New York (AirGuide - Airline News Europe) Feb 22, 2010
Worldwide airline accidents drop in 2009. Last year saw a drop in airline crashes worldwide, though the death toll rose due to a handful of major incidents. At just 0.7 accidents per 1 million flights, 2009 was the second-safest year ever recorded, according to an industry trade group. Feb 18, 2010
Inflight Wi-Fi benefits both airlines and passengers. More than 700 commercial airliners now boast in-flight Wi-Fi service as the industry responds to travelers' demands and looks at W-Fi as the next big revenue generator. Passengers seem to love the service that allows them to stay connected while in the air, and they are accepting of the fees involved. "People recognize the technological complexity of offering decent Wi-Fi service at 30,000 feet," explains airline consultant Jay Sorenson. Feb 18, 2010
Businesses continue to keep travel expenses down. The U.S. airline industry "is not going to recover" without the return of the business traveler, warns an analyst at Jesup & Lamont in New York, but those travelers appear unlikely to get back to their high-flying ways any time soon. Though many companies are starting to report an uptick in corporate travel, spending is still far below pre-recession levels, and business-class fares have plunged accordingly. Feb 18, 2010
Will business travelers stick with coach?. During the economic downturn, many companies required their corporate travelers to fly coach -- and some experts predict that's where they will stay. "Premium fares are absolutely critical for airlines and this will heighten fears that the market may never return to the same level," said John Strickland of JLS Consulting. "It looked like we might see a structural shift when business travel fell off after 9/11, and it seems even more likely this time." During the last decade, with the introduction of low-cost airlines in North America and Europe, the business traveler has been flying coach on short to medium-haul on a regular basis, and according to AirGuideBusiness, the trend will not change anytime soon. Feb 17, 2010
Government commission questions U.K. airport scanners. A U.K. government commission has warned that full-body scanners rushed into service at two major airports may be illegal under the country's Human Rights Act. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has asked the British Department of Transport to reexamine deployment of the scanners at airports in London and Manchester, and at least one opposition party supports the commission's efforts. Feb 16, 2010
Body scanner deployments continue amid uncertainty. The repercussions of the attempted 25 December 2009 airline bombing continue to be felt around the world, as the UK proceeded with the deployment of whole-body imagers at two airports; the policy of the European Commission (EC) and individual member states remains unclear; and the US government announced plans to procure hundreds of scanners. In its Fiscal Year 2011 budget request, issued on 1 February, the Obama administration announced it intends to buy up to 500 body scanners at a cost of USD215 million for deployment at checkpoints in major US airports. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) already operates 40 of these machines at 19 airports, and expects to have around 200 in service by the end of 2010. Despite this proactive stance, concerns remain that the technology not been tested rigorously enough by the TSA. A 31 December 2009 investigation from the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General found that testing was incomplete; and on 27 January, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) urged the TSA to ensure that thorough operational and vulnerability trials are carried out before whole-body scanners are installed at checkpoints. Feb 16, 2010
Al-Qaida focused on finding airline security gaps. According to a Feb. 12 CBS News report, international terrorists are focused on finding ways to circumvent airline security measures. Armen Keteyian, CBS News chief investigative correspondent, reports that U.S. intelligence officials have reportedly seen increased Internet "chatter" involving al-Qaida operatives in Yemen concerned with security gaps in explosive detection devices, 3-D scanners and the TSA rules for...