The pilots of an Air India Airbus A320 were suspended after an April 12 incident in which they landed their aircraft without an ATC clearance on a closed runway in Mumbai. Two local air traffic controllers were also suspended for not taking action when they realized the incident was happening. In a preliminary report, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation said the primary reason for the incident was that the pilots had selected the wrong tower frequency and proceeded inbound despite the lack of any radio contact.
Airbus A320 family
One of the highlights of last week’s Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg, Germany, was French start-up company Expliseat’s unveiling of a new economy-class seat that significantly cuts weight and engineering complexity. The new seat, called Titanium, tips the scales at 8.8 pounds per passenger, which the Paris-based firm claims is around half the weight of traditional airliner seats. This may translate into an estimated 3- to 5-percent fuel saving, or $300,000 to $500,000 per aircraft per year.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) recently identified 100 safety risks across its aviation, marine and rail areas of responsibility, 36 of which relate to transport-category aviation. The ATSB report covers the period July 2009 through June 2012. Most risks were operationally focused within the aircraft itself, with a much smaller percentage related to ATC.
Air transport risks in 2011and 2012 also outweighed those identified as related to general aviation by three to one. Only five investigations, however, were categorized as complex (serious).
Airbus has managed to infiltrate once undisputed Boeing territory by closing a firm order from Indonesia’s Lion Air for 234 A320-family narrowbodies. Signed Monday during a special ceremony attended by French president François Hollande at the Elysee Palace in Paris, the contract calls for delivery of 109 A320neos, 65 A321neos and 60 current-generation A320s.
Airbus saw its order total for the A320neo rise above 2,000 as it executed the largest sale ever involving a Turkish carrier, the manufacturer announced Friday. Turkish Airlines has signed a contract covering “up to” 117 A320-family narrowbodies, consisting of 25 current-generation A321s, four A320neos, 53 A321neos and options on another 35 A321neos.
Frontier Airlines became the first Airbus operator in the U.S. approved to fly public-use precision approaches into airports surrounded by challenging terrain, Airbus subsidiary Quovadis said last week. Frontier should see operational benefits with its Airbus A320s, including a reduction in diversions caused by bad weather, as well as lower fuel burn and lower emissions.
India lost 9 percent of its airline seat capacity as a result of Kingfisher suspending operations since October 1, 2012, when its 66-aircraft fleet was grounded, according to Dinesh Keskar, Boeing’s senior sales vice president for Asia Pacific and India.
Pratt & Whitney broke ground on a new engine-part production plant at the Seletar Aerospace Park in Singapore on Thursday.
Although damage to a pair of Airbus aircraft on the ground at Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale Airport on December 31 was minimal, Spirit’s initial review of the incident did point out some ground-control problems. Spirit’s A320, taxiing to the gate after arrival, struck a parked US Airways A320. ATC never informed the Spirit crew about the obstacle, most likely because not even the controllers were aware of just how close the parked aircraft was to the active taxiway.
Many pilots had their first–but thankfully second-hand–exposure to the pitfalls of flight systems automation when they watched a remarkable video of an Airbus A320 performing a gear-down, nose-high flypast demonstration at the small French airport at Habsheim in 1988.