Airplane News

Title: Back In The Air: Palestinian Airlines Resumes Flights
May 28, 2012

Abstract: Palestinian Airlines is glad to announce that it is resuming flights after a seven-year hiatus. Although the airline makes only two flights a week, and has just two planes and a hub in Egypt, Gazans are happy they have their own carrier.

The airline conducts biweekly flights between El Arish, a city on Egypt’s Sinai peninsula adjacent to the border with Gaza, and Marka airbase, located outside Jordan’s capital Amman. This means that Gaza residents will no longer have to make the 250-mile (350 kilometers) trip to Cairo to get on a plane. 

"I am feeling proud of flying our national carrier, Palestinian airlines, for the first time in ten years; to travel from El Arish airport is a good step because it will help me financially, physically and will also save time,” said Mustafa Abu Din, who bought four tickets at a Gaza City travel agency for a flight to Amman.

Despite its minuscule size – not rivaling even an average–sized commuter airline – the fact that Palestinian Airlines is back in business is important for all Palestinians for reasons of time and money, as well as national pride.

The reason the airline is back is to reduce the suffering of our people in Gaza, who at the moment have to travel 400-500 kilometers from the border to Cairo airport from where they fly to the rest of the world,” Zeyad Albada, the company’s chairman, stated. “The other reason was to re-activate our Palestinian staffers because these are planes that raise the Palestinian flag which is a sovereignty symbol for us.

The airline’s fortunes have been closely tied to the political situation surrounding Palestine and, more specifically, the Gaza Strip. 

Back in the 1990s, when the creation of a Palestinian state seemed to be all but certain, the airline operated flights from Gaza International Airport, conducting tens of thousands of flights annually. 

But the new century spelled disaster for both the peace efforts and the airline. With renewed hostilities between Israel and Palestine, Gaza International Airport was destroyed by Israeli troops. Palestinian Airlines was forced to move its hub to El Arish, an Egyptian coastal resort some 38 miles (60 kilometers) from Gaza. 

Frequent Israeli closures of Gaza's prevented many Palestinians from reaching El Arish, causing the number of passengers and flights to dwindle, which meant financial disaster for the carrier. 

The situation was further exacerbated by the Palestinian split in 2007. The airline is owned by the Palestinian Authority, while the Gaza Strip, which it serves, ended up in the hands of rival Hamas. 

Moreover, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, keen on maintaining amicable relations with Israel, largely kept the Rafah passenger terminal with Gaza closed.

But with Mubarak’s ouster last year, Gazans have gradually been allowed to enter Egypt to reach El Arish. 

The West Bank, controlled by the Palestinian Authority, does not have a functioning airport, as plans to build one were panned by Israel. This means that Palestinians living there have to go all the way to Jordan if they want to fly (RT, 2012).

Hawaiian Airlines Flight Delayed More Than 15 Hours
Date: September 29, 2012
KHON 2 News

Abstract: A Hawaiian Airlines flight from San Francisco to Honolulu was scheduled to leave at 9:45 Saturday morning but has been delayed and is now set to finally leave at 1:30 a.m local time.

A passenger sent us this photo from the boarding area at SFO.

Hawaiian Airlines spokesperson said the reason for the 15 plus hour delay is because there was a mechanical problem with the plane, and the part needed to be flown in from the east coast.

All 184 passengers got meal vouchers and will get a three hundred dollar travel credit (KHON 2 News, 2012).

Title: Second American Airlines Flight Returns To JFK After Row Of Seats Comes Loose
Date: October 1, 2012
CBS New York

Abstract: Planes have been grounded and the feds are now investigating American Airlines.

The Federal Aviation Administration is probing two separate instances of rows of airplane seats dislodging in mid-air.

The latest incident happened Monday when a flight from New York to Miami was forced to return to John F. Kennedy International Airport. On Saturday, a flight from Boston to Miami had to make an emergency landing at JFK.

An American Airlines spokesperson said Flight 443, a Boeing 757, departed JFK on Monday at around 7:15 a.m. en route to Miami. During the flight a row of three seats came loose, officials said. Passengers were moved to other seats and the flight landed safely at JFK. All of the passengers were put on another plane, which landed in Miami at 2:15 p.m.

On Saturday, American Airlines Flight 685, also a Boeing 757, was diverted to JFK after a row of three seats became loose in the coach cabin of the Boeing 757, an airline spokesperson said. Three passengers were moved to other seats on the flight before the plane landed safely around 12:50 p.m., officials said.

Both planes had recently had maintenance done, officials said.

No injuries were reported in either incident.

American Airlines said it is taking a total of eight aircraft with similar seating assemblies out of service as a result. The airline said it is looking at the incidents as a maintenance issue.

In a call to air traffic control, the pilot of Flight 685 can be heard saying, “Got an unusual one for you. Passenger seats rows 12D, E and F, uh, came loose out of the floor. Passengers are unable to, uh, sit in that seat.”

Several hours later, passengers were placed on another flight to Miami.

“This is something that I think we will find out is either as a result of fatigue or inappropriate or unnoticed maintenance,” CBS News aviation safety consultant Mark Rosenker told WCBS 880.

American denied any sort of sabotage by unionized maintenance workers, but retired pilot John Tristani told CBS 2’s Jessica Schneider that this is just too much of a coincidence to be anything but.

“That’s exactly what I expect management to say. It would be detrimental to their flight scheduling if they admitted to passengers that there are possible job actions that could endanger their lives,” Tristani said.

American is facing heightened scrutiny from the FAA because it is locked in a bitter dispute with its workers after nullifying all labor contracts in the wake of its bankruptcy filing last year. The problems have led to significant delays and cancellations, CBS 2′s Schneider reported.

The airline is conducting an internal investigation.

“Safety is our top priority,” American Airlines spokesperson Matt Miller said in a statement. “We never have – and never will – compromise the safety and reliability of our fleet.”

American issued another statement Monday afternoon, which said in part: “The seats were installed by American maintenance and contract maintenance. The issue does not seem to be tied to any one maintenance facility or one workgroup.  This afternoon, the company flew engineers, tech crew chiefs, and inspectors from its Tulsa maintenance base to New York to evaluate the aircraft and determine the next course of action to correct the problem.

“We are in contact with the FAA. They are aware of our internal review.”

The FAA said it is looking into the two incidents, adding “The airline’s initial inspection of each aircraft found other rows of seats that were not properly secured. Preliminary information indicates that both aircraft had recently undergone maintenance during which the seats had been removed and re-installed.”

Many travelers told CBS 2′s Schneider they are taking a second look when it comes to choosing American.

“Obviously, American Airlines is not being transparent with information,” said concerned flier Patrick Rodgers. “If there are issues, they owe it to the American public.”

“Quite frightening really, because you think airline security today should be the utmost priority,” passenger Ian Devine said.

“I’m hoping that everything is going to be okay, because I’m traveling with American Airlines,” Sebastian Rafih added (CBS New York, 2012).

Title: American Airlines Pulls More Jets Following 3rd Seat Incident
Date: October 2, 2012

Abstract: Fort Worth-based American Airlines says passenger seats on a third flight came loose during an airborne flight recently, and now says it’s continuing to inspect other jets with similar seating.

The airline acknowledged Tuesday that seats came loose on a flight last week from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to Vail, Colo. The same thing happened aboard the same plane Monday and a second plane Saturday, according to the airline.

American says it has pulled 47 planes from its 757 fleet out of service for inspection following the three incidents.  The airline found 4 other planes with same potential problems during inspections.

The airline is still checking 11 other planes, the others that were found to have no issues were returned to service.

On Tuesday, the airline officially blamed the seating problem on an improperly installed seat locking mechanism.

“Was it properly installed, was there wear, was there tear? At the end of the day, that’s the mechanism that will allow the seats to stay secure or if it fails, will it become dislodged?” AA’s VP of Safety David Campbell told CBS 11 News.

But local workers like Gary Peterson still have questions. “It only started popping up in the last couple of weeks.”

Peterson is President of the Transport Workers Union local 565 in Bedford.  He says the seats aren’t new, and  American started outsourcing work to reconfigure its seats last month.

“We’ve been doing these seats forever, and we haven’t had problems with them done in house, so it’s definitely a question of what’s being done in the outsourced facility.”

“We don’t believe its an issue tied to outsourcing or internally to our maintenance team here.  It’s a failure that we’ve not yet understood,” said Campbell.

Denny Kelly, a retired airline pilot and now aviation consultant says regardless of who does the work, “American’s people are supposed to supervise. This is right, that is wrong.”

In a separate incident Tuesday, an American flight from Chicago to London was diverted to an airport in Ireland after a report of smoke in the cabin. An airline spokesman said it turned out to be a faulty cooling fan in an entertainment system, and the plane was expected to continue on to London Tuesday night.

The reports of smoky cabins and seats coming loose during flights raised questions about safety on the nation’s third biggest airline. Aviation industry experts said publicity about the problem could make passengers stay away from American and fly on other airlines instead.

Airline spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said an initial review indicated that there could be a problem with the way the seats fit into tracks on the floor of the Boeing 757, but technical teams from the airline “are looking at everything.”

Asked if seats had ever come loose on an American flight before last week, Huguely replied, “Not that I’m aware of.”

Huguely was adamant, however, in saying that the incidents were not the result of sabotage by workers. American’s union employees are unhappy about pending layoffs and cuts in pay and benefits that American has imposed since filing for bankruptcy protection in November. American accuses some pilots of conducting an illegal work slowdown that has caused a jump in canceled and delayed flights.

The problem planes were worked on by several crews in different cities. After seats came loose the first time, a crew in Vail tightened them and the plane made a return flight to DFW. It flew to Boston later that day, where the seats were tightened again.

Tuesday night, American CEO Thomas Horton sent a letter to employees to address issues raised by recent incidents.

No further problems were noticed until a flight Monday from New York to Miami, which returned to Kennedy Airport. Another plane making a Boston-to-Miami trip on Saturday made an emergency landing in New York after a row of seats came loose in flight.

The seats on both planes had been removed and reinstalled during recent maintenance at an American Airlines maintenance base in Tulsa, Okla., and a Timco Aviation Services facility in North Carolina. In both cases American employees were the last to touch the seats, Huguely said.

A Timco spokesman declined to comment beyond saying that the company is still investigating.

The Federal Aviation Administration said it is looking into the incidents.

A statement from American Airlines reads: “Overnight, a group of engineers, tech crew chiefs and inspectors from American’s Tulsa Maintenance Base evaluated airplanes at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport while other airplanes were inspected at other facilities around the country. Originally, American planned to evaluate the seats on eight Boeing 757 airplanes, but out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to proactively evaluate a total of 47 Boeing 757 airplanes that have the same model Main Cabin seats with a common locking mechanism. Thirty-six airplanes were evaluated by maintenance personnel overnight and another 11 airplanes will be evaluated to finish the inspection.

American’s internal investigation has focused on one of three types of Main Cabin seats on the 757s and how the rows of these three seats fit into the track that is used to secure the rows to the floor of the airplanes. Our maintenance and engineering teams have discovered that the root cause is a saddle clamp improperly installed on the foot of the row leg. These clamps were used on only 47 of our 102 Boeing 757 airplanes.

The issue does not seem to be tied to any one maintenance facility or one workgroup.

The FAA is aware of our internal review and its findings, as well as the steps we are taking to proactively address the issue. We continue to work closely with the FAA.

American regrets the inconvenience that this maintenance issue may have caused customers on affected flights.  Safety is – and always will be – American’s top concern.”

American says it regrets any inconveniences that passengers faced. The company has been outsourcing more of its maintenance to save money so it can exit bankruptcy (CBS DFW, 2012).

3rd American Airlines Flight In A Week Experiences Loose Seats
Date: October 3, 2012
Q13 Fox

Abstract: American Airlines, already grappling with union issues and bankruptcy fallout, is now confronting a third problem: growing reports of loose seats.

On Tuesday, the company said another flight had experienced loose seats, bringing the total to three flights on two planes in a week.

A plane headed from Vail, Colorado, to Dallas on September 26 had seats come loose, the airline's vice president of safety confirmed Tuesday.

The same aircraft experienced a similar problem on a New York to Miami flight on Monday morning. That flight had to return to John F. Kennedy Airport.

Separately, a Boeing 757 from Boston to Miami carrying 175 passengers diverted to New York on Saturday when three seats in row 12 came loose shortly after takeoff.

The airline said it would inspect 47 Boeing 757 planes after the incidents.

"Originally, American planned to evaluate the seats on eight Boeing 757 airplanes, but out of an abundance of caution, the decision was made to proactively evaluate a total of 47 Boeing 757 airplanes that have the same model Main Cabin seats with a common locking mechanism," company spokeswoman Andrea Huguely said in a statement.

"American's internal investigation has focused on one of three types of Main Cabin seats on the 757s and how the rows of these three seats fit into the track that is used to secure the rows to the floor of the airplanes. Our maintenance and engineering teams have discovered that the root cause is a saddle clamp improperly installed on the foot of the row leg," she said.

The clamps were used on 47 of the company's 102 Boeing 757 airplanes.

So far, American Airlines has inspected at least 36 planes and found that six -- including the two involved in the recent diversions -- had seats that were not properly secured. Not all of the seats were loose, the company said, but they had the potential to become loose.

Eleven aircraft could be inspected Wednesday.

Huguely said the seats issue does not appear to be connected to any one work group or maintenance facility, and apologized for any inconvenience to customers.

"Safety is -- and always will be -- American's top concern," the spokeswoman said.

The Federal Aviation Authority is looking into the incidents of loose seats, which are the latest in a string of woes for American Airlines.

Earlier Tuesday, an American Airlines flight from Chicago to London made an unscheduled landing at Shannon Airport in Ireland after a passenger reported a smoky odor, an airline spokesman said.

American Airlines Flight 98, a Boeing 777-200 carrying 246 passengers and 14 crew members, was diverted as a precaution, airline spokesman Ian Bradley said.

An inspection revealed that the odor was coming from an overhead fan that had overheated, he said.

Niall Maloney, head of operations for Shannon Airport, said such technical diversions are not uncommon.

The airline has also been beset recently by labor troubles, delays and flight cancellations.

American, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last year, persuaded a judge to throw out its contract with the pilots union last month.

Since then, the pilots have been engaging in what the airline calls a slowdown that has caused the number of flights that are delayed and canceled to skyrocket.

More than 1,000 American flights have been canceled and 12,000 delayed in the past month alone.

Airline management has blamed the situation on pilots filing what it claims are frivolous reports about aircraft problems. The pilots union has denied management's assertion.

Late Tuesday, a spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association said it would resume contract negotiations with the airline. Tom Hoban said talks could start as early as Wednesday. A company spokesman similarly said that negotiations are set to resume this week.

Meanwhile, Robert Gless, deputy director of the Air Transport Division of the Transport Workers Union of America, dismissed the notion that the problems with loose seats were linked to labor issues as "without any basis in fact."

Seat installation work is largely carried out by outside contractors, rather than maintenance personnel employed by the airline, he said in a statement.

"Problems related to seats are less likely a labor problem, but rather a management issue related to outsourcing work to third-party facilities," he said.

American Airlines plans to increase its use of outside maintenance facilities, including in China and other overseas locations, as it seeks to exit bankruptcy, he added (Q13 Fox, 2012).

Title: 17 Flights Diverted From Manila Airport Due To Air Traffic Facility Problem; Glitch Repaired
Date: October 9, 2012
Fox News

Abstract:  Officials say 17 flights have been diverted from Manila's international airport due to an air traffic equipment glitch.

Planes diverted Tuesday from Manila include five international flights of Asiana Airlines, Thai Airways, China Southern Airlines, Philippine Airlines and Zest Airway from South Korea, Thailand and China.

A Manila International Airport Authority advisory says the planes were diverted "due to air traffic facility problem." It did not elaborate and officials authorized to explain could not immediately be reached for comment.

The flights were diverted to airports at the former U.S.-run Clark Air Base north of Manila, and in central Cebu and Iloilo cities.

Jen Franco of the airport's public affairs office says the glitch was repaired shortly after noon. All 17 diverted flights later flew to Manila airport (Fox New, 2012).

Title: Aircraft Aerosolized With Insecticides
October 17, 2012

Disinsection is permitted under international law in order to protect public health, agriculture and the environment. The World Health Organization and the International Civil Aviation Organization stipulate two approaches for aircraft disinsection--either spray the aircraft cabin, with an aerosolized insecticide, while passengers are on board or treat the aircraft's interior surfaces with a residual insecticide (residual method) while passengers are not on board. Panama and American Samoa have adopted a third method, in which aircraft are sprayed with an aerosolized insecticide while passengers are not on board.

Although the Report of the Informal Consultation on Aircraft Disinsection sponsored by the World Health Organization (November 6-10, 1995) concluded that aircraft disinsection, if performed appropriately, would not present a risk to human health, the report also noted that some individuals may experience transient discomfort following aircraft disinsection by aerosol application.

Although few countries now require that aircraft be disinsected, most countries reserve the right to do so, and, as such, could impose a disinsection requirement should they perceive a threat to their public health, agriculture or environment. Accordingly, travelers are advised to check with their travel agent or airline reservations agent when booking flights. Listed below are representatives of airlines who are knowledgeable on disinsection requirements.

The following lists of disinsection requirements were compiled from information provided by foreign governments and supplemented by information obtained from airlines.

Countries requiring the disinsection of all in-bound flights with an aerosolized spray while passengers are on board:

  • Cuba
  • Ecuador (only Galapagos and Interislands)
  • Grenada
  • India
  • Kiribati
  • Madagascar
  • Seychelles
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uruguay

Countries requiring the disinsection of all in-bound flights but allowing, as an alternative to the above approach, either (a) the residual method or (b) the application of an aerosolized spray while passengers are not on board.

Country / Method

Australia / Residual
Barbados / Residual
Cook Islands / Residual
Fiji / Residual
5. Jamaica / Residual
New Zealand / Residual
Panama / Spraying

Countries that require disinsection of selected flights:

Country / Flight From
1. Czech Republic / Areas of contagious diseases
2. France / Areas of malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever
3. Indonesia / Infected areas
4. Mauritius / Generally, flights coming from African continent, Asia and sub regions, the Middle East and islands of the Indian Ocean, and flights coming from any other country where mosquito borne diseases are prevalent.
5. South Africa / Areas of malaria or yellow fever
6. Switzerland / Intertropical Africa
7. United Kingdom / Malarial countries (DOT, 2012).

Title: US Behind Turkish Downing Of Syrian Passenger Plane
October 19, 2012

  According to unnamed US officials, it was American intelligence agencies that were behind Turkey’s decision to force down a Syrian passenger plane last week, to follow up on US suspicions that the plane had Russian military hardware aboard.

Turkish officials made unspecified claims of the search turning up “objectionable” material, but Russian officials insist all that was on board were “dual use” radar parts, which are not banned from being on civilian aircraft. The US State Department condemned Russia for pointing this out.

This “tip” and the subsequent deleterious effect it has had on Russo-Turkish relations is part of what Obama Administration officials call growing military ties with Turkey as the Syrian Civil War continues to worsen.

Of course, Turkey was already one of the largest military powers in NATO, and so had a pretty close relationship with the US as it is, but officials now concede that they have been talking with Turkey about the idea of attacking Syria to impose a “no-fly zone.” No decision has been made, and such a move would be an act of war, one likely to spark a major reaction from Russia and China, two close allies of Syria (, 2012).

Title: State Radio Says Air Zimbabwe To Resume International Flights To Meet IATA Ban Deadline
October 23, 2012
Fox News

Zimbabwe state radio says the nation's indebted airline plans to resume international flights by Oct. 31 to avert an IATA ban on flying foreign routes.

The radio reported Tuesday that Air Zimbabwe this month took delivery of two Airbus aircraft to replace its aging Boeings and meet safety standards.

The International Air Transport Association had given the carrier a three-month deadline to comply with safety standards or be barred from international airports and airspace.

State radio quoted airline officials saying "everything is on course" to resume international flights that were grounded earlier this year after a series of pilots' strikes and debts soared to more than $140 million.

The radio says China has been linked to a possible bailout plan. An official announcement by the airline is expected soon (Fox News, 2012).

Title: American Airlines To Hire 2,500 Pilots
October 25, 2012
CNN Money

The iconic, but troubled, American Airlines says it intends to hire 2,500 pilots over the next five years.

The airline's parent AMR filed for bankruptcy protection in November, and has been locked in a contentious battle with its pilots union over its efforts to cut labor costs.

In a letter to employees Wednesday, CEO Tom Horton said American Airlines will hire new pilots to staff new international and domestic routes. Company spokesman Bruce Hicks said about 1,500 of the new hires would replace retiring pilots, or jobs that open up due to attrition. American has about 7,500 active pilots today.

"The new American will be doing even more international flying, providing greater opportunities for career advancement and increased income for our people," Horton said in the letter.

The airline unveiled plans Wednesday to add new flights from Dallas/Fort Worth to Seoul, South Korea and Lima, Peru; from Chicago to Dusseldorf, Germany; and from JFK airport in New York to Dublin, Ireland. It also said it would increase domestic service from its hubs in Chicago and Dallas.

Tom Hoban, spokesman for the Allied Pilots Association, said the union is skeptical about Horton's statement.

"We once had over 13,000 pilots," he said. "It's been the incredible shrinking airline ... unless they ink it in the contract, it doesn't have a lot of credibility with the pilots."

American had previously announced it would hire about 1,500 flight attendants starting later this year to replace the 2,200 flight attendants who took a $40,000 buyout package.

AMR has been struggling with losses from high labor and fuel costs. The company said it filed for bankruptcy to remain competitive with key rivals like Delta Air Lines (DAL, Fortune 500), United Continental (UAL, Fortune 500) and US Airways (LCC, Fortune 500), all of which had have undergone bankruptcy restructuring.

AMR had said it needed to make deep cuts in staffing and reduce related labor costs to emerge from bankruptcy. The airline's ground workers and flight attendants have worked out deals with the company.

But members of the Allied Pilots Association in August rejected a deal, which included having more flights flown by partner airlines, longer work hours and a possible end to the union's pension plan.

Last month, the company's management won an approval in bankruptcy court to impose terms of that unpopular deal on pilots. But American says pilots began calling in sick and filing frivolous maintenance reports that caused flight cancellations and delays to soar, chasing away some of its key business customers.

Management and the union have since returned to the bargaining table. The pilots union reported to its members Tuesday that progress is being made on a new labor deal (CNN Money, 2012).

Title: US Airways Spurs Job Rush As 16,500 Vie For 450 Vacancies
January 11, 2013

US Airways Group Inc. (LCC), the carrier seeking to merge with AMR Corp. (AAMRQ)’s American Airlines, received more than 16,500 applications for 450 flight attendant positions in its biggest hiring push for the job since 2010.

About 700 applicants have advanced to the interview stage and 240 offers have been made, US Airways said yesterday in its weekly employee newsletter. The influx echoes the rush for flight-attendant jobs at Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL), which said last month that its 300 openings attracted 22,000 candidates.

About 700 applicants have advanced to the interview stage and 240 offers have been made, US Airways said yesterday in its weekly employee newsletter. The first round of new hires started training this week, said Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Flight attendant positions, which are typically lower paid, are attracting a surge in interest as exotic alternatives in a still weak labor market, said Gary Chaison, professor of industrial relations at Clark University. The U.S. unemployment rate held at 7.8 percent in December after the November figure was revised up from a previously reported 7.7 percent.

“It’s not your dream job but it’s a job,” Chaison, who is based in Worcester, Massachusetts, said in a telephone interview. “Particularly when there are so many people graduating from colleges who are having difficulty finding jobs, the flight attendants position is suddenly looking very nice. You travel. It’s exotic.”

The first round of new US Airways flight attendants started training this week, said Michelle Mohr, a spokeswoman. She said the airline began accepting applications in November and will continue to review candidates through February.

‘Astounding’ Interest
“The interest around it has been astounding,” Mohr said of the positions in a telephone interview.

In particular, US Airways is looking to hire speakers of Hebrew or Portuguese to work on its flights to Tel Aviv and Rio de Janeiro, and for service to Sao Paulo scheduled to begin in May, she said.

Opportunity for international travel can be a big draw for flight attendant candidates, Chaison said.

“Young students are willing to try a lot of things and a flight attendant job is the epitome of a non-routine job,” he said.

Tempe, Arizona-based US Airways drew 14,000 applications for the 420 positions it posted two years ago. The airline has no plans to hire more flight attendants beyond the 450 advertised positions, Mohr said. Delta has said it may expand its latest round of hiring to as many as 400 positions.

U.S. passenger airlines employed 384,310 workers in October, down 1.3 percent from a year earlier, the U.S. Transportation Department’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics said in December. October’s total, the latest month for which federal figures are available, was the lowest since May 2011.

US Airways, the fifth-largest U.S. carrier by passenger traffic, is pursuing a tie-up with No. 3 American as that airline restructures in bankruptcy. A merger would create the world’s biggest airline (Bloomberg, 2013).

Title: Italian Court: Missile Caused 1980 Plane Crash
January 28, 2013

Abstract: Italy's top criminal court has ruled there is "abundantly" clear evidence that a stray missile caused an Italian passenger jet to crash into the Mediterranean Sea in 1980, killing all 81 people aboard.

Quoting from the Rome ruling on Monday, the Italian news agency LaPresse said the court upheld a Palermo appeals ruling that Italian radar systems didn't adequately protect the skies and Italy must compensate the victims' families.

What caused the Itavia DC-9 to crash during a flight from Bologna to Palermo has been one of Italy's enduring mysteries.

Some theorized a bomb exploded. Others contended the jet was caught in the crossfire of a military aerial dogfight, with a Libyan plane possibly the target. French, U.S. and NATO officials have denied military activity in the skies that night (Guardian, 2013).