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Airport News November 2005.

TSA plan would allow sharp objects in carry-on bags. Travelers may soon be able to bring sharp objects such as scissors in their carry-on bags under a new plan by the Transportation Security Administration, the Washington Post reported, quoting unnamed sources. The TSA will announce the plan Friday. A TSA spokeswoman would not comment on the details but said the TSA will announce "a number of new initiatives that will have both a positive security and customer service impact." Nov 29, 2005

FAA to remain "vigilant": The relative safety of air travel is a credit to the Federal Aviation Administration and the manner in which it has changed its oversight practices to evolve with the airline industry, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey writes in this USA TODAY commentary. "Nearly a decade ago, the FAA took bold steps to move away from a "checklist" approach toward a risk-based system that emphasizes quality assurance programs and self-audits," Blakey writes. Nov 29, 2005

DHS has not completed threat database. Department of Homeland Security officials do not know when they will finish assembling a national asset and threat database. The database will list potential terrorist targets. Some lawmakers say they are frustrated with the slow pace of the database's development. Nov 23, 2005

Authorities to adopt new safety measures at Boston's Logan. The Massachusetts Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration have agreed on changes to prevent runway incidents at Boston's Logan International Airport. They will limit planes taking off from runways that are not part of usual takeoff patterns and require more training for air traffic controllers, among other things. They will also acquire a simulator representing Logan's runways and taxiways. Nov 23, 2005

Confiscated items help state generate revenue. Oregon's State Surplus Program is selling lighters and cigarette lighters confiscated from airline passengers at security checkpoints. Items are divided into groups, bagged and then offered on eBay. In 2004, sales generated $72,000. Nov 22, 2005

Airport screener shares key aspects of the job. Airport screeners commonly find lighters, pocket knives and sharp pointed scissors in travelers' luggage, TSA screener Armand Collins says in a Q-and-A with the South Bend Tribune. Collins occasionally encounters angry travelers, but says most people appreciate the screeners. Screeners must be able to lift bags weighing up to 80 pounds and pass vision, hearing and drug screening tests. Nov 22, 2005

Europe's Parliament approves safety blacklist. Europe's Parliament approved on Wednesday the creation of a blacklist of airlines that do not meet safety requirements. An airline will be added to the blacklist "if there is verified evidence of serious safety deficiencies," according to a Parliament statement. Parliament will review and update the list every three months. Nov 17, 2005

ATA says Canadian government rent policy threatens growth of airport as international gateway: U.S. airlines vehemently objected to a 6.9% increase in landing fees being instituted at Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Air Transport Association said the increase in fees at the important international gateway is a direct result of the Canadian government's increase in the crown rent it will charge the Greater Toronto Airport Authority. To read more of this ATA press release, click here. Nov 16, 2005

TSA has not assessed air cargo security. The Transportation Security Administration has not yet assessed the air cargo security system and has no schedule to do so, according to a Government Accountability Office report. The report said the TSA cannot adequately protect planes that carry cargo until it is aware of weaknesses in the security system. The TSA does not collect information on many registered companies that ship goods on passenger airliners. A TSA spokeswoman said the agency has increased the number of required cargo inspections and is testing new security technology. Nov 16, 2005

Europe wants more control over operations of foreign carriers: The European Commission wants to give the European Aviation Safety Agency more authority over foreign airlines. A new proposal would allow the agency to certify the airlines and control safety compliance. The proposal needs approval by EU governments and the European Parliament. Nov 16, 2005

NTSB: New technology needed to prevent collisions. Airports need new technology to reduce the number of near collisions, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. More than 324 near misses occurred in the year ended Sept. 30. "While the majority of incursions present little to no collision risk, a significant number of high-risk incidents continue to occur," said Sandy Rowlett, a deputy safety board operations chief. "There is an urgent need to reduce the hazard presented to the public by these events.". Firm develops shoe scanner for airport security. Quantum Magnetics has developed a scanner that can detect explosives without travelers having to remove their shoes. Quantum is based in Newark, Calif., and is a unit of GE Security. A traveler steps into the scanner and places her feet on the shoe-shaped pads. The device then uses magnetic fields to scan for explosives and other threatening objects. Airport officials say it could take years before scanners appear in airports. Nov 16, 2005

EU to vote on airline blacklist. Europe's Parliament will decide this week whether to create a blacklist of carriers that fall below safety standards. The lawmakers also want the European Commission to standardize the criteria that would be used to decide which airlines should be banned across the EU. Nov 14, 2005

Contractor overbilled FAA on air traffic contract. A government audit found Washington D.C.-based Crown Consulting overcharged the Federal Aviation Administration by $56,317 this year. The company was developing a program to manage air traffic, and the audit found it charged higher fees based on the qualifications of its workers. Crown declined to comment on the audit. Nov 14, 2005

Millions of fliers expected over Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. airlines will carry 21.7 million travelers this Thanksgiving. Air Transport Association Chief Executive Officer and President James May said carriers have worked with the Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration to ensure air travel is safe and convenient during the holiday season. Nov 10, 2005

DHS Official: Muslim travelers should register before they fly. Muslim travelers should register with the federal government before they fly, said Daniel Sutherland, the head of civil rights for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Registering would reduce the chances of a Muslim being stopped at an airport because their name is similar to a name on a terrorist watch list. Sutherland said DHS must listen to the concerns of Muslims and Arab-Americans, and he acknowledged that scrutiny at airport checkpoints has alienated the group. Nov 10, 2005

Customs official: U.S. focused on security. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner told World Travel Congress attendees Monday that America's top mission is homeland security. However, he said the government has taken steps to ease the process of entering the U.S. for travelers. "We're not choking off legitimate travel. We're making it safer, but also more efficient and with less hassle. [CBP] employees are guardians, but they're also the first to welcome travelers," Bonner said. Nov 10, 2005

DHS Official: Muslim travelers should register before they fly. Muslim travelers should register with the federal government before they fly, said Daniel Sutherland, the head of civil rights for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Registering would reduce the chances of a Muslim being stopped at an airport because their name is similar to a name on a terrorist watch list. Sutherland said DHS must listen to the concerns of Muslims and Arab-Americans, and he acknowledged that scrutiny at airport checkpoints has alienated the group. Nov 10, 2005

DHS wants to restructure TSA operations. The Department of Homeland Security wants to change the structure of the Transportation Security Administration. Under legislation currently being drafted, the TSA would operate like a business and more closely resemble the Federal Aviation Administration. For example, the TSA would hire a chief operating officer to manage airport security screeners. Nov 9, 2005

Airports seek guidance for response to bird flu. Airports are unsure about what they should do to prevent a potential outbreak of avian flu. Some airport officials believe the attention the issue is receiving could put pressure on airports to react. Airports follow guidelines issued by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which, so far, require treating bird flu as a normal flu virus. Nov 9, 2005

Customs official: U.S. focused on security. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Robert C. Bonner told World Travel Congress attendees Monday that America's top mission is homeland security. However, he said the government has taken steps to ease the process of entering the U.S. for travelers. "We're not choking off legitimate travel. We're making it safer, but also more efficient and with less hassle. [CBP] employees are guardians, but they're also the first to welcome travelers," Bonner said. Nov 9, 2005

TSA develops new technology to tighten security. The Transportation Security Administration is under pressure to improve security-screening technology. Its projects, which include new technology that scans bottles and shoes for bombs, are in early development stages and may not be used for years. The TSA is also working to improve luggage-screening technology and has awarded $10 million to companies working on new systems. Nov 8, 2005

Private firms aid in roll out of Registered Traveler systems. Verified Identity Pass is among the private companies contributing technology to the Registered Traveler systems expected to launch at airports across the country within six months, the New York Times' Joe Sharkey writes. The company will offer a card that will let travelers pass through airport checkpoints faster and avoid pat-downs. The card costs $79.95 a year Nov 8, 2005

TSA to launch nationwide Registered Traveler program in June. The Transportation Security Administration will roll out the Registered Traveler program at airports across the U.S. in June. The program allows frequent fliers who agree to an extensive background check to speed through security lines. Airports would use private firms to conduct background checks and register travelers. Critics of the program say it may weaken security and violate the privacy of travelers. Nov 4, 2005

European airlines want to ease screening process. The Air Transport Association has cosigned a letter with the Association of European Airlines asking the White House to streamline the pre-flight screening process for passengers bound for the U.S., ATA spokeswoman Victoria Day said. The AEA also said a proposal to submit passenger manifests an hour before departure would create gridlock and huge costs. Nov 4, 2005

The National Transportation Safety Board is conducting a two-day course that details how the NTSB investigates major aircraft accidents and what it expects of participants in an investigation. Aviation Industry Training for Airline Professionals will be held on December 1-2 at NTSB headquarters in Washington, D.C. Nov 3, 2005

New system will lower the chances of runway incidents, FAA says. The Federal Aviation Administration will start installing a new system in January that will lower the chances of runway and taxiway collisions. The system will help air traffic controllers spot collisions during poor weather and at night. The Air Transport Association said it supports the new system and believes it could improve safety. Nov 3, 2005

TSA examines ways to speed fliers through security. The federal government is developing ways to speed frequent fliers through airport security screening checkpoints. The Transportation Security Administration is still evaluating a program that allows travelers who go through extensive background checks to move faster through security. The Air Transport Association said the program has great potential, but noted the TSA should identify how the program benefits travelers. Nov 3, 2005

Lawmakers urge Whites House to find alternatives to laser jammers. Some lawmakers believe Raytheon's Vigilant Eagle ground-based high-power microwave system is a possible alternative to using laser jammers to protect commercial airliners from missile attack. Congress has asked the White House to invest in alternatives to the jammers. The first laser-based directed infrared countermeasures installed on airliners are starting flight tests this week. The systems were built by Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems. Nov 3, 2005

Government to lift ban on penknives, scissors. The federal government is preparing new rules that would roll back some post-Sept. 11 prohibitions that many aviation experts say slow security lines and are no longer needed to protect aircraft, such as the ban on penknives and scissors. "If it's a more targeted list, that's all the better for security as a whole," Air Transport Association spokeswoman Victoria Day said. Nov 3, 2005

Homeland Security must improve planning. Lawmakers must empower the Department of Homeland Security to work and plan more effectively, the Dallas Morning News editorial board writes. Recent media reports show DHS has missed deadlines for planning ways to protect airlines, ships and railroads from terrorist attacks. The newspaper believes low morale within the department and extensive debriefing requirements have contributed to the problem. Nov 2, 2005

ACI no longer considers IATA a business partner, ACI official says. ACI Director General Robert J. Aaronson said his group will no longer consider IATA a partner on business issues. Aaronson said IATA has "relied on rhetoric and media pressure to inflame negotiations that should be straightforward business negotiations." ACI says its members will now negotiate directly with the airlines. Nov 10, 2005

Los Angeles struggles to prepare for superjumbo jet. Dozens of airports are widening their taxiways, improving baggage systems, and building high-capacity gates to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet. The plane will be capable of transporting 850 people. Preparing for the giant plane is becoming a challenge for cramped Los Angeles International Airport, which will become the busiest U.S. gateway for the plane. The airport is facing political and logistical roadblocks. Nov 29, 2005

American to add curbside check-in fee at D/FW. American Airlines in December will start charging travelers $2 a bag for curbside check-in at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. American said the charge will reduce its annual costs by up to $30 million. It already charges for the service at several other airports. Some other airlines also charge for curbside check-ins. Nov 29, 2005

American to meet with Love officials. Officials from American Airlines and Dallas Love Field plan to meet Friday. The meeting suggests American may be interested in returning to the airport, where it has three gates. Love Field Director Kenneth Gwyn said American has not formally indicated it wants to start flying from Love Field. An American spokesman said only that the carrier is considering options. American has said that if the Wright Amendment is lifted it would divert flights to Love Field. Wright currently limits flying from Love Field. Nov 17, 2005

No middle ground in debate over Wright Amendment. There is no sign opponents and supporters of the Wright Amendment will work out a compromise. Officials at American Airlines and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport believe the law, which limits flying out of Dallas Love Field, should remain in place. They say they are not interested in negotiating a compromise. Southwest Airlines, which operates a Love Field hub, wants the law repealed. Nov 15, 2005

Amsterdam Schiphol's new winter schedule has increased its destinations to 224. Travelers can fly to 104 intercontinental destinations and 120 European destinations, which are served by 84 scheduled airlines. Four new airlines will start operating services this winter. Vueling, the Spanish airline, is offering services to Barcelona and Valencia; Afriqiyah Airways is to start flights to Tripoli; Wizz Air will commence four weekly services to Budapest on December 1; and FlyGlobespan.com will operate a daily flight to Glasgow from February 2006. http://www.schiphol.nl Nov 7, 2005

ATA proposes shifting more Midway gates to Southwest. Under a bankruptcy plan presented Thursday, bankrupt ATA Airlines would shift four gates at Chicago's Midway Airport to Southwest Airlines. Southwest would then control almost 70% of Midway's gates. ATA also proposed changes to its code-sharing agreement with Southwest, but the details were filed under seal with the bankruptcy court. Nov 18, 2005

BAA is cutting 700 jobs under a cost-saving program. The company said it would slash management and back office jobs out of its 12,000-strong workforce under plans to reduce costs by [pounds sterling]45 million per year from 2008/09. The cuts will result in [pounds sterling]90 million of one-off operating costs. The airport operator, which owns Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted also reported a 5.2% rise in interim pretax profits as higher retail revenues helped offset the impact of the July 7 bombings in London and a strike at Heathrow. The profit to the end of September was [pounds sterling]366 million. http://www.baa.co.uk Nov 7, 2005

Runway construction contributes to safety issues at Logan, FAA's Blakey says. The construction of a new runway at Logan International Airport is distracting pilots and contributing to the increasing number of runway incidents, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Some pilots have accidentally crossed into runways used by other planes, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey said. Blakey said the FAA and the Massachusetts Port Authority are improving markings and adding flashing lights to better direct pilots. Nov 18, 2005

Budapest Ferihegy Airport has moved closer to being run by BAA. The airport is currently conducting a tender process, but leading Australian airport owner and investment bank Macquarie has pulled out of the bidding. That leaves BAA in a straight fight with Frankfurt Airport operator Fraport and developer consortium Hochtief and Hastings for the Euro2 billion project. http://www.bud.hu Nov 7, 2005

White House approves $337M for Chicago runway project. The White House on Monday approved $337 million to build new runways at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The federal government will disburse the funds over 15 years; the city wanted the money staggered over 10 years and it may need to sell more bonds to pay for construction. Total federal funding for the life of the project is expected to be $677 million. Nov 22, 2005

Some officials criticize Chicago's plan to use D/FW as model. Chicago's plan for a $15 billion expansion and redesign of O'Hare International Airport contains major flaws, Federal Aviation Administration officials and air traffic controllers say. Chicago airport officials are using the Dallas/Fort Worth airport as a model for the future O'Hare. However, the FAA points out the Dallas airport is three times the size of O'Hare. Also, O'Hare does not have room for adding perimeter taxiways, which is a major part of the Dallas redesign. Nov 21, 2005

Judge dismisses suit opposing O'Hare expansion. A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit opposing an expansion of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. The city may now resume buying property in the path of the expansion. Two towns and the owners of a cemetery filed the suit. The city has agreed not to disturb graves at the cemetery until another lawsuit filed against the Federal Aviation Administration is decided. Nov 18, 2005

E-mail alerts may ease parking problems at Chicago airport. A new system of e-mail alerts will help Chicago travelers learn the status of airport parking lots. The system, which was set up by Chicago's Department of Aviation, tells fliers with handheld devices and cell phones which lots are full. Airports already use radio broadcasts, telephone hot lines and electronic roadside signs to help travelers avoid full lots. Nov 3, 2005

Opponents of O'Hare expansion seek restraining order. The plan to expand Chicago's O'Hare International Airport is facing another legal fight. Cemetery owners and the suburbs of Elk Grove Village and Bensenville asked a federal court to grant a temporary restraining order stopping the city from displacing 2,600 residents and 200 businesses and relocating 1,300 graves. If granted, the order would bar the city from starting work in the affected areas until the court hears the opponents' request. Nov 2, 2005

An open skies agreement between the U.S. and Europe must grant more U.S. carriers access to London Heathrow Airport, Continental Airlines said. Currently, only two U.S. carriers may land at Heathrow. The White House is trying to secure greater Heathrow access for U.S. airlines. Europe, in turn, wants the U.S. to loosen its restrictions on foreign ownership of U.S. airlines. Nov 15, 2005

D/FW posts growth in passengers for fourth straight year. The number of travelers passing through Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport grew for the fourth straight year in fiscal 2005. Officials reported 59.1 million arriving and departing passengers, up 0.9% from the previous year. Executive Vice President of Marketing Joe Lopano said the airport's results reflect the volatile nature of commercial aviation. "These aren't stellar results, but they're not bad, either," he said. Nov 4, 2005

Los Angeles commission may hire firm to improve airport security. The Los Angeles Airport Commission may hire Rand Corp. to make the Los Angeles International Airport more secure. Rand would work with the Transportation Security Administration to shorten lines at security checkpoints. A report to the commission by airport staff encouraged the commission to award the $900,000 contract to Rand. A study by Rand more than a year ago found travelers on LAX's sidewalks and in its lobbies at risk from bombs. Nov 7, 2005

New Orleans is gradually gaining reasonable levels of air service following the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina. Delta Air Lines is adding three daily flights from Atlanta to the city on December 1. The carrier has ramped up its schedules to give New Orleans seven daily flights from its main hub. Southwest Airlines is also introducing new services to the city, starting November 12, from five of its bases, including Nashville and Dallas. Before the hurricane, New Orleans was on target to surpass its record 2004 for tourism when it had 10.1 million visitors. http://www.neworleansonline.com Nov 7, 2005

Minneapolis-St. Paul should encourage budget airlines, economists say. Economists say the bankruptcy of Northwest Airlines will give Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport a chance to encourage discounters to start serving the airport. "If Northwest isn't flying, someone else will," said Art Rolnick, director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "We shouldn't be tied to a single airline. We have put all our eggs in one basket." Nov 21, 2005

Northwest ends service to Reno after 12 years. After 12 years of service, Northwest Airlines has decided to stop flying to Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The bankrupt carrier wants to return some of its leased planes and is still in the process of determining its future flight schedule. Nov 7, 2005

Airport screeners probe murky images for threats. Security screeners at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport stare at black and white images on computer monitors, trying to determine whether a traveler is carrying a banned item. The screeners earn $32,000 on average, and workers need three hours of weekly training. Some of airport's 1,000 screeners analyze checked bags, while others focus on searching passengers. Nov 1, 2005

Seattle airport's taxiway creates confusion, controversy. Experienced pilots have mistaken a taxiway for an active runway at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport eight times since 1999. One plane actually landed on the taxiway. The National Transportation Safety Board has warned that the confusion could eventually cause a collision. Officials from the airport the Federal Aviation Administration say they have fixed the problem by educating pilots and making the runways more visible. Nov 15, 2005

Bush expected to sign bill exempting Missouri from Wright. President Bush is expected to sign a bill today that will allow commercial flights to operate from Dallas Love Field to Missouri. The law would exempt Missouri from the Wright Amendment, which restricts flying from Love Field. Southwest Airlines has said it will launch flights from Love Field to St. Louis and Kansas City as soon as it is legal. Southwest wants the entire Wright law lifted; American Airlines believes it should stay in place. Some analysts think the new Southwest service between Love Field and St. Louis could stimulate traffic and hurt American's revenue. An American spokeswoman said the airline is "studying its options." Nov 30, 2005

Southwest prepares to launch Denver flights. Southwest Airlines will encounter new challenges when it starts flying from Denver early next year. It will face competition from United Airlines and discounter Frontier Airlines. Some experts say launching flights from Denver is a risk for Southwest and note costs are higher there than at other airports where Southwest operates. Separately, Southwest said it plans to lease six additional gates at Philadelphia International Airport by next spring. Nov 29, 2005

Some airline-airport relationships sour in the U.S. Relationships between airlines and airports are suffering in the U.S. Southwest Airlines' attempt to expand flying from Dallas Love Field and its attempt to leave Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are examples of the trend. Southwest and other airlines sometimes threaten to scale back flights if the airports they serve do not help them lower costs. Nov 21, 2005

Lawmakers to testify at Wright hearing. Five lawmakers will testify Thursday at the Wright Amendment hearings. Three of the lawmakers are from Texas and all have positions on the repeal of the law. The Wright Amendment limits flying out of Dallas Love Field, where Southwest Airlines operates a large hub. Southwest wants the law repealed, but American Airlines believes it should stay in place. Nov 9, 2005

Southwest's arrival in Denver will benefit travelers. The return of Southwest Airlines to Denver International Airport is good news for travelers, the Rocky Mountain News editorial board writes. Competing airlines have already matched Southwest's low fares. The airline will start service in January from Denver to Chicago, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. Nov 7, 2005

Toronto airport to boost landing fees 6.9% in 2006. Toronto's Pearson International Airport said it will increase landing fees 6.9% in 2006. Airlines oppose the latest fee increase, which is the ninth consecutive annual increase. Airport officials say they must raise fees to compensate for high "ground rent" that the airport pays the government. Government officials say the airport overspent on a new terminal. Nov 16, 2005

United to start service from Rockford, Ill., in March. United Airlines will launch flights in March from Rockford International Airport in Rockford, Ill. The airline will fly 50-seat jets on two daily, nonstop flights to Denver. Nov 15, 2005

Dulles unveils new control tower, plans for more travelers. When Dulles International Airport's new air traffic control tower goes into service sometime in 2006, it will signal the start of several changes for the airport. Airport officials believe the number of people traveling through Dulles will continue to grow, and they are planning a $3 billion project to change the way passengers move through the airport. Other airlines may boost service if Independence Air goes out of business. The airline recently filed for bankruptcy protection. Nov 17, 2005
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Publication:Airguide Online
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 30, 2005
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Previous Article:Travel Safety & Security Update October 2005.
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