Author Archives: David Russen

Austria scrambles Eurofighters to intercept nosediving Hungarian Plane Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Austria scrambles Eurofighters to intercept nosediving Hungarian Plane 1

Incident with NATO plane described as a massive threat to aviation security”.Two Austrian fighter jets scrambled to escort Hungarian aircraft.The incidents sparks sharp rebuke from Vienna.

In an incident that the Austria’s Federal Ministry of Defense described as a “massive threat to aviation security,” two Eurofighter jets had to be scrambled on Friday to intercept and escort a Hungarian NATO aircraft that took an unexpected nosedive during a scheduled flight over Austrian territory.

The incident has sparked a sharp rebuke from Vienna. Austrian Defense Ministry said that the nation’s airspace is violated between 30 and 50 times a year on average. Still, this incident apparently stands out in the Austrian military’s judgement since ministry’s spokesman warned vaguely that it would likely have “diplomatic consequences.”
According to the Defense Ministry’s spokesman, Colonel Michael Bauer, no such incident has happened over Austria “in the past 20 years,”  and the Hungarian aircraft captain “behaved like a wrong-way driver on a motorway.”
The unexpected descent happened during an approved routine flight over Austrian territory by a Hungarian four-engine C-17 military transport aircraft with NATO identification. 
While the aircraft had entered Austrian airspace on a valid overflight permit, it gradually drifted down from the prescribed altitude of between 10,000 and 11,000 meters and, by the time it was flying over the Attersee Lake east of the city of Salzburg, its altitude was just around 1,000 meters. 
The maneuver alarmed the Austrian military, which sent fighter jets to escort the wayward aircraft away.
The reasons for the sudden nosedive are still unclear. Neither NATO nor Hungary have commented on the incident as of yet.

Japan to ease entry restrictions for vaccinated travelers Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Japan to ease entry restrictions for vaccinated travelers 2

Japan to accept US, EU and Japanese vaccination certificates from visitors.Japanese government also considers easing domestic COVID-19 restrictions.Some medical experts warn about danger of lifting restrictions prematurely.

The Japanese government authorities announced that they intend to relax the COVID-19 quarantine requirements for those entering the country with a certificate confirming full vaccination against coronavirus as early as the end of September of this year.

According to initial reports, the quarantine period after crossing the Japanese border will be shortened from two weeks to 10 days.
Only certificates of vaccination with Pfizer and BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca will be accepted from foreign arrivals.
The vaccination certificates must also be issued in the USA, EU countries or Japan, to be accepted.
Earlier, the Japanese Ministry of Health suspended the use of about 1.63 million doses of Moderna vaccine from three batches produced in Spain. An unknown substance was found in the preparation.
The government is also expected to decide on extending the current COVID-19 state of emergency beyond the Sunday expiration date to Sept. 30 for Tokyo and 18 other prefectures, as hospitals remain under strain, ruling party sources said.
Currently, people have been asked to refrain from traveling across prefectural borders, but such trips are possible if people have completed their vaccine regimen or can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, the sources with knowledge of the plan said.
The government is also planning to ease the current 5,000-spectator limit on large events if the same conditions are met.
Dining establishments that adhere to proper anti-virus measures will be allowed to serve alcohol, while groups larger than four can dine together.
Some medical experts have voiced concerns that it is premature to allow people to return to their normal lives as Japan has yet to contain the spread of the virus.
“We look carefully at the current state of the medical system and make a decision” on the state of emergency, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said.

Breeze Airways resumes New Orleans flights post-Hurricane Ida Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Breeze Airways resumes New Orleans flights post-Hurricane Ida 3

Breeze Airways restoring New Orleans services.Breeze Airways is donating travel worth up to $1 million to first responders.Breeze Airways is the most recent carrier to add New Orleans service , only starting in July 2021.

As Breeze Airways resumes flight operations in New Orleans today, restoring nonstop flights connecting the city to nine destinations across the South and Midwest, the airline announced it is donating travel worth up to one million dollars – or around 10,000 roundtrip tickets – to first responders, Louisiana residents, and others who can help the city rebuild.
David Neeleman, Breeze Airways’ Founder and CEO
Breeze Airways flies to New Orleans from Akron/Canton, OH; Bentonville/Fayetteville, AR; Charleston, SC; Columbus, OH; Louisville, KY; Norfolk, VA; Oklahoma City, OK; Richmond, VA; and Tulsa, OK.   Residents from these cities who are willing to travel to New Orleans to volunteer, help family and friends, or contribute in other ways to rebuild New Orleans may also apply.
“Breeze is the most recent carrier to add service New Orleans, only starting in July this year,” said David Neeleman, Breeze Airways’ Founder and CEO, “but our love runs deep for the Big Easy and we’re committed to helping anyway we can.”
Breeze Aviation Group, Inc., trading as Breeze Airways, is an American airline headquartered in Cottonwood Heights, Utah. 
Breeze currently operates flights in 16 cities across 13 states.  Founded by aviation entrepreneur David Neeleman, Breeze Airways is a new low fare carrier offering nonstop flights between smaller secondary airports, bypassing hubs for shorter travel times. 

Flights from Toronto and Kingston, Jamaica on Swoop now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Flights from Toronto and Kingston, Jamaica on Swoop now 4

Swoop announces new nonstop Jamaica flights.New service will operate twice weekly.New service will be part of winter schedule and launches on December 8, 2021.

Swoop today announced new nonstop service between Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Kingston Norman Manley International Airport (KIN) in Jamaica. As part of the airline’s winter schedule, the new service will operate twice weekly, beginning December 8, 2021.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our presence in Jamaica with the introduction of service to Kingston to connect friends and families this holiday season and year ahead,” said Bert van der Stege, Head of Commercial & Finance, Swoop. “Our travelers have embraced our always affordable flights to Jamaica and we look forward to building on our success in the region with our new non-stop service connecting Toronto and Kingston.”
The ultra-low cost carrier (ULCC) is also set to resume service between Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) and Montego Bay Sangster International Airport (MBJ) tomorrow at 7:00 am EST.  Swoop’s return to Montego Bay marks the beginning of the airline’s restoration of its international network, with flights to the U.S. and Mexico set to resume through the fall.
“The return of Swoop to MBJ is a welcome one and we are elated at Swoop’s commitment to ensure that passengers from our second largest market, Canada, and specifically the province of Ontario, have a low-cost option when visiting Jamaica to see family and friends or those who wish to vacation on our beautiful island,” said Shane Munroe, CEO of MBJ Airports Ltd. “We continue to prioritize the health and safety of our citizens and visitors in keeping with our mission of providing a “Safety-Assured” environment welcoming travelers safely to our island of Jamaica.”
Details of Swoop Service to Kingston and Montego Bay, Jamaica
RoutePlanned StartDatePeakWeeklyFrequencyTotal one-wayprice (CAD)Base fare(CAD)Taxes andfees(CAD)NEW Toronto (YYZ) – Kingston (KIN)December 8, 20212x weekly$129† CAD$13.44$115.56NEW Kingston (KIN) – Toronto (YYZ)December 8, 20212x weekly$129 † CAD$6.36$122.64Toronto (YYZ) – Montego Bay (MBJ)September 11, 20213x weekly$129† CAD$13.44$115.56Montego Bay (MBJ) – Toronto (YYZ)Septe

EU urged to stop breaches of Alitalia workers’ rights Aviation Feature, Aviation News

EU urged to stop breaches of Alitalia workers’ rights 5

ITA given a green light to take over part of Alitalia’s operations.The decision is a gross violation of existing collective bargaining arrangements, union says.Commission’s decision directly impacts lives of over 11,000 people.

The European Transport Workers’ Federation strongly condemns the conclusions announced today by the European Commission regarding the Alitalia/Italia Trasporto Aereo S.p.A. (ITA) case which gives the green light to the new company, ITA, to take over part of Alitalia’s operations.

We were shocked that the European Commission could have so easily and without any consideration for workers’ rights taken such a decision. In our opinion, this is a hard blow and a gross violation of the legal existing collective bargaining arrangements in Italy, blowing up the hard efforts of Italian unions and employers in negotiating new working contracts. Instead, the EC’s today position is promoting new and potentially precarious labor contracts. The Commission is clearly driven for cost-effectiveness and is doing so at the expense of sustainable aviation, particularly socially sustainable aviation.
Livia Spera, General Secretary of the ETF declares:
This is a slap in the face for Alitalia’s workers, their families and their unions. The Commission’s decision directly impacts the lives of over 11,000 people and their families and to use such rhetoric is both offensive and dismissive of their concerns. In solidarity with our colleagues who were today demonstrating against this unfair and unsustainable approach, I am calling on the European Commission to retract its statement and reconsider the aims of this state aid approval, which do not support a sustainable aviation industry, and do not support the citizens of Europe.
Additionally, the ETF strongly condemns the fact the European Commission has failed to give any consideration to the workers’ legal rights under the European Pillar of Social Rights, including but not limited to the principles of secure and adaptable employment and social dialogue. Moreover, ETF draws attention to the fact that the EC is consciously disregarding any attempts to protect the labor contracts of workers to be hired by the new carrier, ITA.
The ETF is fully supporting the Alitalia Italian workers striking today, in their efforts to reopen negotiations with the new employer, ITA. This must be done with full respect for Italian law, and recognizing the right of collective bargaining at national level.

United Airlines: Get a COVID-19 jab or get lost Aviation Feature, Aviation News

United Airlines: Get a COVID-19 jab or get lost 6

United Airlines announces COVID-19 vaccination mandate for employees.United Airlines who refuse COVID-19 jab will be fired.Airline workers with vaccine exemptions will be placed in indefinite leave.

In a company memo sent out yesterday, United Airlines has announced that all airline staff who receive religious, medical or personal exemptions from the mandatory coronavirus vaccination will be sent on unpaid or medical leave indefinitely, regardless of their exemption reason or status.

“Once the pandemic meaningfully recedes, you will be welcomed back to the team on active status,” pilots, flight attendants and customer service agents – described as employees in “operational customer-facing roles” – were told in a memo.
United Airlines employees not directly interacting with passengers, such as dispatchers and mechanics, who have been approved for exemption will be required to get tested weekly and wear a mask at all times when at work, including when outdoors.
Anyone granted a medical exemption will be put on temporary medical leave. Those whose request for exemption is denied will have to take the first shot by September 27 and be fully vaccinated within five weeks or lose their job altogether, according to the memo sent out by VP of human resources Kirk Limacher.
United Airline employees who refuse the COVID-19 vaccine will not be allowed into the workplace after October 2.
United Airlines administration had not specified how willing the carrier would be to actually grant requests for exemption, and the airline hasn’t said how many it has received.
United was the first US airline to impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on its 67,000-plus employees, in early August. Other airlines have moved to end pay protections for unvaccinated employees who test positive for the virus. Delta Air Lines has slapped a $200 surcharge on the healthcare premiums of employees who haven’t been vaccinated.
US companies and government agencies are legally required to offer exemptions on religious or medical grounds, though not to actually grant them. The Biden administration has pushed for public and private vaccination mandates as the number of COVID-19 cases in the US has risen over the summer. 
Airlines, and pilot and flight attendant unions have eagerly embraced the apparently indefinite extension of the government’s mask mandate, originally imposed in February and intended to last 100 days.
United is the fourth-largest US airline by the number of passengers carried, but has the second-largest fleet and serves the most destinations, according to pre-pandemic statistics.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Resumes Commercial Service Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport welcomes back commercial servicePorter Airlines and Air Canada return to Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.Commercial restart takes place on the 82nd anniversary of the airport’s first commercial flight.

Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport celebrated a return to the skies yesterday with the restart of commercial airline service by Porter Airlines and Air Canada after temporarily suspending operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport Celebrates Return to Commercial Service with Special Water Canon Salute to Honor Commemorative First Flight
To mark the occasion, a commemorative first flight to Ottawa attended by key stakeholders and partners was “readied for takeoff” with a special water canon salute performed by Billy Bishop Airport’s onsite Airport Rescue and Firefighting team.
Billy Bishop Airport’s staff, stakeholders and government partners marked the day and recognized the conclusion of a difficult period for the aviation industry by welcoming back passengers and getting back to the business of making connections and supporting Toronto’s economy. The commercial restart coincidentally takes place on the 82nd anniversary of the island airport’s very first commercial flight in 1939.
Geoffrey Wilson, CEO of PortsToronto, owner and operator of Billy Bishop Airport, was joined by His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto, and Michael Deluce, President and CEO of Porter Airlines in offering remarks to celebrate the occasion. Passengers and staff were treated to giveaways and prizes, and a commemorative first flight to Ottawa attended by key stakeholders and partners was “readied for takeoff” with a special water canon salute performed by the airport’s onsite Airport Rescue and Firefighting team.