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March 3, 2015

February’s top stories: Snowstorms cancel US flights, increase in global air traffic

More than 1,500 flights were cancelled across the US due to bad weather, while Egypt has mandated Libyan airliners flying through its airspace to make a transit stop in eastern Libya to undergo security checks. wraps up the key headlines from February 2015.

By Priyanka Sunder



More than 1,500 flights cancelled in US due to heavy storms

More than 1,500 flights have been cancelled across the US on Monday and the cancellations are expected to continue due to bad weather.

A total of 4,800 flights have been cancelled across the country since Saturday with at least 15 states put under a wind chill advisory with warnings of sub-zero temperatures.

Heavy snowfall in places such as Dallas and Atlanta forced airlines to cancel more than 1,630 flights and delay another 3,850 flights, reported USA Today.

Libyan flights using Egypt airspace to make security stop in eastern Libya

Egypt has required Libyan airliners flying through its airspace to make a transit stop in eastern Libya to undergo security checks.

The country said that the planes flying within Libya or to Jordan and Turkey via Egypt air space need to undergo a security check at an airport in eastern Libya.

With this move, Egypt intends to filter Islamist militants in the country and simultaneously support the internationally recognised Libyan Government, which is now restricted to the eastern part of the country by the Islamic State militants, reported Reuters.


ACI reports 5.1% increase in global air traffic

ACIThe Airports Council International (ACI) has released global passenger traffic numbers that show an increase of 5.1% last year.

The data also projects growth rates of approximately 5.8% and 4.5% for both international and domestic traffic, respectively.

ACI’s preliminary data revealed that despite the global uncertainties across various economies, passenger traffic remained resilient.

United Airlines to slash 1,150 jobs at 16 US airports

United Airlines (UA) has announced that it will cut approximately 1,150 jobs at 16 US airports while keeping another 800 in-house jobs previously under scrutiny as part of its agreement with the union.

UA had started the scrutiny of nearly 28 US airports in January with the aim of reducing costs by roughly $2bn every year. At the time, the airlines said it was taking the decision to bring down its spending to stay in line with its competitors which had lesser active unions.

Following weeks of negotiations with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, UA said that it had decided to retain the positions of ramp workers and customer service employees at six of these airports in exchange for ‘contract modifications’.


Spanish airport operator Aena launches country’s biggest IPO

aenaSpanish airport operator Aena has launched its IPO at €58 a share, said to be Europe’s biggest since 2011, with the market valuing the company at €8.7bn ahead of its stock listing.

The IPO is backed by speculative demand among investors who have lapped it up in the hopes of strong economic recovery in Spain.

Aena’s earlier attempts at taking out an IPO were stalled in October last year over demands for more transparency, reports Reuters.


Heathrow pledges £700m noise insulation scheme in battle for third runway

heathrowThe UK’s London Heathrow Airport has increased the amount to be paid towards residents’ noise insulation costs to £700m, in its efforts to convince the Airports Commission to approve a third runway at the facility.

The latest move would be nearly treble the earlier allocated budget of £250m, which would compensate for the impact of aircraft noise, which has been the prevailing issue in stimulating local opposition to the airport’s expansion.

The new proposal would cover a zone based on the 55dB noise contour, the preferred measure of noise used by the European Union and the Mayor of London.


Belfast International Airport to double its claim to £40m against Aer Lingus

Belfast International Airport might claim for damages amounting to £40m, double the initial claim, against Irish carrier Aer Lingus after the latter moved to a rival airport.

The airport accused the carrier of a breach of contract over its move to Belfast George Best City Airport in 2012.

The Irish News had revealed in November that the airline was being sued for £20m in what was then believed to be the biggest claim for breach of contract in Irish aviation history. The two airports are slated to meet in court in Belfast in April.


Frankfurt Airport deploys fuel-saving Taxibot for taxiing aircraft

taxibotGermany’s Frankfurt Airport has started using a semi-robotic, pilot-controlled towing tractor developed by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), known as Taxibot, after the approval by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).

The hybrid-electric aircraft tractor that can be controlled by a pilot is being used by Lufthansa Technik’s subsidiary Lufthansa LEOS to tow aircraft between the gate and the runway.

Using the Taxibot, aircraft can be taxied with their engines turned off, which reduces fuel costs and airport carbon emissions, as well as eliminate bottlenecks in the gate area.

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