Travel Safety & Security Update August 2005.


France names blacklisted carriers: France has forbidden six airlines from landing on its soil. The French civil aviation authority said the airlines are unsafe and announced the blacklist after a string of five recent aviation accidents. The airlines are Air Koryo of North Korea, Air St. Thomas of the U.S. Virgin Islands, International Air Services of Liberia, Phuket Airlines of Thailand, and Linhas Aereas de Mocambique and Transairways, both of Mozambique. Aug 30, 2005

Airport security should be reprivatized. The government has gone overboard on aviation security, and the Transportation Security Administration should be abolished, writes Ivan Eland in an opinion piece in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Eland, a senior fellow at the Independent Institute, also writes that changes in passengers' responses to hijackings make terrorist attacks less likely. Aug 30, 2005

Groups question whether airline blacklist will improve safety. Some groups representing airlines are questioning whether a blacklist of airlines will improve safety. France and Belgium have named 14 companies forbidden from using their airports or airspace. The European Union is considering a similar move. However, a spokesman for the International Air Transport Association said a blacklist does not encourage safety and called it a "political reaction." A spokesman for the Association of European Airlines said the need for a blacklist reflects different safety standards in different countries. "There is something wrong with the system that allows (some countries) to certify an airline that we (in Europe) don't think is safe," AEA spokesman David Henderson said. Aug 30, 2005

New deadline set for passport requirement for Caribbean travel. The State Department has pushed back the date requiring U.S. travelers to the Caribbean, Bahamas and Bermuda to carry passports. Complaints from Caribbean tourism officials spurred the U.S. to set a new "firm deadline" of Jan. 1, 2008. The former deadline of Dec. 31 was announced in April. The new rules are an effort to improve security. Aug 26, 2005

France to publish names of unsafe airlines on Web site. France will publish a list of airlines it considers too unsafe to operate starting Monday. The list will appear on the French civil-aviation authority's Web site and will include unapproved and approved airlines as well as air transport companies the government considers safe. France hopes the measure will improve airline safety. Aug 26, 2005

FAA will not require child safety seats. The Federal Aviation Administration has decided not to require children flying on commercial planes to sit in safety seats. Requiring the seats would force parents to buy an extra ticket for their child. The FAA said such a requirement would deter cost-conscious travelers from flying. Aug 26, 2005

Experts see no link among recent airline crashes. There are no obvious links among four plane crashes which have occurred within the past month, safety experts said. The accidents have killed more than 320 people. No one died in the crash of an Air France jet in Toronto. "Rare events can clump together -- there's an old wives' tale that accidents come in threes," said George Donahue, a former Federal Aviation Administration official who is now a professor at George Mason University. "I can't tell you that I think there's any kind of common thread." Aug 25, 2005

International group opposes EU plan to blacklist unsafe carriers. The International Air Transport Association opposes a plan by the European Commission to create a blacklist of airlines that fall short of safety standards. IATA called blacklisting "punitive" and said it would not improve safety. Aug 25, 2005

Group opposes TSA proposal to lift ban on knives. Some family members of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks oppose a plan by the Transportation Security Administration to allow travelers to take knives on commercial jetliners. A TSA panel has recommended lifting the ban on knives and scissors less than five inches long. One member of Families of September 11, the group opposing the changes, said the proposal indicates the government has become too relaxed on security issues. Aug 25, 2005

Busy travel season, pay cuts stress flight attendants. The busy summer travel season, steep pay cuts and the airline industry's financial instability has some flight attendants feeling overworked and worried about job security, writes Chris Elliott in The New York Times. The result is a decline in customer service, he notes. Flight attendants say they often encounter angry passengers who wait in long lines and receive fewer amenities from the carriers. Aug 23, 2005

Airlines will pay less for insurance this year, observers say. Aviation insurance premiums are expected to decline this year because the U.S. commercial aviation industry has experienced one of its safest periods in history. The industry has not recorded a major accident since late 2001, when an American Airlines flight crashed in New York. Recent crashes in Toronto, Greece and Venezuela will not boost rates for U.S. carriers, one observer said. Aug 23, 2005

Federal officials lobby for access to fliers' personal data. The Department of Homeland Security is again trying to gain access to travelers' personal information, including credit reports and shopping histories, in an effort to keep terrorists from boarding commercial jets. The agency is banned from getting that information, and key members of Congress support the ban. Airlines check passenger names against a government no-fly list, but the list excludes classified information about terrorists. Aug 23, 2005

Travelers sue TSA over Secure Flight privacy issues. A group of Alaskan travelers has sued the Transportation Security Administration to find out what information the TSA gathered about them while it tested Secure Flight, a new terrorist-watch database. The plaintiffs also claim TSA violated the Privacy Act. Officials from TSA declined to comment. Aug 22, 2005

New radar system will detect tiny pieces of runway debris. A new radar system will detect tiny pieces of debris on a runway and help avoid accidents similar to the crash of the Concorde in 2000 at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, officials at Vancouver International Airport said. The Vancouver airport has purchased four Tarsier radar units. Next year, it will become the first airport in the world to operate them. Aug 19, 2005

Black boxes remain best option for cockpit data, regulators say. Despite some limitations, black boxes remain the best option for storing cockpit information, the National Transportation Safety Board said. A new series of black boxes are more likely to stay intact after a crash, the board said...

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