Archive for June, 2011

Lockheed Martin plans to cut 1,500 employees

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Lockheed Martin said today it plans to cut about 1,500 employees this fall across its aeronautics business to increase operational efficiency and improve the affordability of its products.

Lockheed Martin said the biggest impact will be felt at its larger sites in Texas, Georgia and California. The company employs about 28,000 people in those three states as well as at six smaller locations in six states.

A company spokesman did not immediately return a phone call.

“Bold and responsible action is necessary to meet customer expectations and reduce our costs,” Ralph D. Heath, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, said in a statement. “We are realigning the organization to be more efficient and agile, and a reduction in force will enable us to meet the requirements of our changing business environment.”

Lockheed Martin will offer certain salaried employees the option of a voluntary layoff and will notify eligible workers in August. Layoffs will begin in mid-September.

Based in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin employs about 126,000 people worldwide. It is the nation’s largest military contractor.

IATA report says global passenger traffic rose in May

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Global passenger traffic rose 6.8 percent in May from a year earlier, according to the International Air Transport Association.

International passenger load factors — how full planes are — rose 0.8 percentage points to 75.8 percent.

IATA chief executive Giovanni Bisignani said in a statement that such improvements will “help to alleviate some of the pressure on profits from continued high fuel prices.” But, because “there are risks associated with political unrest in the Middle East and the European currency,” he still expects the global airline industry to make $4 billion this year.

Latin American carriers saw the fastest international growth (+21 percent) and the fastest capacity expansion (+15 percent). International traffic at North American carriers rose 4.5 percent and capacity was up 5.5 percent, but airlines cut capacity in April and May.

International traffic elsewhere: up nearly 11 percent for European carriers; up nearly 8 percent for Middle East carriers; up nearly 5 percent for Asia-Pacific carriers; and up 1 percent for African airlines.

Spirit Airlines’ Web ad plays on Blagojevich

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Spirit Airlines is gaining some mileage from the conviction of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

The low-cost carrier has posted an advertisement on its website promoting its $17 fares as “f-ing golden,” which refers to an FBI recording of Blagojevich calling the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama “f—ing golden.”

A federal jury on Monday convicted Blagojevich of sweeping corruption charges, including allegations that he tried to sell Obama’s old Senate seat.

Spirit ‘s ad shows a man with a heavy shock of black hair similar to Blagojevich’s famous coif. As black prison bars roll across the man’s face, the ad states: “We are guilty of selling seats, but don’t expect to serve time.”

United and Continental will merge frequent flyer programs in 2012

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

As of next year, Continental Airlines’ OnePass loyalty program will end and those frequent flyers will automatically be enrolled in United Airlines’ Mileage Plus program.

At that time, United also will deposit award miles equal to customers’ OnePass award miles balance. OnePass members’ 2011 OnePass elite qualifying activity will be fully recognized in Mileage Plus elite status. Chase OnePass credit cards will continue to earn miles and benefits in the Mileage Plus program.

Moving to a single loyalty program is part of the integration of United and Continental after their merger. Last year, United agreed to buy Continental for $3.17 billion.

United said it will announce details of its Mileage Plus program, including elite levels, qualifications and benefits, in the coming months. In the meantime, United and Continental customers enrolled in both Mileage Plus and OnePass can link their accounts and combine miles.

Boeing has started final flight testing of the 787 Dreamliner

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Boeing said Monday that it has started its “function & reliability” testing and extended operations demonstrations on the 787 Dreamliner — the final flight testing phase before certification.

“The team has created a solid plan for accomplishing the hours and test points required for F&R and ETOPS testing in support of delivery to our customer ANA in the August to September time period,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

Function & reliability testing simulates various operations in a realistic airline-like flight environment. Extended operations demonstrations are for twin jets — flights that are more than 60 minutes away from a suitable landing field. During such tests, Boeing validates the airplane’s ability to safely divert for a variety of reasons, including long diversions with one engine shut down.

In addition to the testing for the 787 with Rolls-Royce engines, Boeing continues certification testing on 787s with General Electric engines.

Survey: Travelers will pay for a better airport security experience,

Monday, June 27th, 2011

Most frequent business and leisure travelers would pay up to $150 to enroll in a trusted traveler program for a better airport security experience, according to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association.

The association recently recommended that an opt-in trusted traveler program for domestic air travelers similar to programs operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Transportation Security Administration is considering options for such a program.

The survey asked more than 1,000 adults how likely they were to enroll in a program that offered expedited screening at major U.S. airports for U.S. citizens who pay an annual fee of $100-150 and undergo a background check.

Forty-five percent of all travelers said they would likely enroll, including 75 percent of business travelers and 61 percent of leisure travelers.

Flight Training – 466,000 Pilots Needed to Meet Demand

Monday, June 27th, 2011
Click to visit our flight training school directory page - Emirates airliner landing

Pilot hiring surge expected during the next decade – photo: Brandon Farris

It’s no secret that the world is in need of experienced and skilled pilots. Boeing recently predicted an aviation-industry hiring surge that will add more than 466,650 pilots by the year 2029. It’s predicted to be the biggest commercial pilot hiring event in history. After what has been a drought in pilot-hiring, the ever-expanding global market has opened the doors for new pilots to begin working.

The sudden surge in hiring will likely keep flight schools worldwide busy for a long time, providing revenue not only to the school, but to the economy. While the recession in the United States drags on, a massive hiring sweep provides a ray of hope in an otherwise dismal market. The Dean of the Florida College of Aeronautics at Florida Tech in Melbourne, Winston Scott, says that, “They are all shopping at stores, going to restaurants…it’s an incredible influx to our economy.”

The potential hiring surge is being encouraged by several factors. First, the expanding market for travel in Asia, which may surpass North American travel in a matter of years, contributes to the demand. Second, proposed changes are in the works that would dictate new rules on flight training requirements. Finally, as the economy in the United States improves, there is a greater demand for air travel.

Enrollment for flight training in Florida has gone up at least 5 percent in the last year, and the numbers are expected to climb. The significant growth in the aviation industry is estimated to continue over the next ten years.

Visit Aviation Schools Online to learn more about flight training in Florida

LA Times: American Airlines changes its boarding process

Monday, June 27th, 2011

The Los Angeles Times reported on Monday that American Airlines has changed its boarding process to seat coach passengers in the order they checked in.

Before May, the carrier previously boarded coach passengers starting from the back of the plane to the front.

American told the Times that the new “random” seating method saves time because it minimizes the gridlock when passengers to get to their seats in the same row at the same time. Scott Santoro, American’s director of airport consulting, said studies show that random seating saves 5% to 10% in boarding time.

The Association of Professional Flight Attendants claim the change has led to “complete chaos” on American flights.

The APFA said on its website that requests to board early are on the rise as a result of the new boarding process. “More often than not the result is congested aisles, and flight attendants having to explain to the bewildered and already stressed passengers why there is complete chaos in the cabin,” the website said.

Airline boarding systems vary — from open seating (Southwest Airlines) to the “outside-in” method, where passengers with window seats board first (United Airlines).

Sandy Stelling, Alaska Airlines’ managing director of airport services, told the Times that its “data confirms that pure random boarding is faster.”

However, she said, “we determined the negative impact, measured by our customers — elite Mileage Plan members and non-elites alike — was not worth the small gain in time.”

AMR says weather will take small bite out of Q2 revenue

Friday, June 24th, 2011

For the second straight quarter, American Airlines’ parent company is forecasting some unexpected costs.

AMR Corp. said Friday in a filing with federal regulators that second-quarter revenue will be about $60 million lower due to storms in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and prolonged effect of Japan’s earthquake in March.

Second-quarter fuel costs and capacity are expected to remain about the same, according to the document.

Overall, AMR expects second-quarter unit revenue to increase 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent from a year earlier.

AMR shares were down 35 cents to $5.70 as of 11 a.m.

Texas judge rules American can seek court order against Sabre

Friday, June 24th, 2011

A Texas judge on Thursday ruled that AMR Corp.’s American Airlines can move ahead in seeking a court order barring Sabre Holdings Corp. from listing the carrier’s fare and flight data below that of rivals in displays for travel agents.

The Tarrant County District Court judge ruled that Southlake-based Sabre can’t stop American from requesting a temporary restraining order. He rejected Sabre’s argument that federal law preempts Texas state court authority in American’s request for an injunction.

The state court case is part of a larger dispute spurred by Fort Worth-based American’s efforts to change how it sells airline tickets rather than going through a network like Sabre, which compiles the information from airlines and distributes it to travel agents. Sabre is the largest U.S.-based so-called global distribution system.

American’s attempt to route travel agents around Sabre by using its Direct Connect model prompted Sabre to end American’s booking discounts and change how American’s tickets were displayed on its systems so they were harder to book. In response, American sued Sabre, alleging breach of contract.