Friday, October 30, 2015

It Takes a Village to Fight the Federal Aviation Administration

Letters to the Editor
October 30, 2015



Editor:

I have finally had enough of the planes flying over my head in South Laguna waking me on the weekends at 7:03 a.m. I contacted all City Council members, John Wayne noise control and the FAA. Only one city council person responded and told me that they can’t do anything. Here is the ineffectual response I got from John Wayne noise control:

“Please, let me begin by explaining that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has exclusive regulatory jurisdiction over flight paths, and the pilot-in-command of each aircraft is responsible for safely maneuvering the aircraft in accordance with the FAA’s airspace procedures.

“In response to your comments below, aircraft departing John Wayne Airport to a destination to the east have historically flown much more south than Laguna Beach, over Dana Point, to commence an eastern turn. Aircraft are sequenced by FAA air traffic controllers and at times will fly over Laguna Beach at an average altitude between 9,000 feet and 10,000 feet. This will vary on a day-to-day basis dependent upon FAA vectoring/sequencing and separation procedures. The County of Orange, the airport proprietor, has no control over aircraft in flight.  The County of Orange does, however, strictly regulates noise abatement issues at John Wayne Airport in reference to the Phase 2 Commercial Airline Access Plan & Regulation, and General Aviation Noise Ordinance.”

The FAA in Long Beach wants details. He has me recording the time of the flight, the color of the plane (carrier) and the height. Tuesday morning from 7:08 am to 7:19 seven planes flew over my house. I am giving him details but I am unclear as to what he can or is willing to do.

We must stop this invasion of our airspace. I would like to suggest that we all join forces – Village Laguna, Laguna Beach Republicans and South Laguna Civic Association – to let them know that we won’t tolerate this new air pattern. We need as many people as possible contacting the FAA in Long Beach because he told me he hadn’t had that many complaints: (562) 420-1755 then 0 for an operator. Ask for the operations officer on duty. I talked to Kevin.

They need to either change the flight path or climb higher to mitigate the noise. If Newport Beach can get results, why can’t we?

Michele Monda, Laguna Beach

Letters to the Editor:  http://www.lagunabeachindy.com

Potential job loss and risky air travel in Chattanooga



The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants to get rid of official weather observers at more than 50 airports across the country, including ours in Chattanooga. 

These are the people who communicate crucial weather information to the people in the towers to make sure your plane lands and takes off safely.

The plan, if executed, would mean job losses and potential safety hazards.

"I have a really solid professional team of people that monitor the weather here, and we know what we're doing," says Charles Starrett, Senior Weather Observer at the airport's Contract Weather Office (CWO) for nearly 20 years.

He learned, in a round-about way, about the plan to strip him and his team members of their duties. Air traffic controllers would go back to doing it, like they did for a short time in the mid-90s.

"There was a huge lack of interest, a huge lack of knowledge and understanding of the weather," adds Starrett.

He worries that tower personnel are already overworked and will make mistakes. If weather instruments go down, these tower workers can't just go outside the way a trained observer can--it's prohibited.

Signal Mountain resident and former NTSB chairman Jim Hall says the FAA's plan is dangerous.

"We have been able to provide real-time information to pilots flying in and out of Chattanooga," says Hall. "If we lose that, it will make our airport unsafe."

He and Starrett think the risk isn't worth the mere 14 million-dollar-a-year estimate that would be saved nationwide in the federal budget.

"We're cutting out infrastructure past the bone in the United States. We're into the muscle and tissue. A decision like this is going to cost lives in the future," states Hall.

"To us it's really absurd," adds Starrett.

Starrett also says a local panel including FAA officials is supposed to meet soon to discuss the plan, but he hasn't received an invitation. He and Hall hope that our congressional delegates either stop the plan or reverse it if it goes into effect.

Story and video:   http://www.wrcbtv.com

Want to fly? You may need to upgrade your driver's license



SEATTLE – Washington state residents may need to upgrade to an enhanced driver’s license or carry their passport if they want to make it through airport security sometime next year – even if they are flying domestically.

The Transportation Security Administration has not said when the rule will go into effect, but will provide at least four months notice when passengers will need to provide more than a Washington state driver's license.

The issue is more relevant now for people trying to get onto a military base or into other federal facilities. Anyone with a standard Washington driver's license is advised to call ahead to those locations.

This all stems from a dispute between the federal government and Washington state over proof of residency. Washington is one of only two states that doesn’t require proof someone is a legal U.S. resident in order to obtain a driver’s license.

The federal REAL ID act, passed in 2005, requires proof of citizenship in order for a license to be valid for federal use. That includes being able to access certain areas of federal buildings and, eventually, to board a commercial flight. Washington state was given an extension to comply with stricter federal requirements, but that extension is about to expire.

This week, the state Department of Licensing received a letter from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that said Washington would not be getting another extension.

The Department of Homeland Security says federal agencies can continue to accept driver’s licenses for the next three months, but about 6 million people will eventually have to upgrade their licenses or present their passport to get into those secure federal areas.

Washington state offers enhanced driver's licenses that are valid under the federal law. The most notable difference is the red bar and an American flag on the front of the license and security information on the back. A standard license costs $54 while an enhanced license costs $72. If it's not time for you to renew your standard license, you can upgrade for an additional $3 for every year you have left before your renewal date.

The enhanced license takes 2-3 weeks to process. You must provide proof of citizenship -- bringing your old license won't be enough. You have to go into one of the selected Department of Licensing offices get the enhanced license.

Read more here: http://www.king5.com

South Lake Tahoe city council OKs final airport design: Lake Tahoe Airport (KTVL), El Dorado County, California



SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — After three years of outreach and deliberation, South Lake Tahoe landed on a final design plan Tuesday, Oct. 27, for Lake Tahoe Airport upgrades. The proposed plan is meant to benefit future city development. City council and staff have worked on this project for the last three years.

The design, part of a $350,000 Federal Aviation Administration-funded master airport plan, allows for flexible land use. The design is only one component of the larger master plan, which has not been approved yet.

“The master plan is a 20-year plan to accommodate long-term demand at Lake Tahoe Airport,” said Michael Hotaling from C&S Companies, a city consultant, during the Tuesday meeting.

The city contracted C&S Companies three years ago to spearhead master plan research, which included community outreach.

Final recommendations include reserving most of the surrounding land for non-airport use (like storage opportunities for outside industry) along with improving airport infrastructure and safety (like making changes to the airport’s taxiways).

The city purchased the airport in 1983 from El Dorado County for $1. The airport itself was developed in 1959, just ahead of the 1960 Olympics in Squaw Valley.

All land surrounding the airport is currently designated for aviation-related use only. With plans to redesignate some of the land for mixed use, Hotaling said the city doesn’t need to do anything until the master plan is finalized.

FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

Mayor Hal Cole noted that the terrain for future aviation-related use north of the airport isn’t suited for building airport-related structures, like hangars.

“The slope of the area is just too steep for any type of aviation use,” Cole said.

Instead, councilwoman Wendy David suggested the area could be used for things like a potential event center.

According to Cole, land to the south of the airport, already recommended by C&S Companies for non-aeronautical use, could be developed with light-industrial buildings (like warehouses).

“It would certainly help the city’s bottom line if we could start using the area for some revenue-generating activities,” Cole said.

According to Sherry Miller, the airport director, any land released for non-aeronautical use would still remain part of the airport. Revenue generated from its use would go directly to the airport’s budget.

The FAA predicts a modest 1.17 percent demand in growth for Lake Tahoe Airport over the next 20 years. That means going from an average of 2.7 flights per hour to 3.1 flights per hour.

Hotaling said a return of a commercial airline service to South Lake Tahoe isn’t likely unless a substantial subsidy, or outside financial support, becomes available.

The city recognized this fact when it released its certificate for commercial service in 2014. The last commercial carrier, Allegiant Air, pulled out in 2000.

“That doesn’t mean the city can’t get the certificate back in the future, but it does save a significant amount of money going forward,” Hotaling said.

NEXT STEPS

To finalize the master plan the city needs to complete airport designs, publish a final draft report, conduct an environmental analysis and submit it to the FAA for approval.

Since the Federal Aviation Administration funds the majority of the design, it gets final say. FAA requirements include upgraded safety, much different from the 1992 standards the airport operates under currently.

Nancy Kerry, city manager, said the city would need to accept bids to conduct the environmental analysis.

“It will be a substantial investment on the city’s part,” she said.

Hotaling expects the FAA to begin its master-plan review in late 2016, after the city adopts the master plan.

For more information about the entire airport master plan, visit www.cityofslt.us/index.aspx?NID=731.

Original article can be found here:  http://www.tahoedailytribune.com

Scoot plans to spread wings further



Singapore Airlines' long-haul budget arm Scoot plans to expand its fleet from eight to 12 planes by March 2017, and add at least six new destinations by the end of next year.

The carrier, which has bought 20 Boeing 787 aircraft - all to be delivered by 2019 - is also mulling over a new aircraft order, said chief executive officer Campbell Wilson.

He said: "We have not made any decisions yet, and it is premature to speculate, but we do see lots of opportunities in this region."

The wholly-owned SIA unit has also just set up a new company, SNAB, to undertake marketing and information technology services.

Mr. Wilson, who spoke to The Straits Times recently, said it was premature to discuss details, but added that the new firm plans to serve the airline industry.

As part of expansion plans, the airline will make a foray into the Middle East, taking over an existing Singapore-Dubai-Jeddah service from SIA and offering non-stop flights from Singapore to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from May next year.

"This is a mainly economy-class route and we are confident that our non-stop service will attract travellers, primarily Muslim pilgrims," Mr Wilson said.

Scoot currently offers flights to 17 destinations, including Hangzhou, which was launched on Sunday, and Melbourne, with flights slated to start in the coming weeks.

Mr. Wilson did not say where else the carrier plans to fly to, though he did add that India is on the radar.

Scoot, which launched services in June 2012, is a key part of SIA's strategy to gain a foothold in the growing low-cost market.

While it has yet to make money - which is not unexpected for a young airline - it has had a good run.

The airline carries an average of 200,000 passengers a month and fills more than eight in 10 seats.

There are big plans to work closely with SIA's other arms, especially budget carrier Tigerair, to drive cost efficiencies and improve the customer experience.

Facilitating convenient transfers at Changi Airport for travellers is a key focus. Up to 20 per cent of Scoot's passengers today are transit travellers, a number which is expected to increase, said Mr. Wilson.

Scoot and Tigerair also intend to merge their reservations systems in the first quarter of next year. This will make it convenient for customers to buy tickets and other services across both airlines.

Each airline's call center will also be able to deal with customers from the other carrier.

Both carriers have also signed a joint ground handling contract with Sats for passenger, baggage and cargo handling at Changi Airport.

Singapore-based analyst Brendan Sobie of the Center for Asia Pacific Aviation said: "Scoot is going through an exciting period of rapid growth... The growth is key as it gives the airline scale and allows for diversification of the network.

"Scoot is only starting to scratch the surface, particularly when taking into account network opportunities once the partnership with Tigerair becomes fully implemented".

Source:  http://www.straitstimes.com

Westover Air Reserve Base not chosen to house fleet of new tanker planes



CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)- Westover Air Reserve Base has been crossed off the list to house the first fleet of new tanker planes.

Westover Air Reserve Base remains what Air Force Officials called a reasonable alternative, but was not chosen as the primary alternative to house the new KC-46A tankers.

The KC46A-Pegasus, manufactured by Boeing is a new aerial refueling tanker plane on the military market to replace an aging fleet.

MSgt. Andrew Biscoe, of Westover Air Reserve Base said, “It’s an airplane that’s very much needed by the Air Force because it provides global mobility for our airforce. It’s a brand new plane that hasn’t actually gone into mass production yet. It’s like a jetliner that you see at Bradley. It’s a large but quiet airplane.”

Air Force officials were looking for the first reserve-led KC-46A main operating base to house 12 of the new planes.  Westover Air Reserve Base was among 18 bases being considered, and was in the top four being assessed.

Surveys of each base looked at operational, training requirements, housing, infrastructure and manpower.

The evaluation of Westover Air Reserve Base did find that they do have the infrastructure to take care of a fleet of new KC-46A’s. The base already has about 4,600 personnel that take care of ten C-5’s.

Air Force Officials announced Thursday Westover Air Reserve Base, although a reasonable alternative, was not a primary alternative to house the new tanker plane.

Lt. Col. James Bishop, of Westover Air Reserve Base said, “The bad news is that we did not get chosen as a tenant base for the KC-46 tanker. The good news is that we went through an extensive vetting process and so we’ve got the real estate and the modern infrastructure to take possibly the next round.”

Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in North Carolina has been slotted as the preferred base.  The KC-46’s are expected to begin arriving there in 2019.

Westover Air Reserve Base started as a major active duty base 75 years ago this month.  That’s when it started as a bomber training base during World War Two.

Story and video:  http://wwlp.com

Colleagues of F-18 pilot hold ‘missing man’ flyover for Major Taj Sareen in return to US base

CAPT Taj "Cabbie" Sareen of VMFA-232 "Red Devils" from MCAS Miramar stands next to his F/A-18 C Hornet at the 2015 NAF El Centro Airshow. 




The US F-18 pilot who died in a tragic crash in Cambridgeshire last week has been paid a major military tribute by his colleagues as they returned to their home base in California.

Four F-18 Hornets created a missing man formation in honour of Major Taj Sareen when they returned to Miramar Air Station in California yesterday.

The planes were returning from RAF Lakenheath, six miles from the site of last Wednesday’s crash at Redmere, near Shippea Hill.

Major Sareen was hailed as a hero following the crash, after he was believed to have diverted his plane away from houses before ejecting into a field.

A video of the flyover was shared by Preston Phillips, ABC 10 News anchor and a friend of Major Sareen.

He described the flypast as: “Such a tribute to my friend”.

A fund set up for his family has since raised more than $58,000.

His remains were repatriated to the US some time last week.

An investigation into the crash could continue for two weeks.

Efforts to recover the aircraft began on Monday and are set to continue in the coming days.

- Source: http://www.edp24.co.uk

Western Isles councilor tells Loganair ‘we need a new fleet of aircraft’



A Western Isles councilor has called on Loganair to invest in a new fleet of aircraft to replace the tired and dated Saab 340.

Cllr Donald Crichton (Loch A Tuath) said: ” In light of the concerns recently raised by the pilots’ union BALPA and increasing incidents whether breakdowns or engines failing involving the Saab 340, it is time Loganair started to invest in a new fleet of aircraft and to make the resources available so that they are serviceable and safe.

“Maybe now Loganair will start listening if the pilots are raising concerns. We were assured by Loganair Chief Executive Stewart Adams at the last Transportation Committee that the Saab 340 was safe and reliable. It is clear from what we have learned this week that his view on that has been called into question with pilots saying the aircraft are ‘going in and out of the hangar with recurring faults that cannot seem to be resolved’.

“The travelling public are fed up with the tired and dated Saab 340 whose poor service record has contributed to the ongoing unacceptable disruption to our air services.”

“ At the Comhairle’s Transportation Committee Mr Adams laid great store in their plan is to invest in refurbishing the interior of the Saab 340 fleet. Perhaps rather than trying to paper over the cracks and giving them a lick of paint Mr Adams should be investing in a new fleet of aircraft and a fully resourced engineering department to ensure our air services are safe and reliable.”

Loganair chief executive Stewart Adams said last week: “First and foremost, let me make it absolutely clear that the safety of our crews and passengers is and always will be our number one priority.

“The final decision on whether or not a flight departs is always in the hands of the pilot, and we know that none of our pilots would ever leave the ground if he or she had any safety concerns.

“We operate around 34,000 services per annum and are subject to regular inspections by the CAA, which is considered to be one of the most stringent aviation authorities in the world.

“We hold an EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) Air Operator Certificate, and fully comply with all the legislation and safety requirements.

“This demands that we must demonstrate we have a fully functional and effective Safety Management System which specifically manages all aspects of our operational safety.

“We are always open to discussing matters of concern with our flight crews, and have responded quickly to both BALPA and the pilot representatives with an offer to meet with them at the earliest opportunity to address their issues in detail.

“Moving on to engineering, there have been issues, with a number of experienced employees leaving or retiring and having to be replaced.

“The process of training their replacements to work with the very specialized aircraft that fly on Loganair routes takes time, but we are now well into this process.

“As an example, 10 of these engineers have just completed a Saab course, and are now incorporated into our maintenance team.

“We will shortly initiate an apprentice scheme aimed at future-proofing us against the worldwide shortage of aviation engineers.

“On reliability, as we have said previously, we are currently undertaking a complete review of our operation to improve both punctuality and reliability on our services.

“This includes the opening of a new Glasgow Airport-based spares hub to house more than double the stock to which we have access. Previously many of these parts had to be sourced overseas with subsequent transportation delays.

“We have also made two senior appointments with the introduction of experienced Directors to our Engineering and Operational divisions.

“In addition, back-up aircraft will be based at both Aberdeen and Glasgow to be used if and when there is a need for them to be deployed to support the daily flying program.

“The investment Loganair is currently undertaking to improve operational performance is significant and we are confident it will have a positive effect on services we have provided for our valued customers for more than half a century.

“These changes will not happen overnight, but I can assure everyone that Loganair is working hard to improve performance.”

Original article can be found here: http://www.islandnewsandadvertiser.co.uk

Dynamic Airways, Boeing 767-200, N251MY, Flight 2D-405: Accident occurred October 29, 2015 at Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (KFLL), Broward County, Florida

National Transportation Safety Board - Aviation Accident Preliminary Report: http://app.ntsb.gov/pdf

http://registry.faa.gov/N251MY

NTSB Identification: DCA16FA013
Scheduled 14 CFR Part 121: Air Carrier operation of Dynamic International
Accident occurred Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Fort Lauderdale, FL
Aircraft: BOEING 767, registration: N251MY
Injuries: 1 Serious, 21 Minor, 79 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

On October 29, 2015, about 1233 eastern daylight time (EDT), Dynamic International Airways flight 405, a Boeing 767-200ER, N251MY, caught fire while taxiing for departure at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One passenger received serious injuries and the remaining 89 passengers and 11 crewmembers received minor injuries or were not injured. The airplane sustained substantial damage from the fire. The scheduled charter flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 121 supplemental and was en route to Maiquetia - Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS), Caracas, Venezuela.

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Miami FSDO-19




GREENSBORO, N.C., Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- "On behalf of Dynamic International Airways, I want to express our sincere apologies to our passengers as well as friends and families of the passengers on board Flight DYA405 which experienced reported incident," stated Don Dodson Director of Operations at Dynamic International Airways.

"Per our internal investigation, we would like to share following information:


After successfully passing required safety, mechanical and operation pre-flight inspections, Dynamic International Airways flight 2D0405 was taxiing and preparing for on time departure from Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport to Caracas Simon Bolivar Airport. Flight crew as well as airport personnel noticed engine problem during taxiing and acted according to emergency procedures. Passengers and flight crew were evacuated from the aircraft. Flight DYA405 was carrying 90 passengers as well as crew compliment of 11 people.  Minor number of reportedly injured were treated and most of them were released shortly after. We are waiting for more detailed information from relevant parties in order to assure accuracy of the information we are providing.  The experience of the Captain and First officer were 15700 and 4140 hours respectively. Per initial information the actions of the cabin crew were exemplary and according to their safety training."


"Our primary focus is to provide support for the passengers who are at the airport and to any passengers who have been medically treated and/or released. Support received from airport authorities personnel as well as our colleagues from other airlines was tremendous and we would like to use this opportunity to express our gratitude for their help during and after the incident," he continued.


Airline has provided Subservice for the recovery flights 2D 0405 and return flight 2D 0406 on 29th of October for all passengers impacted with today's flight disruption. Flight 2D0405 is now departing on October 29th at 20:00 PM EST from Fort Lauderdale to Caracas, while Flight 2D0406 will depart Caracas to Fort Lauderdale at 02:00 AM local time on October 30th. Checks in counters are open for flight 2D 0405 while checks in counters for flight 2D0406 are opening at 21:00. Passengers are also able to receive vouchers, full refunds, and hotel accommodation in case they would like to travel on tomorrow flight as per their preference.  Other flights were not impacted by the incident and operation is continuing according to schedule."


"Dynamic is also in the process of dispatching a team to assist the National Transportation Safety Board in its investigation. We would not like to speculate about the potential causes of the incident during the ongoing investigation and all of us at Dynamic are committed to fully cooperating with the NTSB and other authorities. We have activated our Family Assistance Plan and have established a special toll-free number. Family members of the passengers who may have been on board Flight DYA405 may contact 1 (888) 283-2157 or 262-226-8787 for more information. Dynamic International Airways lead delegate Joseph Schoofs is at the airport in order liaise with passengers, while additional executive management team will be onsite by 2000 this evening," he finished.


Dynamic International Airways will provide any and all additional updates via our website: www.airdynamic.com or through its official Press Releases and Statements.


About Dynamic Airways


Dynamic Airways is a US Certificated FAR PART 121 AIR CARRIER. The Airline changed ownership and management in 2013 with the goal of providing high quality, affordable, long haul, point-to-point air service. Dynamic Airways, which is headquartered in Greensboro, NC, recently revealed its new branding and website and now offers service between New York and Guyana, Orlando and Brazil, as well as service between Hong Kong and Palau.


For reservations & information, visit www.airdynamic.com, www.facebook.com/airdynamic, www.twitter.com/flyairdynamic, contact your favorite travel agent or call +1(844) 867-1916


SOURCE 

Dynamic International Airways

RELATED LINK

http://www.airdynamic.com

- Original article can be found here: http://www.prnewswire.com 




Quebec's $1 billion lifeline to Bombardier a 'gamble on the unknown'



Quebec's $1 billion bailout for aerospace company Bombardier Inc. is meant to protect thousands of jobs in one of the province's top industries, but risks worsening the finances of Canada's most indebted province if it fails.

The deal would give Quebec's Liberal-run government a 49.5 percent stake in Bombardier's troubled CSeries jet program, according to the announcement on Thursday, easing shareholder fears about the company's future but triggering an outcry from taxpayer advocates and opposition politicians.

"This is what we call corporate welfare," said Aaron Wudrick, the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, adding the deal could lead to long-term costs for Quebec taxpayers if it fails.

The province, which has practically frozen money for social services and education as it tries to balance its budget in the current fiscal year, had a deficit of C$2.35 billion for the last year ended March 31. There is also public disenchantment following a wide-ranging corruption probe into the awarding of construction contracts.

But the fortunes of Quebec's aerospace sector are closely tied to those of Bombardier, a household name in the province. Its 18,000-strong workforce in Quebec is largely aerospace-focused and its presence in the province helps support many smaller part vendors and suppliers in the region.

The aerospace industry makes up about 10 percent of Quebec's export revenues, about 1.5 percent of its gross domestic product, and about 40,000 jobs that pay double the provincial average - making it an economic lynchpin.

Bombardier is majority-owned by the Bombardier-Beaudoin family, which has traditionally had close connections with the political establishment in Quebec.

"The decision to do nothing, it’s something we couldn’t even consider," Quebec Economy Minister Jacques Daoust told Reuters after announcing the deal. "The day that Bombardier is in difficulty, the entire aerospace industry is in difficulty."

Quebec is pumping money into its financing arm Investissement Quebec to support the CSeries project, but is not making a broader investment in Bombardier which has a profitable rail unit.

It is the biggest investment to date made by Investissement Quebec, which holds stakes in several other companies deemed critical to Quebec’s economic development, such as the Stornoway diamond mine and the Alouette aluminum smelter.

Bombardier's narrow-body CSeries line of jets, which is set to compete against Boeing Co's  737 planes and Airbus Group's A319 and A320 jets, has been delayed for years and is billions of dollars over budget. The struggle to get the CSeries project done and in the air has left Bombardier saddled with more than $9 billion in debt.

The gamble faces further big risks as new orders for the CSeries jet have dried up in a soft market.

Bombardier touted the fuel economy of the CSeries, which has a 20 percent fuel burn advantage over comparable planes, as a key selling point. But that advantage has been lessened by lower oil prices and competition from new generation planes built by Boeing and Airbus that have been outfitted with fuel efficient engines.

In a bid to raise cash, Bombardier has been looking at a wide range of options, including the sale of a stake in the CSeries and the sale of a minority stake in its rail arm.

AUTOS BAILOUT

Credit analysts likened the Quebec deal to the $13.7 billion federal and provincial bailout of Canada's autos industry in Ontario during the financial crisis.

"If you look at what happened in Ontario, you would probably conclude that it did work out in that case," said Douglas Offerman, a senior director at Fitch Ratings. "I think (the Quebec) deal speaks to the province’s desire to ensure that it remains a center for aerospace."

"Doing something, or not doing something … both decisions in some respects are a gamble on the unknown," he said.

DBRS Quebec debt analyst Travis Shaw said the investment was "not unmanageable" for the province but more information was required to gauge whether it could affect Quebec's plan to balance its budget.

Daoust, who said the investment would not impact the province's budget, said Quebec's risk is limited to the $1 billion investment in the CSeries. He said it would generate returns if the program is a success, but lead to losses if it fails.

“It’s a risky situation, but it’s a two-way street,” he said. “We took it from the positive side.”

Daoust said the province has no obligation to put in additional investment if Bombardier's expenses rise more than expected.

Bombardier’s CEO Alain Bellemaire said the issue of the company’s dual class share structure - which has been criticized by investors and analysts - did not come up in its negotiations with Quebec on the CSeries.

The Bombardier-Beaudoin family controls 85 percent of the super voting “A” shares which have 10 times the number of votes as the “B” shares. In total, the family has a roughly 54 percent voting stake in the company.

"PITIFUL NEGOTIATORS"

Critics of the deal said it raises broad questions about the use of public funds to support private companies.

"We tear our hair out when we see that there is no private money that is willing to back an entity like Bombardier, and the government steps in," said Wudrick of the taxpayers federation.

In the Quebec National Assembly, Pierre Karl Péladeau, leader of the Parti Québécois opposition said the government acted as "pitiful negotiators" and was assuming "all the risks for the benefit of the shareholder."

A spokesman for economy minister Daoust said the government hired an external firm to conduct due diligence on the CSeries before signing the deal with Bombardier.

Quebec teachers and civil servants, who are among about 541,000 public-sector employees trying to negotiate a new collective agreement, staged a one-day strike across the province on Thursday carrying banners that read: "1 billion for Bombardier, cuts for needy students."

Before the latest announcement, Bombardier had received about C$730 million in contributions and loans from the federal government since 1984, according to data compiled by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

- Original article can be found here:   http://www.reuters.com

Communications Minister: Tus Airways approved and ready



Communications Minister Marios Demetriades has confirmed that a new Cypriot airliner will be operational in the next couple of months after it received its air operator’s certificate (AOC).

Speaking to state radio on Friday morning, Demetriades said that the new airline, Tus Airways, is now waiting for its final clearance and is expected to be operational within the next few months.

The new company, which has set up headquarters in Larnaca, will start off with short flights to neighboring countries and is the first local airliner to be established on the island since the collapse of national carrier Cyprus Airways.

“It is true that Tus is the first Cypriot airliner since the disbandment of Cyprus Airways,” said Demetriades. “There are no other Cypriot airline companies right now. From what I have been informed, the airliner will fly short distances to countries like Greece, Lebanon, Israel and Egypt.”

“They already have their fleet ready so I expect them to begin their first flights within the next few months. This airline company, from what I understand, was started by both Cypriot and foreign business people.”

When asked about the impact that the new airliner will have on Cyprus, he replied, “This move will certainly help us. As the government, we are working hard with all agencies like the CTO (Cyprus Tourism Organization) to bring as many planes as we can to Cyprus so we obviously approve such a move. The new airline also gives more options to people in Cyprus wanting to fly out.”

“We hope we don’t end with only this airline. It is always best to have airline companies based in Cyprus because that means that they are here to stay.”

Tus Airways’ fleet consists of two small planes – a Saab 340 and a Saab 2000. Both aircraft are twin-engine high-speed turboprop airliner built by Swedish company Saab.

Original article can be found here:  http://in-cyprus.com

Allegiant airworthiness called into question



Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) - As passengers become more fearful of flying Allegiant and the FAA steps up its scrutiny of the beleaguered airline, Contact 13 has discovered more maintenance issues. 

Chief Investigator Darcy Spears has the details Allegiant doesn't want you to hear.

Flashback to August 17. 

Pilots lose control of an Allegiant flight speeding down a McCarran airport runway--having to abort takeoff at high speed after a flight control malfunction caused the plane's nose to rise before it was going fast enough to fly.

"Flight controls have caused many, many, many accidents," said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member who also worked as an airline mechanic.

"It was probably very, very fortunate for everybody involved that that crew recognized it and kept the airplane on the ground," Goglia said.

Allegiant said that plane's left elevator boost actuator in the tail had become disconnected. 

A week and a half later, the airline issued a statement saying it did a "fleet-wide inspection of all of its MD-80 aircraft to ensure the flight control systems in those aircraft were functioning properly before returning them into service.  All aircraft were found to be in working order." 

But here's what Allegiant didn't say... During their inspections, they found two other MD-80 planes with similar problems.

Inside sources showed Contact 13 aircraft maintenance logs--screen shots from Allegiant Information Systems which show on August 19, one plane was found to have a nut missing its safety on the right side elevator power control actuator.

Goglia calls that, "an accident just waiting to happen."

A second plane on the same day had its "actuator fork bolt nut safetied wrong on left-hand elevator," which Goglia says "impeaches their maintenance process.  And the FAA should be very, very concerned about that."

Another maintenance log from August 27 shows a third aircraft with a problem on its wing.  A right-hand aileron hinge attach point mount bolt was missing its nut safety cotter pin.

"Those are three significant events.  Significant!  We've shut airlines down in this country for less than that!  So that is very, very, very disturbing."

Allegiant refused to talk to us for this story. 

They've accused us of lacking objectivity and distorting facts. 

But these same facts are being reported across the country.

Allegiant told Bloomberg business news that "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.  As these repairs were outside the scope of the fleet campaign in question, they were logged per normal procedure." 

That's how they explain their previous statement that all aircraft were "found to be in working order."

Darcy Spears: Does this suggest that those planes were in working order?
John Goglia: Those airplanes, prior to those inspections, were not airworthy.

We couldn't broadcast the screen shots insiders showed us, because they're terrified of retribution from the airline. 

They fear Allegiant would use the screen shots to conduct an I.T. witch hunt, focusing on the whistle-blowers as opposed to the mechanical failures they're exposing.

Original article can be found here: http://www.ktnv.com

Airbus Raises Workhorse A320 Production to Keep Up With Demand



Airbus Group SE said it plans to increase production of its best-selling A320 single-aisle jet to 60 a month to keep up with booming demand that helped propel a 12 percent earnings increase in the third quarter.

The company’s plane-making division, which contributes about three quarters of revenue, now builds A320 models at a rate just above 42 a month and had previously planned to boost the figure to 50 by early 2017. The goal exceeds rival Boeing Co.’s own target of 52 single-aisle 737s. Airbus said it will build an additional production line for the planes in Hamburg to accommodate the higher build rate. Shares rose to their highest level since August.

The move to go to 60 a month by the middle of 2019, announced on Friday as the company reported earnings, comes as Airbus races to increase production on its new twin-aisle A350. The planemaker plans to deliver 15 A350s this year, and more than double the figure in 2016, reaching 10 a month by 2018. The company is also developing a new variant of its smaller, twin-aisle A330 with new engines. Airbus stock rose as much as 4.1 percent to 63.19 euros and was up 3 percent at 9:20 a.m. in Paris.

“The healthy commercial aircraft market, robustness of our backlog and supply chain capability allows us to raise the single-aisle production rate,” Airbus Group Chief Executive Tom Enders said.

A380 Demand

Booming demand for A320 planes from low-cost operators around the world stands in marked contrast to demand for Airbus’s largest plane, the 550-seat superjumbo A380. It’s been three years since the planemaker won a new airline customer for the plane and the backlog is dwindling.

Airbus has said it can break even on building the A380 at a level of just under 30 planes a year, and expects to achieve breakeven in 2015 and 2016. For 2017, however, Airbus Group Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm said on a conference call today that the planemaker had between 20 and 30 planes in the backlog, and that it would try its best to break even in 2017.

Earnings before interest, tax, goodwill impairment and exceptionals rose to 921 million euros  for the third quarter from 821 million euros a year earlier, Toulouse, France-based Airbus said in a statement Friday. The figure beat an average forecast by seven analysts for 774.6 million euros. Sales rose to 14.07 billion euros from 13.3 billion euros.

Share Buyback

Airbus also said it will buy back and cancel shares worth 1 billion euros by mid 2016. That represents approximately 2 percent of the total market value of the company.

The challenge for Airbus to reach a rate of 60 planes a month, a record output for any model ever built by a planemaker, is to ensure that suppliers can keep pace. Airbus has seen resistance from some manufacturers, including Safran SA and General Electric Co., whose CFM International joint venture is one of two engine suppliers for the A320neo.

The Neo with more efficient powerplants is just going into production now, with plans to certify the plane and begin delivery in the fourth quarter, even after Airbus acknowledged several test disruptions with the model powered by the competing Pratt & Whitney engines.

“Investors will want to see exactly how they plan that ramp-up, and to what extent Airbus will be delivering more planes in 2017 and 2018,” said Yan Derocles, an analyst at Oddo Securities in Paris who has a “buy” rating on the shares. While the earnings beat consensus estimates, the figure for the buyback was somewhat less than investors had hoped for, Derocles said.

Airbus stuck to its full-year guidance, predicting “slightly” higher deliveries this year, and growth in the order book for commercial aircraft. Sales and operating profit before some items, as well as earnings per share and the dividend will also rise, it said.

Original article can be found here: http://www.bloomberg.com

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.

- Source:  http://www.newsday.com

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.

- Source:  https://ca.news.yahoo.com

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: http://www.bloomberg.com

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.

- Source:  http://www.jpost.com