Friday, 31 August 2007

Thomson Fly flight in emergency landing

A Thomson Fly aircraft had to be diverted to East Midlands Airport after a problem with the wheels occurred.

The plane took off from Doncaster Robin Hood Airport and was heading for Corfu. Nobody was injured and the aircraft landed safely. Emergency services were on standby at the airport as a safety precaution.

A spokeswoman stated that 227 passengers were onboard the Boeing 757-200 and the pilot requested emergency assistance shortly after take-off.

When the aircraft had been taxiing on the runway it had developed a fuel leak, fire crews foamed the runway as standard procedure in preparation for the jet to land.

In order to burn off some fuel the aircraft circled the runway first and passengers then got off safely.

Passengers were either transferred onto another flight or taken by coach to another airport. All other flights from East Midlands ran as normal.

18 injured on flight to Hong Kong

Every flight encounters turbulence at some point and 18 passengers certainly felt it on an Air Mauritius flight to Hong Kong. Three had to be admitted to hospital.

A spokesman for Hong Kong's Airport Authority Chris Lam said: "The plane had a safe landing, all we know is that it encountered some turbulence." The plane did however land safely.

Television images showed a young man being taken to hospital on a stretcher wearing a neck and head brace. The others injured had minor injuries and were discharged as soon as they had been treated.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Update on China Airlines fireball

Japanese investigators of the China Airlines plane that burst into flames say that the fuel tank had been pierced.

"We spotted a hole in a fuel tank," the transport ministry's investigative division said in a brief statement.

"We suspect that oil leaked from this hole and spilled from the right wing to the outside."

It’s believed that a bolt in the aircraft’s structure perhaps pierced the tank. The black box has now been recovered and is being analysed to find out the pilots’ conversations.

China Airlines have meanwhile apologised to customers and is going to give compensation. They have also painted over their logo on the wreckage to minimise ay bad publicity. Chairman Philip Wei has also offered his resignation.

British Airways fined for price fixing

British Airways have been fined £150 million for price fixing with Virgin Atlantic.

They got off lightly as guidelines suggest they should be fined a third more.

Senior BA staff may now be investigated for criminal charges whilst the company also face possible lawsuits by thousands of US customers who were overcharged.

Authorities have been looking into fuel surcharges and the increase in price tickets to compensate the cost of rising fuel.

Anybody related to cargo surcharges could also face 10 years in prison if they are found guilty of the said offence. As it isn’t a UK authority investigating they could face being extradited to the US.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Are Airlines sacrificing safety for money?

The China Airlines accident couldn’t have happened at a worst time, the jet was packed with holidaymakers in the peak season of the vacation period.

It’s amazing that all passengers onboard escaped alive even if it was just by a hair’s breadth.

Ground workers have reported seeing fuel leaking from the right engine as the aircraft was taxiing to its parking spot. They alerted the pilots who at once began the evacuation procedure.

Once everyone had evacuated using emergency slides an explosion fired out on the left hand side engine.

It’s now serious questions are being asked. Where and how did the fuel leak happen, did the pilots notice the leak and if not why not, were the fuel tanks already damaged and been ignored?

This especially brings about a very important issue I have talked about before, have safety inspections been compromised in favour of money making? Investigations into this incident will be looking at the airline’s daily maintenance processes.

Nobody who wasn’t onboard the aircraft can imagine the terror and panic filling the cabin. Some have said the smoke that filled the inside whilst they were still evacuating started to take over the plane. It could have been a totally different result had the evacuation process taken longer than it did.

The designs of all aircraft are designed specifically so that all passengers can be evacuated in 90 seconds even with all the seats filled.

The investigation will most likely look at whether the crew did carry out proper evacuation procedures despite the evacuation going well in the accident.

This particular airline hasn’t had a good safety record to say the least. A China Airlines Airbus crashed on landing in 1994 at Nagoya Airport killing 264 people onboard. Four years later another Airbus went down in a residential area, in 2002 a 747 crashed in the Taiwan Straits.

China Airlines need to finally learn an important lesson and review its current operations and safety management. How many more lives are to be lost on their aircraft?

More misery for China Airlines

To add to the bad luck of China Airlines another of its jets nearly ended its routine flight in disaster.

The aircraft had to make an emergency landing in Japan after it ran out of fuel. The pilots had to ask for permission to land at Kansai International Airport en-route to central Japan from Taipei.

Fortunately the plane landed safely with no injuries to anyone onboard.

After refuelling the plane resumed its journey to Chubu International Airport, China Airlines weren’t available for comment at this time.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Airlines - Is Flying the Safest Way to Travel?

Following the recent incident involving China Airlines, and although, miraculously no-one was seriously injured, do you think that flying is still the safest way to travel? Have your say in the poll on the right.

Tough times ahead for China Airlines

China Airlines are preparing themselves for turbulent times ahead following the latest incident in Japan where a Boeing 737-800 burst into flames shortly after landing at Okinawa.

Johnson Sun China Airlines spokesman has said that their cash flow will be seriously affected despite having other aircraft to carry on their operations.

Sales in flight bookings with the airline will also drop until public faith has been restored. Sun also said that total losses from the accident had not yet been established.

A Boeing 737-800 jet is normally worth $70-$80 million but it’s not known how much China Airlines paid for the aircraft or how much compensation the insurance companies will pay out.

"Although TFMI is the lead underwriter, its exposure is limited," Taiwan Ratings said in a statement. "The expected net loss is equivalent to 1 percent to 2 percent of the insurer's total shareholders' funds plus special reserves at the end of June," it said.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Airline Explosion Investigation

Investigators involved with the China Airlines explosion in Japan yesterday are looking into the fact that the fire could have been caused by a fuel leak.

Japanese officials could reach no immediate conclusion to the cause of the explosion and Hiromi Tsurumi said: “We are investigating a possible fuel leak in the engine area. We want to know how the fuel could have leaked and how it could have caught fire.”

The US Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board along with Boeing sent investigators to the scene. On Wednesday efforts will begin by a team of Japanese, Taiwanese and US experts to uncover the cause of the accident.

Speculation is focussing on the possibility of a big fuel leak near the plane’s right engine and also the chance of loose parts or objects being sucked into the engine causing the sparks.

The pilots were the last ones out of the giant fireball after waiting for all passengers to be evacuated first. The crew have been praised by the airline for their bravery and the well-organised evacuation procedure.

Captain Yu Chien-Kuo was seen jumping from the cockpit window only a second after Co-Pilot Tseng Ta-Wei.

“Our pilots were the last to depart,” Mr. Sun said. “They told the flight attendants to execute an evacuation and help passengers escape within the shortest possible time.”

“They did what they should have and acted with great bravery,” he said. The aircraft was evacuated within three minutes.

It’s come to light that this particular aircraft had experienced a problem with its sensor on one of the wings earlier this month. This has been denied that it is related to the fire.

While the aircraft was in the air, air traffic control had received no distress signals from the pilot.

The investigation continues.

China Airlines Jet bursts into flames after landing

Today at Naha Airport on the Japanese island of Okinawa a China Airlines aircraft burst into flames.

There were 165 people onboard all of whom managed to escape. Some only just made it when the plane exploded just seconds before they had evacuated.

Television pictures showed flames and smoke pouring out the 737-800 and even showed the pilot jumping out the cockpit window.

The Airline has said the cause of the explosion is not yet known but some reports have said that the left engine of the plane caught fire.

"Everything was normal, including take-off and landing, until the pilots were told the airplane was on fire," China Airlines spokesman Johnson Sun said.

"Then the crew on board immediately took the due procedure to evacuate all the passengers."

The plane had embarked on a routine flight from Taipei to Okinawa but after only 8 minutes after landing on the Japanese island black smoke and fire was seen coming from the plane.

The aircraft had actually broken in two after the fire was put out. There were 8 members of crew onboard the flight and all eight are reported to be safe despite reports that two had to be taken to hospital.

China Airlines have a reputation for being one of the unsafest airlines in the world and this recent incident will only add fuel to that belief.
During the 1990s the airline had several crashes and in 2002 one crashed into the sea near Penghu with 225 passengers onboard.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Hijacked aircraft lands in Turkey

An AtlasJet heading for Istanbul was hijacked and passengers managed to escape the plane at Antalya Airport in Turkey today.

The plane landed in Turkey for refuelling purposes and security forces managed to negotiate with he hijackers and as a result elderly passengers and children were released.

Some passengers were injured when they rushed for the gates. There are still nine people and two crew members being held hostage.

The hijackers intended to fly the plane to the Iranian city of Tehran.

There is thought to be two hijackers onboard. One of them speaks Arabic and has a knife whilst the other was holding what is thought to be a bomb.

An escaped passenger told NT television: "They said they were from al-Qaida,"

The hijackers tried to take control of the cockpit after the pilots said they needed to refuel but failed taking instead one of the cabin crew and threatened to harm her.

Upon reaching the Turkish city of Antalya to refuel the pilots left the aircraft. In total there were 136 passengers and six crew members onboard the aircraft.

Friday, 17 August 2007

Cabin Crew in 'quality of life' talks with Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines have been hit where it hurts following hundreds of flight cancellations in the summer. This has prompted the company to call their flight attendants to a meeting to discuss quality-of-life improvements.

"The more expeditiously and creatively we can collaborate on improving our flight attendants' work environment and quality of life, the better our prospects will be for long-term success," Chief Executive Officer Doug Steenland said in a letter.

Michigan’s biggest carrier have not guaranteed increasing the cabin crew salary but would instead look for ‘cost neutral ways’ to improve their working lives.

Flight attendants suffered pay cuts when the airline went bankrupt whilst at the same time the company secured court rulings that prevented staff from striking.

President of the Northwest branch of the Association of Flight Attendants Kevin Griffin has taken a ‘wait and see’ attitude.

"He's extending an olive branch," Griffin said. "We want to see whether it will hold any olives."

When the talks will take place is not yet known.

Singapore Airlines announce date of maiden A380 flight

Singapore Airlines will launch its A380 maiden flight on October 25th.

The biggest passenger plane has been long awaited for after an 18 month delay. The first flight will be a long haul journey from Singapore to Sydney.

“Everyone at Singapore Airlines is keenly anticipating the delivery of this new plane,” said Singapore Airlines chief executive Chew Choon Seng. “The first flight promises to be one of the most exciting occasions in aviation history.”

Tickets for the flight will be up for sale by auction on eBay with all money from the sales being donated to charity.

SIA have stated that the first A380 will be configured to allow seating for 471 passengers over 3 classes including the new Singapore Airlines Suites being the most luxurious aspect. The plane will be delivered on October 15th after a special ceremony in Toulouse.

The Super Jumbo is said to facilitate the latest engine and cabin technology, which aims to reduce noise pollution for both those onboard, and people living near the runways.

This A380 is the first from a total order of 19.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Singapore Airlines preparing for A380 flight

The new Airbus A380 arrived at Singapore’s Changi Airport on Thursday for the airport to run trials such as safety, passenger disembarkation, catering etc.

The Jumbo will leave on Tuesday after enduring many trials.

The largest passenger airliner in the world has so far received 154 orders. SIA will be the first airline to fly the plane and already has 10 on order with the option of purchasing another 6.

October 2007 will be the maiden flight from Singapore to Sydney and preparations are already taking place.

The flight date has yet to be confirmed after Airbus gives the final delivery date in October.

All proceeds from the first flight ticket sales will be donated to charity.

Drunk and disorderly onboard Southwest Airlines flight

Passenger Andy Lee Osuna has been accused of shouting profanities, making crude comments and pushing a member of cabin crew onboard a Chicago to Las Vegas flight.

Southwest Airlines flight 2275 had to be diverted to Denver after the passenger became violent and was arrested immediately upon arrival.

Investigators were told that Osuna had drunk 2 malt liquors before the flight and then another 5 cocktails whilst onboard. He had also said that he didn’t remember even being handcuffed upon arrest.

It’s not known where Osuna is from and he made his first court appearance on Tuesday where he was held without bail.

A passenger onboard the plane said that she and her family were sitting behind the accused when he turned round and made an inappropriate comment. He then allegedly grabbed the lady’s husband’s shirt.

When a flight attendant tries to intervene in the situation, Osuna pushed them away. At one point the man’s trousers had to be pulled up as his buttocks were on display.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Protesters set up camp at Heathrow

Protestors set up camp on Monday near Heathrow Airport to in a bid to protest against the proposed new runway and the damage caused to the environment by air travel, they even put up a wind turbine and a solar powered movie theatre.

The protest is to last for at least a week with the campaigners setting up tents near to where the new runway is to be built.

Terminal 5 is expected to open in 2008 and the government has proposed the new runway to open in 2020.

More protestors are expected to join the protest during the week, which is to stand up against environmental damage caused by aircraft not to disrupt people’s travel plans.

Gary Dwyer said he expects the protest to a peaceful:

"There will be the day of direct action, but we've said there will be no attempt to storm runways or anything like that. Public safety is paramount," he said.

"People do have a right to protest in this country, but the government believes that action that would disrupt the running of Heathrow would be unacceptable," a Downing Street spokeswoman said on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.

BAA Heathrow’s managing director Mark Bullock said they would take all appropriate steps to make sure travellers and staff are protected during all this.

"With the current terrorism threat, keeping Heathrow safe and secure is a very serious business," Bullock said. "Any action taken by the protesters that distracts us or the police from this task is irresponsible and unlawful."

Friday, 10 August 2007

No survivors on doomed Air Moorea Aircraft.

It’s now been confirmed that all 20 people onboard the Air Moorea aircraft died after the plane took off bound for Tahiti.

The flight should have been a routine 15km flight taking only 7 minutes. President Gaston Tong Sang confirmed there were no survivors.

Among those on board are believed to have been 2 Australian tourists and two officials from the European Commission’s delegation to the Pacific.

Investigations are still underway as to the cause of the crash on what seemed to be a perfect sunny day.

Aircraft crashes into lagoon with 20 on board

Twelve lives have been taken following an Air Moorea aircraft crash whilst taking off from the French island of Moorea on its way to Tahiti.

An official said: "Twelve corpses have been recovered, operations are continuing,"

Similar to the Kenyan plane crash this airline plunged into a lagoon with 20 people onboard the Twin Otter Turbopop.

The cause of the accident isn’t immediately clear. The nationality of those killed hasn’t been released and there is no word of survivors as yet.

A police spokesman said: "The investigation is underway there now and police are still combing the area.”

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Monkey smuggled onboard flight!

I’ve heard some funny stories in my time but how no one could notice a furry animal under somebody’s hat is unbelievable.

In Lima, Peru on Monday a man boarded a flight to Lauderdale, Fla with a monkey under his hat. Nobody noticed this until passengers happened to see it perched on his ponytail. He even boarded another flight to LaGuardia airport early Tuesday morning.

The primate whom normally lives in forests began to appear from underneath the hat and a passenger later said: “Other passengers asked the man if he knew he had a monkey on him.”

Astonishingly the monkey was well behaved and remained on the man’s seat for the remainder of the flight.

When the plane landed at 3pm airport police were waiting to question the man but it isn’t yet known whether he will face charges.

The monkey appeared to not be distressed but is being kept in quarantine for 31 days to check for any diseases. If all is ok the monkey could face life in a zoo.

“It is kind of a spirited monkey,” Russell said. “That will be the nickname of the monkey: Spirit.”

Are airports cashing in on passengers' misery?

It seems airports may be cashing in on the chaos bought about by new security measures.

Passengers are being hit with a number of charges before they get to departures. Such charges are for clear plastic bags that contain liquids, gels, and clear solutions etc. to be taken onboard following new security restrictions introduced last year.

Vending machines selling 4 bags for a pound have been installed at Newcastle, Luton and Belfast airports.

Other airports are charging for a ‘fast track’ alternative enabling passengers to get through security quicker, John Lennon airport are charging £2 for this service. Some are even charging travellers just to use terminals.

Norwich charges customers £3 to use the terminal. This all comes as BAA is already being put under the microscope for under-investing in the airport.

Although passenger charges increased by 7.5% the amount spent on the airport dropped from £298 million to £252 million.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Chaos at Heathrow Airport!

Passengers were faced with arrival hell yesterday when they had to wait 9 hours just to reclaim their baggage at Heathrow.

As a result of security reasons baggage handlers struggled with the increase of items put in the hold. This means that travellers are more often than not to expect hefty delays.

This is the second week of disruption for the airport leaving BA and BAA heavily criticised.

In the last month alone BA have lost 22,000 pieces of luggage and the rule of only one piece of hand luggage has only worsened the situation.

Last night BA admitted that the crisis had led to them making special flights with only luggage onboard in an effort to reunite passengers with their possessions.

Baggage handler numbers have also been reduced due to some being relocated in the new terminal 5 building for training purposes. This was later denied by the airline.

People who arrived from Lagos, Nigeria yesterday have said they had to wait from 6am-3pm just to get their baggage.

"I flew in at 6am this morning with my friend. I picked up my luggage at 8am but my friend is still waiting for his and it's now 3pm." Said Adam Kolleve.

A spokesman for BA said: "The average time for the year so far is 30 minutes from the time the plane parks to the first bags coming round on the carousel. Obviously there are times - like when Terminal Four was closed last month - when those delays are more because the airport infrastructure is always at maximum capacity."
Perhaps not the best time to travel with BA!!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

2 Singapore Airlines aircraft involved in small bump.

It seems planes are hitting each other all over the place!!

At Changi Airport in Singapore two Singapore Airlines knocked into the other with the wings whilst preparing for take off.

There were no injuries.

Stephen Forshaw the company spokesman said "It is reported that the wingtips of two aircraft came into contact while both aircraft were taxiing at low speed”.

The incident occurred yesterday morning and both Boeing 777 only suffered minor damage. Passengers were on their way to Rome and Copenhagen and were later transferred onto other flights.

Forshaw later said that an investigation was getting under way with the help from both pilots. The airline would give no information on the number of passengers onboard when the accident happened.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Friday, 3 August 2007

Korean Air come top with Malaysia & Singapore Airlines close behind

The World Airline Awards have been taking place with many categories that airlines can win. For the world’s Best Economy Class the winner has been announced as Korean Air. They have also been recognised as one of the five top airlines with Best In-flight Entertainment.

All the seats are fully equipped with a monitor and the seats have more space in-between them for more comfort.

Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines were runners up coming second and third.

These awards are very well recognised across the world that take into account passenger opinions.

Glasgow Airport bomber dies from injuries.

On June 30th this year a Jeep loaded with explosives was deliberately crashed into the departures lounge at Glasgow Airport.

Today the man responsible, Kafeel Ahmed died from serious burn injuries. He had been in hospital for a month whereas his partner in crime Bilal Abdullah has been charged with conspiring to set off explosive materials.

"We can confirm that the man seriously injured during the course of the incident at Glasgow Airport on Saturday June 30 has died in Glasgow Royal Infirmary," said a spokesman for Strathclyde Police.

Ahmed originally from Bangalore had been burnt on 90% of his body; he never came round from his coma and was kept under armed guard.

His brother Sabeel Ahmed has also been arrested in Liverpool charged with withholding information that could have prevented an act of terrorism. Another doctor Jamil Asha is the third man also being charged with the failed plot.

As with all the suspects in this case, Kafeel was working as a medical worker yet Indian officials have contradicted this saying he was an engineer with a doctorate in design and technology.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Are British Airways really that bad...

According to the Association of European Airlines it is. BA has been found to have the worst performance in all Europe’s major carriers.

The report showed that BA passengers suffered the most delays and flights didn’t arrive or depart on time.

Long haul flights were even worse with 44% arriving late and 36% departing late.

Recent reports have also shown that BA’s baggage handling was not up to scratch. For every 1,000 people, 28 bags were held up.

This bad news has come at a bad time for BA as they are currently facing being sued by passengers for price fixing over fuel surcharges.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Lufthansa Airlines catching up!

Lufthansa are trying to get with the times by planning to install broadband internet connection services on its aircraft used for long haul flights.

This system will be expected to cost around $100m and the final stage of this request is currently in progress.

As well as Wi-Fi access for laptops the system will also allow SMS and email services. For fear of disturbing other passengers on board voice communications won’t be permitted.

Airbus A380 given permission to land!

The eagerly awaited Airbus A380 has been given authorisation to land on 45-meter wide runways by The European Aviation Safety Agency and the Federal Aviation Administration.

"The A380 has already landed on 45 airports across the world and is scheduled to land on 70 more airports by 2011.”

The A380 will be the world’s largest long-range aircraft and has been shown to be safely controllable possessing the navigation equipment to enable safe runways 45 meters wide or wider.

The current required width of runways stands at 45 or more.