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Showing posts from March, 2011

Calls for separate seating rise with tensions on flights

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It's not that Ian Burford hates children. But the founder of the Facebook page "Airlines should have kid-free flights!" would prefer not to have a wailing tot nearby when he flies. "I'm 6-4, so seating is always an issue," says Burford, who launched his page a year ago. "But when you're uncomfortable anyway, and then you have some young child screaming or kicking the back of your chair, it just puts you in a bad position, because there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's not a case of not liking kids. It's a case of not wanting them sitting next to you or behind you when you travel." Across the skies, there's a growing debate over whether airlines should do more to segregate the seating of passengers — with designated areas for kids, for example. At a time when increasingly crowded jets have helped to make flying less pleasant for many passengers and social media allow them to instantly tweet their frustrations to

US checks passengers, cargo from Japan on radiation

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(Reuters) - U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Thursday passengers and cargo arriving in the United States from Japan were being checked for radiation from an earthquake-damaged nuclear power plant. Napolitano, however, told reporters that no harmful levels of radiation had been detected by the checks, which she said were being carried out as a precaution. "And so in an exercise of caution and just to make sure that everyone remains safe, we are doing screening of passengers and/or cargo if there happens to be even a blip in terms of radiation," she said. "We have seen no radiation, by the way, even on incoming cargo or passengers that comes close to reaching ... harmful levels," Napolitano said. She said the screening occurred in a variety of different ways. "It depends on whether you're talking about passengers or cargo and where it's departing from," Napolitano said, adding that the Department of Homeland Security was

UK airlines reject BAA plan to take control of scheduling during irregular operations

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The Board of Airline Representatives in the UK said it is "surprised and dismayed" at a BAA proposal to impose so-called emergency timetables on airlines as a means to handle extreme weather or exceptional situations—such as last December's snow that led to major disruptions at several UK airports including London Heathrow. Under the proposal, these greatly restricted operating timetables could be imposed by the airport operator, a concept the organization categorically rejects. The idea was floated by BAA's CEO Colin Matthews at last week's hearing of the Transport Select Committee but was shot down by BAR UK, which represents 86 carriers. “The idea to impose emergency airline timetables appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to take the heat off the airport operator during the inquiry into the December snow crisis and has not even been discussed with the airlines,” said BAR UK CEO Mike Carrivick. “An emergency timetable would not have worked, since the airport ope

New anti-terror measures make toilets the most dangerous place on planes, unions say

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New anti-terrorist measures have made toilets the most dangerous place on passenger planes, trade unions warned today. From next week Air France will remove all oxygen cannisters from WCs on all A320 aircraft and three Airbus A340s because of fears that they can be turned into bombs. The decision was made by France’s Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGCA) following advice from the United States. But the national pilots’ union SNPL (Syndicat National des Pilotes de Ligne) fears that anyone using an airline toilet will be liable to serious illness if the plane suddenly depressurises. ‘Without emergency oxygen anyone could suffer burst eardrums and hearing problems, and indeed pass out,’ said Captain Louis Jobard, the union’s spokesman. Cap. Jobard said that pilots using the toilet would also be at risk from a sudden loss of pressure – meaning a co pilot would have to cope with an emergency alone. At the normal cruising height of around 35,000ft, crew or passengers would black o

European companies divert Tokyo Flights South as Nuclear Risk Mounts

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Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA) rerouted its Tokyo flights to the southern-Japanese cities of Nagoya and Osaka, citing the risk of nuclear fallout and aftershocks following last week’s earthquake and tsunami. The German carrier’s services are also stopping in Seoul for a crew change to avoid having staff stay overnight in Japan, spokesman Michael Lamberty said in an interview. Air France-KLM (AF) Group is likewise routing flights via the South Korean capital and other European carriers are taking similar steps. “We’re doing this to be prepared for all possible scenarios,” Lamberty said by phone from Lufthansa’s hub in Frankfurt. “The radioactive particles are the main concern.” The Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant was today rocked by two further explosions and a fire as workers there struggled to avert the risk of a meltdown, heightening concern about radiation leaks after March 11’s earthquake and tsunami. Austrian Airlines, a Lufthansa unit, said it would delay today’s flight f

Images from Sendai Airport

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Source :  http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/03/massive_earthquake_hits_japan.html

Japanese Earthquake Halts Flights Across Asia

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Flight operations throughout Asia have been heavily impacted by the 8.9-magnitude earthquake that was centered around northeast Japan. The worst hit airport was in the city of Sendai. Abroad, concern is growing for the economic after effects of the disaster, which could have a long-lasting impact on Japanese airlines. The already weak Japanese economy could worsen, with disruptions potentially further depressing growth and affecting passenger numbers. Analysts worry that tourism could also be hit. These concerns have caused airline stocks to fall sharply. Asian airlines are already struggling to absorb higher fuel prices. source :  http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/20110312195754391-121953.html JAL reports no damage to its aircraft, but is experiencing serious service disruptions. Finnair has called all flights to Japan, Air France cancelled some of its operations, and British Airways has warned of service disruptions that could last several days. All Nippon Airway, the country's

World's greenest airlines unveiled

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The world's greenest airlines have been named at the ITB Berlin travel show, with European carrier Monarch topping the list. The study of airline efficiency was conducted by Atmosfair, a carbon offsetting company, and looked into factors such as how efficient an airline's fleet was and how full its planes normally fly. Monarch, a charter and scheduled airline operating predominantly from the UK, was judged the world's most efficient airline, with Atmosfair praising its efficient aircraft and high seating density. German carrier Condor, owned by holiday giant Thomas Cook, won second place thanks to its high occupancy and Canadian Air Transat was ranked third, making it the most efficient long-haul carrier. Some of the world's better-known airlines fared less well, with Emirates in 30th place, Delta in 33rd, Air France in 37th, Lufthansa 52nd, British Airways in 61st, American Airlines in 63rd and Virgin Atlantic in 99th place. Although the airline index covered

Airlines studying flight cuts, grounding planes to deal with higher oil prices

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Evolution of oil price As airlines push airfares higher to counteract surging oil prices, they also are dusting off the flight plans they crafted to navigate 2008's fuel spike, when crude peaked at $147 per barrel. United, Delta and American airlines are raising fuel surcharges on overseas flights to levels not seen since 2008 and are laying plans to ground fuel-guzzling aircraft and prune seat capacity, with the deepest cuts coming after the peak summer travel season. Carriers realize they can't hike fees and fares indefinitely without alienating consumers. So they're looking at ways to curb fuel costs and trim unprofitable flights as oil hits the stratosphere. As in 2008, Chicago-based United is charting the deepest cuts among its peers. While United intends to hold capacity flat for 2011, the world's largest carrier is planning to reduce its domestic flying by 5 percent during the fourth quarter, United told employees this week. Regional subcontractors will

21 airlines fined for fixing passenger, cargo fees

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When the airline industry took a nose dive a decade ago, executives at global carriers scrambled to find a quick fix to avoid financial ruin. What they came up with, according to federal prosecutors, was a massive price-fixing scheme among airlines that artificially inflated passenger and cargo fuel surcharges between 2000 and 2006 to make up for lost profits. The airlines' crimes cost U.S. consumers and businesses - mostly international passengers and cargo shippers - hundreds of millions of dollars, prosecutors say. But the airlines caught by the Justice Department have paid a hefty price in the five years since the government's widespread investigation became public. To date, 19 executives have been charged with wrongdoing - four have gone to prison - and 21 airlines have coughed up more than $1.7 billion in fines in one of the largest criminal antitrust investigations in U.S. history. The court cases reveal a complex web of schemes between mostly international carriers

FAA approves iPads for pilots' electronic charts

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From the earliest days of aviation, pilots have relied upon paper maps to help find their way. Even in an era of GPS and advanced avionics, you still see pilots lugging around 20 pounds or more of charts. But those days are numbered, because maps are giving way to iPads. The Federal Aviation Administration is allowing charter company Executive Jet Management to use Apple's tablet as an approved alternative to paper charts. The authorization follows three months of rigorous testing and evaluation of the iPad and Mobile TC, a map app developed by aviation chartmaker Jeppesen. The latest decision applies only to Executive Jet Management, but it has implications for all of aviation. By allowing the company's pilots to use the Apple iPad as a primary source of information, the FAA is acknowledging the potential for consumer tablets to become avionics instruments. The iPad has been popular with pilots of all types since its introduction last year. But until now, it could not be u

Haneda Airport sees big boost in passengers, freight since opening int'l terminal

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Tokyo's Haneda Airport is enjoying a surge in passenger and freight volumes since the opening of its international terminal three months ago, stepping up its presence as a regional hub. Three months have past since Haneda Airport resumed regular international flights for the first time in 32 years. Thanks to its accessibility from central Tokyo and smooth connections with domestic flights, the airport now has twice as many international passengers as the same period last year, when most international services available at the airport were chartered flights to China and South Korea. Furthermore, the volume of international freight transport here has jumped fivefold from a year earlier. With American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and British Airways set to start operating their respective flights to North American cities and London later this month, Haneda Airport is expected to play a bigger role as Asia's hub airport. Nowadays, Haneda's new international passenger termin