Saturday, October 19, 2013

We bought N225m bulletproof cars for operations - Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority

Director-General of  the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Captain Fola Akinkuotu, on Friday defended the purchase of two BMW 760 armored cars, saying the vehicles are for operational use.

He denied media reports that the vehicles were acquired for the minister of Aviation, Princess Stella Uduah.

Briefing newsmen in Abuja on the controversy that has trailed the purchase of the vehicles, NCAA said due process was followed in the acquisition of the vehicles. He put the cost at N255, 150, 000.

He said: “This press conference is to throw more light on emerging media reports on the circumstances surrounding the procurement of Two BMW 760 Li Armored Series cars for the NCAA.

“The cars are operational vehicles used in the varied operations of the NCAA. Transporting the minister and aviation-related foreign dignitaries is part of this operation.

“We make haste to state that aviation is a global industry and the NCAA, the regulator of the industry in Nigeria very often plays host to dignitaries from international civil aviation bodies like, ICAO, IATA, United States -  Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), among others.

“It is internationally customary to convey our minister and these visiting foreign dignitaries in security vehicles whenever they are in Nigeria.

“It must be noted that during such visitations, the security of members of the delegation is the sole responsibility of the host country,” he said.

According to him, the vehicles in question are in the pool of the NCAA for these special assignments and available at NCAA office.

Akinkuotu, further noted that the vehicles were budgeted for and that all necessary procurement and due process was followed.

He added that this was not the first time the agency had procured high security vehicles for aforementioned purposes.

He confirmed that vehicles were purchased from Coscharis Motors, the only dealer of such vehicles in Nigeria.

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Airport board to examine forming regional transportation authority: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP), Pennsylvania

 PITTSTON TWP. - The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport board unanimously approved a motion Friday to begin looking into forming a regional transportation authority.

Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O'Brien introduced the motion to explore creating one authority to handle all mass transit systems in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties and possibly Monroe County, including the airport, buses and rail.

By forming a regional transportation authority, the area would become the third-largest transportation system in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Mr. O'Brien said. It could give the region more clout and improve efficiency, he said.

"The future of Lackawanna County requires a strong Luzerne County, and the future of Luzerne County requires a strong Lackawanna County," Mr. O'Brien said.

The airport is already controlled by a bicounty board consisting of three members from Lackawanna and three from Luzerne.

The railroad authorities in Lackawana and Monroe counties merged to form the Pennsylvania Northeast Regional Railroad Authority, and Mr. O'Brien said he would like to include Luzerne County moving forward.

Luzerne County Transportation Authority and the County of Lackawanna Transit System already work together and this could be an opportunity for each to save money and collaborate further, Mr. O'Brien said.

Airport board members will request assistance from the state Department of Transportation to fund the study. Commissioners from Luzerne and Lackawanna counties have previously talked about asking the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to study whether regionalizing bus systems would save money and improve services in the region.

Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania's most recently established county, was part of Luzerne County until 1878.

"We were one county a long time ago. It's time for us to get back together," said Lackawanna County Commissioner Patrick O'Malley.

Luzerne County Manager Robert Lawton said he was willing to discuss the opportunity for a regional transportation authority but would like to see the expenses.

Luzerne County Council Chairman Tim McGinley and Councilman Rick Williams joined Lackawanna County Commissioner Jim Wansacz in expressing support for the idea.

"I think it's long overdue. We have to take a look at trying to connect these communities," Mr. Wansacz said. "Progressive communities are looking at ways of doing this."

In other business, assistant airport director Michael Conner announced the number of passengers boarding planes decreased 1.3 percent in September to 17,564 from 17,802 in September 2012. He cited three reasons: the loss of a daily United flight to Newark, the reduction of U.S. Airways flights to Philadelphia on certain days and the hiatus of Allegiant flights to Orlando-Sanford.

The board accepted a grant from Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for $41,784 to rehabilitate the terminal apron and install a runway. The grant is 5 percent of the total project cost of $835,680. Ninety percent of the project is being paid for through federal funds, with the airport paying the remaining 5 percent, said airport director Barry Centini.

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Mirarmar Air Station Firefighters Train Against Jet Fuel Flames

On a hot October day, Cpl. Cameron Arthur and more than a dozen crew members sparked a series of fires with more than one thousand gallons of jet fuel. The Saturday morning blazes at Marine Corps Miramar Air Station sent plumes of black smoke into the air visible from surrounding communities.
But on the ground, Arthur said things were under control — the fuel fires were part of monthly training exercises to keep Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting unit members comfortable in their heavy gear. 

The team practiced in a large concrete pit far from brush, Arthur said. 

"What we're doing is basically using water to push the fuel — 'cause the fuel sits on top of the water — and we're pushing the fuel along the fuselage of the aircraft to the back of the pit and then we're working together as a team to put that out," he said.

The unit rotated positions during the series of fuel fires to become familiar with each role. According to Arthur, flames reached 25 to 30 feet.

The crew burned a total of 1,200 gallons of jet fuel during the exercise, he said. 

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What to look for when chartering a private plane: Presented by Schubach Aviation

When a person goes to the internet to charter a private plane in the San Diego area, an overwhelming number of options usually appear. In actuality, there are only a few true charter companies in the area. Many of the options that appear are actually brokers, rather than direct charter operators. How does one determine the difference between a broker and an operator?

“When looking at the websites, it is important to look for certain words,” advised Kimberly Herrell, Director of Sales at Schubach Aviation. “Brokers will note that they ‘have access to’ rather than ‘operate’ charter flights. Brokers don’t actually operate aircraft. They are the middlemen in the transaction putting private fliers with operators like us and can be very helpful if a person travels around in a lot of different areas.”

“Keep in mind that there are no regulations in the broker industry so it’s important to find someone with a good reference and a good reputation who will find you the best value,” continued Herrell. “If you are planning on several flights out of the area, I would recommend bypassing the broker and working directly with an operator as they provide quicker service and response, and typically a lower price.”

A charter operator is an aviation company that holds a Part 135 operating certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. The company staffs the plane, conducts the maintenance and adheres to stringent FAA guidelines. 

“If you determine that an operator is the best choice to go with,” said Herrell, “check out the operator’s history. Have they had any accidents or incidents? What steps were implemented to keep you safe in the future? What is the company’s reputation? Where and how are the pilots trained? Do they know their stuff? Do they keep you informed of delays? You are putting your life and your loved ones’ lives in their hands. It’s important to feel comfortable with the choice you make. We often give tours here at Schubach Aviation so that our clients know what to expect. It makes them feel more at ease, knowing who they are flying with.”

Once a person feels they have made the best choice based on the solid operation of the company, the next consideration is service.

“We cater to our customers,” said Herrell. “Some clients enjoy having a certain wine, or maybe a particularly comfortable blanket or a favorite magazine. We try our hardest to make people feel that they are at home…that this is the closest thing to having your own private plane without the hefty price tag of ownership.”

Pricing and payment is the next consideration: Is it competitive? Is prepayment required? Are there high cancellation fees? 

“We only charge cancellation fees when absolutely necessary,” explained Herrell, “because we focus on the long-term relationship we want to form with our clients. Mr. Schubach is very customer focused, and we haven’t forgotten the reason why we get to do what we do.”

More information


Schubach Aviation
Phone: (760) 929-0307
Address: 2026 Palomar Airport Road, Carlsbad

Russian Pilot Union Activist Arrested in Aeroflot Fraud Case

MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) – A Moscow court has ordered the arrest of an activist of the Sheremetyevo Trade Union of Flight Personnel caught in a large-scale fraud case linked to Russia's major airline Aeroflot.

Valery Pimosheko will remain in custody for two months until December 19, Russian legal news agency RAPSI has reported. He faces up to 10 years in jail for “attempted theft” of Aeroflot’s property by deception.

The activist and the executive director of the Sheremetyevo Trade Union of Flight Personnel, Alexei Shlyapnikov, were detained on Saturday as they allegedly received 10 million rubles ($314,000) in exchange for their assistance in resolving the airline’s wage disputes with the pilots.

The suspects have demanded a total of 100 million rubles ($3 million) from Aeroflot’s flight director for settling the dispute over compensating crew members for harmful and dangerous work conditions, as well as night work bonuses.

Aeroflot has been ordered to compensate a total of 1,200 employees by a Moscow court. The total payment of compensation, which was set to begin last month, could amount to 1 billion rubles ($31 million).

The Sheremetyevo Trade Union of Flight Personnel comprises over 850 pilots, flight engineers and aero navigators from Aeroflot and more than 1,000 retired personnel.


The CEO Of Cisco Bills The Company When He Flies In His Own Private Jet

Many big tech companies, like HP and IBM, keep fleets of private jets to fly their executives around in convenience, safety and style. But at Cisco, CEO John Chambers works it in reverse.

He owns his own jet and then he sends Cisco a bill when he uses it for work, which he presumably does a lot.

In 2013, he billed Cisco $2.8 million in jet expenses, according to forms filed with the SEC. Unlike car mileage, there doesn't seem to be an IRS standard when reimbursing for your private jet. Chambers just has to make sure that his expense rate isn't higher than what it would cost to hire a private chartered jet.

That's not hard to do. It will cost you $21,000 to charter a 4-passenger plane for an hour to fly from San Jose to L.A. on a JetSuite private charter (non-member rate).

Blogger Brad Reese calculates that since 2009, Chambers has billed Cisco $11.1 million in private jet expenses.

$2.8 million certainly isn't a lot of money by Cisco's standards. But just for kicks, we looked at what it would cost to fly first-class on a commercial airline (United), from San Jose, California (where Cisco is based) to Bangalore, India (where Cisco has an R&D facility). 

About $16,000.

For $2.8 million, one person could fly 175 times, first-class to Bangalore at that rate. Or four people (a small entourage) could fly 43 times.

It's hard to tell if Cisco is getting a sweet deal by paying for Chamber's business travel on his private jet.

Most companies only disclose the reverse situation. They tell shareholders how much the company spent when executives use the corporate jets for personal travel. This is included their total compensation numbers, so presumably they pay taxes on the benefit (though many companies also pay for their executives to get help preparing their taxes.)

For instance, IBM says that its CEO, Ginni Rometty, must use IBM's jets at all times, even for personal travel, for safety reasons, according to forms filed with the SEC. In 2012, she spent $304,376 for personal travel on the corporate jets.

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Campaign urges Emiratis to consider a high-flying career as an air traffic controller

ABU DHABI // Young Emiratis are being urged to look to the skies when choosing a career.

While many opt to study medicine or engineering, a national campaign is promoting the benefits of training to become an air traffic controller.

“Traditionally, the popular jobs for UAE nationals are doctors and engineers. Why not become an air traffic controller?” asked Mutasem Al Swaini, manager of air navigation service-provider training at the Sheikh Zayed Air Navigation Center (SZC).

The Air Traffic Controller Promotion Campaign aims to raise awareness of the profession and generate interest in pursuing a career in it.

Launched by the UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), officials from the initiative have visited schools, universities, colleges and career fairs.

“We have seen a lot of interest from males and females,” said Mr Al Swaini, who is a graduate of the GCAA’s Air Traffic Control Nationalization Training Program, which the campaign promotes.

The Emirati-only training scheme began in 1998.

The campaign, which began about two years ago, is not about getting more applicants, but is focused on raising awareness of the profession, said Mr Al Swaini.

“We get thousands of applicants every year but you want people who really are keen and interested in the job,” he said.

“You want to raise awareness and it also gives an opportunity to younger people to think about a career in the future.”

People need a specific set of skills to make the grade, such as being able to multitask, work under pressure, speak good English and analytical thinking.

“We have to train someone from zero,” Mr Al Swaini said. “It’s a very technical job, it’s a highly skilled job. The right skills have to be there. There are certain skills we look for in a person and it’s not easy to find. Safety comes first, so there’s no room for mistakes.”

The air traffic controllers at SZC are responsible for about 2,100 flights across the UAE every day.

These includes planes entering or leaving the country, domestic flights and those passing through.

Controllers guide the pilots, telling them where to go and what speed to fly at, to ensure all aircraft operate in a safe and efficient manner, complying with international standards.

Applicants for the training program, who should be between the ages of 19 and 25, have to go through a screening process.

This includes aptitude, psychometric, English and maths tests, plus interviews to assess their personalities.

Training takes between two-and-a-half and three years and consists of theory classes – in-house and sometimes in other countries – as well as simulator sessions and a year of live training under the supervision of an instructor.

As a testament to the success of the program, the top two levels of management at SZC are Emirati.

Out of 102 air traffic controllers at the Abu Dhabi-based centre, 27 are UAE nationals. There are another 20 Emiratis at different stages of training.

“It’s very important to nationalize in all of the industries in the UAE, especially in the aviation industry,” Mr Al Swaini said. “We recognize the efforts from the GCAA management in making this program a success and appreciate their continuous support.”

Thani Al Karimi, 22, was following in his father’s footsteps and studying engineering when he changed his mind and decided to become an air traffic controller. He graduated from the training program in August.

“I thought that I wanted to do something else, something unique,” he said. “It’s a job that’s as important as a doctor or engineer. I recommend it.”

The Dubai resident said it was an interesting and fun job.

“You find new situations every day. You will never face the same problem every day,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure. We have been trained to deal with high-pressure situations and just do it.”

Emirati Hamad Sabaan, 24, from Abu Dhabi, graduated last month.

“I like to control.” he said. “I want to be in charge of everything. I was in the petrol industry as an instrument control technician.”

He recommends a career as an air traffic controller to other Emiratis.

“It’s a good opportunity,” he said. “Every day you will experience a lot of things. It’s exciting.”

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Plaintiffs ask for more than $674,000 in Oxford Aviation suit: Cessna 441 Conquest II, N383SS, Joseph Skilken & Co., Inc.

OXFORD — Plaintiffs in two lawsuits against Oxford Aviation are asking to be awarded more than $674,000 in total damages in a default judgment against the company.

Joseph Skilken and Co. and Karen Skilken filed lawsuits against the Oxford-based company in late August, claiming that negligent work by the company resulted in a harrowing emergency landing of a Cessna 441 airplane in Colorado Springs, Colo., in May.

According to the complaints, Oxford Aviation failed to properly reattach part of the airplane's tail after repainting the aircraft and the unattached portion of the tail fell off in mid-flight. The Cessna was piloted by Steven Skilken with Karen Skilken, her parents and the Skilkens' two young daughters as passengers.

Last month, U.S. District Court in Portland entered a default against Oxford Aviation after the company failed to respond to the complaint after being served with a summons Aug. 27.

By defaulting on the suit, the defendant is essentially accepting the facts of the case as true.

Together, the two plaintiffs are asking the court for damages totaling more than $674,000.

In its motion for default judgment, filed Oct. 16, Joseph Skilken and Co., asks for more than $518,000 in damages to cover a refund, loss of use of the Cessna for business, an "unacceptable" paint job and diminution of value of the aircraft, as well as costs, expenses and attorney fees.

The cost to repair damage to the Cessna's airframe, interior, left propeller, engine, nose tire, tire arms and fender and repaint the aircraft was $210,023. According a Sept. 13 invoice attached to an affidavit by Steven Skilken, repairs were completed by West Star Aviation of Grand Junction, Colo.

A refund for a three-and-a-half-month loss of use of the airplane, regularly used to transport business clients for Joseph Skilken and Co., totals $53,840, while the cost to use commercial flights and rent airplanes and vehicles totals $58,384.

Joseph Skilken and Co. rents property in West Virginia, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, according to its website.

The company is also asking for $200,000 to cover the loss of the value to the aircraft and associated fees relating to landing at Colorado Springs and unexpected test flights totaling $4,796.

In her motion for default judgment, also filed on Oct. 16, Karen Skilken, who was slightly injured in the emergency landing, is asking to be awarded $6,065 to cover her medical bills and $150,000 as an award for "severe emotional distress, mental anguish and pain suffering caused by the defendant's negligence."

The court has yet to set a hearing to assess damages.

Reached Friday at his Lewiston office, attorney Daniel Nuzzi, who filed the motions on behalf of the plaintiffs, said if the court rules in favor of the the judgments, his clients would attempt to collect the damages awarded.

As of yet, his office had received no communication from Oxford Aviation or its representatives, Nuzzi said.

An attempt to reach Oxford Aviation President James Horowitz of Casco at his company's offices at the Oxford County Regional Airport on Friday was unsuccessful.


Boeing procurement officer, contractors indicted on bribery and fraud charges

Deon Anderson, a former Boeing procurement officer, allegedly leaked nonpublic information to bidders for contracts on military aircraft parts in exchange for cash.

A former Boeing Co. procurement officer and three other people were indicted by a federal grand jury and accused of engaging in a bribery and kickback scheme, a federal prosecutor said.

The ex-procurement officer allegedly leaked nonpublic information to bidders for contracts on military aircraft parts in exchange for cash, the office of U.S. Atty. Richard Callahan in St. Louis said in a statement.

The grand jury indicted former Boeing executive Deon Anderson; Jeffrey Lavelle, who owned Everett, Wash., bidder J.L. Manufacturing; and an outside consultant for J.L., Robert Diaz. Boeing, based in Chicago, is the world's biggest plane maker.

"Anderson provided J.L. Manufacturing, though Lavelle and Diaz, nonpublic competitor bid information and historical price information in connection with one and more Boeing military aircraft part purchase order requests for quotes" from May 2011 to April 2013, Callahan's office said, citing the indictment.

Lavelle allegedly used that information as guidance for about nine different bid requests submitted to Boeing, winning seven contracts worth an aggregate of more than $2 million, according to the U.S.

Diaz, 54, and Lavelle, 52, each face one count of mail fraud and two counts of wire fraud, according to the indictment. Anderson, 47, was charged with an additional wire fraud count, together with William Boozer, owner of Santa Ana company Globe Dynamics International Inc.

From November 2009 to February 2013, Boozer, 59, allegedly paid Anderson for information used in preparing about 16 Globe bids, winning seven contracts worth a total of more than $1.5 million.

Anderson entered a not-guilty plea Friday in an appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Shirley Mensah in St. Louis, his attorney, Nicholas Williams, said in a phone interview.

"Mr. Anderson maintains his innocence," his lawyer said.

Diaz is represented by the St. Louis federal public defender's office. That office didn't respond to an after-hours telephone message seeking information on Diaz's arraignment Friday. Lavelle's lawyer, John Crowley of Seattle, and Boozer defense attorney Dyke Huish of Los Angeles, didn't immediately reply to voice-mail messages seeking comment.

"Boeing has fully cooperated with law enforcement officials throughout their investigative process and we will provide our full cooperation as the case moves forward," the company said in a statement e-mailed to Bloomberg News.

Each mail and wire fraud count carries a maximum punishment of 20 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. The indictment was returned Oct. 2 and sealed that day.

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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A former Boeing Procurement Officer and three of the company's sub-contractors have been indicted for mail and wire fraud stemming from a bribery and kickback scheme involving Boeing military aircraft parts. 

Boeing Procurement Officer Deon Anderson allegedly provided J.L. Manufacturing, a Washington-based aerospace job machine shop, non-public competitor bid information and historical price information in connection with multiple Boeing military aircraft part purchase order requests.

That information was used in bids submitted by J.L. Manufacturing to Boeing for approximately nine different Boeing parts requests - of those nine, J.L. Manufacturing was awarded seven, totaling more than $2 million.

In exchange for the information, J.L. Manufacturing's Robert Diaz and Jeffrey Lavelle made cash payments to Anderson in St. Louis and California.

In addition, the indictment states that another Boeing sub-contractor, William Boozer, the owner and operator of Globe Dynamics, asked Anderson to provide non-public competitor bid information and price information in exchange for cash payments.

The indictment alleges that Boozer frequently communicated with Anderson via phone and email, with Boozer frequently requesting "Isle 5," a coded reference to a "price check on aisle 5," which he and Anderson understood was a request for inside information.

Anderson gave Boozer information for bids on behalf of Globe Dynamics for approximately 16 different Boeing requests. Of the 16 bids, Globe Dynamics was awarded seven purchase orders to supply U.S. military aircraft parts to Boeing - totaling more than $1.5 million.

Each count of mail and wire fraud carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.

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A newer better LIAT takes to Caribbean skies

 St John's, Antigua (TDN) -- The acting head of the Caribbean airline, LIAT, in a message to staff, declared the comfort and well-being of passengers will be her overriding priority.

"At the new LIAT, we are working to build an airline which places the customer, our loyal passengers, at the center of our focus," stated Julie Reifer-Jones, who was appointed Acting Chief Executive Officer by the airline's board of directors this month.

Reifer-Jones underscored the importance of the airline's focus on the security of its passengers: "Today marks another significant milestone for LIAT - 57 years of continuous service to the peoples and countries of the region. We can also proudly say that these have been 57 years of safely serving the Caribbean."

Pointing out that for many destinations LIAT remains the major carrier, transporting more passengers than any other airline, she added: "LIAT continues to contribute to the economic and social development of our region, providing important linkages for inter-regional travel as well as for connections to international, particularly trans-Atlantic, travel."

Recalling LIAT has evolved from a single Piper Apache to its present fleet of 14 aircraft, she asked for patience: "As we go through change once again, we promise to serve our region better and in more efficient ways."

She thanked customers and stakeholders for their patience and support as LIAT transitions from its Dash-8 fleet to new ATR aircraft: "This change of fleet is a major investment for the company with a cost of US $107 million."

She was pleased to note, however, that on several routes, "our passengers are already experiencing the comfort of our new ATR 72s."

In addition to the introduction of new aircraft into the fleet, the airline has been able to stabilize its flight schedules throughout the Caribbean: "By the end of this year, we will have six new aircraft and this should improve our operational performance considerably,” she reported.

The LIAT acting CEO proclaimed the fleet modernization which continues into 2014 will improve schedules: "By the end of next year we expect to have a completely new fleet. In addition, we are actively working to improve on-time-performance and our customer service."

On its 57th year of service to the Caribbean, Reifer-Jones saluted all LIAT employees "who throughout the years have helped to build this outstanding Caribbean institution. As we move forward, we encourage everyone to keep the LIAT flag flying high."


Phoenix Fire debuts heavy duty airport fire truck

PHOENIX - Fighting a fire at a home or business is one thing, but fighting a fire on an airport runway is something very different.

The Phoenix Fire Department is rolling out its newest truck, designed to save lives if a plane goes down.

It's an impressive piece of machinery, designed to save lives if a plane goes down. This is an exclusive look at the Phoenix Fire Department's newest airport fire truck.

Phoenix Fire official Ed McDonald just got it ready to be put in service.

"It's a truck that we hope we never have to use, but it has to be there if there is ever a crash of a plane flying in and out of the valley," said McDonald.

The truck has two giant nozzles, one in front of the cab and one on top. They are fed by tanks that can hold more than 4,000 gallons of water and 500 gallons of foam.

Even with all that weight this truck can hit top speeds of 80 miles an hour -- and that's not all.

"It's 8-wheel drive, so all of the 8 wheels drive and six of those wheels steer -- so 3 of the axles are steering axles."

If you fly out of Sky Harbor, you helped pay for this truck. The $1.5 million cost came from that ticket surcharge we all pay when flying. The city didn't pay the tab.

$1.5 million gets you some cool technology, like this camera. Something you can't see with the naked eye.

"It gives them a picture of the fire or the airplane, whether its a wheel that's on fire or if it's a hot engine."

Even though there's never been a major crash at Sky Harbor, it is good to know that this new truck will help rescue crews be as ready as they can be for anything that may come their way.

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Ken Air LLC: Fairbanks charter pilot gets 3 days for allowing beer on flight to dry community

FAIRBANKS, Alaska — A charter pilot who allowed a passenger to bring cans of beer on a flight to a dry village will serve three days in jail.

Judge Patrick Hammers also fined Ken Jouppi $1,500 for importing alcohol. The beer equaled about seven gallons of alcohol.

A court hearing will be held later whether the state will confiscate his Cessna 206, though Hammers said it should be seized to send a message to other aircraft operators.

In addition, Jouppi's corporation, Ken Air LLC, a Fairbanks air charter, was also fined $1,500.

Jouppi's lawyers argued said their client wasn't aware of what was in the groceries being placed on the flight to Beaver. However, state prosecutors said Jouppi is the charter of choice for bootleggers because of his "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The longest flight in the world

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  • World's longest nonstop flight (19 hours) linking Singapore and Newark canceled
  • Veteran passengers, pilots and a sleep expert offer tips for ultralonghaul airline flights
  • Many countries allow cockpit catnaps to stave off fatigue during long flights
  • More twin-engine planes are flying long routes because of powerful, reliable engines
(CNN) -- Climbers conquer Everest. Runners complete the marathon. And globe-trotters master the ultralonghaul flight.  Amazing advances in technology now let nonstop flights fly farther and cheaper for airlines than ever before. Many follow routes that take them near the North Pole as they whip over the top of the globe to the other side of the world.

But these giant intercontinental leaps present their own challenges: How do passengers and pilots deal with annoying and potentially dangerous fatigue that comes with marathon air travel? How do twin-engine planes figure into the future of longhauls?

Let's start with the king of nonstop flights: Singapore Airlines Flights 21 and 22 between Singapore and Newark, New Jersey. The route is the longest both in distance -- about 9,500 miles -- and in time -- about 19 hours.

Business traveler Charles Yap is a big fan of this route because it avoids a connection in Germany, which he says saves six hours. All 100 seats aboard the flight are business class. Add hundreds of in-flight movie choices, and longhaul travel isn't so bad for this Discovery Channel executive.
"If you're stuck on a flight, you might as well enjoy it," says Yap, 39.

His long-distance travel tips for surviving 19 hours aloft: "Walk around. Explore the cabin. Don't force yourself to sleep."

Ah yesssssssss, ssssssssslumber. Conversations with ultralonghaulers inevitably will turn to the subject of sleep. Specifically, avoiding jet lag.

"You should try on the day before to get on the same clock as your destination," advises Chris Uriarte, 36, an American Express exec who's flown the route about a dozen times.

"For long west-to-east flights -- a day or two before you leave, start moving your bedtime earlier in the evening. For long east-to-west flights, try to delay sleep until late at night. Planning ahead makes you a lot more productive when you hit the ground." Uriarte should know. He logs more than 200,000 flight miles a year.

Your seating position on the plane is "absolutely key," to a good longhaul, Uriarte says. Singapore uses Airbus A340s with a spacious 1-2-1 seating configuration. The back two rows are even better with 1-1-1 seating.

In general, Uriarte recommends aisle seats in the center section. Sleeping is easier when "there's no one climbing over you," he says.

Seats behind the plane's four wing-mounted engines will be louder, but some travelers enjoy being lulled to sleep by the jet noise.

'Dr. Sleepgood'

Sleep is Curt Graeber's business.

During his 19 years as Boeing's chief engineer for human factors, pilots nicknamed Graeber "Dr. Sleepgood" because he helped them manage fatigue on longhaul flights. "Buy a seat that has a bed, and you're fine," Graeber says with a chuckle. (The price tag -- often thousands of dollars -- is the real challenge.) Sleeping in a coach seat is no easy feat, Graeber acknowledges.

Try to sleep at the time when your body is asleep, he says, although "that's not always possible." And avoid eating a heavy meal.

For the traveler, avoiding exhaustion is nice if you can swing it. For pilots, it's critical.
Graeber ran a 1989 NASA/Federal Aviation Administration study that recommended allowing U.S. pilots to catnap in the cockpit -- but only under supervision of another pilot. Cockpit napping is allowed for pilots in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. It's been accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organization.

The FAA won't allow it. "Longhaul flights require relief crews," the FAA said in a written statement to CNN. "Rest is provided outside the cockpit. The FAA does not permit napping in the cockpit on U.S. air carriers."

The FAA's rejection of cockpit napping "doesn't makes any sense," Graeber says. "Everyone I talk to who uses it says it's an important stopgap measure to improve safety and reduce sleep loss."

 National Transportation Safety Board investigators said they were concerned that pilot fatigue was a factor in July's deadly crash landing of Asiana Airlines Flight 214, a Boeing 777 which caught fire on a San Francisco runway after a 10-hour flight from South Korea. The NTSB has not yet issued a final report on the reasons behind the crash.

International longhaul pilot Justin Schlechter says he's seen the effects of flight fatigue firsthand. "It's tough," Schlechter admits. "It affects your reasoning surrounding your flying and the speed that your brain processes information."

Schlechter predicts that the FAA eventually will reverse itself and allow cockpit catnaps. "The international standard allows it," he says. "I think it's safer to take a controlled catnap. I'm in favor of it."

Here's what U.S. longhaul pilots are allowed to do to manage fatigue:

Typically, during a 14-hour flight, the captain and first officer will fly the first three hours. Then, they hand off the plane to a second crew and get some rest in a special compartment -- or in reserved seats in the passenger cabin.

During the cruise portion of the longhaul, pilots use various methods to keep sharp, such as checking fuel consumption and navigation, adjusting the ventilation, turning up cockpit lighting and engaging in energetic discussions with the other pilot.

Every three hours, the two crews will switch off command of the cockpit until about 90 minutes before landing, when the captain and first officer will land the aircraft.

Twin-engine longhaulers

So, those are some of the ultralonghaul challenges for humans. As for the machines -- they have their own hurdles.

Obviously over vast oceans it's critically important for airliner engines to be reliable and powerful. But hey, it's a business, so the engines also have to be efficient enough to keep airline fuel costs low.
Decades ago, that meant ultralonghaulers were likely four-engine planes, like the 747. In the unlikely event that an engine failed, the other three engines could power the plane the rest of the trip, no problem.

The downside: Four engines guzzle a lot of fuel.

"Now, engines are way more reliable," says travel expert and former airline manager Brett Snyder of They're also more powerful and fuel-saving.

That's why Boeing's twin-engine 777 Worldliner flies so many of the world's longest nonstop routes.  In the coming years look for newer wide-bodies to fly more longhaul routes, like Boeing's twin-engine 787 Dreamliner and the twin-engine Airbus A350 XWB. Both aircraft are made with superlightweight materials which also cut down on fuel costs.

Already, United Airlines has announced its Dreamliners will begin 14-hour nonstop service from San Francisco to Chengdu, China. British Airways plans to use the plane for a 10-hour nonstop from Austin, Texas, to London.

The FAA requires twin-engine planes to fly within close reach of a safe landing spot, in case of engine trouble.

Some travelers seem intrigued by the idea that an airliner can fly in a straight line with only one engine. "Wouldn't the thrust from the engine be unbalanced and make the plane fly in circles?" they ask.

If a 777 lost one of its two engines, the plane has a computer that automatically adjusts the aircraft's controls to compensate for unbalanced thrust. Pilots flying other airliners may have to manually adjust the plane to compensate.

How reliable are those engines?

"We've never seen an issue where a twin-engine plane has lost one engine and can't make it somewhere with the other engine," says Snyder. "And engines almost never fail. With high reliability, airlines are free to look at economics and say, 'Why would we have aircraft with four engines when we can have one that performs the same mission with two and save us money?'"

What killed the longest flight in the world?

In fact, money is exactly what's being blamed for killing the longest flight in the world.  That's right -- after nine years of service, Singapore Airlines Flights 21 and 22 are scheduled for cancellation.

Snyder and most other experts suspect the airline got tired of dealing with poor profit margins on the fuel-guzzling four-engine Airbus A340. "They do use a ton of fuel, and that's always painful," says Snyder. "But the schedule advantage isn't that great either when you fly so far."

Also, the world's second-longest nonstop -- a Singapore Airlines 18-hour flight between Singapore and LAX -- is scheduled to be canceled this month.  That will leave Qantas Flight 7, a Boeing 747 from Sydney to Dallas, atop the list of world's longest nonstops by distance, at 8,600 miles. The longest nonstop by time will be Delta's Flight 201 -- a 777 from Atlanta to Johannesburg which clocks in at about 17 hours.  Fans of the Singapore-Newark flight say they'll miss its spacious seats and well-trained flight attendants.

On a Singapore passenger website, commenter Buster CT1K -- tongue firmly in cheek -- called the airline's decision to cancel the flight a "very sad day in the history of aerospace and aviation. First, man stops going to the moon. Then the space shuttle stops flying. Then Concorde stops flying. And now this. I will miss the Newark-Singapore nonstop very much."

The way Amex exec Uriarte sees it, for now, the airline industry appears to have pushed the longhaul envelope to the maximum.

"That's about as long as we're going to get," he says. "The days of the 19-hour flight are over."

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Diamond DA42: Embry-Riddle Training Plane’s Door Crashes to Pavement at 16 College Court in Palm Coast

A canopy door from a two-engine plane belonging to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University came undone during a training run over Palm Coast’s C-Section around 4:30 p.m. Thursday and fell to earth, slamming the pavement within yards of several houses around a cul-de-sac. No one was injured on the ground, and the pilot and trainee aboard the plane made it safely back to the Flagler County Airport. 
The cause of the mishap is unknown. It is the first time in recent memory that an Embry-Riddle training plane–the likes of which fly above Flagler routinely–has had any sort of accident.

“We are still investigating, and it’s going to be several days until we’re exactly sure what happened,” Embry-Riddle Spokesman James Roddy said. Many questions remain unanswered, including whether the Federal Aviation Administration will be investigating the mishap, and where the plane was. Roddy said he “assumed” it was grounded.

The plane is a Diamond DA42, which seats four, has a top speed of around 220 mph and a range of about 1,000 miles.

A resident of the C Section called 911 to report hearing a loud crash outside, and seeing what looked like a plane door siting in the road near 16 College Court. The plane was flying overhead. At 5:23 p.m., Embry-Riddle called local authorities to alert them that one of their planes had lost a door, and that the plane had landed safely. The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office turned the door over to university officials at Airport Director Roy Sieger’s request at 5:45 p.m.

“Witnesses,” a sheriff’s report found, “stated that they didn’t see it fall but heard the crash and went outside to see it sitting in the middle of the street. The falling door did not strike anything or anybody, other than the street, and it didn’t cause any damage to anything as a result.”

Embry-Riddle, Roddy said, conducts some 250 training flights a day.

“This is an incredibly rare event for us,” Roddy said. “In fact I had our director of aviation pull information, the last six and  a half years we have flown 388,000 hours of flight, and we’ve had one accident in those six and a half years, and it was a bird strike. So these events for Embry-Riddle are incredibly rare. Safety is the absolute number one priority for us.” The identities of the pilot and the trainee were not released. 

For Palm Coast and Flagler County, it is only the latest in a series of plane emergencies, some minor, one disastrous, this year.
The evening of March 13, a single-engine Piper on a training from Phoenix East flight school in Daytona Beach executed an emergency landing on Palm Coast Parkway, just west of Belle Terre. No one was injured, and only a semi truck sustained minor damage when the edge of the plan’s left wing clipped a part of the cab. In April, an experimental plane crashed into Lake Disston at the west end of the county. Its two occupants swam safely to shore.
On Jan. 5, three people aboard a BE35 aircraft died when the plane crashed into a house on Utica Path in Palm Coast, just short of the runway at the Flagler County Airport. The plane had developed engine troubles minutes earlier. The house was virtually demolished by fire, but its occupant survived unharmed.

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Cayman Islands: New airline to choose from

Blue skies are on the horizon for the Cayman Islands, once one local company takes off.

BlueSkies Airlines will put together a fleet of executive jets to service destinations in the Caribbean, Central and South America from the Cayman Islands. Chairman Kenny Rankin says his company will offer both on demand and commercial flights to complement, not compete, with Cayman Airways.

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Suspension extended for Caribbean Airlines manager

(Trinidad Express) A Caribbean Airlines Ltd (CAL) manager has received an additional two weeks suspension, as an investigation continues into a multi-million dollar alleged racket involving the use of fraudulent credit cards which has already cost CAL more than TT$12 million in losses.

The accounting manager was initially sent on leave on September 23 for two weeks.

While on leave, management requested he provide the CAL board, led by Phillip Marshal, with a comprehensive report about the transactions which led to CAL’s losses.

Sources say from January 2012 to June 2013, CAL has lost more than US$1,721,792 in charge backs.

Charge backs are the return of funds to customers. It is the reversal of a prior outbound transfer of funds.

Following a forensic investigation by CAL’s internal auditing department and Ernst and Young, the manager at the airline was suspended for two weeks.

The credit card activities sources say, involve European, Jamaican and Nigerian individuals.

Sources say the scam involves the booking of airline tickets via credit card.

“Calls to our centers come in after 6 p.m., when banks are closed and we have no way of verifying the information on the cards,” the source said.

Adding that the fraudsters normally booked business class tickets to the United States, England and several Caribbean countries, the source said after the booking was made, the transaction was cancelled, following which the fraudsters called back the centres saying they wished to cancel the transactions and get a refund.

Contacted for a comment, CAL’s communications head Clint Williams said it was not CAL’s policy to “discuss publicly, confidential staff matters”.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brooklyn man arrested for flying drone over Manhattan

  NEW YORK (WABC) -- He's a musician from Brooklyn but he has struck a wrong note with the NYPD who tracked him down after our story aired and charged the inexperienced, drone operator with reckless endangerment.

It's his own video that helped the NYPD nail David Zablidowsky. The 34-year-old musician from Brooklyn is clearly seen at the controls of the drone.

The 34-year-old musician from Brooklyn is clearly seen at the controls of the drone.

The video recovered by a financial analyst who handed it over to Eyewitness News, after he nearly took a direct hit when the small helicopter drone similar to this one, crashed at his feet while walking near Grand Central.

Days after the video aired on Eyewitness News, Police arrested Zablidowsky for "reckless endangerment" for "flying a remote control helicopter off a balcony, losing control, causing it to crash to the ground from an unreasonable height creating a substantial risk of serious physical injury."

We tried reaching him at his Brooklyn apartment but got no answer. The reckless endangerment charge is a class A misdemeanor which if he's found guilty could lead to a stiff fine.

"The individual was not in control of that vehicle from take off to landing," said former pilot JP Tristani.

Tristani says the FAA has to get a handle on this because drones will grow in popularity and even the small ones pose a threat to aircraft.

"Can it affect the engines of an aircraft, most certainly. Can it penetrate the metal fuselage, most certainly," he said.

The FAA has yet to come up with concrete rules for unmanned aircraft systems, known as UAS or drones, but has said that "UAS operations are currently not authorized in class b airspace which exists over major urban areas".

Chances are Zablidowsky will be hearing from the FAA too for this reckless flight of a drone 30 stories above a congested mid-town.

"It can cause damage to airplanes, property and people . And the uncontrolled us of it has to be controlled," adds Tristani.

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Boeing Plans Further Cut in 747 Jumbo Production: Plane Maker Also Is Working on Ways to Improve the Jet's Range, Fuel Efficiency

By Jon Ostrower

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 18, 2013 3:38 p.m. ET

Boeing Co. is working on improvements to boost the range and fuel efficiency of its revamped 747-8 jumbo jet in the wake of sluggish sales, according to two people familiar with the company's plans.

The company said Friday that it would trim production of the 747-8 to 1.5 a month early next year, having already delivered 56 of the 107 jets on order.

The so-called "Queen of the Skies" has fallen victim to airlines selecting less fuel-thirsty twin-engine jets such as Boeing's own 777 over larger four-engine aircraft; meanwhile, more air cargo is shifting to cheaper ocean-freight options.

Boeing previously had flagged plans to drop 747-8 output to 1.75 a month, from two, but the company remains optimistic it can capture more business.

The company is testing a package of improvements to the jet's General Electric Co. engines that would cut fuel consumption by 1.8%. That package will be introduced later this year and is expected to eliminate a performance shortfall that Boeing has been chipping away at since it delivered the first of the revamped jets in 2011.

It also is evaluating a host of other small improvements—an effort dubbed "Project Ozark"—to stretch the jet's range to 8,200 nautical miles, which are due around late 2015 or in early 2016. However, two people familiar with Boeing's planning say the company aims to boost the jet's range as far as 8,500 nautical miles to lure airlines requiring ultra long-range missions that last as long as 17 or 18 hours.

A Boeing spokesman said the company hasn't yet identified a specific date for its move to producing 1.5 747s per month.

The new rate will run through 2015 in a move that "aligns us with near-term demand while stabilizing our production flow," according to a statement from Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager of the 747 program.

"Although we are making a small adjustment to our production rate, it doesn't change our confidence in the 747-8 or our commitment to the program," he added.

The plane maker has secured five orders so far this year for the jumbo, offset by five cancellations.

Boeing reports third-quarter earnings on Wednesday.


FBI Investigating Following Recent Laser Attacks On Pilots: New York-Area Airports

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The FBI has assigned its Joint Terrorism Task Force to lead its probe of laser attacks on the cockpits of two planes approaching LaGuardia Airport this week, inviting help from the public as well to fight a growing threat.

The FBI said Friday a reward is available for anyone providing information leading to arrests in the Tuesday attacks.

The FBI said the first attack occurred when a Shuttle America cockpit was illuminated by a green laser on its final approach to LaGuardia at 7:35 p.m. Tuesday. The FBI said the crew reported that the laser originated about a half mile west of the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx.

The second incident occurred three hours later when a private aircraft reported a green laser two miles southwest of LaGuardia.

The two recent attacks brings the total for the year to 54 at LaGuardia alone, WCBS 880′s Peter Haskell reported.

“Laser pointers can be extremely destructive,” said CBS News aviation and transportation safety analyst Mark Rosenker, also a former head of the NTSB. “They don’t realize that the actual beam itself can be magnified going through the cockpit glass.”

“People that are using these devices in an inappropriate way don’t really understand the implications and the dangers that they’re doing when shining these devices into a cockpit,” Rosenker added.

The FAA has reported a 17 percent increase in laser attacks for the year in the New York area, Haskell reported.

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Endangered Whooping Cranes Depart On Aircraft-Guided Flight To Florida


Eight young whooping cranes began their aircraft-led migration on October 2, 2013 from the White River Marsh State Wildlife Area in Green Lake County, Wi. This is the 13th group of birds to take part in a project led by the Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership, an international coalition of public and private groups that is reintroducing this highly imperiled species in eastern North America, part of its historic range. 

 WCEP partner Operation Migration will use two ultralight aircraft to lead the juvenile cranes through Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia to reach the birds’ wintering habitat at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge along Florida's Gulf Coast.

“Despite the fact that we have done this before, each year we learn something new about these wonderful birds,” said Joe Duff, CEO of Operation Migration and leader of the ultralight team. “This year's flock seems more attentive, and we hope to make better progress. Our target is to arrive in Florida before Christmas.”

In addition to the eight cranes being led south by ultralights, biologists from WCEP partner, International Crane Foundation, are currently rearing nine whooping crane chicks at Horicon NWR in Dodge County, Wis. The birds will be released later this fall in the company of older cranes from whom the young birds will learn the migration route south. This is the ninth year WCEP has used this Direct Autumn Release method.

Whooping cranes that take part in the ultralight and DAR reintroductions are hatched at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md., and at the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, Wis. Chicks are raised under a strict isolation protocol, and to ensure the birds remain wild, handlers adhere to a no-talking rule and wear costumes designed to mask the human form.

The 17 aircraft-led and DAR chicks are joining one wild-hatched chick in the 2013 cohort. The wild-raised chick will follow its parents on migration. In addition to the eightenn juvenile cranes, 101 whooping cranes are currently in the eastern migratory population.
The public is invited to follow the aircraft-guided Whooping cranes on Operation Migration’s live CraneCam, which broadcasts daily during flights and while the cranes are at each stopover location along the route to Florida. Visit: to watch the video stream or for daily website postings.

Whooping cranes were on the verge of extinction in the 1940s. Today, there are only about 600 birds in existence, approximately 445 of them in the wild. Aside from the WCEP birds, the only other migratory population of whooping cranes nests at Wood Buffalo National Park in northern Alberta, Canada and winters at Aransas NWR on the Texas Gulf Coast. A non-migratory flock of approximately 20 birds lives year-round in the central Florida Kissimmee region, and an additional 17 non-migratory cranes live in southern Louisiana.

WCEP asks anyone who encounters a whooping crane in the wild to please give them the respect and distance they need. Do not approach birds on foot within 200 yards; remain in your vehicle; do not approach in a vehicle any closer than 100 yards. Also, please remain concealed and do not speak loudly enough that the birds can hear you. Finally, do not trespass on private property in an attempt to view or photograph whooping cranes.

Whooping Crane Eastern Partnership founding members are the International Crane Foundation, Operation Migration, Inc., Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center and National Wildlife Health Center, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, and the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team.

Many other flyway states, provinces, private individuals and conservation groups have joined forces with and support WCEP by donating resources, funding and personnel. More than 60 percent of the project’s budget comes from private sources in the form of grants, public donations and corporate sponsors.

To report whooping crane sightings, visit the WCEP whooping crane observation webpage at:


Investment in aviation will provide more lift-off for economy: The Bahamas

NASSAU, Bahamas -- With The Bahamas moving closer to enhancing its existing aircraft registry to meet or exceed standards of successful offshore registries, the most vocal proponent of creating a Bahamas international aircraft registry today congratulated government on "moving so quickly and deliberately" on both the registry and action to safeguard FAA approval of the nation's air safety ratings. 

"The timing for the initial phases of creating a framework for the establishment of an international aircraft registry could not be better," said Llewellyn Boyer-Cartwright, a former commercial pilot and now a partner at Callenders law offices where he specializes in aviation law. "The global forecast for business and corporate jets which would form the basis of The Bahamas International Aircraft Registry has never been stronger. If you look at the projections for the coming decade, nearly one in every three owners -- corporate, partnership or individual -- plans to replace or purchase new aircraft in the next five years. That is an amazing figure. And over the next 10 years, it's projected that there will be some 10,000 deliveries of new business jets worth some $250 billion. Every one of those new builds or deliveries has to be registered somewhere."

Add new deliveries to the existing body of jets and the opportunity, he says, is great.

"In our discussions about establishing an international aircraft registry, we have stressed the need for a quality registry with stringent standards, modeled after our successful ship registry," said Boyer-Cartwright. "We do not want to be a flag of convenience. We must aim for a name that symbolizes security, prestige, a premiere registry supported by all the economic opportunities for local businesses from aircraft financing to security services, insurance, legal work, maintenance and repair, fueling, catering, chartering, FBOs operations and more."

Boyer-Cartwright's comments came on the heels of the Ministry of Transport & Aviation's positive news.

"The Minister of Transport & Aviation's announcement that a threatened FAA downgrade that could have crippled air traffic had been averted with officials, including Captain Patrick Rolle, taking efficient and effective action was greatly welcomed news," he said. "And I think because of the planned creation of a Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority, The Bahamas will be in the strongest position in its civil aviation history. I honestly believe we are entering a new era in air traffic safety, security and operations."

Touting the friendly skies of The Bahamas has taken Boyer-Cartwright from one conference to another this year, several on an invitational basis. Next week, he heads to Germany for a conference and in December, he's been invited to address the world's leading business and corporate jet owners, financiers and attorneys at the Aruba Aeropodium Offshore Aircraft Conference. It will be his fifth this year and Boyer-Cartwright estimates he's logged well over 20,000 miles promoting The Bahamas as a great place to live, do business and vacation.

"The government worked diligently to avoid an imminent threat to downgrade our civil aviation sector from Category 1 to Category 2," he said. "They have successfully managed to raise the nation's aviation standards to meet and comply with FAA and ICAO standards."

At the same time, he noted, the FAA's and US Department of Transportation policy changes as they relate to non-citizen trusts will no doubt make offshore registries more appealing. In addition to this, a few months ago, the FAA announced that Stage Two business jets will no longer be able to operate in the US after December 2015. That, says Boyer-Cartwright, may force those aircraft owners to register their aircraft elsewhere.

"In short, Stage Two relates to the noise level a jet aircraft produces particularly on take-offs and landings. The majority of the airports in The Bahamas are not in the midst of cities but tend to be situated in low density areas, we may be able to decide whether or not to accommodate these aircraft, including many of the manufacturer names that only a decade ago were associated with the glitz and glam of the skies. The implementation of this new policy could force as much as 60 percent of all related aircraft to register elsewhere. Many of these aircraft, considered top of the line not long ago, are now aging with large numbers failing to qualify under new standards.

"Naturally, this creates an opportunity for The Bahamas, with owners looking for an alternative jurisdiction," he continued. "In fact, other jurisdictions are already preparing for the exodus of some 600 aircraft that are affected by the rule. However, we must act with prudence. While it is important for us to capitalize on opportunities, we must be selective.” Other countries in the region have established registries with much success. Bermuda currently has more than 700 aircraft registered, the majority of those commercially operated. Isle of Man is currently ranked the number one offshore aircraft registry in the world.

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Textron 3rd-Quarter Net Drops on Lower Cessna Deliveries

Textron Inc.'s  third-quarter profit slid 34% as the aircraft and industrial product maker delivered far fewer Cessna planes than a year ago, and as labor disruptions hurt profitability at the Bell helicopter business.

The maker of Cessna planes, Bell helicopters and E-Z-Go golf carts has reported muted sales from prior-year levels, and the company's top line has missed Wall Street's expectations for five consecutive quarters.

Profit in the latest quarter also was muted, leading Textron to trim its full-year estimate. The company now sees a profit of $1.75 to $1.85 a share from continuing operations, down from the prior view of $1.90 to $2.10.

Chairman and Chief Executive Scott Donnelly said the reduced guidance was due to lower margins for the Bell business due to labor disruptions, as well as lower aircraft deliveries at Cessna.

Overall, Textron posted a profit of $99 million, or 35 cents a share, down from $151 million, or 51 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue fell 3.2% to $2.9 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 47 cents a share on $2.97 billion in revenue.

Cessna revenue fell 24% as the company delivered 25 new Citation jets in the quarter, down from 41 a year ago. The unit swung to a loss of $23 million, reflecting the lower jet deliveries.

Bell revenue climbed 8.1%, though the segment's profit declined $34 million, hurt by labor disruptions.

Industrial and Textron systems revenue jumped 4.1% and 1.3%, respectively.

Shares, inactive premarket, closed Thursday at $27.52. The stock has risen 11% in 2013, underperforming the broader market. 


$250-million runway at Los Angeles International Airport falling apart, lawsuit contends

The city has filed suit against companies responsible for building the 6-year-old runway, saying the concrete is cracked and steel bars are exposed.

A $250-million runway at Los Angeles International Airport, rebuilt six years ago, is riddled with construction defects, including cracks, exposed steel reinforcing bars and deteriorating concrete, according to city officials.

The mounting problems, including the runway's failure to meet Federal Aviation Administration construction standards, could disrupt future flight operations at the nation's third-busiest airport, according to a city lawsuit filed against companies responsible for the work.

The city says it will be forced to prematurely reconstruct the 21/2 miles of pavement, a potentially complex and disruptive undertaking that would require rerouting air traffic to other runways. Typically, a commercial runway has a life span of 20 to 25 years.

Located on the south side of the airport complex near El Segundo, the runway continues to be used for takeoffs and landings. LAX officials said Thursday it poses no immediate danger.

"Maintenance, engineering and airport operations staffs will continue to monitor the condition of the runway to ensure it remains safe for aircraft operations," said Nancy Castles, an airport spokeswoman. FAA officials said they also were monitoring the condition of the runway, known as 25 Left, which handles up to 500 arrivals and departures a day.

In the lawsuit filed last week in state court, the city attorney's office alleged the runway "is unfit for its intended purpose and the city will incur ongoing consequential property damage and economic losses as a result of the deficiencies."

Some pieces of concrete have flaked or broken off, according to the lawsuit. One LAX source familiar with flight operations, who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter, said he has noticed unusual amounts of debris being stirred up on the runway by landing aircraft.

Jon Russell, a safety expert with the nation's Air Line Pilots Assn., expressed concern that material from the runway, should it continue to deteriorate, might break loose and be sucked into a plane's jet engine, causing serious damage.

The contractors named in the lawsuit are R&L Brosamer, HNTB Corp., CH2M Hill Inc. and a joint venture involving Tutor-Saliba Corp. of Sylmar and O&G Industries Inc.

Public works contracting executive Ron Tutor, who headed the Tutor-Saliba construction firm that performed part of the runway work, now leads the firm Tutor-Perini, which was recently hired to construct the first Central Valley section of track for the California high-speed rail project. Brosamer, a highway builder, is now part of Walsh Construction.

Officials with the Tutor and Walsh firms could not be reached for comment. HNTB, which provided consulting and engineering services, and CH2M Hill, the project's construction manager, said they do not discuss pending litigation.

Officials for Los Angeles World Airports also declined to elaborate on the allegations in the lawsuit. However, airport Commissioner Jackie Goldberg, a former state assemblywoman and onetime Los Angeles City Council member, said she hoped the lawsuit could be settled relatively quickly. The city is seeking unspecified damages, attorneys' fees and costs of litigation.

The runway opened in April 2007, part of a $338-million package of safety enhancements that included a new south area taxiway to help reduce runway incursions by planes moving about on the ground. From 2000 to 2003, LAX reported the highest number of incursions in the nation.

To make room for the taxiway, the south runway was demolished and rebuilt 55 feet closer to El Segundo. About $108 million in FAA grants helped pay for the project.

In addition to improving safety, airport officials said the reconfigured layout would allow LAX to better handle the next generation of large aircraft, such as the giant Airbus A380.

The lawsuit alleges that construction and concrete defects also are present in other parts of the south airport complex, including improvements to the runway overpass at the Sepulveda Boulevard Tunnel.

City attorneys contend the concrete mixtures did not meet contract specifications or conform to acceptable methods for placing and finishing concrete. Typically, concrete is inspected, sampled and tested throughout the construction process to ensure that mixtures are correct and dry properly.

The runway lawsuit is not the first time Tutor-Saliba has been embroiled in an airport controversy. In 2003, Los Angeles World Airports threatened to remove the firm from a $34-million FlyAway bus project in Van Nuys, saying that the company failed to fix defects found by city inspectors in a five-story parking garage. FlyAway buses shuttle passengers from various locations to LAX.

The firm ultimately removed several concrete columns, reinforced other beams and replaced substandard concrete, resulting in project delays.

The company has handled numerous projects successfully but also has been accused of fraud and shoddy workmanship related to the Los Angeles subway, San Francisco International Airport and public works projects in New York. Those matters have cost the builder tens of millions of dollars in legal judgments, settlements and penalties.

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AMR Swings to Profit on Lower Costs, Record Revenue -- Government Shutdown Doesn't Seem to be Sapping Travel Demand: CEO

By  Susan Carey and  Ben Fox Rubin

The Wall Street Journal

Updated Oct. 17, 2013 11:31 a.m. ET

American Airlines parent AMR Corp.  swung to a third-quarter profit on record revenue and cost savings achieved in its bankruptcy restructuring, and doesn't see much effect on travel demand due to the government shutdown that just ended.

AMR Chief Executive Tom Horton said in an interview Thursday that bookings in the current quarter "appear to be quite strong," compared with the level achieved at this time a year ago. "Demand for travel is outpacing our capacity increases, which is good news."

While he said the nation's third-largest airline by traffic continues to keep an eye on the effects of the government shutdown, oil prices "have been fairly tame" and the industry "has been disciplined with respect to the supply and demand balance." This is leading to a fourth-quarter outlook about which "we feel pretty good," Mr. Horton said.

The Fort Worth, Texas, company posted net income of $289 million, compared with a year-ago net loss of $238 million. But if $241 million in special items related to its bankruptcy reorganization, financings and expenses related to its pending merger with US Airways Group Inc. are stripped out, the latest quarterly profit would have been $530 million, a company record. A year ago, AMR reported a profit of $110 million, excluding $348 million for such items.

AMR, which hopes to leave its nearly two-year stay in bankruptcy-court protection via a merger with US Airways, first must prevail in an antitrust trial slated to begin on Nov. 25. The Justice Department in August sued the companies to stop the combination, contending it would drive up ticket prices and deprive consumers of choices in air travel. The airlines disagree, saying the combination—which would form the largest U.S. airline by traffic—would give fliers new choices and act as a counterweight against United Continental Holdings Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc., two carriers that recently bulked up through mergers.

Several state attorneys general joined the Justice Department in the complaint. Mr. Horton said the airlines "are talking" to them in the hopes of changing their minds. The Texas attorney general recently withdrew his opposition, something Mr. Horton said was "the result of a lot of hard work."

More than 60 Democratic members of Congress recently wrote President Barack Obama to show their support for the combination. "I don't know what helps and what doesn't," the CEO said of that letter. "But there is overwhelming support for the merger."

Until the trial is over, AMR must remain in bankruptcy-court protection, which is costing it about $50 million per quarter in professional fees. "It's a lot of money, which is why we think it's important to get the company out of restructuring as soon as possible," Mr. Horton said. Moreover, some vendor and supplier contracts that were redone in the bankruptcy case to reduce costs won't kick in until AMR leaves Chapter 11, he said. If AMR and US Airways lose at trial, the larger carrier is expected to have to craft a new plan or reorganization and poll its creditors on their support before it can emerge.

AMR said it expects to increase its fourth-quarter capacity by 3.5% year-over-year. Much of that growth will come from flying its planes longer distances and by adding new destinations in Latin America and Asia. For the full year, capacity is expected to increase just 1.5% compared with all of 2012.

Revenue in the third quarter was $6.83 billion, up 6.2% from a year ago and marking the highest quarterly revenue figure in the company's history. Unit revenue, a key metric of the amount of money taken in for each passenger flown a mile, rose 3.4% in the quarter, compared with a year earlier, and reached a company record. AMR said it filled 84% of its seats. The quarter was the seventh consecutive three-month period in which the company improved its pretax margins.

Consolidated unit costs, excluding fuel and special items, were down 5%, primarily driven by AMR's restructuring efforts.

AMR is the first U.S. airline to report its third-quarter results. Other carriers will release their numbers in the coming days and the general expectation is for strong profits, based on robust unit revenue gains for most of them and the fact that the third quarter seasonally is the strongest of the year.