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Airline Finance News Alert - North America.

New York (AirGuideBusiness - Airline Finance News North America) Apr 28, 2013

FAA says air travel system to be normal Sunday night The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said on Saturday it had suspended all employee furloughs and that it expects the U.S. air travel system to return to normal by Sunday evening Eastern Time. The suspension follows passage on Friday of a bill allowing the agency to shift money within its budget to halt furloughs of air-traffic controllers that started April 21. The furloughs, prompted by automatic budget cuts, caused thousands of flight delays and hundreds of cancellations throughout the week. The FAA said in a statement on Saturday that it expects staffing to return to normal levels over the next 24 hours. Airports around the country were reporting that flights were arriving and departing on time at 1 p.m. EDT, with the exception of San Francisco, where arrivals were delayed 44 minutes on average because of construction, the FAA said. Earlier on Saturday, President Barack Obama chided Republicans in his weekly radio address for approving a plan to ease air-traffic delays while leaving untouched budget cuts that affect children and the elderly. Congressman Bill Shuster, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and a Republican from Pennsylvania, said the FAA could have complied with the automatic budget cuts, known as sequester, in a way that avoided inconveniencing travelers. Apr 27, 2013

ARC upgrades system for faster air ticket refunds ARC has upgraded it sales reporting and settlement system to provide faster ticket refund processing for travel agencies and their clients. The upgrade, made in consultation with ARCOs Carrier and Agency Working Groups, allows the system to process cash and credit card refunds on the same schedule as sales transactions. Previously, the refunds were processes on weekly batch process schedule. Lauri Reishus, ARCOs vice president and chief operating officer, said the company is looking at other upgrades. OTicket exchange processing is also being examined for possible enhancements in the future,O she said in a statement. Apr 26, 2013

AOPA praises Senate, House for giving FAA flexibility on spending cuts

AOPA praised Congress today for passing legislation that would give the Federal Aviation Administration the flexibility to make more measured decisions about spending cuts, including staffing and contract towers. "Through their strong support for this measure, both the House and Senate have made it clear that the safety and efficiency of our aviation system is a priority," said AOPA President Craig Fuller. "All of us who fly are grateful for their efforts." Apr 26, 2013

Senate approves bill to halt FAA furloughs The U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that seeks to end the furloughs of air traffic controllers that began Monday and that have led to flight delays at airports across the country. The measure allows the Federal Aviation Administration to transfer $253 million from other accounts to stop the furloughs and also the closures of control towers at smaller airports. Apr 26, 2013

Impact of FAA furloughs felt nationwide The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists, AFL-CIO (PASS), which represents over 11,000 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) employees, including systems specialists, aviation safety inspectors, aeronautical specialists and administrative personnel, has been monitoring the situation related to the FAA furloughs and sequestration and is reporting on significant impacts to aviation maintenance, efficiency and performance. At airports and air traffic control facilities across the country, work is being deferred, equipment is not getting fixed, and flights are being delayed or diverted as a result of the sequestration budget cuts and the furloughing of the FAA workforce. Just last night: At Cleveland Burke Lakefront Airport, radio and telephone communication capability was lost due to routine battery discharge tests. The systems specialist with the most experience was on furlough at the time of the incident. Systems specialists on site attempted to contact him but, even though he is geographically located near the facility, he was prevented from responding due to restrictions placed on furloughed employees. Had the systems specialist not been on furlough, the outage could have been minimized and delays reduced. When the glide slope at the Long Island Mac Arthur Airport failed, a Southwest Airlines flight was diverted to Baltimore-Washington International Airport. While the policy for this equipment is immediate restoral, due to sequestration and furloughs, it was changed to next-day restoral. When inclement weather developed last night and the glide slope was out of service, flights had to be diverted. At press, the glide slope remains out of service. PASS is learning of additional impacts nationwide, including open watches, increased restoration times, delays resulting from insufficient funding for parts and equipment, modernization delays, missed or deferred preventative maintenance, and reduced redundancy. For example: In Indiana, at the Columbus Municipal Airport, equipment used to indicate approach paths was out an additional five days due to lack of available resources. In Maryland, at Andrews Air Force Base, a lack of resources resulting from sequestration is preventing the completion of a project related to the air conditioning unit responsible for cooling the radar. The lack of optimal conditions could result in the loss of primary radar. Due to FAA employees on furlough days in Southern Michigan, there have been issues with equipment, remotely controlling systems and contractors performing work without adequate supervision. As a result of the budget cuts, a broken gate cannot be fixed at the Battle Creek Flight Inspection Office in Michigan, causing security issues. The facility houses airplanes and other systems and equipment that should be appropriately monitored and secured. In addition, there have been open watches on radars and weather equipment in the Philadelphia/New Jersey area; delays due to insufficient funding for parts or equipment in the New York/New Jersey area, Texas, Indiana, Michigan and Iowa; and missed or deferred preventative maintenance in Texas, Washington State, California, Wyoming and Alaska. "The furloughs at the FAA must end now," said PASS National President Mike Perrone. "Lawmakers must stop the furloughs immediately and work to develop a plan that repeals sequestration. The furloughs are not yet a week old and we are learning of more problems every day. Without a solution that stops these needless furloughs, this will only be the beginning." Apr 25, 2013

FAA clears Boeing battery fix, ending 787 flight ban The Federal Aviation Administration gave formal approval on Thursday for a new lithium-ion battery system for Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner, ending a three-month ban and clearing airlines to fly the plane with passengers again. The FAA's "airworthiness directive" technically applies just to United Airlines, which so far is the only U.S. carrier with the new high-tech jet, but it will set the standard that regulators in Japan, Europe and elsewhere will follow. Other U.S. carriers with 787s on order will eventually come under the new rule. The FAA pegged the cost of repairing United's six jets at about $2.8 million. The approval caps a tumultuous period for Boeing and its airline customers, beginning when two lithium-ion batteries overheated on two Dreamliners in separate incidents less than two weeks apart in January. The two planes are owned by Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, which together own nearly half the fleet of 50 Dreamliners delivered so far. The ban on flights effectively halted deliveries of new planes to customers. Boeing devoted thousands of hours to developing a fix, even before investigators determined what caused the batteries to overheat, emit smoke and, in one instance, catch fire. That investigation continues, led by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board, which held hearings this week on the issue. Last week, the FAA gave Boeing permission to begin installing the new battery system on planes. On Wednesday, the company said it expected to resume deliveries early next month and finish retrofitting the 50 customer planes by mid-May. Apr 25, 2013

Nominees sought for Hoy A. Richards Career Achievement Award The Texas A&M Transportation Institute is seeking nominees for the Hoy A. Richards Career Achievement Award, which recognizes an individual for exemplary achievements in helping to improve grade crossing safety during their career. Nominees should have produced notable, tangible results; participated in technology programs or processes to improve crossing safety (i.e., technologies that have been implemented in the industry, published works, committee service, etc.); helped foster and enhance relationships within the industry and with regulatory agencies; and mentored others in crossing safety. Nominations will be accepted until Aug. 2. The institute will present the award Nov. 5 during its 2013 National Highway-Rail Grade Crossing Safety Training Conference at the Hilton Fort Worth. Every two years, a committee of industry professionals selects an individual to win the award, which is named after Hoy A. Richards, a former Texas A&M Transportation Institute senior research scientist and a crossing expert for more than 40 years. "His enthusiasm and persistence for promoting safety at highway-rail grade crossings were instrumental in the formation of the Railroad Highway Grade Crossing Committee at the Transportation Research Board and the ITS User Service 30 for Highway-Railroad Intersections," institute officials said in a nomination announcement. Questions about nominations can be directed to Jessica Franklin, the institute's administrative coordinator for multi-modal freight transportation programs, at 979-845-5817 or j-franklin@tamu.edu. Apr 25, 2013

ARC reports decline in air ticket prices in March The Airlines Reporting Corp. reports that the average price of tickets sold through large travel agencies was $751 in March, down 3.8% compared with a year ago. Prices for advance purchases from those agencies also showed a decline, with a drop in prices of 4.6% for 60-day advance purchases, 3.2% for 30-day advance purchases and 4.1% for 10-day advance purchases. Apr 25, 2013

NTSB continues investigation into 787 battery issue The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting a hearing on how the Federal Aviation Administration allowed Boeing to set the parameters for testing the 787 Dreamliner. "We are looking for lessons learned, not just for the design and certification of the failed battery, but also for knowledge that can be applied to emerging technologies going forward," said NTSB's Chairman Deborah Hersman. Apr 25, 2013

Furloughs make FAA "more dysfunctional" In this editorial, the Wall Street Journal decries the Federal Aviation Administration's decision to furlough air traffic controllers. "Flyers directly fund two-thirds of the FAA's budget through 17 airline taxes and fees -- about 20% of the cost of a $300 domestic ticket, up from 7% in the 1970s," the editorial says. "Yet now the White House wants to make this agency that can't deliver what passengers are supposedly paying for even more dysfunctional." Apr 25, 2013

Regarding Hawaii Transient Accommodation Tax In a statement released by the Hawaii Tourism Authority it's stated they commend the Hawaii State Legislature for passing S.B. 1194, C.D.1. This pivotal bill, which strikes a delicate public policy balance, will make the current transient accommodations tax (TAT) rate of 9.25 percent permanent and provide an additional $14 million in funding to the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA). This will aid our efforts to sustain Hawaii's tourism economy. As a leisure destination, visitor spending is discretionary. Therefore we must be cognizant of global economic conditions, which could have an adverse affect on spending. The permanent rate of the TAT will help us to maintain our competitive position in a global marketplace. Eleven million dollars allocated to the HTA will help us to invest in opportunities to maintain our market share, through enhancing efforts in our core and developing international markets, as well as diversifying our tourism profile. We will also continue to develop and support initiatives that maintain and grow access, the lifeline of our visitor industry, for both the airline and cruise industries. Of the $11 million, $1 million will be utilized to establish a Hawaiian Music and Dance Museum at the Hawaii Convention Center, which will aim to share, perpetuate and honor our host culture. Three million dollars will be allocated to fund natural resources projects, subject to the agreement of the HTA and the Department of Land and Natural Resources. These programs address the long-term sustainability of our destination, and will help in our efforts to protect Hawaii's natural environment. The HTA statement went on to sat Mahalo (Thank You) to the Hawaii State Legislature, our industry partners, and the community for their support and collaborative efforts in helping us to ensure the continued success of Hawaii's visitor industry. This decision represents good comprehensive public policy that will ensure the Hawaiian Islands stay competitive. It is an investment in our people, place and culture, which will help us to remain a world-class visitor destination. We will continue our efforts in making Hawaii's tourism economy sustainable well into the future, in order to support more than 166,000 jobs and help lead the state to economic recovery. Apr 24, 2013

CAGW Slams LaHood, DOT for Plane Politics In response to the Obama administrationOs warnings of massive disruptions for travelers due to flight delays caused by furloughs of air traffic controllers, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) criticized the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and its parent agency, the Department of Transportation (DOT), for deliberately furloughing essential employees to comply with sequestration instead of reducing less important expenditures. In an apparent effort to inflict the most possible pain on travelers while scoring political points against budget cuts, the FAA has chosen to issue furloughs equally across all employees and all airports, including 15,000 air traffic controllers. According to the FAA, those furloughs caused delays for more than 1,200 flights on Monday, the first weekday for which air traffic controllers were on leave, and will cause thousands more delays in the coming weeks. The FAAOs actions are a classic example of the Ofiremen firstO principle, in which the most important government workers are dangled before taxpayers in response to even modest belt-tightening. As Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) pointed out today in a letter to DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, the FAA has a wide array of employees that OarenOt immediately critical to FAAOs mission,O such as public affairs specialists, speechwriters, congressional affairs staff, community planners, and lawyers. With better prioritization, those employees could Oshoulder more of the burden of sequestration, with less of a burden on the time and safety of the American people.O In an earlier letter to Secretary LaHood on March 6, 2013, Sen. Coburn outlined $1.2 billion in OSuggestions for Savings,O or twice the amount that must be cut under sequestration, which the FAA could implement in lieu of air traffic controller furloughs. In addition, CAGWOs Prime Cuts 2013 identified 22 potential spending cuts at the DOT that could save taxpayers $24.1 billion in one year and $121.4 billion over five years. For example, DOT could save a total of $617 million in one year by eliminating $293 million for OSurface Transportation Priorities,O which President Obama recommended cutting in his fiscal year 2014 budget; $174 million for the Maritime Security Program, and $150 million for the much-maligned Essential Air Service. Sequestration requires the FAA to cut $637 million, or 4 percent, from its $15.9 billion annual budget. OThe Obama administration is playing politics with planes,O said CAGW President Tom Schatz. OAir traffic controllers represent OessentialO government personnel, who provide services that, along with FBI investigations, border patrols, and Social Security payments, have previously gone uninterrupted even in a government shutdown. In a bloated federal government, the notion that air traffic controllers should be at home watching TV while travelers deal with delays is pathetic, and Secretary LaHood should be embarrassed that he has failed to produce an alternative.O Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. To learn more, visit www.cagw.org. Apr 24, 2013

FAA slaps UPS with $4 million penalty The Federal Aviation Administration said United Parcel Service should pay a $4 million civil penalty for not complying with certain rules on maintaining and operating its aircraft. The agency is alleging that UPS failed to follow procedures when repairing four of its aircraft used on more than 400 flights between October 2008 and June 2009. The planes involved were two DC-8 and two MD-11 aircraft. A spokesman for UPS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement that "air carriers must comply with federal regulations to ensure aircraft are maintained to the highest level of safety." Michael Huerta, the FAA administrator, said the aircraft should stay grounded until UPS makes the proper repairs. UPS has 30 days to respond to the agency. Apr 24, 2013

IATA's New NDC Blog Highlights "Three Myths about Travel Agents and NDC" Presented with an extension of a deadline (now May 1) during which concerned parties can comment to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) on the International Air Transport's (IATA) New Distribution Capability, the organization has launched a New Distribution Capability (NDC) blog. The blog site features articles like "Three Myths About Travel Agents and NDC." IATA says it was designed to educate the public and correct "misinformation" on the new shared booking language that has the travel industry either up in arms, in full agreement or in total confusion. Apr 24, 2013

Association for Airline Passenger Rights releases guide to safe pet travel The Association for Airline Passenger Rights, (AAPR) today released its online publication, "Passenger Guide to Pet Safe Travel." The guide, which is published as part of a strategic partnership with TripsWithPets (TWP) announced last month by AAPR, provides airline passengers with information, helpful tips and resources designed to make pet safe flying more achievable. The guide is being made available for free for all airline passengers. The guide includes information about pet-related incidents, pet health and immunization requirements, general airline information, cabin and cargo requirements, security procedures, service animals for passengers with disabilities, and other resources. "There is a lot to take into consideration when flying with pets, including varying airline policies, getting through security check-points, pet friendly areas at airports and legal requirements, just to name a few," said Brandon M. Macsata, Executive Director of the Association for Airline Passenger Rights. "We hope that airline passengers find our new travel guide useful when planning trips with their furry friend! It is a must-have resource considering all of the little things that go into pet safe travel." According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), airlines reported five incidents involving the loss, death, or injury of pets while traveling by air in December 2012, which is last reported data. The incidents involved one pet death and four pet injuries. For all of last year, carriers reported 30 pet deaths, 27 pet injuries, and one lost pet. In 2011, carriers reported 35 pet deaths, nine pet injuries, and two lost pets Apr 23, 2013

Japan's government: Permission to resume Boeing's 787 may come Thursday Japan's Civil Aviation Authority said final permission to resume Boeing Co's grounded Dreamliner flights may come as early as Thursday. Boeing engineers on Monday began installing reinforced lithium-ion battery systems on the Boeing 787 jets in Japan, starting with launch customer All Nippon Airways. That should make the first 787 ready to restart flights in about a week. Apr 23, 2013

Boeing says it thought 787 battery short would not lead to fire Boeing Co said on Tuesday that it did not believe during design and testing that a fire could occur in the lithium-ion battery system that failed on its 787 Dreamliner. Under questioning at an investigative hearing by the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington, Mike Sinnett, Boeing's chief 787 engineer, said: "Any form of internal short circuit could lead to venting of that cell and release of electrolyte, but nothing more than that." He added: "The only time we were ever able to make a cell vent with fire was with significant overcharging." Separately, Ali Bahrami, the transport airplane manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, said the special conditions the agency established for the battery addressed safety concerns for the aircraft "quite eloquently." He added: "We did the best we could under the circumstances and the knowledge that existed" at the time to develop standards for the battery. Apr 23, 2013

FAA Opens Up Possibility of Suspending 3-Hour Tarmac Rule Faced with the ever mounting evidence that the U.S. airlines industry will have to deal with longer and longer delays, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is considering an application filed by Airlines for America (A4A) and the Regional Airline Association (RAA) to suspend the three hour tarmac delay rule in light of furloughs that are causing lengthy delays and ground stops. The agenciesO application read, in part: OTo be clear, A4A and RAA are not proposing that DOT suspend the effectiveness of the tarmac regulations in general. On the contrary, our requested exemption is narrowly tailored and would only apply for a temporary period at all U.S. airports. The exemption request includes only the rules prohibiting air carriers from allowing aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours in the case of domestic flights, and for more than four hours in the case of international flights, before allowing passengers to deplane, and is intended to provide airlines with the operating flexibility to respond to the expected flight delays resulting from the FAAOs delay plans.O The original rule was put into place in 2010 and also specifies that airlines must keep toilets open and provide water and other essentials for flyers caught for hours on the tarmac. USA TodayOs Bart Jansen reported that consumer advocates including Paul Hudson, president of FlyersRights.org, are saying the suspension is a thinly disguised Oback-door way to try and get a repeal,O according to Hudson. "It would be a total step backward and it would hurt the transportation system and it would alienate passengers more than ever,O Hudson told Jansen. Fox News, in their report on the story offered Osurvival tipsO including Otiming your restroom visits because Oif you're sitting on the tarmac for hoursEconditions will deteriorate quickly.O The pithy advice may remind travelers of the issues that prompted the DOT to legislate the issue several years ago: hours long wait-time stuck on the tarmac with no food or water, dirty or non-working bathrooms and rising tempers. Apr 23, 2013

Three ways bosses can help women to achieve their potential Companies do better when women are able to fulfill their potential, so bosses have an incentive to help women, writes Dana Theus. Often, that means leaders working on their own sensitivity and self-awareness. "You can't get rid of your biases, but you can understand and own them in ways that can help you be biased in more useful ways," Theus writes. Apr 23, 2013

N.C. Girl Scouts get aviation introduction More than 75 area Girl Scouts recently attended Airport Day at Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern, N.C., for an introduction to aviation and a step toward earning their aviation badges. The event aimed to provide female role models for the potential aviators. Apr 23, 2013

Advocacy groups reach out to White House on ATC furloughs Leaders of 12 aviation associations, including AOPA, joined together April 19 calling on the White House to step in and give the FAA the flexibility needed to avoid furloughing air traffic controllers. Controllers could be subject to furlough for at least one day per pay period between the end of April and September, something the groups say is "an unprecedented occurrence that is very concerning to those of us in the aviation community." AOPA Online. Apr 23, 2013

WSJ editorial: Sequester strategy "a political flop" A Wall Street Journal editorial says the politics of sequestration resulted in "a political flop" of a decision to furlough air traffic controllers rather than cutting spending elsewhere. The editorial stated: "On Monday, as flight delays were hitting travelers at airports around the country due to these allegedly unavoidable cuts, the top story on the Department of Transportation's website announced a $474 million grant program that promises to 'make communities more livable and sustainable.' How about awarding grants to the control towers at Hartsfield and O'Hare?" Apr 23, 2013

Airlines brace for financial fallout from FAA furloughs U.S. airlines are warning that they might lose tens of millions of dollars each month due to delays from the ground delay program imposed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The FAA has started furloughing air traffic controllers due to the budget cuts. "Our revenue management and finance teams estimate that this negative impact upon demand could result in the loss of up to 2% of our domestic passenger revenue, i.e., up to $40 million in lost revenue per month," said David Holtz, Delta Air LinesO vice president of operations control. Apr 23, 2013

Seattle firm looks into expanding aviation biofuels We know pot can get you high, but can it also help airplanes fly? A biofuel company in Washington thinks so. The Evergreen State recently legalized the personal use of marijuana and officials are hammering out the rules for governing how commercial growers will farm and sell the cannabis to be sold in-state. Washington pot farmers will have plenty of unused stalks and other plant material left over after harvest and the folks at Ballard Biofuel in Seattle don't want all that potential energy to go to waste. They think they can make it into high-quality jet fuel. The company already sells soy-based hydraulic oil and other biodegradable, plant-based lubricants and fuels for use in industrial machinery. Now it is working on securing cash backing to build a bio-plant that can convert the leftovers from what is expected to be a hefty, legal marijuana market into jet fuel. More: 10 Innovative Green Hotels in the U.S. "A lot of airlines would love to have renewable fuels in their jets," says Joseph Koniak, spokesperson for Ballard Biofuel. "And the potential customers we've talked to don't have a problem with marijuana waste being used as [raw material]. It's just making sure the quality is high enough for jet fuel." After all, notes Koniak, if your put a bad batch of bio-diesel in your car and it breaks down, it can be a hassle. "But if you have a bad batch of biofuel on an airplane, it's going to be an emergency," he says. "So any alternative jet fuel has to be excellent." Fuel is subject to erratic price changes and represents the largest piece of most airlines' budgets. And despite energy-saving improvements in the design of airplanes and airplane engines, commercial aviation burns gobs of conventional jet fuel and emits vast quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2). To address some of those issues, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says the aviation industry has voluntarily committed to achieving a 1.5 percent improvement in efficiency through 2020; carbon neutral growth starting in 2020; and a 50 percent reduction in net carbon emissions by 2050 compared with 2005. "Biofuels are seen as crucial to achieving these targets," says IATA spokesperson Perry Flint. "And the industry is focused on sustainable, drop-in biofuels that do not compete with food crops for water or soil." More: Green Travel: After Devastating Tornado, Kansas Town Re-emerges 'Like No Other Place In America' To that end, the Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative (CAAFI) was established in 2006 and, since then, plants, woody biomass from forest products, algae, municipal waste, recycled vegetable cooking oil, animal fats and sugarcane have been considered or tested in aircraft in search of safe, alternative, sustainable biofuels. Tests using blends of conventional jet fuel with alternative biofuels began in 2008 with a Virgin Atlantic Airways flight that used coconut and babassu palm oil. Since 2011, when the American Society for Testing Materials certified a few types of biofuels for use on commercial jets, there have been more than 1,500 flights on United, Alaska, British Airways, Lufthansa, Air New Zealand and several other airlines using a mix of traditional and low-carbon alternative fuels. The most recent demonstration is currently underway. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines is operating a weekly flight between JFK International and Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport using fuel obtained from used cooking oil. "There is no silver bullet," says Flint. "Biofuels work. But for them to become a viable alternative to fossil fuels, production has to take place on an industrial scale, supplies have to be made widely available and costs have to drop." For now, the process remains complicated and still quite expensive. "These alternative fuels have to be specially made and the cost now is about six to eight times higher than [that of] conventional jet fuel," says Carol Sim, director of environmental affairs for Alaska Airlines. Even if an airline signed an order for a large amount of a specific jet fuel alternative today, Sim says, "a supplier would need time to ramp up production and would probably not be able to deliver a reliable supply for a few years." That may be why "airlines continue to hesitate a little bit because there's still work being done to mature the technology and the supply chain," says CAAFI executive director Steve Csonka. But the dedication is there and definitely moving forward. "Passengers are increasingly interested in things they can do to reduce their impact on the environment. And travel is one of those thing they can influence," says Jimmy Samartzis, managing director of environmental affairs and sustainability for United Airlines. "Passengers care. Our company and others care," says Samartzis. "We hope passengers recognize that and it makes them feel better not just about what we're doing with our aircraft but what we're creating for the future." Apr 23, 2013

Airlines need to be saved from government Columnist Ted Reed says the U.S. government is the next threat to the nation's airline industry. "We all realize that the federal government spends more than it takes in and that the solution is to reduce spending and to raise revenue," he writes. "But is there a way to reduce spending that does not cause delays in a delicately balanced air traffic system that transported 815 million passengers last year?" Apr 23, 2013

Team America Rocketry Challenge members meet Obama Team America Rocketry Challenge members met President Barack Obama this month at the White House Science Fair. Obama lauded the students for "not only for the work that you guys are doing, but also the example that you're setting for your peers and also for ... the adults in your lives. We could not be prouder of you." Apr 23, 2013

JetBlue launches the only nonstop service between New York and Albuquerque JetBlue Airways today launched New York's only nonstop service to the vibrant city of Albuquerque. Dave Barger, JetBlue's President and CEO, was joined today by Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry during the inaugural flight's departure ceremony at Kennedy International Airport. Albuquerque is JetBlue's first destination in New Mexico, the Land of Enchantment, and is the 77th destination served in the airline's growing route network. To celebrate, today through Wednesday, April 24, 2013 customers can book flights between New York and Albuquerque for as low as $99 one way at www.jetblue.com/new (a). The special fares are available for travel between May 29 and June 26, 2013. "Today we're happy to announce that JetBlue now serves Albuquerque International with the only daily nonstop service to the New York Metro Area," said Dave Barger during the event. "We know that Albuquerque is one of the nation's top leisure destinations, with a rich offering of outdoor activities, festivals and art. "It's also important to note that Albuquerque was, until today, the largest market from New York without nonstop air service! When you take all that into consideration, it makes absolute sense for JetBlue to fly here." "This is a huge step for Albuquerque that will add to our opportunities for business and leisure travel. New York City is the largest market in the country and we now have non-stop service. This will make us more business, convention and tourist friendly, which is good news for us all," Mayor Berry said. "JetBlue is a tremendous company and the city looks forward to a long-term partnership and additional growth opportunities with the airline." JetBlue's schedule between New York and Albuquerque: JFK to ABQ: ABQ to JFK: Depart [ETH] Arrive Depart [ETH] Arrive 8:25 p.m. [ETH] 11:04 p.m. 11:55 p.m. [ETH] 5:57 a.m. - Daily flights operate year round beginning Monday, April 22, 2013 [ETH] Customers traveling between Albuquerque and New York can conveniently connect onwards to dozens of other cities in JetBlue's route network: Aruba; Bermuda; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y.; Burlington, Vt.; Charleston, S.C.; Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, and West Palm Beach, Florida; Grand Cayman; Kingston, Jamaica; La Romana, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Samana, Santiago and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic; Nantucket, Mass. (eff. May 16); Nassau, The Bahamas; Portland, Maine; Providenciales, Turks and Caicos; San Juan, Puerto Rico; and St. Maarten. JetBlue's flights from Albuquerque will be operated with its 150-seat Airbus A320 fleet complete with the carrier's well-known premium offerings, including a first checked bag free (b), assigned leather seating with legroom to spare, and more than 140 channels of complimentary live television and radio on personal seatback screens (c). All flights also include JetBlue's superior and personable customer service and free and unlimited assortment of name brand snacks and drinks for the ride. Apr 22, 2013

Monarch Announces Winners of School Competition After launching a nationwide appeal, asking for head teachers to help them in their quest to make flying fun, Monarch Airlines has today announced the three winning schools that have been selected for the day trip of their lives.

Fulbrook Middle School in Milton Keynes Icknield Community College in Watlington Harris Academy Beckenham in Kent A total of six hundred children - two hundred from each school - will have exclusive use of a Monarch aircraft on 24th April 2013, with a range of fun activities in the air and on the ground. Icknield Community College will depart on the Manchester flight to Verona and will learn the real story of Romeo & Juliet, complemented with an acting lesson during the flight. Harris Academy Beckenham will depart on the Gatwick flight to Gibraltar and will visit a range of exciting attractions including St Michael's Cave and the Great Siege Tunnels, after a geography lesson during their flight. Fulbrook Middle School will depart on the Birmingham flight to Dubrovnik and will spend their day exploring the ancient city walls after a history lesson in the air. "Our schools competition received a phenomenal response, so we'd like to thank all of the head teachers that took the time to nominate their schools. We'd also like to congratulate our winning schools, who are delighted! As plans for the 24th April progress, we are certainly on track to put the fun back into flying for these lucky six hundred pupils," said Kevin George, Managing Director, Apr 22, 2013

Photo Release -- Spirit Airlines Celebrates Earth Day as it Begins Flying New Airbus A320 with Sharklets Spirit Airlines (SAVE) is celebrating Earth Day today as it begins flying its new Airbus A320 Sharklet-equipped aircraft, further solidifying the carrier as "Earth's Favorite Way to Fly." Sharklets are Airbus' new wingtip device that improves the aircraft's aerodynamics which significantly reduces fuel burn by up to four percent and lowers emissions. The technology reduces annual greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 1,000 tons of CO2 per aircraft -- that's equivalent to taking 200 cars off the road! Made from light-weight composites and measuring eight feet in height, Sharklets also offer the flexibility of adding an additional 100 nautical miles range or increased payload capability of up to 450 kilograms. In addition, they reduce engine maintenance costs and increase operational efficiencies, including improved take-off performance, better rate of climb and optimum altitude. "We are thrilled to be celebrating Earth Day by operating our new Airbus A320 with new Sharklet technology," said Spirit's President and CEO Ben Baldanza. "Spirit is proud to be doing our part to make travel not only more affordable for our customers, but at the same time green. From our modern all-Airbus fleet and eco-friendly seating configuration among other innovations, and now Sharklets, Spirit has taken serious measures to reduce our fuel consumption and be more eco-conscious, while at the same time continuing to offer our customers the lowest fares in the industry." "With the debut of their new Sharklets, Spirit is showing it cares for the planet and the pocketbook," said John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer -- Customers, Airbus. "By reducing fuel consumption, Sharklets help the environment and the airline's bottom line -- it's great Spirit is taking advantage of the win-win benefits of Sharklets on the A320 Family." As part of its green efforts, several years ago Spirit made the conscious decision to transition to a fleet of new, fuel-efficient Airbus aircraft and enhanced them with an eco-friendly seating configuration. In fact, Spirit burns far less fuel per passenger than its competitors. Its A320 aircraft provide an incredible 89.4 passenger miles per gallon.* Spirit has also signed an agreement with Airbus for an order which includes their latest A320neo (new engine option) aircraft, which will be even more fuel efficient than Spirit's current A320s. In addition, Spirit's "Bring Less, Pay Less" baggage program has led to a reduction in bags carried per passenger and resulted in Spirit using the equivalent of nearly six million gallons less fuel in the past year. Spirit currently operates an all-Airbus fleet of 49 aircraft, including 29 A319s, 18 A320s and two A321s. The company has five more new Airbus A320s scheduled for delivery in 2013, as well as seven A320s scheduled for delivery in 2014 and 10 in 2015. Spirit has 75 new aircraft (30 classic A320s and 45 A320neos) on firm order for delivery between 2016 and 2021. In addition, Spirit has signed a letter of intent with ILFC to lease five A320neo aircraft, subject to final documentation. Apr 22, 2013

N.H. youth aviation group soars The Aviation & Aerospace Education Center at Winnipesaukee based in Gilford, N.H., has only been in operation for a couple of years, but it is already popular with area students and teachers alike. It offers a summer of aviation activities for youths in grades 3 through 12, and continues its expansion with new teachers and activities every summer. Apr 22, 2013

Delays hit airports amid start of FAA furloughs Several airports, including Los Angeles International, Philadelphia International and John F. Kennedy, reported delays during the weekend as the Federal Aviation Administration implemented staffing furloughs at airports across the U.S. However, flights in some airports such as Newark Liberty International Airport experienced minimal delays. "Relatively good weather throughout the country and light traffic helped minimize air traffic delays," said Laura Brown, a spokeswoman for the FAA. Apr 22, 2013 AirGuideBusiness ISSN 1939-666X 04/29/2013

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Date:Apr 29, 2013
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