The FAA said last week that it plans to levy a $12 million fine against Southwest Airlines for failing to follow proper maintenance procedures on 44 of its Boeing 737s. Although Aviation Technical Service in Everett, Wash., performed the work incorrectly, the airline was deemed to be ultimately responsible for ensuring that maintenance is completed correctly.
Boeing’s 2014 commercial pilot and mechanic demand forecast, released today, reflects a 7-percent increase in pilot demand over last year’s projections and a 5-percent increase in the outlook for mechanics. In all, the world’s aviation system will require 533,000 new commercial airlines pilots and 584,000 new commercial airline mechanics over the next 20 years, according to Boeing.
The International Civil Aviation Organization has agreed to establish a task force early next week to identify “gaps” in the system used by the airline industry to assess risk of flying over conflict zones.
The apparent lack of a cohesive international system for assessing threats in airspace over conflict zones has revealed itself again in differing conclusions reached by major Persian Gulf airlines about the dangers of flying over Iraq.
The European Cockpit Association (ECA) has called for “intense scrutiny” of the air transport industry’s assessment of risks and the principles of flying over conflict zones in the wake of the July 17 loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17.
The lead insurer for Malaysia Airlines war risk hull coverage, London-based Atrium Underwriting Group, has agreed to settle its share of the latest hull loss suffered by Malaysia Airlines. Western military intelligence suggests that separatists in eastern Ukraine shot down Flight MH17 as it flew at 33,000 feet over a region near Donetsk, killing all 298 on board.
STS Component Solutions has opened a new support office in Turkey and hired Omur Basol to spearhead its marketing and sales activities. Basol is a former purchasing executive for several Turkish airlines and MROs. The new office complements existing locations in the U.S., Brazil, Europe and Singapore. “Expanding our global footprint is an essential step in our strategic growth strategy,” said Tom Covella, group president. “We are excited to provide expanded support to our customers while continuing to meet growing demands within the Turkish region.”
In response to the apparent shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) denied even the possibility that any airline risks the safety of its passengers, crew and aircraft for the sake of saving fuel by taking the most direct flight routings. “Airlines depend on governments and ATC authorities to advise which airspace is available for flight and they plan within those limits,” said IATA director general and CEO Tony Tyler on July 18.
A team of ICAO investigators is expected to be dispatched this week to assist in the search for what brought down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine on July 17. The Ukraine government officially requested the Montreal aviation organization’s help on July 18. Under ICAO’s Annex 13, the country where the accident happens is primarily responsible for conducting the investigation, unless, as in this case, that country requests additional assistance.
Malaysian Airlines has confirmed that one of its Boeing 777s has crashed in eastern Ukraine, about 31 miles from the border with Russia. Flight MH17 was en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur with 280 passengers and 15 crew on board. According to Ukrainian air traffic controllers, they lost contact with the aircraft at around 14.15 UTC almost 20 miles from the waypoint at Tamak.