Frontier bankrupt but keeps flying

AIRLINES Frontier Airlines has become the latest US carrier to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a move the Denver-based low-cost carrier attributed to "an unexpected attempt by its principal credit card processor to substantially increase a 'holdback' of customer receipts, which threatened to severely impact Frontier's liquidity". Frontier, which operates more than 60 Airbus A320-family aircraft, will maintain flight operations but other recent Chapter 11 filers have shut down, including Aloha, ATA and Skybus. Chief executive Sean Menke says the carrier has been making progress in strengthening its balance sheet and obtaining additional financing, and has not seen a decrease in customer demand in recent weeks.

EADS bosses 'acted in good faith' says Gallois

ALLEGATIONS EADS chief Louis Gallois has issued a 10-page document rejecting insider-trading allegations by French stock market regulator AMF, which contends that executives sold shares ahead of disclosures about Airbus A380 delays. Rejecting AMF assertions that EADS knew about the delays much earlier than it claimed, the document contends that Airbus managers "believed, in good faith" that A380 electrical problems would be solved without affecting production schedules, and that managers' concerns about the A380 were "nothing unusual where such a technically complex programme was involved. It seems erroneous to analyse them in the light of what was later discovered to be the true extent of the difficulties involved in the production of this aircraft."


FIGHTERS The USA could approve a stalled request for the purchase of 66 Lockheed Martin F-16C/Ds next month, says Taiwanese air force chief of staff Lt Gen Liu Chen Wu. Likely to be worth around $3.1 billion, a deal could be concluded before US president George Bush leaves office next January.

all-synthetic Jet fuel OK for commercial use

ALTERNATIVE FUELS A 100% synthetic fuel made by Sasol of South Africa has been approved as Jet A1 fuel for commercial use in all types of aircraft, meeting Defence Standard DEFSTAN 91-91, which is used by most nations. The remainder, including the USA, rely on ASTM International which references DEFSTAN 91-91 in its own standards. ASTM is expected to approve in June a process for any qualified fuel suppliers to produce 50% blends for aircraft.

Australia to set up tall obstructions database

SAFETY The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is examining with Geoscience Australia and the country's Energy Network Association the feasibility of establishing a single database of the location of known powerlines and tall structures after 52 fatalities in the country between 1994 and 2006 due to wirestrike accidents.

Oman Air chief executive ziad Al-Haremi

OBITUARY Ziad Al-Haremi, chief executive of Middle Eastern flag carrier Oman Air, died suddenly of a suspected heart attack on 9 April. Al-Haremi had led the redevelopment of Oman Air as a stand-alone carrier for the sultanate and had been overseeing the re-instatement of long-haul services, a fleet-renewal programme and a change of image. He was educated at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in the USA and held qualifications in aircraft maintenance as well as a private pilot's licence.

Source: Flight International