TSA, Mergers, Dreamliner Delays And A380 Engines Grab
A fairly major controversy swirled around TSA in 2010, as people
began to strongly resist the use of full body scanners and
"enhanced pat-downs" at airport security. Meanwhile, after finally
getting off the ground, the Dreamliner suffered a setback from an
electrical fire and deliveries were pushed back again. On the plus
side, research continued into the use of biofuel, and airlines
continued to order new airliners from both Boeing and Airbus. Here
is a sampling of the airline stories ANN covered during 2010.
The TSA issued
new security directives Sunday to all domestic and
international air carriers with inbound flights to the US effective
January 4, 2010.
Mesa Air Group said Tuesday that it has commenced a
financial restructuring through the voluntary filing of
petitions to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy
Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of New York.
Canadian government said it will
install full-body scanners in all of that country's major
airports in the next two months, following the Christmas Day
attempt to bring down a Northwest Airlines aircraft en route to
Barack Obama outlined his administrations' efforts to
beef up intelligence and security systems in the wake of a
failed attempt to detonate an explosive device aboard a Northwest
Airlines flight bound for Detroit on Christmas Day.
BioJet Corporation and Great Plains Oil & Exploration
announced they have
executed a Teaming Agreement for the purpose of producing
renewable jet fuels. The companies plan to jointly develop
integrated Camelina cultivation and associated refinery projects in
the U.S., Europe, South America, and Asia.
Civilian flights into Haiti were halted at the request of the
Haitian government due to overcrowded conditions at Toussaint
L'Ouverture International Airport following a massive earthquake.
The government said there was no room for arriving aircraft on the
ramp, and no fuel available for departing aircraft.
initial airworthiness testing on the 787 Dreamliner. This
milestone will enable more crew members to take part in flights and
will allow more airplanes to join the flight test program.
A TSA inspector must have thought it was going to be a harmless
wound up unemployed after planting a bag of white powder in the
suitcase of a college student.
The FAA released its final 200-plus-page
"Call to Action" on airline safety and pilot training. The
document is the culmination of a half-year's work by the FAA, the
NTSB, and the DOT.
It's a routine part of any aircraft evaluation, and yet you
might not think about
stalling an airliner. But Boeing's 787 Dreamliner pilots
conducted the program's first stall tests as part of the initial
airworthiness program for the airplane.
The NTSB determined that the crash of Continental Connection
Flight 3407, a Bombardier Dash 8-Q400 owned by Colgan Air, was the
fault of the pilots not taking appropriate corrective action
when the accident sequence began.
Continental Airlines and five individuals have been
named as defendants in a French lawsuit which seeks to
determine the cause of the Air France Concorde accident ten years
ago that killed 113 people and spelled the beginning of the end of
the SST's flying days. They face charges of involuntary
As part of the FAA's "Call to Action" to enhance airline safety
following last year's Colgan Air accident in Buffalo, NY, the
asked for recommendations to improve pilot qualification and
The Boeing 747-8 completed a lengthy first flight after a
nearly three hour delay due to low ceilings.Reports indicate that
the flight went "very well."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said Thursday that a
week in March would be set aside for debate on the
FAA reauthorization bill, which has been on hold in the U.S.
Senate for months.
Nearly a year after the fact, TSA has
issued an apology to a Pennsylvania family who says their
physically-challenged son was required to remove his leg braces
before clearing security on a trip to Florida.
The UK-based Balli Aviation Ltd.
pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal information in
connection with its illegal export of a 747 from the United States
to Iran. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Bali agreed
to pay a $2 million fine and five years of probation.
Boeing recently unveiled the first 787 Dreamliner to feature
interior components. The third flight test airplane, ZA003, has
a partial interior that provides a glimpse into what the passengers
on the plane will eventually see.
International Association of Machinists District 751 (IAM) and
the Boeing Co. have agreed on a letter of understanding that will
allow some members to
volunteer to be laid off with benefits.
The NTSB says airlines and pilot's unions should use cockpit
voice recorders to
routinely monitor what goes on in the cockpit, and not just for
accident investigations ... a suggestion that has received a cold
reception from pilots and unions.
One of JFK International Airport's (KJFK)
busiest runways closed for an extensive renovation project that
is expected to last four months.
The FAA placed two employees at John F. Kennedy Airport Tower
are on administrative leave following an incident last month when a
child was permitted to
talk with pilots on an air traffic control frequency.
Captain Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who famously ditched a US
Airways A320 in the Hudson River over a year ago saving all aboard,
calling it a career after 30 years with the airline.
Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger
The Coalition of Airline Pilot Associations (CAPA) reached out
to their membership, encouraging commercial pilots to
voice their opposition to a bill that would allow air carriers
to use information obtained from a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) or
a flight data recorder "to discipline or discharge a pilot or
flight engineer for actions that endanger the safety or well being
The No-Fly list ... one of the federal government's best-known
counterterrorism tools, has
nearly doubled in size since Farouk Abdulmuttalab allegedly
attempted to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas
day last year. According to a senior intelligence official, the
list currently stand at about 6,000 names up from about 3,400
before the bombing attempt.
The Northwest Airlines pilots who had their airman certificates
pulled in an emergency revocation after they overshot their
destination airport by 150 miles
dropped their bid to have the licenses returned, the FAA said
Monday. Shortly there after, the NTSB determined that Northwest
Airlines flight 188 overflew its destination airport of Minneapolis
by more than 100 miles and failed to maintain radio communications
pilots became distracted by a conversation unrelated to the
operation of the aircraft
Boeing said that it will
accelerate planned rate increases on both the 777 and 747
programs. The accelerated rate increases will support increasing
customer demand in the recovering airplane market.
Boeing fired another shot in the word skirmish over the WTO
decision concerning European government subsidies for Airbus. The
statement below was issued following news reports quoting officials
who indicated that the United States has prevailed on
all of the major issues in the WTO's final decision.
The second of President Obama's nominees for the top spot at
the Transportation Security Administration
withdrew his name from consideration due to growing questions
concerning his background as a defense contractor.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the TSA will
new enhanced security measures for all air carriers with
international flights to the United States to strengthen the safety
and security of all passengers.
another visible step toward full 787 Dreamliner production by
placing the first steel column for its Charleston 787 Final
Assembly and Delivery facility.
Airbus took advantage of scheduled development test flights to
assess the impact on the aircraft and its flight systems
within the volcanic ash on aircraft over Europe.
Polish President Lech Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and 94 other
people were killed when the TU-154 they were aboard
went down on approach to Smolensk in western Russia in a thick
Officials said aircraft, which was the official Presidential plane,
struck tree tops and broke apart.
The NATA 2010 Day on the Hill event drew nearly 100 association
to the Capitol to visit their Members of Congress and their
At least two airlines implemented policies to
send airplanes back to the gate if they are closing in on a
three-hour tarmac delay. New federal rules which go into effect
April 29 limit how long passengers may be held on a plane to three
hours, and airlines who violate those rules face hefty fines.
Ninety-three percent of Americans said they are willing to
sacrifice some level of privacy to increase safety when
traveling by air, according to research conducted in January and
New York Senator Charles Shumer (D) said that Spirit
Airline's decision to charge passengers for carry-on bags is
"a slap in the face to travelers," and he wants the Treasury
Department to exempt luggage carried onto an airliner from
As air travel in Europe moved slowly back to something
resembling normal, the European ash crisis continues to impact
airlines, passengers and cargo
around the world.
The U.S. DOT
denied the requests of five airlines for a temporary exemption
from the new rule limiting tarmac delays. As a result, all U.S.
carrier flights covered by the rule will be subject to its terms
effective April 29.
The FAA issued an InFO on Monday calling on air carrier
create and enforce policies that will limit distractions in the
cockpit, and keep pilots focused on transporting passengers
In a deal estimated to be worth $3.7 billion, UAL was allowed
buy the entire stock of Continental in an all-stock transaction
that is expected to close before the end of the year and will
retain United's brand name. The combined value of the two companies
is estimated at well over $8 Billion.
The NTSB issued a
probable cause report for US Airways flight 1549, in which a US
Airways A320 jetliner bound for Charlotte was ditched into the
Hudson River after striking a flock of Canada geese shortly after
departing New York’s LaGuardia Airport. All of the 150
passengers and five crewmembers survived.
A report from an aviation analyst indicated that Boeing may be
leaning towards a
wholesale replacement of its workhorse 737, rather than the
re-engining the airplane as had been originally planned.
The long-simmering dispute between British Airways and its
showed no signs of abating. Unite the Union said Monday cabin
crews plan to hold an additional 20 days of strike action following
their "overwhelming" rejection of the company’s offer in a
ballot last week.
A Libyan Airbus A330 landing in Tripoli after a flight from
reportedly "disintegrated" on landing at Tripoli Airport,
killing 103 of the passengers and crew on board, but leaving a
"miracle" survivor ... an 8-year-old boy.
third choice to fill the top job at TSA should have no trouble
with an F.B.I. background check, since his position was deputy
director of the F.B.I.
A disruption of air travel in Great Britain was reportedly
based on an
inaccurate prediction from the UK Met Office.
United Parcel Service (UPS) announced it was going through with
furlough of as many as 300 pilots as part of a effort to cut
$1.4 billion in overhead. The plan was first unveiled in
An Air India Express B737-800 carrying 167 passengers,
including 4 infants, and 6 crew has overshot the runway on landing
at Mangalore airport. The initial casualty estimates for the
were correct. 158 people were killed in the crash, and that 8
The NTSB issued
24 individual recommendations following the conclusion of its
investigation into US Airways Flight 1549, which famously ditched
in the Hudson River with no loss of life following the ingestion of
large birds into both engines of the Airbus A320.
The NTSB issued
two urgent safety recommendations to the FAA, one asking that
the agency require operators of aircraft equipped with a particular
model engine to immediately perform blade borescope inspections
(BSI) of the high pressure turbine rotor at specific intervals
until the current turbine disk can be redesigned and replaced with
one that can withstand the unbalance vibration forces from the high
pressure rotor, and the second seeking a requirement that the
engine manufacturer immediately redesign the disk.
Talks between British Airways and it's cabin crews
broke down, prompting flight attendants to walk off the job on
a busy travel weekend both in the UK and the U.S.
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said that 100 percent of
passengers traveling within the United States and its territories
checked against terrorist watchlists through the TSA Secure
Flight program, which it calls a major step in fulfilling a key
9/11 Commission recommendation.
The CEO of the International Air Transport Association
"cautious optimism" that the international airline industry
could see a return to profitability this year.
The two pilots who said they were distracted by their laptop
computers and a discussion over airline scheduling will not be
returning to a Delta cockpit, th
e airline said.
The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
unanimously reported out
John S. Pistole to be Assistant Secretary of the Department of
Homeland Security, and Administrator of TSA.
production rate increase for the Next-Generation Boeing 737
program was announced by the Washington state aircraft
manufacturer, taking the rate from the previously announced 34
airplanes per month to 35 in early 2012.
After some very successful initial flight testing, the
Dreamliner program has been
dealt a bit of a setback, as Boeing recently identified a
workmanship issue with the 787's horizontal stabilizers.
The FAA is proposing a significant expansion of its
icing certification standards, including a new requirement that
manufacturers show that airplanes can operate safely in freezing
drizzle or freezing rain, conditions that constitute an icing
environment known as "supercooled large drops" (SLDs).
United Airlines CEO Glenn Tilton and Continental chief Jeff
Smisek did not exactly receive a warm welcome from the U.S. House
Transportation Aviation subcommittee Wednesday in the first hearing
possible merger of the two airlines.
While some of the large legacy carriers look for ways to join
forces ... Pinnacle Airlines Corporation announced that it has
acquired Mesaba Aviation, Inc. from Delta Air Lines for $62
Reports of near collisions of aircraft in congested airspace
are increasing, according to statistics from the NTSB, and the bump
seems to correspond with an increase in the number of
less-experienced air traffic controllers training to replace
Arrow Air Holdings Corp. (“Arrow”) has
ceased scheduled service operations, effective immediately. In
papers filed with the US Bankruptcy Court in Miami the company
declared assets of $10 million to $50 million and listed debts of
$100 million to $500 million.
The FAA issued an AD that requires operators of Boeing 757,
767, and 777 airplanes to either inspect or replace certain
flight deck windows. The AD only affects the forward viewing
windows, not the side windows.
Alaska Airlines, Boeing, Portland International Airport,
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Spokane International Airport
and Washington State University
kicked off a a strategic initiative to promote aviation biofuel
development in the Pacific Northwest.
TSA cast a broad net in search of potential screeners. They
instituted a recruiting campaign that was delivered to homes on
The head of Boeing's 787 program said in a conference call with
reporters that, while the company still plans to get the Dreamliner
to their launch customer late in 2010, the delivery could slip
"a few weeks" into 2011.
Major orders for both Boeing and Airbus at the top of the
Farnborough Air Show are indications of a strong economic recovery,
right? That was the opinion of the leadership for the two rival
plane makers, but analysts aaid
it's not a sure thing.
Airbus said it planned to increase the monthly production rate
of its A320-family aircraft to
38 per month in August 2011 and to 40 per month in first
The Coalition of Airline Pilots Associations (CAPA) which
represents over 28,000 professional airline pilots, issued a
statement praising the US House and Senate
passage of the pilot safety bill which will greatly increase
part 121 airline pilot qualifications.
Sources inside Boeing indicate that the final Dreamliner test
may not fly until September 12, but it is still targeting the
first delivery of a production aircraft to launch customer ANA in
the 4th quarter of 2010.
The nation's largest airlines reported only three flights in
June with tarmac delays of
more than three hours, compared to 268 flights in June 2009 and
with no increase in the rate of canceled flights, according to the
Air Travel Consumer Report released Tuesday by the U.S. Department
of Transportation (DOT).
A Boeing 737-100 operated by Aerovias de Integracion Regional
went down during a landing attempt in a thunderstorm on San
Andres Island in the Caribbean. There has reportedly been only one
fatality among the 131 people on board the aircraft.
Two years ago, TSA
angered some police groups by issuing police-inspired uniforms
and badges to its screeners, which it calls "Transportation
Security Officers," or TSOs.
A small passenger airliner with 14 people on board
went down in poor weather near Katmandu. The 11 passengers on
board the aircraft were on their way to Lukla near Mt. Everest, a
popular spot for hikers. There were no survivors.
A Chinese regional airliner with 91 people aboard
went down during a landing attempt after overshooting the
runway at Yichun city. 48 people have reportedly been rescued, with
20 of those hospitalized.
Boeing engineers loaded up the second 747-8 test aircraft to
more than 25,000 pounds over its 975,000 designed maximum weight,
pointed it down the runway.
Boeing said that it expects to deliver the first 787 in the
middle of the
first quarter 2011. The delivery date revision follows an
assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final
phases of flight test.
Boeing said that it has
removed Mohammad "Mo" Yahyavi as the top executive of its
delayed 747-8 program. The announcement came just one day following
Boeing's announcement that the first delivery of the 787 would be
pushed into at least February of 2011.
Two men who flew aboard a United Airlines flight from Chicago
to Amsterdam were arrested when they arrived in the Netherlands and
"Preparation of a Terrorist Attack." One of the two was
allegedly carrying what were described as "mock bombs" in his
luggage while in the U.S.
A United Parcel Service 747-400 freighter wen
t down shortly after takeoff from Dubai after the crew reported
there was a fire in the cockpit. Both crew members were fatally
injured in the accident.
A six-member court of inquiry has been told
pilot error is to blame in the Air India accident that took the
lives of 158 people when it overshot the runway at India's hilltop
Air India Express 737 File Photo
An investigation got underway in China to determine if pilots,
mechanics, instructors, and other aviation personnel there are
actually qualified to do their jobs. The move was triggered by the
revelation that as many as 200 Chinese commercial pilots may have
falsified their resumes in 2008 and 2009.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and FAA Administrator
Randy Babbitt announced a landmark
proposal to fight fatigue among commercial pilots by setting
new flight time, duty and rest requirements based on fatigue
NPRM was published in the Federal Register.
The apparent cargo fire which is being investigated as a factor
in the recent downing of a UPS 747 freighter in Dubai
may lead to tighter regulations on the transportation of
The WTO handed its interim findings on complaints about alleged
U.S. government subsidies for Boeing to U.S. and European
government officials. While details will likely be leaked over the
next few days, a final official report on the issue is not expected
for six months to a year.
After Congress voted to extend the FAA Reauthorization Bill for
another three months, the Teamsters Union
issued a call to the Legislature to pass the permanent
Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray pledged to open a
preliminary review of Southwest Airlines' announced
acquisition of AirTran Airways. Both Southwest and AirTran,
respectively the nation's largest and eighth largest carriers by
passenger count, are major airline operators in Ohio.
In remarks during the ICAO Triennial Assembly currently
underway in Montreal, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano urged
representatives from nearly 190 ICAO countries to approve an
joint Declaration on Aviation Security.
United Continental Holdings, Inc., formerly UAL Corporation,
announced that a wholly owned subsidiary has merged with
Continental Airlines, Inc., and that Continental Airlines and
United Air Lines, Inc. are now wholly owned subsidiaries of
United Continental Holdings, Inc.
In a new study, "The Market for Regional Transport Aircraft",
Forecast International projected that 4,016 regional aircraft,
valued at some $123 billion,
will be produced from 2010 through 2019.
The FAA had a bit of egg on its face over separation rules
issued for Boeing's new 747-8 and 787 aircraft. A spokeswoman said
they were issued
"prematurely," and that there were "a number of errors."
American Airlines said that it is
sending recall notices to 545 flight attendants and 250 pilots.
Several factors contributed to the company's ability to recall.
The FAA issued a Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) alerting
operators to results of new research on the risks associated with
transporting lithium batteries as cargo on aircraft, and
recommended actions air carriers can take to reduce those
The nation's largest airlines reported only one flight in
August with a
tarmac delay of more than three hours, compared to 66 flights
in August 2009, with no change in the rate of canceled flights,
according to the Air Travel Consumer Report released by the U.S.
The Board of Directors of the Air Line Pilots Association,
elected Capt. Lee Moak as ALPA President, along with a full new
slate of leaders. The team will guide the pilots' union over the
next four years.
In a decision that could have far-reaching implications for
aviation, a federal judge ruled that the actual recording from the
cockpit voice recorder (CVR) made when Continental Connection
Flight 3407 went down
can be introduced as evidence in the wrongful death suits filed
in connection with the accident.
The FAA went back to its original rule
setting the following distance behind the new, larger 747-8 at
ten miles, after announcing the rule and then retracting it earlier
in the month.
Packages found abroad addressed to U.S. addresses
contained "explosive materials" according to President Obama.
Discovery of the packages caused some cargo planes to be grounded,
and led to a day of heightened tensions.
Secure Flight, TSA's "behind-the-scenes watch list matching
went into full effect Nov. 1. TSA says the program
fulfills a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission by assuming
responsibility of watch list matching from individual
New security scanning equipment has been approved for use in
the U.S. and the U.K. TSA said that it was approving six models of
the Morpho Detection HRX Series X-ray screening system product line
to its Air Cargo Screening Qualified Technology List, while a trace
detection system from the same company has been approved for use in
grounded its entire fleet of six A380 superjumbo airliners
following an incident in which a plane departing from Singapore
suffered what appeared to be the catastrophic loss of an engine,
forcing an emergency landing.
A Cuban airliner carrying 68 Cubans and others from Europe and
Latin America went down,
fatally injuring all aboard. The accident reportedly happened
about 1742 EDT near about 220 miles east of Havana.
The FAA has proposed to require
Safety Management Systems (SMS) for most commercial airlines.
Safety management systems give operators a set of business
processes and management tools to examine data from everyday
operations, isolate trends that may be precursors to incidents or
accidents, and develop and carry out appropriate risk mitigation
Boeing completed the
power on sequence for the new 747-8 Intercontinental... a
milestone that enables the program to begin functional tests on the
In a letter to its 11,000 pilots, APA urged its members to
refuse the full-body scans and insist on pat-down searches when
clearing security at airports.
Rolls-Royce says it identified the Trent 900 engine component
which it believes
caused the failure of an engine on the Airbus A380 operating as
Qantas flight QF32 on 4 November 2010.
The FAA has finalized a rule designed to protect most of
today's commercial planes and those designed in the future from
structural damage as they age, in what the agency calls a
continuing effort to address aging aircraft issues.
During approach to Laredo, Texas, Boeing's Dreamliner ZA002
lost primary electrical power as a result of an onboard
electrical fire. Backup systems, including the deployment of the
Ram Air Turbine (RAT), functioned as expected and allowed the crew
to complete a safe landing. The cause of the fire is still under
investigation. The FAA said the Dreamliner will be grounded until
the cause of fire was determined.
Just as most of the media was heading off to start various
Turkey-oriented pursuits, Boeing admitted that it is
developing minor design changes to power distribution panels on
the 787 and updates to the systems software that manages and
protects power distribution on the airplane.
The Air Transport Association of America (ATA) announced that
it has named
Nicholas E. Calio as its President and Chief Executive Officer,
effective Jan. 1, 2011.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has
given a green light to a plan developed by Qantas to return its
A380 aircraft to service. Qantas submitted a detailed A380 plan to
CASA which sets out how the aircraft will be operated, additional
safety measures and required inspections.
A mother in a security line at Phoenix Airport who also happens
to be an attorney was reportedly placed in a
"specialty screening area" by TSA agents when she objected to
allowing breast milk she was carrying to be x-rayed.
Southwest Airlines pilots union has voted to
ratify a tentative agreement to add the Boeing 737-800 to the
current collective bargaining agreement. The agreement was reached
between the airline and the Southwest Airlines' Pilots' Association
(SWAPA) in October.
While the official preliminary report from the Australian
Transportation Safety Bureau reads like a sterile government
document, officials said in a news conference that the
pilots of a Qantas A380 which suffered an uncontained engine
failure over Batam Island after departing from Singapore prevented
a major disaster from occurring.
Continental Airlines and one of its mechanics are
guilty of homicide in the 2000 accident which spelled the
beginning of the end of the Concorde, a French judge has
ruled. Continental said it would
appeal the ruling.
At least U.S. Congressman is asking TSA to
release inspection reports that show whether or not X-ray
machines in airports to screen passengers and bags are emitting
levels of radiation low enough to meet requirements.
In the ongoing Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB)
investigation of an engine failure involving a Qantas A380 aircraft
over Batam Island, Indonesia on November 4, the ATSB
issued a safety recommendation that identified a potential
manufacturing defect with an oil tube connection to the
high-pressure (HP)/intermediate pressure (IP) bearing structure of
the Trent 900 engine installed in some A380 aircraft.
NSTB Chair Hersman
NTSB Chairman Deborah A. P. Hersman said that the
recommendations issued by a federal advisory panel dealing with
child safety in aviation are a step in the right direction, but
do not go far enough to ensure the safety of the smallest
children in airplanes.