Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Passenger count down sharply as Branson Airport (KBBG) wraps up first year without major airline

Departures have been down sharply at Branson Airport in 2015, the first full year in which the facility has been without a mainline carrier.

Through the end of October, the number of people flying out of Branson Airport was down 76 percent compared to the same period in 2014, according to a News-Leader review. Depending on the month, between a third and a half of airplane seats left the facility unoccupied.

"By no means do we think the level of service we had this year was what's needed, but it was a good experiment in a way," Airport Executive Director Jeff Bourk told the News-Leader.

Branson Airport opened in 2009 and has been challenged by the consolidation of the airline industry, which has resulted in reduced competition among airlines and decisions by the largest carriers to focus on more profitable routes. Branson's last two mainline carriers left the market permanently in 2014. Southwest Airlines — which had been serving the city year round — pulled out of the market that June. Frontier Airlines' last flight from the market was Oct. 25 of that year; the airline had been operating seasonally from the airport and decided not to return to Branson, along with a number of other markets, in 2015.

The mainline carriers have been replaced by public charter flights, often under the Branson AirExpress brand. The flights have been operated by a number of different charter flight companies, such as Orange Air and Elite Airways, and Bourk's hope is they will demonstrate a demand for air service from Branson that will help attract a mainline carrier. Over the course of 2015, Branson Airport had service at times from Branson to Denver, Houston, Austin, Chicago, Cincinnati, New Orleans — typically three to four times per week, depending on the destination. Air service to New Orleans continued on to Cancun. Flights started at $99 one way to New Orleans and Cincinnati, increasing to about $150 for cities like Austin, and $199 for service to Cancun via New Orleans.

In total, through the end of October, Branson Airport had just over 14,100 "enplanements," an industry term that refers to boarding passengers. That compares to 58,259 in the same 10-month period period in 2014, according to publicly accessible financial documents. July saw the highest passenger count in 2015, with 3,303 enplanements. June and May were the next most popular months to fly out of Branson.

Depending on the month, enplanements accounted for 34 and 58 percent of total seat capacity, a statistic that is known as load factor. May was the month with the highest load factor at Branson Airport in 2015, while September was the lowest.

The last two months of the year historically have had minimal activity at the airport, given the seasonal nature of Branson as a tourism destination; in 2014, there were 1,460 enplanements combined between November and December. Earlier this year, the airport forecast enplanements for the latter half of 2015, as well as the start of 2016; it projected 4,012 enplanements in November and December, which would give the facility about 18,000 for the year. However, that may be optimistic thinking; enplanements ultimately fell short of the airport's projections in July, August, September and October.

Either way, enplanements will be at the lowest in the airport's short history. The facility, which is privately owned and operated, peaked at about 130,000 enplanements in 2013.

In an interview with the News-Leader last week, Bourk noted that Southwest and Frontier were part of a national network, which naturally resulted in a greater demand for air travel from Branson. But the charter service, he said, has been successful at continuing service to many cities that passengers were ultimately trying to travel from, and it will return in some form for 2016. The airport will likely announce specifics this winter.

Winning back a traditional carrier, however, remains a goal. In March, the Taney County Commission approved spending up to $500,000 to help lure an airline, to be paired with $1.5 million from other sources. The money, which has not been spent, is designated as "risk abatement"; it will be used to pay airlines if they moved into the market and fail to at least break even financially.

The only time a mainline carrier associated with Branson Airport this year was on March 31, when billionaire Richard Branson announced that Virgin America would start serving Branson as part of a series of investments in the city. But Richard Branson was just teaming with city and chamber officials for some fun and free publicity. The airport was forced to put out an all-caps notice to bondholders: "THE BOND TRUSTEE IS INFORMED BY THE COMPANY THAT THE ANNOUNCEMENT IS AN 'APRIL FOOLS' PRANK."

Because Branson Airport used tax-exempt municipal bonds to finance its construction, reports documenting the facility's finances are required to be publicly posted at the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board's Electronic Municipal Market Access website. Bondholders and airport management entered into a forbearance agreement in 2011, after the airport defaulted on payments, and in September the parties extended the agreement through June 2016. The outstanding principal amount of the bonds for Branson Airport and its related companies is $113.8 million. Interest on that figure added another $28.4 million as of Sept. 1 of this year.

Through the end of September, Branson Airport had operational losses of $2.4 million in 2015, after losing just shy of $424,000 in 2014. The September forbearance agreement included cash flow projections through March 2016, with operational losses each month.

"I think this year is definitely a building year, and we're looking ahead to 2016 and 2017, and building this air service network," Bourk said.

Springfield-Branson National Airport anticipates record year

Passenger totals at Branson Airport stand in stark contrast to its neighbor an hour to the north.

Through the end of October, Springfield-Branson National Airport had 384,240 enplanements. Spokesman Kent Boyd told the News-Leader this week the airport expects to finish 2015 with about 450,000 enplanements, which would top the previous record of 443,893 set back in 2005. On average, flights were 88.6 percent full.

When talking with the public, the airport generally focuses on total passengers, which includes enplanements and deplanements. The airport expects slightly over 900,000 total by the end of the year; it had 888,738 passengers in 2005.

Springfield-Branson is served by four airlines: Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines. Those carriers provide nonstop flights to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Tampa/St. Petersburg, Orlando, Punta Gorda/Ft. Myers and, as of Nov. 5, Charlotte.

The newly added flights to Charlotte, a hub for American, have the airport optimistic for 2016 totals. The flights are expected to increase total passenger count by about 36,000 over the course of the year. In November, air service consultant Michael Boyd (no relation to the airport spokesman) said he expects Springfield-Branson to have more than a million passengers come 2020.

Original article can be found here:

Flare pots used to light Pangnirtung, Nunavut runway after electrical outage • Rain 3 weeks ago played havoc on electrical system

The airport in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, found an old-time solution to a uniquely northern situation last weekend when its lighting system went down. Crews used flare pots to light the runway so planes could land. 

The airport in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, had to revert to an old-time solution to a uniquely northern situation last weekend when its lighting system went down.

Flying into Pangnirtung can be a challenge at the best of times. The community of 1,500 people lies on a strip of land at the edge of a fiord; its runway cuts through the middle of town. On top of that, the community currently gets about three hours of daylight, with the sun setting before 1 p.m.

So when an electrical problem plunged the runway's lighting system into darkness last weekend, it created a big problem for planes trying to land in the community.

These flare pots lit the way when Pangnirtung's runway went dark last weekend.

Keewatin Air Captain Joel Pensivy piloted his King Air 200 into Pangnirtung on Saturday for a medevac.

"For us to be able to conduct that medevac that night they had revert to an emergency procedure — they put a flare pot candle burner at each runway light."

Flare pots are a throwback to the pioneering days of bush pilots, when they were often used to light remote landing strips. But they aren't so common these days.

"It means the guy's gotta be aware of the flight being inbound, and getting out there to light the pots," said Todd McKay, Nunavut's director of airports. "And then again to stick around until he can to extinguish them at the end of the trip."

There's a little bit more work involved, but it did maintain flights,' says Todd McKay, Nunavut's director of airports.

McKay said the pots came in handy, but they require a lot of time and attention.

"There's a little bit more work involved, but it did maintain flights and that's what kept the community going for the weekend."

McKay suspects ground water from rain several weeks ago affected the wiring of the lighting system. Electricians were flown in and dug into the frozen gravel runway to fix the system.

By Tuesday the runway's lights were fully operational again. 

Story, comments and photos:

Proposed Bill Would Toughen Screenings for Airport Workers

Sarasota, Fla - A U.S. Senator from Florida says all airport workers should be required to go through a tougher screening process in this age of terrorism.

Senator Bill Nelson points to reports that an Egyptian airport worker may have planted the bomb that caused a Russian aircraft to crash...killing all 224 people on board.

Big changes that would dramatically increase screenings of all airport workers are a step closer to becoming reality.

"We take the safety and the security issues very, very seriously," said Rick Piccolo, CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport, "and we want our passengers to have an enjoyable experience, but also a very safe and secure experience."

Some of the big changes being proposed by Senator Nelson include allowing the Transportation Security Administration to conduct more thorough background checks of all airport employees, also a continuous criminal check of workers through the FBI database would be implemented.

"The world is changing and we need to adjust quickly and nimbly to adjust to the changing threat levels," said Piccolo.

Many people we talked with at the airport in Sarasota are all for this including Denise Stromdahl who was visiting the area from Pennsylvania.

"I think that's a good idea," said Stromdahl, "I think they should go through the same screening as we do."

Matt Fintak is here from Buffalo, he tells us that anything that prtotects him and his family is something he backs 100 percent.

"Considering all the things going on in today's day and age, anything that will prevent terrorism or an act of terrorism is all good," said Fintak.

This bill now heads to the Senate Commerce Committee.


Piper PA-38 Tomahawk, Airtime Aviation Holdings Ltd, G-BNDE: Fatal accident occurred August 20, 2014 in Benthill Farm, Buckingham, UK

Family of pilot who crashed after death threats 'may never know' exactly how he died 

An inquest into the death of Muhammad Naviede recorded a narrative verdict after a coroner ruled out suicide

Muhammad Naviede 

The wreckage of the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk in which Mr. Naviede died.

The cause of an airplane crash which killed a convicted fraudster who had been receiving death threats may never fully be explained, an inquest has heard.

Muhammad Naviede, 60, died in August 2014 when his leased Piper PA-38 Tomahawk aircraft span into a field moments after he sent a text message saying: "I'm in a plane out of control and it's going down."

Investigators found the aircraft did not enter its fatal spin until two minutes after the message was sent. Mr Naviede had also told members of his family and a solicitor that he had received death threats in the weeks before the crash at Padbury, Bucks.

But after hearing from more than 20 witnesses, Richard Hulett, the Buckinghamshire Coroner, told a jury he was not satisfied there was sufficient evidence to consider suicide as a possible verdict.

Instead the jury recorded a narrative verdict which said that the evidence did not sufficiently prove exactly why the aircraft entered its fatal spin.

Mr. Naviede was an experienced pilot who should have been able to regain control of the aircraft when it went into the spin near the village of Padbury.

An Air Accident Investigation Branch report said the text message he had sent was “unusual” because the aircraft continued in level flight for more than two minutes after it was sent.

The text was sent to Mr Naviede's brother Pervaiz, whom he had tried to call from his mobile phone moments earlier.

The message required him to write 148 characters within 25 seconds, something the AAIB said "would require considerable dexterity, especially in an aircraft that may have been out of control”.

At an earlier hearing Bob Moxon Browne QC, representing one of Mr Naviede's life insurers, said jurors should be given a direction to consider unlawful killing in the case.

Emails sent by Mr. Naviede to those close to him showed reference to the threats, he said, although there were no direct examples of the threats themselves.

Mr. Moxon Browne said at the time: "If someone says someone threatened you and in two weeks you are dead, you'd want to put that to the jury."

But the jury was not invited to consider such a verdict.

Jim Morris, a specialist aviation lawyer at Irwin Mitchell and former RAF pilot, who is representing the family, said: “Unfortunately, the Piper PA-38 Tomahawk that he was flying was not required to be fitted with a Flight Data Recorder (FDR) or a Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) which made the task for the AAIB to determine the causes difficult, if not impossible.

“It is clear from the contents of the AAIB report and the evidence heard at the inquest that there are a number of realistic possibilities which could explain the chain of events which, amongst other things, included a possible loss of engine power due to carburettor icing.

“Unfortunately, we will never know exactly what happened in this tragic accident but the inquest has given Mr Naviede’s family some element of closure and has reinforced their view that the accident was caused by Mr Naviede’s loss of control of the aircraft – possibly as a result of a loss of engine power."

Mr. Naviede, who once had a personal fortune estimated at £117 million, was the brother of the former Government race advisor Nighat Awan, who once entertained Cherie Blair at her home in Cheshire.

He was the former head of the trade finance company Arrows, which collapsed owing more than £100 million to overseas banks and other creditors in 1991.

In 1995, a jury at the Old Bailey convicted him of seven charges of fraudulent trading, obtaining property and services by deception and making false statements to obtain bank facilities. He was jailed for nine years.


NTSB Identification: CEN14WA475
14 CFR Non-U.S., Non-Commercial
Accident occurred Wednesday, August 20, 2014 in Benthill Farm, Buckingham, UK, United Kingdom
Aircraft: PIPER PA-38-112, registration:
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On August 20, 2014, about 2000 hours universal coordinated time, a Piper PA-38-112, United Kingdom registration G-BNDE, impacted terrain near Benthill Farm, Buckingham, United Kingdom. The pilot was fatally injured. The flight itinerary is under investigation and has not been determined at this time. 

The accident investigation is under the jurisdiction and control of the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). This report is for informational purposes only, and contains only information released by or obtained from the government of the United Kingdom.

Further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:
Air Accidents Investigation Branch
Farnborough House
Berkshire Copse Road
Aldershot, Hampshire
GU11 2HH, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0) 1252 510300

2016 Atlantic City airshow returns to A.C. • This event is FREE to the public

The 2016 Atlantic City Airshow will return to the skies above the free beaches lining the Boardwalk in Atlantic City on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.

GEICO will return as the presenting sponsor of next year’s event, which was announced by Greater Atlantic City Chamber President Joe Kelly, the show’s organizer.

“We are excited to welcome back the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, and Geico to the 2016 airshow,” Kelly said. “The show also returns to the August midweek timeframe, allowing us to bring these breathtaking performances in front of the large summer crowds,” he added.

The USAF Air Demonstration Squadron, or "Thunderbirds," is the air demonstration squadron of the United States Air Force (USAF). The Thunderbirds are assigned to the 57th Wing and based at Nellis AFB, Nevada.

The Thunderbirds perform aerial demonstrations in the F-16C Fighting Falcon. They also fly two F-16D twin-seat trainers. Much of their displays alternate between maneuvers performed by the diamond, and those by the opposing solos.

They are praised for their combined accuracy and precision.

In addition to the Thunderbirds, the U. S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team and the GEICO Skytypers will perform. The Atlantic City Airshow will also feature one of only four USMC mv-22 osprey demonstrations for 2016.

“The Atlantic City Airshow continues to be one of Atlantic City’s biggest free summer events,” said CRDA Executive Director, John Palmieri. “With community and city-wide participation at all levels, the show attracts hundreds of thousands of attendees and is a cornerstone of our strategy for major non-gaming tourism drivers for Atlantic City."

Atlantic City International Airport (ACY) is the host airport for the Atlantic City Airshow. The majority of performers take off and land via the airport, though the show takes place over the beach.

The Atlantic City Airshow is a community partnership between the Greater Atlantic City Chamber; the City of Atlantic City; the 177th Fighter Wing of the N.J. Air National Guard; South Jersey Transportation Authority; FAA William J. Hughes Tech Center; The Atlantic City International Airport; David Schultz Airshows, LLC; the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and many others.

For more information on the 2016 Atlantic City Airshow, visit, and continue to check the Atlantic City Airshow Facebook page at


Brewer Aviation will sell refurbished planes at a third of the cost

John Brewer has had his commercial pilot's license since 1967 but has spent the last 28 years in the tourism industry.

A new business at the Charlottetown airport is hoping to land customers by selling and refurbishing old planes — stripping them down to their bare bones to rebuilding them from scratch.

Brewer Aviation is the brainchild of John Brewer, who's operated a tourism business in Cavendish for almost 30 years. Brewer is also an aviation enthusiast who is returning to his passion for flight.

Brewer, who has been a licensed commercial pilot since 1967, said general aviation aircraft can be very expensive, starting at $500,000 and running up to $1 million — before the U.S. exchange rate.

"We can buy an older airplane, which is basically the same design as the newer ones, and we can refurbish them and put them on the market for roughly about a third of the cost," Brewer said.

"You know, who's got $500,000 or $1 million to spend on something basically just for fun?

"That way they can get into it for probably $150,000 to $200,000 — and if you get two or three guys in it, it's not that expensive."

Deryck Hickox has worked on a number of plane restoration projects but is excited to be doing it full-time with Brewer Aviation

Always on the hunt

The company is looking for planes from the last 35 to 40 years.

"Airplanes are different from cars ... They don't have to deal with salt and every minute has to be recorded  — and regular inspections," he said.

"Old airplanes are really very good airplanes."

Brewer Aviation's first project a 1946 Aeronca Chief purchased in Quebec. The plane had been vandalized – the fabric on the wings was slashed but there was no structural damage.

Aircraft maintenance engineer Deryck Hickox, who has worked on some high-profile restoration projects, came out of retirement to work with Brewer Aviation.

These wings from the Aeronca Chief were vandalized and will have to be re-covered during the restoration process.

Passing on knowledge

​Hickox has taken several teenagers under his wings to restore the Aeronca. They've taken it down to the frame, and will now get work sandblasting, priming and painting.

"This one is a choice piece for a restorer to get because all of the original pieces are still with the airplane and they're all in very restorable condition. So it will look like a new 1946 Aeronca Chief when it's done."

Hickox is also looking forward to passing along what he knows to his proteges.

"When I started, the old fellas — and I'm now one, unfortunately — taught me how to do fabric covering because it was dying at that time, and that's 50 years ago.  It's still dying and the new people coming along don't get any contact with it," he said.

"I'm hoping that I can get some of them interested enough so that they'll carry on and do what I'm doing now."

This is the frame of a new plane being assembled from a kit at Brewer Aviation.

In flight this spring

In addition to restoration work, Brewer Aviation will also service private aircraft and do major rebuilds. They're also the Maritime agents for a company called Just Aircraft, based in South Carolina, that sells kits to build a plane.

The company hopes to have the Aeronca — and their first plane from a kit— ready to fly in the spring.

"Spring time it is," said Brewer. "Everything in aviation comes alive in the spring."

Story, comments and photo gallery:

Damaged private jets to remain grounded for two months

Eight corporate jets and charter planes, damaged in the Chennai deluge last week, will remain grounded for two-three months for inspection and overhaul.

While companies can claim insurance for damages to spare parts and components, charter companies will take a hit as loss of revenue is not covered under insurance policies.

Planes belonging to TVS Motors, Sun TV, Kalyan Jewellers and Joy Jets (charter firm belonging to Joy Alukkas group) have been impacted due to the flooding. Damages to hull and spares are estimated to be around Rs 200 crore, according to a senior executive from  a public sector insurance company.

Chennai-based United India Insurance, among other insurance companies, has been involved in the process of assessing the claims through insurance surveyors and loss assessors.

“Aircraft owners are staring at the possibility of huge losses in terms of repairs, loss of business, increased insurance premiums and hundreds of utilization hours lost on these assets worth millions,” said Jayant Nadkarni, president, Business Aircraft Operators Association.

Ravi Menon, executive director, Air Works, which provides maintenance services to the business aircraft owners, said: “These are unusual circumstances and maintenance work on the impacted aircraft will be anything but routine. We are in touch with engine and component manufacturers to understand the level of engineering checks which need to be carried out. A complete integrity check would be required to assess the damage to engines, landing gear, wiring and components. It may take at least two months for some of these aircraft to get air worthiness.”

“Our business is down 50 percent as one of our two Embraer jets is grounded after floods,” said Captain Asif Punathil, head (operations) of Joy Jets. According to him, engine, components and landing gear would require an overhaul and the aircraft might  remain out of service for next three-six months. The avionics compartment in the jet are situated  above the baggage hold of aircraft which was submerged  in the water. “As the airport boundary wall collapsed river water gushed in and this could contain effluents and sewer impacting the engines. We are in touch with manufacturers to assess damage,” he added.


Asheville Regional Airport (KAVL) unveils temporary runway

Micheal Reisman, deputy executive director of development and operations at Asheville Regional Airport, speaks during the official unveiling of a new temporary runway Wednesday morning. Board members and staff of the airport, Tina Kinsey, Matthew Burrill, K. Ray Bailey and Lew Bleiweis, stand next to Reisman on the temporary airstrip.

A new temporary runway at Asheville Regional Airport will be commissioned into service Thursday morning.

The runway will temporarily replace the existing airstrip, which has been in service since the airport opened in 1961, until a permanent one is built in late 2017 or early 2018.

The temporary runway is 7,000 feet long and 100 feet wide, which is slightly narrower and shorter, and sits adjacent to the old runway.

It is being dubbed a temporary runway because it will used for all commercial, general aviation and military flight operations for a two-year period of time.

Michael Reisman, deputy director of development and operations, said the pavement strength and type of aircraft the temporary runway can support matches the permanent runway.

Airport officials said travelers should not notice a difference with the transition, other than the possibility of slight more aircraft taxi time.

The four-phase project, slated for completion in 2018, will result in a new permanent runway, with the temporary airstrip being converted into a taxiway on the west side of the airfield, according to a news release from the airport.

The project will also open up more than 40 acres of land for aeronautical development.


Incident occurred December 09, 2015 near Kennedy International Airport (KJFK)

QUEENS, New York (WABC) -- Another passenger flight was struck with a laser overnight.

The pilot of a Skylink Express flight reported the laser strike at about 1 a.m. Wednesday.

The plane was at an altitude of about 1,500 feet and about 4 miles northwest of Kennedy airport when the laser was reported.

It was coming from Ontario, Canada, and was landing at JFK. The plane landed safely.

A Federal Aviation Administration statement said the crew of Skylink Express Flight 9742 reported a green laser that illuminated the Hawker Beechcraft B1900 aircraft.

No injuries were reported. The plane is a 19-seat, twin-engine turbo prop. Other planes in the area were alerted.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the New York City Police Department were investigating the incident.


Porter Airlines' proposal to bring jets to island airport dead in the water: PortsToronto says it will not complete studies requested by City of Toronto last year

The proposal by Porter Airlines to bring jets to an expanded island airport is officially dead in the water.

On Tuesday, PortsToronto, the owner and operator of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, said it will not complete a series of studies requested by city council last year.

"PortsToronto will complete the technical work currently underway, but will not proceed with further public engagement-related activities pertaining to the Porter Proposal to introduce jets," the agency's CEO Geoffrey Wilson said in a statement. "As such, the studies will not be finished."

The agency said that in April 2014, it undertook three studies - "an Environmental Assessment, Preliminary Runway Design and Master Planning Exercise – to inform the discussion on the Porter Proposal" at the request of the city.

PortsToronto's decision follows last month's announcement by Transport Minister Marc Garneau that his government would not amend the tripartite agreement, which governs what kind of aircraft can take off and land at Billy Bishop, to remove the prohibition on commercial jets there.

One of the groups that had been protesting against Porter's proposal, NoJetsTO, welcomed the news.

"Today the pro-jets camp moved from denial to acceptance by pulling the plug on the expansion study," the group's chairman Norman Di Pasquale said. "The airport expansion study was flawed and pointless; by ending it the Port Authority for once did the right thing."

PortsToronto said it would continue to focus on the airport's current operations "in order to benefit our passenger base, fulfill the airport's potential and serve Toronto's economic interests, all the while ensuring appropriate fit with its waterfront surroundings."

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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Did you misplace three 747s? If so, then Malaysia would like a word with you • Malaysia's airport authority is trying track down the owners of three abandoned jets

Less than two years after a Malaysian jetliner disappeared over the Indian Ocean, the country is now searching for the owners of three Boeing 747s left abandoned at an airport near Kuala Lumpur.

The publicly-listed airport operator, Malaysia Airports Holdings, placed an advertisement this week in two local newspapers asking for the jet owners to come forward. According to Bloomberg News, the planes are parked at three different bays at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.

The announcement comes amid a corruption scandal against Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who is accused of stealing $700 million from a public development fund, and a vote by Malaysia’s parliament last week to expand the prime minister’s powers that some have said veers the country toward dictatorship.

The advertisements describing the owners of the missing jets in Malaysia were placed Monday in The Star and in the Sin Chew Daily, indicating that the aircrafts could be sold to “recover the charges owed by the owner to Malaysia Airports,” according to a company statement. The company said the planes have sat on KLIA tarmacs since 2014.

“We have been in communication with the so-called owner, but they have not been responding to take away the aircraft,” Zainol Mohd Isa, a company spokesperson, told Bloomberg. “We want to clear the area, we want to utilize our parking bay.”

Oddly, one of the abandoned jets was used by the cargo division of Malaysia Airlines, which leased the Boeing 747 from Air Atlantic Icelandic, according to Bloomberg.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the Malaysian airport authority suggested the incident and the way it was advertised was “a common and reasonable step” to collect debt and contact the owners.

“This step is also a common process undertaken by airport operators all over the world when faced with such a situation,” it read.

Despite its apparent inability to track the owners of airplanes on its runways, the country has taken steps to improve how it trails airplanes in flight.

In 2014, a Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean, with 239 people on board. Later that year, another Malaysia Airlines plane was shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing another 298. The carrier also has reached the brink of bankruptcy during the last several years, remaining solvent only with government financial support.

Malaysia has since joined Indonesia and Australia in a trial of air traffic control system to keep better tabs on airplanes navigating across remote oceans between their countries. The provisional measure requires pilots to check in with air traffic controllers every 15 minutes, rather than every 30 minutes.

David Ison, assistant professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University told National Public Radio last year that other technologies already exist that could further improve tracking aircraft.

One such tool would require airplanes to transmit positions to other planes in the air, receivers on land and even oil rigs, replacing radar in remote regions.

He also noted that aircraft could communicate locations, using satellite or radio signals. "Neither of these, unfortunately, are widely used at this point," he said.

Earlier this month, a United Nations conference unveiled a plan to use part of the radio spectrum as a global flight tracking system. The UN’s World Radiocommunication Conference agreed to allow satellites to receive specialized transmissions that aircraft currently send to other planes and to ground stations.

The transmissions, known as automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) will be transmitted to satellites, allowing real-time tracking of flights anywhere in the world, Fran├žois Rancy, head of the U.N. International Telecommunication Union’s Radiocommunication Bureau said in a statement.

The UN’s approach marks a breakthrough because while most planes have some form of flight tracking, the features offered by such services can vary widely, with more tracking capabilities often coming at increased cost, USA Today reports.


Plane crash at national park said to be years old

A plane crash thought to have happened earlier this month is said to be years old.

Authorities originally thought on December 8, a single-engine plane crashed, exploded and started a fire.

It happened at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, about 8700 feet above sea level.

The fire could be seen for miles and authorities are still working to figure out what caused the fire.

Now, the park says the tail section of a plane found in a wilderness area was from years ago.

They say crashes are not uncommon as the elevation, high winds and cloud cover cause problems for pilots.

Authorities are still working to figure out what caused the fire.

Salt Flat, TX – The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has concluded their investigation into the cause of the fire on Guadalupe Peak on December 8, 2015 was not connected to an aviation crash.

Original reports to the FAA indicted that the cause could have been a small plane crash, but search crews have not been able to substantiate this report.  

Discovery of debris from a small airplane were later identified as remains from an older crash by park officials. 

Rocky terrain and poor flying conditions have slowed investigations. 

The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Interagency Fire Suppression Resources team contained the fire and National Park Service Special Investigative Services concluded site investigations over the weekend.  

The ongoing investigation into the incident will continue. 

The public is encouraged to report any information regarding this incident to the Investigative Services Protection Tip Line at (888) 653-0009. 

 Park closures due to onsite investigations have been removed. 

All Pine Springs trails and the Pine Springs campground in the park have reopened for public use. 

Park information, including park conditions, closures, restrictions, weather and program information are available on the park’s website or by telephone at (915) 828-3251 ext. 2124. 

The Pine Springs Visitor Center is open daily, except December 25, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Also visit the park on Facebook at

Information from NPS

Date: 09-DEC-15
Time:  00:05:00Z
Regis#:  UNKNOWN
Event Type:  Accident
Highest Injury:  Unknown
Damage:  Destroyed
Flight Phase:  UNKNOWN (UNK)
FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA Lubbock FSDO-13
State:  Texas


The trail head access road leading to the start of the Guadalupe Peak Trail was closed as federal, state and park crews attempted to locate wreckage. 

CARLSBAD -- Rough terrain and winds atop the Guadalupe Peak on Friday continued to keep crews from investigating the site of a large fire from earlier this week. 

The cause of the fire that consumed an estimated 30 acres of wildland erupted around 6 p.m. Dec. 8 at the peak in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park is still unknown, the park's Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jackson said in a news release.

"The fire resulted in a significant burn and wildland fire that was visible for miles," Jackson said in the release. "By Wednesday morning the fire had mostly burned itself out. The origin of the fire is unknown."

Jackson said that the area affected by the fire, a rocky escarpment only reachable by foot, has posed a problem for personnel staging at the trailhead near the Pine Springs visitors center in Texas.

Fire crews were still monitoring hotspots Thursday and investigators with the Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board continue to try and determine if the fire was the result of a supposed plane crash.

"Federal Aviation Administration, Texas Department of Public Safety personnel, and a Bureau of Land Management Type 3 fire team and other agencies are investigating the site," Jackson said.

Original reports to the FAA and the NTSB indicated that a small plane may have crashed into the area, but search crews came up empty handed Wednesday and Thursday.

The lack of debris was puzzling, as was the discovery of the tail of small airplane about a mile from the site Thursday.

An FAA representative said that the wreckage was spotted by helicopter but investigators were still trying to manage the terrain and high winds on the mountain to get a closer look.

That inspection will help investigators determine if the wreckage they spotted is part of an old crash or if it contributed to the fire.

"We don't know if this is the aircraft witnesses reported seeing in the area, nor do we know for sure how long the wreckage has been there," said FAA Public Affairs Manager Lynn Lunsford.

CARLSBAD -- The tail end of a small plane was spotted Thursday by investigators about a mile from the site where officials suspected a plane had crashed on Guadalupe Peak Tuesday.

Because of the rough terrain, the wreckage was not inspected , said Federal Aviation Administration Public Affairs Manager Lynn Lunsford. There was no way to confirm if the tail section is part of an old crash or if it is connected with the fire that blazed on the mountainside Tuesday night.

Emergency response teams initially believed the fire, which started around 6 p.m. Tuesday, had been caused by a plane crash. However, officials with the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that no wreckage could be found by search crews at the site of the fire.

The Federal Aviation Administration is expected to conclude their investigation into the incident, that left 30 acres of wooded escarpment at Guadalupe Peak scorched, in the next two days.

The damage done to the wildland by the fire was extensive, Guadalupe Mountains National Park Public Information Officer Elizabeth Jackson said.

Trooper Moises Vasquez with the Texas Department of Public Safety said reports from the high-altitude plane dispatched to take pictures of the fire indicated only hot spots, or areas that were on fire, but not debris from wreckage.

"All they (pilots) were able to really confirm was that there were several hotspots, probably fire," Vasquez said. "(Pilots) were taking images from high-altitude using a thermal camera and what they were able to observe that night from our end was images on the thermal camera that may have or may have not included debris."

Currently, the Texas DPS is not involved in the assessment of the site.

Jackson said they are not ruling anything out as far as what caused the fire.

"The fact is that if it was a forest fire event that it wouldn't have ignited that rapidly or in that large of an area. We just don't have any answers yet," Jackson said.

Finding those answers was made difficult by the poor flying conditions and rocky terrain on the mountain, a news release from the park said.

"There is currently no information available about the cause of ignition. Speculation remains that some kind of aircraft could have struck the mountain. The FAA is continuing the investigation," the release said.

Eric Ahasic, meteorologist with the Midland/Odessa National Weather Service station said no weather event such as lightning was recorded at the peak which could have sparked a fire.

"Conditions were favorable for fire up there," Ahasic said. "It's been pretty dry and you definitely have dry grasses and fuels to work with."

The spread of a wildland fire was one of the major concerns Tuesday night when the the fire was first reported, Jackson said.

A two-man emergency crew sheltered in place Tuesday night to help keep an eye on the flames that stretched a half-mile. The fire was contained by the next morning, allowing federal investigators to ascend the Guadalupe Peak trail and survey the fire site.

Investigators will attempt to reach the tail section wreckage before making determinations, but Jackson said it is possible the wreckage is the remnant of an old crash.

The Guadalupe Mountains have been the scene of many plane crashes, including a WWII B-24 bomber that crashed into the side of the peak on Dec. 31, 1943. Since 1991, there have been three fatal plane crashes in the Guadalupe Mountains, according to data from the FAA website.


A Life Flight helicopter prepares to take off and help survey the fire on Guadalupe Peak Tuesday night that was originally attributed to a plane crash.

GUADALUPE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK -- Tucked away in the remote Guadalupe Mountain National Park, an explosion and fire on Tuesday which rocked the mountainside is still a mystery to investigators. 
“We have a site that has obviously been effected with fire,” said Guadalupe Mountain National Park Spokesperson Elizabeth Jackson by phone.

The Associated Press initially reported a small plane crashed into the mountainside, leaving a half-mile wide debris field. Jackson said Wednesday it is still not clear what happened.

“After investigating the site, we have not found anything at the site,” Jackson said. “There was an explosion and initial fire incident.”

Jackson said the FAA and NTSB are involved in the investigation. The FAA has an initial report on its preliminary crash data page about the accident.

According to the Carlsbad Current-Argus, search crews turned up empty handed for debris. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reporter on scene described the fire on the Guadalupe Peak as being consistent in appearance with that of a small plane crash.

The FAA told CBS 7 late Wednesday it is not a confirmed plane crash.

 “We have some smoldering areas we are monitoring,” Jackson said, noting that the Pine Springs area and trailhead is temporarily closed. 

GUADALUPE MOUNTAINS -- Federal investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire on Guadalupe Peak on Tuesday night that was originally believed to be caused by a crashed airplane.

Search crews on the mountain did not found any wreckage Wednesday to indicate an aircraft had crashed, said Lynn Lunsford, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration.

Local authorities had indicated to the FAA early on that a plane had crashed and reports by pilots surveying the peak indicated the same.

Dispatchers received a report of an airplane that had crashed into the east side of Guadalupe Peak around 6 p.m. Tuesday, setting a half-mile stretch of wilderness on fire. Crews searching the area Wednesday morning were left puzzled after no debris was found.

Lunsford said it would be unusual for a small plane to crash and leave no debris.

"First step is to find the wreckage and ID the aircraft," said Terry Williams, spokesman for the National Transportation Safety Board. "We have investigators on scene doing the on-scene phase of the investigation. Right now weather is a factor."

Williams said winds gusts of up to 20 miles per hour and the rough terrain are hindering the investigators and search crews in the area.

Guadalupe Peak, which rises 8,749 feet above sea level, is a steep, strenuous hike and typically takes three hours to ascend.

Elizabeth Jackson, public information officer with the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, said the fire has been contained. She confirmed that search crews have come up empty handed in the search for debris, survivors or victims of the supposed crash.

Jackson said accelerant such as gasoline could have been a factor in the size of the fire on the peak, but said there is no way to confirm yet whether the fire was natural, deliberately set or the result of an accident.

Kirkland Air Force Base in Albuquerque and Holloman Air Force Base near Alamogordo have both said they had no maneuvers or operations in the area which could have caused the fire or a possible crash.

A spokesman with the North American Aerospace Defense Command's Northern Command Center in Colorado said they did not track any space debris re-entering in the area and had no reports of any aircraft or other object that could have caused the fire.

"We will know more tomorrow and the following days," Jackson said.

For now, all trails and campgrounds at the Pine Springs area of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park have been closed to the public until the investigation is complete.

The FAA and NTSB are being assisted by park rangers, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Bureau of Land Management emergency response crews.


UPDATE (11:33 a.m.):

Officials have confirmed that it was a small plane that crashed into a peak in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park on Tuesday, starting a fire.

It is unknown what type of aircraft it was or how many people it was carrying, said a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman.

FAA investigators are on their way to the site, but the investigation is being handled by the National Transportation Safety Board.

As of this morning park personnel were searching for anything in the wreckage that would lead to more details.  The fire has been contained.

All of the Pine Springs trails and campgrounds are closed to the public as park officials are helping with the crash. They are expected to remain closed until the investigation is completed.


Officials believe a plane crashed in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park on Tuesday night.

Fire could be seen at the top of the mountain and there was a debris field. Officials could not determine if it was caused by a plane or by something else.

A group of park personnel were able to hike to a point where they could monitor the flames to make sure they did not spread. Due to the night and the cold weather they had to suspend all other efforts at about 9 p.m., but would remain on the mountain overnight.

The Carlsbad Police Department, Eddy County Fire Services and Texas State Troopers were also on hand.

The first report of a fire and crash was called in before 6:30 p.m.

John Montoya with Guadalupe Mountains National Park said the Texas Department of Public Safety had deployed a Life Flight helicopter to attempt to get pictures of the elevated scene and potential debris field.

Montoya hoped that the pictures could determine whether or not a plane crash had taken place. The pilot of the helicopter inspecting the scene saw several fields of small debris, but still could not confirm if it was from a plane.

Jackson said that one of the park's main concerns with the fire is that it could potentially spread into a large wildfire.Elizabeth Jackson, a spokeswoman for the park, said they had been reviewing flight plans and had not been able to determine if there were any missing flights.

The fire could be seen from as a far as Whites City. Jackson said their goal was to have the fire extinguished by Wednesday morning.

She also added that they do not believe that any campers in the area were harmed.


The orange flame of a fire possibly caused by a downed plane (left) can be seen from the Pine Creek station. The small white light in the center of the photo is a two-man emergency response team hiking up the peak as emergency responders from Texas, Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Eddy County watch from the road. 

The Texas Department of Public Safety is at the scene of a possible plane crash at the Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

It happened just before 6 p.m, according to Texas DPS.

A spokesperson with the Federal Aviation Administration said the agency was alerted about the downed aircraft after local fire crews flew over the site and spotted the fire.

It is a possible single-engine plane and it crashed near the ridge of Guadalupe Peak, the FAA spokesperson said.

The Carlsbad and Hudspeth fire departments are at the scene assisting with the fire.

The number of passenger in the plane is unknown at this time.

We will continue to update this article as more information becomes available.