Tuesday, April 30, 2013
The former chair of the House Transportation Committee supports expanding the airport in his home district, but opposition is coming from an unexpected corner: airlines. Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.) speaks with WMFE's Matthew Peddie about an airport as an engine of regional growth.
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
When automatic federal spending cuts under a process known as sequestration loomed in March, federal officials warned the furloughs of air traffic controllers would snarl the air travel system and leave passengers waiting in terminals for hours.
Thursday, April 18, 2013
It's not clear what caused American's problems with its computer system.
“American’s not telling anyone exactly one happened,” said Brett Snyder, who runs the blog crankyflier.com. He says all we know is that the link between American Airlines and its reservation system, known as Sabre, went down. “And so American was unable to do a lot of things that are required of daily business."
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Today an emergency landing of a Japanese flight has grounded the All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines fleet of Boeing 787 Dreamliner Aircrafts. Clive Irving, senior consulting editor at Condé Nast Traveler, explores the problems facing Boeing going forward.
Monday, August 27, 2012
A recent incident involving a checked cello raised new questions of how airlines set rules about which musical instruments are allowed on board.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
This Overseas Press Club conference is a reminder of the unfortunately routine institutionalized gender oppression in American industry. Featuring deft pilots in the Angel Derby, an all-female air race from New York to the Bahamas, this panel's male moderator and reporters dole out condescension and hostility, but "the girls" hold steady despite the dismissive questioning.
Thursday, July 12, 2012
(UPDATED 3:37) Families who travel by plane have probably had the experience of being told they can't be seated together -- and that their only recourse is to hope their fellow passengers are willing to switch seats.
It's disconcerting -- and becoming more common. Because as airlines ramp up policies that charge additional fees for aisle and window seats, it's getting harder for people to request seats together without paying a premium (as AP reported earlier this year.)
Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) has proposed legislation called the Families Flying Together Act of 2012. It would require the U.S. Department of Transportation to direct each carrier to “establish a policy to ensure, to the extent practicable, that a family that purchases tickets for a flight with that air carrier is seated together during that flight; and (2) make the policy…available to the public on an appropriate Internet Web site of the air carrier."
According to an emailed statement, Nadler said “air travel is complicated and expensive enough for families without adding new stresses. Families should not be stuck paying hidden fees, or buying ‘premium’ seats, simply because they wish to be seated together on crowded flights. It is positively absurd to expect a two or three-year-old to sit unattended, next to strangers, on an airplane. It is up to air carriers to make their seating policies clear and easily accessible to the public.”
But Airlines for America, an industry lobbying group, called the legislation unnecessary. Steve Lott, the group's VP, said "airlines have always worked cooperatively with their customers to seat parties, including those traveling with children, together. The great news for consumers and families is that the airline industry is hugely competitive, and customers have choices of airlines and different products within airlines." He added: "As with all other products and industries, it is the market that can—and should—determine how air travel is priced, not the government.”
Friday, March 16, 2012
For 35 pet travelers, 2011 was the end of the line.
More than half of the deceased, 19 pets, flew Delta airlines. All of the deaths happened in the cargo holds of the planes, government documents show.
The pets ranged from dogs and cats to a chinchilla. It boarded a Delta flight at New York’s JFK Airport last June for the second leg of its journey from St. Louis to Moscow, Russia. The airline notes that the flight was delayed 44 minutes in St. Louis before departure for New York.
Still, the pet chinchilla appeared fine to the Delta crew at JFK, according to a Live Animal Incident Report. Without warning, the chinchilla arrived in Moscow deceased. The airline was forced to ship the pet, without its owner, back to New York, because Russian authorities refused to allow the dead animal into the country.
Other airlines also noted pet deaths last year; five animals died on American Airlines, three on Continental and two perished on United. The pet injury and death figures are drawn from the January-December 2011 Airline Reports to USDOT of Incidents Involving the Loss, Injury or Death of Animals During Air Transportation. The lost and deceased pet tallies are included in the U.S. DOT's Air Travel Consumer Report. The 2011 figures are lower than in 2010, when 39 animals died. Delta again recorded the most pet deaths, with 16; Continental had six. Far fewer pets perished in 2009 - about 23 total. Nine animals died on American Airlines that year.
Delta’s record for pet deaths this January was no better than its record in January of 2011 – it again recorded one pet death for the month. American Airlines also recorded one death for January. Monthly 2012 reports can be found here.
The most recent death involved T Bone, a 1 year old Yorkshire Terrier traveling from Frankfurt, Germany to Nashville via Atlanta on January 13, 2012. In the Incident Report, Delta notes that there were no indications of a problem with the cargo hold being too hot or too cold. Yet the necropsy indicated the tiny Terrier died from hypoxia, “perhaps associated with seizures, hypoglycemia, or hyperthermia.”
Other Delta victims include Coco, a 9-month old English Bull Dog who traveled from Stuttgart, Germany to Philadelphia via Atlanta. The puppy was found unresponsive when unloaded in Atlanta, “less than 10 minutes after the aircraft had parked,” according the Delta’s Live Animal Incident Report.
Cats also died on Delta. Phoebe, an 11-year-old short hair, was traveling with her companion kitty Newman, from Pittsburgh to Phoenix through Atlanta. The flight was just ten minutes behind schedule, and the airline reported temperatures in the 60s. But when the flight landed in Atlanta, the ramp crew noticed Phoebe was unresponsive, lying in the back of her crate. She had passed away. Newman had to do the final leg of the journey without his buddy. A necropsy revealed that Phoebe died of chronic heart failure.
Some of the incidents over the years involved older pets, or dogs that are susceptible to breathing problems, like Bull Dogs. But others involved younger, less at-risk animals. Like Katie, a 6 year old yellow Labrador Retriever whose last trip was from Pensacola to Atlanta last July. Her final destination was supposed to be Baltimore.
Katie boarded her first flight with no issues. Scattered clouds flecked the Pensacola sky. Temperatures were moderate to warm, about 75 to 80 degrees. The ground crew reported that Katie made it to Atlanta without incident. Delta personnel then transported the middle aged Lab via temperature controlled van to await the next leg of her journey to Baltimore. Katie boarded her second flight. It was scheduled to leave at 1:50 pm. But apparently the plane was delayed; the Captain and ground crew “were informed the delay would only be brief,” according to the Incident Report.
But two hours later, the flight still waited in the sweltering Atlanta summer heat for take-off clearance. At 5:33 pm, the crew got the go-ahead for departure. Yet somehow, the report stated, the flight was still on the ground at 7:46 pm, delayed an additional two hours.
Around that time, the crew finally got instructions to return the plane to the gate. When ground handlers opened the cargo bin door, there was Katie, non-responsive inside her kennel. Katie’s necropsy report is still pending according to the report, even though her death happened almost 8 months ago.
After Katie died, Delta apparently took action. The airline stated in the report that it will try to ensure the crew is notified if there’s a pet in the cargo section of the plane when flights are delayed. “As a result of the animal’s death, our Load Center will pull another Load Manifest in order to determine if an animal exists on a delayed aircraft,” stated the Delta report.
Some of the Animal Incident Reports indicate pets injured themselves during flights, desperate to break free of their crates. Rides in cargo holds can be grueling, with extreme temperature swings.
In March 2011, a Chihuahua traveling Delta Airlines between Atlanta and Buffalo lost three lower incisor crown teeth chewing the handle and front corner of its crate. Last January a Golden Retriever reportedly chewed and then tried to swallow the zip ties that secured its kennel door during a flight. The ties ended up lodged in its throat – a vet anesthetized the dog and managed to remove the obstruction. Both dogs survived their ordeals.
The airline Incident Reports are required since passage of a federal law, the Wendell H. Ford Aviation Investment and Reform Act.
A necropsy isn’t always in the mix. In Coco’s case, the puppy, one was performed. It found that Coco, due to stress, “regurgitated food consumed prior to transportation which aspirated into the trachea and lungs,” stated the report. Essentially, the puppy choked. The vet also noticed “indications of a preexisting respiratory infection which was still inflamed,” according to the report.
TN reached out to Delta Airlines, sending emails and making several calls, but there's been no response as yet. Airlines can make substantial ancillary revenue in part from pet transportation fees. According to recent figures, TN reported that Delta earned the most revenue of any reporting airline from ancillary sources like pet transport fees, in the third quarter of 2011. To see the additional Miscellaneous Operating Revenue data, go to BTS Schedule P-1.2.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Here's the BTS release:
U.S. scheduled passenger airlines employed 2.7 percent more workers in December 2011 than they did in December 2010, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) reported today. This is the 13th consecutive month that full-time equivalent employee (FTE) levels for the scheduled passenger carriers have been higher than the same month of the previous year. FTE calculations count two part-time employees as one full-time employee.
BTS, a part of the Research and Innovative Technology Administration, reported that the December FTE total of 389,728 for the scheduled passenger carriers was 10,077 more than that of December 2010. These monthly increases reflect gradual improvement in the industry’s employment following declines that began in July 2008. Historic employment data can be found on the BTS web site.
Of the network airlines, only Delta Air Lines, which has been eliminating duplicate positions following its merger with Northwest Airlines, decreased employment from December 2010 to December 2011. Continental Airlines reported 14.5 percent more FTEs in December 2011 than in December 2010, the largest increase among the network carriers. US Airways followed Continental with a 2.9 percent increase. Network airlines operate a significant portion of flights using at least one hub where connections are made for flights to down-line destinations or spoke cities.
All seven low-cost carriers reported more FTEs in December 2011 than in December 2010, except for Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines, which reported a 1.2 percent decrease and a 4.9 percent decrease, respectively. The low-cost carriers with more reported FTEs are Virgin America Airlines, Spirit Airlines, JetBlue Airways, AirTran Airways and Southwest Airlines.
Among the 17 regional carriers, the six carriers reporting reduced employment levels compared to last year were Horizon Airlines, Republic Airlines, Comair, Mesaba Airlines, Mesa Airlines and Executive Airlines.
Scheduled passenger airline categories include network, low-cost, regional and other airlines.
Monday, February 06, 2012
The Senate gave final approval Monday evening to a four-year authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration, breaking a sorry streak of 23 temporary authorizations going back to 2007.
The 75 to 20 vote sends the bill to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. It authorizes about $16 billion in spending each year on the agency. The bill governs significant parts of airport and runway programs, air traffic control, airline safety, and navigation regulations.
Lawmakers reached a deal in January that included a compromise on federal union rules. Democrats agreed to increase from 35% to 50% the proportion of workers at a company who must petition for unionization before a shop can vote to organize. While the deal paved the way for the FAA bill to enter final negotiations, it also enraged several unions. They've been letting Democrats know about their displeasure with the deal, and it helps explain why 14 Senate Democrats, many of them with heavy union backing, voted against the final package. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a liberal Vermont Independent, also voted against the bill.
The deal also continues the controversial Essential Air Service, a subsidy program designed to encourage airlines to fly to out-of-the-way and unprofitable airports. House Republicans had tried to kill the subsidy, but some Senate Democrats representing rural states, kept it on board.
Passage of FAA's authorization represents a detente from partisan clashes over the summer. One even lead to a partial shutdown of the agency lasting more than a week. But it is unclear whether bipartisanship will reign over other, larger transportation issues in Congress. The Senate is now moving toward taking up a 2-year, $109 billion Highway Bill reauthorization. If it passes it will go up against a 5-year, $260 House GOP alternative slated for floor action next week.
The House bill contains many controversial provisions, including opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. It's also likely to include an attempt to force approval of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
Follow Todd Zwillich on Twitter @toddzwillich
Thursday, February 02, 2012
On Wednesday, American Airlines declared that it would lay off 13,000 workers or 15 percent of its workforce. The company is attempting to emerge from bankruptcy, which it filed last November. Along with the layoffs, the company is seeking to cut employee pensions and some health benefits. AA CEO Tom Horton called the decisions "painful" but said in the end, the moves would preserve tens of thousands of jobs that would have otherwise been lost.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
On Wednesday, the European Union's highest court will rule on a lawsuit filed two years ago by two U.S. airlines and a industry trade association attempting to halt the E.U.'s plan to charge for carbon emissions pollution. It would include the industry in the worldwide cap and trade market. If the court decides to uphold the 2008 European law, on January 1, airlines will be forced to reduce their carbon emissions to an historic low, or buy emission credits from companies that pollute less than the base rate.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Delta Air Lines will be the largest carrier from New York area airports by summer 2012. The airline announced a major expansion of service from New York's LaGuardia airport Friday, with the addition of more than 100 daily flights to 29 new cities.
The new routes target American Airlines and put Delta in a better position to compete against United, the current top airline by passenger seats in the region.
Delta says it plans to add four million passenger seats per year, in large part by using larger planes on the new flights. If the airline reaches that figure and competitors hold their passenger numbers steady, that would push Delta above Continental for the top stop in the New York Area. See current airline and passenger statistics at the Port Authority website.
Gail Grimmett, senior vice president for Delta in New York, wouldn't comment on the potential impact on fares. "We can't talk about future pricing, but I will tell you, this is a very competitive market and we do want to be... the carrier of choice for the people of New York."
United and Continental's merger into the world's largest airline puts Delta in second-place by traffic.
"It's about increasing Delta's overall appeal and utility to the high-yield business traveler," said Henry Harteveldt, a travel analyst at Forrester Research Inc. "Delta is going for scope of service, rather than always having the largest number of flights to a smaller network of cities."
The expansion came about from a swap of airport slots with U.S. Airways. Delta gave up flights from Washington, D.C. National Airport and U.S. Airways ceded 117 LaGuardia slots. The U.S. DOT required the airlines to divest an additional 48 slots at the two airports as part of the deal. Those went to JetBlue and West Jet.
Delta will renovate two terminals at LaGuardia and begin the new flights in the summer of 2012.
With AP and with reporting from Claudia Morell.
Thursday, December 01, 2011
Top stories on TN:
NYC On Track to Have Lowest Traffic Fatalities in a Century (Link)
Extreme Weather Events in 2011 Costing Federal Highway Officials Hundreds of Millions (Link)
Cuomo: Private Pension Funds Could Invest in Tappan Zee Bridge (Link)
New Jersey Adds GPS to Snowplows (Link)
Los Angeles is adding 95 new buses to its fleet that run on compressed natural gas and provide commuters with adjustable seats and climate control. (Los Angeles Times)
New York City officials say upstate fracking could damage the tunnels that channel millions of gallons of water to city taps every day. (WNYC)
The federal government says it's making changes to prevent lengthy tarmac delays, especially around the holiday travel season. (Washington Post)
Amtrak set a Thanksgiving ridership record. (Washington Post)
Can higher fares save public transit? (Atlantic Cities)
The U.S. is set to become a net fuel exporter for the first time in 62 years. (The Takeaway)
NYC officials want to sell ad space on the back of taxi receipts. (NY Post)
The New York MTA quickly restored a depressing poem to its original condition in the Times Square subway station after a Bronx student papered over it to make it peppier. (New York Times)
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
American Airlines' parent company, Texas-based AMR, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Tuesday morning, making it the last major airline in the U.S. to do so. American, the nation's third largest airline, will continue operations during the restructuring, which it hopes will reduce labor costs and $29.6 billion in debts. AMR has lost $982 million since the beginning of the year, and has posted annual losses for the last three years. In recent years, American has struggled to compete against United and Delta, both of which merged with other airlines after going through their own reorganizations.