Pilot charged in deadly Moscow Superjet crash that killed 41 people

Russian civil aviation authorities announced that they have finished the investigation of a passenger jet crash at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in May, 2019.

Based on the results of the investigation, authorities are charging the aircraft’s captain with improper operation of the plane’s control during landing, leading to a crash that resulted in the deaths of 41 people.

The SSJ-100, operated by Aeroflot, was bound for Murmansk on May 5. Approximately 30 minutes after departure, it returned to the airport, and burst into flames during a bumpy emergency landing. There were 73 passengers and five crew members on board the aircraft. Forty-one people were killed and 10 were injured.

The captain of the Sukhoi Superjet-100, has pleaded not guilty to violating security regulations. A re-investigation request filed by the pilot’s defense team has been turned down.

The chief of the Main Forensics Directorate at Russia’s Investigative Committee said earlier that most fatalities on board the SSJ-100 were not due to the impact, but were caused by the hazardous fumes from burning plastics.

Court orders seizure of Emirates Boeing 777 over N8.1m judgment debt

A Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered the seizure of an aircraft belonging to Emirates Airline over an N8.1 million judgment debt.

The order followed a motion filed by Dr. Charles Mekwunye seeking for the enforcement of a Supreme Court judgment in a suit between Miss Promise Mekwunye and the airline.

Granting the reliefs sought by the claimant, Justice Mohammed Liman, held, “It is accordingly ordered that an attachment is hereby issued on the judgment debtor’s aircraft registered as ‘A6 Aircraft Type 77W EK: 783/784’, or any other aircraft belonging to the judgment debtor which flies into Nigeria territory, to be arrested and detained until the judgment debt is fully paid: in default after 30 days, the aircraft shall be auctioned to satisfy the judgment debt.”

The judge also ordered Emirates Airline to bear the cost of maintenance and custody of the detained aircraft.

Miss Mekwunye who was then a student of North Texas University, Denton, Texas, USA had in 2008 dragged the airline to court for refusing her boarding with a two-way flight ticket from Dallas to Nigeria and back for no reason and for further refusing to fully refund the cost of the ticket of American Airline she bought to come back to Nigeria.

She claimed that the airline offered no reason for its action, leaving her stranded for days at the airport until she was able to secure a more expensive flight ticket on a longer route to Lagos.

In a judgment delivered on November 15, 2010, the Federal High Court held that the refusal of Emirates Airline to carry Mekwunye amounted to a breach of contract of carriage.

The court therefore ordered full refund of ticket without any deduction or charge.

It further granted N2.5 million in general damages and N250,000 in legal costs against the airline.

Emirates however appealed the judgment and contended that the trial judge erred in law when he awarded N250,000 in legal fees when the plaintiff claimed N1 million but led no evidence.

The airline contended that the award of general damages was contrary to the Montreal Convention which not only limits the damages recoverable but placed obligation to prove wilful misconduct/gross negligence against the airline before the airline can be liable for damages.

On April 11, 2014, the Court of Appeal upheld the airline’s appeal and upturned the award of N250,000 and N2.5 million earlier awarded to Miss Mekwunye.

The matter later moved to the Supreme Court and, in a lead judgment delivered on February 1, 2019, by Justice Ejembi Eko, the apex court overruled the decision of the Court of Appeal and upheld the earlier judgment of the Federal High Court.

The apex court held that the trial court was right in ordering Emirates Airline to pay in the circumstances N2.5m as general damages in addition to ticket refund as the airline cannot rely on the Montreal Convention for limitation of liability when it was guilty of fundamental breach of the contract as argued by the appellant’s counsel, Dr. Mekwunye.

The Supreme Court further held, among other things, that the Court of Appeal was wrong to have upturned the decision of the lower court when Emirate Airline never obtained leave of court to file the appeal as to costs.

The apex court also held that the airline’s denial of board was a repudiation of its contract with Miss Mekwunye and a breach of the fundamental term of the contract which does not entitle it to rely on the Montreal Convention which sets limit of claims in an action between an airline and its passenger.

The judgment debt plus interest has since accumulated to about N8.1 million as Emirates airlines failed to comply with the judgment.

Man jailed over sex attack on Mumbai to Manchester flight

A man who admitted inflicting a “despicable” and “prolonged” sexual attack on a woman on a flight from Mumbai to Manchester has been jailed.

The victim woke up to find aman, 36, forcing his hands into her clothes and trying to kiss her as other passengers slept, police said.

The woman eventually managed to break free and tell cabin crew, and Singh was arrested when the flight landed.

He was jailed for 12 months at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court.

The Indian national, who admitted three counts of sexual assault, had been visiting the UK on a six-month tourist visa.

Police said he was sitting next to the woman, who is aged in her 20s, when he first asked if the passenger sitting on the other side of her was her mother.

When she got up to use the plane‘s facilities he refused to move aside, forcing her to squeeze past him.

Singh then carried out his attack after the lights on the aircraft were turned down and the woman and other passengers had gone to sleep under their blankets.

TAP Air Portugal is replacing almost all planes of its long-haul fleet

TAP Airport Portugal is now operating one of the most modern long-haul fleets in the world. The carrier has renewed its entire long-haul fleet in just one year.

The Airbus A340-300s and almost all A330-200s in the airline’s fleet were replaced by the Airbus’s new-generation widebody jets A330-900s and single-aisle long-range A321LRs, while the remaining A330-200s were given a new, more modern cabin interior.

The A330-200s of the Portuguese flag carrier now features more comfortable seats with extra legroom, larger bins for cabin baggage, larger IFE (In-Flight Entertainment) screens in every seat and broadband Internet connection.

A year ago, the long-haul fleet of TAP Air Portugal consisted of four Airbus A340-300s and seventeen A330-200s, but now the fleet comprises 17 Airbus A330-900, four A321LRs, and seven renewed A330-200s.

The company operates its A321LRs on transatlantic routes between Lisbon and the Americas.

After the renewal, The average age of the Portuguese operator’s long-haul fleet was reduced from fifteen to slightly less than four years.

Fleet renewal also means an expansion of capacity and network for TAP Air Portugal. The airline is preparing to add new routes to its long-haul network from 2020.

TAP will has six A330-900 and eight A321LR more in its order book with Airbus waiting to be delivered. TAP is reportedly in talks with the European planemaker to convert some of its A321LRs on order into A321XLR – the newly launched extra-long-range single-aisle jet of Airbus.

Photo of King of Sweden arriving in Delhi on a regular Air India flight carrying his own bags went viral

King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden arrived in Delhi this morning for a five-day visit.

The royal couple flew in on an Air India plane from Stockholm, and the national carrier tweeted photos of them at the Delhi airport.

Photo of the Swedish royal couple immediately went viral as people noticed that King Carl arrived carrying his own bags – a gesture that has won him a lot of praise on social media.

“His Majesty Carl Gustaf Folke Hubertus , King of Sweden and Her Majesty Silvia Renate Sommerlath travelled AI168 Stockholm to Delhi,” wrote Air India on Twitter, sharing two pics of the royals being greeted at the airport.

The king of Sweden has been widely praised on Twitter for carrying his own bags at the airport – an action praised as “inspiring” and “humbling” by many.

South African Airways to be placed into bankruptcy protection

©Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg

South Africa’s government will place the national airline under a local form of bankruptcy protection as a last-ditch measure to try and prevent its total collapse.

State-owned South African Airways is entering a business-rescue process to allow a “radical restructuring” under which the carrier will receive 4 billion rand ($274 million) in funding, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said in a statement Thursday. The process will allow SAA to continue operating.

SAA, which last made a profit in 2011 and has received 57 billion rand in bailouts since 1994, has been struggling to pay its bills after the National Treasury balked at providing it with more funding.

Its finances took a further hit when staff staged a pay strike last month, grounding a number of flights and causing bookings to be canceled on a number of others.

South Africa’s Companies Act enables firms in financial distress to file for business rescue.

United Airlines orders 50 Airbus A321XLRs for transatlantic route expansion from hubs of Newark and Washington D.C.

United Airlines has placed a firm order for 50 Airbus A321XLR aircraft as it begins to phase out older models and launches an expansion of transatlantic routes from its key U.S. hubs in Newark/New York and Washington D.C. United plans to take delivery of the first A321XLR in 2024 and expects to begin international service with the aircraft in 2025.

The A321XLR is the next evolutionary step in the A320neo/A321neo family of aircraft, meeting market requirements for increased range and payload in a single-aisle aircraft, and creating more value for the airlines by enabling economically viable service on longer routes than any comparable aircraft model.

It will allow service from the U.S. East Coast to a much larger selection of European destinations.

The A321XLR will be operated by the same crew, powered by the same engines and have the same cabin as the A321neo, with more than 90 percent commonality. Combining the A321neo’s two rear center fuel tanks into one adds fuel capacity and reduces structural weight.

Other significant changes include structural reinforcements and modified landing gears for the increased MTOW, increased braking capability, higher tire speed, and additional flap and slat configurations.

ALERT A man has been restrained after trying to open a door of British Airways Boeing 777 in midair to Saudi Arabia

A man suffering a panic attack tried to open the door of a British Airways flight to Saudi Arabia in midair but was stopped by fellow passengers, including the brother of the boxer Dillian Whyte.

The incident occurred on Monday night about an hour before BA flight 263 from Heathrow to Riyadh was due to land in the Saudi capital.

Without warning a clearly agitated man started trying to pull the lever on the door at the back of the plane while screaming “I want to get out” in broken English.

A passenger who was sat in a nearby seat in economy, was alerted to the commotion and rushed down the aisle to assist – along with other members of the fighter’s entourage and an air steward.

He was able to grab the man in a bearhug and pull him away from the door, while repeatedly telling him: “Calm down,.”

At that point half a dozen more air stewards, one carrying handcuffs, rushed down the plane to help. Finally after a few minutes of angry pointing and shouting from the passenger, he calmed down and was brought back to his seat.

A British Airways flight attendant confirmed to the Guardian that the incident had been reported to the authorities. “I have never seen anything like that before,” he added.

Woman seeking bigger seat on plane faked medical emergency on American Eagle flight

A Florida woman faked a medical emergency in order to get a larger seat on an American Airlines flight, authorities said.

But the pilot, apparently not realizing the emergency was bogus, turned the plane around.

The woman, who wasn’t publicly identified, was taken into custody when Miami-bound flight American Eagle 3508 landed back in Pensacola around 6:30 a.m. Friday, police said.

“The pilot declared an emergency… once they got on the ground, she made it clear that she was faking the medical condition to get a bigger seat,” Pensacola Police Department spokesman Mike Wood said.

Once the plane was back on the ground, the woman continued with the theatrics, refusing to get off the aircraft, cops said.

The pilot, law enforcement and medical personnel eventually succeeded in getting her off the plane.

The woman was taken into custody under the Sunshine State’s Baker Act, which allows authorities to hold a person who could be a threat to themselves or others.

A Muslim female passenger in a hijab was kicked off a Turkish Airlines flight at London Gatwick due to a suspicious chat

A female passenger is claiming she was kicked off a Turkish Airlines flight after a white man reported her for being suspicious.

The female passenger wearing a hijab claims a white man reported her for being suspicious after reading a conversation she was having with a friend over her shoulder.

The police forced her to disembark after she messaged a friend “anything could happen” because she was worried to be flying alone because she said.

She tweeted: “I was shouted at on the plane, refused to explain the conversation and removed from the flight and the airport police treated me like absolute shit, I wasn’t searched but told to go home.”

“All because a man, who just like me is afraid of flying read my messages where I was confiding in my friend and took it apon himself to cause problems.”

As she was flying to Somalia, she had to pay £500 on top of the £725 for a second ticket before she went to the airport but she was refused to embark at the gate.

A staff woman said she was banned from getting on a Turkish Airlines flight ever.