We talk with a mergers expert about the proposed Jetblue/Spirit merger.
Amira elAdawi is an expert merger consultant who has worked with Fortune 100 companies, government entities, and international organizations on mergers and acquisitions. Amira has been featured in Digital Journal, CEO World, Startup Nation, and others.
We talk about the details of the Jetblue/Spirit merger, or perhaps acquisition is a better term. Amira helps us understand the value of the deal expected by Jetblue and Spirit, and how it might affect others. She also helps us appreciate the difficulties that can be encountered, especially in integrating the cultures of the two companies. Amira describes possible impacts on ticket prices when a low-cost provider is removed, and we wonder how Frontier or others might fill any “gap” created.
Amira was formerly a senior principal at Booz & Co, and an external advisor to Bain & Co. In 2013 she founded AMIRA & CO, a boutique global management consulting firm, working exclusively on M&A integrations and enterprise optimization.
In addition to management, Amira is passionate about teaching. She regularly coaches an immersive business boot camp on strategy and financial management and founded a microfinance NGO for single mothers in Egypt.
Amira is fluent in English and Arabic and holds a double-major BA in economics and international relations (magna cum laude), an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a Master’s certificate in hospitality management from Cornell.
A 737 plane crash flight attendant tells her story. In the news, JetBlue plans to purchase Spirit Airlines, Piper Aircraft and CAE partner on electric aircraft, 2 million aviation professionals needed, FAA wants secondary fight deck barrier, EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2022 numbers.
Melissa Gonzalez was a flight attendant aboard Miami Air International Flight 293 on May 3, 2019. The charter from Guantanamo Bay carried military and civilian personnel. While attempting to land on an ungrooved runway in heavy rain at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the Boeing 737-800 overran the runway, crashed over the seawall, and came to a rest in the St. Johns River.
In this episode, we learn about something we hope to never personally encounter – a plane crash – from someone who was not only there, but who was a member of the cabin crew. Melissa describes the chaos of a nighttime plane crash into the water and how her training overcame the resulting confusion. Thrust into a leadership role, she was instrumental in getting the passengers out of the plane and to safety.
In 2020, Miami Air declared bankruptcy and ceased operations. However, Melissa has a passion for flying and she’s now a flight attendant doing corporate gigs.
Spirit Airlines has decided to pursue a merger with JetBlue and not Frontier Airlines. Spirit had urged shareholders to accept the Frontier offer but didn’t have the support. The final vote was canceled and Spirit terminated the agreement. The JetBlue offer is all cash. If Spirit shareholders agree to an acquisition, the Department of Justice would have to approve.
The Piper Aircraft and CAE partnership intends to develop a conversion kit via a Supplemental Type Certificate for in-service Piper Archer (PA-28-181) aircraft. CAE will convert two-thirds of its Piper Archer training fleet and the conversion kit will be made available to third parties. H55 of Switzerland is set to provide the battery system and the kit will include a SAFRAN ENGINeUSTM 100 electric motor.
Boeing has published its Pilot and Technician Outlook 2022 – 2041. “The commercial aviation industry (minus business aviation and helicopter operations) will need 602,000 new pilots, 610,000 new technicians, and 899,000 new cabin crew personnel globally over the next 20 years…”
The FAA has proposed a rule that requires commercial airplanes to have a secondary flight deck barrier. In a statement, Air Line Pilots Association President Joe DePete said, “I am pleased that the FAA has finally taken the first step toward addressing this vulnerability after years of delay—delays caused by airline opposition and that have resulted in thousands of planes coming into service since 2001 without this critical security enhancement.” The proposed Saracini Enhanced Aviation Act is currently before Congress.
“This proposed rule would implement a mandate in the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 by requiring that certain airplanes used to conduct domestic, flag, or supplemental passenger-carrying operations have an installed physical secondary barrier that protects the flightdeck from unauthorized intrusion when the flightdeck door is opened.” This document has a comment period that ends September 30, 2022.
How aviation weather intelligence affects airlines and airports, the FAA wants radio altimeters replaced, Easyjet has a solution to fly with less crew, Spirit Airlines says no to JetBlue, an electric airplane first, jail time for some unruly passengers, and Virgin Atlantic flight training requirements.
Scott Gilmore is the Global Vice President and GM of Aviation at Tomorrow.io, a company that provides an aviation weather and climate security platform. Scott has over 40 years in the aviation industry, including 27 as a pilot. He drives Tomorrow.io’s aviation go-to-market offerings, including sales activity, revenue management, and the product roadmap.
Scott explains the sources and uses of aviation weather data, and how weather intelligence results in fewer turnbacks, more payload, and better fuel load. He also tells us about the impact on airport ground staffing and de-icing planning.
Tomorrow.io is deploying its own constellation of LEO weather satellites equipped with radar and microwave sounders. This will provide global coverage with a significantly improved refresh rate. Scott describes the goal of being able to machine generate a custom “TAF” (Terminal Aerodrome Forecast) for any selected location.
It’s with noting that the non-profit TomorrowNow.org is committed to helping vulnerable populations adapt to the climate changes that are happening now.
Prior to Tomorrow.io, Scott served as the Head of Flight Deck Solutions with The Weather Company, an IBM Business; Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships at the International Air Transport Association (IATA); and Director Of Business Development Airline Industry Solutions, and Head Of Application Development Aircraft Mission Kit / Electronic Flight Bag at Unisys. Scott was a Senior Strategic Airlift Manager C-5, C-17, and Tanker Operations with the United States Air Force. He’s an FAA Rated Flight Engineer with over 21,000 hours in the flight deck, an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic, and a member of the American Association of Airport Executives.
The FAA wants to establish “an achievable timeframe to retrofit/replace radar altimeters in the U.S. fleet” due to possible interference from C-Band 5G wireless service. So they are meeting with telecom and airline industry officials where they can hear “options and commit to actions necessary to meet these objectives.”
Staff shortages are affecting commercial flight schedules globally and EasyJet has a solution to reduce its cabin crew from four to three legally: Take out the back row of seats in its A319 fleet. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates the number of cabin crew based on seats, not passengers on board.
Nine Nigerian airlines issued a statement saying that the cost of imported jet fuel had increased nearly fourfold as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that they are threatening to stop domestic flights. Airline operating costs have increased from about 40% to nearly 95%
Alaska Airlines pilots have been without a contract for some three years. Pilots started voting on May 9 on whether to strike. Balloting will end on May 25. The Air Line Pilots Association is seeking higher pay and better scheduling for its pilots.
The Spirit Airlines board rejected the $3.6 billion takeover bid by JetBlue Airways. They say Spirit will continue to pursue a merger with Frontier Airlines.
The Board determined that the JetBlue proposal involves an unacceptable level of closing risk that would be assumed by Spirit stockholders. We believe that our pending merger with Frontier will start an exciting new chapter for Spirit.
In a U.S. first, a student pilot has earned a private pilot certificate with an electric aircraft. Shane Fisher flew his check ride in a two-seat Pipistrel Velis Electro, the world’s first and still only electric-powered airplane to receive a type certificate. Certificated by EASA in 2020, it operates in the U.S. as a light sport experimental aircraft. Fisher’s cross-country was accomplished in a Pipistrel Virus SW, which has a similar airframe but is powered by a Rotax 912 engine.
A disruptive and violent passenger who opened the aircraft door on a United Express flight just before landing could have received 20-years imprisonment and a $200,000 fine. But instead, he was sentenced to one year behind bars for interfering with a flight crew. Kameron C. Stone, 30, of Fairfax, Virginia was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and undergo three years of supervised release. He can also look forward to a fine from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
A person opened the emergency exit door of United flight 2874 at O’Hare International Airport as the plane was moving on the runway. The passenger then walked out onto the wing and slid down onto the airfield.
Our ground crew stopped the individual outside of the aircraft, and the person is now with law enforcement.
This was a Virgin Atlantic internal training protocol compliance violation, not a regulatory violation. The first officer had not completed his final assessment, and the captain was not yet qualified as a check airman. The plane returned and the first officer was replaced.
Australia News Desk
This week’s segment covers the big announcement by QANTAS of the purchase of 12 A350-1000s, along with a ton of other variants which will gradually replace, and effectively phase out, Boeing aircraft over the next five years. We also take a look at QANTAS purchasing regional operator Alliance Airlines, the upcoming RAAF Amberley Air Tattoo, the Pacific Air Show scheduled for Queensland in 2023, and the World Championship Air Race round for Australia which was recently announced. We also may have had a little fun at Rob’s expense….
JetBlue and Frontier eye Spirit Airlines, an Air France B777 and a DHL 757 make emergency landings, the Collier Trophy winner is announced and Airplane Geeks listeners predicted the outcome, airlines are replacing some regional flights with buses, and Boston shuts down a flight crew crash pad.
The BEA says an Air France Boeing 777 on approach to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport was involved in a “serious incident.” The BEA reported on social media “instability of flight controls on final, go-around, hard controls, flight path oscillations.”
A DHL Boeing 757-200 cargo aircraft made an emergency landing shortly after takeoff, exited the runway, and broke in two. The crew was reportedly unharmed. A hydraulic system failure was apparently a factor in the pilot’s request to make an emergency landing.
The National Aeronautic Association announced that NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Team has been named the recipient of the 2021 Robert J. Collier Trophy for “… the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet, thereby opening the skies of Mars and other worlds for future scientific discovery and exploration.”
The Landline Company is providing bus service for American Airlines passengers between airports. Landline provides a similar service for Sun Country Airlines in Minneapolis-St. Paul and United Airlines in Denver.
“Crash Pads” are a popular arrangement for airline crew, but Boston’s Inspectional Services Department raided what they said was an illegal flight attendant crash pad. It was a garage with bunk beds for as many as 20 flight attendants.
Hosts this Episode
Max Flight, David Vanderhoof, Max Trescott, and Rob Mark.
Our guest is Charlie Bolden, former NASA administrator, astronaut, and naval aviator. In the news, the first production Falcon 6X arrives at the completion center, Air Force accidents decline, FAA proposes changes to autopilot training, Frontier and Spirit propose a merger, and Delta wants a federal no-fly list for unruly passengers.
In our open and wide-ranging conversation with Charlie, he talks about the factors that have led to the prominence of commercial space companies. We look at how Congress reacted to the shift and why the commercial industry changed NASA for the better. These “New Space” companies often use an iterative development process that is very different from the regimented process used, for example, with the James Webb Space Telescope.
We touch on the role of NASA and the need for the Administrator to navigate the politics of Washington. We also consider whether the NTSB or FAA should investigate space accidents.
Charlie explains how returning to the Moon and going on to Mars raised concerns that funding would shift to human space flight at the expense of science missions. He also describes initial skepticism that the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was a good idea. Charlie has some interesting thoughts on the notion of “colonizing” Mars and if that planet is really an alternative to Earth.
Along the way, we look at spherical aberration on the Hubble telescope (and its twin), what the Boeing CST-100 Starliner and the Sierra Nevada Dream Chaser bring, and of course SpaceX. Charlie describes an overwhelmingly emotional moment on his first Shuttle flight and how astronauts used ham radio to talk to their families from the Orbiter.
Charlie also provides some insight into the criteria used to select who would receive the four Space Shuttle orbiters after that program ended.
The first production Falcon 6X extra widebody twin arrived at Dassault Aviation’s 1.25 million square foot completion center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Serial number five was ferried from Dassault’s production facility in France. The Pratt & Whitney Canada PW812D-powered Falcon 6X is expected to enter into service later in 2022.
The Air Force reported 63 severe mishaps in fiscal 2021, compared to 71 the prior year. “Class A” incidents dropped to 21 from 30 in 2020. The 5-year average is about 27 Class A mishaps. The manned aircraft rate fell to 0.94 accidents per 100,000 flying hours, the lowest since 2014. At the same time, the rate for unmanned aircraft accidents jumped to 1.96 unmanned aircraft accidents per 100,000 flying hours, which is the highest since 2017.
This retired British Airways Boeing 747 can be rented from Cotswold Airport in the south of England. Purchased for just £1 ($1.30), almost £500,000 ($671,000) has been invested in the plane, which costs $1,300 an hour to rent, or $16,000 for 24-hours.
The FAA wants pilots to avoid overreliance on the autopilot and make sure they focus on flight path management. So the FAA issued draft guidance and recommended practices. The FAAs action comes in response to NTSB recommendations after the July 2013 accident where Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall at SFO, killing three passengers. Also prompting the draft guidance are requirements specified by Congress after the two fatal Boeing 737 MAX accidents.
The two carriers are proposing a merger where Frontier Airlines would hold 51.5 percent and Spirit would hold 48.5 percent. A name for the combined airline hasn’t been offered, nor has the CEO or location of headquarters identified.
Delta Air Lines CEO Edward Bastian asked the U.S. Attorney General to set up a nationwide no-fly list for unruly passengers. The ACLU and others are critical, citing problems with the TSA’s current terrorist list.
Inside Marine One On March 4, 2022, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, the American Helicopter Museum is offering members a sneak preview of the new Inside Marine One exhibit. A conversation will feature USMC Colonel Ray “Frenchy” L’Heureux (former Marine One pilot and author of Inside Marine One: Four U.S. Presidents, One Proud Marine, and the World’s Most Amazing Helicopter) and Roger D. Connor, Ph.D. (Curator of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Aeronautics Department). You can still participate in the discussion via Zoom (6:30-7:30) if you can’t join in person. Register by March 3, 2022.
Penobscot Island Air has started a new flight school at the Knox County Regional Airport in Owls Head, Maine. PIA provides mail, freight delivery, and even medevac services. The CFIs are Penobscot Island Air pilots and in the first three weeks, seven students enrolled.
The airport is shared by the OwlsHead Transportation Museum which conducts many events throughout the year, including the annual Wings and Wheels Spectacular Airshow, to be held August 6, 2022, 10:00-3:00.
Spirit Airlines cancels over 2000 flights, American Airlines offers free TikTok access, a cargo flight returns to Narita with a fire indication, a GA gallery is coming to the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum, and aviation jet fuel shortages impact aerial firefighting operations. Also, an Across the Pond segment with Pieter Johnson and managing editor of Aerospace magazine, Tim Robinson.
Spirit Airlines canceled more than 2000 flights around the country, resulting in long lines of passengers trying to find flights. At Fort Lauderdale International Airport in Florida, the wait to re-book was as long as 2½ hours on August 7 and grew longer.
Spirit Airlines says all this was caused by weather, technology outages, travel volume, and staffing shortages. Delays caused crews to time out. On one day alone, Spirit canceled 450 flights, 56% of its operation. Spirit does not have interline agreements which compounds the problem.
American Airlines provides some free inflight WiFi offerings, and they’ve just added TikTok, the popular social networking service owned by Chinese company ByteDance. On Viasat-equipped narrowbody aircraft, American will let you connect free for 30 minutes.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a letter to American Airlines Chairman and CEO Doug Parker after the airline announced an “innovative partnership” with TikTok.
“As you know, in 2019, the U.S. Government launched a national security review of TikTok due to data privacy and data security concerns — a review which remains active to this day.”
“By partnering with TikTok, American Airlines is now lending its brand credibility to a company that endangers national security and the data security of tens of millions of Americans, many of them minors. I urge you to suspend American Airlines’ ‘innovative partnership’ with TikTok while the U.S. Government completes its investigation into the national security risks posed by the Chinese-owned app.”
A National Cargo Boeing 747-400 (B744), registration N756CA, performing flight NCR891 / N8891 from Tokyo Narita International Airport (Japan) to Seoul Incheon International Airport (South Korea) during climb out of Narita Airport, about at 27000 feet, reported a fire indication in a cargo compartment and requested return back to Narita.
The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum has a new general aviation gallery scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas We All Fly gallery will tell the story of GA, how it impacts everyday life and how it has influenced society. This will be through interactive exhibits and audiovisual displays and is scheduled to open in 2022. The Thomas W. Haas Foundation made a $10M donation for the gallery.
Air travel dropped as a result of the pandemic, and the supply of Jet A aviation fuel scaled back. Now air travel is rebounding but fuel logistics has not. Shortages include the fuel supply for firefighting. One contributing factor is that a wildfire could explode in no time at all and when that happens the demand for fuel in that area can soar.
Last month, American Airlines said it might have to add stops to some flights because of fuel delivery delays. They also asked pilots to save fuel when they could. Airlines have experienced delays due to a lack of truck drivers, trucks, and fuel supply.
Some Boeing 787s are grounded due to structural problems, Rolls-Royce financials don’t look good, a positive TSA story, another virtual flight option, US DOE funding for electric aircraft technologies, Pipistrel to set electric aircraft world records, Elon Musk says 3-4 years for effective electric aircraft batteries, Spirit avoids layoffs, and $200 ticket change fees are dropped.
Some co-hosts know how to make a podcast producer laugh…
Boeing discovered “two distinct manufacturing issues” that impact the structural integrity of eight recently manufactured 787 Dreamliners. The deficiencies are associated with the joining of composite aft body fuselage barrels. Planes delivered to United, Air Canada, and Singapore were pulled from service.
One day before her wedding, a bride and her family passed through Newark Liberty International Airport, but the mother accidentally left a roller bag with the bride’s gown (and hers) at the checkpoint. TSA administrative assistant Loletta Nathan-Gordon jumped into action and saved the wedding.
The Airplane Mode simulator from AMC Games will let you fly in real-time from New York City to Reykjavik or from New York City to Halifax, Canada. Not from the cockpit, but in the cabin. In coach. Expect delays, rude passengers, and screaming babies. You do get a window seat.
The U.S. Department of Energy announced $33 million in funding for 17 electric aviation projects. This is under the ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) ASCEND (Aviation-class Synergistically Cooled Electric-motors with iNtegrated Drives) and REEACH (Range Extenders for Electric Aviation with Low Carbon and High Efficiency) programs.
Pipistrel plans to fly its Velis Electro more than 700 kilometers from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea, and break 7 world records along the way: lowest energy consumption, highest average speed, highest flight altitude ever reached with an electric aircraft, fastest climbing performance, fastest average speed, smallest number of intermediate stops, and longest electrically flown route. Follow the flight on the website and Facebook.
Last year, when commenting on the need for increased battery energy density, Musk said that was 5 years off. Tesla’s batteries were then achieving around 260 Wh/kg. He said around 400 Wh/kg was needed for aviation. Elon’s current prediction is now 3 to 5 years.
Spirit Airlines has used voluntary leave initiatives to minimize the number of pilot layoffs, limiting them to 117 pilot furloughs. Now the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) announced that almost half of Spirit’s pilots had agreed to work fewer hours each month, which let the airline cancel all 117 of its planned pilot furloughs.
United Airlines says it is dropping its $200 ticket change fee. January, it will let customers fly standby for free on other flights the same day as their booked flight. “When we hear from customers about where we can improve, getting rid of fees is often the top request,” United CEO Scott Kirby said in a video posted Sunday. See also: United Ditches Domestic Change Fees… Let the Games Begin.
Airlines face downward booking trends and very large furloughs, flight training in a time of social distancing, airlines struggle to enforce face-covering policies, airports are responding to the pandemic, Boeing issues draft pilot training document for the 737 MAX, and Spirit Airlines steps up to help a family in need.
United Airlines sent employees a notice saying that 36,000 employees may be subject to involuntary furloughs. That would represent 45% of its U.S. front-line workers. Most of these (26,000) would be flight attendants and airport customer service and gate agents. Up to 2,250 pilots could be affected.
In mid-April, there were days when TSA checkpoint volume was only 4% of previous year levels. In May and June, the volume rose slightly and airlines started operating more flights. But now Covid-19 infections are spiking upward in many U.S. states and bookings are again dropping.
A few months ago, Redbird Flight Simulations started thinking about social distancing and flight training. They’ve developed a platform for flight instructors and their students that uses video conferencing technology and a web-based version of the Redbird Navigator flight simulator operating system.
Airline passengers are required to wear face coverings in flight, except when eating and drinking. Most do, but not everyone. Cabin crew have difficulty enforcing a mask policy since there is no Federal requirement, only a recommendation.
In July 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation published a 44-page “Runway to Recovery” plan [PDF] subtitled “The United States Framework for Airlines and Airports to Mitigate the Public Health Risks of Coronavirus.”
DFW and American Airlines plan to roll out self-check-in for luggage and touchless restrooms at the airport. The airport is piloting three luggage self-check-in systems: Amadeus’s ICM, SITA, and Materna IPS. DFW is also testing new sanitization technology including ultraviolet light to kill germs before they circulate into the HVAC system.
Boeing has a draft of its new 737 MAX pilot training document. The Allied Pilots Association (APA) representing American Airlines’ pilots has a copy and they say the document is vastly more thorough than previous drafts. The APA is generally pleased with it but some concerns remain. Boeing’s latest draft includes some 10 documents and 200 pages.
A family was flying on Spirit Airlines from San Juan to Philadelphia when their 4-year-old daughter had a medical emergency. The plane diverted to Turks and Caicos so the girl could get medical treatment. (She’s fine.) But the family didn’t have the necessary documentation when they tried to leave the island. Plus international travel is shut down there. They were trapped but Spirit and others came to the rescue.
NYCAviation.com editor Ben Granucci on plane spotting, CEO change at Spirit Airlines, drone news from the 2016 CES, a new FAA app, the Airbus A350, hand flying the airplane, five-engine airplanes, and the odd-looking Northrop Tacit Blue.
Ben Granucci inside Fedex A300 at EWR’s Airport Day. Photo by Maggie Bradley.
Ben Granucci is the Standards Editor for NYCAviation.com, a New York City-based, globally focused aviation news, commentary, and enthusiast website. He is an avid aviation photographer and a lifelong avgeek. In addition to his work with NYCAviation, Ben also occasionally writes for AirlineReporter.com. Follow him on Twitter at @blgranucci and visit his Facebook page.
Some of Ben’s favorite photos:
Plane spotting at St Maarten
A Tarom A310 carrying the Hungarian delegation taxis to depart while a Cathay Pacific 777-300ER lifts off in the background during UN Week 2015.
An F-22 Raptor and P-51 Mustang perform the Heritage Flight during day 2 of the first ever New York Air Show.
A LAN Airlines A320 departs Santiago, Chile at sunset.
The Spirit Airlines board announced that board member Robert Fornaro would replace Ben Baldanza as the CEO of the ultra low-cost airline. Fornaro was the AirTran CEO who managed the sale to Southwest 2011. While Spirit remains profitable, it is less so than before, and stock prices have tumbled. Could there be a merger in Spirit’s future?
China-based EHang announced its EHang 184 autonomous electric drone at CES, and says it should be in production in a year. The aircraft carries a single passenger, is limited to a 23 minute flight, and is expected to have a price of $200,000-$300,000.
At CES, FAA Administrator Huerta announced the public release of the B4UFLY app for iOS, and the beta of a version for the Android operating system. The FAA says, “B4UFLY tells users about current or upcoming requirements and restrictions in areas of the National Airspace System (NAS) where they may want to operate their unmanned aircraft system (UAS).”
The U.S. Transportation Department Office of the Inspector General released a report saying the FAA is not ensuring that airline pilots maintain the skills they need to take control from automated systems during an unexpected event.
The FAA has issued a new advisory circular for flight instructors that promotes hand flying skills during flight reviews and proficiency checks. The AC says, “The FAA reminds CFIs conducting flight reviews and IPCs to ensure that a pilot under evaluation is proficient with the automated system and knows what to do if it fails.”
An enthusiast talks about PC flight simulation, Dubai Air Show 2015 debrief, flight training with the Cirrus Aircraft SR22 at Emirates, antitrust lawsuit blocks United’s plan to purchase slots, and bag fees increase at low cost carriers.
Guest Nicolas Jackson talks about PC-based flight simulators. We learn that you can create the flight simulation experience you want – from flying a GA airplane in the pattern around your local airfield, to a transcontinental commercial flight.
We talk about alternatives to Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX), such as Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3D® simulation software and X-Plane from Laminar Research. Nicolas recommends the Steam edition of FSX distributed by Dovetail Games for new simmers. He also tells us about VATSIM.net, an international online flying network, and broadcasting on Twitch.tv, a live streaming video platform and community for gamers.
Nicolas Jackson fell in love with aviation at the age of 10 when he got his first ride in a GA aircraft. Five minutes at the stick and he was hooked. Soon after that first flight, he bought Sierra Pro Pilot 99. He later switched to Microsoft Flight Simulator starting with FS98 and running all the way to FSX. He started flying on the international online flying network VATSIM with complex airliner add-ons in 2006, and hasn’t looked back since. Nicolas currently flies a variety of FSX aircraft and co-hosts the Unicom Podcast as part of The IFlySimX Team.
airBaltic becomes the launch customer for the CSeries CS300 airliner when it takes delivery in the latter part of 2016. The Latvian flag carrier has orders for 13 firm and 7 options for the 160 passenger CS300.
Bombardier said it has 603 orders and commitments for the CS300 and CS100, 243 of which are firm orders. Also, Bombardier said it was nearing completion of the CS100 flight test program and was “on track” for certification of the airplane by Transport Canada this year. CSeries flight test vehicles took more than 1,000 flights during testing.
Embraer plans to build six test aircraft as part of the E2 E-Jet re-engining program: four of the E190-E2 variant and two of the E195-E2. Both E195-E2s and three of the E190-E2s would be ready by end of 2016, with the fourth following in 2017. The Pratt & Whitney PW1900G will power the planes, and Dutch lessor AerCap will be the launch customer for the 97-seat E190-E2.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force bought two Saab Global 6000 long-range surveillance aircraft, and will upgrade two existing Saab 340 jets. Lebanon will purchase six Embraer Super Tucano aircraft for basic missions and training. Boeing says five customers are interested in its Maritime Surveillance Aircraft, a long-range spying plane. Lockheed Martin was awarded a $262.8 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to service Saudi Arabia’s F-15 sniper targeting system.
United Continental Holdings Inc. wants to buy 24 slots at Newark Liberty International Airport, from Delta Air Lines Inc. The U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the sale.
Justice Department antitrust chief Bill Baer says, “Allowing United to acquire even more slots at Newark would fortify United’s monopoly position and weaken the ability of other airlines to compete. That would leave the 35 million air passengers who fly in and out of Newark every year holding the bag.”
Last year, ultra low cost carrier Spirit Airlines began increased bag fees for the holidays, and they are doing the same this year. Frontier Airlines is also increasing their bag fees, but not just for the holidays. Frontier says they’ll charge a higher fee during the college spring break season, and during the summer travel season, from June 9 through Aug. 16.
Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the ranking Democrat on the Senate’s transportation committee sent letters to major airline CEOs asking them not to raise bag fees. Nelson wrote, “These increased surcharges fly in the face of declining fuel costs and appear focused on increasing profitability on the backs of American families,”
Airplane of the Week
This week David looks at the tip of the spear for the Armee de L’Air, the Dassault Rafale.
Across the Pond
Pieter welcomes back Diego López-Salazar from Aeropodcast to talk about his recent visit to Airbus and their Innovation Day presentations. They talk about some of the non-flying innovations Airbus is creating that may well find uses in other industries, such as Airbus Glasses, waste compactors, and paper cable ties. Pieter and Diego also get a short discussion in on the latest British Airways news, that IAG owned Vueling boss Alex Cruz is to become Chairman and Chief Executive of British Airways.
Terrafugia founder Carl Dietrich appears in the movie “Back in Time,” a documentary tribute to the Back to the Future movie series. The film is available on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes, with tour dates running through November 24th. (The Terrafugia segment starts at 1:13:30 if you want to skip straight to it.)