Sleeping ATC officers delay aircraft landing in China

Sleeping ATC officers delay aircraft landing in China 

Sleeping air traffic control officers prevented a China Eastern Airlines flight from landing at Wuhan Airport, according to reports.

The Boeing 737 repeatedly tried to obtain final landing permission during its descent into the airport in central China.

The incident, which took place last month, ended incident-free after the officers woke up and gave pilots the green light to touch down.

It was not publicly admitted for three weeks and no explanation was given for the delay, sparking outrage on Chinese social media channels.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


New chief executive and business model expected for Malaysia Airlines

New chief executive and business model expected for Malaysia Airlines 

Malaysia Airlines is to appoint a new chief executive and reveal a new business model, according to local reports.

The troubled Asian carrier has been devastated following the disappearance of Beijing-bound flight MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine.

The airline is set to be taken over by Malaysia’s sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional.

There may also be a return for Idris Jala, the man who guided Malaysian from loss to profit between 2005 and 2009.

Jala is currently one of the country’s top economic policymakers, heading the government’s Economic Transformation Programme.

Other candidates for the chief executive position are also being considered.

Whoever lands the job will reportedly be responsible for turning the carrier from a full-service airline in to a premium airline, with cuts to some domestic and international routes, though no further details have been revealed.

A restructuring package is expected by the end of the month.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Pilot lost control after artificial arm detached

A Flybe pilot lost control of an aircraft after his artificial arm became detached as he was coming in to land, according to an accident report.

The flight from Birmingham, with 47 passengers on board, was approaching Belfast City airport in gutsy conditions on February 12.

It landed heavily but no-one was hurt and the Dash 8 was not damaged.

The pilot said he would be more cautious in future about checking his attachment, according to the Air Accidents Investigation Branch report.

Flybe said the senior captain was one of its “most experienced and trusted pilots”, and the safety of passengers and crew had not been compromised in any way.

Shortly before beginning to land the aircraft, the 46-year-old had checked that his prosthetic lower left arm was securely attached to the clamp that he used to fly the aircraft, with the latching device in place, the BBC reported.

The AAIB report said the captain had disconnected the autopilot and was manually flying the aircraft.

However, as he made the flare manoeuvre – a stage of the landing shortly before touchdown – “his prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft”.

While he had thought about getting his co-pilot to take control, the time available and the challenging conditions meant his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers on to the yoke to regain control.

“He did this, but with power still applied and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily,” the report found.

The AAIB reported that the captain had said that in future he would be more cautious about checking the attachment on his prosthesis as he may have dislodged the latching mechanism.

He also said he would brief his co-pilots about the possibility of a similar event and that they should be ready to take control at any time.

Flybe’s director of flight operations and safety Captain Ian Baston said the airline was an equal opportunities employer and “in common with most airlines, means we do employ staff with reduced physical abilities”.

“Where appropriate, and in accordance with Civil Aviation Authority  requirements, this does include pilots,” he added.

“The senior captain referred to in this report is one of Flybe’s most experienced and trusted pilots. The airline confirms that at no time was the safety of its passengers or crew compromised in any way, nor was the aircraft damaged.

“Following the incident, Flybe immediately undertook a detailed internal investigation from which it determined a series of additional fail-safe safety checks. These were rigorously tested and instigated immediately to ensure that this type of incident could not happen again.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is our number one priority. This means that Flybe not only adheres to the CAA’s strict requirements relating to the employment of staff with a reduced physical ability, but exceeds them to ensure that safety is never compromised.

“Flybe understands that the AAIB is to review this report to more clearly contextualise certain issues referred to in its findings.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Rats found on Air India aircraft

By Phil Davies |07 August 2014 at 07.01 GMT

 

Air India was forced to ground and fumigate one of its aircraft after rats were spotted scurrying around beneath the seats in the passenger cabin.

 

The aircraft was flying from Delhi to Calcutta when staff spotted the creatures and raised the alarm to pilots, The Times reported.

 

Officials say rats on an aircraft pose an extreme danger because they can chew through vital electrical cables, disabling the aircraft’s control systems and leaving pilots unable to steer.

 

“If that happens, pilots will have no control on any system on board, leading to a disaster,” one Air India official told The Times of India.

 

This is not the first time that rats have posed a problem to Air India.

 

A flight to Toronto was delayed for 11 hours in 2009 as staff tried to catch rats.

 

In another incident in Mumbai last year, officials blamed a short circuit caused by rat excreta for a communications blackout that led to the closure of the city’s secondary airport for three hours.

 

An investigation into the incident at Juhu airport by the Airports Authority of India said cables linked to the site’s VHF radio system had been chewed through by rats, whose excreta was then thought to have triggered a short circuit.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Foreign Office warning as criminals target tourists in Sunny Beach

Foreign Office warning as criminals target tourists in Sunny BeachBritish tourists to the Bulgarian resort of Sunny Beach have been warned of a spate of thefts from hotel rooms.

The alert came in revised travel advice from the Foreign of Commonwealth Office issued on Friday.

“There has been an increase in burglaries from hotel rooms in Sunny Beach,” the FCO said.

“Make sure you lock your room, including windows and balcony doors, and keep your valuables locked in a safe.”

The updated travel advisory at the start of the summer peak warned that tourists are being targeted by thieves and pickpockets in Sunny Beach and other resorts in the country.

“Don’t take valuables to the beach and be wary of poorly lit roads around the resort at night,” the FCO said.

It has also received “numerous reports” of pickpocketing, muggings and assaults of British holidaymakers by prostitutes and their minders.

“Avoid areas where prostitutes operate, especially late at night, including car parks, badly lit areas and areas with bushes and trees. Stick to main routes and avoid alleys and short cuts in Sunny Beach,” the advisory said, adding that prostitution is not illegal in Bulgaria.

Tourists are also cautioned not to change money on the streets in Sunny Beach, only at licensed exchange points, banks or hotels.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Edinburgh-bound plane diverted after woman ‘threw prosthetic leg at cabin crew, demanded cigarettes and parachute’

 

The plane was travelling from Tunisia to Scotland

 

 Thursday 31 July 2014

A pilot was forced to divert a plane to Gatwick Airport on Wednesday night, after a woman on a flight bound for Edinburgh allegedly launched a foul-mouthed tirade and threw her prosthetic leg at staff.

The Thomson Airlines flight 297 was travelling from Enfidha in Tunisia to Edinburgh, when the woman began “swearing blue murder” and threw food at staff, according to a Sussex Police spokesman.

Another passenger on the flight told the Edinburgh Evening News she had demanded cigarettes and a parachute and was “off her face on drink.”

John Smith, from Falkirk told the paper: “She was shouting ‘I want cigarettes’ and that she wanted a parachute to jump off the plane.

“She slapped a young girl and then assaulted the cabin crew with her prosthetic leg.”

The captain became so alarmed by her behaviour that he diverted the plane to Gatwick, West Sussex.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “She was swearing blue murder, saying she was going to do this and that and the other, so the flight was diverted to Gatwick.”

But he refused to comment on reports the woman was drunk when the alleged attack took place.

Sourced from The Independent


UK pilots seek urgent meeting with ministers on air safety

UK pilots seek urgent meeting with ministers on air safety 

The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) has demanded “an urgent meeting” with UK ministers to discuss safety in the air following the shooting down of a Malaysia Airlines flight.

Balpa welcomed yesterday’s announcement that the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) intends to establish a new task force to look into airspace safety, but said: “We are a long way from a solution.”

The association said of ICAO: “The UN body has at least acknowledged there is a problem with the current system that is supposed to protect passengers and crew from becoming targets.“ However, it warned: “Groups such as the one announced are often slow and ponderous. So we are asking what can be done now.

“We are calling on the UK Government to show leadership in ensuring the safety of UK passengers whichever airline they are flying with and wherever in the world.

“Balpa is seeking an urgent meeting with ministers to progress a proposal of a joint Department for Transport and Balpa summit on the issue.”

The pilots’ association said “the same level and quality of data, intelligence and guidance” are currently not shared among all airlines and pilots.

“There appear to be variations in the quality, extent and usefulness of intelligence between different airlines, agencies and countries,“ Balpa added.

And it said: “Pilots need to know when they plot flight paths that the guidance on safe areas is independent of any interests other than flight safety.”

Balpa general secretary Jim McAuslan said: “It’s reassuring that the UN aviation body and airlines accept there is a problem with the lack of clear, uniform rules and information guiding pilots on when they should not fly over conflict areas.

“What we need now is action from the working group.

“The current system allowed 298 passengers, pilots and crew to become targets in a war and pilots want to see a solid and serious solution to stop this happening again.

“We will be asking the British government to lead the way.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airlines expected to follow Emirates lead in ditching Iraq route

Airlines could stop flying over Iraq amid fears that Islamic extremists operating in the country have missiles that could down a commercial airliner.

Emirates president Sir Tim Clark has announced that his airline will stop flying over the country and that he believes others will follow suit.

A key route for commercial flights heading east from the UK takes them directly over the Iraqi city of Mosul where a stronghold of militants in Isis.

Reports at the weekend said that intelligence services have expressed a “real concern” that Isis fighters may have acquired weapons similar to that which downed Malaysian Airlines’ MH17.

They are thought to have attained the technology capable of hitting an aircraft at 30,000 feet from Syrian stockpiles.

Clark said that all airlines will by the end of the year have a new system designed so they can share information about flight paths thought to be a problem.

And he said he expected to see greater input from governments offering advice, even if it meant one country warning about another’s airspace.

The Times reported Clark as saying: “This is a political animal…but the fact of the matter is MH17 changed everything, and that was very nearly in European airspace.

“We cannot continue to say ‘well it’s a political thing’. We have to do something. We have to take the bull by the horns.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Malaysia Airlines begins strategic review following tragedies

Malaysia Airlines begins strategic review following tragedies 

Malaysia Airlines could change its name as part of a brand overhaul after a missile struck one of its planes as it was flying over Ukraine.

According to reports, the airline is likely to seek new investors as it looks to restructure the brand following two major tragedies within six months.

The Malaysian flag carrier has begun work on a strategic review, according to the Sunday Telegraph.

The airline is also calling for a single global body to monitor threats and decide where civilian aircraft are allowed to fly.

Writing in the newspaper, the airline’s commercial director Hugh Dunleavy said the airline would eventually “emerge stronger” following the disappearance of flight MH370 in March and the downing of flight MH17 less than two weeks ago.

Plans for the airline include renaming and rebranding, the newspaper said.

He said: “Our majority shareholder, the Malaysian government, has already started a process of assessing the future shape of our business, and that process will now be speeded up as a result of MH17.

“There are several options on the table but all involve creating an airline fit for purpose in what is a new era for us, and other airlines.”

Dunleavy said that the airline industry needed to work together to prevent incidents in the future..

“MH17 was in airspace approved by ICAO [the International Civil Aviation Organisation],” he said.

“Its flight plan was approved by the Ukrainian authorities, as well as Eurocontrol. Yet still it was brought down, it seems, by a missile.

“This tragedy has taught us that despite following the guidelines and advice set out by the governing bodies, the skies above certain territories are simply not safe.

“MH17 has shown us that airlines can no longer rely on existing industry bodies for this information.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Pilots’ association urges relaxation of intelligence sharing rules

Pilots' association urges relaxation of intelligence sharing rulesThe European pilots’ association is urging airlines and stakeholders to share intelligence and security information with other airlines to help prevent tragedies like the MH17.

The European Cockpit Association (ECA) believes a thorough analysis of the industry’s approach to risk assessment and high-level international intelligence sharing needs to be addressed.

The call comes after Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, was brought down over Ukraine last week after apparently being hit by a missile at 33,000 feet.

Nico Voorbach, ECA President, said: ““We share the public outrage over MH17, and we owe it to the passengers and crew who lost their lives, and all our future passengers, to see past this and focus on prevention first and foremost.

“MH17 exposed a significant weakness – if not a failure – of international threat and risk assessment in civil aviation.

“In hindsight flying civilian aircraft over an area where powerful anti-aircraft systems capable of bringing down an airliner at cruising altitude are in active use is not acceptable.”

The association said some airlines could have access to good intelligence and advice from their country’s national security services, while other carriers are left at greater risk.

ECA said it appeared likely some restrictions may be placed on what intelligence an airline can share with other airlines.

“We must ask governments what those restrictions might be, and how we can ensure that the airlines are able to share information in such a way that the highest levels of risk avoidance can be rolled out to all,” the association said.

It said future prevention required “immediate attention and our long-term thinking” and is pushing for an analysis of the industry’s approach to risk assessment and sharing intelligence between airlines.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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