Friday, September 24, 2010

Air France, KLM migrate to Amadeus’ Altea Inventory System

Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, one of the world’s largest airline groups flying more than 71 million passengers annually, and Amadeus announce the group’s successful migration to Amadeus’ Altea Inventory solution.

The migration sees the replacement of the two legacy systems that have served each airline for the last forty years and marks a major step in the group’s initiative to modernise and consolidate its Passenger Service System.

Fully integrated with Altea Reservation, the common airline group’s reservation system, Altea Inventory allows Air France-KLM to benefit from unique capabilities such as real-time seat availability across all direct and indirect channels including online distributors, and to take advantage of the most advanced revenue management techniques.

“This successful migration is a strategic step towards the transformation of our IT systems and the achievement of Air France-KLM synergies.” said Bruno Matheu, Air France-KLM eVP Marketing, Revenue-Management and Network. “Thanks to the flexibility of Altea Inventory, the Air France-KLM group has been able to migrate to a platform supporting the combined advanced needs of two major airlines whilst leveraging both carriers’ best practices”.

"The capability of Altea Inventory is a key building block towards the creation of a new generation revenue management system common to Air France and KLM that will allow global optimisation of our unique co-branded network”, added Pieter Bootsma, Air France-KLM Senior VP Revenue Management.

The project was a major undertaking over several years that delivered noteworthy improvements to the Amadeus platform such as availability cascading, full support of journey data and enhanced automated flight re-accommodation and schedule management. With nearly two million flights involved as part of the process and with more than fifty systems impacted, the migration was especially significant. Indeed, it required two critical system cutovers in only two weeks where Air France and its franchisee airlines (Regional, Brit Air, City Jet, VLM and CCM) plus KLM and its partner airlines (Kenya Airways and Martinair) were transitioned to the Amadeus platform.

“In a project of this magnitude, the collaboration between Air France, KLM and Amadeus was instrumental to ensuring a seamless project execution and a smooth operational start for the new platform” said Philippe CherIeque, Amadeus EVP, Commercial. “We are proud to have provided the necessary technology and skills to accommodate the combined complexity of such large airlines in a true partnership approach. Working with Air France and KLM was an enriching experience that pushed us to stay at the forefront of innovation and enabled the integration of interesting new features in the Altea suite”.

Air France-KLM will complement the adoption of the Altea suite with the upcoming integration of ticketing and departure control systems over the coming years, with the objective to further integrate both airlines’ critical operational processes and deliver long term competitive advantage.

Source :,-KLM-migrate-to-Amadeus%E2%80%99-Altea-Inventory-System

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pilots' alcohol limits debated

An airline pilot caught this week in Amsterdam for being over the legal alcohol limit just before takeoff highlights an issue among U.S. pilots that occurs once a month on average, government data show.

The case of the unidentified Delta Air Lines captain renews a long-standing debate about whether the federal blood-alcohol limit for pilots — .04% — is adequate to protect safety. In most states, the legal limit for driving is .08%.

About 12 commercial pilots are found to violate the FAA standard each year, according to agency data. That's a small fraction of the more than 11,000 who are tested yearly.

The pilot in Amsterdam had a blood-alcohol content of .023% when he was measured in the middle of the day, according to Dutch authorities. That means the case would not be considered a violation under U.S. law, although he would have been prohibited from flying until tests showed he was below .02%, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Elaine Weinstein, former head of safety recommendations at the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said she has been convinced by years of accident data that there should be a zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use by pilots and others who transport people for hire.
"If a pilot is drinking before he flies, it raises the question in my mind about whether this person has a substance abuse problem," Weinstein said.
Jim Hall, former chairman of the NTSB, agrees. "It's always been important, but now with the technology and the alertness required in the modern cockpit, we cannot tolerate any level of intoxication," he said.

Prompted by several high-profile cases of airline pilots flying while drunk, the FAA has become far more rigid in recent decades.
The most notorious case was in 1990, when all three members of a Northwest Airlines crew tested positive for alcohol after completing a flight to Minneapolis. The captain had a blood-alcohol level of more than .10%.

"Although the data does not suggest that alcohol abuse by pilots is a serious safety issue, we continue to remain vigilant" to ensure that it never does, FAA spokesman Les Dorr said.

Airline accidents related to alcohol in this country are extremely rare. The last major accident involving alcohol was in 1977 when a Japan Air Lines cargo DC-8 crashed shortly after takeoff at Anchorage. The NTSB found that the pilot's alcohol level far exceeded the legal limit for driving.
Former airline pilot John Cox, who was a safety officer at his carrier's union, said he believes risks of a drunk pilot causing a crash are minimal. Not only does the FAA conduct numerous unannounced tests, but the other pilot and flight attendants on each flight serve as another layer of protection against allowing a drunk pilot to get behind the controls. Airlines and pilot unions also have very aggressive programs to treat pilots with alcohol problems, Cox said.

Still, cases such as the one in Amsterdam do occur. In November, a United Airlines pilot was pulled off a flight in London after another crewmember smelled alcohol.

Delta issued a statement saying that Flight 35 from Amsterdam to Newark was canceled because the pilot "appeared to be unfit for duty."
"The crewmember has been suspended pending the outcome of our investigation," said a statement by the airline. Delta prohibits its pilots from having any alcohol in their systems when they report for duty.

Source :

New pilot flight time and rest requirements proposed

New rules to counter concerns about pilot fatigue will be considered by the House Aviation Subcommittee Thursday.

Backer of the Pilot Flight and Duty Time Rule say commercial pilots would benefit from streamlined rules on flight time, duty and rest requirements.

Over the past 15 years, fatigue has been linked to more than 250 fatalities in air carrier accidents, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, in a statement last week, said, "This proposal is a significant enhancement for aviation safety."

He told reporters the proposal would, for the first time, "give pilots the rights to decline an assignment if they are fatigued, without a penalty."

Pilot fatigue was cited as a chief contributor to the February 2009 crash of Colgan Air flight 3407. Fatigue was linked to questions about the crew's ability to recognize the plane was in trouble and how to correctly respond.

The commuter plane nosedived into a house near Buffalo, New York, killing all 49 passengers.

The proposal would consolidate the current rest requirements that vary depending on whether the flight is deemed domestic, international, or unscheduled, as with charter flights.

The FAA proposes a nine-hour minimum for rest prior to the duty period, a one-hour increase over the current rules. Cumulative fatigue also would be addressed, with new limits being established and downtime being increased where current rules apply.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt, a pilot with the old Eastern Airlines for 25 years, said the plan, if approved, "would strengthen the requirement that a pilot has to report fit for duty, fit for the mission that he or she is about to undertake. And that means being fully rested."

Babbitt added that the responsibility would be placed "with equal weight upon the carrier," to make sure commercial pilots "get the amount of regulatory rest required that's being proposed here."

Source :

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Delta Air Cancels Newark-Bound Flight on `Unfit' Crew Member in Amsterdam

Delta Air Lines Inc. said it canceled a flight from Amsterdam to Newark, New Jersey, because of concern that a crew member was “unfit for duty.”

Flight 35 was scrubbed, the crew member was suspended and passengers will be rebooked on an extra plane tomorrow, Anthony Black, a Delta spokesman, said today in an e-mail. Dutch police said a 52-year-old airline captain from New Jersey was arrested on an alcohol charge, without identifying his employer.

Authorities pulled the pilot off his plane after receiving an anonymous tip that he was drunk, said Jos Klaren, a spokesman for the police. A breath test showed the pilot’s blood-alcohol level exceeded the legal limit, Klaren said.

“Delta’s policy is that pilots shall not report for duty with the presence of any alcohol in their system,” Black said.

The arrest was at least the third involving a U.S. pilot and alcohol in 16 months. In November, a United Airlines pilot was charged with operating an aircraft under the influence after failing a breath test at London’s Heathrow airport. An American Airlines pilot was arrested at Heathrow in May 2009 after he smelled of alcohol before a flight to Chicago.

Klaren said the pilot at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport had pulled away from the gate when police came to meet the plane. Dutch prosecutors fined the man 700 euros ($910), Klaren said.

Delta’s Black declined to elaborate on why the crew member on Flight 35 wasn’t judged to be fit to fly, or to say whether the person was a pilot or flight attendant. U.S. Federal Aviation Administration restrictions on alcohol include a ban on any drinking by a pilot within eight hours of a flight.

Flight 35 was due to depart Schiphol at 2 p.m. local time and arrive at Newark at 4:30 p.m., according to Delta’s website, which showed the trip’s status as “canceled,” without elaborating.

Delta declined to say how many people were on board or to identify the type of plane. The flight was supposed to use a Boeing Co. 767, according to industry website

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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Don't let Ryanair see these: Seat with 23 inches of legroom unveiled to increase number of passengers in 'saddle class'

It brings a whole new meaning to the term cattle class, a plane seat that is shaped like a saddle and could allow airlines to squeeze in even more passengers.
Named the 'Skyrider', the new seat design is set to be unveiled in America this week and promises to attract plenty of attention from airlines looking to increase the number of seats in the economy class sections of planes, apparently without compromising on comfort.
Passengers sit at an angle with just 23 inches of legroom between them and the seat in front - a whopping seven inches less than the current average seat pitch of around 30 inches.

A yee-ha moment? Airlines could be attracted to the Skyrider saddle seat because it would enable them to squeeze more passengers into a cabin without compromising strict safety rules dictated by European aviation authorities
The concept, designed by Italian aircraft seat design company Aviointeriors, could especially appeal to no-frills carriers who are keen to make flights more profitable. Earlier this year, Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary suggested the Irish airline may soon carry a number of 'vertical seats', although plans seem to have been scuppered by European aviation authorities.

Plane crazy: Earlier this year Michael O'Leary announced plans for vertical seating - where passengers would perch for the duration of a flight - on Ryanair planes
The Skyrider is to make its debut at the Aircraft Interiors Expo Americas conference in Long Beach, California and is styled on saddles used by cowboys in the Wild West - the makers claim you can sit on a horse for long periods of time and not feel discomfort.

Several airlines have already expressed an interest according to Dominique Menoud, director general of Aviointeriors Group: 'We feel extremely confident that this concept will have great appeal to airlines for economic purposes.'
'For flights anywhere from one to possibly even up to three hours this would be comfortable seating,' he adds. 'The seat is like a saddle. Cowboys ride eight hours on their horses during the day and still feel comfortable in the saddle.'
Passengers would pay less to sit in an area of the cabin installed with the seats.
In July this year, Ryanair's O'Leary said his airline would offer vertical seats - essentially passengers would perch on a narrow shelf and lean against a flat padded backboard - for as little as £4 each way.
The company's colourful chief executive said he would remove the back ten rows of seats from 250 planes and replace them with 15 rows of so-called ‘vertical seating’.
They would be restrained with a strap stretching over their shoulder, the budget airline said. But the bizarre initiative ran into an immediate obstacle. European aviation safety regulators said the perches would not meet safety rules.

Has anyone got a shoehorn? Many would argue that passengers flying with low cost carriers such as Ryanair are already too cramped
The European Aviation Safety Agency based in Cologne, Germany, dismissed the plans saying: 'To our knowledge, no airlines or other operators have made an application for stand-up seats,’ a spokesman said.
'What they are proposing would be unprecedented and highly unlikely to be certified in the near future.
‘Stand-up seating would require changes to European rules for the certification of aircraft. The current rules determine that each passenger has to be provided with “a seat or, if they are immobile, a berth”. This is neither.’
This isn't a problem the Skyrider is likely to encounter as it is effectively a seat. Gaetano Perugini, Aviointeriors' director of research and development who created the seat said at no point was the company suggesting passengers stand.
'Even though the (distance between seats) is extremely narrow, we are talking about seats, not about having passengers simply standing on the floor,' he says. 'You are sitting on a special seat, but it is a seat.'
If a European carrier commits to installing the seats on their aircraft then the company would apply to aviation authorities for proper certification, said Menoud.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

U.S. aviation eyes government financing

Aerospace Industries Association President and CEO Marion Blakey gestures as she speaks during the 2010 Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit 2010 in Washington, September 8, 2010.

The U.S. aviation and aerospace industries are considering asking Congress for a slice of the $50 billion in infrastructure assistance proposed by President Barack Obama, a top trade group official said on Wednesday.

Marion Blakey, president of the Aerospace Industries Association, told the Reuters Aerospace and Defense Summit that her organization has had discussions with other industry groups about the prospect of financing for new cockpit navigation equipment required for air traffic modernization.

"The president has opened the door," Blakey said, adding that it was up to airlines and other industry interests to work with Congress to see what amount of money would be viable.

Obama is proposing the infrastructure financing as part of an election year plan to jump-start the U.S. economy and create jobs.

It is unclear whether Congress will follow through with any transportation financing or tax breaks for business that Obama has requested.

Aerospace contractors involved in air traffic programs include Boeing Co (BA.N), GE Aviation (GE.N), ITT Corp (ITT.N), Harris Corp (HRS.N), Textron Inc (TXT.N), which owns small-plane maker Cessna, Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) and Honeywell (HON.N). The biggest airlines include United Airlines, a unit of UAL Corp (UAUA.O), Delta Air Lines (DAL.N), Continental Airlines (CAL.N) and American Airlines, a unit of AMR Corp (AMR.N).

The aviation industry, which includes commercial and business jet manufacturers, airlines and suppliers, has not arrived at a figure for assistance, Blakey said.

Nor does industry know yet what kind of financing the administration and Congress would propose for aviation. Obama has singled out the need for new funding to modernize the nation's aging air traffic system.

"Infrastructure is as much in the air as it is on the ground," Blakey said in explaining that money for aviation could help spur employment.

Blakey has previously said a $6 billion investment in air traffic modernization equipment would create 150,000 jobs. Sweeping legislation to authorize billions in spending on the next phase of air traffic upgrades has stalled in Congress, and lawmakers are unlikely to act before the end of the year.
The leading U.S. airline trade group, the Air Transport Association, said it was still "critically important to fully understand" Obama's plan.

"We are looking forward to learning more about what government decision-makers might have in mind," the group said in a statement.

Replacing the aging radar-based air traffic network with a multibillion-dollar system relying on satellites would require airlines to outfit jetliners with sophisticated cockpit displays, ground equipment and other technology.

The cost could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars, industry executives have said.

Airlines argue that efficient air traffic control is in the national interest and believe government should cover basic costs.

Carriers were upset that they were left out of the 2009 stimulus package while the Transportation Department received $8 billion for high-speed rail grants.

Airlines contribute passenger fees, fuel taxes and other money to a federal trust fund that pays for maintaining air traffic services run by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Carriers have not asked the government to do away with these levies, although they often complain of being overtaxed.

Airlines would still be responsible for training crews and maintaining equipment on those planes.

Source :

Commercial Flight-Hours May Break 2008 Record, Honeywell Says

Commercial passenger aircraft are set to break a 2008 record for worldwide flight-hours this year, partly because of international travel, a Honeywell International Inc. executive said.

“We are very much in the recovery of the commercial cycle,” John Bolton, head of the company’s commercial airlines unit, said in an interview yesterday.

Honeywell, a maker of aviation instruments including so- called black-box recorders, based the projection on information from industry data provider OAG. Honeywell declined to give the flight-hour tally. OAG confirmed flight hours are set to reach a record, and Diana Cronan, a spokeswoman, said totals weren’t immediately available.

Passenger traffic at airports around the world rose 6.9 percent in July, for a year-to-date increase of 5.9 percent, according to a report last week from Airports Council International. Boeing Co., the world’s second-largest maker of commercial aircraft, said yesterday that passenger traffic so far is “very close or over” 2008 levels.

Scheduled flight-hours track flight time starting at pushback from the gate through return, said Karen Crabtree, a spokeswoman for Morris Township, New Jersey-based Honeywell. The data is for planes seating 70 passengers or more, she said.

Flight hours may be increasing as company representatives travel outside their countries to identify and tap new markets, Bolton said.

“I would think it’s international, all of the international growth, the interconnectivity of the world and companies trying to grow, reaching out globally to find new markets and adjacencies,” he said.

Emerging-market growth prospects remain “robust” even as advanced economies, led by the U.S., are slowing, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in an e-mailed note this week. The bank reiterated a forecast for 6.1 percent expansion in emerging markets next year.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

In-flight calling

Brits don't want in-flight calling. Er, too late, probably. Sorry.

A new survey reveals that the majority of Brits don't want regulations on in-flight calling relaxed... a shame since those regulations were relaxed more than two years ago.

Online store Mobile Phone Expert asked more than 1500 people if they "welcomed the change in legislation that allows passengers to use their mobile phones". Almost half reckoned that in-flight calling would disturb their journey, though 34 per cent agreed that "it was about time regulation was relaxed".

A strange sentiment when the regulations on in-flight calling were published by Ofcom in March 2008, with the service being demonstrated by Air France a month later. The inability to make calls while in the air is now a commercial issue, not a regulatory one.

To get a mobile working the aircraft must be fitted with a femtocell (a tiny base station), and a satellite uplink to carry the calls. The femtocell also has to be a particularly smart one to keep status updates to a minimum, as every time the handset registers with the network it costs the airline money. That's expensive, and while some airlines are slowly rolling the technology into their aircraft others are holding back until they see some demand.

Data services are easier to provide: no unchargeable registration to worry about with Wi-Fi. Lots of flights (particularly in the USA) provide Wi-Fi access from the plane - at a price of course.

But Mobile Phone Expert is concerned that 58 per cent of the over 35s don't want in-flight calling, and that "this small change to the rules could have a huge impact on an airline’s business". We're not convinced that Ofcom sees its extensive consultations and statements on the subject as a "small change", but we're not convinced that Mobile Phone Expert is all that expert either.

Source :


ARCHIVE : Europe Begins Testing In-Flight Use of Cellphones
Apr 18th 2008

François Germain, a BP executive, was one of the first passengers to put Air France’s pilot program allowing cellphone calls in flight to the test. The results last week were not quite as he hoped.

From Seat 14C, Mr. Germain punched in the number on his cellphone to his assistant in Paris and waited a few moments for the signal to bounce from a satellite in space to a receiver on the ground 39,000 feet below. “I’m not hearing you very well,” the assistant yelled when he got through. “It sounds like I’m talking to a small robot.”

While airlines in the United States have shunned the use of cellphones in flight — mainly because their passengers have argued vociferously for keeping one last cellphone-free sanctuary — some European and Mideast carriers are preparing to offer the service as early as this summer. Last week, regulators in Brussels gave a green light to the airlines, setting up a common licensing arrangement.

Air France wants to be among the first, beginning an experiment to determine whether European travelers will appreciate the convenience or rebel against the possibility of being stuck next to a loquacious seatmate.

Emirates, the largest carrier in the Mideast, has already equipped an Airbus A340 fight from Dubai to Casablanca with mobile technology and intends to extend the service to its entire fleet over the next several months. Ryanair, a low-cost European carrier popular among a young and chatty clientele, is planning to offer in-flight calls, anticipating potentially lucrative profits from the service.

But a number of hurdles must be overcome before more airlines offer the service. The technology, which allows cellphone users to make and receive calls through an onboard base station linked to a satellite, delivers a still-patchy quality that keeps most in-flight calls short and tinny. And then there are the eye-popping roaming charges of up to 3 euros ($4.72) a minute.

On a recent Air France test flight between Paris and Vienna, mobile calls made using the technology that is dominant in Europe generally allowed passengers to connect to ground phones after a couple of tries. Calls made from the ground to the plane, though, tended to go directly to voice mail.

Only six passengers could get a signal at one time — to avoid interfering with the aircraft equipment. OnAir, the company that supplies the technology, said that number could soon double to 12 and possibly more in coming weeks. Since it was difficult to reach passengers in midair, ring tones did not sound, granting passengers on the test flight a silence that is sure to be filled once the technology improves.

BlackBerry users who tried to download e-mail messages found themselves engaged in an effort in futility.

Working out the kinks is probably only a matter of time. The bigger issue is whether the airlines will confront a backlash among passengers who simply want a quiet flight.

For that reason, Lufthansa, Europe’s second-largest carrier, after Air France KLM, has said it will not offer the service, after travelers made clear their distaste.

“Our passengers have told us that they don’t want to have the noise on board,” said Thomas Jachnow, a spokesman for Lufthansa, which is based in Frankfurt. “They say, ‘There will be mobiles ringing and people talking, and meanwhile I have to sleep because I have to be relaxed for a business meeting the next morning,’ ” he said. “They don’t want to be disturbed.”

Andrea Barany, a civil servant from Budapest who took the Air France test flight to Vienna, declined to snap open her cellphone. “I don’t need to be contactable all the time,” she said. “I can wait until we land.”

Linda Woolard, who was part of a group of Roman Catholics from Ohio visiting religious sites in Europe, was not pleased with the intrusion either. “It’s better to be without a cellphone,” she said. “It’s gone far too far. Let’s cut down the stress of life and go back to the way we lived without them.”

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission bars the use of cellphones in midair. The initial ban was imposed out of fear of interference with both onboard communications and cellular networks on the ground. Several airlines have announced plans to offer broad Web access, which, in theory, could allow travelers the option of making phone calls over the Internet. But the airlines have said they will not offer that service — at least for now.

The technology being tested in Europe links a traveler’s mobile phone to an onboard network connected to the ground via satellite. Transmission levels are at low enough power to avoid affecting the safety of aircraft equipment.

The system uses an onboard base station in the plane that communicates with passengers’ phones. Through low power, the connection creates a wireless network within the cabin.

The base station routes phone traffic to and from the plane through a satellite, which beams the signal to ground receivers. The control unit on the plane, meanwhile, ensures that cellphones do not connect to any base stations on the ground.

It has long been technically possible for travelers to make or receive cellphone calls, below a certain altitude. That is why passengers on United Airlines Flight 93, one of the four planes hijacked in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, were able to call emergency officials and family members before the plane went down.

If passengers are going to be allowed to make calls, airlines want to control it, mostly because it could serve as an additional source of much-needed revenue. “Mobiles have become such an extension of people’s lives that it is only natural to bring it into air travel,” said Peter Sherrard, head of communications for Ryanair. “We are not concerned about the noise because our cabins have never been quiet places. People are constantly coming up and down the aisles selling scratch cards or food and we believe there is a market for this.”

Ryanair, based in Ireland, plans to start its service with 20 aircraft before expanding to its entire fleet of 163 planes. Mr. Sherrard added that the airline had a private arrangement with OnAir, which owns the network operating in the plane and which, in turn, bills the passengers’ provider.

To be able to phone in flight, passengers must have a roaming agreement with their mobile phone service that allows them to make international calls. The rates are determined by each network provider. OnAir estimates they will average about 2 to 3 euros a minute.

Although Mr. Germain, the BP manager, seemed pleased that his cellphone connected to his office, he said he remained of two minds about navigating in an increasingly connected world.

An enthusiastic user of new technology, he said he often took the high-speed train from Paris to Marseilles because he could use his laptop computer, cellphone and e-mail provider on board. And if airlines started to offer the same possibilities with shorter travel times, he said he might consider switching.

On the other hand, he said, he remains nostalgic for the days when travel was still a “zone of calm.”

Source :

Friday, September 3, 2010

U.S. officers take up posts at Paris airport

American officers are taking up posts at Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport to help identify potential terrorists or other high-risk passengers heading to the United States.

Officers from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's Immigration Advisory Program joined French airport personnel Thursday. U.S. officers are working at airports in seven other countries under the program.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security expanded the program after an attempted terrorist attack by a passenger on an Amsterdam-Detroit flight last Christmas Day.

The Americans can recommend that airlines and governments block a passenger from boarding, but can't make arrests.

Aside from identifying terrorists, the program aims to prevent human smuggling and passport fraud.

Source :

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Airbus to start 'green flight' trials with A380

Airbus, in partnership with Air France and air navigation service providers from UK, Canada and the USA, is about to commence ‘Transatlantic Green Flight’ (TGF) trials with an Air France A380 on commercial flights from New York to Paris.

The A380 TGF trials are part of the second phase of the Atlantic Interoperability Initiative to reduce Emissions – AIRE2. The first phase, AIRE, was launched by the European Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June 2007.

The TGF flights are scheduled to take place over 6-8 weeks, starting in the fourth quarter of 2010. They will cover the optimisation of the taxi-out procedure at John F. Kennedy (JFK) airport in New York, as well as the en-route leg over the Atlantic.

Overall it is estimated that each A380 flight can reduce CO2 emissions by around 3 tonnes, compared with existing procedures.

“These transatlantic flight trials will help to move the industry towards more efficient operational concepts and sustainable growth over the longer term,” says Charles Champion, Executive Vice President of Engineering at Airbus. “What we trial today with the A380 will contribute to setting tomorrow’s standards, thanks to system-wide Air Traffic Management improvements prepared by programmes like SESAR and NextGen.”

TGF operational contributions
The FAA will support Air France to start each trial with a fuel-saving ‘reduced engine taxi’ from the gate to the runway at JFK. This will be enabled via estimates of taxi time, allowing for A380 taxiing powered by only 2 of its 4 engines. Meanwhile, NATS and Nav Canada will facilitate the Atlantic portion of the flight which will reduce CO2 emissions through an optimised trajectory where more flexibility will be arranged for speed, altitude and lateral routing. This trajectory takes advantage of the A380’s high optimum cruise altitude of 39 000 ft and above.

Source :

France arrests man for trying to dazzle pilots with laser

A man appeared in court Tuesday accused of trying to dazzle pilots with a laser beam as they were landing at France's second-busiest airport Paris Orly, aviation authorities said.

"Several pilots complained and the man was arrested near the runway," a spokesman for the civil aviation authority said.

Airport security officials said three pilots, including crew of Air France and EasyJet flights, warned the control tower on Sunday, which alerted the police and the man was caught in the act.

A spokeswoman for Air France said its pilot was never in any difficulty but there had been a growing number of such incidents.

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