NBAA chose its White Plains Regional Forum at New York’s Westchester County Airport today to announce a new, free educational program that has the promise of saving corporate, business, charter and general aviation flights both time and money. The “brain child” of Jim McClay, NBAA air traffic management specialist, who works at the FAA ATC Control System Command Center in Warrenton, Va., FileSmart seeks to increase awareness among aircraft operators of the value of filing timely and accurate flight plans.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) is fighting a plan by the FAA to impose $479,000 in air traffic control fees on its annual AirVenture airshow in Oshkosh, Wis. “They are holding us hostage,” EAA chairman Jack Pelton told AIN. “This is political.” On May 14 the FAA informed EAA of its demand for contract and immediate payment allegedly to cover the cost of controller expenses and overtime.
General Electric is preparing its new Passport engine for a first test run this month. Chosen to power the Bombardier Global 7000 and 8000, the Passport 20 is scheduled for certification in 2015. Assembly of the first engine began in March. The Passport has been developed from General Electric’s eCore technology, which is also used in the CFM Leap engine for single-aisle airliners.
Brazilian OEM Embraer received a firm order from U.S. operator SkyWest for 40 E175 regional twinjets. SkyWest plans to operate the 76-seat aircraft under a capacity purchase agreement (CPA) with United Airlines. Another firm order for 60 of the E-Jets hinges on SkyWest’s being awarded additional CPAs with major airline partners. In addition, the acquisition agreement includes options for another 100 E175s, bringing the potential total order to 200 airplanes. If all 100 firm orders are exercised, the deal has an estimated value of $4.1 billion.
FedEx Express feeder carrier Empire Airlines expects to start flying passengers to Kauai and Lanai in Hawaii as a Hawaiian Airlines code-share partner by “mid-summer,” Empire CEO Tim Komberec told a gathering of reporters at last month’s RAA Convention in Montreal.
Aer Lingus Regional franchisee Aer Arann last month took delivery of the first of eight new ATR 72-600 turboprops it has ordered as part of a contract worth some $187 million. ATR has promised to deliver the final seven airplanes over the next 11 months, as Aer Arann removes from service its aging ATR 72-200s and 42-300s. The airline plans to keep its three ATR 72-500s.
Officials for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters charged Republic Airlines management last month with violating training rules and the recommendations of its FAA check airmen by firing the president of the carrier’s local Teamsters chapter, Craig Moffatt. In retaliation, the Teamsters pulled union volunteers involved in joint safety programs, crew scheduling, training and other functions for all three of Republic Airways’ regional subsidiaries–Republic Airlines, Chautauqua Airlines and Shuttle America.
Boeing sent yet another signal last week that its use of cheaper labor markets in the southeastern U.S. would only accelerate when it announced plans to open a new propulsion engineering center in Charleston, South Carolina, to support the 737 Max. The move comes as part of a wider plan encompassing the establishment of new centers for engineering design and out-of-production airplane support for Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Washington State and Southern California.
Boeing says it has finished installing a battery system modification on the first 50 delivered 787 Dreamliners that were grounded pending the retrofit. Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of marketing, made the announcement in a blog post on May 29, reporting that all eight current 787 operators expect to return their Dreamliners to service within days and “we can’t thank all of them enough for their patience, partnership and support” during the grounding of more than three months.
UPS MD-11 pilots and controllers at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey started communicating by text messages in May under the Federal Aviation Administration’s data communications (data comm) departure clearance (DCL) trials program. The FAA expects United Airlines, British Airways and other carriers will begin participating this summer.