Click on The Banner To View Home Page
PHLAirline.com
PHL Older Archived News

Click on Title For Article

December 31,2004
Things going more smoothly for US Airways today


December 29,2004
US Airways enters critical period


Sick-out may haunt US Airways


Hamilton man leads N.J. Civil Air Patrol


December 27,2004
US Airways blames workers for delays


December 26,2004
US Airways passengers, baggage stranded for fourth day


December 25,2004
Thousands Of U.S. Airways Passengers Lose Bags


Peace on earth, but not in air, for weary Sixers


December 22,2004
For package deliverers, mountains to move


December 17,2004
PHL Flight to Fla. delayed when praying man refuses to sit


Another US Airways union to vote on cuts


December 15,2004
FAA: Airport plan public comment period has ended


December 13,2004
Delays at PHL Airport



December 12,2004
Rich in history, Civil Air Patrol seeks more funding



December 10,2004
US Airways asks to outsource maintenance


Hard landing for plane at Mercer airport



December 09,2004
Rendell vetoes bill on drunken flying


FAA Tests Solar-Powered Lighting Systems



December 08,2004
Investigation continues into airline worker's death


Willow Grove air show to return



December 02,2004
Andrews decries runway expansion


Air-traffic controller grounded after accident



December 01,2004
County gets two-week extension for airport talks


AirTran Airways to Assist Passengers Affected by Cessation of Southeast Airlines Service



November 30,2004
Small plane brushes tractor towing empty passenger jet at airport


Delco Asks FAA For More Time To Study Airport Runway Expansion Plan


Intoxicated pilot sentenced to six to 23 months in jail



November 29,2004
Airport price war benefits travelers


Runway extension could hurt property values, residents say



November 27,2004
The continuing story of turbulence at the airport



November 23,2004
Holiday travel may exceed record


County seeks delay on airport runway expansion deadline


Intoxicated-piloting bill wins approval



November 22,2004
Baggage Handlers May Stage Holiday Sickout


Holiday travel expected to be highest since 2000


Upper Darby joins chorus against runway plan



November 21,2004
A holiday recipe for havoc at airport


Officials chime in on runway plan



November 19,2004
New Safety Steps Planned For Range Near F-16 Incident


Frontier Airlines to Reduce Service from Los Angeles


Codey clears air on runway


Aviation school may buy vo-tech program



November 18,2004
Does runway expansion mean planes over Lower Merion?


Residents skeptical of airport plan

November 17,2004
US Airways to offer nonstop service to Barcelona and Venice


Residents Ask for More Time for Public Input

60 Tell FAA to Scrap Runway

November 15,2004
W. Deptford to hear Philly runway plan


FAA Runway Expansion Hearings This Week



November 14,2004
Troubled airline wants more cuts


November 12,2004
Tinicum residents lend ear to sound plan


November 10,2004
PHL Receives Federal Grants to Fund Airfield Projects


November 09,2004
Airport to offer Tinicum homes noise insulation


November 08,2004
US Airways Express and Akron-Canton Airport Celebrate New Service to Philadelphia and Charlotte


Baggage Crisis at PHL Airport


Flying Blind: Troubling times for US Airways workers



November 05,2004
PHL Leads Nation In Air Fare Decrease Over 1-Year Period


S. Jersey is on airline's radar as a hot spot

US Airways Watch: 11/5/04

Senator Wants Guard Out of N.J. Skies


November 04,2004
National Guard jet strafes South Jersey School


November 03,2004
British Airways Flight Makes an Unexpected Stop


October 31,2004
PHL Terminal Evacuated


Southwest has profit to expand its reach



October 29,2004
Losses back for bankrupt airline


Helicopter assembly plant opens in Philadelphia



October 28,2004
Competition benefits Philly air travelers


US EXpress jet Hits Airport Vehicle



October 27,2004
File Not Found - Do you know what's in your luggage?


KiXX Partner with USA 3000 Airlines



October 26,2004
Security Breach At PHL


Hazleton man sentenced for bomb threats



October 24,2004
Airport plan meeting set for residents



October 22,2004
Cell-phone lot gets soft sell at airport


October 19,2004
US Airways revamps Phila. operations



October 18,2004
US Airways adding flights in and out of Phila.


Philly Airport Travelers Surveyed

Haverford Joins Chorus Against Runway Project


October 15,2004
Concerns over airport plan heard by U.D. school board


Regional Authority for Airport Opposed by City, Delaware County Officials


Report: Airport does not impact nearby communities



October 13,2004
US Airways Bankruptcy deal extended


Lengthening airport runway wouldn’t be harmful, FAA study says


October 12,2004
W. Dept. to review runway extension plan


Southwest takes Phila. airport by storm


October 11,2004
Airport flies high in survey


US Airways Supports Literacy in Philadelphia


October 06,2004
Struggling airline reaches tentative deal with pilots


Area residents voice noise, safety concerns at meeting


October 01,2004
Woman accused of trying to bring fireworks onto plane


Pilots’ union council to vote on concessions today


September 30,2004
US Airways, pilots are close on cost-cutting deal


FAA, airport officials answer questions at Upper Darby High


Southwest says it may add flights


Passengers Claim Inappropriate Screenings


September 29,2004
US Air employees are just plane nervous


One dead in small plane crash in Chester County


US Airways loses 2 gates in Phila.


FAA meets Paulsboro residents


LVIA officials look for ways to boost business


September 28,2004
Tornado touches down at New Castle County Airport


September 27,2004
US Airways says it could be out of business by February if it can’t make wage cuts


FAA considers runway plan


September 25,2004
Phila. airport cuts landing fees by 6 percent


September 24,2004
Meeting will cover airport runway extension plan


Commission weighs future of airports, SEPTA


US Airways, pilots resume talks


Passenger: Airport Search Was Inappropriate


September 21,2004
Airport finds spot for cell-phone lot


September 17,2004
Pilots Avert a Crash After Engine Explodes


US Airways' parts may hold most value


September 15,2004
Swarthmore urges residents to join airport expansion talks


Drunken pilot found guilty of risking a catastrophe


Pilot could face nine years


US Airways delisted from Nasdaq


September 14,2004
Drunken Flying Case To Begin


Plane Down on N.J. Golf Course


September 12,2004
US Airways Files for Bankruptcy Protection


Airplanes over Brandywine Hundred create an unlikely activist


September 10,2004
US Airways gives pilots another pact proposal


FAA: Air noise not serious


September 09,2004
Man Gets Probation For Trying To Sneak BB Gun On Plane


September 07,2004
US Airways Express to Begin Service to Philadelphia and Charlotte From Akron-Canton Airport


Feds Remain In Charge Of Airport Security


September 05,2004
Frances Cancels Flights At Philly International


Southeast to End Las vegas Service from ABE


September 03,2004
Parachutist dies in jump


August 31,2004
Shutdown remote, not unthinkable


August 30,2004
Philadelphia International Airport Sets All-Time Passenger Traffic Mark in Fiscal Year 2004


August 27,2004
Emergency Plane Landing


August 26,2004
TSA Names Robert Ellis as Federal Security Director at Philadelphia International Airport


Woman claims she was victimized in Philly pay-to-play scandal


August 25,2004
PHL Airport Seeks New Security Chief


Small airfields fall under the radar


August 24,2004
Southwest will redeploy planes to increase Philadelphia service


Airline and pilots halt talks on cuts


Trial set in drunken-flying case


US Airways to add flights at airport


August 19,2004
Tinicum a Step Closer to Soundproofing Homes


Suspicious Truck Gives Antiterror team a Test


August 18,2004
Bush thanks workers at Boeing plant


Airport Knife Incident Investigated


August 17,2004
Rizzo calls for pickup parking lot at airport


Sources: Airline Employees Violated Security


August 13,2004
Short-term airport parking promoted


US Airway's outlook is bleak


Noise from Expanding Airport Causes Worry


August 12,2004
Last of Airport Scammers Will be Landing in Jail


Record number of passengers


August 11,2004
Security Breach Forces Airport Evacuation


US Airways lowers more fares


August 10,2004
NTSB: Crash caused by weather



August 06,2004

Airport jam sends Rizzo into action



August 05,2004

US Airways says it must cut costs


For many, ramps to airport still the place to park



July 28,2004

Training Exercise Causes Airport Delays



July 27,2004

US Airways provides pessimistic outlook



Pilot, Passenger Killed When Small Plane Hits Chester Home



July 26,2004

4 died in plane crash at Chester County airport



In Depth: Tinicum has Airport Blues



US Airways' hubs 'vulnerable'



July 25,2004

Planes Crashes into New Garden AP Hangar


July 25,2004

Planes Crashes into New Garden AP Hangar


July 22, 2004

Low-flying plane rattles Darby Township residents


US Airways adds more cheap fares, flights from Philly


Grand Jury Grills PHL Airport Director


July 16,2004

Southwest adds flights from Phila.


July 15,2004

Platt Bridge getting new lights for Christmas


Southeast brings passengers to LVIA


July 12,2004

Discount airlines boost air travel at Philadelphia airport


July 09,2004

Former IRA man arrested at US airport



Posted on July 24, 2004
Southwest ramps up Philadelphia service

July 4 --- Southwest Airlines doubled its service today from Philadelphia International Airport, adding nonstop flights to seven cities. Officials of Southwest, which now has 28 daily flights to 14 cities from Philadelphia, said the flights were about 80 percent full throughout the first day. The additional flights meant that from about 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., passengers waited as long as 20 minutes to clear security, a longer time than normal for Terminal E, station manager John Minor said. The new service was one daily flight to Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; one to Houston Hobby Airport; one to Los Angeles; four to Manchester, N.H.; one to New Orleans; four to Raleigh/Durham, N.C.; and one to West Palm Beach, Fla. A second daily flight also was added to Tampa, Fla., which was one of the first six cities the airline served from here when first started May 9.
Posted on July 24, 2004
Philly air wars take off

PHILADELPHIA -- With two new airlines at Philadelphia International Airport this summer, competition has become fast and furious at the US Airways hub. The result is a pricing war the likes of which Philadelphia has not seen in some time. Southwest and Frontier Airlines both entered the Philadelphia market in May. Southwest, a Dallas-based airline, has 14 flights a day to six U.S. cities out of Philadelphia. Fares start at $29 for a one-way, 14-day advance purchase. Prices are capped at a $299 "walk-up," or unreserved booking. "We are very pleased with the response that Philadelphia is giving (Southwest)," said Christine Turneabe-Connelly, the airline’s eastern regional manager. "Philadelphia was a market that had been overpriced for far too long." Airport spokesman Mark Pesce said he had seen a lot more passengers coming through terminal E, where Southwest is located. "It’s the most successful market opening we’ve ever had," Jim Parker, Southwest’s vice chairman and chief executive officer, said last month. And they’re not done yet. Another 14 flights a day to seven more cities are planned to begin in July, and in September the airline will add San Diego to its destination roster. Amy Kudwa, a spokeswoman for US Airways, said that while it’s a little early to talk numbers, the "Gofares" campaign that was assembled as a response to Southwest seems to be having a positive response. "We have been holding our own in the marketplace," she said. Gofares range between $29 to $499 one way, reaching 24 markets out of Philadelphia. Gofares are also set to be implemented at Washington National and Dulles Airports. Officials at US Airways said they need to cut operating costs by about 1.5 billion to stay afloat. They are looking to mechanics and associated workers to provide $174 million of those cuts. "We have been very clear and have said we are willing to speak with the company on ways to improve their operation without these cuts," International Association of Mechanics spokesman Joseph Tiberi said. Kudwa said negotiations with pilots, on the other hand, "are very positive." They are willing to provide concessions with a 12.5 percent cut in salary, while working 10 percent more a month. US Airways’ pilots’ union rep, Jack Stephan, said the accord was reached because of a trust between the pilots and Bruce Lakefield, who replaced David Siegel as US Airways’ CEO in April. "What we didn’t see was anything happening with (Siegel)," he said. "We didn’t think he was the man to lead this airline. We made tremendous contributions to turn this airline around," said Stephan. Philadelphia isn’t the only place US Airways is looking to restructure in Pennsylvania. In Pittsburgh, the airline has recently reduced itself from a "hub" to a "focus city." "We’re in the midst of a transformation," said Kudwa. Though they haven’t yet gained the notoriety or presence of Southwest in Philadelphia, the Denver-based Frontier Airlines’ prices are comparable. Fares can cost as little as $85one-way, with a cap on all domestic one-way fares at $309. The airline offers two flights daily to its Denver hub, and one to Los Angeles. Joe Hodas, a spokesman for Frontier, said the decision to enter the Philadelphia market had very little to do with Southwest. He said the two do not often compete. "We make our decisions to enter a market based on whether it’s going to be good for the company," he said. "We see an opportunity in Philadelphia." While official figures are not yet available, Hodas said the airline is doing well in its newest East Coast location. "It’s performing at or above company expectations across the board," he said.
Posted on July 24, 2004
Crisis In The Air

Jul 2, 2004 10:41 pm US/Eastern PHILADELPHIA (KYW) Union members say there are too many planes and not enough air traffic controllers at Philadelphia International Airport. According to tower workers who guide nearly 700,000 flights each year there is a hidden problem at the airport. As airport operations expand, the tower staff is shrinking. There are only 89 controllers - 20 below the authorized staff level. So far, controllers say, the safety of your flight is not affected but there are warning signs. Philadelphia's airport led the nation in controller errors last year and three are currently recovering from traumatic stress problems because they have reportedly been stretched too thin. For now, the major impact of the controller shortage will be increasing delays on flights because controllers simply can’t handle them all. Investigative Reporter Walt Hunter has been told the new $10 million runway guidance system often sits unused because there are not enough controllers to safely run it. Don Chapman of the Controllers' Union says the problem will only get worse as time goes on: “The problem grows exponentially.” The FAA says staffing at the airport is fine adding that additional controllers will be assigned in August and more in the two years following.
Posted on July 24, 2004
PHL ATC Discuss Shortgaes

On Friday, July 2, air traffic controllers from the Philadelphia International Airport control tower and radar approach control room (TRACON) will discuss the serious controller shortages facing their facilities and the potential travel and safety concerns associated with having too few eyes handling planes. The Federal Aviation Administration itself anticipates a controller shortage nationwide of up to 50 percent in the next 10 years. An upcoming vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee will authorize funding for the Federal Aviation Administration and other transportation-related agencies. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., a member of the Committee, has asked his colleagues to give $14 million to FAA to begin the critical controller hiring process. The FAA-authorized staffing total for the Philadelphia tower and TRACON is 109 controllers, yet there are only 89 controllers stationed at the facility, and only 69 of those are fully certified controllers. It's a situation that is only going to get worse. The facility will lose several more controllers to retirements over the next five years, perhaps as many as three dozen.
Posted on July 24, 2004
Surviving Southwest's invasion US Airways is determined to slash expenses

June 23 --- With no fanfare, Southwest Airlines has slipped another nonstop route into its Philadelphia schedule. Like the rest of Southwest's service here, it is a direct attack on a US Airways route: a Saturday-only flight to San Diego starting in September. The additional flight will bring Southwest's service from Philadelphia to as many as 29 daily nonstop flights, still only a fraction of the almost 400 a day operated by US Airways. But with every move Southwest makes, it forces US Airways to lower its fares for last-minute travel, nibbling away at the airline's revenue as it struggles to stay in business. US Airways says it is determined to survive the Southwest invasion by slashing its costs by 40 percent beyond cuts already made, and operating more like the low-cost airlines that are giving it fits. "We're doing something that's never been done before," US Airways senior vice president Chris Chiames said. "It's the Extreme Makeover of the airline industry," he said, alluding to a reality TV show. US Airways realized last fall that higher-than-expected fuel prices and relentless discounting by low-cost airlines were undermining revenue projections it made when it emerged from bankruptcy six months earlier. The situation got worse when Southwest announced plans to start operating in Philadelphia. Southwest's entry prompted US Airways' chief executive officer, David N. Siegel, to call for more labor concessions. But Siegel's inability to work with the airline's union leaders forced his resignation in April, and he was replaced by board member Bruce R. Lakefield, who is particularly popular with pilots. US Airways began negotiations with its pilots' union this month, and plans to start talking to groups representing other employees later this summer, with a goal of having new money-saving agreements in place by early fall, company spokesman David Castelveter said. Union spokesman Jack Stephan said yesterday that the pilots would give the company a detailed proposal this week on changes it would accept in pay, benefits and work rules. Last week, the Association of Flight Attendants said it was prepared to start negotiations to revise its contract if it could get some additional financial information from the company. Beyond that, neither the company nor the pilots' union would discuss the progress of negotiations or specific aspects of the talks. The challenge facing US Airways from Southwest in Philadelphia is not unique. Other older, major airlines - American, Continental, Delta, Northwest and United - are confronting similar problems. Yesterday, United submitted a revised application to the Air Transportation Stabilization Board for a federal loan guarantee to help it come out of bankruptcy after the board turned down two previous tries. And Delta Air Lines Inc. chairman Gerald Grinstein said last week that his airline was fighting for its survival, unable to raise fares and desperate for wage concessions from its pilots. While most airlines are carrying full loads of leisure passengers this summer, low fares and fuel costs are keeping the carriers from recovering financially as the economy gets better, industry analysts say. "The driving force behind this situation... is the rapid spread of low-cost competition and the effect that has had on pricing of tickets used by business passengers in the domestic market," Philip Baggaley, an airline analyst with Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, testified this month at a hearing of the U.S. House aviation subcommittee. In nine years, from January 1995 to January 2004, low-cost carriers have gone from flying 336 domestic U.S. routes to serving 1,375 routes. They now account for about one-quarter of domestic U.S. airline traffic. With higher fuel costs in the revenue equation, analyst Samuel Buttrick of UBS Securities estimates, the older major carriers will lose $2 billion to $2.5 billion this year, on top of the $23 billion they have lost since 2001. Early this year, he and other analysts were expecting the industry to lose $500 million or less. US Airways paid almost $1 a gallon for fuel in the first quarter, one-fifth more than it expected to when it came out of bankruptcy last spring. But that is not as big a problem as all the other expenses - from labor to leasing airport gates - to keep an old hub-and-spoke airline running. "The problem stems from core and personnel costs that... along with fuel costs produce a total operating cost that is higher than passengers are willing to pay," according to the June issue of Unisys R2A Scorecard, an industry newsletter. The negotiations with US Airways' 28,000 employees have a goal of reducing the airline's labor costs by $800 million a year. In two previous rounds of concessions in 2002 and 2003, the airline trimmed annual labor costs by $1.9 billion. US Airways is trying to trim an additional $800 million from its annual costs by changing the way it sells tickets, serves passengers in airports, flies its planes, and operates its Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C., hubs. The airline already has reduced service at Pittsburgh, once its major hub, and is offering more nonstop flights from Boston, New York and Washington, three cities with large populations where it has a major presence. The airline is increasing the amount of flying done in 50- and 70-seat regional jets by US Airways Express commuter carriers, where pilots make less money. Baggage handling, particularly at Philadelphia International Airport, is another area in which US Airways has said it must improve. If it doesn't, it could face another disaster like last summer's, when thousands of customers' bags missed flights after repeated breakdowns of an aging conveyor belt. US Airways expects to have a $2.7 million overhaul of the Philadelphia baggage system completed in August, three months behind schedule. The next phase of cutting costs is expected to start this fall, after the airline has new labor agreements in place to give it more flexibility in scheduling aircraft crews and airport workers. The airline wants to increase the time between connecting flights at Philadelphia and Charlotte. Traditionally, the airlines have operated about eight, 90-minute banks of arriving and departing flights a day at a hub, creating a frenzy of activity and intense use of the facilities. US Airways hires scores of part-time workers at its hubs to help handle peak demand. At the hubs, its airplanes usually spend an hour or so on the ground between flights, compared with 25 or 30 minutes for Southwest. By spreading out flights more throughout the day, the airline can reduce the number of airplanes, gates and employees it needs. The airline will save money on fuel if these methods mean less taxiing for aircraft between gates and runways. US Airways also says it intends to save money by making its Web site more attractive and easier to use. The airline has a goal of increasing the number of tickets sold on its Web site from 10 percent to 20 percent by the end of the year. Finally, US Airways has set as a goal simplifying its fare structure. Customers have complained for years that major carriers such as US Airways have too many fares, the rules for using them are complicated, and they are unreasonably high for last-minute trips. But the airline still is a long way from applying its lower simplified "GoFares" to its whole system. Last week, US Airways extended the lower prices to airports in the Washington area. But on many routes where there are no discounters - such as Philadelphia to Detroit - a last-minute round-trip can still cost more than $1,000. "In one market, you have GoFares," said Kevin P. Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition, of Radnor. "But in another market it's still 'gotcha' fares."
Posted on July 24, 2004
AmericanConnection adds flights from St. Louis to 3 cities

AmericanConnection is increasing its flights from Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to Denver, Philadelphia and Milwaukee in August and September, American Airlines said Tuesday. The regional carrier is adding one flight between St. Louis and Denver starting Aug. 1, bringing the total number to six, and one flight between St. Louis and Philadelphia starting Aug. 1, bringing the total number to seven. The new Denver flight flies daily except Sundays, and the new Philadelphia flight flies weekdays only. The airline will add a fourth non-stop daily flight between St. Louis and Milwaukee starting Sept. 8. Chautauqua Airlines, AmericanConnection carrier, will use 44-seat Embraer 140 jets on the new flights. "These new flights will augment our existing service to these key business markets and are designed to meet the demands of the local St. Louis travel market," said Loretta Kuss, regional manager-passenger sales for St. Louis, in a statement. Fort Worth, Texas-based American Airlines, the operating arm of AMR Corp. (NYSE: AMR), operates a hub out of St. Louis.
Posted on July 24, 2004
Reservist charged with having handgun at airport

An Air Force reservist on his way to active duty in Spain was arrested at Philadelphia International Airport after attempting to take a loaded .25-caliber handgun through security. A screener saw the gun as the bag belonging to Franklin D. Dudley, 39, of the 6300 block of Tulip Street in the city's Tacony section, passed through an X-ray machine Thursday. The weapon was confiscated, and Dudley was charged with carrying an unlicensed weapon and carrying a firearm in public. He was released on his own recognizance.
Posted on July 24, 2004
Airport Pickets by Delta Employees

PHILADELPHIA INT'L AIRPORT-June 17, 2004 — Some Delta baggage handlers are picketing at Philadelphia International Airport today over a union dispute. About 15 union members from local 1906 are protesting in front of Terminal E because Delta has hired an out of state company to replace baggage handlers temporarily. The picketers make union rates averaging $30/hour. The temporary workers are said to make $8/hour.
Posted on July 24, 2004
Confused Teens Force Evacuation At Philly International Airport Tear-Gas Pistol Found In Bathroom

POSTED: 11:36 am EDT June 16, 2004 UPDATED: 11:46 am EDT June 16, 2004 A tear-gas pistol and three lost teenagers triggered delays of about 90 minutes and the rescreening of 2,500 passengers at Philadelphia International Airport Tuesday. After the Cancun-bound teenagers lost their bearings and were escorted by a worker through an off-limits area, authorities evacuated the terminal Tuesday. Soon after, a passenger spotted what turned out to be a tear-gas pistol on the floor of a women's restroom. Three aircraft on the tarmac were off-loaded after the incidents. No charges were lodged against the teens, who missed their charter. "They were kind of confused. They didn't mean any harm," said Capt. Domenic Mingacci, airport police commander. Broomall residents Lauren Altieri, 18; Jessica Tulli, 17, and Courtney Thomas, 18, got lost as they headed through Terminal A after going through security screening sometime before 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said. Around 6:15 a.m. a teenager reported a gun on the floor of a women's restroom. Police retrieved the tear-gas pistol but didn't know how it got there.
Posted on June 18, 2004
Southwest thrilled at success in Phila.

NEW YORK - Southwest Airlines expected to do well when it started serving Philadelphia last month, but officers of the discount carrier said yesterday that the response from the region's travelers - apparently starving for low airfares - had amazed them. "It's the most successful market opening we've ever had," Jim Parker, Southwest's vice chairman and chief executive officer, said during a flight aboard the airline's newest jet. "Bookings have been excellent... and load factors [percentage of available seats sold] have been outstanding. I think it's a reflection of how high fares have been artificially depressing demand for a long time." Neither Parker nor a gaggle of other Southwest officials, who spoke during a flying news conference over New York City and Long Island, would say exactly how many passengers it has carried or how many advance reservations it has taken since the airline started service May 9 to six cities from Philadelphia International Airport. But, said chief financial officer Gary C. Kelly, "I know on some days, all the seats on all the flights were full... . It's been even better and happened even faster than we expected." Philadelphia is the 59th city to get the airline's service since it went into business 33 years ago today as a two-airplane carrier with service to three Texas cities. The company showed off the new 737-700-model jet to a group of reporters and financial analysts on the flight to nowhere, which took off and landed at LaGuardia Airport, a place the airline says it has no plans to serve regularly. Southwest, known for starting small and growing slowly when it has launched service elsewhere, started in Philadelphia with 14 flights a day to the six cities. It plans to add another 14 a day to seven more cities in July, and in September, it will begin a Saturday-only nonstop flight to a 14th city, San Diego. That is the most new service the airline has ever started from one city in the first two months, Kelly said. "It has every sign that it will continue to grow." The Southwest officials said Philadelphia could have about 40 flights a day within a few months. The airline has only four gates, in Terminal E, at Philadelphia airport, which will limit its growth unless it can find more. Southwest's assault on the Philadelphia market forced US Airways, the airport's dominant carrier with 57 percent of the traffic, to cut its fares sharply on the routes where the carriers compete. Southwest also used its airborne news conference to announce that on Sept. 15, it will add 18 daily flights between other cities. Southwest flies nothing but 737 jets, and the newest one is No. 400 in its fleet.
Posted on June 18, 2004
Airport Pickets

PHILADELPHIA INT'L AIRPORT-June 17, 2004 — Some Delta baggage handlers are picketing at Philadelphia International Airport today over a union dispute. About 15 union members from local 1906 are protesting in front of Terminal E because Delta has hired an out of state company to replace baggage handlers temporarily. The picketers make union rates averaging $30/hour. The temporary workers are said to make $8/hour.
Posted on June 18, 2004
Confused Teens Force Evacuation At Philly International Airport Tear-Gas Pistol Found In Bathroom

A tear-gas pistol and three lost teenagers triggered delays of about 90 minutes and the rescreening of 2,500 passengers at Philadelphia International Airport Tuesday. After the Cancun-bound teenagers lost their bearings and were escorted by a worker through an off-limits area, authorities evacuated the terminal Tuesday. Soon after, a passenger spotted what turned out to be a tear-gas pistol on the floor of a women's restroom. Three aircraft on the tarmac were off-loaded after the incidents. No charges were lodged against the teens, who missed their charter. "They were kind of confused. They didn't mean any harm," said Capt. Domenic Mingacci, airport police commander. Broomall residents Lauren Altieri, 18; Jessica Tulli, 17, and Courtney Thomas, 18, got lost as they headed through Terminal A after going through security screening sometime before 5:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said. Around 6:15 a.m. a teenager reported a gun on the floor of a women's restroom. Police retrieved the tear-gas pistol but didn't know how it got there.
Posted on June 15, 2004
Security Scares At Philly International

PHILADELPHIA (KYW) Activity at Philadelphia International Airport is back to normal following security scares that prompted the re-screening of nearly 3,000 passengers. CBS 3's Karen Scullin has been told three teen girls enroute to Cancun for senior week approached a DAL Global Services employee because they thought they were lost. The individual reportedly escorted them through a restricted area prompting police there to question the girls and rescreen all passengers in that area. During the process officials reportedly found that a toy gun had made it through security. An investigation is underway to find out how that happened and who owns it. The girls were detained for four hours and had to take another flight. When Scullin attempted to speak to a representative from DAL Global Services, she was referred to Delta which did not comment. So far, no charges have been filed in either incident.
Posted on June 15, 2004
Ford Airport begins nonstop flights to Philly on Aug. 8

A real Philly cheesesteak will be only one flight away from Grand Rapids beginning Aug. 8. But it won't be a cheap lunch. US Airways Express on Friday announced plans for daily, nonstop flights to Philadelphia International Airport. A round-trip ticket available from the airline's Web site starts at $245.70 with a Saturday night stay over -- cheesesteak not included. Without a Saturday stay, a ticket costs $382.70. Flights aboard the new regional jet service operated for US Airways by Mesa Airlines are scheduled to leave the Gerald R. Ford International Airport at 7 a.m., arriving in Philadelphia at 8:41 a.m. Return flights are scheduled to depart Philly at 8:05 p.m., arriving in Grand Rapids at 10:16 p.m. "This new flight will not only bring our customers in Grand Rapids nonstop service to one of the largest business and tourism destinations on the East Coast, but also provide convenient connections to many of our Caribbean destinations," said Andrew Nocella, US Airways vice president of network and revenue management. The new service brings to 16 the number of nonstop destinations offered out of the Grand Rapids airport, including the two Chicago-area airports. Philadelphia already is a top 20 destination for travelers from Grand Rapids. "If you can gain an additional nonstop destination to one of your top markets, that's a significant advantage for both business and leisure travel," airport spokesman Bruce Schedlbauer said. Ford Airport has been offering incentives to airlines that offer new nonstop destinations from Grand Rapids. The Philadelphia flights will be among the first to qualify under the program.
Posted on June 15, 2004
Shuttle America scuttles service

Shuttle America terminated its passenger service from Trenton-Mercer Airport June 10th after four years of service. Company officials decided to close the route three months after announcing it was leaving the area in January. The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based airline offered flights to Pittsburgh, Pa. and Bedford, Mass., flying under the US Airways Express banner. Shuttle America’s departure closes another chapter of Trenton-Mercer Airport offering competitive airline service to the capital region. "Our employees are disappointed," said Scott Durgin, president of Shuttle America. "They worked very hard to maintain and enhance the market. They have done a great job." Durgin explained that higher fuel costs and a general decline in passengers on the route pushed company officials to shut down the route. "From our perspective, its business as usual," said John Nadolny, senior vice president and general counsel for Boston-Maine Airways. BMA is currently offering passengers seven flights a day to Bedford, Mass., landing at Hanscom Field. BMA officials have proposed future routes to Martha Vineyard and Nantucket, but for now officials are focusing on the Bedford route. "We are pleased with the way we have been received in the market," Nadolny said. He noted that the higher gas prices affect everyone in the business. "We all have to buy fuel and it’s the one thing that is the great equalizer among all airlines," Nadolny said. In a prepared statement, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes stated that information he had received indicated that the fare wars among three major airlines at Philadelphia International Airport played a role in the severed relationship between Shuttle America and US Airways. Hughes believes there is still a role for niche airlines offering point-to-point service from Trenton-Mercer Airport. In early February, Shuttle America announced it would leave the airport. Another airline, Boston-Maine Airways quickly made plans to serve the route between Trenton and Bedford, Mass. Shuttle America in turn delayed its decision to withdraw from the market and then said it would stay indefinitely. However, the end of its lease agreement with US Airways forced a change of strategy, noted Hughes in a prepared statement. Prior to ending its lease with US Airways, Durgin had said his company was working with the ailing airline to shore up its service in Pittsburgh. On Thursday, US Airways announced it was moving 130 jobs from Pittsburgh to Charlotte, N.C., possibly this summer. US Airways is losing its hub status in Pittsburgh as it scales back its service at the Pittsburgh International Airport. The airline leased 10 gates from the airport and had a month-to-month agreement for another 40 gates. Because US Airways is facing stiff competition within the Philadelphia market from Southwest Airlines, the airline is finding ways to shore up its balance sheet while it slashes prices to compete with the low-cost carrier. "In my discussions today with Shuttle America, company officials said the airline is leaving because it is ending its relationship with US Airways and forming a new agreement with United Airlines," said Hughes. "Shuttle America proposed flying from Trenton to a destination other than Bedford, but United wants the planes based elsewhere." In April, Shuttle America signed a lease with United Airlines to fly 10 airplanes under the United Express flag at Washington Dulles Airport starting this month. Stating that the airline industry is taking longer to stabilize than many had hoped, Durgin believes everything will improve in time. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the public has remained skittish about flying, but as time passes more and more people are rediscovering the convenience of the airline industry. For now airline executives are looking for ways to cut costs, maintain service while focusing on the routes that are profitable. "Gas prices have risen incredibly high, we need to cut unprofitable flying. We have a choice to either dispose of the airplane or put it into a profitable route," Durgin explained.
Posted on June 15, 2004
Liberian Arrested With Gun, $20,000 Cash At Philadelphia's Philly Airport

A man stopped over the weekend at the Philadelphia International Airport after security check led to the discovery of what happened to be a gun, but it further turned out that he was carrying much more than first thought. Authorities said that nothing seemed right about the man trying to board a Northwest Airlines flight to Houston Saturday morning. First, inspectors spotted an object resembling a gun at the X-ray checkpoint. "A Philadelphia police officer pulled a silver pistol out of the man's bag, which turned out to be a cigarette lighter. The officer asked the man for identification and he gives the officer a boarding pass," said Lt. Mike Chitwood of the Philadelphia Police Department. The boarding pass stated he was James Wood from New York city. But the Texas ID card he produced said he was Yahkya Diarra from Houston. But s New York driver's license he had also showed again identified him as James Wood. At this point, police said, the man admitted that Wood was not his real name. He identified himself as Yahkya Diarra. He was arrested for giving false ID and then officers were stunned when a search of his bag turned up $15,000 in $100 bills and Diarra also had another $4,700 on him in cash. "The bells and whistles have to go off. How many travelers do you know that travel with different identifications, different names, different states- everything- and all that kind of cash, unless there is something there?" Chitwood asked. The FBI and Homeland security were contacted after Diarra told detectives that he is from Liberia and had lost his passport. With concerns over terrorism and money laundering, the Feds had a list of questions. "They wanted to know, "Who he is, really? Find out what he is associated with? Why is he traveling with $19,000 in cash? What is his background? Is he really from Liberia?" Chitwood asked. Diarra originally said that the money wasn't his, and then claimed to be an art dealer and said the money was fro the sale of art. Officials kept the money and released Diarra from custody. Anyone with information about Diarra as asked to southeast Det4ectives at (215) 686-3183.
Posted on June 15, 2004
Ford Airport begins nonstop flights to Philly on Aug. 8

Saturday, June 12, 2004
A real Philly cheesesteak will be only one flight away from Grand Rapids beginning Aug. 8. But it won't be a cheap lunch. US Airways Express on Friday announced plans for daily, nonstop flights to Philadelphia International Airport. A round-trip ticket available from the airline's Web site starts at $245.70 with a Saturday night stay over -- cheesesteak not included. Without a Saturday stay, a ticket costs $382.70. Flights aboard the new regional jet service operated for US Airways by Mesa Airlines are scheduled to leave the Gerald R. Ford International Airport at 7 a.m., arriving in Philadelphia at 8:41 a.m. Return flights are scheduled to depart Philly at 8:05 p.m., arriving in Grand Rapids at 10:16 p.m. "This new flight will not only bring our customers in Grand Rapids nonstop service to one of the largest business and tourism destinations on the East Coast, but also provide convenient connections to many of our Caribbean destinations," said Andrew Nocella, US Airways vice president of network and revenue management. The new service brings to 16 the number of nonstop destinations offered out of the Grand Rapids airport, including the two Chicago-area airports. Philadelphia already is a top 20 destination for travelers from Grand Rapids. "If you can gain an additional nonstop destination to one of your top markets, that's a significant advantage for both business and leisure travel," airport spokesman Bruce Schedlbauer said. Ford Airport has been offering incentives to airlines that offer new nonstop destinations from Grand Rapids. The Philadelphia flights will be among the first to qualify under the program.
Posted on June 15, 2004
Shuttle America scuttles service

Shuttle America terminated its passenger service from Trenton-Mercer Airport June 10th after four years of service. Company officials decided to close the route three months after announcing it was leaving the area in January. The Fort Wayne, Ind.-based airline offered flights to Pittsburgh, Pa. and Bedford, Mass., flying under the US Airways Express banner. Shuttle America’s departure closes another chapter of Trenton-Mercer Airport offering competitive airline service to the capital region. "Our employees are disappointed," said Scott Durgin, president of Shuttle America. "They worked very hard to maintain and enhance the market. They have done a great job." Durgin explained that higher fuel costs and a general decline in passengers on the route pushed company officials to shut down the route. "From our perspective, its business as usual," said John Nadolny, senior vice president and general counsel for Boston-Maine Airways. BMA is currently offering passengers seven flights a day to Bedford, Mass., landing at Hanscom Field. BMA officials have proposed future routes to Martha Vineyard and Nantucket, but for now officials are focusing on the Bedford route. "We are pleased with the way we have been received in the market," Nadolny said. He noted that the higher gas prices affect everyone in the business. "We all have to buy fuel and it’s the one thing that is the great equalizer among all airlines," Nadolny said. In a prepared statement, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes stated that information he had received indicated that the fare wars among three major airlines at Philadelphia International Airport played a role in the severed relationship between Shuttle America and US Airways. Hughes believes there is still a role for niche airlines offering point-to-point service from Trenton-Mercer Airport. In early February, Shuttle America announced it would leave the airport. Another airline, Boston-Maine Airways quickly made plans to serve the route between Trenton and Bedford, Mass. Shuttle America in turn delayed its decision to withdraw from the market and then said it would stay indefinitely. However, the end of its lease agreement with US Airways forced a change of strategy, noted Hughes in a prepared statement. Prior to ending its lease with US Airways, Durgin had said his company was working with the ailing airline to shore up its service in Pittsburgh. On Thursday, US Airways announced it was moving 130 jobs from Pittsburgh to Charlotte, N.C., possibly this summer. US Airways is losing its hub status in Pittsburgh as it scales back its service at the Pittsburgh International Airport. The airline leased 10 gates from the airport and had a month-to-month agreement for another 40 gates. Because US Airways is facing stiff competition within the Philadelphia market from Southwest Airlines, the airline is finding ways to shore up its balance sheet while it slashes prices to compete with the low-cost carrier. "In my discussions today with Shuttle America, company officials said the airline is leaving because it is ending its relationship with US Airways and forming a new agreement with United Airlines," said Hughes. "Shuttle America proposed flying from Trenton to a destination other than Bedford, but United wants the planes based elsewhere." In April, Shuttle America signed a lease with United Airlines to fly 10 airplanes under the United Express flag at Washington Dulles Airport starting this month. Stating that the airline industry is taking longer to stabilize than many had hoped, Durgin believes everything will improve in time. Since Sept. 11, 2001, the public has remained skittish about flying, but as time passes more and more people are rediscovering the convenience of the airline industry. For now airline executives are looking for ways to cut costs, maintain service while focusing on the routes that are profitable. "Gas prices have risen incredibly high, we need to cut unprofitable flying. We have a choice to either dispose of the airplane or put it into a profitable route," Durgin explained.
Posted on June 15, 2004
Liberian Arrested With Gun, $20,000 Cash At Philadelphia's Philly Airport

June 11, 2004
A man stopped over the weekend at the Philadelphia International Airport after security check led to the discovery of what happened to be a gun, but it further turned out that he was carrying much more than first thought. Authorities said that nothing seemed right about the man trying to board a Northwest Airlines flight to Houston Saturday morning. First, inspectors spotted an object resembling a gun at the X-ray checkpoint. "A Philadelphia police officer pulled a silver pistol out of the man's bag, which turned out to be a cigarette lighter. The officer asked the man for identification and he gives the officer a boarding pass," said Lt. Mike Chitwood of the Philadelphia Police Department. The boarding pass stated he was James Wood from New York city. But the Texas ID card he produced said he was Yahkya Diarra from Houston. But s New York driver's license he had also showed again identified him as James Wood. At this point, police said, the man admitted that Wood was not his real name. He identified himself as Yahkya Diarra. He was arrested for giving false ID and then officers were stunned when a search of his bag turned up $15,000 in $100 bills and Diarra also had another $4,700 on him in cash. "The bells and whistles have to go off. How many travelers do you know that travel with different identifications, different names, different states- everything- and all that kind of cash, unless there is something there?" Chitwood asked. The FBI and Homeland security were contacted after Diarra told detectives that he is from Liberia and had lost his passport. With concerns over terrorism and money laundering, the Feds had a list of questions. "They wanted to know, "Who he is, really? Find out what he is associated with? Why is he traveling with $19,000 in cash? What is his background? Is he really from Liberia?" Chitwood asked. Diarra originally said that the money wasn't his, and then claimed to be an art dealer and said the money was fro the sale of art. Officials kept the money and released Diarra from custody. Anyone with information about Diarra as asked to southeast Det4ectives at (215) 686-3183.
Posted on June 11, 2004
FAA Data Shows Drunk Pilot Just Missed Midair Crash

PHILADELPHIA (KYW 1060) Newly revealed FAA radar tracks paint a graphically shocking image of just how close a drunken pilot from Pottstown came to causing an aerial disaster last January over Philadelphia International Airport. The radar tracking sheets, which have recently been turned over to Montgomery County prosecutors, show that disaster was seconds away when John Salamone flew his Piper Cherokee on a drunken odyssey over the Delaware Valley. DA Bruce Castor details what the latest radar tracks reveal: "We have new information from the FAA that this plane was at the same altitude with two-tenths of a mile separating it from a commuter plane with 40 people on board." The commuter plane, on landing approach, was forced to take evasive action. Salamone has lost his pilot's certification and is awaiting trial on charges of reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe. Ironically, Pennsylvania has no law against drunk flying. A bill that would make "flying impaired" a crime has just cleared a Pennsylvania House committee.
Posted on June 11, 2004
Lower fares on the way from US Airways

US Airways is cutting its fares on flights between Philadelphia International Airport and San Diego as part of its new low-cost GoFares program. As a way of competing at Philadelphia International with low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines, US Airways has also cut fares from Philadelphia to Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Las Vegas; Phoenix, and Providence, R.I. In July, US Airways is also cutting fares from Philadelphia to Houston; Los Angeles; Manchester, N.H.; New Orleans; Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and West Palm Beach, Fla. The cheapest prices are comparable with those offered by Southwest. US Airways, which is the dominant airline at Philadelphia International, created GoFares as a way of trying to maintain its No. 1 position at the airport despite the low fares at Southwest, which began flights out of Philadelphia in May. The cheapest one-way tickets from Philadelphia to San Diego will now be $94, and the most expensive ticket is $499. Previously, walkup fares to San Diego from Philadelphia were $1,286.
Posted on June 11, 2004
Two Ordered Held In Airplane Bomb Threats

PHILADELPHIA -- A London man and a New Jersey teenager who tried to fly from Philadelphia to England to meet him were ordered held without bail on charges that they made false bomb threats to delay the flights while she tried to find her passport. The threats prompted the search of two flights and evacuation of passengers from one of them on June 2. Hatice Ceylan, 18, of Edgewater Park, N.J., and Ilyas Savas, 33, of London, England, who had met on the Internet, were arrested after Savas flew from London to Philadelphia after June 2, allegedly to help her. U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol Sandra Moore Wells ordered them held Tuesday on charges of calling in a false bomb threat to an airline. Both Ceylan and Savas gave statements after their arrest, U.S. Air Marshal Alexandre Bailey testified. Ceylan said she had bought tickets for a flight from Philadelphia to Boston and a connecting flight from Boston to London on June 2, according to Bailey. When Ceylan couldn't find her passport, she and Savas decided to delay the flights by calling in a false bomb threat, Bailey testified. She said Savas made the threat in a call from London to an Embassy Suites hotel near Philadelphia International Airport. Nineteen passengers were evacuated from a Philadelphia-to-Boston flight and rescreened while the plane was searched. A Boston-to-London flight was also searched before it took off with 159 passengers. Wells scheduled Ceylan to appear back before her on Thursday, to allow her attorney, Sara Webster, to look for alternatives to federal detention center custody that would allow her to complete final exams and her high school graduation. "I really don't want her to have to get" a graduate equivalency diploma, Wells said. David M. Kozlow, an attorney for Savas, asked that his client, who is married, with children ages 6 and 3, be allowed to return to England if he waives extradition and agrees to return for trial. He cited U.S. ties with Britain, Savas' need to talk with his family, and his job as a London parking-meter officer. Wells rejected the request. (AP)
Posted on June 11, 2004
Airport screener charged with stealing money from passenger

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A screener at Philadelphia International Airport was charged by federal authorities Tuesday with stealing $335 from a passenger who was passing through a security checkpoint. Nathan Cox, 34, of Philadelphia, was screening passengers and their bags at the airport's Terminal E on Feb. 16 when he allegedly stole the money from the belongings of a person who passed through his checkpoint, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court. Airport spokesman Mark Pesce referred questions to the federal Transportation Security Administration, Cox's employer. Ann Davis, the agency's Northeast regional spokeswoman, declined to disclose whether Cox, an airport screener since October 2002, had been suspended or fired. If convicted, he faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, authorities said. A telephone message left at Cox's home Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned. It was unclear whether he had a lawyer.
Posted on June 11, 2004
Editorial: Delco should have say on airport authority

The controversy started last summer. That was when the FAA announced proposed changes at Philadelphia International Airport because of flight delays projected to increase in time. The problem with the Philadelphia International Airport Enhancement Program, which includes three separate plans that could impact the layout and design of the airport and the surrounding businesses and residences, was the FAA’'s selection of meeting sites. Hearings on the project were held in Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and the state of Delaware. No such consideration was given to Delaware County, where about two-thirds of the misnamed Philadelphia International Airport lies. Finally, this spring, after some pressure was exerted by U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7, of Thornbury, the FAA deigned to hold an "information hearing" in Ridley Township. Less than a month later, the U.S. Department of Transportation responded to decades of complaints and granted $2.5 million to the Lester and Essington sections of Tinicum Township to soundproof windows and doors for some 265 homes. That is why it is amusing to listen to Philadelphia officials responding to a proposal by two Delaware County state legislators. State Rep. Thomas H. Killion, R-168, of Middletown, and Rep. Mario Civera, R-164, of Upper Darby, authored a resolution that would appoint a nine-member state authority to oversee the airport. The authority would have the power to hold hearings, take testimony and issue subpoenas, and someone was listening. State House Speaker John Perzel, a Philadelphia Republican, heard our local reps discuss the impact the airport has on Delaware County. He heard them point to the airport as a regional asset, not a Philadelphia-only property. Perzel spoke to Philadelphia Mayor John Street and Gov. Edward G. Rendell, both Democrats, about the possibility of a regional authority. Street, who put the airport up for sale, questioned Perzel’s political motives. The mayor is annoyed that the state Legislature wants to put its hands into something that has always been handled by the city. A spokesman for Street said, "It just never ends with what folks want to do to try and run the city from Harrisburg." It would be easy to respond that, with the amount of money the state Legislature pours into Philadelphia, it deserves some input into city affairs. But it is even more outrageous to consider the city of Philadelphia’s ownership of a parcel of land that predominately lies in Delaware County. While it is usually a good idea to limit government power rather than expand it, this case is different for Delaware County residents. The prospect of a nine-member state authority promises at least some input from representatives from the county that provides a home to the runways and buildings of the airport which Philadelphia wants to control completely.
Posted on June 11, 2004
FAA Data Shows Drunk Pilot Just Missed Midair Crash

Jun 10, 2004 12:46 pm US/Eastern PHILADELPHIA (KYW 1060) Newly revealed FAA radar tracks paint a graphically shocking image of just how close a drunken pilot from Pottstown came to causing an aerial disaster last January over Philadelphia International Airport. The radar tracking sheets, which have recently been turned over to Montgomery County prosecutors, show that disaster was seconds away when John Salamone flew his Piper Cherokee on a drunken odyssey over the Delaware Valley. DA Bruce Castor details what the latest radar tracks reveal: "We have new information from the FAA that this plane was at the same altitude with two-tenths of a mile separating it from a commuter plane with 40 people on board." The commuter plane, on landing approach, was forced to take evasive action. Salamone has lost his pilot's certification and is awaiting trial on charges of reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe. Ironically, Pennsylvania has no law against drunk flying. A bill that would make "flying impaired" a crime has just cleared a Pennsylvania House committee.
Posted on June 11, 2004
Lower fares on the way from US Airways

US Airways is cutting its fares on flights between Philadelphia International Airport and San Diego as part of its new low-cost GoFares program. As a way of competing at Philadelphia International with low-cost carrier Southwest Airlines, US Airways has also cut fares from Philadelphia to Boston, Chicago, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa and Orlando, Fla., Las Vegas; Phoenix, and Providence, R.I. In July, US Airways is also cutting fares from Philadelphia to Houston; Los Angeles; Manchester, N.H.; New Orleans; Raleigh-Durham, N.C., and West Palm Beach, Fla. The cheapest prices are comparable with those offered by Southwest. US Airways, which is the dominant airline at Philadelphia International, created GoFares as a way of trying to maintain its No. 1 position at the airport despite the low fares at Southwest, which began flights out of Philadelphia in May. The cheapest one-way tickets from Philadelphia to San Diego will now be $94, and the most expensive ticket is $499. Previously, walkup fares to San Diego from Philadelphia were $1,286.
Posted on June 11, 2004
Two Ordered Held In Airplane Bomb Threats

June 9 PHILADELPHIA -- A London man and a New Jersey teenager who tried to fly from Philadelphia to England to meet him were ordered held without bail on charges that they made false bomb threats to delay the flights while she tried to find her passport. The threats prompted the search of two flights and evacuation of passengers from one of them on June 2. Hatice Ceylan, 18, of Edgewater Park, N.J., and Ilyas Savas, 33, of London, England, who had met on the Internet, were arrested after Savas flew from London to Philadelphia after June 2, allegedly to help her. U.S. Magistrate Judge Carol Sandra Moore Wells ordered them held Tuesday on charges of calling in a false bomb threat to an airline. Both Ceylan and Savas gave statements after their arrest, U.S. Air Marshal Alexandre Bailey testified. Ceylan said she had bought tickets for a flight from Philadelphia to Boston and a connecting flight from Boston to London on June 2, according to Bailey. When Ceylan couldn't find her passport, she and Savas decided to delay the flights by calling in a false bomb threat, Bailey testified. She said Savas made the threat in a call from London to an Embassy Suites hotel near Philadelphia International Airport. Nineteen passengers were evacuated from a Philadelphia-to-Boston flight and rescreened while the plane was searched. A Boston-to-London flight was also searched before it took off with 159 passengers. Wells scheduled Ceylan to appear back before her on Thursday, to allow her attorney, Sara Webster, to look for alternatives to federal detention center custody that would allow her to complete final exams and her high school graduation. "I really don't want her to have to get" a graduate equivalency diploma, Wells said. David M. Kozlow, an attorney for Savas, asked that his client, who is married, with children ages 6 and 3, be allowed to return to England if he waives extradition and agrees to return for trial. He cited U.S. ties with Britain, Savas' need to talk with his family, and his job as a London parking-meter officer. Wells rejected the request. (AP)
Posted on June 11, 2004
Airport screener charged with stealing money from passenger

6/8/2004, 5:18 p.m. ET
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A screener at Philadelphia International Airport was charged by federal authorities Tuesday with stealing $335 from a passenger who was passing through a security checkpoint. Nathan Cox, 34, of Philadelphia, was screening passengers and their bags at the airport's Terminal E on Feb. 16 when he allegedly stole the money from the belongings of a person who passed through his checkpoint, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court. Airport spokesman Mark Pesce referred questions to the federal Transportation Security Administration, Cox's employer. Ann Davis, the agency's Northeast regional spokeswoman, declined to disclose whether Cox, an airport screener since October 2002, had been suspended or fired. If convicted, he faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, authorities said. A telephone message left at Cox's home Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned. It was unclear whether he had a lawyer.
Posted on June 11, 2004
Editorial: Delco should have say on airport authority

06/08/2004
The controversy started last summer. That was when the FAA announced proposed changes at Philadelphia International Airport because of flight delays projected to increase in time. The problem with the Philadelphia International Airport Enhancement Program, which includes three separate plans that could impact the layout and design of the airport and the surrounding businesses and residences, was the FAA’'s selection of meeting sites. Hearings on the project were held in Philadelphia, southern New Jersey and the state of Delaware. No such consideration was given to Delaware County, where about two-thirds of the misnamed Philadelphia International Airport lies. Finally, this spring, after some pressure was exerted by U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7, of Thornbury, the FAA deigned to hold an "information hearing" in Ridley Township. Less than a month later, the U.S. Department of Transportation responded to decades of complaints and granted $2.5 million to the Lester and Essington sections of Tinicum Township to soundproof windows and doors for some 265 homes. That is why it is amusing to listen to Philadelphia officials responding to a proposal by two Delaware County state legislators. State Rep. Thomas H. Killion, R-168, of Middletown, and Rep. Mario Civera, R-164, of Upper Darby, authored a resolution that would appoint a nine-member state authority to oversee the airport. The authority would have the power to hold hearings, take testimony and issue subpoenas, and someone was listening. State House Speaker John Perzel, a Philadelphia Republican, heard our local reps discuss the impact the airport has on Delaware County. He heard them point to the airport as a regional asset, not a Philadelphia-only property. Perzel spoke to Philadelphia Mayor John Street and Gov. Edward G. Rendell, both Democrats, about the possibility of a regional authority. Street, who put the airport up for sale, questioned Perzel’s political motives. The mayor is annoyed that the state Legislature wants to put its hands into something that has always been handled by the city. A spokesman for Street said, "It just never ends with what folks want to do to try and run the city from Harrisburg." It would be easy to respond that, with the amount of money the state Legislature pours into Philadelphia, it deserves some input into city affairs. But it is even more outrageous to consider the city of Philadelphia’s ownership of a parcel of land that predominately lies in Delaware County. While it is usually a good idea to limit government power rather than expand it, this case is different for Delaware County residents. The prospect of a nine-member state authority promises at least some input from representatives from the county that provides a home to the runways and buildings of the airport which Philadelphia wants to control completely.
Posted on June 07, 2004
Plane makes emergency landing in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA – A USA 3000 Airbus A320 made an emergency landing at Philadelphia International Airport on Saturday after an onboard instrument indicated there was smoke on the plane. The jet landed safely just before 7 a.m. June 5th. Fire and rescue crews scrambled to the tarmac, but no sign of fire was detected and no one was injured, authorities said. Airport spokesman Mark Pesce said investigators are trying to determine what triggered the smoke warning. Officials would not immediately say where the plane was coming from or going to, or how long passengers would be delayed.
Posted on June 07, 2004
Two planes in Phila., Boston searched after bomb threat

Two planes, one here and the other in Boston, were searched June 02 after an anonymous caller telephoned the Embassy Suites hotel near Philadelphia International Airport reporting bombs aboard the flights, police said. The call, around 5:40 a.m. by a man with what sounded like a Middle Eastern accent, was specific, authorities said. It named an American Airlines flight due to depart at 6:30 a.m. for Boston and said there was a bomb on the plane, in a woman's handbag, police said. Nineteen passengers aboard were evacuated, and the jet was towed to a remote site at the airport, where it was searched. No bomb was found. The caller also mentioned that a bomb was aboard an American Airlines jet due to depart Boston's Logan International Airport for London. That plane also was searched with negative results.
Posted on June 07, 2004
Airports use cell-phone lots for waiting drivers

Bob Boague had time to kill before his daughter's flight arrived, so he eased his pickup onto the shoulder of Route 291 on the outskirts of the Philadelphia airport and waited there, despite the "No Stopping Anytime" sign. Five cars lined up behind him. Boague figured waiting by the side of the road was better than paying to put his car in a garage at the airport. "Golly, with the tolls on the drive in, they've taken enough out of my pocket already," he said. Tight post-Sept. 11 security and cellular phones have changed the way Americans pick people up at the airport, and some terminals around the country are having trouble adapting. With curbside parking off-limits at the Philadelphia International Airport since the Sept. 11 attacks, drivers trying to avoid the hassle and cost of pulling into a garage prowl the access roads looking for a place to wait. Often, they stay there until they get a cell-phone call from the arriving friend or relative. One of the most popular spots is the wide shoulder of Route 291, but police posted "no stopping" signs there when too many people started pulling over. Some motorists shifted to the breakdown lanes on the ramps from Interstate 95, but police, worried about a rising number of accidents, are cracking down there, too. Capt. Dominic Mingacci, commander of the Philadelphia police department's airport unit, announced a new get-tough policy last week that will include aggressive patrols and a $25 ticket for anyone who stops in a no-stopping zone. "No more just chasing people away," Mingacci said. "We've been enforcing this thing, but it's getting to the point now where it's a safety hazard. Pulling in and out of high-speed traffic isn't safe, especially when half of them are on a cell phone." Other airports have tired of playing a similar cat-and-mouse game with motorists and given them an official place to wait. On April 20, the Baltimore-Washington International Airport opened a 55-space "cell- phone lot" where drivers can idle while they wait to be called to the terminal, a few minutes away by car. BWI spokeswoman Holly Ellison said the lot has already helped reduce congestion and illegal parking on the roads that loop through the terminals. The San Diego airport opened a similar cell-phone waiting lot last week. Motorists must turn off their engines and remain in their vehicles after entering the 50-space lot, but can stay for up to an hour for free. The airport in Birmingham, Ala., opened its first free lot for cell-phone-equipped drivers on May 10. Palm Beach International in Florida added a 40-space cell-phone lot in December. Philadelphia International is willing to consider something similar, said airport spokesman Mark Pesce. For now, he encouraged people picking up passengers to spring for a spot in the garage, where a spot costs $3 for the first 30 minutes, $5 for the first hour, $7 for 90 minutes and $9 for two hours. Those rates were too steep for Boague, who made a 70-mile drive from Lancaster County to pick up his daughter last Friday. "I'm not paying anybody to wait with my car for 20 minutes," Boague said. Boague said he tried waiting in his car at the terminal first, then looping around when he was chased off by police. But he tired of the game. "I understand the security situation, but I think they could do more to make it easier for us," he said.
Posted on June 01, 2004
Airports Try to Adjust to New Security

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Bob Boague had time to kill before his daughter's flight arrived, so he eased his pickup onto the shoulder of Route 291 on the outskirts of the Philadelphia airport and waited there, despite the ``No Stopping Anytime'' sign. Five cars lined up behind him. Boague figured waiting by the side of the road was better than paying to put his car in a garage at the airport. ``Golly, with the tolls on the drive in, they've taken enough out of my pocket already,'' he said. Tight post-Sept. 11 security and cellular phones have changed the way Americans pick people up at the airport, and some terminals around the country are having trouble adapting. With curbside parking off-limits at the Philadelphia International Airport since the Sept. 11 attacks, drivers trying to avoid the hassle and cost of pulling into a garage prowl the access roads looking for a place to wait. Often, they stay there until they get a cell-phone call from the arriving friend or relative. One of the most popular spots is the wide shoulder of Route 291, but police posted ``no stopping'' signs there when too many people started pulling over. Some motorists shifted to the breakdown lanes on the ramps from Interstate 95, but police worried about a rising number of accidents are cracking down there, too. Capt. Dominic Mingacci, commander of the Philadelphia police department's airport unit, announced a new get-tough policy last week that will include aggressive patrols and a $25 ticket for anyone who stops in a no-stopping zone. ``No more just chasing people away,'' Mingacci said. ``We've been enforcing this thing, but it's getting to the point now where it's a safety hazard. Pulling in and out of high-speed traffic isn't safe, especially when half of them are on a cell phone.'' Other airports have tired of playing a similar cat-and-mouse game with motorists and given them an official place to wait. On April 20, the Baltimore-Washington International Airport opened a 55-space ``cell phone lot'' where drivers can idle while they wait to be called to the terminal, a few minutes away by car. BWI spokeswoman Holly Ellison said the lot has already helped reduce congestion and illegal parking on the roads that loop through the terminals. The San Diego airport opened a similar cell phone waiting lot Thursday. Motorists must turn off their engines and remain in their vehicles after entering the 50-space lot, but can stay for up to an hour for free. The airport in Birmingham, Ala., opened its first free lot for cell-phone equipped drivers on May 10. Palm Beach International in Florida added a 40-space cell-phone lot in December. Philadelphia International is willing to consider something similar, said airport spokesman Mark Pesce. For now, he encouraged people picking up passengers to spring for a spot in the garage, where a spot costs $3 for the first 30 minutes, $5 for the first hour, $7 for 90 minutes and $9 for two hours. Those rates were too steep for Boague, who made a 70-mile drive from Lancaster County to pick up his daughter last Friday. ``I'm not paying anybody to wait with my car for 20 minutes,'' Boague said. Boague said he tried waiting in his car at the terminal first, then looping around when he was chased off by police. But he tired of the game. ``I understand the security situation, but I think they could do more to make it easier for us,'' he said.
Posted on June 01, 2004
Philadelphia gives its airports a new logo to avoid confusion

For the last few years, Philadelphia International Airport has used a logo that included an ascending airplane inside a big stylized "P" next to the airport's name. The problem: The logo looked classy enough, but it could confuse travelers from abroad. The letter "P" is an international symbol for a parking garage or lot. That was one of the reasons the city's Division of Aviation decided its facilities needed a new logo, one that also recognizes that there are actually two airports in Philadelphia. The new logo stacks a PHL for the big international airport atop a PNE for Northeast Philadelphia Airport. The words "Philadelphia airport system" in all caps stretch out to the right of the three-letter codes. Airport chief of staff Jeff Shull says that Northeast, which is used exclusively by corporate and other private planes, serves an important role in keeping that air traffic away from the airliners that dominate Philadelphia International. Northeast Airport is far busier than many people realize, with more than 171,000 takeoffs and landings last year, compared to 447,000 at International. Shull added that another key reason for emphasizing the PHL code was the burgeoning use of the Internet to get travel information and make reservations. It's faster when searching airline or car-rental Web sites to simply type in "PHL" than it is to spell out Philadelphia. Shull cited one other good reason to make sure PHL means Philadelphia International to travelers: "Sometimes the media abbreviates the airport as PIA," he said. "That's the code for Greater Peoria [Ill.] Regional Airport."
Posted on June 01, 2004
Proposal Introduced to Create Commission Over PHL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Two Delaware County Republicans have introduced a proposal to create a state commission on the future of Philadelphia International Airport. The resolution calls for a nine-member state panel with the power to hold hearings, take testimony and issue subpoenas. "It's time for us to take a hard look at this asset in the region," said Rep. Tom H. Killion Killion, one of the authors of the legislation, noting a study that forecast additional delays of at least 20 minutes a flight by 2010. Three months ago, House Speaker John Perzel, R-Philadelphia, floated the idea of initiating state action to remove Philadelphia International Airport from the city's control. Perzel has already launched state takeovers of the Pennsylvania Convention Center and the Philadelphia Parking Authority. "It just never ends with what folks want to do to try to run the city from Harrisburg," said Shawn Fordham, an aide to Mayor John Street.
Posted on May 26, 2004
Police Crack Down On Airport Waiting

PHILADELPHIA (KYW 1060) Picking up somebody at Philadelphia International Airport? Don't even think of parking along the ramp leading into the place or along any access road. If you do, it'll cost you. At any given moment, up to two dozen cars can be found parked on the access ramps, drivers waiting for cell phone calls to pick up their arriving passengers. Capt. Dominic Mingacci with the Philadelphia Police Department says it's a safety and security hazard, and it's always been illegal to do it: "We are aggressively going to start patrolling these areas and issuing traffic tickets." Violators will be fined $25. At that rate, Capt. Mingacci figures, it's cheaper to park in the garage: "I believe it's $5 for an hour to park at the airport garages. Of course, that means you're gonna have to get out of your vehicle and walk over to the terminal to pick up your passenger. But I think it's worth the five dollars, rather than get the 25-dollar ticket." Mingacci says posted signs and past warnings have done little to stop the practice. He believes tickets will do it. When will the aggressive patrols begin? So consider this your last warning.
Posted on June 01, 2004
US Airways Details Network Plans

MAY 27, 2004 -- In a special employee update issued this week, struggling US Airways laid out a strategy for its network that aims "to recapture the number-one marketshare position" on the East Coast. Diffusing speculation of a possible sale of the US Airways Shuttle, the carrier said its hourly operation between Boston, New York LaGuardia and Washington National will be "the centerpiece" of increased point-to-point flying. As for its primary hubs, Philadelphia will remain at the "core of the network" while Pittsburgh, as previously announced, will be downsized from a hub operation to a focus city. "Smaller markets that have little demand to and from Pittsburgh likely will lose service," US Airways said. Charlotte, which will remain a traditional hub operation, will see increased domestic and international service. The carrier also set a goal to increase by year-end the percentage of bookings channeled through its Web site, from 10 percent of the total to 20 percent. Other initiatives include increased automation through greater reliance on airport kiosks, improved aircraft utilization and a simplified fare structure (BTN, May 10). US Airways described as "radical" many of the changes to its business model, adding that productivity improvements will result in employee furloughs. Of course, a primary element of the carrier's restructuring is lower labor costs to be negotiated with employee union leadership. There is mounting speculation that US Airways' newest efforts to transform into a more competitive, lower-cost airline and regain financial footing won't progress quickly enough to prevent a fresh bankruptcy filing. The company emerged from Chapter 11 protection nearly 14 months ago.
Posted on May 26, 2004
Cargo Plane Makes Emergency Landing At Port Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A cargo plane that was traveling from Philadelphia to Dayton was forced to make an emergency landing early Tuesday at Port Columbus International Airport. The pilot of an Express Net cargo plane landed the aircraft safely around midnight, NewsChannel 4 reported. A light in the cockpit reportedly showed that there was a fire in the cargo area but no fire was detected after the plane landed in Columbus. The airplane was taken to a remote area at the airport and was examined, NewsChannel 4 reported. No injuries were reported.
Posted on May 26, 2004
Frontier Begins Discount Air Service

PHILADELPHIA (KYW 1060) Add Frontier Airlines to the list of those competing for your business at Philadelphia International Airport. A festive Philadelphia welcome marked the start of service Monday by the discount airline. The carrier describes itself as a different animal. Spokesman Joe Hodas say it means "bringing the citizens of Philadelphia an airline experience like they've never seen in the past." He says, "That means standing out in a crowded field of competitors - with employees and a product that are unparalleled." Frontier will be offering discounted flights to Denver and Los Angeles. It's the third such airline recently to promise roundtrip flights from Philly to Los Angeles for less than $200.
Posted on May 22, 2004
Frontier to Fly Airline's First Transcontinental Flight Between Los Angeles

and Philadelphia DENVER, May 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Frontier Airlines (Nasdaq: FRNT) will begin new service between its Denver International Airport (DEN) hub and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Billings Logan International Airport (BIL) and Spokane International Airport (GEG) this Sunday, May 23, 2004. In addition, Frontier will also fly its first-ever transcontinental flight this Sunday between Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and Philadelphia. The new service between Denver and Philadelphia will offer two daily non-stops and the Los Angeles to Philadelphia service will offer one daily non-stop, both on Frontier's new Airbus A319 aircraft, with 33 inches of legroom and 24 channels of LiveTV. The service from Denver to Billings and Spokane will utilize Frontier JetExpress' 70-seat CRJ-700 aircraft with two daily non-stops to both destinations. "This Sunday will be another watershed day in Frontier's history as we launch three new cities that add great depth to both our regional jet (RJ) and mainline service," said Jeff Potter, President and CEO. "The Philadelphia airport has made national headlines recently and we are proud to bring our own brand of value fares to this vibrant market, with a product that will be a first for Philadelphians including new Airbus aircraft with 33 inches of legroom, 24 channels of LiveTV and what is fast becoming legendary customer service. On the same day we are also launching two exciting new RJ routes from Denver to Spokane and Billings on our Frontier JetExpress service, operated by our great partner Horizon Air. Our thanks go out to each of these new cities and their airports for providing us the opportunity to serve them, and of course to our employees whose tireless efforts to bring the best to our customers gives us the confidence to tackle this critical expansion." Following are Philadelphia, Spokane and Billings flight schedules:

Denver-Philadelphia

Flight Number Departs Arrives Frequency
448 10:50 a.m. 4:15 p.m. Daily
444 3:00 p.m. 8:25 p.m. Daily

Philadelphia-Denver

Flight Number Departs Arrives Frequency
445 8:50 a.m. 10:50 a.m. Daily
449 5:55 p.m. 7:55 p.m. Daily

Philadelphia-Los Angeles

Flight Number Departs Arrives Frequency
1775 9:10 p.m. 11:55 p.m. Daily

Los Angeles-Philadelphia

Flight Number Departs Arrives Frequency
1776 11:20 p.m. 7:25 a.m. Daily

All times given in local arrival or departure city times.

To celebrate the new service, members of Frontier Airlines' frequent flyer program, EarlyReturns, will receive double bonus miles for travel to and from Philadelphia, Billings and Spokane between May 23, 2004 and July 23, 2004. To enroll in the program, customers can visit Frontier's Web site at http://www.frontierairlines.com, pick up an EarlyReturns enrollment form at any Frontier airport counter or call Frontier's EarlyReturns Service Center toll-free hotline at 866-26-EARLY or Frontier's reservations at 800-4321-FLY. About Frontier Currently in its tenth year of operations, Denver-based Frontier Airlines is the second largest jet service carrier at Denver International Airport with a fleet of 41 aircraft and employing approximately 4,200 aviation professionals. Frontier, in conjunction with Frontier JetExpress operated by Horizon Air, operates routes linking our Denver hub to 39 destinations in 23 states spanning the nation from coast-to-coast and to five cities in Mexico. Frontier's maintenance and engineering department has received the Federal Aviation Administration's highest award, the Diamond Certificate of Excellence, in recognition of 100 percent of its maintenance and engineering employees completing advanced aircraft maintenance training programs, for five consecutive years. In August 2003, Frontier ranked as one of the "Top 10 Domestic Airlines" as determined by readers of Travel & Leisure magazine. Frontier provides capacity information and other operating statistics on its Web site, which may be viewed at http://www.frontierairlines.com.
Posted on May 22, 2004
Man admits taking BB gun in airport

PHILADELPHIA | A South Whitehall Township man faces a possible federal prison sentence after he admitted in court Friday that he tried to carry a loaded BB gun onto a commercial flight. Erik Clark, 20, pleaded guilty to having the weapon — resembling a black semiautomatic handgun — in his backpack as he went through a passenger screening area at Philadelphia International Airport. He had cut open a pillow, placed the gun in the pillow's lining and put the pillow in the backpack before trying to board the Jan. 5 flight, according to federal authorities. Inspectors noticed the gun as the backpack went through an X-ray machine. Clark readily admitted to authorities that he had the BB gun, but he gave inconsistent reasons to FBI agents about why he had it, according to a federal prosecutor. Clark said he needed it for protection because he was traveling alone and that he was trying to impress his friends by being able to sneak a gun onto an aircraft. But in federal court, his lawyer, Jeffrey Lindy, said his statements were not inconsistent. Clark was scared as the agents questioned him, Lindy told U.S. District Senior Judge Marvin Katz. ''He had just made a very bad mistake,'' Lindy said. ''I think these were statements given by him in a panic and while being confused.'' Lindy did not clarify why Clark tried to smuggle the gun onto the aircraft, nor did Clark. An FBI agent had said earlier that she believed it was a ''prank.'' Clark, a 2002 Parkland High School graduate who is not employed, is likely to receive a sentence of anywhere from probation to six months in prison. He does not have a prior criminal record. A tall, thin man, Clark said little in court except to acknowledge that he understood his rights and that he wanted to plead guilty. As he pleaded guilty, his parents looked on from the back of the courtroom. His father, lawyer Glennis Clark, consulted with Lindy before and after the hearing. Clark, who has a private law practice in Allentown, has represented criminal defendants in the same courthouse. In fact, he met Lindy when they represented co-defendants in a federal bank robbery trial in Allentown. Clark is a former Lehigh County assistant district attorney who lost two campaigns for district attorney. It was the defendant's parents who had dropped him off at the airport on the day he was arrested. He was heading to visit his grandmother in Tennessee. He pleaded guilty to attempting to carry a concealed dangerous weapon on an aircraft, a felony. He is free on bail and scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 8. ''This is a good kid who made a bad mistake,'' Lindy said afterward. ''He'll be forever sorry for it because he'll have a federal record.''
Posted on May 20, 2004
US Airways Named Official Airline of the Philadelphia Eagles

ARLINGTON, Va. and PHILADELPHIA, May 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Philadelphia Eagles and US Airways today announced a seven-year partnership that will make Philadelphia's number one passenger air carrier the official airline of the Eagles. A formal announcement was made at Philadelphia International Airport. "We are proud to create a long-term partnership with a company that has been a staple in the Philadelphia community since the 1940s and employs a large number of our fans and their families," said Eagles Senior Vice President of Business Operations Mark Donovan. As a Founding Partner, US Airways has exclusive use of the team trademark in the airline category. US Airways will also have exclusive signage rights at Lincoln Financial Field, which includes entitlement of the southeast corner of the stadium, permanent scoreboard signage, LED messaging, and video board features during Eagles games. The partnership also includes major exposure on Eagles television and radio programming, team publications, and PhiladelphiaEagles.com. "Philadelphia is a very important city for US Airways. Over the past decade, we have turned Philadelphia into a major east coast gateway to Europe and the Caribbean, and most recently, have launched expanded service and new lower fares," said US Airways Managing Director of Marketing & Revenue Development Barry Biffle. "We've got nearly 6,000 employees and more than a million and a half Dividend Miles frequent flyer members who call the greater Philadelphia region their home. We've loved Philadelphia for years, and supporting a Philadelphia institution like the Eagles is a great way to partner with the community." US Airways has played an integral role in the growth and development of domestic and international business in Philadelphia, with its roots stemming to 1948, when the carrier operated as Allegheny Airlines. US Airways and US Airways Express today operate 392 daily nonstop flights from Philadelphia International Airport, with nonstop service to 109 destinations in the U.S., Canada and the District of Columbia, 20 destinations in the Caribbean and 11 cities in Europe. The Eagles and US Airways will work together to develop promotions throughout the year to create further excitement and opportunities when attending Eagles games. With GoFares, US Airways is Philadelphia's largest low-fare carrier and the seventh-largest airline in the U.S., serving nearly 200 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and the US Airways Express partner carriers operate over 3,300 flights per day.
Posted on May 20, 2004
Philadelphia International Airport goes smoke-free

PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia International Airport banned smoking in all areas of its terminals shortly after midnight Saturday, becoming the 12th of the nation's 20 busiest airports to go entirely smoke free. The ban will have its greatest impact in 13 bars and restaurants where smoking had previously been allowed. Most other areas of the airport banned smoking five years ago. Airport Chief of Staff Jeff Shull said the bars and restaurants are likely to lose some business from customers who like to light up while they eat and drink, but may attract nonsmokers who had stayed away. Passengers who now wish to smoke while waiting for a flight have to do it outside the terminal. Airport officials planned to notify passengers of the change in rules through public address announcements and flight information displays.
Posted on May 20, 2004
US Airways cuts more fares in Philly

US Airways cut one-way fares to Boston's Logan Airport from Philadelphia International to as low as $44 for coach and $299 for first-class. The Arlington, Va.-based airline, which is the dominant airline at Philadelphia International, operates 15 nonstop round-trip flights each day between Philadelphia and Boston. Dallas-based Southwest has posed a difficult challenge for US Airways, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last year and is struggling financially. As a way to compete with Southwest, US Airways has created a new "Go Fares" program at Philadelphia International that cuts its fares on the routes Southwest flies. At the same time, US Airways promotes that it offers advance seat assignments, first-class seats and in-flight meals -- all of which Southwest does not offer. But US Airways has not introduced Go Fares at Pittsburgh International Airport, where it also dominates service. In fact, US Airways has said it plans to reduce Pittsburgh International from a hub to a "focus" site. Southwest doesn't fly directly to Boston. It serves the Boston market with flights into Providence, R.I., and Manchester, N.H., both relatively short drives from Boston. Southwest, which began flights out of Philadelphia International May 9, is currently flying from Philadelphia to Providence, and beginning in July, it will fly from Philadelphia to Manchester. US Airways flies to both cities and has cut fares to Providence and is planning cuts to the Manchester route in response to Southwest's entrance into Philadelphia.
Posted on May 12, 2004
West Deptford residents raise noise over runway expansion

WEST DEPTFORD TWP. -- About three dozen residents attended a meeting Tuesday night at West Deptford High School concerning a multi-million dollar runway expansion project at Philadelphia International Airport. The project, expected to conclude by 2007 and cost between $40 to $50 million, would extend the 17-35 runway to the north by 600 feet and to the south by 440 feet. It's aimed at accommodating an increased number of regional jets and alleviating existing congestion, according to Federal Aviation Administration Spokesman Jim Peters. In 2002, 73,242 regional jets passed through Philadelphia International. By 2005, 134,700 are anticipated. "They're very cost effective to operate," Peters said of the 50-100 passenger aircraft. "The trend is we're seeing the operations get back up to where they were before 9-11." Judy Fish, West Deptford High School teacher and resident, said she attended the meeting because of concerns about increased noise with extra air traffic. "On certain evenings it's extremely noisy," Fish said. Officials said it was too early to determine noise impact since studies will not be complete until fall. In a prepared statement, Gov. James McGreevey asked the FAA to consider the airport's neighbors in Gloucester and Camden counties. "Preparing for future traffic needs is not always easy, but I'm sure a balance can be reached -- one in which the airport can meet its needs without channeling extra traffic and extra noise over New Jersey homes," McGreevey said. FAA officials said a $2.25 million grant will fund a pilot sound-proofing program -- that would fund new windows and doors -- for some Delaware County, Pennsylvania churches, schools, fire halls and residences in close proximity to the airport. Officials said the limits are approximately one and one half to two miles from the airport and said South Jersey residents would not qualify for sound-proofing.
Posted on May 12, 2004
Partying, picketing as Southwest takes off

More than 200 Southwest Airlines employees, chanting "Herbie! Herbie!", welcomed company chairman Herbert D. Kelleher as a conquering hero yesterday at a boisterous pep rally, staged by the carrier and Philadelphia International Airport, to formally launch the company's new service. At the same time, a more subdued group of three dozen Southwest flight attendants picketed on the sidewalk outside Southwest's Terminal E ticket counter, aiming to draw attention to their union's demand for better working conditions as part of a new contract. Southwest, the largest low-fare airline, started service from Philadelphia on Sunday with 14 nonstop flights to six cities. It plans to double that schedule, to 28 nonstop flights to 13 cities, on July 6. Southwest's service has launched an era of fiercer price competition than Philadelphia has seen since the early 1990s and the growth of US Airways. US Airways, which carried almost 60 percent of Philadelphia's passengers last year, and most other major airlines now are struggling, losing money by slashing fares in a desperate effort to keep up with Southwest and other low-fare carriers. According to new research by Eclat Consulting, a Reston, Va., aviation-consulting firm, Philadelphia-area residents will save more than $200 million a year on the routes Southwest will serve. The estimate was based on a comparison of average fares from Philadelphia in 2003 to fares Southwest charged from Baltimore-Washington International Airport to the same 13 cities it will serve from here. Yesterday's welcoming rally, on the bridge between Terminal E and a parking garage, was one of dozens of promotional events, large and small, across the region that Southwest has staged in recent weeks to introduce itself and sell tickets. Another example: Passengers on SEPTA's R1 train from the airport rode free yesterday, their $5.50 fares paid by Southwest. The noisy crowd on the bridge got so thick at one point, police officers had to clear paths for passengers loaded with bags who were trying to reach the terminal from the garage. As the crowd tossed confetti and blew noisemakers, Kelleher shouted: "I hereby declare Philadelphia free from the tyranny of high fares." Kelleher, a native of Haddon Heights who cofounded the king of discount airlines 33 years ago, is a cult hero to many of Southwest's employees. At several points, he was surrounded by workers, some wearing plastic airplanes on their heads, who wanted to shake his hand. Kelleher, 73, gets much of the credit for creating a consistently profitable company with a reputation for good labor relations. More than 90 percent of Southwest's employees are represented by unions, and their pay is about the same or a little more than other major airlines. After the rally, Kelleher and officials of the Transport Workers Union, which represents the flight attendants, said progress had been made in the contract talks since Kelleher became the company's lead negotiator two weeks ago. Kelleher said he took on the task at the request of Jim Parker, Southwest's vice chairman and chief executive officer, who had become a lightning rod for union criticism of the slow progress of the negotiations. The talks were suspended for three months in the winter and this spring. Parker "felt perhaps that the situation had become so personal, it was impeding the progress of negotiations," Kelleher said. "He asked me to step in, and we're back at the table." The flight attendants have worked without a contract for the last two years. Union officials said they were seeking higher wages for veteran attendants and more stock options, and for the workers to be paid for the time they spend cleaning airplane cabins. Attendants, who make from $14,000 to about $40,000 a year, now are paid only for time spent in flight. Union spokeswoman Brett Navarez said that the company's most recent contract offer was an improvement on what had been offered before and that the union had its own consultants studying it.
Posted on May 12, 2004
Lawmakers Concerned About Philly Airport Noise

WILMINGTON, DE (AP) State lawmakers from Brandywine Hundred are hoping their voices can be heard over the din of airplanes flying in and out of nearby Philadelphia International Airport. They'll introduce a resolution in the House tomorrow to form an eleven-member panel to study the noise issue. Lawmakers and residents say their quality of life is being adversely affected by low-flying planes, and the problem will only get worse under an airport expansion plans. The Federal Aviation Administration, accused by lawmakers of ignoring their concerns, will hold a series of informational meetings on the project beginning tomorrow night.
Posted on May 12, 2004
US Airways Begins To Simplify Philadelphia Airfares

By David Jonas MAY 10, 2004 -- US Airways this week officially began applying a new, simplified airfare structure for flights to and from its Philadelphia hub. The goal is to prevent passengers from jumping to Southwest Airlines, which yesterday launched services in the Philadelphia market. US Airways hinted at a wider rollout beyond Philadelphia but did not provide BTN with any specifics. The carrier said the new fares are designed to provide corporate travelers with the best of both worlds: competitively low fares in affected markets and ongoing corporate discounts in unaffected markets. "The new fares are significantly better than those offered through existing corporate deals," according to Doug Leo, US Airways vice president of sales and international. The new fare structure features one-way fares ranging from $29 to $499 that no longer require a Saturday night stay nor a roundtrip purchase (BTN, April 26). It is in place on flights between Philadelphia and Chicago O'Hare, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Providence and Tampa. It will be extended in July to Houston, Los Angeles, Manchester, New Orleans, Raleigh Durham and West Palm Beach. The new fares generally are sorted into five or six categories: three or four capacity-controlled advance purchase levels, a walk-up fare level and reduced first class fares. Because most of the new fares fall into lower buckets, they generally are excluded from corporate discount programs, though there could be occasions when a traveler in an impacted market uses a higher-bucket fare eligible for discount. "The structure of corporate contracts holds in this new environment, at least for now, as we have a mix of market types," Leo said. "In more traditionally priced markets, the corporate traveler still will get the fare that their contract calls for." In noting that corporate accounts also have access to special services desks and other privileges, Leo said the airline immediately would address any scenario in which the new fares are negatively impacting corporate client relationships. In competitive terms, the price points are, "in many instances, meaningfully higher than those offered by Southwest," according to J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Jamie Baker. "In the vernacular of pricing circles, this is known as charging a stupid premium. In the vernacular of airline executives, it is known as charging a yield premium for benefits passengers truly want, such as assigned seating, pre-boarding for elite flyers and the ability to pay $7 for a chicken caesar wrap." Rather than completely overhauling pricing across its entire network, as Alaska Airlines and America West have, US Airways thus far has limited the new structure to its second-largest hub. "We expect US Airways to take a more proactive approach to fare reform in the future, potentially damaging industry revenue trends along the way," Baker said. US Airways has been careful not to tip its hand. Leo said only that "the approximate low-fare model you see us previewing in Philadelphia is a sign of things to come, in general." Moreover, he said that "a richer mix" of low-fare markets—in "weeks, months or years"—could have more of a structural impact on traditional corporate programs.
Posted on May 12, 2004
LVIA keeping Southwest on radar

The arrival of low-cost juggernaut carrier Southwest Airlines at Philadelphia International Airport today has touched off a fare war that could dramatically alter air travel in the region. Tens of thousands of Lehigh Valley residents who travel by air will now have another reason to consider flying out of Philadelphia. They will see low fares by Southwest, including inexpensive last-minute flights, and decreasing fares by other airlines. And the arrival of the Dallas-based airline at Philadelphia threatens to draw passengers from Lehigh Valley International Airport. Southwest has revolutionized the airline industry by eschewing the hub-and-spoke system favored by the established carriers that forces passengers to fly through central cities to get to outlying destinations. The carrier, which has been profitable since it began service in the early 1970s and was one of the only major airlines to declare a profit in 2003, has won legions of faithful customers by offering rock-bottom fares on short-distance flights. Southwest kicks off its service at Philadelphia today with 14 daily nonstop flights to Chicago; Las Vegas; Orlando, Fla.; Providence, R.I.; Phoenix; and Tampa Bay, Fla. The highest price a passenger will pay for a one-way ticket on Southwest is $299 — even at the last minute. Most fares cost between $49 and $199. Unlike many flights at LVIA, Southwest's first round of departures from Philadelphia will be nonstop. It will go head-to-head in Philadelphia with US Airways. The discount carrier already won a significant battle against US Airways when it replaced it as the leading airline at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Philadelphia, however, is US Airways' most important airport. ''There could be a really good fight and in that case, the passenger always benefits,'' said David Plavin, president of Airports Council International. For many consumers living an hour away in the Lehigh Valley, Southwest's flights from Philadelphia will make flying a real alternative to driving. ''It brings a lot of people to the table,'' said Tami L. Smith-Cericola of Lehigh Travel in Bethlehem. Many travelers in the Lehigh Valley already fly out of Philadelphia because it provides access to 29 airlines, has plenty of international destinations and is sometimes cheaper than LVIA in Hanover Township, Lehigh County. Now, Smith-Cericola said, Southwest's local advertising is fueling desire. ''They would not travel down there if it is only $20 or $30 less. But if the price is right, they will go down there,'' said Hildegard Bothner, owner of Nomad Travel in Whitehall Township. Other airlines' fares have already dropped in Philadelphia to compete with Southwest. At the end of last month, US Airways introduced GoFares, which start at $29 one way. Boost in airport traffic Founded in 1971 to connect cities in Texas by air, Southwest does things its own way. There is no first-class service and seats are not assigned. Travelers cannot purchase tickets on Southwest via popular Internet search engines such as Expedia or Travelocity. The airline does not fly internationally and has no plans to do so. But it has launched a major marketing campaign in this region that is getting people's attention. ''What they have found is people are willing to drive up to two hours to get lower fares,'' said John Pincavage, a Westport, Conn., airline analyst. ''No one else so far of the low-fare guys has been able to go into a market with as many flights to get a market off the ground as Southwest has.'' The entry of Southwest into a marketplace has been known to boost passenger traffic at an airport 30 percent over the first two years. With 24.6 million passengers in 2003, Philadelphia was ranked the world's 30th-busiest airport, according to preliminary statistics from Airport Councils International. Southwest could bump Philadelphia up on the list. Frontier Airlines will also begin service at Philadelphia International Airport this month with flights to Denver and Los Angeles. Taking aim at US Airways Philadelphia presents a challenge for Southwest because it is the first time it has entered a major market to deliberately unseat an incumbent carrier. Many customers rely on US Airways' wide network of destinations, including cities abroad that Southwest does not serve. Southwest itself is experiencing uncharacteristic behind-the-scenes problems with its flight attendants, who are planning to demonstrate against their employer in Philadelphia to protest unpaid cleaning duties they say they are forced to take on. But Southwest saw a relatively easy target in US Airways, which reorganized under bankruptcy proceedings last year and has been struggling to cut costs. Former US Airways Chief Executive Officer David Siegel made headlines in March when he said Southwest is coming to Philadelphia to ''kill'' his airline. Experts say there is a real possibility that will happen. ''It is a high-cost carrier,'' Plavin of Airports Council International said of US Airways. ''It typically can't make money charging the type of fares that Southwest charges.'' Other carriers will be affected less by Southwest's arrival than US Airways because that airline has the lion's share of flights out of Philadelphia. An airline typically controls at least two-thirds of the flights out of its hub airport. Other airlines in Philadelphia use the airport as a ''spoke'' city to connect to their hub airports. Most major carriers, however, have dramatically lowered their fares nationwide since low-fare carriers such as Southwest have had such success. Southwest trumps all the established airlines in terms of efficiency. The airline flies only one type of plane, which cuts down on required training for pilots and maintenance personnel. American Airlines and other carriers fly three or four types of aircraft. Southwest's jets are in use 12 to 14 hours a day. Its higher-fare competitors fly their planes only about 10 hours a day, said Pincavage, the airline analyst. The airline is able to turn around its aircraft more easily, in part because it does not fly the longer routes. That means more routes flown each day, which translates into more revenue. ''Southwest Airlines is more efficient because they are more productive,'' Pincavage said. Concern at LVIA Officials at LVIA say they are closely watching Southwest's arrival in Philadelphia. LVIA already loses some passengers, typically those who live south of the Valley, to Philadelphia. ''I think we have to be concerned at some level,'' said George Doughty, executive director of Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority, which operates LVIA. Doughty, who had lobbied Southwest to come to LVIA, said a lot depends on how US Airways responds. If the airline lowers fares at LVIA, it would diminish the number of people who decide to switch to Southwest. ''If keeps trying to push a premium fare up here, then we will see a decline up here,'' Doughty said. He hopes Lehigh Valley travelers consider the hassle of flying out of Philadelphia. The airport is at least an hour away by car, and parking there is more expensive. The Philadelphia airport charges for items like a luggage cart; LVIA does not. Smith-Cericola of Lehigh Travel said her customers value LVIA's convenience. ''In terms of our Lehigh Valley customers, they would prefer to fly out of Allentown,'' she said. ''But due to airfares and competition, they end up driving to Newark and Philadelphia.'' Benefit for businesses? Large area businesses such as Air Products and Chemicals plan to take advantage of the lower fares coming to Philadelphia. But for a small company operating on a tight budget, Southwest can be a boon. Eric Eisenhut, president of North Sea Resins in Bethlehem, a division of MedHesives Inc., said he checks airline ticket fares at the airports in Philadelphia, the Lehigh Valley and Newark to get the lowest prices. As head of a startup company in the Ben Franklin incubator at Lehigh University, Eisenhut said getting the lowest fare is the most important aspect of flying for business. ''Knowing that Southwest is there will force rates down whether we fly Southwest or not,'' said Eisenhut, of Philadelphia. ''It just changes the fare structure. It forces everyone else to offer incentives.'' Eisenhut is not so much a denizen of Southwest as a hunter of low fares. He travels every six to eight weeks, about 50 percent of the time out of Newark Liberty International Airport. He enjoys the convenience of LVIA but can't always find the lowest fare there. Potential fallout In July, Southwest will expand its schedule at Philadelphia to 28 daily nonstop flights. It is expected to add departures on a regular basis. But if US Airways crumbles, experts said, Southwest is in no position to take on all of the airline's destinations. ''There is nothing great about US Airways failing,'' said Doughty of LVIA. ''It would be great if they develop a new route structure and lower fares, both of which they are talking about doing now.'' Experts say it will take a while for the Philadelphia airport to get back on its feet if US Airways pulls out of the market or dramatically reduces its flight schedule there. Other airlines will need time to adjust their schedules in order to take over new departure cities from US Airways. ''I would guess for the airport authority for some period of time the passenger counts would drop and so would revenue from sales of newspapers, food, parking, and what have you,'' said Pincavage. ''Could it take six months? Could it take a year? Sure.'' Philadelphia International Airport is prepared for increased passenger traffic because of Southwest. It has added personnel, expanding the security checkpoint and making improvements to the ticketing area in Terminal E, where Southwest will be based. Airport spokesman Mark Pesce said the airport has given Southwest four departure gates to start. The airport said it will revisit the issue to see if it needs to reallocate gates. For the time being, Philadelphia and Southwest are reveling in the attention of the launch. ''For a city size, there should be more people flying but they can't afford it,'' said Southwest spokesman Ed Stewart. ''There is some serious pent-up demand in Philadelphia.'' LVIA officials are hopeful the arrival of Southwest in Philadelphia will not derail its comeback. The airport is on track to reach its goal of 1 million passengers this year for the first time since 2000
Posted on May 03, 2004
US Airways launches Philly campaign

US Airways Group Inc. has retained Baltimore-based Eisner Communications to help turn back a challenge by Southwest Airlines in Philadelphia. Dallas-based Southwest will begin service at Philadelphia International Airport in May and is expected to make a serious challenge to US Airways, the airport's dominant carrier. Eisner will develop an ad campaign for US Airways' recently introduced "GoFares," which offer substantial discounts to travelers. The campaign will include television, radio, outdoor, transit and interactive ads. It will also employ a "buzz" marketing campaign that will see US Airways giving away pizza, car washes and Philly cheesesteaks. Eisner officials say the idea behind the campaign is to help US Airways "shed the business, pinstripe and straitjacket image" and survive the challenge from Southwest.
Posted on May 03, 2004
Door Malfunctions on Commuter Plane

ALLENTOWN, Pa. May 4, 2004 — A US Airways commuter plane turned around shortly after departing from Lehigh Valley International Airport on Monday when a door malfunctioned, officials said. No injuries were reported among the 27 passengers and three crew members on the Dornier 328 twin-engine turboprop aircraft bound for Philadelphia. But one passenger was treated at the Allentown airport for an asthma attack, said Susan Kittle, a spokeswoman for Lehigh Valley International Airport. US Airways Flight 2447 returned to the airport several minutes after taking off from Lehigh Valley at around noon, Kittle said. She said details of the door malfunction were not immediately available. The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the incident.
Posted on May 03, 2004
More visitors from abroad are loving Philadelphia

A six-year effort to promote Philadelphia as a fun and glamourous leisure-travel destination for Europeans is beginning to pay off, according to data to be released today by the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. Philadelphia moved into 10th place in 2003 on the list of U.S. cities visited by citizens of foreign countries, bureau officials said. The number of visitors to Philadelphia from Western Europe increased 4 percent in 2003, they said. Philadelphia was in 13th place in 2002, but as recently as 2000 ranked 21st on the list, kept by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Travel and Tourism. Visitors from Western Europe to the United States rose 1 percent in 2003, while the number of travelers from all foreign countries fell by 6 percent, the Office of Travel and Tourism said. International travel has been depressed by the war in Iraq, the threat of SARS, and a weak economy. Foreign visitors are important to the region's hospitality business because they usually stay twice as long and spend more money than the average domestic tourist or business traveler, said Sam Rogers, vice president of the bureau's tourism division. The average European visitor spends about $86 a day, compared with $75 for a U.S. resident, and stays four days rather than two, he said. Philadelphia had about 400,000 international visitors last year, the majority of them from Europe. The visitors bureau estimates that spending by the travelers from abroad added about $259 million to the regional economy. Rogers said the increase in visits could be traced to several developments during the last few years, including US Airways' increasing flights to 11 European cities; construction of additional hotel rooms; and heavy promotion in Europe among tour operators, travel agents, and the travel media. The bureau has used about $3 million from the Delaware River Port Authority, the state Commerce Department, and its own coffers to advertise heavily in Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands, and to do a wide range of other promotional activities, Rogers said. Practically every week, the bureau, US Airways and local hotels pool resources to bring travel agents, tour operators and travel journalists to Philadelphia on free or discounted trips, where they go to the best restaurants, stay in elegant hotels, and are bused to the major tourist attractions, he said. "With the additional US Airways service, and the opening of the international terminal at the airport, the quality of Philadelphia as an international destination improved and gave us the base on which to promote," he said. New York leads all U.S. cities in visits by foreigners, followed by Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Miami, Washington, Boston and Chicago.
Posted on April 30, 2004
Philadelphia International Airport Goes Smoke-Free

Beginning Saturday, smoking will no longer be allowed at Philadelphia International Airport. The airport is going totally smoke-free. Many people are happy about the decision. "I think it is a wonderful thing," said Joann Wilkins. "I'm a former smoker and I also work for the wellness community. We help people with cancer, so to see environments being smoke-free is a wonderful thing." But others say the plan is unfair and they should be allowed to smoke in specific areas. The only place you will be allowed to smoke is outside the building.
Posted on April 30, 2004
FTA Offers $2.5M to Reduce Philadelphia Airport Noise

(Washington, D-C-AP) April 27, 2004 — The U-S Department of Transportation's Federal Transit Administration has approved two-point-five (m) million dollars to help with efforts to cut down on noise at the Philadelphia International Airport. The award will provide funding for Phase One of noise mitigation measures that will affect residences near the airport. U-S Senator Rick Santorum says the funding is necessary to ensure that communities close to the airport can enjoy a better living environment.
Posted on April 27, 2004
US Airways to Become Full Member of Star Alliance on May 4

"US Airways will significantly strengthen our network and product offering especially into and out of the eastern U.S. seaboard and the Caribbean via its hubs in Philadelphia, Charlotte and Pittsburgh," said Jaan Albrecht, CEO of Star Alliance. "Additionally, experience has shown that US Airways and other member carriers will see an increase in traffic and revenue as more frequent fliers take advantage of the vast array of benefits the Star Alliance network has to offer." "Joining Star Alliance is an important and historic milestone for US Airways and we could not be more excited about joining the world's leading alliance," Bruce R. Lakefield, president & chief executive officer of US Airways. "Our customers will enjoy unprecedented global access and frequent flier benefits, and our company will benefit from the additional revenue and cost saving opportunities that the alliance provides." US Airways offers nearly 3,300 daily non-stop flights to 187 destinations in the U.S., Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, Canada and Mexico. Once it joins, the Star Alliance network will comprise 14,000 flights per day to 755 destinations in 132 countries across the globe, in addition to 575 airport lounges worldwide. With US Airways as part of Star Alliance, its frequent fliers will now be able to accrue and redeem miles on any of the 15 member airlines and will be eligible to achieve Star Alliance Silver or Star Alliance Gold status. US Airways Dividend Miles Chairman's Preferred and Gold Preferred members automatically become Star Gold members, and Silver Preferred members will be recognized as Star Silver members. Star Alliance Silver status entitles customers to priority reservation wait-list and priority standby at the airport. Star Alliance Gold status customers additionally enjoy access to each of the member airline lounges, dedicated check-in, priority baggage service, additional baggage allowances, and priority boarding. As a member of Star Alliance, US Airways also will have the opportunity to participate in a wide range of cost saving initiatives, such as fuel purchasing and media procurement, with other member carriers. Another important advantage to US Airways passengers, said Albrecht, is that Star Alliance member airlines provide coordinated schedules at conveniently located airports, which can dramatically reduce connection times at key hubs across the network. Star Alliance was established in 1997 as the first truly global airline alliance to offer customers global reach and a smooth travel experience. The members are Air Canada, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, bmi, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Spanair, Thai Airways International, United, and VARIG Brazilian Airlines. US Airways is the seventh-largest airline in the U.S., serving nearly 200 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and the US Airways Express partner carriers operate over 3,200 flights per day.
Posted on April 25, 2004
Hooters Air could wing into Pittsburgh

The president of Hooters Air, the airline affiliated with the Hooters restaurant chain, is looking to expand into Pennsylvania and possibly Pittsburgh. Mark Peterson yesterday said the carrier hopes to move into a city in Pennsylvania "very shortly" and that Pittsburgh is among the cities under consideration. Its route network now includes Atlanta, Baltimore, Columbus, Ohio, Fort Myers, Fla., Gary, Ind., Newark, N.J., Nassau, and its Myrtle Beach, S.C., headquarters. "We like Pittsburgh. Myrtle Beach draws a lot of people from Pittsburgh down here," Peterson said in an interview. "We think that market has great possibilities." A number of factors will go into the decision and timing of the move, Peterson said, including the economy, world events and the existing air service in a community. "There are a number of other cities in Pennsylvania we certainly would look at," he said, mentioning Philadelphia and Allentown. "They're all good markets." Hooters Air, which advertises "two Hooters girls on every flight" and a "great experience that enlivens the senses and puts the fun back in flying," began service in March 2003. It offers one-way fares as low as $99. The carrier uses Boeing 737s for most flights, but added a Boeing 757 to its small fleet last fall. Peterson gave no specific timetable for expanding into Pennsylvania. He said he has not had conversations with Pittsburgh International Airport officials for some time, although he cautioned against reading too much into that. "We've been in business now since March [2003]. We were interested in Pittsburgh then, and we're interested in Pittsburgh now," he said. Allegheny County Airport Authority Executive Director Kent George could not be reached for comment. Spokeswoman JoAnn Jenny said the authority had sent an air service development proposal to Hooters Air in December or January. The authority has been trying aggressively to recruit new carriers to offset the potential loss of money-losing US Airways, the region's dominant airline. A Hooters Air spokeswoman had said about two months ago that the carrier had no interest in Pittsburgh.
Posted on April 16, 2004
Southwest Airlines Pondering a Bigger Start in Philadelphia

Southwest Airlines said yesterday that it was considering adding more flights from Philadelphia International Airport, where it plans to begin service next month, and said that it believed the city could become one of its major destinations. The announcement highlights the continued heated competition between major airlines and low-fare carriers. Southwest's chief financial officer, Gary C. Kelly, said Philadelphia had the potential to rank with Baltimore-Washington International Airport as one of his airline's biggest destinations. In the 1990's, Southwest edged out US Airways to become the biggest carrier serving Baltimore. Southwest, the nation's largest low-fare carrier and the sixth-largest domestic airline, will start Philadelphia service on May 9, reaching 28 departures a day to 14 cities by July. Its original plan, announced last October, was to serve six cities with 14 departures a day. Its moves have set off a flurry of activity at an airport long dominated by US Airways, the seventh-largest airline, which uses Philadelphia as one of its three hubs. US Airways, which has 375 daily departures from Philadelphia, has responded by increasing flights to the destinations served by Southwest, and dropping fares on those routes. Frontier Airlines, meanwhile, announced that it would begin service to Philadelphia from Denver and Los Angeles on May 23. Also yesterday, Delta Air Lines said it would offer 15 flights a day from Atlanta to Philadelphia beginning June 1, up from 11 now. That effort is aimed more at competing with AirTran, which serves the same route, than Southwest, which does not fly to Atlanta. But Delta's action illustrates the newfound seriousness with which the industry is viewing Philadelphia. US Airways chief executive, David N. Siegel, has used Southwest's imminent arrival as a rallying cry in his bid to wrest a third round of contract concessions from his airline's unions. Last month, Mr. Siegel declared on an employee telecast that Southwest was "coming to kill us." In a conference call yesterday, Mr. Kelly said the expansion in Philadelphia was the first time in Southwest's history that it had added flights from a new market before it had begun service there. He said advance reservations were the strongest ever for the airline at a new city. "Are we thinking about more flights? Well, yeah, based on the way things seem to be," Mr. Kelly said. The increase could be sharp. Mr. Kelly noted that Southwest began service in Baltimore in 1993 with eight departing flights a day. It now offers 162, making Baltimore the airline's third-biggest destination, behind Las Vegas and Phoenix. "Can we do that with Philadelphia in theory? We don't have a plan that says 162, but it is that kind of potential, and we'll see where things play out," Mr. Kelly said. Mr. Kelly's comments came as Southwest said it earned $26 million during the first quarter, slightly better than the $24 million it earned a year ago. It was the airline's 52nd consecutive quarterly profit. But while Southwest was more than 80 percent hedged against jet fuel prices, which have climbed more than 41 percent in the last year, Mr. Kelly said the issue was still affecting the airline's results. "Our costs are up; we're not happy about that," Mr. Kelly said. He acknowledged that the airline would spend more on advertising in the second quarter, as it begins service from Philadelphia. But he said he hoped stronger business during the summer would offset the expense. Continental Airlines, meanwhile, said higher jet fuel costs were the major factor in its $124 million loss. That was about half the airline's $221 million loss in the first quarter last year. Continental had hoped to break even for 2004, a prospect executives say is vanishing as fuel prices rise. In addition, United Airlines, which is under bankruptcy protection, forecast yesterday that its jet fuel costs in 2004 would be $450 million more than expected when it drafted a business plan in mid-December. The plan formed the basis of United's application for $1.6 billion in federally backed loans. United made the disclosure in documents filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court in Chicago.
Posted on April 16, 2004
Neighbors decry airport expansion

Residents complained of vibrating houses, cracked walls and unusable decks last night at the last of three meetings in the Philadelphia region detailing the expansion at Philadelphia International Airport, which is plagued by chronic delays. "I know that it's progress. But there has to be a way everyone could be considered," said Nancy Knorr, who moved into her home in Tinicum Township, which holds two-thirds of the airport, 11 years ago. "Nobody wants to buy my house." The four-hour meeting in Ridley Township had attracted about 100 people by its halfway point. Many of the residents who moved among poster-board maps and charts to ask questions of airport officials and consultants said they were growing weary of meetings. The Federal Aviation Administration held meetings over the summer to get input from residents about expansion plans. The FAA held meetings this week in Paulsboro, Gloucester County, and Claymont, Del., to inform residents of the project's progress. Those communities would be affected by air traffic. Robert Rein of Tinicum said last night's meeting frustrated him. "It's bogus. They tell you this and they tell you that," he said. Rein wants the FAA to pay for his house so he can move away. He said the noise was not as bad two years ago when he built a deck. "You can't even have a conversation there now," he said. The FAA has said the expansion was necessary to decrease the current average 10-minute delay in flights. Philadelphia's airport ranks sixth-worst in the nation for delays, and that creates a domino effect for airports across the country. "Basically, by the year 2020, the delays could increase to upwards of 20 minutes per flight on average," said Alan R. A'Hara, vice president of DMJM Aviation, the city's expansion consultant. Neighbors of the airport have long complained of noise and pollution from jets. Both expansion proposals under consideration include acquiring land in Tinicum Township, which has about five square miles and 4,300 residents. Over the last year, the city and its consulting firm have narrowed 29 expansion options at the 2,300-acre airport to two: the parallel and the diagonal concepts. The parallel option would maintain the airport's current configuration of runways, while extending them and adding one. The diagonal option would reconfigure the airport entirely, building runways that would cut diagonally across the current ones. Expansion is expected to be complete between 2012 and 2015. Before the city begins, however, it plans to provide a short-term fix to the delay problem by extending a runway previously used mainly for propeller planes. The expansion of Runway 17-35 should be complete by 2006 or 2007, officials said. In Paulsboro, most of the two dozen or so questions submitted on cards were of a general nature, about the way air traffic moves over South Jersey now. Only a few got specific. "You're only lengthening it to get in the larger planes," Paulsboro Councilman John Gentile said. "The larger planes are going to cause more noise." Philadelphia Aviation Director Charles J. Isdell said at the New Jersey meeting that the airport had no authority to keep any airline - including new entrants to the market such as Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines, both of which will begin service to Philadelphia in May - from operating as many flights as it wants to. Airport officials said more public meetings would be held in the fall, when a draft environmental-impact statement is ready. Last night, Janette Dziadon of Rose Valley said she worried about the future. "My concern is that once expansion starts, it's never going to stop."
Posted on April 14, 2004
Southwest aims to expand in Philly

Southwest Airlines Inc. wants to grow beyond the 28 flights per day it plans for Philadelphia International Airport by July, but the discount airline would have to obtain more gates to do so. Southwest Chairman Herb Kelleher said at a business breakfast Wednesday in Philadelphia that the Dallas-based company would have to expand beyond the four gates it has at Philadelphia International in order to add additional flights. The breakfast, which featured Kelleher as the keynote speaker, was organized by talk radio station WPHT (1210-AM). The Philadelphia Business Journal, an affiliated publication to the Dallas Business Journal, was one of the sponsors of the event. Southwest will begin 14 daily nonstop flights starting May 9, and an additional 14 daily nonstop flights will begin in July. Destination cities include Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, New Orleans, Phoenix and Providence, R.I., among others. "We'll be trying to get additional space at Philadelphia International as time goes on," Kelleher said. Kelleher said Southwest has no official plans for new flights beyond the 28 announced, and any expansion would not occur for another eight to 10 months. Philadelphia International has 120 gates, and US Airways operates roughly 80 of them. Kelleher noted that it took Southwest six to seven years to grow its operations at Baltimore/Washington International Airport, where it is now the dominant airline. Southwest has 161 daily nonstop flights out of BWI and operates 19 gates there with more than 2,500 employees. The Southwest Web site says that, in addition to the four gates it operates at Philadelphia International, it has 100 employees there. Southwest's entrance into Philadelphia -- and any further expansion at Philadelphia International -- is expected to create tough competition for US Airways, which is the dominant local carrier with 375 daily nonstop flights and 5,500 employees.
Posted on April 14, 2004
Agency briefs Paulsboro group on runway plan

About two dozen people gathered at Paulsboro High School Tuesday night to learn how Philadelphia International Airport operates. The meeting was a precursor to a proposal by the airport to extend one of its runways as a short-term solution to eliminate take-off and arrival delays. The focus of these public hearings is to gather information, good or bad, from people living around the airport in Philadelphia, Delaware and New Jersey. Paulsboro lies directly across the Delaware River from the airport's runways. "Tonight's presentation is to educate just how the airport operates, how the airlines make their schedules, what are some of its problems and what can be done to eliminate them," said Jim Peters, a spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. "This meeting is one of three over the next several days that will become part of the preparation of two separate environmental impact statements on proposed improvements at the airport," Peterson said. One project is aimed at eliminating delays at the airport by expanding one runway. "I'm just here to find out what is what. Up until now, I thought this was a proposal by the FAA, now I find out that its a Philadelphia proposal. They're just here because the airport gets federal funding," said Paulsboro Councilman Joel Kidd said. Another visitor to the meeting, Gordon Beyerleof Williamstown, who came to the meeting with his wife, said they came "just to get information about the proposal."ADVERTISEMENT - CLICK TO ENLARGE OR VISIT WEBSITE Featured Advertisers All Shore Cynthia Sharp Dr. Manara Foster And Gross Oskar Huber OPTION value="http://www.lourdeswellnesscenter.org">Our Lady of Lourdes Swim Mor Advertise with us! The next major step will be the impact statement, which will be made public in May. That will concern the short-term solution to eliminate delays by extending Runway 17-35 by 1,400 feet to a length of 6,500 feet, allowing some jets that currently have to use the airports two main runways to use that runway for takeoffs and landings.
Posted on April 14, 2004
AIRTRAN AIRWAYS ANNOUNCES ENHANCED SERVICE BETWEEN BOSTON'S LOGAN INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AND PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT; NEW DAILY NONSTOP FLIGHT BEGINS JULY 1

AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI), today announced that, effective July 1, 2004, the low-fare airline will enhance service between Boston's Logan International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport by adding a fourth daily nonstop flight. In addition, the airline will increase frequency of a fifth flight to operate four times a week. All flights will be operated with new Boeing 717 jet aircraft. "We are pleased to enhance our service in the Philadelphia and Boston markets. Our convenient schedule, and quality brand of everyday low-fare service, is a popular choice for both business and leisure travelers," said John Kirby, AirTran Airways director of network planning. Service effective July 1, 2004:
Flight Departs Arrives Frequency
----------------------------------------------------------------------
345 9:55 a.m. 11:25 a.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
797(i) 1:37 p.m. 3:00 p.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
775 3:30 p.m. 5:02 p.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
341 7:34 p.m. 9:04 p.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
280(i) 9:30 p.m. 10:53 p.m. Mon, Thu,Fri and Sun
----------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) Denotes new service starting July 1, 2004.


Philadelphia to Boston Nonstop Service

Flight Departs Arrives Frequency
----------------------------------------------------------------------
510 7:55 a.m. 9:20 a.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
796(i) 11:48 a.m. 1:02 p.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
794 1:32 p.m. 2:52 p.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
780 5:37 p.m. 6:59 p.m. Daily
----------------------------------------------------------------------
782(i) 9:20 p.m. 10:40 p.m. Mon, Thu,Fri and Sun
----------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) Denotes new service starting July 1, 2004.

AirTran Airways is one of America's largest low-fare airlines - employing more than 5,600 professional Crew Members and operating 531 flights a day to 45 destinations. The airline's hub is at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport by passenger volume, where it is the second largest carrier operating 197 flights per day. AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings (NYSE:AAI), is the world's largest operator of the Boeing 717 and has America's youngest all-Boeing fleet. In 2004, the airline will begin taking delivery of new Boeing 737-700s. For reservations or more information, visit http://www.airtran.com (America Online Keyword: AirTran).
Posted on April 14, 2004
MidAtlantic Airways debuts

MidAtlantic Airways, US Airways new regional jet division, officially takes off this morning with a quiet ribbon-cutting and a 7:45 a.m. flight from Pittsburgh International Airport to Albany, N.Y.
Here is what to expect:
The strategy
Annie O'Neill, Post-Gazette The deployment of MidAtlantic's regional jets, which mimic the service of normal jets but are smaller and cheaper to operate, is a critical part of US Airways' strategy to boost revenue and regain profitability as a company. US Airways relies on a number of short-haul routes to connect smaller cities to its major hubs, and while the smaller communities are important to US Airways' route network, they typically do not generate enough traffic to fill the larger, costlier mainline jets. Sometimes, turboprops are used to make the short flights but US Airways believes passengers prefer the larger, roomier and quieter regional jets.
The jets
MidAtlantic is using 72-seat Embraer 170 regional jets made by Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica of Brazil. US Airways ordered 85 of the planes in May 2003, agreeing to pay $2.1 billion. Three of the planes have already arrived at Pittsburgh International, dressed in the familiar US Airways colors of dark blue, red and gray. The cabin's elliptical design allows for two seats on either side of the aisle and offers plenty of leg and head room. Each plane can fly a distance of 2,000 miles without refueling.
The flights
Initial service starting this Sunday will be from Pittsburgh to Albany, Atlanta, Boston, Nashville, Newark, N.J. and Syracuse. MidAtlantic also will be flying from Philadelphia to Kansas City and Syracuse. Starting May 2, MidAtlantic will add flights from Pittsburgh to Buffalo, N.Y., Kansas City and Philadelphia. By June, MidAtlantic is expected to be flying 24 routes from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
The prices
Although MidAtlantic will fly under the airline's US Airways Express commuter banner, fares will not vary from prices on the rest of US Airways' mainline fleet. On Friday, one-way fares for MidAtlantic's opening day ranged from $193 to $554, according to online travel site Travelocity.com.
The pilots
All of MidAtlantic's flying will be done by furloughed US Airways pilots. Pilots flying MidAtlantic as captains will make about $58,000, which is about half of what they would make flying a larger mainline jet. Pay for all MidAtlantic workers is about half of their mainline counterparts at US Airways.
The hub
US Airways said in 2002 that it wanted to place MidAtlantic in Pittsburgh and make it a hub for the regional jet division, perhaps employing 500 to start and thousands over time. But the scope of its operations at the airport remains in doubt, according to Airport Authority director Kent George, who cites the airline's recent decision to put two regional jet simulators in Charlotte, N.C., as a sign that US Airways may be backing away from its original promises. Still, US Airways currently employs 244 MidAtlantic workers in the Pittsburgh area, 229 of whom had been laid off by US Airways, and it keeps a MidAtlantic headquarters near the airport.
Posted on April 1, 2004
FAA won't fine erratic pilot

The Federal Aviation Administration will levy no further penalties against John V. Salamone, who disrupted air traffic when he flew his single-engine plane erratically through Philadelphia airspace in January, allegedly while drunk. However, Salamone should stand trial on criminal charges of reckless endangerment and risking a catastrophe, a Montgomery County judge ruled yesterday. The FAA won't fine Salamone for violating FAA regulations during his flight from Pottstown to Atlantic City on Jan. 15, Thomas J. Lahovski, an aviation safety inspector with the FAA, testified in Montgomery County Court during a hearing on criminal charges filed against Salamone by state prosecutors. "These are the only proceedings," Lahovski said. "They have decided not to impose civil penalties." Jim Peters, a spokesman with the FAA in New York, said the agency chose "the more serious option" of revoking Salamone's commercial pilot's certificate over imposing a fine. The FAA revoked Salamone's certificate a week after his flight. Montgomery County Court Judge Richard Hodgson ruled yesterday that prosecutors had gathered enough evidence to support criminal charges. "If we don't get to prosecute, nobody else does," said John Gradel, Montgomery County assistant district attorney. If convicted, Salamone could receive a maximum of nine years in prison, Gradel said. According to the FAA, controllers at Philadelphia International Airport had to divert air traffic to avoid Salamone's plane as it buzzed through restricted airspace. At one point, Salamone's plane came within a half-mile of a 37-passenger USAirways plane. Salamone's blood-alcohol level at the time was 0.15 percent, police said. Pennsylvania drivers are considered intoxicated at .08. His blood also contained Valium, according to court records. A district justice dismissed drunken-driving charges against Salamone earlier this month, saying airspace is not equivalent to public highways. Joseph Green, Salamone's attorney, had filed court papers asking Hodgson to dismiss the state charges. He contended that the FAA had sole authority over regulating pilots. Hodgson disagreed, saying that case law provided no clear answer. He ruled that, in this case, the state's authority is "concurrent" with the federal government's. Salamone, 44, of North Coventry, Chester County, asked the court to return his plane so that he could sell it. Prosecutors had refused to release the plane to Salamone, Green said. Hodgson granted attorneys leave to work out a compromise so that a deal can be struck with a buyer. The plane has been in storage at Pottstown-Limerick Airport. Chris Jordan, an airport official, said Salamone had been charged $400 a month to house the white-and-red Piper Cherokee, valued at $40,000. "That's just flat-out wrong," Hodgson said. U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter asked the FAA in February to explain its response to Salamone's flight. That response is expected in early April.
Posted on April 1, 2004
Cortez named local head of US Airways

US Airways has installed a new leader at Philadelphia International Airport. The Arlington, Va.-based airline, which is the dominant carrier at Philadelphia International, said Frank Cortez, who was involved in improving operational performance at the airport, was named managing director of US Airways' Philadelphia operations. US Airways said in a statement the position was "recently vacated." US Airways spokesman David Castelveter said Rick Pelc, the previous managing director, left for a job with another airline at the end of February. US Airways, which employs 5,500 people in Philadelphia, operates 375 daily nonstop flights out of Philadelphia International. But it is coming under increasing pressure from low-cost airlines such as Southwest Airlines of Dallas to cut prices and trim costs. "Frank is a highly experienced veteran of the aviation industry and a strong leader with a proven track record," Al Crellin, US Airways executive vice president of operations, said in a statement. Southwest is scheduled to start 14 nonstop daily flights out of Philadelphia to six cities beginning in May. In July, the airline will double the number of flights and add additional cities. US Airways, which has said it is considering selling major assets to cut costs, emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003. But it has been aggressive in trying to compete with Southwest. In response to Southwest's entrance into the Philadelphia market, US Airways added flights to the cities that Southwest is targeting, including Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Providence, R.I. Another low-cost carrier, Frontier Airlines of Denver, also is going to start service out of Philadelphia International, with nonstop flights to Denver and Los Angeles beginning in May. US Airways also announced that it named Keith D. Houk CEO of the combined Allegheny/Piedmont Airlines. Harrisburg-based Allegheny Airlines is being merged into Piedmont Airlines of Salisbury, Md., and will operate under the Piedmont name. Both are regional airlines owned by US Airways. US Airways said it will continue to consolidate the management teams of both carriers. Piedmont CEO John F. Leonard was scheduled to retire Wednesday.
Posted on April 1, 2004
V-22 fuselage a done deal at Boeing Co.

RIDLEY TOWNSHIP -- Boeing Co. workers took a rare break Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the completion of a V-22 Osprey fuselage modified for Air Force Special Operations testing. The project had been on a fast track since the House Armed Services Committee recommended it in April 2003. Speaking at Tuesday’s ceremony, Boeing’s V-22 program manager, Dan Korte, said the project demonstrated the "power and capability" of the engineers, managers and union workers at the plant. "We did what we said we were going to do," Korte said. "That’s one thing this Philadelphia work force is known for. Once we commit to something, we make it happen, we do it." The aircraft’s fuselage will be shipped to Philadelphia International Airport today and flown to Amarillo, Texas, Friday for completion at the Bell Helicopter plant. By November, Air Force Special Operations will receive the finished CV-22, a modified version of the standard V-22 that will be used for flight testing. Workers at the Ridley Township plant said the condensed schedule for the high-demand aircraft made for grueling workweeks. "It was seven days a week, 12-hour days, 10-hour days, from August until last week," said Darby Township resident Bud DeLancey, a member of United Aerospace Workers Local 1069 who performs sealant work at the plant. "We just kept it going. Not just us, but everybody, it was teamwork between everybody." For Steve Hartman, who has been at the plant since the Vietnam War, working on the CV-22 reminded him of "back in the day," when the plant would churn out Chinook helicopters at an accelerated pace. "We’re used to the Chinook schedule, when we would put out a Chinook every four or five days," DeLancey said. "So it was more like that tempo, which we love." After the ceremony, Korte said the V-22 program was on schedule for the June 22 Defense Acquisition Board meeting, when the Pentagon could make further purchasing decisions. The Pentagon is already prepared to purchase 152 of the tilt-rotor V-22s through 2009, with the ultimate size of the program expected to reach $48 billion. The problems that had plagued the aircraft for nearly a decade, leading to four fatal crashes between 1991 and 2000, have "absolutely" been resolved, according to Korte, who said Navy Secretary Gordon R. England expressed his confidence in the program when he visited the plant last month. One remaining obstacle to full military implementation of the V-22 is its price, currently at $74 million per aircraft. Air Force Col. Craig Olson, who took over as the military’s V-22 program director last August, has set a target price of $58 million. The cancellation of the $38 billion RAH-66 Comanche helicopter program could be a temporary setback for Boeing’s V-22 price-reduction initiatives, but Korte said the $58 million target is still attainable within the Pentagon’s timeline. "Near term, the Comanche (cancellation) does have an effect on the V-22," Korte said. "By the very nature of that amount of work going off the Philadelphia site -- you don’t just make up for that overnight." Boeing spokesman Jack Satterfield expects other projects at the plant to fill the revenue gap left in the absence of the Comanche program and eventually bring down the price of the V-22.

Thanks Greg
Posted on March 30, 2004
Wild flight reveals gaps within FAA

Ninety minutes into John V. Salamone's bizarre, four-hour flight above the Philadelphia region on Jan. 15, air traffic supervisor David Urban let his frustration show. "I'm sorry if my temper is short," Urban, who works at Philadelphia International Airport, told a colleague in New York, explaining that he had been put on hold for "10 minutes" while seeking help from the New Jersey State Police in identifying Salamone's plane. "Heaven forbid, this should be an emergency," he said. "We have to come up with some better ways of... getting assistance to us with things like this." Salamone, whose blood-alcohol level according to police was 0.15 when he landed, was not a terrorist. But taped conversations from that night and interviews with federal and local officials show that, for nearly four hours, nobody within the Federal Aviation Administration knew who he was or what he was doing there - only that he seemed to be "literally turning" into commercial airplanes, as Urban said that night. And, as Salamone took his Cherokee aircraft on a dangerous round-trip joyride from Pottstown to Monroe Township in Gloucester County, those responsible for protecting Philadelphia's airspace couldn't get him down, either. That's because the FAA has little control and limited enforcement powers over erratic pilots, even if they jeopardize commercial aircraft. Although Salamone flew directly into the airport's flight path, forcing six aircraft to get out of his way, tower officials did not have a complete list of emergency contacts to call for assistance. Although the federal government has pumped billions into airline security after 9/11, nothing prevents the scenario from happening again - a gap that worries aviation security experts. "It just shows you how things haven't changed," said Andrew R. Thomas, an aviation security analyst and author of Aviation Insecurity: The New Challenge of Air Travel. "If this is what homeland security is after hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent, what does this say?" he said. U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter (R., Pa.) called it a "troubling incident" in a Feb. 2 letter to FAA Administrator Marion C. Blakey, and demanded specifics on how the agency responded. The agency has yet to answer. Federal authorities insisted that proper procedures were followed but provided few details beyond tapes of conversations recorded that night. FAA supervisors in New York contacted North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD. The military agency consulted the FBI and other members of the Domestic Events Network, formed after 9/11, and they decided Salamone's journey was "a non-event," NORAD spokesman Lt. Col. Roberto Garza said. "We didn't need to send the F-15s," Garza said. If Salamone had flown directly at planes, or if the event had occurred over Washington, the response would have been different, Garza said. "You've got the seat of government; you've got our leader," Garza said. "It certainly is a different situation which calls for different responses." • Before taking flight that night, Salamone had been drinking at the Airport Restaurant and Hotel, a tavern across the street from the Pottstown-Limerick Airport, according to those familiar with the events of that night. Salamone - who has a court hearing Tuesday to determine whether he will stand trial on charges of risking a catastrophe and reckless endangerment - has a history of public drunkenness. He pleaded guilty to two DUIs in 1989 and 1990, and paid a $217 fine after being arrested in November for public drunkenness after berating servers at a Limerick restaurant who refused to serve him. Salamone, 44, a concrete contractor from North Coventry, declined to comment. His lawyer would not discuss the case. His father said he didn't know whether Salamone had a drinking problem - talking instead about the volunteer work his son did with AirLifeLine, which flies patients to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh for organ transplants and cancer treatments. "I'm proud of everything he's done, except for this," said John Salamone Sr. of West Norriton. John V. Salamone's plane appeared on the radar screen at Philadelphia International Airport shortly before 6:30 p.m., coming south from Pottstown airport. As Salamone weaved in and out of the approach path, switching altitudes on whim, the two controllers assigned to the landing runways redirected traffic. "Looks like he's doing aerobatics," said the pilot of a Delta Connection flight carrying 24 passengers, after receiving instructions to avoid Salamone's small plane four miles ahead. "Great place to do 'em, isn't it?" the controller answered. Because Salamone meandered along the flight path, seemingly without a specific target, Urban determined that he was a "class B violator." Such pilots skirt the edges of the airspace daily; few create havoc. As soon as Salamone left the approach path, Urban called his supervisors to start the arduous process of getting him down. "The last hour has been a hazard to aviation," Urban told his bosses at the FAA Eastern District office in New York during a conference call. "He came right at a couple guys." Urban also started contacting the local law enforcement to help stop Salamone. But the list was short. The Philadelphia Police Department has two choppers that patrol every day from 4 p.m. to midnight. But the pilots had gone back to their hangar to refuel. After disrupting Philadelphia's flights, Salamone had swung into New Jersey, dropping down toward the Cross Keys airport. Urban asked Monroe Township police to meet Salamone on the landing strip, but Salamone zoomed up in the air. Urban called the New Jersey State Police, but he didn't have the right number for their aviation department and received a recording. When he tried another line, he was placed on hold. "I got no one to answer," he complained on tape. "Someone in the air to identify or do something to this guy would have been much better." State police spokesman Sgt. Frank Emanuele said Urban should have said it was an emergency. "If we're not notified, we can't respond," he said. Urban did not try the Pennsylvania State Police, which has helicopters at every barracks, even as Salamone turned his plane around and headed toward Philadelphia. The FAA did not make Urban or other employees working in the tower that night available for comment. According to Capt. Kenny O'Brien of the Philadelphia Police Aviation unit, other cities have much greater airspace-protection capabilities. Baltimore, for example, has four helicopters that patrol five days and seven nights a week, an official of that city's aviation unit said. Since Salamone's flight, the controllers at the Philadelphia airport have put together an updated list of emergency contacts and direct numbers. Yet O'Brien acknowledged that airborne law enforcement can do only so much. "It's not like we shoot out of our planes," he said. "The only possible deterrent is that we're up there." • About 9:25 p.m., Salamone returned to Philadelphia airspace. He hovered near the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, dropping as low as 100 feet. Urban directed workers to turn on the runway lights, hoping that Salamone would take the hint and land. Instead, he continued to brush near aircraft, coming within a half-mile of a 37-passenger US Airways plane. After he failed to communicate with the tower for three hours, Salamone's garbled voice was heard five minutes later. "Realized I was off course... realized I was in your airspace," Salamone radioed. "How about if I just land and you tell me what I am supposed to do?" One other question: "Am I going to lose my license?" "I don't know anything about that," controller Tom Young said. "How about we just get you on the ground as soon as we can?" A Philadelphia police helicopter was then alerted. It followed Salamone to the Pottstown airport as he headed straight for the Limerick nuclear power plant, coming within a quarter-mile of the cooling towers. Plant personnel had tracked Salamone, and were ready to take emergency measures, including shutting down the reactors, spokesman Craig Nesbit said. But "a plane that small is not likely to do much damage - even if it was loaded with explosives," he said. Salamone continued to have difficulties as he landed. He nearly collided with the police helicopter twice and missed the landing field on his first try. Yet his bravado remained. With one tank empty and only 17 minutes worth of fuel left in the other, Salamone radioed his last words: "Have I smelled like a cheap cigar or what?" • Getting airspace violators out of the air is only part of the problem, FAA officials say. Prosecuting them is another. The FAA revoked the medical certificate that allowed Salamone to have a pilot's license, but breaching airspace carries only civil penalties, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. The FAA has no prosecutorial powers, so pursuing federal criminal charges would be up to the U.S. Attorney General's Office, he said. But spokesman Rich Manieri said that the office could not press charges against Salamone. Federal law permits criminal prosecution only of pilots of "common carriers" - airplanes that take paying passengers - on charges of drug or alcohol abuse. In addition to filing criminal charges of risking a catastrophe and reckless endangerment, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. also charged Salamone with drunken driving. A court threw out that charge because Pennsylvania does not have a law against drunken flying. If convicted, Salamone faces up to nine years in prison. Other officials remain concerned not so much with Salamone's possible punishment, but with the flaws that he exposed in the region's aviation system. In his letter to FAA's Blakey, Specter writes that Salamone's flight and the FAA's response "brings into question your agency's ability to adequately respond to a potential aviation threat of this magnitude." Bill Reynolds, a spokesman for Specter, said the FAA promised a response by April. "Until there's an investigation into what happened," Reynolds said, "it's hard to know what happened."
Posted on March 30, 2004
FAA no closer to reaching decision on airport

Officials from the Federal Aviation Administration say Delaware County residents can speak their mind on the record about the proposed changes at the Philadelphia International Airport. They’ll just have to wait about five months to vocalize their opinions. If they don’t have the patience, they can place their thoughts on forms that will be available at the April 15 informational hearing. But it won’t take an act by U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, R-7, Thornbury, to get the agency to listen to what neighbors have to say. Taking testimony is an automatic part of the lengthy process, also known as the environmental impact study, according to FAA officials. "We’re nowhere near having made any kind of determination as to what’s going to happen," FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. "Nothing is set in stone right now." Confusion arose because county officials correctly assumed that the public wouldn’t have an opportunity at the April 15 meeting at Ridley High School in Ridley Township to voice testimony onto the public record. Peters said that meeting is solely an informational venture, explaining where the process is. Other topics that will be discussed include airport functions such as who decides what planes’ altitudes are, why they circle and who makes these decisions. The FAA is in the midst of environmental studies for two projects concerning Philadelphia International geared toward eliminating delays. These studies look at how the project will impact 26 characteristics, from the air to the water to historical properties. Of the two Philadelphia airport projects being considered, one is evaluating the viability of extending runway 17-36 by 1,040 feet. Federal officials expect a draft complete with the environmental findings to be completed by summer’s end, allowing for public hearings to be held in the fall. The other project is considering either extending two of four existing runways and constructing a new one or reconfiguring runways so they are parallel to each other. Federal officials have said this portion will take years to complete and aren’t anticipating public hearings soon. However, federal officials say the meeting at the high school will help delineate what goes on at the airport. "We realize that people don’t have an understanding how the airport operates," FAA public affairs officer Arlene Salac said. The chance will come to comment, she said, adding they will more than likely be in the same areas where the informational meetings are being held next month. "Once the draft EIS comes out, there will be another series of meetings where people will be able to give input," Salac said.
Posted on March 26, 2004
Aviation school to train Boeing workers

MILLVILLE -- The N.J. Academy of Aviation Sciences has landed a major contract to provide customized training for employees of Boeing Co., the world's largest manufacturer of military planes. The program for hundreds of workers at Boeing's plant in Ridley, Pa., marks the first time the academy has offered such specialized instruction for a private company. The agreement is worth about $2.4 million over the life of the contract, expected to run for eight years, academy spokesman Bill Shaughnessy said. The revenue from Boeing would help defray academy operating costs, he said. The academy, based at Millville Airport, is an arm of the Cumberland County Technical Education Center. It offers private students a two-year program of instruction in aircraft airframe and power plant maintenance. Shaughnessy said the academy was negotiating the Boeing deal for 1 1/2 years. The school was on a short list that also included Drexel University and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The Ridley plant, near Philadelphia International Airport, assembles Chinook transport helicopters and the V-22 Osprey, an aircraft that can fly like a plane and land like a helicopter. The contract calls for a 31-month program in airframe and power plant maintenance. Graduates will qualify for federal licenses, a prerequisite for working on aircraft. Shaughnessy said Boeing envisions 200 to 300 workers cycling through the new program. An initial class of 25 starts April 12. Dennis Pierce, the academy's aviation maintenance program coordinator, will teach classes at the Boeing plant two evenings per week. The students also will travel to the academy on Saturdays. The contract also involves Cumberland County College, which will handle record keeping, finances and issuing college credits.
Posted on March 26, 2004
Southwest Airlines doubling nonstop routes

Southwest Airlines Inc. of Dallas announced Thursday it is doubling the amount of nonstop routes it is planning to fly out of Philadelphia International Airport. The low-cost airline, which is seen as a major competitor to US Airways at Philadelphia International, had originally planned 14 nonstop daily flights out of Philadelphia International to Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Providence, R.I., and Tampa Bay. Those flights are scheduled to begin May 9. On Wednesday, in an address to the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia, Southwest Chairman Herb Kelleher said Southwest would also add an additional 14 nonstop flights to Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Manchester, N.H., and Tampa Bay and West Palm Beach in Florida. Those additional flights will begin July 6. The total nonstop daily flights out Philadelphia International will be 28 at that time. US Airways, which is the dominant airline at Philadelphia International but has been troubled by financial difficulties, had already increased flights to Southwest's initial list of planned destinations back in February. The Arlington, Va., airline successfully emerged from bankruptcy last year but since has sought to cut additional costs to compete with low-cost airlines like Southwest.
Posted on March 26, 2004
US Airways CEO: Survival at stake in pending fight with Southwest

McLEAN, Va. -- US Airways' survival is at risk without major concessions from labor groups now that the airline is bracing for competition at its Philadelphia hub from low-fare king Southwest Airlines, US Airways chief executive David Siegel warned employees. "Southwest is coming to Philadelphia in May," Siegel said in a meeting with workers Wednesday that was broadcast on the Internet. "They're coming for one reason. They're coming to kill us." Siegel said US Airways has twice gone head-to-head with Southwest and lost--once on the West Coast and once at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where Southwest quickly replaced US Airways as that airport's leading carrier. But Siegel said his airline can no longer afford to run from the growing competition of low-cost carriers, and that if US Airways cannot hold its dominant position in Philadelphia--one of its three hubs along with Charlotte, N.C., and Pittsburgh--then the airline will die. "Let's not let Southwest take away our customers. Let's not let Southwest take away our jobs. Let's not let Southwest take away our future, and let's not let Southwest take away our airline," Siegel said. Siegel said the Arlington, Va.-based airline will have no choice but to match Southwest on fares, and it must therefore reduce its cost structure to match Southwest. That could require labor groups to accept pay cuts of as much as 25 percent, even though employees agreed to significant cuts just a year ago as US Airways Group Inc. emerged from bankruptcy. US Airways emerged from bankruptcy court protection a year ago; Dallas-based Southwest remained profitable during the prolonged industry slump following the 2001 terror attacks. Siegel said it's possible US Airways will have additional furloughs in all of its labor groups. The airline has already shrunk dramatically, from 48,100 employees in January 2001 to 31,700 employees in January 2004. The airline is also considering operational changes, including a revamped Web site, the addition of more seats on big planes like Boeing 757s and perhaps eliminating first-class seating. He also promised that management would share in the sacrifice, and said he was willing to take a pay cut to put his salary in line with CEOs at discount airlines. Siegel joined the airline in March 2002, with a $750,000 annual salary that was later reduced to $600,000, according to the company's last annual report. Some employees at the meeting questioned management's past record, noting that Siegel has made similar demands of employees in the past, which have not produced results. Jack Stephan, a spokesman for the US Airways unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, said management has not acted quickly enough to change operations and improve the corporate culture. "They're finally starting to get it," Stephan said. "But Southwest announced it was coming to Philly back in October. This is now March. They don't need to come to the employees to make changes in the Web site. They don't need the employees to make a decision on first-class seating. We need more than rhetoric. We need some vision and some results." US Airways recently restructured the terms of a federally guaranteed $900 million loan to avoid the possibility of default. Siegel said the airline must have new labor agreements in place by June. Negotiations are to begin with labor groups next month.
Posted on March 24, 2004
Trenton Mercer Airport has new future

Trenton Mercer Airport faces a bright economic future with a new airline starting operation soon and a third considering it as a destination point. Independence Air is the latest low-fare airline to consider the Ewing-based airport as a destination. Owned by Atlantic Coast Holdings, Independence Air officials are expected to announce in late May which 50 cities they will be flying to. About 90 cities are under consideration. Based at Dulles International Airport located outside Washington, D.C., Independence Air is hoping to be a heavy competitor in the Washington, D.C./Virginia market and along the East Coast. Independence Air is just one of several low-fare airlines following a national trend of locating at small regional airports. Offering alternative routes to consumers is significantly cutting into the major airlines’ customer base. Industry watchers are predicting, as the airline industry returns to pre-Sept. 11 strength, the dominance of the major airlines will not be the same. Instead, regional airlines are expected to dominate the industry, having experienced an estimated 23-percent growth in 2003. Low-fare airlines experienced an estimated 19-percent growth as well. Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said a number of factors have to be taken into consideration if Independence Air did choose to fly out of Trenton. Those factors include space, equipment, safety and security. Although Hughes likes the idea of having a third carrier at the airport, he is not heavily considering it. Admitting Atlantic Coast Holdings has made inquiries regarding the Trenton Mercer Airport, Hughes is not giving it much credence. "I don’t think they’re coming," he said, since the county has not heard from the airline since its initial inquiries. Atlantic Coast Holdings currently operates routes under the United Express and Delta Connection footprint in the eastern and midwestern United States. Since United filed for bankruptcy last year, Atlantic Coast has been trying to get out of its lease agreement. If a settlement cannot be reached, the Atlantic will honor its contract through 2010. But that possibility will not stop the launch of Independence Air, officials explained in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. United Airline officials hope to complete its bankruptcy reorganization in 2004. "We are proud to be part of the transformation of our home airport into what will become one of the low-fare airports in America, and once Independence Air’s schedule of 350 daily flights is available, we think of the idea of flying from Dulles will be more popular than ever before," said Kerry Skeen, chairman and chief executive officer of Atlantic Coast Holdings in a press release. In a December interview with USA Today, Skeen noted that his company has two challenges. Discontinuing a working relationship with United, which provided 82 percent of its revenue. And fighting off a takeover attempt by the Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group. As Atlantic Coast Holdings faces a challenging financial future so does Trenton Mercer Airport. In February, Mercer County officials faced a loss of about $210,000 in fees at the Ewing-based airport as Shuttle America announced it was leaving the area. Although the decision by the Fort Wayne, Ind. based carrier was not a financial one, the decision was a strategic one so the airline could acquire more routes under the U.S. Airways footprint. Trenton Mercer Airport earns annually about $2.3 million with $1.4 million in aeronautical revenue, about $68,000 from passenger fees and $174,000 from rental-car companies. It currently operates with a $450,000 deficit. Recognizing a good opportunity, Boston-Maine Airways (BMA) announced just three weeks later it was coming to the Trenton area. County officials were gleeful. On March 29, BMA is expected to begin four daily flights to Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass. By April 30, the airline expects to have seven flights a day and by summer adding two more flights to Nantucket and Martha Vineyard. Shuttle America has announced twice it was delaying its departure from the area. The company had given first an April and then a May date. Now it will remain indefinitely. The airline is continuing its four flights to Bedford, Mass. and two flights to Pittsburgh, Pa. Hughes is very pleased with what is happening at the airport. Airline competition has come to Mercer County. Both airlines are offering commuter flights on turbo prop airplanes for about $100 per passenger. Consumers can pay a similar price for a one-way ticket to Pittsburgh on Amtrak. If you book your ticket earlier, then you can get a discount ticket for $51.64. Although Amtrak does not go directly to Bedford, Mass., you can travel to Boston at the last minute for $157. But depending upon what time you travel and again booking early, you can buy a ticket between $70 to $95. Travelers not willing to pay $100 for a short distance, can ride Greyhound to Bedford, Mass. on a one-way ticket for $55.21. Those going in the opposite direction to Pittsburgh will pay $42.50. Mercer County has an ever increasing business community with representatives of a variety of industries including publishing, financial, technology, pharmaceutical and biotechnology. Hughes said although his hopes are high with two airlines at Trenton Mercer Airport, county officials are holding their breath as they wait to see what the impact will be with Southwest Airlines and Frontier entering the Philadelphia regional airline market.
Posted on March 24, 2004
Air traffic over area may increase - New runways could change flight patterns at Phila. airport

The Federal Aviation Administration will hold a public hearing April 13 to discuss possible changes at Philadelphia International Airport that could increase air traffic over South Jersey. The airport, the 12th busiest in the nation, is ranked fifth for the greatest number of delays - an average of 10 minutes per flight. Delays are projected to double in the next seven years. Among the most radical plans under consideration to reduce the delays would be the construction of four new runways - which would replace four in use - and the relocation of airport terminals. The new runways, which would run parallel southeast to northwest, would enable four simultaneous takeoffs or landings in good weather. It is too early to determine what impact the proposed changes would have on flight patterns, said James Peters, an FAA spokesman. But he acknowledged they could increase air traffic over South Jersey. "If you change the directions of runways, you change the directions of how aircraft are brought in, that's a given," he said. The FAA also will hold public hearings in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The airport is owned and operated by the city of Philadelphia, and the city wants to address delays as part of its revision to its master plan, Peters said.ADVERTISEMENT - CLICK TO ENLARGE OR VISIT WEBSITE Paulsboro Mayor John Burzichelli said he does not consider air traffic to be a nuisance now, but there could be a potential for greater noise pollution with changes to flight patterns. "Although our proximity to the airport is close, the approach and takeoffs are not over our municipality," he said. Like Burzichelli, resident Judy MacKenzie said she does not consider air traffic to be a nuisance. "I only noticed it after September 11 when we had no noise at all," she said.
Posted on March 24, 2004
US Airways CEO: Survival at stake in fight with Southwest

McLEAN, Va. (AP) - US Airways' survival is at risk without major concessions from labor groups now that the airline is bracing for competition at its Philadelphia hub from low-fare king Southwest Airlines, US Airways chief executive David Siegel warned Wednesday. "Southwest is coming to Philadelphia in May," Siegel said in a meeting with employees that was broadcast on the Internet. "They're coming for one reason. They're coming to kill us." Siegel said US Airways has twice gone head-to-head with Southwest and lost - once on the West Coast and once at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, where Southwest quickly replaced US Airways as that airport's leading carrier. But Siegel said his airline can no longer afford to run from the growing competition of low-cost carriers, and that if US Airways cannot hold its dominant position in Philadelphia - one of its three hubs along with Charlotte, N.C., and Pittsburgh - then the airline will die. "Let's not let Southwest take away our customers. Let's not let Southwest take away our jobs. Let's not let Southwest take away our future, and let's not let Southwest take away our airline," Siegel said. Siegel said the Arlington, Va.-based airline will have no choice but to match Southwest on fares, and it must therefore reduce its cost structure to match Southwest. That could require labor groups to accept pay cuts of as much as 25 percent, even though employees agreed to significant cuts just a year ago as US Airways Group Inc. emerged from bankruptcy. US Airways emerged from bankruptcy court protection a year ago; Dallas-based Southwest remained profitable during the prolonged industry slump following the 2001 terror attacks. Siegel said it's possible US Airways will have additional furloughs in all of its labor groups. The airline has already shrunk dramatically, from 48,100 employees in January 2001 to 31,700 employees in January 2004. The airline is also considering operational changes, including a revamped Web site, the addition of more seats on big planes like Boeing 757s and perhaps eliminating first-class seating. He also promised that management would share in the sacrifice, and said he was willing to take a pay cut to put his salary in line with CEOs at discount airlines. Siegel joined the airline in March 2002, with a $750,000 annual salary that was later reduced to $600,000, according to the company's last annual report. Some employees at the meeting questioned management's past record, noting that Siegel has made similar demands of employees in the past, which have not produced results. Jack Stephan, a spokesman for the US Airways unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, said management has not acted quickly enough to change operations and improve the corporate culture. "They're finally starting to get it," Stephan said. "But Southwest announced it was coming to Philly back in October. This is now March. They don't need to come to the employees to make changes in the Web site. They don't need the employees to make a decision on first-class seating. We need more than rhetoric. We need some vision and some results." US Airways recently restructured the terms of a federally guaranteed $900 million loan to avoid the possibility of default. Siegel said the airline must have new labor agreements in place by June. Negotiations are to begin with labor groups next month.
Posted on March 19, 2004
New security director named at Philadelphia airport

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Transportation Security Administration named a new federal security director for the Philadelphia International Airport on Friday. William P. Leahy previously worked as the deputy federal security director at Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional airports near Boston. He has more than 35 years of experience with the U.S. Coast Guard. The security director serves as the representative of the TSA and is "responsible for ensuring the safety of our skies," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, the security administration's acting administrator. The former airport security director, James B. Golden, was fired in February for hiring his son-in-law to a low-level management job. Golden, a former top police executive in Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J., maintained that he had done nothing wrong. He said his son-in-law applied for the job through regular channels and was well-qualified for the work.
Posted on March 15, 2004
US Airways wins new loan term, but auditors remain concerned

PHILADELPHIA -- US Airways Group Inc. found some relief from its financial problems Friday by getting revised terms on a $1 billion loan, but the airline said its auditors continued to question the company's ability to stay in business. The carrier, the dominant airline at Philadelphia International Airport, said it reached an agreement with the federal Air Transportation Stabilization Board allowing the company to prepay $250 million of the loan, reducing the balance to $726 million. The payment has been made. US Airways had obtained the $1 billion in financing, 90 percent of it guaranteed by the federal loan board, just before it emerged from bankruptcy on March 31, 2003. The agreement relaxes some of the financial covenants the loan board imposed on US Airways to keep from defaulting on the loan. But the agreement also put a tough new requirement on the airline: It must "significantly narrow' its losses this year and show a profit in 2005, the company said in a statement. US Airways said its outside auditor, KPMG LLP, included the warning about its long-term prospects in its 2003 annual report, filed Friday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The auditors included a similar warning in US Airways' 2002 annual report - a reflection of how grave the airline's financial condition was then and still is, analysts and company officials said. US Airways has lost about $4.6 billion since the start of 2001, including $98 million in the 2003 fourth quarter.
Posted on March 15, 2004
AIRPORT'S FLYING HIGH WITH MORE NEW ROUTES Mar 15 2004

THE soaring success of Glasgow Airport will reach new heights this year as another 21 services are cleared for take-off. Philadelphia, Toronto and Dubai are just some of the new routes being added as airport bosses gear up for a record year. Paul White, airport terminal manager, told the Paisley Daily Express: "This summer will see us offer new services to 21 destinations from Glasgow Airport, providing around one million additional passenger seats. "BAA has pulled out all the stops to attract world class airlines to Glasgow and 2004 looks like being a bumper year for us, with more choice and a better range of destinations for passengers." The new daily service to the American city of Philadelphia will be operated by US Airways, while Emirates will fly a regular service to the exotic Gulf destination of Dubai. A route to Toronto is sure to prove popular with Buddies who have relatives and friends living in Canada and flights to a number of destinations across Europe are also set for launch this summer. Airport bosses are also preparing to unveil their £12million second terminal, called T2, in May as they respond to growing demand from the no-frills airlines and charter companies. Mr White said: "The opening of our second terminal underlines BAA Scotland's commitment to invest in new facilities and deliver more choice for passengers." Glasgow Airport is the busiest in Scotland and, last year, it attracted more then eight million passengers. The most hectic day in 2003 was May 22, when almost 40,000 terminal passengers passed through en route to the UEFA Cup final between Celtic and Porto in Seville. The airport already has the most international routes out of Scotland, with more than 35 destinations to choose from and this summer will handle 90 additional flights a week, with five new carriers arriving there. BAA Scotland has invested more than £200million at the airport in the last 10 years and plans to invest a similar sum over the next decade. A Fraser of Allander Institute report, published in 2002, showed that the airport contributes more than £700million a year to the Scottish economy and directly and indirectly supports nearly 20,000 jobs.
Posted on March 11, 2004
Agusta A119 Production Moving from Italy to Philly

AgustaWestland last week disclosed it is moving production of the A119 Koala single-engine helicopter from Italy to Philadelphia. The company broke ground last week on a manufacturing and final assembly plant at Northeast Philadelphia Airport, where about 20 Koalas will be built each year, according to Giuseppe Orsi, Agusta managing director. Seeking a U.S. label for a helicopter that is popular with law-enforcement and medevac operators across the country, the move is part of a larger strategy to increase helicopter production and sales in North America, said Orsi. The announcement comes as a consortium led by Lockheed, including AgustaWestland and Bell, competes with Sikorsky on the bid to provide the next presidential helicopter, Marine One. On hand at the ground-breaking ceremony were Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell, several local politicians and top executives from Finmeccanica and GKN, joint owners of AgustaWestland. The plant is scheduled to be up and running by this fall.

Thanks Greg for the Heads Up

Posted on March 10, 2004
Delco will get its chance to air its views on airport

MEDIA -- When the Federal Aviation Administration announced it was considering redesigning Philadelphia International Airport, Delaware County and the concerns of its residents were ignored. The FAA held "scoping" meetings in Philadelphia, southern New Jersey, and the state of Delaware, totally skipping the county where most of the airport is situated. After months of work by a county task force, and the work of U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon, the county’s voice will be silent no more. The FAA has agreed to hold a public meeting within the confines of Delaware County as part of its multi-year environmental impact study to determine which of three proposals would best suit the airport in an effort to reduce flight delays. County Council member Linda Cartisano and county Planning Director John Pickett announced the time and location of the meeting at Tuesday’s weekly county council meeting. Delaware countians can express their thoughts on the airport redesign Thursday, April 15, at Ridley High School. The FAA will conduct two separate two-hour sessions to listen to the residents, the first from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and the second from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. "All the thanks need to be directed toward Rep. Weldon," Cartisano said. "He was able to get the FAA to listen and ultimately agree that it was important to hear what Delaware County has to say on the proposed redesign." The FAA released its Capacity Enhancement Program last summer, which included the three possible alternatives for the airport. The first would be a "no-build alternative" that would call only for minor enhancements to the existing airport structure and would keep the runways on the airfield as is. The second option, or "parallel concept," would open a new runway on the current site of the United Parcel Service hub in Tinicum, and extend two of the four existing runways without changing any flight patterns. Also affected by this plan would be the Sunoco tanks and pipelines and possibly the International Plaza and Henderson tract. The third option -- which would call for the most drastic changes to the airport -- would construct four new runways and reconstruct five of the airport’s six terminals. The reconstruction would also redirect departing and arriving flights in a new direction over Delaware County residences instead of over the Delaware River as they are currently situated. It is this last option that could have the most adverse affect on Delaware County. "In effect, what it does is negatively impact one of largest employers in county when you start talking about relocating UPS," Delaware County Director of Commerce J. Patrick Killian told the Daily Times in August. "Not only that, but the county would lose one of our biggest parcels of land for redevelopment in the Henderson tract (150 acres), and International Plaza which has more than 500,000 square feet of office space. Even if UPS were to be moved to the Henderson location, we’re still losing land. It’s a no-win situation. "There are 800 people working at International Plaza right now for 40 different businesses. That would all go away just to save 20 minutes on a flight departure."
Posted on March 08, 2004
AirTran Airways Launches Two-Day Sale for Travel To/From Philadelphia

ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 9, 2004--AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI), today launched a sale for flights to/from Philadelphia with fares starting as low as $39 each way. Travelers may purchase these sale fares at http://www.airtran.com, through travel agents or via AirTran Airways' reservations system at 1-800-AIR-TRAN. For Spanish, call 1-877-581-9842. These sale fares are available for purchase for two days (March 9-10, 2004), and are good for travel through June 16, 2004. Like all AirTran Airways fares, prices included in this sale are one-way tickets and do not require a roundtrip purchase or a Saturday night stay. Following is a sample of some of the one-way fares. Fares listed require a 7-day advance purchase and are valid in either direction:
Philadelphia - Atlanta $79
Philadelphia - Boston $39
Philadelphia - Dallas/Ft. Worth $99
Philadelphia - Denver $119
Philadelphia - Ft. Lauderdale $79
Philadelphia - Ft. Myers $89
Philadelphia - Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem(i) $99
Philadelphia - Gulfport/Biloxi $99
Philadelphia - Houston (Hobby) $99
Philadelphia - Jacksonville(i) $89
Philadelphia - Kansas City $99
Philadelphia - Las Vegas $119
Philadelphia - Los Angeles $119
Philadelphia - Memphis $99
Philadelphia - Miami(i) $89
Philadelphia - Myrtle Beach(i) $99
Philadelphia - New Orleans $99
Philadelphia - Orlando $79
Philadelphia - Pensacola(i) $89
Philadelphia - Raleigh/Durham(i) $99
Philadelphia - San Francisco $119
Philadelphia - Savannah/Hilton Head(i) $99
Philadelphia - Tallahassee(i) $89
Philadelphia - Tampa(i) $79
Philadelphia - West Palm Beach $79
Philadelphia - Wichita(i) $99

Flights to/from Los Angeles and San Francisco and certain flights to/from Las Vegas and Orlando operated by Ryan International Airlines. (i)Certain flights may be operated by AirTran JetConnect. Service provided by Air Wisconsin Airlines Corp. AirTran Airways is one of America's largest low-fare airlines - employing more than 5,600 professional Crew Members and operating 508 flights a day to 45 destinations. The airline's hub is at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the world's busiest airport by passenger volume, where it is the second largest carrier operating 188 flights per day. AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings (NYSE:AAI), is the world's largest operator of the Boeing 717 and has the youngest all-Boeing fleet of any airline. In 2004, the airline will begin taking delivery of new Boeing 737-700s. For reservations or more information, visit airtran.com (America Online Keyword: AirTran). All fares are one-way. All fares are non-refundable, and a $50 fee per person applies to any change made after purchase plus any applicable increase in airfare. Seven-day advance purchase required. Tickets must be purchased by March 10, 2004. Travel must be completed by June 16, 2004. Fares to Ft. Lauderdale, Ft. Myers, Miami, Orlando, Tampa and West Palm Beach for travel through April 19, 2004 are valid Sunday through Wednesday. Fares for travel from these markets through April 19, 2004 are valid Tuesday through Friday. After April 19, 2004, fares to/from these markets are not valid on Fridays and Sundays. Fares for travel to/from all other markets not valid on Friday and Sunday. Seats are limited, subject to availability, and may not be available on all flights. Blackout dates are as follows: April 9, 12 and 18; May 28, and 31, 2004. Fares, routes, and schedules are subject to change without notice. Fares do not include per-segment tax of $3.10. A segment is defined as one takeoff and one landing. The September 11th security fee of up to $10 is not included. Airport Passenger Facility Charges of up to $18 are not included. (C)AirTran Airways 2004
Posted on March 04, 2004
TSA Recruiting Full-Time Airport Screeners for Philadelphia

WASHINGTON, March 3 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is accepting job applications for full-time and full-time security screener jobs with federal benefits for Philadelphia International Airport. TSA is continues recruiting full-time screeners at three airports: Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Ariz.; Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Mass; and Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Herndon, Va. "TSA is seeking men and women with various backgrounds and experience who are looking to serve their community by helping securing the nation's airports," said Rear Adm. David M. Stone, Acting Administrator of TSA. "TSA is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage all interested parties, including women, minorities and seniors, to apply." For information on how to apply, please visit http://www.tsa.gov and then click on "Employment" or https://tsacareers.recruitsoft.com. For additional information, candidates can contact TSA Recruitment Services at 1-800-887-1895 or TTY 1-800-887-5506. Full-time security salaries can range from $26,932 to $40,398 depending upon experience, with locality pay. They also receive federal benefits including health insurance, life insurance, retirement, paid vacation and sick leave. Transportation security screeners' duties include providing frontline security and protection of travelers, airports and airplanes by identifying dangerous objects in baggage and on passengers. Their job is to prevent those objects from being transported onto aircraft by utilizing diverse, cutting edge electronic detection and imaging equipment, as well as using the lessons learned from a concentrated training curriculum. Recruitment of potential candidates is the first step in the deployment of federal screeners. Candidates need to apply on- line and must meet the minimum requirements under the law. Candidates are then assessed, and if hired, are required to successfully complete 40 hours of classroom instruction and 60 hours of on-the-job training. The entire process takes several weeks. All candidates must meet minimum qualification requirements established by law including:

-- U.S. citizen or U.S. national.

-- High school diploma, GED or equivalent, or 1 year of security or aviation screening experience.

-- English proficiency.

-- Pass a background check.
Posted on March 04, 2004
Accused of erratic flight, pilot wants plane back

John V. Salamone, accused of flying erratically over Philadelphia International Airport in January, wants his single-engine Piper back. Salamone, 44, of Pottstown, was in Montgomery County Court yesterday, trying to get a judge to order prosecutors to release the plane. His attorney, Joseph P. Green of West Chester, said Salamone wants to sell the plane. The Federal Aviation Administration revoked Salamone's pilot's license Jan. 22. "He doesn't have any intention of flying it," Green said . District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. impounded the plane after Salamone's four-hour flight on Jan. 15, when he flew into the path of other planes landing at Philadelphia International. Air-traffic controllers had to divert a half-dozen planes, authorities said. With an escort from a Philadelphia police helicopter, Salamone eventually landed at Pottstown-Limerick Airport in Limerick about 10:30 p.m. He had taken off from there about 6:30 p.m. The Montgomery County District Attorney's Office has been holding Salamone's white-and-red plane at the Pottstown-Limerick Airport. The plane is owned by Salamone's company, J. Vincent Concrete Contractors Inc. Salamone was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, reckless endangerment, and risking a catastrophe. A district justice on Tuesday dismissed the drunken-driving charge after a preliminary hearing. The remaining charges were held for Common Pleas Court. Common Pleas Court Judge Richard Hodgson will also review Green's legal arguments aimed at getting the criminal charges dismissed. He claims the Federal Aviation Administration, not a local prosecutor, has sole authority to sanction pilots.
Posted on March 04, 2004
Southwest Airlines names 2 Phila. officials

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Inc. has named two key employees for its new operations at Philadelphia International Airport. The airline named John Minor at its station manager at Philadelphia International. Minor has been Southwest's station manager -- responsible for the airline's ground operations -- in Oakland since 2001. Oakland is Southwest's second-busiest city. Southwest also named John Lindo as its area marketing manager for Philadelphia. Lindo has been the area marketing manager for the airline in southeastern Missouri and central Arkansas since 2001. Southwest is beginning nonstop daily flights from Philadelphia to Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Providence, R.I., and Tampa Bay, Fla., beginning in May. The airline is expected to compete aggressively with US Airways, which has already added additional flights to those cities.
Posted on March 01, 2004
Keystone employee receives FAA’s Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” award

WEST CHESTER, Pa., February 27, 2004 - Keystone Helicopter, an industry leader in helicopter services for 51 years, is proud to announce that long-time employee John Profico has earned the Federal Aviation Administration’s Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” award. The award, named in honor of the man who designed and built the engine for the Wright brothers’ first successful aircraft, is presented to certificated mechanics and repairmen who have worked in aviation for at least 50 years. Steve Townes, CEO of Keystone Helicopter and founder of Ranger Aerospace, said: “We are extremely proud of John Profico’s accomplishment, especially since we believe he may be the first recipient of this prestigious award who has worked exclusively on helicopters. John came to Keystone Helicopter in 1956, three years after its founding, and laid the foundation for our high degree of quality and safety by which we are known.” The award, a certificate and a lapel pin, will be presented, to Mr. Profico during an FAA-approved four-hour IA Airworthiness Training and Workshop to be held at Keystone Helicopter’s West Chester facility on March 3, 2004. Sponsored by Keystone Helicopter, ISAMP and the Philadelphia FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO17), the event will feature Bill O’Brien, FAA National Resource Specialist from Washington D.C. FAA Headquarters. For more information about the course, contact Christ Leonard at 610-883-4431.
Posted on March 01, 2004
Launch Of MidAtlantic Airways On Track

The launch of MidAtlantic Airways flights from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is on track for April 4. Jim Drummond, vice president of the Communication Workers of America, which represents reservation, counter and baggage-claim workers, said training programs are being finalized. US Airways is relying on MidAtlantic's regional jets to compete against low-cost carriers. Company spokesman David Castelveter said its first 70-seat jetliner received Federal Aviation Administration clearance on February 20 and will be ready to fly. The plane is expected to be delivered in a couple weeks. MidAtlantic Airways will fly from Pittsburgh to Albany, N.Y.; Atlanta, Boston, Nashville, Tenn.; Newark, N.J.; and Syracuse, N.Y. The carrier will fly from Philadelphia to Kansas City, Mo., and Syracuse, N. Y.
Posted on March 01, 2004
Airport radar to be checked

Federal Aviation Administration technicians will shut down the air-traffic control radar system at Philadelphia International Airport on March 6 in an effort to determine what caused a long delay last month in restoring the system after a power failure. The planned shutdown will start just before midnight and extend into March 7 - a Saturday night and Sunday morning - because that is when air traffic is at its lightest, FAA spokesman Jim Peters said yesterday. Even if the testing results in another shutdown of the radar system, airline traffic will not be disrupted, he said. The control center's computer monitors went dark at 4:10 a.m. on Feb. 19 as technicians, who had been doing maintenance work on the radar's main power system, tried to switch back to the main system from a backup. The power failure cut off controllers' ability to track the movements of five inbound cargo airplanes, all of which landed safely or were diverted to other airports, but no passenger flights were immediately affected, the FAA said. FAA officials said eight of the 15 controllers' monitors came back on quickly when power returned, but it took until about 10:30 a.m. to restore the rest of the system, causing the delay of about 40 airline flights. During next weekend's test, FAA technicians will attempt to replicate the shutdown in hopes of determining what caused it and why the system did not recover fully when the power returned, Peters said. The Philadelphia center is the first in the nation to use STARS, the FAA acronym for standard terminal automation replacement system, the newest technology in air-traffic control. The system debuted at the airport June 9. The Professional Airways System Specialists, the union that represents FAA technicians, has criticized the agency for not providing enough employee training and the right equipment, including computer software and hardware, to more quickly restore the radar system after a shutdown. But Peters said what happened Feb. 19 was an "unanticipated problem we had never seen before" and was unrelated to training or equipment.
Posted on Feb. 26, 2004
Discount airline adds non-stop flight to Fort Myers, Fla.

USA3000 Airlines, a discount airline based in Newtown Square, Pa., is planning non-stop flights from Philadelphia International Airport to Fort Myers, Fla., starting in June. The flights will start June 10, with one-way fares will be as low as $79, excluding taxes. USA3000 Airlines already has flights from Philadelphia International to Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and to Fort Lauderdale and St. Petersburg in Florida. There are also flights from Philadelphia to Baltimore. USA3000 also flies out of Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, Newark, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Milwaukee and Cincinnati. The addition of the one flight per day to Fort Myers intensifies an extremely competitive battle being waged by several low-cost airlines against US Airways, the dominant carrier at Philadelphia International. Southwest Airlines of Dallas is beginning non-stop flights from Philadelphia to several destinations around the country, including Florida, beginning in May, and Frontier Airlines of Denver recently announced plans to offer low-cost, non-stop flights to Denver and Los Angeles, beginning May 23. US Airways, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year, has struggled to compete against the low-cost carriers and has said -- in an attempt to cut costs -- it is considering the sale of major assets, including those at its hubs in Charlotte, N.C., Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. US Airways also has taken the fight directly to its competitors. On Feb. 20, US Airways announced it was increasing the number of daily flights from Philadelphia to Chicago, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Orlando, Fla., and Providence, R.I. beginning May 2. Those are all cities that Southwest is going to begin offering daily non-stop service to from Philadelphia starting May 9.
Posted on Feb. 23, 2004
PHL Southwest Schedule

FlightDepartsTimeArrival PHL
877 Chicago 8:35am 11:35am
1233 Chicago1:45pm 4:50pm
879Chicago 7:35pm 10:35pm
422Las Vegas 7:20am 3:05pm
2222/879Las Vegas 12:05pm 10:35pm
123/2075Las Vegas 1:05pm 10:45pm
985Orlando 9:55am 12:25pm
643Orlando 3:10pm 5:45pm
628Orlando 7:55pm 10:25pm
1853/1233Phoenix 6:45am 4:50pm
472/879Phoenix 12:05pm 10:35pm
2075Phoenix 3:10pm 10:45pm
723Tampa 7:20am 10:00am


FlightDeparts PHLArrival CityArrival
1853/12336:45amPhoenix4:50pm
472/879 12:05pmPhoenix 10:35pm
2075 3:10pmPhoenix 10:45pm
741 6:50amChicago 8:05am
327 12:50pmChicago 2:10pm
1165 6:10pmChicago 7:30pm
723 7:20amTampa 10:00am
741/962 6:50amLas Vegas 11:25am
2953/1998 12:05pmLas Vegas 4:20pm
327/511 12:50pmLas Vegas 5:10pm
777 7:00pmLas Vegas 9:40pm
1080 7:00amOrlando 9:30am
1101 12:15pmOrlando 2:50pm
978 4:45pmOrlando 7:20pm
Posted on Feb. 23, 2004
US Airways to Add Flights on Southwest Airlines' Planned Philadelphia Routes

US Airways, moving to blunt the impact of Southwest Airlines' invasion of its Philadelphia hub, said yesterday that it would increase its flights on five of the routes Southwest will serve -- and do it a week ahead of the discounter's start on May 9. US Airways said it would beef up schedules to Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Providence, R.I., on May 2. The airline already has put in place lower fares on those routes to match what Southwest will charge. With the additional flights, US Airways will have nine daily round-trips between Philadelphia and Orlando, eight round-trips to Chicago's O'Hare Airport, seven round-trips to Providence, six round-trips to Las Vegas, and four round-trips to Phoenix. Southwest will have five round-trips a day to Providence, three a day to Chicago's Midway Airport and Orlando, and one a day to Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tampa, Fla. Senior vice president B. Ben Baldanza said in a statement that US Airways would maintain its position as Philadelphia's dominant airline by emphasizing that it offered assigned seating on flights, unlike Southwest, and that it had a better frequent-flier program, first-class cabins, and a broad array of domestic and international service. US Airways' expanded service was announced the same day that leaders of the airline's pilots union, after their first formal meeting with company chairman David Bronner, voted to start negotiations with the company on ways to lower its operating costs so it can compete better with Southwest and other low-fare carriers. Leaders of the Air Line Pilots Association will be "active participants" in helping US Airways develop a business plan that calls for it to become a hybrid of the hub-and-spoke airline it is now, and a point-to-point carrier similar to Southwest, union spokesman Jack Stephan said. US Airways said in a statement that it welcomed the participation of the pilots' union in negotiations over the business plan. US Airways, after securing $1 billion worth of concessions from employees -- including about $650 million from its pilots -- during the last year and a half, has said it needs to cut costs another 25 percent. The earlier reductions came during eight months in bankruptcy protection, which ended March 31. Most of the new cuts are expected to come from employees' wages and benefits, or changes in work rules. Pilots, the highest-paid group, are being asked to take the lead, just as they have in the last two rounds of concessions. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer yesterday, Bronner said he stressed to the pilots that the highest priority for US Airways was to become profitable, which would open a host of new opportunities. "I said: 'You've got to help me -- you know where we're screwing up,' " Bronner said. "I want to win. I want them to win. I don't want us to be the steel industry, [and] I don't expect them all to work for Wal-Mart salaries. But when we're in a crisis, when we're in the middle of the desert, we have to get to the other side. "Once you get in the black, it's a new game," he added. "If you stay in the red, you sell assets. If you're in the black, then jobs, stability and growth come back... . red means problems, black means time." US Airways' most pressing issue is the need to meet covenants associated with a $900 million government loan guarantee from the Air Transportation Stabilization Board, which Congress set up to help airlines after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The covenants take effect June 30
Posted on Feb. 23, 2004
TSA to Require Boarding Passes at Security Checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will require boarding passes and government-issued identification at the screening checkpoints at Philadelphia International Airport effective Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004. Passengers in Philadelphia are now required to have their boarding pass and a valid photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport, in hand as they enter the security checkpoint. E- ticket receipts, itineraries and vouchers will no longer provide access through the checkpoints, and boarding passes will no longer be issued at the gates. Boarding passes may be obtained on most airline websites, at ticket counters, through airline computer kiosks, or at most skycap curbside stations. Currently, more than 70 percent of the nation's 429 commercial airports are participating in this program. "This change will enhance security and improve customer service for our passengers," said William Ross, Acting TSA Federal Security Director, Philadelphia International Airport. "We appreciate the tremendous support and assistance of the airport and airline officials for their continued partnership and their assistance in making this a smooth transition." For more information regarding TSA including list of prohibited items, please visit our website at http://www.TSAtraveltips.us .
Posted on Feb. 21, 2004
US Airways Increases Flights on Five Philadelphia Routes

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- US Airways will increase the number of flights it operates between Philadelphia and Chicago-O'Hare, Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., Phoenix and Providence, R.I., beginning May 2, 2004. US Airways currently operates nine daily Philadelphia-Orlando roundtrip flights, and will add one daily roundtrip. On the Philadelphia-Las Vegas and Philadelphia-Phoenix routes, US Airways will also add one frequency, operating six flights to Las Vegas and four to Phoenix. Additionally, two daily flights will be added between Philadelphia and Chicago-O'Hare, for a total of eight daily roundtrip flights. Philadelphia- Providence service will also increase by two daily flights, for a new total of seven daily frequencies. "US Airways employees are prepared to compete vigorously in Philadelphia, and these service additions -- along with competitive pricing, great airport facilities, first class cabins, assigned seating, a broad array of U.S. and international service, and an outstanding frequent flyer program -- are just some of the ways we intend to maintain our leading position," said B. Ben Baldanza, US Airways senior vice president of marketing and planning. US Airways and the US Airways Express carriers operate 383 daily departures from Philadelphia International Airport to 105 destinations in the U.S. and Canada, 20 destinations in the Caribbean and Latin America, and ten destinations in Europe. Nonstop Philadelphia-Glasgow service begins May 10, 2004. For more information on US Airways schedules and fares, visit usairways.com.
Posted on FEb. 20, 2004
Power failure darkens airport radar
Electric power failed early yesterday at the Philadelphia International Airport air-traffic control center, cutting off controllers' ability to use radar to monitor a handful of inbound cargo planes, federal officials and controllers said. The control center lost power between 4:10 and 5:05 a.m. when technicians who had been doing maintenance work on the center's main power system attempted to switch back to the main system from a backup system, said Holly Baker, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration. The power failure did not disrupt passenger flights at the time, but it forced controllers, working in the dark, to use only battery-powered radios to maintain voice contact with pilots in five aircraft that were headed to the airport, said Don Chapman, president of the local chapter of the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers union. The only flights scheduled at the time carried freight. The officials did not identify the freight airlines operating the flights. However, Baker said the power failure did affect passenger air travel because it worsened congestion that routinely occurs in the mornings. To reduce the congestion, controllers usually call for a "ground stop" of at least a few minutes around 7:30 a.m., during which flights scheduled to fly to Philadelphia from about 100 miles away are prohibited from taking off. Yesterday, the ground stop started at 7:36 a.m., and was extended at 8:21 a.m. to airports more than 200 miles away, while technicians checked to make sure all of Philadelphia's radar screens were working properly, Baker said. The ground stop ended at 8:45 a.m. The FAA, which operates and maintains the nation's air-traffic control centers, was still trying to determine the cause of the failure, Baker said. Two backup power systems, one using batteries and a second using generators, did not kick on as they were supposed to when the main system shut down, Chapman said. "You're supposed to have two redundancies," he said. "No one ever gets to this level of failure."
Posted on Feb. 20, 2004
New airline to fly from Mercer

EWING - Shuttle America's decision to stop flying out of Trenton-Mercer Airport at the end of May apparently will not ground airline passenger service in the region after all. Boston-Maine Airways intends to start flights between the airport and suburban Boston in as little as two weeks, company president and partner David Fink confirmed yesterday. Even before Shuttle America's departure in May, Boston-Maine plans to pick up where Shuttle will leave off. Fink said Boston-Maine plans to start with three round-trip flights daily to Hanscom Field in Bedford, Mass., eventually building to seven flights and perhaps adding destinations. Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes said he believes Boston-Maine can succeed at Trenton-Mercer, calling its expected arrival a boon to the region. "I think it's important for us, and certainly for Mercer County taxpayers, that we continue to use the airport for some level of commercial traffic because of the revenue that it brings in," Hughes said. He said Boston-Maine officials saw Shuttle America's constantly increasing ticket prices and wanted to get its flights started before the market completely dried up. Boston-Maine will offer an introductory one-way fare of $100 plus tax between Trenton-Mercer and Bedford, Fink said. The four-year-old airline is awaiting federal certification to fly out of the Ewing airport and some other minor paperwork, Fink said. He said he expects no problems and plans to make a formal announcement sometime next week. "They would very much appear to be a solid organization, one that doesn't leave a string of victims behind with unpaid bills," Hughes said last night. Earlier this month, Shuttle America, which flies under the US Airways Express banner, announced it would leave Trenton-Mercer, becoming the 12th carrier to walk away from the county airport in 20 years. Despite a 70 percent drop in passengers over four years, Shuttle America President Scott Durgin maintained that the Ewing-to-Bedford route was profitable and was being dropped only because US Airways wanted the company to devote its resources elsewhere. The airline paid $290,000 in various leases to the county last year.-- -- -- Boston-Maine is the sister company of Pan American Airways, the former industry giant now in its third incarnation since going into bankruptcy in 1998 and resurrecting itself as a small regional carrier. Fink and his partner, Tim Mellon, took over Pan Am in 1998, then launched Boston-Maine in 2000. Both airlines have experienced difficulties. Last year, Pan Am had fallen behind more than $300,000 in lease payments to Orlando Sanford International Airport and had a month-long hiatus on flights there. It caught up in its bills within a week and announced wider service. Boston-Maine last year received permission to expand its fleet of Boeing 727s after initially being limited by the U.S. Department of Transportation because of concerns about its financial fitness, marketing plan and managerial oversight. Fink said the company is on a sound footing, largely because it owns its 727s and 19-seat turboprops instead of leasing them. "We're not glitzy, glamour, trying to do the initial public offering," Fink said. "We're trying to do it the old-fashioned way." The Portsmouth, N.H.-based company has destinations throughout New England and also flies to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Pan Am flies to Florida. Fink said Baltimore-Washington International and Groton, Conn., are likely future destinations if initial service goes well. Summer routes to places such as Martha's Vineyard, Mass., also are possible, he said. "We'll have the best damn commuter service from Hanscom to Trenton that anyone has ever seen," Fink said. "If we supply travelers what they need, give a fair price, have an on-time schedule, we'll be a success and take another step."-- -- -- Many airport neighbors have opposed commercial service out of Trenton-Mercer, largely because of noise and air pollution concerns. Hughes said he plans to put in the lease that no 727s would be permitted to operate out of Ewing. Fink, who lived in Bucks County, Pa., in the mid-1960s, said he had no intention of bringing 727s anyhow. "We bring small planes, less noise, less pollution, the whole thing," Fink said. "We want it to be neighbor-friendly." Last week, Heidi Kahme of PLANE (People Limiting Airport Noise and Expansion) had said Shuttle America's departure indicated Trenton-Mercer cannot support commercial service. Yesterday, she voiced no objection to Boston-Maine, calling it a nonevent because it would pick up an existing route and fly smaller planes. She also praised Hughes for his statement on 727s, in contrast to former County Executive Robert D. Prunetti, who unsuccessfully sought to lure Southwest Airlines and its 727s. "It's really a breath of fresh air," Kahme said. Freeholder Chairwoman Elizabeth Muoio offered no predictions on the board's stance on approving a lease for Boston-Maine but said she feels its plan to fly smaller, quieter turboprops might be workable. Kelly Ganges, Hughes' chief of staff, said last night that Hughes had asked Boston-Maine to rehire as many Shuttle America employees as possible as a show of good faith. Fifteen employees face job losses. Still to be determined is the fate of a proposed two-gate terminal at Trenton-Mercer. Hughes said he probably needs to contact the Federal Aviation Administration soon to see why its review of the county's environmental assessment is taking so long. The Prunetti administration launched the study in August 1999.

(Thanks Mark for the Heads Up)
Posted on Feb. 20, 2004
PHL Frontier Schedule

PHL Arrivals
--------------
Flight 448 Departs DEN 10:50 am
Arrive PHL 4:15 pm
(A319)

Flight 444 Departs DEN 3:00 pm
Arrives PHL 8:25 pm
(A319)

Flight 1776 Departs LAX 11:20 pm
Arrives PHL 7:25 am
(A319)

PHL Departures
--------------
Flight 1775 Departs PHL 9:10 pm
Arrives LAX 11:55 pm

Flight 445 Departs PHL 8:50 am
Arrives DEN 10:50 am

Flight 449 Departs PHL 5:55 pm
Arrive Denver, CO (DEN) 7:55 pm

Posted on Feb. 19, 2004
Details of US Airways' Philadelphia strategy due today
US Airways is expected to tell its pilots today how the Arlington, Va.-based carrier intends to defend its Philadelphia hub against low-fare, low-cost rival Southwest Airlines. The Philadelphia strategy already has these broad components: Simplify and lower fare,Improve advertising, Use US Airways resources, such as its frequent flier program, to entice travelers into Philadelphia instead of nearby Newark, N.J., or Baltimore, where Southwest is stronger. Showcase what US Airways provides above and beyond Southwest, and convince travelers that they can fly at a low, Southwest-esque price but with more services. "We have products Southwest can and does not offer," said US Airways spokesman David Castelveter. Use physical changes at the airport to turn around planes more quickly on certain routes, making it easier for US Airways to compete against Southwest's lauded efficiency practices. The Philadelphia strategy, designed as Southwest plans to start service from that city in May, goes hand-in-hand with the company's larger restructuring plan, which pilots also expected to hear more about at today's meeting in Charlotte, N.C. The plan, which the company referred to last week in meeting with flight attendants as a "framework for the future," includes eight broad initiatives: increasing productivity to low-cost carrier standards; combining the best of US Airways' existing business model with low-cost carrier strengths; building on the airline's strengths in large Northeast cities; providing consumers amenities they are willing to pay for; using simple restriction-free pricing; marketing directly to consumers; reversing East Coast market share losses; and building a franchise that can grow westward. The pilots, in their meeting today and tomorrow, also will consider a proposal that would give US Airways flexibility to transfer its smaller, more nimble regional jets already on order to other US Airways Express commuter carriers. The company has told the pilots that it needs this flexibility in case something goes wrong with its regional jet financing from GE Capital Corp., which could pull its commitment if US Airways' junk credit rating worsens. If that happens, US Airways would like to be able to perhaps sell US Airways-owned commuter affiliate PSA Airlines or US Airways commuter division MidAtlantic Airways to another US Airways Express carrier not owned by the company. That way, the planes would still operate under the US Airways banner, but the company could relieve itself from the costs of operating and staffing them. In fact, US Airways has already contacted Phoenix-based Mesa Air about buying some of the 170 smaller jets on order from Embraer and Bombardier, and has raised the idea in a meeting with GE. MidAtlantic is still scheduled to begin service in April, serving six cities from Pittsburgh (Albany, N.Y., Atlanta, Nashville, Boston, Newark, N.J., and Syracuse, N.Y.) and two from Philadelphia (Kansas City and Syracuse). It still is awaiting the necessary certification from the Federal Aviation Administration, which is expected later this month. The company plans to roll out five additional Pittsburgh destinations in May and two more in June. The goal is to be serving 16 markets from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia by June.
Posted on Feb. 19, 2004
Frontier adds DIA-Philly flight
Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced Thursday it has new flights from Denver International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport, as well as between Los Angeles International Airport and Philadelphia. The airline made the announcement at a press conference at Greenwood Village-based Pat's Philly Steaks and Subs. Flight service will start May 23 from both destinations with two daily non-stops between Denver and Philadelphia and one daily non-stop between Los Angeles and Philadelphia. "We are extremely pleased to welcome Frontier to our family of low-fare airlines," Director of Aviation at Philadelphia International Airport Charles Isdell said in a statement.
Posted on Feb. 19, 2004
Frontier Airlines coming to Philadelphia May 23
Denver-based Frontier Airlines announced Thursday it has new flights from Denver International Airport to Philadelphia International Airport, as well as between Los Angeles International Airport and Philadelphia. The airline made the announcement at a press conference at Greenwood Village-based Pat's Philly Steaks and Subs. Flight service will start May 23 from both destinations with two daily non-stops between Denver and Philadelphia and one daily non-stop between Los Angeles and Philadelphia. "We are extremely pleased to welcome Frontier to our family of low-fare airlines," Director of Aviation at Philadelphia International Airport Charles Isdell said in a statement.
Posted on Feb. 19, 2004
FAA Investigating Radar Outage at PHL
by KYW's Steve Tawa There were some anxious moments overnight in the control tower at Philadelphia International Airport, when the radar screens went dark during a power outage. It happened between 4:10am and just after 5am, at which time technicians were able to restore commerical power in the radar room, just prior to the arrival of commerical passenger flights: Don Chapman is head of the Philadelphia local of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association: "The entire air traffic system in Philadelphia went dark, with no power." The union leader commends the controllers on the shift: "I believe radios were the only thing left. The radar was out. We had alarms in all of our approach systems." Chapman says two backup systems failed to work properly. He says controllers on duty had to handle the aircraft through "non-radar" procedures: "Basically, they used a rudimentary form of separation -- very work intensive, getting (voice) reports back from the pilots on what altitudes they were at, what their position was. All that stuff is normally provided to us through automation." Because of the equipment failures, the FAA extended a morning "ground stop" -- delaying air traffic coming to Philadelphia International Airport. That resulted in dozens of delays, both arrivals and departures, that lasted past 10am. Full radar service was not restored until after 11:00am. The FAA is investigating the incident.
Posted on Feb. 19, 2004
State to South NJ Regional Airport
After more than a year of negotiations, the state signed a deal yesterday to buy South Jersey Regional Airport in Lumberton for $8.2 million. State transportation officials said that purchasing the privately owned, roughly 700-acre airport in Burlington County was integral to maintaining a "core system" of public-use airports throughout the state. They said they expected to officially close the deal with the airport's owners within three weeks. "This acquisition is for preservation," said Ted Matthews, executive director of transportation services within the state Department of Transportation. "It's a key part of what we call the core airport system in New Jersey - the airports we believe need to be in place to meet forecasted demand over the next 20 years." Small, so-called general-aviation airports used to cover the New Jersey landscape. But over the last 50 years, their numbers have dropped by more than 40 percent, with many owners selling out to developers, citing an inability to keep pace with rising costs. The owners of South Jersey Regional said they were unable to make the business, which dates to the 1950s and which they bought in a bankruptcy sale in the late 1980s, profitable without an expansion. They poured millions of dollars, some of that in federal aviation grants, into the airport, leading up to a planned expansion. But those plans, namely a proposal to extend the runway by 1,600 feet to 5,500 feet, met with an outcry from the community and fizzled. Local residents feared an expansion at an airport that currently sees 58,000 takeoffs and landings a year would mean an influx of larger planes to further disrupt the quality of life in their community. Bob Mathews, one of the airport's owners, said the agreement signed yesterday would not cover his losses, but would at least put an end to butting heads with the community. "It doesn't make us whole, but it's certainly better than fighting the bureaucracy of the township and county," he said. The McGreevey administration has promised that it will not expand the runway, but residents and local leaders said yesterday that they needed something more concrete than a pledge from an administration that could be out the door next year. Maryann Skarbowski, who founded a group to protest the expansion, wondered why the state would not deed-restrict the airport to prevent future expansions. "If they are going to be the owners and they really mean what they say, why wouldn't they just deed-restrict it and be done with it? Unless they have plans... to sneak through an expansion five, 10, 15, 20 years down the road," she said. A bill sponsored by local legislators that would prohibit expansion is pending in Trenton. State officials say they want to preserve the airport - at its current size and operations level. "We have no plans to expand the airport," Transportation Commissioner Jack Lettiere said yesterday. "There's nothing we would be doing to dramatically increase air traffic." Transportation officials say a core network of small airports is a key part of the transportation system. They said that while many of the airports cater largely to recreational fliers, they also provide important emergency landing spots and access to small corporate aircraft carrying business to the surrounding community. To preserve the airports, the state launched a program a few years ago to buy them or pay owners to buy the development rights and deed-restrict the land. That way, the state gets a guarantee the airport will remain an airport, and its owners get money to keep it operational. South Jersey Regional will be the second airport to be purchased by the state transportation department. In 1999, officials paid $1.1 million to buy Greenwood Lake Airport in Passaic County. The state has bought the development rights at two other airports - Central Jersey Regional Airport in Somerset County and Lincoln Park Airport in Morris County - and is in negotiations with several others.
Posted on Feb. 18, 2004
Frontier Air To Add Service To Philadelphia
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Frontier Airlines Inc. (NasdaqNM:FRNT - News) said Wednesday it will add service to Philadelphia, following the path of Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE:LUV - News) to the town known for its cheesesteaks and pretzels. Late Wednesday, Frontier invited media to a press conference Thursday at Pat's Philly Steaks and Subs "for some great cheesesteaks and details about the new destinations including schedules and introductory fares." The move turns up the heat on US Airways Group Inc. (NasdaqNM:UAIR - News) , which operates a hub in Philadelphia and has said the fresh competition from low-cost carriers will squeeze revenue. "It's probably a good destination for them," said Mike Boyd, an airline consultant with The Boyd Group. Philadephia is "a strong east/west market" for the 10-year old Denver airline, said Boyd, who doesn't own any airline shares. Two months ago, Dallas airline Southwest announced it will add service to Philadelphia in May with flights to Chicago, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Providence and Tampa Bay. One-way fares will go for as low as $29. But airline consultant Boyd pointed out that Frontier won't likely compete on routes operated by Southwest, rather on routes flown by US Airways. US Air deploys around 80 of its 280 planes to Philadelphia, and also operates a hub in Denver, where Frontier is based. US Air Chief Executive Dave Siegel has said in the past that Southwest's entry into Philadelphia will squeeze revenue. US Air aims to aggressively defend its turf, but that will mean cutting fares, executives have said. "We face little choice but to remain competitive and match fares. And if we don't, we see our market share evarporate in Philadelphia," Siegel said in an address to employees earlier this year.
Posted on Feb. 18, 2004
Philadelphia International Airport Receives Excellence Award From The Federal Aviation Administration
Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) has been selected to receive an award from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for its continued excellence in meeting federal safety inspection standards. In 2003, the Airport achieved its third consecutive error-free certification inspection from the FAA. The agency will present its award at the 27th Annual Airport Conference in Hershey, Pennsylvania on March 3rd. Said Charles J. Isdell the City's Director of Aviation, "This award validates the outstanding work our employees do in making Philadelphia International Airport safe and secure for our passengers. It is truly a team effort of mammoth proportions." Each year, federal inspectors conduct an exhaustive examination of the more than 4,000 airfield lights and 60 miles of paint markings, 355 illuminated signs, 25 million square feet of pavement, a fleet of 7 aircraft firefighting and rescue vehicles and 43 fuel trucks. The inspection also involves a timed test of emergency response, and the auditing of official records and operational procedures. PHL's last three annual inspections demonstrated that the Airport was in full compliance with federal standards. In addition, federal regulations require airports to conduct self-inspections once a day. PHL exceeds those requirements by self-inspecting three times daily.
Posted on Feb. 18, 2004
Express carrier MidAtlantic Airways will begin offering service from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia
Planes will fly from Pittsburgh to Albany, N.Y.; Atlanta; Boston; Nashville, Tenn.; Newark, N.J.; and Syracuse, N.Y., said US Airways, MidAtlantic's parent company. The carrier will fly from Philadelphia to Kansas City, Mo., and Syracuse. The carrier plans to add seven more destinations at both airports by early June. US Airways is relying on MidAtlantic's regional jets to compete against low-cost carriers. The company rehired 85 pilots and 48 flight attendants who were furloughed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Both, however, will earn far less than they did at US Airways. US Airways spokeswoman Amy Kudwa said they hope to employ about 500 people.
Posted on Feb. 18, 2004
Airport Scare Investigated
PHILADELPHIA (KYW) Terminal B of Philadelphia International Airport has been reopened following the discovery of a suspicious package inside the men's room. CBS 3's Rebecca Messa reports the US Airways terminal was evacuated just after 1 p.m. Wednesday after a box bearing the name "Osama Bin Laden" was found with wires and tweezers sticking out of it. The area was evacuated while the Philadelphia Bomb Squad conducted testing. The package was determined to be a fake and the area cleared. The search for the person responsible continues.
Posted on Feb. 12, 2004
US Airways' survival plan will receive first test in Philadelphia
By Dan Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
US Airways Chief Executive Officer David Siegel yesterday laid out the company's plan for survival in a meeting with flight attendants, saying it wants to reduce the airline's high fares, alter its route structure and use its aircraft more efficiently. Ground zero for the new strategy is Philadelphia, where low-fare rival Southwest Airlines starts service in May and will announce its fare structure today. The plan, Xidas said, presents an aggressive response to Southwest's incursion, including physical improvements to US Airways' Philadelphia hub. She declined to discuss specifics, citing a confidentiality agreement the company asked her to sign, except to say that the airline would like to get its planes in the air 12 hours a day, on average, instead of the current 10.5. In a related move, the Arlington, Va.-based carrier yesterday announced a $2.7 million upgrade to its baggage handling systems at Philadelphia International Airport. The project, set to begin in early March, is designed to reduce the number of mishandled bags coming into the airport. Siegel and his team asked the flight attendants nine-person governing body -- the Master Executive Council -- to discuss that possibility. The council plans to do so next week at a meeting in Coraopolis. Of the six flight attendants who cast votes on the nine-person council, only Xidas could be reached for comment yesterday. Council President Perry Hayes, who does not have a vote but speaks for the council when it is not in session, could not be reached. Last Friday, Hayes blasted Siegel and his team in an e-mail message to 5,200 flight attendants, vowing to resist "any discussions" about "more sacrifices." But she also said US Airways still needs to address some day-to-day management and employee morale issues. "I am looking for a management culture change," she said. Part of the airline's strategy to remake itself and further lower costs is to take its call for more concessions to all work groups and present its rationale for doing so face to face. It started a few weeks ago with the pilots union, which at first resisted the idea of formal negotiations but slowly came around to the idea, agreeing this week to pay rates for the new commuter carrier MidAtlantic Airways. Also, the pilots union at US Airways commuter carrier Allegheny Airlines agreed late Tuesday to merge with Piedmont Airlines, clearing the way for a cost-saving consolidation of two turboprop operators. US Airways spokesman David Castelveter described yesterday's meeting as a "good exchange of information. Although no promises were made, people left with a very clear understanding of the challenges the company is facing."
Posted on Feb. 12, 2004
US Airways to improve baggage handling
US Airways, the dominant carrier at Philadelphia International Airport, is going to upgrade its baggage handling system at the airport in a $2.7 million project. The Arlington, Va.-based airline must get final approval from the Transportation Security Administration and the airport, which is owned by the city of Philadelphia. US Airways said the project will begin in early March and should be completed in time for the start of the peak travel season. US Airways and US Airways express operates almost 400 daily departures from Philadelphia International. The announcement comes after US Airways revealed in January that it is considering selling some of its assets -- including its shuttle service and hub operations in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or Charlotte, N.C., -- in order to cut costs so it can be more competitive. The airline emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization last year.
Posted on Feb. 12, 2004
Southwest Airlines Offers Low Fares to Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV - News) today unveiled its low, low fares and flight schedule to and from Philadelphia. Customers can now purchase tickets for the new service with airfares beginning as low as $29 one-way. ADVERTISEMENT Southwest Airlines will begin its Philadelphia service May 9, 2004, with a total of 14 daily nonstop flights to the following cities: Chicago Midway (three daily), Las Vegas (one daily), Orlando (three daily), Phoenix (one daily), Providence (five daily), and Tampa Bay (one daily). The airline will offer direct or connecting service to 31 other destinations, such as Ft. Lauderdale, Los Angeles, Oakland, Houston, and Seattle. (For artwork depicting Southwest's destinations from Philadelphia, see http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/press/040212_phl_nonstop.html .) Southwest Airlines offers its biggest discounts with its advance purchase tickets. For example, Philly fliers can take off to Boston (via Providence, R.I.) for only $29 one-way with Southwest's 14-day advance purchase fare. The advance purchase airfare to Orlando is only $79 one-way. (For a complete list of fares, see http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/press/040212_phl_nonstop2.html .) Even Southwest Airlines' most expensive airfare to and from Philadelphia is very inexpensive. The airline's introductory walk-up fares start at a mere $49 one-way to Providence, and they top out at only $299 one-way for cross- country flights to Las Vegas, Phoenix, and the West Coast. No advance purchase or overnight stay is required on these unrestricted fares. "Inexpensive flights to and from Philadelphia have finally arrived," said Jim Wimberly, Southwest's executive vice president and chief of operations, during the announcement at Philadelphia International Airport. "To say that Southwest's fares are a bargain compared to what Philadelphia travelers are used to paying is a huge understatement. Business and leisure travelers alike need look no further than Southwest Airlines to find low airfares." Southwest Airlines is well known for its low fare leadership. The legacy carriers serving Philadelphia have been charging up to a whopping $497 one-way for an unrestricted ticket to Providence (Boston Area), compared to Southwest's meager $49 one-way unrestricted fare to Providence. Similarly, Southwest's walk-up fare between Philadelphia and Chicago Midway is only $99 one-way. And, if you purchase at least 14 days in advance of departure and within one day of making reservations, Southwest's nonrefundable fare between Philadelphia and Chicago is only $79 one-way, compared to a competitor's fare of $123 each way. Comparable savings can be seen across the board. (For chart comparing Southwest's fares to those of other airlines, see http://www.southwest.com/about_swa/press/040212_phl_nonstop2.html .) Additionally, so that everyone can join in on the celebration, Southwest is offering a systemwide sale with advance purchase fares ranging from $39 to $99 one-way for travel every day of the week. Reservations must be made at least 14 days in advance. Tickets must be purchased within one day of making reservations and by Feb. 26, 2004, for travel through the end of Southwest's published schedule (currently Aug. 7, 2004). Blackout dates apply to all Florida markets beginning March 18, 2004, through April 11, 2004. All fares are subject to a federal segment tax of $3.10 per takeoff and landing. Fares also do not include airport-assessed passenger facility charges (PFC) of up to $9 one-way and a U.S. government-imposed September 11th Security Fee of up to $5 one-way per person. On all Southwest Airlines discount fares, seats are limited and will not be available on some flights that operate during very busy travel times and holiday periods such as Memorial Day and July 4 weekends. Tickets are nonrefundable but (except for tickets purchased through our Group Tickets program) may be applied toward the purchase of future travel on Southwest Airlines. Southwest's one-way fares can be combined with other fares. When combining fares, all ticketing restrictions apply. Fares are valid on published, scheduled service only. Any change in itinerary could result in an increase in fare but Southwest does not charge an additional fee for Customers to make changes. Fares are subject to change until ticketed and are not necessarily common rated in Houston, the Bay Area, or the LA Basin. The airline with the most affordable airfares also makes travel a whole lot easier. Southwest Airlines' web site, www.southwest.com , not only offers some of the industry's lowest airfares online but also helps with making other travel accommodations, such as hotel and rental cars. Customers with an electronic "Ticketless" reservation may also print a Boarding Pass on the day of travel from the airline's web site. Southwest's Customer convenience focus continues at the airport, from the ticket counter and Rapid Check-in Kiosks to the boarding gate. Boarding passes are issued on a first-come, first-served basis and Southwest boards its flights in three boarding groups. Instead of looking for seat assignments, Customers can choose their own seat once onboard the flight, allowing for a quicker boarding process -- and on-time flights. Even Southwest's frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards, keeps travel simple by letting its Members start taking trips instead of counting miles. Members earn credits by flying or using one of the program's preferred partners. (One roundtrip equals two credits.) As soon as a member earns 16 credits within a 12-month period, an electronic Award Ticket automatically appears in the member's account. While an award notification letter will be sent, the Award is available for immediate use, and Southwest does not limit seats for Award travel like other carriers do. Plus, Southwest allows the member to transfer the award ticket to anyone with no additional paperwork. Customers who book online can take advantage of a bonus credit promotion for travel booked online and traveled by June 30, 2004. With the addition of its Philadelphia service, Southwest will operate 2,800 daily flights to 59 cities in 31 states. Southwest Airlines employs more than 34,000 people nationwide.
Posted on Feb. 10, 2004
Security Shakeup At Philly International
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The federal security director at Philadelphia International Airport said Monday that he has been told he will be fired for hiring his son-in-law to a low-level management job. James B. Golden, a former top police executive in Philadelphia and Trenton, N.J., said in a written statement that he did nothing wrong. He said his son-in-law applied for the job through regular channels and was well qualified for the work, which involved supervising security screeners on the airport's night shift. Golden said that at the time of the hiring, the Transportation Security Administration was still new and had not yet disseminated anti-nepotism policies. "I did not knowingly, intentionally or willfully violate policy, and I do not deserve to be removed from my position," he said, adding, "Today's decision appears to have been predetermined and set in motion by those detractors of our accomplishments at Philadelphia International Airport under my leadership." TSA officials did not immediately respond to requests for information about Golden's status. Golden had been on a paid leave since Dec. 12. TSA officials had declined to give a reason for his suspension. He had been security director at Philadelphia International since July 2002. Previously he was the top police executive in Trenton. He also served during his career as a police chief in Saginaw, Mich., and as an officer and an executive with the Philadelphia police department. Golden said that in his 33 years as a public servant he has never been the subject of formal discipline. His attorney, Andrew Bayne, said he will appeal the decision administratively, and will consider filing a federal lawsuit.
Posted on Feb. 09, 2004
Pilot wants DUI charges dropped
NORRISTOWN -- The pilot who was forced to land in Limerick Jan. 15 after nearly colliding with a police helicopter claims in court papers that Montgomery County prosecutors have no authority to take him to court on drunken driving charges. John V. Salamone, through his lawyer, Joseph P. Green Jr., is arguing that federal law preempts state law in the area of commercial pilot qualifications and capacity to operate aircraft in interstate commerce where there is no death, injury or damage to property. "There is no allegation that (Salamone) caused actual injury to any persons or property. Therefore, the commonwealth lacks jurisdiction to prosecute him for matters that are solely within the jurisdiction of the federal government," Green wrote in the court document. "As a result of the conduct in question," Green argued, the Federal Aviation Administration has suspended and revoked Salamone’s commercial pilot’s license, and Salamone has voluntarily surrendered his FAA medical certificate. Green has asked a county judge to dismiss all criminal charges against Salamone, who was charged last week with risking a catastrophe, recklessly endangering other people, and driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. Salamone is scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on the charges March 2 before District Justice Walter F. Gadzicki Jr. of Limerick. Assistant District Attorney John Gradel, the prosecutor assigned to the case, said he will oppose Salamone’s request. "The commonwealth has jurisdiction to pursue criminal charges against the defendant," Gradel said. "We will file the appropriate response, and I look forward to arguing the merits of the commonwealth’s position in open court." Salamone, according to prosecutors, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent, nearly twice the current legal 0.08 percent limit to drive in Pennsylvania. The legal blood-alcohol limit for pilots is 0.04 percent, according to Federal Aviation Administration officials. In the criminal complaint, authorities also alleged Salamone, 44, of the 900 block of Temple Road in North Coventry, had traces of Valium in his bloodstream. "The lab report states with reasonable scientific certainty that the defendant was unfit to operate a motor vehicle safely based upon the alcohol level alone. The report further states that his unfitness to operate a motor vehicle safely was even worse due to the presence of (Valium) in the defendant’s blood," county Detective Drew Marino wrote in an amended criminal complaint. District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. said Salamone, flying a single-engine Piper Cherokee, came within 900 feet of a commercial airliner packed with passengers during the flight. Air traffic controllers at Philadelphia International Airport confirmed that four commercial airliners were diverted away from Salamone’s plane while he was operating it in restricted airspace, according to the criminal complaint. Salamone’s plane also came within a quarter-mile of the Limerick nuclear power plant, Castor said. Green argued that Castor’s effort to regulate air commerce near nuclear power plants by applying general criminal laws is preempted by federal authorities. "The federal government has issued various rules and directives that regulate flight near nuclear power plants. Flight near the Limerick nuclear station is necessary to the operation of the Pottstown-Limerick Airport and cannot be prohibited by application of state criminal laws," Green argued. Under state law, there is no separate charge for the drunken operation of aircraft. Castor relied on the definition of a "vehicle" as something that travels on "a way" to file the DUI charge against Salamone. Castor theorized that the airways in and around Philadelphia are regulated by public money by air traffic controllers and therefore constitute "ways." If Salamone is convicted of the charge, based upon Castor’s theories, it could set legal a precedent in Pennsylvania. Green, relying on a previous court ruling in another case, argued that motor vehicle laws commonly pertain to vehicles moving on land and should not be extended to aircraft simply upon the speculation that if the legislature had thought of it, broader words might have been used in the law. The plane, which was registered to Salamone’s contracting business, J. Vincent Concrete Contractors Inc. of Queen Street in Pottstown, left the Pottstown-Limerick Airport around 6 p.m. Jan. 15, according to prosecutors. A short time later, police in Williamstown, N.J., received reports of a low-flying aircraft about 3 miles from the Cross Keys Airport in Monroe. The plane then headed toward Philadelphia, authorities said. Air traffic controllers notified Philadelphia police that the plane was flying at an extremely low altitude over the runway in restricted airspace without authorization, according to the criminal complaint. Authorities said Salamone ignored numerous requests by air traffic controllers to land his plane, and a Philadelphia police helicopter crew gave chase, following the plane into Montgomery County. On two occasions, the plane came close to flying into the police helicopter over a residential community in the airspace above the Limerick airport, detectives said. The crew of the police helicopter was finally able to make contact with Salamone and advised him to follow the helicopter in for a landing. Salamone has a history of drunken driving offenses on land, according to court records. Salamone was convicted twice of drunken driving in connection with incidents in Collegeville and Pottstown in 1989 and 1990, court records indicate. Salamone, who remains free on $25,000 bail, could face a maximum of 11 years in prison if convicted of the latest charges.
Posted on Feb. 05, 2004
American, United to trim flights at O'Hare
The two largest carriers at O'Hare International Airport said they would eliminate or reschedule dozens of evening and afternoon flights in an effort to improve on-time performance. United and American Airlines did not drop any cities from service. In most instances, flights originating in the busy 1 p.m.-to-8 p.m. time slot were moved to slower periods earlier in the day. "We are not dropping any destinations," said Jeff Green, a spokesman for Elk Grove Township-based United. Green said that beginning in March, 22 flights will be canceled and 13 flights rescheduled to less busy times of the day. Most are United Express flights. Affected are flights to Wichita, Kan.; Fargo, N.D.; Boston; Indianapolis; Jacksonville; Lansing and Saginaw, Mich.; New York City; Milwaukee; Moline, Ill.; Oakland; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia; Springfield, Mo.; St. Louis; Columbia, S.C.; and Savannah, Ga. American Airlines said that beginning in March, it will move 28 flights, many of them American Eagle, to non-peak travel times and reduce service to St. Louis, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Louisville and Grand Rapids, Mich. "American is committed to responsible scheduling at O'Hare and at all other airports where it operates," said Will Ris, American's senior vice president for government affairs. Last month the Federal Aviation Administration asked both airlines to reduce or reschedule flights to improve on-time flight performance. Departures and arrivals from O'Hare are chronically late, in part because at some times of the day the airlines schedule more flights than the airport can handle. In November and December, for example, 39 percent of O'Hare arrivals were delayed, an average of 492 per day, according to FAA data. The average delay was 57 minutes. There is little reason to think the airlines resisted the cutback in flights. "The FAA is giving them cover to do something they have been dying to do for months," said Nicolas Owens, an analyst with Morningstar. He said the airlines want to reduce the number of flights because demand for air travel has dropped but could not do so previously for competitive reasons. Owens said that past reductions in the number of flights led to a noticeable improvement in on-time performance at O'Hare. The cutback may cause a bit of hardship for some passengers, however. "There won't be much in the way of inconvenience for passengers, but their may be a noticeable increase in the prices that will be offered to business travelers," said Kevin Mitchell, chairman of the Business Travel Coalition.
Posted on Feb. 05, 2004
EPA help sought on jetliner noise
Delaware's two senators have written a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency asking the agency to get involved in the Federal Aviation Administration's ongoing redesign of flight patterns at Philadelphia International Airport. Democrats Tom Carper and Joe Biden hope the EPA's involvement in the FAA's plan will mean that noise pollution created by airplanes will remain a top concern. Residents in northern New Castle County have complained for years about noise from planes landing at the airport. Many residents fear the problem could become worse because of the FAA redesign of the Philadelphia/New Jersey/New York airspace along with airport plans to redesign runways. The letter asks the EPA to act because the FAA is not making noise reduction a priority. Senators from New York and New Jersey also signed the letter because of similar noise concerns.
Posted on Feb. 03, 2004
Court voids injunction against US Airways
In a victory for US Airways, a federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned a preliminary injunction barring the company from contracting maintenance work on several Airbus jets to an outside company. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia found a district court judge in Pittsburgh did not have adequate jurisdiction when he granted a preliminary injunction sought by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers last November. US Airways told the machinists' union on Oct. 6, 2003 it had decided to contract repair work on the 10 Airbus planes to ST Mobile Aerospace Engineering Inc., in Mobile, Ala. The contract called for ST Mobile to overhaul the narrow-body aircraft, which were due for heavy maintenance. The union later sued to block US Airways from contracting out the work, saying such a move violated a collective bargaining agreement. District Court judge Robert Cindrich ruled last November the disagreement between US Airways and the union qualified as a major dispute under the federal Railway Labor Act, which has also governed airlines since 1936. He directed Arlington, Va.-based US Airways to conclude maintenance on one Airbus aircraft, and barred outside work on the additional aircraft. But the appeals court said in its opinion Tuesday it found the dispute to be a minor one under the Railway Labor Act and that Judge Cindrich should have directed the company and the union to settle the matter in arbitration. US Airways, which is the major carrier serving Pittsburgh International Airport, where it operates its No. 2 hub, hailed the appeals court's decision. "The Court's decision validates the company's consistent legal opinion that this issue is a minor contract dispute under the Railway Labor Act that must be resolved through arbitration between US Airways and the International Association of Machinists," the company said in a statement. "We are prepared," it added, "to quickly arbitrate this matter as our collective focus must be to meet the travel plans of our customers without interruption." No comment from the machinists' union was immediately available. US Airways has said it lacks existing facilities and equipment to complete the scheduled maintenance required by the planes' manufacturer, Airbus Industrie, and the Federal Aviation Administration. But the union contends its current collective bargaining agreement prohibits the move to outsource the work. US Airways, the seventh-largest domestic airline, said the outsourcing plan complied with an agreement it reached with the machinists' union in June. The carrier also said previously that no furloughs or layoffs would result from the arrangement. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 141-M, represents 5,000 mechanics and related employees at US Airways. IAM District 141 represents the airline's 4,450 fleet service employees.
Posted on Feb. 02, 2004
Virgin in talks with US Airways
1 February 2004 VIRGIN Atlantic, led by Sir Richard Branson, has held talks with US Airways, the former partner of archrival British Airways, about buying assets that could launch his new discount airline in America. Branson, who said recently he was in talks with a US airline about 'carving off chunks of that operation', is interested in a hub in Washington or Boston. US Airways has take-off and landing slots at Reagan National Airport in the US capital and Logan International in Boston. The new airline, to be called Virgin USA or Virgin America, will be launched next year. Virgin executives believe launch costs will be about £115m. Branson could also be interested in the US Airways Shuttle, which ferries passengers hourly from New York to Washington and Boston. Bids are expected to reach £87m. Branson faces bids from rivals such as American Airlines, Delta, JetBlue and Mesa Airlines. US Airways' board is expected to discuss offers for the company's assets in a couple of weeks. A spokesman for US Airways confirmed that the airline had held talks with certain airlines, but declined to confirm that Virgin was among them. But according to an industry lawyer in Washington: 'Branson wants what US Airways has. Whether he can afford it or is willing to pay the price is another matter.' Beleaguered US Airways, which climbed out of bankruptcy last year after a £520m loan guarantee from the US government, has hired banker Morgan Stanley to evaluate offers and determine whether it should sell certain assets. BA owned 20% of US Airways nearly a decade ago, but walked away, writing off much of its investment. The US carrier has hubs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Charlotte, North Carolina, but Branson is said to have narrowed his search to Boston, Washington and San Francisco. Branson indicated that most of the money for the airline's launch would come from 'institutional partners' and the start-up would include an order for up to 15 Airbus or Boeing narrow-bodied aircraft.
Posted on Feb. 02, 2004
Plan to Save US Airways Falls Apart
Nearly a year ago, US Airways was emerging from bankruptcy reorganization leaner and stronger to industry-wide accolades of a prosperous new era for the old-line carrier. The Arlington-based airline had surpassed its cost-cutting targets, wresting millions of dollars in concessions from workers. The chief executive, the brash and self-assured David N. Siegel, was hailed as the rising star of the aviation world. Today, the nation's seventh-largest airline is struggling to survive and faces a future as a shrunken version of its former self, with fewer flights, fewer employees or both. "The current situation at US Airways is a cautionary tale that we will all heed well," Gerald Grinstein, chief executive of Delta Air Lines, said in a conference call with airline analysts last month. US Airways Group Inc. is asking employees for more concessions and is considering selling some of its jewels, including the Northeast shuttle, to raise cash. Questions abound as to whether US Airways bungled its revival or was a victim of the industry's rapid transformation. And Siegel himself, far from the shining savior he once was portrayed to be, is catching much of the blame for the airline's latest woes. Industry analysts, airline executives and union leaders say Siegel underestimated the depth of the company's problems and came out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection too soon. The company has not collected enough revenue, resulting in the need repeatedly to seek concessions from employees, which ignited serious labor strife. Even Retirement Systems of Alabama, which became the carrier's largest investor during the bankruptcy, has acknowledged that mistakes were made. Siegel previously was not shy about taking potshots at his competitors. He chided the former chief executive of Delta Air Lines, Leo F. Mullin, for his high pay. On another occasion, Siegal called Mullin "Dr. Evil" and referred to the partnership between Delta, Continental Airlines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. as the "axis of evil." But recently Siegel has been contrite. At a luncheon in October, he promised to be "sober" and "statesmanlike" in his remarks. Weighing on him that day was the announcement that low-cost Southwest Airlines Co. would soon begin flying out of Philadelphia International Airport, one of Arlington-based US Airways' most important hubs. If Siegel has lost some of his bravado, it may be because the pressure on US Airways is so great. The weak economy, war in Iraq and security concerns contributed to steep losses over the past two years and the carrier is expected to report another annual loss on Friday. Meanwhile, low-cost airlines are pushing relentlessly into US Airways territory. In response to Siegel's most recent demand for concessions, the pilots union in December called on the company board to fire him. Siegel would not comment for this article. The other major airlines are closely watching the battle for survival at US Airways for lessons to use in their own struggles against low-fare carriers. The rise of budget airlines is transforming the aviation world, forcing the traditional carriers to reconsider standards that have been in place for more than a generation. Nowhere is the pressure between the old and new more visible than at US Airways, where Siegel, 42, a Harvard Business School graduate and veteran of Northwest and Continental Airlines, executes a vision with roots in the past, and Chairman David G. Bronner, 58, chief executive of Retirement Systems of Alabama, has no airline allegiance and seeks radical change. Sources close to the airline said it was Bronner's decision to consider selling some of US Airways' most valuable assets, such as a hub, a regional jet operation or the Northeast shuttle. Bronner sees the airline industry through the lens of an investor. His strategy is to do whatever is necessary to return US Airways to profitability. Airline industry conventions mean little to him. He acknowledges the sharp divisions between Siegel and his employees. "There is plenty of blame to go around for everybody -- the management and the union," Bonner said. "If management is frozen pointing at the unions and the unions are frozen pointing at management, nothing happens." Siegel's labor troubles began during the Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring, when he underestimated the level of concessions needed to revive the airline, analysts said. Siegel managed to surpass his initial targets after employees agreed to steeper pay and benefit cuts than first requested. US Airways said it needed $900 million in concessions to emerge from Chapter 11 and ended up with $1.2 billion. As a result, the airline was able to cut $1.9 billion overall from its operations, more than the $1.4 billion it had planned to cut. While the initial estimates may have been accurate in early 2003, they quickly proved to be not deep enough as the war in Iraq proceeded, travel slumped and security costs escalated. "We pushed them as far as we could. But based on the new revenue outlook, maybe those estimates were too low," said a US Airways executive. Under bankruptcy rules, US Airways could have nullified its labor contracts, a scenario most dreaded by workers. But the carrier decided instead to negotiate with the unions on concessions. Industry sources said US Airways would have benefited from relaxing work rules to allow its planes to fly more hours, or allow more flexibility in scheduling mechanics. While such agreements would have meant more layoffs, they would have reduced US Airways' costs from its current 9 cents per mile, closer to Southwest's 7 cents a mile, according to Wall Street analysts. Failing to cut costs early enough, analysts said, Siegel again has had to ask employees for concessions. During the bankruptcy reorganization, the airline terminated its pilots' pension plan and cut more than 17,000 jobs. Since emerging from Chapter 11 in March, it has cut at least 500 jobs and last month suggested that still more concessions might be needed. "They hadn't really finished getting their costs under control and in line," said Helane Becker, an airline analyst at Benchmark Co. "So now they have a problem because they lost the window of opportunity to be highly competitive." Bill Pollock, head of US Airways' pilots union and a member of the airline's board, said employees feel betrayed by Siegel and his management team. "We believed in him," he said. "But his actions have sadly not really followed through with his words or his intentions." Pollock and other pilots' union leaders met last week with US Airways executives to discuss the carrier's financial problems. This week, the union's leaders will decide whether they will enter new negotiations on concessions. The airline's flight attendants have also agreed to meet with US Airways executives. In addition to its labor problems, US Airways must also confront the growing threat from low-cost carriers, beyond what other airlines face. The budget airlines now have 20 percent of the aviation market, up from 5 percent in the late 1980s, and are expected to have captured 40 percent by 2006, according to US Airways. The growth has come primarily on shorter routes of about 500 miles and has been concentrated in the Northeast. US Airways operates more flights along the east coast than any other airline and most of those flights travel about 500 miles. Some recent moves by low-cost airlines caught US Airways by surprise, even though the carrier has closely watched the expansion along the East Coast in the past five years. US Airways executives had expected Southwest to add an East Coast city soon, but they thought it would be Allentown, Pa., not Philadelphia. US Airways also was caught flatfooted by JetBlue Airways Corp.'s plan to add 100-seat regional jets to its fleet to fly head to head against US Airways in secondary East Coast cities beginning next year. Last month, JetBlue announced plans to begin service at New York's La Guardia airport, where US Airways has the third-largest presence of any airline. US Airways has had trouble previously. From 1988 to 1995, five US Airways planes crashed, creating a major challenge for Edwin I. Colodny and Seth E. Schofield, who were chief executives of the airline. During that time, the carrier did not have a profitable year. In 2001, under chief executive Rakesh Gangwal, US Airways tried to sell itself to United Airlines. A year later, the government killed the deal, saying it was anticompetitive. US Airways executives sought another survival strategy. Despite lowering costs by cutting pay, retiring planes and reducing flights in the past few years, US Airways hasn't produced a revenue stream strong enough to lift it out of the red. "Their cutting was in line with their projections, but where they failed miserably was on their revenue," said Darryl Jenkins, visiting professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. US Airways is getting more revenue from business fares. In the first week of January, such fares, which usually are collected at the last minute, increased 7 percent compared with the comparable week last year. That was the largest increase among national carriers, according to a recent report by Susan M. Donofrio, an airline analyst at Deutsche Bank. Business fares for the industry dropped 7 percent during the week. Airline consultant Michael J. Boyd of the Boyd Group praised Siegel for bringing the airline through bankruptcy reorganization during a recession. But now, he said, Siegel is going to have to persuade employees to trust him again. "Siegel pulled a lot of rabbits out of hats, but he's going to have to pull a few more out," Boyd said. "It's a terrible thing to take a 30 percent wage cut, lose your pension and be told you have to do more. But that may be the reality." Despite the skepticism of some critics, US Airways executives contend that they had no choice but to take the airline out of Chapter 11 when they did. They said various lenders tied approval of loans to emergence on March 31, and that its credit card processor demanded that it emerge by that date. If the airline didn't meet the deadline, it would have been unable to accept credit card payments from customers, US Airways said. US Airways has to maintain a cash level of about $1 billion through June to fulfill covenants with the federal government on a $900 million loan guarantee. In the third quarter, US Airways lost $1 million a day. The carrier's board plans to meet Wednesday to decide which, if any, assets to sell. "Numerous airlines have contacted me and Morgan Stanley and we'll see if they're real or not," Bronner said. He'd prefer to keep the assets, realizing that any sales could jeopardize the airline's long-term revenue. He hopes that "the various members of the US Airways family will sit down together and come up with their own proposals" on how to cut costs. If US Airways employees agree to more concessions, airline experts said, Siegel would have to convince them that he does not plan to sell the airline. Some industry observers said an outright sale is part of Siegel's plan. While the government killed United's effort to purchase US Airways three years ago, it could be more amenable to a merger with another carrier if US Airways continues to lose money and ends up at risk of defaulting on the loan guarantee, Jenkins said. The government may view a merger as the only way to save the airline's jobs and routes. US Airways executives said they plan to keep the airline as an independent operator indefinitely. "We still think US Airways has a franchise and has a strong position as an airline on the East Coast," said Christopher L. Chiames, senior vice president of corporate affairs at US Airways. "But we have some short-to-medium-term financial challenges. We have to manage those to be around to fight the fight."
Posted on Feb. 02, 2004
Plane Diverted In New Jersey As Bush Leaves Philadelphia
MEDFORD, N.J. -- Military jets diverted a small plane flying in temporarily restricted air space Saturday shortly before President Bush flew out of Philadelphia on Air Force One, a Secret Service spokeswoman said. The Cessna was reported to have violated the flight restriction at 12:25 p.m., according to Secret Service spokeswoman Ann Roman. Two F-16 fighter jets ordered the plane to land at the Flying W Airport about 25 minutes before Bush departed Philadelphia International Airport. The president was not in danger at any time, Roman said. The plane and pilot were searched and the pilot was interviewed by the Secret Service and local authorities after the plane landed. Roman said nothing was found that would suggest anything but an error on the part of the pilot. "Apparently he just failed to check the notice that was filed for the day and inadvertently entered the temporary flight restriction," she said. The pilot's name was not immediately released and Roman said she knew of no charges that had been filed as of Saturday night. It was not immediately known where the plane took off from and where the pilot was headed. The fighter jets used flares to get the attention of the pilot, according to Lt. Col. Kacey Blaney of the Northeast Air Defense Sector. Blaney said it is fairly common for planes to violate temporary restricted air space as occurred Saturday. She said it is less common for fighter jets to have to use flares to attract a pilot's attention, and that normally pilots respond to radio contact or other signals. Bush spent several hours in Philadelphia, where he gave a speech to GOP lawmakers at a downtown hotel. Medford is about 20 miles east of Philadelphia. The fighter jets were called in from an Air National Guard unit in Egg Harbor Township, WCAU-TV reported.
Posted on Jan. 31, 2004
More Charges for Errant Pilot
After violating airspace in Philadelphia, Salamone then flew to airports in Atlantic City, Ocean City, and the Cross Keys Airport in Camden County where he tried, but failed, twice to land before going back into Philadelphia airspace. (Norristown-AP) Jan, 30, 2004 — A Pottstown man who flew erratically all over the Philadelphia area two weeks ago is now accused of coming extremely close to crashing with a fully loaded commercial jet. Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor says 44-year-old John Salamone was drunk and also under the influence of Valium. He's charged with risking a catastrophe. Castor says Salamone came within 900 feet of a packed 747, and the commercial jet was one of several that had to be rerouted to get out of Salamone's way. The D-A says Salamone also narrowly missed a Philadelphia police helicopter that forced him to land at Pottstown-Limerick airport.
Posted on Jan. 31, 2004
In Philadelphia, Southwest Is Trying the Front Door
hroughout Southwest Airlines' three decades in the air, its trademark has been sneaking up on big-city markets, starting service at lesser-used airports and luring passengers with tantalizingly low fares. But now Southwest is shaking up air travel throughout the Northeast with a direct assault on Philadelphia, the nation's fourth-biggest market for air travel. Southwest will not start flying out of Philadelphia until May, but it has already started running commercials there promising low fares and friendly service. In response, US Airways, the dominant carrier in Philadelphia, has cut some fares and vowed not to be undersold. At the same time, though, it is pursuing a less-confident-sounding Plan B, by putting its Philadelphia operations up for sale. Saddled with high operating costs, US Airways is already wobbling financially, having emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just 10 months ago; some fear that Southwest's assault could topple it right back in. That's not all. Southwest's designs on Philadelphia also challenge airlines serving New York, like Continental at Newark Liberty International Airport and even JetBlue at Kennedy International, which draws bargain hunters from across the region. Southwest's thrust into a major Northeast market also worries airlines like American and United, which are already battling for passengers to cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, and are loath to have another big city invaded by Southwest, the low-cost, low-fare leader. All of this delights ticket buyers, from individuals just looking for a good deal to corporate travel managers as far away as northern Virginia. Kimberly Long, president of the Philadelphia Business Travel Association, said that many business travelers had "the basic feeling of being held hostage" to US Airways for years, because it accounts for more than two-thirds of the flights into and out of Philadelphia International Airport. In a previous job as the corporate travel manager for a bridal company, Ms. Long said, she flew regularly on US Airways to St. Louis, often paying as much as $1,200 round trip for a full-fare ticket; colleagues paid $800 round trip to fly to Boston. Alternatives were time-consuming and inconvenient, she said, so "you just had to pay it." Those days will soon be over. Though Southwest has not announced the prices on its Philadelphia routes, no ticket on Southwest costs more than $299 round trip, and the airline regularly offers one-way fares for as low as $34 if purchased on the Internet. Southwest's move on Philadelphia is not without risk. The airline has become the industry's most profitable, and the most highly valued among investors, by running its operations like clockwork. But the unpredictable weather, crowded skies and frequent air travel delays in the Northeast "will make it difficult to operate its schedule smoothly," said Roland T. Rust, chairman of the marketing department at the University of Maryland's business school. And by entering a market heavy with business travelers, a profit redoubt for traditional carriers, Southwest may invite a showdown with major carriers that many in the industry have been waiting for. "Southwest has traditionally engaged in asymmetric warfare," said Professor Rust, referring to the approach of using secondary and suburban airports to serve major cities. Its move into Philadelphia may signal that it thinks US Airways is weak enough "that it can be taken on directly," he said. US Airways is vulnerable, Professor Rust said, adding, "Southwest will hammer US Airways in Philadelphia." Before Southwest even starts flying in Philadelphia, not only US Airways but other competitors there - including low-fare competitors like ATA Airlines - have vowed to battle back, promising what one aviation industry consultant predicts will be one of the fiercest contests the airline industry has seen in years. The last such battle, said the consultant, Michael Allen, chief operating officer of Back Aviation, was a decade ago, when Southwest arrived in Baltimore. At the time, US Airways was the largest airline in Baltimore. By last year, however, Southwest accounted for 44 percent of all flights and US Airways only 10 percent.
Posted on Jan. 29, 2004
Security Screeners Suspended
PHILADELPHIA-January 29, 2004 — Three security screeners at Philadelphia International Airport have been suspended after one brought a gun to work. Officials say the gun was inadvertently left in a backpack being carried by a screener as he arrived for work on Saturday. When it was discovered during a routine check, two co-workers allegedly told the screener to return to his car and leave the gun there, and they never reported it to superiors.
Posted on Jan. 29, 2004
Pilot Charged With Flying Under The Influence nearly hit 747
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, PA (KYW 1060) It has now been revealed that a pilot who flew drunk over Philadelphia International Airport and the Limerick nuclear power plant two weeks ago narrowly missed colliding with a fully loaded 747 jetliner. Investigators say that 44-year-old John Salamone was drunk, not a terrorist, when he piloted his small plane over Philadelphia International Airport. "One commercial airliner - a 747 - came within 900 feet and had to be diverted to avoid a collision. That airliner, I'm told, was fully loaded with passengers," explained Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor. Other planes headed in and out of Philadelphia International also had to be rerouted. Castor has charged Salamone with risking a catastrophe: "This man endangered the residents of Montgomery County, Philadelphia police officers, and innocent passengers on commercial aircraft. For that he needs to be prosecuted." Salamone narrowly missed a Philadelphia police helicopter that forced him to land at Pottstown-Limerick airport. Lab results show he had Valium and twice the legal limit of alcohol for drunk driving in his blood.
Posted on Jan. 27, 2004
AirTran Airways Makes It Easy to Pack Up And Head Out With Sale Fares; Sale Fares to All Destinations Start as Low as $39 Each Way
ORLANDO, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 27, 2004--AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of AirTran Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AAI), today launched a sale for flights to all 45 destinations with fares starting as low as $39 each way. Travelers may purchase these sale fares at airtran.com, through travel agents or via AirTran Airways' reservations system at 1-800-AIR-TRAN. For Spanish, call 1-877-581-9842. These special fares are available for purchase January 27 through February 10, 2004, and are good for travel through June 9, 2004. Like all AirTran Airways fares, prices included in this sale are one-way tickets and do not require a roundtrip purchase or a Saturday night stay. Following is a sample of some of the one-way fares. Fares listed require a 10-day advance purchase and are valid in either direction:

Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Los Angeles                    $129
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Rochester(i)                   $57
Baltimore/Washington (BWI) - Tampa(i)                       $92
Philadelphia - Ft. Lauderdale                               $87
Philadelphia - Ft. Myers                                    $87
Philadelphia - Orlando                                      $87
Philadelphia - Tampa(i)                                     $87
Washington, D.C. (Reagan) - Ft. Myers                       $92
Washington, D.C. (Reagan) - West Palm Beach                 $92
Posted on Jan. 27, 2004
State hit by one winter storm, preparing for second one
PHILADELPHIA - Several more inches of snow were expected to fall across Pennsylvania on Tuesday as the second winter storm of the week moved into the state, forecasters said. The Pittsburgh area was hit with a mixture of icy rain and snow on Tuesday morning, following an earlier storm that blanketed the region. The precipitation changed over to snow, which was expected to keep falling in western Pennsylvania until Wednesday. The freezing rain moving through eastern parts of the state was expected to change to snow, from north to south, later Tuesday. The Poconos area was forecasted to receive 6 to 10 inches, while the Philadelphia region was likely to get a few inches less, said Dean Iovino, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. A longer-than-expected period of mixed precipitation could mean less overall snowfall, but would still make for icy conditions, forecasters said. "It's bad as far as the ice is concerned, but good as far as the snow is concerned," Iovino said.
Posted on Jan. 24, 2004
FAA revokes pilot's license after erratic flight
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Federal Aviation Administration has revoked the license of a pilot who it says made a reckless four-hour flight last week over the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area. The FAA said pilot John V. Salamone endangered the lives of others and forced air traffic controllers to divert numerous aircraft to prevent possible collisions during an erratic flight January 15. The FAA ordered Salamone to mail in his pilot certificate or surrender it at the agency's office in Jamaica, New York. He can appeal the decision but would not be allowed to keep his license during the appeal. Salamone, 44, who is president of a concrete company, could not be reached for comment. The Pottstown, Pennsylvania, pilot flew his 1967 Piper Cherokee aircraft over Philadelphia and Atlantic City, New Jersey -- twice entering controlled airspace without permission. At one point the plane flew near a nuclear power plant, prompting security concerns, officials said. Salamone's blood-alcohol content registered 0.13 in a preliminary breath test administered after he landed, according to Bruce Castor, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania's district attorney. In Pennsylvania, a motorist is considered to be operating under the influence with a blood-alcohol ratio of 0.08. The limit is 0.04 for operating an aircraft. Law enforcement officials were unsure about criminal charges against the pilot since state law is designed to deal with highway driving, Castor said last week. On January 15, an air traffic controller noticed Salamone's single-engine plane on radar about 6:30 p.m. ET, about 15 miles northwest of Philadelphia International Airport, flying southeasterly toward Philadelphia, said FAA spokesman Jim Peters. The pilot crossed into the airport's restricted airspace without asking for permission, Peters said. The pilot headed toward Atlantic City and Ocean City before trying to land at a smaller airport south of Philadelphia, he said. The pilot did not land, re-entering the Philadelphia airport's airspace. Air traffic controllers contacted the pilot and asked he if he wanted to land in Philadelphia, Peters said. He instead headed back to Pottstown Limerick Airport, his home airport, where he made an attempt to land before flying over a nuclear power plant, Peters said. A police helicopter intercepted the plane and forced it to land at 10:17 p.m., he said. The FAA said last week Salamone had no prior aviation accidents, incidents or enforcement actions.
Posted on Jan. 23, 2004
Southwest Airlines Lease Four Gates at PHL
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Southwest Airlines said Thursday it will announce fares for its new Philadelphia service, and will also begin taking reservations and selling tickets, in early February. Southwest, the nation's largest discount air carrier, plans 14 flights a day to six cities in its initial schedule beginning in May, said Gary C. Kelly, executive vice president and chief financial officer. Philadelphia "is just a tremendous opportunity for Southwest Airlines," Kelly said. "The fares there are very high," he said. "We're going to pull out all the stops ... and one thing you can count on is lower fares." Nonstop flights from Philadelphia, where financially troubled US Airways is now the dominant carrier, will be offered to Chicago; Providence, R.I.; Orlando and Tampa, Fla.; Las Vegas; and Phoenix. Southwest has leased four gates at Philadelphia International Airport, enough to operate about 30 to 35 flights a day, Kelly said.
Posted on Jan. 21, 2004
Concessions at airport rank low in poll
Philadelphia's airport concessions, under scrutiny in the ongoing federal public-corruption probe, failed to win any major awards in a nationally recognized survey released yesterday, despite strong performances in recent years. The Best Concessions Poll by Airport Revenue News rated big- city airport concessions in five categories, and Philadelphia's failed to score a first-, second- or third-place in any of them. Philly's standing among a field of 13 was fourth through ninth in four categories, and the city was not even nominated in a fifth, according to Airport Revenue News publisher Pauline Armbrust. The city's lowest ranking fell in the category of overall airport service. A Daily News survey of 262 travelers last year found that nearly two-thirds were generally satisfied with the airport but about a third complained of food and beverage prices. Armbrust said there was some buzz in the industry about the federal investigation in Philadelphia, but doubted that it had figured in the scoring. "People in the industry know there's sometimes politics involved in the competition for contracts," said Armbrust. "But the people who judged this survey are very professional, and they're very focused on what makes a program really good." The federal probe is believed to be focusing in part on favoritism in the award and management of airport contracts. The FBI tapped the cell phone of the city's deputy aviation director in charge of concessions, and has subpoenaed documents and testimony from Marketplace Redwood, the company that manages concessions under contract with the city. Airport concessions managed by Redwood have won numerous awards in recent years, including last year's Airport Revenue News first-place for the most innovative concession services. Information on past awards was provided by the airport public relations office, which in recent months has referred every request for information to the city Law Department, which takes weeks to respond. Besides the airport itself, awards in past years have gone to several of the individual concessions connected to friends and relatives of attorney Ron White, whose office was raided in the federal probe. Armbrust also noted that her publication last fall rated Philadelphia Aviation Director Charles Isdell best director of the year, about a week before the Daily News reported that two of Isdell's relatives were working for airport contractors. "That was odd, but you know what? Charlie's a good director," Armbrust said.
Posted on Jan. 21, 2004
American To Add Flights
AmericanConnection will add two additional flights to Philadelphia from St. Louis effective Jan. 31. As of Feb. 29, it will also add a sixth daily flight to Newark, N.J.
Posted on Jan. 20, 2004
Pennridge AP Tie Downs Must be Moved
SELLERSVILLE, Pa. (AP) _ Pennridge Airport plans to ask East Rockhill Township supervisors at a meeting Tuesday night for a ruling that could keep its flights from being grounded by the state Department of Transportation. The department's Bureau of Aviation has said that the airport's 21 tie-down spaces, where the planes are anchored to the ground, must be moved because they are too close to the runways, airport manager Jean Curry said. Curry said the tie-downs have to be at least 250 feet from the center of the runway but are only 100 to 150 feet away _ and authorities could shut the airport down if the problem is not corrected. The airport needs conditional use approval from the township by Jan. 31 to move the tie-downs to the opposite side of the runway or lose an $800,000 state grant to do the work. Three-quarters of the grant money will be used for the tie-down problem and the rest will be used to excavate land at the 267-acre airport for more hangar space and a new parking lot, driveway and taxiway, Curry said
Posted on Jan. 20, 2004
US Airways workers await next decisions
With Southwest coming to Phila., US Airways is looking at choices. Givebacks are not an option, the union says.
By Tom Belden
Inquirer Staff Writer

Flight attendant Molly McCarthy is among 27,000 unionized US Airways employees wondering if the next shoe to drop in the airline's struggle to survive will be a boot in the back. Employees expect that the airline's financial crisis will mean a call for new sacrifice, from a management team they have no confidence in, McCarthy, president of the Philadelphia local of the Association of Flight Attendants, said last week. "This is a very loyal group of employees," she said. "But nobody is going to throw more money after bad management decisions. If their only plan is to come after us, I'm not in the mood for it." To help it cut costs, US Airways over the last two years has reduced its workforce by a third and required the remaining employees to give up more than $1 billion in wages and benefits. The union leader's lack of faith in US Airways' senior executives is just one hurdle the carrier faces as it girds for Southwest Airlines' debut at Philadelphia International Airport. Southwest, the nation's biggest discount airline, plans to start service on May 9 to Philadelphia, where US Airways has almost 5,700 employees and provides the airport with almost half its revenue. The move has shaken US Airways to its core at a time the company continues to lose money, despite a restructuring of its finances in Bankruptcy Court in 2002 and 2003. Even though Southwest will start small here, with just 14 flights a day in a city US Airways has almost 400 daily departures, its mere presence will be "like putting a dagger at their heart," said Standard & Poor's Corp. airline analyst Philip Baggaley. It costs Southwest just 60 percent as much to fly a passenger one mile as it does US Airways and other major carriers, enabling Southwest to make money at lower fares. Industry analysts expect that average ticket prices will plunge by 50 percent or more on dozens of routes from Philadelphia that US Airways now dominates and where Southwest will offer nonstop or one-stop service. Southwest also is expected to steadily add routes from Philadelphia to other cities, as it has at Baltimore, another former US Airways stronghold. Southwest's plans have sent US Airways' management scrambling to devise a business plan that will cut $300 million a year in operating costs. But union officers, representing the flight attendants and pilots, mechanics, baggage handlers and ticket agents, warn that they are reluctant to ask their members for more concessions. While the unions say they are willing to negotiate, the company has given them no plan to consider. The Air Line Pilots Association has so little faith in the airline's management that Bill Pollack, chairman of the union's US Airways chapter, called in December for company president David Siegel and chief financial officer Neal Cohen to resign. David G. Bronner, the airline's nonexecutive chairman, said he had complete faith in the executives. Whoever is in charge, the analysts say there may be few ways short of more labor concessions for US Airways to quickly lower its costs enough to make it more competitive with Southwest and other low-fare carriers. Low-fares airlines, including Southwest, AirTran, Frontier, JetBlue and Spirit, have lower costs than major carriers because they have either younger, nonunion workforces or work rules and other ways of operating that use employees more efficiently - or both, the analysts say. The primary advantage for discount carriers is their labor costs, said analyst Vaughn Cordel, in a recent report by Aviation Economics, a London-based consulting firm. "As the low-cost segment gains greater market share... the majors' labor-cost disadvantage becomes even more apparent," he said. Concern about US Airways' financial condition has increased in the last two weeks. The airline hired the Morgan Stanley investment-banking firm to see if it has assets - such as planes, airport gates or its Boston-New York-Washington shuttle service - that other airlines might want. By last week, other major airlines had started contacting Morgan Stanley to see what was available. "US Airways is not doing as well as we want it to do," Bronner said. "We have to put all the assets on the table and take a look at them." The asset sale prompted Standard & Poor's to cut its debt ratings on US Airways from "B" to "B-" and warn that another reduction was possible. The airline is in the middle of its slow winter season, when its revenue is at its lowest, and it is expected to report next month that it lost money in the fourth quarter and for all of 2003. Since the beginning of 2001, the company has lost $4.5 billion. In contrast, Southwest has been profitable for 31 straight years. Its board last week declared the company's 110th consecutive quarterly dividend. US Airways' losses could soon knock it out of compliance with a financial covenant of the federal Air Transportation Stabilization Board. When the board approved a $900 million loan guarantee as part of the company's bankruptcy reorganization, it required the carrier to keep at least $1 billion in cash through this June. The airline has $1.3 billion, the same as it had when it emerged from bankruptcy last March 31. "What's going to cause them to meet or not meet those covenants is having earnings," Baggaley, the S&P analyst, said in an interview. At the same time, Baggaley said he did not believe the federal board would be "eager to accelerate the loan and force US Airways into bankruptcy - particularly in an election year." What US Airways and other big hub-and-spoke airlines need to do is find ways to blend the best aspects of their traditional way of operating with Southwest's lower-cost method of mostly point-to-point flying, some industry analysts say. Hub-and-spoke airlines are inherently more expensive than a Southwest-style point-to-point network because they require more airport gates and more employees at every step of the process of putting passengers on airplanes and flying them to their destinations. Bronner, the US Airways chairman, said the job of trying to schedule the airline's planes and crews more efficiently "has to be worked on over a year or two... The immediate problem is we're bleeding red ink." But now the company must show the federal board in the next few months that it is making progress. Bronner, whose primary job is executive director of Retirement Systems of Alabama, US Airways' controlling shareholder, added that being from Alabama, he could not help but use football terminology to describe the airline's dilemma. "We've gone 85 or 90 yards," he said. "We just have to get over this 60-to-90-day hurdle."
Posted on Jan. 19, 2004
FAA still probing pilot’s joyride
LIMERICK -- When a single-engine plane violated the airspace of the Philadelphia International Airport last week, swooping down at one point to an altitude of 100 feet, it set off a chain reaction of phone calls that went all the way to the military’s North American Aerospace Defense Command. The pilot, John Salamone, 44, of Queen Street in Pottstown, was taken into custody by Limerick police after his plane was forced down at the Pottstown/Limerick Airport by a police helicopter Thursday night. He faces a charge of public drunkenness, but DUI charges are pending his blood-alcohol analysis. Preliminary tests indicated Salamone’s blood-alcohol level was 0.13 percent, according to police. For pilots, the limit is 0.04 percent, according to Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters. "That’s the limit for any pilot in any aircraft," Peters said. The FAA is still investigating the incident, but the agency has no authority in criminal matters. "The most severe option we have is to take his license," Peters said. "We don’t have any statutory authority to seek criminal charges." Salamone’s plane entered the controlled airspace at the Philadelphia airport twice, and for those incidents the FAA may file two pilot deviations citations, according to Peters. Each citation would result in a fine and possible suspension of his pilot’s license. Salamone’s license could be revoked, but that decision would come after the FAA investigation is complete, according to Peters. He would not say when the investigation was expected to be finished. Currently, Salamone still has his pilot’s license and is authorized to fly, Peters said. Thursday’s incident started a couple hours after Salamone took off from the Pottstown/Limerick Airport at 6 p.m. The plane he was flying is registered to J. Vincent Concrete Contractors. Salamone’s relationship with the company was not immediately clear. After takeoff, the plane flew erratically over Philadelphia and portions of New Jersey, prompting airport officials in Philadelphia to try and contact the man at the controls. Salamone only responded to their calls once, however. Officials tried to get him to land, but he flew toward New Jersey. A Philadelphia police helicopter gave chase -- in frigid, windy weather -- and forced him to land in Limerick. But as soon as Salamone’s plane violated airspace, some very influential people were notified of the incident. Peters refused to be specific, but he said several authorities were alerted to what was occurring with Salamone’s plane. "We made immediate notifications to various state, federal and local authorities," Peters said. "Any agency with any interest in aircraft was notified, from Homeland Security to the (Transportation Security Administration) to the FBI and any appropriate military branches, including NORAD." The North American Aerospace Defense Command is a fortified military installation tucked under a mountain in Colorado. Military operations across the globe are monitored from the site. A decision to scramble military jets to confront an errant aircraft, or one hijacked by terrorists, will come from officials stationed at the base. Exactly how close decision-makers came to scrambling jets after Salamone’s single-engine plane penetrated restricted airspace is unknown. "That decision is strictly a military one," Peters said.
Posted on Jan. 17, 2004
PHL Airport space seen as coveted
Although US Airways Inc. acknowledged last week it is considering the sale of major assets -- including its large hub at Philadelphia International Airport -- city officials are not panicking yet. After all, the city, which owns the airport, has been moving to diversify the airport as much as possible so it doesn't have to rely so much on US Airways, which operates 67 percent of the gates. An example of that is the recent announcement that Southwest Airlines Inc. would start daily nonstop service out of Philadelphia International, a move that already has US Airways scrambling to compete. The city also aggressively pursued Virgin USA this fall and winter in a failed bid to land the startup's headquarters, although the airline could still operate flights out of Philadelphia International. Philadelphia is such a desirable market and airport, said Duane Bumb, deputy commerce director for the city, that even if US Airways did pull back its operations, the city would be able to fill the void relatively easily. While some of US Airway's hubs are used by the airline for connecting flights, such as Pittsburgh, he said, Philadelphia International is heavily used for "end service" that originates and ends in Philadelphia as a major destination. And another airline would see an opportunity, he said. "Philadelphia is certainly an end market that must be served," Bumb said. "Somebody will make their way to us." However, it is clear that the loss of US Airways could have devastating consequences for the city and its airport if Philadelphia could not fill the void. In a study presented to Gov. Ed Rendell in September, US Airways said the loss of the Pittsburgh hub -- which is also under consideration by the airline as it looks to cut costs -- would cost Pittsburgh's regional economy 17,100 jobs and have a $1.8 billion annual economic impact. It would also result in the loss of 2,500 jobs in other parts of the state. City, airport and tourism officials alike are wary of saying much about US Airway's plans and what impact they may have on the city if indeed the airline -- which emerged last year from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection -- decides to get rid of its hub in Philadelphia. The airline is also considering cutting its hub in Charlotte, N.C., or eliminating its shuttle service. "We have received no information from US Airways regarding this," airport spokesman Mark Pesce said. "We are monitoring the situation and we would prefer not to speculate without additional information from US Airways." Pesce has said that the annual economic impact of the airport on the region is $7.2 billion and that the airport supports 300 businesses and 21,000 employees. He would not, however, say how much of that is a result of US Airway's hub operations here without a written request for the information under the state's "Right to Know" law and additional research on the airport's behalf, which was not available at presstime. US Airways operates 80 of the 120 gates at Philadelphia International. It also operates two new US Airways Clubs and an aircraft maintenance hangar that were completed in 2000 with $71 million in financing from bonds issued by the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development. The airport's new international terminal -- which is US Airway's principal international "gateway" -- and its US Airways Express terminal were financed with $632 in bonds from PAID. US Airways has 383 departures daily from Philadelphia International, which is its second-busiest hub, behind only Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, which has 469 daily departures, according to the airline. US Airways Spokesman David Castelveter said the airline employs more than 5,600 people at Philadelphia International and that its lease with the airport expires in 2006. The airline paid Philadelphia International $64.8 million in lease payments and $21.3 million in landing fees in 2003, Castelveter said. But he said he could not give additional economic impact data because the airline had never done an economic impact study like the one done for Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh study was done because the airline's operation at Pittsburgh International was a "money-losing proposition," he said, and US Airways was trying to underscore the need to reduce the debt at the airport to cut costs. Castelveter did not know what would happen to the airport bonds if US Airways abandoned Philadelphia as a hub. Pesce said he did not know either. Regardless of those issues, US Airways remains adamant that it has not yet made up its mind about whether or not it will sell assets. Morgan Stanley has only been hired to study the issue, Castelveter said, and to identify assets that could be sold, if the airline decides to sell them at all. "It's just too early to have that conversation," Castelveter said. Apparently, though, US Airways is concerned about Dallas-based Southwest and its imminent entrance into the Philadelphia market. In a Dec. 19 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, US Airways said it is studying how to "compete effectively" with Southwest at Philadelphia International. US Airways says Southwest's cost structure is "well below" that which it has achieved through its bankruptcy reorganization. US Airways says in the filing it is reducing 2004 costs by $200 million to $300 million, but that may not be enough to compete against low-cost airlines like Southwest. Southwest is starting nonstop daily service to several cities in May, and it will use four gates, Pesce said. "The company is in the process of developing various scenarios to address the competitive threat," the filing said. One of the reasons that Southwest can compete on price so effectively is because it doesn't follow the hub model on which US Airways depends to a large extent. Southwest operates a point-to-point route system that provides more nonstop flights for customers and fewer delays. Seventy-seven percent of its flights are nonstop, according to its annual report. Other reasons why it competes so well is that it has a simple fare structure; it uses less-congested airports, and it uses only one type of plane -- a Boeing 737 -- which simplifies maintenance, operations and training, the company says. Bumb, of the Philadelphia Commerce Department, says the decision to go after Virgin USA is in no way related to concerns over US Airways' woes. Instead, Virgin USA, which is part of the $5 billion British conglomerate Virgin Group, approached Philadelphia and said the city was one of six under consideration for its headquarters, Bumb said. He said having US Airways as the dominant carrier is good for the airport, but the city needs to add more airlines over the long term. "We have been active for some time now looking to find ways to diversify the users at the airport," Bumb said. "While it's good for us (to have the hub), at the same time, we want to see as many carriers as possible." Bumb also said the airport is working to ensure that Virgin USA at least decides to run flights out of Philadelphia International even though Philly was eliminated as a headquarters possibility. Boston, San Francisco and northern Virginia are the finalists. The departure of the US Airways hub from Philadelphia would likely have an effect on the city's tourism industry, which has been bolstered through the opening last year of the new international terminal. Sam Rogers, vice president of the tourism division of the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, says his group works with US Airways on joint marketing for international tourism, and it works with the airline on flight issues for meetings and conventions. Direct air service to international locations has only bolstered that relationship, he said. The PCVB has a $4.5 million budget for its international consumer marketing campaign, and Philadelphia was the only U.S. city in the top 20 to increase overseas visitation in 2001 and 2002, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. "US Airways has been a great partner for the visitors and convention bureau and for Philadelphia," Rogers said. "It's a really important part of our progress."
Posted on Jan. 17, 2004
Authorities: Pilot who buzzed area was drunk
The pilot who terrorized the airways with his erratic flying for four hours Thursday night - circling the Limerick nuclear plant and buzzing Philadelphia International Airport - was drunk, authorities said yesterday. When he emerged from his single-engine plane, he was staggering, his eyes were bloodshot, and his pants were unbuttoned and unzipped, authorities said. Tests showed that the pilot, John Salamone, owner of a Pottstown concrete company, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.13, over the legal limit of .08. Until tests are complete, however, he has not been charged with DUI, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr. Salamone, 44, owner of J. Vincent Concrete Contractors , was released into the custody of his brother-in-law. The single-engine plane he was flying is registered to his firm, records show. Jim Peters, a Federal Aviation Administration spokesman, said his agency had opened an investigation into Salamone but have not yanked his license. "At the end we will make a recommendation about what to do," he said. That could mean anything from no action to a civil penalty, or suspension or revocation of his license. Salamone did not return phone calls requesting comment. Salamone took off from Pottstown-Limerick Airport between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m., Peters said. He first flew over Center City, then headed toward Philadelphia International Airport, prompting controllers to order six aircraft that were on final descent to clear out of the way, Peters said. Salamone then headed to South Jersey and attempted tried to land at an airport outside Glassboro before returning to Philadelphia airspace. He declined to land in Philadelphia, and then headed to Limerick, where he landed briefly there, before taking off toward the nuclear plant. He finally landed again at Limerick airport and was arrested, authorities said.
Posted on Jan. 16, 2004
US Airways Express Flight Lands At Wrong Airport
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - Eight passengers on a US Airways Express flight from Pittsburgh to State College got an unscheduled detour last week when their pilot accidentally landed at the wrong airport. The flight, operated by Shuttle America, landed at Mid-State Regional Airport near Philipsburg instead of University Park Airport outside State College. The two airports are about 20 miles apart. Joann Shields, business secretary at Mid-State Airport, which handles mostly private planes, said the pilot wasn't familiar with the area and accidentally landed at the wrong airport. "When the pilot walked in, he said, 'Here's one for the news,'" Shields said. A US Airways spokeswoman said the company arranged for ground transportation to take the eight passengers to University Park Airport, but referred all other questions to Shuttle America. Shuttle America did not return several phone calls over two days from the Centre Daily Times of State College
Posted on Jan. 16, 2004
Plane Diverted From Philadelphia Int'l
PHILADELPHIA - A small plane was diverted to a suburban airstrip Thursday night after it entered controlled airspace near the Philadelphia International Airport, authorities said. A police helicopter escorted the single-engine plane to the Pottstown-Limerick Airport, about 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia, according to city and state police. Philadelphia airport spokesman Mark Pesce declined to comment, referring all questions to the Federal Aviation Administration. FAA spokesman Jim Peters said the plane was flying erratically and had been tracked for over three hours before being forced down around 10:20 p.m. The pilot entered controlled airspace without permission, Peters said. The pilot, who was not identified, was questioned and detained by police in Limerick, Peters said. The pilot will be given a ticket from the FAA for violating the airspace around the Philadelphia airport without permission, Peters said. That could lead to a fine and his pilot's license being suspended or revoked. The plane was registered to a Pottstown-area contractor, J. Vincent Concrete Contractors, but a woman who answered the telephone at the business declined to comment Thursday night.
Posted on Jan. 14, 2004
Indictments issued in alleged threats against Phila. airport and bus terminal
Federal prosecutors announced indictments Tuesday against two men accused of making bomb threats against Philadelphia International Airport and a Philadelphia bus terminal, but it was not immediately clear if the cases were related. James Alan Moore, 20, of Hazleton, was charged with placing a telephone call on Jan. 7 claiming an attempt was being made to blow up the airport with eight bombs, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney Thomas A. Marino. The FBI arrested Moore within 12 hours of the threat, Marino said. In the other case, Justin Seersma, 22, of Wilkes-Barre, was indicted for alleged Patriot Act violations after prosecutors said he posted a message on an Internet chat room about putting a pipe bomb in a bus station at 11th and Filbert streets in Philadelphia. Marino said the Dec. 25 message read, in part: "Should be crowded. Hopefully take out 30. I'm not kidding, you will hear it on the news, but I'm taking plenty of people with me. Sick from this country of ignorant bliss." Moore faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Seersma faces up to 20 years if convicted of the alleged Patriot Act violations; he is also charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, a charge that carries up to five years. Telephone listings for Moore and Seersma could not be found Tuesday, and it could not immediately be determined whether they had obtained lawyers. The U.S. attorney's offices in Harrisburg and Scranton were closed late Tuesday afternoon and prosecutors could not be reached for comment.
Posted on Jan. 14, 2004
Plane from Philadelphia forced to land in Albany
Flight problems forced an unexpected stop at Albany International Airport. Airport officials said a US Airways flight from Philadelphia to Manchester, New Hampshire was detoured to Albany Tuesday night. The plane's captain said an indicator light flashed on, and he saw smoke rising from the back of the plane. The plane landed without any problems, and all 34 passengers were put on another flight. Crews gave the plane a checkup when it landed. They didn't find any sings of smoke, and officials said they still aren't sure what caused the indicator light to trigger. Meanwhile, authorities said strong winds and blowing snow caused a plane in Syracuse to skid off a runway. It happened Tuesday when a Continental airlines flight was trying to land at Hancock Airport. None of the 30 passengers on board were hurt.
Posted on Jan. 14, 2004
US Air announces consolidation plans for regional airlines
US Airways Inc. said Wednesday it plans to consolidate its Harrisburg-based regional airline Allegheny Airlines into Piedmont Airlines of Salisbury, Md. Under the best-case scenario, Piedmont would assume Allegheny's employees and its 41 planes, the airline said. However, a less-preferred option would be to transfer some of the Allegheny assets to Piedmont, liquidate other assets and shut down the Allegheny operation completely. According to its Web site, Allegheny serves 38 cities in the eastern United States with 380 daily flights. US Airways, the dominant carrier at Philadelphia International Airport, has been looking to reduce costs and also is considering the sale of other operations.
Posted on Jan. 13, 2004
US Airways To Expand Seasonal Service To Bermuda
US Airways will expand its seasonal service to Bermuda this summer, with the resumption of Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and Fort Lauderdale service and the introduction of a second daily Philadelphia-Bermuda flight. US Airways has also filed with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for authority to operate Orlando-Bermuda service, also this summer. BWI-Bermuda flights will operate daily from June 6-Sept. 4. Flights will depart BWI at 9:15 a.m., and will arrive in Bermuda at 12:25 p.m. Return flights will depart Bermuda at 1:25 p.m., and will arrive in BWI at 2:40 p.m. Flights between Fort Lauderdale and Bermuda will operate on Wednesdays and Saturdays from May 5-Sept. 22. Flights will depart Fort Lauderdale at 11:35 a.m., and will arrive in Bermuda at 3:06 p.m. Return flights will depart Bermuda at 4 p.m., and will arrive in Fort Lauderdale at 5:46 p.m. Year-round Philadelphia-Bermuda service will be augmented by a daily roundtrip flight operating May 2-Nov. 6. Flights will depart Bermuda at 7:50 a.m., and will arrive in Philadelphia at 9:04 a.m. Return flights will depart Philadelphia at 5:20 p.m., and will arrive in Bermuda at 8:37 p.m., providing convenient connections from our transatlantic and transcontinental flights in Philadelphia. Subject to government approval, US Airways plans to operate Orlando-Bermuda service on Saturdays from May-September 2004. "With this new and resumed service, US Airways is the largest carrier serving Bermuda, with the most destinations and most departures," said Douglas D. Leo, US Airways vice president-international. "For summer 2004, US Airways plans to serve Bermuda from eight U.S. gateways, giving US Airwayscustomers the most options for travel to the island during the peak travel season." US Airways also operates seasonal nonstop service between Bermuda from Boston, Charlotte, N.C., New York-LaGuardia, and Reagan Washington National Airport. US Airways is the nation's seventh-largest airline, serving nearly 200 communities in the U.S., Canada, Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. US Airways, US Airways Shuttle and theUS Airways Express partner carriers operate over 3,300 flights per day. For more information onUS Airways flight schedules and fares, contact US Airways online at usairways.com, or call US Airways Reservations at 1-800-428-4322.
Posted on Jan. 08, 2004
Southwest Scores Big With Three Philadelphia Sports Sponsorships
DALLAS, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Southwest Airlines (NYSE: LUV - News) gained the home field advantage in Philadelphia this week with the signing of three winning sports sponsorship agreements. Southwest now reigns as the Official Airline of the National Basketball Association's (NBA) Philadelphia 76ers and holds the trophy for the Official Airline of the National Hockey League's (NHL) Philadelphia Flyers. Southwest also hit a home run as the Official Airline for Major League Baseball's (MLB) Philadelphia Phillies. ADVERTISEMENT "Southwest Airlines is as passionate about our upcoming arrival in Philly as Philly sports fans are about their home teams," said Joyce Rogge, Southwest's senior vice president of marketing. "Southwest Airlines aims to be Philly's most valuable player when it comes to travel, and these sponsorships give us the extra points we need to reach these new Customers." Southwest Airlines already scored a touchdown with Philadelphia Eagles fans as partner of NFL television broadcasts on ABC, CBS, FOX, & ESPN, Proud Sponsor of the NFL, and the Official Airline of Super Bowl XXXVIII. Southwest also is the Official Airline of the NBA and WNBA as well as the Official Airline of the NHL. "Comcast-Spectacor is very excited to team up with Southwest Airlines to form the winning combination for our Most Valuable Players -- the fans," said Comcast-Spectacor Senior Vice President of Sales Joe Croce. Southwest's various Philadelphia sports sponsorship agreements include signage, broadcast partnerships, and charitable and community outreach. Fans attending select Flyers, 76ers, and Phillies events also will have the opportunity to win free trips on Southwest Airlines through specific promotional giveaways. "The Phillies are thrilled with Southwest Airlines' arrival in Philadelphia. We look forward to a winning partnership," said Dave Buck, vice president of advertising sales for the Philadelphia Phillies. Southwest begins service to Philadelphia on May 9 with daily nonstop service to Chicago Midway, Las Vegas, Orlando, Phoenix, Providence, and Tampa Bay. The accompanying fares and flights to other cities nationwide will be announced later. In recent months, Southwest Airlines has become the nation's largest domestic carrier in terms of Customers boarded. Southwest currently operates 2,800 flights a day with a fleet of 387 Boeing 737s with an average age of 9 1/2 years -- one of the youngest pure jet fleets in the domestic airline industry.
Posted on Jan. 08, 2004
US Airways Looking to Sell Assets-Sources
By Kathy Fieweger and Tom Johnson
CHICAGO/NEW YORK Jan 8 (Reuters) - US Airways (UAIR), the No. 7 U.S. airline, is looking to sell a variety of assets to scale back costs, several airline and banking sources said on Thursday. The assets include the airline's shuttle service between Boston, Washington and New York, its US Airways Express regional jet service and possibly one of its three hubs, according to sources. The hubs are in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Charlotte, North Carolina. Also on the block, according to sources, are various gates -- for example at New York's LaGuardia airport -- and routes. No aircraft or transfer of employees is contemplated at this point, they said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Shares of US Air were off 5.5 percent on the Nasdaq. The company has been out of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for less than a year but has not been faring well. Sources said the decision to sell assets was prompted mostly by the company's failure to win union support for a revised business plan proposed by management. The airline believes the new plan is necessary to help it compete against new low-cost services being offered by competitors. Southwest Airlines (LUV), a formidable foe for any airline, recently said it would begin service to Philadelphia. US Airways wants any potential interests submitted by the middle of the month, according to one source, with the US Air board set to meet in February to decide what to sell. VALUE? One top U.S. airline executive, aware of the US Airways plans, said on the condition of anonymity that what is not clear that any of the assets on the block are particularly valuable at this point. Also complicating matters, sources noted, is US Airways' loan guarantee from the federal government, which would have to approve any transfer. US Airways obtained loan backing from the Air Transportation Stabilization Board to get out of bankruptcy in March. US Airways on Monday said it would lease only 10 gates at Pittsburgh International Airport on a long-term basis, down from an earlier 50 gates. The airline currently dominates activity at Pittsburgh's main airport, handling about 80 percent of its flights. US Airways has hired Morgan Stanley to advise it during the sale process, the source said. US Airways had no comment on the issue. Morgan Stanley declined to comment. (Additional reporting by Julie MacIntosh in New York)

© 2004 Reuters
Posted on Jan. 06, 2004
Two Passengers Stopped Before Boarding Flight to Columbus
The Transportation Security Administration held two airplane passengers in Philadelphia for questioning as they were about to board a flight bound for Columbus. But there are different versions as to exactly why and how long the two men were held. According to Philadelphia television station KYW, a CBS affiliate, the pair flew from London Gatwick Aiport on Saturday aboard US Air flight 99. When one of the men left a bag unattended at Philadelphia International, TSA agents searched it. KYW reported Monday night that agents found various photographs of Columbus in the piece of luggage, along with a journal written in a mixture of English and Arabic. KYW says that sources from the TSA told them the content of the journal suggested the possibility of "ill will" expressed in the writings. 10 Investigates reporter Roger McCoy talked to a spokesman with U.S. Airways late Monday night. David Castelbetter says the two men were detained by Philadelphia airport police and the Transportation Security Administration in because of security concerns after they got off their London flight. The FBI was called in and the two men were questioned. James Turgel, an FBI spokesman told 10TV that after the men were questioned for about 90 minutes, they were allowed to go on their way. According to Turgel, they did not board their connecting USAir flight to Columbus. As a precaution, passengers aboard that Columbus flight were delayed for about 45 minutes while all the flight's luggage was re-screened. Nothing suspicious was found. And the FBI in Ohio said the two men were a non-threat. But the KYW report conflicts with the Ohio FBI office version of events. The Philly station's story said the two men were questioned by the FBI for 15 hours, eventually released at 5:30 a.m. Sunday. The TV station reported that the two men then flew to Columbus. It said its sources with TSA report that the FBI is keeping the two men under surveillance here in Ohio. However, the FBI told 10TV that the two men did not appear to be any sort of threat, and that they were not put under surveillance of any kind. That contradicts the Philadelphia story.
Posted on Jan. 06, 2004
Airport Arrest
PHILA. INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT - The U.S. Attorney's Office will decide today whether or not to charge a young man for trying to board a plane at Philadelphia International Airport while he was allegedly carrying a BB gun. Officers arrested the 19-year-old man from Allentown Monday afternoon at 2 o'clock. Investigators have concluded that this was not a terrorist act. The young man was trying to see if he could get away with walking onto the plane with a gun.
Posted on Jan. 06, 2004
Pilot will not face charges for flight
A pilot who flew over restricted airspace in Philadelphia this past weekend will not face charges, authorities said Monday. The 41-year-old man, whose identity is not being released, took off Saturday night from Philadelphia International Airport. The man was practicing three "touch-and-go" maneuvers - landing a plane and taking off again without stopping - in preparation for night-time flying certification, said Philadelphia police Inspector Bill Colarulo. Air traffic controllers saw the plane in restricted airspace a short time later, and authorities ordered the pilot to land at Cross Keys Airport in the Williamstown section of the township. The pilot, a former Wisconsin resident, is employed by Freefall Adventures, a skydiving school that operates out of Cross Keys, Colarulo said. Another skydiver was in the plane at the time but had not been jumping during the flight, Colarulo added. The Federal Aviation Administration has been notified of the incident.
Posted on Sun, Jan. 04, 2004
Plane flying over restricted area is forced to land
Shortly after taking off from Philadelphia, an aircraft was ordered to land at Cross Keys Airport in South Jersey because it had strayed over a restricted area, police said. Information about the incident - including the type and size of the aircraft, the number of people aboard, when it had taken off, where it was heading, and the restricted area it had entered - was not available last night. But a dispatcher for the police department in Monroe Township, Gloucester County, said there did not appear to be anything suspicious. And Philadelphia police said that after air traffic controllers observed the plane in a restricted area and contacted the craft, it landed on its own without further incident. The matter was under investigation.
Posted on Jan. 03, 2004
Woman cleared for travel after detention
The college student had been stopped twice at airports. Her name was on a secret government "no-fly" list. By Maria Panaritis Inquirer Staff Writer A Pennsylvania woman's unwelcome brush with the government's secret "no fly" list ended yesterday when federal authorities met the college student at Philadelphia International Airport and personally cleared the humanities major for travel abroad. The reason for the intervention: Alexandra Hay had been stopped twice at airports in Vermont and Harrisburg over Thanksgiving. The 21-year-old had nearly been barred from flying both times because her name popped up on a government list that airlines use to screen potential terrorists. The controversial list, compiled from government intelligence after the Sept. 11 attacks, has been a target of criticism. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit last year in California after several political activists were nearly prevented from boarding a flight. The Pennsylvania ACLU joined the legal chorus on Monday. It filed a lawsuit in Harrisburg demanding that the Department of Homeland Security strike Hay's name from its list and confirm that a mistake had been made. While the government did not go so far as to say it had erred or to strike Hay's name from the list, it did send a lawyer from the Transportation Security Administration to the airport yesterday to ensure that Hay could board a flight to Paris and begin her long-planned semester of study abroad. The TSA attorney hand-delivered a letter declaring that Hay's identity had been verified and stayed with the student until she had received her boarding pass. Hay was urged to carry the letter with her for future travel. "While TSA cannot ensure that your travel will be delay-free, these procedures should streamline your check-in process," wrote Dawn Han, from the TSA's Office of the Ombudsman. "Please note that you may still experience enhanced screening at security screening locations." The extraordinary escort and the hand-delivered letter, said ACLU legal director Stefan Presser, were a welcome relief for the Middlebury College student and her parents, who had found themselves unexpectedly stuck in a post-9/11 security net. "I'm delighted that the Justice Department and the lawyers at TSA were able to make it possible for her to board," Presser said. "I don't think it should require the need for a battery of lawyers to be involved in securing the right of travel." Presser and the family suspect that Hay's name either matches or closely resembles that of another individual whose name is on the terror-screening list. Han, reached yesterday by phone at her TSA office, declined to comment on the case. TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis said the agency does not comment on pending litigation. Hay is pursuing a double major of English and French at Middlebury, a small liberal arts college in Vermont, where she also is an usher for a theater group. She describes herself as relatively "apathetic" or "uninvolved" as far as political activism on campus is concerned. "I had no idea why I'd be on this list or why anyone would want me on this list," she said. "It seems to me like a big mistake." Hay discovered her name was on the "no fly" list while traveling home Nov. 25 to visit her parents in Boalsburg, Centre County. As Hay checked in for a flight out of Burlington, Vt., a ticketing agent said she might not be able to board. This scenario repeated itself five days later as Hay attempted to board a return flight at Harrisburg International Airport. In both instances she was delayed for about 15 minutes before being given a boarding pass. Hay was urged to clear things up before attempting to leave the country for her language studies in France. Hay's parents spent several weeks gathering information about the "no fly" list and stumbled upon an ACLU Web site mentioning the California lawsuit. In April, the ACLU filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco against the FBI, Justice Department and TSA. It sought disclosure of the government's secret list. The lawsuit was filed after two peace activists were briefly detained at San Francisco International Airport. In August, two Pakistani nationals were arrested at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and held on immigration charges after their names appeared on the list. Hay and her parents were unsure how to address their own situation, so they called the Pennsylvania ACLU, said Conran Hay, 57, an archaeologist who runs an environmental consulting business with his wife, Sandra, 55. "Nobody knows how to get on [the list], and nobody knows how to get off it," Conran Hay said yesterday as he and his wife accompanied their only child to the airport. Starting on Dec. 10, the ACLU sent letters to the TSA and to Justice Department attorneys in two federal districts in Pennsylvania. Presser filed the lawsuit after having received no response. After Hay was cleared for travel yesterday, Presser planned to withdraw the lawsuit. But he hoped Hay's case would transmit a broader message. "The American public can see that this could happen to anyone," Presser said. "This extraordinary young woman is as unthreatening as anyone I've ever represented."
Posted on Jan. 02, 2004
Curbside pause costly at airport

By John Grogan
Inquirer Columnist
Leon Gerstenfeld did not think he was posing much of a threat to national security when he dropped off his daughter at Philadelphia International Airport earlier this week after a holiday visit. The Broomall man pulled to the curb in front of the American Airlines doors Monday and helped daughter Beth, 26, a graphics designer who lives in Austin, Texas, with her two suitcases. But as he prepared to drive away, he noticed his daughter struggling with her bags on the sidewalk. So he pulled back to the curb, left his Dodge Caravan idling with the headlights on, and walked over to see whether she needed a hand. "I asked, 'Are you OK with these bags?' She said, 'Yeah, Dad, I'm fine,' and that was it," said Gerstenfeld, 56, who is a lineman for Peco Energy. He insists he was never more than 20 feet from the vehicle and was away from it for less than a minute. But when he turned around, his minivan was pinned in by a tow truck in front and a Philadelphia city police car in back. An officer was writing him a $25 ticket for parking illegally in the drop-off lane. He tried to explain, he said, "but there was no talking to him." Because of heightened national security, especially at airports, the police were taking a zero-tolerance approach to unattended cars, the officer informed him. Gerstenfeld took the ticket without protest. But it was what came next that galled him. No cash, no car "The tow-truck driver said, 'One hundred dollars and I'll let you go.' " Cash only, please. "I asked the cop, 'Is this guy shaking me down?' He said, 'They have a contract. They can do this.' " Gerstenfeld said. Gerstenfeld had no choice but to hand over $100 cash, even though the truck had not begun to tow him. "I felt ripped off, I really did," he said. "I felt I hadn't done anything wrong." For all the purported concern over security, Gerstenfeld said, the officer never asked to see his driver's license or registration, which are not required for a parking ticket, or to look in the car. "The priority seemed to be the money, not the security issue they raised. They never verified who I was or what I was doing there or anything." So what was it? Crack security or a racket to extract cash from unsuspecting citizens? I posed the question to the police, airport officials and the owner of the towing business, Airport Exxon, which is located on airport property and has a contract to handle all police-ordered towing and impounding there. All defended the tactic as proper and needed to assure public safety. Taking no chances Lt. Frederick Corsino, second in command of the police airport unit, said every car is treated as a potential bomb. "The officer is doing his job; he's doing what he's supposed to do," he said. "We're in an elevated state of security." But, I asked, couldn't he just yell to the driver to move it or lose it? "It's not his job to go looking for the person; it's his job to get rid of that vehicle," he said. Owner Kevin Bowe said the towing contract requires him to dedicate a truck and driver around the clock every day of the year to the airport. In return, he said, the longstanding contract allows him to collect $100 for every vehicle engaged - whether it is towed or not. His drivers circle the terminals, and when they see an officer ticketing an unattended car they swoop in to remove it. If the driver returns to the car before the tow truck has backed up to it, no charge is assessed, he said. The $100 fee "is the going rate," and the same amount charged by the Philadelphia Parking Authority, he said. Cash is required because unhappy drivers have been known to put holds on checks and credit-card payments. And the tow-truck driver is paid by the hour and receives no portion of the $100 fee, he added. Numbered receipts are issued (and Gerstenfeld acknowledged receiving one). And so it would appear Gerstenfeld's unpleasant run-in with the law was on the up-and-up, if not exactly in the holiday spirit. As his wife, Vicki, put it: "It all appears legal, but it really feels like a shakedown." Welcome to homeland security, Philadelphia style.
Posted on Jan. 02, 2004
Little fear over safety at airport

By Cynthia Burton
Inquirer Staff Writer
New Year's Day travelers didn't seem concerned that Philadelphia's airport security chief had been suspended for a string of alleged security lapses, despite the nation's state of high alert. Security appeared tight at Philadelphia International Airport yesterday. Bags and tickets were checked. Drivers were warned as they arrived that their cars could be searched. But passengers and those waiting for them, were, well, kind of relaxed. "I'm not really worried," Lilly Schofield, of Bridport, Vt., said as she sat comfortably on a green leather couch with a friend. "I've been traveling for the last couple of months." Along the way, she said, she had become used to getting searched and checked, even in "the dinkiest airport in Tanzania." Schofield, a Tufts University junior, was on her way to Scotland to continue her environmental-sciences studies. If anything, she was a little amused by the problems of Philadelphia airport security chief James B. Golden. "Hopefully it's not a widespread trend," she quipped. Golden was placed on administrative leave Dec. 12 - a suspension announced only Wednesday by the Transportation Security Administration. In recent months, the former Philadelphia police commander and ex-Trenton police chief has come under fire for a series of alleged lapses. Reporters found workers and vans passing through an unguarded gate. The person Golden hired to oversee security checkers turned out to be a former go-go dancer. There are also allegations that Golden's son-in-law had been improperly promoted to a management position. Golden issued a sharp statement Wednesday saying he had done nothing wrong. He is being replaced for the time being by William Ross, who had served as his deputy. Ann Davis, spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, could not be reached yesterday. To Elias Siutto, a Reading resident, Golden's suspension and the heightened state of alert were out of his hands. "It's up to God," he said.
Posted on Jan. 01, 2004
Airport security chief is removed

By Mark Fazlollah
Inquirer Staff Writer
Philadelphia International Airport security chief James B. Golden Jr. has been removed from his duties after allegations of improper hiring practices and lapses in security during his 17-month tenure. The security chief's removal, which was confirmed yesterday, comes as the nation operates under the second-highest alert for terrorism. The alert level was raised to orange Dec. 21 because of what Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge cited as credible new evidence of terrorist plotting. "Our security level has not changed" despite Golden's removal, airport spokesman Mark Pesce said. "We continue to maintain level orange. Safety and security is No. 1 at Philadelphia airport." A three-sentence statement released yesterday by the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said only that Golden "has been placed on administrative leave until further notice. TSA will make a determination on Mr. Golden's status in the coming weeks." The agency, which was created after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said Golden's deputy, William Ross, was serving as interim replacement. Golden, 53, is the former Trenton police chief and had served as a Philadelphia police commander. He was appointed in July 2002 as the agency's director for Philadelphia. Golden said in a statement yesterday that he expected to be "fully exonerated and returned to full active-duty status shortly." "Director Golden categorically denies any improper or unethical hiring practices at the Philadelphia airport under his watch," the statement said. The suspension - which took effect Dec. 12 but was not immediately made public - came after repeated reports of problems in the airport security. In the spring, Philadelphia's NBC 10 found that a gate at the airport had been left unguarded, and reported that a steady stream of airport workers and even vans passed through without being checked. The gate had no police officers or even security cameras. Other reports of loose security included one saying a screening supervisor at the airport had formerly worked as an exotic dancer. An allegation said Golden's son-in-law had been improperly promoted to a management position. In his statement, Golden said there was nothing improper about his son-in-law's hiring. He "has fully and categorically denied any allegation of any policy violation in connection with TSA's hiring of his son-in-law," it said. "The allegation that his son-in-law has been promoted to any high-level management position is also entirely false and unsubstantiated by any record." Golden and his lawyer, Andrew Bayne, declined to discuss what job Golden's son-in-law held at the agency or the circumstances of his hiring, or to disclose his name. Golden, who grew up in the West Oak Lane section of Philadelphia, has worked in law enforcement for more than 30 years. He has had no previous experience in airports. He became a Philadelphia street cop in 1970, and worked his way up to captain in 1991. In 1992, Golden became an executive assistant to Willie Williams, then the Philadelphia police commissioner. He later held that same post with Police Commissioner Richard Neal. Golden retired from the Philadelphia department in April 1996 to become police chief in Saginaw, Mich., where he ran a department of 200 employees. In 2000, he moved to Trenton to become that city's first civilian police director. From the start, he had a rocky relationship with the police union, which was opposed to a 1999 referendum that created the civilian post. In Trenton, after the attacks on New York and the anthrax mailings in the Trenton area, Golden helped create the security and terrorist threat investigative unit. In an interview this spring, Golden said he had "no regrets" about taking the airport job and planned to stay in his post despite difficulties he had experienced. Because of recent intelligence reports on possible terrorism, the Bush administration on Tuesday began requiring armed air marshals on select foreign flights entering, leaving or flying over the United States. The heightened orange-alert level has meant tighter security at Philadelphia International and many U.S. airports, including increased random vehicle inspections and law enforcement; more officers patrolling with police dogs; and restrictions on parking. Earlier this week, a Georgia man was arrested after federal security employees spotted a switchblade knife in his black leather jacket as he passed through a checkpoint. Pesce said travelers were advised to arrive at the airport two hours before departure to allow time to proceed through security checkpoints.
Posted on Dec. 31, 2003
Man with switchblade is arrested at Phila. airport
A Georgia man was arrested at Philadelphia International Airport on Monday after federal security employees spotted a switchblade knife in his black leather jacket as he passed through checkpoint E, authorities said. John King, 28, of Lithonia, was charged with carrying a prohibited offensive weapon, police said. He was released yesterday on his own recognizance.