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
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 refund.me 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 refund.me 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 refund.me, 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
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
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
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