Real-Time Flight Departure / Arrival Status Worldwide.
   Home      Aviation News

Boeing Delivers First 737 With Performance Improvement Engines


The first Boeing (NYSE: BA) Next-Generation 737 with the certified performance improvement engines was delivered on a 737-800 to China Southern Airlines at Boeing Field in Seattle last week.

The new CFM56-7BE engine configuration, which is now standard on all delivered 737s, is an improved design that includes high and low pressure turbine modification. Coupled with drag reduction improvements that Boeing started phasing into 737 production earlier this year, it will result in lower fuel consumption and maintenance cost savings.

The new engine is part of the 737 performance improvement package that Boeing began testing in November 2010 with the goal of reducing fuel consumption by 2 percent. Other fuel performance incorporations will take place into 2012 and data analysis will continue to quantify the final benefit to customers.

“We continue to review performance flight test data and collect delivery data,” said John Hamilton, vice president and chief project engineer – 737 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “The improved fuel savings is part of our commitment to deliver market-leading value to Next-Generation 737 customers.”

Boeing’s continuous efforts to improve the Next-Generation 737 family have resulted in an accumulated 5 percent gain in fuel efficiency since the first airplane delivered in 1998. The new improvements will give operators an airplane that is up to 7 percent more efficient than the first Next-Generation 737s delivered.

Source: Boeing


NTSB joins investigation of Boston airport collision


BOSTON (AP) — The collision between two airliners on a taxiway at Boston’s Logan International Airport was upgraded from an “incident” to an “accident” on Friday by federal investigators, prompting the involvement of the National Transportation Safety Board.

One person was taken to a hospital after the wing of a large moving passenger jet clipped the tail of a smaller aircraft in front of it at about 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

“An incident is considered an accident when there is a loss of life or severe damage, and in this case at least one plane suffered severe damage,” NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson said.

Both planes were taken out of service with visible damage. The wing tip of the larger aircraft was bent while the smaller jet’s tail was crumpled and bent.

The Federal Aviation Administration will assist the NTSB on the investigation, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said.

Investigators will review recordings of the flight data and cockpit recorders in both jets, as well as recordings of air traffic control conversations and ground radar. They also will interview crew members on both planes, review weather at the time of the accident and conduct physical inspections of both aircraft, Peters said.

The probe could also include drug and alcohol testing, he said.

The NTSB is expected to issue a preliminary report within 10 days, Knudson said, which would not necessarily point to a cause.

The wing of Delta Flight 266, a Boeing 767 headed to Amsterdam, clipped the tail of Atlantic Southeast Airlines Flight 4904, departing for Raleigh-Durham, at about 7:30 p.m., Delta spokesman Trebor Banstetter said. ASA provides regional air service for Atlanta-based Delta.



U.S. court upholds use of airport body scanners


A U.S. appeals court on Friday upheld the use of full-body scanners to screen air travelers, but said the Transportation Security Administration should have sought public comment before deploying them.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the machines, known as Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT), were not an unconstitutional search and declined to halt their use despite TSA’s failure to follow proper procedure.

Privacy advocates, who have strongly opposed the use of the machines, had argued their use constituted an illegal search under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment. They also said TSA failed to provide public notice that it was deploying them and to seek public comment.

“Any passenger may opt-out of AIT screening in favor of a pat-down, which allows him to decide which of the two options for detecting a concealed, nonmetallic weapon or explosive is least invasive,” the three-judge panel ruled.

The court agreed that the deployment of the scanners, which allow screeners to see under a traveler’s clothes in a bid to detect hidden explosives, was significant enough that the TSA should have sought public input.

“It is clear that by producing an image of the unclothed passenger, an AIT scanner intrudes upon his or her personal privacy in a way a magnetometer does not,” Judge Douglas Ginsburg wrote for the panel, adding that the agency should have provided notice and sought comment.

The court sent the matter back to the TSA for action.

The TSA accelerated deploying full-body scanners after a Nigerian man allegedly boarded a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit in December 2009 and tried to detonate a bomb hidden in his underwear. It failed to explode fully.

TSA has also begun testing software in which a generic outline of a person is shown rather than the revealing image.

TSA spokesman Greg Soule said they were reviewing the ruling and that the agency already seeks public input.

“This is the best technology currently available to detect nonmetallic improvised explosive devices hidden on a passenger, and is an important part of TSA’s multilayered security efforts,” he said.

Some air travelers have expressed anger at the new machines, saying they were too invasive and that the alternative physical pat-downs were as well.

“Many Americans object to the airport body scanner program,” said Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which had challenged their use. “Now they will have an opportunity to express their views to the TSA and the agency must take their views into account as a matter of law.”


Hail damage causes more Denver flight cancelations


Dozens more flights have been canceled at Denver International Airport because of planes knocked out of service by hail.

Frontier Airlines is the hardest hit and canceled more than 60 flights through Saturday because of damage from Wednesday night’s storm. Nearly a third of its 59 large planes need to be repaired.

Denver’s largest carrier, United Airlines, canceled 39 flights Friday. It has 12 planes out of service for hail damage inspections but spokesman Mike Trevino didn’t know the extent of the damage.

Southwest Airlines says three of its planes were damaged. But with 550 planes in its fleet, it didn’t have to delay or cancel flights.

Frontier says it’s working to switch passengers to other airlines and paying hotel bills for those who’ve been stranded. Five planes could return to service this weekend.



US Airways Captain Escorted From Airport


The battle between US Airways(LLC) and its pilots over the airline's safety culture is continuing, this time focused on an incident in which a captain declined to fly a transatlantic flight.
On June 16, captain Valerie Wells, a 30-year-pilot, was scheduled to fly an Airbus A330, which can carry nearly 300 passengers, on a flight from Philadelphia to Rome. But she declined to fly because of failures of both the auxiliary power unit, a backup source of electrical power, and the "hot battery bus," a primary source of electrical power. 
After the crew and passengers had returned to the gate Wells, in a particularly unusual event, was escorted out of the airport by security officials. Subsequently, a second crew of three pilots also declined to fly; the aircraft was repaired and underwent a rigorous inspection, and a third crew took off about six to seven hours late.

Spain launches airport sell-off


MADRID — The Spanish government Friday took the first step in the partial privatisation of the airport operating authority AENA as well as of the Madrid and Barcelona airports.

The government hopes the sale of the airports in Spain’s two largest cities will bring in around 5.3 billion euros ($7.5 billion) for the public coffers to help rein in a massive public deficit.

“The government approved (the launching) of bids for (Madrid’s) Barajas and El Prat (in Barcelona) and the partial privatisation of AENA,” government spokesman Jose Blanco told a news conference after a cabinet meeting.

The call for bids involves more than 90 percent of the management contracts for the two airports – 3.7 billion euros for Barajas and 1.6 billion euros for El Prat — for 20 years, extendable by a further five years.

The process will be launched on July 30 and completed at the end of November, the transport ministry said in a statement.

The winning group will have three months before taking over the airports, which would likely take place in early 2012.

The government also launched the sale of 49 percent of AENA but Blanco said “the completion of the sale as well as the final percentage will depend on market conditions in order to find the maximum value for the company.”

Madrid announced the partial sale of AENA in December, along with the privatization of up to 30 percent of the state lottery, in a bid to calm markets nervous over the country’s large deficit.

Madrid has promised to cut the public deficit from 9.24 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 to the eurozone limit of 3.0 percent in 2013.


New General Aviation Terminal at Schiphol-East opened for use



The new General Aviation Terminal at Schiphol-East was opened for use today. The opening ceremony took place in the presence of Ad Rutten (Executive Vice President & COO for Schiphol Group), André van den Berg (Schiphol Real Estate Director) and the users.

General Aviation (GA) is the international designation for private and business flights using aircraft for no more than 19 passengers. Each year about 4,500 business jet flights are handled at Schiphol-East. The present GA Terminal has been housed in Building 106 for several decades, but this building is now old and due for replacement.

To continue meeting the market and quality requirements of business jet passengers, Schiphol Real Estate worked with VMX Architects to design a new terminal. This new terminal has a surface area of 6,000 m2: 1,000 m2 for the terminal and lounges, 4,000 m2 of office space and 1,000 m2 for parking.

The terminal is located on the apron that is specifically used for small aircraft. It is a multifunctional building, with both handling areas and offices. User-friendliness and hospitality were the main priorities for the interior design. The main users of the terminal are the handling agents KLM, Aviapartner and Jetsupport. Other parties, including Jet Netherlands, Nayak (aircraft management and maintenance), Aerdynamics and Solid Air, are already renting 50% of the office space.

AMR Announces Largest Aircraft Order in History With Boeing and Airbus 

Agreement includes options and purchase rights for 465 additional aircraft through 2025

American to be first U.S. network carrier to take delivery of Airbus A320neo Family aircraft and first airline to commit to Boeing's expected new 737 family offering

FORT WORTH, Texas, July 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- AMR Corporation (NYSE: AMR), the parent company of American Airlines and American Eagle, today announced landmark agreements with Airbus and Boeing that will allow it to replace and transform American's narrowbody fleet over five years and solidify its fleet plan into the next decade. These new aircraft will allow American to reduce its operating and fuel costs and deliver state-of-the-art amenities to customers, while maximizing financial flexibility for the Company.

Under the new agreements, American plans to acquire 460 narrowbody, single-aisle aircraft from the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families beginning in 2013 through 2022 – the largest aircraft order in aviation history. As part of these agreements, starting in 2017 American will become the first network U.S. airline to begin taking delivery of "next generation" narrowbody aircraft that will further accelerate fuel-efficiency gains.

These new deliveries are expected to pave the way for American to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among its U.S. airline peers in approximately five years.

American also will benefit from approximately $13 billion of committed financing provided by the manufacturers through lease transactions that will help maximize balance sheet flexibility and reduce risk. The financing fully covers the first 230 deliveries.

Gerard Arpey, Chairman and CEO of AMR and American Airlines, noted that today's order represents another important step in the Company's strategy to build a strong foundation for the future.

"We have a long track record of meeting our obligations to all of our stakeholders, including strategic partners, lenders, suppliers and investors. We believe this history continues to help us navigate today's challenges while remaining focused on doing what's necessary to position American Airlines for long-term success, and we look forward to working with Boeing and Airbus to achieve it," Arpey said. "Today's announcement paves the way for us to achieve important milestones in our company's future, giving us the ability to replace our narrowbody fleet and finance it responsibly. This was an incredible opportunity for our company that presented itself from two great manufacturers. And, given our aggressive and ambitious fleet plans, we feel fortunate to have both Boeing and Airbus standing beside us to meet our needs. With today's news, we expect to have the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleet among our peers in the U.S. industry within five years. This new fleet will dramatically improve our fuel and operating costs, while enhancing our financial flexibility. More than that, with the power of our network and partnerships and the dedication of our people, we will be an even stronger competitor."


Lufthansa commences daily biofuel flights with A321


Lufthansa has launched the world's first regular scheduled commercial flights powered by biofuel.

For six months, a Lufthansa Airbus A321 will fly four rotations a day on its normal Frankfurt-Hamburg scheduled service with 25% of the aircraft's power provided by biofuel.

Lufthansa says it intends this to be a carefully controlled trial for its biofuel operations as well as a commercial venture.

The aircraft flying the route for the trial period is airframe D-AIDG, a recently-delivered A321 powered by new International Aero Engines V2500s.

For all these flights its right engine will be fed a 50:50 mix of ordinary kerosene and synthetic fuel derived from sustainably produced biomass, and the left engine will be powered by normal jet fuel.

The purpose will be to monitor the relative engine performance, fuel consumption throughout the trial, and to be able to observe whether, after six months, there is any difference in the condition of the two engines.

Late-night Flights to Bermuda Now Come at a High Price


As of last Wednesday, Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport will be closed to general aviation and non-scheduled commercial traffic between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The airport, which recently obtained civil certification, formerly received infrastructure support from the U.S. military for 24/7 ATC operations and aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF). While the airport authority has determined that scheduled traffic did not warrant the expense of maintaining those services 24 hours a day, operational compliance regulations demand that those services be present during the hours when the airport is open. GA aircraft seeking to land or take off after hours can file a request in advance with the department of airport operations for ATC and ARFF support, which will cost $10,000. During the unmanned hours, ATC control into and out of Bermuda is covered by New York Center, and declared emergency landings, medevac flights and search-and-rescue operations will not be subject to a fee. While the airport had closed at 11 p.m. in the past, the use of aircraft radio-controlled airfield lighting had allowed for late-night arrivals. But according to Wendell Burchall, the airport’s manager of maintenance and engineering, some operators had abused the system by landing without declaring an emergency or requesting ARFF.

Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has completed the installation of full flat-bed seats


Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) has completed the installation of full flat-bed seats in the BusinessElite® cabin of all Boeing 777 and 767-400ER type aircraft. The last of 18 Boeing 777 aircraft, each with 45 BusinessElite seats per plane, and all 21 Boeing 767-400ER aircraft with 40 BusinessElite seats per plane have been retrofitted with full flat-bed .

Mach 4 Supersonic Bizjet To Be Revealed at Paris Show

On Monday June 20. at the Paris Air Show, HyperMach Aerospace Industries plans to unveil a “next generation” supersonic business jet (SSBJ) that can fly from Paris to New York in 1 hour 45 minutes. Given prevailing westerly winds on this 4,000-nm trip, this puts the cruising speed of the HyperMach aircraft in the neighborhood of a blistering Mach 4.0, well over double the top speeds of the proposed SSBJ designs in development at Aerion (Mach 1.6) and Supersonic Aerospace International (Mach 1.8). In a press invite for its announcement next week, HyperMach also said its SSBJ could fly around the world in as little as five hours, which is just 48 minutes longer than it would take for the Aerion SSBJ to fly from Paris to New York at Mach 1.6. A HyperMach spokeswoman declined to reveal more details about the program, but company chairman and CEO Richard Lugg’s background might provide more clues about the SSBJ, especially its powerplants. Specifically, Lugg is also chairman and CEO of Portland, Maine-based SonicBlue Aerospace, a company “specializing in revolutionary hybrid turbine and scramjet…propulsion systems,” suggesting that this SSBJ will employ advanced technologies heretofore the preserve of the defense industry.
June 16, 2011

Philippines’ Cebu Air places $3.8 bln Airbus order


Philippine budget carrier Cebu Air Inc will buy 37 planes from Airbus for $3.8 billion as it looks to more than double its fleet over the next 10 years and expand its routes, the company’s chief executive said on Thursday.

Lance Gokongwei told reporters Cebu Air has put in orders for 30 new A321neos and seven A320s from Airbus, a unit of France’s EADS , with delivery between 2015 and 2021.

The order is in addition to 18 A320s the Cebu Pacific is set to receive from the second half of this year up to 2014.

“This is the largest single aircraft order ever made by a Philippine carrier,” Gokongwei said, adding it was also the largest firm order for the A321neo in the world.

“We expect to launch a flight using A321 by 2017,” he said. “We will be able to serve cities in Australia, India, and northern Japan, places the A320 cannot reach.”

The airline plans to use internally generated cash and may seek loans from export credit agencies and commercial lenders to fund the purchases.

Cebu Air, which operates the country’s largest budget airline Cebu Pacific, is a unit of Philippine conglomerate JG Summit Holdings Inc .

The airline expects to at least meet its target of flying 12 million passengers this year, up 14 percent from last year, despite rising fuel prices. It currently has 33 jets, of which 25 are A320s and eight are turbo prop planes from aircraft maker ATR, jointly owned by EADS and Finmeccanica .

“With the A321neo, Cebu Pacific will be able to fly more people further at significantly lower cost per seat than any other competing aircraft, and with less impact on the environment,” Airbus chief operating officer John Leah said in a statement.

Cebu Air has yet to make an engine choice for the A321neo, but the choices open to it are CFM International’s LEAP-X and Pratt & Whitney’s PurePower PW1100G.

The A321neo, the largest model in the recently launched A320neo series, uses new engines and large wing-tip devices called sharklets that would allow Cebu Pacific to achieve 15 percent reduced fuel burn, a statement from Cebu Air said.

Cebu Air competes with flag carrier Philippine Airlines Pal locally and with Singapore’s Tiger Airways and Malaysia’s Air Asia Berhad in the region. 
Jun 17 2011

Airbus presents a panoramic view of 2050


Leading aircraft manufacturer Airbus, in advance of the Paris Airshow “Le Bourget”, today invited the passengers of 2050 to discover its Concept Cabin - a whole new flying experience inspired by nature.

Personalised zones replace traditional cabin classes to offer tailored levels of experience. While taking a hop between destinations, according to Airbus, passengers in 2050 could join an interactive conference; enjoy a game of virtual golf; read the kids back home a bedtime story; and recharge in a ‘vitalising seat’ whilst watching the planet spread out beneath their feet.

This latest instalment of The Future by Airbus – a vision of aviation in 2050 – follows last year’s unveiling of the revolutionary Airbus Concept Plane, packed with technologies to reduce fuel burn, emissions, waste and noise. The Airbus Concept Cabin now gives further insight into some of the innovations and technologies that will shape future passenger experiences on board.

The aircraft’s bionic structure mimics the efficiency of bird bone which is optimised to provide strength where needed, and allows for an intelligent cabin wall membrane which controls air temperature and can become transparent to give passengers open panoramic views.

The Concept Cabin has an integrated ‘neural network’ creating an intelligent interface between passenger and plane.  It can identify and respond to passenger needs and enables bespoke features such as morphing seats which change to your body shape.

New personalised zones replace the traditional cabin classes in the Airbus Concept Cabin to offer new tailored levels of experience. The “vitalising zone” is all about wellbeing and relaxation allowing you to proactively recharge your batteries with vitamin and antioxidant enriched air, mood lighting, aromatherapy and acupressure treatments whilst taking in the infinite view of the world around you.

There are no limits to the kinds of social scenarios in the centre zone of the concept cabin – the “interactive zone”. The virtual pop up projections in this area can transform you to whichever social scene you want to be in, from holographic gaming to virtual changing rooms for active shoppers.

The “smart tech zone” is tailored towards the more functional oriented passenger with a chameleon style offering, to meet individual needs ranging from a simple to a complete luxury service, but all allowing you to continue life as if on the ground.  By offering different levels of experience within each zone, airlines would be able to achieve price differentials and give more people access to the benefits of air travel with minimal environmental impact.

Showcasing the innovative interior design, Charles Champion, Airbus Executive Vice President Engineering, said: “Our research shows that passengers of 2050 will expect a seamless travel experience while also caring for the environment. The Airbus Concept Cabin is designed with that in mind, and shows that the journey can be as much a voyage of discovery as the destination. Whichever flight experience is chosen, the passenger of 2050 will step out of the Airbus Concept Cabin feeling revitalised and enriched.”

More than 90 percent of Airbus’ annual research & development investment of over €2 billion has environmental benefits for current and future aircraft. For example, due to advances in technologies the concept cabin will be 100% recyclable.  It will have self-cleaning materials made from sustainable plant fibres which reduce waste and maintenance and will harvest passenger body heat to power cabin features.

Such technologies are already being developed and, while they may not be seen in the exact same manner as in the Airbus Concept Plane and Cabin, some of them could feature in future Airbus aircraft programmes.

Visitors to Le Bourget International Airshow in Paris will also be able to experience the Airbus’ Future of Flight film, a 360 planetarium movie – a vision of the transformations in air transport between now and the middle of the century which not only focuses on aircraft designs and innovations, but also addresses passenger expectations. The movie will be part of the planetarium’s programme at the Musee de l’Air et de l’Espace from 20 – 26 June.

To find out more about the Airbus Concept Cabin and The Future by Airbus visit:


A350-900 first flight pushed back to end-2012


Airbus has pushed back the first flight of the A350-900 to the end of 2012 and is aiming for certification and service entry by the end of 2013 because of a delay to final assembly, disclosed in January, which will start at the end of 2011.

While Airbus planned a mid-2012 maiden flight, this seemed at odds with its intention to maintain a lead time of about nine months between final assembly and first flight.

Airbus's new timetable appears to provide a potential assembly lead time of a year, and offers a change of tone regarding entry into service - parent EADS had previously said the A350 would arrive in the second half of 2013. Pre-final assembly line initiation is being prepared at several plants - St Nazaire for the forward and centre section, Getafe and Hamburg for the fin and tail, and Broughton for the wings. All major component assembly will be under way this summer to ensure delivery to the final line at the end of this year.

However, Airbus admitted: "Significant challenges remain to reach [final assembly] start [at the] end of 2011 with an appropriate level of quality to prepare the ramp-up." Several structures - including cockpit, carbon-fibre fuselage panels and landing-gear - are complete or nearing completion.

"Systems maturity is developing well, with major test benches already in service," Airbus said.

"The first large aircraft parts are now manufactured and the focus is moving to pre-final assembly start."

Airbus has orders for 574 A350s including 359 for the -900.

Eritrean volcanic eruption threatens Middle East flights

Flights in the Horn of Africa region are being disrupted as airlines and meteorologists throughout the Middle East monitor an ash cloud resulting from the eruption of a volcano in Eritrea.

The eruption of the Nabro volcano was triggered on 12 June following a series of earthquakes at the northeastern end of the East African Rift Valley.

An ash plume up to 8.4mi (13.5km) high has been moving steadily northwest across Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt but is now caught in a westerly jetstream and is curving back eastwards.

The Israel Meteorological Service said on the evening of 13 June that the plume seemed unlikely to pass over Israel but would potentially affect Jordan and Iraq.

Lufthansa said that it had cancelled flights to Addis Ababa and Asmara on 13 June and to Addis Ababa again on 14 June. The carrier serves the Ethiopian capital five times weekly and the Eritrean capital, thrice-weekly.

Lufthansa said it is monitoring the situation closely before deciding on any further cancellations.

Ethiopian Airlines has said that its services to Khartoum, Djibouti and domestic northern Ethiopian destinations have been affected, and is advising passengers to check their flight status before they travel.

Egyptair has said the ash cloud is also affecting its services to Addis Ababa and Asmara.

Royal Jordanian Airlines chief executive Hussein Dabbas said on 14 June that the airline was closely watching the ash cloud's progress. Its flights had not yet been affected but it had a contingency plan in place in case it had to suspend services, particularly to the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Air travel disruptions from Chile volcano spread across South Pacific


The impact on air transport of the recent eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano range was relatively limited and short-lived, compared with the fall-out from an Icelandic volcano’s eruption last year in northern Europe.

Disruption to air traffic in South America caused by the eruption of the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle range of volcanoes in Chile spread to Australia and New Zealand over the weekend, after shifting winds had initially allowed flight activity to return to normal throughout most of South America within four days of the June 4 eruptions in an area 500 miles south of the capital Santiago.

Airlines started flying a backlog of more than 60,000 passengers into and out of international gateways in Australia and New Zealand today as the ash cloud that had drifted eastward across the Southern Hemisphere began to clear. However, most flights between Australia and New Zealand remained grounded today, while schedules in Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil continued to feel the effects of the volcano after airlines there thought they had escaped long-term disruptions by the middle of last week.

By the evening of June 7 the rapid spread of volcanic ash had caused disruptions to flights between Chile and Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. In Argentina, only around 60 flights had to be cancelled at Buenos Aires’s Ezeiza and Aeroparque airports, which lie about 800 miles northeast of the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle range. After resuming normal operations on June 8, however, the Buenos Aires airports had to close again on June 9, forcing more delays and cancellations throughout that region.

Still much more disruptive by comparison, the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano in April and May of 2010 resulted in the cancellation of around 100,000 flights, affecting 10 million passengers and causing a loss in airline revenues of as much as $1.8 billion. Last month’s eruption of the Grímsvötn volcano in Iceland saw limited impact over a 48-hour period, with 900 flight cancellations. In South America, as of press time, airlines in the region had yet to conduct an assessment of total flights cancelled and loss of revenues. Meanwhile, it remains unclear what safety policy Chile and Argentina followed in deciding which airspace to close and on what basis.

Major carriers affected by the Puyehue-Cordon-Caulle volcano include Chile’s Lan Airlines, TAM of Brazil, Jetstar, Air New Zealand, Qantas, Cathay Pacific and Emirates Airline.

Chile is a veritable hotspot of volcanic activity, with some 80 volcanoes known to be active among the more than 3,000 across its long, thin landmass.

US plans fast-track security checks for low-risk frequent flyers


Airline passengers in the US could be handed a shortcut through security checks under a government plan to give favourable treatment to low-risk travellers.

The plan would allow passengers who agree to supply personal data to US officials to receive a less stringent examination at airport departure lounges. The head of the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), John Pistole, said travellers who supplied information such as frequent flyer details and travel records in advance would pass through security areas more quickly.

“We have been working for the last six months in trying to develop a programme that allows us to differentiate between those who are regular travellers and those who are not,” he said.

It is understood that a pilot programme could get under way before the end of the year, involving at least one airport but limited to US passport holders or domestic travellers. The trial is likely to be watched closely in the UK, where the transport secretary, Philip Hammond, has pledged to review airport security.

Speaking at the annual general meeting of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) in Singapore, Pistole said treating every passenger with the same level of scrutiny was inefficient. “We recognise that one size does not fit all.”

This week, the IATA unveiled a vision of what the TSA checks could look like, with a “checkpoint of the future” that funnels passengers into three security lanes: enhanced security, normal security and “known traveller”. Passengers are allocated the appropriate lane by an iris-recognition system linked to a government database, with known travellers going via a single, elongated arch through an x-ray check, a metal detector and a check for liquids. Checks that are known to frustrate millions of passengers, such as shoe scans, would be avoided.

Stringent security measures in the US are a source of frustration within the aviation industry, with British Airways among the most outspoken critics of a regime that, owing to the sheer size and profitability of the market, has the power to dictate global trends. For instance, the European commission admitted last month that it had been forced to abandon a partial relaxation of the ban on carrying liquids on to planes after pressure from the US government.

Sir Martin Broughton, chairman of BA, has warned that the industry is “kowtowing” to American security concerns. In a speech earlier this year he said: “The current procedures have grown, Topsy-like, with each new procedure being superimposed on the existing structure every time there is a new security incident.

“Every time, it’s a procedure to stop a repeat of what has already been attempted rather than a programme to prevent the next new attempt by terrorists.”

Backing the use of government data to create passenger watchlists, he added: “We need to be using data better – data that we and governments have.”

Also speaking at the IATA, the secretary general of Interpol warned that air passengers were at risk after the theft of 28m passports and national identity cards. Ron Noble said Interpol was concerned that terrorists could slip into countries undetected because governments were failing to share information on stolen identities.

“The number one risk confronting airlines and countries around the world is the risk terrorists or other dangerous persons will carry a fraudulent identity document and move from one country to another,” he said.

Noble added that last year 40,000 passengers were caught with illegally obtained IDs, with the true number of fraudulent travellers likely to be even higher because of a lack of stringent checks.
June 6. 2011
Gulfstream G150 Sets 3 City-pair Speed Records

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp.’s G150 demonstration aircraft recently showcased its long legs, establishing a city-pair speed record between Anchorage, Alaska, and Savannah.

The aircraft also set two additional records when it traveled from Hong Kong to Nagoya, Japan, and back again. Gulfstream’s first aircraft in the midsize category has now established 13 speed records since setting its first in 2006.

The G150 departed Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport at 11:51 p.m. on March 18 with Gulfstream International Demonstration Captains Santiago Koritschoner and Nicholas Rose on board. It traveled 3,196 nautical miles (5,919 km) and landed at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport 7 hours and 19 minutes later. Its average speed was 494 mph (795 kph).

“The G150 is a midsize workhorse,” said Larry Flynn, senior vice president, Marketing and Sales, Gulfstream. “This flight showcases the aircraft’s ability to traverse the continent with ease, making it the ideal jet for both short- and long-range trips.”

One week earlier, the G150 set a record between Hong Kong and Nagoya. The aircraft left Hong Kong International Airport at 10:11 a.m. on March 11 with Koritschoner and Rose at the controls and one passenger on board. The aircraft arrived at Nagoya Airport 3 hours and 12 minutes later.

The same crew left Nagoya for the return trip to Hong Kong at 2:52 p.m. March 11.  The aircraft then traveled 1,503 nautical miles (2,784 km) to Hong Kong International Airport, landing at 7:05 p.m. local time. Its average speed was 391.29 mph (630 kph), with headwinds of 126 mph
(203 kph).

The wide-cabin, high-speed G150 set two records in 2006, one when it traveled from London to Cairo in 4 hours and 58 minutes, and again when it traveled from Cairo to Dublin in 4 hours and 45 minutes.

The National Aeronautic Association has confirmed all three records and forwarded them to the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Switzerland for approval as world records.

Air France A380 starts service at Washington Dulles


Just before two Monday afternoon, the world’s largest passenger jet, the Airbus A-380, rolled down the runway at Dulles Airport.

The Air France flight from Paris marked the start of daily service in the Washington region for the super jumbo jet.

“I just can’t imagine how it ever gets off the runway,” said Dan Ranard, a passenger.

Rob Yingling, of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said a new fueling pit was installed to accommodate the extra fueling capacity on the Airbus. A few taxi-way signs were moved as well.

One of the things they also had to change here Dulles were the jet ways. Since the Airbus has two floors, there are now two separate jet ways for both the lower and upper levels.

“I think it’s awesome as long as there still some legroom and it’s not shrunk anymore,” said passenger Ben Ranard.

Thomson axes Glasgow flights to Caribbean


A year after it was launched a flight from Glasgow to the Caribbean is being axed.

Charter airline Thomson Airways is cutting two weekly summer flights to the Dominican Republic next year as a result of cutbacks.

One of the flights, to the resort Punta Cana, was launched by the airline last year.

A spokeswoman for Thomson Airways said it was cutting the routes to focus on more “popular” destinations such as Cancun and Florida.

Thomson and Thomas Cook operate flights to other Caribbean destinations including Barbados and Cape Verde.

The Dominican Republic has become one of the most popular long haul-holidays destinations from the UK.

It is situated on the heart of the Greater Antilles between Cuba and, Jamaica to the west and Puerto Rico to the east.

Package holidays to the Dominican Republic are popular with holidaymakers on a strict budget as they tend to be all inclusive which means very little spending money is needed.

Holidaymakers posted messages on travel website Tripadvisor questioning why the route had been axed.

One read: “Was hoping to book up again for next year as the kids and I love the Dominican Republic so much but a bit miffed there’s no flight from Glasgow – anybody know why?”

A spokeswoman for Thomson Airways said: “The airline has decided not to operate flights to the Dominican Republic from Glasgow Airport during summer 2012.

Glasgow Airport has enjoyed a recent boom with airlines such as Jet2 and easyjet opening new routes or expanding existing ones and overall passenger numbers showing significant rises.

Korean Air has celebrated the delivery of its first Airbus A380


Korean Air has celebrated the delivery of its first Airbus A380 at a ceremony in Toulouse, France, becoming the sixth operator of the aircraft since it was introduced in 2007.

The ceremony was attended by Korean Air chairman and CEO Yang Ho Cho, Airbus president and CEO Tom Enders and EADS CEO Louis Gallois. “The A380 has proven to be a game changer, setting new standards for comfort, economic efficiency and respect for the environment,” Enders said. “We are confident that the A380 will play a key role in enabling Korean Air to further strengthen its position as one of the world’s great airlines,”

Korean has ordered a total of 10 A380s, with the airline initially planning to operate the aircraft from its Seoul base to a variety of Asian destinations and eventually, non-stop flights to North America and Europe. The airline has specified a 407 passenger layout for their A380s, separated into three classes equipped with a duty free showcase area, bar and lounge.


First International GA Terminal Opens in India at Mumbai International Airport Limited

Mumbai's airport is the first in India to start international operations from a dedicated general aviation (GA) terminal, which until April 2011 catered only to private domestic charters. Mumbai handled 13,290 nonscheduled flights in the fiscal year ending March 31, an increase of 61 percent from five years ago. Sanjay Reddy, managing director of Mumbai International Airport Limited, said GA traffic at the airport is expected to grow 10 percent annually over the next five years. Mumbai's GA terminal houses two private lounges, two conference halls, two crew rest rooms and a cafe bar, as well as immigration counters and security holds. Apart from the concierge service, passengers are also provided personal travel assistance to the aircraft.

Aeroflot takes delivery of first Superjet 100
Illustation photo Superjet 100 from Armavia, Armenia

Russian flag carrier Aeroflot has formally taken delivery of its first Sukhoi Superjet 100 regional jet.

The airline on 6 June signed a protocol of aircraft technical acceptance from the manufacturer and applied to register it with regulators.

It is expected to put the aircraft into revenue service between Moscow and St Petersburg on 16 June, ahead of the annual international economic forum in St Petersburg.

Aeroflot will become the second operator of the Superjet 100 after Armenian carrier Armavia, which has been operating the first serially-produced example of the type since 19 April.

Under the delivery schedule agreed with Sukhoi, Aeroflot is to receive 10 Superjets this year, a dozen in 2012 and eight in 2013.


Air India Heathrow Terminal 4 Move

Air India has started a new chapter in its history by relocating its Heathrow Airport operations to Terminal 4.

Its move follows a four-decade residency at Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 and comes after a major Terminal 4 overhaul programme. The Air India Heathrow terminal shift should therefore result in an improved travel experience for passengers , according to a statement made by Colin Matthews - CEO at Heathrow's parent company, BAA.

"I am delighted that Air India will be flying from the newly refurbished Terminal 4", Matthews exclaimed in comments quoted by Heathrow's Skyport publication, continuing: "it means easier journeys and a better airport experience for their passengers."

"Direct flights to India are very important for the UK, they create jobs and bring families together. That's why we are investing to modernise Heathrow and keep it Europe's number one airport for Indian flights", he concluded.

Air India at Heathrow

Few passenger carriers have been based at the UK's flagship airport as long as Air India. The era of Air India at Heathrow began in the late 1960s and, almost immediately, a new route was opened up between London and Mumbai.

Fast forward to 2011 and Air India is responsible for transporting close to 400,000 passengers between London Heathrow and a whole host of Indian cities including Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi.

In fact, no other European airport operates a higher number of direct Indian flight schedules.

Heathrow Terminal 4 Move

"We are moving to Terminal 4 in Heathrow after a half-century in our old home at Terminal 3, and we looked forward to BAA's support in making it a success in terms of enhanced convenience and comfort for our passengers", Managing Director and Chairman of Air India, Arvind Jadhav, said in a statement on the Heathrow Terminal 4 move.

Based in Mumbai, Air India is the sixteenth-largest in Asia and its flight schedules take it to 24 locations around the globe.

Its 35-strong airliner fleet is comprises of a mixed group of Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including Airbus A330s, Boeing 747s and Boeing 777s.


Heathrow opens new satellite terminal 

London Heathrow airport has opened an extension to Terminal 5, three years after inauguration of the main building at the British Airways hub.

The £340 million ($554 million) satellite extension, designated T5C, has 12 gates including eight triple-bridged stands for accommodating the Airbus A380.

British Airways is to acquire 12 of the double-deck aircraft from 2013.

The satellite extension is the third section of Terminal 5 to open since operations started with the original main building in March 2008. Terminal 5 has handled over 520,000 flights in that time, says British Airways.

Linked to the main structure by an underground transit, the extension will provide capacity for an additional 3 million passengers per year. Next year a dedicated transfer baggage tunnel will open between the T5C satellite and Terminal 3.
SOURCE:Air Transport Intelligence news
Stalled AF447 did not switch to abnormal attitude law

Investigation into the accident sequence of Air France flight AF447 has revealed that the Airbus A330 did not enter the abnormal attitude law after it stalled, despite its excessive angle of attack.

The abnormal attitude law is a subset of alternate law on the aircraft and is triggered when the angle of attack exceeds 30° or when certain other inertial parameters - pitch and roll - become greater than threshold levels.

Alternate law allowed AF447's horizontal stabiliser to trim automatically 13° nose-up as the aircraft initially climbed above its assigned cruising altitude of 35,000ft.

The stabiliser remained in this nose-up trim position for the remainder of the flight, meaning that the aircraft would have had a tendency to pitch up under high engine thrust.

Crucially the abnormal attitude law - if adopted - would have inhibited the auto-trim function, requiring the crew to re-trim the aircraft manually.

After stalling, the A330's angle of attack stayed above 35°. But while this exceeded the threshold for the abnormal attitude law, the flight control computers had already rejected all three air data reference units and all air data parameters owing to discrepancy in the airspeed measurements.

Abnormal law could only have been triggered by an inertial upset, such as a 50° pitch-up or bank angle of more than 125°. "That never occurred," says French accident investigation agency Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses.

The BEA is still attempting to explain why AF447's crew failed to rescue the aircraft after it climbed to 38,000ft and stalled. The pilot's control inputs were primarily nose-up, despite the stall condition.

There has been no indication that the aircraft switched into any other control law, other than alternate, during the accident - suggesting that auto-trim was available throughout the descent.

Failure to realise a need for manual re-trim was central to the loss of an Airbus A320 over the Mediterranean Sea about six months before the AF447 crash.

The auto-trim had adjusted the horizontal stabiliser fully nose-up but, during a flight envelope test involving near-stall, the aircraft switched control laws and inhibited the auto-trim.

Without manual re-trimming, the aircraft pitched up sharply as the crew applied maximum thrust. It stalled and the crew lost control.

In its conclusions over the accident the BEA highlighted the rarity of the need to trim manually, which created a "habit" of having auto-trim available made it "difficult to return to flying with manual trimming".

"One of the only circumstances in which a pilot can be confronted with the manual utilisation of the trim wheel is during simulator training," it said. "However, in this case, the exercises generally start in stabilised situations."

In the wake of the A320 accident, near Perpignan in November 2008, the BEA recommended that safety regulators and manufacturers work to improve training and techniques for approach-to-stall situations, to ensure control of an aircraft in the pitch axis.

Alaska pilots not allowed to access Internet in the cockpit due to interference issue

Alaska Airlines is not permitting its pilots to use their new iPads to access the Internet in the cockpit after witnessing Wi-Fi interference with Honeywell Phase 3 display units [DUs].

The carrier is distributing iPads to its pilots to replace paper flight manuals, and ultimately intends for the Apple tablets to be used as Class I electronic flight bags (EFBs). But accessing connectivity for real-time EFB applications - or for other uses - in the flightdeck will not be allowed in the near term in accordance with FAA guidance, an Alaska spokeswoman confirmed to ATI and Flightglobal.

Honeywell Phase 3 display units last year showed themselves susceptible to blanking during electromagnetic interference testing of wireless broadband systems on Boeing Next Generation 737s. One of the conditions for 737NG operators to receive FAA supplemental type certification for Aircell's Gogo in-flight Internet solution is they must require that Wi-Fi devices be powered off in the flightdeck.

Alaska, a customer of Gogo, operates an all-737 fleet.

"We have experienced the same thing [interference]," revealed the Alaska spokeswoman, noting that the carrier has Honeywell Phase 3 DUs "in some of our aircraft" and as a result pilots "are not using the Internet with the iPads currently".

A service bulletin to address the problem has not yet been tabled. Sources say the process is taking longer than expected.

"It is our understanding that this [issue] is going to be addressed and it is going to be moved forward but we just don't know when," said the Alaska spokeswoman.

The airline looks forward to eventually allowing pilots to access real-time EFB applications while in flight. "This is Chapter 1 and we're pretty excited about it, and we're hoping there is Chapter 2 for this, and taking it to the next step, but again things have to be rolled out and tested slowly.

"Right now, the [device] is a document reader, and if we are allowed that Internet connectivity we can use it for another whole range of things."

Boeing last year suspended linefit of cabin connectivity systems as a precautionary measure after the interference issue surfaced.
Ref: Flightglobal 31/05/11
Revised stall procedures centre on angle-of-attack not power 

Investigators have been left attempting to explain why the crew of Air France flight AF447 failed to recover the Airbus A330 from a high-altitude stall, a predicament which has been the subject of a recent revision of safety procedures.

The revision concentrates on placing greater emphasis on reducing excessive angle of attack - the critical characteristic of a stall - rather than the classical approach of training pilots to power their way out of a near-stall with minimum loss of altitude.

A formal document detailing the rationale for the revision points out: "There have been numerous situations where flight crews did not prioritise [nose-down pitch control] and instead prioritised power and maintaining altitude."

Operational experience has shown that fixating on altitude, rather than the crucial angle of attack, can result in an aircraft stalling.

French investigation agency Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses has disclosed that the crew of AF447 maintained nose-up input despite the onset of a stall, but has yet to determine the reason or reach any conclusions.

After receiving a stall warning AF447's crew set the A330's thrust to take-off/go-around power, in line with Air France's standard operating procedure at the time. The procedure also required the crew to reduce pitch attitude, roll the wings level and ensure the speedbrake was retracted.

The revised recovery procedure was agreed between the major airframers, including Airbus and Boeing, some 12 months after the loss of AF447, although a source familiar with the investigation stresses that the change was "not prompted" by the accident.

At the heart of the revision is an acceptance that classical high-power recovery is not appropriate for every stall condition.

Simply applying maximum thrust could be ineffective in reducing the angle of attack and averting a stall, particularly at cruise altitudes where the available thrust would be limited and the engines would require time to spool up.

There is also a risk that the crew might fail to recognise that the aircraft has crossed the threshold from a near-stall into an actual stall, and continue to apply a recovery technique which is no longer effective.

The new procedure is designed to cover all stall conditions. It recognises that recovering the angle of attack might instead require a reduction of thrust, to regain pitch-down authority, as well as a loss of altitude.

It removes the need to prioritise take-off/go-around thrust in favour of restoring lift to the wing by reducing angle of attack. The procedure also points out that thrust should be re-applied smoothly, particularly because aircraft with under-wing engines have a tendency to pitch up, increasing the angle of attack, when power is applied.
Ref: Flightglobal 28/05/11
AF447 stalled but crew maintained nose-up attitude

French investigators have disclosed that the crew of Air France flight AF447 maintained nose-up inputs to the aircraft even after the Airbus A330 entered a stall.

The inquiry has also revealed that the pilots set engine thrust variously to go-around power and idle as they battled to rescue the jet.

In an update to the loss of the A330 over the South Atlantic two years ago the Bureau d'Enquetes et d'Analyses has detailed the last few minutes of the flight. BEA said the aircraft climbed from its cruise altitude of 35,000ft towards 38,000ft and stalled, but added that the flying pilot "maintained nose-up inputs" to the controls.

BEA confirms that the captain had left the cockpit to rest, about eight minutes before the emergency on 1 June 2009, having discussed with the relief crew possible turbulence ahead of the aircraft.

AF447 flight path

The pilots altered course slightly, about 12° to the left, and as turbulence increased they opted to reduce speed to Mach 0.8.

About 2min later the aircraft's autopilot and autothrust disengaged, and remained so for the rest of the flight. This would have put the jet into 'alternate' law, meaning it lost its angle-of-attack protection.

The aircraft began to roll to the right, and as the pilot made a nose-up left input, the A330's stall warning sounded twice - an indication that the aircraft had exceeded a critical angle-of-attack threshold.

The primary flight display on the captain's side showed a "sharp fall" in speed from 275kt to 60kt, and the aircraft's angle of attack "increased progressively" beyond 10°.

While the jet had initially been cruising at 35,000ft, investigators stated that the aircraft climbed, with a vertical speed of 7,000ft/min, heading towards 38,000ft.

The pilot made nose-down inputs as well as inputs for left and right roll. The vertical speed fell back to 700ft/min, the displayed speed "increased sharply" to 215kt, and the angle of attack reduced to 4°.

In its update the BEA said the non-flying pilot "tried several times to call the captain back".

There was another stall warning and the BEA said the stall warning sounded again. The thrust levers were positioned for take-off/go-around power but the flying pilot "maintained nose-up inputs".

Angle of attack continued to increase, it added, and the trimmable horizontal stabiliser increased from a 3° nose-up position to 13° nose-up - where it stayed for the rest of the flight.

The aircraft reached 38,000ft - its maximum altitude - with its angle of attack having increased to 16°.

AF447's captain returned to the cockpit - just 90s after the autopilot had disengaged - by which time the aircraft had started its fatal descent.

As it passed through 35,000ft the angle of attack increased to more than 40° and the A330 was descending at 10,000ft/min. Its pitch did not exceed 15°, its engine power was close to 100% of N1, and the jet oscillated with rolls of up to 40°.

"The [flying pilot] made an input on the sidestick to the left and nose-up stops, which lasted about 30s," said the BEA.

Just 20s after the captain returned to the cockpit, said the BEA, the thrust levers were set to the 'idle' position, with the engines delivering 55% of N1.

Measured angle of attack values, the BEA pointed out, are only considered valid when the measured speed is above 60kt. It said that the angle of attack, when valid, always remained above 35°.

AF447's had turned almost a three-quarter circle to the right during the emergency, and - having descended for 3min 30s - it struck the ocean surface with a ground speed of just 107kt, a nose-up pitch attitude of 16.2°, with a heading of 270°.

BEA stated that the aircraft stalled but that the inputs from the flying pilot were "mainly nose-up". It added that the engines "were operating and always responded to crew commands".
Ref: Flightglobal 27/05/11

Easyjet Ash Detection System Flight Trials

Low-cost airline Easyjet is set to flight-trial advanced ash detection technology.

Last year, it unveiled its Airborne Volcanic Object Identifier and Detector (AVOID) system.

Now, it's getting ready to put it through its paces, after the latest Icelandic volcanic eruption which occurred on 21 May 2011.

Easyjet's AVOID system trials will potentially involve a flight through the current ash cloud generated by the new eruption. This eruption originated from Iceland's Grimsvotn volcano and, while its impact on airspace hasn't been as savage as expected, the high-level concentration of ash that's been moving southwards has still been responsible for hundreds of flight cancellations.

AVOID Ash Detection System

The AVOID ash detection system takes the form of a structure intended to be fixed to the outside of an aircraft. The structure features an array of tubes incorporating infrared imaging technology capable of, firstly, identifying ash within a 100 mile range and, then, transmitting the results they collect both into the cockpit and to controllers at ground level.

Equipped with this information, these controllers can piece together a comprehensive 3-D representation of ash levels present in the atmosphere.

According to a representative of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU), which developed AVOID, it's based, in part, on a system that's already in use. "This uses technology that has been employed in satellites for 25 years, but whereas they look straight down, this works horizontally which makes it more effective", Senior Scientist Fred Prata explained to CNN, adding: "at cruise altitude, there is really no limit to how far ahead you can detect ash."

The AVOID system is " approach we are encouraging", CAA representative, Richard Taylor, added. "We have said all along the airlines have to come up with a solution, in collaboration with aircraft manufacturers."

Easyjet AVOID Flight Trials

Beyond the upcoming Easyjet AVOID flight trials, the ultimate aim is to put AVOID into full-scale commercial production and, to this end, Easyjet has pledged to make the system available to other carriers.

In related news, on 25 May, Irish low-cost airline Ryanair challenged the concerns expressed over the 2011 Icelandic ash cloud.

Describing how it had carried out a flight over Scotland - a part of the UK especially affected by the recent cancellations - it reported that "no visible volcanic ash cloud or evidence of ash on the airframe, wings or engines" had been recorded.

This flight was reportedly carried out at 41,000 feet but, according to the CAA, it didn't go into what's been dubbed the ‘red zone', where the majority of ash has been concentrating.
Ref: Airport-Int 26/05/11