News in Brief

Business Buzz

American Airlines was fined $231,000 for 22 significant safety violations at O’Hare International Airport. The citations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration included six repeat violations and a rare “willful” infraction. With a willful citation, OSHA is claiming an employer knew a safety problem existed that could kill or seriously injure a worker but didn’t correct it. In a statement, American said it “takes issue with some of OSHA’s findings, particularly the classification of one citation as willful. We anticipate having discussions with OSHA concerning these and other related issues.” The inspection was carried out between late January and late March and included two American hangars, a cargo building, a baggage room, ramp services, and ticket and gate services.

Congressional negotiators have agreed on a compromise bill that would phase in over three years a system requiring commercial cargo be checked by authorities before flights. Now federal inspectors would have to treat commercial cargo as they do passengers and their luggage — using a combination of x-ray machines, chemical-sniffing dogs and other measures to make sure terrorists aren’t trying to sneak aboard explosives or weapons via cargo holds. The Air Transport Association had previously expressed misgivings about any extensive plan to inspect all commercial cargo on passenger-airlines, saying it would impede commerce. But the ATA said in a statement, it’s initial review of the compromise bill, OK’d by Senate and House negotiators, indicates it can support the new system. The bill “prudently” creates a “multi layered” security system that won’t harm the free-flow of commerce, said James C. May, ATM’s president.

The Federal Aviation Administration has given Boeing Co. approval to let an Oregon company begin operating the fleet of gigantic cargo planes that are delivering large pieces of the 787 jet to the final assembly line. Evergreen International Airlines, a unit of McMinnville, Oregon-based Evergreen International Aviation Inc., will run and maintain Boeing’s fleet of Dreamlifters, modified 747s that in April began ferrying fuselage sections, wings and other large chunks of the first 787 Dreamliner from factories in Italy, Japan and South Carolina to Boeing’s wide body assembly plant here. The FAA certified Boeing’s Dreamlifter in June, but Evergreen had to prove it was capable of operating the aircraft. The company already has several Boeing 747s in its fleet but needed 747-400 certification.

In August US Airways fired 50 Philadelphia International Airport baggage handlers who falsified overtime records on the airline’s computerized timekeeping system. The airline accused the employees of obtaining managers’ computer passwords and altering records to make it look as if they had worked overtime when they did not, said spokeswoman Andrea Rader. US Airways said it hasn’t yet ascertained how much employees were paid for overtime they didn’t work. Rader said criminal charges could be filed against the workers.

NMC-Wollard was honored by the Defense Supply Center Richmond as one of the government’s best suppliers at an Automated Rest Value System award ceremony held during the center’s annual business conference in June. NMC-Wollard accepted the gold medal from the commander of the supply center, Navy Rear Adm. Mark Heinrich. The company supplies the MB4 tow tractor to the Department of Defense and other government agencies. Firms that qualify for the medal must meet stringent quality and delivery requirements established by the Defense Logistics Agency. The Automated Best Value computerized system collects a vendor’s past performance data and translates it into a numerous score, ranging from zero to 100.To be eligible, vendors must have shipped 10 or more contract lines for DSCR during a 12-month rating period.

A worldwide shippers alliance has voiced ‘grave concerns’ about U.S. plans to introduce 100 percent screening of inbound sea and air freight containers by 2012. The Global Shippers Forum, comprising key exporters in Asia, Europe and North America, said that blanket screening of U.S. import cargo at foreign ports “will result in enormous costs to users, suppliers and ultimately consumers without accomplishing the very objective that the scan-all requirements are seeking to achieve.” The forum acknowledged the programs and procedures signed in August by President George W. Bush will “safely secure and protect vital trade lanes and ensure uninterrupted flows of commerce.” But GSF also believes that the new box regime will aggravate port congestion at a time of booming world trade.

Compass GSE has received its first order for the new “eTug” an electric baggage tractor designed for airlines and handling companies. The units are charged by a standard 110 V plug. Allegiant selected the “eTug” for its 96 percent fuel savings and for the airlines concern for the environment.

Partnerships/Acquisitions/Contracts

Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc., a designer, manufacturer and distributor of alternative-fueled internal combustion engines and distributed power generation equipment, announces it has retained Porter, LeVay & Rose as its investor relations and financial communications agency. Porter, LeVay & Rose is a full-service investor relations firm based in New York City with 35 years’ experience representing a variety of public and private companies and financial institutions in the U.S. and abroad. PLR also has experience in the energy sector.

The U.S. Navy has awarded a $43.2 million contract boost to a joint venture between Boeing Co. and a unit of Textron Inc., for logistics support on the MV-22 Osprey aircraft. The Bell Boeing Joint Program Office will provide services including planning and management, training, support equipment, facilities management, among others for the medium-lift transport aircraft used by the U.S. Marine Corps. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa., Fort Worth, Texas, New River, N.C. and other locations through January 2008.

People in the News

DHL announces the appointment of Thomas D. Snowberger to senior vice president of human resources for DHL Express USA. Responsible for managing the company’s human resources strategy and functional teams in the U.S., Snowberger will report to Hans Hickler, chief executive officer of DHL Express USA and also serve as a member of the DHL Express U.S. Management Board. Prior to joining DHL, Snowberger was senior vice president, human resources for University Hospitals Health System.

Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc., has named former chief operating officer Sean Menke as its new chief executive to replace Jeff Potter. Until recently Menke was an executive vice president overseeing commercial strategy for Air Canada, a position he held since June 2005 when he left the Denver-based low-cost carrier.Menke takes over as Frontier is locked in competition with United Airlines and Southwest Airlines at Denver International Airport and, like others in the industry, coping with high fuel prices. During his five-year tenure at Frontier, Menke was responsible for a number of areas including customer service, maintenance and flight operations as well as overseeing the launch of the successful marketing campaign that features images of animals on aircraft tails. He previously worked at a number of carriers including United Airlines, America West Airlines and the former Western Pacific Airlines which was based in Colorado Springs.

After more than 14 years with Southwest Airlines, Glenn Hipp, Director of Fuel Purchasing and Inventory Management announced his resignation. “After doing amazing things with amazing people like you, it is with some regret, some excitement and a great deal of anticipation that I announce my resignation from Southwest Airlines,” he told his colleagues. Hipp said he will be joining the crew members at JetBlue to build a fuel department from the ground up. Hipp is the latest Southwest employee to leave for rival low-cost carrier JetBlue, which was founded by former Southwest executive David Neeleman in 2001.

Alaska Airlines has announced two leadership appointments in its customer service division. The airline named Ben Minicucci as staff vice president of customer service — airports/operational support. In his new role, he will lead the customer service division’s vendor oversight program and oversee staff planning, training, and policies and procedures. Alaska also announced the promotion of Sandy Stelling to managing director of product development. Stelling will lead technology-based projects designed to improve customer service at airports.

Mike Medeiros has been named vice president of airport customer service for New York’s John. F. Kennedy Airport, by airline Delta Air Lines. The company said Medeiros will oversee airport customer service functions from the check-in lobby to baggage handling, Medeiros will work closely with the FAA and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in order to help improve the airport’s operational efficiency and will work to build a strong team at the airport.

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