Thursday, October 29, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Philippe Couillard defends Bombardier bailout, angering public sector strikers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Catherine Goudreau, another school teacher, agrees.

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

Opposition slams move

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Federal Consideration

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

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

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

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

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

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

Double the Average

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

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

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

Sensitive Issue

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

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

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

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

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

Original article can be found here:

El Al inks deal for nine new Boeing Dreamliners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mysterious Plane Landed At Belize Municipal Airstrip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pilot and passengers disappear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Clandestine plane lands at Belize City Municipal Airport


Mystery Plane: I’ll Fly Away

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Source:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Original article can be found here: 

PUP Money plane lands?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remember the source of the BTL Parallel Market?

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

That may be very telling.

- Source:

Sun Country, pilots sign five-year contract

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Source:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Original article can be found here: