Author Archives: Juergen T Steinmetz

Honolulu to Sydney: A New way to fly Hawaiian Airlines Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Hawaiian Airlines today confirmed it will resume its five-times-weekly service between Australia’s Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport (SYD) and Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), beginning Dec. 13. Hawaiian, which suspended the route in March 2020 due to travel restrictions imposed at the onset of the pandemic, will welcome Australians back to the islands with its signature Hawaiian hospitality in time for the holidays.
“We are thrilled to reconnect Hawaiʻi and Australia and have been encouraged by the public’s response to Australia’s national vaccination program, enabling the reopening of borders,” said Andrew Stanbury, regional director for Australia and New Zealand at Hawaiian Airlines. 
“Hawaiʻi is a hugely popular holiday destination for Australians, and we know many people have been keenly waiting to take a Hawaiian vacation. We are looking forward to safely welcoming our guests back on board to enjoy the authentic hospitality we know our guests love and have missed,” he added.
HA451 will resume Dec. 13 by departing HNL on Mondays and Wednesday through Saturday at 11:50 a.m. and arrive at SYD approximately 7:45 p.m. the next day. Starting Dec. 15, HA452 will depart SYD on Tuesdays and Thursday through Sunday at 9:40 p.m. with a 10:35 a.m. scheduled arrival at HNL, allowing guests to check in to their accommodations and begin exploring O’ahu, or connect to any of Hawaiian’s four Neighbor Island destinations. 
Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige last week welcomed back visitors beginning Nov. 1 now that public health efforts have resulted in among the lowest rates of COVID in the United States. Hawaiian Airlines last month also launched a new in-flight video encouraging visitors to Travel Pono (responsibly) by enjoying Hawai’i safely and responsibly. 
In addition to convenient nonstop flights to Hawai’i, Australian travelers flying on Hawaiian Airlines also regain access to the carrier’s extensive U.S. domestic network, allowing them to seamlessly continue their travels to 16 U.S. mainland gateways – including new destinations in Austin, Orlando, and Ontario, California – with the option to enjoy a stopover in the Hawaiian Islands.
Hawaiian will continue to operate the SYD-HNL route with its 278-seat, spacious wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft, which features 18 Premium Cabin lie-flat leather seats, 68 of its popular Extra Comfort seats, and 192 Main Cabin seats. 
Currently, only Australian citizens and returning permanent residents and their immediate family members are permitted to enter Australia without an exemption. While entry requirements for the state of Hawaiʻi remain to be announced, Hawaiian hopes the state of Hawai’i will align its requirements with U.S. government rules requiring international arrivals to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of departure effective Nov. 8.
International rules continue to evolve, and travelers are encouraged to stay updated via official government channels as they prepare for their trip. 
Hawaiian started SYD-HNL service in May 2004 and maintained its position as a leading destination carrier for travel to Hawaiʻi via New South Wales. The carrier’s three-times-weekly service between HNL and Brisbane Airport (BNE), which launched in November 2012, remains paused.
Visit www.HawaiianAirlines.com to view flight schedules and purchase tickets.

Toki Air joins Sabre: A new Tokyo original Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Radixx, a Sabre company and leading airline retailing software provider, today announced the company has entered into an agreement for the full Radixx product suite with TOKI AIR, a start-up low-cost carrier based in Japan’s port city, Niigata. TOKI AIR will initially focus its strategy on the regional leisure market with flights originating out of Niigata Airport to major domestic destinations within Japan.  
TOKI AIR chose Radixx as its technology partner due to its established presence within Japan as well as its ability to meet the airline’s implementation timeline.  As part of the engagement, TOKI AIR will take advantage of the full Radixx product suite including Radixx ezyCommerce, Radixx Res, Radixx Go, Radixx Go Touch, and Radixx Insight. The adoption of the full suite will enable the airline to launch sales with the most modern solutions and drive efficiencies from the start of operation.  
“We were impressed by each of the product demos that we saw in regard to response times and automated processes that will help establish our airline operations,” said Masaki Hasegawa, Representative director, TOKI AIR. “We are grateful to the Sabre and Radixx team for their commitment to meet our implementation time. We believe that their existing footprint in Japan along with their breadth of products has allowed us to establish an exciting path forward with Sabre and the Radixx product suite as our chosen technology partner.”  
To showcase its e-commerce offers, TOKI AIR will use Radixx ezyCommerce internet booking engine including a fully integrated Travel Agency Portal which will be used by local travel agents. TOKI AIR will maintain a high level of control over their online branding and offers using the Radixx ezyCommerce Content Management System.  
TOKI AIR will go live on the Radixx Res passenger services system designed to optimize retailing strategies and conversion, with retailing built in the core, enabling centralized management of flight and value-added services.  It is this centralized logic that will allow the airline to quickly setup fare and ancillary offers as well as automate processes that enable efficiency. The modern, intuitive interface supports their need for double-byte characters, enhancing the agent experience.   
Radixx Go departure services suite and Radixx Go Touch mobile solutions will enable TOKI AIR to evolve its check-in operations at the airport and easily expand capacity during peak season using roaming agents. Together, the departure services desktop and mobile solutions will help create an efficient airport experience for travelers.  
TOKI AIR will use Radixx Insight reporting and analytics tool to proactively make swift and meaningful business decisions in real-time.  
“We are thrilled to further expand our valued partnerships in Japan and welcome TOKI AIR to the Sabre and Radixx community,” said Chris Collins, senior vice president and general manager for Radixx. “We are proud to provide their airline with our industry-leading technology and are deeply committed to facilitating a seamless implementation and go live for their airline.”  
Together, Sabre and Radixx’s robust travel platform will provide the airline a one-stop shop in offer and order management through fulfillment and post-flight operations. 
TOKI AIR operated a test flight from Tokyo Narita Airport to Sado Airport on May 24, 2021. TOKI AIR plans to launch sales in March 2022 and commence flight operations towards the middle of 2022. The airline also plans to expand its cargo business with ATR Cargo Flex aircraft.  
About Sabre CorporationSabre Corporation is a leading software and technology company that powers the global travel industry, serving a wide range of travel companies including airlines, hoteliers, travel agencies and other suppliers. The company provides retailing, distribution and fulfilment solutions that help its customers operate more efficiently, drive revenue and offer personalized traveler experiences. Through its leading travel marketplace, Sabre connects travel suppliers with buyers from around the globe. Sabre’s technology platform manages more than $260B worth of global travel spend annually. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world. For more information visit www.sabre.com. 
About Radixx 
Founded in 1993, Radixx, headquartered in Orlando, Florida, combines an innovative technology approach with unique partnership models enabling airlines of all sizes and business models to be effective retailers and efficient operators. Radixx caters to LCC and ULCC airlines, including the support of GDS distribution. Radixx offers a world-class Internet Booking Engine, Radixx ezyCommerce™, a cloud-based Passenger Services System, Radixx Res™, and a leading Departure Services Suite, Radixx Go™, uniquely designed to enable airlines to increase their profitability and maximize productivity through expanded distribution services. Since 2016, Radixx has delivered its sixth-generation, micro-services-based passenger services system. For more information on Radixx, please visit www.radixx.com. 
About TOKI AIR  
Established in 2020, TOKI AIR is a low-cost carrier jointly established by the Niigata Chamber of Commerce and Niigata Association of Corporate Executives. The new airline is expected to operate ATR aircraft to attractive routes such as Kansai area, Nagoya, Sendai, and Sapporo. TOKI AIR plans to commence operations in 2022. And TOKI AIR plans new route connected SADO-island and Tokyo. 

Amazing Thailand is opening to visitors from these 45 countries Aviation Feature, Aviation News

World Travel Market is ready to open its doors on November 1, and so is the Kingdom of Thailand.The Minister of Tourism and the Governor of Tourism will be attending the World Travel Market in London.A press conference is already scheduled for Monday at WTN to announce the 46 countries on the new green list to enjoy an amazing holiday again in the Kingdom
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha of Thailand will open the country to visitors from 46 countries instead of only 10 Covid-19 low-risk countries announced earlier, starting from Nov 1.
Even though not officially announced the Foreign Ministry of Thailand published a list of the countries allowed to send citizens to Thailand.
Travel to Thailand again from these countries and territories:
AustraliaAustriaBahrainBelgiumBhutanBrunei DarussalamBulgariaCambodiaCanadaChileChinaCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkEstoniaFInlandFranceGermanyGreeceHungaryIcelandIrelandIsraelItalyJapanLativiaLithuaniaMalaysiaMaltaNetherlandsNew ZealandNorwayPolandPortugalQatarSaudi ArabiaSingaporeSloveniaSoith KoreaSpainSwedenSwitzerlandUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesHong Kong (China)
Dov Kalmann, representative of the Tourism Authority in Thailand welcomes this news. He told eTurboNews after Americans, Israel has been sending most visitors to the regions already open for tourism in Thailand. This is a great news !

The New Spirit of Africa Has a New Friend: The African Tourism Board Aviation Feature, Aviation News

The Chairman of the African Tourism Board, Cuthbert Ncube, is currently in Addis Ababa on a working visit and met with Mrs. Mahlet Kebede, Head of Ethiopian Airlines ET Holidays.When visiting the Ethiopian Airlines headquarters, Ncube was accommodated by ATB Ambassadors Hiwotie Anberbir and Kazeem Balogun. The two leaders agreed on the importance for Ethiopian Airlines and the African Tourism Board to work together.

Cuthbert Ncube said: “The African Tourism Board supports the repositioning and rebranding of Africa within a coordinated approach. It means that we must achieve this with our strategic partners like Ethiopian Airlines. Ethiopian Airlines is known as the airline with the title ‘Pride of Africa.’ Together we can achieve the dream of our founding fathers of unifying Africa using tourism as a driving tool.”
Having played a critical role in the recently held East African Regional Tourism Expo 2021 in Arusha Tanzania, ATB is poised to ensure tourism recovers soon.
Kebede said, “By 2022, we hope to incorporate your organization in our events calendar in the areas of various tourism activations within the continent.”
“With this partnership, the African Tourism Board and Ethiopian Airlines will be strategically positioned to deliver a robust travel and tourism sector in the post-COVID-19 era. COVID has afforded us to go back to the drawing board on how to incorporate best practices into the scheme of things,” Ncube added.
There are many areas of mutual interest. A Memorandum of Understanding should be signed between the two organizations in order to officially launch this partnership between this Star Alliance airline and ATB.
Facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Ethiopian Airlines has been working hard to promote regional tourism within Africa more prominently.
The state-owned airline has been a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) since 1959 and of the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) since 1968.
Ethiopian is a Star Alliance member, having joined in December 2011. The company slogan is The New Spirit of Africa. Ethiopian’s hub and headquarters are at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, from where it serves a network of 125 passenger destinations—20 of them domestic and 44 freighter destinations.
The African Tourism Board was first established in 2018 by the African Tourism Marketing Group in the United States. ATB is based in the Kingdom of Eswatini. ATB’s goal is to promote Africa as a single prime tourism destination.
The African Tourism Board is a strategic partner of the World Tourism Network.

New Boeing 737 MAX Corporate Whitewash: Boeing Executives Hiding Behind One Fall Guy? Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Families who lost loved ones in the crash of a Boeing 737 MAX jet in 201,9 killing all 157 onboard had harsh words for Boeing.The attorney said the U.S. government didn’t go far enough in the indictment of Mark Forkner Thursday (Oct. 14, 2021). The former chief pilot of the new aircraft was indicted yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice on six counts for his actions, including lying during the certification process of the new aircraft. 

eTurboNews invited Kevin P. Durkin of Clifford Law Firm in Chicago, IL, USA, to speak during a podcast today. He is representing more than 70 victims that died on Ethiopian Airlines in the Boeing 737 MAX crash.
“Forkner is just a fall guy. He and Boeing are responsible for the deaths of everyone who died in the MAX crashes,” said Nadia Milleron, mother of Samya Rose Stumo, who was killed in the second fatal crash in March of 2019. “The system within Boeing rewarded short-term financial gain over safety, and Mark Forkner was operating within that system. Prosecutors can and should find quite a few other people who were also responsible for causing the crashes. Every single family who lost someone in the MAX crash feels the same way: the executives and board of directors of Boeing need to go to jail.”

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The crash of Ethiopian Flight 302 occurred after takeoff in March 2019, killing all 157 onboard. Five months earlier, in October 2018, the first Boeing 727 MAX jet crashed in the Java Sea after takeoff from Indonesia, killing all 189 aboard.  
“The Deferred Prosecution Agreement was really a DOJ Boeing ‘Don’t Prosecute Agreement.’ Nobody really believes that Forkner was the only bad actor in this complex pressure for profits and the scheme to defraud the FAA,” said Michael Stumo, father of Samya Rose Stumo. “It shows that Boeing CEO David Calhoun and the former board members will throw anyone under the bus to protect the C-Suite.”
The DOJ brought a criminal case against Boeing for killing 346 people in the two crashes but settled the matter earlier this year in what is referred to as a Deferred Prosecution Agreement. Columbia Law Professor John Coffee at the time called it “one of the worst deferred prosecution agreements I have seen.” Boeing did not have to plead guilty to any of the allegations, and no Boeing executive was charged.  Boeing’s lead corporate criminal defense law firm is Kirkland & Ellis. Erin Nealy Cox, the lead prosecutor in the Boeing case, left the Justice Department earlier this year and soon thereafter joined Kirkland & Ellis as a partner in its Dallas office.
Paul Njoroge of Toronto, Canada, who lost his entire family in the ET302 crash, said: “The actions of Mark Forkner and Boeing with respect to the 737 MAX certification, production and release to the market, resulted in the death of 346 people: among them my wife, her mum, and our three children. By corporates’ customs and practices, Mark Forkner did not act alone. Boeing principals must have been behind the rush to produce the 737 MAX, push it into the market, project higher revenues and earnings, excite Wall Street, and in so doing, pump up the Boeing stock. When Lion Air Flight JT610 crashed on October 29, 2018, Mark Forkner and Boeing’s principals committed 189 murders in the third degree. But after failing to ground the 737 MAX after that crash, knowingly shifting the public focus from the company by blaming the so-called ‘foreign’ pilots for that crash, they certainly committed 157 murders in the second degree, when Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed on March 10, 2019. 
“The federal grand jury should follow a thorough fact-finding process, indict others, especially the top-level management at Boeing, and then find them criminally liable over the death of my wife, our three children, my mum-in-law, and 341 others. We have had congressional and senatorial hearings, where Boeing’s ex-CEO, Dennis Muilenberg and the Chief Engineer John Hamilton refused to answer basic questions. I hope that the indictment of Mark Forkner will bring to light the extent of negligence, concealment of information, and hubris within Boeing that led to the two crashes. The public deserves to know. There will never be justice for me for the death of my family, but there will be justice for the public if Mark Forkner and others at Boeing faced maximum prison terms,” Njoroge said.
“The indictment yesterday of Boeing’s former chief pilot for deceiving federal authorities about the 737 MAX is a corporate whitewash,” said Robert A. Clifford, founder and senior partner of Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and Lead Counsel in the consolidated litigation against Boeing in the crash of a 737 MAX in Ethiopia in 2019. “The tragic loss of 157 lives could have been prevented had Mark Forkner spoken up but he certainly didn’t act alone.”
Forkner, who led the 737 MAX Flight Technical Team during its rushed development into service, reportedly was charged with two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce and four counts of wire fraud. He is due to appear Friday in federal court in Fort Worth, Texas. The most serious charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
“This inexcusable type of corporate greed goes far beyond the chief pilot at the company that haphazardly made these aircraft in an effort to increase profits,” Clifford said. “As Lead Counsel in the litigation against Boeing and speaking on behalf of so many families who will never be the same, I implore the DOJ to go further in its criminal investigation and indictments to determine just how far the deception went and who was at the bottom of it all. I think they will find many corporate officials took part in withholding critical information from the certifying agency. A deep-dive criminal investigation is owed to these families who gave the ultimate sacrifice and to the flying public that continues to buy tickets on the MAX aircraft.”
“Even if given the maximum prison sentence, that is nothing compared to those families who will never see their loved ones again. They are gone; gone because Forkner was part of a scheme to hide the truth from those who had the ability to make these planes safe,” Clifford said. “And what was Boeing’s initial reaction to these crashes despite knowing they had cut corners? Boeing executives chose to blame the innocent pilots who were told nothing about the new software system that completely changed the way the aircraft behaved, nor did the pilot training manuals even mention the new software system.”
Clifford refers to the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) that Forkner allegedly did not share with FAA officials before they approved the aircraft as safe to fly.  
“The flying public still isn’t certain whether Boeing has changed its ways and is operating with full transparency in allowing this plane and future aircraft to fly,” Clifford said.

FAA Was Tricked To Certify Boeing 737 MAX: New Federal Grand Jury Criminal Indictment Aviation Feature, Aviation News

FAA Was Tricked To Certify Boeing 737 MAX: New Federal Grand Jury Criminal Indictment 1

The Etihiopian Airlines and Lion Air Murder has a name: Accused is Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Mark A. Forkner?
On October 28, 2018, a Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashed and killed 189.On March 10, 2019, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crashed and killed 157.On October 14, 2021, Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Mark A. Forkner was indicted in the United States for deceiving the FAA in authorizing the certification of the Boeing MAX 737. Boeing saved tens of millions of dollars in this certification shortcut.

According to court documents filed in the Northern District of Texas Federal Court, Mark A. Forkner, 49, formerly of Washington State and currently of Keller, Texas, allegedly deceived the FAA AEG during the agency’s evaluation and certification of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.
As alleged in the indictment, Forkner provided the agency with materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information about a new part of the flight controls for the Boeing 737 MAX called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Because of his alleged deception, a key document published by the FAA AEG lacked any reference to MCAS. In turn, airplane manuals and pilot-training materials for U.S.-based airlines lacked any reference to MCAS — and Boeing’s U.S.-based airline customers were deprived of important information when making and finalizing their decisions to pay Boeing tens of millions of dollars for 737 MAX airplanes. 
“Forkner allegedly abused his position of trust by intentionally withholding critical information about MCAS during the FAA evaluation and certification of the 737 MAX and from Boeing’s U.S.‑based airline customers,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In doing so, he deprived airlines and pilots from knowing crucial information about an important part of the airplane’s flight controls. Regulators like the FAA serve a vital function to ensure the safety of the flying public. To anyone contemplating criminally impeding a regulator’s function, this indictment makes clear that the Justice Department will pursue the facts and hold you accountable.”     
“In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas. “His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency’s ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 MAX flight controls. The Department of Justice will not tolerate fraud – especially in industries where the stakes are so high.”
“Forkner allegedly withheld crucial information about the Boeing 737 MAX and deceived the FAA, showing blatant disregard for his responsibilities and the safety of airline customers and crews,” said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of the FBI. “The FBI will continue to hold individuals like Forker accountable for their fraudulent acts which undermine public safety.”
“There is no excusing those who deceive safety regulators for the sake of personal gain or commercial expediency,” said Inspector General Eric J. Soskin of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Our office works continuously to help keep the skies safe for flying and protect the traveling public from needless danger. Today’s charges demonstrate our unwavering commitment to working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to hold responsible those who put lives at risk.”
According to court documents, Boeing began developing and marketing the 737 MAX in and around June 2011. The FAA AEG was responsible for determining the minimum level of pilot training required for a pilot to fly the 737 MAX for a U.S.-based airline, based on the nature and extent of the differences between the 737 MAX and the prior version of Boeing’s 737 airplane, the 737 Next Generation (NG). At the conclusion of this evaluation, the FAA AEG published the 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board Report (FSB Report), which included, among other things, the FAA AEG’s differences-training determination for the 737 MAX, as well as information about differences between the 737 MAX and the 737 NG. All U.S.-based airlines were required to use the information in the 737 MAX FSB Report as the basis for training their pilots to fly the airplane.
As Boeing’s 737 MAX Chief Technical Pilot, Forkner led the 737 MAX Flight Technical Team and was responsible for providing the FAA AEG with true, accurate, and complete information about differences between the 737 MAX and the 737 NG for the FAA AEG’s evaluation, preparation, and publication of the 737 MAX FSB Report.
In and around November 2016, Forkner discovered information about an important change to MCAS. Rather than sharing information about this change with the FAA AEG, Forkner allegedly intentionally withheld this information and deceived the FAA AEG about MCAS. Because of his alleged deceit, the FAA AEG deleted all reference to MCAS from the final version of the 737 MAX FSB Report published in July 2017. As a result, pilots flying the 737 MAX for Boeing’s U.S.‑based airline customers were not provided any information about MCAS in their manuals and training materials. Forkner sent copies of the 737 MAX FSB Report to Boeing’s U.S.-based 737 MAX airline customers, but withheld from these customers important information about MCAS and the 737 MAX FSB Report evaluation process.
On or about Oct. 29, 2018, after the FAA AEG learned that Lion Air Flight 610 — a 737 MAX — had crashed near Jakarta, Indonesia, shortly after takeoff and that MCAS was operating in the moments before the crash, the FAA AEG discovered the information about the important change to MCAS that Forkner had withheld. Having discovered this information, the FAA AEG began reviewing and evaluating MCAS. 
On or about March 10, 2019, while the FAA AEG was still reviewing MCAS, the FAA AEG learned that Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 — a 737 MAX — had crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, shortly after takeoff and that MCAS was operating in the moments before the crash. Shortly after that crash, all 737 MAX airplanes were grounded in the United States.
Forkner is charged with two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce and four counts of wire fraud. He is expected to make his initial court appearance on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison on each count of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Chicago field offices of the FBI and DOT-OIG are investigating the case, with the assistance of other FBI and DOT-OIG field offices.
Trial Attorney Cory E. Jacobs, Assistant Chief Michael T. O’Neill, and Trial Attorney Scott Armstrong of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Lewis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Copy of the true indictment:

FAA was tricked to certify Boeing 737 Max: US Federal Jury returned a new indictment Aviation Feature, Aviation News

FAA was tricked to certify Boeing 737 Max: US Federal Jury returned a new indictment 2

The Etihiopian Airlines and Lion Air Murder has a name: Accused is Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Mark A Forkner?
On 29 October 2018 Lion Air Boeing 737 MAX crashed and killed 189.On 10 March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Boenig 737 MAX crashed and killed 157.On 14 October 2021 Boeing Chief Technical Pilot Mark A. Forkner was indicted in the United States for deceiving the FAA in authorizing the certification of the Boeing MAX 737. Boening saved tens of millions of Dollars in this certification shortcut.

According to court documents filed in the Northern District of Texas Federal Court, Mark A. Forkner, 49, formerly of Washington State and currently of Keller, Texas, allegedly deceived the FAA AEG during the agency’s evaluation and certification of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.
As alleged in the indictment, Forkner provided the agency with materially false, inaccurate, and incomplete information about a new part of the flight controls for the Boeing 737 MAX called the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Because of his alleged deception, a key document published by the FAA AEG lacked any reference to MCAS. In turn, airplane manuals and pilot-training materials for U.S.-based airlines lacked any reference to MCAS — and Boeing’s U.S.-based airline customers were deprived of important information when making and finalizing their decisions to pay Boeing tens of millions of dollars for 737 MAX airplanes. 
“Forkner allegedly abused his position of trust by intentionally withholding critical information about MCAS during the FAA evaluation and certification of the 737 MAX and from Boeing’s U.S.‑based airline customers,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In doing so, he deprived airlines and pilots from knowing crucial information about an important part of the airplane’s flight controls. Regulators like the FAA serve a vital function to ensure the safety of the flying public. To anyone contemplating criminally impeding a regulator’s function, this indictment makes clear that the Justice Department will pursue the facts and hold you accountable.”     
“In an attempt to save Boeing money, Forkner allegedly withheld critical information from regulators,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Chad E. Meacham for the Northern District of Texas. “His callous choice to mislead the FAA hampered the agency’s ability to protect the flying public and left pilots in the lurch, lacking information about certain 737 MAX flight controls. The Department of Justice will not tolerate fraud – especially in industries where the stakes are so high.”
“Forkner allegedly withheld crucial information about the Boeing 737 MAX and deceived the FAA, showing blatant disregard for his responsibilities and the safety of airline customers and crews,” said Assistant Director Calvin Shivers of the FBI. “The FBI will continue to hold individuals like Forker accountable for their fraudulent acts which undermine public safety.”
“There is no excusing those who deceive safety regulators for the sake of personal gain or commercial expediency,” said Inspector General Eric J. Soskin of the U.S. Department of Transportation. “Our office works continuously to help keep the skies safe for flying and protect the traveling public from needless danger. Today’s charges demonstrate our unwavering commitment to working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners to hold responsible those who put lives at risk.”
According to court documents, Boeing began developing and marketing the 737 MAX in and around June 2011. The FAA AEG was responsible for determining the minimum level of pilot training required for a pilot to fly the 737 MAX for a U.S.-based airline, based on the nature and extent of the differences between the 737 MAX and the prior version of Boeing’s 737 airplane, the 737 Next Generation (NG). At the conclusion of this evaluation, the FAA AEG published the 737 MAX Flight Standardization Board Report (FSB Report), which included, among other things, the FAA AEG’s differences-training determination for the 737 MAX, as well as information about differences between the 737 MAX and the 737 NG. All U.S.-based airlines were required to use the information in the 737 MAX FSB Report as the basis for training their pilots to fly the airplane.
As Boeing’s 737 MAX Chief Technical Pilot, Forkner led the 737 MAX Flight Technical Team and was responsible for providing the FAA AEG with true, accurate, and complete information about differences between the 737 MAX and the 737 NG for the FAA AEG’s evaluation, preparation, and publication of the 737 MAX FSB Report.
In and around November 2016, Forkner discovered information about an important change to MCAS. Rather than sharing information about this change with the FAA AEG, Forkner allegedly intentionally withheld this information and deceived the FAA AEG about MCAS. Because of his alleged deceit, the FAA AEG deleted all reference to MCAS from the final version of the 737 MAX FSB Report published in July 2017. As a result, pilots flying the 737 MAX for Boeing’s U.S.‑based airline customers were not provided any information about MCAS in their manuals and training materials. Forkner sent copies of the 737 MAX FSB Report to Boeing’s U.S.-based 737 MAX airline customers, but withheld from these customers important information about MCAS and the 737 MAX FSB Report evaluation process.
On or about Oct. 29, 2018, after the FAA AEG learned that Lion Air Flight 610 — a 737 MAX — had crashed near Jakarta, Indonesia, shortly after takeoff and that MCAS was operating in the moments before the crash, the FAA AEG discovered the information about the important change to MCAS that Forkner had withheld. Having discovered this information, the FAA AEG began reviewing and evaluating MCAS. 
On or about March 10, 2019, while the FAA AEG was still reviewing MCAS, the FAA AEG learned that Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 — a 737 MAX — had crashed near Ejere, Ethiopia, shortly after takeoff and that MCAS was operating in the moments before the crash. Shortly after that crash, all 737 MAX airplanes were grounded in the United States.
Forkner is charged with two counts of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce and four counts of wire fraud. He is expected to make his initial court appearance on Friday in Fort Worth, Texas, before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey L. Cureton of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison on each count of wire fraud and 10 years in prison on each count of fraud involving aircraft parts in interstate commerce. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Chicago field offices of the FBI and DOT-OIG are investigating the case, with the assistance of other FBI and DOT-OIG field offices.
Trial Attorney Cory E. Jacobs, Assistant Chief Michael T. O’Neill, and Trial Attorney Scott Armstrong of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex Lewis of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas are prosecuting the case.
An indictment is merely an allegation, and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Copy of the true indictment:

Airbus Passenger Plane conversion to Freighters: The Ascent Aviation Service model Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Airbus Passenger Plane conversion to Freighters: The Ascent Aviation Service model 3

Sine Draco Aviation Development Ltd. (“Sine Draco”) today announced the induction of the prototype A321-200 airplane at Ascent Aviation Services in Tucson, Arizona, for conversion from passenger to cargo configuration. The airplane will be designated the A321-200 SDF with FAA Supplemental Type Certificate approval anticipated in the 3rd quarter 2022. 

The Sine Draco A321-200 SDF passenger to freighter conversion offers the optimal economic solution for the next generation narrowbody freighter.  The conversion includes the installation of a 142-inch-wide by 86-inch-high main deck cargo door, Class E main deck cargo compartment with fourteen container positions and Ancra International cargo handling system.  The lower cargo compartments can also accommodate ten containers, with the A321 being the first airplane type in the narrow body freighter class with this capability.“Induction of the Sine Draco prototype A321-200 SDF for conversion is a significant milestone for our program,” says Sine Draco’s Chief Executive Officer, Alex Deriugin. “All major components are in production and scheduled, engineering drawings and technical documentation are in the last stages of completion, and parts and tooling are arriving at the Ascent facility daily.  The prototype airplane induction is the culmination of Sine Draco Engineering, Operations and Supply Chain teams hard work in close cooperation with our industry partners.”Ascent Aviation Services will be performing the conversion of the airplane by completing the touch labor, modification planning and inspection requirements. A partial heavy maintenance check was recently completed on the prototype airplane and will be completed during the modification.  Ascent will also provide maintenance and flight line support during the ground and flight test program following conversion.Dave Querio, President and CEO of Ascent Aviation Services says, “the induction of the prototype Sine Draco A321-200 SDF aircraft into its modification phase is a clear reflection of all the hard work expended on a daily basis by the professionals at both Sine Draco and Ascent.  I congratulate the entire Sine Draco team for meeting this milestone. All of us here at Ascent are honored to be a part of your success and excited to advance to the next phase of the modification program.”

Latest Fraport Airport Traffic Figures for September 2021: Positive! Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Passenger growth continued to be largely driven by holiday traffic. In the reporting month, FRA’s passenger numbers – while still posting a 54.0 percent decline compared to September 2019 – again reached nearly half the pre-pandemic level, thus continuing the positive trend set in August 2021.During the first nine months of 2021, FRA served a total of some 15.8 million passengers. This resulted in a 2.2 percent decline compared to the same period last year, versus a 70.8 percent slide compared with the first nine months of 2019.Cargo throughput (airfreight + airmail) continued its robust growth in September 2021, rising noticeably by 13.4 percent year-on-year to 188,177 metric tons.
Passenger growth continued to be largely driven by holiday traffic. In the reporting month, FRA’s passenger numbers – while still posting a 54.0 percent decline compared to September 2019 – again reached nearly half the pre-pandemic level, thus continuing the positive trend set in August 2021.During the first nine months of 2021, FRA served a total of some 15.8 million passengers. This resulted in a 2.2 percent decline compared to the same period last year, versus a 70.8 percent slide compared with the first nine months of 2019.Cargo throughput (airfreight + airmail) continued its robust growth in September 2021, rising noticeably by 13.4 percent year-on-year to 188,177 metric tons.

Compared to September 2019, cargo tonnage gained 7.7 percent in the reporting month. Aircraft movements climbed by 66.1 percent year-on-year to 28,135 takeoffs and landings. Accumulated maximum takeoff weights (MTOW) increased by 61.5 percent to nearly 1.8 million metric tons. 
In September 2021, the airports in Fraport’s international portfolio largely continued to report positive traffic performance. With the exception of Xi’an Airport (XIY) in China, Fraport’s Group airports worldwide achieved significant growth. At some Group airports, passenger traffic rose by over 100 percent year-on-year – albeit compared to strongly reduced traffic levels in September 2020. In comparison to pre-pandemic September 2019, most of Fraport’s Group airports worldwide still registered lower passenger figures. However, some Group airports serving high-demand tourist destinations – such as the Greek airports or Antalya Airport on the Turkish Riviera – saw traffic rebound to approximately 80 percent of pre-crisis levels in the reporting month (compared to September 2019).
Ljubljana Airport (LJU) in Slovenia’s capital city welcomed 65,133 passengers in September 2021. At the Brazilian airports of Fortaleza (FOR) and Porto Alegre (POA), combined traffic increased to 820,169 passengers. Peru’s Lima Airport (LIM) received nearly 1.1 million passengers in the reporting month.
Total traffic for the 14 Greek regional airports rose to about 3.4 million passengers in September 2021. On the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, the Twin Star airports of Burgas (BOJ) and Varna (VAR) also reported higher traffic with a total of 328,990 passengers served. Antalya Airport (AYT) in Turkey welcomed some 3.8 million passengers. St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Airport (LED) in Russia had approximately 1.9 million passengers. Xi’an Airport (XIY) in China recorded just under 2.3 million passengers in the reporting month.

Wizz Air to launch 8 new flight routes to Jordan Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Wizz Air to launch Eight new routes into the Kingdom of Jordan.The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, H.E Nayef Hmeidi Al-Fayez, announced during a press conference held on Sunday, October 3rd, 2021, the conclusion of a new agreement between the Kingdom and the international low-cost airline Wizz Air, during which the airline plans to operate eight new routes into and from Jordan.The inauguration of the agreement came in the presence of the Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, Dr. Abed AlRazzaq Arabiyat, the representative of Wizz Air Group in the press conference, Mr. Owain Jones, and H.E. Eng. Nayef Ahmad Bakheet. The Chairman of ADC Board The Chief of Commissioners of ASEZA Board at the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority and a number of media representatives.

The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Nayef Hmeidi Al-Fayez said during the press conference: “We are pleased to launch the agreement with the international low-cost carrier Wizz Air, confident that the airline will have a great impact on increasing the number of tourists coming into the Kingdom in the upcoming period.”
Al-Fayez noted that before the pandemic, low-cost flights coming in and out of the country gave new impetus to Jordanian tourism sector, which enabled the country to achieve a great leap, allowing the Kingdom to win its bet on the sector and seize its share of a highly competitive market in the Middle East region.
Managing Director of the Jordan Tourism Board, Dr. Abed Alrazzaq Arabiyat, affirmed the importance of launching this agreement with Europe’s fastest-growing airline, Wizz Air.
Arabiyat added that this achievement came as a result of the continuous efforts made over the past few years, as it is expected that the Wizz Air operations into the Kingdom will positively affect the tourism sector and also increase the number of tourists, noting that the airline will carry tourists of various European and Middle Eastern nationalities into the Kingdom.
Arabiyat gave a detailed explanation during the conference on the importance of this agreement, indicating that the agreement will include the launch of many marketing campaigns through all the airline’s highly established platforms including the website in addition to the different Social Media platforms, Arabiyat also noted that the expected number of tourists entering the Kingdom during the first year of operation will be around 167,000 tourists.
Regarding the entry into force of the agreement, Arabiyat said that the first landing of Wizz Air into the Kingdom is scheduled on the 15th of December 2021.
Speaking at the press conference Owain Jones Chief Supply Chain and Legal Officer of Wizz Air Group said: “I am delighted to announce the start of our operations in the Kingdom. I am convinced that the today announced connections will support the ramp up of the tourism industry by offering low fare and high quality flights for passengers.
Flying the very latest aircraft technology has always been a cornerstone of WIZZ’s business, with the benefits of lower fuel consumption and lower noise delivering benefits for our customers and the environment. Our brand new aircraft as well as our enhanced protective measures will ensure the best possible sanitary conditions for travellers while operating with the lowest environmental footprint.
We look forward to welcoming passengers on board with great service and a smile.”
Arabiyat indicated that the eight different destinations will be launched by Wizzair airline, including  four (year-round) routes coming into Amman through the Queen Alia International Airport (QAIA), which are,
Budapest – HungaryRome – ItalyMilan – ItalyVienna – Austria
In addition to Four seasonal routes to Aqaba, landing at King Hussein International Airport (KHIA)
Budapest – HungaryBucharest – RomaniaVienna – AustriaRome – Italy
Regarding the booking method of seats onboard Wizz Air’s flights, Arabiyat added that bookings can  be made  through the company’s website (wizzair.com) or its app.
Arabiyat said that The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities and the Jordan Tourism Board’s main goal is to work on the government’s priority program for 2021-2023 that aims to attract tourists through supporting low-cost airlines in addition to Charter flights.
Arabiyat also indicated that the sector had previously declined due to the restrictions imposed on air travel due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, which resulted in the loss of Millions of Dollars due to the lack of tourists coming into the country, noting that the Kingdom is going through a new stage during which (JTB) seeks to increase the number of tourists entering the Kingdom, in addition to increasing the rate of tourists overnight stay and tourism receipts, hoping to achieve the desired goals set by restoring the numbers achieved pre-pandemic.
Arabiyat also confirmed that the Ministry and the Tourism Board are working on developing, promoting and marketing the Jordanian tourism product in an optimal manner.
About Wizz Air                                                                                     
Wizz Air, the fastest growing European low-cost airline, operates a fleet of 140 Airbus A320 and A321 aircraft. A team of dedicated aviation professionals delivers superior service and very low fares, making Wizz Air the preferred choice of 10.2 million passengers in the financial year ending 31 March 2021.
Wizz Air is listed on the London Stock Exchange under the ticker WIZZ. The company was recently named one of the world’s top ten safest airlines by airlineratings.com, the world’s only safety and product rating agency, and 2020 Airline of the Year by ATW, the most coveted honour an airline or individual can receive, and a most sustainable company in the airline industry in 2021 by World Finance Magazine.

Wow! Better book your Lufthansa flight from Europe to the United States now Aviation Feature, Aviation News

About a week after the planned end of U.S. travel restrictions, Lufthansa Groupairlines are experiencing a further boom for flights to the United States. On certaindays in the last week, flights across the Atlantic increased three-fold over theweek before. Demand in the last week on certain routes almost reached pre-crisislevels. Flights with SWISS from Zurich and Lufthansa from Frankfurt to New Yorkand from Frankfurt and Zurich to Miami had the highest bookings from both leisureand business travellers.In Premium Economy, Business and First Class more tickets to the USA were bought than in the same period in 2019.

Lufthansa Group is meeting this boom in pent-up demand by launching additionalflights to the USA on short notice. Lufthansa and SWISS, for example, will be offering a combined total of three daily flights to Miami on short notice starting inNovember.
There is very strong demand for flights to the USA for the coming December. Newbookings in the past week for this month were as high as they were for 2019 forthe same time period. Flights to New York – traditionally in high demand duringthe Christmas season – have already been bolstered with additional connections.The airlines of the Lufthansa Group are offering up to 55 weekly connections toNew York from their various European hubs in Austria, Belgium, Germany andSwitzerland in December. A further short-term expansion of services is currentlyunder consideration.
Alone to New York and Chicago, Lufthansa Group airlines offer more daily connections from Europe in November than flights to the entire Asia-Pacific region.Lufthansa Group expects that the opening of the U.S. to vaccinated EU travelerswill be a signal for other countries and regions to make international air travel easier again and roll back travel restrictions.
Additional flights also within GermanyLufthansa Group is also increasing German domestic flights to its European hubsas demand for U.S. flights continues to soar. For example, compared with July,Lufthansa is increasing its domestic German flights by 45 percent from starting inOctober. This means, among other things that as of October there will be nine instead of six daily flights from Frankfurt to Berlin. Flights from Frankfurt to Hamburg will increase from six to eight flights daily. The situation is similar for Munich:The current five daily connections to Berlin will be increased to seven starting inOctober; instead of six daily flights from Munich to Hamburg, there will be up to11 daily flights in the future. And also starting in October, Lufthansa will again operate hourly flights from Hamburg and Berlin to its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich in the morning and in the evening.
With the flight schedule expansion, more connections are available throughout theday. This means business travelers who often want to fly in the morning or theevening will benefit from an improved flight schedule as will other travellers.

A New COVID Reality when Flying in the U.S. is 20 years in Federal Prison for Hijacking or Mask Violations Aviation Feature, Aviation News

Forget social distancing when boarding a domestic flight in the United StatesPassengers objecting to current regulations and scream out while on a flight may be procecuted under the Partriot Act facing 20 years in Federal PrisonUS flight attendance are being trained by the same people who train prison guards- not much of a de-escalation attempt.

The friendly skies in the United States may not at all be as friendly as they were in the good old PAN AM times.
Federal Air Marshals are teaching flight attendants how to deal with the growing risk of passengers who become belligerent and violent, often over face-mask rules.
Restrictions that are commonly enforced on international flights including middle seats open, social distancing on airplanes, vaccination rules, are not usually in force for US domestic flights.
Many domestic passengers in the United States refuse to follow the rules of mask-wearing due to political, religious, and some for health reasons. This is causing a great number of incidents, that are reported to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA)
Flying in the age of COVID-19 is stressful for passengers and crew and resulted in 3199 mask-related incidents reported to FAA. Considering only 4385 unruly passenger reports were filed in a year, this is a very high number.
To get passengers under control it’s been discussed in the house to punish passenger-related incidents of the same severity as highjacking. The Patriot Act was put in place in the United States in response to terror attacks, not in response to a complaining passenger. Violating the Patriot act comes with a 20 year of Federal Prison sentence.
Paul Hudson, president of Flyers Rights has been an outspoken advocate for Passengers Rights and says enough is enough.
Comment by FlyersRights.org to the House Aviation Subcommittee on the Increase in Number of Airline Incidents
The recent increase in violent incidents in air travel is a serious issue in need of solutions. The subcommittee hearing would benefit from hearing the passenger’s perspective. FlyersRights.org submitted a rulemaking petition to the Department of Transportation in August 2020 to mandate mask-wearing in air travel. FlyersRights.org has been the leading organization advocating for Covid mitigation measures to make air travel safer.
 According to the latest FAA data, mask-related reported incidents account for 73% of all incidents reported by crewmembers in 2021. At the same time, non-mask-related incidents are down, and the FAA has more than doubled the number of its investigations. FlyersRights.org proposes the following solutions to reduce the number of mask-related disturbances on airplanes:
Implement the yellow card system where a passenger is given a written warning and the ability to send a written complaint to the pilot or airline as means of de-escalationEnsure flight attendants themselves comply with and more consistently enforce the mask rulesAllow greater ease of obtaining legitimate health and disability exceptions to the mask ruleImplement greater covid mitigation measures, including social distancing, and temperature checks. Social distancing must be enforced not only on the airplane, but at the gate, during the boarding process, and at security checkpoints.Reevaluate the TSA mask mandate extensions with a public notice and comment process
The airlines have crammed passengers on a smaller number of flights with no social distancing, no middle seat blocking, no capacity limits, no temperature checking, and no covid testing. While some passengers oppose masks for political reasons, others see the lack of other common-sense safety precautions taken by the airlines (social distancing, middle seat blocking, temperature checks) and the lack of consistent enforcement on passengers and flight attendants.
Prosecution for a battery is needed when these incidents become violent. However, it would be a severe escalation and a gross infringement on civil liberties to invoke the Patriot Act’s felony “interference with flight crew members and flight attendants”, intended for hijackers, to threaten a passenger with up to 20 years in prison.
FlyersRights.org has advocated for a mask rule as well as other health measures to protect passengers and crew members. While most flight attendants enforce the mask rule as best as they can under the circumstances, many flight attendants do not attempt enforcement and themselves violate the mask rule.
FlyersRights.org would not attribute the actions of a small minority of flight attendants to the entire group. However, just as enforcement action must be taken against passengers who refuse to wear a mask, action must be taken against these flight attendants who violate the mask rule or who make no effort to enforce the rule. Not only will this help curb the dozens of abhorrent passenger incidents, but it is also vital for the continued health of all passengers and flight crew throughout the pandemic

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