News in Brief

Business Buzz

Airport officials unveiled the first phase of the new $42 million baggage-screening system, designed to more than double the number of bags Chicago Midway Airport can process each day. Each of the new explosives scanners are capable of handling up to 500 bags an hour, compared with a 200-bag-per-hour rate per machine under the old system, said city Aviation Commissioner Nuria Fernandez. By minimizing the physical handling of checked baggage, the new automated system reduces both the inconvenience to passengers and injuries among screeners who lift and hoist thousands of bags a day, officials said.

At its annual meeting, Hydrogen Engine Center, Inc. showcased newly developed technologies that offer alternative energy solutions for the world’s energy needs. Attendees at the meeting witnessed the operation of a number of products based on the company’s technological developments including a 60kW hydrogen-powered generator that provides all of the electrical power needed to operate the company’s dynamometer testing facility. Guests viewed an ammonia-fueled Oxx Power engine running in HEC’s fully operational dyno room. Company officers showcased this technology by running one of its six-cylinders, Oxx Power engines, first on hydrogen alone and then on a combination of 5 percent hydrogen and 95 percent ammonia.

The International Air Transport Association boosted its 2007 profit projections for the global airline industry to $5 billion from $3.8 billion. But the IATA’s chief executive called that increased profit projection “peanuts,” and argued that the industry needs to do much better. “We need $40 billion just to cover the cost of capital,” said CEO Giovanni Bisignani, speaking at the IATA’s annual meeting in Vancouver, according to a statement. “The industry is moving in the right direction, but with $200 billion of debt, the financial hole is deep. The challenge ... is to turn peanuts into sustainable profits.

NATA President James K. Coyne sent a letter to the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority Board of Commissioners Chairman regarding the airport authority’s acceptance of a feasibility study on the viability of providing underwing services to airlines at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tenn. The letter expressed NATA’s concerns with the airport providing underwing services and encouraged the airport authority to issue a request for proposal (RFP). The airport authority is interested in providing ramp operations, aircraft marshalling and parking, baggage loading and unloading, cabin cleaning and other related ancillary services. Currently, the airlines provide these services.The feasibility study, created by the Masters Group, provides an analysis of the issues and the costs associated with providing underwing services at the airport. In addition to having the feasibility study conducted, the airport authority has joined the Aviation Ground Services Association (AGSA).

DHL Global Forwarding, part of the logistics division of DHL, announces plans to combine operations in Atlanta by moving to a 220,000 square foot facility adjacent to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The facility will serve as DHL Global Forwarding’s southeastern U.S. gateway for international air freight and ocean freight services, as well as the domestic pivot for the company’s heavy freight network. The location will house DHL Global Forwarding’s Atlanta-based multi-modal transportation, customs house brokerage and distribution operations.

Partnerships/Acquisitions/Contracts

Delta Airlines has just absorbed about 1,230 Atlantic Southeast Airlines’ (ASA) employees who fuel aircraft, board passengers and load and sort luggage. The Atlanta-based company, a former subsidiary of Delta, flies about one out of six Delta customers at the airport. As a result of the changeover, Delta’s local ground-handling staff jumped 25 percent to about 6,000 employees. It also picked up responsibility for about 400 extra flights a day in Atlanta — almost 70 percent more than before. ASA’s total employment, meanwhile, fell from about 6,000 to 4,700.

SITA, a provider of IT business solutions and communication services for the air transport industry, and Servisair, announced a working partnership to provide ground airport services in Europe and North America for 20 million passengers annually. The agreement includes use of the SITA DCS (Departure Control Services) along with e-ticketing and web check-in applications, Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) processing and network connectivity. The Passenger Handler common language facility provided as part of the SITA DCS solution will help Servisair to deliver faster check-in services to new airline customers and to offer improved levels of service. The SITA DCS will operate across a number of existing airport common-use check-in applications, including SITA’s CUTE (Common Use Terminal Equipment) solution and other third party applications.

People in the News

Airline Capital Associates (ACA) announces George W. Hamlin has joined the firm as a managing director. He will be based in the Washington, D.C. area. Hamlin has more than 35 years experience in the commercial aviation and aerospace industries. “We are delighted to welcome George Hamlin to our company,” says Don Schenk, Airline Capital Associates president. “His experience at both aircraft manufacturers and airlines as well as his specialized knowledge of cargo and airport operations make him a valuable addition to our team and will enhance our ability to serve our clients worldwide.”

Unitron, LP a designer and manufacturer of solid-state power conversion products, announces William (Bill) Bubolz has been appointed director of quality. With more than 15 years experience in the quality control field, Bubolz brings extensive experience to Unitron. Prior to joining the company, he served as the senior quality engineer for Tekelec, where he was responsible for the implementation and registration of the TL 9000 telecommunications standard.

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