Safer Skies initiative integral to preventing shooting down of civilian aircraft.
FAA requires secondary flight deck barrier.
First sustainable aviation fuel batches certified under CORSIA.
Airline Associations join together to call for global alignment of slot regulations.
Azerbaijan enhances implementation of ICAO safety-related standards and recommended practices.
LATAM selects Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines to power up to 146 Airbus A320neo family aircraft.
New head for Star Alliance.
Ethiopian to enhance passenger experience equipped with Airbus' Airspace Link HBCplus and Inmarsat's GX Aviation high-speed inflight broadband service.
Worldwide incidents and accidents
Bonus Video - Ford Tri Motor Flight 2009
SAFER SKIES INITIATIVE INTEGRAL TO PREVENTING SHOOTING DOWN OF CIVILIAN AIRCRAFT
Canada's Safer Skies initiative is crucial to avoiding repeats of the shooting down of civilian aircraft, ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano advised delegates at a recent forum on the topic, but States must ramp up the political momentum around implementation and exchange of expertise.
The Third Safer Skies Forum was convened by the Governments of Canada and the Netherlands in support of progress "towards preventative conflict zone risk management practices."
It was attended by ministers, diplomats, and other delegates, who represented Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Kenya, Morocco, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and the United States. Operators and labour were also represented through the attendance of the Civil Air Navigation Services Organization (CANSO), the International Air Transport Association (IATA), the International Federation of Airline Pilots' Associations (IFALPA), and the International Federation of Air Traffic Controllers' Associations (IFATCA).
Expressing ICAO's gratitude to Canada and the Netherlands for the organization and hosting of the event, Mr. Sciacchitano remarked that "at this event we have an exceptional and crucially important opportunity to ramp up the political momentum and enhance exchanges of technical expertise fostering the global cooperation that will underpin the implementation of the Safer Skies initiative."
He highlighted that "the downing of an aircraft with innocent passengers and crew on board is absolutely unacceptable, the result of ineffective civil-military coordination, limited exchange of information, including a lack of intelligence information, and ultimately human error."
The President also focussed on the high importance ICAO places on addressing the risks that conflict zones pose to civil aviation, which must be assessed by both States and operators, and expressed the organization's "full and unwavering" support for their activities in this area.
Canada's Safer Skies initiative was launched as a direct response to the shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight PS 752, bound for Kyiv on 8 January 2020 shortly after take-off from Tehran, which resulted in the loss of 176 lives.
The initiative has been welcomed and appreciated by the ICAO Council and subsequently endorsed by the ICAO Assembly.
"Commitment is of course key to the prevention of a similar event from ever happening again," Mr. Sciacchitano declared, noting that "the shooting down of flight PS 752 was very regrettably not the first or only instance of its kind."
The President recalled that Korean Airlines flight 007, with 269 passengers and crew on board, was shot down on 31 August 1983 by a military aircraft of the former Soviet Union. He noted that in the aftermath of this event, the ICAO Assembly amended the 1944 Chicago Convention to provide that every State must refrain from the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight, but that "notwithstanding this almost forty-year-old commitment by States, we continue to see instances involving the use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight."
ICAO's guidance to States and operators has evolved continuously following the recommendations of States following their investigations into the series of events that have occurred.
The Dutch Safety Board's Final Report into the shooting down of MH 17 contained a number of safety recommendations. One of the most tangible outcomes of these is the production of the Risk Assessment Manual for Civil Aircraft Operations Over or Near Conflict Zones (Doc 10084), which was developed by ICAO with the pivotal support and contribution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Similarly, several safety recommendations addressed to ICAO were contained in the Final Report prepared by the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran into the loss of flight PS 752, which was published in March 2021. Those related to risk assessment and issuance of NOTAMs for flights in conflict zones, prioritization of States having potentially hazardous military activities for safety and security audit activities, and enhancement of the available guidance material, and were all addressed by ICAO.
In addition to these recommendations, other States affected by these tragedies have made proposals for enhancing international civil aviation safety and security.
Following these proposals, the ICAO Accident Investigation Panel has been working on concerns expressed about investigations on the downing of aircraft, particularly when the independence of the Accident Investigation Authority and credibility of the investigation could be challenged.
Most recently, the 41st Session of the ICAO Assembly, which took place in September and October 2022, also resulted in States requesting a prioritized review of the Risk Assessment Manual.
To this end, ICAO solicited feedback from Member States, and several substantive inputs from States and Industry Organizations have been received. These are under review and analysis, in close coordination with the Safer Skies Committee.
ICAO plans to issue a third edition of the Risk Assessment Manual taking into account these contributions by the end of this year, along with a programme to develop and roll-out a dedicated workshop.
"Flight safety has reached outstanding levels in recent decades. However, one single accident is one too many," Mr Sciacchitano noted.
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FAA REQUIRES SECONDARY FLIGHT DECK BARRIER
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will require a secondary barrier on the flight deck of new commercial airplanes to ensure the safety of aircraft, flight crew and air passengers. The final rule mandating the additional barrier will protect flight decks from intrusion when the flight deck door is open.
"Every day, pilots and flight crews transport millions of Americans safely - and today we are taking another important step to make sure they have the physical protections they deserve," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Aircraft manufacturers are required to install secondary barriers on commercial aircraft produced after the rule goes into effect.
"No pilot should have to worry about an intrusion on the flight deck," said Acting FAA Associate Administrator for Safety David Boulter.
The Biden-Harris Administration made this rule a priority in 2021. In 2022, the FAA proposed the rule after seeking recommendations from aircraft manufacturers and labour partners. The rule meets a requirement of the 2018 FAA Reauthorization Act.
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FIRST SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL BATCHES CERTIFIED UNDER CORSIA
For the first time, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) have been certified under the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA).
Making use of the two ICAO-approved Sustainability Certification Schemes designed for this purpose, the development marks a significant milestone for both SAF production and aviation climate action by States.
The nine batches, totalling 1,542 tonnes, were certified by ISCC and RSB and produced in China, the Netherlands, and the United States, by ECOCHEM, Neste, and WorldEnergy, respectively.
They were produced from wastes and are characterized by 75% to 84% lower CO2 emissions compared to conventional aviation fuels.
"The successful certification of these sustainable aviation fuels ensures that they present real environmental benefits on a life cycle basis, and it also confirms the performance of the certification process itself," expressed ICAO Council President Salvatore Sciacchitano.
"This milestone shows that CORSIA global framework for sustainability assessment is robust and ready to support the achievement of ICAO's goals on climate change."
The process is based on the application of the Standards set forth in the Convention on International Civil Aviation's Annex 16 - Environmental Protection, Volume IV. These standards encompass aspects related to sustainability, monitoring, reporting and accounting of SAF.
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AIRLINE ASSOCIATIONS JOIN TOGETHER TO CALL FOR GLOBAL ALIGNMENT OF SLOT REGULATIONS.
Airline associations around the world called for governments to ensure the global alignment of airport slot regulations to safeguard the consistent, fair, and transparent allocation of slots under the Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines (WASG).
In a joint statement (pdf), the African Airlines Association (AFRAA), Airlines for America (A4A), Airlines International Representation in Europe (AIRE), Arab Air Carriers Organization (AACO), Association of Asia-Pacific Airlines (AAPA), European Express Association, European Regions Airline Association (ERAA), International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Latin American and Caribbean Air Transport Association (ALTA) set out the benefits of the WASG, which has ensured decades of stability and consistency in the application of slot management. Under the WASG, consumers have benefitted from a consistent growth in reliable schedules and expansion to new markets, while airlines and airports have seen an increase in the utilisation of scarce airport capacity.
Fragmentation of slot regulation risks disruption to airline schedules and imperils the advances in global connectivity, efficiency, competition and choice which have characterized the aviation industry in recent decades. With the number of slot-regulated airports worldwide growing steadily, it is vital that governments recognize the importance of the harmonization of slot regulations in line with the WASG.
The WASG has undergone a significant revision in recent years, with improvements to the new entrant definition to increase competition and access opportunities at congested airports. Slot performance monitoring has also been better defined to ensure optimal use of allocated slots. It is therefore important that national or regional slot regulations are aligned dynamically with the WASG so that the aviation sector and travellers can immediately benefit from these and other enhancements to the system.
The Associations also urged governments thinking of incorporating the WASG or amending existing slot regulations to work with the Worldwide Airport Slot Board, a body comprising slot experts from airlines, airports, and slot coordinators, who oversee expert revisions to the WASG. Consulting with this group of experts can ensure that governments, their economies and citizens, will continue to reap the benefits of an increasingly more interconnected, sustainable and efficient air transport network.
"The air transport industry thrives on consistent global standards. The Worldwide Airport Slot Guidelines are the unsung hero the air transport system. Because of the WASG, travellers, businesses and economies the world over have benefited from constant growth in air connectivity, strong competition, and route diversity while ensuring that utilization of scarce airport capacity also increased. Governments should align their slot rules with this global standard to benefit from better air connectivity, efficiency, and consumer choice," said Willie Walsh, IATA's Director General.
The statement was issued at the 152nd Slot Conference in Dublin, Ireland. The Slot Conference attracts over 1,000 delegates, with representatives of more than 200 slot coordinated airports and 215 individual airlines.
This twice-yearly conference has been taking place since 1948 and is a significant moment in the aviation planning diary, allowing the opportunity to meet for quickfire optimization of planned schedules, while looking at new opportunities for route and network growth. The goal of the conference is for airlines to obtain the slots that will give them the best possible schedule to offer their customers at coordinated airports. The next conference will take place in Dubai, UAE, on14-17 November 2023.
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AZERBAIJAN ENHANCES IMPLEMENTATION OF ICAO SAFETY-RELATED STANDARDS AND RECOMMENDED PRACTICES
During the bilateral meeting with the head of government, the President expressed ICAO's congratulations to Azerbaijan following its successful efforts to enhance implementation of ICAO's safety related standards and recommended practices (SARPs). The discussion between the President and the Prime Minister focussed on the importance of civil aviation for the sustainable socio-economic development of Azerbaijan, and on the contributions of Azerbaijan's civil aviation in the region.
The President's mission to Azerbaijan also included meetings with the leadership of AZANS, the State's Air Navigation Service Provider, and the National Aviation Academy (NAA) of Azerbaijan, where he delivered a lecture to the students. The exchanges encompassed all ICAO strategic objectives and highlighted once again the key role of innovation to address current and future needs.
The President was accompanied throughout his mission by ICAO Regional Director for the European and the North Atlantic Regions, Mr. Nicolas Rallo.
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LATAM SELECTS PRATT & WHITNEY GTF™ ENGINES TO POWER UP TO 146 AIRBUS A320NEO FAMILY AIRCRAFT
Pratt & Whitney, a Raytheon Technologies business, announced today that LATAM Airlines Group S.A. ("LATAM") has selected GTF engines to power additional A320neo family aircraft, adding to their initial order selecting GTF engines to power more than 40 aircraft in 2013. Combined with remaining options, the deal will total up to 146 aircraft. Pratt & Whitney will also provide the airline with engine maintenance through a long-term EngineWise® Comprehensive service agreement.
"At LATAM we are committed not only to connecting South America to the world, but doing so caring for the environment and reducing our carbon footprint. We are proud to enhance our partnership with Pratt & Whitney to power our A320neo family, which will allow us to do so, as we expect to grow this fleet over 100 strong in the coming years," said Roberto Alvo, CEO, LATAM Airlines Group.
Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, LATAM is Latin America's leading airline group, with presence in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, along with international operations within Latin America and Europe, Oceania, U.S. and the Caribbean. LATAM was the first airline in the Americas to operate the Airbus A320neo aircraft. LATAM currently operates more than 80 V2500-powered Airbus A320ceo and 16 GTF-powered Airbus A320neo family aircraft.
"Our relationship with LATAM, including their predecessor LAN Airlines, dates back more than seven decades with the Twin Wasp engine on Douglas DC-3 aircraft," said Rick Deurloo, Commercial Engines president at Pratt & Whitney. "GTF engines are already delivering exceptional economic and sustainability benefits to LATAM and we look forward to providing even greater value in the years to come."
The Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engine, featuring Collins Aerospace nacelle and accessories, offers the greatest fuel efficiency and lowest greenhouse gas emissions for the Airbus A320neo family. GTF-powered aircraft reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 16% to 20%, NOx emissions up to 50% and noise footprint up to 75%. Certified for operation on 50% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) and successfully tested on 100% SAF, GTF engines are ready to enable further reductions in carbon footprint, which will help the aviation industry meet its goal of net zero emissions by 2050s the foundation for even more efficient and sustainable propulsion technologies in the decades ahead, with advancements like the Pratt & Whitney GTF Advantage engine and beyond.
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NEW HEAD FOR STAR ALLIANCE
Star Alliance, the world's first and largest global airline alliance, is pleased to announce that Theo Panagiotoulias has been chosen to become its next CEO. Mr Panagiotoulias has more than 25 years' international experience in the airline and aviation industry.
He joins Star Alliance from Hawaiian Airlines, where he had been Senior VP for Global Sales and Alliances since 2014. Previously, Mr Panagiotoulias was VP and GM (Asia Pacific) at travel technology provider Sabre Corporation, as well as a 15-year veteran of American Airlines, where he held several commercial, operational and management positions. His full biography is appended.
"On behalf of the board of Star Alliance, I would like to congratulate Theo for being named the next CEO of Star Alliance," said Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines and Chairman of the Star Alliance Chief Executive Board. "Theo's international commercial and airline experience have given him a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our industry today. I believe he is the right person to lead Star Alliance into the future."
"Star Alliance connects the world," said Mr Panagiotoulias. "More than 200 million customers fly with its 26 member airlines each year, on more than 16,000 flights each day. The Alliance has also led the revolution to promote a more seamless passenger experience. I am honoured that I've been chosen to lead the Star Alliance team and work directly with our 26 member carriers, as we continue to innovate as the world's leading airline alliance."
Mr Panagiotoulias will succeed Charlotta Wieland, who has been seconded from SAS - Scandinavian Airlines to serve as Star Alliance's interim CEO since January 2023. With Mr Panagiotoulias coming on board, Ms Wieland will return to SAS, and also rejoin Star Alliance's Alliance Management Board as the representative for SAS. Mr Panagiotoulias' appointment is expected to take effect within the coming months, upon the completion of certain administrative processes and clearances.
"On behalf of Star Alliance and its member carriers, I would like to thank Charlotta for her service to Star Alliance as interim CEO, and welcome her back to her seat on the Alliance Management Board," said Mr Kirby.
Star Alliance was named the World's Best Airline Alliance by Skytrax in 2022. It aims to facilitate a seamless, high-quality traveller experience across its 26 member carriers, with smooth transfers across an extensive global network, together with rewards and recognition for frequent international travellers.
In 2022, the Alliance celebrated its 25th anniversary as the longest-running international airline alliance. It also marked several important milestones, including the launch of the world's first airline alliance credit card with HSBC Australia, and the formation of an intermodal travel model, which extends the Alliance's network beyond air travel to other transport ecosystems, such as rail networks.
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ETHIOPIAN TO ENHANCE PASSENGER EXPERIENCE EQUIPPED WITH AIRBUS' AIRSPACE LINK HBCPLUS AND INMARSAT'S GX AVIATION HIGH-SPEED INFLIGHT BROADBAND SERVICE
Revealed at Aircraft Interiors Expo (AIX) in Hamburg, Ethiopian Airlines, the fastest-growing airline brand globally and the continent's largest airline brand, will offer advanced, high-speed inflight broadband to passengers onboard its upcoming Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, with GX Aviation provided by Inmarsat, recently acquired by Viasat, and selected through the Airbus Airspace Link HBCplus programme.
As one of the launching airlines for inflight connectivity (IFC) through Airbus' HBCplus programme, Ethiopian Airlines will benefit from a more streamlined, efficient order process that will ensure its latest aircraft meet the rapidly growing passenger demand to stay connected while flying.
Inmarsat's latest Passenger Experience Survey found out that 97% of respondents use their personal devices on flights for entertainment, such as streaming movies and TV shows, keeping up with work, and to stay in touch with family and friends. In addition, 82% of passengers are more likely to rebook with an airline that offers quality inflight Wi-Fi.
The first of Ethiopian Airlines' Airbus A350-1000 aircraft is set to be delivered in the Third Quarter (Q3) of 2024, with passengers able to benefit from GX Aviation's world-class connectivity technology. This supports the airline's Vision 2035 Strategy which focuses on expanding its fleets, enhancing its passenger experience and maintaining its leading position in the airline industry.
Regarding the new service, Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Mr. Mesfin Tasew said, "As we endeavour to maintain our position as Africa's number one and among the leading airlines globally, we know one of the key success factors is giving our passengers the best possible onboard experience. Connectivity is a crucial part of our services and products; and bringing Inmarsat's best-in-class GX Aviation service to our passengers, as part of Airbus' HBCplus programme, is a major step forward. We want to give our passengers the possibility to stream, surf, and chat from thousands of feet in the air, no matter where their route or destination is. Inmarsat's seamless, truly global inflight connectivity will be vital to deliver this. We look forward to a very successful partnership with Inmarsat and Airbus, now and in the years to come."
Niels Steenstrup, President, Inmarsat Aviation, said: "We were selected as the first managed services provider (MSP) for the Airbus HBCplus programme last year, with a scope that includes connectivity, digital portal services and ISP capability. The fact that we have already been selected by two leading airlines is a great achievement and we are excited about delivering our award-winning GX Aviation inflight broadband to Ethiopian Airlines' passengers starting from next year. This will enable them to stream videos, browse the internet, shop online, enjoy social media and more, all from the comfort of their seats and using their personal devices."
Andre Schneider, Airbus VP Cabin and Cargo Programme said: "We are delighted that Ethiopian Airlines has selected our agnostic and flexible high-bandwidth connectivity solution - HBCplus. This is further endorsement from our valued airline customers of the confidence they place in Airbus to devise and integrate enhanced inflight capabilities for their passengers to experience. Airspace Link HBCplus provides satcom based off-board connectivity for the Airspace Link open ecosystem, available both in line fit and retrofit. Initially encompassing Ka-band services, it will enable the airline to connect to a choice of Managed Service Providers (MSPs), in this case with Inmarsat - via a new certified terminal and antenna built as part of the aircraft."
Powered by Inmarsat's Global Xpress satellite network, GX Aviation delivers world-class connectivity on every aircraft, on any route, and for every passenger. Airline customers will also benefit from seven more Inmarsat satellite payloads entering service by 2025, increasing its Ka-band network fleet to 12.
This includes two Inmarsat-6s, both of which have already launched, followed by two payloads in highly elliptical orbit, enabling the world's only commercial mobile broadband service for flights in higher latitudes and across the Arctic. This delivers uninterrupted connectivity on high-elevation routes. Three additional satellites will then
launch in geostationary orbit, adding further speed, capacity, and resilience.
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Greece, N of Chania: A Smartwings Boeing 737-8GQ with 128 on board suffered a loss of cabin pressure about 12 minutes after take-off from Chania-Soúda Airport (CHQ). The flight crew initiated an emergency descent and diverted to Heraklion, Crete.
Ecuador, Guayaquil-José Joaquín de Olmedo International Airport: An Eastern Airlines flight 2D9802, a Boeing 767-336ER, returned to land at Guayaquil International Airport (GYE/SEGU) after encountering engine problems on departure. A safe landing was made, 10 minutes after take-off. Witnesses reported hearing four loud bangs as the aircraft took off.
USA, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, MN: An American Airlines Boeing 737 MAX 8 (N338ST), and Delta Air Lines flight DL1163, an Airbus A220-300 (N311DU), were involved in an air approximation incident at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, MN (MSP). The AA2406 was approaching runway 30L and was told by the Tower controller to expect clearance to land on a two-mile final. At the same time Sun Country flight 261 was instructed by the controller to taxi down the runway and vacate via A3 on the right-hand side. DL2406 was then cleared to taxi into position and subsequently received clearance for take-off after SCX261 had vacated the runway. AA2406 was then instructed by the Tower controller to go-around: "American 24-06- go around right-side runway 3-0 Left". This was read back as "24-06 on the go". AA2406 then deviated to the left, instead of the right as instructed by the Tower controller, and overflew the parallel taxiway, overtaking DL1163. Minneapolis Tower then instructed DL1163 to turn (left) to a heading of 260, which made it cross the path of AA2406 that was flying on the left. The controller then stated to AA2406 that he had told them to fly right and then issued a clearance for a heading of 280. AA2406 circled and landed safely after a second approach. DL1163 continued to the destination. Minimum separation according to ADS-B data was roughly 100 m vertical and 130 m horizontally.
Indian Ocean, over the Bay of Bengal: British Airways flight BA12, a Boeing 777-336ER, encountered severe turbulence about two hours after take-off from Singapore. Several cabin crew members were said to have been injured, prompting the flight crew to return to Singapore.
Taiwan, Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport: A Scoot flight Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, landed at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport with a missing nose wheel. There were no personal injuries.