Uplink ALPA - The Voice of Aviation

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots' Association Newsletter. As of April 2020 Uplink ALPA is a 6-monthly publication.

International aviation news

New search for Malaysian Airlines MH370

A new search for the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 aircraft could be launched in a few months, according to a report in the NZ Herald.

Families of the victims and the Malaysian Government are reported to be working together to send the seabed searchers, Ocean Infinity, on a hunt for the missing plane.

Thirty-two pieces of the aircraft have been found since it vanished in March 2014 with 239 people on board. 

The aircraft’s disappearance remains one of the biggest mysteries of aviation history. 

Read more HERE.


Boeing incentivises Chief Executive to get 737 Max back in service

Boeing’s Chief Executive David Calhoun will get bonuses when the Boeing 737 MAX returns to service, according to a CNN report. 

This raises suggestions the company is incentivising him to rush the aircraft back into service, potentially putting profits ahead of safety. 

David Calhoun has clauses in his compensation agreement that give him multi-million dollar bonuses when he achieves several milestones, one of which is the “full safe return to service of the 737 MAX”. 

David took over from ousted CEO Dennis Muilenburg in January. 

The Boeing 737 MAX aircraft has been grounded since March 2019, and regulators in the United States and Europe are still finding problems with it. Most recently there has been discussion about the location of potentially dangerous wiring in the aircraft, with suggestions the placement could increase the likelihood of short circuits that could disrupt the plane’s flight control systems. 

Boeing is still saying it expects to see the aircraft back in the air by mid-year. 

Read more HERE.


Airbus pays to settle bribery and corruption

Airbus will pay a record €3.6 billion to settle an international bribery and corruption investigation into payments it made to middlemen to secure contracts, according to a report in The Independent

The joint settlement with United States, French and British authorities means Airbus can avoid a criminal probe that could have led to it being banned from bidding on public contracts. It is the largest-ever fine in a corruption case.

The investigation into Airbus revealed a global network of third-party sales agents run from the company’s headquarters in Toulouse. As many as 250 people were employed in the operation, which reportedly made hundreds of millions of euros in payments a year. Bribes were used to boost Airbus business in 16 countries.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office is still pursuing a separate eight-year investigation into Airbus subsidiary GPT. The subsidiary is which is accused of making illicit payments to secure a £2 billion UK government contract to provide services to Saudi Arabia’s internal security forces.

Read more HERE.


South African Airways woes deepen

Struggling state-owned South African Airways (SAA) has announced cuts to some domestic routes to try and conserve cash and make itself more attractive to potential equity partners.

The airline has not made a profit since 2011 and has received hundreds of millions of dollars in bailouts during the last three years. 

Reuters reports that it entered a form of bankruptcy protection in December and is fighting for survival. 

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says his government does not agree with the plans to cut some domestic routes. He is reported as saying that SAA is a great symbol for the country and an economic enabler. 

Read more HERE.


Trans-Atlantic in less than five hours

A British Airways jet has made the fastest subsonic trans-Atlantic flight since Concorde, thanks to storm Ciara which brought strong winds to Europe and Britain. 

The Boeing 747-436 flight from New York to London took four hours and 56 minutes and landed 80 minutes ahead of schedule last month, according to a NZ Herald report. It reached speeds of 1327km/h as it rode a jet stream accelerated by the storm. This is 90 km/h faster than the speed of sound, and technically a supersonic flight. 

However, relative to the wind speed, the plane was only cruising at a normal pace of around 900km/h. 

It beat the previous subsonic record, held by Norwegian, by 17 minutes. 

A British Airways Concord aircraft holds the record for the fastest ever trans-Atlantic crossing. It flew from New York to London in two hours 52 minutes and 59 seconds in 1996 – hitting a top speed of 2172km/h. 

Read more HERE.


Three killed in second Pegasus Airlines incident in a month

Three people were killed and more than a hundred injured when a Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 aircraft crashed on landing in poor weather at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gökçen airport in early February, according to AirlineRatings.com

The aircraft landed about 1950 metres past the runway threshold, and about 1000 metres before the runway end. It overran the runway end, went over an airport road and cliff, and hit the airport perimeter wall, breaking into three parts. There had been two go-arounds prior to this aircraft approaching the airport. 

Another Pegasus Airlines aircraft veered off the runway at the same airport the previous month. That aircraft came to a stop on soft ground off the runway edge about 1000 metres down the runway. There were no injuries on that occasion. 

Read more HERE.



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