Showing posts from April, 2011

Eyjafjoll Volcano : closing airspace was the right choice

A study by icelander and danish scientists in nano particles (cited in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 26 April 2011) shows that the Civil Aviation Authority's decision to stop all flights in Europe during the awakening of the Eyjafjallajökul Volcano was justified. In april 2010 this ban on flights had been attacked by some aviation specialists. The reason for it were fears that ashes were hazardous for aircrafts. The interruption in air traffic was the longest that ever happent since World War II : almost 100 000 flights were canceled in 11 european countries leaving 10 millions passengers stranded. Net loss for airlines was estimated around 1.5  and 2.5 billion euros. According to the scientists, 'the first ash particles sent in the air by the explosion were very thin, hard and as sharp as splinters from a crushed glass bottle. Later volcanic ashes had a higher granularity but were also dangerous'. They have estimated that if a plane ever crossed such

Boeing exec: could set out 737 plans by mid-year

An executive of Boeing Co (BA.N), the world's second-largest commercial plane maker, said on Tuesday the company could set out plans to overhaul its popular 737 aircraft line by the middle of this year. "We are doing a flight test program to test improvements to the airframe and the engine to improve the efficiency of the airplane," Randy Tinseth, marketing vice president for Boeing's commercial aircraft division, said of the 737 line. "What we have been thinking is that we may be prepared to announce our plans in the middle of the year, but there is not a hard, firm deadline," he said in Mexico City. A Boeing spokesman told Reuters later on Tuesday that the executive meant the company would be able to provide "more clarity on where we see things" regarding the future of 737 around mid-year. Boeing is evaluating whether to build an all-new 737 or add a fuel-efficient engine to the existing line as it seeks to leapfrog rival Airbus's (EAD.PA

Norwegian: Wi-Fi popular with passengers

Norwegian Air Shuttle said its free inflight Wi-Fi is a “hit” with its passengers and that on some routes—such as Oslo Gardermoen-Geneva—between 40% and 50% of all passengers logged on. Other popular Wi-Fi routes include OSL-London Gatwick, OSL-Dubai, OSL-Alicante, Stockholm Arlanda-LGW and ARL-Las Palmas. The LCC noted its wireless system set a record on the April 14 OSL-ALC flight when 87 passengers were logged on at 30,000 ft. “We’re overwhelmed by the response among our passengers and are gradually installing Wi-Fi on all of our new aircraft,” said Norwegian Director of IT and Business Development Hans-Petter Aanby. “This is a product that no other airline in Europe is currently offering, which gives us a huge competitive advantage. Our passengers will soon be able to see in the booking process whether the aircraft has Wi-Fi.” Norwegian launched high-speed broadband service in February with technology provided by US-based Row 44 (ATW Daily News, Feb. 10). Starting in May, Norwegi

Lufthansa: Airlines' inclusion in EU ETS in danger of becoming 'fiasco'

Lufthansa said that "too many problems remain unresolved" regarding implementation of airlines' inclusion in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, leaving open the prospect that the initiative will become a "fiasco" when it goes into effect at the beginning of next year (ATW Daily News, Oct. 12, 2010). "All of the scheduled deadlines have so far been missed and numerous legal and technical questions remain unanswered—just as 2012 tickets are beginning to go on sale and only eight months before the 'official kick-off'," LH stated in its latest "policy brief" issued Monday. "The aviation industry therefore still has no way of knowing what the major economic parameters will be." The EU directive mandating airlines' inclusion in the ETS was supposed to be enacted into law by each of the body's member nations by February 2010 (ATW Daily News, Nov. 25, 2010). "Yet most governments have so far failed to do so owing to the

Government lets Google buy travel software company

Source : Government officials are letting Google Inc. proceed with its $700 million purchase of airline fare tracker ITA Software, but are imposing significant conditions on the deal. The purchase will establish the Internet search giant as a key player in the online travel market. ITA gives Google control over the technology that powers the reservation systems of most major U.S. airlines and many popular online fare-comparison services, including Kayak, TripAdvisor and Hotwire. But to win Justice Department clearance Friday, Google agreed to license ITA's software to other companies, and it will be prohibited from accessing any proprietary data or technology of ITA customers that resides on or runs through ITA servers. In addition, the government will monitor Google to ensure it does not engage in anticompetitive behavior. That could include manipulating its powerful Internet search engine to steer consumers to its own services - or bury lin

Aviation fuel from nonedible plant soars

Several airlines have now successfully tested biofuel made from the little known, non-edible plant Jatropha. Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand, Continental, Brazil’s TAM Airlines and most recently the Mexican carrier Interjet, in cooperation with European manufacturer Airbus, have flown without problems on fuel from this weed-like plant, which grows on land otherwise unusable for farming. A March 2011 report by Yale’s School of Environmental Studies, funded by Boeing, concluded that “Jatropha can deliver strong environmental and socioeconomic benefits.” Australian-based Mission NewEnergy, Limited, the largest producer of Jatropha by acreage planted, currently employs more than 140,000 formerly impoverished farmers in India now earning a living cultivating Jatropha without compromising food supply or food pricing. The company is currently distributing product in Europe, and launching its U.S. operations. The Yale study projected greenhouse gas reductions of up to 60% from Jatropha-b

Jazeera Airways cancels orders for 25 A320s

Kuwait's Jazeera Airways dealt a blow to Airbus last week, canceling 25 of the 40 A320s it ordered in 2007. Chairman Marwan Boodai said in a statement that the decision was driven by "the overcapacity we've seen in the market in 2009 and 2010, when we saw close to half the seats offered by our peers on the routes we operated were being flown empty." He added that the carrier "might revisit this decision in the future as Airbus introduces new A320 models to the market," likely a reference to the re-engined A320neo. Jazeera took delivery of a new A320 in January 2010, bringing its fleet to 11 of the type, six of which it operates. It leases five A320s through its Sahaab Aircraft Leasing subsidiary, including four placed with Virgin America (ATW Daily News, Oct. 12, 2010). Jazeera will take delivery of four A320s still on order from 2012-2014. The airline said it earned a KWD6.4 million ($23.1 million) net profit in the second half of 2010. Source :  h

New technology could slash airplane delays

If a technology being developed by aerospace giant Honeywell that helps airplanes land in very cloudy conditions wins regulatory approval, it could make a huge dent in weather-related delays throughout the aviation system. The technology is called Enhanced Visual System/Synthetic Vision System (EVS/SVS), and it is designed to give pilots the information they need to land safely even when there is cloud cover near ground. Current U.S. rules mandate that pilots decide at the 200-foot mark if their ground visibility is good enough to land or if they need to circle around for another try. With EVS/SVS, they would be able to hold off on making that decision until between 100 and 150 feet. According to Bob Witwer, vice president of advanced technology for Honeywell aerospace, cloud cover below 200 feet was responsible for six entire days' worth of delay at a single airport--New York's La Guardia--in 2010. And as anyone who flies in the United States knows, delays in one city can ea

Southwest plane with torn fuselage averaged 7 flights a day over 15 years, FAA says

The Southwest Airlines jet forced to land last week after a gash opened in its fuselage had made an average of seven flights a day over its 15 years of service -- a demanding schedule for any jetliner. Federal Aviation Administration officials disclosed Tuesday that the Boeing 737-300 had flown 48,740 hours over its lifetime and gone through 39,781 flight cycles -- takeoffs and landings that tend to place the most stress on a plane's fuselage along with changes in cabin pressures. Aviation experts had initially speculated that the wear and tear Southwest planes typically  endure -- making an average of six flights per day -- contributed to the incident. Southwest is the leading low-cost carrier in an industry that is highly competitive. Flight 812, bound from Phoenix to Sacramento, had 118 passengers aboard when it made a safe emergency landing in Yuma, Ariz., Friday. There were no serious injuries. After the incident, Southwest cancelled about 630 flights and inspected its 78

North Asia’s Changing Aviation Face

In 1990, just eight city-pairs and 59 frequencies connected Japan and China. Tokyo Narita with its single runway dominated traffic flows in a highly regulated North Asia. Korea’s airlines were in disarray or too small to register. China was yet to deliver on its promise and Northwest Airlines and the 747 ruled the North Pacific routes into Asia through Japan. Two decades later the landscape is barely recognizable. Each week well over 630 flights connect more than 60 Chinese and Japanese cities. Boeing 777s overfly Japan into Korea and China from the US and NRT has lost much of its standing as the gateway to Asia. China is moving toward the mantle of the world’s single largest aviation market. Korea’s airlines have emerged as powerful competitors focused almost entirely on international services. And a host of US carriers ply the North Pacific on point-to-point routes. As the pace of change in the region accelerates, the landscape will change significantly again within five years,