Aviation Development Holdings (ADH) of Phoenix intends to launch a “clean-sheet, breakthrough regional airline jet service, independent and decoupled from the major airlines.” The idea, according to ADH chairman and CEO Matt Andersson, is to “design an airline of the future for business travelers.” Initial service, to begin next spring, will tie together the cities of Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Salt Lake City.
If the CEO of a corporation should suddenly ask the aviation department manager, “What are we doing to ensure the highest level of safety in our flying operations?” that manager should be prepared to outline the elements that constitute the company’s aviation safety program.
Separate NTSB investigations continue into the causes of two recent fatal turboprop accidents: a King Air E90 (N12KA) that crashed while departing Central Illinois Regional Airport in Bloomington, Ill., on July 21, and a Commander 690A (N690TB) that crashed on approach to the airport at Bishop, Calif., on August 11.
General aviation fatalities dropped 30 percent last year, to 491 from 703 in 2006, according to the NTSB. But the total number of general aviation accidents was higher, climbing to 1,631 in 2007 from 1,518 in 2006. The total number of accidents includes 20 U.S.-registered aircraft mishaps that occurred outside the U.S., its territories or possessions.
Seven years after the chaos of 9/11, air travel has again reached record levels in the U.S, Europe and Asia. Despite increasing fears of a near-term recession in the U.S. caused in part by a dramatic surge in the U.S. dollar price of crude oil, international business aviation travel is also on the rise.
In the first half of this year, the U.S. business jet and turboprop fleet suffered 36 accidents, including seven fatal ones resulting in 19 passengers and crew members killed, according to Robert E. Breiling Associates of Boca Raton, Fla. While this is an increase of only one in the total number of accidents, it is a major decline in fatalities vs the same period last year.
The events of September 11 and the subsequent economic fallout have tested the competitive mettle of airlines worldwide. Thankfully for those that escaped the fate suffered by the now bankrupt Swissair and Sabena, the hundreds of smaller carriers that comprise the often overlooked regional airline sector have supplied a source of relative strength.
The regional airline industry lost a legend on June 12, when Dick Henson succumbed to Alzheimer’s disease at the age of 92.
Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90A, Mount Airy, N.C., Feb. 1, 2008–All six people on board were killed when the King Air crashed into a residential area less than 1,000 feet from the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport, the airplane’s destination. Cleared for final approach, the airplane evidently overshot and made two sharp left turns before crashing. Weather was reported as a low ceiling and fog.
Last month I participated in a panel discussion about maintenance of the airline fleet. For a long time the airlines have depended on certified repair stations to make repairs they couldn’t tackle because of a lack of facilities or required tooling.