Industry Update and Commentary 1Mar05
More than 300 passengers were evacuated via emergency chutes from a Pakistan International Airlines aircraft when it caught fire at Manchester Airport in northern England on Tuesday, emergency services said.
Three people were taken to hospital but the extent of their injuries was not immediately known. Several more were treated on the scene for minor injuries.
The Boeing 777, flight PK 789 with 323 passengers and 12 crew, had landed for refuelling after flying in from Karachi en route to Toronto.
Airport authorities said it suffered a small undercarriage fire while taxi-ing.
"Shoe bomber" Richard Reid had planned with an accomplice to bring down more than one aircraft at around the same time, a London court heard on Monday.
Reid failed in his bid to blow up an American Airlines plane from Paris to Miami on December 22, 2001 after passengers and crew overpowered him as he tried to ignite explosives in his shoe.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment by a US court in January 2003.
At the Old Bailey on Monday, his accomplice Saajid Badat, 25, pleaded guilty to conspiring to use an explosive device identical to that of Reid.
"It is clear that the plan of Reid and Badat was to bring down passenger aircraft at similar times towards the end of December 2001," said prosecutor Richard Horwell.
He said Badat had been given an explosive device in Afghanistan that had a detonating cord that matched Reid's. But while Reid went ahead with his attempt, Badat had a change of heart.
The prosecution said an email from Badat to his family on December 14 indicated he intended to withdraw from the plot.
Although Badat bought a ticket to fly from Manchester, in northern England, to Amsterdam on December 17, 2001 and then on to the US, he did not take the flight.
"We would accept that by then he had withdrawn from the conspiracy to which he had been a party for an appreciable period of time," said Horwell.
Badat, of Gloucester, southwest England, was arrested in November 2003. At his home, police found a bomb which Badat had made safe by separating the detonator and fuse from the plastic explosive, which had been designed to evade airport security.
He was remanded in custody until sentencing on March 18.
Five groups are now bidding for buying Hungary's Malev Airlines. No names have been officially disclosed but the unofficial list includes Italy's Air One, Aviation Solutions Group, Kyrgystan Airlines, and Sky Alliance---a group of Malev Pilots. Also Hungarian Investor Sandor Demjan is reported to show interest. [I would probably rule Kyrgystan Airlines out as it is too small and cash-poor to have enough to take over Malev.}
Okay Airlines, the only airline in Mainland China that is not government-owned, is expected to start flying next month, once they get their 900-series 737 from Boeing. Flight base for Okay is in the city of Tianjin.
"The plane was not on a runway and the fire was put out by the airport's fire service," a spokesman said.
Airport buses picked up passengers and crew and took them to one of the terminal buildings.
Greater Manchester Police said they were alerted to the fire at 0915 GMT, shortly after the plane touched down. "We understand the fire was connected with overheating," a spokesman said.
The whole operation at Cyprus Airways was grounded, as all employee groups walked out on strike today.
The pilots at Singapore finally have a new contract, as of today.
Continental's pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics approved the new concessions to cut costs at the company. [A major difference, though, than any other carrier.....the CEO, board and upper management are all taking similar-sized cuts. Even without the wisdom of the departed Mr. Bethune, Continental proves to be taking the high moral ground.]
A federal judge has approved Air Wisconsin for taking a $125 million investment in US Airways. [Hmm....interesting move.]
Slovak-based low cost carrier SkyEurope will be adding four more planes to its fleet this summe.
City-code of the day......CUL.....Culiacan, Mexico......This airport, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, is another relatively tough place to get to. There is a sole nonstop from LAX on AeroCalifornia----which leaves at 7:30am. Problem is, nothing on ANY airline connects to it......options from anywhere outside of LAX are: (1)Do a double- or triple- connection of some sort.....(2) Stay overnight in L.A......(3) Fly into Mazatlan and take a 2-1/2 hour bus ride......