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Phuket Media Watch: British Airways resume flights; New Zealand plane crash

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Phuket Media Watch: British Airways resume flights; New Zealand plane crash | The Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

British Airways to resume flights to Libyan capital in May
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: British Airways plans to reinstate flights to the Libyan capital of Tripoli later this year, the airline announced yesterday. Flights were suspended in February 2011 as a result of the country’s civil war.

British Airways said it decided to resume flights between London Heathrow Airport and Tripoli International Airport following a ‘thorough security review’ in conjunction with the British and Libyan governments. The flights, three times a week, are set to resume on May 1st.

“We are delighted to be returning to Libya,” said Keith Williams, CEO of British Airways. “Our flights to Tripoli have provided a vital economic link for many years, and it is good news for everyone that we can now restart operations.”

British Airways flights to and from Tripoli were suspended in February last year as Libyan government forces launched a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and rebels, leading to a UN-sanctioned no-fly zone which closed all civilian airports in the North African nation from March 2011 until October 2011.

The eight-month-long civil war, which claimed more than 25,000 lives, came to an end in late October when rebels captured Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi as he tried to flee his hometown Sirte. Gaddafi, who led Libya for more than 30 years, was eventually shot dead, although the exact circumstances surrounding the death remain unclear.

Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), led by the former rebels, assumed control of the country after Gaddafi’s regime was toppled. The council appointed Abdurrahim El-Keib as interim prime minister to lead Libya until nationwide elections have taken place.

Small plane crashes at busy New Zealand park, killing 2
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: Two people were killed yesterday morning when their small plane crashed in a busy park in central New Zealand, police said. There were no survivors.

The accident happened at around 10:45am local time (4.45am Phuket time) when the Aerostar Yak 52TW aircraft went down in a park in the town of Fielding, which is located in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region of New Zealand’s North Island. There were two people on board.

Witnesses said the small aircraft, which is often used as an acrobatic training plane, was making unusually loud noises before it crashed. The pilot reportedly struggled to keep the aircraft under control, turning and spinning the plane before it plummeted down nose-first.

The violent crash also caused an explosion and fire, destroying the aircraft and leaving only mangled metal behind.

The identities of those killed were not immediately released, but Inspector Mark Harrison said the victims were ‘well known’ in the Manawatu area. They had taken off just 25 minutes prior to the accident from Taonui Aerodrome near Fielding.

“The park borders a river and residential area, and has a children’s playground, so it is extremely popular with the local community,” Harrison said. “There were a large number of people in the park at the time and it is extremely fortunate that no-one on the ground was hurt.”

The Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand (CAA) will investigate the cause of the accident. “CAA Safety Investigators Al Moselen and Steve Walker are traveling to the scene from Auckland,” CAA spokeswoman Emma Peel said in a statement.

Earlier this month, on January 7, eleven people were killed when a hot air balloon crashed near the town of Carterton on the North Island of New Zealand, making it the second deadliest accident of its kind in history. It happened when the hot air balloon hit wires on a power line, causing the basket to catch fire before plummeting to the ground.

— Phuket Gazette Editors



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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet

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Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Japan Times

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ new 88-passenger Mitsubishi Regional Jet is testing the skies just as rivals Embraer and Bombardier are moving to sell off their manufacturing operations for jets with up to 160 seats to Boeing and Airbus.

At stake, particularly in the market for jets with fewer seats, is US$135 billion in sales in the two decades through 2037, according to industry group Japan Aircraft Development.

More cities in Asia and Europe are seeking to link up with each other and the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, the first airliner built in Japan since the 1960s, began certification flights last month in Moses Lake, Washington.

With fewer seats and smaller fuselages, regional jets are a different class of aircraft from larger narrow-body planes such as Boeing’s 737 or Airbus’s A320. The MRJ has a range of about 3,220 kilometres. The seating is 2+2 instead of 3+3 in a small Airbus or Boeing single-aisle jet.

After spending at least US$2 billion over more than a decade, the manufacturer is looking to get its jet certified and start deliveries to launch partner ANA Holdings.

Mitsubishi initially planned test flights in 2012 but blew past that deadline because of production difficulties. Now, the company, which makes ships, nuclear power plants and aerospace components, expects to have the plane ready for customers next year, a timetable that will test the company, said Mitsubishi Aircraft president Hisakazu Mizutani.

Mitsubishi Heavy is not the only Asian manufacturer betting that it can build aircraft cheaper and more efficiently. Commercial Aircraft of China (Comac) has a new regional jet in service, while Korea Aerospace Industries is studying whether to develop a 100-passenger aircraft.

“The aviation market in Asia is expected to grow further in the coming years and there will be demand for these aircraft,” said analyst Lee Dong-heon at Daishin Securities in Seoul.

“The shift in the regional aviation segment we have seen over the last year or so has opened opportunities.”

“The MRJ is fully capable of competing in the market.”

Mitsubishi testing their new regional jet | News by The Thaiger

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World

Missing 14 year old Thai boy found dead in Tokyo

The Thaiger

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Missing 14 year old Thai boy found dead in Tokyo | The Thaiger

The mother of a Thai teenager who went missing in Tokyo last Monday has revealed that she has found her son but that he had died.

Yuwajitra Watchara-arpa has not revealed the cause of the death of 14 year old Thian Sukanonsawat on the social network, saying merely that he had passed peacefully from an “unexpected accident”.

The mother thanked everybody for helping to find her son. She however asked for privacy following his death, saying the family would not answer any queries or contacts.

Thian went missing on Monday night, not longer after he and his family arrived in Tokyo for a holiday. His parents stayed in one room and their three children, Tien among them, shared another room.

After her mother found out that her son had gone missing, she alerted police and asked to see the hotel’s security video footage. CCTV footage showed the boy leaving the hotel room on the fifth floor in the middle of the night and walking towards an elevator in his night clothes and hotel slippers.

His mother turned to Facebook to seek help in locating her son. She said the boy had no money, mobile phone or transportation pass cards.

Her post went viral and was shared by many Facebook users including the Thai Embassy in Tokyo and the Thai communities in Japan.

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Travel

Boeing investigation continues as attention turns to the engines

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Boeing investigation continues as attention turns to the engines | The Thaiger

Within the past six months, two Boeing 737 Max 8 have fallen out of the sky, both during the early climbing phase of the flight.

In October, Lion Air Flight 610 crashed just off Jakarta, killing 189 people. And in March, Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 crashed in Bishoftu, Ethiopia, killing 157 people.

Whilst the investigations continue into the two horrifying incidents, both Boeing and some early evidence from the data recorders, has revealed possible problems with software that was developed as a work-around to a problem that Boeing had introduced with the new model 737 aircraft.

The work-around was called the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System) which would push the nose of the plane down if the software detected the plane had the risk of stalling (nose too high, not enough airflow over the wings). But why did the new Boeing 737 Max model jets need this new software?

The answer uncovers a rush to manufacture as Boeing was under pressure to come up with a new plane to compete with their rivals Airbus. The European manufacturer had developed a newer, lighter, more fuel efficient update to their single-aisle A320. And airlines were buying it instead of the latest Boeing 737.

Boeing, instead of designing a new plane, would do a make-over of the older model. But they needed to get it out to the market quickly. This rush to market market may have contributed to the two recent crash incidents.

VOX has prepared an excellent short documentary on the issue that may be at the root of the deaths of 346 people.

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