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 Southwest.com for purchase through Nov 2, 2015, for travel April 12, 2016 through May 25, 2016.

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

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 digres@ci.pacifics.ca.us. Residents are suffering and we are working hard to determine how to stop it as soon as possible,” she said.

- Source:  http://www.marinscope.com

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.

- Source:  http://indianexpress.com

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:  http://wncn.com

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.

- Source:  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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.”

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

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.

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

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.

Story and video:   http://www.wcsh6.com

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.

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

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 www.roperandsons.com

- See more at: http://www.roperandsons.com

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.

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

Lambert-St Louis International Airport (KSTL) ends free parking cards for insiders, but some want them back

ST. LOUIS • Lambert-St. Louis International Airport officially deactivated courtesy parking cards for government insiders earlier this month, but a few want them back.

Airport officials had doled out the cards for decades to politicians and lobbyists, giving holders unlimited free parking at the airport’s best and most convenient garages. After the Post-Dispatch asked questions about the program, Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge sent letters to about 150 cardholders notifying them the program would end Oct. 1. Hamm-Niebruegge’s letter included a form allowing holders to request to keep the privilege, but she told the Post-Dispatch she doubted anyone would do so.

Hamm-Niebruegge was wrong.

In fact, records obtained through state open records laws show seven people returned the form asking for free parking, a perk that allows holders to avoid parking charges of up to $23 a day via assigned electronic access cards. All of the requests were denied.

Arthur Washington, a former airport commissioner who is retired from the city treasurer’s office, wrote in his request: “As a former Airport Commissioner I have been enjoying this privilege for many years. I feel I should be grandfathered into this process.”

Hamm-Niebruegge denied Washington’s request, saying it did not “warrant the issuance of a parking card pursuant to the new parking policy.”

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar requested to keep his card, citing frequent travel to speak about trends in policing. Belmar wrote that he had four trips planned for the rest of this year. That request was also denied.

The airport is situated in the county. The county police department still has seven cards for parking access.

St. Louis Sheriff James Murphy, D-St. Louis, also requested a new card, but was denied.

State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal requested a new pass, saying she travels for work purposes. Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City, also noted the airport is part of her district.

“This has been a 30-year courtesy,” Chappelle-Nadal told the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday. “I’ve only had one for a year while there are other people who have had it for 20 years.”

Chappelle-Nadal, who is challenging U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay next year in the 1st Congressional District Democratic primary, noted that Clay’s sister had had a free-parking card.

“I’m not upset, but I kind of feel cheated,” she said.

Chappelle-Nadal was flying out of Lambert on Tuesday for a mission with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce. She said she had left her car at home.

State Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills, also requested a pass “for frequent and short notice air travel to conduct business of the state, region, and 85th district.”

Hamm-Niebruegge said the positions didn’t warrant courtesy parking.

The Rev. B.T. Rice, pastor of New Horizon Christian Church, requested to keep his free parking, saying he travels to many cities promoting nonprofit organizations.

“Your community service to promote various organizations does not warrant the issuance of a parking card pursuant to the new parking policy,”

Hamm-Niebruegge wrote in response.

John Saracino, a former airport commissioner and current director of constituent services for County Executive Steve Stenger, asked to keep his because he still attends airport commission meetings.

Hamm-Niebruegge declined to give a 24-hour, anytime-access parking card, but cited airport policy that anyone attending airport meetings can have their parking validated at the meeting.

The new parking-card list is a fraction of its former size, which once included current and former senators, governors, mayors, aldermen and lobbyists. Parking card usage varied. Some aldermen used the card virtually every month, while others, such as Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, Mayor Francis Slay, and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, didn’t use theirs at all.

The program dated to the 1980s. Hamm-Niebruegge said it had been done out of “honor and courtesy” to those who had added value to the airport. But she also said it was time for the program to end.

The airport is owned and operated by the city of St. Louis.

Original article can be found here:  http://lakeexpo.com

Philippine Airlines revives talks with strategic investors

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine Airlines (PAL) is in talks to bring in a strategic investor to support the company’s expansion plans.

PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista told reporters that while the carrier is not in a hurry to get a strategic investor, its financial adviser is currently in talks with potential investors.

“We are considering some,” he said, but declined to name the parties being considered citing confidentiality agreements.

PAL is looking for a strategic investor as it looks to expand its operations in the international markets.

“As we expand, as we take delivery of more airplanes, as we compete in Asia, the US, Europe, we will need that (investor),” Bautista said.

According to Bautista, PAL is aiming to be the preferred carrier in all the markets where it operates and so, it would need the help of a partner in growing its presence in certain areas. “(We need) companies that will help us grow our market,” he said.

For instance, partners from Europe who can carry PAL’s passengers from London and beyond would be welcome as the carrier wants to serve more passengers in that region.

While PAL would also want to grow in the domestic market, Bautista said there is limited capacity to expand operations given congestion in the airport.

PAL is spending about $500 million to $700 million next year to take delivery of five Airbus A321 aircraft as well as two Boeing 777-300ER in line with its plan of expanding its services.

For this year, the carrier has already taken delivery of five new A321 aircraft.

The company is also evaluating a plan to purchase new aircraft for long-haul flights to replace its Airbus A340s which consume more fuel and are costlier to maintain.

- Source:  http://www.philstar.com

Low Cost Fly Africa Airline Suspended

HARARE-October 28, 2015 --   Fly Africa's operations have been suspended after the airline surrendered its operating license due to shareholding disputes and failure to meet statutory requirements.

The low cost airline's planes have been grounded after the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) suspended the airline’s operations.


Earlier this week, the airline surrendered its operating license citing operational challenges.


Close sources say the decision to surrender the operating license is a result of boardroom squabbles and shareholding disputes.


The airline has local and foreign shareholders.


Apart from the internal disputes, the airline has not been remitting passenger services charges to CAAZ.


Information gathered also reveals the airline aircraft were not based in Zimbabwe while the company did not have an accounting manager in violation of Statutory Instrument 140.2010.


Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Dr Joram Gumbo confirmed the development, adding that after surrendering the operating license and failure to meet the regulatory requirements the airline’s operations had to be suspended.


"After surrendering the license and failure to meet the regulatory requirements, the airline’s operations have been suspended," said Dr Gumbo.


The budget airline’s board chairperson Professor Chakanyuka Karase could not be reached for comment.


There was drama at the Harare International Airport on Tuesday when passengers had to be asked to disembark from the plane.


Despite surrendering its license, the airline had booked passengers, prompting CAAZ to intervene for the safety of the passengers and to enforce the law.


The airline was licensed by CAAZ in August 2014 and introduced its first aircraft in the same month to service the Victoria Falls-Johannesburg route.  


- Source: http://www.radiovop.com

Qatar Airways, JetBlue strengthen code-share agreement

Doha: Qatar Airways has announced the expansion of its code-share partnership with JetBlue, adding 29 new code-share destinations on the airline’s route network from Boston Logan International Airport.

The expanded partnership will take effect from March 16, 2016 to coincide with the launch of Qatar Airways’ daily direct flights to Boston. Passengers will now be able to connect onto JetBlue’s network with a seamless transfer process via both New York and Boston.

"The strengthening of this code-share agreement comes at a time when Qatar Airways is focused upon expanding its own direct links to the United States and beyond, with the launch of non-stop services to Los Angeles, Atlanta and Boston throughout 2016," said Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.

"Passengers travelling to Boston on our latest flagship A350 XWB aircraft will be able to connect onwards to almost 30 JetBlue destinations across the continent, enhancing the overall passenger experience for all, thanks to this expanded code-share agreement."

The partnership will include new code-share routes from Boston (BOS) to; Austin (AUS), Charleston (CHS), Cleveland (CLE), Denver (DEN), Detroit (DTW), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Fort Myers (RSW), Jacksonville (JAX), Las Vegas (LAS), Long Beach (LGB), Martha’s Vineyard (MVY), Nantucket (ACK), New Orleans (MSY), Oakland (OAK), Orlando (MCO), Portland (PDX), Raleigh Durham (RDU), Richmond (RIC), Sacramento (SMF), Saint Thomas (STT), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), San Jose (SJC), San Juan (SJU), Sarasota (SRQ), Savannah (SAV), Seattle (SEA), Tampa (TPA) and West Palm Beach (PBI).

At the annual Skytrax 2015 World Airline Awards in June, Qatar Airways was awarded World’s Best Airline, Best Business Class Airline Seat, and Best Airline in the Middle East.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 18 years of operation and today flies a modern fleet of 166 aircraft to 152 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

- Source: http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com

Wizz Air may fly from Bratislava

 Hungarian airline Wizz Air may launch a flight service from Bratislava from March 2016.

Neither the Wizz Air nor Bratislava airport have commented on the information yet, the Sme daily reported.


Wizz Air is currently discussing the possibility to establish regular routes with several airports, including Bratislava, said its spokesperson Daniel de Carbalho.


“We will continue our development with those offering low-cost flights,” de Carbalho said, as quoted by Sme, adding they will add more information when it is up to date.


The Hungarian airline may open two new routes: twice a week to Skopje (Macedonia) and three times a week to Sofia (Bulgaria) the Slovakaviation.sk website wrote. It is however not clear which type of passengers the company wants to attract. It may focus on transporting Macedonians and Bulgarians to Vienna and it is expected that the number of Slovaks using these flights will be minimal, according to the website .


Wizz Air already operates flights from KoŇ°ice, where it opened its base in June 2015, and from Poprad. It used to operate a service from Bratislava to Rome in the past, the Trend weekly reported on its website.


 - Source: http://spectator.sme.sk

Pilot Sentenced To 9+ Years in Prison for Operating $44M Ponzi Scheme

Some persons will recall Daniel H. Williford, 57, when he lived in Salisbury and boasted of being an “inventor”,  a U.S. Airways pilot,  and a businessman promoting the wireless internet provider “Velocenet”. Those who recall him, will remember his easy-breezy style perfectly fitted to a town brimming with glib talking sociopaths, music men, and dupes galore. What better place for a con artist than the “Bury”? Smug and self-assured, Williford was destined for “bigger things”.  Those “bigger things” arrived Tuesday when Williford got slammed with 9 plus years in a Federal can.



A former US Airways pilot who caused nearly $18 million in losses to at least 100 investors has been sentenced to nine years and two months in prison.

Daniel H. Williford, 57, of Fleetwood, was sentenced on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 to 110 months in prison for operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 100 investors, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina.  In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr. ordered Williford to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $17,915,013.35 as restitution.

U.S. Attorney Rose is joined in making today’s announcement by John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in North Carolina.

According to filed court documents and statements made in court, from January 2007 through July 2013, Williford operated a fraudulent investment scheme, through which he obtained more than $44 million from over 200 investors in Charlotte and elsewhere, causing nearly $18 million in losses to more than 100 investors by the time the scheme collapsed.  Court records show that Williford lied to his victims, promising their money would be invested in wireless internet equipment, internet towers, and other facilities and companies.

According to court records, rather than investing the victims’ money as promised, Williford used the majority of the funds to run a Ponzi-style scheme and used a portion to fund his personal lifestyle.  Court records show that over course of the fraud, Williford invested only $7.7 million of the victims’ money and used approximately $32 million to pay some of his victims’ supposed “profits” on their investments and to cover personal expenses.

Court records also show that even after Williford ceased having any legitimate business operations, he continued to solicit money from investors for several years.  One victim told the court yesterday evening that he was Williford’s co-pilot in a commercial airliner, and that Williford had literally defrauded him on the runway before takeoff.  Other victims spoke about being unable to retire, declaring bankruptcy, losing children’s college savings, and one victim told the court he would have to sell his businesses, jeopardizing the jobs of over 50 employees as a result of the fraud.  Williford pleaded guilty to securities fraud in July 2014.

Judge Cogburn said that Williford’s lengthy sentence was intended to “frighten those who will think about doing this, to make them think twice about stealing other people’s money” and to make such people realize “that going to prison for that long is not worth it.”  Judge Cogburn also noted that the victims “will suffer a long time,” and pointed to the “callousness and huge period of time in which [Williford] took these people’s money” as a basis for the sentence.

The FBI investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Ryan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Charlotte prosecuted the case.

The charges were brought in connection with the President’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.  The task force was established to wage an aggressive, coordinated and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes.  With more than 20 federal agencies, 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices, and state and local partners, it’s the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat fraud.

Since its formation, the task force has made great strides in facilitating increased investigation and prosecution of financial crimes; enhancing coordination and cooperation among federal, state and local authorities; addressing discrimination in the lending and financial markets; and conducting outreach to the public, victims, financial institutions and other organizations.  Since fiscal year 2009, the Justice Department has filed over 18,000 financial fraud cases against more than 25,000 defendants.  For more information on the task force, please visit www.StopFraud.gov.”

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

Related: http://rowanfreepress.com





The Immortal Charles Ponzi:

Investors Pay Full Fare to Fly India’s Largest Airline: Budget carrier behemoth IndiGo’s parent company is going public, but at a fulsome price

The Wall Street Journal
By ABHEEK BHATTACHARYA
Oct. 27, 2015 11:27 p.m. ET


India’s largest airline will soon be added to the list of the country’s listed companies. Too bad it may also become part of another litany—big Indian firms that perform well, but whose performance is almost always priced into the stock.

InterGlobe Aviation, which runs budget carrier IndiGo Airlines, is selling shares worth up to about $460 million to the public this week and will start trading in early November. And there is bound to be clamor for them.

IndiGo flies more than one in every three Indian passengers, compared with one in eight, six years ago. That still leaves room to grow—and quickly. Travelers are fiercely loyal to Indigo’s reliable service and cheap fares, making it possible that as many as one in two passengers could be flying IndiGo by March 2018, says Kapil Kaul at the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation.

This growing slice comes at a time when the Indian pie itself is growing. Mr. Kaul estimates Indian traffic will grow by an average 15% every year for the next five years, as low oil prices boost demand with lower fares.

That explains why IndiGo’s revenue growth for the fiscal year ending March 2015 was faster than the year before, and again looked promising in the June quarter, the latest reporting period. With fuel costs low, and IndiGo sharply controlling maintenance costs by flying only one kind of aircraft, incremental revenue is falling quickly to the bottom line.

This is helping IndiGo post returns almost unheard of in the airline world. Its return on invested capital last fiscal year was above 30%, compared with about 15% at Southwest Airlines and 12% at Ryanair.

Yet IndiGo is now demanding a market value of nearly $4.3 billion at the high-end of its IPO range that some investors already agreed to pay, after accounting for stock options. That is 21.3 times last fiscal year’s earnings. That isn’t outrageous compared with Ryanair’s 20.7 times and Philippine low-cost airline Cebu Air’s 18.4, according to S&P Capital IQ.

But to match Ryanair’s 14.8 times forward multiple, for instance, IndiGo would have to increase net profit for the year ending March 2016 by 44%. That is doable, but doesn’t leave much to chance.

IndiGo’s high valuation won’t dissuade investors who already favor blue-chip Indian companies such as HDFC Bank and Hindustan Unilever, who consistently trade at high multiples. Value investors, though, should keep in mind that they aren’t getting a big safety net if oil prices spike, or if the Indian economy deteriorates, weakens the rupee and renders purchases of dollar-denominated fuel expensive. Competition might also heat up.

IndiGo’s fast ride is so far impressive. The stock just doesn’t offer passengers a cushion if things go wrong.

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

Rolls-Royce Said to Mull Short-Haul as Boeing Jet Opens Door

Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc is evaluating whether a trend toward bigger planes will provide an opening for it to re-enter the short-haul engine market, according to a person with direct knowledge of the company’s plans.

Boeing Co.’s work on a successor to the 757, the longest-ever narrow-body, may point to bigger replacements for its 737 and Airbus Group SE’s A320. That would render current engines redundant and let Rolls compete on equal terms, said the person, who asked not to be named because its studies are private.

Warren East, chief executive officer since July, will address plans for what Rolls calls middle-of-market aircraft -- bigger than regional jets but smaller than wide-body models -- on Nov. 24 when briefing investors on initial conclusions of an operational review, according to the person.

Stock recovered from losses earlier in the day to rise as much as 0.3 percent to 676.5 pence. The shares have fallen 20 percent this year, valuing the company at 12.4 billion pounds ($19 billion).

Rolls-Royce quit the single-aisle market with the sale of a 33 percent stake in the Pratt & Whitney-led International Aero Engines AG consortium in 2011. A return to the segment would pit it against both United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt and the CFM International alliance of General Electric Co. and Safran SA.

‘Opportunity’

Rolls-Royce spokesman Peter Morgan said the short-haul sector “may be an opportunity for the company, but not for some years to come.”

To be sure, Pratt & Whitney has used Airbus’s re-engined A320neo to introduce an all-new geared-turbofan design, though mostly to defend market share against CFM’s new Leap model rather than to attack a new market.

“Every new platform gives an engine or systems supplier an opportunity to reinvent themselves,” David Hess, IAE chairman and head of aerospace development at UTC, said in an interview. “We certainly did it with the Neo. If Airbus or Boeing or anybody else were to do a new airplane it would provide an opportunity for Pratt, GE or Rolls to conceivably develop a new engine.”

Rolls-Royce is reviewing its strategy as output of Trent wide-body engines is poised to reach record levels with accelerated deliveries of the XWB turbine that powers Airbus’s latest A350 model, propelling it to about 50 percent of the twin-aisle market.

Volume Market

Rolls sees a need for more than 11,000 planes of 110 to 250 seats in 2014-2023, versus 3,000 carrying 300 people or more. Demand has been spurred by low-cost carriers including Southwest Airlines Co., Ryanair Holdings Plc and AirAsia Bhd., which have hundreds of short-haul aircraft in service or on order.

While revamp decisions that led to the A320neo and 737 Max have left Rolls frozen out, prolonging decades-old blueprints means successor models may be radically different in terms of size, range, speed and a host of other parameters as designers seek to address the evolving air-travel market.

That may provide the opportunity Rolls-Royce needs, especially since Boeing’s focus on a 757 replacement could indicate a trend toward larger aircraft that leads short-haul airliners to morph into mini wide-bodies, the person said.

Trading Up

Discount carriers are already trading up, with EasyJet Plc switching to Airbus A320s from A319s and Wizz Air Holdings Plc to A321s. Larger jets also maximize seats-per-flight, easing pressure on crowded runways.

It’s not clear whether Rolls-Royce could re-enter the short-haul market alone or would seek another partnership. Alliances are not unusual among engine-makers, and Rolls explored a new 50:50 deal with Pratt & Whitney after the IAE restructuring, only to abandon the plan in 2013 amid antitrust concerns.

Service entry for all-new short-haul designs is at least a decade away. A replacement for the 757 -- which ceased production in 2004 -- is slated for the mid-2020s if it goes ahead, while Airbus has said an A320 successor could be pushed back to as late as 2030.

Even with a decade’s lead-in time, Rolls-Royce will still face a huge task in creating a competitive model. Pratt & Whitney’s geared-turbo fan could be delivering a 25 percent efficiency gain by then, Hess said last week at the Aerodays manufacturer’s conference in London.

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

Bombardier Inc to mothball Learjet 85, book major writedown and announce Quebec aid, sources say



WASHINGTON/MONTREAL — Bombardier Inc is set to book a writedown on its CSeries program and announce that the government of Quebec will be investing in the narrowbody jet program, according to several sources familiar with the matter.

The embattled Montreal-based company will also permanently mothball its Learjet 85 program, the sources said.

Bombardier, which has been looking at a wide range of options to help it fund its long-overdue and over-budget CSeries jet program, will form a joint venture with the Quebec government on the CSeries, said the sources, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

To form a joint-venture, Bombardier will write down billions of dollars it has already sunk into the CSeries, said the sources. If a deal is reached, the government would be on the hook to fund half the final development costs on the new jet, which is slated to enter service next year.

A Bombardier spokeswoman declined comment. A spokeswoman for Quebec’s economy minister was not immediately available for comment.

A similar deal with European aircraft giant Airbus Group SE fell apart earlier this month when news of the talks leaked.

In a note to clients on Tuesday, Sterne Agee analyst Peter Arment noted that CSeries program development costs have already topped US$5 billion and he expects that another US$2 billion in cash will be required to finish certification and absorb the ramp in production in the first three years.

That would mean Quebec would potentially front up to $1 billion or more in order to fulfill its side of the deal.

The stock gained 4 per cent after the Reuters report, and was last up 8.3 per cent at $1.57.

The company’s B shares were at $1.50 early Wednesday. They had cratered in August to a low of $1.03 after hitting their 52-week high of $4.43 in early December.

BUSINESS JETS


Bombardier which suspended the development of its Learjet 85 business aircraft in January, is likely to confirm that it plans to mothball the program permanently and book further charges in this regard, said the sources.

The total writedown including both the CSeries and Learjet programs is likely to be over US$4 billion, said the sources.

The company said in January that demand for the new Learjet had been weak, and that demand for light aircraft in general had been depressed since the economic downturn.

The company’s Executive Chairman Pierre Beaudoin said last year that the CSeries and the new Global jets were higher priorities than the Learjet 85. Even so, when asked at the time whether Bombardier might abandon the program, he said it was moving ahead.

In July, the company also pushed back delivery of its new Global business jet. The company said at the time its Global 7000 business jet, previously scheduled to go into service in 2016, is now expected to do so in the second half of 2018.

Bombardier has aggressively cut costs in the last two years, as it has struggled to get its new CSeries jet into service.

In May, it said it would cut 1,750 jobs in its business jet unit, which followed a cut in January of 1,000 jobs after it halted the Learjet 85 development.

Analysts expect Bombardier to announce lacklustre results on Thursday, given softness in airplane orders.

“We expect the third-quarter to be a weak quarter with significant year-over-year declines in the key metrics due to weaker aircraft deliveries & orders,” said Macquarie analyst Konark Gupta in a note to clients on Wednesday.

- Original article can be found here: http://business.financialpost.com

Southwest Airlines ends Akron-Canton Airport nonstop service to Tampa, Las Vegas



NORTH CANTON, Ohio- Southwest Airlines is ending nonstop flights from Akron-Canton Airport to three vacation hot spots starting in the spring.

As of April 12, Southwest will no longer fly non-stop to Tampa, Orlando and Las Vegas, the airline announced on Tuesday. They are expanding service from Akron-Canton to Atlanta to three round-trip flights a day.

“While this news is disappointing for us, we are glad that Southwest will continue to provide access to its low-fares and exceptional customer service via Atlanta,” said Rick McQueen, president and CEO at Akron-Canton, in a news release on Tuesday.

According to the airport, passengers can fly from Atlanta to 100 cities in the Southwest Airlines network.

Earlier this year, Allegiant Air brought its low-cost flights to the Akron-Canton Airport.

- Source:  http://fox8.com

General Dynamics Boosts Forecast on Luxury Jets, Submarines

General Dynamics Corp. raised its full-year profit forecast after third-quarter results beat analysts’ estimates on higher deliveries of Gulfstream business jets and surging sales at the submarine-building unit.

Earnings will be $8.90 to $9 a share, Chief Executive Officer Phebe Novakovic said on a conference call Wednesday, more than the previous range of $8.70 to $8.80. Gulfstream handed over 43 outfitted business jets, a dozen more than a year earlier. Revenue climbed 15 percent at the Marine Systems business, whose products include surface warships as well as U.S. Navy subs.

“It’s nice to see a beat on earnings and sales, something that we haven’t necessarily been seeing” with other companies, Jeff Windau, an analyst with Edward Jones & Co., said in a telephone interview. “They are improving profitability in a couple of their businesses.”

Corporate aircraft are a crucial offering for General Dynamics, the third-largest U.S. defense contractor. The Gulfstream unit is increasing production of the G650, the largest and farthest-flying purpose-built business jet, even as rivals struggle with a slump in that industry segment. Marine Systems finished the quarter with a $26.5 billion backlog, the most among a $68.7 billion total for all of General Dynamics.

Gulfstream had “nice, broad order activity” even in Brazil, China and Eastern Europe where economies have been “challenged,” Novakovic said on the call. Half of Gulfstream orders came from outside the U.S., the company said.

‘Solid’ Earnings

Earnings were “solid” and will be helped through 2017 by “a relatively stable defense portfolio coupled with Gulfstream generating over 40 percent of total profits,” Peter Arment, an analyst with Sterne Agee CRT, said in a note.

General Dynamics rose 2.2 percent to $151.65 at 9:39 a.m. in New York. The stock’s 7.8 percent gain this year through Tuesday was almost twice as much as the advance for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Aerospace & Defense Index.

Third-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $2.28 a share topped the $2.13 average of 18 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Revenue of $7.99 billion exceeded the average $7.84 billion projection.

General Dynamics also has been buoyed by overseas defense orders, including a contract announced in September to refurbish and upgrade 150 Abrams tanks for sale to the Kingdom of Morocco. 

Aerospace profit margins rose to 18.2 percent even as the company spends to build two new jet models, the G500 and G600, that are scheduled to enter into service 2018 and 2019.

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

New director: 'We need to capture some destinations' • Willard Airport (KCMI), Savoy, Champaign County, Illinois

SAVOY — When Gene Cossey accepted the job as Willard Airport's executive director, one of the biggest selling points was the airport's "underutilized resources" and untapped potential.

Rather than seeing Willard as what it is now — six daily arrivals, six daily departures — Cossey is dreaming big.

"We need to capture some destinations," he said. "You would want to look toward an East Coast hub and going west some place."

Without doing extensive research — he doesn't officially start as the University of Illinois airport's new leader until Dec. 7 — Cossey said potential direct destination cities include Charlotte and Denver.

Adding those, he said, would help fliers get where they need to without having to go through Chicago's busy O'Hare.

Cossey said he couldn't envision landing direct flights to Washington, D.C., despite its popularity among UI travelers.

"There are not (many) direct flights there," he said. "That's why we should focus on East Coast hubs that are open and have growth and potential."

As far as business flights, Cossey says American — the only airline currently flying in and out of Willard — would be a natural fit in adding more hub destinations.

American now offers at Willard five daily round-trip flights to Chicago and one to Dallas-Fort Worth. Anticipating heavier holiday traffic, a seventh daily flight — to and from O'Hare — will be added from Nov. 5-30.

Business travel is the biggest untapped market for Willard, Cossey said, but he also sees potential in adding leisure flights, perhaps via Allegiant Air or Spirit Airlines.

Cossey said he'd like to expand air service within five years. He believes it's possible, even in the face of aircraft changes and pilot shortages.

"Given the market that's being lost, there's room to expand," he said.

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