Friday, February 25, 2011

Boeing 747-100

Boeing 747-300
Boeing 747-400

Boeing 747-8 Inter-Continental

The 747-8 will seat 400 to 500 passengers. Lufthansa is the launch customer, with the first delivery scheduled for the fourth quarter.

First flown commercially by Pan American World Airways in 1970, the 747 was the first widebody aircraft, and its hump continues to make it one of the world's most recognizable planes. In 2009, Boeing delivered 747 number 1,400.

But sales have been slowing. Since 2009, just seven 747s, all freighters, have been delivered. Four went to Cathay Pacific, one each to Kuwaiti and Japanese cargo carriers, and one to UPS (UPS

Pan Am President Juan Trippe, one of the great pioneers of commercial aviation, encouraged Boeing to build a bigger aircraft. The first flight was in 1969 and Pan Am's first commercial flight took place on Jan. 21, 1970, on a New York-London route. By July 16, 1970, the worldwide 747 fleet had carried 1 million passengers.

In February 1971, the 100th 747 was delivered to another defunct carrier, Braniff Airlines . Later in 1971, the first Boeing 747-200 was delivered to KLM. But in the 1973 oil crisis, the price of a barrel of oil quadrupled to $12 a barrel. This led American (AMR_) and Delta(DAL_) to remove the 747 from their fleets.

The last delivery

Boeing introduced the 747-300 because it wanted to offer increased seating capacity, using a stretched upper deck. The first flight was in 1982.

In 1983, the airplane entered service on a Swissair flight. Unlike its predecessors, the 747-300 had a straight staircase to the upper deck rather than a spiral staircase.

The last delivery of the 300 was in 1990 to the Belgian carrier Sabena.

Development of the 747-400, which had a range of 8,350 miles -- longer than the range of the 300 -- began in 1985.

Boeing rolled out the first 747-400 on Jan. 26, 1988, the same day as the first 737-400. The first flight was operated by Northwest on Feb. 9, 1989. The new plane had a glass cockpit, which enabled a reduction in the size of the cockpit crew to two pilots rather than three. It also incorporated major aerodynamic improvements, including winglets to reduce drag, new avionics, a new flight deck and updated entertainment systems. It typically accommodated about 415 passengers in three classes or 524 passengers in two classes.

Boeing introduced the 747-8 at a ceremony this month in Everett.

"As the only airplane in the 400 to 500-seat market, the 747-8 Intercontinental will give operators an airplane perfectly suited for long, heavily traveled routes around the world," said Pat Shanahan, Boeing vice president and general manager for airplane programs, in a prepared statement.

Boeing said the 747-8 will have 12% lower costs and 16% better fuel economy than its predecessor, the 747-400. Additionally, the aircraft incorporates 787 interior features including a curved, upswept architecture, "giving passengers a greater feeling of space and comfort, while adding more room for personal belongings," Boeing said.

So far the airplane has attracted 33 orders, 20 of them from Lufthansa and five from Korean Air Lines.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.
Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340-300 (G-VHOL) on th...
Virgin needs merger to secure flight path

By Mark Kleinman

Published: February 25 2011 20:39
Last updated: February 25 2011 20:39
Not for the first time in his career, Sir Richard Branson may be approaching the end of the runway.

Four months after hiring Deutsche Bank to carry out a strategic review at Virgin Atlantic, the number of parking stands available for a suitable merger looks limited.

Unlike the occasion in 1999 when a deal to sell almost half of his company to Singapore Airlines (for what turned out to be a bumper price) was proposed on a restaurant napkin, the Virgin founder will this time be pressed into more formal negotiations.

Sir Richard does hold some important cards. Virgin Atlantic’s ownership of 3 per cent of Heathrow’s landing slots is attractive to the SkyTeam Alliance led by Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines, which has been working with Goldman Sachs on a takeover proposal for several months.

Similarly, Virgin’s transatlantic routes would be a useful addition to the Star Alliance (of which Singapore is a member), which could be re-engineered by Lufthansa to use its BMI subsidiary as a feeder network for Sir Richard’s airline.

The third alternative for Virgin would be to agree a deal with one of the major Gulf-based carriers. Etihad, of Abu Dhabi, has expressed publicly an interest in extending its relationship with Virgin Blue in Australia, which would help it fulfil a desire to create a global brand.
Alternatively, Sir Richard might eschew a full merger or sale of Virgin Atlantic in favour of joining one of the major alliances. That, though, would risk diluting the Virgin brand while not providing the expansion capital required for an independent carrier to compete with a new wave of aviation industry powerhouses.

There may also be another, nuclear, option: selling to British Airways’ new parent company, International Airlines Group, an idea cheekily raised this week by Willie Walsh, its chief executive.

Even if that idea repels Sir Richard, sitting out the next wave of airline mergers looks like the least viable option if he wants to secure Virgin Atlantic’s long-term future.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2011. You may share using our article tools.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Virgin Atlantic Airways Boeing 747-400 (G-VBIG...Air France, Delta Consider Bid for Virgin Atlantic, Times Says

By Chris Kay - Feb 20, 2011 2:06 AM

Air France-KLM and Delta Air Lines Inc. are considering a joint bid for Virgin Atlantic Airways Ltd., the airline controlled by billionaire Richard Branson, the Sunday Times reported, without saying where it got the information.
Air France and Delta Air Lines have appointed Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as their adviser, the newspaper said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in London at 
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Saturday, February 19, 2011

Boeing 737 JA737M(Taken at Haneda Airport).Superjumbo travel war beckons as Skymark buys A380

Superjumbo travel war beckons as Skymark buys A380

Fri, Feb 18 2011

Skymark Airlines Inc
Credit: Reuters/Stringer (JAPAN TRANSPORT BUSINESS)

PARIS (Reuters) - Japanese budget carrier Skymark Airline took a step towards launching a price war between Tokyo and Europe by confirming a $1.5 billion order at list prices for four European A380 superjumbo airplanes from Airbus (EAD.PA).

Japan's third-largest airline has said it plans to halve the regular price for business class tickets by competing with established Japanese and European rivals on the world's largest passenger plane, fitted out for business and economy.
EADS subsidiary Airbus (EAD.PA) said on Friday that Skymark (9204.T) had confirmed an order provisionally announced in November for four A380s at a signing ceremony on Thursday.

It did not give financial details. The A380 has a list price of $375 million but aircraft usually sell at a discount.

Chief Executive Shinichi Nishikubo, who ran an internet service provider before going into the airline business, said in December that Skymark (9204.T) would start flights to London, Frankfurt and Paris from 2014.

Air France-KLM (AIRF.PA) and Germany's Lufthansa (LHAG.DE) already operate daily A380 services to Tokyo Narita.

Airline analysts say the low-cost airline will face aggressive competition from more established rivals.

The announcement came on the eve of a new, five-times weekly service between London and Skymark's home base of Tokyo Haneda to be operated by British Airways BAY.L from Saturday.

BA operates daily from London to Narita using Boeing (BA.N) long-range aircraft, with the A380 also on order, and played down the threat of competition.

"We are one of the first European airlines to offer flights to Haneda and believe we offer very competitive business-class fares," a BA spokeswoman said.

Skymark will also compete with All Nippon Airways (9202.T) ANA.L and bankrupt flag carrier Japan Airlines (JALFQ.PK).

A&F Aviation Co, set up by ANA and a Hong Kong investor, opted this week for the Airbus A320 medium-haul plane to launch services this year, but Japan's aviation market remains overwhelmingly reliant on Boeing.

(Editing by David Hulmes)
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Friday, February 18, 2011

TWA airplane. This was in Pittsburgh around 1978.American Airlines recalls an additional 200 flight attendants

Kansas City Business Journal
Date: Friday, February 18, 2011, 2:43pm CST - Last Modified: Friday, February 18, 2011, 4:03pm CST

American Airlines is recalling 200 more flight attendants from furlough.

These are in addition to the 368 flight attendants recalled last week, said Missy Latham, an American Airlines (NYSE: AMR) spokeswoman. Both come on top of 545 flight attendants recalled in October.

All the recalled flight attendants are former TWA employees.
The airline, based in Fort Worth, Texas, also said Friday it plans to hire as many as 30 Mandarin Chinese-speaking flight attendants for its new Los Angeles-Shanghai route.

When TWA merged with American Airlines, TWA flight attendants were placed at the bottom of the seniority list. In 2001, American Airlines laid off 2,500 flight attendants, including many former TWA flight employees. The furloughed flight attendants were guaranteed the right to reclaim their jobs if American Airlines made new hires.

The carrier shut down its overhaul base at Kansas City International Airport (Code: MCI) late last year, representing the final takeoff for hundreds of jobs there.

TWA, at one time a Kansas City-based company, operated the maintenance base from 1954 to 2001, when American Airlines bought TWA and located its maintenance operations there.

American Airlines is among the largest carriers at KCI with about 9 percent market share.
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American recalls 200 furloughed workers

Dallas Business Journal - by Candace Carlisle, Staff Writer
Date: Friday, February 18, 2011, 2:50pm CST

American Airlines Inc. and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants have announced the recall of 200 furloughed flight attendants Friday.
This is the second recall of furloughed workers this month.

Last week, the Fort Worth-based airline announced the recall of 368 flight attendants in February and March to help the airline increase operations by 4 percent overall this year.
The airline's growth projections include American expanding by 7 percent in international markets and 1 percent domestically.

The recalls will leave about 228 flight attendants on furlough.

American Airlines Inc. and the Association of Professional Flight Attendants have announced the recall of 200 furloughed flight attendants Friday.

This is the second recall of furloughed workers this month.

Last week, the Fort Worth-based airline announced the recall of 368 flight attendants in February and March to help the airline increase operations by 4 percent overall this year.

The airline's growth projections include American expanding by 7 percent in international markets and 1 percent domestically.

The recalls will leave about 228 flight attendants on furlough.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

A Delta Airlines Airbus A330-323E landing on r...Delta hit with $2M DOT fine

Orlando Business Journal

Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011, 1:09pm EST

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has fined Delta Air Lines Inc. $2 million for “violating rules protecting air travelers with disabilities.”
DOT said the penalty is the largest penalty it ever assessed against airline in a non-safety-related case.

A DOT investigation by the Department of Transportation’s Aviation Enforcement Office of disability complaints filed with Atlanta-based Delta (NYSE: DAL) and DOT revealed violations of the requirement to provide assistance getting on and off the airplane. The carrier’s complaint files also showed that it frequently did not provide an adequate written response to disability complaints from passengers, DOT said. It also found Delta failed to properly report each disability complaint in reports filed with the DOT.

Of the of $2 million penalty, $750,000 must be paid by the carrier and up to $1,250,000 may be used to improve its service to passengers with disabilities beyond what is required by law.

"We take the responsibility of serving customers with disabilities seriously and have made significant investments in technology, feedback assessment, and training since the issues in 2007 and 2008 that the DOT cites in its consent order," Delta said in a statement. "We will continue to coordinate with DOT and our Customer Advisory Board on Disabilities to ensure that these efforts are appropriately supporting customers with disabilities and providing them with a consistent travel experience."

Read more: Delta hit with $2M DOT fine
Orlando Business Journal
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Hairless Kitten Freezes to Death at Bradley

January 31st, 2011 8:30 pm ET

What an absolutely tragic situation. An 11 week old Sphynx kitten that was being flown from Utah to Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, was left in the cargo hold while the plane was on the ground for an hour, the airplane's climate control shut off.

Eyewitness News reports, "By the time kitten and owner united, Snickers was icy cold and couldn't move her head or paws, Lombardi said. The kitten died a short time later."

The kitten's owner, Heather Lombardi, payed almost $300.00 to have her new kitten flown in special and cared for properly. This tragic death should never have happened. If the airline had done their job, the kitten would still be alive. Temperatures in CT, especially this winter (which has been especially brutal) have been ranging well below normal and a hairless kitten wouldn't have a chance in this kind of cold, even for one hour! It would have been rough on any kitten to be confined in sub freezing temperatures for an hour, but one without hair just doesn't have a chance.

The price of Snickers the kitten's air fare included a fee to ensure her safe removal from the plane the moment it landed. This was neglected. Delta Airlines will be held accountable for the kitten's death, but that won't bring poor little Snickers back to life, nor does it even the score for the suffering she endured.

Lombardi and her daughter took the kitten to the vet immediately, but despite the heat of the car, the kitten let out a terrible cry and went limp. Hypothermia can cause the body's organs to shut down and after a time, nerves go numb. The sudden heat on the kitten's cold body brought nerves back to life causing extreme pain and shock. Ultimately, the kitten should have been warmed back up slowly, but chances are she was too far gone to have made it anyway.

In accordance with the Animal Welfare Act, the airline could potentially face revocation of its license to transport animals. "The impact of cold on pets depends on body type, health, coat, where the breed was developed and for what purpose," said veterinarian Louise Murray, vice president of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City. "For example, a greyhound will get colder faster than a cocker spaniel."

Be careful when planning to transport pets by air. Check up with the airlines and be diligent about making sure the safety of your pet is top priority. If you suspect anything might not be right, ask!

Continue reading on Hairless Kitten Freezes to Death at Bradley - Hartford Cats

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

self destroying sticker seal of the TSA, stick...TSA Officers Will Lose Jobs Following Theft From Luggage at JFK

By Angela Greiling Keane - Feb 16, 2011 3:18 PM

Business Exchange Buzz up! Digg Print Email Two Transportation Security Administration employees charged with stealing $40,000 from luggage at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport will lose their jobs, the U.S. agency that oversees aviation security said.

TSA officers Persad Coumar, 44, and Davon Webb, 30, both of New York, are awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court in New York, said Kevin Ryan, a spokesman for the Queens County District Attorney’s office, in an e-mail. They are accused of stealing the money on Jan. 30 from a piece of checked luggage containing $170,000 inside the American Airlines terminal, Ryan said. The charges include conspiracy, grand larceny and possession of stolen property.

“TSA has a zero tolerance policy for theft in the workplace,” the agency said in an e-mailed statement. “TSA is working closely with law enforcement authorities to ensure the individuals responsible are prosecuted and we will move swiftly and decisively to end the federal careers of any employee who engages in illegal activity on the job.”

The pair allegedly worked together to take the cash after Coumar x-rayed the bag and saw it inside, the district attorney’s office said in an e-mailed statement. Coumar telephoned Webb, who was working in a baggage belt area of the American terminal, to tell him about the bag. Webb searched the bag and marked it with tape. Coumar then used an identification card to enter the baggage handling area, found the bag and took some of the money inside, according to the statement.

Tip Off

Port Authority police officers found $23,980 at Coumar’s home after $20 had been spent on food, and $16,000 at Webb’s residence, the district attorney’s office said.

Another TSA employee tipped police off about the theft, the district attorney’s office said.

“TSA agents hold a position of trust and are supposed to search passengers and their baggage to ensure the safety of the flying public -- not to enrich themselves,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in the statement. “Passengers must feel secure when they pass through our airports here in Queens County that they are not being targeted by those who would use their position of authority to steal.”

From 2008 to 2010, 12 TSA officers lost their jobs due to thefts at security points or from checked baggage, Ann Davis, a TSA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The arrests by Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police were reported earlier by the New York Post.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Boeing 737-3H4Boeing CEO: 'new airplane' to replace 737

Associated Press
Posted: Thursday, February 10, 2011 2:31 pm

Boeing is sending its strongest signals yet that it plans to build a new plane to replace its 737.

Boeing Chairman and CEO James McNerney told analysts on Thursday, "We're going to do a new airplane." He then seemed to backtrack a little, saying, "We're not done evaluating this whole situation yet, but our current bias ... is to move to a newer airplane, an all-new airplane, at the end of the decade, beginning of the next decade. It's our judgment that our customers will wait for us."
After McNerney spoke, the company tweeted that it expects to have more clarity by the middle of this year on its plans for the 737. Boeing has said previously that it is leaning toward designing a new plane.

Boeing builds more 737s than any other model. It competes with the A320 made by Airbus, which recently said it will make a version with new engines that it hopes to bring to market in 2016.

Airlines have been watching closely to see whether Boeing would upgrade its 737 with new engines like Airbus' A320, or build an all-new plane. Either one would be more fuel-efficient, but designing and building an all-new plane will take longer. McNerney said he thinks the technology for more efficient engines and the plane itself, as well as customer demand, will come together around 2020.

Southwest Airlines Co. currently flies only the 737, and has bought more of them than any other airline. On Jan. 20, CEO Gary Kelly was asked whether Boeing's plans for the 737 will cause Southwest to look at other new planes.
"If they told us that we're not going to see a more fuel-efficient 737 for another 20 years, that probably would cause us to do something," he said. Southwest will acquire smaller Boeing 717s once its purchase of AirTran Holdings Inc. closes.

Also Thursday, Boeing submitted its latest bid to make a new tanker for the U.S. Air Force. Paris-based European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co. is expected to submit a bid as well. The winner will get a contract for tens of billions of dollars to build 179 aerial refueling planes.

McNerney called Boeing's bid "aggressive but responsible."

He told the analysts in his audience on Thursday, "The people in this room would be glad if we won at the bid level that we've put in, and would be happy if we lost at a lower level."

EADS also said it would submit its bid on Thursday for its version of the tanker, based on the civilian A330. Boeing's tanker would be based on its 767.
The Pentagon is expected to pick a winning bidder for the long-delayed tankers later this year.

Boeing shares rose 3 cents to close at $72.66.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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Sick of Surly Airline Staff? Delta Sends 11,000 Employees to Charm School

By: William Lee Adams

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook RC/DY

The Atlanta-based airline hopes customer-service classes will help its staff lose the 'tude, and bring back service with a smile. (via Wall Street Journal)

But Delta has a long way to go before passengers will forget its abysmal record in 2010. During the first nine months of last year, Delta recorded the highest rate of customer complaints with the Department of Transportation. It finished the year with the highest rate of canceled flights. And, as of November 2010, it was ranked second-to-last for on-time arrivals among major carriers. "Nobody here aspires to being what we were last summer," said Delta Executive Vice President Glen Hauenstein.

So, as part of a $2 billion improvement plan, the airline is sending its ground staff to finishing school. All employees who come face-to-face with travelers—that includes ticketing agents, gate agents and their supervisors—must attend a one-day session where they engage in role play scenarios with angry, confused and lost customers. Scenes involve late-arriving passengers who will likely miss their next flight and travelers with lost luggage that contains important medicines. Apparently some staff need to be taught that the goal is to assist customers, not to pass them on to someone else.

Adjusting an employee's attitude is one thing; bending the rules is something else entirely. Delta doesn't encourage staff to bypass procedures or offer waivers as part of the training. Instead, the airline emphasizes delivering bad news with a smile instead of a scowl. Should customers complain about baggage fees, staff shouldn't blame fuel prices. And they should never apologize for the fees, but explain that they are part of an "a la carte" program where customers pay for what they use.

"That is a better way to have that conversation," Michael Hazelton, a Delta agent and trainer, told the Journal. "You may think you are bonding with the customer by agreeing the fees are horrible, but the customer thinks, 'This person just threw his company under the bus.'"

Depending on the customer's point of view, that could be a bonding experience.
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US Airways headquarters in Tempe, Arizona - Fo...US Airways increasing overweight bag charges

South Florida Business Journal

Date: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 5:15pm EST - Last Modified: Thursday, February 10, 2011, 5:16pm EST

US Airways Group Inc., the fifth largest South Florida air carrier, is raising its charge for overweight bags.

The cost to check luggage weighing between 50 and 70 pounds will jump to $90 from $50 on flights within the Americas, according to the company’s website.

In addition, bags weighing 71 to 100 pounds will cost $175 to check in, up from $100.

And, the carrier is raising the price for a third checked bag. That will cost $125, up from $100.

The increased fees take effect next month.
Tough economic times have forced the airline industry to seek new revenue streams, including charging passengers for food and other amenities, reducing capacity, laying off employees and focusing on key markets.
US Airways (NYSE: LCC) has more than 3,200 flights per day to 200 domestic and foreign destinations. The carrier is based in Tempe, Ariz. and services Miami International, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International and Palm Beach International airports.

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Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A TWA Douglas DC-3 airplane is prepared for ta... American Airlines rehires 365 flight attendants

St. Louis Business Journal
Date: Wednesday, February 9, 2011, 4:31pm CST

American Airlines is rehiring 365 furloughed flight attendants, all of whom are former TWA employees and half of whom are based in Missouri.

This recall is in addition to the 545 flight attendants who were recalled last October.

When TWA merged with American Airlines, TWA flight attendants were placed at the bottom of the seniority list. In 2001, American Airlines laid off 2,500 flight attendants, including many former TWA flight employees. The furloughed flight attendants were guaranteed the right to reclaim their jobs if American Airlines made new hires.

“I’m glad to see that as the economy is recovering, these hard-working folks are going to be able to get their jobs back,” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in a statement. “These flight attendants have waited much too long to go back to the jobs they love, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with this news.”

American Airlines is rehiring 365 furloughed flight attendants, all of whom are former TWA employees and half of whom are based in Missouri.

This recall is in addition to the 545 flight attendants who were recalled last October.

When TWA merged with American Airlines, TWA flight attendants were placed at the bottom of the seniority list. In 2001, American Airlines laid off 2,500 flight attendants, including many former TWA flight employees. The furloughed flight attendants were guaranteed the right to reclaim their jobs if American Airlines made new hires.

“I’m glad to see that as the economy is recovering, these hard-working folks are going to be able to get their jobs back,” U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said in a statement. “These flight attendants have waited much too long to go back to the jobs they love, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with this news.”

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Saturday, February 05, 2011

American Airlines fleet at Dallas/Fort Worth I...Super Bowl After-Party: Not at DFW Airport

By Ted Reed 02/05/11 - 10:00 AM EST

DALLAS (TheStreet) -- No doubt attending the Super Bowl will be fun, but the day after could be trying -- especially at the airport.

Monday is projected to be the busiest day in the history of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport as hub carrier American(AMR_) and partner American Eagle expect to carry about 40,000 originating passengers, 10,000 more than average. That does not include passengers changing planes on American, which carries about three quarters of the airport's traffic.

American is advising passengers to arrive three hours early for their flights. The airport anticipates that its buses will carry three times their normal loads, and the Transportation Security Administration is also gearing up for heavy crowds. Ticket counters, security check points and concessions in Terminal D and part of Terminal B will be staffed all night Sunday into Monday, and American Terminals A and C will open at 3 a.m. Monday.

Although the weather was bad and flights were limited in Dallas on Friday, American made sure that all flights from Pittsburgh and Chicago were given priority, said American spokesman Ed Martelle.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

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Airport diagram for Dallas-Fort Worth Internat...Dallas Snow Crimps Super Bowl Travel for Steelers, Packers Fans

By Mary Schlangenstein, Thomas Korosec and Sonja Elmquist - Feb 4, 2011 2:24 PM MT

An American Airlines jet taxis to a gate at DFW International Airport in Dallas. Photographer: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers fans headed to Super Bowl XLV have a narrow window left to reach Dallas, where snow and ice snarled air and ground travel for much of the week.

Some gave up and are selling their game tickets, pushing prices down. Others are rebooking commercial flights and taking chartered airplanes.

“We are putting priority on anything coming from the Super Bowl cities,” said Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for American Airlines. “We are doing everything we can to give them priority. We’ve still got today and tomorrow, even Sunday morning.”
Both American and Southwest Airlines Co. said flights they added last week for this weekend should ease the effects of weather-related cancellations on travel to the Feb. 6 game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Dallas Fort Worth area received 2 to 6 inches of snow today on top of sleet and ice earlier in the week.

“The snow on the ground will hang around for the weekend,” said Amber Elliott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth. “I hate to say most of it. At least half of it.”

The weather service forecast clear skies tomorrow and Feb. 6 with highs in the 40s, according to its website.
“Some people who aren’t here yet might not make it because of weather and travel problems across the country,” said Bill Lively, president of the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee. “My sense after talking to a lot of hoteliers is that many people are already here because hotels were booked for four-day stays.”

Super Bowl Tickets

Super Bowl ticket prices declined today as trips were canceled and ticketholders turned to online resellers to get back some of their money.

One reseller, San Francisco-based StubHub, offered 500 new Super Bowl tickets today in addition to 700 already listed. The lowest asking price was $1,950, for an end-zone seat. Two days earlier, the cheapest ticket available through the website was $2,575.

“I’d expect it’s due to people canceling their travel plans,” said Glenn Lehrman, a spokesman for the Ebay-owned company. “The prices haven’t dropped very much, but I’d expect that to change Saturday and Sunday as people try to recoup at least what they paid.”

The average price remained “in the $3,500 to $3,600 range,” Lehrman said.

‘Once the Weather Clears’

Most customers of On Point Sports, a Houston-based sports- travel firm, had problem-free travel to the Dallas area, said John Leggett, a partner.

Some of his employees, hand-delivering tickets in Dallas today, were a different matter. Leggett said a crew abandoned an ice-crippled rental car on a Dallas-area freeway and were picked up by other workers nearby.

“All of our tickets we have in-hand so it’s just a matter of handing them to people once the weather clears,” Leggett said.

The Texas Department of Transportation dispatched 70 snowplows to the Dallas-Fort Worth area from elsewhere in the state, said Kelli Petras, an agency spokeswoman. Only four plows are usually stationed there, she said. About 600 Texas DOT workers are clearing roads or laying down a magnesium chloride de-icing compound or salt-sand mixture, she said.

“We’re hoping to have the major freeways and thoroughfares moving by later today or at least by tomorrow,” she said. “We need some help from the weather. When it gets this cold, everything just refreezes.”

‘One Big Arrival’

The Fairmont Dallas hotel, which reported no cancellations this morning, assigned extra employees to the front desk in anticipation of guests getting in behind schedule.

“We think we’ll have one big arrival, late,” said Erica Martinez, a hotel spokeswoman.

Lively said the snow and cold may keep Super Bowl travelers from visiting museums or hanging out outdoors at the ESPN set, without affecting the game itself.

“We’ll still have the largest head count and the largest ticket gate and the largest television audience,” he said. “The build-up is the part that’s been compromised.”

Ponzio International Travel clients on a charter plane bound for Love Field greeted a seven-hour delay with aplomb, and in some cases, a drink, said Dick Ponzio, owner of the Pittsburgh-based company.

“They all just went to the restaurants and bars” to wait for Love to reopen, he said. “Everybody understood. When the airport is closed, you can’t take off.”

Extra Flights

Those passengers arrived amid familiar freezing temperatures and inches of snow.
“When we landed in Dallas this morning, it felt just like home,” Ponzio said.

American operated all its flights out of Chicago and Pittsburgh to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport this morning and expects to operate all scheduled flights from the airport starting at 2 p.m. local time, said Huguely, the spokeswoman.

Last week, the Fort Worth-based airline and its American Eagle commuter carrier added 12 flights from today through Feb. 7 between Dallas-Fort Worth and Chicago, Green Bay, Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, and Pittsburgh. The carrier canceled 662 flights into and out of Dallas today.

Southwest earlier added two extra flights between Milwaukee and Dallas and two more between Pittsburgh and Dallas, scheduled for today, said Chris Mainz, a spokesman for the Dallas-based carrier.

“The operational goal is to get customers in for the Super Bowl,” said Whitney Eichinger, a Southwest spokeswoman. “We are watching the weather closely and are getting our operation up as quickly as we can.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Thomas Korosec in Dallas via; Mary Schlangenstein in Dallas at; Sonja Elmquist in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Susan Warren at; Ed Dufner at

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140 pxAmerican Flight From New York Came Close to Colliding

By Angela Greiling Keane - Feb 4, 2011 3:08 PM MT

An AMR Corp. American Airlines jet almost collided with two U.S. Air Force planes after taking off from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport last month, U.S. transportation safety investigators said.

The American Boeing Co. 777-200 plane was about 80 miles southeast of New York, en route to Sao Paulo, when it came within a mile of two Air Force C-17s that were flying toward McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, the National Transportation Safety Board said today in an e-mailed statement. The board, which investigates transportation accidents, said the planes came within a mile of each other.

Air traffic controllers directing each plane received electronic alerts about the potential collision and directed the aircraft away, the board said. The American crew also responded to a cockpit collision avoidance system alert during the Jan. 20 incident.

The safety board, under a U.S. regulation that took effect last year, is notified every time airplanes’ traffic and collision avoidance systems, or TCAS, are put into action, Bridget Serchak, an NTSB spokeswoman, said.
“We are aware that the NTSB is investigating the matter,” said Andrea Huguely, a spokeswoman for American, based in Fort Worth, Texas.

To contact the reporter on this story: Angela Greiling Keane in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at

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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Members of the Kefaya democracy movement prote...US orders non-essential personnel to leave Egypt

Associated Press Matthew Lee, Associated Press – 11 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential U.S. government personnel and their families to leave Egypt amid growing anti-government protests and uncertainty over the security situation.

The move came as the Obama administration grasps for a response to the revolt against its strongest Arab ally and struggles with the implications for U.S. policy in the Middle East and beyond. In Cairo on Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey met with opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei to make clear Washington's desire for a peaceful transition, according to State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley.

"The U.S. Embassy in Cairo has been especially busy in the past several days with an active outreach to political and civil society," Crowley said in a message posted to Twitter. "As part of our public outreach to convey support for orderly transition in Egypt, Ambassador Scobey spoke today with Mohamed ElBaradei." As it draws down staff at the embassy, the department said the administration had asked a respected former U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Frank Wisner, to visit members of embattled President Hosni Mubarak's government. "As someone with deep experience in the region, he is meeting with Egyptian officials and providing his assessment," it said.

In a separate statement, the department said it had ordered non-essential personnel to leave "in light of recent events." The move is an indication of Washington's deepening concern about developments in Egypt. The order replaces an initial decision last week to allow non-essential workers who wanted to leave the country to do so at government expense.

The department said it would continue to evacuate private U.S. citizens from Egypt aboard government-chartered planes.

On Monday, the U.S. evacuated more than 1,200 Americans from Cairo on such flights and said it expected to fly out roughly 1,400 more in the coming days. Monday's flights ferried Americans from Cairo to Larnaca, Cyprus; Athens, Greece; and Istanbul, Turkey. On Tuesday, the department expects to add Frankfurt, Germany as a destination.

It also hopes to arrange evacuation flights from the Egyptian cities of Aswan and Luxor.

The Cairo airport is open and operating but the department warned that flights may be disrupted and that people should be prepared for lengthy waits.

The administration has thus far confined its public comments to calls for restraint, reforms and a transition to a real democracy.

But as the protests against Mubarak's three-decade iron rule escalated on Tuesday, the chairman of the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., gave public voice to what senior U.S. officials have said only privately in recent days: that Mubarak should "step aside gracefully to make way for a new political structure."

"It is not enough for President Mubarak to pledge 'fair' elections," Kerry wrote in the New York Times. "The most important step that he can take is to address his nation and declare that neither he nor the son he has been positioning as his successor will run in the presidential election this year. Egyptians have moved beyond his regime, and the best way to avoid unrest turning into upheaval is for President Mubarak to take himself and his family out of the equation."

Meanwhile, Egypt's army leadership is reassuring the U.S. that the powerful military does not intend to crack down on demonstrators, but is instead, allowing the protesters to "wear themselves out," according to a former U.S. official in contact with several top Egyptian army officers. The Egyptians use a colloquial saying to describe their strategy -- that a boiling pot with a lid that's too tight will blow up the kitchen, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations.

That was always the argument that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who Mubarak tapped as his vice president on Friday, made regarding the handling of the Gaza border crossing point, every time visiting U.S. officials asked their counterparts to stop the smuggling from Egypt to the Gaza Strip -- that the best way to head off Gaza unrest is to allow a relief valve that permitted them to bring in supplies.

The officers expressed concern with some of the White House statements that side with the protesters, saying that stoking revolt to remove Mubarak could create a vacuum that the banned, but powerful Muslim Brotherhood could fill, the official said. While the Brotherhood claims to have closed its paramilitary wing long ago, it has fought politically to gain power, and more threatening to the Mubarak regime, has built a nation-wide charity and social network that much of Egypt's poverty stricken population depends on for its survival.
Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier and Donna Cassatta contributed to this report.
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