage of content before they leave the airport by filling out a Passenger Irregularity Report (PIR) form.

In some instance the bill says airlines may decline to pay for damage of fragile items when there is no damage to the suitcase. They are however, liable for fragile merchandise packaged in its original factory sealed carton, or other container designed for shipping.

As regards upgrading of ticket, If any airline on its own places a passenger in a higher class than the class of the ticket he is booked (such as from economy to business class), it may not request additional make-up payment from the passenger.

But If a passenger is placed in a class lower than that for which he/she purchased his/her ticket, the airline shall immediately reimburse the passenger the difference in accordance with the mode of payment and in addition, pay 30 per cent of the price of ticket for all the domestic flights immediately in cash and 50 per cent of price of the ticket if an international flight within 14 days either by cash, electronic transfer, bank checks, or other mode of payment available in the country.

Also, apart from the airlines, passengers too have some responsibilities to the airlines, among which is the prompt arrival to the airline’s counter despite the purchase of ticket.

“Even if you have already checked in for your flight, an airline can cancel your reservation if you are not at the departure gate on time. If you do not check your baggage in sufficient time for it to be loaded on your flight, the airline will not be responsible for any delay in the delivery of your baggage to your destination.

“Passengers have a duty to be courteous to staff and agents of airlines. All adults are required to present photo identification upon check-in and at boarding”, the Bill stipulated.

The Bill, which seeks to put power in the hands of the passengers whenever their rights are unnecessarily violated by the airlines, will ensure that passengers get adequate compensations when they are maltreated by the airlines.

But analysts say as good as the passengers’ bill of rights appears, efforts must be made to ensure airlines respect the rules.



An Aviation expert, Mercel Okoro believes it’s a new dawn in the aviation industry, where passengers will become king.

“I think this is laudable. It will take away the pains and fears people have when arriving at our airports, because it is painful to arrive without your luggage or sit forever at the airport because of cancellation without help from anywhere. It will also improve customer service,” he says.

The bill of rights was first introduced to stakeholders early last year in Lagos.


Source:   http://www.thisdaylive.com

Private Jet Pick-Up Indicated by Air Partner, Hangar8 Earnings

Air Partner Plc, a U.K. broker of business-jet charters, said increased demand for private planes means full-year earnings will beat forecasts. Hangar8 Plc, which has a fleet of about 50 aircraft for hire, also reported gains.

Air Partner’s pretax profit for the year ending July 31 will be higher than 2012’s 3.2 million pounds ($4.8 million), the provider of planes spanning Cessna light jets to Boeing Co. 777’s said today. Analysts predict a 3.75 million-pound profit, based on the median of two estimates in a Bloomberg survey.

The private-jet market has been sluggish since 2008, when the economic slump hurt demand from businesses and individuals. Improving growth prospects in the U.S. and an easing of the European debt crisis have raised prospects for a rebound.

“Business has further improved” since a June 4 update that detailed gains in both private-aircraft and jetliner charters, with trading “stronger than expected” over the last eight weeks, Crawley, England-based Air Partner said in a statement.

The stock rose as much as 7.4 percent and was trading 5.7 higher at 364 pence as of 10 a.m. in London, taking gains this year to 19 percent and valuing the company at 37 million pounds.

Air Partner said business has also been buoyed by new deals to serve the oil and gas market and from tour operators.

Oxford, England-based Hangar8, which offers planes from Embraer SA Phenom 100 light jets to the Brazilian manufacturer’s Lineage 1000 VIP model featuring a dining room and double bedroom, reported a “material uplift” in pretax profit for the year ended June 30 which it said was in line with forecasts.

Growth was aided by the November purchase of International Jet Club Ltd., which added two long-range Bombardier Inc. (BBD/B) Global Express aircraft, and there is cash for further expansion, Hangar8 said.


Source:   http://www.bloomberg.com

Airport damage blamed on fence

Pangnirtung airport is in dire need of a new fence, said Ron Mongeau, the hamlet's senior administrative officer, following two incidents in which aircraft were damaged.

A small plane was broken into on July 9 and a variety of equipment, including a GPS and safety flares, were stolen.

Mongeau said he's been asking for a new fence for a long time.

"We have been pointing this out to the government of Nunavut for years," he said. "It's one of many problems with the airport, the others being its location in the middle of town and the issues with landing because of wind conditions. There is totally inadequate fencing that is falling down and falling apart and I've indicated on many occasions, in writing, that we need a new fence."

Mongeau said the fence has numerous areas where people can get in and the hamlet doesn't have the proper funds to build a new, expensive fence. He estimates the cost at approximately $250,000.

"We need support from the government on this," he said. "We're looking at a fairly expensive proposition here and we need them to pitch in."

The hamlet is also considering security cameras, Mongeau added. Although cameras could allow them to catch culprits, it may not deter them from breaking in.

People aren't the only concern. Dogs have also been known to go through the fence as they please. It happened a month ago when a dog wandered onto the runway 20 minutes before an aircraft was scheduled to land.

"This goes beyond vandalism," Mongeau said.

"We can talk about this issue until we're blue in the face. We need an air strip where we can keep people and animals out of, and a fence that is secure, that will do the job it is designed to do."

On June 28, a 35-year-old man who was believed to have been intoxicated was charged with several offences after more than $5,000 worth of damage was done to a helicopter's window at the Pangnirtung Airport. The aircraft, which was set to bring scientists to Auyuittuq National Park, was out of service for several days.

 
Source:  http://nnsl.com

Whistler Health Care Centre helipad to stay operational over summer

A short-term compromise has been reached that will allow the Whistler Health Centre's helipad to remain open until the fall.

The centre's clerical aides and other staff, plus RCMP, BC Ambulance staff and Whistler Fire Rescue, will share duties in keeping traffic and pedestrians a safe distance from landing or departing helicopters, said Clay Adams of Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH).

VCH has submitted a proposal to Transport Canada that "will get physical bodies onto the streets," and this temporary measure had been approved by the stakeholders involved, including the Resort Municipality of Whistler, said Adams.

"We got approval for a short-term plan from Transport Canada which will allow us to keep the helipad in operation until September," Adams said.

In mid-May, Transport Canada inspectors were in Whistler to carry out an audit of the helipad's operations and observed people not obeying traffic signals at Blackcomb Way and Lorimer Road that are activated when a helicopter is about to land or depart.

Adams did not anticipated added costs to implement the plan.

"Whistler Health Care Centre staff will take on the traffic management roles within their existing shifts (meaning they will be at work at the time of a landing/takeoff and not asked to come into work for the specific role). The contribution of our partners from the RCMP and BCAS has been arranged on a volunteer basis," he said, adding that everyone understood that this was untenable in the long term.

The decision came following an audit the federal department made of the helipad's operations in mid-May. At that time, Vancouver Coastal Health, which ultimately has responsibility for the helipad, was given until July 2 to come up with a plan to address the issue by mid-August or risk the helipad being issued a notice of suspension.

Adams said the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) did not like the idea of barriers, as supported by Transport Canada, and suggested that there was a lack of interest, along with a lack of funding, to make it happen.

"It has been frustrating to get everyone together to find a solution that is workable... We're in the health care business, not traffic management," he said.

Added Adams of the decision to bring in help from emergency responders and the health centre's staff: "This points back to something that is short term vs. long term. I can't see anyone want to commit to this ad inifinitum."

Whistler Mayor Nancy Wilhelm-Morden said she hopes the temporary remedy will work.

"Certainly it will be a challenge if a helicopter is arriving or departing at the same time as some other emergency call because it looks like Vancouver Coastal Health will be relying on a certain extent on the availability of first responders. We'll have a couple of months to see if this does work," she said.

Wilhelm-Morden said no other meetings on the subject were currently arranged but anticipated them.

"There was some discussion about fencing around the helipad and we're not really thrilled about that, but then it can't be very high because that would interfere with the flight path and if you don't have a high fence then it's not going to be very effective. That didn't seem to be a very good solution," she said.

"We did have a discussion about barriers but not very detailed at all."

The mayor said considerable uncertainty remained.

"What I hope would happen is that people pay attention to the darned lights," Wilhelm-Morden said.

"If they would, that's the solution. So maybe it's just a case of better education of members of the public. The lights haven't been up there for that long, and I have to say personally I find them confusing sometimes when I am driving. One light is green and another is red."



Source:   http://www.piquenewsmagazine.com

Aviation experts propose new hangar for testing: Minister Karmenu Vella says research and development is the ideal way to invest in the future

Local aviation experts are proposing a new building at the Safi Aviation Park that would include lecture rooms, offices, and also a hangar for unmanned aircraft testing.

This was proposed in a conference organized this morning in which the Government announced its intention to invest heavily in Research & Development, in particular in the aviation sector.

"In the past we have failed in Research and development; we have invested very little. This government recognizes the importance of R&D and is aware that much more investment is needed in the near future," the Minister for Tourism, Karmenu Vella said.

Kenneth Chircop, David Zammit-Mangion and Andrew Sammut, who all lecture avionics at the University of Malta, presented a list of projects done. These include a flight trajectory optimization for reduction of noise and emissions,'FlySafe' aircraft safety system and 'Odicis' - a touch screen interactive cockpit technology.

They were also awarded research contracts with Airbus, leading manufactures of aviation technology and foreign universities.

"The government's initiative is to promote further research, but we should also capitalize on what is already there, and Malta's aviation sector is one of the leading in this industry" Zammit-Mangion said.

David Zammit-Mangion concluded that support to local industry is needed in order to attract further foreign investment to Malta.

Last April, Minister Karmenu Vella said the Government was preparing a national aviation policy in order to address the problems this sector faces, saying this was a priority sector for the Government.


Source:   http://www.maltatoday.com

Caribbean Airlines crash court case will be heard in New York: Boeing 737-800, Trinidad & Tobago registration 9Y-PBM, Accident occurred July 30, 2011 in Georgetown, Guyana

 

NTSB Identification: DCA11RA092 
Accident occurred Saturday, July 30, 2011 in Georgetown, Guyana
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration:
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
Kingston
Georgetown