Industry News

ACI-NA — Airports Council Int’l– North America, in comments on DOT’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding “Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections” (Docket No. DOT-OST-2007-0022), calls for ensuring that the final regulations protect all passengers, not just those flying on larger aircraft or into medium or large hub airports. ACI-NA calls on DOT to:

  • require any air carrier that operates domestic passenger service with aircraft or 30 or more seats to develop a contingency plan to address long tarmac delays for both scheduled and public charter operations;
  • mandate that airlines coordinate their plans with all airports at which they provide scheduled or charter service, not just large and medium hubs;
  • define a flight as “chronically delayed” if it’s operated at least 30 times in a calendar quarter, but change the percentage of arrivals more than 15 minutes late to 50 percent, not 70 percent of the time;
  • require all air carriers to adopt a customer service plan.

air berlin — is increasing service between Southwest Florida Int’l Airport and Düsseldorf, offering four weekly flights effective June 28.

AIRCRAFT MANAGEMENT GROUP, INC. — a full-service provider of aircraft management services for jet and turboprop owners, receives FAA Part 135 certification from FAA, becoming the first charter operator based out of the Pittsburgh Int’l Airport, located in the Atlantic Aviation FBO.

airforwarders assn. — executive director Brandon Fried testifies that despite significant progress being made in screening cargo on passenger planes, there are still major challenges ahead to safeguarding air cargo in the U.S., before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection. Brandon acknowledges the progress made in reaching the 50 percent milestone, but warns that there are challenges facing TSA in achieving the 100 percent screening mandate by the August 2010 deadline.  The most troublesome issue is the lack of funds beyond those provided to pilot program participants to purchase technology. 

AOPA — Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Airport Support Network (ASN) surpasses the 2,000 volunteer mark. Volunteers are AOPA’s eyes and ears at America’s community airports, helping the Frederick, Md.-based national organization stay informed about local airport issues.

arinc inc. — of Annapolis, MD selects Miami, FL as the Latin American Gateway for its GLOBALinkSM voice and data communications services, flight operations services, and installation and maintenance services, located south of Miami Int’l Airport.

atlanta hartsfield-jackson int’l airport — implements a concessions program for more than 70 new stores including the BlackBerry store, Ipod kiosks, InMotion which offers portable DVD players for rent, movies, and music, and an Electronic Gadgets store.

  • Georgia State Rep. Bob Smith -- (R-Watkinsville), wants to place city-run Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l under a state-controlled board, but has given up on the idea for this legislative session. Smith, sponsor of House Bill 644, said there is too little time left in the session to have the proposal fully considered. Smith said he will reintroduce the proposal next year. City and airport officials have critized the proposal.

baa ltd. — owner of the U.K.’s five busiest airports, faces being broken up after the country’s top antitrust regulator rules that the company must sell two hubs serving London and one in Scotland. The Competition Commission ordered BAA, a unit of Spanish builder Grupo Ferrovial SA, to dispose of London’s Gatwick and Stansted airports and terminals in either Edinburgh or Glasgow. All three disposals must be made within two years, the watchdog said in a Regulatory News Service statement.

boeing — reports that the sixth and final 787 Dreamliner designated for flight test is now undergoing final assembly in Everett, WA. The airplane, designated ZA006, will be powered with General Electric GEnx engines. In all, assemblies for 31 Dreamliners are currently in production throughout the supply chain. The 787 Dreamliner has orders for 878 airplanes from 57 customers.

brady corp. — of Milwaukee offers marking and wire identification designed to assist mechanics and crews at aviation maintenance centers to easily apply identification markings on newly repaired wires and cables;

BUSINESS JET ACCESS — at Dallas Love Field adds a second Challenger 300 to its FAR Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate.

cessna aircraft co. — a Textron Inc. company based in Wichita, gains several international certifications for various Citation models. The Citation Mustang earns certification in China and the Isle of Mann (U.K.). The Citation XLS+ gains European Aviation Safety Agency certification, and the Citation X gains certification in Nigeria.
• Cessna also will begin offering in April Citation turbine engine hot section inspections for Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D and PWC 500 series engines across its Citation Service Center network through an arrangement with Dallas Airmotive.

chicago dept. of aviation — selects Aeroterm U.S. Inc. to begin contract negotiations to develop more than 55 acres of land and 750,000 square feet of building space for cargo facilities in the northeast area of O’Hare Int’l Airport. The master developer for the O’Hare Northeast Cargo plan will develop, in phases, four cargo processing facilities and airside aircraft parking spaces. The new facilities will accommodate new, larger generation of freighter aircraft, specifically the Boeing 747-800. Construction of the first phase of development is expected to begin by 2010. Term of the ground lease for the development is 35 years and the estimated value to the City of Chicago over the life of the lease is approximately $350 million.

CITY OF TALLAHASSEE — okays changes to the airport’s development plan to allow the private Flightline Group to build a 100-room hotel where passengers and flight crews could stay, catering to general aviation pilots who will use the company’s new regional service center, scheduled to open soon, for maintenance. Flightline is planning to invest more than $20 million on the hotel and other projects, including a HondaJet dealership, one of five across the country.

des moines int’l airport — debuts the Mesaba Maintenance Hangar, an 80,000-sq. ft. facility that offers 65,000 sq. ft. of open hangar space and another 15,000 sq. ft. for offices/storage.

duncan aviation — of Lincoln, NE expands its service center agreements with Honeywell to include mechanical components, with services available for operators of Hawker, Lear, Challenger, Astra/Westwind, Falcon, Citation, and King Air aircraft.

  • Duncan now caters to Phenom 100 owners, following the recent completion of its first paint work for an Embraer Phenom 100 aircraft and the addition of line maintenance for the Pratt & Whitney 617F-E engines. Duncan is an authorized service center for the Embraer Legacy 600, Phenom 100, and Phenom 300 aircraft.

embry-riddle aeronautical university — and Frasca International unveil the first integrated flight training device (FTD) with virtual air traffic control commands, that will give student pilots more realistic training. Designed specifically for general aviation pilot training, the product is called SAFTE (Synthetic Automated Flight Training Environment) with Virtual Air Traffic (VAT) .

gama — General Aviation Manu-facturers Assn. president and CEO Pete Bunce, appearing before the House Aviation Subcommittee, testifies, “Accelerating and expanding Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast ground stations, adequately staffing the Federal Aviation Administration’s offices of aircraft certification and flight standards, and incentivizing operators to equip with ADS-B technology are all important measures that would allow us to reap benefits from NextGen in the near to mid-term.”

flightline first — will open its new facility at the end of April at New Orleans Lakefront Airport, featuring a $1.5 million dollar renovation with a 20,000-sq. ft. hangar and complete FBO services. The structure was originally built in the late 1920’s in Art Deco style and is directly adjacent to Lakefront’s main terminal building.

GRESHAM, SMITH & PARTNERS — a national architecture, engineering, interior design, and planning firm based in Nashville, is selected as part of the design/build team led by Messer Construction Co. to provide architecture and design services for a new in-line explosives detection system at Nashville Int’l Airport (BNA) for the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority.   

  • Phase I of the multi-year interior renovation of BNA’s existing terminal was recently completed on time and under budget. A third Starbucks location opens, along with the first of two lounges developed by the Graycliff Company, a fine tobacconist based in Nassau, Bahamas.

illinois gov. pat quinn — renews the state’s commitment to building a third airport near Chicago, saying the airport is part of much-needed economic development efforts around the state. The proposed Will County airport has been a project of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who created the Abraham Lincoln National Airport Commission to bring the airport to an area near Peotone. Illinois DOT estimates the airport would create 9,700 jobs within five years after it opens.

jacksonville aviation authority — approves spending $1.5 million in order to receive $4.6 million from FAA for airport improvement projects at Jacksonville Int’l Airport (JAX).

  • JAA board approves the establishment of a Cecil Field Development Policy that allows JAA to offer special considerations, such as lease concessions and incentives, to help stimulate development at Cecil Field.
  • Jacksonville Aviation Authority announces that John D. Clark has accepted an offer as executive director and CEO of the Indianapolis Airport Authority, effective April 10, and names Ernestine Moody-Robinson, JAA’s deputy executive director and COO, to the position of interim executive director and CEO while the authority searches for a permanent replacement.

LOS ANGELES — Board of Airport Commissioners unanimously awards an $82-million contract to R&L Brosamer Inc. to build a cross-field taxiway for Los Angeles Int’l Airport to facilitate movement between the north and south runway complexes. The wider taxiway, which will be located west of the Tom Bradley Int’l Terminal, is designed to handle the next generation of large commercial aircraft, such as the Airbus A-380, the Boeing 747-8, and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

meridian air charter — a private aviation services company based in Teterboro, NJ, expands its charter fleet with the addition of a Challenger 601; aircraft is based at White Plains, NY.

metratech corp. — of Waltham, MA, a billing, settlement, and customer care product provider, reports its MetraNet™ product has been deployed by the City of Chicago as the billing and partner settlement solution for the Chicago Dept. of Aviation.

metropolitan nashville airport authority — is the first airport authority to seize the benefit of the Stimulus Bill allowing airports to issue tax-exempt bonds, according to The PFM Group, financial advisor assisting the authority. MNAA priced bonds totaling $36 million to fund Phase II of the Terminal Renovation Program at Nashville Int’l Airport. The bonds are not subject to the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for individuals or corporations. Avoiding the AMT is estimated to save MNAA $3.2 million in total debt service savings.

miami-dade aviation dept. — expands its flight information display system service to more hotels in the area of Miami Int’l Airport (MIA), with installation of FIDS monitors at Hotel Sofitel Miami scheduled for completion this spring.  

million air dallas — at Addison adds a Citation III to its charter fleet, now offering 14 aircraft.

natca — National Air Traffic Controllers Assn. president Patrick Forrey tells the House Aviation Subcommittee that the union supports NextGen and believes it has a chance to succeed, but only if FAA collaborates meaningfully with NATCA and all aviation stakeholders.

nbaa — National Business Aviation Assn. president and CEO Ed Bolen cites Senators Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) for writing to President Barack Obama to express concern over “a vital American industry that has suffered not only from global economic challenges but also from misinformed public statements ... The reality is that many businesses of all sizes rely on these aircraft to provide the most cost-effective and efficient means of transportation for their business model.”

  • NBAA also welcomes a decision by TSA to significantly change “Operation Playbook,” a controversial security program for general aviation facilities at airports introduced through a pilot program last year. After NBAA and others expressed their concerns with TSA officials, the plan was withdrawn. The re-worked plan is optional, although TSA encourages airports wishing to participate to sign a memorandum of agreement outlining the security responsibilities of TSA officials and local airport personnel.

piedmont aviation — reports it will invest $5.8 million and create 120 jobs in Kernersville, NC this year by relocating its sister company, Oklahoma-based Limco, to the Triad. Limco provides repair and maintenance services to the aerospace industry and makes heat-transfer equipment for aircraft manufacturers.

pittsburgh int’l — and Allegheny County airports are awarded $12 million to repair and renovate runways as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus package.

readyjet inc. — signs a multi-year agreement to provide aircraft engine washing services utilizing EcoPower®, Pratt & Whitney’s environmentally friendly aircraft engine washing system, at major airports in the U.S. and Canada. ReadyJet Inc. (USA) and AvEx Flight Support (Canada), are introducing the EcoPower® system initially in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto, Philadelphia, Detroit and Atlanta. EcoPower® uses atomized water to wash aircraft engines and avoids potentially harmful effluent runoff during the washing process.

SAN DIEGO LINDBERGH FIELD — officials accept a draft redevelopment plan for the single-runway airfield, despite airline concerns that parts of it would undermine passenger service. United, Southwest, and other carriers say a proposal to build an underground transit system, linking existing gates to a new passenger terminal, could lead to delays and missed flights. Plan calls for creation of a transit hub, parking structures, and a passenger terminal on the airport’s north side. Under the concept, passengers would ride a subway built under the runway to reach the existing gates. Consultants estimate the changes would cost between $5 billion and $11 billion, depending on inflation.

schubach aviation — adds a Gulfstream IV to its fleet of 23 aircraft, and will base it at its San Diego Int’l Airport location.

SITA’S ‘BAGGAGE REPORT’ — in its fifth edition, shows that the amount of mishandled baggage (checked baggage that has been delayed, damaged, or pilfered) fell by over a fifth last year from 42.4 million bags in 2007 to 32.8 million bags in 2008. The number of bags actually lost or stolen dropped from 1.28 million to 736,000.

smiths detection — of Pine Brook, NJ announces a $2 million order from TSA for SABRE 4000 hand-held trace explosives detectors, which detect trace amounts of substances from either particle or vapor samples.

st. louis lambert int’l airport — police break up a ring of thieves who stole hundreds of electronics and other valuables from travelers’ luggage during a period of 12 to 15 months. Items included DVDs, digital cameras, GPS devices, cell phones, designer watches, video games, iPods, and two handguns. Six baggage handlers who worked for a contractor of Delta Airlines and two other friends are suspected of stealing the items.

tampa int’l airport — is named the first-ever recipient of a new award from the Airport Consultants Council, recognizing an airport or airport sponsor that demonstrates excellence in procurement and contracting practices.

TRANSPAC AVIATION ACADEMY — is the new name of the Pan Am Int’l Flight Academy and is based adjacent to the Phoenix Deer Valley Airport; school handles some 450 students annually from all over the U.S. and across the globe.
toledo-lucas (OH) — County Port Authority and Air Azul announce new air service via nonstop flights to Newark Liberty Int’l Airport beginning June 1, 2009, with introductory fares as low as $49 each way. Air Azul will utilize a 162-seat, 737-800.

west star aviation, inc. —adds 96-month detailed inspections and 120-month restorations for Challenger landing gear at its Grand Junction, CO Accessory Shop.

Lead newsmakers

Former alpa chief tapped to be faa administrator
President Obama has nominated Randy Babbitt to become the next Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, a move generally welcomed by industry groups. Babbitt, former president and COO of the Air Line Pilots Association, has 40 years of aviation experience. Last year, U.S. DOT Secretary Mary Peters named Babbitt to the independent review team tasked with evaluating and crafting recommendations to improve FAA’s implementation of the aviation safety system and its culture of safety.

Comments James K. Coyne, president of the National Air Transportation Assn., “There is a lot of good intent on Capitol Hill to approve a long-term [aviation funding] measure, finally. I am hopeful that with Randy filling the Administrator slot, momentum will carry us over the hump towards passage of a bill that modernizes our air traffic control system, rejects user fees, and invests in airport infrastructure.”

Says Chip Barclay, president of the American Assn. of Airport Executives, “AAAE is very pleased that Randy has been chosen to lead FAA.”
Ed Bolen, president of the National Business Aviation Assn., says, “He’s a pilot, with a thorough understanding of how our nation’s aviation system works. He also has a businessperson’s expertise, having started a successful aviation consulting company.”

Boisture to head up hawker beechcraft
Hawker Beechcraft Corporation (HBC) names W.W. (Bill) Boisture Jr., a business aviation veteran, to be its next Chairman/CEO. The former president of NetJets and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. brings more than 30 years of aviation experience to HBC. He is also a former chairman of Butler Aviation and most recently was the president of Intrepid Aviation, a privately held commercial aircraft lessor. Boisture was a fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and graduated from the USAF Fighter Weapons School and the U.S. Navy Fighter Weapons School (“Topgun” school). He earned his bachelor’s in engineering management from the U.S. Air Force Academy and his master’s in business administration from the University of New Haven.
Boisture succeeds Jim Schuster, who announced his retirement in November.

History is made: layoffs at duncan
In response to the ailing economy and credit crisis as well as political and media grandstanding against the business aviation industry, Lincoln, NE-based Duncan Aviation announces that it has had to implement a reduction in its nationwide workforce Monday — the first in its 53-year history.

The reduction impacts 304 positions, including 170 at its Lincoln facility; 122 at its Battle Creek and Kalamazoo, MI locations; and 12 in the company’s network of “satellite” avionics and engine locations.

Says chairman Todd Duncan, “The sharp decline in flying by companies that own business aircraft combined with global business closings, reductions in spending, and political grandstanding against our very livelihoods has created an environment that has left us no choice but to downsize.”

ACI-NA Updates Capital Needs Survey

Airports Council International– North America (ACI-NA) reports that the results of its most recent airport capital needs survey indicates that capital development costs for 2009 through 2013, adjusted for inflation, total $94.3 billion — or $18.9 billion annualized. This is an 8.0 percent increase over the 2007 estimate of $87.4 billion, or $17.5 billion annualized, for 2007 through 2011, says ACI-NA.

The D.C.-based trade group recently completed its update of the comprehensive Capital Needs Survey, providing data on capital development costs for some 3,400 airports, ranging from the largest commercial service airports to general aviation airports that comprise the national airport system. 

Large hub airports show an increase of 19 percent from $46.5 billion to $55.3 billion. Significant development was identified by Chicago O’Hare, New York JFK and Newark Liberty, Boston Logan, and Miami.  Medium and small hubs saw the largest decreases of capital investment by more than 22 percent and 8 percent, respectively, among all airport hub categories.  As a result of cuts in airline service, these airports have had to defer some of capital projects previously planned, says ACI-NA.

ACI-NA declares that the survey data clearly demonstrate the need for an increase in the passenger facility charge user fee to at least $7.50, with indexing for construction cost inflation, as well as additional AIP funding.