Data from the flight recorder retrieved from the Japan Air Lines Boeing 787 that caught fire on January 7 while parked at Boston Logan International Airport shows that the airplane’s APU battery did not charge beyond its design limit of 32 volts, according to the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.
AIN Air Transport Perspective
The Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) for Chicago and its surrounding region has publicly charged United Airlines and American Airlines with running “sham” business operations conceived to circumvent city and RTA sales taxes. In a lawsuit filed against United last week, the RTA–a municipal corporation of government that oversees the Chicago area’s public transportation departments–claimed that the airline established shell offices in the town of Sycamore, Illinois, where it pays a total tax rate of 8 percent.
Airbus has raised its sales target for 2013 to 700 airliners after surpassing its target of 650 for last year with gross orders for 914 airplanes and a net order count of 833 after cancellations. But the European airframer has acknowledged that it is especially eager to get sales of its A380 widebody back on track after logging orders for only nine of the superjumbos in 2012.
Rising sea levels and extreme weather events attributed to global climate change will increase the flood risk to airports and other transportation infrastructure in coastal regions of the U.S., according to the draft report of a government advisory committee. The trend over time will reduce the reliability and capacity of the transportation system, the study warns.
A new Reason Foundation study argues that U.S. passenger airports could support themselves and fund capacity improvements with user fees and long-term financing, eliminating the need for government grants from the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The study by the libertarian research organization also proposes spinning off the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization (ATO) into a separate federal entity that charges users for ATC services.
Boeing continues to assert full confidence in the design and airworthiness of the 787, notwithstanding U.S. aviation authorities’ move last Friday to launch “a comprehensive review” of all “critical” systems following reports of a string of incidents involving the Dreamliner, most notably Monday’s fire within the aft electronics bay of a Japan Airlines airplane parked at Boston Logan Airport.
In a widely unexpected move, Embraer has switched partnership alliances from GE to Pratt & Whitney with its choice of the Geared Turbofan to power the next generation of E-Jets. The decision, announced last Tuesday, gives Pratt & Whitney its fifth application for the engine line also known as the PurePower PW1000G, and leaves Boeing as the last of the four major Western airframe manufacturers not to have adopted the design.
Despite realignment, increased government investment and the appearance of political resolve, the Russian airliner industry has achieved little success in expanding its civil production over the past four years. Although it has nearly doubled its delivery total, from 11 jetliners in 2009, to 10 in 2010, 18 in 2011 and 19 in 2012, the industry’s hopes to launch a challenge to the Western world’s manufacturing powers remain unfulfilled and distant.
In seeking to consummate its proposed strategic alliance with Delta Air Lines, Virgin Atlantic Airways aims to head off the challenge posed by the formidable pairing of British Airways and American Airlines. So who did Virgin chairman Sir Richard Branson recruit to succeed retiring CEO Steve Ridgway? Why, naturally, a senior American Airlines executive in the shape of senior vice president for customers Craig Kreeger, who assumes his new role from February 1.
The line has sharpened between airlines and labor groups over the FAA’s decision to exclude all-cargo operations from its new, stricter pilot flight duty rule, scheduled to take effect in January next year. Airlines for America (A4A), the trade organization representing major U.S. airlines, issued a statement on January 7 reaffirming its support of the duty rule as published and urging Congress to reject new legislation that would change the rule to include all-cargo carriers.