Biden to nominate 'Miracle on Hudson' pilot for ICAO seat
June 17, 2021
President Joseph Biden intends to nominate retired airline pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger to be the US representative to the governing council of ICAO, where the man who prevented fatalities in a 2009 plane accident would bring his aviation safety advocacy to a global stage. If Sullenberger is confirmed by the US Senate, his confirmation would also be a tacit endorsement of his calls for greater transparency from Boeing and for the US Federal Aviation Administration to tighten aircraft safety oversight. Since the ungrounding of Boeing 737 Max aircraft, Sullenberger has said more changes are needed to ensure pilots can respond effectively to the automated flight controls on Max jets that contributed to two fatal crashes. He has also raised concerns about possible manufacturing defects on Boeing aircraft and called for both the airframer and the FAA "to provide information and data, so that independent experts can determine the worthiness of the work that's been done".
Sullenberger reached national fame as "Sully" in 2009 as captain of US Airways flight 1549, when he and his crew piloted an Airbus A320-214 to an emergency landing in the Hudson River after striking a flock of birds and losing engine power shortly after takeoff from New York LaGuardia. They avoided fatalities during the emergency landing, which became known as the "Miracle on the Hudson". After retiring from US Airways in 2010, Sullenberger began a career speaking on aviation safety, including research consultant work for NASA and as an Air Line Pilots Association accident investigation committee member. The council of ICAO includes 36 United Nations member states and rules on multinational standards for aircraft emissions, aviation safety and operations, including best practices for aircraft accident investigation. ICAO is also poised to review norms for new aviation technologies, including regulations on safety for unmanned aircraft and consumer drones. NASA also plans to conduct flight tests on technology that can limit the sound of a sonic boom to help ICAO to consider noise pollution rules for passenger aircraft to break the sound barrier over land.

Ryanair takes delivery of first Boeing 737 Max
June 17, 2021
Ryanair has accepted the first Boeing 737-Max aircraft of a 210-strong order that should cut fuel consumption, noise and carbon emissions. The carrier took delivery of the aircraft in Seattle and it will fly overnight to land at Dublin airport on the afternoon of 16 June. "We are delighted to take delivery of our first new technology Gamechanger aircraft", comments Ryanair Group chief executive Michael O'Leary. "These new Boeing 737 aircraft will help Ryanair lower costs, cut fuel consumption and lower noise and CO2 emissions as we invest heavily in new technology to deepen our environmental commitment as Europe's greenest, cleanest major airline." At list prices, Ryanair's investment in the new aircraft amounts to $22 billion, it says. Compared to current generation Boeing 737 aircraft, the Max will carry 4% more passengers, but reduce fuel requirements by 16% per seat and noise by 40%. The company is due to take delivery of just 12 of the new aircraft type during summer 2021, six of which will be allocated to Ryanair and six to Malta Air. Ryanair Group plans to take delivery of an additional 50 Max aircraft before summer 2022, which will enable it to "rebound strongly, offering new routes, lower fares, and rapid traffic recovery", as the sector looks to rebound from the Covid-19 pandemic. O'Leary has been extremely critical of Boeing over delays to the Max program in recent months, saying on a 17 May results call that the manufacturer "needs to get their act together" over its delivery schedule. The company had expected to receive six of the type in April and eight in May, but halfway through that month had no visibility on when deliveries would begin. Ryanair had sought to receive its first Max in time for summer 2021 in order to get pilots, cabin crews and passengers used to the aircraft before a wider deployment next year.

Portugal follows France in reopening travel for US tourists
June 16, 2021
Portugal's government has eased restrictions for travellers arriving from the USA, enabling them to bypass a quarantine period if they have proof of a negative test for Covid-19. US passengers (except for children 24 months old and under) must submit either a negative PCR test taken 72h before boarding or a rapid antigen test taken within 24h of boarding. The new guidelines are effective 15 June, the US embassy and consulate in Portugal states. The US State department has designated Portugal a "level 3: reconsider travel" destination, one level above its most dire "do not travel" Covid-19 warning. United Airlines says that it "applauds" Portugal's easing of restrictions for US travellers. "United is the first US carrier to resume flights to Portugal this summer with daily flights from New York/Newark beginning on July 1," the Chicago-based carrier states. "United flies to more European destinations than any other US carrier, and looks forward to welcoming back customers on more than 30 daily flights to 16 destinations in Europe this summer." United will operate 59 flights between the USA to Portugal in July, data shows. Portugal-based Azores Airlines and TAP Air Portugal will also be operating direct flights connecting the two countries that month. France on 9 June began permitting US travellers to bypass quarantine requirements if they could provide proof that they are fully vaccinated with a European Medicines Agency-approved vaccine and can present negative results of a Covid-19 test.


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