Tuesday, August 12, 2014

MH 370 Lawyer Behavior Criticized Yet Again


A disciplinary commission in Chicago has upheld a censure decision against a lawyer who just last week came under its scrutiny for her behavior  related to Malaysia Flight 370.

Monica Ribbeck Kelly, who made worldwide headlines when she filed the first case against Boeing and Malaysia Airlines following the mysterious disappearance of the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, has been battling the ethics board of the Illinois Supreme Court since 2011 when she mishandled her representation of the victim of another crash.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

No Single Cause for 787 Battery Problem - News? Not Exactly


The Japanese media is out today with news that the Japan Transport Safety Board is preparing
a report on what caused the lithium ion batteries on three Boeing 787 Dreamliners to emit smoke (and in one case catch fire) in 2013 and 2014. The newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported that the JTSB has concluded there is deterioration of the electrolyte solution in low temperatures. All three battery events on Japanese airliners occurred in the month of January. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Delta's 747s to Fly Into the Sunset

In a startling change of plans, Delta Air Lines today confirmed that it will retire four of its Boeing 747s beginning in September. Employees were notified in a memo penned by Glen Hauenstein the airline's chief revenue officer.  Hauenstein described the decision as way to "reduce Delta's footprint at Tokyo Narita" and to do less intra-Asia flying.

Sixteen 747s came to Delta through its 2009 merger with Northwest. This spring, when I interviewed vice president of fleet strategy Nat Pieper for an article on the plane for Air & Space magazine, he told me executives spent a lot of time trying to decide whether to keep the planes which ranged in age from 7 to 20 years. Ultimately they decided to upgrade the interiors and fly them. The benefit of ownership was worth the extra operating expense, he told me.

The Accident That Didn't Happen and What it Says About Safety

Airplane crashes make headlines. Missing airliners get the all-news channels into round-the-clock regurgitation of speculation. Missile-downed airliners throw global diplomacy and the entire air travel industry into turmoil. All this I get. What continues to baffle is the lack of interest in the news that is far better indicator of how particular airlines handle their duty to protect customers.

Two stories this week make my point. In his excellent article for Forbes, former NTSB member John Goglia reports on the unfortunate case of a mother traveling on Delta Air Lines who was prohibited from using the FAA approved child-seat she brought with her on the airplane.  Flight attendants were unaware of the rules and the airline hadn't taught them how to discern which seats can be used and which cannot.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Airlines and Governments Oblivious to Warnings of MH 17 Disaster

It is missing the point to "blame" Malaysia Airlines for its decision to continue to fly over the conflict zone in the Ukraine despite the disastrous outcome of that choice. At the same time, Malaysia and the dozens of others who opted to continue using the route should be asking, what exactly are they paying their security advisors for?