Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs) are issued when issues arise within airspace, whether that may be due to weather warnings, large flocks of birds migrating or an unscheduled VIP flight.
TFRs are issued in the form of NOTAMs to flight deck personnel and must be delivered swiftly and securely. Methods of delivery include ACARS messaging or Type B messaging and some respected providers can guarantee delivery within one second.
The NBAA maintain that VIP TFRs continue to cause problems for the business aviation industry, with restrictions effectively blocking access, as happened recently when the President of the United States planned to fly into Orlando on the eve of the NBAA Convention.
The TFR threatened to disrupt access for business jets to the Orlando Executive Airport and the NBAA worked with the FAA and airport security in an attempt to minimise disruption. The TFR was cancelled just a few hours into the 24-hour period, but it served to remind officials of the problems presented to the business aviation industry.
Although the NBAA concede that issues have improved in recent years, problems still arise from TFRs, but the focus must always remain on security, rather than access to airspace.
Brazilian-born Embraer Executive Jets has proudly announced the delivery of their 300th Phenom 300, the most popular business jet for two consecutive years.
The 300th jet was delivered last week to an undisclosed US client, marking the same milestone one year later than its smaller brother, the Phenom 100/100E.
Embraer has high hopes for the Phenom 300, whose fleet has achieved a 57% share of the light jet market over 28 countries over the six years of operation.
Former hacker, now an IT consultant, Mr Phil Kernick, has highlighted weaknesses in the Australian airports systems that could be exploited by hackers.
Mr Kernick says that the focus of authorities has been placed too much on the physical than on IT infrastructure, which should be better protected from what he believes are ‘daily attacks’.
Protection of IT infrastructure is critical for airlines, who process flight plans, passenger data and hundreds of thousands of mission critical transmissions every day. According to Mr Kernick, it is a simple process to place a 4G hacking device into an airport power system. He notes that airport personnel carry access cards once within the secure environment past screening areas, but that this can lead to a relaxation of security if all personnel make the assumption that restricted areas are secure.
To make his point clear, Mr Kernick said, “The more you think you do physical security well, the easier the job is [for intruders], because you believe your security works. This is how they get into bank data centres. It is surprisingly easy.”
Cyber security is an increasing issue within airports across the world. With daily threats of attacks, whether to physical security or infrastructure, security providers are under growing pressure to maintain solutions to combat these threats.
Passengers experienced serious delays across the US last week when a Department of Homeland Security system went down. The system, used to check passenger data with terror watch lists was down for more than two hours, leading to a call to use more traditional methods of screening, such as paper forms.
Although many international passengers were unhappy about the delays, manual screening continued to ensure security measures were fulfilled and the system returned to life at approximately 9pm.
No evidence of hacking was discovered.
Everyone remembers the day that Chesley ‘Sully’ Sullenberger became widely recognised as the incredible ‘Miracle on the Hudson’ pilot, when he and his first officer, Jeffrey Skiles, skilfully brought their Airbus down safely, saving everyone on board, in the Hudson River six years ago.
Captain Sullenberger has been invited to speak about the experience at next month’s NBAA convention in Las Vegas, highlighting the significance of professionalism, leadership and preparedness training for aviation safety.
The Aviation Security Symposium and Awards (AVSEC) opening convocation in Dubai began with a warning from Emirates CEO, Sir Tim Clark, that both airlines and security professionals must keep pace by working together in the face of ever-increasing and sophisticated threats to global aviation.
Sir Clark said that ‘If the threats have changed, then so must the management of these threats,’ speaking of the 9/11 terror attacks and the issue of reliance of metal and x-ray detectors to screen passengers and cargo, making the assumption that security ‘has been enforced.’
While technological solutions are improving across the world, particularly in the area of biometrics screening, Clark also stressed that training and education of both professionals and the public about security threats is key to maintaining safety.
It has been announced this week that Global Jet Capital, Florida-based aviation financing company, are to buy GE Capital’s Americas corporate aircraft portfolio in a deal that involves an estimated $2.5 billion in net assets.
The agreement, the details of which have not been made public, is expected to close by the end of the financial year and will also involve the GE Capital corporate aircraft team.
Global Jet Capital was launched only last year and is already heavily investing in business expansion via acquisition and organic means. Owned and capitalised by GSO Capital Partners, AE Industrial Partners and The Carlyle Group, the company is building an impressive portfolio and is managed by an executive committee that includes experienced personnel from the business aviation sector.
The Jamaican Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) has announced the implementation of technology and improvements to facilities and services for customers has earned them entry to a shortlist for awards in this year’s Public Sector Customer Service Competition.
Part of the improvement program involved an introduction of Advance Passenger Information, which has greatly increased the efficiency of passenger processing in the country’s airports environments. According to Ms Lesline Chisholm, customer service director at PICA, the APIS upgrade has expedited passenger processing to the tune of an additional 200 per hour at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport, with Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay increasing their rate by 400 more passengers per hour.
In addition, the installation of self-service kiosks has reduced the burden on personnel, leaving better resources to assist those passengers with special needs.
Virgin America’s passengers will soon be able to make the most of their Netflix membership during flights thanks to a new partnership agreement between the airline and the online media provider.
Using the aircraft’s onboard WiFi, Netflix programmes will be accessible via live streaming to passenger’s personal devices at no additional cost.
Airline connectivity is a booming market as passenger demand grows and competitive packages increase in availability across the industry. Faster WiFi via the latest satellite technology enables the opportunity for live streaming and improved access for passengers using their mobile devices.
Last month, Oakland County International Airport hosted an expo in partnership with the Michigan Business Aviation Association in a bid to bring more business aircraft to the region.
The event, held at the LEED Gold-certified terminal, featured four workshops – ‘Getting Started with Business Aviation’, ‘Operating a Flight Department in Your Business’, ‘The Ins and Outs of an Aircraft Transaction’ and ‘FAA Medical Certification Update’ – and 25 exhibitors, inviting business jet owners and operators to the airport’s runways.
Tours of aircraft and some of the airport’s facilities for business aviation were also conducted.