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This could be the dramatic picture if airport computer systems go down, but fear not, it's a picture from a previous Farnborough Air Show. Farnborough Air Show 2018 (35 minutes by rail to London) will be held in July. New permanent exhibition halls and conference centre complex is already open on site, and for hire, by all accounts very busy so get in early! Enquiries to 01252 532800

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http://www.freelancedirectory.org/?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment Julian Bray provides: Opinion, comment, forward thinking speculation, keynote presentations and workshops for corporate organisations on Travel, Cruise & Aviation: conflict zones, terrorist impact, cybercrime and DoS issues, drone (UAV) issues, safety (black boxes, emergencies), airline operations, aviation finance, political implications, and all forms of incident risk. He operated at board level with several airline and aviation groups, including Alitalia, British Island Airways, British Airways, Galileo , British Aerospace, Skyways, former CEO City firm Leadenhall Assoc. (PR WEEK TOP 150) Founder CNS City News Service. Director NTN Television News (joint co. with ITV Wales TWW) Debretts People 2017 and featured in launch edition of PRWeek Black Book. Investigative Journalist and Broadcaster. After-dinner speaker and presenter. NUJ LIFE MEMBER & FULL EQUITY MEMBER.

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Friday, 4 May 2018

Uninvited Royal Wedding Guests Not Welcome - Official Alert for restricted airspace (temporary)


Categories: Air displays and events, Air traffic control, Airspace alerts, Balloons, Commercial pilot helicopter, Drones, Flight training private, Gliders, Microlights, Private pilot aeroplane, Private pilot helicopter

Alert for restricted airspace (temporary)

Restriction of Flying Regulations for Royal Wedding at Windsor Castle on 19 and 20 May 2018.
Details by NOTAM and in AIC M021/2018 at http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com. Restrictions also apply to the operation of all drones.
SW2018/70





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IATA REPORT : Passenger Demand Accelerates in March, Load Factor Sets Another Record

IATA
Passenger Demand Accelerates in March, Load Factor Sets Another Record
    
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) announced global passenger traffic results for March 2018 showing that demand (measured in revenue passenger kilometers, or RPKs) rose 9.5%, compared to the same month a year ago, the fastest pace in 12 months. Capacity (available seat kilometers, or ASKs) grew 6.4% and load factor climbed 2.3 percentage points to 82.4%, which set a record for the month, following on the record set in February. All regions except for the Middle East posted record load factors.
"Demand for air travel remains strong, supported by the comparatively healthy economic backdrop and business confidence levels. But rising cost inputs—particularly fuel prices—suggest that any demand boosts from lower fares will moderate going into the second quarter," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.     
March 2018
(% year-on-year)
World share¹
RPK
ASK
PLF
(%-pt)²         
PLF
(level)³ 
        
Total Market
100.0%
9.5%
6.4%
2.3%      
82.4%
Africa
2.2%
6.1%
2.7%
2.3%
71.6%
Asia Pacific
33.7%      
12.0%
9.1%
2.1%
82.3%
Europe
26.5%
9.5%
6.1%
2.6%
83.9%
Latin America
5.2%
8.5%
6.8%      
1.3%
81.3%
Middle East
9.5%
10.6%
4.2%      
4.4%
76.6%
North America
23.0%      
6.3%      
4.1%
1.7%
85.3%
   ¹% of industry RPKs in 2017   ²Year-on-year change in load factor   ³Load factor level   
International Passenger Markets
March international passenger demand rose 10.6% compared to March 2017, which was up from 7.4% year-over-year growth recorded in February. All regions showed strong increases. Total capacity climbed 6.6%, and load factor improved 2.9 percentage points to 81.5%.
  • Asia-Pacific airlines’ traffic soared 11.6% in March, compared to the year-ago period. Passenger traffic is continuing to trend upwards, supported by strong regional economic growth and ongoing expansion in the number of airport-pair options for travelers. Capacity increased 8.2%, and load factor rose 2.5 percentage points to 80.9%.
  • European carriers saw March traffic climb 9.8% over March 2017, up from 6.9% annual growth in February. Business confidence in the most-open countries in the region has been hit by trade tensions in recent months, but economic conditions remain broadly supportive. As with Asia-Pacific region, demand is also being stimulated by increases in the number of nonstop airport-pairs. March capacity rose 6.4% and load factor was up 2.6 percentage points to 84.6%, highest among regions.
  • Middle East carriers’ traffic jumped 10.7% in March, much improved from the 4.1% year-over-year increase recorded in February. This reflects healthy growth in the market between the Middle East and Asia. Demand also shows signs of stabilization on Middle East to North America routes, following the disruption caused in the first half of 2017 by the now-lifted ban on large portable electronic devices, as well as a wider impact stemming from the proposed travel restrictions to the US. Capacity increased 4.3%, and load factor jumped 4.4 percentage points to 76.7%.
  • North American airlines posted a 9.5% traffic rise in March compared to the year-ago period, well above the 5-year average growth rate of 3.6%. Capacity climbed 4.9% and load factor was up 3.5 percentage points to 83.5%, which was the second highest among the regions. The weakening US dollar is having a positive effect on inbound traffic, while the comparatively robust domestic economic backdrop is supporting outbound demand.
  • Latin American airlines had an 11.8% increase in March traffic, which was the largest increase among the regions for a third month in a row. March capacity climbed 10.0% compared to a year ago, and load factor edged up 1.3 percentage points to 81.8%. Traffic continues to recover from the disruptions caused by the harsh hurricane season in the third quarter of 2017, driven in part by economic recovery in Brazil.
  • African airlines continued to enjoy very strong demand as well, with traffic up 11.2% compared to March 2017, which was more than twice the 5-year average pace of 4.8%. Airlines here are seeing healthy growth on routes to/from Europe and Asia, while the region’s two largest economies—Nigeria and South Africa—continue to improve. Capacity climbed 6.7%, and load factor strengthened 2.9 percentage points to 71.0%.
Domestic Passenger Markets       
Domestic demand rose 7.8% in March, which was a slight deceleration from 8.2% growth recorded in February, driven primarily by developments in the US market. Domestic capacity climbed 6.2%, and load factor lifted 1.3 percentage points to 84.0%.    
March 2018
(% year-on-year)       
World share¹
RPK
ASK
PLF     
(%-pt)²     
PLF
(level)³  
Domestic
36.2%     
7.8%
6.2%    
1.3%      
84.0% 
Australia
0.9%
3.6%
0.0%
2.7%
78.9%
Brazil 
1.2%
2.3%
0.8%
1.2%
80.2%
China P.R             
9.1%
15.0%
13.8%       
0.9%
85.2%             
India             
1.4%
27.9%
18.1%
6.7%
87.8%
Japan             
1.1%
0.9%
1.2%             
-0.2%
74.7%
Russian Fed.             
1.4%
5.9%         
3.1% 
2.1%           
78.1%
US
14.5%
4.7%      
3.7%
0.8%
86.5%
¹% of industry RPKs in 2017   ²Year-on-year change in load factor   ³Load factor level  *Note: the seven domestic passenger markets for which broken-down data are available account for 30% of global total RPKs and approximately 82% of total domestic RPKs                               
  • US domestic growth slowed to 4.7% in March, compared to 6.1% year-over-year growth recorded in February. This had been anticipated and relates more to traffic trends last year than to any specific weakening in the US market.
  • China’s domestic traffic grew 15% in March compared to the year-ago period. This was the strongest pace in five months and is being supported by growth in the services sector.
The Bottom line      
"The strong first quarter provides healthy momentum heading into the peak travel period in the Northern Hemisphere. Benign economic conditions are supporting—and being supported by—good demand for air travel. It’s a mutually-beneficial effect that smart governments recognize and encourage, by embracing affordable, quality aviation infrastructure and reasonable commercial regulation. But we need to deliver that message every day. The setback to modernizing air traffic management in the US, and a proposal to stop construction of the new airport in Mexico, are reminders of that fact," said de Juniac.     
View full March passenger traffic analysis
     
Notes for Editors:
  • IATA (International Air Transport Association) represents some 280 airlines comprising 83% of global air traffic.
  • You can follow us at http://twitter.com/iata2press for news specially catered for the media.
  • All figures are provisional and represent total reporting at time of publication plus estimates for missing data. Historic figures may be revised.
  • Domestic RPKs accounted for about 36% of the total market. It is most important for North American airlines as it is about 66% of their operations. In Latin America, domestic travel accounts for 46% of operations, primarily owing to the large Brazilian market. For Asia-Pacific carriers, the large markets in India, China and Japan mean that domestic travel accounts for 45% of the region’s operations. It is less important for Europe and most of Africa where domestic travel represents just 11% and 14% of operations, respectively. And it is negligible for Middle Eastern carriers for whom domestic travel represents just 4% of operations.
  • Explanation of measurement terms:
    • RPK: Revenue Passenger Kilometers measures actual passenger traffic
    • ASK: Available Seat Kilometers measures available passenger capacity
    • PLF: Passenger Load Factor is % of ASKs used.
  • IATA statistics cover international and domestic scheduled air traffic for IATA member and non-member airlines.
  • Total passenger traffic market shares by region of carriers in terms of RPK are: Asia-Pacific 33.7%, Europe 26.5%, North America 23.0%, Middle East 9.5%, Latin America 5.2%, and Africa 2.2%.   



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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 flight 1380 from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Dallas Lovefield (DAL) made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)


Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-700 flight 1380 from New York LaGuardia (LGA) to Dallas Lovefield (DAL) made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) as the aircraft suffered damage mid-flight.

At least one passenger was fatally injured, according to  reports.

The accident occurred as debris from disintegrating  engine shattered an aircraft window, causing depressurization and fatally injuring a female passenger. The passenger was sucked through the shattered window when the cabin rapidly depressurised, but pulled back in by other passengers.

Damage to the left aircraft engine its fuselage and a window were later confirmed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

During a press conference called by the NTSB it emerged that part of an CFM-56 aero engine had disintegrated and that blade number 13 (one of 24 blades) had broken off at the base or hub and this is probably suggest the NTSC, due to metal fatigue, The cockpit voice recorder had been recovered and is now on the way to Washington Dc for a full download and report by next Monday, a preliminary decoding of the voice traffic revealed that the female first pilot had called for an emergency landing as all types of alarms were sounding and that number one engine had been shut down. The aircraft was continuing on just one functional engine. An emergency landing at the first available airport was requested and the aircraft emergency landed at speed with flaps set at 5 rather than the normal 30 to 40 setting.  There were 144 passengers and 5 crew on board.

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Thursday, 12 April 2018

March report of the IATA Airlines Financial Monitor.

               


 

IATA
 
March report of the IATA Airlines Financial Monitor.
Key points:   
  • The final data for Q4 2017 confirms the stabilisation in airline financials in 2H17. The industry-wide EBIT profit margin was a robust 8.7% of revenues in Q4 2017 – effectively unchanged from Q4 2016.
  • The broad-based global equity market sell-off in March also impacted airline shares, although the 2% decline for airlines was less than the market generally (down 2.4%). Looking through the monthly volatility, airline shares have risen by 22% over the past year, easily outpacing the overall equity market (up almost 13%).
  • Oil prices rose in March, recovering some of the ground lost in February. Although jet fuel prices were largely unchanged this month, both oil & jet prices are currently around 30% higher than their level of a year ago.
  • As the 2018 Lunar New Year disruption in the data clears, both passenger and freight demand remains robust. Industry-wide capacity is now growing broadly in line with the pace of demand growth.
  • The premium cabin accounted for 5.3% of total international origin-destination passenger traffic but almost 30% of revenues in January, highlighting the importance of the premium cabin for airline finances.
View full report































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Wednesday, 11 April 2018

UK RAIL INDUSTRY AWARDS HIT SOUR NOTE AS TERROR STUNT BACKFIRES AND COMIC HOST 'TURNS THE AIR BLUE'


....and as for your quip about the 'Fat Controller' tell Rufus and his hound, they can stay in there with you...
The UK Rail Industry Awards (UKRIA) organiser
has apologised after they staged an all too realistic mock terror incident during this year’s ceremony.

The event held at Battersea Evolution was also on the first anniversary of the Westminster Bridge attack. The terror stunt re-enactment featured film stunt persons abseiling down from the ceiling.

The terrified guests who paid substantial fees to book tables were critical of host Rufus Hound's 'off-message potty-mouth laden joke' routine, only capped by women 'wearing provocative leather outfits'....

Simon Rennie, general manager National Training Academy for Rail (NTAR), writing in Rail Technology Magazine: "Re-enacting terrorism allied to foul-mouthed hosting encapsulated violence, bullying, placing individuals under duress and crass gender-stereotyping."

Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail, called it "a deeply upsetting event", whilst several tweets hit social media.

“#UKRIA2018 providing a fake terrorist attack as “entertainment” in year following #LondonBridge & #MENArena tragedies (which saw huge acts of courage & compassion by @BTP & #railstaff) shows (at best) crass insensitivity & an appalling error of judgment by @UKRIAnews & @rtmnews”.

Its reported that both Network Rail and Chiltern Railways returned their awards.


 Roy V Rowlands, MD of UKRIA, issued an apology expressed deep regret about the “disappointing” content in both live acts at the awards.

“The entertainment we chose was a huge disappointment for us and a proportion of our guests. The organising committee and I unreservedly apologise for our poor judgement of the entertainment we chose for the event. These decisions were made by the organising committee alone, of which I chair.


“I am deeply saddened by the foul language and sexist remarks used by the evening’s host ( Rufus Hound) and actors of the live action stunt show. I can assure you that this content was most certainly not in the script and does not reflect the values and opinions of UKRIA, Rail Technology Magazine and its owners and employees of Cognitive Publishing Ltd.

“Formal complaints have been submitted to both the host and the stunt performers expressing our deep concerns. Overlooking the anniversary of the Westminster attacks was a deeply unfortunate oversight on our part and for that we unreservedly apologise. In hindsight, even if the act had been the fun, comedic skit we had requested it still would have been inappropriate.”


He added that he intended to donate to funds that have been set up for the London Westminster Bridge attack, the Manchester Arena attack and the campaigners for Women’s Rights charity the Fawcett Society.



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BREAKING NEWS: RUSSIAN BUILT ILYUSHIN 176 TRANSPORT PLANE CRASH UPTO 250 FEARED DEAD

Source: Radio Algeria
 UPDATE: It is now being reported by aviation expert Julian Bray on FRANCE 24 that local sources are suggesting the number of fatalities has risen to around 250
 
An Ilyushin I76 military transport plane operated by the Algerian air force has crashed on April 11, 2018 at Boufarik military airport (ICAO: DAAK), near Algiers, capital of Algeria (North Africa) reports the TSA Algeria.
 
The plane was heading to Bechar according to local sources.
 
More than 200 military personnel said to be on board. First reports suggest there are few if any survivors.


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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Enter Airbus' new super-transporter the 'Ugly Bug' - Beluga XL ....

Enter Airbus' new super-transporter the 'Ugly Bug' - Beluga XL ....

 
Airbus is building a new version of the 'Ugly Bug' super-transporter Beluga XL which will eventually replace manufacturer’s current fleet of A300-600ST Belugas in service since 1992. Airbus Beluga XL is set to enter into service in 2019.
 
The new cargo model is now one of the largest in the world and will have 30% more capacity. The Beluga XL will be 63 meters long with a wingspan of 60 meters and carry more than 50 tons of cargo. They plan to build five Beluga XL models and then over time phase out its current fleet of super-transporters.
 
Beluga XL is the third generation of Airbus transport aircraft. According to the company, “It was necessary to launch a new apparatus, the current ones arriving at the limit of capacity. Airbus had the choice to produce more current models, or to create a new one, from a more modern aircraft,”
 
Airbus uses its fleet of giant Beluga models to transport cargo, mainly for their other aircraft’s major components, such as complete wings and sections of fuselage.
 
The super-transporter carries parts from the factories where they’re built to final assembly lines in Germany, France and China.
 
"Our program is evolving. Today, the Beluga cannot load two wings of an A350 at the same time. We must send them one by one in the cargo bay, lying at 45 degrees. This doubles our transportation costs,” Bertrand George, director of the Beluga XL told Ouest France.
 
The sky beasts are essential to Airbus supply chain – flying six days a week, air transport is still less expensive and more flexible than moving the components by road.
 
When asked, why Airbus uses decentralized manufacturing model, director of aerospace at Cranfield University, Professor Iain Gray told BBC that "Airbus pioneered the system of having centres of excellence around Europe - now around the world. You've got skilled labour, shared investment, and the ability to draw in local expertise - the benefits of a distributed model are well proven."
 

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Friday, 6 April 2018

IATA Launches New Global Certification Program to Improve Safety and Welfare of Animals Travelling by Air


IATA
       IATA Launches New Global Certification Program to Improve Safety and Welfare of Animals Travelling by Air
 
               
Geneva - The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has launched a new standardized global certification program to improve the safety and welfare of animals travelling by air.

The Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators for Live Animals Logistics (CEIV Live Animals) provides stakeholders across the air cargo supply chain with the assurance that CEIV Live Animals certified companies are operating to the highest standards in the transport of live animals.

"Last year millions of animals travelled safely and securely by air. Animal owners and shippers rely heavily on airlines to carry their precious cargo. As an industry, we have a duty of care to ensure that standards and best practices are in place around the world to protect the welfare of these animals.

For those shipping live animals the CEIV Live Animals program will provide a reliable quality benchmark. Just as CEIV Pharma helped provide quality standards for temperature sensitive healthcare shipments, the new program extends that expertise to the important field of transporting and handling of animals," said Nick Careen IATA’s Senior Vice President of Airport, Passenger, Cargo and Security.

Handling and transporting live animals is challenging. Each type of animal has its specific requirements—not limited to the physical. It is critical to take into consideration the emotional response of the animals when placed in a special-purpose, if unfamiliar, environment by trained professionals.

These were prerequisites for the development of the CEIV Live Animals program which is based on the IATA Live Animals Regulations (LAR), the worldwide standard for transporting animals by air.

The IATA LAR are based on professional and operational input from industry experts, including veterinarians, animal welfare experts as well as government agencies involved in the regulation of animal transportation and non-governmental organizations with an interest in animal transportation.

The CEIV Live Animals program increases the level of competency, operations, quality management and professionalism in the handling and transportation of live animals in the air freight industry while reinforcing training and compliance across the supply chain.

Independent validators conduct training and onsite audits to ensure the animals’ safety and welfare when travelling by air across the world.


Live Pilots

Understanding the complex needs of stakeholders involved in the handling and transportation of animals by air was also key in developing the program.

The City of London’s Heathrow Animal Reception Centre (HARC) and Air Canada Cargo played a key role in helping to pilot the CEIV Live Animal program.

Robert Quest, Assistant Director, Port Health and Public Protection, HARC said, "Last year some 16,000 dogs and cats, 400 horses, 200,000 reptiles, 2,000 birds and 28 million fish travelled through HARC.

"Ensuring the safety and welfare of these animals is our main priority. So partnering with IATA to develop the CEIV Live Animals program was important to us.

We look forward to continuing to work closely with IATA to further enhance the program and support its worldwide adoption by companies across the supply chain in the pursuit of operational excellence in the handling and transport of live animals by air."

Air Canada Cargo, Vice President Tim Strauss said, "Whether it is a family relocating with their pet, a flock of sheep relocating overseas or zoo animals travelling to support conservation efforts, transporting animals by air is a complex and highly planned operation. Ensuring that animals travel in safe, healthy and humane conditions requires coordination across the supply chain. Air Canada Cargo is delighted to be part of the CEIV Live Animals program."

Endangered Species Also Addressed

CEIV Live Animals also focuses on the importance to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) requirements including the CITES Guidelines for the Non-Air Transport of Live Wild Animals and Plants available in the LAR. CITES is the legally-binding agreement with 183 Parties (182 States and the EU), regulating international trade in more than 36,000 species of animals and plants.


"Worldwide international standards and regulations govern the safety and welfare of animals being transport by air. The CEIV Live Animals program helps to ensure that any legitimately traded wildlife adheres to the IATA standards and CITES requirements and we welcome its development.

It is through industry working cooperatively together that can we can most effectively implement these agreed standards and requirements, and also identify and tackle illegal trade in wildlife" said John E Scanlon, the Secretary General of CITES.      
 
Source: IATA

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Wednesday, 4 April 2018

EUROCONTROL OUTAGE CANS 50% of EUROPEAN FLIGHTS

 

 
Air passengers throughout Europe suffered delays, cancellations and disruption after the failure of a new flight plan processing system at European network manager Eurocontrol.
 
The outage affecting around 50% of the days scheduled flights, major airports on mainland Europe were at a standstill. Eurocontrol says it has since fixed the problem and suggests it posed no safety issues....
.
The European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, commonly known as Eurocontrol, said in a press release on April 3, 2018, that “there has been a failure of the Enhanced Tactical Flow Management System (ETFMS), with also an impact on the associated flight plan system.”
 
Pilots and air-traffic controllers across Europe were reportedly told: “All attempts to reactivate ETFMS proved unsuccessful.”
 
The agency, which coordinates air traffic for 41 member states, also said that the issue with the system had been identified and assured that contingency procedures were put in place.
 
However, the measures would have “the effect of reducing the capacity of the European network by approximately 10%”. This is because when the ETFMS fails, the rest of the system compensates by reducing the number of planes per airport allowed to take off to just 10 per hour, rolling out the restriction in stages.
 
The ETFMS system is central to the flow management function of Eurocontrol and manages around 30,000 flights a day. It is designed to match traffic demand from airlines with the available capacity of a certain air traffic control (ATC) sector. When airlines file flight plans, the system calculates a pathway according to data on available airspace and allocates slots accordingly, The Independent explains.
 
Due to the outage, flight plans filed by airlines before 10:26 UTC were lost, leading to restrictions on the number of departures at airports across Europe. “Today 29,500 flights were expected in the European network. Approximately half of those could have some delay as a result of the system outage,” Eurocontrol said in the statement.
 
The UK's busiest airport, Heathrow (LHR), said there was no impact on its operations, meanwhile, around 59% of departing flights at Gatwick airport (LGW) were delayed between 3pm and 4pm local time, according to data company FlightStats.
 
Airports including Amsterdam’s Schiphol (AMS), Brussels (BRU), Prague (PRG), Copenhagen (CPH) and Helsinki (HEL) also warned travellers that delays could occur. Travelers in France were hit particularly hard since the country is experiencing strikes by Air France employees and other unions.
 
Eurocontrol announced the resumption of operations later in the day on April 3, 2018. “As of 18:00 UTC, following the resumption of the ETFMS, the EUROCONTROL Network Manager has restarted normal flow management operations… after extensive internal testing and in coordination with airports, airlines and air traffic control across Europe and beyond,” the agency said in a statement.
We can confirm that all our systems are now up and running normally. We are doing a full analysis of what happened so that lessons can be learned. Our sincere apologies to all those affected.
— EUROCONTROL (@eurocontrol) April 4, 2018
According to Eurocontrol, the ETFMS outage did not affect air traffic control (ATC) and there were no safety implications. The agency also claims that in over 20 years of operation, the system has only had one other outage which occurred in 2001.
 
We've helpfully suggested next time they pull the plug out of the wall with 5 minutes and switch the system back on ... 


@JULIANBRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlogwww.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476
 

Saturday, 31 March 2018

ROUND TWO: IS STANSTED AIRPORT SAFE AND FIT FOR PURPOSE? CLEARLY NOT AS SHUTTLE BENDY BUS FIRE CAUSES MASS EVACUATION WITH PASSENGERS FLEEING AIRSIDE

Courtesy: Essex Fire & Rescue Service

Julian Bray Aviation Security Expert writes: Yet again the focus is on Stansted, and for all the wrong reasons. This time an airport car park extra-long bendy shuttle bus burst into flames, alarmingly just yards from the entrance to the one and only air terminal building, and on Good Friday one of the busiest days/ weekends of the year....

Brad Miller the Chief Operating Officer jumped to the defence of the airport staff, but in reality Stansted has a fraction of the floating customer care support staff directly employed by the airport that Heathrow has. It chiefly relies on the - at arms-length -  goodwill of airline employed or airline sub contracted ground crew.

Clearly this time the major emergency plan was severely compromised - and for good measure recorded by television for posterity - as passengers still with their luggage (why?) fled from the enclosed smoke filled terminal breaching security areas to escape the acrid smoke caused by the fire from one overworked and decidedly ancient shuttle bus. I know as I've experienced them...

Fire sale?
 
 
Transport for London phased out their bendy buses as they kept breaking down and prone to fires...
Could it be the Stansted bus company acquired some of these ex TFL bendy-bus disposals at a knock-down price ???


The problem is compounded as Stansted is supposed to be the UK's top security airport - hijacked and intercept suspect aircraft are sent/forced down here for police and military inspection, but time and time again we hear of passenger handling problems. Last time it was the raft of Ryanair cancellations and backing up of flights unleashing opposing sets of passengers all trying to get to opposite ends of the same corridor.

At the time CEO Brad Miller said they would learn lessons, so perhaps the next review needs to be much wider and some significant money spent on it? The airport is owned by the Manchester Airport Group and when we last suggested Manchester might like to send some experts in to sort out Stansted, you would have thought the roof had fallen in, there were howls of derision from Stansted press officers. This time, well over a 100 flights diverted or cancelled and thousands of passengers of all ages, subjected to possible smoke inhalation from a burning bus that could not be moved.

I guarantee if this had happened in any other major airport that burning wreck would have been contained and moved much, much sooner. Some other airports employ heat/cctv activated 'halo' drenching systems that would automatically douse any flaming object in high security risk areas.  

The smart money might suggest, why was the defective shuttle bus routinely allowed so near a high density enclosed terminal building? Simply the airport in volume terms has grown but some legacy facilities are still back in the stone age, not fit for current and future volumes of expected traffic and increased passenger flows. Clearly to reroute the bus lanes would temporarily interrupt lucrative revenue and passenger flows from traditional long established parking areas.

Accepted hindsight is a great thing, but it cannot be beyond the wit of wo/man to install a weather covered travellator (moving walkway) so buses can safely offload and load at a 'satellite' station? Well away from the major security risk that is Stansteds only air terminal, hemmed in on all sided by motorised highly combustible equipment...

As before there will be an enquiry, but once the dust has settled, and a few tweaks made, Stansted will relapse into the cash cow it has now become. Clearly some may opine the current head of public safety needs an urgent career change? Possibly a refresher course? Even a quick move into a less stressful occupation? possibly ensuring the sand is at the correct level in red painted fire buckets and the hand operated stirrup water pumps are all lined up like soldiers...who knows? 

What will it take for Stansted to take ownership; of this appalling lapse of security and basic operations? Will, the bus company have its maintenance records checked? Why did the bus burst into flames? Why were passengers decanted airside? Why was no clearly defined emergency plan in place? If it was, how did they allow all (or was it some?) passengers to take their luggage into a secure airside area? Should the cases not have been dumped passenger side on security grounds?

Then its a matter of catch up, airline staff tasked with rebooking or dealing with stressed out passengers. Clearly Stansted is chronically understaffed (they will dispute this, but people cost money and that affects profitability). Hopefully Mr Miller will share with us the answers, before the airport slips down the favoured list, and airlines come to a like conclusion...


@JULIANBRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlogwww.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

March 2018 Current AAIB field investigations



@JULIANBRAY +44(0)1733 345581, Journalist & Broadcaster, Aviation Security & Airline Operations Analyst/expert, ... http://feeds.feedburner.com/BraysDuckhouseBlogwww.aviationcomment.com,  ... http://www.freelancedirectory.org/user.php?user=8121  ... www.freelancedirectory.org?name=Julian.Bray.aviation.comment,   ... Aviation / Travel / Maritime & Cruise Industries, NUJ, EQUITY, LIVE ISDN LINK, Broadcast ISDN COOBE ++44 (0)1733 345020 ... SKYPE: JULIAN.BRAY.UK e&oe Old faithful NOKIA: 07944 217476
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