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January 13, 2013

FAA orders review of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following week of incidents

FAA orders review of Boeing 787 Dreamliners following week of incidents

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

Aviation

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A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner sits idle on the tarmac at Boston’s Logan International Airport following a electrical fire on board.
Image: Patrick Mannion.

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered a review Friday into the design and manufacture of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, following five incidents in five days involving the aircraft and two Japanese airlines.

On Monday, an electrical fire broke out aboard a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston’s Logan International Airport, when a battery pack which powers the auxiliary power unit, for when the plane is on the ground, caught fire. The fire was discovered by maintenance workers after passengers and crew disembarked following their flight from Tokyo’s Narita Airport.

The next day, a separate Japan Airlines 787, also at Logan International Airport, heading to Tokyo, suffered a fuel leak that spilled around 40 gallons, which was spotted by the crew of the aircraft taxiing behind them. “That Japan Air may know it, but they’ve got fuel or something spilling out the outboard left wing. Quite a bit,” said the pilot of aircraft behind them on local air traffic control frequencies.

Wednesday, in Japan, an All Nippon Airways 787, the launch customer for the aircraft, cancelled a flight after a brake problem was reported.

Earlier Friday, two All Nippon Airways suffered separate incidents in Japan. An oil leak was noticed in the engine after one aircraft had landed in Miyazaki, coming from Tokyo’s Haneda Airport. Another flight, flying between Haneda Airport and Matsuyama said the pilot’s side window in the cockpit suffered a crack.

The FAA in a statement said “In light of a series of recent events, the FAA will conduct a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly.” Further adding, “The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety.”

According to the statement, “The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.” The Boeing 787 relies more on electrical, as opposed to mechanical, systems than past aircraft from the manufacturer including having electronics operate hydraulic pumps and using electric brakes. Large portions of the plane’s structure use lightweight carbon fiber composite instead of more traditional metal airframe.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said, “The safety of the traveling public is our top priority […] This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening,” said newly sworn-in FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

Boeing released a statement saying, “[The company] is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane. The airplane has logged 50,000 hours of flight and there are more than 150 flights occurring daily.”



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January 7, 2012

Japan Airlines to relist shares

Japan Airlines to relist shares – Wikinews, the free news source

Japan Airlines to relist shares

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Economy and business
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A Japan Airlines Boeing 777-200 departing Kansai International Airport.
Image: BriYYZ.

Japan Airlines (JAL) is planning on relisting its shares in an IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. By September, JAL shareholders intend to sell between ¥500 billion and ¥1 trillion (US$6.4b – US$12.8b, €5b – €10b).

If the sale goes into high-end estimates, it will make JAL the largest airline in the world by market value. It will also be the largest IPO in Japan since the 2010 listing of Dai-Ichi Life. However, Senri Sasahara, chief executive officer of Innovative Advisor Corp, said “The amount sought may be a bit too ambitious.”

JAL entered bankruptcy protection in January 2010 and was later given a government bailout. When it was delisted from TSE, it cut one-third of its workers, and reduced the benefits of remaining employees. JAL emerged from bankruptcy in March 2011. Since then, it has posted a record ¥188.4 billion (US$2.4b, €1.9b) in profit for fiscal year 2010.

JAL faces growing competition from discount airlines, such as AirAsia Japan and Peach. In response, JAL entered into a joint venture to form a low-cost carrier with JetStar Airways.



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January 18, 2010

Japan Airlines to file for bankruptcy

Japan Airlines to file for bankruptcy – Wikinews, the free news source

Japan Airlines to file for bankruptcy

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Japan
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File photo of a JAL Boeing 747 landing at Heathrow Airport in the UK

Japan Airlines (JAL), Asia’s largest airline, is expected to file for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday, bringing an end to months of speculation about the airline’s financial future, riddled by debt.

The bankruptcy filing, should it go ahead, is to be followed by a restructuring program, backed by the government, intended to trim down the airline, firing a third of its employees, and removing some routes from its schedule.

JAL stock has fallen by over ninety percent in the last few days, due to the financial uncertainty of the airline. Shares for JAL were trading as low as US$0.05 earlier today at the Tokyo stock exchange. The carrier’s estimated value is now $150 million, about the price of a single Boeing 787 jet.



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July 21, 2008

One-Two-Go Airlines cease operating over fuel costs as legal action begins over September air disaster

One-Two-Go Airlines cease operating over fuel costs as legal action begins over September air disaster

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Monday, July 21, 2008

A One-Two-Go Boeing 717, similar to the one which crashed last September. These older aircraft are becoming uneconomic and are contributing to the carrier’s financial trouble.

Thai low-cost air carrier One-Two-Go Airlines has announced that it will be grounding all 16 of its aircraft immediately until September 15. The news comes as legal action against the airline and associated companies begins over the September crash of Flight 269, which killed 90 people, mostly foreigners.

Udom Tantiprasongchai, founder of the airline, has said conditions were hard for airlines with fuel prices having doubled within a year. He says 70% of operating costs are taken up with fuel, and the airline has already raised fuel surcharges again by 100 baht to 850 baht per leg.

“In this kind of environment, anyone can go (bankrupt) anytime,” said Urdom, who declined to comment on the impact the present financial situation has had on his airline, saying only that they “are financially sustainable.” He also said that the airline could return to service with ease if prices dropped, noting that, “if the situation improved with fuel prices being lowered and the profitability outlook was better, we could be airborne again.”

The airline began operations in 2003; it is a subsidiary of Orient Thai Airlines. Orient Thai, which will continue to operate as normal, recently opened Thailand’s first freight-only airline, Orient Thai Cargo, with a pair of Boeing 747-200Fs bought from Japan Airlines.

Urdon said that a major part of the problem is that eight of the company’s aircraft are MD-11s, which consume large volumes of fuel. He also said that a collapse of a damage limitation scheme with rivals Nok Airlines and Thai AirAsia had affected his decision. Both rival carriers were also struggling financially. One-Two-Go has already cut many routes.

The news comes as the first families of victims of Flight OG269 launch legal action against the airline, as well as parent airline Orient Thai and lessor Grandmax Group. Already confirmed to be involved in the action are Richard and Margaret Collins as well as Steve and Jean Jones, parents of Alex Collins, 22, and Bethan Jones, also 22, an unmarried Welsh couple who, a few days into a round-the-world trip, were among the 123 passengers on board. Alex was reported missing but quickly confirmed to have died, while Bethan died ten days after the accident with her family at her bedside, bringing the final death toll to 90.

“We believe the air crash was completely avoidable and those responsible should be held to account. While we accept that nothing can bring Alex and Bethan and the other people who lost their lives back, we are keen to make sure we prevent this from happening again,” said the families in a joint statement. “We will be forcing One-Two-Go Airlines to prove in court that they are not a low cost, low safety airline,” said James Healy-Pratt, head of aviation at Stewarts Law in London. He also said that the action will be brought before courts in the United States.



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May 10, 2008

Ex-head of Qantas freight operations in US jailed for price fixing

Ex-head of Qantas freight operations in US jailed for price fixing

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Qantas Airbus A330 in Singapore

Bruce McCaffrey, who was formerly the vice-president in charge of freight operations in the United States for Australian flag carrier Qantas, has been sentenced to eight months imprisonment and fined US$21,000 by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) for his involvement in a major air cargo price fixing cartel.

McCaffrey is one of six past and present employees of the airline who have been charged over the arrangement, which is thought to have run for six years starting in 2000. He is also the first individual to be sentenced regarding the cartel. He, as well as Stephen Cleary, group general manager for freight in Sydney, Harold Pang, general manager for freight sales in Singapore, Peter Frampton, former group general manager for freight, John Cooper former general manager for freight sales and Desmond Church, a former freight employee, were all charged after being exempt from immunity granted in a plea bargain by Qantas in which the airline paid a US$61 million fine.

In Australia price fixing is not actually a criminal offense, so former head of freight Peter Frampton and three other staff members in Australia will not be extradited to face charges. Meanwhile, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is seeking admittances of guilt from airlines whose operations fall under its jurisdiction in exchange for lighter penalties. Qantas is amongst those airlines.

The cartel, which prevented competition in air freight shipments rates, is said to involve almost thirty airlines. As well as Qantas, Japan Airlines, British Airways, Korean Air and Lufthansa have all had their involvement confirmed. Whistleblower Lufthansa, a German airline, was granted immunity from prosecution in exchange for exposing the operation. In August, British Airways and Korean Air pled guilty to their involvement and received fines of US$300 million each. Last month Japan Airlines also admitted to their role and paid a US$110 million fine. Amongst the others alleged to be involved are Air New Zealand, Singapore Airlines and Cathay Pacific. Hundreds of Australian businesses are involved in a class action suit against these seven airlines for AU$200 million that they believe was unfairly charged to them as a result of criminal activity.

McCarthy, who ran Qantas’s Australia-US cargo route for twenty years, entered a plea bargain with the authorities. Under the US Sherman Act he could have faced up to a US$1.06 million fine and up to 10 years imprisonment, but the DoJ says that the maximum fine could actually be double the gain from the offences committed or double the loss of those victimised if either were found to be higher than the normal maximum. According to the case, he was involved with “meetings, conversations and communications in the US and elsewhere to discuss the cargo rates to be charged on certain routes to and from the US”.

In light of the news, shares in Qantas fell 3¢ to AU$3.41.



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  • “Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing” — Wikinews, April 17, 2008

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April 17, 2008

Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing

Japan Airlines fined US$110 million for price fixing

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

A JAL Airbus A300

After admitting to price fixing on cargo services between Japan and the United States, Japan Airlines (JAL) has been fined US$110 million by the United States Department of Justice.

Prosecutors allege JAL earned $2 billion illegally between 2000 and 2006, although it is possible the scheme was operating as early as 1995. British Airways, Korean Air and Qantas all previously admitted being involved and paid fines. The cartel, which created artificially high prices by eliminating competition between its members, was exposed by whistleblower Lufthansa, who alerted authorities in exchange for immunity to prosecution. Three other airlines are also involved.

JAL is the biggest carrier in Japan and the biggest carrier of cargo between Japan and the US.

Japan will not take any further action against the carrier. The investigation was performed by two US groups, the FBI and the Department of Justice.



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September 12, 2007

Scandinavian Airlines System landing gear failures prompt grounding of Bombardier Q400s

Scandinavian Airlines System landing gear failures prompt grounding of Bombardier Q400s

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A file photo of an Augsburg Airways Dash 8-300, with the landing gear deployed.

The second landing gear failure on a Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) de Havilland Canada Dash 8 (also known as a Bombardier Q400 following Bombardier’s purchase of de Havilland Canada from Boeing) within the space of a week has prompted the grounding of many of the twin-engined turboprops.

On September 9, Scandinavian Airlines Flight 1209 suffered a right landing gear failure during landing at Aalborg Airport, Denmark. A fire broke out during the crash, and five people sustained injuries. This was followed today by the similar crash of Scandinavian Airlines Flight 2748 at Palanga Airport, Lithuania. No-one was injured.

The accidents have resulted in Bombardier recommending the grounding of all Q400s, which have undertaken more than 60,000 flights, as a “precautionary measure”. This affects leading carriers around the world, including SAS, Alaska Air ‘s Horizon Air subsidiary, Flybe, Japan Airlines, Austrian Airlines Group and Augsburg Airways, and covers around 60 aircraft.

SAS and Horizon Air have grounded 27 and 15 aircraft respectively, while Flybe have grounded six. Another airline, Porter Airlines, which operates the type exclusively against any others, have pointed out that their aircraft have not undertaken enough flights to be affected by the measures.

The landing gear are manufactured in the United States by Goodrich Corporation. One industry analyst, Cameron Doerksen, said that he felt that although the incidents and groundings obviously constitute bad publicity, he feels it would not influence the decision of a carrier considering whether to purchase Q400s. Bombardier declined 17 cents, or 2.7 percent, to C$6.23 on the Toronto Stock Exchange and SAS fell 6 kronor, or 4.8 percent, to 118 kronor in stock exchanging in Stockholm. Goodrich stock rose 19 cents to $64.96 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The groundings have caused hundreds of flights to be cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers stranded every day. The cost to SAS alone is estimated at 10-15 million Swedish kronor per day.



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September 8, 2007

Two confirmed dead after Typhoon Fitow strikes Japan

Two confirmed dead after Typhoon Fitow strikes Japan

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Weather
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Typhoon Fitow has struck Japan, leaving two people dead and a third missing. The storm moved through Tokyo yesterday.

The Japan Meteorological Agency released the information on the storm’s effects in the country yesterday. The deceased are a 50-year-old construction worker who died after a landslide at a dam construction site in Fukui Prefecture last night and a 76-year-old man who died after being struck by a falling tree on September 6, shortly after Fitow made landfall. A 52-year-old man is missing in Kanagawa Prefecture, believed to be dead, and at least 60 people have been injured by the storm.

According to information released by the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, around 200 buildings have been destroyed or badly damaged by the typhoon. A total of 5,000 people have been told to evacuate, 3,000 last night in Miyagi Prefecture.

Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways, Japan’s two largest air carriers, both said 240 domestic and eight international flights have been cancelled as a direct result of the storm, which is expected to be immediately followed by Tropical Storm Danas. Fitow is now moving towards the Sea of Okhotsk, making progress at about 24 miles per hour. It is predicted that the storm will deposit anything up to 150 millimeters (6 inches) of rainfall on areas on the Pacific coast, possibly triggering flash floods.



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