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70% of Air Crashes in Nigeria Caused by Regulatory Inefficiency, Says AON

Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) said about 70 per cent of the air accidents that happened in Nigeria were caused by regulatory inefficiency and negligence by government agencies in the industry.

This was disclosed by the Executive Chairman of AON, Captain Nogie Meggison, while speaking at the Nigeria Leadership Initiative (NLI) Safer Skies Forum in Lagos, lamenting that airlines lose about $120 million (about N27.6 billion) to bird strike incidents alone annually.

Meggison explained that every year the airlines record 30 incidents of airstrikes which is the entering of birds into the aircraft engines at landing or take off. This he said is average of two and half incidents every month, adding that the cost of a single aisle aircraft engine is about $4 million, which airlines acquire to replace their damaged engines.

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Firemen to provide ATC information to pilots in Australia

Air traffic controllers have vowed to fight a move to allow firefighters at regional airports to provide basic air traffic information to ­pilots, although pilots have ­received the idea warmly.

As revealed yesterday, after years of campaigning by aviators including businessman Dick Smith, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority issued a statement to The Weekend Australian saying airports could apply on a case-by-case basis to have ground staff ­obtain training and a legal exemption to provide such services.

The move opens the prospect of Australian airports that do not have air traffic control towers adopting the American practice, where fire and rescue officers, mechanics, baggage handlers and check-in staff using the Unicom radio system give pilots observable information such as what aircraft are circling and on the runway.

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Belgian flights halted after air traffic power fault

More than 200 flights in and out of Belgium were cancelled or diverted on Wednesday after a power surge disabled the operations of domestic air traffic controller Belgocontrol.

At Brussels Zaventem, the country's main airport, queues formed at the desk of national airline Brussels Airlines as passengers sought to re-book flights.

The suspension prevented flights arriving at or leaving all Belgium's airports, although planes could still cross at higher altitudes, where the upper air space is controlled by European traffic authority Eurocontrol.

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FAA ATCO recruits may have cheated on exams

Millions of Americans are about to fly to summer vacations unaware that some of the air traffic controllers guiding their planes may have cheated on a key test to get their jobs.  A six month investigation by the FOX Business Network into the hiring and training of air traffic controllers raises troubling questions about the nation’s air safety and the men and women the Federal Aviation Administration, FAA, hires to staff airport control towers.  

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NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations On Wrong Airport Landings

Based on the NTSB’s investigation of two recent airline flights that landed at wrong airports because of confusion with other near-by airports, the agency today issued two recommendations to the FAA intended to help avoid those situations. The recommendations ask the FAA to clarify air traffic controller landing clearances when multiple airports are in the vicinity and to modify air traffic control software which warns air traffic controllers when aircraft have descended below a minimum safe altitude.  This software is intended to alert controllers when an aircraft gets too close to terrain or objects in the aircraft’s flight path. The NTSB last year issued warnings to airline pilots on maintaining vigilance to avoid wrong airport landings, giving pilots specific recommendations of what they could do.  Today’s recommendations are addressed to the FAA as the agency responsible for air traffic control.

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Scathing report: FAA isn’t delivering what was promised in $40 billion project

A day after the Federal Aviation Administration celebrated the latest success in its $40 billion modernization of the air-traffic control system, the agency was hit Friday by the most scathing criticism to date for the pace of its efforts.

The FAA has frustrated Congress and been subject to frequent critical reports as it struggles to roll out the massive and complex system called NextGen, but the thorough condemnation in a study released Friday by the National Academies was unprecedented.

Mincing no words, the panel of 10 academic experts brought together by the academy’s National Research Council (NRC) said the FAA was not delivering the system that had been promised and should “reset expectations” about what it is delivering to the public and the airlines that use the system.

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Chaos in tower, danger in skies at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti

The skies above the U.S. military’s counterterrorism hub on the Horn of Africa have become chronically dangerous, with pilots forced to rely on local air-traffic controllers who fall asleep on the job, commit errors at astronomical rates and are hostile to Americans, documents show.

Conditions at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, the base for U.S. pilots flying sensitive missions over Yemen and Somalia, have become so dire that American warplanes and civilian airliners alike are routinely placed in jeopardy, according to federal aviation experts and documents obtained by The Washington Post under the Freedom of Information Act.

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FAA upgrades air traffic control to reduce delays, save fuel

In an effort to reduce flight delays and save fuel, the Federal Aviation Administration officially switched to a new air traffic control system Thursday for the 20 regional centers that direct high-altitude planes between airports.

The nearly $2.5 billion system called En Route Automation Modernization (ERAM) has three times as many sensors to track planes more precisely, which enables planes to fly safely while closer together.

The project's benefits include allowing planes to fly more direct routes at speeds monitored more closely from the ground.

"Here's the bottom line: ERAM will use satellite technology to give us a much more precise picture of air traffic and it will allow us to more efficiently manage flights from takeoff to touchdown," Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in announcing the upgrade at Reagan National Airport.

The world's first Remote Tower opens in Sweden

SJU member, LFV, has inaugurated the world’s first Remote Tower Services in Sundsvall, serving Örnsköldsvik airport over 150 km away. Something that began as an idea and a vision of a paradigm shift in air traffic control almost ten years ago has now been realised through close cooperation between SESAR members, LFV through NORACON and Saab. 

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US air-traffic control union chief: Privatization possible, but funding crucial

The union chief for air-traffic controllers said he would negotiate with lawmakers and the aviation industry over whether to turn the system over to a private company, as it is in Canada, rather than insisting it remain a government function.

But Paul Rinaldi, president of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, told the Aero Club of Washington he would oppose any effort to make air-traffic control a profit-making corporation. And he said stable funding is more important than organizational reform because funding disputes delay improvements.

"I'm willing to have those conversations and move forward on it as long as we find a stable, predictable funding stream," said Rinaldi, who represents 20,000 controllers, engineers and other professionals. "We will fight and oppose any model that strives to make a profit from air-traffic control services."

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