Thursday, February 26, 2015

Airline Shortcomings as an Indicator of Progress

Two U.S. airlines made headlines on Wednesday; Dallas based-Southwest Airlines generated ink when it reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that it failed to do required rudder inspections on 128 of its Boeing 737s. Meantime at the Chicago Headquarters of United, public relations executives were trying to slow heavy media breathing over a letter sent by the airline’s safety and operations honchos to United pilots, warning them to be careful up there.

Should the traveling public be concerned? 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Government Helps Airlines Shift Security Costs to Passengers

Airlines got a $373 million dollar gift from the government when it eliminated the Aviation Security Infrastructure Fee last year. What with the slide in fuel prices, these 37 U.S. and 71 foreign airlines have to be feeling pretty flush right now.

The fee, called ASIF was imposed after 9-11 so that airlines would contribute to the government takeover of airport security - which up until the terror attacks was the airlines' responsibility. In exchange for getting out from under the ASIF fee, I am told, airlines agreed to drop their opposition to doubling the security fee that air travelers pay.  

Friday, February 6, 2015

Aussie Pilot Writes the Airbus Rap

Writing a book is not all about writing. This weekend, I've added  Boeing Versus Airbus, the 2007 John Newhouse book about, yeah, that's right and Kenny Kemp's Flight of the Titans Airbus A380 vs. Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which I just downloaded on my Kindle, to my reading list. This will fill my Saturday and Sunday and both books may end up in the bibliography of The Crash Detectives.

That's a lot of reading even for a snowy weekend, so in order to get started, I'm leaving the Flying Lessons wordsmithing to my Aussie friend Stephen Tomkins, a former Boeing pilot who now flies the Airbus. His "rap" on his conversion comes from his blog at

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lower Fuel Costs Good/News Bad News for Hawaiian

Hawaiian Airlines at New York
For every up there's a down, and no industry knows that better than the airlines. No, I'm not talking about takeoffs and landings, but the good news/bad news of declining fuel prices. 

As an airline, Hawaiian may have spent an unduly long time on the ground. It formed in 1929 but when commercial aviation reached its mid-century heyday it was the Pan Ams and the Uniteds and not Hawaiian that was lifting travelers by the plane full.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Benefit of Experience Seems Lacking in Air Asia Recovery

When Air Asia first learned it had lost flight 8501, en route from Surabaya to Singapore on December 28th, the airline was somewhat prepared; its communications department had recently attended an IATA event focused entirely on handling crises in the digital age. 

It would not be the first airline to lose an airplane, or even the first to have one mysteriously disappear in some vast expanse of ocean. Why not learn from the experience of others? The benefits seem clear, at least as far as the airline is concerned. The same cannot be said for Indonesia's government.