Industry News

United, Continental Announce Merger; Houston to lose Headquarters

United and Continental Airlines agree to form the world’s largest airline in a deal estimated at $3 billion. The new airline would surpass Delta Air Lines in size and have flights reaching from Shanghai to South America. The airline, to be called United, will be run by current Continental CEO Jeffery Smisek. United CEO Glenn Tilton will remain as non-executive chairman for up to two years. It will be based in United’s hometown of Chicago and its biggest hub will be Houston, which will lose the Continental headquarters.

Gwinnett Explores Privatization

FAA has granted Gwinnett County (GA) one of two slots remaining in its airport privatization program. FAA’s decision clears the way for Gwinnett to market Briscoe Field to private firms interested in developing it. FAA spokesperson Marcia Adams says Gwinnett County must now decide on a buyer, then begin the process of drawing up a final application. There is no time limit for the final application.

TSA nomination - Round three

President Obama nominates his third person to head the TSA — FBI deputy director John Pistole. Obama previously nominated retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding and Los Angeles World Airports security chief Erroll Southers to head the agency, but both nominees withdrew. Pistole, a 27-year FBI veteran, has served as deputy director since October 2004.

LAX Unveils Renewed Bradley Terminal

Renovations and security upgrades at Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Tom Bradley International Terminal are complete. Clark/McCarthy, a joint venture, finished the $575 million, LEED Silver-certified improvements, including a new in-line baggage screening system.


ACI-NA — Airports Council Int’l–North America commends U.S. DOT for its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that broadens the airline passenger protections under the DOT rule which became effective on April 29. NPRM proposes to increase compensation for passengers bumped from flights; require that airlines provide passengers more information, flexibility, and protection when purchasing tickets; and mandate coordination of airline contingency plans for ramp delays.

Airport Concession Consultants, Inc. — is named FAA’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise of the Year.

Air Rutter Iint’l — based at Long Beach (CA) Airport, changes its name to JetFlite International. The aircraft management and charter operator also expands its services with a new operating base at Republic Airport (FRG) in Farmingdale, NY.

All Weather, Inc. — of Sacra-mento reports that FAA has awarded a small-business set-aside contract to AWI to replace all of the approximately 2,300 aging Integrated Display Systems. Contract value is $66.4 million over six years.
ASPEN AVIONICS — relocates its corporate headquarters at Albuquerque’s TechCommons Business Center from a 6,000-sq. ft. facility to a 23,000-sq. ft. building. Company is nearing certification its new Evolution Flight Display system.

Avantair — opens its Operations Control Center at its headquarters at the Clearwater/St. Petersburg Airport.

Bird-B-Gone,Inc. — a manufacturer of bird control products, adds an ornithologist to help customers tackle bird problems;

Blue Sky in Flight Catering — expands its gourmet food service to Teterboro Airport New Jersey.

Boston Logan Iint’l Airport — sees the return of daily seasonal service to Paris on American Airlines.

Canadian — Federal government launches a $95.7 million program tightening security measures for air cargo. Over the next five years it will tighten screening practices of packages transported by air and of the companies that ship them.

CBC — Canada’s national public broadcaster, rolls out its CBC News Express to five major airports across Canada.

City of Worcester (MA) — agrees to sell its airport to the Massachusetts Port Authority for $17 million, effective July 1; price tag includes cash payments and permanent land transfers.

Corona Beach House Miami — the first-ever Corona-themed restaurant, opens in Miami Int’l Airport’s North Terminal.

Cutter Aviation — consolidates all Dallas metro-area operations to its location in McKinney, TX, moving all aircraft maintenance and technical services operations from Dallas Executive Airport in South Dallas.

Davenport (IA) Municipal Airport — breaks ground on a new FBO/terminal facility.

Delta Air Lines — begins nonstop flights from its Detroit Metropolitan Airport hub to Seoul-Incheon and Hong Kong.

Deutsche Post DHL — deeds the country’s largest privately owned airport to the Clinton County (OH) Port Authority, paving the way for redevelopment. The Wilmington Air Park employed more than 8,000 and was the largest employer in a six-county region of Southwest Ohio until DHL Express closed its national hub there in 2009.

Eclipse Aerospace, Inc. — announces an aircraft hull and liability insurance program for Eclipse aircraft operators provided by Chartis Aerospace Insurance Services, Inc. and Willis Global Aviation.

Emptylegmarket LLC — an online clearinghouse for empty-leg flights from Pinehurst, NC, releases the new version of its website,

EPA — Environmental Protection Agency releases an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) relating to lead emissions from piston-engine aircraft, which it seeks to eliminate.

FAA — proposes a $297,000 civil penalty against Air Mods and Repair Corp. of Wilmington, DE, for allegedly operating two general aviation aircraft when they were not in compliance with Federal Aviation Regulations. FAA alleges that a Flight Standards inspection of a proposed flight school at the Air Mods facility at Robbinsville, N.J., revealed maintenance problems that were not corrected with a Piper PA-23 Aztec twin and a single-engine Piper PA-28 Warrior.

• FAA issues its final rule outlining equipment requirements for Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast (ADS-B), requiring all aircraft that fly in Class A, B and C airspace and above 10,000 feet to be equipped with ADS-B by 2020.

• FAA reports it intends to establish a Center of Excellence for Airport Safety Technology in 2010, with a goal of creating a cost-sharing partnership of academia, industry, and government to focus on research areas of interest to FAA and U.S. civil aviation authorities.

• FAA awards three separate NextGen contracts totaling up to $4.4 billion over ten years. Boeing, General Dynamics, and ITT were awarded the contracts that are part of System Engineering 2020. Two more contracts are expected under SE2020, which has a ceiling of $7 billion, making it the largest set of awards ever by FAA.

Fargo Jet Center — wins the Fargo-Moorhead Chamber of Commerce “ChamberChoice Award” for Business of the Year.

Florida Senate — passes House Bill 173, exempting visiting aircraft from the state’s use tax. Under current law, out-of-state aircraft owners who visit Florida within six months of purchasing their aircraft are subject to a use tax of up to 6 percent. (Source: AOPA.)

GAO — issues a report, GAO--10-778T - Airline Mergers: Issues Raised by the Proposed Merger of United and Continental Airlines; and GAO-10-542-National Airspace System: Setting On-Time Performance Targets at Congested Airports Could Help Focus FAA’s Actions;

GEORGE BUSH INTERCONTI-NENTAL AIRPORT — in Houston reports Continental Airlines will operate non-stop flights to Auckland, New Zealand starting Nov. 16, 2011. IAH also announces the arrival of low-cost airline VivaAerobus, with non-stop service to Monterrey, Mexico.

Hawker Beechcraft Corp. — announces its plans to provide MedAire’s medical equipment, medical training, and 24/7 access to doctors to its customers on all new aircraft purchases.

• HBC also celebrates Hawker 4000 EASA Certification at EBACE in Geneva, Switzerland, and announces a partnership with ExecuJet of Zürich to provide delivery and initial phase of operation support for international customers of HBC’s line of turbine-powered aircraft.

HOBBY AIRPORT — in Houston debuts service to Branson, MO via Branson AirExpress. Also, Southwest Airlines adds non-stop service to Panama City Beach, FL.

Houston Executive Airport — adds a 12,000 square-foot hangar, bringing total aircraft leased space to over 83,000 square feet.

JETNET LLC — reports that in April the percentage of pre-owned business jets for sale was at 15.5 percent, compared with the high of 17.7 percent recorded in July 2009. Average number of days used business jets are on the market is 327; average asking prices during the first four months of 2010 fell by 0.5 percent versus 2009.

Laguardia Airport — is so outdated that it should be completely demolished and rebuilt, says Port Authority of NY & NJ executive director Chris Ward. “LaGuardia should not be the gateway for fliers into New York City; it should fundamentally be torn down and rebuilt again,” Ward tells a Crain’s business breakfast.

LAX — Los Angeles Int’l Airport unveils its $88 million taxiway to accommodate the largest commercial planes as they travel between the north and south runway complexes.

Meridian Air Charter — of Teterboro, NJ adds a Gulfstream IV-SP to its fleet of charter aircraft.
MILLION AIR — officially opens its FBO/terminal at San Bernardino Int’l Airport.

Morpho Detection Inc. — of Newark, NJ wins a $35 million contract from TSA to provide 1,200 explosive screening devices, the Itemiser DX, for use in domestic airports.

NATA — National Air Transportation Assn. publishes its 2010 annual survey of general aviation services employee compensation;

NBAA — National Business Aviation Association is awarded by FAA the National Aviation Hall of Fame’s 2010 Milton Caniff “Spirit of Flight” Award, bestowed annually upon a group or organization for contributions made toward the advancement of aviation.

niagara falls airport — reports that Rainbow Tour and Reception will start charter service between Niagara Falls and Newark on July 2nd.

northwest florida beaches int’l airport — officially opens, with Southwest Airlines introducing new subsidized service. Backing is being provided by the St. Joe Co., a real estate developer that donated the land for the new airport.

palm springs int’l airport — breaks ground on a new 150-foot control tower, to be completed in early 2013.

phoenix sky harbor int’l airport — finalizes the design of the future PHX Sky Train. Bombardier Transportation will supply the system’s trains.

ramco — an MRO software provider based in Lawrenceville, NJ, announces the release of its Ramco Aviation Analytics, powered by DecisionWorks for the MRO Industry;

rentech, inc. — of Los Angeles announces that a successful engineering validation flight was conducted by United Airlines using it’s certified synthetic jet fuel (RenJet). The flight marks the first time a U.S. commercial airline has used synthetic jet fuel in flight.

San Diego — Airport Authority’s Airport Planning Department is awarded a first place award for Distinguished Leadership during the American Planning Association’s San Diego Chapter awards ceremony.

Savannah airport commission — votes to hire a consulting firm, Sabre Airline Solutions of Texas, to help it solicit new air service, with a focus on low-cost carrier JetBlue.

signature flight support — reports its San Francisco (SFO) facility has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) GOLD CI certification. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the United States Green Building Council. Improvements included renovation of the existing 9,800-sq. ft.terminal and two 25,000-sq. ft. storage hangars.

• Signature also appoints Maria Sastre as chief operating officer for its global operations, and responsible for the daily operations of Signature’s worldwide network of fixed base operations (FBOs). Sastre joins Signature from the non-profit organization Take Stock in Children where she served as president/CEO, and previously served with Royal Caribbean Cruises LTD as a vice president.

Standardaero — a Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) company, announces it will provide its TPE331 customer’s unscheduled-maintenance cost assistance free of charge with every overhaul event. Program offers pro-rated cost assistance on unscheduled maintenance for a period of four years.

Sterling Aviation — of Milwaukee expands its charter fleet, adding a Gulfstream G100.

stratos jet charters, inc. — of Winter Park, FL partners with AthletePromotions, a national sports marketing agency based in Orlando, to provide air charter service to professional athletes.

sunborne companies — at Centennial InterPort enter a five-year lease agreement with XJET Colorado Property, LLC to occupy some 7,526 sq. ft. of office space.

sun country airlines — inaugurates nonstop service between Austin, TX, and Cancun, Mexico

TSA — Transportation Security Administration orders that all operators subject to the Twelve-Five Standard Security Program (TFSSP) revalidate access for all users of the program’s Webboard. Agency says the revalidation process for access to the secure Webboards is ongoing and that once complete all watchlists will be placed in a new separate Webboard. TSA expects this new system to launch on June 21

WAI — Women in Aviation Int’l receives a bequest of some $203,000 from the estate of Arlene Elliott who passed away in January 2010. Along with her husband Herb, Arlene Elliott founded Elliott Aviation in 1936; today, Elliott has more than 250 employees in seven states.

winglet technology, llc — of Wichita, KS receives European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approval of its Supplemental Type Certificate permitting the installation of the Elliptical Winglets on the Cessna Citation X business jet.