Private flight club Wheels Up is offering its members guaranteed access to midsize, super-midsize and large-cabin jets via a new alliance with Jet Aviation Flight Services. Through a new program announced today, its clients will be able to book aircraft with 24 hours’ notice and at fixed occupied hourly rates. Members will have the option of buying pre-paid blocks of flight hours, in which case they will have guaranteed access to aircraft with just 10 hours’ notice.
The company the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration chose in August 2007 to install the ground infrastructure needed to track aircraft by automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) plans to complete that network in the continental U.S. this month. McLean, Va.-based Exelis, which was called ITT when the FAA awarded it the ADS-B contract, said 658 of the 660 planned ADS-B ground radio stations will enter service this year, including all 601 the company is installing in the lower 48 states.
Mesa Airlines moved to position itself to add 30 new Embraer E175s over the next year into United Express service with some key management changes announced in late January.
Following its first full year of independent operations, the UK’s BMI Regional reported a so-called trading update and 2014 outlook in late January, under which it announced the launch of new intra-Scandinavia services involving several new destinations, a doubling of capacity on its Aberdeen-Oslo route and this month’s launch of Newcastle-Brussels service.
Japan’s expansion of the international terminal at Haneda Airport in the Tokyo metropolitan area bolsters route expansion plans by its two major carriers, ANA and Japan Airlines (JAL).
Etihad Airways appears close to making a final decision as to whether or not to buy an equity stake in Alitalia. Speaking during a March 3 conference call about the Abu Dhabi-based airline’s latest quarterly financial results, CEO James Hogan confirmed that Etihad has entered the final stage of due diligence in evaluating the struggling Italian flagcarrier.
UK ATC provider NATS said last week that the first practical trial of the TopFlight air traffic management system (ATM) successfully delivered the expected level of flight efficiencies. TopFlight is a key element in Europe’s Sesar next-generation ATM system, similar to the U.S. NextGen program. A NATS official reported at the Air Traffic Management.net website that gate-to-gate travel times measured for 100 British Airways flights across the North Atlantic using the new system saved up to half a ton of fuel per flight.
The DOT’s office of inspector general (IG) wants to know whether the FAA has established adequate regulations governing the use of flight-deck automation. Some current and former ranking members of the U.S. House of Representatives transportation and infrastructure committee and its subcommittee on aviation who are concerned about the growing reliance of flight crews on flight-deck automation approached the IG about conducting an audit, which the IG confirmed it would launch early this month.
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) report on the August 2012 runway overrun at St. John’s, Newfoundland, involving a Russian Ilyushin Il-76TD found a number of actions that culminated with the 140-ton aircraft rolling off the end of the airport’s 8,500-foot Runway 11. Despite the use of maximum reverse thrust, the aircraft departed the hard surface at approximately 40 knots and came to a stop 640 feet beyond the end of the runway. No injuries were reported to any of the 10 people on board.
Officials from Etihad Airlines and the United Arab Emirates, where the carrier is based, are still investigating last week’s arson incidents aboard a Boeing 777 that departed Melbourne, Australia, for Abu Dhabi in which a number of smoke alarms were activated in toilets. Although no one was injured, Flight EY416 did make a precautionary landing in Jakarta, Indonesia, after smoke was detected pouring from two toilets aboard the aircraft. No one was arrested in Jakarta and the flight departed after a complete search of the aircraft, all passengers and all carry-on luggage.