Airline & Aviation industry 2012 – 2017

Written by  //  October 31, 2017  //  Aviation & Aerospace, Québec  //  No comments

See also Airline industry — Flight MH370

The first Boeing 747 rolled out of the Boeing plant in Everett, Wash., in 1968. Credit Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

As the 747 Begins Its Final Approach, a Pilot Takes a Flight Down Memory Lane
By MARK VANHOENACKER
(NYT) For pilots, crew members and passengers who love the 747, it’s easy to forget that the airliner was first of all a business proposition, one that aimed to harness economies of scale and a raft of new technologies to cut the seat-per-mile cost of air travel by about 30 percent. Yet on a planet that previously only the richest could cross at will, the 747’s most lasting impact may have been on everyday notions of distance and difference. Having inaugurated the “age of mass intercontinental travel,” wrote the scholar Vaclav Smil, the 747 “became a powerful symbol of global civilization.”
Today, the equivalent of around half the planet’s population has flown on a 747. The jets have also served in firefighting, military and humanitarian roles. In 1991, as part of Operation Solomon, about 1,100 Ethiopian Jews boarded the 747 that would take them to Israel. Never before had an aircraft carried so many passengers — including, by the time the jet touched down, several babies born midair.(10 October)

31 October
Airbus Says It Misled State Department on Arms Sales
(NYT) The disclosure raised the prospect that corruption investigations involving the company in Europe, to do with the use of middlemen to pay bribes, could spread to the United States, which typically imposes much higher fines and stiffer court judgments. In an industry that relies heavily on ties with government, Airbus could also be at a disadvantage competing for contracts, or even be frozen out altogether.
Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, is under investigation by the British and French authorities for possible use of intermediaries to pay bribes related to the sale of commercial aircraft. In addition, the German and Austrian authorities are investigating bribery allegations tied to the sale of Eurofighter jets to Austria in 2003. Airbus also has a unit in Columbus, Miss., that makes helicopters for civilian and military buyers.

23 October
Boeing Signs $13.8 Billion Deal With Singapore Airlines
Boeing Co on Monday signed a previously announced deal with Singapore Airlines Ltd to sell it 39 aircraft worth $13.8 billion at list prices during a White House event with Singapore’s prime minister.
The airline said last week it would finalize the order during the visit as part of its bid to modernize its fleet over the next decade. Airlines typically receive discounts on jet orders, and the deal is estimated to be closer to $6.5 billion in value.

22 October
Airbus turmoil overshadows bid to rescue CSeries
(Reuters) – Airbus’s coup in buying a $6 billion Canadian jetliner project for a dollar stunned investors and took the spotlight off a growing ethics row last week, but internal disarray has raised questions over how smoothly it can implement the deal.
Airbus says no evidence of corruption has been uncovered, but … Airbus will face a second challenge in marketing the CSeries, which for years it dismissed as a weak upstart. Now it must offer the aircraft side by side with the older A320.

21 October
Long-term future of Bombardier’s other commercial aircraft unclear, analysts say
Where does the new deal with Airbus leave Bombardier’s Q400 turboprop and aging CRJ regional jets?
Rolland Vincent, an aviation consultant who previously worked at Bombardier, believes the transportation company won’t spend the large sums required to overhaul the regional aircraft programs as long as oil prices remain low.
Vincent believes Bombardier is no longer enamoured with the low-margin parts of its commercial aerospace business and will follow its historical pattern.
“They fall in love with new technology, new markets and then after a while they kind of move along to something else and it’s a pattern that leaves a lot of debris behind.”
Vincent worked on strategy at Bombardier during the period in the 1990s when it shook up the global aviation market by launching small regional jets that spawned new competitors like Brazil’s Embraer.
He sees Bombardier eventually selling the Q400 turboprop and CRJ jet programs, possibly to China.

20 October
Airbus has no plans to buy out Bombardier after CSeries partnership, CEO says
(Financial Post) Airbus chief tells Montreal he believes aerospace analysts have underestimated demand and he can sell thousands of CSeries jets

18 October
Andrew Coyne: CSeries planes — controlled in Europe, built in Alabama, subsidized in Canada
Whatever else may have changed as a result of the deal, the basic elements of the Bombardier business model — sucking subsidies from the government — have not
… it’s not quite right to say that Airbus is getting its stake for free. In fact Bombardier is paying it to take it (much as Bombardier was effectively paid to buy De Havilland and Canadair, decades ago). Not only is Airbus paying no cash and assuming no debt, but Bombardier will remain on the hook for any future losses on the project, up to US$700 million. In addition, Airbus receives warrants to buy 100 million subordinate voting shares in Bombardier at the price they were trading at last week; those shares are already worth almost 20 per cent more than that.

Bombardier’s deal to sell a majority stake in its C Series division to rival Airbus was made after talks broke down with Chinese investors and secret negotiations with Boeing fell apart, sources tell The Globe and Mail. They say the decision was made as a last-ditch effort to ensure the C Series did not fail.
Konrad Yakabuski (The Globe and Mail) on Bombardier: “During this nearly two-decade-long saga, the odds were always stacked against Bombardier. Its decision to try to take on Airbus and Boeing on their own turf – the 100-plus seat jet category – always contained an element of sheer recklessness. Betting the house on a product that sought to eat into the market share of its rich and ruthless rivals was not the kind of provocation Bombardier could ever afford to make on its own. That is now painfully clear as Canada’s national aerospace champion hands the C Series controls to Airbus for not even so much as a symbolic $1.”
Eric Reguly (The Globe and Mail) on Bombardier: “As soon as the C Series got slammed with the tariffs, it was game over and Airbus was able to negotiate a sweet deal that will see Bombardier – and perhaps the Canadian and Quebec taxpayers – still write the cheques for a product over which it has lost control. Airbus was brilliant. It owns the finest piece of Canadian aerospace technology on the market, and it got Bombardier to subsidize the deal.”

All-you-can-fly membership models are slowly catching on
But whether they can turn a profit remains to be seen
(The Economist) Surf Air claims to be the world’s first all-you-can-fly airline. For a monthly fee, members can travel on as many flights as they want among the airline’s growing list of destinations. The airline was founded in 2013 in California, where it serves 12 cities. This summer it launched a service in Europe, where it flies from London, Cannes, Ibiza and Zurich. Milan, Munich, and Luxembourg are scheduled to join the roster later this year.
Major airlines have experimented with this model in the past, but with little success. In the 1980s American Airlines offered unlimited first-class flying for life to anyone who paid an upfront $250,000 fee. In 2004 it upped the cost to $3m. But those who signed up flew enough to make it a money-losing scheme.

10 October
Early Days on the 747: Power, Style and Size
By Dan Saltzstein
(NYT) The 747, one of history’s most iconic airplanes, is heading toward retirement. Mark Vanhoenacker, a pilot and the author of “Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot,” writes that for “those who grew up under 747-crossed skies, it can be hard to appreciate how revolutionary the jet’s dimensions were when it first (and improbably, to some observers) got airborne in 1969.” Here is a look at how the plane was marketed by the airlines that adopted it, and how The New York Times covered its (sometimes rocky) early days.

2 August
Senators eye ticket fee to overhaul airports
President Trump has vowed to upgrade the country’s “third-world” airports in an infrastructure package — and the Senate is exploring a potential funding tool that could help him do just that.
A Senate panel approved a proposal this month that would raise the federal cap on the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC) that airports can charge passengers to pay for facility improvements and other projects.
Supporters of the funding mechanism say it aligns perfectly with Trump’s infrastructure goals because it wouldn’t cost the federal government a dime and could spur more private sector investment.
But the passenger fee increase has divided conservative groups, faces fierce pushback from the airline industry and has been labeled by critics as a “tax increase,” which could damage its chances politically.

11 July
What Is It About Direct Flights To Beirut That Scares Trudeau?
Canadians have good reason to question the government’s “security” justification for the refusal.
(HuffPost) For years, Lebanese Canadians flying to Beirut have had to endure exhausting layovers in Europe. But recent hopes that the Trudeau government would approve direct flights to Beirut were dashed with a tweet from an Air Canada executive early Monday. Duncan Bureau, VP Global Sales for Air Canada tweeted that the government had rejected their application, commenting, “Huge disappointment for us and [the] Lebanese community here.”

2 June
Nick’s Gleanings: End of the Boeing/Airbus duopoly in the passenger jet market? – Russia just announced the maiden flight (albeit only for 30 minutes at a height of 1,000 meters/3,300 feet & a speed of 300kmh) of its new MS-21 for which it already has a, mostly local, 175 order book. Other planes about to challenge the Boeing 737/Airbus A320 market share, other than the (somewhat Johnny-come-lately) 300 unit order book Bombardier C-series that is supposed to come into service next month, include China’s ARJ21 (that entered into service late last year) for which it has, again a mostly local, 350 unit order book) & its C919 that, while it won’t come into service until 2020, already has a 517 unit order book, Japan’s Mitsubishi MRJ that will come into service next year & has an order book of 220, and Brazil Embraer’s EJ.2 that has a 270 unit order book & will also come into service next year.

5 May
China’s first home-made passenger jet took off. The much-delayed C919, roughly the size of Boeing’s 737, made its maiden flight in Shanghai. China wants in on the global jet market, estimated to be worth $2 trillion over the next 20 years. The country has outstripped India as the world’s fastest-growing aviation market by passenger traffic.

3 May
Congress is right to be upset with America’s airlines
But its focus is too narrow: a lack of competition, not bag charges, is the problem
(The Economist) The real trouble is that American aviation is not competitive. Consolidation has meant there are fewer big carriers, each with higher market share. That has allowed them to care little for the flyers they should be nurturing. At many airports, a single carrier has a near monopoly. (As our recent leader on the subject noted, at 40 of America’s 100 biggest hubs, one airline accounts for more than half of capacity.) What is more, competitors from abroad are barred from disrupting the cosy status quo because of strict foreign ownership rules. That would be a far better thing for Congress to focus on. Imagine how long United and American would last in their current, disdainful guise if Emirates, Singapore Airlines or even Ryanair were allowed to compete against them for a share of the world’s biggest domestic aviation market.

19 April
twa-hotel-cr-mcr-developmentJet-Age Chic
The TWA terminal at JFK airport was an icon of mid-century cool. Now it’s being reincarnated as a hotel.
(The Atlantic Magazine) “Most people are blind,” Saarinen said after his extravagant design was unveiled. “If you get too subtle about architecture, people come in and walk through it and never notice the difference.” They noticed the Flight Center. Its form was inseparable from the thrill of transatlantic air travel. For a generation of international travelers, it was a memorable first impression of America, an Ellis Island for the jet age. TWA Terminal Hotel Construction Begins at JFK (Aug 2016)

13 April
As the fallout from this week’s United Airlines scandal continues, the company’s CEO described the incident in which security officers dragged a passenger off a flight to accommodate traveling crew members as a “system failure.” It also illustrates some of the deep flaws of an industry in which companies—and consumers—put low prices above all else. In other airport news: More and more travelers entering the U.S. are getting their electronic devices searched by customs agents.

11 April
Fear of Flying, for Good Reason
(NYT) United’s mistreatment of the doctor was extreme, but inconveniencing customers is now standard airline operating procedure. This is an oligopolistic industry that has become increasingly callous toward customers as it rakes in billions in profits thanks to strong demand and low oil prices. In recent years, big airlines have squeezed seats in coach closer together, forcing average-size Americans to become intimately familiar with their knees. In addition to checked-bag fees, which have been standard on many airlines for years, more passengers are being required to pay extra for early boarding, more legroom and, in a recent insult, the right to stash bags in overhead bins.
There is no mystery why air travel has gotten so ugly. Four large airlines — American, Southwest, Delta and United — commanded nearly 69 percent of the domestic air-travel market in 2016, up from about 60 percent in 2012, according to government data. Those numbers actually overstate how much competition there is. Many people have only one or two options when they fly because the big airlines have established virtual fortresses at their hub airports.
United Airlines: Mistakes on a plane
(The Economist) Airlines usually sell more tickets than seats on a plane. They count on no-shows to ensure that aircraft depart at full capacity. “Deplaning” is rarely as brutal as the removal of a passenger by United yesterday. But it is common: more than half a million passengers in America with valid tickets were left at the gate in 2016. Between 2008 and 2016, United bumped more passengers than any other large American airline, writes our data team
United Airlines shares fall 4% as Chinese react to passenger dragged off plane
Stock loses $1B: Backlash a problem for company, as Asia is key growth area for U.S. carriers
The internal medicine specialist father-of-five who was beaten and dragged off an overbooked United flight. CEO pens ‘tone deaf’ email DEFENDING staff
DailyMail.com can reveal the passenger pulled off the plane was Dr David Dao. The 69-year-old Vietnamese-American is married to a pediatrician who has a clinic in Elizabethtown, Kentucky – about 40 miles south of Louisville.
United Airlines forcibly removes passenger from overbooked flight
‘Look at what you did to him’: Video shows man being dragged from aircraft by guards
The airline has confirmed that the incident that occurred on Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville on Sunday evening was due to overbooking.
“After our team looked for volunteers, one customer refused to leave the aircraft voluntarily and law enforcement was asked to come to the gate.”

 

Why Airlines Collude To Make Flying As Miserable As Possible
(Daily Kos) Few experiences are as universal to Americans as the shared degradation and misery of flying on our nation’s air carriers. These corporate behemoths have somehow managed to wrap up everything wrong with this country and present it to us as a package deal: income inequality, corporate indifference, dwindling services, automation and skyrocketing prices all combined to make flying a tortuous chore rather than a pleasure, particularly in the last ten years.  It’s no different than fiscal austerity, really–just a calculated effort to push the limits of greed for a tiny minority to the point where Americans won’t tolerate any more, then convincing us that such a drastically diminished quality of life is the “new normal.”
And Americans continue to suffer it, because in most cases they feel they have to. For many, travel is a necessity for their livelihood. For others with scattered families travel is the only way to maintain personal connections.  The airlines understand they’re fulfilling a need, and at this point they’ve abandoned any pretense of actually caring about what their customers think of them. Thus an unnamed major carrier is considering something called “economy minus” where it can shove more people into its metal cylinders, gutting personal legroom and offering no services at all except (perhaps) a toilet. (January 2015)
What The Hell Do Those Three-Letter Airport Abbreviations Mean?
A simple, effectively designed new site helps you find out.
Thanks to a new site from simple and effective new site from designers Lynn Fisher and Nick Crohn we can finally know where these little acronyms are derived from.
Called International Air Transport Association (IATA) codes, the clean, visually appealing site lets you click on a number of different codes (laid over an image of the airport’s location), which delivers provides a simple, concise explanation of its origin.
The mysterious X is finally understood: it’s simply the letter that’s plugged in if the necessary letter is already taken by another airport. The site also points out that up until the 1930s, airports only used two letter codes. That’s how you get LAX for Los Angeles International Airport, which was previously just LA. The strange Newark code EWR is also revealed. After switching the three letter codes, the Navy reserved all codes beginning with N. Thus, Newark was forced to begin with their second letter.
Many more fun tidbits like these can be found in this very informational little site. Have fun.

29 March
(Quartz) Ryanair issued a chilling Brexit warning. Europe’s largest airline (by passenger numbers) said it may not be able to fly between Britain and Europe for a period of time after March 2019 thanks to Britain no longer being part of the EU’s “Open Skies” system. It urged the government to prioritize a new aviation deal in its Brexit negotiations, as airlines have to confirm their 2019 flight schedules by mid-2018.

10 February
Donald Trump, Meeting With Airline CEOs, Targets Air-Traffic-Control System
Executives seek modernization of a system that Trump calls ‘totally out of whack’
(WSJ) In addition to funding infrastructure upgrades, Mr. Trump promised the executives he would reduce government regulations and announce within the next three weeks tax reform measures, both of which he said would help companies such as airlines hire more workers. He suggested placing a pilot at the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, the industry’s safety regulator and air-traffic control provider.
In addition to funding infrastructure upgrades, Mr. Trump promised the executives he would reduce government regulations and announce within the next three weeks tax reform measures, both of which he said would help companies such as airlines hire more workers. He suggested placing a pilot at the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, the industry’s safety regulator and air-traffic control provider.
His agenda received a warm reception from those who attended the meeting. … U.S. airlines operate about 27,000 flights a day that carry 2.2 million passengers and 50,000 tons of cargo, according to the Airlines for America trade association. The industry drives nearly $1.5 trillion in U.S. economic activity and more than 10 million U.S. jobs; …
Since Mr. Trump’s election, airlines and airports have said they are optimistic about his plans to lower taxes and raise infrastructure spending. But it isn’t yet clear how those policies would be implemented.
Air-traffic Modernization efforts have been slow-moving and over budget, many federal watchdogs have concluded. And the U.S. has been slow to adopt new technologies, like using satellites to guide planes. …
Many airlines have in the past supported a plan to remove air-traffic-control operations from the FAA and place them into a not-for-profit corporation, arguing it would allow that company to raise funding from the financial markets, rather than relying on congressional appropriations. But this move has been thwarted in the past, mostly recently last year when it faced objections by the FAA, the Senate Republican leadership and business-jet and private pilot groups.
The FAA’s mandate is set to run out in September, providing an opening to discuss such changes as part of its reauthorization by Congress, which has Republican majorities in both chambers.

9 February
Donald Trump meets with CEOs of US airlines.He’s expected to repeat the same request he made to auto chiefs last month: boost US production and create American jobs. The leaders of Delta and United will push for restrictions on US destinations available to competitors like Emirates and Qatar Airways—recipients, they contend, of “massive” subsidies from their government owners.

2015

29 July
15 airports you’ll actually want to have a long layover in
(Business Insider)… some airports are adding a variety of entertainment features to make your wait as enjoyable as possible.
These airports have everything from IMAX movie theaters to golf courses and rooftop pools. From an on-site brewery with live music at the Munich Airport to over 1,000 slot machines in Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport …

10 June
12 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Airports
Over the years, airports have evolved from bare-bones transportation hubs for select travelers to bustling retail centers for millions. They’re being designed to both complement and influence human behavior. Everything from the architecture and lighting to the trinkets on sale in the gift shops is strategic. Here are a few tricks airports use to help travelers relax, get to their gates safely and on time, and hopefully spend some money along the way.
1. They make sure you can see the tarmac …
3. They lighten the mood
Newer airports incorporate as many windows as possible, even in stores. “There’s a trend that the shops face the tarmac. Passengers tend to walk more into shops that have direct access to the sunlight,” says Julian Lukaszewicz, lecturer in aviation management at Buckinghamshire New University. “If they’re closed off with artificial light passengers feel they are too dark and avoid them.”

20 May
Claude Taylor: Air Canada pioneer guided company to success
By Fred Langan
Claude Taylor was a farm boy from New Brunswick who worked his way up from a night reservations clerk at Trans-Canada Air Lines in Moncton to president, chief executive and chairman of Air Canada. Under his watch, Air Canada came out from under the umbrella of Canadian National Railways to operate as a Crown corporation on its own. But Mr. Taylor, who died late last month, eventually admitted the airline had not been ready when it became fully privatized in the late 1980s.
For more than decade, Mr. Taylor pushed for the privatization of the airline, but politicians preferred to use Air Canada as a tool of social policy, making sure every city big and small had air service. In the early 1980s, both the Liberals and NDP were against selling it and in the 1984 election, Brian Mulroney said the state airline would stay in government hands. Among other things, there were worries in Quebec about job losses at Air Canada’s head office in Montreal. …
“Claude Taylor lived and breathed Air Canada. He was immensely proud of the Air Canada family and the accomplishments of its people,” wrote his family in his death notice. “Whether on an aircraft, or walking through an airport, maintenance base or a department at HQ, he spoke with – and more important – listened to, all, asking personally for people’s input and taking their advice to heart. Christmas Day would not start at home until after he called Air Canada staff working on Christmas morning at the airport and elsewhere, to wish them and their families a Merry Christmas.” …
An officer of the Order of Canada since 1986, Mr. Taylor was a president of the International Air Transport Association, IATA, and many other aviation-related organizations. He was on the board of two Montreal-area hospitals and honorary president of Boy Scouts of Canada. He was a member of the Aviation Hall of Fame and the Business Hall of Fame.
Claude Taylor died on April 23, 2015, a month before his 90th birthday.

27 March
Artificial Intelligence Could Have Prevented The Germanwings Crash
(Forbes) We are so concerned, it seems, about giving machines too much power that we appear to miss the fact that the largest existential threat to humans is other humans. Such seems to be the case with Germanwings 9525.
Through GPS data in Grok, [AI pioneer Jeff Hawkins] says, “We could track every plane in the sky automatically with no human intervention, and tell you anytime one of those planes is acting weirdly.… We can find patterns that humans can’t find, and we never get tired.”
Miles O’Brien: Is a 600-hour pilot too green to be safe?
(PBS Newshour) as we’ve seen so many times this year, we may be putting too much faith in the aviation hardware to save the day and not paying enough attention to the software…that is, the carbon-based sentient software strapped into the front seats.
Germanwings Flight 4U9525 co-pilot Andreas Lubitz ‘hid illness’ from employer
Prosecutors didn’t say what type of illness — mental or physical — Lubitz may have been suffering from. German media reported Friday that the 27-year-old had received prolonged treatment starting in 2008 for a “serious depressive episode.”
Co-pilot wanted to ‘destroy’ Germanwings Flight 9525: French prosecutor
The co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 was alone at the helm of the aircraft and “intentionally” sent the plane into the doomed descent, according to a French prosecutor.
During a press conference Thursday, Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said the co-pilot, identified as Andreas Lubitz, a German national, appeared to have wanted to “destroy the plane.”

24 March
What happened to Germanwings flight 4U 9525?
Air accident investigation experts using information from aircraft-tracking sites rule out explosion or mid-air stall
The crash of Germanwings flight 4U9525 in the French Alps with the presumed loss of 150 lives occurred after an unexplained and relatively smooth eight-minute descent.

6 January
UN aviation body to propose 15-minute flight tracking standard
International Civil Aviation Organization says system wouldn’t require new technology on planes
The United Nations aviation agency will propose a new standard that requires commercial aircraft to report their position every 15 minutes as part of a global tracking initiative in the aftermath of the disappearance of a Malaysian jetliner.
The loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 last March sparked a global drive for a system that would make it possible to pinpoint the exact route and last location of an aircraft.

An International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) spokesman said on Tuesday that the standard, if adopted, could go into effect in the near term because it would not require new technology on planes. ICAO members are set to discuss the proposal at a major safety conference in Montreal next month.

2014

North Atlantic SkiesA Visualization of All the Airline Flights Operating Across the North Atlantic on a Typical Day
“North Atlantic Skies” is a data visualization of the airline flights across the North Atlantic between Canada, the United States, and Europe in August 2013. The visualization was created by NATS, a United Kingdom air traffic control service provider, and showcases a period of 24 hours with 2,524 flights total (26 June 2014)
9 August
Oversize Expectations for the Airbus A380
(NYT) Since it started flying commercially seven years ago, the A380 has caught the imagination of travelers. Its two full-length decks total 6,000 square feet, 50 percent more than the original jumbo jet, the Boeing 747. Its wingspan barely fits inside a football field. Its four engines take this 560-ton airplane to a cruising altitude of 39,000 feet in less than 15 minutes, a surprisingly smooth ascent for such a bulky plane. Passengers love it because it’s quiet and more reminiscent of a cruise ship than an airplane.
The A380 was also Airbus’s answer to a problematic trend: More and more passengers meant more flights and increasingly congested tarmacs. Airbus figured that the future of air travel belonged to big planes flying between major hubs. “More than simply a big airplane,” one industry analyst wrote when the first A380 was delivered to Singapore Airlines in 2007, “the newest industry flagship will change forever the way the industry operates.”
The prediction hasn’t exactly come true.
Airbus has struggled to sell the planes. Orders have been slow, and not a single buyer has been found in the United States, South America, Africa or India. Only one airline in China has ordered it, and its only customer in Japan has canceled. Even existing customers are paring down orders.
8 August
Marinvent’s TASAR could change aviation as we know it
St-Bruno company is helping NASA test a program designed to offer optimized routes for aircraft, making travel more efficient
(Montreal Gazette) “It’s flying real airplanes and real airways with TASAR. Before we flew it, it was 3 — a good idea that was in the lab. At Marinvent, we’re very rapidly crossing what is universally known in the industry as the valley of death — the very difficult transition between a great idea and something you can actually put into effect. A lot of really good projects die there.”
“What our aircraft does — and it’s one of the very few in the world that will do this — is to allow you to take something that’s very low TRL [technology readiness level] and without cutting any holes in the airplane or running wires or putting in displays, we can immediately run that software — all we need to run TASAR is a USB stick. We just saved someone $1 million a year.”
Malaysia Airlines’ privatization paves way to ‘complete overhaul’
Malaysia’s state investment fund will pay 1.4 billion ringgit ($476.73-million Canadian) to take troubled Malaysian Airline System private, the airline said on Friday, paving the way for a “complete overhaul” of its loss-making operations following two devastating jetliner disasters this year
28 July
Emirates to stop flying over Iraq after MH17 disaster
(BBC) The airline told the BBC it was taking “precautionary measures” and “working on alternative routing plans for flights using Iraqi airspa
24 July
What will change after MH17
(Fortune) The missile attack that downed the Malaysian Airlines flight was a game-changer for aviation. What to expect: rerouted long-haul routes, “conflict” fuel surcharges, changes to insurance policies, and more.
In the wake of the latest disaster involving Malaysia Airlines, more and more questions are being asked about the financial viability of the airline, as well as the legal fallout and the rights of victims’ families.
Air crash toll raises questions despite improving safety overall
(FT) In the 21st century it is almost unthinkable that MH370 could disappear without trace, and governments and regulators are now considering what improvements can be made to track aircraft. Some in the airline industry are worried about the potential costs.
2014 plane crash fatalities already double those of 2013
(CTV News) Three passenger plane crashes in the last week may have caused nearly the same number of fatalities over a seven-day period as all aviation fatalities in 2013, according to an international aircraft accidents body.
The Geneva-based Bureau of Aircraft Accidents Archives (B3A) reports that 2013 saw 459 fatalities as a result of aircraft accidents.
Meanwhile, just more than halfway through this year, the organization is reporting 991 fatalities in 2014.
Last week Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a missile over Ukraine, killing all 298 people onboard. On Wednesday, TransAsia Airways Flight GE 222 crashed while landing at Magong Airport in Taiwan during a storm, leaving 48 dead and injuring 10 others.
Then on Thursday, an Air Algérie plane vanished off the radar over northern Mali with 116 people aboard.
21 March
UN agency ‘ignored recommendations’ on aircraft communications
By Mark Odell in London
(Financial Times) The disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines jet could have been avoided if governments had adopted proposals made in the wake of an Air France crash over the Atlantic almost five years ago, according to one of the world’s top air accident investigators.
French investigators made a number of recommendations in their final report into the crash of Air France flight 447, which went down in the middle of the South Atlantic in 2009.
These included a mandatory requirement for all commercial airliners to regularly “transmit basic flight parameters” such as position, altitude, speed and heading.
The 219-page report by the Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses pour la Sécurité de l’Aviation civile (BEA), published in 2012, also proposed changes to the way black boxes, or flight data recorders, work on aircraft that operate over water.
These included the triggering of an automatic data transmission to help find the aircraft as soon as an emergency is detected and fitting the aircraft with black boxes that can be ejected before it crashes.
Could this radar spot Malaysia’s missing plane?
(BBC) As the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight intensifies, a new advanced radar system has been unveiled by scientists. But could it spot the plane?
The world’s first photonic radar was tested at Pisa Airport in Italy and achieved “world-class” performance, according to an independent expert.
It uses lasers to produce high fidelity signals that pinpoint planes precisely.
But there are doubts over its range, say researchers in Nature journal.
17 March
Gwynne Dyer: Pan Am Flight 103 and the framing of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi
They lied, they’re still lying, and they’ll go on lying until Libya calms down enough to allow a thorough search of its archives. That’s what intelligence agencies do, and being angry at them for lying is like being angry at a scorpion for stinging. But we now know that they lied about the Libyans planting the bomb on Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988. …
20 months after Pan Am Flight 103 went down, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq invaded Kuwait. The U.S. was mobilizing a coalition of Western and Arab armies to liberate Kuwait, and it wanted Syria to be part of it. But Syria was Iran’s closest ally in the Arab world, so this was not the right time to get into a confrontation with Iran.
Nevertheless, somebody had to be punished or the intelligence services would look incompetent. The people who carried out the bombing for Iran had made some rudimentary attempts to put the blame on Libya, and the security services now started using that evidence to frame Megrahi. The evidence was full of holes, but the Libyan’s defence team did a poor job of exposing them, and he was convicted anyway.
The reason his defence team did so badly may have been that the Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, had made a deal: in order to be released from a crippling trade embargo, he would admit the blame for the Pan Am bombing and pay compensation to the families of the victims. For that deal to stand, Megrahi had to go down. A few threats to his family back in Libya would have persuaded him to sabotage his own defence.
New Lockerbie report says Libyan was framed to conceal the real bombers
(The Independent) … after a quarter of a century which saw a ground-breaking trial in 2001, the conviction of the Libyan Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a £1.7bn compensation payment to the victims’ families approved by the former Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, and a controversial deal in 2009 to allow Megrahi to drop his latest appeal and return to Libya to die, the PFLP-GC, once again, has been identified as the group who planned and carried out the deadliest single terror attack on European soil.
A three-year investigation by Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera has effectively returned the entire Lockerbie inquiry back to its initial suspects. (11 March)
12 March
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: What we know and don’t know
(CNN) As the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet entered a fifth day Wednesday, investigators remained uncertain about its whereabouts.
Here’s a summary of what we know and what we don’t know about Flight 370, which was carrying 239 people when it disappeared from radar screens over Southeast Asia.
(AP via CBC) Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 search marked by ‘confusion’ — Search for missing Boeing 777 widened to an area near the Andaman Sea
The $100,000 Device That Could Have Solved Missing Plane Mystery
Only once the wreckage is found, and the black box flight recorders are recovered, will we know what happened to Flight MH370. But there’s no good reason why this information has to be locked into boxes that go down with the plane. Indeed, the technology needed to stream crucial flight data to the ground is already on the market. It’s made by a Canadian company called FLYHT, and can be fitted to an airliner for less than $100,000. [CBC 14 March Malaysian Airlines: Is it time to improve the black box on airplanes?]
11 March
Mystery of flight MH370 raises fears of passport fraud
(BBC) The vulnerability of travel documents has been exposed by the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, two of whose passengers boarded using stolen passports.
Although there is so far nothing to link them to the fate of the plane, the international police organisation Interpol is keen to highlight what it believes is a serious security loophole.
The Malaysian authorities have confirmed that the two passengers bought their tickets at the same time using travel documents that had been stolen in Thailand, one belonging to an Italian man and the other to an Austrian.

2013

IATA
Airport World online
(Montreal Economic Institute/ November 2006) HOW TO MAKE THE CANADIAN AIRLINE INDUSTRY MORE COMPETITIVE : The airline industry has gone through plenty of turbulence over the last few years. Following a period of crisis caused by an economic slowdown in the United States …
30 September
Airlines introduce fees you might actually want to pay
(Globe & Mail) Unlike the first generation of charges, which dinged fliers for once-free services such as checking a bag, these new fees promise a taste of the good life, or at least a more civil flight.
Extra legroom, early boarding and access to quiet lounges were just the beginning. Airlines are now renting iPads preloaded with movies, selling hot first-class meals in coach and letting passengers pay to have an empty seat next to them. Once on the ground, they can skip baggage claim, having their luggage delivered directly to their home or office.
22 June
Changing face of air travel
Introduction of Westjet’s Encore and Air Canada’s Rouge should result in travellers seeing lower fares, better service and more point-to-point flying.
The air travel business has always been perilous in Canada, traditionally consisting of a few heavily travelled corridors, with the rest being long or short thin routes and uncertain service to remote locations.
In fact, this vast, sparsely populated country has been the graveyard of a plethora of carriers just in the last couple of decades (see related link Memories of carries gone bust).
Still, two new airlines are about to launch within a week of each other — WestJet Airlines Ltd.’s Encore on Monday, Fête nationale, and Air Canada’s Rouge on Canada Day.
Unlike past casualties, the betting this time is that these offshoots of Canada’s two largest airlines are on more solid footing — and face a kinder future. … Encore will deploy the first few of 20 Q400 76-seat turboprops it ordered from Bombardier Inc. in western Canada on Monday, and expects to roll out its service to eastern and central Canada about a year from now.
4 June
They lost out on ICAO, but this is something of a consolation prize
Qatar Airways to Host 70th IATA AGM
Air Transport Leaders to Converge in Doha in June 2014
(IATA Press Release) The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced that Qatar Airways will host the 70th IATA Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit. The event will draw the top leadership of the air transport industry to Doha in the State of Qatar from 1–3 June 2014.
30 May
Singapore Airlines to order $17 billion aircraft from Airbus, Boeing
(Reuters) – Singapore Airlines Ltd (SIAL.SI) agreed to spend $17 billion to buy 30 Airbus and 30 Boeing Co. aircraft, underscoring the airline’s bet on a pick-up in the struggling premium class market.
The significant orders announced on Thursday make Singapore Airlines (SIA) the long-awaited launch customer for a proposed stretched version of the 787 Dreamliner, boosting Boeing’s plans to offer a 320-seat aircraft designed in large part for crowded intra-Asian routes.
The move comes as SIA attempts a big strategy overhaul, pushing into the budget airlines segment and expanding its regional network.
22 March
Fast lane for Saudi air travelers?
(Israeli Homeland Security) Israeli security experts say that the u.s decision to allow Saudis to enter the country using a “fast lane” raises many questions. According to Fox news the Department of Homeland Security program intended to give “trusted traveler” status to low-risk airline passengers soon will be extended to Saudi travelers, opening the program to criticism for accommodating the country that produced 15 of the 19 hijackers behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. … Only an exclusive handful of countries enjoy inclusion in the Global Entry program — Canada, Mexico, South Korea and the Netherlands. According to the IPT, some officials are questioning why Saudi Arabia gets to reap the benefits of the program, when key U.S. allies like Germany and France are not enrolled; Israel has reached a deal with the U.S., but that partnership has not yet been implemented.
17 January
How Bad Are the Dreamliner’s Problems?
(The Atlantic) … repeated battery fires in the 787, and the subsequent grounding of the fleet by the FAA and other airlines and authorities around the world, are obviously terrible news for Boeing. But so far the defect appears to be specific and correctable — a problem with the lithium-ion batteries Boeing has chosen for the plane — rather than some mysterious, unbounded threat that could undo the 787 project as a whole. …
In addition to the carbon-fiber issue, the other “fundamental” question about the Dreamliner has been whether Boeing erred in outsourcing so much of the plane’s manufacturing and design. Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times went into this in depth in a celebrated article two years ago; I also address it in China Airborne. Even Boeing officials now concede that the company farmed out too much of the crucial work of making the plane. Thus it exposed itself to unexpected delays, problems in matching up parts and systems produced by different suppliers, design decisions that were out of its immediate control, and other challenges
Global regulators ground Dreamliners
(Financial Times) Boeing risks losing public confidence in 787 after spate of incidents raised questions about jet’s safety and reliability of electrical power system

2012

28 December
Hobbits take to the air in Air New Zealand safety video — Air New Zealand has set out to take passengers on a flight of fantasy in its latest in-flight safety video, enlisting hobbits, orcs and elves to urge passengers to fasten their seatbelts. Great branding!
Virgin Atlantic celebrates ‘gifted’ employees in glamorous new advert
To celebrate the launch of flights within the UK, Virgin Atlantic has released a new advert celebrating its employees that ‘fly in the face of ordinary’. Terrific send-up of adventure movie trailers!
24 December
Grant Bishop: Canada’s unfriendly skies: Why our airlines need competition
(Globe & Mail) We need more competition to discipline our airlines and their unions. Canadians should reflect on their experiences on our airlines whenever we hear our politicians argue that we need to protect our “national champions”. The shakedown that Canadian travellers face today is too high a price for maple leaves on tailfins.
6 December
The best news for IATA employees since the departure of Giovanni
Comment: can IATA move on following departure of its head of human capital?
(The Loadstar) IATA members and staff could finally see change sweep through the inscrutable organisation following the resignation of one of the old guard, Guido Gianasso, the head of ‘human capital’ and training.
Mr Gianasso, who worked closely with former chief executive Giovanni Bisignani, has been heavily criticised for creating a culture of fear in the airline association – an image not improved when he attempted to unmask and sue an employee who had savaged him anonymously on the whistle-blowing website, Glassdoor.com.
Reportedly responsible for sacking huge numbers of staff during his career, he is moving on to seek new opportunities in Asia.
The move marks the end of the ‘Italian era’ and ‘reign of terror’ at IATA, and will leave members hoping that the winds of change, promised when ex-Cathay boss Tony Tyler took over as CEO in mid-2011, will finally allow the association to modernise – and deliver value. … Under Mr Bisignani, the chief executive approval rating from staff was a stunning 0%. This has now risen to 57%, but change has not come fast enough, say staff. See also Il a supprimé 1000 emplois et craint pour sa « réputation »
27 October
Why Canadian airports are so expensive and inefficient
(Financial Post) Government taxes and fees have long carried the blame for the noncompetitive nature of Canadian airports and for the bleed of nearly 5 million passengers a year in search of cheaper flights south of the border.
But not everyone agrees taxes and fees are the primary source of what ails the air travel industry in Canada. Howard Eng, chief executive of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority, which oversees the country’s busiest airport, Pearson International, is one of them.
Mr. Eng argues that while reducing various government fees — such as airport rents, security charges, and fuel excise taxes, will certainly help — the federal government would be better served focusing on a national strategy to increase the number of passengers flying to the country. This would include the elimination of red tape for passengers transferring onto other destinations, streamlining the customs process, and making the country a focal point for travel in emerging markets like India and China.
27 August
FEATURE-Congo’s new airlines brave riskiest African skies
* African infrastructure has not kept pace with growth
* Two new airlines set out to prove Congo market viable
* One of world’s worst safety records
* Booming mining sector offers business potential
By Jonny Hogg
KINSHASA, Aug 27 (Reuters) – Its tarmac littered with dozens of dilapidated planes, the airport in Congo’s capital Kinshasa makes clear the dire state of aviation even by Africa’s generally low standards.
The planes have been abandoned either as mechanical failures or by companies that went bust in a sector where a lack of proper infrastructure means pilots sometimes navigate with the help of Google Maps and sat-nav devices like those found in cars.
“Crazy things happen here. We have to stop those crazy things happening,” says Frenchman Jean-Marc Pajot, who with his new FlyCongo airline is setting out to prove there is a market for those determined to make it work.
15 August
Inside The Airline Industry
(aeronautx.net) There is no doubt that the airline industry has suffered from the economic woes of the country. That almost goes without saying; the more important question to begin examining is what will be the long-term impact of the recession of air travel? There are several factors at play that are going beyond just the cost of a barrel of crude oil and disposable income levels of travelers. There are some actual cultural changes that may wind up breaking the industry or, forcing it to reimagine the future of airline travel.
Who survived?
Over the past decade, many old school commercial airlines have disappeared. The rising price of crude oil and the fall in demand for air travel led to many traditional regional routes being cancelled. This means that many smaller airports have ceased accommodating commercial airlines and more travelers are now splitting their trips between air and auto. “Puddle jumping” has become a thing of the past for most business travelers as the cost of short flights is now equal to or exceeds bicoastal travel. For commercial airlines, it was simply no longer cost-effective to maintain these routes as on top of all of the economic pressures, the air fleets are all aging.
3 August
Why Nigeria’s aviation industry needs urgent rescue
The Guardian, Nigeria) The more one wants to refrain from discussing the issue, the more tempting it has become to write about the allegations, denial of threat to one of Nigeria’s respected aviation professionals.
Captain Dele Ore stunned stakeholders in the aviation industry with an allegation of threat to his life by the Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah-Ogiewonyi in a telephone chat last week Friday.
This article is not to apportion blames, but one that could help to bring sanity to a sector that is in dire need of rescue.
26 July
Indian aviation in crisis: IATA
(Times of India) IATA is sounding the alarm bells for Indian aviation. IATA director general Tony Tyler said on Wednesday that “India’s aviation is in a multi-faceted crisis,” severely impacted by high costs and exorbitant taxes.
He also lamented the fact that in such a situation, the government had allowed the Delhi airport to hike charges by 346%. Indian carriers’ collective losses-cum-debt was Rs 1.32 lakh crore as of March 31, 2012.
“The financial situation of Kingfisher is dire and Air India is on government life support,” Tyler said, adding that the global aviation is concerned over the situation in India. He warned that though the country may be considering allowing foreign airlines to pick up stake in Indian carriers, “if critical domestic problems are not addressed, foreign investors will not be lining up to put their cash in Indian airlines… Under current circumstances, investors cannot see how they could ever see a return.”
5 July
Air France Flight 447: Pilot error, faulty equipment caused 2009 crash, investigators say
(AP via Toronto Star) A combination of faulty sensors and mistakes by inadequately trained pilots caused an Air France jet to plunge into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009, killing all 228 people aboard in the airline’s deadliest ever crash, French investigators said Thursday.
Investigators are urging better instruction for pilots on flying manually at high altitudes and stricter plane certification rules as a result of a three-year investigation into what happened to Flight 447.
Airbus, manufacturer of the A330 plane, said in a statement that it is working to improve speed sensors known as pitot tubes and making other efforts to avoid future such accidents. Air France stressed the equipment troubles and insisted the pilots “acted in line with the information provided by the cockpit instruments and systems. …. The reading of the various data did not enable them to apply the appropriate action.”
But the Bureau for Investigations and Analysis’ findings raised broader concerns about training for pilots worldwide flying high-tech planes when confronted with a high-altitude crisis.
12 June
China ready to impound EU planes in CO2 dispute
(Reuters) – China will take swift counter-measures that could include impounding European aircraft if the EU punishes Chinese airlines for not complying with its scheme to curb carbon emissions, the China Air Transport Association said on Tuesday.
10 June
High oil prices and Eurozone crisis, key topics at World Air Transport Summit
BEIJING: High oil prices and the unresolved European debt crisis hitting the financial bottomline of the global aviation industry would be the major focus of debate at the World Air Transport Summit beginning here tomorrow.
The mega event, being organised by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) on its 68th IATA Annual General Meeting, has brought together some 650 leaders of the global aviation industry, including airlines, aircraft makers and other service providers, for two days of intense discussions on the industry’s most important issues.
23 April
Hussein Dabbas Appointed IATA RVP for MENA
Amman – The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has appointed Hussein Dabbas as Regional Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), based in Amman, Jordan with effect from 1 June 2012.
Dabbas has served as President and CEO of Royal Jordanian Airlines since 2009. That was the culmination of a career at the carrier that spanned over three decades during which Dabbas held various positions in the airline’s commercial departments. Dabbas takes over from Dr. Majdi Sabri who will retire from IATA after the leading the association in the MENA region since 2001.
10 February
Video: Canada’s changing airline industry landscape
BNN talks to Robert Deluce, CEO, Porter Airlines, about the changing Canadian airline industry landscape.
18 January
WestJet Regional Airline May Be Reality As Early As 2013
WestJet is considering launching a new short-haul regional airline — a move observers says would intensify competition with its chief rival, Air Canada and benefit travellers.
Few details were available on the proposed regional operation, other than that the Calgary-based company is thinking about launching it as early as 2013 using a fleet of approximately 40 smaller, turboprop aircraft.
“It’s going to represent or extra competition in many communities across the country where Air Canada’s the only game in town,” Robert Kokonis, president of AirTrav Inc., said Monday.

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