FAA temporarily suspends flights to Ben Gurion International

 

FAA temporarily suspends flights to Ben Gurion International

 

The United States Federal Aviation Authority has prohibited American airlines from flying to or from Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport until 12:15 today.

The notice was issued in response to a rocket strike which landed approximately one mile from Ben Gurion International Airport on the morning of July 22nd, 2014.

The Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) applies only to US operators, and has no authority over foreign airlines operating to or from the airport.

The FAA immediately notified US carriers when the agency learned of the rocket strike and informed them that the agency was finalising a NOTAM.

A statement explained the FAA will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation, with further restrictions possible.

Europe’s aviation regulator is also urging airlines not to fly to Tel Aviv.

Lufthansa – which includes Swiss, Germanwings and Austrian Airlines – confirmed it had decided to suspend flights to Israel for two days, while KLM, Air France, easyJet, Air Canada and Alitalia are among other carriers to have cancelled departures.

The halt in service comes less than a week after Israel began a ground operation in Gaza.

Airlines around the world are also revaluating flight paths over conflict areas following the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine.

Sourced from Breaking Travel News


Special Report: ‘The trade will pull us through this tragedy’

Special Report: 'The trade will pull us through this tragedy'Malaysia Airlines’ UK boss Weng Chi Lee says the carrier is doing ‘everything it can to rebuild confidence’. Ian Taylor reports

 

The bodies of 282 of the 298 victims of the Malaysia Airlines disaster in Ukraine were being transported to Amsterdam as Travel Weekly went to press, although investigators had yet to gain full access to the crash site.

A deal with leaders of the breakaway eastern Ukraine resulted in the handover of black box recorders from flight MH17, which appears to have been shot down last Thursday on the way from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The evidence appeared to point to Russian-backed rebels shooting down the aircraft, as Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak announced the black boxes would “be held securely while an international investigation team 
is formalised”.

Airline association Iata denounced the disaster as “a hideous crime”, noting: “MH17 was a clearly identified commercial jet … shot down while broadcasting its identity and presence on an open and busy air corridor at an altitude deemed safe.”

Sadly, for the second time in four months – following the still-unexplained disappearance of flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March – Malaysia Airlines must deal with the fall-out from a tragedy it could do nothing to prevent.

The carrier acted quickly to do what it could, offering full refunds to anyone wishing to cancel a booking between now and the end of the year.

Passengers had until Thursday this week to cancel without charge, after which the airline will assess claims case by case.

Malaysia Airlines UK and Ireland area manager Weng Chi Lee said: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those affected. Our primary focus is the care and attention we are providing to them.”

There were 10 British nationals onboard the flight when it was brought down and the carrier has offered to fly the relatives and friends of those lost to Amsterdam.

Support for families

Weng said: “We are in continual contact with them, providing support and keeping them informed.”

It is indecently early to look beyond the immediate concerns of the loved ones of those who died and Weng repeatedly emphasised that single point: “Our focus is the family and friends.”

But he also sought to thank the trade for the messages of support the carrier has received. “The trade has responded with overwhelming support and we thank it,” he said.

“We are in constant contact with our 50-60 primary agents. Our phone lines have not closed. It is not business as usual, but we continue to take calls.”

Malaysia Airlines operates two A380 flights a day from Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur and Weng said: “The flights are still full. Bookings are still coming in. We have not heard of anyone fearful of selling or marketing Malaysia Airlines.”

Low cancellation rates

He said the extraordinary refund policy had led to “a higher level of refunds than usual”, but added: “Cancellation rates are low.”

Weng insisted: “It is early days and our primary focus is the care of family and friends. [But] I believe the trade will pull us through.

“We will come out of this. We are the national carrier of Malaysia. We have been flying 42 years. We have a strong heritage and an extensive network. We have 360 departures a day flying 50,000 people. We are doing everything we can to rebuild confidence and trust. I am confident we will see this through.”

Weng confirmed all flights now avoid Ukraine but declined to speculate on what happened to MH17.

“We follow what air traffic controllers tell us,” he said.

The aircraft was on the most common route from Europe to southeast Asia when it crossed eastern Ukraine.

Eurocontrol, the pan-European air traffic control body, confirmed there were flight restrictions in place over the region last week, but only to an altitude of 32,000 feet, and MH17 was at 33,000 feet “when it disappeared from the radar”.

Unlimited restrictions now apply and Eurocontrol said: “The routes will remain closed until further notice.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Agents reassure long-haul clients as Malaysia Airlines offer refunds

Agents reassure long-haul clients as Malaysia Airlines offer refunds 

The trade responded to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy by offering clients reassurance and alternative flights.

The airline offered full refunds, including for tickets classed as non‑refundable, up to the end of this year, and waived fees for itinerary changes made by Thursday this week.

Agents and operators immediately contacted clients after Thursday’s disaster, when an Amsterdam-Kuala Lumpur flight was apparently shot down over eastern Ukraine, killing 298 passengers and crew.

Travel Designers managing director Nick Harding‑McKay said some clients had requested not to fly with Malaysia Airlines on new bookings. “This is such a shame,” he added.

Derek Moore, chairman of the Association of Independent Tour Operators, said some members had clients who asked to cancel holidays.

Abta has taken calls from operators about the cost of changing airline or cancelling accommodation. It said: “Operators can pass on these extra costs to clients.”

But Travel 2 managing director Andy Freeth said: “We’ve had very few calls on this. I think consumers are aware it’s not the airline that has been targeted.”

Claire Hunt, operations director of Journeys A La Carte travel agency, had three future bookings for Malaysia Airlines, but clients chose not to switch airline. She added: “It took a morning to sort out, but this is what we’re good at.”

David Moon, head of business development at Advantage, was not aware of any members who had issued refunds.

Miles Morgan Travel owner Miles Morgan added: “In reality people know security will now be at its tightest.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Airlines demand new rules for flights over war zones

Airlines demand new rules for flights over war zonesImage via Shutterstock

Revised safety protocols for the routeing of airlines over war zones have been demanded following last week’s shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The downing of the Boeing 777, killing all 298 people onboard including 10 Brits, is widely assumed to have been the result of a missile strike by Russian-backed Ukrainian separatists.

The aircraft was flying a route avoided by some airlines, including British Airways, but at 33,000ft was operating at a higher altitude than officially restricted airspace.

All commercial flights have now been barred from eastern Ukraine.

Schiphol Steph

The scene at Schiphol airport yesterday (Tuesday)


The incident prompted a furious response from Emirates president Tim Clark. He said: “The international airline community needs to respond. It needs to say this is absolutely not acceptable and outrageous, and that it won’t tolerate being targeted in internecine regional conflicts.”

Clark suggested Iata and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), a United Nations body, should intervene.

“I think there will have to be new protocols and it will be up to ICAO and Iata and the aviation community to sort out what the protocols have to be.”

Aviation analyst John Strickland, of JLS Consulting, said if someone as influential as Clark was calling for change, it was likely to happen.

“This is going to lead to world bodies like Iata and industry safety groups working to get a clearer and more precise position on any types of risk,” he said.

Clark’s call for new protocols was echoed by Lufthansa.

An Iata spokesman said: “Governments will need to take the lead in reviewing how airspace risk assessments are made. And the industry will do all that it can to support governments, through ICAO, in the difficult work ahead.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Light aircraft ‘with smoke coming from it’ forced into emergency landing on Swansea beach

A plane has crash landed on the beach next to the under-construction Swansea University second campus

BBC Wales

The light aircraft that crash landed on a beach in Swansea

A pilot and two passengers escaped unharmed this afternoon after their plane crash-landed on the beach next to Swansea University’s under-construction Bay Campus.

People working at the £200m campus off Swansea’s Fabian Way on the main eastern approach road to Swansea reported seeing “a light aircraft with smoke coming from it” go down in sand dunes next to the sprawling Swansea University second campus building site.

However, the pilot managed to land the plane safely.

It is understood the plane was being rented by a holidaymaker from North Yorkshire who is a hobby pilot.

The aircraft’s owner Derek Clyde, from Kidwelly, a member of the Cambrian flying club said the plane had suffered an engine leak.

He said: “It is just one of those things. There was an engine leak. I take my hat off to the pilot. He made a perfect landing.

“It was the only place he could land. I’m glad nobody was hurt. But now we’ve got the problem of moving this before high tide.”

BBC WalesThe light aircraft that crash landed on a beach in Swansea

The light aircraft that crash landed on a beach in Swansea

A South Wales Police spokesman said: “Emergency services were called to Jersey Marine at around 4pm today following reports that a light aircraft had performed an emergency landing on the beach. Three people on board were uninjured.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service was also called to the scene and sent one crew from its Swansea station but a spokesman for the service said the officers were not needed at the scene and added at 6pm that the fire crew had left the scene.

Sourced from walesonline


Light aircraft ‘with smoke coming from it’ crash lands on Swansea beach

 

A plane has crash landed on the beach next to the under-construction Swansea University second campus

The under construction campus at Swansea Bay

A pilot and two passengers have escaped unharmed this afternoon after their plane crash-landed on the beach next to Swansea University’s under-construction Bay Campus.

People working at the £200m campus off Swansea’s Fabian Way on the main eastern approach road to Swansea reported seeing “a light aircraft with smoke coming from it” go down in sand dunes next to the sprawling Swansea University second campus building site.

However, the pilot managed to land the plane safely.

A South Wales Police spokesman said: “Emergency services were called to Jersey Marine at around 4pm today following reports that a light aircraft had performed an emergency landing on the beach. Three people on board were uninjured.”

Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service was also called to the scene and sent one crew from its Swansea station but a spokesman for the service said the officers were not needed at the scene and added at 6pm that the fire crew had left the scene.

Sourced from walesonline


Pilots voice concerns over shooting down of flight MH17

Pilots voice concerns over shooting down of flight MH17

Ten Britons have now been confirmed as having died in the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft whichcame down in strife-torn Ukraine last week.

It is believed a ground-to-air missile which was fired from the rebel held territory was responsible for bringing down the Boeing 777 which was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

The UK, France and Germany have warned that further sanctions could be imposed on Russia unless air accident investigators are allowed full access to the crash site.

International investigators have still not been given free access to the site four days after the aircraft crashed, killing all 298 people on board.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association voiced its concern over the tragedy.

A spokesman said: “British pilots express their condolences to the families of the passengers and crew aboard MH17. For whatever reason they appear to have become innocent victims in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

“Civil aviation should never be allowed to become a part of conflict and be threatened in this way. The apparent shooting down of this aircraft is therefore of extreme concern to pilots.

“We note that action has been taken by many airlines and authorities to avoid this area.  We hope that the conflict in the area does not hamper the ability of the investigatory authorities to determine the exact cause of the crash and any persons who are responsible.”

MAS said yesterday: “There are no changes to the frequency of our services and we will continue to operate daily services between Amsterdam and Kuala Lumpur.”

However, the flight number MH17 has been withdrawn “out of respect for our crew and passengers of the mentioned flight code”.

It has been replaced with flight number MH19.

MAS said any passenger booked to travel by the end of the year who no longer wishes to fly may apply by Thursday for a full refund, even if they have booked restricted fares.

The carrier said: “Passengers who wish to postpone or cancel their travel plans can obtain a refund, including for non-refundable tickets.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Malaysia airliner crashes in east Ukraine

Breaking news

A Malaysian airliner reportedly with 295 people on board has crashed in Ukraine near the Russian border, on a flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

Malaysia Airlines said it had lost contact with Flight MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukraine, it said in a tweet.

An aviation source in Moscow told Reuters the plane had been found burning on the ground in east Ukraine.

It had failed to enter Russian airspace, the source said.

Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the plane had been hit by a missile at an altitude of 10,000m (33,000ft).

A number of military planes have been shot down by missiles in recent weeks over eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatist rebels have been fighting government forces.

The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports of the crash and was “urgently working to establish what has happened”.

Sourced from BBC News


‘Catastrophic event’ blamed for loss of flight MH370

A catastrophic event soon after take-off that incapacitated the pilots of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is being suggested as most likely explanation for its disappearance.

The theory comes in the first international report by air accident investigators into the disaster.

A 50-page report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau is the first official document to suggest a scenario for why the Boeing 777 went off course and vanished 110 days ago while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.

The ghost flight scenario put forward by Australia’s air accident investigation authority assumes that the aircraft was on autopilot when its two fuel-starved engines cut out after more than five hours flying far off course, and the pilots made no attempt to make a controlled ditching in the southern Indian Ocean.

The report, based on analyses by an expert panel, including representatives from Boeing, the British satellite firm Inmarsat and the US National Transportation Safety Board, says “the unresponsive crew/hypoxia type event” scenario is the “best fit” with what is known about MH370’s last hours of flight, The Times reported.

The report suggests that MH370’s pilots managed to reset the 777’s autopilot on to a southerly heading in a desperate effort to get back towards Malaysia for an emergency landing, but became too incapacitated to complete it - causing their aircraft to keep flying south until the fuel ran out.

Hypoxia occurs when the body is starved off oxygen. The report said that such events on aircraft were generally caused by the failure to pressurise during the initial climb.

However, a fast fire fuelled by the aircraft’s oxygen supply in the cockpit area has also been suggested as a possible cause of the crew’s incapacitation.

The ATSB document was issued to explain why the hunt for the lost jet is being moved to a new 60,000 square kilometre area south of regions of the Indian Ocean previously searched.

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Iata condemns French air traffic control strike

Strike action by French air traffic controllers targeting holidaymakers at the start of the busy summer season has been “strongly condemned” by Iata.

Air traffic management body Eurocontrol estimated that there would be 14,000 hours of delays during the six-day strike which started yesterday.

Ryanair was forced to cancel “up to 220″ flights on Tuesday, including some services to and from Stansted, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Dublin and Bristol airports.

EasyJet has cancelled 20% of flights to and from France today and more groundings are expected.

The airline warned 65% of its flights operate over French airspace and are subject to French air traffic regulations, “and as such we are expecting significant delays to many of our flights”.

French authorities are due to meet this morning to discuss the impact of strike action for Thursday.

“Once we receive the update from this meeting, we will be able to provide details of expected disruption for tomorrow,” easyJet said.

Monarch said the level of disruption caused by the strike was “higher than anticipated and customers can expect significant delays this week”.

British Airways aims to publish revised schedules by 2pm each day for the following day’s flights.

But the airline said: “Due to the nature of the industrial action across France, air traffic control slots across Europe are subject to change at short notice.

“All customers are advised to keep checking the very latest news about their specific flight, as more flights could be cancelled throughout each day of industrial action.”

Flybe said: “We have been requested by the French aviation authorities to reduce our flying programme which means we will be required to cancel a number of flights each day.”

Iata director general and chief executive Tony Tyler said: “Unions bent on stopping progress are putting at risk the hard-earned vacations of millions of travellers, and from the public’s perspective, the timing of the strike could even be regarded as malicious.

“In additional to vacationers, business people undertaking important trips, and those awaiting urgent shipments will all face hassles and uncertain waits as flights are cancelled, delayed or diverted around a major portion of European airspace.”

The strikes are in protest against planned reforms to bring the management of Europe’s airspace “into the modern era” with efficiencies that would be delivered by the ‘Single European Sky,’ Iata said.

“There are more borders in the skies over Europe than exist on land,” said Tyler. “And that comes at a great cost. In 2012, over 130 million hours of potentially productive time were wasted because of delays that could have been prevented with Single European Sky.

“It is indefensible that France’s air traffic controllers are now going on strike in order to perpetuate travel delays in Europe.”

Gocompare.com travel insurance spokeswoman Caroline Lloyd said: “It’s at times like these that the importance of appropriate travel insurance really hits home. Even though these airlines are allowing travellers to rebook flights at another time, a lot of people will be left out of pocket as they have hotel accommodation booked at their destination.

“Out of 550 annual travel insurance policies available on the market, only 240 of those cover cancellation or curtailment of a trip for £5,000 or more, and some insurance policies don’t even cover cancellation, so it’s really important to read the policy documents carefully before you buy.”

She added: “It’s really important when buying a travel insurance policy that every eventuality is covered. Recently we’ve heard of instances of civil unrest in popular holiday destinations like Thailand, and now these air strikes in France could cause holiday chaos.

“Therefore it’s really important that when you buy a travel insurance policy you don’t just go for the cheapest option, but for a policy that will cover the whole cost of your holiday – otherwise if the worst happens, it may be you who is left out of pocket.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


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