Posts Tagged ‘Airports’
Officials also fear that the presence of earthworms increases the risk of accidents as they attract birds
Kathmandu: Authorities at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) here, Nepal’s only international airport, have been lately forced to delay international flights, both arriving and departing, due to a huge number of earthworms crawling on the runway.
Airport authorities here said almost all international flights were delayed Tuesday and Wednesday due to the high presence of the earthworms on the runway causing at least an hour’s delay in flight take-offs.
“We are facing trouble after a huge number of earthworms appeared on the runway,” Rishikesh Sharma, TIA general manager, said adding that even the use of chemicals to drive away the earthworms from the runway did not work.
Usually, when there is heavy rain in the night and a sunny morning the following day, thousands of earthworms cover the runway delaying flights by at least one hour. A number of domestic flights also suffered delay due to the earthworms.
The TIA did not permit any airline to take off or land when the earthworms covered the runway. Only when the runway was cleared did it permit flights to operate.
“Everyday we are clearing the bushes near the runway but the situation is the same. Initially, we thought it was just a normal problem and can be cleared. But, after the rainy season reached its peak, we are facing trouble on daily basis,” Sharma added.
Officials also fear that the presence of earthworms increases the risk of accidents as they attract birds. Several planes had in the past suffered bird hits due to this.
A similar problem surfaced in July 2010 and the TIA had to carry out a huge clean-up campaign to remove the earthworms from the runway.
“Earlier, we had somehow managed to handle such threats. But this time, the situation is getting out of hand,” Sharma said.
Almost 250 flights operate daily from the TIA which go up to 450 flights in the peak tourist season.
Twenty-seven international airlines, including half a dozen Indian airlines, are currently operating at TIA and numbers are likely to shoot up in the days to come.
Airline operators, both domestic and international, have expressed concern over the growing menace of earthworms on the runway with TIA officials.
By Niluksi Koswanage and Siva Govindasamy
(Reuters) – Military radar-tracking evidence suggests a Malaysia Airlines(MASM.KL) jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.
Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints – indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training – when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s northwest coast.
The last plot on the military radar’s tracking suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said.
Waypoints are geographic locations, worked out by calculating longitude and latitude, that help pilots navigate along established air corridors.
A third source familiar with the investigation said inquiries were focusing increasingly on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight, with 239 people on board, hundreds of miles off its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
“What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” said that source, a senior Malaysian police official.
All three sources declined to be identified because they were not authorised to speak to the media and due to the sensitivity of the investigation.
Officials at Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport, the official point of contact for information on the investigation, did not return calls seeking comment.
Malaysian police have previously said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery, along with the possibility of a hijacking, sabotage or mechanical failure.
The comments by the three sources are the first clear indication that foul play is the main focus of official suspicions in the Boeing (BA.N) 777’s disappearance.
As a result of the new evidence, the sources said, multinational search efforts were being stepped up in the Andaman Sea and also the Indian Ocean.
In one of the most baffling mysteries in modern aviation, no trace of the plane nor any sign of wreckage has been found despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of more than a dozen countries.
The last sighting of the aircraft on civilian radar screens came shortly before 1:30 a.m. Malaysian time last Saturday (1730 GMT Friday), less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur, as the plane flew northeast across the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand. That put the plane on Malaysia’s east coast.
Malaysia’s air force chief said on Wednesday an aircraft that could have been the missing plane was plotted on military radar at 2:15 a.m., 200 miles (320 km) northwest of Penang Island off Malaysia’s west coast.
This position marks the limit of Malaysia’s military radar in that part of the country, a fourth source familiar with the investigation told Reuters.
When asked about the range of military radar at a news conference on Thursday, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said it was “a sensitive issue” that he was not going to reveal.
“Even if it doesn’t extend beyond that, we can get the cooperation of the neighbouring countries,” he said.
The fact that the aircraft – if it was MH370 – had lost contact with air traffic control and was invisible to civilian radar suggested someone aboard had turned its communication systems off, the first two sources said.
They also gave new details on the direction in which the unidentified aircraft was heading – following aviation corridors identified on maps used by pilots as N571 and P628. These routes are taken by commercial planes flying from Southeast Asia to the Middle East or Europe and can be found in public documents issued by regional aviation authorities.
In a far more detailed description of the military radar plotting than has been publicly revealed, the first two sources said the last confirmed position of MH370 was at 35,000 feet about 90 miles (144 km) off the east coast of Malaysia, heading towards Vietnam, near a navigational waypoint called “Igari”. The time was 1:21 a.m.
The military track suggests it then turned sharply westwards, heading towards a waypoint called “Vampi”, northeast of Indonesia’s Aceh province and a navigational point used for planes following route N571 to the Middle East.
From there, the plot indicates the plane flew towards a waypoint called “Gival”, south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another waypoint called “Igrex”, on route P628 that would take it over the Andaman Islands and which carriers use to fly towards Europe.
The time was then 2:15 a.m. That’s the same time given by the air force chief on Wednesday, who gave no information on that plane’s possible direction.
The sources said Malaysia was requesting raw radar data from neighbours Thailand, Indonesia and India, which has a naval base in the Andaman Islands.
(Additional reporting by Christine Chan in Singapore. Writing by Alex Richardson. Editing by Dean Yates)
Source: – REUTERS
MUMBAI: An Air India Express flight from Lucknow to Dubai was diverted to Mumbai where it did an emergency landing on Saturday evening.
The flight IX 193, operated with a Boeing 737 aircraft, had 189 passengers on board. “After the aircraft took off from Lucknow, a part of the nose wheel was found on the runway,” said a source. The commander of the flight was alerted, who in turn decided to divert the aircraft to Mumbai.
An airport official said, “A full emergency was declared at 3.55pm for the Air India Express flight. It landed safely on runway 27 at 6.11pm.” But that was not before the airline’s engineers and air traffic controllers were asked to inspect the damage. “The Boeing 737 did a low fly past at the Mumbai airport. Airline engineers and air traffic controllers were ready with binoculors to ascertain the damage,” said an airline official. An Air India Express spokesperson confirmed the incident. He added all the 189 passengers were safe and they were put on another flight to Dubai. They were en route to Dubai in less than two hours after the emergency landing, said the spokesperson.
Kathmandu: The rear landing gear of an IndiGo Airlines aircraft caught fire after landing at Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) Saturday afternoon, airport officials said, adding all the passengers on board were evacuated safely.
The aircraft, an Airbus A320, landed safely with 174 passengers on board, Xinhua reported citing the officials. The aircraft caught fire immediately after landing at the airport.
Rishikesh Sharma, general manager of TIA, told the media that the fire was immediately controlled. The reason behind the fire is yet to be ascertained.
On Friday, a Twin Otter plane belonging to Nepal Airlines also made an emergency landing at Kathmandu airport after it experienced minor glitches in its engine.
Source: – Zee News India
Stuart Grudgings and Nguyen Phuong Linh Reuters
3:39 a.m. CST, March 8, 2014
KUALA LUMPUR/HANOI (Reuters) – A Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew went missing over the South China Sea on Saturday, presumed crashed, as ships and planes from countries closest to its flight path scoured a large search area for any wreckage.
Vietnamese state media, quoting a senior naval official, had reported that the Boeing 777-200ER flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing had crashed off south Vietnam. Malaysia’s transport minister later denied any crash scene had been identified.
“We are doing everything in our power to locate the plane.
We are doing everything we can to ensure every possible angle has been addressed,” Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“We are looking for accurate information from the Malaysian military. They are waiting for information from the Vietnamese side,” he said.
Vietnamese Admiral Ngo Van Phat later qualified his earlier remarks about a crash site having been identified and told Reuters he was referring to a presumed location beneath the plane’s flight path, using information supplied by Malaysia.
A crash, if confirmed, would likely mark the U.S.-built Boeing 777-200ER airliner’s deadliest incident since entering service 19 years ago.
The plane disappeared without giving a distress signal – a chilling echo of an Air France flight that crashed into the South Atlantic on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board. It vanished for hours before wreckage was found.
Search and rescue vessels from the Malaysian maritime enforcement agency reached the area where the plane last made contact at about 4.30 p.m. Singapore time (0830 GMT) but saw no immediate sign of wreckage, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency told Reuters.
VANISHED AFTER REACHING 35,000 FEET
Flight MH370, operating a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement read to an earlier news conference in Kuala Lumpur.
There were no reports of bad weather in the area.
The airline said people from 14 nationalities were among the 227 passengers – at least 152 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans. A Chinese infant and an American infant were also on board.
“The Australian government fears the worst for those aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370,” a spokeswoman for Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said.
Flight tracking website flightaware.com showed the plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to an altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from the website’s tracking records a minute later while it was still climbing.
Malaysia and Vietnam were conducting a joint search and rescue operation, while China and the Philippines have sent ships to the South China Sea to help. The Philippines also dispatched a military plane to help in the search.
China has also put other ships and aircraft on standby, said Transport Minister Yang Chuantang.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters in Beijing before the initial Vietnamese report that the plane had crashed that China was “extremely worried” about the fate of the plane and those on board. “The news is very disturbing. We hope everyone on the plane is safe,” Wang said.
The flight was operating as a China Southern Airlines codeshare.
The flight left Kuala Lumpur at 12.21 a.m. (11.21 a.m. ET Friday) but no trace had been found of the plane more than eight hours after it was due to land in the Chinese capital at 6.30 a.m. (5.30 p.m. ET Friday) the same day.
“We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370,” Jauhari said.
Malaysia Airlines has one of the best safety records among full-service carriers in the Asia-Pacific region.
It identified the pilot of MH370 as Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian who joined the carrier in 1981 and has 18,365 hours of flight experience.
Chinese state media said 24 Chinese artists and family members, who were in Kuala Lumpur for an art exchange program, were aboard. The Sichuan provincial government said Zhang Jinquan, a well-known calligrapher, was on the flight.
If it is confirmed that the plane crashed, the loss would mark the second fatal accident involving a Boeing 777 in less than a year and by far the worst since the jet entered service in 1995.
An Asiana Airlines Boeing 777-200ER crash-landed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers and injuring more than 180.
Boeing said it was monitoring the situation but had no further comment. The flight was operating as a China Southern Airlines codeshare.
An official at the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said the plane had failed to check in as scheduled at 1721 GMT while it was flying over the sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh city.
(Additional reporting by Anuradha Raghu in KUALA LUMPUR, Ben Blanchard, Jonathan Standing and Natalie Thomas in BEIJING, Martin Petty in HANOI, Alwyn Scott in NEW YORK, and Morag MacKinnon in PERTH; Writing by Paul Tait; Editing by Mark Bendeich)
Source: – Chicago Tribune
DO YOU know the way to San Jose? Quite a few airline pilots in the US apparently don’t.
On at least 150 flights, including one involving a Southwest Airlines jet last month in Missouri and a jumbo cargo plane last fall in Kansas, US commercial air carriers have either landed at the wrong airport or started to land and realised their mistake in time, according to a search by The Associated Press of government safety databases and media reports since the early 1990s.
A particular trouble spot is San Jose, California. The list of landing mistakes includes six reports of pilots preparing to land at Moffett Field, a joint civilian-military airport, when they meant to go to Mineta San Jose International Airport, about 16km to the southeast. The airports are south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley.
”This event occurs several times every winter in bad weather when we work on Runway 12,” a San Jose airport tower controller said in a November 2012 report describing how an airliner headed for Moffett after being cleared to land at San Jose. A controller at a different facility who noticed the impending landing on radar warned his colleagues with a telephone hotline that piped his voice directly into the San Jose tower’s loudspeakers. The plane was waved off in time.
In nearly all the incidents, the pilots were cleared by controllers to guide the plane based on what they could see rather than relying on automation. Many incidents occur at night, with pilots reporting they were attracted by the runway lights of the first airport they saw during descent. Some pilots said they disregarded navigation equipment that showed their planes slightly off course because the information didn’t match what they were seeing out their windows — a runway straight ahead.
”You’ve got these runway lights, and you are looking at them, and they’re saying: ‘Come to me, come to me. I will let you land.’ They’re like the sirens of the ocean,” said Michael Barr, a former Air Force pilot who teaches aviation safety at the University of Southern California.
Using NASA’s Aviation Safety Reporting System, along with news accounts and reports sent to other federal agencies, the AP tallied 35 landings and 115 approaches or aborted landing attempts at wrong airports by commercial passenger and cargo planes over more than two decades.
The tally doesn’t include every event. Many are not disclosed to the media, and reports to the NASA database are voluntary. The Federal Aviation Administration investigates wrong airport landings and many near-landings, but those reports aren’t publicly available. FAA officials turned down a request by The Associated Press for access to those records, saying some may include information on possible violations of safety regulations by pilots and might be used in an enforcement action.
The accounts that are available paint a picture of repeated close calls, especially in parts of the country where airports are situated close together with runways similarly angled, including Nashville and Smyrna in Tennessee, Tucson and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, and several airports in South Florida.
In a report filed last July, for example, an airline captain described how his MD-80 was lined up to land at what he thought was San Antonio International Airport when a rider in the cockpit’s jump seat “shouted out that we were headed for Lackland Air Force Base”. The first officer, who was flying the plane, quickly aborted the landing and circled around to line up for the correct airport.
The captain later thanked the cockpit passenger and phoned the San Antonio tower. “They did not seem too concerned,” he reported, “and said this happens rather frequently there”.
Continental Airlines’ regional carriers flying from Houston to Lake Charles Regional Airport on the Louisiana Gulf Coast have at least three times mistakenly landed at the smaller, nearby Southland Executive field.
The recent wrong airport landings by a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 in Missouri and an Atlas Air Boeing 747 freighter in Kansas have heightened safety concerns. The Southwest pilots stopped just short of a ravine at the end of the short runway in Hollister, Missouri, when they meant to land on a runway twice as long at the nearby Branson airport.
Of the 35 documented wrong landings, 23 occurred at airports with shorter runways. The runways were longer in three cases, they were the same length in two and the wrong airport wasn’t identified or its runway length was unavailable in seven.
FAA officials emphasised that cases of wrong airport landings are rare. There are nearly 29,000 commercial aircraft flights daily in the US, but only eight wrong airport landings by US carriers in the last decade, according to AP’s tally. None has resulted in death or injury.
But John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member and aviation safety expert, says the FAA and the NTSB should be concerned. Air crashes are nearly always the result of a string of safety lapses rather than a single mistake, he noted. Attempts to land at wrong airports represent “another step up the ladder toward a riskier operation”, he said.
In some reports, pilots said they were saved from making a wrong airport landing by an alert controller. That was the case for an MD-80 captain who nearly landed his mid-sized airliner at Page Field, a small airport in Fort Myers, Florida, used mainly by private pilots, instead of the much larger Southwest Florida International Airport nearby.
A controller caught the mistake in time and suggested the captain explain the detour by telling passengers the flight was “touring downtown” Fort Myers.
“I was pretty shaken as to what could have happened and was very glad to have an understanding, helpful (controller),” the captain said.
Source: – The Australian
Geneva: The man who hijacked an Ethiopian Airlines flight en route from Addis Ababa to Rome on Monday was the co-pilot, according to the Geneva airport where the plane was forced to land.
The co-pilot said he had seized his chance when the pilot went to the bathroom, Bertrand Staempfli, the airport spokesman, told reporters.
“He said he felt threatened in his country and wants to seek asylum in Switzerland,” he said.
The man, born in 1983 and an Ethiopian citizen, had contacted Geneva Airport and said “he needed to land to fill the tank. After that he announced the hijacking,” Staempfli said.
“At 6:02 am, the plane landed safely,” he said, adding that the co-pilot had left the plane by scaling down a rope he had thrown out of the cockpit window.
“He didn’t have a weapon with him,” he said, adding that the hijacker would go before a judge Monday.
Technically, he can be charged with “hostage-taking,” and could face up to 20 years in prison, Staempfli said.
Source: – NDTV
Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) pilot Tariq Ranjha put the lives of 70 passengers at stake on Sunday as he landed the aircraft at LondonHeathrowAirport in London despite bring refused by the control tower.
According to sources, the control tower denied the request of landing the aircraft in the city due to the weather conditions. However, Ranjha kept insisting on landing the aircraft in London as the medical condition of a passenger, named Qasim Abu Bakar, was deteriorating.
He kept flying the aircraft in the skies of London despite the bad weather and also wasted fuel worth of millions. The control tower kept sending the message to the PIA pilot to divert the aircraft towards Manchester and Leeds.
However, the pilot’s request was finally accepted after an hour and was allowed to land the plane in the rough conditions.
After the landing, the aircraft was searched for 40 minutes by London Metropolitan Police and the passengers were finally allowed to leave the plane after being cleared.
Britain’s Civil Aviation has warned PIA to hold a proper investigation against the pilot of the fact that why he landed the aircraft despite the rough conditions. They added that the medical care could have been provided in Manchester and Leeds if the pilot landed the plane there.
Source: – Pakistan Today
* Plane caught fire while parked at Heathrow on Friday
* Investigators say no evidence of link to batteries
* In separate incident, another Dreamliner turned back
* Airline says it has replaced components, plane OK to fly
By Estelle Shirbon
LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) – Investigators classified the fire that broke out on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked at London’s Heathrow airport as a “serious incident” but have found no evidence it was caused by the plane’s batteries, Britain’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said on Saturday.
The question of whether the fire was connected to the batteries is crucial because the entire global fleet of Dreamliners, Boeing’s groundbreaking new flagship jet, was grounded for three months this year due to battery-related problems.
The AAIB designation fell just short of a full-blown “accident” on the scale it uses to describe investigations. The agency’s preliminary probe is expected to take several days, opening up Boeing to more questions about its top-selling plane.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the blaze, airlines around the world continued to operate the Dreamliner. Some 18 787s took to the skies Saturday afternoon, about the same as Friday.
The fire broke out on the Ethiopian Airlines plane on Friday afternoon, and was discovered when smoke was seen on the plane eight hours after arriving from Addis Ababa. No one was injured.
“There has been extensive heat damage in the upper portion of the rear fuselage, a complex part of the aircraft, and the initial investigation is likely to take several days,” the AAIB said in a statement.
“However, it is clear that this heat damage is remote from the area in which the aircraft main and APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) batteries are located, and, at this stage, there is no evidence of a direct causal relationship.”
The Financial Times on Saturday reported that airline staff had discovered a problem with the aircraft’s air conditioning system during a routine inspection and had seen sparks but no flames.
The Times, quoting Mark Mangooni, Ethiopian Airlines’ senior manager in Britain, did not make clear when this had happened. Reuters could not reach Mangooni for comment.
Separately, Britain’s Thomson Airways said one of its Dreamliners that turned back during a flight from Manchester to Sanford in Florida on Friday had suffered a “minor technical issue” and had now had a small number of components replaced.
Thomson said the aircraft had been fully tested and was being taken back into service at once. The airline declined to specify which components had been replaced.
Thomson Airways, owned by the world’s largest tour operator TUI Travel, has a total of three Dreamliners and all are now operating normally, the airline said.
Britain’s Sky News television channel said it had learnt that some 100 Thomson passengers had called the airline’s cancellation line asking to know if they were booked to fly on a Dreamliner. Sky News did not give a source for the information and Thomson declined to comment.
The Heathrow and Manchester incidents were a new blow for Boeing after the entire global fleet of Dreamliners had to be grounded for three months, ending in April, after one high-tech battery caught fire and another overheated.
Boeing shares closed down 4.7 percent at $101.87 on Friday, knocking $3.8 billion off the company’s market capitalization.
“SMOKE THROUGHOUT FUSELAGE”
Several airlines said they were continuing to operate their Dreamliners, including United Continental, the Polish airline LOT, Japan Airlines and ANA, the world’s biggest operator of the 787.
Heathrow briefly closed both its runways to deal with Friday’s fire, causing delays and cancellations, but was back to normal operations on Saturday.
Footage from the scene of the fire showed apparent scorching on the fuselage near the tail. The Dreamliner’s two batteries are in compartments located low down near the front and middle of the plane.
The Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner has been moved to a hangar at Heathrow where it is under technical investigation, the AAIB said, adding that the initial witness and physical evidence showed there had been smoke throughout the fuselage.
The AAIB said the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), representing the state of design and manufacture, and the Civil Aviation Authority of Ethiopia, representing the state of registry and operator, had been invited to appoint accredited representatives to participate in the investigation.
The AAIB also said it had also invited the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines, the European Aviation Safety Agency and Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority to participate as advisers to the investigation.
Boeing will be keen to reassure airlines, travellers and investors over the cause of the fire as quickly as possible but under aviation rules it will be up to investigators to decide how much information to release and when.
Ethiopian Airlines, one of Africa’s top five carriers, said it would continue to fly its Dreamliner fleet. It has ordered a total of 10 Dreamliners, of which four have been delivered.
“After a normal flight from Addis to London, passengers disembarked in the morning and the aircraft was cleaned. It was towed to a remote parking area as usual and parked properly with all internal and external powers switched off,” said an official from the airline’s public relations department.
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner has hit its latest problem — Japanese airline ANA says that three of its 20-strong fleet have shown an electrical wiring issue with their engine fire extinguishers. An airline spokesperson told Reuters that the discovery was first made during pre-flight maintenance in Tokyo.
787 BOUND FOR HELSINKI FORCED TO TURN BACK
It’s not yet known whether the fault could stop the extinguishers working in the event of a fire, but Japan Airlines, a competitor of ANA, said it forced a 787 bound for Helsinki to turn back for examination. The airline says it is currently performing similar checks on its fleet of ten Dreamliners.
The sophisticated 787 has suffered a litany of setbacks since its maiden US flight last year, with airlines worldwide grounding their fleet until Boeing found a solution for a battery issue. The aircraft went back into active service earlier this year, but has continued to run into problems; last month an Ethiopian Airlines 787 caught fire while parked at London’s Heathrow airport, causing both runways to be closed.
Source: – The Verge