TransAsia flights cancelled as pilots to be tested

TransAsia Airways has cancelled dozens of flights as all 71 pilots who fly its ATR planes are to undergo proficiency tests after it emerged that pilot error might have been a contributory factor in the fatal crash of Flight GE235.

The tests were ordered by Taiwan’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) at the weekend and the CAA said any pilots who fail the tests will be grounded until they have completed retraining.

“All of TransAsia’s 71 ATR pilots will undergo tests to be carried out by the CAA and third-party professional units for an estimated period of four days,” the airline said.

The order came after it emerged the pilot of GE235 may have manually turned off one engine while the second ‘flamed out’, causing the plane to crash into the Keelung River in Taipei.

The flight data recorders recovered from the wreckage revealed that power to both engines was cut just seconds after the plane took off from Taipei airport with 58 passengers and crew onboard.

The death toll has risen to 40, with three people still unaccounted for.

The CAA also revealed TransAsia’s fleet of ATR aircraft has suffered five engine failures in the last five years.

The airline has started paying out compensation to victims’ families. Next of kin are to receive US$38,000 to pay for funeral costs, the airline said

Sourced by Travelmole


New flying school for South Wales

G-BSSBHorizon Flight Training has just been given approval from the CAA to conduct training here at MoD St Athan. The new flying school is located within the Horizon Aircraft Services Ltd. hangar, which is located on the South side of the airfield, next to the Regional Rehabilitation Unit.

Anyone who has ever visited Horizon will already know what a unique and exciting engineering environment they operate in. So you will find that the training aircraft will be nestled between a Hawker Hunter, Jet Provost, L29 and L39 aircraft as well as many other interesting and unusual aircraft.

This new Flying School aims to provide the highest quality training which will be given by experienced and professional flight instructors, which is essential for anyone wishing to maximise their potential as a future pilot, whether it is for recreational flying or to compete for a job in the professional marketplace; from flight instructor to airline pilot. There is never a compromise with the training standards so students can enjoy their aviation tuition in a safe but fun environment.

The Accountable Manager, John Sparks, is also the owner and Chief Engineer of Horizon Aircraft Services Ltd. As an individual he brings a wealth of experience in all aspects of aviation, spanning almost 40 years. His Team are all ex-military, consisting of both Royal Air Force and Royal Navy pilots and engineers, who are dedicated to providing a unique professional environment for flying training. These lessons are tailored to the individual whatever their entry level, from complete beginner to students who have flown a little in the past.

The aircraft that the students will currently learn to fly is the Cessna 150. Horizon operates two of these aircraft which are ideal to introduce new students to the fundamental aspects of flying.

The Flying School has initially been approved to teach:
• EASA PPL – Private Pilot Licence – 45 hours minimum course
• EASA LAPL – Light Aircraft Pilot Licence – 30 hours minimum course
• The EASA LAPL is a more restricted licence designed for people who want to fly for more recreational purposes.

In addition the instructors are also approved for Night Ratings, an essential add-on to your licence just in case you find yourself in the air as the sun sets.

They also have approval for Aerobatics and also Tail-Wheel conversion for those more experienced and adventurous pilots.

The training areas that they fly are from St Athan to the west over in the Porthcawl area and from St Athan to the east towards Newport. However, once students have completed their circuit training they are able to fly to a variety of locations during the navigation stage, putting the theory and practice they have learnt to the test.

The Horizon shared crew room will allow students to talk to many different pilots and engineers that use the hangar to carry out their summer flying display circuit and engineering test flight work so there is a  wealth of experience to draw on.

John Sparks said; “Our core business is training students to pass their Skills Test and obtain their pilot licence which will allow them to hire aircraft in the future so they can fully embrace the freedom of flying. But we can also offer Trial Flight Experiences; this can either be a 30, 45 or 60 minute flight and is classed as Exercise 3 of the LAPL or PPL syllabus which counts towards your licence. This flight is designed to ensure future students are making the right choice for them before continuing with their training. The favourite flight is the route flown at 2,000 feet over the city of Cardiff returning along the coast via Penarth and Lavernock Point.

“Our cost is comparable with other South Wales schools but we are unique in providing a 5% discount for all MoD staff. There are also plans to become an ELCAS provider, so please keep an eye on our website for updates.”

John concluded; “We are a hub of diverse aviation activity here at St Athan with a warm welcome. So come and join us and be part of something extraordinary.”

If you are interested in learning to fly you can contact Horizon Flight on Tel: 01446 750284 or visit their website:

Campaign calls for APD to be scrapped for children

Campaign calls for APD to be scrapped for childrenBy Juliet Dennis,

The A Fair Tax on Flying coalition has launched a large-scale campaign calling on the government to scrap Air Passenger Duty on children’s flights.

Scrap The Tax on Family Flights launched on Monday, and urges staff in the travel trade as well as consumers to register their opposition to the tax on children.

APD adds £52 to the cost of a family of four’s economy flights to destinations in Europe and £276 to destinations such as the US. The tax is the highest of its kind in the world and only four other European countries levy a similar charge.

The coalition of aviation, travel and tourism partners is confident of widespread support for the campaign, which comes ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement by chancellor George Osborne, and hopes to bring about a change in the March 2015 budget, the last before the next General Election.

It follows a ComRes poll, commissioned by A Fair Tax on Flying, which found 65% of UK adults thought children under 12 should be exempt from APD in the same way children are exempt from other taxes, while 75% said it was unfair UK families pay a flight tax while those from other countries do not get charged.

The coalition, set up with the aim of reducing APD, claims it would cost the Treasury £50 million if it stopped charging the tax on children aged two to 12, who are currently charged the same amount of APD on flights as adults. The £50 million is understood to represent around 1.7% of overall APD revenue.

A spokesman for the campaign said: “The tax on children’s flights is a strain on family budgets. Scrapping APD on children’s flights will help to make an annual holiday more affordable for hard working and hard pressed families at a minimal cost to government.”

Around 30 members of Parliament have already signed a House of Commons early day motion to support the issue. “We expect this number to increase,” added the spokesperson.

A special online calculator – a new version of the coalition’s existing tax calculator – has been created for supporters of the campaign to work out how much they are paying for their children to fly.

The calculator can then send an electronic postcard to chancellor George Osborne to scrap the tax and allows supporters to tweet their opposition directly to the Treasury.

Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: “As an industry we can support this and spread the message ahead of what is a crucial pre-election budget. We’d urge all of our members and travel companies far and wide to use Facebook and Twitter to follow the campaign and share messages and the calculator link with their customers and contacts.”

The campaign follow recent calls from high-profile figures in the industry, including Virgin Atlantic chief executive Craig Kreeger and BMI chief executive Cathal O’Connell, to abolish APD for children.

Richard Singer, European managing director of Travelzoo and a long-time campaigner against APD, said: “Travelzoo fully supports the ‘Scrap The Tax on Family Flights’ campaign and welcomes the news that David Cameron has voiced his support for this initiative.

“Since July 2013 Travelzoo has been lobbying the Government to remove or reduce Air Passenger Duty on flights for families – our suggestion was to remove this tax on flights during school holiday dates.

“A removal of tax on all flights for children under the age of 12 is in keeping with our aim to fight what we call the Parent Trap – the combined effect of the government fines for term time holidays, the highest flight tax in the world and the increase in price of travel during peak dates. Travelzoo will join this campaign and continue to fight the Parent Trap on behalf of all UK families.”

More information can be found at, or the campaign can be followed on Twitter @ScrapFamilyAPD.

Sourced by Travel Weekly

Delayed air passengers owed £3.2bn in compensation

Not all passengers are claiming for delayed flights Passengers delayed on flights going in and out of the EU have failed to claim GBP3.2 billion owed in compensation, according to new statistics.

In the past decade only 2% of travellers have claimed compensation for late or cancelled flights, passenger rights firm has said.

EU Regulation was approved in 2004 to secure passenger rights and ensure passengers receive up to GBP490 compensation when a flight leaving or departing the EU is three hours late or more.

However said more passengers are realising their rights with the amount of unclaimed compensation decreasing in the last three years. Around GBP385m is estimated to have been unclaimed in 2006, which came down to GBP355m in 2012 and GBP240m in 2013.

“We noticed a consistent and deliberate disregard for passenger rights that could result in hundreds of euros for millions of passengers worldwide,” said Eve Buechner, founder and CEO of, which processed 10,000 claims last year.

She said the decline in numbers was an ‘encouraging trend’ as consumers had previously “accepted that punctuality and care were more suggestions than rights”.

She added more open information from airlines and the introduction of more intermediaries between airlines and passengers had helped more passengers claim.

Sourced by Travel Daily UK

Flights disrupted by early morning fog

Flights disrupted by early morning fogImage via ShutterstockA shroud of fog was disrupting flights across airports in the southeast this morning.

Dense fog in the London area forced the cancellation of flights at London City airport .

Delays were also reported at Heathrow while Gatwick was operating a normal schedule as forecasters warned of a repeat of the poor visibility on Friday morning.

London City said: “Due to low visibility this morning flights are experiencing disruptions.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly

Flight demand accelerates, says Iata


Demand for flights has continued to “accelerate” during the first few weeks of 2014 helped by improving economic conditions around the world.

International Air Transport Association (Iata) figures show that worldwide passenger traffic in January grew by 8% as measured by total revenue passenger kilometres (RPKs), compared to the same month in 2013. This was up from the 5.2% rise in RPKs recorded during the whole of 2013.

Capacity also rose by 6.7% year-on-year in January while load factor improved by 0.9 percentage points to 78.1%.

Iata chief executive Tony Tyler said: “2014 is off to a strong start, with travel demand accelerating over the healthy results achieved in 2013, in line with stronger growth in advanced economies and emerging market regions.”

European airlines saw international air travel demand rise by 6.4% in January which Iata said was down to “modest” economic improvements in the Eurozone and “rising consumer and business confidence”.

Capacity across the continent increased by 5.9%, as measured by available seat kilometres (ASKs), while load factors picked up by 0.4 points to 77.2%.

The biggest rises in demand came in the Middle East where airlines saw international RPKs soar by 18.1% in January while Asia-Pacific carriers recorded an overall 8% increase in traffic.

North American airlines experienced a 3.5% increase in January while those in Latin America saw a 4.4% rise. African traffic was up by just 2.7% – the slowest rate of growth of any region.

Tyler added: “The second century of commercial aviation has begun on a positive note, with air traffic demand rising in line with generally positive economic indicators.

“While this is in line with an improved overall outlook for 2014, aviation remains highly vulnerable to external shocks. Rising geopolitical tensions around the world have the potential to cast shadows on this optimistic outlook.”

Sourced from TTG Digital

Virgin’s Little Red to reduce Manchester flights

 By Alex McWhirter,

Virgin Atlantic’s Little Red subsidiary will axe one of its four daily flights between Heathrow and Manchester from the start of the summer 2014 schedule.

The airline began its domestic services in spring 2013 after acquiring nine former Bmi slots at Heathrow from British Airways.

From March 30, Little Red plans to operate Heathrow to Manchester at 09.30, 17.10 and 20.10. Return flights from Manchester will depart at 07.50, 12.20 and 18.50.

The current schedule sees four daily flights depart Heathrow at 09.05, 12.20, 16.45 and 20.05. The return services leave Manchester at 07.25, 10.40, 14.15 and 18.20.

Little Red’s domestic network was established to allow Virgin Atlantic to feed regional passengers onto its long-haul network at Heathrow. Flights are operated under contract by Aer Lingus using a single-class A320.

Virgin Atlantic said that the service reduction on Heathrow-Manchester was down to a loss of slots to another carrier, rather than poor demand.

Virgin said the Manchester slots were “loaned from another carrier. We have now had to return these slots to their owner”. The carrier in question has not been named.

Slots to Edinburgh and Aberdeen are unaffected because they were awarded to Virgin Atlantic through an agreement made with the European Commission as part of BA’s takeover of Bmi last year.

Sourced by bbt