Saturday, 29 September 2007

Budget airline announes all its aircraft are safe

Despite five accidents involving Q400 aircraft this year, budget airline Flybe has reassured passengers that their aircraft are prefectly safe.

Flybe currently operates Q400's from Dublin, Galway & Belfast to various destinations in the UK and Channel Islands.

The move comes following mishaps on 2 different Scandanavian Q400's whilst landing. A Lufthansa Q400 also had problems when its landing gear experienced problems.

Bombardier then called for all Q400's that have built up over 10,000 take off and landings should be grounded and inspected.

Flybe currently has 33 Q400's but told a radio investigative unit that all said aircraft have recently completed inspections successfully.

Niall Duffy Flybe spokesman said it wasn't necessary to remove them from the fleet as they had all been inspected using all checks requested by Bombardier.

Monday, 24 September 2007

Plane crash victim to be buried today

One of the victims of the Thai air disaster is to be buried today by family in Londonderry.

The remains of the 22 year old were sent back home on Friday to the Drumard Park home in the Hazelbank area.

The aircraft crashed on landing when it came down in bad weather killing 88 people.

Patricia Logue Aaron's Aunt said:

"We the parents and brothers of Aaron Toland would like to express heartfelt gratitude to our family and friends who have given us great comfort and support as we mourn the loss of our beloved son and brother Aaron. Nothing could prepare us to lose Aaron in this terrible tragic manner so far away from us, his family.

"We are heartened that he is back home with us. Our only desire now is to mourn our son and brother. We appreciate that the circumstances of Aaron's death and those of 88 other people in Thailand made it world news. However, we are a family in mourning and ask that the media would respect our privacy."

Doctors have said that his friend Chris Cooley is still in hospital in Phuket but is expected to make a full recovery.

Investigators have said that the possible cause of the crash is wind shear, where the wind makes a sudden change in direction or speed.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Gun smuggled onto Ryanair flight from Spain

A 39 year old man was arrested at Blackpool airport yesterday after smuggling a gun onboard a Ryanair flight. He has since been released on bail.

The firearm and ammunition was contained in the man's luggage.

Police recieved a tip-off about the incident and went to the airport ready to meet the flight from Gerona Spain.

Police have said that the man isn't thought to be a terroist and that he wasn't smuggling the gun for anyone else.

“The man has been questioned by officers and released on police bail pending further enquiries,” a police spokesman said.

“At this stage officers are not treating the incident as terrorist related, nor do we believe the gun was intended to be passed on to anyone else.”

Begs the old question again whether safety is being compromised for money, how was the gun not picked up before boarding the flight! Are security checks lapsing again?

Friday, 21 September 2007

KLM And PanAm Aircraft Collision

Don't know if you've already seen this, but I found this on YouTube recently, it put the wind up me, that's for sure!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Britons killed in flight to Thailand named

The eight Britons who have been confirmed dead from the Thai air accident have been named.

Tributes were paid to Neil and Helen Slater, Susan Howell, Steve Saunby, Tony and Judy Weston, Colin Denny and Alexander Collins.

Eighty nine passengers were killed on the One-Two-Go flight from Bangkok to Phuket when the pilot tried to land in bad weather.

Reports are so far blaming the pilot and faulty equipment at Phuket Airport for the accident.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Plane crash survivor hailed a hero

British teacher Peter James Hill who survived the plane crash in Thailand has been praised for his help in pulling passengers from the wreckage.

Thai Foreign Minister Nitya Pibulsonggram visited Mr Hill in hospital and gave him grapes, flowers and £75 in Thai currency.

Mr Nitya said: "He is a hero by the way. I believed he pulled two people out at (his own) risk. He is now doing pretty well, sitting up and smiling."

Mr Hill added: "I am sure that there were acts of heroism on this flight, but not from me. I don't want to be hailed a hero. My only thought was to get off that plane."

He later said that as soon as he stepped onto the aircraft he had a bad feeling: "I saw the runway, then grass. We hit with a thud and then we hit a second time, which was the crash."

Are Pilots fully trained to fly commercial aircraft?

Investigators looking into the plane crash which claimed at least 89 lives are asking the question of why the airport remained open when weather conditions were so appalling.

Survivors are also amazed that despite the pilot aborting one attempt to land they were still given permission to come in when palm trees were being bent by the strong winds.

Most of the survivors are recovering in hospital with burns and some broken bones. Ten of the dead are British and forensic experts are expected to be flown in aid the identification of the bodies.

The aircraft's black boxes have been found and sent to the US for analysis.

"Hopefully, we will learn in a few weeks the cause of the accident," transport minister Theera Haocharoen told reporters.

One survivor said:

."I saw palm trees bending back in the wind. I couldn't see how he was going to land," Mildred Furlong, a waitress from British Columbia, Canada, said. "We missed the runway first time, came back up and then tried again. We were all silent, then we suddenly hit the ground and there were screams.

"I thought I was going to die because the carriage was filled with thick black smoke and people had passed out around me. There were people burning in the plane, but the man behind me managed to kick open the exit after a few tries and I escaped through that."

Marcel Squinobal, an Austrian holidaymaker, said the plane had bounced up and down and swerved dramatically to both sides. "I don't understand why we didn't fly to Krabi and we could have taken a bus to Phuket."

John O'Donnell, from Co Clare, Ireland, said the pilot had tried to get the plane back in the air after it first hit the runway. "You can tell it was in trouble, because it kind of landed then came up again," Mr O'Donnell said from his hospital bed.

"The plane was flying around trying to land. It was making some noises and it was bad rain. There was a lot of smoke in the plane. I got out through the doors and I came out on to the wing of the plane ... I saw my friend outside. And next thing, it really caught fire, then I just got badly burned, my face, my legs, my arms."

This latest air disaster has bought into question the possibility of budget Asian airlines using sub-standard pilots. This meaning that pilots aren't fully trained to handle serious situations, and to keep up with the increase in air travel pilots who aren't used to flying commercial aircraft are being drafted in.

That certainly doesn't make me feel at ease!!

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Aircraft crashes on Phuket in attempt to land

At least 66 people have been killed on Phuket Island after an aircraft crashed in heavy rain whilst trying to land.

It's reported the aircraft split in two and then burst into flames.

The budget airline One-Two-Go was on a popular route from Bangkok to Phuket carrying 123 passengers and five crew.

Survivors have been describig their escape from the plane's windows as smoke began to consume the plane.

Pairnwit Chusaeng one of the survivors said: ``I saw passengers engulfed in fire as I stepped over them on way out of the plane, I was afraid that the airplane was going to explode so I ran away.''

Deputy Governor of Phuket Worapot Ratthaseema told press: ``At least 66 people have been confirmed dead and 42 have been hospitalized."

He later added that the remaining passengers are still missing.

As many as 27 of the injured passengers are thought to be Irish, Israeli, Australian and British.

One of the survivors who is Irish was badly burned on his arms, legs and back as he escaped the fire. He has told media that he knew something was wrong before the plane landed.

``You could tell when it was landing it was in trouble,'' he said. ``It was making a noise, this bang.''

It's thought the severe weather played a major part in this accident. Chaisak Angsuwan director of Air Transport Authority of Thailand said: ``The visibility was poor as the pilot attempted to land. He decided to make a go-around but the plane lost balance and crashed,'' he said. ``It was torn into two parts.''

This is the second fatal air accident since 1998 when 101 people were killed after a Thai Airways jet crashed whilst trying to land in heavy rain in Surat Thani. Forty Five people survived that incident.

Investigations continue.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

Jet Airways to begin flights to Middle East

Indian carrier Jet Airways Ltd has been given the go ahead to add four more routes to the Middle East from January.

The new routes will include flights to Doha, Kuwait, Muscat and Bahrain.

These new flights to the Middle East are likely to commence in February.

The governement is still considering Jet Airways's request to fly on Gulf routes to Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Airlines to make 'aviation english' compulsory

Come March 2008 pilots flying international routes must acquire a mandatory level of proficiency in 'aviation english'. If they fail to do so ther licence could be taken off them.

It's likely to be compulsary that new pilots pass the language test as part of their commercial pilot licence training.

Aviation english involves communication of flight plans and landing and take off positions between pilots and air traffic control.

The move comes to try and fill the gap between communication with the cockpit and the control tower. One of the most primary factors responsible for accidents is misunderstanding of communication.

China Airlines spreading its' wings

With an increasing travel demand Air China the mainland's international carrier will be adding 12 new routes covering Europe and North America by the end of 2009.

Flights from Beijing to Berlin and Istanbul will begin in March with the route to Warsaw being added in October next year. Nine more routes will follow in 2009.

With the possibility of new planes and business trips & holidays being more affordable, China Southern, China Eastern, Hainan Airlines and Shanghai Airlines will add 27 overseas routes in 2009.

By that time the country may well become the world's biggest recipient of visitors.

China Southern will be adding flights from Beijing to Newark and from Guangzhou to Moscow from July next year with another 3 routes planned in 2009.

The only route from Shanghai to Los Angeles will be launched by China Eastern next year.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Scandanavian jet spins across runway

A Scandanavian Airlines Q400 caught fire during an emergency landing in Denmark when the right landing gear broke down.

Five people were injured. The control tower were informed of the problem by the pilot before he dumped some fuel.

This type of incident relating to landing gear is a first for the airline and maker Bombardier.

Images broadcast by television reports showed the right landing gear collapsing after touchdown, the aircraft then leaned to the right sending the jet spinning from the wing hitting the ground.

A Propeller broke off the plane and sliced through the cabin miraculously missing passengers.

The fire in the right engine was put out quickly by firefighters and then passengers and crew evacuated.

Investigations are underway as to the cause of the accident.

The Q400 is one of 33 in a fleet owned by SAS. None of the other jets have been taken out of service since this incident.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Is Abromovich going to buy own Airbus A380?

Reports have been rife saying that Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich has ordered an A380 just for his own personal use.

All reports have ben denied by the billionaire.

Le Figaro a French newspaper stated Abromovich was having the jet fitted out by a Lufthansa subsidary in Basle, Switzerland.

Lufthansa has responded saying they have no work planned on an A380 and doesn't even have an operation in Basle. Airbus meanwhile have remained silent.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Frankfurt Airport Threat

Three Islamic extremists were put under arrest last night after a plot to ram massive car boms into Frankfurt airport was foiled.

The result had the plan gone ahead would have killed hundreds. The two German converts to Islam and a Turk were in a plan together to unleash several homemade bombs in what would have been Europe's biggest deadly attack.

George Bush was informed on the intended attack and said he was "pleased a potential attack was thwarted".

The three arrested are said to have attended terroist camps in Pakistan and Germany is still exercising vigilance as the country still remains under possible threat. The investigation of the suspects had been going on for 6 months.

In police interviews the plotters said they were prepared to die in order to become a matyr.

All details of the attack had not yet been finalised but the US military base in Ramstein and Frankfurt airport were possible targets. All was driven by a hatred of American citizens.

"The group, which is influenced by al-Qa'eda, set up a German cell in the winter of 2006 with the goal of finding recruits here to carry out attacks," said Monika Harms, a federal prosecutor.

The attack was in the final stages of planning and could have come on America's 6 year anniversary of 9/11.

"They were planning massive attacks," said Miss Harms.

As police moved in on the house the suspects were in to make arrests one of them were informed of the raid and tried to bolt through the bathroom window. Once out the house he pinched a pistol off one of the officers where a struggle took place and the officer was lightly injured.

Head of Germany's Federal Crime Office yesterday said that plot would have caused more carnage than the 2004 Madrid train bomb which killed 191 people due to the amount of hydrogen peroxide to be used.

"This would have enabled them to make bombs with more explosive power than the ones used in the London and Madrid bombings," he said.

The UK and Spain have been victims of bomb plots yet Germany up to date have not been affected by successful plots. Last year they did foil a planned attack when 2 Lebanese men tried to set off suitcase bombs on commuter trains.

This plot has been seen as a warning to German presence in Afghanistan and there will be a decision whether to extend the country's mission there or not.

All security around airports and embassy buildings has been stepped up incase of another attack.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

BMI Baby flight in near miss in Majorca

Passengers on a BMI Baby flight to Majorca narrowly escaped with their lives when the pilot spotted another jet on the runway when coming in to land at Palma Airport.

The pilot pulled up sharply with only a hundred feet to spare. 146 people were onboard the aircraft.

Some passengers did panic on the abrupt pulling up:

'It was terrifying,' one said last night. 'We were coming in to land with the wheels down when the plane suddenly jerked upward and soared back into the sky.

'I'd say we were just a few seconds from touching down when the pilot aborted the landing.'

'It was a bit of a shock. For a few seconds we didn't know what was happening,' he added.

'We were pinned back in our seats. I could see fuel tanks on the ground ... we were that close. Then it all calmed down and the pilot told us what had happened.

'We circled once and then made the landing. Everyone was pretty relieved to get their feet back on the ground.'

A spokesman for the company said:

'He pulled away, following standard operating procedures, and circled the airport briefly before making a safe landing.'

It's not known whether air traffic control warned the pilot about the plane on the runway or whether he acted on his own initiative.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Singapore Airlines set to buy China Eastern

Top Chinese carrier China Eastern is set to be purchased by Singapore Airlines in a US$918mil deal.

The plan was approved by the Chinese government last month after talks which lasted a year.

SIA the world's second biggest airline will be able to compete with Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific Airways better which owns over 17% of the flag carrier Air China.

“This is not a one-off financial investment – it's a strategic move for Singapore Airlines,” SIA chairman Stephen Lee said.