Friday, June 13, 2014

Restaurants at Detroit Metro Airport could see layoffs in August

In compliance with the Federal WARN Act (Public Law 100-379), HMS Host Corp. notified Michigan's Workforce Development Agency that on or about Aug. 15, the company will order layoffs at its Detroit operations located at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

These layoffs will occur as a result of a loss of contract and no new contracts have been awarded to HMS Host at Detroit Metropolitan Airport,” the company said in a letter received Thursday. “This will result in a permanent closure of the Chili's Too, Jose Cuervo Tequileria, Home Team Sports and the Starbucks Fountain. This is expected to cause loss of employment for approximately 135 employees unless the new contract holder decides to offer the displaced associates new positions.”

Job titles and number of affected employees

Union Hourly Employees
  • Utility worker: 12
  • Hostesses: 5
  • Cooks: 29
  • Fast Food attendant: 4
  • Servers: 39
  • Bartenders: 19
  • Barista: 8
Non-Union Hourly/Salaried Employees
  • Shift Supervisor 9
  • Management 9
  • Office Clerk 1

A deep look into the FAA's drone issue

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is struggling to come up with regulations to control commercial drones in the country's airspace. But the rampant commercial usage of drones continues to cloud the issue, with the FAA asserting its authority without any clear regulations regarding the use of drones in American airspace.

The problem is that drones have quickly gone from being simple toys for hobbyists to new tools for everything from law enforcement to monitoring crops to social media to even getting amazing, cost-effective high-definition aerial shots for television and film production.

Journalists, commercial television producers and filmmakers are buying or building their own drone units for just a few thousand dollars, and are quickly creating a host of new problems about what is legal and what is not in an increasingly wider grey area of aviation law that involves not only airspace safety but questions about first and fourth amendment rights protections.

New York attorney Brendan Schulman will give a presentation about the FAA's drone issues Wednesday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Schulman challenged the FAA for fining his client for using a drone to make a promotional commercial. He recently won the case, which was the first case of the FAA fining any business or individual for commercial use of a drone.

Also presenting will be Ben Gielow, general counsel and government relations manager at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International; and Parker Gyokeres, representing the recently-formed Professional Society of Drone Journalists.

China Eastern Airlines to buy 80 Boeing 737s

China Eastern Airlines has committed to purchase 80 737s, including Next-Generation 737 and 737 MAX airplanes, Boeing announcement Friday in a company statement.

When finalized, the order will become China’s largest-ever purchase by an airline for single-aisle airplanes, worth more than $8 billion at current list prices.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

NTSB begins investigation into Gulf of Mexico helicopter crash

The National Transportation Safety Board has launched an investigation into the crash of a Bell 206 helicopter 90 miles south of Houma, La.

The helicopter (tail number N207MY) “crashed in the water while on approach to an oil rig platform. The two persons on board were fatally injured,” according to preliminary data released by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Bell 206-L4 was manufactured in 2000 and registered to Coy Leasing LLC of Broussard, La., according to FAA records.

U.S. Coast Guard personnel based in New Orleans received a report of a downed helicopter on Wednesday at 2:40 p.m. Crewmembers on the rig deployed a life raft and reported the aircraft sank below the water.

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, a HC-130 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Mobile, Ala., and a 87-foot patrol boat from Grand Isle was dispatched to the area to search for survivors.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Helicopter goes down off the coast of Louisiana

The U.S. Coast Guard is responding to a civilian helicopter with two people aboard that went down approximately 60 miles south of Terrebonne Bay on Wednesday.

Coast Guard personnel based in New Orleans received the report at 2:40 p.m. of a downed helicopter, Bell model 206-L4, containing two people aboard near South Timbalier Block 317. Crewmembers on the rig deployed a life raft and reported the aircraft sank below the water.

A MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station New Orleans, a HC-130 Ocean Sentry aircraft from Mobile, Ala., and a 87-foot patrol boat from Grand Isle was dispatched to assist in a search for survivors.

Qatar Airways CEO meets Miami mayor for high-level investment meeting

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and senior officials held a high-level meeting Wednesday with Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker to discuss new trade, business and investment opportunities in Miami.

Qatar Airways began weekly service to Miami International Airport on Tuesday from the newly opened Hamad International Airport, in Doha.

The airline's CEO was on-board the maiden flight and led a high level delegation, including the Director of Miami Airport, Emilio Gonzalez; the Vice Chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, senior officials from the airline and also a group of international media traveling on the first flight.

During the courtesy visit, Al Baker said that “the airline planned to bring new opportunities to Miami by investing in the community and helping boost trade, tourism and business links between the State of Qatar and Miami.

"Qatar Airways is looking forward to how this new route will enhance our excellent offering to passengers, providing even greater flexibility in the number of U.S. gateways to choose from, since we now fly out of six major hubs in the country.

"Miami has always been a global city; a crossroads of commerce, art and culture. Mayor Gimenez has been a great ally in our efforts to bring Qatar Airways to Miami and we are proud to offer an additional boost to the local economy, by contributing to the generation of an estimated 536 new jobs and create an economic impact of over $78 million revenue for the first year alone."

"Qatar Airways' decision to include Miami among its handful of U.S. destinations confirms that Miami-Dade County is a global center for business and tourism travel, and MIA is one of the premier airports in the world,” said Gimenez. "Miami-Dade looks forward to strengthening the economic and cultural ties to Qatar and beyond."

Miami International Airport is responsible for over 20 million international passengers each year. Qatar Airways will fly four round-trip routes each week (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday) between Doha and Miami.

"Qatar Airways looks forward to building a strong relationship between Miami and Doha," added Al Baker. "These two great cities have so much to share and learn from one another. We can now look forward to introducing many more U.S. travellers to Doha and developing a strong conduit for trade and commerce."

American Airlines strengthens presence in Asia-Pacific region

American Airlines launched daily nonstop service between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Hong Kong and Shanghai on Wednesday - reinforcing the company's commitment to expanding and strengthening its presence in the Asia-Pacific region.

"DFW Airport, Mayor Price and I have been advocating for more direct access to Asia, knowing the trans-Pacific market is critical for business across the state,” said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.

"These direct routes connect two of the world's most significant economic centers to DFW and will open new avenues of trade and tourism for our region,” said Sean Donohue, CEO of  DFW International Airport

Hong Kong service

The new daily service between DFW and Hong Kong International Airport will be operated with a Boeing 777-300ER, marking the first time American will deploy its flagship aircraft to Asia. The aircraft features a three-class cabin configuration with fully lie-flat seats in First and Business Class, international Wi-Fi, and more customer and cargo capacity than any other aircraft currently in American's fleet.

Shanghai service

The new service between DFW and Shanghai Pudong International Airport will be operated with a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. American will be retrofitting its entire fleet of 777-200ERs to include fully lie-flat Business Class seats, each with aisle access; new seats in the Main Cabin; in-seat entertainment; and international Wi-Fi capability. The new fully lie-flat Business Class seats on American's 777-200ERs will afford travelers among the largest living space of any 777 Business Class seat offered by any U.S. carrier.

The service to Hong Kong will add a new destination to American's international network, and the service to Shanghai complements American's existing service from Los Angeles International Airport and Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Qatar Airways connects Miami with Middle East non-stop

Qatar Airways' maiden voyage to Miami International Airport (MIA) touched down on Tuesday, commencing service to the airline's sixth U.S. gateway. The service marked its 142nd destination worldwide from the central hub in Doha, Qatar.

With this new route, Qatar Airways is the only airline to offer non-stop service between the Middle East and Miami.

Tuesday's launch continues a major expansion by the airline into the United States. Non-stop service to Philadelphia International Airport began in April, and the airline will commence flights to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport in July.

The airline's CEO was onboard the maiden flight and led a high level delegation, including the Director of MIA, Emilio Gonzalez; the vice chairman of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, senior officials from the airline and also a group of international media traveling on the first flight.

With Doha's centralized location, travelers from Miami can reach cities such as Bangkok, Nairobi, Colombo, and Mumbai in an impressive 23 hours or less through a quick transfer in Doha.

The airline recently moved its entire operations to the State of Qatar's new airport Hamad International.

From one major hub to another, Miami International Airport is one of the largest in the United States, handling over 40.5 million passengers in 2013. It is the country's second busiest airport for international travel and the busiest for international freight.

The new Qatar Airways route is expected to generate 536 new jobs and $78.3 million in additional revenue for Miami and the surrounding community. The route is being operated with a Boeing 777-200 in a two-class configuration of 42 seats in Business and 217 seats in Economy.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 17 years of operations and is currently flying a modern fleet of 134 aircraft to more than 140 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas.

Miami joins the airline's existing Americas destinations: Chicago, Houston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Montreal, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Qatar Airways is set to launch services to a diverse portfolio of new routes during the coming months, including Tokyo Haneda, Japan (June 18), Dallas/Fort Worth, USA (July 1) and Djibouti (July 27).

Mayo Aviation adds Hawker 400XP to charter fleet

Mayo Aviation, Inc. announced Tuesday the addition of a 2007 Hawker-Beech 400XP to its charter fleet in response to continued demand from its charter clientele.

Mayo Aviation's Hawker-Beech 400XP features a leather interior that seats seven passengers. The entertainment system features video monitors that display Air Show and in-flight movies. Other features include a fully enclosed aft lavatory and a galley area for refreshments and snacks.

The Hawker-Beech 400XP aircraft will be based at Mayo Aviation's headquarters at Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colo.

Orion's first trip into space six months away

With just six months until its first trip to space, NASA’s Orion spacecraft continues taking shape at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Engineers began stacking the crew module on top of the completed service module Monday, the first step in moving the three primary Orion elements –crew module, service module and launch abort system – into configuration for launch.

Orion's flight test will provide NASA with important data that will help the agency test out systems and further refine the design so they can safely send humans far into the solar system.

With the crew module now in place, the engineers will secure it and make the necessary power connections between to the service module over the course of the week. Once the bolts and fluid connector between the modules are in place, the stacked spacecraft will undergo electrical, avionic and radio frequency tests.

The modules are being put together in the Final Assembly and System Testing Cell in the Operations and Checkout Facility at Kennedy. Here, the integrated modules will be put through their final system tests prior to rolling out of the facility for integration with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket that will send it on its mission.

Orion is being prepared for its first launch later this year, an unmanned flight that will take it 3,600 miles above Earth, in a 4.5 hour mission to test the systems critical for future human missions to deep space. After two orbits, Orion will reenter Earth’s atmosphere at almost 20,000 miles per hour before its parachute system deploys to slow the spacecraft for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Orion's flight test also will provide important data for the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and ocean recovery of Orion. Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have built an advanced adapter to connect Orion to the Delta IV Heavy rocket that will launch the spacecraft during the December test. The adapter also will be used during future SLS missions. NASA’s Ground Systems Development and Operations Program, based at Kennedy, will recover the Orion crew module with the U.S. Navy after its splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Aircraft identified in Lake Superior crash

The singe-engine aircraft that crashed into Lake Superior over the weekend is an experimental Hermann built Lancair IV turoprop, according to preliminary data gathered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The aircraft (tail number N86NW) impacted the water of Lake Superior about a mile offshore from Brighton Beach, east of Duluth, Minn. on Saturday. The aircraft is registered to A O Engineering, Inc., Wilmington, Del., according to FAA records.

“The aircraft departed Duluth and was receiving vectors by departure control then crashed one mile east of Brighton Beach,” the FAA said.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, the St. Louis County Fire Department found the fuselage of the aircraft. The fuselage was located in 135 feet of water, with the pilot inside.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

St Louis FD find body after plane crash in Lake Superior

Shortly after midnight Sunday, the St. Louis County Fire Department (FD) reported that they had found the fuselage of an aircraft that crashed into Lake Superior on Saturday. The fuselage was located in 135 feet of water, with the pilot inside.

The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search late Saturday for the pilot of the single-engine aircraft that went down about seven nautical miles east of Duluth, Minn.

The pilot's name and hometown are not being released at this time, the Coast Guard said in a press statement. Coast Guard search efforts were suspended shortly after sunset after completing 10 separate search patterns, covering 35-square nautical miles.

A debris field approximately 250 yards in diameter was located early in the search, and included jet fuel and the pilot's log book. The canopy, fuel bladder and tail section were also found.

The St. Louis County FD also located what appeared to be the plane's engine and propeller by using side-scan sonar and a remotely operated vehicle.

Plans have been made for divers to recover the body.