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Airline Finance News Alert - North America.

New York (AirGuideBusiness - Airline Finance News North America) May 26, 2013

A4A opposes PFC increases, which would raise ticket prices Airlines for America, the trade organization representing the U.S. airline industry, opposes the Passenger Facility Charge increases included within the White House budget proposal, as the increases would lead to higher ticket prices, it says. The charge would nearly double, from $4.50 to $8 per flight leg. "The president's budget represents an unprecedented tax grab on the backs of airlines and their customers, who already pay more than their fair share of taxes," said Nicholas Calio, president and CEO of Airlines for America. May 24, 2013

Jet fuel consumption drops due to airline efficiency, API says The consumption of jet fuel in the U.S. dropped by 1.8% in April, according to the American Petroleum Institute. "Demand for jet fuel is down because the airlines have gotten a lot more efficient," said John Felmy, chief economist for API. May 24, 2013

Blog: FAA considers request for extra weight on Icon A5 The Federal Aviation Administration is considering a request from Icon Aircraft for an exemption to weight rules for light sport aircraft. The aircraft manufacturer is seeking permission for an extra 250 pounds of weight for the Icon A5 amphibious aircraft. "Icon says the A5 requires a max takeoff weight of 1,680 pounds because of structural changes that will make the airplane spin resistant under Part 23 certification standards," writes blogger Stephen Pope. May 24, 2013

Airlines manage for profit, run more long-haul flights Airlines have adopted a more disciplined approach to their supply, demand and capacity models as they manage for profit versus share. They now use aircraft with more seats than they used to and operate more long-haul flights. In 2000, the average passenger trip length was about 870 miles; that is set to hit 1,025 miles either this year or next year. Hudson Crossing analyst Henry Harteveldt noted that a "consistently profitable" airline business could serve the broader travel industry in the long term. May 23, 2013

FAA's plan for AirVenture ATC user fees "troubling" AOPA on May 22 denounced an FAA plan to charge the Experimental Aircraft Association for the travel costs, per diem expenses and overtime pay of the air traffic controllers it deploys to staff EAA AirVenture, the association's annual aviation fly-in, expo and airshow, which is also the largest gathering of civil aircraft in the world. May 23, 2013

A4A expects more fliers this summer, contrary to AAA predictions A4A expects summer traffic to increase by 1% with Memorial Day air travel remaining steady, contrary to predictions made by AAA that more travelers will drive this holiday. The Airlines Reporting Corp. also noted that the average domestic round-trip airfare for June, July and August is $421, down $6 or 1.4% from last summer. May 23, 2013

Study finds FAA ban prevents 105M hours of time on gadgets A study by the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul University found that the Federal Aviation Administration's ban on personal electronic devices prevented more than 105 million hours of time on gadgets this year. "There is a growing consensus that the ban has no tangible safety benefits," the researchers wrote. May 23, 2013

FAA rules make wildfire drone use a challenge Firefighters are grappling with regulations on how to use unmanned drones to respond to wildfires. Federal Aviation Administration rules do not allow unmanned aerial systems, also known as UASs, to fly when a ground-based pilot cannot see them. Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, said the process of getting approvals for UAS use is "frustrating"; the FAA, meanwhile, has said it is looking at out-of-site drone use requirements. May 22, 2013

A4A expects more fliers this summer, contrary to AAA predictions A4A expects summer traffic to increase by 1% with Memorial Day air travel remaining steady, contrary to predictions made by AAA that more travelers will drive this holiday. The Airlines Reporting Corp. also noted that the average domestic round-trip airfare for June, July and August is $421, down $6 or 1.4% from last summer. May 22, 2013

Airlines manage for profit, run more long-haul flights Airlines have adopted a more disciplined approach to their supply, demand and capacity models as they manage for profit versus share. They now use aircraft with more seats than they used to and operate more long-haul flights. In 2000, the average passenger trip length was about 870 miles; that is set to hit 1,025 miles either this year or next year. Hudson Crossing analyst Henry Harteveldt noted that a "consistently profitable" airline business could serve the broader travel industry in the long term. May 22, 2013

Diminishing airline service is another reason to support bizav A report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's International Center for Air Transportation shows that airlines in the U.S. have been steadily cutting their flight schedules, especially to smaller airports, in an effort to increase load factors. Business aviation allows companies to move their employees quickly and efficiently. May 22, 2013

Report: Airline jobs down in March According to the latest U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics data, airline industry jobs in March 2013 were down 1,586 from a year ago. While American Airlines lost 6,464 jobs, Delta lost 3,129 jobs and Southwest lost 324 jobs, United, US Airways, JetBlue, and Alaska Airlines added hundreds of positions. May 22, 2013

A4A: Like any business, airlines need to cover their costs Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., called on airlines to drop plans that would hike change fees. "Like any business, airlines need to cover their costs. An airline ticket is no different in some respects than a ticket to a concert or a ballgame, once the plane has left or the event has passed, there is no ability to sell the ticket," said A4A spokesman Vaughn Jennings. May 21, 2013

Tall trees obstruct runway at S.C. airport, says FAA Tall trees near the runway at Hilton Head Island Airport in South Carolina could pose a danger to landing planes, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a notice to Beaufort County officials. County administrator Gary Kubic said it could be necessary to close the airport in the case of poor weather or at night. During the day, pilots can land using visual flight rules. May 21, 2013

Air Methods Reaches Highest Level in FAA's Safety Management System Program Air Methods Corporation (AIRM), the global leader in air medical transportation, recently was informed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that it successfully reached the highest level (Level 4) of the FAA's voluntary Safety Management System (SMS) program. The SMS program is an organizational framework created and implemented by the FAA to systematically guide, track, and provide recognition for safety efforts by commercial air operators. Level 4, the continuous improvement stage, is the final phase of implementation. With this milestone, Air Methods joins the elite company of only seven other commercial air operators (including major U.S. airlines) in the nation to reach this final level, and currently is the only helicopter company and air medical provider to hold this distinction. "Since Air Methods entered the FAA's voluntary SMS program in 2009, we set lofty goals to mature our SMS and reach this highest level," said Aaron Todd, chief executive officer, Air Methods. "This accomplishment demonstrates clarity and confidence that we have the tools in place to mitigate risk across all facets of the organization. Our core SMS working group was instrumental in keeping this effort on track, and our employees deserve credit for being front-line risk managers everyday." To accomplish this milestone, Air Methods implemented a variety of voluntary safety programs more commonly used by major passenger commercial airlines and cargo operations. Examples include an Aviation Safety Action Program (ASAP), Maintenance Safety Action Program (MSAP), Line Operations Safety Audit (LOSA) Program, Flight Data Monitoring, Flight Operational Quality Assurance (FOQA), and an Internal Evaluation Program (IEP). In addition, Air Methods has embraced the 2009 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommendations to public Helicopter Emergency Medical Services operators, and in the last four years has invested millions in the technology required to follow through on these recommendations. The NTSB's recommendations included conducting scenario-based training and the use of simulators and flight training devices; implementing a safety management system program; installing flight data recording devices and establishing a structured flight data monitoring program; installing and requiring that pilots use night vision imaging systems for visual flight rules operations at night; and equipping helicopters with autopilots. May 20, 2013

Polar Air Cargo Worldwide Announces Enhancement of Intra-Asia Schedule Polar Air Cargo Worldwide announced plans to enhance its 767 Intra-Asia services and 747 Trans-Pacific services starting in early June 2013. One Boeing 767-300 Freighter will operate between Tokyo, Sydney and Incheon, while a second 767-300F will operate between Taipei, Nagoya and Incheon. With other previously announced routes, this will allow seamless connections to and from the United States. Polar also announced the addition of two weekly flights between Hong Kong and Cincinnati responding to the marketOs demand for additional capacity. OWe are continuing to enhance our network to ensure that we meet our customersO demand for capacity. We are very pleased to provide additional critical uplift from Hong Kong to the United States East Coast market,O said Thomas Murphy, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Polar Air Cargo Worldwide. May 20, 2013

Fuel-efficiency improvements give airline industry a boost Giovanni Bisignani, former CEO of IATA, says productivity and fuel-efficiency improvements have greatly helped the airline industry. Fuel efficiency throughout the industry has improved 20%, he says. Bisignani says that 10 years ago he could break even with oil at $30 a gallon, and now the industry can break even with oil at $110 per gallon. Electronic ticketing has also helped airlines boost profitability, he says. May 20, 2013

Furloughs could affect Alaska's aviation industry Federal Aviation Administration personnel say staffing changes at Alaska's air traffic control towers won't happen because there are so few towers coupled with heavy reliance on aviation. Colleen Mondor, a former dispatcher in the state, said that National Weather Service furloughs, however, represent a concern. "Because so many aspects of Alaska aviation depend upon National Weather Service analysis of data, the impact of sequestration on the agency staffing demands close scrutiny by pilots," writes Mondor. May 20, 2013

Schumer wants large U.S. carriers to reverse change fees Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wants US Airways, Delta, American Airlines, and United to rethink charging flight change fees. "Most families plan their trips way in advance, they look for non-refundable tickets, they look for non-refundable flights," he said, "Maybe the kids get sick, work gets in the way, something comes up." May 20, 2013

FAA considers changing rules on personal electronic devices The Federal Aviation Administration is considering relaxing restrictions on the use of personal electronic devices during all phases of flight. However, dozens of devices left on at once can cause issues. "It can have a cumulative effect and can increase the level of noise and electronic signals," said Kenneth Kirchoff, a research and development engineer with Boeing. May 20, 2013 AirGuideBusiness ISSN 1939-666X 05/27/2013

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Date:May 27, 2013
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