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January 12, 2004

Strike Averted! Mesaba Continues To Fly

Mesaba Airlines and the ALPA say they've reached an 11th hour agreement on a new contract for the airline's 844 pilots. ALPA and Mesaba have been negotiating since June 2001. "We look forward to continuing a good working relationship with our pilots and ALPA," said John Spanjers, president of Mesaba Aviation. "This deal reflects the professionalism and contributions of our pilots and how important they are to the success of our airline."

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USAirways: Sued

US Airways flight attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants, CWA/AFL-CIO, has filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania to prevent airline management from executing what it says is an illegal process in the involuntary furlough of 552 flight attendants. "The jobs and livelihoods of people are at stake," said AFA US Airways Master Executive Council President Perry Hayes. "AFA will fight with all legal means necessary to protect the US Airways flight attendants from this kind of blatant disregard for our contract and rights."

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Pax Arrested In Commuter Bomb Threat

An American Eagle commuter flight from LaGuardia (NY) to Reagan International (DC) was diverted to Washington Dulles International (VA) Saturday, after an a passenger reportedly passed a note to a flight attendant, saying there was a bomb on board. Authorities said the passenger demanded the aircraft be flown to Atlanta (GA). Flight 4959, an Embraer 135 (file photo of type and livery, right) carrying 19 passengers and a crew of five, parked away from the terminals at Dulles. Passengers and luggage were searched by security officials and bomb-sniffing dogs before officials declared there was no bomb.

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UK To Announce (Some) Banned Airlines

At the intersection of politics and aviation safety, the British government says it will name names of airlines banned from landing in or overflying the UK and other European countries. Sort of. British Transportation Secretary Alistair Darling made that promise to an opposition party member in Parliament after MP David Wilshire asked for the revelation. "If a government bans an airline from its airspace it has to have a good reason. And we have a right to know whether it is sensible to get on an aircraft," Wilshire told the BBC.

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Countering MANPAD Threat

The Department of Homeland Security, in partnership with other federal agencies, is taking an aggressive approach to counter the threat of shoulder-fired missiles to civilian commercial aviation. Homeland Security's Science and Technology division is leading the technology aspects of the effort through its Counter-MAN Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) Special Program Office. The MANPADS office will help determine the viability, economic costs and effectiveness of adapting existing technology from military to commercial aviation use. Following an aggressive 18-24 month analysis, prototype demonstration and testing phase, Homeland Security will provide the Administration and Congress with a recommendation for the most viable solution to defend against shoulder-fired missiles.

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