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J.A. Donoghue

Room to Breathe in Tokyo 

Airports in Tokyo, capital city of the world's second-largest national economy, long have been sources of puzzlement and irritation, hobbled by numerous constraints and far too small for such a vibrant area. Now, with Japan's economy reviving after several years of recession and deflation, expansion projects at both airports offer the prospect of at least temporary relief from restrictions, along with unhinderedwell, less hinderedgrowth.

Just Compensation 

Judging one's worth on the job market is never an easy task, but rarely has that process been more in the spotlight than today. This is an emotional issue at every level, yet all are asked to set emotion aside and focus on larger concerns. Ultimately emotions cannot be ignored, for unless the outcome of these compensation calculations is carefully proportioned and falls within an acceptable range as viewed from below, the seeds of disaster will be planted. Labor/management distrust and even hatred have accompanied some airlines' extinction and may have played a key role in their demise.

Cool Burnings 

Airline efforts to fend off the building pressure to penalize the industry for aircraft noise and emissions run into two key difficulties. First, as anyone familiar with the evolution of turbine aircraft powerplants can attest, the road to a cleaner engine is very rough indeed, with much money and time required to achieve each step of improvement. Second, visible signs of progress are hidden deep within the engine's guts with the exception of noise, which at least has some visible changes in fan and nacelle design. All the rest must be taken on faith in the measurements and the measurers.

Freight in an E-Ticket World 

Opportunities to use the adjective Byzantine are few and far between, but even a passing glance at the paperwork labyrinth that confounds the airfreight business process gives one ample reason to whip out that rare modifier. There are around 40 documents that must accompany most kinds of cargo, and a good part of this wood pulp destruction has nothing to do with the business part of the process: It is government rules and regulations that are responsible for the felling of vast forests to feed the voracious paper appetite of the airfreight industry.

Airlines slam Aeroports de Paris for 'greedy' fee jumps 
International Air Transport Assn. expressed outrage at Aeroports de Paris' plan to raise charges at Paris CDG 5% per year for the next five years, calling ADP "greedy." According to IATA, the French government ignored airline pleas and the report of an independent consultant to approve "the ridiculously high increase" in airport charges. "This is yet another demonstration of how airlines are caught between a rock and a hard place in their relationship with airport monopolies," DG and CEO Giovanni Bisignani said. "ADP clearly does not understand the need for efficiency.
Rockwell signs easyJet, Singapore Airlines for eFlight 
Rockwell Collins' eFlight initiative made sales to two key airline players, giving the program a big boost after years of development. EasyJet plans to go live in April with a fleetwide EFB for its 54 737s, according to Aircraft Operations Cost Manager Taylor Bradbury. This will allow electronic posting of technical and journey logs via Panasonic CF-18 laptops linked by cellphone wireless during base airport turnarounds while providing automated weight and balance computations.
Forecast: Good Times Or, As Good as it Gets 

Viewed with altered expectations, 2006 will be at or near the top of the current economic cycle and should produce the best financial results the industry has seen since 2000. Passenger traffic, on a steady rise since the 2001-02 period, will ride a still-buoyant global economy to continue its ascent at rates a bit higher than the long-term trend, but this time with some improved yields, especially in the North American domestic market where 2006 capacity should decline.

Wireless Not Painless

The underlying reason for airports and airlines' clashing perspectives on the installation and management of airport wireless networks can be summed up in a few words: "Airports can be served by 20 or 30 airlines; each airline can serve hundreds of airports."

IATA reduces loss estimate on falling fuel prices as traffic growth slows 

IATA, citing the easing of oil prices in the current quarter, trimmed its estimate of industry losses in 2005 from $7.4 billion to $6 billion.

Brian Pearce, IATA's chief economist, told ATWOnline that the organization decided the average price of oil will be in the $54-$55 per barrel range, down from the $57 price assumed in August. That reduction, coupled with "quite a strong revenue environment," produced the revised forecast. Total fuel bill for the world's airline industry still will amount to $92-$93 billion compared to $44 billion in 2003.

Atlas Air looking at providing passenger lift 
Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings President and CEO Jeffrey Erickson said in London yesterday that Atlas is looking to go into the passenger ACMI business using 747-400s. Speaking at the Air Cargo Seminar that opened the Future of Air Transport Conference, Erickson said the company hopes to build on its business relationships with cargo ACMI customers, grow its ACMI base and add a new revenue stream.
Out of Balance 

Airports are not all created equal, this is clear. This does not refer simply to available facilities but also must encompass market, the economic power of an airport's region.

At the top are airports flooded with demands for slots and terminal space, carriers eager to crawl over their competition's corporate bodies to get in and stay in, believing their economic welfare depends upon it.

Thrust Standard, Bleed Optional 

Two new airliner power-plants are offering an unprecedented choice: With engine bleed air to power aircraft systems, or without. It's a package deal, of course; in order to get the bleedless powerplant one must order the 787, while the A350 only comes with bleed air.

Kelly laments excess capacity as he plans Southwest expansion 

"The single overriding issue [in the US market] is excess capacity" that keeps US carriers in red ink, Southwest Airlines CEO and Vice Chairman Gary Kelly said Wednesday.

IAE lands $1.7 billion IndiGo order, launches new service product 

IndiGo, the Indian startup partly owned by former US Airways CEO Rakesh Gangwal, selected V2500s to power its 100 A320s on order, giving International Aero Engines not only its biggest order at $1.7 billion but also launching the company's new V2500Select service product.

The aircraft order, announced during this year's Paris Air Show, starts delivery from July 2006, IAE said. IndiGo is the creation of InterGlobe Enterprises Ltd., an Indian travel conglomerate.

A Smooth Glide Home 

The old Scottish prayer that begs protection from dangers including "things that go bump in the night" may be a favorite of pilots trying to find their way around dark, fogbound airports. A system that can answer that prayer, and provide in-cockpit merging and spacing capabilities during approach from cruise to the ground as well, seems heaven-sent, and that is what a new technology called SafeRoute from Aviation Communication and Surveillance Systems promises. ACSS is a joint venture of Thales and L-3 Communications.

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