Tuesday, December 13, 2016

General Electric sells corporate hangar

STEWART AIRPORT – The General Electric corporate hangar at Stewart Airport has been sold to another tenant at the Newburgh area facility.

Atlantic Aviation, one of the two fixed base operators at the airport, bought the 100,000-square-foot hangar from GE, which moved its flight department to Boston when it relocated its headquarters from Fairfield, CT to Massachusetts.

Atlantic Aviation already owns an aircraft hangar at Stewart, which houses a number of corporate aircraft. That hangar was originally built by the W.R. Grace Company for its flight department. It was later sold to the Bruderhof to hangar that community’s aircraft and rent space for other planes.

The new facility includes 60,000 sf of heated hangar and 40,000 sf of shop and office space.

“This acquisition in Newburgh, NY is an excellent option for folks wishing to hangar aircraft in the New York area,” said Tim Bannon, vice president of the Northeast Region of Atlantic Aviation.

General Electric built the just-purchased Atlantic Aviation hangar along Route 17K in the Town of Newburgh, in 2008 when it moved its flight department from Westchester County Airport to Stewart in 2008.

Source:  http://www.midhudsonnews.com

Military aircraft that appeared low over Manhattan were conducting ‘routine training’

A flight of military aircraft conducting “routine training” appeared Tuesday over midtown Manhattan with little notice, prompting a flurry of speculation on social media about what they were actually doing.

The aircraft, a four-engine C-130 variant, and at least two HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, circled midtown for approximately an hour at about 3,000 feet, according to social media posts about the incident and publicly available flight radar data. Notify NYC, the citywide alert system, usually notifies residents in cases of aircraft flying in usually restricted airspace over the city. A number of residents on Twitter said they did not receive an alert.

U.S. Air Force Col. Nicholas Broccoli, the vice commander of the Air National Guard’s 106th Rescue Wing that is based out of Westhampton, N.Y., said the aircraft flying over New York belonged to his unit and that they were conducting “standard military training.” When first contacted, Broccoli did not know of the flights. Later, he explained the crews had received proper approvals before their flights, but he would not go into details about the training or its purpose.

In a statement, Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown said the flights were “authorized” and were coordinating with FAA air traffic control.

Former Air Force pararescueman Matt White said that the flight of two HH-60s and a C-130 are common configuration for pararescue missions. The C-130 usually serves as a tanker for the helicopters in case they need to refuel on longer missions.

Air Force Rescue Wings, such as the 106th, deploy aircraft and pararescue specialists to recover wounded troops from battlefields and other hostile environments. In October 1991, a helicopter from the 106th was forced to ditch into the Atlantic after it was unable to refuel in what would later be famously called “the Perfect Storm.”

Read more here:   https://www.washingtonpost.com

Asheville Regional may get Florida flights

ASHEVILLE – A small carrier may begin offering commercial flights between Asheville Regional Airport and Vero Beach, Florida, on that state's eastern coast.

Spokeswoman for Elite Airways and Asheville Regional said Monday the two sides are in talks for Elite to fly the route.

"A definitive agreement has not been finalized," said Tina Kinsey, head of public relations and air service at Asheville Regional. Elite spokeswoman Rebecca Ayers said the same thing.

With a population of about 16,400, Vero Beach is not a major destination by itself but its airport is within a 90-minute drive of larger communities like Melbourne and West Palm Beach.

Discount carrier Allegiant Air offers nonstop flights from Asheville Regional to four Florida airports, including Orlando-Sanford. It charges fees for many services like credit card use and part of its business model is selling hotel rooms or car rentals along with its flights. Allegiant has steadily added flights between Asheville and Florida since it first began serving Asheville in 2011.

Elite's website says when it was founded in 2006, its goal "was to move away from the discount and legacy carrier services that were focused more on the bottom line than a quality travel experience." It does not charge fees for flight changes or the first checked bag.

Based in Portland, Maine, Elite operates service between a handful of airports in the Northeast and in Florida, three routes in the Midwest and one between Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and Melbourne.

Source:   http://www.citizen-times.com

Airlines will offer 'basic economy' fares to compete with rivals Spirit and Frontier

Coming to an airport near you next year: "basic economy" airfares. As the name suggests, the price will be cheaper, but there will be few amenities.

You'll get a basic seat on the plane -- and not much else.

Major U.S. carriers -- Delta, American and United --  are introducing lower-tier fares to attract price-conscious consumers who now choose ultra-low-fare airlines such as Spirit, Frontier and Allegiant, which often have bargain base fares but charge extra for everything from carry-on bags to soft drinks.

The discount carriers have been expanding and taking business away from the so-called legacy airlines. Frontier flies to 10 cities from Philadelphia International Airport, and will add Houston and West Palm Beach in March. It  flies to nine destinations from Trenton-Mercer Airport.

Spirit has seven daily flights from PHL and nine daily flights from Atlantic City airport. Allegiant Air flies to three Florida cities from Trenton.

Basic economy fares are in addition to standard economy tickets, and will not replace them. Rather, airlines are looking for new ways to lure customers and bring in revenue.

"A lot of times the difference between the basic economy fare and the regular economy fare isn't that great -- $15 to $25 each way. That's the cost of a checked bag," said George Hobica, founder of airfarewatchdog.com.

With basic economy fares, passengers cannot select their seats in advance. Seat assignments are made on the day of departure or at the gate during boarding. Tickets are not refundable, and itineraries cannot be changed, even for a fee. Customers who do not make the original booked trip will forfeit the value of the ticket.

United Airlines' "basic economy ticket," announced last month, allows passengers to bring small personal items, such as purses, backpacks or briefcases that fit under the seat in front of them. Anything bigger must be checked for a $25 fee. Passengers with basic economy tickets will board the plane last.

Delta Air Lines' basic economy fare permits a carry-on bag in the overhead bin.  If there is no room in the bin, the bag is checked for free to the final destination, said spokesman Morgan Durrant.  The fare includes free in-flight entertainment and WiFi, complimentary snacks, soft drinks, and Starbucks coffee, he said.

American, which operates a hub and more than 400 daily flights in Philadelphia, plans to announce its version of a "basic economy" fare early next year, said spokeswoman Victoria Lupica.

"I don't think it's particularly good for the consumer," airfarewatchdog.com's Hobica said. "I think the airlines are just doing this to appear at the same price point in airfare searches on third-party sites, such as Orbitz or Kayak. They want to be on a level playing field."

Hobica said passengers who buy the basic economy fares will end up in the middle seat on flights. "There's absolutely no question," he said, "because everyone else is going to choose their seat, a window or an aisle. And you are going to be in that dreaded middle seat."

Delta was the first big carrier to offer basic economy tickets.  A check on its website Tuesday showed a round-trip "basic economy" fare from Philadelphia to Atlanta was $20 cheaper than a regular coach seat. (Ticket prices change constantly based on how full the plane is, the time of day, and date of travel.)

Scott Kirby, former president at American and now at United, said that 87 percent of American's customers fly the airline once a year and are price-sensitive, often searching online fare-comparison sites for the best deal. Differentiating fares in the economy cabin accommodates customers "for whom air travel is largely a commodity."

In yet another effort to differentiate pricing, Delta and American said they plan to introduce "premium economy" fares on some trans-Atlantic routes next year. Premium economy will be a step up in price and amenities from economy, but less expensive than business class.

American Airlines president Robert Isom described at a conference in September the different pricing levels and types of fares:

First class is a "super premium product" with lie-flat seats available on select international and transcontinental routes. Business class offers lie-flat seats, privacy, and deluxe service, while "premium economy" will include more leg room, bigger seats, and amenities such as meals.

Regular economy is the standard coach fare, in which customers can "customize" their trips by paying extra for preferred seat assignments and add-on options for food and checked bags. 

Basic economy will be the lowest price -- a seat on a plane with few, if any, extras.

Source: http://www.philly.com

Passenger numbers at Colorado Springs Airport surging as Frontier adds flights

Frontier Airlines continued to boost passenger traffic from the Colorado Springs Airport in October, fueling a 10.8 percent increase from October 2015, according to the latest report from the airport.

Traffic in October rose 5,656 passengers to 58,146, the seventh consecutive monthly gain from a year earlier and the 11th increase in the past 12 months. The gain came despite traffic declines by Allegiant Air, American and United airlines. Frontier resumed flights to Colorado Springs in mid-April after a three-year absence with a daily round-trip to Las Vegas and added flights in June to Phoenix and November to Orlando, Fla. The Denver-based low-fare carrier carried 8,058 passengers on outbound flights in October, its best month yet.

Passenger traffic at the airport is up 7.8 percent from a year earlier in the first 10 months of the year to 525,814. Without Frontier's 40,604 passengers, traffic for the 10-month period would be down 0.6 percent, or 2,735 passengers, as a result of declines by Allegiant and American.

Source:   http://gazette.com

Barnes 104th Fighter Wing out of running for F-35 fighter jets

WESTFIELD - Barnes Air National Guard base in Westfield did not make the cut as the Air Force continues to narrow down the field of potential bases to house the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, the base announced on Tuesday.

Barnes had been one of the bases under consideration for the advanced fighter jet, but did not make it through the round of cuts. The five remaining candidates for the two remaining slots are Dannelly Field Air Guard Station in Montgomery, Alabama; Gowen Field AGS in Boise, Idaho; Jacksonville AGS in Jacksonville, Florida, Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Detroit, and Truax AGS, Madison, Wisconsin. Previously, the Burlington AGS is Burlington, Vermont had been selected.

The final selections is scheduled to be made in the spring.

Col. James Keefe, base commander of the 104th Fighter Wing at Barnes, said the base will continue to house the F-15 Eagle fighter jets.

"We will continue to provide combat air power to our nation for years to come no matter the type of airframe. Aircraft types may come and go, but the Airmen will continue to excel in our mission of defending our country," he said.

The F-15 jets at Barnes are being modified with advanced targeting, upgraded radar and satellite communications to support the base's mission and to have tactical implications overseas.

"The upgrades will carry us into the future to continue to exceed air superiority needs for America's Air Power," said Keefe. "As the Air Force continues to review future force structure, we expect the F-15C to play a critical role in the defense of our nation for the foreseeable future, especially when it comes to defending the homeland in its current 24/7 alert mission."

The F-35 Joint Strike fighters, costing $400 billion are the most expensive weapons system in military history.

The cost of the program this week caused President-elect Donald Trump to lash out on Twitter, saying the project was "out of control."

His criticism caused stock prices for Lockheed Martin to drop.

Story and comments:   http://www.masslive.com

U.S. picks airline to serve 3 Arkansas cities

Southern Airways Express of Memphis has been chosen to provide Essential Air Service to airports in El Dorado, Harrison and Hot Springs.

The federal Essential Air Service program was put into place to guarantee that small communities were served by air carriers after airline deregulation in the late 1970s.

Southern will receive a total of $7,082,127 in annual subsidies to serve the three airports from Jan. 1, 2017, through Feb. 28, 2019, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation order issued Friday.

That’s about $6.5 million less than what airport commissions in El Dorado, Harrison and Hot Springs had requested, according to the order.

“It’s certainly not what we anticipated,” said Tim Johnson, the manager of South Arkansas Regional Airport near El Dorado. “It’s certainly not what we were excited about.”

Johnson said his airport commission had nominated Contour Airlines of Smyrna, Tenn., which offered flights to Dallas and Nashville, Tenn., on twin-engine Jetstream 31 turboprop aircraft. Instead, El Dorado is getting flights only to Dallas on smaller, singleengine Cessna Caravan planes.

“It’s not the airline or type of aircraft the city was wanting,” Johnson.

He said the El Dorado airport commission was meeting late Monday afternoon to discuss, among other things, whether they have any options to appeal.

El Dorado’s first choice of Contour Airlines would have cost $4,910,677 in annual subsidies for the flights to Dallas and Nashville, according to the order issued Friday. That’s more than twice the amount of subsidy El Dorado got last year.

According to an emergency request for proposals the Transportation Department issued Sept. 21, the department had been providing an annual subsidy of $1,977,153 for Essential Air Service to El Dorado.

“The department considers its fiduciary responsibilities and we are mindful that one purpose of the Essential Air Service program is to provide subsidy for a basic level of air service necessary to connect communities to the national air transportation system,” according to Friday’s order.

Johnson said the airport commission wasn’t trying to be greedy.

“It’s not just greedily what you want,” he said. “It’s what serves the community the best. We want nonstop from here to Dallas. That was the main thing that we were wanting. But there was also the desire to go to a city to the east, and Contour would have gone to Nashville.”

The airports in El Dorado, Harrison and Hot Springs are the only ones in Arkansas that receive the federal Essential Air Service subsidy.

The three Arkansas airports lost their air-service provider when Oregon-based SeaPort Airlines abruptly ceased operations on Sept. 20 when it shifted from bankruptcy reorganization to liquidation. Sea-Port was receiving $5.9 million in annual subsidies to serve the three Arkansas airports.

SeaPort had been providing El Dorado with daily flights to Houston and Hot Springs.

According to Friday’s order, Southern will provide:

El Dorado with 18 weekly nonstop, round-trip flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for an annual subsidy of $2,306,627.

Harrison with 12 weekly nonstop, round-trip flights to DFW and six weekly nonstop round trips to Memphis International Airport for an annual subsidy of $2,397,188.

Hot Springs with 18 weekly nonstop round trips to DFW for $2,378,312 in annual subsidy.

The three Arkansas airports will be serviced with nine-seat Cessna Caravan aircraft, which is the type of aircraft SeaPort had used on those routes.

Historically, the Department of Transportation has approved the plans requested by the airports, but not this time.

As in El Dorado, Harrison had proposed Contour Airlines as its provider. Hot Springs had sought Boutique Air of San Francisco, which offered flights from Hot Springs to Dallas and Atlanta and would have cost $3,998,234 in annual subsidies.

Keith Sisson, co-founder and chief marketing officer for Southern Airways, said they have some leeway to change the routes.

“The subsidy doesn’t change, but the routing can change if everybody’s in agreement,” he said.

Southern started in 2013. The company has commercial service in the Gulf South region and provides Essential Air Service to six airports in Pennsylvania, and one each in Maryland, New York and West Virginia.

“We took our Southern model up to Pennsylvania to run the [Essential Air Service] rounds and it has worked out fantastic, Sisson said. “We have a track record of being able to take [essential service] markets that have struggled for whatever reason and improving the numbers, turning them around, getting them moving in the right direction. We’ve proven that we know how to go into an [essential service] market and get people on an airplane, and I think that’s why we were chosen for these contracts.”

He said customer service has been a main component of Southern’s success.

“We took the model of every single person is going to be treated like they’re a charter passenger on this airline, and we try to make that happen,” he said.

Sisson said Southern will begin serving the Arkansas airports within the next couple of months.

Airport managers in Harrison and Hot Springs didn’t return voice mail messages left for them on Monday, although a call was returned from the Boone County Regional Airport in Harrison saying airport manager Judy McCutcheon was out of the office Monday.

On Sept. 21, the Department of Transportation issued an emergency request for proposals to provide air service for El Dorado, Harrison and Hot Springs. The department asked for proposals to provide three round-trip flights per weekday (18 flights per week) to a large or medium hub on aircraft that seat nine passengers. 

Story and comments: http://www.arkansasonline.com

Beech F35 Bonanza, N9YL: Incident occurred December 12, 2016 in Mobile, Alabama


FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA BIRMINGHAM FSDO-09


Date: 12-DEC-16
Time: 20:25:00Z
Regis#: N9YL
Aircraft Make: BEECH
Aircraft Model: 35
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

Cessna 172M Skyhawk, Aviation Paradise, N555CV: Incident occurred December 12, 2016 at Miami Executive Airport ( KTMB), Miami-Dade County, Florida

AVIATION PARADISE LLC:   http://registry.faa.gov/N555CV

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA MIAMI FSDO-19


Date: 12-DEC-16
Time: 14:30:00Z
Regis#: N555CV
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 172
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: UNKNOWN
Flight Phase: LANDING (LDG)

Cessna 680 Citation Sovereign, N681HS: Incident occurred December 12, 2016 in Portland, Cumberland County, Maine

REGIONS EQUIPMENT FINANCE CORP:   http://registry.faa.gov/N681HS

FAA Flight Standards District Office: FAA PORTLAND FSDO-65


Date: 12-DEC-16
Time: 12:05:00Z
Regis#: N681HS
Aircraft Make: CESSNA
Aircraft Model: 680
Event Type: INCIDENT
Highest Injury: NONE
Aircraft Missing: No
Activity: OTHER
Flight Phase: TAKEOFF (TOF)
State: MAINE

PSA Airlines to open a new crew base

Fast-growing PSA Airlines Inc. plans a new crew base at an airport where its flights have grown by 400 percent.

The Dayton-based regional airline, a subsidiary of American Airlines, plans the new base at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), just south of downtown Washington, D.C., it announced Monday morning. The base will feature a new crew domicile and help create schedule efficiencies for the PSA network.

PSA now operates 55 flights a day from DCA, a number which has grown 400 percent in two years, it said in a statement, and it expects to continue to add more flights from that airport.

“This is exciting news for PSA as we grow our crew base footprint and offer new domiciles for our employees,” said Dion Flannery, president of PSA. “Today’s announcement is proof of our growth and stability and further positions PSA as the airline of choice for the best aviators in the business.”

It's not immediately clear how many jobs the project will create or what the company is investing in establishing the new base, and a company spokesperson said the location and number of crew rooms and employees will be determined in coming weeks. This will be the fifth crew base for PSA, which has other bases in Dayton, Cincinnati, Knoxville, and Charlotte.

DCA is a major hub for American Airlines and serves the Washington and Baltimore area. According to American's website, PSA handles service for a number of its destinations from there, including smaller metros like Albany, N.Y., Canton, and Allentown, Pa. PSA also manages many of American's connecting flights from DCA to Philadelphia and Charlotte, which in turn land in major domestic and international destinations.

PSA has doubled in size since December 2013 after a series of successive jet orders by its parent company, with the plan to have 150 jets in its fleet in the next two years. PSA now has 920 employees in the Dayton area and about 2,500 across all of its footprint. It now operates 700 daily flights to nearly 900 destinations.

The growth has meant a significant expansion of its infrastructure network. PSA announced a new maintenance facility this year in South Carolina and also recently opened its Cincinnati presence. In Dayton, it recently cut the ribbon on a second, $13 million maintenance hangar that doubles the number of aircraft it can house in Dayton overnight.

The growth has meant an aggressive hiring strategy for PSA seeking new pilots, flight crew and maintenance staff across all its locations.

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

Can Alaska Airlines Become a National Airline When It Grows Up?

Alaska Airlines will be the fifth-largest U.S. airline with 6% of capacity after merging with Virgin Atlantic. To become truly national, it may have to merge with JetBlue.

The Justice Department's approval last week of the merger with Virgin America gave Alaska Airlines more heft at the San Francisco and Los Angeles airports, more presence in the trans-continental market and a boost to the No. 5 spot among U.S. airlines, with a 6% market share.

It's a nice spot for a super-regional airline, but not so hot if Alaska -- which serves 34 states and Reagan National Airport -- has aspirations to be a national force.

What does Alaska want to be when it grows up? CEO Brad Tilden has made it clear that the carrier wanted to strengthen its claim to be the premier West Coast airline. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing last week, the carrier assured it will expand, at least into a half dozen key routes which the Justice Department said it can no longer rely on codeshares with American Airlines to provide airplanes.

For international routes, Alaska relies on partners; in fact, it has partnerships with 13 international carriers, which combined serve 44% of all the long-haul international seats flown from the U.S. across the Atlanta and Pacific.

"Deploying our capacity in domestic and working with our international partners is a really successful strategy," Tilden said in a September interview. "There's no reason to change it."

Beyond that, some experts said the path to a broad national presence flows through New York, the headquarters of JetBlue, now the sixth-largest U.S. airline.

"Alaska working out a deal for JetBlue (market cap $7B) would be hard right now, but might be possible in a year or two," said aviation consultant Sandy Rederer.

"I don't see any other way for Alaska to become a national airline, but maybe I lack imagination," Rederer said. "The challenge of developing another hub would be huge and without that growth would be in the West. "

JetBlue is not a stranger to the West Coast. From Long Beach Airport, it serves 12 markets including eight on the West Coast.

Aviation consultant Bob Mann said Alaska and JetBlue are similar in their ability to leverage off coastal hubs in Seattle and New York to create partnerships with vast arrays of international carriers, and in their focus on customer service.

Nevertheless, he said, "I wonder whether there is a good fit, given the differing cultures and the fleet incompatibility," with an Airbus/Embraer fleet at JetBlue and an all-Boeing fleet at Alaska, unless Virgin America Airbus fleet is retained.

Also, Mann noted that since JetBlue lost out to Alaska in the battle to merger with Virgin America, it "has been acting like a spurned suitor, " growing in competitive markets.

In any case, Alaska has work to do before it could consider a merger.

Mann said the carrier "has to figure out a way to be a little more ubiquitous, probably through new routes." Expansion in the Southeast is likely, he said.

Alaska serves Atlanta and Washington Dulles airports and recently added flights from Seattle to Charleston, S.C. and Raleigh, N.C., but it lacks service to Charlotte, American's second-largest hub, and to Miami, American's third-largest hub (by passengers). In fact, Alaska serves only three Florida markets: Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa.

In its filing, Alaska referred to eight codeshare flights, currently flown by American, including five with the potential for "high recapture" of the revenue that flight produces, and three with "moderate recapture."

By flying the eight routes, Alaska believes it can recapture $40 million to $45 million of the $60 million in revenue lost due to diminished codesharing. It didn't identify the routes. But the agreement with DOJ specifically requires that codeshares be halted on flights that serve American and Alaska hubs; this would include American flights from Charlotte and Miami to Seattle.

Additionally, Rederer noted that "Alaska is taking on a lot of debt in the Virgin deal and faces a lot of work to complete the integration." In the meantime, he said, JetBlue might get together with Hawaiian."

Another requirement for Alaska will be "to up their game in the front cabin in order to appeal to corporate travelers," Mann said. Alaska has first class, he said, "but it will have to appeal to a wider set of corporate customers. Maybe they can {apply} what they learn from Virgin America."

Read more here:    https://www.thestreet.com

Captain Doron: Clinton-Sampson County Airport (KCTZ), Clinton, North Carolina

Video by: Captain Doron  
Published on December 12, 2016