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Tigerair aircraft involved in alleged bomb threat

Tigerair

Tigerair Flt TT271 from Sydney to Melbourne was forced to return to Sydney, Monday, December 17 after an alleged bomb threat.

Sydney’s runway 34L was closed during the incident and the aircraft towed to a remote area of the airport.

The threat was in the form of a written note.

Australian Federal Police officers were called to meet Tigerair flight TT271 when it touched down at 8.35pm after the crew became aware of a potential threat. It had taken off at 7.30pm.

The plane was taken to a remote area for two hours before passengers were allowed to deplane at 11 pm.

The flight path of TT271

Tigerair has confirmed the incident on Twitter.

“The Captain made the decision to return to Sydney following an incident onboard. In line with standard procedures, the Australian Federal Police met the aircraft on arrival,” Tigerair said.

“The safety of our crew and guests is always our highest priority and we are working with the relevant authorities to investigate the matter.

Read: Jetstar faces fines for misleading passengers 

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Jetstar faces $A1.95 million penalty for misleading customers

Jetstar $A1.95 million penlaty consumers
Jetstar faces a $A1.95 million penalty.

Jetstar is facing court action and a $A1.95 million penalty for making false or misleading representations about consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said Jetstar had admitted that it made representations on its website that some fares were not refundable, and that consumers could only get a refund if they purchased a more expensive fare.

“No matter how cheap the fares are, airlines cannot make blanket statements to consumers that flights are non-refundable,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

Jetstar has also admitted that its terms and conditions contained representations that consumer guarantees under Australian consumer law did not apply to its flight services, and that Jetstar’s liability in providing remedies to consumers was limited.

The ACCC and Jetstar have jointly submitted to the Federal Court that Jetstar should be ordered to pay a $A1.95 million penalty and to make a contribution to the ACCC’s costs.

The Federal Court will now decide whether the proposed penalties and other orders sought are appropriate.

The ACCC said services such as flights came with automatic consumer guarantees, and these rights cannot be excluded, restricted or modified.

If a flight is canceled or significantly delayed, passengers may be entitled to a refund under the consumer guarantees, which give consumers a right to a remedy if services are not supplied within a reasonable time.

READ Perth Airport sues Qantas over alleged short paid fees.

“It’s frustrating for travelers when they have difficulty getting a refund for flights when they are entitled to one. This case is important not only for holding Jetstar to account, but sending a wider message that businesses cannot exclude or limit consumers’ rights under the Australian Consumer Law,” Sims said.

The legal action against Jetstar is part of the ACCC’s response to common consumer issues arising in the airline industry and the ACCC’s concerns. The ACCC detailed its industry-wide concerns in its report Airlines: Terms & Conditions Report.

The ACCC has also separately accepted a court-enforceable undertaking from Jetstar, as well as each of Qantas, Virgin Australia and Tigerair. These undertakings are commitments from the airlines to amend their policies and practices in relation to the Australian Consumer Law consumer guarantees.

Jetstar chief executive Gareth Evans said the airline took its obligation under Australian Consumer Law seriously and it had worked closely with the ACCC on changes to the wording on its website.

“We also updated our terms and conditions to make it easier for customers to understand when they are eligible for a refund,’’ he said.

“Like other low fares airlines in Australia and around the world, customers who purchase our cheapest fares cannot get a refund if they decide they no longer wish to travel.

“For customers who are likely to change their mind or need flexibility, we have a number of fare types that give them that option.”

Perth Airport sues Qantas over alleged short paid fees

Perth Airport

The sometimes rocky relationship between Perth Airport and its largest customer Qantas, critical to the Western Australian economy, has sunk to a new low with the issuing of a writ for $A11.3 million in the WA Supreme Court today to recover unpaid charges for aeronautical services used by the flying kangaroo.

In a statement, Perth Airport said that for “more than 18 months it has been offering a new Aeronautical Services Agreement to Qantas which would have delivered the airline a significant price reduction compared to charges paid by Qantas pursuant to the previous agreement which expired on 30 June 2018.”

“All other airlines which use Perth Airport had reached an agreement with Perth Airport on charges for aeronautical services, effective 1 July 2018,” the airport said.

Qantas, however, had not but as an act of good faith Perth Airport said it “began invoicing Qantas at the proposed reduced rate from 1 July 2018.”

“Despite the reduced price offered, Qantas unilaterally decided to short pay these invoices by around 40 percent,” the airport alleges.

“The amount now outstanding (July-October) totals approximately $11.3 million which constitutes a material amount of revenue and is not sustainable,” the airport said.

Read: The world’s best airlines 2019

Perth Airport said that it had made numerous attempts to negotiate an outcome with Qantas, but these have failed to resolve the issue.

“Accordingly, to bring the issue to a head as soon as possible Perth Airport was forced to commence legal action against Qantas in the WA Supreme Court.”

Perth Airport assured the public that the legal action will not impact Qantas’s operations at the airport.

However, it warned that “failure to resolve the short payment of aeronautical charges by Qantas could have potential implications for Perth Airport’s ability to provide services and build additional capacity in the future to meet the needs of its airline partners and the traveling public.”

At risk is the much-touted Perth to Paris non-stop flight, the expansion of the airport and building of a third runway.

Qantas is also in a similar tussle with Darwin and Alice Springs airport, with the latter considering legal action.

But Qantas Domestic chief executive Andrew David said yesterday that the airline is “willing to pay fair and reasonable charges but want to ensure that our customers are not paying more in airport charges than is absolutely necessary.”

“Perth Airport is one of the most expensive domestic airports that we fly to in Australia,” said Mr David.

He added that “without agreement or reasonable justification, Perth Airport has been sending us invoices for higher fees and charges, when these were already too high, to begin with.”

 

 

Australian airlines to enforce carry-on luggage limits

Australian airlines

Australian airlines will be enforcing carry-on luggage limits from today to curb flight delays and eliminate health and safety issues for cabin crew.

Both Qantas and Virgin Australia are joining the low-cost airlines, Tiger and Jetstar in enforcing limits that have been in place for over 20 years but never policed.

The standard limit is 7kg and the bag size is a linear measurement of 115cm bag which is, for example, 56cm + 36cm + 23cm.

However, on the smaller Dash 8 aircraft the size is 105cm or 48cm + 34cm + 23cm.

This can be a tricky issue for passengers who for instance are traveling from Perth to Dubbo via Sydney as they will be moving from a larger 300-passengers A330 to a smaller Dash 8 or similar so the smaller bag size is the limiting factor.

SEE the spectacular video of the painting of All Nippon’s “turtle” A380

The crackdown on the carry-on baggage by Australian airlines has been forced on them because of the increasing amount being taken on as passengers try and avoid delays retrieving checked bags.

That extra carry-on and the resultant problems with stowage in the overhead bins is delaying flights both in boarding the also unloading.

With some aircraft in the Qantas and Virgin Australia fleets operating up to seven flights a day a 15-minute delay because of slow boarding can mean the last flight of the day may be running over an hour late.

Compounding the problem for Australian airlines is that Sydney Airport is a slot constrained airport with movements capped at 80 per hour.

If a flight is late getting away it may miss its slot and be delayed even longer, sometimes up to 30 minutes.

The other major factor is the weight of the carry-on bags with many passengers unable to lift more than 7kg above their heads and into the overhead bins.

This requires the fight attendants to become involved, raising serious health and safety issues.

One solution is that airlines allow a “personal item” as well and that can be a small thin bag to take your computer which can weigh over 2kg.

Also, those with expensive camera equipment should purchase a specific bag just to take the SLR and also those spare lithium batteries which must travel with you and not in the cargo hold.

Airlines will not be enforcing the limits on every flight but selected flights.

However, if you are clearly flouting the rules you will be pulled over.

Qantas launches world’s most sophisticated flight planner

Qantas
Qantas 787. Credit Richard Kreider

Qantas has developed the world’s most sophisticated flight plan system that will save the airline up to $40 million in fuel and make flights like the Perth to London non-stop even faster.

Called Constellation it models thousands of flight paths across millions of data points to determine the best route whilst accounting for time, aircraft capability, weather and external constraints such as closed airspace or weather events or even ash clouds.

Constellation replaces Qantas’s previous flight planning system Capricorn, which was in place for almost 30 years.

SEE the video of painting the ANA’s A380 turtle 

The new system has been designed from scratch in partnership with The Australian Centre for Field Robotics at The University of Sydney.

An airline spokesman said that the decision to design a bespoke system for Qantas was due to the fact that off the shelf solutions were unsuitable and didn’t account for Australia’s isolation.

“The previous system could only examine one user-defined route, at one flight level at one speed, the spokesman said.

Constellation is a 4D flight planning system, simultaneously using lateral, altitude, speed and weather to determine the best path out of thousands of options.

It is expected to cut the airline’s fuel bill by 0.6 percent each year or around $20 million and it’s envisaged the system could help Qantas cut fuel use by 1 percent, or $40 million a year.

Constellation works by assesses millions of data points to provide the best flight path as well as the optimal fuel plan.

Key is taking advantage of – or avoiding – winds and jet streams.

To do this, the system brings together data for the weather and underlying aeronautical navigation structures, the aircraft performance and a description of the mission itself.

Qantas is now developing additional optimization and functional capabilities to allow the system to be used by other group airlines or potentially other carriers.

Constellation is already in operating on the airline’s A380s and 747s and was just rolled out onto the 787s.

The airline’s A330 and 737 will get Constellation next year.

Qantas says that Constellation will also save 50,000,000 kgs of CO2 emissions each year.

An end to long security queues at airports on the horizon

security
Dr Mingkai Liu with the device. Credit ANU

Long and irritating airport security queues could be a thing of the past after an Australian University research team developed a revolutionary device that could be developed into ultra-sensitive cameras for security screening.

A research team led by The Australian National University (ANU) says that the breakthrough could also lead to smaller and safer sensors for driverless vehicles.

Lead researcher Dr. Mingkai Liu said the research had already led to a proof-of-concept prototype device and provisional patent.

READ: World’s safest airlines

The device is made with metasurfaces, which are ultra-compact complex structures that can control the direction of electromagnetic waves to perform highly advanced sensing functions says ANU.

According to Dr. Liu from the Nonlinear Physics Centre at the ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering the “device can sense the entire environment surrounding it with unprecedented precision – previously, multiple fixed sensors pointing towards different directions would be required to achieve this.”

Dr. Liu said the concept could benefit the development of super-sensitive cameras for security systems at airports.

“These future cameras could identify hazardous devices or dangerous chemicals in people’s carry-on baggage when they walk through an airport, without needing them to queue up and go through the various procedures that are necessary now,” he said.

“Unlike conventional cameras used in CCTV, this type of camera cannot recognize people’s faces.”

Dr. Liu said the concept could provide a new foundation for next-generation electromagnetic devices, including more compact sensors for driverless cars and other vehicles that can help to overcome the safety challenges encountered in today’s technologies.

These safety challenges include sensing hazards in rough weathers or narrow spaces.

The work, which involved the School of Engineering and Information Technology at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, is published in Physical Review X.

Thai AirAsia X passes major international safety audit

Thai AirAsia X

Bangkok-based Thai AirAsia X has passed a major international safety audit, the International Air Transport Association Operation Safety Audit (IOSA), that covers more than 1060 separate parameters.

Thai AirAsia X is a JV between Thai nationals Tassapon Bijleveld and Julpas Krueospon with 51% share and Air Asia X with 49%.

Thai AirAsia X operates 8 A330s to 7 destinations in Asia.

The operational safety audit is compulsory for IATA members and airlines that have completed the audit have a safety record almost four times better than those that have not.

See the video of ANA A380 superjumbo turtle being painted.

Now 427 airlines have completed the audit, which is renewed every two years.

The completion of the audit elevates the Thai operation from three stars to six-stars out of a possible seven-star safety rating with AirlineRatings.com.

The airline is the fifth in AirAsia Group to become IOSA accredited following AirAsia X Malaysia in 2015, AirAsia Indonesia in August 2018, AirAsia Malaysia in September 2018 and AirAsia Philippine in November 2018.

Nadda Buranasiri, Group CEO of AirAsia X, said the carrier’s completion of the IOSA accreditation process confirms the ongoing focus on continual improvement in the areas of operational and safety integrity and is a testament to the hard work of the whole team at AirAsia X Thailand.

“I would like to thank all our team members for their diligent and stringent work to ensure robust safety and service procedures that meet the highest world safety standards.  Our achievement of IOSA is a credit to all of your efforts and will instill further confidence amongst our passengers,” Mr. Nadda said.

IATA is a world-recognized aviation industry operations, management and standards control inspection and evaluation agency.  The IOSA accreditation process covers eight key areas, namely; corporate organization and management systems, flight operations, operational control – flight dispatch, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling, cargo operations, and operational security.

The awarding of the IOSA accreditation is expected to be a major boost for the airline.

The IOSA certification audit is an internationally recognized and accepted evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline.

The audit covers eight functional and operational areas: organization and management system, flight operations, operational control, and flight dispatch, aircraft engineering and maintenance, cabin operations, ground handling operations, cargo operations, and security management.

IOSA was introduced to stem the increasing number of crashes in the late 1990s and into the beginning of the last decade.

The AirAsia Group airlines fly to 165 destinations in 25 countries.

It has just ordered or reconfirmed orders for 100 A330s for its AirAsia X operation.

Also, it is evaluating Airbus’ long-range version of the  A321neo as it moves to target more destinations within a range of seven hours.

Powered by CFM International’s LAEP-1A engines, the A321neo LR,  is due to enter service in the fourth quarter of 2018 and is designed to carry up to 240 passengers 4000 nautical miles.

 

Tigerair Australia faces industrial action from pilots

Tigerair strike threat
A Tigerair Boeing 737. Photo: Bidgee CC-BY-SA/Wikicommons

faith and it looked fporaTravelers on Tigerair Australia could face pre-Christmas disruption after pilots voted to take protected industrial action over a pay deadlock

The Australian Federation of Air Pilots said more than 90 percent of its membership had voted for the action after an unsatisfactory pay offer in September.

The AFAP, which represents three-quarters of Tigerair pilots, said flight crew had not had a pay increase in more than two years and accused the company of stalling on new a new enterprise bargaining agreement.

The action will take place between  December 21 and December 24  and during that time the pilots will adopt three work bans.

They will refuse to fly jets with minor, non-safety related (‘deferred’) defects; refuse to start work within 90 minutes of being called in from stand-by; and conduct in-air go-slows by not exceeding certain speeds or taking route short-cuts.

“After two years of bargaining, the decision to take protected industrial action was not made lightly,” AFAP industrial officer James Lauchland said.

“The industrial action will not be conducted on Christmas Day or Boxing Day, as the federation’s members want to ensure passengers can travel to be with their families and friends”

Tigerair is owned by Virgin Australia and operates almost 500 weekly flights to capital cities and holiday destinations.

Although the industrial action does not target Christmas Day and Boxing Day, the lead up to Christmas and the days following the break are the busier travel days.

A Tigerair spokeswoman said the airline continued to negotiate in good faith and it looked forward  to “reaching a mutually beneficial outcome as soon as possible”.

Air New Zealand averted a Christmas strike that could have affected the travel plans of more than 100,000 passengers after reaching an agreement this week with unions representing its aircraft maintenance and logistics workers.

SEE Relief for 120,000 as Air New Zealand Xmas strike averted.

 

 

 

 

Lion Air funds new search for cockpit voice recorder

Lion Air question
Searchers sort through debris from the Lion Air crash. Photo: Seven News

Lion Air is reportedly paying $US2.8 million to fund a new search to  locate the cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage of the Boeing 737 MAX that smashed into the sea near Jakarta.

The ABC reported that a specialized ship would be brought in Monday to conduct a 10 day to search a section of sea floor where the fuselage of Lion Air Flight 610 the plane is believed to be buried in mud.

The unusual situation comes as bodies are still missing and the window for detecting a signal from the CVR will close soon.

The decision by Lion Air to fund the return comes as Reuters revealed earlier this week that bureaucratic wrangling and funding problems had hampered the search for the missing black box.

Read Questions raised about maintenance on Lion Air flight.

A source at the Indonesian air safety investigator told the news agency it did not have the funds to rent the search ship.

Investigators have retrieved the flight data recorder and issued a preliminary report on the sequence of events leading up to the crash.

The CVR is needed to give more insight into how the flight crew reacted to problems with the aircraft’s angle of attack sensors and stabilizer trim system.

A crew the previous night experienced similar problems but landed safely after shutting down the automatic trim system according to procedures.

However, the crew on the fatal flight appeared to fight the system until the end.

Families of some of the 189 people killed in the October 29 disaster held a protest rally in Jakarta on Thursday calling for the remains of all passengers to be recovered.

US lawyers representing families of victims have also called for manufacturer Boeing to contribute to the search for the CVR.

That would also be unusual but there is a precedent where European plane-maker Airbus helped fund the search for Air France 447 after it dived into the sea while traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009.

The co-founder of Lion Air, Rusdi Kirana, has talked about cutting future 737 orders as result of the crash.

 

 

 

 

Emirates looks to new horizons as it takes its last B777-300ER

Emirfates final Boeing 777-300ER
The last Emirates Boeing 777-300Er on its delivery flight. Photo: Emirates.

After 146 deliveries, Emirates is closing the doors on the Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that has been synonymous with its extraordinary expansion.

The Dubai-based carrier this week took delivery of its last Boeing 777-300ER, A6-EQPO, as it switches to the latest variants of massively popular twin-engine widebody.

Now the world’s biggest operator of Boeing 777 aircraft, Emirates received its 777-300ER in March 2005. The arrival of the final plane will bring its overall 777 fleet to 190 aircraft.

The figures associated with the fleet are impressive: the airline’s 777s have carried close to 350 million passengers on more than 1.28 million flights and covered over 6.6 billion kilometres — or more than 8600 return trips to the moon — since 1996.

It is the only airline to have operated all six 777 variants, including the Boeing 777-F dedicated freighter, and has taken one out of every eight of the planes manufactured by Boeing. That figure drops to one in five when it comes to the -300ER.

“The Boeing 777-300ER has been a cornerstone of Emirates’ success story as the world’s largest international airline,’’ Emirates president Tim Clark said.

“The aircraft’s efficiency, range and payload capabilities have enabled us to connect our customers across six continents to and through Dubai, and offer them a flight experience that is second to none.

“With 140 of these aircraft in our fleet, the Boeing 777-300ER will continue to play an integral role in our operations and facilitating global tourism and trade opportunities in the years to come.”

Sir Tim said Emirates had worked closely with Boeing on the 777 program over the last three decades and it would build on the partnership as it started taking the latest 777-8 and 77-9 program from 2020.

Emirates 35 Boeing 777-8s and 115 Boeing 777-9s on order. It also a massive operator of the Airbus A380.

Even before the new planes arrive, however, The Dubai carrier boasts one of the world’s youngest aircraft fleets with an average of 5.87 years as it pursues a strategy of maximizing efficiency.

It also continues to invest in product and services, recently unveiling new cabins for its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft that include fully-enclosed First Class private suites as well as newly-designed seats and improved inflight entertainment.

It has also started a program to reconfigure its 10 Boeing 777-200LR aircraft with wider business class seats as well as a refreshed economy class.

Read: Emirates wins long-haul accolade once again.

Also this week,  Boeing delivered its 787th Boeing 787 to leasing company Aercap.

The aircraft will be leased and operated by China Southern and sports a special livery commemorating the production milestone.

Boeing 787th Boing 787
The 787th Boeing 787. Photo: Boeing

“Since its first delivery in September, 2011, the 787 family has flown nearly 300 million passengers on more than 1.5 million flights around the world, including more than 210 new nonstop routes made possible by the airplane’s superior fuel efficiency and range,’’ Boeing said.

 

 

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