ANAC suspende autorização para descontos nas tarifas de vôos internacionais a partir de 1º de janeiro

Por força de ordem judicial, a ANAC está suspendendo a autorização para descontos nas tarifas nos vôos internacionais a partir de 1º de janeiro.

Veja o comunicado que a Superintendência de Serviços Aéreos da ANAC encaminhou em 31 de dezembro para as companhias aéreas que realizam vôos regulares internacionais a partir do Brasil.

“Em virtude da Decisão do Excelentíssimo Senhor Jirair Aram Megueriam, Desembargador Federal e Presidente do Tribunal Regional Federal da Primeira Região, informo que estão suspensos os efeitos da Resolução nº 61/2008 desta Agência. Portanto, as empresas ficam impedidas de praticar os descontos previstos, na referida Resolução, para o dia 01 de janeiro de 2009.”

ANAC

Timco error at root of United Air Lines runway excursion

By John Croft

Misrouted and reversed antiskid wiring by US-based Timco Aviation Services technicians led to the runway excursion of a United Air Lines A320 after landing at the Chicago O’Hare International Airport the night of 9 October 2007, according to a final report issued by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

Timco performs heavy maintenance on United’s A320s at its Lake City, Florida facility.

The incident, which damaged engine nacelles on the aircraft but did not injure any of the 125 passengers and crew onboard, appears closely related to a 25 February event in which another United A320 departed the right side of the runway after landing at the Jackson Hole Airport in Wyoming.

In both cases, wheel speed tachometers for the inboard and outboard wheels on the left main landing gear brake system had been cross-connected, causing both aircraft to exit the right side of the runway on landing.

“Such a configuration would be likely to cause the antiskid system to use the inboard wheel speed to control the outboard braking, and vice versa,” the NTSB writes in its preliminary report of the Jackson Hole incident, which remains under investigation. “In such a situation, it would be likely that when the inboard tire began to skid, the antiskid system would release the pressure on the outboard brake instead of the inboard brake.”

The NTSB’s final report on the Chicago incident lists as a contributing factor that the Timco technicians did “not understand the entire maintenance procedures in the dual tachometer replacement”. Maintenance on the landing gear system was prompted by a May 2007 FAA airworthiness directive (AD) on A320 shock absorbers.

Timco, in its own investigation, found that the tachometers had been mislabeled when removed and that technicians thought a certain post-maintenance test would have revealed the cross-wiring when in fact the test was not designed to do so.

The report also blames United’s “unclear” maintenance practices as a contributing factor. Upon clarifying the maintenance documents following the incident, the carrier sent a letter to the FAA in December 2007 saying that it had performed functional checks on the tachometers of 45 Airbus A320s and had found only two instances of cross-wiring – the incident aircraft and one other.

Air Transport Intelligence

Iberia cancela mais 15 voos e atrasos em Madrid atingem mais de 50%

Presstur 31-12-2008 (05h13)

A alegada greve de zelo dos pilotos da Iberia provocou ontem 15 cancelamentos e atrasos em mais de metade das ligações com origem ou destino em Madrid, segundo a imprensa espanhola.

As notícias indicam que os voos cancelados eram domésticos, à excepção de duas ligações com Genebra.

Desde o início de Dezembro a Iberia já cancelou mais de 400 voos e teve atrasos em cerca de cinco mil.

Ontem o jornal “El País” estimava em mais de 700 mil o número de passageiros afectados.

A companhia espanhola diz que a situação é provocada por uma greve de zelo dos pilotos e que a acção está relacionada com o impasse nas negociações da contratação colectiva.

O sindicato dos pilotos (SEPLA) contrapõe que os pilotos apenas estão a cumprir as regras quanto a tempos de voo e de repouso e que o problema é provocado por a companhia ter um quadro de efectivos inferior ao que deveria ter para a dimensão da operação.

PressTur

Preços dos snacks nas low-costs "andam pelas nuvens”

Presstur 31-12-2008 (09h19)

Um estudo elaborado pela revista Which? Holiday que comparou cinco companhias low-cost indica que a comida e a bebida a bordo destas transportadoras podem custar até metade do valor da viagem, sendo a Ryanair a mais cara.

A revista comparou os preços a bordo da Ryanair, easyJet, Flybe, Monarch e bmibaby e concluiu que a Ryanair é a mais cara ao cobrar 16,05 libras por cinco produtos, designadamente sanduíche (4,20 libras), água com gás (2,5 libras), uma garrafa pequeno de vinho tinto (cinco libras), um café (2,5 libras) e um pacote pequeno de Pringles (1,85 libras), sendo o total metade da tarifa paga pela revista numa viagem entre Stansted e Girona, reservada no mês passado.

Flybe, easyJet foram as segunda e terceiras mais caras, cobrando 11,95 libras e 11,50 libras respectivamente pelos cinco itens, seguida da Monarch que cobrou 10,60 libras e da bmibaby que cobrou 10,5 libras pelos mesmos cinco produtos da Ryanair.

PressTur

Presidente da Infraero vistoria Galeão

31/12/2008

O presidente da Infraero, Tenente Brigadeiro do Ar Cleonilson Nicácio Silva, visitou nesta terça-feira (30/12), as obras do Aeroporto do Internacional do Rio de Janeiro/Galeão que, apesar do período de alta estação, não foram interrompidas. O novo presidente também conferiu de perto o movimento de passageiros.

Segundo Nicácio, a fiscalização durante a alta temporada está sendo feita de forma intensiva, priorizando a limpeza e manutenção de escadas rolantes, esteiras de bagagens, monitoramento dos balcões de check in e abertura de todos os canais de inspeção a fim de minimizar os possíveis impactos operacionais. “Todos os empregados da rede Infraero estão comprometidos com a operação Feliz 2009. Estamos empenhados para que os passageiros passem satisfeitos pelo Galeão”, afirmou.

As melhorias no Galeão já podem ser observadas pelos usuários: além dos novos sanitários, aproximadamente 40% do polimento do piso de granito já foram executados e a finalização da substituição do piso emborrachado por granito está prevista para fevereiro de 2009.

Quem passa pelo Terminal de Passageiros 1 já percebe as mudanças e não se importa de transitar pelo salão em obras. “Temos que ser um pouco compreensivos com esta situação, pois sabemos que tudo isso é para nosso próprio benefício”, afirmou o passageiro Eduardo Santos, dando destaque para o novo forro do teto rebaixado do setor de embarque doméstico.

Revitalização

O superintendente do Galeão, Wilson Massa, disse que é gratificante para a Infraero saber que os passageiros compreendem o possível desconforto causado pelas obras em andamento. “Mesmo neste período de grande fluxo no aeroporto, nós continuamos com os esforços para revitalizar o Galeão e dotá-lo com modernas instalações e um serviço de excelência, declarou.

Crescimento de movimento

O Galeão já registrou, em 2008, um aumento superior a 200 mil passageiros em relação a 2007 (embarcados e desembarcados – nacional e internacional), reflexo do aumento de 9% na movimentação de aeronaves (pousos e decolagens), nos dois pátios, em relação ao ano anterior.

O aeroporto está ligado a mais de 31 localidades nacionais e 19 destinos internacionais. Possui dois sistemas de pistas com operações simultâneas de pousos e decolagens (uma delas com 4000 m x 45 m), a maior pista da América do Sul. São 167 balcões de check in, 35 esteiras de bagagens, 23 pontes de embarque e 23 posições remotas. Ao todo, 20 empresas aéreas prestam serviços nos dois Terminais, atendendo um movimento diário de 30 mil passageiros.

Gerência de Imprensa/Infraero
imprensa@infraero.gov.br

Aeroporto de Salvador registra maior queda de atrasos de vôos

31/12/2008

Apesar da grande movimentação de passageiros, típica do período de férias e das festas de fim de ano, o Aeroporto Internacional de Salvador/Luis Eduardo Magalhães (BA) opera normalmente nos primeiros dez dias da Operação Feliz 2009. O aeroporto registrou a maior redução de atrasos de vôos em relação ao mesmo período de 2007. A queda foi de 15%. Ano passado, de 20 a 30 de dezembro, 40% dos vôos atrasaram, contra 25% este ano.

Segundo o superintendente do aeroporto, José Cassiano Ferreira Filho, quem chega aos saguões de embarque e desembarque pode contar com a tranqüilidade, o conforto e a segurança, garantidos pela presença de profissionais das diversas áreas da Infraero. “Da chegada aos saguões, passando pelos balcões de chek-in até as pontes de embarque, ou deixando o aeroporto depois de voar com destino à Salvador, o passageiro é assistido por nossos funcionários, que, proativamente, se antecipam no atendimento, evitando insatisfações ou problemas durante a sua permanência no aeroporto”, garante Cassiano.

A expectativa é que o aumento na movimentação de passageiros nesse período chegue a 10% e a média do movimento diário ultrapasse a casa de 20 mil pessoas. Diversos pedidos de vôos charters (fretados) foram atendidos, tanto domésticos como internacionais. De dezembro a março, a programação é de quase 80 vôos charters domésticos e 20 internacionais, com destino à Europa (Lisboa, Madri, Milão), América do Norte (Miami), América do Sul (Buenos Aires) e até para a Ilha do Sal, Cabo Verde, África, realizado pela companhia Austriam.

O Aeroporto de Salvador se mantém no ranking nacional como o quinto em movimentação de passageiros e aeronaves. Diariamente, mais de 17 mil usuários e uma média de 140 vôos regulares, domésticos e internacionais, fazem de Salvador uma das capitais mais movimentadas do País.

Assessoria de Imprensa/Infraero
imprensa@infraero.gov.br

Novos vôos internacionais para o Recife

31/12/2008

O Aeroporto Internacional do Recife/Guararapes – Gilberto Freyre (PE), administrado pela Infraero, recebeu solicitações para operar três novos vôos charters internacionais durante a temporada 2009. As novas freqüências ligarão o Recife às cidades argentinas de Córdoba e Buenos Aires até o final de março de 2009. Além dos vôos argentinos, o Internacional Guararapes também passou a receber mais uma ligação com Milão, através da operadora Neos, que fará a rota Milão/Recife/Salvador. Com as novas aquisições, a cidade do Recife passa a contar com cinco empresas que vão operar 26 vôos charters internacionais até o final do verão.

A capital pernambucana fecha o ano de 2008 com operações regulares internacionais operadas pela TAP (para Lisboa – diário); Livingston (para Milão, todas às quintas-feiras); Condor (para Frankfurt – semanal às segundas); TAM (para Paris – partindo às sextas e retornando às segundas) e para para Buenos Aires (diário); American Airlines (para Miami – diário) Delta AirLines (Atlanta – segundas, quartas, sextas e sábados.

Aeroporto modelo

O Guararapes deverá ser inscrito pela Infraero para servir como benchmark no Conselho Internacional de Aeroportos (ACI), entidade americana que co-relaciona e compara aeroportos internacionais pela qualidade dos serviços que prestam aos passageiros. A comparação já ocorre com os aeroportos do Galeão, Guarulhos e Brasília. A decisão foi tomada pelo recém-empossado presidente da Infraero, Tenente Brigadeiro do Ar Cleonilson Nicácio, após visitar pela segunda vez o Guararapes. O presidente conferiu a infra-estrutura disponibilizada aos usuários e atestou que o aeroporto está atendendo com conforto e segurança à maior demanda da alta estação.

Para dezembro é esperado no Guararapes um acréscimo de aproximadamente 40 mil passageiros em relação ao ano passado, quando passaram pelo aeroporto 408 mil viajantes. De janeiro a novembro a movimentação total cresceu em 12,28 %. Entre embarcados e desembarcados, domésticos e internacionais somam 4,243 milhões este ano, já superando, até novembro, toda a movimentação do ano passado, quando o Guararapes alcançou a marca de 4,188 milhões de passageiros. Com a movimentação de dezembro deverá fechar o ano em torno de 4 milhões e 700 mil passageiros.

Assessoria de Imprensa/Infraero
imprensa@infraero.gov.br

Sukhoi flies second Superjet for first time

By David Kaminski-Morrow

Sukhoi has carried out the first flight of its second Superjet 100 test aircraft, days after a new phase of airborne trials of its PowerJet SaM146 engines began.

The second aircraft, number 95003, departed Komsomolsk-on-Amur for a 2hr 30min flight and operated to a height of 6,000m (19,700ft).

PowerJet partner NPO Saturn says the test enabled the pilots to validate aerodynamic stability and control of the regional jet.

Test pilot Leonid Chikunov says control software for the aircraft has undergone a number of changes following tests of the first flying example, which started in May. He states that the aircraft has already shown evidence of improvements as a result.

Senior test pilot Alexander Yablontsev adds: “We have a responsibility to ensure that, in critical situations, the aircraft will remain manageable.”

Aircraft 95001, the first flying airframe, has already logged over 200hr in the air. In November it began undergoing the first high angle-of-attack and stall tests.

“The aircraft behaves very predictably,” says Yablontsev.

Sukhoi’s certification test regime for the Superjet will include assessing high- and low-temperature operations, and performance from high-altitude airports.

On 19 December the SaM146 engines began a second phase of flight tests on an Ilyushin Il-76 test-bed aircraft.

This series of tests, lasting 150hr, will notably assess engine thrust management and the full-authority digital engine control software.

While the second test phase had originally been due to take place at Istres in France, NPO Saturn says that its PowerJet partner, Snecma, has agreed to their taking place at the Zhukovsky centre outside Moscow in order to save time and costs.

European certification for the SaM146 is planned for September next year.

Air Transport Intelligence

David Cush: Evolving Virgin America from embattled start-up to niche carrier

By Lori Ranson

Virgin America CEO David Cush arrived at the carrier roughly a year ago ahead of a period of wildly spiking fuel prices and at the beginning of an equally astounding economic recession that has forced virtually every US carrier to slash capacity to accommodate waning demand.

Scaled down growth at Virgin America includes a 10% fourth quarter 2008 capacity cut and a decrease in its fleet count in 2009 from an original target of 35 Airbus A320 family aircraft to 28.

Yet Cush remains bullish that even though the global economy is experiencing a historic downturn, customers “won’t postpone their lives” and in the current crisis will opt to travel before committing to larger ticket items such as homes or vehicles.

Cush succeeded Fred Reid, who agreed to vacate the helm of Virgin America as a condition of an arduous approval process to gain certification from the US Department of Transportation that occurred in May 2007.

But even after Cush’s first year as its chief executive, pegging Virgin America into a particular type of carrier remains a challenge for its endorsers and critics alike. The airline flies Airbus A320s with a first class product directly against giants such as United and American in some of their most lucrative markets at fares that are lower than its major competitors.

The carrier also offers one of the most advanced in-flight entertainment systems Red that allows for on-demand purchase of food and beverages from a passenger’s seat and a wide array of television and music options free of charge. Virgin America aims to have its fleet equipped with AirCell’s air-to-ground connectivity product Gogo by the end of second quarter next year, and will charge rates similar to American Airlines, which is also an AirCell customer.

Cush characterizes Virgin America as “a small player with a specialized and targeted product. We aren’t aiming and don’t need to dominate the market. We’re looking at growing a limited share of the market”. He highlights the carrier’s marketshare is generally below 20% in the markets it serves.

Targeting transcon markets in its initial launch in August 2007 from San Francisco and Los Angeles to New York’s JFK, Virgin America this year launched competition against Alaska Airlines on its west cost routes from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Seattle, and also competes with Alaska on flights Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Alaska has pledged to defend its entrenched short-haul flights, and recently carrier President Brad Tilden charged Virgin America offers fares“way below their costs and our costs”.

Virgin America’s chief executive calmly dismisses those claims calling Alaska and Southwest, which also competes with Virgin America on flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles, “formidable competitors”.

Cush is quick to explain that Virgin America “charges what the market will bear” and the carrier “basically charges what Alaska charges”. The chief executive also believes an airline’s cost it and its ticket prices “have little to do with each other”.

Virgin America through its appeal to DOT to keep is operating data confidential does not publicly report that information, and Cush declines to reveal specific statistics. The carrier is “quite happy” with long-haul flights from JFK to Los Angeles, Cush explains. He also believes the carrier’s operations from San Francisco to JFK and Washington Dulles are also turning in strong performances.

Obviously Cush prefers to talk more openly about Virgin America’s product. The carrier recently started charging a premium on exit row seating dubbed “Main Cabin Select.” Along with the extra legroom Virgin America is offering complimentary food, cocktails and beverages from the inflight menu and free all-access to the Red IFE system. Those passengers also receive priority boarding and screening at locations where those services are available.

Pricing for Main Cabin Select ranges from $75-$100 on short-haul flights, and increases to $300-$400 on its transcon flights.

Charaterising the new fare class as a “significant revenue generator” Cush says the product on average nets twice the value of a coach seat. He also claims Virgin America’s comprehensive premium economy offering is the first of its kind in the US domestic market.

The airlines is also considering revising Main Cabin Select after discussions with customers over their preferences and dislikes regarding the product. The upgrades currently include menu items offered for purchase by coach customers. Cush says the carrier is considering some sort of separate food service that offers a combination of coach offering supplemented by items on the first class menu.

As US carriers continue adhering to their product unbundling strategy despite the sharp drop in fuel prices, Cush admits that while a certain logic exists in applying that strategy “there’s a flip side” in travelers having specific expectations from a travel experience.

Virgin America currently charges a fee for a second checked bag, and Cush notes with the carrier’s automation platform it would be easy to charge for virtually everything.

But with Virgin America there is a “responsibility that comes with the name [Virgin] on the tail,” Cush explains, noting the carrier has no plans to compromise its core product.

The carrier does plan to charge for its Gogo wi-fi offering – $12.95 for flights beyond three hours and $9.95 for flights less than three hours.

And as passengers become accustomed to having wi-fi access inflight, Cush predicts the next “big battle” is offering power outlets on seats.

With power outlets currently available on every seat Cush vows that Virgin America is rigidly focused on “not letting the quality the product slip”.

Airline Business

NTSB: go! pilot napped regularly in Mesa cockpits

By John Croft

A Mesa Airlines CRJ200 pilot with undiagnosed severe sleep apnea told NTSB investigators that he had intentionally “napped in the cockpit” about once per week during a temporary assignment flying for Mesa’s Hawaii-based subsidiary, go! Airlines.

The captain’s fitness is a key element in a 13 February 2008 incident in which both pilots of go! flight 1002 “inadvertently” fell asleep during what was expected to be a 40min morning flight from Honolulu to Hilo, Hawaii at a cruise altitude of 21,000ft. go! operated five CRJs with a support staff of 60 pilots at the time of the incident.

Air traffic controllers and other pilots could not communicate with the CRJ for approximately 18min after the crew belatedly responded to a clearance to change course after takeoff from Honolulu.

“Working as hard as we had, we tend to relax,” the 53-yr-old captain told NTSB investigators in a recently released factual report on the incident by the agency. “We had gotten back on schedule [after a 30min departure delay due to a flight attendant scheduling issue], it was comfortable in the cockpit, the pressure was behind us. The warm Hawaiian sun was blaring in as we went eastbound. I just kind of closed my eyes for a minute, enjoying the warm sunshine, and dozed off.”

The 23-year-old first officer, who was at the controls of the aircraft on the incident segment, told the NTSB he had entered “a sleep-like state from which he could ‘hear what was going on, but could not comprehend or make it click.'”

After passing the airport at Hilo, the aircraft continued flying east for 26nm over the ocean before the first officer awoke and was provided vectors back to the airport by air traffic control, according to the factual report.

The report reveals that the crew reported to FAA that they had lost communication because they had selected an incorrect radio frequency, then flew the next leg of the trip back to Honolulu before removing themselves from duty. The captain then submitted a written report to Mesa explaining that he and the first officer had fallen asleep.

The captain, on temporary assignment for Mesa in Hawaii, told the NTSB that he never before “inadvertently” fallen asleep during a flight, but that he had “intentionally” taken 20-min naps in flight about once per week during his temporary duty for go!.

The pilot said he had napped more often than once a week while flying for Mesa in the US, a statement the investigators corroborated with a first officer who had flown with him in the continental US. Mesa’s senior director of flight operations told the NTSB has had been unaware of the pilot’s napping habit before the incident. FAA rules allow for one of the two required pilots on a flight deck to take a “rest period” during the cruise portion of a flight.

NTSB says post-incident sleep analysis of the captain revealed a “severe obstructive sleep apnea” which a sleep medicine specialist said could cause “reduced sleep quality, daytime fatigue, and, in severe cases, cognitive dysfunction.”

The medical and pathological details on the first officer do not reveal any clues as to why he also fell asleep on the flight.

Air Transport Intelligence