September 2012 New In Brief

Sept. 25, 2012

Calendar of Events:

Sept. 20-21

Root Cause Analysis

Memphis, TN

Sept. 28-29

Southeast Aviation Expo

Greenville, SC

Oct. 31-Nov. 1

NBAA 2012 65th Annual Meeting & Convention

Orlando, FL

Business Buzz

Southwest Seeks Workers' Ideas: Southwest Airlines began asking employees to help it stay competitive by finding ways to save $5 a day. The program repeats an initiative used by then-CEO Herb Kelleher in 2000. Southwest will choose from among the best ideas later this year and implement them. Southwest is under growing pressure to trim spending as higher labor and fuel expenses erode its cost advantage over larger rivals.

FAA Budget Could Ground Travelers, Cargo And Economy

An Aerospace Industries Association and Econsult Corporation study released last month estimates that budget cuts to Federal Aviation Administration operations as a result of “sequestration” could cost up to 132,000 aviation jobs, sap $80 billion a year from the nation's gross domestic product and strip almost 2 billion pounds of freight capacity out of an air cargo system that is already buckling at the seams.

Sequestration is the legal term for when spending cuts are automatically triggered. Such mandatory cuts are currently scheduled to begin at the start of 2013.

According to the study, annual economic losses could amount to $80 billion annually by 2035, an annual decrease of 37 to 73 million in passenger enplanements and annual reductions of 1 to 2 billion pounds of transported air freight. The forecasted loss in output to the U.S. economy is estimated to reach $9.2 billion to $18.4 billion, with $2.7 billion to $5.4 billion lost in wages and salaries.

PA To Improve 19 Airports: Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett announced $3.7 million in grants provided by the state’s jet fuel tax to 19 state airports. Much of the funds will go toward fueling equipment. The McVille Airport, for example, will receive $622,500 to improve its fueling facility. The Jimmy Stewart Airport will receive $97,500 to buy a refueling truck.

Chattanooga Airport Expands Cargo: With air freight soaring at Chattanooga Airport, officials plan to expand a cargo ramp on the south end of its main runway. Airport Authority members agreed to spend more than $2.3 million on the project that's the first of two expansion phases. Through the first six months of this year, air cargo handled has climbed 240 percent over a year ago to more than 1.3 million pounds, according to the airport.

United Retirees To Get Larger Pensions: Thousands of United Airlines retirees will receive bigger monthly pension checks after a self-review by the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. revealed the agency had undervalued pension assets. Ground workers will receive an average of 21 cents more per month. The largest average monthly increase, $33.68, will go to pilots.

American Delivers: American Airlines will begin delivering its passengers’ luggage. The service can be purchased when booking the trip or up to two hours before the flight and costs $29.95 to $49.95, depending on the amount of luggage. The service is available at more than 200 U.S. airports and some cities abroad. Additional charges include a dollar for each mile over 40 miles.

Less Waiting On The Tarmac; More On-Time Arrivals

From January through June of this year, only four planes carrying passengers on flights within the United States sat for longer than three hours, the Department of Transportation reported last month. That compares with 35 tarmac delays for domestic flights during the same period last year, which was the first full year that a new government rule preventing long tarmac delays took effect.

The government started imposing limits in April 2010 after a series of incidents in which passengers were stranded on planes for more than 10 hours. In the first six months of 2009, for instance, there were 586 tarmac delays of more than three hours.

The rule on domestic flights requires airlines to let passengers off a plane if they have been waiting on a tarmac for more than three hours. Exceptions are made only if the delay is for safety, security or air traffic control-related reasons.

Last year, the DOT fined American Eagle, the regional unit of American Airlines, $900,000 for lengthy delays at O'Hare International Airport in May 2011.

In related news, the DOT reported that U.S. airlines had nearly 84 percent of domestic flights arrive within 15 minutes of their scheduled arrival time in the first half of 2012, along with the lowest rate of canceled flights.

In addition, the number of mishandled passenger bags also declined from 18 bags per 1,000 passengers to just fewer than nine over the past five year, according to a SITA report. The report stated that 99 percent of travelers retrieved their bags on time.

Delta Ends Regional Ground Handling:Delta Air Lines is shutting down its subsidiary that performs ground handling and customer service for its regional carrier flights. Regional Elite Airline Services has about 4,000 employees around the country. Its operations will be taken over by the end of the year by other companies, including a new subsidiary, Delta Global Services, that the airline expects will have job opportunities at the same airports for the "vast majority" of Regional Elite workers. In related news, Delta will shut down its regional carrier Comair at the end of September.

American Lays Off Cargo Agents: American Airlines said it expects to lay off 40 cargo workers at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport by the end of this month. The airline linked the job losses to the company's attempt to cut spending as it restructures under bankruptcy protection.

DOT Fines Airlines: The Department of Transportation hit JetBlue with a $90,000 fine for failing to inform passengers that they had a right to exit a plane that was stuck at a gate at John F. Kennedy International Airport earlier this year. In related news, the DOT fined online travel company Orbitz $50,000 for failing to properly disclose baggage fees on its website.

Disabled Passenger Loses Appeal: A 78-year-old woman has lost her appeal against a ruling that Jetstar did not have to let her on a flight because she was in a wheelchair. The airline contacted her and said she would not be able to fly that day because there were already two passengers on her flight who needed wheelchair assistance. But in January this year a court ruled against her, noting that she failed to select wheelchairs on a special section of the website and that Jetstar offered her another flight that she refused to take.


Hammonds Direct Ships Biobor JF To Holland

Hammonds Fuel Additives announced a direct shipping agreement with Aviall Services Inc., that will give its European Union customers quicker access to Biobor JF.

Biobor JF has been approved for use in the European Union since 2010 and will continue to be approved on a yearly basis while Hammonds Fuel Additives works to gain long-term certification.

Biobor JF is one of only two biocides that are accepted for use by the FAA and IATA.

Aviall Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, markets and distributes products for more than 240 manufacturers and offers approximately 2 million catalog items from 40 customer service centers in North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Fortbrand Delivers: Fortbrand Services, Inc., the exclusive North American distributor for the Hagie GST 20, a multifunction, airfield maintenance unit that can provide service throughout the year, delivered its second Hagie GST 20 airport sprayer, equipped with a Vammas PS4200 Edge Light Plow and Tiger 24-foot flail mower for use at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

LAS Features Gen2 RFID Technology

McCarran International Airport's Terminal 3 expansion features Gen2 radio frequency identification (RFID) technology as part of its baggage tracking system and is the largest Gen2 installation to date in North America.

An RFID chip is incorporated into each bag tag produced for all of the airlines and it emits a unique signature which sensors detect to locate the tagged object.

Standard bar code tags may be misread forcing bags to be hand-sorted and increases the chance of problems. However, RFID tags can achieve read rates in excess of 99 percent, which allows airports to easily organize baggage loading, locate misplaced baggage and check the status of certain baggage. All in all this technology helps improve customer satisfaction, safety and reduces costs related to misplaced baggage.

Design and installation of the new baggage handling system for Terminal 3 began in 2008. Vanderlande Industries was awarded a $92 million baggage handling system, which includes approximately 30,000 feet of conveyor, more than 10,000 feet of catwalk, 73 high speed diverters, 32 carousels, 20 Vertisorters and 55 “Over Belt” RFID readers.

Lightweight Containers For Airberlin: Airberlin is will be using lightweight containers to transport freight and baggage. Their use will trim 400 pounds of weight and save more than 7,900 gallons of fuel per aircraft per aircraft per year. The Jettainer, containers will be used on Airbus A330-300 and A330-200 long-haul flights.

New Aviation Center Opens: NetJets Inc., which sells individuals and companies shares in private jet aircraft, unveiled a 10,000 sq. ft. terminal on property leased from its partner, Maguire Aviation, an FBO at the Van Nuys Airport. The facility, which is for the exclusive use of NetJets’ customers, will be open around the clock. Maguire offers aircraft owners and pilots a variety of services such as refueling, maintenance and ground handling as well as hangar, shop and office space.

Deicing Apron At PWM: The Portland International Jetport will receive a multiyear $9.3 million grant from the FAA to help pay for recent expansions. The funds will help cover the costs of a $9 million deicing apron that has already been built, as well as concrete barriers for gates at its new terminal.

Two Former Delta Ramp Agents Plead Guilty To Drug Charges

Luis Marroquin, 35, and Kelvin Rondon, 27, both former Delta Air Lines ramp agents pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute controlled substances and attempting to import methamphetamine and heroin into the United States from Mexico.

The plan to smuggle drugs valued at more than $600,000 went wrong almost immediately after Delta flight 364 arrived at the Atlanta-Hartsfield International Airport from Mexico City, Mexico and a Delta employee found the unclaimed bag on a carousel.

Additional charges were brought against Carlos R. Springer, 41, who was the leader for the shift of ramp employees who removed baggage from flight 364. A federal grand jury also charged Stephanie Baxter, 26, with concealing and harboring Marroquin while he remained a fugitive in this case.

Marroquin and Rondon could receive maximum sentences of life in prison and fines of up to $10,000,000. The cases against Springer and Baxter remain pending in federal court.

Menzies Acquires Flight Support: Menzies Aviation acquired Flight Support, a UK-based ground handling business from Airbase Holdings. The acquisition adds three new airports to the Menzies’ UK ground handling network at Aberdeen, Isle of Man and Guernsey, and further strengthens the division's position in Manchester. The acquisition increases existing relationships with Flybe, easyJet, Loganair and Aer Arran, and introduces new customers, such as CityJet and Blue Island.

JBT Wins $10 Million Order: JBT AeroTech was awarded orders in excess of $10 million by a large air freight carrier. The contract is for the supply of new aircraft cargo loaders, deicing vehicles and pushback tractors, as well as for the refurbishment and upgrade of existing cargo loaders. The new and refurbished GSE will be used to support cargo aircraft throughout their global system. Delivery of the equipment is scheduled to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Somerset Finance Announces Partnership: Somerset GSE Finance announced the formation of a strategic partnership with Melton Sales & Service. Melton is a remanufacturing specialist located outside of Philadelphia, PA.

Swissport Gains Cargo: Swissport Cargo Services will begin cargo handling for Air China’s daily B747-400 freighters in to and out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, and will also begin handling cargo and trucked freight movements at Schiphol for Turkish Airlines.

Cavotec Wins Fueling Deals: Cavotec will supply aircraft refueling pits for the second phase of Mumbai International Airport’s expansion program. This follows the successful installation of similar pit systems for the first phase of the program, and brings the total number of Cavotec in-ground refueling units at the airport to 175. Cavotec has also won a first-time order for unspecified number of hydrant pits that will be installed at the Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Air Canada Outsources ULD Work: Air Canada has selected CHEP Aerospace Solutions to supply and manage its fleet of ULDs. CHEP will acquire and consolidate Air Canada’s existing fleet of more than 8,000 airline containers and pallets its shared ULD fleet, taking CHEP’s total ULD pool to more than 53,000 units.

R.J. Design Wins Contract: R.J. Design was awarded a contract to install its Side Shift Cabs at San Diego Airport. R.J. Design is also in the process of installing Side Shift Cabs at Los Angeles International Airport to service A380 flight.

Jasper Provide Products To College: Jasper Engines & Transmissions formed a partnership with Ohio Technical College to provide its products to the school's automotive and auto-diesel programs. Students will train at Jasper's Engines and Transmissions Training Center Lab.

People In The News

Ben Weaver was named chief financial officer for ASIG. Weaver will report directly to President Keith P. Ryan. In addition to managing the company’s financial performance, Weaver will work closely with senior executives on mergers, acquisitions and other strategic global growth initiatives.

Weaver joined ASIG from Signature Flight Support where he served as vice president of strategy and development, overseeing global merger and acquisition strategy. He also served as Signature’s vice president of operations planning for all aspects of operations and global procurement strategies.

In 2002, Weaver began his career at Flight Options, LLC, a fractional jet provider. He held several key accounting and finance roles, including vice president of finance. Weaver has a bachelor’s degree in business administration as well as a master’s degree in business administration from John Carroll University. 

Matheson Flight Extenders appointed Kenneth deVolpi as sales and marketing manager. He was formerly the station manager for the company’s Bradley/Windsor, CT location. Matheson Flight Extenders also promoted Scott Elander to the position of manager for the company’s Reno/Sparks, NV facility. Elander was previously the location’s supervisor.

Toyota Material Handling U.S.A., Inc. appointed Bret Bruin as national dealer development manager. Bruin is responsible for dealer network development, market representation and dealer financial reporting for the more than 70 authorized Toyota Industrial Equipment dealers and 220 dealership locations throughout North America.

Skystar Receives ISAGO Certification

Skystar Airport Services, Perth, Western Australia, became the first Australasian ground handling company to achieve the international quality assurance and safety certification through the ISAGO (IATA Safety Audit for Ground Operations) program.

Skystar has an integrated approach to provide clients with a single contact point for all their airport ground handling and logistic needs. In 2011, Skystar handled 12,299 flights, carried approximately 3 million passengers and 60,600 tons of baggage, and achieved an impressive 99.5 percent on-time performance record. Skystar also extended its relationships with Qantas, with the award of a new contract at Karratha Airport; Western Australia; Jetstar, with the award of a new contract at Dunedin Airport, New Zealand; and Cobham Aviation with the award of their terminal handling at Perth Airport.