Wiki Actu en

April 24, 2011

Tornadoes damage hundreds of Missouri homes, force closure of airport

Tornadoes damage hundreds of Missouri homes, force closure of airport

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Disasters and accidents

F5 tornado Elie Manitoba 2007.jpg
Related articles
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

Governor of Missouri Jay Nixon talks to residents of Berkeley, Missouri, while touring affected neighborhoods.
Image: Missouri Department of Public Safety.

The main terminal of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, before tornado damage.
Image: Matthew Hurst.

An EF4 tornado struck near St. Louis, Missouri Friday night, forcing the closure of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and damaging over 2,700 buildings in St. Louis County. The National Weather Service also confirmed that an EF1 tornado touched down in neighboring St. Charles County and an EF2 touched down in Pontoon Beach, Illinois.

The city of Bridgeton, in North St. Louis County, was hit by the EF4 tornado. According to the National Weather Service, it was the most powerful tornado to touch down in the St. Louis region since 1967, with winds ranging from 166 and 200 miles (267 and 322 kilometres) per hour. Aftereffects of that tornado were also reported in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

One official estimated that anywhere from 50 to 200 homes in the Maryland Heights and Bridgeton areas incurred damage, but early numbers released by St. Louis County indicate that over 2,000 buildings in those two cities had suffered “noticeable damage,” which does not include minor damage. Around 30,000 people in the region did not have power Saturday, out of a total of 47,000 affected residents.

Authorities with search and rescue dogs went door-to-door Saturday, looking for possibly trapped residents. Aerial imagery was being used in damage assessment. Area residents unaffected by the tornado were assisting those that lost their homes, reported St. Louis television station KSDK.

The Harmann Estates neighborhood of Bridgeton was heavily damaged during the storm, with many residences losing roofs and siding. Officials have already condemned some of the subdivision’s homes. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley reported 25 homes in Bridgeton and Berkeley, Missouri as being completely destroyed and an additional 35 as uninhabitable.

Granite City, Illinois was struck by the EF2 tornado, while New Melle, Missouri was hit by the EF1. Fourteen New Melle homes sustained minor damage, while four were heavily damaged.

The storm also caused the temporary shutdown of two major St. Louis highways. Portions of Interstate 70 and Interstate 270 were closed Friday night due to fallen power lines and storm debris. Both blocked sections have since reopened, but officials said it would take a few days to remove all the debris, which they pushed onto the roadsides.

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, which is immediately west of Berkeley, suffered heavy damage Friday night from the same tornado, and was forced to halt all regular operations Saturday while crews worked to clear the affected terminals. Eight flights had been forced to land in Kansas City, Missouri Friday night due to the tornado. About 500 people were in Lambert Airport when the tornado hit. A Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokesperson said other US airports were not affected by Lambert’s shutdown. Lambert is not an airline hub and is significantly less busy than it was ten years ago.

In a Saturday press conference, Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Lambert’s director, said the airfield and Terminal 2 were “fully functional,” but the main terminal’s Concourse C had been severely impacted by the storm. That terminal, which sustained the heaviest damage, serves Air Tran, American Airlines, Cape Air, and Frontier Airlines. The total cost of repairs at Lambert is expected to be in the millions of dollars, but Hamm-Niebruegge said the airport does not yet have a good estimate.

Cquote1.svg It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying. Cquote2.svg

—Witness at Lambert Airport

One passenger of a waiting plane at Lambert told KSDK that heavy winds pushed the aircraft about 20 feet (6.1 metres) while it was still attached to the gate. Two other planes on the tarmac were unable to return to the airport, so passengers were bused back. Five planes—four operated by American and one by Southwest Airlines—suffered damage, and some will undergo major repairs.

Some travelers inside the airport received medical attention for minor injuries caused by flying glass. A handful of people were transported to a local hospital for additional treatment, but all were later released. “We get to the terminal and lights were out, glass everywhere, blood everywhere from people had been cut,” recalled one witness. Another person at the airport reported, “The ceiling was falling. The glass was hitting us in the face. Hail and rain were coming in. The wind was blowing debris all over the place. It was like being in a horror movie. Grown men were crying.”

On Saturday, it was evident that Concourse C would not be open for some time, said Mayor of St. Louis Francis Slay. A large section of its roof was missing and around half of its windows had been blown out by the high winds. Debris and water from the storm were present inside the airport as crews worked to restore power and assess damage to the terminal. Missing windows had been boarded up, ruined carpet had been removed, and the control tower was functional by Saturday afternoon. The power was back on by 7:40 p.m. CDT (00:40 UTC) that evening.

The airport resumed outgoing flight services Sunday, although several incoming flights landed at Lambert Saturday evening. Slay said the airport will be running at 70 percent capacity until mid-week, depending on the availability of airline crew members and planes. Airlines using Concourse C will have their operations temporarily relocated, he added. On Sunday, Southwest was operating at normal capacity, while AirTran moved to Concourse B and canceled four of its eleven scheduled flights. A spokesperson for American said the airline would have planes ready for normal Monday operations. American had previously canceled all St. Louis flights scheduled for Sunday.

Cquote1.svg It was horrific and for that much damage to been done, to have no loss of life, is truly a blessing Cquote2.svg

—St. Louis, Missouri mayor Francis Slay

On Saturday afternoon, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon arrived at Lambert and visited areas devastated by the tornado. He originally planned to tour Maryland Heights, Bridgeton, and Berkeley, but Nixon was only able to tour Berkeley due to an approaching line of storms. While in St. Louis, the governor said 750 Missouri homes had been damaged by Friday’s tornadoes and that federal assistance was forthcoming. Nixon reported that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was involved in assessing storm damage, as well as that US President Barack Obama had already contacted him, promising relief funds. US Representative Lacy Clay, said Saturday that he would brief Obama on the situation.

The state declared the affected areas of St. Louis County a disaster area. No one has reported serious injuries or deaths as a result of the storm, although some people were treated for minor injuries. “It was horrific and for that much damage to been done, to have no loss of life, is truly a blessing,” Slay said.



Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

September 27, 2010

Southwest Airlines to purchase AirTran Airways for US$1.4 billion

Southwest Airlines to purchase AirTran Airways for US$1.4 billion

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search
Aviation

Kitty hawk gross.jpg
Related articles
Collaborate!
  • Pillars of Wikinews writing
  • Writing an article

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Southwest Airlines aircraft. Currently, the airline only serves the US market; however, if they successfully purchase AirTran Airways they will gain international routes to Mexico and the Caribbean.
Image: Luiz Eduardo.

An AirTran airplane. The company flew 23,998,000 passengers in 2009.
Image: Cubbie_n_Vegas .

Low-cost US airline Southwest Airlines announced Monday that it would buy its low-cost rival AirTran Airways for US$1.4 billion. The merger announcement comes just days after United Airlines sealed a merger deal with Continental Airlines.

“The acquisition of AirTran represents a unique opportunity to grow Southwest Airlines’ presence in key markets we don’t yet serve and takes a significant step towards positioning us for future growth,” Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest, said after the merger was announced.

The Southwest-AirTran deal, which awaits antitrust regulatory approval, will gain Southwest a larger US network. By merging with AirTran, Southwest will also be a strong competitor in Eastern United States cities such as New York City, New York, Charlotte, North Carolina, Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C., cities that Southwest had previously not touched much. Southwest also will be going international for the first time, inheriting AirTran’s Mexican and Caribbean routes. The newly merged company would keep Southwest’s name and livery.

Southwest will be offering AirTran stockholders US$7.69 per share. That’s 69% more than AirTran’s Friday, September 24 closing price. However, AirTran stock shot up 62% to $7.36 on Monday, while Southwest’s stock rose more modestly to US$14.01. Delta Air Lines stock declined by 2% on Monday, as Southwest will gain an AirTran hub at Atlanta, which is also Delta’s primary hub.

The new airline would carry over 100 million passengers, creating the world’s fourth largest airline. Last year, Southwest carried 101,338,000 passengers, while AirTran carried 23,998,000 fliers. Southwest will be 25% larger after the merger is completed.

Debate over airfare hikes

Though some people worry that airfares will go up, as people worried about during the United-Continental merger, others, including Southwest, aren’t too worried. “America needs this now. You could go from Rochester, N.Y., to somewhere on AirTran, and from Charlotte to somewhere on AirTran. But with this deal you can now go just about anywhere in the country, and to the Caribbean and Mexico, on Southwest.. . With the more than 100 destinations that Southwest will now have, all the legacy airlines will have to set their prices based on whatever Southwest does,” says Tom Parsons of BestFares.com. Parsons also said that “I think America is going to very happy that now they can fly coast-to-coast between 100 U.S. cities and make the legacy airlines be more competitive with the style of Southwest and their low fees.”

Consumer advocate Clark Howard also weigned in with a positive remark on the deal. “It’s so good for the flying public. This is an opportunity for a discounter to have the kind of heft and national reach of the full-fare airlines,” he said.

Southwest even has said that fares could go down, as the “Southwest effect”, which is supposed to stimulate competition, “has the potential to stimulate over two million new passengers and over US$200 million in consumer savings, annually” in Atlanta, according to the company. After the merger, Southwest also plans to drop AirTran’s checked baggage fees of US$20-25. Southwest currently does not charge for checked baggage.

Others aren’t as thrilled with the merger of the low-cost airlines. “This is truly a shocker, and it can only mean further consolidation. I don’t think anyone really saw this coming. More than any recent merger, it spells bad news for low fares, since both airlines were leaders in the low fare space and had frequent, almost weekly, sales. I can only imagine that now pressure is on for American to find a partner, and also US Airways, and that will lead to even less fare competition.” says George Hobica, of airfarewatchdog.com. Hobica also said that “The era of irrational, stupid, destructive fare sales is over. This is the new normal. JetBlue now has permission to raise prices between Baltimore and Boston. Other airlines now have permission to raise prices between Washington, D.C., and Florida.”

Though Hobica was generally pessimistic about the deal, he did state that the Southwest takeover would be a win for AirTran customers, “because Southwest has better service than AirTran and lower fees.”


Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

July 24, 2007

Bacterial meningitis possibly spread on AirTran flight

Bacterial meningitis possibly spread on AirTran flight

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

AirTran Boeing 717 at Baltimore/Washington International Airport in 2005.
Image: Joseph Barillari.

Authorities are currently working with employees of AirTran Airways to find passengers who sat near a teenage girl with bacterial meningitis on AirTran flights 687 and 862 on Saturday.

After falling “seriously ill” during the second flight, from Atlanta, Georgia to Wichita, Kansas the girl was diagnosed with meningitis, an infection of the brain and spinal cord, at Wichita’s Wesley Medical Center.

Although meningitis cannot be transferred merely through casual contact, AirTran notified the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday, and are attempting to track the passengers who sat near the girl on the two flights.

Sources

External links

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

May 29, 2006

Boeing delivers final 717 to AirTran, ending Douglas era

Boeing delivers final 717 to AirTran, ending Douglas era

From Wikinews, the free news source you can write!
Jump to: navigation, search

Monday, May 29, 2006

Boeing Commercial Airplanes on Tuesday delivered the final 717 jet built to AirTran Airways in ceremonies in Long Beach, California, bringing production of McDonnell Douglas jets to an end.

“AirTran Airways would like to thank the many Boeing employees for their hard work and dedication over the years and enabling us to build a world-class aircraft fleet that is unparalleled in the aviation industry,” said Joe Leonard, Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of AirTran Airways.

The final Boeing 717 was the 15,599th plane built by the Long Beach plant, the original home of Douglas Aircraft and McDonnell Douglas. It also marked the end of the popular DC-9 family of jets, which has sold over 2,400 units over its 41-year history.

In 1995, McDonnell Douglas introduced the MD-95, which later became the Boeing 717 when McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing in 1996. The 717 had suffered from slow sales throughout its history, with 155 planes ordered. In January 2005, Boeing announced that it would cancel the 717 program after completing all outstanding orders.

The 717 program’s demise leaves the C-17 military cargo jet as the only remaining jet aircraft built in California. Some workers from the 717 program have transferred to the C-17 program. Its future is also uncertain as Boeing’s contract to produce the aircraft expires in 2008.

Sources

Bookmark-new.svg


This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 licence. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Powered by WordPress