Monthly Archives: January 2013

Russia sent three military communications satellites into orbit this month aboard a converted ballistic missile launched, marking the first space launch of 2013.

The Rockot launch vehicle lifted off at 1625 GMT on a two-hour mission to put three military communications satellites in an orbit 900 miles above Earth.

The Rockot is a modified two-stage missile built to deliver nuclear payloads to distant targets.

Mission Critical Military Communications

Mission Critical Military Communications

The mission was the first space launch of 2013, and it marked the first use of a Breeze upper stage since a similar vehicle ran into trouble during the launch of a Proton rocket in December.

The Proton rocket, which launches commercial communications satellites with the Breeze M upper stage variant, has been grounded since a Dec. 8 launch left Russia’s Yamal 402 spacecraft in the wrong orbit.

Military communications across the globe continue to advance and grow with providers such as ISR offering specialist services for the industry.

It is feared that almost all Indian carriers are in the red, serving one of the world’s fastest growing economies and registered unprecedented growth in traffic. Indian aviation is the ninth largest market in the world and significantly contributed to business, trade and tourism growth in the past decade.

The transportation sector has been impacted by several factors including high operating costs fuelled by high oil and tax cost, cash crunch and soaring debts. Being one of the most important growth in any economy, and air travel has become a necessity and no longer a luxury.

The saving of sales tax on import of ATF is an attractive proposition for airlines. However, they have to use the existing infrastructure of the oil marketing companies (OMC). As India is an ATF-surplus country, direct import by airlines would necessitate finding new export markets for the OMC’s surplus stock. The sector looks toward the Government for tax rationalisation, which most of them believe would be enough for them to soar again, and fuel the growth of the world’s most promising economy.

“ATF pricing mechanism is based on import parity with a black box which currently includes irrational elements and tax on taxes. If a person travels by road or rail, he is using highly subsidised infrastructure or subsidised electricity/ diesel, thereby making a much larger hole in the exchequer. We are only requesting rationalisation of taxes,” says G.P. Gupta, Chief Administrative Officer, SpiceJet.

Passenger Service Fee and User Development Fee, collected on behalf of the Airports Authority of India, suffer service tax thereby pushing up ticket cost, which has outpaced the spending power of customers. According to Gupta, “A major portion of aviation losses is attributable to high taxation.” It is not just the tax, but also the tax on tax which becomes excruciating! For example, several airport operators charge fuel throughput fees from the OMCs. This throughput charge plus service tax forms part of the ATF cost on which sales tax is charged by OMCs, leading to a cascading tax effect.

Passenger Service Fee and User Development Fee, collected on behalf of the Airports Authority of India, suffer service tax thereby pushing up ticket cost, which has outpaced the spending power of customers.


Airport Systems for Border Security

Airport security technology has been in the news again this week with Lisbon Airport being the latest to install biometric eGates at Terminal 1.

The solution provides automated passenger checks for access to the departure lounge and has been chosen by Lisbon airport to enable faster and automated processing of passengers boarding passes in any format (paper, smartphone or PDA.

According to João Nunes, Director of Lisbon Airport: “This partnership allows ANA to offer the most advanced technologies in the implementation of self-service solutions for passengers in complete alignment with the IATA TRAVEL FAST program, which is also supported by the ACI.”

Automated passenger processing is being taken up by many airports around the world because of the increased demands being placed on resources to enforce ever tougher border security measures.

Electronic borders, airport systems and automated passenger processing systems are being offered by most suppliers but notable in the headlines have been ARINC with their electronic borders product achieving great praise.

The Transportation Security Administration will remove airport body scanners that privacy advocates likened to strip searches after OSI Systems Inc. where unable to provide software to make passenger images less revealing.

TSA will end a $5 million contract with OSI’s Rapiscan unit for the software after Administrator John Pistole concluded the company couldn’t meet a congressional deadline to produce generic passenger images. 76  machines where removed from U.S. airports last year and the remaining 174 Rapiscan machines, are to shortly follow with the company absorbing the cost, said Karen Shelton Waters, the agency’s assistant administrator for acquisitions. The TSA will instead use 60 machines manufactured by L-3 Communications Holdings, the agency’s other supplier of body scanners. “It became clear to TSA they would be unable to meet our timeline,” Waters said. “As a result of that, we terminated the contract for the convenience of the government.”

Airline passengers were offended by the revealing images, including those of children and the elderly. The Washington- based Electronic Privacy Information Center sued the agency in July 2010 claiming the scanners violated privacy laws and has called use of the machines equivalent to a “physically invasive strip search.”

Sanders said the Rapiscan units did their job by screening 130 million passengers, and the agency wouldn’t have acted if not for the congressional mandate for privacy software.”We are not pulling them out because they haven’t been effective, and we are not pulling them out for safety reasons,” Sanders said. “We’re pulling them out because there’s a congressional mandate.”

OSI Systems is “pleased to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement with the TSA” that will involve moving the machines to other government agencies, L-3 scanning machines rely on millimeter-wave technology, which uses radio frequencies that can find both metallic and non-metallic items. Rapiscan’s machines are based on backscatter technology, which uses low-dose X-ray radiation to detect objects under a passenger’s clothes. Under pressure from privacy advocates and some members of Congress, the TSA moved its screens to separate rooms away from airport security checkpoints. Officials monitoring the scanner images alert agents if they see a possible risk.
The agency’s strategy for handling passenger traffic relies on the capability of L-3’s millimeter-wave machines to process passengers in about half the time as Rapiscan machines, Sanders said. TSA will be getting about 60 more L-3 scanners in January and February, he said.TSA is also planning to move some scanners from airports where they’re underutilized to busier airports, Sanders said. The agency plans to expand the PreCheck program, in which passengers share personal data before going to the airport in exchange for less-invasive screening that lets them keep their belts and shoes on.

At Helsinki Airport, as at many other airports the automatic border control system was introduced to help ease congestion of passenger processing during peak hours and travellers are swiping their passports themselves at border crossing checkpoints.

This year Helsinki Airport expects more than a million users to pass through its automated system, after it was reported that last year 600,000 passengers walked through at ease. Seppo Parkkinen the Kuopio-based musician travels internationally a dozen times a year spoke about the automatic passport control and said “It is much faster, you don’t have to wait and it works really well.”

Citizens holding biometric passports, of the European Economic Area, Switzerland and Japan can pass through the self-service passport control. Users scan their passport in a reader and later pose for a camera that uses facial recognition technology that compares their features with the digital photo embedded in the passport.

Business Aviation News - Border Management Solutions

Business Aviation News – Border Management Solutions

Departure control systems incorporating biometric passport information are becoming ever more affordable and within the reach of most airports. ARINC’s AviNet Airport system is specifically geared towards integration with existing systems and efficient passenger processing.

Currently 70% of Finns have a biometric passport according to Pentti Alapelto of the Finnish Border Guard. By the end of 2016 it is expected that that figure will be 100%. Alapelto explained “We also use the devices to help weed out passengers in cases where we believe someone is travelling with a false document,” as the high-tech readers also offer an additional layer of security to traditional passport control.

Chaos at Hazrat Shahjalal Airport in Dhaka was observed after a seven hour strike largely by ground handlers which led to approximately 3,000 passengers experiencing untold suffering. Civil Aviation Minister Faruk Khan warmed that if the ground handler failed in its responsibilities then the government would have no other option but to replace it.

Ground handling involves providing cabin services, catering, ramp services and passenger services. In Hazrat Shahjalal, Biman is the handling agent specifically for baggage handling and continually shows poor performance

At Dhaka baggage is brought to the delivery carousel from the arriving aircrafts in wheeled containers and unloaded by hand at the carousel point.  Most of the time baggage arrives and is ready to be picked up to an hour or more. If two or three wide-bodied aircrafts lands one after the other, it could be total pandemonium. In several other international airports procedures are such that a passenger could be eligible for compensation if their baggage takes more than 20 minutes to arrive at the baggage carousel.

The government is reported to be switching to an automated baggage handling system. It is trying to introduce a computerised Baggage Reconciliation system which will reduce mishandling of luggage. Sophisticated machines designed for baggage handling, including loading and unloading, will be introduced. This measure is expected to reduce loss or damage and will speed up dispatch and receipt of baggage..

MA60 aircraft refused certification by USA Federal Aviation, but to be brought into service by unqualified pilots.

The Chinese made MA60 that does not have the best reputation. Refused certification by the American Federal Aviation Department it has been involved in several accidents, one killing all the passengers on board. The investigation into this crash blamed human error, one of the main factors being not enough training and flight experience on this plane.

It was stated that the pilots should have a minimum of 250 hours on the plane, they didn’t. Now Samiu Airport wants to think about sending a couple of pilots to China to be trained and bring the plane back. This would not leave enough time for them to reach the minimum safety figure for training hours, yet they will go straight into duty. The result will be unqualified pilots on this aircraft and lives put at risk.

Samiu claims the new airline will deliver cheaper prices, no interruptions in service, but has not shown how this can happen. With no consultation with the private sector companies, no mention of how payment for the debt of the planes or any additional advise he has stepped out of his mandated position to interfere in private enterprise.