As the global economic recovery slowly builds, a combination of new jet designs and block changes of existing ones is taxiing for takeoff across the size spectrum into ever-narrowing and fiercely competitive niches.
As fuel price increases have encouraged airlines to fly larger aircraft on short-haul routes, Austria’s Salzburg Airport has found itself handling far fewer flights even as passenger traffic has shown a slight increase. Over the past two years, traveler numbers have increased by about 2.5 percent, while movements at the airport–named for Salzburg-born composer W. A. Mozart–have fallen by 15 percent.
Increasing competition and pressure on costs has led to some deep restructuring of European airlines, with an attendant move to higher-capacity aircraft and absorption of many regional carriers into national carriers.
Ellen Saracini, widow of 9/11 United Airlines Flight 175 captain Victor Saracini, told AIN she does not believe that the airline her late husband flew for is doing all it can to prevent another 9/11-like cockpit takeover. Saracini was invited to Chicago on September 4 to discuss (with United vice president of corporate safety Michael Quiello) the company’s use of secondary cockpit barriers to prevent a potential breach. United Airlines currently maintains the largest fleet of aircraft already equipped with secondary barriers.
While the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch is still probing the Eurocopter Super Puma fatal accident that killed four in August, the country’s CAA, its Norwegian counterpart and the European Aviation Safety Agency have launched a wider safety review of North Sea helicopter operations.
As the City of Chicago finishes work before the official October 17 opening of the new Runway 10C/28C at O’Hare International Airport (ORD), control tower manager Robert Flynn released operational data of use to flight crews. Runway 10C/28C will be a Design Group VI surface 10,801 feet long by 200 feet wide. Its accelerate-stop distance available (ASDA) will be 10,540 feet, as will its landing distance available (LDA). Aircraft instructed to land on Runway 10C and hold short (LAHSO) of taxiway “GG” will find 9,610 feet of runway remaining.
A new de-icing management system will soon become operational at Denver International Airport. Built by Saab, the Aerobahn system uses a multilateration system to allow aircraft operators to track congestion at the airport’s de-icing pads during winter ops. The system can schedule and sequence aircraft into centralized de-icing pads; track de-icing queue lengths and occupancy times; and automatically record de-icing process completions. The Saab system is operational at ATL, JFK, PHX and CLT, as well as 20 other major airports around the world.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to investigate a September 20 incident 10 miles west of Adelaide in which two Airbus A330s flew too close to one another. One aircraft was eastbound at FL390 while the other westbound at FL380. The separation loss occurred shortly after the westbound flight was cleared to climb to FL400, generating a Tcas alert in the eastbound aircraft. The controller on duty quickly cancelled the climb clearance but not before the alert was generated.
Norwegian Air Shuttle removed from long-haul service one of its two Boeing 787s over the weekend following a series of technical problems, the latest involving a hydraulic pump. Following the incident in Thailand, Norwegian flew the airplane from Bangkok back to its base in Stockholm, where a team of Boeing engineers has begun to work on it. A Norwegian spokesman would offer no time estimate for a return to service.
Prominent aviation industry figures fear that a list of priorities developed to keep the NextGen ATC modernization effort on track during a time of funding pressure and ongoing “sequestration” budget cuts in the U.S. could undermine the ambitious, two-decade effort.