Thursday, October 29, 2015

British Airways crew sees drone during JFK landing, says Federal Aviation Administration

The crew of a British Airways flight reported seeing an unmanned aircraft on Thursday afternoon while preparing to land at Kennedy Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration said.

FAA officials said the crew from British Airways flight 177, a Boeing 777 aircraft, reported seeing the drone about five miles northeast of the airport flying between 1,800 and 2,200 feet at about 5 p.m.. The flight was on approach to Runway 22L at the time, the FAA said.

The FAA notified the NYPD, and the sighting is being investigated, a spokesman said.

The FAA said reports of unmanned aircraft have "increased dramatically" over the past year, from 238 sightings in 2014 to more than 650 by Aug. 9 of this year, including some incidents where pilots have had to take action to avoid hitting them.

The agency, which regulates the use of drones, says they must stay five miles away from airports and keep below 400 feet altitude. Drone operators are supposed to avoid stadiums and people and are only supposed to operate during daylight hours.

A new proposed rule by the FAA would limit unmanned aircraft to under 55 pounds and would mandate that a visual line-of-sight be maintained between the operator and the aircraft at all times. If the rule is passed, drones would be able to fly up to 500 feet and 100 mph, but not near airports or directly above people. Operators would also have to pass an "initial aeronautical knowledge test" at an FAA-approved testing center, be vetted by the Transportation Security Administration, obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate with a small UAS rating that never expires, pass a recurrent aeronautical knowledge test every 24 months, and be at least 17 years old.

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Philippe Couillard defends Bombardier bailout, angering public sector strikers

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is defending a decision to provide a $1.32-billion bailout to Bombardier as striking public sector workers question his government's priorities. 

The province said Thursday it is investing the money into the Montreal-based company's CSeries jet, which is about two years behind schedule.

Bombardier, which posted a $6.46-billion loss for the third quarter, is crucial to the provincial economy, Couillard said. Bombardier is one of Quebec's largest employers, with roughly 15,000 workers in the province — about a fifth of its global workforce.

"It's an investment. It gives us assurances that the headquarters will stay for 20 years in Montreal," he said.

"The aeronautics industry in Quebec, for Montreal, is just as important as the automobile industry in Ontario. There were a lot of efforts when the automobile industry sector was struggling, and it's totally reasonable that the state would help in a sector just as important in Quebec."

After the deal with the government of Quebec, Bombardier will own 50.5 per cent of a new joint venture, with 49.5 per cent belonging to the province. The provincial government has committed to the project for at least 20 years.

Economy Minister Jacques Daoust said Quebec's aerospace industry pays salaries that are double the provincial average and the province's investment will directly support up to 2,500 CSeries jobs.

The province will be borrowing money to make the investment in Bombardier, Couillard said.

Economy Minister Jacques Daoust said the province's aeronautics industry is the crown jewel in Quebec's economy and he couldn't let the company fail.

Upon learning of the agreement, a group of striking teachers gathered outside Bombardier's office in Montreal Thursday morning, chanting "$1 billion for our schools!"

James Dufault, who teaches at Royal West Academy in Montreal West, said the province's decision to invest in struggling Bombardier shows that its priorities are supporting businesses rather than Quebec children.

"The timing is kind of priceless, right?" he said.

Catherine Goudreau, another school teacher, agrees.

"The government is always out to bail out the private industry, but there's never any money for the public sector."

Opposition slams move

The deal dominated question period at Quebec's National Assembly, with opposition leaders attacking the premier over the deal.

PartiQuébécois Leader Pierre Karl Péladeau and Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader FrançoisLegault contended the government isn't investing taxpayer money in the right way.

"The government is a poor negotiator," said Péladeau, who argued the province should invest in Bombardier's parent company, not the CSeries subsidiary.

The premier, in turn, criticized Péladeau and Legault, saying they demonstrated a "lack of confidence toward Bombardier and the aerospace industry in Montreal."

Daoust said the deal with Bombardier would help grow the province's economy and, ultimately, "help pay for services" in sectors like education.

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Bombardier Bailout Shows Quebec `Always' on Jetmaker's Side

For Quebec, Bombardier Inc. is too big to fail.

That’s why the Canadian province agreed to a bailout worth as much as $1.3 billion to support the struggling plane and railway car maker, which accounts for almost half of the 41,000 aerospace jobs in the region. It’s the biggest direct government bailout since 2009, when General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC were backed by the Canadian and Ontario governments.

“We have great jobs in Quebec,” Economy Minister Jacques Daoust said Thursday. “Our aerospace industry is on top of the world. If I don’t invest in businesses I think are good, where would I invest?”

Quebec’s bailout and Bombardier’s record quarterly loss of $4.9 billion underscore the depth of the troubles centered on the new CSeries aircraft that has been plagued by overruns, missed deadlines and scant interest from major airlines. Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare inherited those issues and more when he was hired in February to turn around Montreal-based Bombardier.

Federal Consideration

The incoming Liberal government in Ottawa will consider federal funding for Bombardier after being sworn in next week.

“We are in the process of being briefed on the file, are following it closely, and a final determination‎ will be made once the government is sworn-in on Nov. 4,” Dan Lauzon, a spokesman for Prime Minister-Designate Justin Trudeau, said in an e-mail.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said in an interview last month his government was prepared to support Bombardier given its importance to the regional economy.  

“We’ve always been at the side of Bombardier,” he said.

Bombardier is the largest publicly traded employer in the province by number of employees and the third-largest Quebec-based company by revenue. It also gives the province a level of prestige in one of the most exclusive industries in the world.

“We think this is the thing to do,” Daoust said. “We are going to invest as partners.”

Double the Average

Quebec’s aerospace industry employs more than 41,000 people, with Bombardier accounting for more than 17,700 of those jobs, according to provincial government figures.

Bombardier spent about C$1.3 billion ($1 billion) in goods and services and C$1.7 billion in wages in its home province last year, government figures show. Average wages at Bombardier are about double the provincial average, Daoust said Thursday.

About 1,700 Bombardier employees now work on the CSeries in Quebec, and the figure will climb to about 2,500 once the jet reaches full production, the minister said.

Sensitive Issue

It’s not the first time that Quebec has stepped up to help the CSeries. In 2013, the province’s Investissement Quebec agency agreed to provide up to $1 billion in export credit financing to buyers of the CSeries. The financing came on top of a C$117 million reimbursable loan made to Bombardier in 2009.

The Bombardier deal comes at a delicate time for the Couillard government, which has pledged to balance the budget in the current fiscal year. Quebec is engaged in a round of negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement with unions representing more than 400,000 government employees.

Supporting Quebec companies has become an increasingly sensitive issue for governments in recent years after the takeover of aluminum maker Alcan Inc. by Rio Tinto Group in 2007, which highlighted the slow march of head office jobs out of Quebec. Montreal, home to Air Canada and Canadian National Railway Co., has seen the number of top 500 Canadian companies based there drop to 75 in 2011 from 96 in 1990, according to a recent report by the Fraser Institute, a Canadian research organization.

The issue took prominence in 2012 after U.S. home improvement retailer Lowe’s Cos. dropped its plan for an unsolicited takeover of Quebec rival Rona Inc. in 2012. The proposal sparked opposition from provincial politicians and investors such as the Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec, the province’s pension fund manager.

After the takeover bid, a panel of experts led by CGI Group Inc. Executive Vice President Claude Seguin was tasked to study the issue and identified 25 Quebec-based companies that were “vulnerable” to hostile takeovers. Bombardier wasn’t on the list, because its dual-class share structure protects the company from hostile takeovers.

Original article can be found here:

El Al inks deal for nine new Boeing Dreamliners

Transportation Minister Israel Katz said the deal was cause for celebration and symbolized the country’s perseverance through difficult times.

El Al on Thursday inked a deal to add 15 new aircraft from Boeing, including its 787-8 and 787-9 Dreamliners, in a deal valued at $1.25 billion.

“I’m proud to complete today an acquisition in the framework of the largest equipping program in El Al’s history,” El Al CEO David Maimon said at the deal-signing ceremony at Ben-Gurion Airport.

The deal will see El Al acquire nine new Dreamliner aircraft (two of them leased) and lease an additional six already in use. The Dreamliners will replace Boeing 747-400 and Boeing 767 planes in use.

Transportation Minister Israel Katz said the deal was cause for celebration and symbolized the country’s perseverance through difficult times.

“We are at an event that symbolizes the most normal thing, while in the heart of the storm, both literally and figuratively,” he said, referring to both the wave of terrorist attacks and the rainy weather.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Connor, in Israel for the signing, said the deal represented a continuation of El Al’s long history with the American plane manufacturer, which has continued for a half-century.

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Piper PA-34-200T Seneca I, N32812: Belize City Municipal Airport (TZA)

Mysterious Plane Landed At Belize Municipal Airstrip

The Belize Airports Authority along with other security officials from the GSU, Police and the BDF are jointly investigating the mysterious circumstances surrounding a twin engine aircraft that made an unauthorized landing at the Municipal Airstrip in Belize City at dawn this morning. 

Reports are the aircraft is an American type Piper Seneca PA23 light aircraft with registration number N32812. 

The aircraft is registered under James A Stalling from Irvine California. 

Aviation records reveal that the aircraft last flight was tracked from Fullerton, California to San Jose, California on September 30, 2015. 

At the time of landing, the Municipal Airport was closed to air traffic and the authorities claim that the landing was unauthorized by Belize’s civil air traffic authorities. 

Authorities are claiming that when they arrived on the scene, the pilot was nowhere to be found and the plane was empty. 

We understand the aircraft will remain heavily guarded by law enforcement officials while they continue their investigation.

Pilot and passengers disappear

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Oct. 27, 2015–A United States-registered Piper PA34 Seneca twin-engine plane that had filed a flight plan to land in Belize two days ago arrived this morning, but instead of landing at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), it mysteriously landed at the Belize City Municipal Airstrip around 5:30 a.m., half an hour before the airstrip opened, and the plane was abandoned by the time authorities arrived to investigate.

When Kremandala reporters went to the airstrip around midday, the blue and white aircraft with the number N32812 emblazoned on its fuselage was under police guard and police crime scene technicians were busy processing the exterior of the plane, before a police K9 unit arrived.

The commander of the Gang Suppression Unit (GSU), Superintendent Mark Flowers, told us that the aircraft was being treated as a crime scene because the plane had landed without the required clearance from Belizean officials. Flowers also confirmed that when they arrived at the airstrip, no one connected to the plane was in sight.

Flowers told us, “We have made checks and verified that there was no flight plan for this aircraft to land here.”

Flowers said that the plane had flight clearance for Sunday, “when certain people was to come”. He further stated, “We are trying to determine right now who the occupants are. We know that the flight originated outside of Belize and the fact that it landed here is cause for concern.”

Flowers went on to say, “We are taking the necessary steps right now to process the scene; because these evidences are very transient sometimes… It may be there for a little while and when we realize that we need it, it’s gone.”

Asked if any cargo was found on the plane, Flowers replied, “I don’t know if any cargo is on the plane. We are processing the outside right now.”

Flowers said the N3218 is an American aircraft and that when its operators had filed its flight plan and gotten permission to land in Belize on Sunday, it was in Managua, Nicaragua.

It has been reported elsewhere in the media that the plane was not outfitted with extra fuel tanks that would have enabled a long-distance flight.

Flowers also explained that in a situation such as this, his GSU are only securing the crime scene and that it is the police’s Anti-Drug Unit who will conduct the investigation into the apparent illegal landing of the plane, and will attempt to establish what its cargo was.

Flowers also mentioned that apparently there was some medical emergency with someone on the plane, based on what police had initially observed on board (bedding etc.)

Flowers confirmed that the plane would eventually be taken to the PGIA.

In early August, a grey BELL-407 helicopter was found abandoned in the Blue Creek area of the Orange Walk District. Government later confiscated the one-million-dollar helicopter and turned it over to the Air Wing of the Belize Defense Force, where it will be used along with a refurbished helicopter that was sourced from Taiwan.

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Clandestine plane lands at Belize City Municipal Airport


Mystery Plane: I’ll Fly Away

Today, the Piper PA-34 Seneca plane that made a suspicious mystery landing at the municipal airstrip yesterday – was flown away by a Belize Defense Force pilot, escorted by a Belize Defense Force Defender.

From around 9:30 this morning Belize Defense Force Airwing personnel were checking the plane out, confirming its airworthiness.

 Then at 10:15 – they struck up the engines, while the Belize Defense Force Defender stood by to act as an escort.

They flew out of there at around 10:30 am, the Belize Defense Force plane taking off first and circling while the Piper PA-34 Seneca took off two minutes later without a hitch.

With that, it was airborne and off to the Belize Defense Force airwing in Ladyville, where the very suspicious aircraft remains under guard.

As we reported last night, the plane landed at the Municipal at about 5:40 am on Tuesday morning.

The airstrip was closed, but there’s no security, so the pilot simply parked the plane in front of the hangar, and skipped out into a waiting vehicle.

 Best reports tell police he was unaccompanied and only carried a knapsack.

Police do not know what was on the plane – but after a search by the canine unit, they are certain it was not drugs. Also, the plane was not equipped for long flights typical of drug planes. So what was the cargo?

Well, whatever it was it had to be more valuable than the aircraft – which was abandoned – so it was either money, or someone who had to disappear immediately.

Still, tonight there are more questions than answers and we are told that the owner of the registered plane is in the United States – so police don’t know who was flying his plane. 

Interestingly, the plane had been booked to land in Belize from Aruba on Sunday October 25th.

But it would have had to land at the Philip Goldson International Airport – not the municipal.

It’s illegal to land in Belize without first having lodged a flight plan, and all flights must first land at the PGIA to face Customs and Immigration.

We do know that police are following some leads based on information that some unusual characters were seen in the usually deserted area at the time the plane landed.

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The Belize Defense Force is in possession of small plane which made an unauthorized landing at the Belize City Municipal Airport on Tuesday, at around 5:30 a.m. 

The police department is investigating why the pilot landed the aircraft and abandoned it before the airstrip opened, and without the proper permission. 

The plane, a United States registered, Piper PA-34 Seneca, had flown out of Belize on Thursday, October 22nd, on its way to Aruba. 

The pilot filed a flight plan with an itinerary which said that it would return on Sunday. It did not, and somehow showed up in Belize on Tuesday morning. 

To the average reader, that might not sound suspicious, but the Civil Aviation Department has very strict rules - which are laws - about unauthorized landings. 

Flight plans are considered sacred in the aviation field, and the fact that none was forthcoming for this landing meant that the pilot committed a criminal offense. 

Additionally, since it was re-entering Belizean airspace, this plane ought to have landed at the Philip Goldson International Airport as per regulations, so that the occupants could clear Customs and Immigration. 

So because of the unusual, suspicious and criminal nature of this Tuesday morning landing, authorities are considering if this plane was used in connection to any illicit cargo or illicit business. 

That type of plane usually lands on makeshift airstrips in remote areas of the country to hide the illegality being done. 

Also, the plane was not retro-fitted to take on extended flights, which is what drug planes usually have as part of their infrastructure.

So, that brings up another angle that the investigators will have to follow up, was there an illegal passenger onboard or some speculate that it may have been a money plane.

Police will have to find all that out, but in the meantime, the Belize Defense Force is keeping a very watchful guard over it.

- Original article can be found here: 

PUP Money plane lands?

On Monday word got out that the PUP received 15,000 BLUE & WHITE T-SHIRTS as a donation courtesy of some of their Cartel friends. 

We thought that was a joke, but then we remembered that the PUP was broke and that would not be outside the way they operate.

From as far back as when PUP lost the elections in ‘08 they have been strapped for cash. 

See their major source of funding the Lord stopped giving them money.

So it came as no surprise that COUSIN RALPH started to make the collection rounds, but the pickings were small.

Back to those T- Shirts. Word on the street is that after the rebuffs of those would be donors, their next target was their Cartel friends who it appears complied and have made an investment in the PUP. For them it is like playing the Futures Market, spend now, collect later. 

Please remind me whose money, the MONEY-MULE CAL was intercepted with in Panama? 

What type of residue did the authorities report they found on the cash?

And by the way which PUP Honcho’s wife or sweetheart was stopped with a suitcase full of money in Miami? 

By the way I don’t like to speak ill of the dead, but somebody’s son who did not work a day in his life left MILLIONS for his Father in his Will.

Remember the talk of Millions that was in a locked safe?

On Tuesday morning the word started spread like wild fire that an unauthorized plane had landed at the Belize City Municipal Airstrip about 5:30 am. 

Speculations started to fly that the blue & white plane had brought in money for the PUP election day effort.

 Word is, that the money comes from the same place the T-Shirts came from. 

There is also the talk that some of the LOOT is destined for a certain Banana Farmer who may have been the one who brokered the deal.

Remember the source of the BTL Parallel Market?

 The same last name came up. We need to watch what type of money the PUP starts to spend over the next few days. 

That may be very telling.

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Sun Country, pilots sign five-year contract

Marty Davis, chairman and owner, and brother Mitch tour with pilot Brian Roseen on one of the new 737's in Sun Country's fleet.

Sun Country Airlines and its pilots have a new contract after five years of start-and-stop negotiations.

Both sides signed the contract Thursday afternoon, giving the pilots a substantial pay raise.

The agreement, reached last month in Washington, D.C., under supervision of the National Mediation Board, de-escalates tension between the Mendota Heights-based airline and its pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, also known as ALPA.

“Our pilots have earned and deserve the contract we have put together,” Marty Davis, Sun Country’s chairman, said at the signing ceremony. “Now we will cohesively move forward.”

Nearly all of the 250 pilots voted on the agreement, with 87 percent approving the terms. The new contract goes into effect on Nov. 1.

“We’ve reached an agreement that will lift us up to economic respectability among our peers,” said Brian Roseen of ALPA.

The pilots voted in February to authorize a strike, but no date was set. Davis threatened the union that the carrier could face a “downsizing” if a labor agreement was not reached.

Executives at the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport, were so worried about the airline’s future that they temporary suspended plans for a $35 million expansion at Terminal 2, where Sun Country has its gates.

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Sun Country Airlines owner and chairman Marty Davis, left, and Brian Roseen, chairman of the Sun Country Master Executive Council, came to terms on a new deal.

Relaunching AirAsia Japan Aims for Profit by 2018: Budget carrier, set to take off fresh next spring, will seek to add international destinations quickly, CEO says

The Wall Street Journal
Oct. 29, 2015 5:14 a.m. ET

TOKYO— AirAsia Japan Co. is set to fly again next spring, and it is looking to make a profit within two years by leveraging its group’s network in China and striking deals with its new investing partners.

AirAsia Japan this month received approval from Japan’s transport ministry to operate flights in Japan. It plans to link its base, Central Japan International Airport near Nagoya, with the northern Japanese cities of Sapporo and Sendai, as well as Taipei.

The low-cost carrier is making its second approach at the Japanese market, which is dominated by full-service carriers All Nippon Airways Co. and Japan Airlines Co. An earlier AirAsia joint venture with ANA fell apart in 2013 due partly to differences in management styles.

Japanese budget carriers have struggled. Skymark Airlines Inc., the country’s third-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy protection in January, while Vanilla Air—as ANA’s parent ANA Holdings Inc.rebranded the AirAsia joint venture after it took control—only recently swung to profit, notching its first in the quarter ended Sept. 30.

AirAsia Japan Chief Executive Yoshinori Odagiri, who also served as CEO of the previous AirAsia Japan venture, said he is eager to expand by adding routes that can feed passengers to other AirAsia group carriers, which number 10 in six countries, focused especially on Southeast Asia.

“We are in a somewhat different position from other AirAsia members because, in Japan, full-service carriers have strong presence and there are solid ground transportation such as trains, highways and buses,” he said. “By offering low-cost flights, we want to change the existing framework.”

Mr. Odagiri said international service is expected to make up slightly over half of its operations in the future, with China a strong candidate, followed by South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Guam and Saipan, among others. Among these, AirAsia Japan’s first venture flew only to South Korea and Taiwan.

“China is a place I always have in mind,” Mr. Odagiri said in an interview, especially since AirAsia has a strong network there, covering Chinese 14 cities as of July.

Mr. Odagiri also expects the airline can benefit from Chinese tourist traffic to Japan, despite concerns that China’s economic slowdown may reduce the flow.

“The wealthy class may be suffering from the bubble burst, but the middle class, which is our target, keeps coming to Japan,” he said. “Given the country’s large population, it is unlikely that travel demand disappears in the near term.” The number of Chinese visitors to Japan in the first nine months of 2015 was more than double that of a year earlier, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

Japan’s low-cost carriers have been hesitant to take on the China market, said Will Horton, a senior analyst at CAPA-Centre for Aviation, but AirAsia’s strong presence at Chinese airports and relationship with travel agents in China would ease AirAsia Japan’s entry and reduce its costs. And given that it already has a number of competitors on Nagoya-bound domestic flights, he added, pursuing international opportunities would make business sense.

Mr. Odagiri said AirAsia Japan and its new investing partners—including Japanese online retail giant Rakuten Inc., sporting-goods chain Alpen Co. and cosmetics-and-pharmaceuticals company Noevir Holdings Co.—are also discussing possible service tie-ups, for example, offering passengers samples of products sold by the retailers.

Mr. Odagiri also cited collaboration possibilities with Alpen’s ski and golf resorts, since one of the carrier’s first destinations is Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido—a popular destination for outdoor activities.

By 2018, the airline expects to become profitable by increasing daily flights to around 90 with about 15 aircraft, he said.

He added that the airline plans to own 20 planes in about five years and wants to have its second hub in one of the metropolitan airports, ideally Tokyo’s Haneda airport, where it can operate around the clock.

Original article can be found here:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Where Southwest Airlines will end Michigan flights

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Southwest Airlines has announced it will discontinue flights in a few cities, including Grand Rapids and Flint.

Next year, the airline will drop its once-daily route to St. Louis from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport but will add three daily flights to and from Chicago's Midway International Airport.

As for Flint's Bishop International Airport, Southwest is discontinuing service to and from Las Vegas, Baltimore and Orlando. Three daily nonstop flights to and from Chicago Midway are being added.

The flights being discontinued will be available through April 11, 2016. Service will be switched to Chicago Midway International Airport on April 12.

Michelle Agnew, a spokesperson for Southwest Airlines, said this network design is focused on providing better and more reliable access to more of their network - connecting customers via Chicago Midway.

In the case of Flint and Grand Rapids, she said the changes will enable Southwest to have the best operational and financial performance in the cities.

"Existing cities on our network map have been successful with this model and so we are confident in this being a good path," said Agnew. "We're still refining the fully integrated network created by the merger and believe these moves will produce the most balanced network going forward."

Southwest is currently running a fare sale for customers flying to and from Chicago-Midway and Flint for $59 one-way, and those flying to and from Chicago-Midway and Grand Rapids for $49 one-way. These fares can be found at for purchase through Nov 2, 2015, for travel April 12, 2016 through May 25, 2016.

Airport noise rattles Pacificans

More airplanes have been flying over Pacifica, said one Vallemar resident, Ken Miles.

Rattled by the noise, Miles attended an SFO Noise Abatement Roundtable meeting in October.

Miles noted 25 additional San Mateo County towns with representatives and residents all complaining about increased noise.

A presentation at the meeting concluded Peninsula complaints increased from 14,000 in June to 18,000 in July, 40,000 complaints in August to more than 90,000 complaints in September.

Explanations ranged from increased air traffic, flying too low over residential areas, and flying off course. Blame was set with the FAA for a couple reasons - failure to fine for increased noise, and for setting prescribed flight routes for planes at SFO.

“For whatever reason, FAA is routing airplane traffic over numerous residential areas, without properly studying and considering the environmental impacts on people living in those areas, nor attempting to take corrective actions once unintended consequences become known,” Miles said.

Miles’ letter to the SFO Airplane Noise Abatement Roundtable officials referred to a complaint he recently filed with that group.

“There’s been an increase of loud airplane noise over our home, often hearing planes seven days a week, sometimes before 6 a.m. and after midnight,” he wrote in the letter.

“Instead of flying out over the ocean, then making their way south or southeast to avoid residential areas, now they climb and make their turns directly over Pacifica. We believe the airlines have altered their flight paths to save fuel and time.”

He asked that group to respond to complainants on a myriad of issues – changing flight plans, and asked them to describe altitude of most SFO planes, how many airplanes exceed 65 decibel limit, and to describe engines and noise ratings for the planes.

Mayor Pro Tem Sue Digre is the city’s representative for those meetings. She attended the meeting, as well.

Digre said she is giving detailed information from Pacificans to the Airport Noise Department and to a representative from Congresswoman Jackie Speier’s office.

“They are doing in depth research and are close to figuring this out. We need a little more data to pinpoint the cause. Residents are encouraged to send me their address, date, and whatever data they can write down - time of day, duration of the noise, if they can see any markings on the plane, weather to Residents are suffering and we are working hard to determine how to stop it as soon as possible,” she said.

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Woman in short dress not allowed to board IndiGo Mumbai-Delhi flight

A woman passenger was not allowed to board an IndiGo flight from Mumbai to New Delhi on Monday morning as staff members of the private airline found her “inappropriately dressed”. According to co-passengers, the woman, who was wearing a dress, missed her flight, though she was accommodated on a later flight after she reportedly changed into trousers.

While IndiGo confirmed the incident, it said the woman was stopped in accordance with a “specific dress code” that applies to its employees and their family members when they travel using the “staff leisure travel privileges” offered by the airline. While the woman is a former IndiGo employee, her sister is a current employee of the airline.

According to a co-passenger, Purabi Das, who was on the same Qatar Airways flight from Doha to Mumbai, the woman was scheduled to catch a connecting flight to New Delhi at 6:20 am. The Qatar Airways flight landed at Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport at 2:40 am on Monday.

“While I was waiting for my connecting flight, I heard a commotion and found her (the woman passenger) crying. There were three IndiGo employees who had refused to let her board her flight. They said she was not wearing appropriate clothes,” said Das.

“Nobody raised any objection at the Doha airport. She was not indecently dressed. She was wearing a frock that ended above her knee,” added Das.

Another passenger, Devyadutt Sahu, alleged that the airline staff told him that he would not be allowed to board his flight if he tried to intervene in the matter. “When we took up the matter with officials at the check-in counter, an employee attempted to harass me, saying my hand luggage was beyond the permissible limit, and that I could carry only one bag for check in,” he said.

Later, the woman passenger reportedly changed into trousers. Sahu and Das lodged a complaint with the airline’s customer service

department, but were reportedly told that the staffers were following protocol.

In an e-mail reply to The Indian Express, IndiGo said the woman passenger was familiar with the policy. “We regret that an IndiGo passenger (who happens to be an ex IndiGo employee and a family member of a current employee) experienced an untoward behavior at the Mumbai airport… As per the guidelines outlined, employees and the nominated family members are required to maintain a specific dress code, as and when they fly with the airline under the staff leisure travel privileges. Keeping in mind this policy, the Mumbai ground staff followed the protocol to brief this passenger on the dress code policy,” said the airline.

The airline said its senior managers in Delhi and Mumbai took the woman’s feedback. “This matter will be thoroughly investigated and the staff will be further sensitized via focused learning workshops,” it said.

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Republic Airlines, Embraer ERJ-170, N102HQ, Flight YX-4488/AA-4488: Incident occurred October 28, 2015 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (KRDU), North Carolina

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- A Republic Airlines flight operating as American Eagle made a safe landing at RDU Wednesday afternoon after diverting on a flight from Philadelphia to Jacksonville.

Pictures from Chopper 11 showed the plane sitting on a runway with emergency vehicles around it. The plane was soon towed to a terminal.

No one on board was hurt.

The airline said the flight crew made the call to divert after a report of smoke in the cabin.

The airline said it was working to get the 65 passengers to Jacksonville as quickly as possible.

MORRISVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – A flight from Philadelphia International Airport has been diverted to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, officials confirmed Wednesday.

American flight 4488 arrived at RDU around 5:30 p.m. with 65 passengers on board, the Flightaware website said. The flight left Philadelphia at 4:29 p.m.

Republic Airways said the plane landed after smoke was reported in the cockpit.

The flight was scheduled to fly from Philadelphia to Jacksonville, Florida.

RDU International officials were not immediately available for comment.

RDU spokeswoman Mindy Hamlin said there were emergency vehicles on the ground but there was no word anyone was injured. She said there was a mechanical problem being investigated.

The flight is a Republic Airways aircraft flying for American.

- Source:

4 flights make emergency landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport

New Delhi: Three international flights and a domestic one made emergency landings at the Indira Gandhi International Airport on Wednesday evening due to fuel shortage and fire alert.

A Kalitta Air flight K4 244 (Leipzig to New Delhi) had to make a landing at IGI after reporting a fire emergency on board.

"K4 244 conveyed a fire emergency to ATC, after which it had to make a landing at 4.45pm," an airport official said. Fire services and medical attendants were kept on standby to deal with any emergency. However, no casualty or injury was reported.

The other three flights-Air Arabia flight G9 465 (Sharjah to New Delhi), Kalitta Air flight K4 247 (Leipzig to New Delhi) and Air Asia flight I5 3426 (Pune to Jaipur)-had to land after reporting "less holding fuel".

"Whenever there is disturbance in weather, aircraft consume more fuel than usual. In such cases, the buffer fuel is also used up and a crisis is conveyed to ATC as 'less holding fuel' and permission for immediate landing is sought," said an airport official.The Air Asia flight that was to land in Jaipur was diverted to Delhi due to bad weather. However the weather conditions in Delhi too were harsh and the aircraft reported fuel crisis, the official said.

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Global airline travel taking off for Canada

It may be too early to call this a golden age for international airline travel for Canadians, but the country’s two largest airlines are adding destinations around the globe, while European and Asian airlines are boosting their flights here or starting service to Canada.

Air Canada, which has been boosting flights around the world regularly, will announce Thursday that non-stop flights between Toronto and Seoul will begin next June. Flights to Delhi and Dubai begin next week as part of a major international expansion by Canada’s largest carrier.

The Air Canada expansions, along with plans by its major domestic rival WestJet Airlines Ltd. to add Toronto-London service next year while also examining other European cities, comes at the same time as new service is being offered by several China-based airlines to Vancouver and Toronto and a 13 percent increase in flights to Canada by Air France and KLM.

“International travel is growing at a faster rate than domestic travel – at least in Canada,” Ben Smith, Air Canada’s president of passenger airlines, said in an interview Wednesday.

It’s expanding because of the growth of multicultural communities in Canada, changing demographics and new, more efficient planes that allow airlines to turn profits on routes that were once money-losers, said Robert Kokonis, president of Toronto-based airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc.

The number of people travelling to and from Canadian destinations by air to international destinations other than those in the United States grew by an average of 11 percent a month during the May-through-August period this year, a key part of the prime international travel season.

The influx of immigrants from China and India in recent years has led to the addition of new routes between those countries and Canadian cities, Mr. Kokonis said.

The leisure market has also changed, he noted, as Canadians age and become more affluent.

“They’re branching out and they’re looking for new experiences, they’re not just going to fly to Main Street Europe – which is London, Paris, Frankfurt, maybe – they’re willing to branch out a little bit beyond that,” he said.

Mr. Smith points to several factors that are driving the airline’s international growth. Among them are: the creation of its low-cost Rouge airline, which allows it to be competitive on leisure routes where low-cost and charter competitors could offer cheaper fares; improved facilities at airports that allow for seamless connections; and Air Canada’s purchase of Boeing 787 airplanes.

The Toronto-Seoul route is an example of a route that has become viable again for the airline because of the 787, he said.

“Seoul is a route that we flew seasonally a couple of years ago. The [Boeing] 777 was a bit big for that route for us. The 787 is a perfect size.”

Air Canada is also trying to increase what is known as sixth freedom traffic. That strategy involves encouraging mainly Americans flying overseas to connect internationally through Toronto, using Air Canada, rather than through U.S. hubs.

“We have all the key elements in place necessary to capture this traffic,” Mr. Smith said. “All the air routes that go to Europe or Asia fly right over Canada anyway.”

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Automated Weather Observing System installed, operating at Choteau Airport (KCII), Montana

The new Automated Weather Observing System (AWOS) at the Choteau Airport should be up and running by the end of October, it was announced at the Oct. 13 Teton County Airport Board meeting.

Board members Eric Gunderson, chairman; Scott Gasvoda, Ray Anderson and Bill Woodhouse, (Mike Campbell was absent) received a written report from consulting engineer Mike Beckhoff of DOWL stating that site preparation was completed in September, all the equipment and sensors were stored in the county hangar and representatives from All Weather Inc., the AWOS manufacturer, were expected to be on site sometime on Oct. 14, to begin the sensor installation. 

The AWOS would be commissioned either Oct. 16 or Oct. 19, Beckhoff stated.

The cost of the AWOS project will be: Stillwater Electric, $111,276; engineering, $38,900; and administrative, $1,000; for a total cost of $151,176.

The project moved forward earlier this year when the Federal Aviation Administration approved the board’s request to use $130,500 of its federal allocation of non-primary entitlement funds to pay for 90 percent of the cost.

The board agreed that the Choteau Airport would see more traffic if pilots had accurate weather information at the site rather than using data generated from the Great Falls or Cut Bank airports. The new system will have a dedicated radio frequency, but it is not known if the data will be available on a National Weather Service website.

Beckhoff also reported that a representative from DOWL would attend the Nov. 10 board meeting to present a scope of work for the master plan update slated for 2016. The update will cost $166,500 with all but 10 percent paid for by the Federal Aviation Administration. The state also has provided grants and loans for the 10 percent match in past projects.

On a related topic, Anderson said the Farm Service Agency has raised a concern that the Airport Board is not legally eligible to receive Conservation Reserve Program payments. About 300 acres of the Choteau Airport’s land area is in CRP, and the yearly “rental” payments “keeps us going to help pay loan payments,” Gasvoda said.

The board receives roughly $40 to $45 per acre annually and last fiscal year received $10,812. The CRP contract expires in 2017. FSA Teton County Director Lacey Orcutt on Oct. 14 told the Acantha she was unable to answer questions about the issue without Gunderson’s permission.

At the meeting, Gunderson said board members would meet with Orcutt to get a update on the status of the payments. “We will get the 2015 payment and we’ve got year to work on it,” Anderson said.

The airport board also relies on self-service low-lead fuel sales and delivered-with-assistance Jet-A fuel sales at Choteau Airport to augment the revenue it receives from property taxes and rental payments from private pilots who base their single-engine aircraft at the three airports in Choteau, Fairfield and Dutton and who have built private hangars there.

On Oct. 23, the board agreed to purchase a replacement for its older-model Jet-A fuel truck from a Havre airport fixed-base operator. The board has $10,000 in its capital improvement fund for such a purchase. The seller agreed to accept $5,000 for the used truck upfront and to wait until next year to receive an additional $1,500.

Gunderson said the tires on the unit are an “oddball” size and he was concerned about a possible blowout unless they are replaced, but the seller indicated the tires were fine, Gasvoda said. The board will have to spend up to $500 to replace the fuel-delivery hoses on the truck, among other things before the other truck is retired.

Lastly, Anderson said he would spray the Choteau Airport fence line to eliminate any plant and weed growth and that he planned to kill off the gopher population there next spring.

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Elite Airways to fly from Portland International Jetport (KPWM), Maine

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A Maine-based airline that already flies between a number of U.S. cities is launching service in its home state.

Elite Airlines on Tuesday announced scheduled service starting Dec. 18 from Portland International Jetport to the Orlando Melbourne International Airport in Florida. President John Pearsall said he thinks Mainers will appreciate the opportunity to get away this winter to Orlando, Cocoa Beach or Port Canaveral.

Founded in 2006, the airline is headquartered in downtown Portland and has its maintenance, crew training, sales and marketing offices in Melbourne, Florida.

It also serves Newark Liberty International Airport, Chicago Rockford International Airport, Denver International Airport, Branson Airport in Missouri, Houston Hobby Airport, Fort Collins-Loveland Airport in Colorado and Vero Beach Municipal Airport in Florida.

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Unsecured jet bolts under heightened Federal Aviation Administration scrutiny at Allegiant Airlines

WASHINGTON — When two Allegiant Airlines pilots couldn't control their plane and scrubbed a takeoff from Las Vegas in August, the carrier discovered that a critical piece of equipment in the tail had come loose.

Allegiant ordered inspections of its other Boeing MD-80s to ensure that all similar connections were secured. Eight days later, Allegiant said in response to questions from Bloomberg that all its aircraft "were found to be in working order."

By that time, mechanics had already come across two other jets with bolts in similar locations that weren't properly locked in place, according to company repair logs obtained by Bloomberg. Later that month, they discovered another unsecured bolt on a third plane. While Allegiant says the fasteners weren't on the same component that failed in Las Vegas, the Federal Aviation Administration says it is aware of the findings and has stepped up oversight of the airline.

"The FAA intensified its focus on the carrier's flight operations and aircraft maintenance programs," the agency said Oct. 15 in an emailed statement, without elaborating.

Allegiant flies out of Springfield's Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport to the Orlando/Sanford and Fort Myers/Punta Gorda airports in Florida.

The aborted Aug. 17 takeoff occurred after a device that moves one of the jet's two elevators — panels on the tail used to climb and descend — was disconnected, according to Allegiant. The maintenance logs from the follow-up checks show that two planes each were found to have an unsecured elevator bolt, while the third jet had an unsecured bolt on another key part — an aileron, which is on the wing and is used in turns.

Because the findings on the three other planes didn't specifically involve the so-called elevator boost actuator at issue in Las Vegas, they weren't considered part of the inspection results, Allegiant spokeswoman Kimberly Schaefer said last week in response to questions from Bloomberg about the maintenance logs.

"During the fleet-wide inspection of the elevator boost actuators, Allegiant mechanics made additional repairs to other aircraft, as they do each and every day," Schaefer said by email. "As these repairs were outside the scope of the fleet campaign in question, they were logged per normal procedure."

FAA rules require the reporting of all maintenance actions — including fixing mistakes such as poorly attached bolts — but they don't have to be disclosed immediately. Those actions are entered into a database shared quarterly with the agency.

John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, said the multiple instances of unsecured bolts and their locations on the aircraft were so serious they "should result in a focused FAA audit."

"This is not a coffee maker that we're talking about here," Goglia said in a telephone interview. "This is a primary flight control on the airplane. Anything less than perfect work on this system can have catastrophic results."

Allegiant, a unit of Allegiant Travel Co., specializes in flights to vacation destinations centered on Las Vegas and Orlando. Flight 436 on Aug. 17 was supposed to fly to Peoria from Las Vegas, carrying 158 passengers and six crew members.

As the MD-80 rumbled down a Las Vegas runway, the front of the plane began to rise off the ground prematurely, defying the pilots' attempts to keep the nose down, according to an FAA report. They abruptly halted the takeoff roll at 138 miles per hour, according to the report.

Allegiant's inspections of its MD-80s found two other planes with elevator bolts that weren't properly connected, the maintenance records show. On Aug. 27, a mechanic working on another MD-80 discovered an unsecured bolt on an aileron, a maintenance log shows.

Those assemblies are considered so crucial that mechanics are supposed to insert pins to ensure the nuts used to fasten the bolts can't come undone.

"Any failure to properly secure any part of a flight control is a major problem," said Goglia, the ex-NTSB member who is also a former aircraft mechanic. "More than one occurrence clearly indicates a maintenance organization that is not functioning properly."

Allegiant responded: "While we respect the credentials of Mr. Goglia, he does not have any specific knowledge about our company or the details of our operation."

AAR Corp.'s AAR Aircraft Services does large-scale maintenance on Allegiant's MD-80s in Oklahoma City. Mechanics from Allegiant and AAR work on the areas of the aircraft where the wrongly secured bolts were found, Schaefer said.

"Since hearing of the August 17 incident, AAR has been working with Allegiant and the FAA to investigate," AAR spokeswoman Kathleen Cantillon said by email. "AAR has a 60-year history and culture of safety and compliance."

Work on flight control systems is considered critical because errors can lead to accidents, Goglia said. The NTSB concluded that an improperly installed elevator bolt caused an Emery Worldwide Inc. cargo jet in California to lose control and slam into the ground in California in 2000, killing all three people on board.

The FAA said its intensified focus on Allegiant was also prompted by a separate July incident in Fargo, North Dakota, in which a pilot reported a low-fuel emergency. Allegiant said it's working with the FAA in examining that episode.

Earlier this year, the FAA put Allegiant under heightened surveillance as pilots neared a potential strike, a step the agency sometimes takes during possible labor actions or when a carrier is struggling financially. Allegiant won a court order in April blocking the walkout, and in May said the FAA had ended the additional scrutiny.

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Crawford Greig Pierce

Greig Pierce 

Crawford Greig Pierce

April 2, 1958 - October 21, 2015
Resided in Williamstown, Kentucky

Crawford Greig Pierce, 57, was born in Lincoln, to Crawford and Gloria (Greig) Pierce. He died suddenly on October 21st, 2015, while working in his yard at his home in Williamstown, Ky. When he was young he enjoyed flying remote control model airplanes and as a teenager he enjoyed motorcycling, earning several trophies in motocross races. In 1979 he married Terri Lynn Schwartz, whom he had known since they were both eight years old.

In pursuit of a career as a pilot, Greig attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona and American Flyers Flight School in Texas. In 1988 the family moved to Kentucky and Greig flew commercially for Delta's regional airline, Comair. He was a captain for Comair and Delta Airlines for more than two decades, retiring in 2010.

Greig enjoyed restoring motocross bikes, watching movies with his family, listening to classical rock, and doing projects on their large house and country acreage. A perfectionist, he could do just about anything technical. One of his greatest attributes was his kind heart, that he displayed in many ways, from regular phone calls to his mother (often supplying her with "tech" support) to rescuing creatures in peril; whether taking in a stray dog or carefully escorting a spider out to the backyard.

Greig is survived by his wife, Terri, a daughter, Brooke of New York City, a son, Alec of Williamstown, his mother, Gloria Pierce of Lincoln, and two sisters, Sylvia (Pierce) Elliott of Comfort, Texas, and Sharon (Pierce) Vercio of Lake Stevens, Washington, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, Crawford Pierce.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, October 29, at Ropers & Sons Funeral Home, 4300 O Street in Lincoln. A graveside service will be conducted at 11 a.m. Friday, October 30, at College View Cemetery, 70th and Pioneers Streets, followed by a reception at College View Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 4801 Prescott Avenue. Memorials will go to Greig's family in care of Roper & Sons Funeral Home. Condolences at

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Calls for Civil Aviation Authority & Derek Mackay to act on pilots' worries

A call has been made for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to conduct an immediate review of Loganair’s safety capabilities in the wake of a strongly-worded letter from the company’s pilots expressing serious concerns about the technical deficiencies of some of its aircraft.

On Tuesday Shetland News published the contents of the internal letter from the BALPA pilots union, sent to Loganair chief executive Stewart Adams last week, which complained that planes were “being returned to the line despite being unserviceable” and in some cases “aircraft retain defects that clearly affect flight safety”.

Both Loganair and BALPA responded by stressing that no pilot would fly a plane if they believed it was unsafe to do so.

The letter stated that crews "no longer have faith in management that they will be able to resolve this crisis" and "we do not see a future for Loganair if things continue as they are".

Northern Isles MP Alistair Carmichael has responded by writing to the CAA referring to regular complaints from islanders about Loganair’s services and frequent delays owing to technical faults. He also hopes to raise the issue in the House of Commons on Thursday.

Meanwhile campaigner Scott Preston is urging MSPs to come together and send a cross-party letter to transport and islands minister Derek Mackay to ensure the issues raised are examined in depth.

In September the troubled airline admitted one in four flights in 2015 had been delayed by 10 minutes or more.

Carmichael stressed that passenger safety and confidence in Loganair was of “paramount importance”, and expressed concern at pilots’ dissatisfaction with engineering services.

“This is an extremely serious development,” he said. “Pilots publicly questioning the safety of their aircraft is unprecedented in my experience and needs to be taken seriously.

“The CAA is responsible for aviation safety in the UK and so they must implement an immediate review of Loganair’s aircraft and engineering services.

“Already this year we have seen two incidents requiring unscheduled landings mid-flight, including a diversion to Aberdeen on a flight from Sumburgh after the engine shut down.

“Before a serious incident occurs again, we need a thorough safety review to renew passenger and community confidence in Loganair.”

Meanwhile ZetTrans chairman Michael Stout said the points made by BALPA in its letter “raise concerns for ZetTrans if there are unresolved risks to reliable air links to and from Shetland”.

 “ZetTrans does not have the technical or operational expertise to offer a view on individual issues raised and therefore we will not comment on those,” Stout said.

“However we have a legitimate interest in ensuring that air services to and from Shetland meet the needs of our community and businesses and that they are sustainable in the long term.”

He said ZetTrans would be inviting Loganair to meet as soon as possible to discuss how it is addressing the issues raised and “what is required to ensure long term sustainability of the services”.

Preston, the man behind the 15,000-strong Facebook campaign for reduced fares and an improved service, said it was “obviously worrying that pilots and crew are expressing concern over engineering or safety issues”.

He said the letter also highlighted staff morale problems and issues with engineering cover at Sumburgh, and “although the Loganair website shows they are recruiting for an engineer at Sumburgh, nevertheless all these issues are things people have been discussing for many months and in some cases years now.”

Preston called on all Highlands and Islands MSPs to “come together across party lines” and “as one voice present a case to the transport minister and the airline for these matters to be looked at in depth”.

He wants to see “proper reassurance, not just a throwaway comment to passengers that action is being taken and concerns about the condition of the aircraft is nothing to worry about”.

Preston added: “This isn’t a time for political football – it’s a big issue and must be addressed.”

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman and Highlands and Islands MSP David Stewart said he was particularly concerned about safety aspects raised by pilots.

“Almost daily, flights are being cancelled or delayed,” Stewart said. “Not only islanders, but those visiting on business and leisure, are being greatly inconvenienced.”

He is contacting fellow list MSPs asking them to join him in writing to Mackay seeking an urgent meeting “to discuss this latest issue to hit this lifeline service affecting flights to and from our islands”.

“It is vitally important that we seek assurances from the carrier that they are addressing these issues urgently and as important we need the reassurance that no passengers are being put at risk.”

Shetland News has requested a response from the transport minister to Tuesday’s disclosure of pilots’ safety concerns.

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