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Entries in Flights (6)

Saturday
Feb092013

New York City Airports to Resume Flights

Medioimages/Photodisc(NEW YORK) -- John F. Kennedy International and LaGuardia airports are expected to resume passenger flights on Saturday morning after cancelling flights on Friday due to blizzard conditions.

Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey does not expect to fully resume flights until noon on Saturday due to the fact runways had to be shut down overnight as a result of heavy snow that produced whiteout conditions.

According to FlightAware.com, airlines have cancelled 5,368 flights this week due to the blizzard in the Northeast, and 1,756 flights were cancelled so far on Saturday.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jan112012

Non-Stop Atlantic Flights Keep Stopping, Blaming Headwinds

John Foxx/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of passengers on non-stop flights from Europe to the U.S. over the past month have found themselves with an unexpected stop -- an unplanned landing to take on more fuel.

Pilots have had to put down in Canada or elsewhere to top off their tanks after running into record headwinds that have slowed the flights, using up more fuel than expected.

This story was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which said Continental Airlines has had the most problems. The airline, which has merged with United to form the world’s largest carrier, had nearly 60 diversions for fuel on flights from Europe since early December.  The airline confirmed the number to ABC News.

Airlines are required to carry enough fuel to reach their destination, and an extra amount in order to land at an alternate airport if necessary.

It’s not just the headwinds that are to blame.  Continental has switched to smaller twin-engine Boeing 757s on these routes to save money, and those planes can’t travel as far or hold as much fuel as wide-body planes.  The Wall Street Journal notes that that’s not a problem if winds are calm, but strong headwinds can cause havoc with schedules.

United/Continental spokesperson Megan McCarthy told ABC News that the headwinds have been a “once in 10 year extreme.”  McCarthy said the headwinds in December usually average 35 mph. This past December they’ve hit 54 mph, and on the worst days have been up to 69 mph – twice as strong as usual.

McCarthy noted that most of their 757 flights from Europe – 97 percent of them — did not have to divert. Diversions for fuel, or any reason, are a headache for customers, and cost airlines money.  McCarthy said, “We are looking at it very closely, it is an inconvenience to our customers, to determine if there are other options.”

The Federal Aviation Administration is also checking to make sure there are no safety issues.   In a statement, the agency said, “The FAA is aware that United Airlines aircraft have made more unscheduled fuel stops this year than last year and we are looking into the issue.”

US Airways and American Airlines also fly 737s across the Atlantic, but they’ve had only a few diversions due to the winds.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Delta Airlines has had none.

There have been allegations in the past that both Continental and US Airways had skimped on fuel, as fuel costs have skyrocketed.  Both airlines denied the charges, and no safety fines were levied.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Apr162011

Not Again! Air Traffic Controller Falls Asleep On the Job

Comstock/Thinkstock(MIAMI) -- Another air traffic controller fell asleep on the job Saturday morning, just as the Federal Aviation Administration plans to change schedules linked to controller fatigue.

The agency claims that no flights were impacted by this latest incident. The air traffic controller has been suspended.

FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt announced Saturday that he has ordered certain scheduling changes to take effect within 72 hours.

“We are taking important steps today that will make a real difference in fighting air traffic controller fatigue," Babbitt said. "But we know we will need to do more. This is just the beginning.”

The air traffic controller at the Miami Air Route Traffic Control Center did not miss any calls from aircraft, according to the FAA.

In a joint op-ed for USA Today published online this weekend, Babbitt and National Air Traffic Controllers Association President Paul Rinaldi said, “These recent incidents have cast doubt on whether our nation's controllers are truly committed to keeping the skies safe. We want to tell you they are.”

The pair called the American aviation system the safest in the world, but added that “we can do better.”

“On Monday, we are kicking off our Call to Action on air traffic control safety and professionalism," the op-ed reads. "We will be traveling to air traffic facilities around the country, to reinforce the need for all air traffic personnel to adhere to the highest professional standards.”

The article, written before this latest incident, was to be published in Monday's print edition of USA Today.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar242011

Fuel Fire Disrupts Flights at Miami International Airport

WPLG-TV(MIAMI) -- Firefighters extinguished a blaze early Thursday morning that broke out in an area where fuel is kept at the Miami International Airport. The fire was reported around 11 p.m. Wednesday and was brought under control  around 1 a.m. Thursday. Officials did not know how many fuel tanks were involved in the fire and there were no reports of injuries.

Early Thursday, inspectors and technicians were trying to determine what caused the fire and where it began. The fire wasn't near any runways or terminals at the airport and only one flight was delayed, for about 45 minutes.

There may be flight delays at the airport Thursday as workers try to restore normal fueling operations, but fueling capacity is expected to be at 40 percent for morning flights. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar172011

US Chartering Flights to Get Americans Out of Japan

VOISHMEL/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The U.S. is sending chartered planes to Japan to take Americans out of the country or relocate them to "safe havens" elsewhere in Asia to escape radiation exposure.

The first flight left Tokyo Thursday, and one or two more are scheduled for Friday.

The U.S. has also sent 14 buses to the tsunami-ravaged city of Sendai to evacuate 600 Americans who have been trapped by destroyed- or debris-clogged roads. They will be put up in Tokyo hotels for the night and be given the option of boarding one of the chartered flights out of the country.

The American chartered flights are part of an exodus of foreigners from Tokyo and other parts of Japan as the nuclear reactor crisis worsens and fears of a meltdown increase.

In addition, Homeland Security is screening some planes, cargo and passengers returning from Japan for possible radiation contamination.

"We have seen no radiation by the way on incoming cargo or passengers that comes close to reaching a harmful level," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Thursday.

Narita International Airport, which serves Tokyo, has been jammed with foreigners for the last two days as they stream out of the country or to cities further south and further away from the crippled reactors in Fukushima.

Temple University in Philadelphia announced it was taking its 200 American students from the school's Tokyo campus out of the country on a chartered flight to Hong Kong.

The State Department issued a travel warning authorizing the voluntary departure for family members and dependents of U.S. government employees in northeast Japan  -- Tokyo, Nagoya and Yokohama. Family members of American military personnel are authorized to board the charter flights.

Despite rising concerns, the first flight out of Narita had about 100 people aboard and was not full.

The State Department said Americans who are not government employees can also get on the flights which will take them to safe havens that at the moment are Seoul, South Korea and Taipei, Taiwan.

Travelers must make their own way home after being taken to the safe haven. They can board the charter flight in Japan without paying, but will be expected to reimburse the government for the cost of the trip at a later date.

Americans are limited to one suitcase and a small carry-on bag, and no pets are allowed, the State Department said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Tuesday
Dec282010

Stranded Fliers Might Not Get Home Until Thursday

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Some airline passengers stranded in the northeast from this weekend's blizzard might have to wait until the end of the week to make it home.

Flights slowly started to return to the air Monday night, but the backlog created by the storm might take days to clear as airlines struggle during one of the busiest times of year to reposition airplanes and crew, and find seats on already-crowded planes for stranded passengers.

"You are trying to put them on planes that are already packed.  There isn't a lot of room to re-accommodate folks," said AirTran Airways spokesman Christopher White.  His airline is hoping to return to normal operations by late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Those with confirmed tickets for flights Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday typically get priority over passengers whose flights were canceled earlier in the week.

New York's three area airports re-started some operations Monday night.  A LaGuardia Airport spokesman said they planned to open a second runway Tuesday morning.

For airlines, the problem might not be whether planes can take off and land, but whether there will be enough staff at the airport to load baggage, take tickets and do security screenings of passengers.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio