Qantas was criticized by an Australian senator and some airline employees last week for its plan to remove life rafts from more than half of its Boeing 737-800 fleet to save fuel. ICAO regulations do not require aircraft flying within 400 nm of land to carry rafts. The airline said it is also pulling the equipment to simplify flight operations.
Announcing a record statutory after-tax loss of A$2.8 billion ($2.6 billion) on August 28, Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said that the Australian flag carrier has “come through the worst” as it navigates an aggressive cost-cutting program announced in February 2014.
Dr. David Byers, developer of the Synthetic Air Traffic Advisory System (Satas), which uses off-the-shelf technology to create a virtual control tower, demonstrated the system at last week’s Sun ’n’ Fun show in Lakeland, Fla. Satas combines a SharpEye radar unit, developed by DeTect of Panama City, Fla., for marine applications, with the airfield radar system from SRI of Rockledge, Fla., which makes ground security radars. Together, the systems identify and track aircraft flying in the area, all without the need for any transponders on board the aircraft.
Large flocks of birds around many Indian airports continue to threaten aircraft that are constantly under threat of strikes particularly during takeoff and landing. Data compiled by Airports Authority of India for Chennai International Airport, for example, shows bird strikes increased from 38 in 2012 to 50 in 2013.
As part of its ongoing efforts to promote aviation careers, AAR Aircraft Services most recently hosted a career day tour and job skills workshop for 40 sophomores and juniors from Miami Central High School.
The Qantas Sale Amendment Bill, which serves to repeal part of the Qantas Act and effectively removes restrictions on foreign ownership and stipulations affecting Qantas’ business operations, passed Australia’s Lower House of Federal Parliament on Thursday by a vote of 83 to 53.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), in collaboration with the FBI and the FAA, on February 11 launched a 12-city public awareness campaign about the safety issues surrounding laser attacks on aircraft cockpits. Reports of aircraft laser illuminations in the U.S. have increased sharply over the past few years–to 3,960 last year from 2,836 in 2010.
The FAA released a safety alert for operators (Safo) last week for the Cessna Citation 500 reminding pilots to observe the Citation’s operating limitations by ensuring aileron trim is properly set before takeoff. The Safo also highlights the need to avoid excessive use of trim in flight. A Citation 500 operated under Part 135 rules crashed in 2007 shortly after takeoff, killing the two pilots and four passengers.
Last week’s NBAA Flight Plan podcast offered aircraft operators headed for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia a number of safety tips made even more important now that numerous security threats have surfaced. Some of the most valuable tips include what some might see as obvious reminders, such as having the right visa upon arrival. NBAA is also warning visitors to carry proper identification at all times, to keep a low profile while within the country and to tanker fuel when possible.
The January 9 decision by Moody’s Investor Service to downgrade the credit rating of Qantas Airways to Ba2 (from Baa3) has prompted fresh calls for the Australian government to provide emergency debt guarantees for the country’s flag carrier.
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