The UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s preliminary report on the May 24 incident involving a British Airways Airbus A319 at London Heathrow (LHR) appears to point to inadequate ground maintenance and pre-flight checking. In a special bulletin issued on May 31, the AAIB confirmed that the fan cowl doors on both engines had been left unlatched after maintenance. Just after liftoff, both engine cowlings separated from the aircraft, causing damage that eventually led to one engine fire and shutdown.
London Heathrow Airport
The first airplane carrying revenue passengers from Dubai International Airport’s newly opened concourse in Terminal 3 took off Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. local time on its way to London Heathrow Airport. Emirates Airline Flight EK003 officially marked the opening of Concourse A–the world’s first dedicated to Airbus A380 operations.
Virgin Group boss Richard Branson insists that Virgin Atlantic’s brand will remain intact well into the future following Delta Air Lines’ planned purchase of Singapore Airlines’ 49-percent stake in the UK carrier. “First of all, ignore the press speculation, the British Airways speculation,” said Branson via a video feed from his Caribbean retreat on Necker Island during last week’s announcement. “I’m not going anywhere.”
UK airports group BAA has reluctantly abandoned any further legal challenges to the compulsory sale of London Stansted Airport mandated by anti-trust authorities. It is now open to offers for what is the UK’s fourth busiest airport, and low-cost carrier Ryanair has emerged as a leading figure among potential bidders. Ryanair confirmed on August 21 that it has been asked to join a consortium that would buy Stansted jointly, with its own stake not exceeding 25 percent.
London is on high alert as Olympic airspace changes and a slot allocation extension to 40 airports (rather than the usual four) kicked in this past weekend, and visitors start to arrive ahead of the summer games opening ceremony on July 27. Slot coordinator Airport Coordination Ltd (ACL), based at London Heathrow Airport, reported that approximately 5,000 bookings have been registered for slots at the 40 airports, though it expects this number to reach 7,000 or 8,000.
De-icing fluid manufacturer Kilfrost has reported orders for its “environmentally driven” Sustain products in New Zealand, with Air New Zealand and Aviall purchasing 27 metric tons of them over the last year. “All our sustainable products offer significant environmental benefits in terms of carbon savings and low toxicity, with no compromise in terms of performance and functionality,” said CEO Gary Lydiate.
Rolls-Royce and Aircelle have signed a service contract for the Trent 900 engine nacelles that will be fitted to British Airways Airbus A380s. The airline has ordered 12 of the type.
Southeast England is going to be a busy place from the middle of July to mid-August as visitors and competitors converge on London for the 2012 Olympic Games, and planning earlier than usual is going to be the key for business aviation operators hoping to get in and out of London-area airports, although they could still face delays.
European industry experts have drawn a line in the sand well ahead of an EU proposal to lift the ban on carrying liquids aboard a commercial aircraft that is set to take effect in April 2013.
Signature Flight Support is bringing its TailWins customer loyalty program to Europe. The program comes to this side of the Atlantic just as the FBO network is gearing up for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London by adding more capacity.