AVwebBiz - Volume 9, Number 46

November 30, 2011

By The AVweb Editorial Staff
 
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AVflash! Tough Times Hit Home at American back to top 
 
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Chapter 11 For American Airlines

American Airlines on Tuesday filed for bankruptcy protection, the last of the legacy airlines to do so. Flight schedules will not be affected, said AMR Corp. (PDF), the parent company of both American and American Eagle. American was the only major carrier that wasn't profitable last year, according to The Wall Street Journal. American said its labor contracts cost $600 million more each year than other legacy airlines pay. Those airlines, such as United and Delta, were allowed to void their labor contracts after filing Chapter 11, according to The Associated Press. Contract talks between American and its 8,000 pilots recently stalled.

The pilots are represented by the Allied Pilots Association, which said the bankruptcy news was not unexpected. "It is nevertheless disappointing that we find ourselves working for an airline that has lost its way," says the union blog. "In 2003, American Airlines' pilots provided management with significant cost savings that were characterized as essential to avoiding bankruptcy at that time. … During restructuring, we must bargain effectively under duress." AMR also announced on Tuesday that Gerard Arpey, CEO of AMR and American since 2003, has been replaced by Thomas Horton, who was formerly president. The company also said it will trim down its aircraft fleet. "In view of the large number of aircraft we have on order from Airbus and Boeing, we also seek to accelerate our fleet renewal strategy and, as a result, we do not require the use of all aircraft currently in our fleets," the company said in a letter to vendors (PDF). American was founded in 1930, and today has about 78,000 employees.

 
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Investigating the Phoenix Turbo Commander Crash back to top 
 

NTSB Looking At Phoenix Airspace

An NTSB investigator says he's considering controversial changes to the airspace around Phoenix as a possible contributing factor in the crash of a Turbo Commander last week that killed six people, including three children. Mike Huhn told the Arizona Republic that comments he's heard concerning the role of the airspace design make it a potential consideration in his investigation. "They are all correct statements. Therein lies the finger-pointing," Huhn said. He also told newspaper that the aircraft flew in a straight line at 4,500 feet, 500 feet below the Class B floor in that area directly into a cliff in the Superstition Mountains. Local pilots fought changing the floor from 8,000 feet to 5,000 feet when the FAA proposed it in 2006 and their spokesman didn't mince words on its role in the Thanksgiving Eve crash.

James Timm, executive director of the Arizona Pilots Association, suggested an accident was inevitable. "You expect (an accident) to happen, and you hope it never will. It has come to pass," Timm said. "We were concerned about it from the very beginning. We pushed very hard to get more space." FAA spokesman Ian Gregor declined to speak about this accident in particular and confined his comments to a basic description of VFR and pilots' "see and avoid" responsibilities.

 
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Tax Discrimination for Commercial & Private Pax? back to top 
 

"Learjet Tax" Delay Rankles UK Carriers

Airlines in the U.K. are protesting a government decision to delay application of a passenger tax to business aircraft flights until 2013. The Air Passenger Duty is now paid by all airline passengers leaving a U.K. airport and private aircraft are exempt. It currently adds between $15 and $120 to the cost of an airline flight depending on its duration. It's scheduled to go up steadily over the next six years and the government was also planning to apply a heftier version of it to passengers on private aircraft. It's been nicknamed the "Learjet tax." According to the Guardian, the airlines have been lobbying hard to have the tax killed entirely but Tuesday's announcement that the increases will proceed for them and application of the tax will be delayed for private aircraft brought cries of discrimination.

The British Air Transport Association called the delay of the "Learjet tax" unfair and used rhetoric that might sound familiar on the other side of the Atlantic. "It is a year's grace for the wealthy man in the business jet, but for millions of people who cannot afford to fly by business jet, they will have to pay APD increases at twice the rate of inflation from April next year. How is that fair?" wondered BATA CEO Simon Buck. The APD is a serious revenue generator for the British government. It currently rakes in about $3 billion and that will rise to more than $4 billion with the scheduled increases and the eventual implementation of the business jet tax.

 
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Safety Regs and Unintended Consequences back to top 
 

Flying Commercial? Don't Expect Oxygen

An FAA order to remove supplemental oxygen from airline lavatories puts passengers and crew at risk, the Association of Flight Attendants told USA Today last week. The order, made earlier this year in conjunction with the FBI and TSA, was a "precautionary measure," the FAA said, because the chemical oxygen generators were easily accessible and could be "manipulated to create a flight hazard." The backup plan, if an aircraft decompresses at altitude and passengers or crew members are in the lavatory, is for flight attendants to assist them -- but the AFA says by the time it's safe for them to do so, it might already be too late.

According to the FAA, exposure to cabin altitudes in excess of 25,000 feet for more than two minutes without supplemental oxygen can cause permanent brain damage. Most people would be unconscious within 3 to 10 minutes. The AFA says F/A training stipulates that in the event of a decompression, attendants should grab the nearest available fixed oxygen mask and remain there until a pilot says it's safe to move about the cabin and assist passengers. Only then could the F/As retrieve a portable mask to help the lavatory occupants. The FAA said it's working with aircraft manufacturers to develop and approve a secure lavatory oxygen system, but that could take up to four years. In the meantime, the FAA said, "the slight risk to a small number of individuals is outweighed by the elimination of a greater security risk."

 
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Opinion & Commentary back to top 
 

AVweb Insider Blog: Cessna's Skycatcher Price Hike

This one will cause ripples in the industry because it puts the Skycatcher near the top of the price tier, which is bound to cause some erosion in the company's order book. But in his latest post to the AVweb Insider blog, Paul Bertorelli notes that Cessna's price hike should come as no surprise. Cessna did essentially the same thing when sales hit the skids 30 years ago, which explains, more than anything else, why Cessna has remained a profitable aircraft company.

Read more and join the conversation.

 
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AVweb Media: Look, Listen, Laugh and Learn back to top 
 

Video: Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck (Part 1)

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Last summer, Jeppesen rolled out its iPad-based Mobile FliteDeck, a complete chart manager system for owners who already subscribe to Jeppesen's electronic charting products. In this video, AVweb launches the first of three Product Minutes to review the new app.

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Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

Video: Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck (Part 2)

Original, Exclusive Videos from AVweb | Reader-Submitted & Viral Videos

Jeppesen's new Mobile FliteDeck is a route-based app that compiles approach plates and procedures from Jeppesen's charting materials. In this video, part two of three, Paul Bertorelli takes a look at how its route functions work.

Don't see a video screen?
Try disabling ad blockers and refreshing this page.
If that doesn't work, click here to download the video directly.

 
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The Top Reporter on Our Crack Staff ... Is You! back to top 
 

Survey: How's That Glass Panel Working Out?

Our sister publication, Aviation Consumer, is conducting a survey on owner experiences with early model EFIS systems such as the Garmin G1000 and Avidyne Entegra installed in OEM aircraft no newer that 2007. The magazine is interested in finding out how these systems have held up in the field. For this survey, we're interested only in OEM aircraft, not experimentals or LSAs and not aftermarket glass.

Click here to take the survey.

The results will appear in a future issue of Aviation Consumer. For subscription information, click here.

AVweb's Newstips Address ...

Our best stories start with you. If you've heard something 255,000 pilots might want to know about, tell us. Submit news tips via email to newstips@avweb.com. You're a part of our team ... often, the best part.

Who's Where? You Tell Us

Get a promotion or a new job? Your colleagues want to know about it, and AVwebBiz can get the word out. Drop us a line about the staff appointment, with a nice recent photo, and we'll do our best to include it in our new section, "Who's Where." The items will be permanently archived on AVweb for future reference, too.

 
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Names Behind the News back to top 
 

Meet the AVwebBiz Team

AVwebBiz is a weekly summary of the latest business aviation news, articles, products, features, and events featured on AVweb, the internet's aviation magazine and news service.

The AVwebBiz team is:

Publisher
Timothy Cole

Editorial Director, Aviation Publications
Paul Bertorelli

Editor-in-Chief
Russ Niles

Contributing Editors
Mary Grady
Glenn Pew

Features Editor
Kevin Lane-Cummings

Webmaster
Scott Simmons

Contributors
Jeff van West

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