Flight crew unions have opposed last week’s policy change by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) that will allow some knives in U.S. airliner cabins. Under its revised prohibited items list effective April 25, TSA will begin allowing knives with blades up to 2.36 inches in length and 0.5 inches in width to be carried aboard, as well as some wooden and metal clubs, all of which have been prohibited since the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
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AgustaWestland has said it expects to be cleared of bribery allegations relating to an Indian government order for 12 AW101 VIP helicopters. At press time, the Italian-UK joint venture was responding to questions from the Indian defense ministry in relation to a “show cause notice” that could result in the cancellation of the $750 million contract. It had until February 22 to answer these questions.
On Thursday, Finmeccanica’s board nominated Daniele Romiti as the new CEO of subsidiary AgustaWestland, replacing Bruno Spagnolini. Romiti, who was promoted from COO, has since been endorsed for the position by AgustaWestland’s own board. Spagnolini and Giuseppe Orsi, CEO of AW parent Finmeccanica, were arrested February 12 as part of an ongoing bribery investigation involving the sale of 12 AW101 VIP helicopters to the government of India.
The boards of AMR Corporation and US Airways Group have unanimously agreed to move forward with the long-anticipated merger of their American Airlines and US Airways subsidiaries, the companies announced Thursday morning.
Italian police arrested the current and former CEOs of AgustaWestland on bribery charges this morning and raided the company’s Milan headquarters. Giuseppe Orsi, who served as the helicopter manufacturer’s CEO until December 2011 and is currently head of its parent company, Finmeccanica, was taken into custody, while current AgustaWestland CEO Bruno Spagnolini was placed under house arrest.
In a filing in bankruptcy court just before Christmas, Hawker Beechcraft asked for court approval to shed two underfunded pension plans covering some 9,500 non-union workers and retirees. The request is part of an agreement with the federal government’s Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. (PBGC) and the OEM’s machinists’ union. Terms of the agreement require PBGC to assume responsibility for the two terminated pensions, while Hawker Beechcraft will keep the pension plan covering its 8,200 current and former union employees. A hearing to consider the plan is scheduled for January 17.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University published its 2013 schedule of safety courses. Three of the four week-long courses take place at the university’s Daytona Beach campus, while the fourth will be held at the Prescott, Ariz. facility. Topics include occupational safety and health and aviation ground safety; aviation safety program management; aircraft accident investigation and management; and an advanced accident management class.
U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) executives said they will use new approaches to increase enrollment in “Pre-Check,” a program that pre-screens airline passengers for security risks and helps smooth the flow of people through airport security lines. Airport executives complain the program has gone underused.
HondaJet president and CEO Michimasa Fujino was presented the 2012 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Aircraft Design Award last week. The AIAA Aircraft Design Award “honors a design engineer or team for the conception, definition or development of an original concept, or career contributions leading to significant advancement in aircraft design or design technology.” According to the AIAA, Fujino is being recognized for pioneering the “unique” over-the-wing engine mount used on the in-development HondaJet.
Here we are in 2012, nearly 110 years since the Wright Brothers made the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air flight, and with some notable exceptions aircraft design over the years has become about as conservative and uninspired as a bowl of Jello.