ASSOCIATION A European arm of the US Air Taxi Association (ATXA) has been launched by founding members AccelJet, AirCab, Air-Cannes, BIKKAIR, Blink, byJets, ETIRC Aviation, GlobeAir, Gonow, JetBird, Jet Ready, London Executive Aviation, Taxijet and Wondair. Each member is based in Europe and plans to operate very light jets within the continent for traditional charter or air taxi services. Alan Perry, chairman of conference organiser MIU Events, has been elected managing director of ATXA Europe, and JetBird president Stefan Vilner will be chairman.


ORDER Swiss VIP charter operator PrivatAir has ordered a second Boeing 787-8 and has secured a purchase right on a third aircraft, to exploit the burgeoning demand from charter customers for long-range widebody airliners. The corporate-configured aircraft is scheduled for delivery in 2016, joining in service Geneva-based PrivatAir's Boeing 767, 757, Boeing Business Jet (BBJ), BBJ2 and its first VIP-configured 787-8, earmarked for handover in 2012.

Switzerland opens F-5 replacement competition

FIGHTERS Switzerland has launched the first phase of a competition to replace its Northrop F-5 fighters, with responses due in mid-2008 from the manufacturers of the Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen.

FAA downgrades Philippine's safety rating

SAFETY Philippine Airlines is pledging to maintain all its existing services to the USA but it is likely to put US expansion plans on hold after the Federal Aviation Administration downgraded the Philippines' aviation safety rating. PAL says it is concerned about "the negative effect of Category 2 to PAL's plans to open service to San Diego, Chicago, New York and Saipan". The downgrade from Category 1 to Category 2 means the FAA found the Philippines does not meet ICAO standards in its aviation safety oversight. Under the Philippines' downgrade under the FAA's International Aviation Safety Assessment programme, PAL will not be able to increase services or change aircraft type unless it wet-leases aircraft from a country with a Category 1 rating.


ENVIRONMENT Boeing's environmental claims have been criticised by the UK advertising watchdog for a second time. A magazine advertisement for the Boeing 787 that claimed its aerodynamic design would enable it to fly "60% quieter" was ruled misleading because it referred to its noise footprint rather than peak sound level. The Advertising Standards Authority also criticised Boeing in November over claims made about a 747-8's CO2 emissions based on industry standard load factor calculations, which use a 100% occupancy level rather than the 79.7% standard used by the UK Government. Hitting back, Boeing says: "We are surprised that an advertising body should both ignore expert calculations and seek to instruct a global industry as to how it should measure noise. Even the CAA, whom the ASA consulted as their 'expert', confirmed that the 4dB reduction in the noise energy was the equivalent of a 60% reduction."

Runway status lights "viable" for preventing incursions

OPERATIONS Warning lights placed at runway ends and at the intersections between taxiways and runways are "a viable technology for preventing runway incursions", says the US Department of Transportation's Office of Inspector General. In a report published last week, the OIG revealed that during the 29 months after a prototype runway status light (RWSL)system was installed on one runway at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport runway in 2005, incursions decreased by 70% compared with the previous 29 months, from 10 incursions down to three. The report says RWSL works without human intervention, providing pilots with an independent, direct warning of a conflict. As such, the system does not increase controller workload or "interfere with the normal flow of airport traffic or rhythm of controller movement of traffic".

Source: Flight International