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AAAE Security SmartBrief March 23, 2012

April 11, 2012



30,000-Foot View

TSA to test screening procedures for elderly before expansion 
At this point, it is not clear when the Transportation Security Administration will expand relaxed screening for elderly travelers to smaller airports. Screeners at airports in Chicago, Denver, Portland, Ore., and Orlando, Fla., will use the modified screening process. ?We?re optimistic in the future that we can roll that out to additional airports,? TSA spokesman James Fotenos said Monday. ?It?d be premature to say if and when at this point.? (Michigan) (free registration) (3/19)


Trends & Technology

U.S. airlines post record passenger numbers in 2011 
Overall U.S. airline passenger numbers reached 730 million in 2011, the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports. The figure was the highest total since 2008 and indicated a continued rise in demand for air travel. December 2011 passenger numbers showed a 0.5% increase from the previous year, with 58.9 million passengers. Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model) (3/22) The Wall Street Journal/Dow Jones Newswires (3/22)

Airlines say audience for in-flight Wi-Fi is growing 
With more planes being wired for Wi-Fi, the number of people who use Facebook or Twitter at 30,000 feet is growing. “We’re seeing very, very rapid growth,” said Bob Kupbens, Delta Air Lines’ vice president for e-commerce. Prices and offerings vary from airline to airline, this feature notes. The Wall Street Journal (3/21)


Airline News Spotlight

Southwest Airlines debuts Boeing 737-800 
Southwest Airlines celebrated the addition of Boeing’s 737-800 to its fleet with a launch party in Dallas. The airline plans to add 33 737-800s this year and 41 next year to replace smaller, less-fuel-efficient 737-700s. When asked if Southwest is “close to a deal” to sell the 88 Boeing 717s from its acquisition of AirTran Airways, Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said, “There’s no secret that we’re looking for a way to accelerate the retirement of the 717s out of our fleet. But in any event, we’re going to operate the 717s for years.” The Washington Post/The Associated Press (3/21) Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Texas) (3/21) Reuters (3/21) The Dallas Morning News (free content)/Airline Biz Blog (3/21)

US Airways installing Gogo Wi-Fi on some Airbus, Embraer aircraft 
US Airways is installing Gogo Wi-Fi on its Airbus A319 and A320, and Embraer 170, 175 and 190 aircraft. Gogo, meanwhile, is launching pay-per-use Vision programming that includes movies and shopping deals. Engadget (3/21)

Sources: AMR likely to file for court approval to cancel labor contracts 
AMR Corp. will likely seek U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval to void its union contracts after failing to reach agreements with labor to cut costs, two sources say. Bankruptcy law allows companies with Chapter 11 protection to cancel union contracts as part of their restructuring. AMR is seeking to reduce its overall labor costs by $1.25 billion per year. Bloomberg (3/22)


Policy & Regulatory

Hearing is held on FAA implementation of pilot training rule 
The Federal Aviation Administration has failed to meet deadlines from Congress requiring improved pilot-training standards and minimum pilot qualifications, according to Senate testimony from Department of Transportation Inspector General Calvin Scovel III. The FAA has said the new rule, which requires co-pilots to hold an Airport Transport Pilot certificate and to have accumulated 1,500 hours of flying time, cannot be met until August 2013. “We are concerned about the issue of quantity versus quality,” said Tom Hendricks, A4A senior vice president of safety, security and operations. “Hard-hour minima are not a substitute for the quality of a pilot’s training and experience. Moreover, we need to avoid the unintended consequences of this rule becoming a significant barrier to recruiting airline pilots.” Chicago Tribune (3/21) The Buffalo News (N.Y.) (3/21) USA TODAY (3/20)

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