ExpressJet Airlines has joined the University Gateway Program, a now-five-party collaboration also involving Cape Air, JetBlue Airways, the University of North Dakota (UND) and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) designed to provide pilots with a structured channel to employment at the regional airlines and, ultimately, JetBlue.
U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) executives said they will use new approaches to increase enrollment in “Pre-Check,” a program that pre-screens airline passengers for security risks and helps smooth the flow of people through airport security lines. Airport executives complain the program has gone underused.
More evidence of capacity constraint among U.S. airlines appeared in a recent quarterly earnings report from one of the fastest-growing carriers in the country. Virgin America, which has seen annual available seat mile (ASM) growth average 28 percent for the past three years, has reconsidered its fleet expansion strategy and said it would move to cut the number of airplanes it plans to add over the rest of the decade.
California’s Long Beach Airport (LGB) plans to hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 5 to unveil the results of its $140 million renovation. Established in 1923 as the first municipal airport in Southern California, the airport (known also as Daugherty Field) has five runways ranging in length from approximately 4,000 feet to 10,000 feet, and sees some 300,000 operations a year.
The association representing major U.S. airlines expects that carriers will scale back capacity early next year, aligning it more closely with passenger demand to offset record high jet fuel prices. Airlines for America (A4A) projects a 2.4-percent reduction in scheduled domestic flights, a 1.3-percent decrease in domestic seats and a 0.1-percent cut in domestic available seat miles (ASMs) in the new year. This year, domestic ASMs rose a modest 0.1 percent over last year’s total seat capacity.
Hurricane Sandy closed the major New York City metropolitan area airports and forced the cancellation of more than 20,000 flights as it swept the Northeast region of the U.S. last week, leaving widespread flooding in its wake. The Category 1 hurricane, combined with cold fronts from the north and west, also disrupted operations at airports in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Other airports nationwide and internationally felt the ripple effect of the cancellations.
Despite $1 billion in losses during the first half of this year stemming from fuel and other cost increases, major U.S. airlines have improved operational performance on several fronts, according to the trade group Airlines for America (A4A).
Air Methods, the largest helicopter EMS provider in the U.S., posted an exceptionally strong second quarter. Revenue at the company increased to $222.5 million, a 48-percent jump from the same quarter last year.
In the first six months, Air Methods reported revenue of $413.3 million, up 47 percent versus the same period last year. Net income for the quarter increased 217 percent to $31.4 million, compared with the prior-year second-quarter net income of $9.9 million. For the first six months, net income increased by 181 percent to $43.9 million.
The FAA has awarded a supplemental type certificate (STC) to JetBlue for installation of the ACSS XS-950 mode-S transponder on the airline’s Airbus A320 fleet. The XS-950 is certified to TSO-C166b to meet the FAA’s 2020 ADS-B out mandate. According to ACSS, “The XS-950 also supports ADS-B in capabilities, such as ACSS’s SafeRoute suite of applications. SafeRoute software products include Surface Area Movement Management (SAMM), CDTI Assisted Visual Separation (CAVS) and Merging and Spacing. Several SafeRoute applications are planned for installation as part of this program.”
Thank you, William Shakespeare, for that bit of all-too-tempting advice, as voiced by Dick the Butcher in the bard’s Henry VI: “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” These words came to mind immediately on reading reports on June 14 that 10 passengers from a Jet Blue flight are suing the airline following an incident in which one of its pilots broke down, began acting erratically and had to be subdued by passengers.