As economic conditions improve and gas prices plummet, the airline industry is poised to see more demand for flights and flight services starting in 2015. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) projects passenger demand, for example, will grow 3.4% in 2015 and continue steadily until 2019. With this growth will come increased capacity and the need for more human resources to serve passengers and to safely complete operations at all levels of the aviation industry. With that in mind, let’s look at four things you can do now to prepare you for your 2015 hiring needs.Read More
On Halloween, the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two broke apart over the Mojave Desert, killing co-pilot Michael Alsbury. Alsbury, along with pilot Peter Siebold, who survived the crash, were performing a test flight when something went wrong. While the exact cause of the crash is being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), early findings reveal some sobering lessons that the air translportation indusry can learn from.
Even Experienced Crew Make Mistakes
Humans are fallible, even those who have undergone the best training and have the most experience. Alsbury had 15 years of flight experience, and the Halloween flight was his ninth trip in SpaceShipTwo; Siebold got his pilot’s license when he was 12. Just a week after the crash, NTSB revealed that the 39 year old co-pilot changed the spacecraft’s aerodynamic controls prematurely, causing the tail to rise and create drag, essentially hitting the brakes early. NTSB Chairman, Christopher Hart, cautioned this “feathering” error should not have caused the crash on its own, and is only one of several possibilities the organization was exploring as the cause of the crash.
It seems that with every election of late, more and more states vote to decriminalize medical or recreational marijuana. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have voted to legalize some use of marijuana for medical purposes or, in the case of four states, recreationally. These recent changes in state laws are throwing employers, including aircraft operators, into uncharted territory, given the fact that the federal government still classifies the drug as a Schedule I controlled substance that is illegal to use.
Despite this classification, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a memo in 2008, and again in 2013, that federal government resources would not be focused on those individuals complying with state marijuana laws. To help shed some light on the issue, let’s review how these recently passed state laws affect your drug and alcohol policy.Read More
Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, some airports serving sensitive markets have been subject to special, enhanced security measures. One of these airports is Washington DC’s Reagan National Airport (DCA). While the enhanced security measures have eased over the years, there are still special precautions in place designed to keep our nation’s capital safe. Let’s review some of these special requirements and how to begin operating flights in and out of DCA.
Measures Required by the DASSP
The Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense collaborated after 9/11 to create the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP) to regulate aircraft operations in and out of DCA. The program requires extra security for all crew members and passengers. For crew members, DASSP requires both a TSA inspection and fingerprint based criminal history records check of all flight crew. Since 2011, operators were allowed to, once again, change their flight crew at the last minute providing they have gone through the proper security screenings required by DASSP.Read More
Last year, the FAA changed the requirements for pilots looking to become First Officers, mandating they must complete 1,500 hours of flight time instead of the previous 250 hours. This significant jump came after the 2009 crash of Colgan Air flight 3407 was found to be caused by pilot error resulting in the death of 50 people in upstate New York.
While the new rules are meant to improve safety, they also have had the unintentional consequence of adding to an already precarious situation in meeting pilot supply. Retiring boomers, a lost decade of hiring combined with high training costs, and a low initial salary has left the industry with a shortage of qualified pilots needed to fulfill the 4,500 yearly demand for pilots. Without new strategies to fill the gap, the public could be faced with cancelled flights and the industry with reduced revenues. Let’s take a closer look at the problem and underlying cause.Read More
Without a review process in place, the risk of the same errors being made repeatedly is real and could cause security gaps and discriminatory practices, making some question the economic benefit of the TSA altogether. The GAO’s report may have shone a light on the TSA’s need to update its security procedures.
On September 26, all air traffic in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway international airports were grounded due to a fire in the basement of the Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZAU) in Aurora, IL. The center covers 91,000 square miles, and its closure resulted in the cancellation of thousands of flights to and from Chicago area airports over several weeks, causing a ripple effect felt throughout the nation.
The fire is being blamed on a contract employee, Brian Howard, who is facing multiple charges and is currently awaiting trial. The damage caused when Howard cut cables; early reports suggest that nearly $123 million in economic activity was lost as a result of the cancelled flights.
“This is one of the most challenging situations that air traffic controllers and other FAA employees have faced since 9/11,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. Rinaldi went on to say that it was almost impossible to overestimate the damage Howard caused.
With another holiday season just around the corner, many travelers are making plans to see friends and family. Serving and protecting these holiday travelers is the job of everyone in the airline industry. Because the holidays are one of the busiest times of the year to fly, now is the time to think about ways to prepare your staff for the crowds, the delays, and the stressed-out, impatient, angry passengers. A little planning can help reduce angry passengers and improve the morale of staff.Read More
A report by the U.S. Department of Transportation Inspector General last month is raising concerns about the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) ability to carry out its upgrade of the nation’s air traffic control system. The program, called the Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NexGen, began in 2003 and was supposed to conclude in 2020. However, funding issues, doubts, and general uncertainty are creating delays and making the program more expensive than originally conceived. All this is making some wonder, is NexGen for real?Read More
Over the last year, many passengers have been enjoying the benefits of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) PreCheck program. Recently, however the TSA has been spreading the word that the program will begin limiting its expedited service through airport security screening to paid members only. Let’s look at what the program is and why this change is happening now.