Industry News

Blakey to head up Aerospace Industries Association
FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, who leaves her post in September, reportedly will become president and CEO of the Aerospace Industries Association, which represents aerospace equipment manufacturers.

It’s also reported that the Administration is considering a recess appointment to replace Blakey after Congress recesses at the end of the first session of the 110th Congress. In the interim, Deputy Administrator Robert Sturgell likely will be named acting administrator, it’s reported.

[Some 18 industry associations recently wrote a letter to the White House calling on President Bush to not make a recess appointment, and instead go through the full-term nomination process.]

Blakey will succeed AIA’s John W. Douglass, who has served as president and CEO since September 1998.

Focus teams formed to address runway safety
Special teams of federal regulators and airline and airport personnel will be sent to study runway safety over the next two months at more than 20 U.S. airports identified as having the most runway problems. That was among five initial steps recommended during a special one-day Washington conference called in August by FAA Administrator Marion Blakey to address agency concerns, including the pre-dawn crash of a Comair jet last August in Lexington, KY. FAA officials say the agency is assembling its list of airports to study, which they say will not include Lexington.

Blakey convened the conference with 40 reps from airlines, manufacturers, avionics, FAA inspectors, and air traffic controllers — less than a month after the National Transportation Safety Board issued its report on the Lexington crash. The ‘five steps’ to be taken as a result of the meeting:

  • Improve communication and training, add taxiway scenarios to flight simulators used to train pilots.
  • Urge 73 large airports, already under orders to improve painted runway markings, to complete the work in the next two months, rather than by the September 2008 deadline. The group also will study whether more airports should improve markings.
  • Review cockpit taxi and clearance procedures to reduce tasks required of pilots while their planes are moving on the ground, and to see how instructions given by controllers to planes on the ground can be improved.
  • Add air traffic controllers and safety workers to those groups that can use an FAA voluntary, non-punitive system for reporting safety concerns.
    FAA/industry teams will evaluate all aspects of the runway and surface environment, standard operating procedures, markings and signage, according to the agency.

briefings ...

aci—Airports Council Int’l promotes its involvement in the global Runway Safety Initiative (RSI) headed up by the Flight Safety Foundation. The RSI initiative grew out of a workshop at the 2006 ACI World Annual Conference in Capetown. It focuses on three areas of runway safety: runway incursions, runway excursions, and runway confusion. The initiative is designed to determine the extent and success of current runway safety efforts, explore any gaps that now exist in these efforts, and propose interventions and implementation strategies to reduce or eliminate those gaps. An initial catalog of runway safety products has been developed, and specific data on the various runway safety areas has been obtained.

allegiant air, llc—begins service from Peoria (IL) to Williams Gateway Airport (AZ), beginning Oct. 27, and between Williams Gateway and Santa Maria (CA), beginning Oct. 26.

ASIS INTERNATIONAL—of Alex-andria, VA, which represents security professionals, releases its updated ‘All Hazards Risk Management Draft Best Practices Standard;’ available for public review and comment through October 16, 2007. Visit

austin-bergstrom int’l airport—proposes building a low-budget terminal annex to attract VivaAerobus, a Mexican ultra-low-cost carrier, among others. Agreement would lease up to 40 acres to GE Commercial Aviation Services for it to build a temporary modular terminal of some 25,000 square feet with three gates, well away from the main terminal.

capital city jet center—of Columbus, OH, is a new, full-service aviation service provider at Bolton Field (TZR), offering charter, a full-service FBO, complete airplane maintenance, flight training, and aircraft rental.

eclipse aviation—manufacturer of the very light jet (VLJ) Eclipse 500 and based in Albuquerque, NM, announces the winner of its Eclipse 500 auction through the company’s private label online marketplace powered by eBay. Morten Wagner of Denmark placed his winning bid of $1,833,945 at 2:00 a.m. his time on August 11, 2007. Eclipse Aviation announced the auction of aircraft serial number 000038 at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI in July.

gao—General Accountability Office issues a report that states that industry representatives in general do not see the oncoming use of very light jets as having a negative impact on system safety. The report says industry reps agree that FAA’s oversight of the new industry segment has been adequate;

int’l air transport assn. —(IATA) based in Geneva announces it has placed its final order for paper tickets — some 16.5 million in all, to supply 60,000 accredited IATA travel agents in 162 markets until May 31, 2008. From June 2008, 100 percent of tickets issued through the IATA Billing and Settlement Plan (BSP) will be electronic.

jacksonville aviation authority—selects Ware Mal-comb, an Irvine, CA-based planning and site development firm, to provide comprehensive planning services for 8,263 acres of Cecil Field and Cecil Commerce Center.

miami int’l airport’s—South Terminal begins opening in late August, albeit in phases. Totaling 1.7 million square feet, with 15 new gates in J and 13 gates in H, three checkpoints, and a new federal inspection station for international travelers, all at a cost of $1.1 billion.

nbaa—and 18 other industry organizations send a letter to President Bush calling for the timely nomination of the FAA’s next administrator, stating, “Our nation cannot afford a recess appointee.” Signatories to the letter urge Bush to act quickly and appoint a new Administrator for a five-year term.

neubert aero corp.—of Clear-water, FL, is awarded a contract by the Louisville Regional Airport Authority to install i-AIR® a GIS/GPS mobile data collection solution used to perform comprehensive airfield safety inspections, and will be part of the authority’s transition into a computerized maintenance management system (CMMS).

new delta airlines ceo—Richard Anderson, set to take controls on Sept. 1, says building a second airport to take the pressure off Hartsfield-Jackson Int’l could inconvenience the primary customer base of connecting passengers and create a logistical nightmare.

panama city (FL)—is cleared by FAA to build the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport, expected to be in operation by early 2010.The last U.S. commercial airport to be built was the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, which opened near Fayetteville in late 1998. St. Joe Co. donated land to build the new airport from the 800,000 acres the timber/development company owns in the Panhandle. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the final federal permit necessary for construction to begin on the $330 million terminal.

paradies shops—based in Atlanta is awarded a new ten-year contract to operate new retail concepts at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport (LEX). Stores will include the New York Times Bookstore at LEX and a Blue Grass MarketPlace.

rectric aerodrome center—at Hyannis (MA) acquires Air Cape Cod for an undisclosed cash payment, expanding its presence at the Barnstable Municipal Airport.

san bernardino int’l airport—plans to erect a $7 million general aviation complex to house a franchise of Million Air Interlink, based in Houston. SBD Aircraft Services LLC, which was chosen to renovate the main terminal, in May announced that it had entered an agreement with Million Air to run the fixed base operation. SBD is subleasing some five acres, including a 32,000-sq. ft. hangar.

sheltair aviation services—completes facility renovations and upgrades at three FBOs in its network. St. Petersburg-Clearwater performs interior renovations and plans 60,000 square feet in hangar facilities. At Farmingdale (NY), interior renovations are completed, with a new state-of-the-art passenger terminal and hangar facilities planned. And, at Westhampton Beach (NY), FBO is given a facelift with interior and exterior upgrades.

six north dakota airports—join forces to address air service with Northwest Airlines. The six — Grand Forks, Fargo, Bismarck, Jamestown, Minot, and Devils Lake — sought to address recent cancellations and delays.

southwest airlines—returns to San Francisco Int’l Airport with 18 daily flights to Las Vegas, San Diego, and Chicago, with LAX service expected to follow soon thereafter.

TAC AIR—announces two hangar expansion projects — a 25,000-sq. ft. hangar in Knoxville at Tyson-McGhee Airport, to include 2,500 square feet of office space; and, new hangar construction at TAC Air–APA at Centennial Airport (CO), with construction of a new 35,000-sq. ft. hangar and 4,000 square feet of office space.

tsa—Transportation Security Ad-ministration reports that tests reveal “security deficiencies” in the ShoeScanner, preventing the machine from consistently finding weapons and bomb parts. Testing will continue.
• TSA awards lease contracts to three companies to pilot test their passenger imaging systems for secondary screening at security checkpoints at three airports. Some $2.3 million in lease agreements are signed with American Science and Engineering [ASEI], L-3 Communications [LLL] and OSI Systems’ [OSIS] Rapiscan division, requiring each company to deliver five of its systems to TSA for testing in airports for up to six months.

UNITED AIRLINES—reportedly is looking at selling a stake in or spinning off its maintenance division. United, with the McKinsey and Co. consulting group, is considering several strategies post-bankruptcy.