Saturday, January 19, 2013

Europe hit by blizzards, causing air traffic chaos

LONDON: Extreme winter weather swept across western Europe on Saturday, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at London's main international airport and claiming several lives in Spain, Portugal, Scotland and France, including those of three Mali-bound soldiers.

The frigid temperatures also caused delays and cancellations on major railway lines including the Eurostar train service, and transport authorities warned of further traffic disruptions with more blizzards forecast for Sunday.

In London, thousands of passengers were forced to camp out on the floor at Heathrow Airport overnight as hundreds of flights to and from the British capital were cancelled.

"There are lots of bodies lying around in the airport. If feels like there's been a natural disaster," Jerry Meng from Los Angeles, whose flight to New York was cancelled, told the BBC.

London's other main airports, Gatwick and Stansted, managed to operate fairly normally Saturday.

For Sunday, the snow is expected to reduce traffic at Heathrow by 20 percent, and French air traffic authorities have ordered a 40 percent cut in takeoffs and landings at Paris' Charles de Gaulle and Orly airports.

Aeroports de Paris, which operates the city's main airports, said air traffic there would be disrupted from late Saturday "and all day Sunday".

Air France said all of its long-haul flights would operate normally Sunday, but that about 40 percent of its short- and medium-haul flights would be affected by the disruptions.

Snow and ice covering large parts of France led to several fatal car crashes, one of which killed three French soldiers about to join comrades fighting in Mali, authorities said.

The troops were travelling in an army car with their military packs and weapons when their vehicle crashed in an accident involving two trucks and two cars.

In total, six people were killed on the slippery French roads Saturday, and the nation's weather services have forecast more snow across the northern and southeastern parts of the country over the weekend.

The French railway SNCF said high-speed train travellers could expect delays of up to 40 minutes for all TGV destinations Saturday night, as train conductors had been ordered to slow down because of the elevated risks linked to the storms.

In the Scottish Highlands on Saturday, an avalanche killed four climbers and seriously injured one, while a sixth survived, police said.

The cold snap also led to power outages, particularly in Northern Ireland where at least 900 homes were without electricity Saturday.

In southern Europe, the fierce weather claimed several lives, killing two men in Spain as the force of winds whipping the country's southeastern coast caused a wall to collapse on them in the city of Cartagena.

Spain's national rail operator ADIF said wind damage forced delays to high-speed trains linking Madrid with the major cities of Seville and Valencia.

The country's interior ministry issued an alert for the weekend, warning of snow and rainstorms nationwide with winds up to 100 kilometres per hour and rough seas in the Mediterranean.

In Portugal, an elderly man was killed after strong winds hurled him into a door in the central municipality of Abrantes, leaving him with deadly head injuries. Two teenagers were hospitalised after a chimney collapsed in Agualva, in the Lisbon suburbs.

The Portugese meteorological institute has issued the highest weather alert for six of its 18 districts. According to rescue services, some 3,900 weather-related incidents were reported in Portugal between Friday morning and noon Saturday.

Some welcomed the icy spell.

In Russia, thousands of Orthodox devotees braved the cold weather and plunged into holes cut into frozen rivers and ponds to celebrate the Orthodox Epiphany.


Airlines Discount Tickets That Are Bought on Weekends

Air fares are an average of 5% lower for tickets purchased on weekends than for comparable tickets bought during the week—or at least that was the case in the fourth quarter of 2004, the period for which Steven L. Puller and Lisa M. Taylor of Texas A&M University studied sales for six U.S. airlines. The companies may believe that people booking flights on weekends are more likely to be leisure travelers, who are more sensitive to prices than business fliers, the researchers say.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Emergency for B787 Dreamliner may be a disaster for Boeing

Paul Lewis, spokesperson of Boeing in Seattle told eTN: We're working with our client ANA Airlines and regulatory s authority to assist in this issue. We don’t have any more details to share at this point.”

Boeing has no further comments and referred eTN to ANA.

Media relations for ANA did not answer phone calls, and reservation phone numbers were unable to handle calls to rebook clients stranded by ANA's suspension of all Dreamliner Boeing 787 services by the Japanese carrier.

An All Nippon 787 made an emergency landing in Japan today because of smoke coming from the aircraft, prompting the decision to ground its entire fleet for the first time, said Ryosei Nomura, a spokesman for Tokyo-based All Nippon. Japan Air will also idle its fleet today. The carriers didn’t say for how long the planes will be grounded.
Today’s All Nippon flight left at 8 a.m. local time from Ube airport in Yamaguchi prefecture, southern Japan, bound for Tokyo’s Haneda airport, Nomura said. The Takamatsu airport is also in southern Japan, in Kagawa prefecture.

A strange odor was detected on the cockpit, forcing the pilot to evacuate the passengers through a chute after the emergency landing, All Nippon Vice President Osamu Shinobe said at a press conference in Tokyo. One passenger was taken to hospital because of wrist pain.

After the emergency landing, pilots asked the control tower to confirm smoke they’d seen from the cockpit, said Yuzuru Ogasawara, chief of the transport ministry’s Takamatsu airport bureau.

“We have received reports from the control tower that they confirmed the smoke, and I have seen that passengers evacuated from the escape chute into the airport,” he said. “We have not confirmed if anyone on board was injured.”

Japan’s public broadcaster NHK reported that all 129 passengers and eight crew members were safely evacuated.

Japan-based All Nippon Airlines (ANA) recently expanded its route network with its first arrival into Silicon Valley’s own Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) on Friday January 11, 2013. Dreamliner service to Seattle was also recently launched.

The Oct. 26 inaugural flight on launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) left Tokyo to much fanfare, a special round-trip ANA charter flight to Hong Kong to mark the 787's entrance into regularly scheduled passenger service.

The emergency landing, which the carrier said it will probe, comes a week after the lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines 787 caught fire on Jan. 7 in Boston. That incident prompted a review by U.S. regulators of the design and manufacturing of the Dreamliner, Boeing’s most technologically-advanced jet, and the first to use lithium-ion batteries and to have a composite- plastic body.

“This is not good,” said Andrew Orchard, a Hong Kong- based analyst at CIMB Securities HK Ltd. “There could be some sort of softness in demand in the short term, but I don’t think the incidents will have a huge impact on demand in the long term.”

Currently All Nippon Airways Co., Japan Airlines, Air India, Ethiopian Airlines, Chile’s LAN Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines SA, United Continental Holdings Inc. and Qatar Airways are operating the Dreamliner.

The Dreamliner is the pride of Boeing.
Here are headlines of Dreamliner B787 media releases circulated by Boeing for the last 3 years.

Nov. 12, 2012 Boeing Increases 787 Production Rate
Oct. 23, 2012 Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines and Seattle Anesthesia Outreach Join Together for first 787 Dreamliner Humanitarian Flight
Oct. 05, 2012 Boeing Delivers First South Carolina-built 787 Dreamliner
Sep. 25, 2012 Boeing Celebrates First Anniversary of First 787 Delivery
Aug. 14, 2012 Boeing Celebrates Delivery of Ethiopian Airlines' First 787
May 18, 2012 Boeing Announces Final Leg of 787 Dream Tour
May 07, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes Washington, DC Debut
May 01, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes Norwegian Debut in Oslo
Apr. 27, 2012 Boeing Rolls Out First 787 Dreamliner Built in South Carolina
Apr. 17, 2012 Boeing, ANA Celebrate First 787 Biofuel Flight
Apr. 11, 2012 Boeing Announces Sixth Leg of 787 Dream Tour
Apr. 09, 2012 Boeing, Transaero Airlines Finalize Order for Four 787 Dreamliners
Apr. 06, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes Turkish Debut in Istanbul
Mar. 26, 2012 Boeing Celebrates Delivery of Japan Airlines' First Two 787 Dreamliners
Mar. 26, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Lands in Santiago for Chilean Debut
Mar. 22, 2012 Boeing Announces Fifth Segment of 787 Dream Tour
Mar. 20, 2012 Boeing to Showcase 787 Dreamliner at 2012 FIDAE Air Show
Mar. 13, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Wins Coveted Collier Trophy
Mar. 12, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner for Air India Debuts in New Delhi
Mar. 08, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Team Honored for Extraordinary Accomplishments With Aviation Week Laureate Award
Mar. 07, 2012 Boeing Completes Flight Testing for Certification of 787s with GE Engines
Mar. 01, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Kicks Off Fourth Leg of the Dream Tour in Toronto
Mar. 01, 2012 Boeing, Air Astana Announce Order for Four 767-300ERs and Three 787 Dreamliners
Feb. 28, 2012 Boeing Receives Official Certificates for 787 World Records
Feb. 22, 2012 Boeing Announces Next Segment of 787 Dream Tour
Feb. 11, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Arrives in Singapore
Feb. 09, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Debuts in Bangkok for Dream Tour
Jan. 27, 2012 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Named 'Aircraft of Legend'
Jan. 10, 2012 Boeing, Air France-KLM Finalize Order for 25 787s
Dec. 20, 2011 Boeing South Carolina Site Achieves 787 Weight on Wheels Milestone
Dec. 14, 2011 Boeing Unveils First 787 to Enter Service for Japan Airlines
Dec. 12, 2011 Boeing, Etihad Airways Announce Order for 10 787-9 Dreamliners
Dec. 11, 2011 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Touches Down in Africa for First Time
Dec. 08, 2011 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Sets Speed, Distance Records
Dec. 08, 2011 Boeing, ALC Finalize Order for 787s and Next-Generation 737s
Dec. 04, 2011 Boeing Launches 787 Dream Tour in China
Nov. 23, 2011 Boeing Announces 787 Dream Tour
Nov. 15, 2011 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Completes Change Incorporation in San Antonio
Nov. 14, 2011 Boeing, Oman Air Announce Order for Six Boeing 787 Dreamliners
Nov. 12, 2011 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Arrives at Dubai Air Show
Nov. 11, 2011 Boeing Opens South Carolina Delivery Center
Nov. 03, 2011 Boeing South Carolina Ranks in the Top 15 on EPA's Fortune 500 List of Green Power Purchasers
Sep. 26, 2011 Boeing, ANA Celebrate First 787 Dreamliner Delivery
Sep. 25, 2011 Boeing, ANA Complete Contractual Delivery of First 787 Dreamliner
Aug. 26, 2011 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Receives FAA, EASA Certification
Aug. 26, 2011 ANA, Boeing Set Date for First 787 Dreamliner Delivery
Aug. 18, 2011 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Completes Flight Testing for Type Certification
Aug. 06, 2011 Boeing, ANA Roll Out the First 787 Dreamliner that Will Enter into Service
Jul. 13, 2011 Boeing Demonstrates 787 Dreamliner Capabilities in New Delhi
Jul. 12, 2011 Boeing and ANA Conclude 787 Service Ready Operational Validation
Jul. 04, 2011 Boeing and ANA Begin 787 Service Readiness Validation in Japan
Jun. 21, 2011 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Arrives at Le Bourget
Jun. 10, 2011 Boeing Opens New South Carolina 787 Final Assembly Building
Jun. 07, 2011 First ANA Crews Complete Boeing 787 Pilot Training
May 26, 2011 Boeing and ANA to Conduct 787 Service Readiness Validation in Japan
Apr. 26, 2011 Boeing Begins 787 Dreamliner Pilot Training with Launch Customer
Apr. 19, 2011 Boeing Announces Renewable Energy Partnership with South Carolina Electric & Gas
Apr. 18, 2011 Boeing Ready to Deliver 787 Pilot Training on Global Scale
Mar. 25, 2011 Boeing Places Final Beam on New Interiors Building
Mar. 07, 2011 Boeing Begins Change Incorporation Work on 787 Dreamliner
Feb. 24, 2011 Boeing Completes 1,000th 787 Flight
Feb. 17, 2011 Boeing Donates 'Legends of Flight' Proceeds to Washington State LASER
Jan. 18, 2011 Boeing Sets 787 First Delivery for Third Quarter
Dec. 23, 2010 Boeing Resumes 787 Flight Testing
Nov. 24, 2010 Boeing Initiates Changes to 787 Power Panel, Updates to Software
Nov. 16, 2010 Two Boeing 787 Dreamliners to Return to Seattle; Laredo Investigation Continues
Nov. 11, 2010 Updated Boeing Statement on 787 Dreamliner ZA002 Incident
Nov. 10, 2010 Update on Boeing 787 Dreamliner ZA002 Incident
Nov. 03, 2010 Boeing Offers Exchange Program for 787 Dreamliner Parts
Oct. 04, 2010 Sixth Boeing 787 Makes First Flight, Testing Program Making Good Progress
Sep. 24, 2010 Boeing Marks Construction Milestone on South Carolina 787 Final Assembly Building
Sep. 13, 2010 Boeing Begins Testing on 787 Dreamliner Fatigue Airframe
Sep. 03, 2010 Boeing Conducts Remote 787 Testing
Aug. 26, 2010 Boeing Sets 787 First Delivery Date for Mid-First Quarter 2011
Aug. 26, 2010 Boeing Launches 787 Dreamliner Flight Training; Unveils Suite of 787 Training Devices
Aug. 16, 2010 Boeing Training & Flight Services Receives FAA Provisional Approval for 787 Dreamliner Pilot Training Courses
Jul. 20, 2010 Boeing Executive Panel Provides 787 Dreamliner Overview
Jul. 20, 2010 Boeing, Royal Jordanian Sign Order for Three Additional 787 Dreamliners
Jul. 18, 2010 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Makes International Debut
Jul. 01, 2010 Boeing Completes Firm Configuration of 787-9 Dreamliner
Jun. 24, 2010 Boeing Elects to Conduct Inspections on 787s Before Flying
Jun. 17, 2010 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Passes 1,000 Hours of Flying
Jun. 16, 2010 Boeing Completes First Flight of GE-Powered 787
Jun. 04, 2010 Boeing 787 First Flight Event Wins PRSA Silver Anvil
May 26, 2010 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Lands in Colorado Springs
May 25, 2010 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Arrives in Arizona
May 17, 2010 Boeing Model 40 Meets the 787 Dreamliner
May 13, 2010 ANA Pilots First Customer Crew to Fly Boeing 787 Dreamliner
May 12, 2010 Boeing Completes First 787 GEnx Engine Runs
May 03, 2010 Boeing to Manufacture Certain 787 Interior Parts in South Carolina
Apr. 29, 2010 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Arrives in San Antonio
Apr. 22, 2010 787 Dreamliner Undergoing Extreme-Weather Testing in Florida
Apr. 20, 2010 Boeing 787 Flight-Test Program Progressing
Apr. 07, 2010 Boeing Confirms Success on 787 Wing, Fuselage Ultimate Load Test
Apr. 06, 2010 Boeing Completes First 787 Dreamliner Maintenance Training Class
Apr. 05, 2010 Boeing 787 Final Assembly and Delivery, Charleston Facility Taking Shape
Mar. 28, 2010 Boeing Completes Ultimate-Load Wing Test on 787
Mar. 14, 2010 Fourth 787 Joins Boeing Flight-Test Fleet
Mar. 09, 2010 Boeing 787 Begins First Flight-Test Operations Outside of Washington
Feb. 25, 2010 Boeing and United Airlines Finalize 787 Order
Feb. 25, 2010 Boeing's ZA004 Joins 787 Flight-Test Program
Feb. 16, 2010 Final Boeing 747 Dreamlifter Enters Service
Feb. 03, 2010 Boeing Unveils First 787 Dreamliner Interior on 3rd Flight-Test Airplane
Feb. 02, 2010 Boeing Moves 787 Dreamliner Fatigue Test Airframe to Testing Rig
Jan. 29, 2010 Boeing Provides First Look at 787 Stall Tests
Jan. 15, 2010 Boeing 787 Dreamliner Achieves Initial Airworthiness Milestone

All Nippon was the first customer for the plane, which entered service in late 2011. The 787 has been plagued by incidents since then, including fuel leaks and faulty parts, most of which have been typical for a new model’s first year or two and none of which have caused injuries.

The airport’s runways have been shut following the incident, said Yorimasa Tojo, a spokesman at the transport ministry’s Takamatsu airport bureau. “The runways will remain closed until we at least move the plane,” he said. All passengers have safely evacuated into the airport building, he said.

Shares of GS Yuasa Corp. (6674), which makes the lithium ion batteries for the 787, tumbled as much as 4.8 percent, the most since Oct. 23, in Tokyo trading.

The battery maker hasn’t heard of any change in production plan of the 787, spokesman Tsutomu Nishijima said today. A spokesman at Toray Inc., which makes the carbon-fiber for the plane’s body, couldn’t be reached for comments. Hideo Ikuno, a spokesman for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., which produces wing boxes for the 787s, said the company’s delivery of parts depends on Boeing’s schedule.

This is a crucial year for the 787 as Chicago-based Boeing increases deliveries, trying to get out from under the weight of seven delays to the jet’s introduction that spanned more than three years. Boeing is set to double 787 production this year to help fill remaining orders for about 800.

The planemaker has delivered about 50 of the jets to eight customers: All Nippon Airways Co., Japan Airlines, Air India, Ethiopian Airlines, Chile’s LAN Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines SA, United Continental Holdings Inc. and Qatar Airways.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

More problems for Boeing's Dreamliner

The crew of a Japan Airlines Dreamliner loaded with 181 passengers apparently was unaware of fuel spewing from a wing as the jetliner prepared to thunder down the runway on Tuesday in Boston.

It was only due to an alert from the pilot of another plane that Flight 7's takeoff for Tokyo was abandoned and the Boeing 787 towed to the gate, the second problem in two days for a JAL Dreamliner at Logan International Airport.

An electrical fire on Monday damaged an empty Dreamliner on the same tarmac.

The unusual twin incidents added to service questions about the highly touted plane that experienced a very difficult development and clearly has growing pains, according to safety experts.

Boeing's chief project engineer for the 787 said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday that he is "100 percent convinced the airplane is safe to fly."

"There are issues we have seen that we will need to work through, and just like any new airplane program we work through those issues and we move on," said Mike Sinnett.

The fuel leakage was due to an open valve, Japan Airlines spokeswoman Sze Hunn said Wednesday.

The leak came from the left wing surge tank vent, Hunn said.

"Further inspection of the cockpit messages showed that one of four valves connecting the center tank and left main tank was opened and had resulted in fuel flowing from the center tank to the left main tank and subsequently into the surge tank near the wing tip and out the vent," Hunn said.

"The valve that the indicator showed was opened (the left outboard refuel valve), was deactivated/made inoperative and the flight was cleared to depart again," Hunn said in a statement.

 Dreamliner catches fire at airport Boeing unveils new 787 Dreamliner

Air traffic control recordings from captured Tuesday's incident as the the wide body was on the taxiway.

"Hey, that Japan Air may know it but they have fuel spewing out the leftward wing quite a bit," the pilot of another plane told the control tower, which radioed the JAL crew and halted takeoff.

"You mean fuel leak from left wing?" came the response from the JAL cockpit, according to

"Yes ... there appears to be a fuel leak from your left wing," controllers said again.

Airport fire and cleanup crews responded to the spill.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it was investigating the matter, but the National Transportation Safety Board said it would not do so.

More problems for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner

No safety board involvement indicated the reason behind the leak was probably determined quickly and remedied. The flight took off later in the day.

It appears Monday's electrical fire that injured a firefighter was a more pressing issue for investigators, the manufacturer and the global airline industry that has embraced the 787 as a technologically advanced and efficient long-haul aircraft.

Fire in the belly of the aircraft broke out not long after arriving in Boston from Tokyo. All of the 172 passengers and 11 crew had already disembarked.

Boeing said in a statement that the fire was traced to a battery unit that helps power electrical systems when the engines are idle -- typically while a plane is being serviced or cleaned. The Dreamliner was being readied at the time for a return flight to Japan.

The battery unit sustained severe fire damage, the safety board said, adding that it had sent two additional investigators to Boston.

Japan's ministry of land and transportation ordered inspections of the same batteries in all Boeing 787s. So far, no irregularities have been found, but the results will be shared with U.S. authorities, the ministry said.

United Airlines, a Dreamliner operator, inspected its six 787s following the Boston fire as a precaution, but would not comment further.

Boeing said the fire appeared unrelated to previous problems involving 787 electrical power systems and that it was cooperating with the safety board.

On Wednesday All Nippon Airways canceled a domestic flight in Japan because of an error message on the braking system of a 787. An airline official said it was not a mechanical problem, but a computer error on the electric brake system controls. Passengers on the flight were moved to a later flight and the computer part will be replaced, an ANA official said.

In previous incidents, one of the 787 test flight aircraft lost primary electrical power in 2010 and was forced to make an emergency landing in Texas. All aboard evacuated safely.

An engine failed during tests on the ground in South Carolina last July and inspectors found a similar problem on another aircraft in September.

In December, another new 787 operated by United diverted safely to New Orleans after experiencing mechanical problems.

Some safety experts are concerned, but not alarmed, about the mechanical setbacks with the Dreamliner since its delivery to airlines beginning in 2011, following years of manufacturing delays and cost overruns.

They say new aircraft models often have "growing pains." Other experts have said any Dreamliner service problems would be magnified because of its problematic history during development.

As the first commercial jetliner built mostly from lightweight carbon fiber, the twin-engine Dreamliner has been touted for fuel efficiency in an era of soaring fuel prices. It has attracted enormous interest from airlines, with most orders coming from overseas carriers initially.

Boeing shares were off sharply on Wall Street relating to its Dreamliner problems this week.