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Airport News - North America.

Apr 28, 2008

While losing the battle for user fees, airlines gained other benefits in the Senate legislation, which doesn't increase their costs. The House version raises airline passenger ticket charges for airport improvements to as much as $7 from $4.50, which would generate $1.1 billion a year. The Senate bill also creates a new $400 million FAA account dedicated to upgrading the air-traffic control system. Raising the excise tax on fuel used by private jet owners will bring in an additional $240 million a year. Apr 26, 2008

Runway incursions pose greatest threat to safety, experts say Experts say runway incursions are the biggest safety threat to airlines. The FAA has taken steps to improve lighting and signs on the ground, but problems with the unauthorized presence of planes, people or vehicles on runways persist. The NTSB said that runway incursions increased in the six-month period that ended March 30 from year-earlier levels. Apr 25, 2008

Air Transport Assn. and IATA this week protested a new US government proposal that airlines be made responsible for collecting fingerprint data from foreign nationals exiting the US, with IATA saying that "airline counter staff are not a substitute for trained border patrol officers." ATA said, "This is an industry in crisis, and adding the Dept. of Homeland Security $3.5 billion proposal--which we have every reason to believe, from experience, will actually be higher--on top of the financial burdens airlines already bear is unconscionable." Apr 24, 2008

TSA expands self-select lane program to Pittsburgh airport The TSA today is launching a program that allows experienced travelers to move through faster security lanes at Pittsburgh International Airport. The program, which designates a different lane for families and travelers who need assistance, is now in place at 12 airports, and TSA plans to expand it to more airports. "We've seen great success, not only in increased customer satisfaction, but in improved throughput and reduction in alarm rates," a TSA spokeswoman said. Apr 24, 2008

Runway safety has loomed larger as a problem partly because other issues have been resolved. For example, in the last decade, all jet airliners have been equipped with systems that make it much harder to accidentally fly into a mountain or collide with another plane. Fire extinguishers and smoke detectors have been put in cargo compartments, and insulation that could feed an in-flight fire has been replaced. But the technology gap that remains between the air and the ground is striking. In the air, big airliners have navigation systems based on Global Positioning System satellites, that locate them in the air, but these are not generally linked to surface maps, which would locate them by taxiway and runway. So an approaching plane can find a runway end in near-zero visibility, but can then get lost once on the surface. The most deadly aviation accident ever was the collision in March 1977 of two Boeing 747's, on a foggy runway in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, killing 583 people. The FAA recognizes the problem. At the height of the American Airlines flight cancellations, on April 10, the associate administrator for safety, Nicholas Sabatini, was testifying before a Senate aviation subcommittee about his agency's safety work, and while the senators wanted to hear about lapses in inspections, almost half his testimony was about runway safety. Apr 23, 2008

Carriers will be required to collect and send biometric information on all international passengers to the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) when they exit n as well as enter n the country, under new proposed rules. The US-VISIT Exit proposal is scheduled to be in place by January 2009 and will not change current departure procedures for passengers, according to the DHS, but airlines will have to transmit the information digital fingerprints within 24hrs of the flight. It requires airlines to pay for this, pointing out that they must already send biographic information prior to passengers' departures. Apr 23, 2008

Airlines are vigorously opposed to a plan by the Department of Homeland Security that would require them to collect fingerprints from foreign travelers leaving the U.S. The carriers say the government should pay for and carry out the fingerprinting and are preparing to go to battle with DHS. The change is predicted to cost the carriers about $2.7 billion over the next decade. Apr 23, 2008

The initial Federal Aviation Administration investigation, released in 2005 by Scovel's predecessor, Kenneth Mead, cited an operational error in which a controller directed a passenger jet and a business jet into converging courses, drawing them within seven seconds of a mid-air collision before the pilots took corrective courses. Scovel's summary did not cite examples but contained statistics showing that, from November 2005 to July 2007, Dallas-Fort Worth's TRACON management misclassified 52 controller operational errors and 10 operational deviations as pilot deviations or non-events. Deviation is FAA jargon for when an aircraft controlled by one operator flies into space assigned to another controller. Scovel called on FAA headquarters to permanently change the DFW TRACON management and consider "appropriate administrative action" for seven TRACON managers "who bear the responsibility" for the misclassifications. He also called for a "top-to-bottom review" of safety management at the FAA's Air Traffic Office. FAA officials announced Thursday that they had replaced and reassigned Dallas-Fort Worth's TRACON facility manager and assistant manager pending further investigation. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, whose district includes part of the airport, said the improvements are long needed. Apr 23, 2008

Summer travelers are likely to face higher fares, delays and packed planes, the Wall Street Journal's Scott McCartney writes. Carriers have scaled back domestic capacity as part of an effort to offset soaring jet fuel prices, he notes. Meanwhile, efforts to improve congestion at New York area airports may not ease the problem because carriers have scheduled more flights, he notes. Apr 22, 2008

The TSA is launching a program to help airport screeners think more creatively about threats. Officials say the program is aimed at helping them prepare for unconventional security threats. Screeners will learn about new explosive devices, among other things. Apr 21, 2008

Atlanta Hartsfield International

Atlanta airport, Clear executives at odds over fast security lanes Verified Identity Pass CEO Steven Brill wants the Atlanta airport to adopt his "Clear" Registered Traveler programs, but airport officials say they want to first test free lanes that will move travelers through the airport faster. Construction of the new free lanes will be completed this summer, said Ben DeCosta, the airport's head. Apr 25, 2008

Boeing, Airbus

Boeing and Airbus said Tuesday they will cooperate on the development of the next generation of air traffic control systems intended to eliminate congestion at airports. Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing's Seattle-based commercial arm, said the rival plane makers would join forces to ensure that new air traffic systems being developed in Europe and the United States are fully interoperable. Apr 23, 2008

Boeing, Airbus

Boeing, Airbus team up for project. Boeing and Airbus said Tuesday at an aviation-industry meeting in Geneva that they will cooperate on the development of the next generation of air traffic control systems intended to eliminate congestion at airports. Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing's commercial arm, said the rival plane makers would join forces to ensure that new air-traffic systems being developed in Europe and the United States are fully interoperable. Airbus and Boeing also joined other companies and trade bodies Tuesday, signing a declaration that commits the industry to develop new technologies with the eventual aim of achieving carbon-free travel. Apr 23, 2008

Dallas

FAA intentionally misclassified controller errors. FAA managers in Dallas intentionally misclassified mistakes by controllers that almost resulted in collisions, according to a DoT inspector general's report. The mistakes were disguised to look like pilot errors, according to the report, and allowed the aircraft to fly too close together. The report, which has not been released yet, details the events in Dallas. FAA officials promised to address the issue. "We're not going to stand for this," said FAA Acting Administrator Robert Sturgell. Apr 25, 2008

Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines

Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines timed the proposal to ensure Bush administration antitrust review. The Justice Department is expected to take several months and will focus on how a merged company would affect domestic competition. Some antitrust and other industry experts believe the deal will be approved, perhaps with some conditions. Anderson and Steenland do not expect they will have to part with airport gates, slots or other assets to win regulatory approval. The combination would make the new Delta the world's largest airline, but tied with Southwest Airlines with about 19 percent domestic market share each. Delta, the No. 3 US carrier, proposed an all-stock buyout of No. 5 Northwest on April 14. The new airline would generate about USD$1 billion in cost savings and revenue benefits annually, and would have about USD$7 billion in liquidity, the companies project. Despite the rosy outlook, investors have given the plan a chilly reception. Wall Street has been doubtful of the strategy to grow the airline at a time when the US economy is slowing and sustained fuel price increases -- up 60 percent over a year ago -- are pounding the industry financially. Delta and Northwest shares fell on Wednesday to their lowest close since they each emerged from bankruptcy last spring. But on Thursday, the shares of major air carriers were broadly higher as global crude prices fell for the second- straight day. Apr 25, 2008

Houston airport

Passengers at Houston airport will pay $3 facility charge The Houston City Council has approved a $3 surcharge per ticket that will help fund a $1.1 billion terminal expansion project at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. Construction is expected to start by the end of the summer, and the charge could begin appearing on tickets in December. Apr 24, 2008

New York Newark Liberty International

All aircraft landed with the required FAA minimum fuel levels at Newark Liberty International Airport in 2007, according to government auditors. This information is part of a DoT inspector general's report which also discloses that while the number of "low" fuel warnings by pilots arriving at the airport increased last year, "emergency" fuel warnings decreased. Apr 21, 2008

Northwest Airlines, Tokyo Narita

Northwest Airlines has reopened its WorldClubs lounge at Tokyo[sup.1]s Narita International Airport after a major revamp. At 1,544 sq m (16,600 sq ft) it is second only to the WorldClubs in Detroit for size, and comes equipped with improved technology for corporate travellers. also available by reservation only for meetings. Seats are more spaced out throughout the area, there are five free shower rooms, and the food service has been upgraded, with a chef cooking hot meals as well as sushi, spring rolls and other fresh dishes. The lounge is open to Northwest WorldClubs members, World Business Class passengers, Gold Elite and Platinum Elite members of the airlineis WorldPerks mileage scheme, as well as business class passengers flying with SkyTeam partner carriers and Elite members of their mileage programmes. Apr 24, 2008

O'Hare International Airport

Chicago sets 2014 completion date for O'Hare expansion. An ambitious new fast-track timetable could enable Chicago to complete expansion of O'Hare International Airport two years before it anticipates hosting the 2016 Olympic Games. Challenges include the city's attempt to acquire properties under eminent domain laws, extending the airport's people-mover system and building a satellite terminal. Apr 25, 2008

ZZ

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Date:Apr 28, 2008
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