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Near Disaster at JFK

Category : News

Near Disaster at JFK

By Ofonime Essien

Volaris at JFK

A Volaris flight traveling Mexico was ordered to go around after lining up with the wrong runway. (photo via Flickr/Tomas Del Coro)

Air traffic controllers reacted quickly to avoid potential disaster at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport Tuesday.

According to NBC New York, an inbound Volaris flight traveling from Mexico was mistakenly lined up with the same runway that an outbound Delta Air Lines flight was preparing to take off from. The incoming aircraft was approaching Runway 13 right but was supposed to land on the parallel Runway 13 left.

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“Brickyard 4231 cancel takeoff plans,” an air traffic controller was heard saying over the radio. “Brickyard cancel takeoff plans.”

Officials simultaneously ordered the Volaris pilots to perform a go-around. “You’re lined up on the wrong runway,” said another air traffic controller. “Volaris 880 go around, turn left heading 100.”

The Volaris flight eventually reentered the traffic pattern around 1:25 p.m. ET Tuesday and later landed safely on the correct runway.

After aborting takeoff and taxiing off the runway the Delta flight eventually “re-queued for departure and completed the flight to Washington Reagan without incident,” the airline confirmed in a statement to Fox News.

When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

“The crew of Delta Flight 4231, operated by Delta Connection carrier Republic Airline, safely executed a low-speed takeoff rejection from New York-JFK Tuesday afternoon at the direction of air traffic control,” the airline said. “Following proper procedures, the aircraft exited the runway.”

In its own statement, Volaris said it plans to investigate what led to the mishap.

“At Volaris, the safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority. Pursuant to our protocols, we will conduct an investigation to determine the factors that led to this event.”

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Tuesday’s incident comes nearly four months after a Delta flight collided with an American Airlines aircraft on the taxiway at JFK. No injuries were reported. However, both planes sustained significant damage and had to be taken out of service.

Last month, an EgyptAir flight clipped wings with a Virgin Atlantic flight while taxiing at the busy airport.

Two planes also came in contact at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport this past summer.

(Travel Pulse)



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PAF Ordered to Shoot Down Drones Violating Airspace

Category : News

PAF Ordered to Shoot Down Drones Violating Airspace

By Ofonime Essien

PAF drone order

This announcement comes weeks after a US drone strike targeted a terrorist compound in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghanistan border, slaying three militants

The head of the Pakistan Air Force has ordered his force to shoot down drones that enter the country’s airspace including ones belonging to the U.S.

The orders from Chief Sohail Aman are a complete turnaround from the air force’s previous position in which it condemned drone strikes on its soil but had never threatened to shoot the unmanned aerial vehicles down.

Near Disaster at JFK

The announcement was made public about two weeks after a US drone strike targeted a militant compound in Pakistan’s tribal region near the Afghan border, killing three militants, The Times Of India reported.

‘We will not allow anyone to violate our airspace.

‘I have ordered PAF to shoot down drones, including those of the US, if they enter our airspace, violating the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,’ Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman told an audience in Islamabad.

When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

The comment was all the more surprising given that the U.S. is supposedly a close ally of Pakistan with it’s own military often complicit in allowing American led missile strikes on militant positions which have been occurring since 2004.

Yet, after each drone strike, the Pakistan foreign office has issued statements condemning the actions stating they will not tolerate strikes on its territory.

This time the Pakistan administration appears to be talking tough by taking a firm line over future drone strikes in its country.

FAA Foresees Millions of Drones Filling the Skies

It’s believed that senior members of terrorist groups have been killed in such attacks but that hundreds of civilians, including women and children has also been killed as well.

There has been no response so far from the White House.

(Daily Mail)



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When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

Category : News

When Your Cross-Country Flight Has No Bathroom

By Ofonime Essien

Airplane bathroom

PHOTO: A standard commercial airline toilet. (photo via Flickr/Jennifer Bailey)

A Delta Air Lines flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Montana Saturday night after the plane’s toilets stopped working.

According to The Associated Press, the six-hour Delta flight was on a non-stop journey from New York City to Seattle when the bathrooms on the Boeing 757 ceased functioning, leaving passengers to say they could not hold it any longer.

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As a result, the pilot called for an emergency landing and diverted the plane hundreds of miles south to Billings Logan International Airport. The flight landed safely at around 6 p.m. local time, but the ordeal wasn’t over yet.

Unfortunately, no gates were available for the Delta flight and the plane had to taxi to a cargo area. Ground crews at the facility rolled a portable stairway to the aircraft and passengers were able to “disembark to find relief of built-up pressures,” according to an official statement from Delta.

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Billings airport director of aviation and transit Kevin Ploehn told the Billings Gazette the passengers waited inside a terminal while crews repaired the toilets, refueled the plane and prepared the flight for takeoff.

While it doesn’t happen often due to broken bathrooms, Billings airport does deal with diverted planes occasionally.

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“I’ve heard of flights getting diverted, not here, because toilets overflowed and that blue water was rolling down the aisle,” Ploehn told the Billings Gazette. “That can’t be very pleasant.”

(Travel Pulse)


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Airlines to pay $95m to settle claims security lapses led to 9/11 attacks

Airlines to pay $95m to settle claims security lapses led to 9/11 attacks

By Ofonime Essien

9/11 attacks

394261 14: A fiery blasts rocks the World Trade Center after being hit by two planes September 11, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Insurers for American Airlines, United Airlines and other aviation defendants have agreed to pay $95 million to settle claims that security lapses led planes to be hijacked in the September 11 attacks.

Developers of the new World Trade Center buildings had once demanded $3.5 billion from aviation-related companies after hijacked planes destroyed three skyscrapers among five demolished buildings.

Lawyers said the agreement signed last week resulted from ‘extensive, arms-length negotiations’ by lawyers ‘who worked diligently for months’.

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The agreement also said the parties make no admissions or concessions with respect to liability for the attacks.

‘The court’s approval of the settlement agreement will bring to a close this hard-fought 13-year litigation on terms agreeable to the parties,’ the lawyers said.

United Airlines was dragged through court (Picture: Getty)

The airlines have settled and will pay millions (Picture: Getty)

Attorney Desmond T. Barry Jr., who submitted the papers to US District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, declined to comment on Wednesday.

Finnair Starts Weighing Passengers in Order to Cut Costs

Developer Larry Silverstein and World Trade Center Properties have collected more than $5 billion from other defendants through lawsuits. The money has aided the reconstruction of buildings on the 16-acre lower Manhattan site.

Earlier settlements included $135 million paid to a financial services firm that lost two-thirds of its employees.

American Airlines spokesman Matt Miller said the company is pleased to have reached a settlement.

Qatar Airways Buys into Cathay Pacific

‘We will never forget that terrible day and its lasting impact including the tragic loss of 23 members of the American Airlines family,’ Miller said.
United Airlines declined to comment.

Bud Perrone, a spokesman for Silverstein, said the company is ‘pleased to have finally reached a resolution to this piece of post-9/11 litigation’.




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Finnair Starts Weighing Passengers in Order to Cut Costs

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Category : News

Finnair Starts Weighing Passengers in Order to Cut Costs

By Ofonime Essien


Finnair has started weighing passengers in order to better estimate its fuel requirements for flights. Photo: Alamy

Finnair has started weighing its passengers before they board flights in Helinksi, but it’s not an exercise in fat-shaming.

The Scandanavian airline is gathering data in the hopes of slashing operating costs, so it can better estimate fuel requirements. Currently, like most other airlines, Finnair uses average weight estimates from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) – a report compiled eight years ago.

This data may be in need of an update, Finnair reckons, so it’s collecting its own.

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The program, carried out during check-in at Helinski Airport, is entirely voluntary and so far the carrier has got 180 passengers to step onto the scales. The target is 2000, after which it hopes to have a more streamlined approach to fuel estimations.

“Airlines know what the aircraft weighs, what the check-in luggage weighs, but not what passengers weigh,” Finnair’s communications director Paivyt Tallqvist told the BBC.

What are the current figures?

The EASA estimates that the average male weighs 84.6kg, a female 66.5kg and an under-12, 30.7kg.

That’s pooling the entirety of Europe, however. Reliable up-to-date figures for Finland are hard to come by, but according to Channel News Asia, the average Finnish man weighs 85kg and the average Finnish woman weighs 70kg.

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And this isn’t taking into consideration the varying seasons. Big coats and heavy boots during winter add to the load, whereas during the summer the opposite is true.

Has this happened before?

Yes. Last October, Hawaiin Airlines carried out a six-month survey of the same nature.

A Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman told Telegraph Travel: “Over time our fuel burn on Pago Pago flights was consistently much higher than projected, indicating that our weight assumptions were inaccurate.

“We review weights on any flight within our route network that demonstrates such a discrepancy. For example, we surveyed our Japan and Korea flights in 2015 and our new Narita flight earlier this year.”

In August 2015, Uzbekistan Airways did the same thing.

“According to the rules of International Air Transport Association, airlines are obliged to carry out the regular procedures of preflight control passengers weighing with hand baggage to observe requirements for ensuring flight safety”, the company said at the time.

In 2013, Samoa Air became the first airline in the world to charge passengers according to their size. Those flying on the South Pacific carrier, which is no longer in operation, were asked to pay one Samoan tālā (about 50 cents) for each kilo that they, combined with their luggage, weighed.

This Too, Shall Pass

It is worth noting that Samoa, according to the CIA’s World Factbook, has one of the highest rate of obesity in the world. More than two-thirds of its adult population are considered obese, it says, which might have been the reason behind Samoa Air’s then-controversial system.

Why is weight so important to airlines?

The total weight of a plane, including all its passengers and cargo, is estimated before every flight to work out how much fuel will be required. Naturally, the heavier the plane, the more expensive the journey in terms of fuel, but safety comes into it too.

All aircraft have a maximum take-off weight. A Boeing 747’s maximum, for example, is in the region of 443 tonnes, depending on the model. The weight of a plane can then be affected by a number of other factors, the weather being one of them.

In June of this year, around 40 flights were cancelled at Phoenix Sky Harbour International airport after the mercury soared to 49C, making some planes unable to take to the skies. Hot air, being thinner than cold air, throws off the calculations relating to weight and climb gradient, rending some of the planes too heavy to take off safely.





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Qatar Airways buys into Cathay Pacific

Qatar Airways buys  into Cathay Pacific

By Ofonime Essien

Qatar Airways - Cathay Pacific

A file image of Qatar Airways Airbus A350-900 A7-ALH. (Ryan Hothersall)

Qatar Airways has bought a 9.61 per cent stake in Cathay Pacific, citing the Hong Kong-based carrier’s “massive potential” for the future.

The Doha-headquartered airline has acquired the 378,188,000 shares in Cathay Pacific from Kingboard Chemical Holdings Ltd, which is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Kingboard Chemical said in a statement to the Hong Kong exchange on Monday it sold its shares in Cathay Pacific for HK$5,162,266,000 (A$865.3 million), or HK$13.65 per share. Cathay Pacific shares were at HK$12.68 in morning trade in Hong Kong on Monday.

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Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker said the airline was pleased to have bought a stake in Cathay Pacific.

“Cathay Pacific is a fellow oneworld member and is one of the strongest airlines in the world, respected throughout the industry and with massive potential for the future,” Al Baker said in a statement.

The transaction is Qatar Airways’ fourth investment in a foreign airline group. It holds 20 per cent in International Airlines Group (the parent company of Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling), 10 per cent of LATAM Airlines Group and 49 per cent in Italian carrier Meridiana.

Earlier in 2017, Qatar had planned to buy into American Airlines, but the idea was dropped after the US carrier expressed little enthusiasm for the deal.

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Qatar would be the third-largest shareholder in Cathay Pacific once the transaction is completed. The bulk of Cathay Pacific stock is held by two major shareholders – Swire Pacific Ltd owns about 45 per cent, while Chinese flag carrier Air China owns about 30 per cent.

Cathay Pacific chief executive Rupert Hogg described Qatar as “one of the world’s premier airlines.

“We already work together closely as fellow members of the oneworld alliance and we look forward to a continued constructive relationship,” Hogg said in a statement on Monday.

Qatar and Cathay Pacific have worked together previously on the Hong Kong-Doha route.

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Cathay Pacific began flying to Doha from its Hong Kong hub in March 2014, joining Qatar Airways on the route. The two carriers codeshared on each other’s services between the two cities, with Cathay also placing its CX airline code on Qatar-operated services beyond Doha to points in Europe, the Middle East and South America and Qatar adding its QR airline code on selected Cathay-operated flights to Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

However, Cathay discontinued its Doha service less than two years later, saying at the time it was for “commercial reasons”. It also removed its CX code from Qatar-operated flights beyond Doha.

Cathay is currently working through a transformation, or cost-cutting drive as part of efforts to turn around a first half loss for calendar 2017.

Cathay, and others, have battled the rapid international expansion of Chinese airlines and the ongoing rise of Middle East carriers offering long-haul to long-haul connections through their hubs, which have bitten into previously lucrative markets.

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In particular, the rapid growth of Chinese carriers on international routes has reduced the number of passengers from China transiting through Cathay’s Hong Kong hub.

And at the budget end, Asian-based low-cost carriers have won passengers happy to pay lower fares for a no-frills product on short- and medium-haul routes.

Further, the economic slowdown – both in China and elsewhere – had led to a significant reduction in premium corporate travel in business and first class, particularly on long-haul routes.

Under new chief executive Rupert Hogg, Cathay has sought to regain lost ground through an overhaul that included a reorganisation of the business, hundreds of staff layoffs and other cost reduction efforts.

Kingboard Chemical, an investment company with interests in the manufacturing of laminates, printed circuit boards, chemicals and magnetic products, as well as property development and investment, said it would book a HK$800 million gain from the sale to Qatar.

(Australian Aviation)




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Emirates Enhances Nigeria Service

Category : News

Emirates Enhances Nigeria Service

By Ofonime Essien


Emirates B777-300ER | Tis Meyer

Emirates announced Sunday it will reinstate its second daily service to Lagos and resume operations to Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja, with four weekly flights from 15 December 2017.

Similar to the current daily service between Dubai and Lagos, the added frequencies to Lagos will be operated with Emirates’ Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. The reinstated service to Abuja will be served by a 360-seat Boeing 777-300 in a three-class configuration.

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“Nigeria is a key market for Emirates and its importance is reflected by the fact that we will add 11 weekly flights between Dubai and two major cities in Nigeria, Abuja and Lagos. This is great news for both our business and leisure customers and highlights our commitment to providing travellers in Nigeria with not only the very latest in aircraft innovations but also increased connectivity,” said Orhan Abbas, Emirates Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, Africa.

“We thank the Nigerian authorities for facilitating the reinstatement of our flights to Abuja and Lagos which will, in turn, greatly benefit Nigerian tourism, trade, investment and economy at large.”

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By operating a double daily service to Lagos and four weekly flights to Abuja, Emirates will offer travellers in Nigeria very convenient and comfortable access to Dubai, and onwards to other destinations on the Emirates network, including more than 35 destinations in the Middle East and Far East, 18 destinations in South Asia and over 20 destinations in the Americas and Australia. Many of these destinations are served by Emirates’ iconic A380 aircraft.

Apart from the increased passenger capacity, the new flights will provide up to 23 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight, giving businesses and traders more opportunities for increased imports such as electronic goods, construction equipment and pharmaceuticals, and exports such as fresh produce and perishables.

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The added Lagos flight EK781 will depart Dubai every day at 0355hrs and arrive in Lagos at 0905hrs. The return flight EK782 will depart Lagos at 1240hrs and arrive in Dubai at 2255hrs. The Abuja flight EK785 will depart Dubai every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday at 1035hrs and arrive in Abuja at 1535hrs. The return flight EK786 will depart Abuja at 1855hrs and arrive in Dubai at 0435hrs the next day. The arrival of the flight in Dubai is conveniently timed to enable a shorter transit period for customers connecting to Emirates’ early morning flights to popular destinations such as New York, Houston, London, Beirut, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Mumbai, Delhi and Sydney, amongst others, which are popular cities for Nigerian travellers.

Emirates launched services to Nigeria on 2 January 2004 with four flights per week from Dubai to Lagos linked with Accra in Ghana, using an A330-200 aircraft. Just over a year later Emirates increased its services from four to six flights a week, and following further demand, it became a daily operation in October 2005. On 1 January 2006, Lagos was delinked from Accra and became a direct service to Dubai. Emirates operated a second daily service to Lagos between February 2009 and June 2016 and daily flights to Abuja between August 2014 and October 2016. From 15 December 2017, Emirates will operate 18 weekly flights between Dubai and Nigeria.

(Aviation Tribune)



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British Airways Sacks Air Hostess over Racist Chants against Nigerians

British Airways Sacks Air Hostess over Racist Chants against Nigerians

By Ofonime Essien

British Airways cabin crew racist chants

British Airways has sacked 23-year-old air hostess, Joanne Wickenden, who shot a racist video where she was seen ranting and insulting Nigerian passengers.

She sparked outrage after the video in which she was seen in her British Airways uniform before flying from London Heathrow to Abuja on Friday night.

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According to MailOnline, Ms. Wickenden told officials at British Airways that the video which she uploaded via her Snapchat was ‘just a joke’, adding that she was set up by a British Airways colleague who recorded her and shared the clip.

In a statement on Tuesday, British Airways said Wickenden no longer works with the airline as their staff were expected to be of utmost professionalism when representing the airline.

“She no longer works for British Airways. We expect the utmost professionalism from our staff when they are representing British Airways,” it said.

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Meanwhile, Ms. Wickenden, who wants to be an actress, told journalists that she is not a racist.

“I am not a racist.

“I have been framed by another British Airline employee. They were encouraging me, egging me on to say things. They were recording me and sent it around to our friends, she said I don’t want to fly anymore,” she said.



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British Airways Launches Investigation against Air Stewardess Making Racist Comments about Passengers

British Airways Launches Investigation against Air Stewardess Making Racist Comments about Passengers

By Ofonime Essien

Air Stewardess

The British Airways stewardess apparently filmed herself as she was about to fly from London Heathrow to Abuja

British Airways has launched an investigation after a video emerged of an air stewardess making racist comments about passengers on a flight to Nigeria.

The woman, dressed in a BA uniform, apparently filmed herself as she was about to fly from London Heathrow to Abuja on Friday night.

The footage was recorded in her car and has been circulated among shocked cabin crew who reported it to BA.

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The airline said today: ‘We expect the utmost professionalism from our staff when they are representing British Airways. We are investigating this video.’

In the expletive-filled footage, the unidentified woman said ‘all Nigerians are going to be asking for f****** upgrades’ – after claiming the men would need more leg room in an apparent joke about the size of their privates.

During the one-minute clip, broadcast on Snapchat, the blonde female worker also revealed how she was going to deal with passengers on the six-hour flight.

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A source told MailOnline that the video – which was captioned ‘I can’t cope with this flight’ – was circulated among ‘horrified’ BA cabin crew who are ‘very concerned’.

The woman filmed herself saying: ‘Alright, so all of yous are there getting ready for your Friday night, getting in the pre-drinks, you know, as you do.

‘And I’m here, getting ready to go to work, put on a yellow life jacket, point out the exits, hand out chicken or beef, what sort of Friday night is this for me?

‘The upside is I’m going to Nigeria and there’s gonna be bare B**, I’m joking, I’m joking.

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‘All the Nigerians are gonna be there like ‘gimme Coca Cola, gimme me beef, why you have no beef left? I want beef.’

‘And I’m just gonna be there like, ‘Sorry sir, we ran out of beef’.

‘All the Nigerians are gonna be there asking for f****** upgrades because they haven’t got enough leg room because their B**s are in their way. Big d**** like this swinging from side to side.’

The source told MailOnline: ‘My friend was horrified. BA has a culture of dealing with things like this internally, she passed it to me because she was concerned that nothing was done.’



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Ryanair Ltd is Hiring 125 Pilots to Clean Up its Cancellations Mess

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Category : News

Ryanair Ltd. is Hiring 125 Pilots to Clean Up its Cancellations Mess

By Ofonime Essien

Ryanair Ltd.

Ryanair is hiring 125 pilots to avoid additional flight cancellations and could force 500 existing pilots to change holiday plans.

According to Sky News, Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary said on Thursday that that the firm would recruit 125 pilots in the next week or two and increase pay for others.

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He also said the airline is considering forcing 500 pilots to change their holiday plans to avoid risking additional flight delays.

Ryanair this week offered pilots a bonus to work 10 additional days to alleviate a pilot shortage that has caused the cancellation of over 2,000 flights in September and October, hitting the airline’s share price and reputation.

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O’Leary told Ryanair’s Annual General Meeting that it did not have sufficient spare pilots for September, October and November to ensure smooth operations and was considering forcing some pilots to change their annual leave plans.

He admitted “significant management failure” regarding the rostering of pilots, and warned that the moves would not guarantee an end to disruptions.

(Business Insider)





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