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Disruptive Airline Passengers Face Harsher Penalties, Says FAA Chief

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U.S. Federal Aviation Administration chief Steve Dickson signed an order on Wednesday directing the agency to take a “zero tolerance policy” after supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump were disruptive on some recent flights.

Dickson told Reuters the FAA’s special emphasis program would last through March 30 and warned disruptive passengers could face up to $35,000 fines and possible jail time. He emphasized the agency will not issue warning letters or negotiate penalties.

“We will no longer adjudicate certain of these unruly passenger cases with counseling or warnings. We’re going to go straight to enforcement,” Dickson said in an interview.

He said he briefed airlines on the new policy. “We’ve seen a disturbing increase in these incidents…. We’ll take the strongest possible enforcement action against any passenger who engages in it.”

Dickson said the FAA could refer cases for criminal prosecution to the Justice Department, which could seek sentences of up to 20 years for flight disturbances.

The president of a large flight attendants’ union, who has pressed authorities to take strong action against disruptive passengers, applauded the FAA’s stance.

“First strike and you’re out,” Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA representing workers at 17 airlines, said in a statement.

Numerous videos have been posted of unruly behavior on Washington flights, including one American Airlines flight to Phoenix in which the pilot threatened to divert “to the middle of Kansas and dump people off.”

Nelson had urged airlines to bar Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol from flying out of Washington after exhibiting “mob mentality behavior” on flights into the region.

On Friday, Alaska Airlines said it banned 14 passengers from future travel after “unacceptable” behavior on a flight from Washington to Seattle.

U.S airlines and law enforcement agencies have bolstered security at Washington-area airports with Capitol Police now assigned to DC airports to ensure lawmaker safety after videos emerged of lawmakers being harassed in airport terminals.

On Tuesday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said Trump supporters who breached the U.S. Capitol should be banned from flying and added to a government “no-fly” list.

(Reporting by David Shepardson Additional reporting by Tracy Rucinski Editing by Chris Reese and David Gregorio)

This article was written by David Shepardson from Reuters and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

Source: https://skift.com/2021/01/14/disruptive-airline-passengers-face-harsher-penalties-says-faa-chief/

Aviation

Norwegian Airline Flyr Raises $70 Million With Inital Offering

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Norwegian startup airline Flyr has successfully raised US$70 in an initial public offering in Oslo. The airline, which has its eye on beginning flights in mid-2021, is now looking to buy or lease a small fleet of jets, recruit staff, and exploit opportunities as local competitor Norwegian Air restructures and downsizes.

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Flyr has just raised US$70 million in an IPO. Photo: Flyr

“This will enable us to pursue opportunities in a changing market and a recovering airline industry,” Flyr CEO Tonje Wikstroem Frislid told Reuters on Monday.

A good time to start-up an airline says Flyr

It might not seem the ideal time to start-up an airline. Seat capacity across Europe is down 79.1% on February 2020. But Flyr is setting itself up as a kind of post-COVID airline, unburdened by an earlier legacy and infrastructure.

“Flyr was created for the Norwegian market after the corona pandemic. Norway is an elongated country with fjords and mountains which means that we need to fly in the years ahead, but probably a little less than we have done before,” Flyr’s website says.

“Therefore, we build an airline from scratch, based on many years of experience, with a size, organization, and business model that is adapted to this future.”

The start-up airline notes Norway is a stable airline market with relatively few competitors. The country’s geography makes it dependant on air travel. Flyr believes that with Norwegian Air in trouble, Norway is open to a new, low-fuss, local low-cost airline.

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Flyr’s founders think Norwegians will welcome a new local low-cost airline. Photo: Flyr

Flyr reportedly has an eye on Boeing 737-800s

Flyr is no bar-room pipedream either. There’s some serious aviation expertise behind the fledgling airline. The founder is well-known Norwegian aviation insider Erik Braathens. Flyr’s CEO is Tonje Wikstroem Frislid, a former Norwegian Air executive. As Simple Flying has reported, Flyr plans a lean operation.

“The goal of Flyr is to deliver the simplest flight, in the most sustainable way possible. We will do this by creating a purely digital product based on the needs of passengers and fly fewer, smarter flights to places and times people need to travel.”

Monday’s Reuters report indicates Flyr was yet to secure any aircraft. That’s backed up by an absence of any record on online aircraft databases. Last month, Simple Flying reported Flyr was looking a starting out with a small fleet of Boeing 737-800s. Like most new airlines, Flyr has growth plans. But first, it plans to stick close to home, flying to larger cities within Norway.

In an investor’s briefing, Flyr notes aircraft are available now at prices roughly half of what’s normally seen. There’s a large flow of leased aircraft on the market. That gives Flyr options and the opportunity to pick up modern equipment a lean and mean start-up couldn’t normally afford.

“Due to the availability of aircraft and crew, a rapid and demand-driven scale-up is possible for Flyr,” says Ms Wikstroem Frislid.

737 MAX parking storage
There’s an abundance of Boeing 737 aircraft on the market. Photo: Getty Images

Flyr hiring, but looks like working its hires hard

Flush with IPO funds, Flyr is now advertising multiple positions at the airline. But like most low-low airlines, Flyr looks like wanting to work their aircraft and crews hard. Modelling of optimized crew utilization for the investor’s briefing indicates they’d like to see aircraft flying up to ten short-haul flights and day with a single crew set working up to six of those flights.

Is the Boeing 737-800 a smart choice for Flyr? If not, what’s the right aircraft for a new low-cost airline flying in Norway? Post a comment and let us know.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/norwegian-flyr-70-million-ipo/

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India To Expand Travel Bubble To Include Uzbekistan & The Seychelles

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India has added two new countries to the growing list of travel bubble nations. Uzbekistan and Seychelles are the latest entrants, allowing direct and some connecting flights from the countries to restart. India has now signed travel bubble agreements with 27 countries.

Air Seychelles A320neo
After flying several repatriation services, Air Seychelles could be making a return to India. Photo: Airbus

New nations

The new agreements clear the way for commercial flights from Uzbekistan and Seychelles to India to resume. Carriers like Air Seychelles and Uzbekistan Airways will benefit from this move since no Indian carrier currently provides direct services to either nation.

In addition to just direct flights, the government has allowed limited connecting traffic from the two countries. Any Indians or visa holders traveling from Africa are allowed to take connecting flights through Seychelles. Similarly, anyone Indians or visa holders from the Commonwealth of Independent States (minus Russia) can connect through Uzbekistan.

Uzbekistan Airways 767
Uzbekistan Airways will be able to return to its four destinations in India and carry regional traffic as well. Photo: Gennady Misko via Wikimedia Commons

While the travel bubble rules do not allow airlines to carry connecting travelers, the government has made exceptions for regions with few or no direct flights. For example, Emirates can connect passengers from Africa and South America to India under the travel bubble.

Boon for flag carriers

As mentioned earlier, no Indian airline currently operates flights to either of the new travel bubble countries. This means flag carriers Air Seychelles and Uzbekistan Airways will have a monopoly on the direct routes (since connecting flights aren’t allowed).

Currently, Air Seychelles flies to one destination in India, Mumbai. However, since the pandemic, the airline has flown several repatriation flights to Ahmedabad, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and others. With the travel bubble now in place, the airline can carry local traffic and travelers from South Africa (a much shorter connection than through Dubai).

Uzbekistan Airways A320neo
Uzbekistan Airways has already scheduled its first flight back to India for this week. Photo: Airbus

Uzbekistan operates three routes from India to Tashkent, flying from Delhi, Amristar, and Mumbai. Data from RadarBox shows that the airline has already scheduled its first flight in nearly a year from Delhi to Tashkent for March 5th.

Seychelles open to tourists

As countries race to vaccinate their residents, Seychelles has raced ahead thanks to its population of roughly 100,000. Data from Bloomberg shows that the country has given over 58% of the population one dose of the vaccine and 25% are fully vaccinated. The quick rollout has allowed Seychelles to reopen its borders to vaccinated tourists as well.

The country will allow passengers who have completed their vaccination doses 14 days before entering the country with a negative COVID-19 test. This will be a huge boost to the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism.

Air Seychelles A330
If you’ve got your vaccine, you can now fly to Seychelles with no quarantine! Photo: byeangel via Wikimedia Commons

India also opened up its vaccines to everyone over 60 this week, clearing the way for millions to get their shots in the coming weeks. Considering the Maldives’ popularity during the pandemic, Seychelles can expect substantial tourists once vaccines reach everyone.

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Source: https://simpleflying.com/india-travel-bubble-uzbekistan-seychelles/

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Joyce skips senate committee that descends into heated row

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Labor’s Sheldon branded Qantas “cavalier” in its attitude to workers and criticised the Qantas CEO for not attending. Checkout PrimeXBT
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Source: https://australianaviation.com.au/2021/03/joyce-skips-senate-committee-that-descends-into-heated-row/

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Podcast: How Australian Aviation will celebrate RAAF’s centenary

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In this episode, host Phil Tarrant and guest Adam Thorn talk through how we will celebrate the Air Force’s milestone, as well as asking for help from our listeners and readers. Checkout PrimeXBT
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Source: https://australianaviation.com.au/2021/03/podcast-how-australian-aviation-will-celebrate-raafs-centenary/

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