New Zealand Flight School Announces New Flight Training Base in India

New Zealand Airline Academy Limited (NZAA) has announced the signing of an MOU, in the presence of the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu – Mr. M.K. Stalin, to establish a new flight training organisation (FTO) in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.

The new FTO will be called JC Indian Airline Academy (JCIAA) and is currently working through the approval process with the Indian DGCA (regulator). Along with conducting flight training at a high standard for Indian students within India, JCIAA also aims to provide a seamless licence conversion process for NZAA students.

This follows a number of announcements by NZAA over the past few months including;

Source: NZAA announcement

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Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Awards Scholarships to Alliance Academy Student Pilots

The US based Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) awarded $10,000 flight training scholarships to two Alliance Academy student pilots.

Monish Patil and Michael Reneslacis were among the 80 flight training students across US selected by AOPA to be given the said scholarship that could help them earn a private pilot license (PPL).

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US Delta Air Lines Pilots Write Open Letter to Customers Amidst Service Dismay

“We have been working on our days off, flying a record amount of overtime to help you get to your destination,” the letter written by Delta Pilots states. “At the current rate, by this fall, our pilots will have flown more overtime in 2022 than in the entirety of 2018 and 2019 combined, our busiest years to date.”

Delta Pilot wrote the letter in response to overwhelming flight cancellations and tremendous dismay of thousands of customers.

Accordingly, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) is seeking to negotiate a new contract with Delta Airlines to which they plan to picket the airline’s upcoming shareholder meeting.

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British Airline to Offer Staff a GBP 1,000 Bonus as Gratuity Pay

Jet2 Chief Executive Steve Heapy announced it will offer staff a £1,000 Bonus and immediate 4 per cent pay rise which will all be paid after summer.

Heapy expressed his gratitude to employees amidst all the negative media attention airline industry is receiving.

“Given the inflationary environment we are currently experiencing, we want to reward your dedication and hard work,” Heapy told employees through a memo.

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US Airline Pilot Association Speaks About Pilot Stress and Fatigue

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association President Capt. Casey A. Murray shared the union’s position about the frustration of pilots who have been caught in between the summer demand, weather concerns, staff shortage, among other reasons which resulted to fatigued and frustrated pilots.

“We’ve been under a lot of stress for the past year,” Murray said. “What is going on, on a day-to-day basis, is a wasteful use of the pilot resources they have.” Murray cited that 30% of pilots are being reassigned on a daily basis.

This follows an open letter by Delta Air Lines Pilots to customers which stated “We have been working on our days off, flying a record amount of overtime to help you get to your destination. At the current rate, by this fall, our pilots will have flown more overtime in 2022 than in the entirety of 2018 and 2019 combined, our busiest years to date”.

Southwest airline has roughly 9,600 pilots.

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FedEx Pilots Hold Demonstration To Express Frustration

Hundreds of FedEx Express pilots, fellow crew members, and supporters held an informational picket in front of the FedEx Express Air Operations Center to express frustration over the lack of a new pilot employment contract. FedEx pilots, represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int’l (ALPA), have been negotiating for a new contract since May 2021 with several significant outstanding issues.

“Throughout the pandemic, while many were shutting down and working virtually, FedEx pilots were flying across the globe keeping the world economy intact. We have earned an industry-leading contract through these remarkable efforts and now is the time for FedEx to deliver,” said Capt. Chris Norman, chair of the FedEx ALPA Master Executive Council.

Armed with picket signs stating, “When the World Shut Down, FedEx Pilots Delivered,” hundreds of pilots stood together to send a strong, unified message to the negotiators on the other side of the table: Now is the time to resolve outstanding items and reach an industry-leading pilot contract. The parties originally entered focused negotiations with a mutually agreed to goal of reaching a new agreement by the end of May 2022—a date that has long passed.

“Several quality-of-life issues in our contract need to be resolved immediately. FedEx pilots have a proven track record of excellence, dedication, and unparalleled performance, and we deliver on the company’s ‘Purple Promise’ each day—and we need management to deliver a new pilot contract now,” added Norman.

ALPA president and former FedEx pilot group leader Capt. Joe DePete, added the following, “FedEx pilots exceeded all expectations during the pandemic and have more than earned an industry-leading agreement,” said DePete. “Our pilots have been delivering the world on time for years, now it is time for the company to recognize it.”

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the largest airline pilot union in the world and represents more than 65,000 pilots at 40 U.S. and Canadian airlines.

Source: ALPA Press Release

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‘Consumer Complaints Against Airlines Rise More Than 300 Percent Above Pre-Pandemic Levels’ – US DOT

The U.S. Department of Transportation released its Air Travel Consumer Report (ATCR) on airline operational data compiled for the month of April 2022 for on-time performance, consumer complaints received, mishandled baggage, and mishandled wheelchairs and scooters. The ATCR is designed to assist consumers with information on the quality of services provided by airlines. DOT remains committed to ensuring airline passengers are protected fairly and is concerned about recent cancellations and flight disruptions. It uses the data from the ATCR, consumer complaints, and other information it secures from the airlines to inform its enforcement activities and the adequacy of existing rules.

Flight Operations

In April, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to result in significant changes to airline schedules and operations. The 566,893 flights operated in April 2022 were 86.9% of the 652,533 flights operated in pre-pandemic April 2019. Operated flights in April 2022 were up 20.3% year-over-year from the 471,375 flights operated in April 2021 and down 2.6% month-over-month from the 581,434 flights operated in March 2022.

In April 2022, the 10 marketing network carriers reported 580,290 scheduled domestic flights, 13,397 (2.3%) of which were canceled. In April 2021, the same airlines reported 473,936 scheduled domestic flights, 2,561 (0.5%) of which were canceled. In March 2022, airlines scheduled 590,542 domestic flights, of which 9,108 (1.5%) were canceled. In April 2019, airlines scheduled 668,259 domestic flights, of which 15,726 (2.4%) were canceled.

April 2022 On-Time Arrival

In April 2022, reporting marketing carriers posted an on-time arrival rate of 76.0%, down from 77.2% in March 2022 and 79.8% in pre-pandemic April 2019. The year-to-date on-time arrival rate for 2022 is 76.3%.

Highest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates April 2022

  1. Delta Air Lines Network – 81.9%
  2. United Airlines Network – 80.9%
  3. Hawaiian Airlines – 80.8%

Lowest Marketing Carrier On-Time Arrival Rates April 2022

  1. JetBlue Airways – 53.3%
  2. Frontier Airlines – 58.4%
  3. Spirit Airlines – 58.5%

April 2022 Flight Cancellations

In April 2022, reporting marketing carriers canceled 2.3% of their scheduled domestic flights, higher than the rate of 1.5% in March 2022, and lower than the rate of 2.4% in pre-pandemic April 2019.

Lowest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights April 2022

  1. Delta Air Lines Network – 1.1%
  2. Hawaiian Airlines – 1.4%
  3. American Airlines Network – 1.6%

Highest Marketing Carrier Rates of Canceled Flights April 2022

  1. Spirit Airlines – 10.3%
  2. JetBlue Airways – 9.0%
  3. Alaska Airlines Network – 3.8%

Complaints About Airline Service

In April 2022, DOT received 5,079 complaints about airline service from consumers, up 14.8% from the 4,423 complaints received in March 2022 and up 321.5% from the 1,205 complaints received in pre-pandemic April 2019.

Of the 5,079 complaints received in April 2022, 3,173 (62.5%) were against U.S. carriers, 1,409 (27.7%) were against foreign air carriers, and 497 (9.8%) were against travel companies.

Also, of the 5,079 complaints received in April 2022, 1,641 (32.3%) concerned refunds. The Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection continues to communicate with airlines and travel companies that receive refund complaints to ensure compliance with the refund requirements. Many passengers who had initially been denied refunds have received the required refunds. The Department has taken and will take enforcement action against noncompliant airlines and ticket agents as necessary.

Flight problems was the second highest category of the complaints received in April 2022. Of the 5,079 complaints received, 1,549 (30.5%) concerned cancellations, delays, or other deviations from airlines’ schedules. The Department’s Office of Aviation Consumer Protection (OACP) routinely contacts airlines with widespread cancellations or delays to remind them of their obligation to promptly refund passengers who choose not to accept the alternative offered for a canceled or significantly changed flight. Airlines are also required to have and adhere to a customer service plan that identifies the services that the airline provides to mitigate passenger inconveniences resulting from flight cancellations and misconnections. The Department monitors airlines’ actions and reviews complaints that it receives against airlines to ensure that consumers’ rights are not violated.

Tarmac Delays

In April 2022, airlines reported 33 tarmac delays of more than three hours on domestic flights, compared to seven tarmac delays reported in March 2022. In April 2022, airlines reported one tarmac delay of more than four hours on international flights, compared to zero tarmac delays reported in March 2022.

Airlines are required to have and adhere to assurances that they will not allow aircraft to remain on the tarmac for more than three hours for domestic flights and four hours for international flights without providing passengers the option to deplane, subject to exceptions related to safety, security, and Air Traffic Control related reasons. An exception also exists for departure delays if the airline begins to return the aircraft to a suitable disembarkation point to deplane passengers by those times.

Extended tarmac delays are investigated by the Department.

Mishandled Baggage

In April 2022, reporting marketing carriers handled 40.0 million bags and posted a mishandled baggage rate of 0.55%, a lower rate for the March 2022 rate of 0.57% and lower rate for the pre-pandemic April 2019 rate of 0.56%.

In the previous three calendar year reports (2019 to 2022), the Department calculated the mishandled baggage rate based on the number of mishandled bags per 1,000 checked bags. The Department is now displaying the mishandled baggage data as a percentage (i.e., per 100 bags enplaned). This is consistent with the manner that the mishandled wheelchairs and scooters rate is calculated and displayed.

Mishandled Wheelchairs and Scooters

In April 2022, reporting marketing carriers reported checking 61,475 wheelchairs and scooters and mishandling 896 for a rate of 1.46% mishandled wheelchairs and scooters, higher than the rate of 1.43% mishandled in March 2022 and also higher than the rate of 1.35% mishandled in pre-pandemic April 2019.

Bumping/Oversales

Bumping/oversales data, unlike other air carrier data, are reported quarterly rather than monthly. For the first quarter of 2022, the 10 U.S. reporting marketing carriers posted an involuntary denied boarding, or bumping, rate of 0.44 per 10,000 passengers, higher than both the rate of 0.08 in the first quarter of 2021 and the rate of 0.32 in the first quarter of 2019.

Incidents Involving Animals

In April 2022, carriers reported one incident involving the death, injury, or loss of an animal while traveling by air, up from the zero reports filed in March 2022 and equal to the one report filed in pre-pandemic April 2019. April 2022’s incident involved the death of one animal.

Complaints About Treatment of Disabled Passengers

In April 2022, the Department received a total of 162 disability-related complaints, up from both the 119 disability-related complaints received in March 2022 and the 80 complaints received in pre-pandemic April 2019.

Complaints About Discrimination

In April 2022, the Department received eight complaints alleging discrimination – five complaints regarding race, one complaint regarding national origin, and two complaints regarding color. This is down from the 19 complaints received in March 2022, but up from the five complaints recorded in pre-pandemic April 2019.

Source: US Department of Transportation Press Release

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Global Pilot Training Group Skyborne Appoints Head of Training

United Kingdom headquartered Skyborne has appointed Andy Vidamour as Head of Training for its Pilot Training operations in Gloucester, England, UK (known as Skyborne Airline Academy).

Vidamour joins the airline academy with more than 15 years of professional flying experience, and has an extensive background in pilot training and regional airline transportation. Vidamour was both head of training and a line captain for the British Antarctic Survey for more than seven years, operating as the pilot for research missions including the European Space Agency’s PolarGAP project to collect data about the Earth’s gravitational field.

Vidamour was also a training captain and safety manager at Blue Islands, a British regional carrier, for six years where his additional responsibilities included providing pilot instruction and leading the implementation of precision RNAV operator approval to Amsterdam and Paris.

Lee Woodward, CEO, Skyborne says: “After years of working with Andy on a part-time instructor and examiner basis, we are confident he is the right person to lead our training programme, drawing from his experience of versatile learning environments in aviation. We have a clear vision of Skyborne’s way forward and Andy brings a level of professionalism and knowledge that provides a strong fit for helping us to achieve our goals for the UK.”

Andrew Vidamour, Head of Training, Skyborne says: “I have been following Skyborne’s growth since 2019 and have consistently been impressed by the academy’s standard of excellence, which extends not only to training and staff, but to everything under its roof, from pilot examinations to aircraft maintenance. An important focus in my new role will be bringing real-world examples into training scenarios to help trainees develop their practical knowledge and decision making.”

During his time at the British Antarctic Survey, Vidamour flew both the de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters and Dash 7 turboprops, introduced the use of electronic flight bags and helped establish the survey’s Approved Training Organisation (ATO) for initial type ratings.

To learn more about Skyborne or to connect with Mr. Vidamour kindly check out his LinkedIn profile here.

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US Airline Flight School Partnership Covered on Sky News Australia

Australian media outlet Sky News Australia showcased US based Flight School Hillsboro Aero Academy, which formed a partnership with Regional Airline Horizon Air (part of Alaska Airlines Group), as part of its coverage of the ‘severe US Pilot shortage’.

The coverage includes mention of the joint flight training program between the flight school and airline called ‘Ascend Pilot Academy’, interview with Ryan Mohammed, Hillsboro Aero Academy’s Chief Flight Instructor and mentions Alaska Airlines pilot requirement in the future which officials from Alaska Airlines have stated to be hiring at least 500 pilots every year for the next 5 years.

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Global Pilot Training Group Approved to Conduct Online EASA Theory and Exams in South Africa

South African headquartered and globally known, 43 Air School has been approved to conduct EASA online Theory and Writing of the EASA (European) Exams at the CPL and ATPL levels.

The current economic climate has negatively affected many opportunities for local and overseas pilots. The option to convert existing ICAO Commercial or Airline Transport Pilot Licenses to EASA (the European License) is now a reality. These exams are open to any current license holders who meet the requirements and are not limited to 43 Air School students.

“43 Air School’s new EASA solution offers candidates a 100% remote learning EASA solution supplemented with live online modules. It will go a long way to assisting ICAO-licensed individuals to convert their licenses to EASA and that opens a whole world of flying jobs in Europe. The actual flight test will still have to be conducted in European airspace, and we have a further solution in place for that. All 43 students already study and work from the EASA material for our industry only iATPL or iCPL and it makes sense to add this real value option,” says 43 CEO Attie Niemann.

Exams are conducted online using iPads provided by 43, and results are available immediately after the exams. In addition to the material, 43 will also offer an additional online EASA Question Bank on the Pilot exams Global portal. Exam sittings start from September 2022. Study material is already available.

43 Air School (Pty) Ltd is Africa’s premier and largest Aviation Training School, offers Pilot, Aircraft maintenance Engineer and ATC training. 43 Air School has won numerous awards, including Best Aviation Company in South Africa.

Source: 43 Air School Press Release

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