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Airbus Wins First Order for New Freighter as Air Cargo Booms

Order from Air Lease for seven cargo variants of A350 marks Airbus’s push into market long dominated by Boeing

SE booked its first order for a newly launched wide-body freighter, pushing into a market dominated by rival Boeing Co. at a time when air cargo is booming.

The deal is for seven freighter variants of Airbus’s A350. The jet maker announced the plane in July, opting to launch it without any customers. The company said at the time that airlines and specialist cargo operators had asked it for a new freighter.

Shipments of medical supplies and personal protective gear gave cargo an early-pandemic boost, bolstered by a lockdown-fed boom in e-commerce. More recently, manufacturers around the world have turned increasingly to airfreight to bypass snarled ports, packed ships and trucking shortages that have delayed cheaper cargo delivery by land and sea.

Two of the world’s largest container shipping companies, A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and CMA CGM SA, have ordered new Boeing 777 freighter jets this year, citing the need to have air-cargo options for customers.

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United Airlines Is Fined $1.9 Million for Runway Delays

The airline faced a similar fine in 2012 over the Transportation Department’s tarmac-delay rule

The Transportation Department said it fined United Airlines Holdings Inc. UAL 0.86% $1.9 million for violating the department’s rule prohibiting long tarmac delays, the largest fine it has issued for such violations.

The department on Friday said its Office of Aviation Consumer Protection found that between December 2015 and February 2021 the airline allowed 20 domestic flights and five international flights to remain on the tarmac at various U.S. airports for lengthy periods without providing passengers the opportunity to deplane. The delays affected 3,218 passengers, the agency said.

A United spokesman said the 25 flights were out of nearly 8 million flights operated by United and United Express during the time frame. Since 2015, the company has implemented a diversion-monitoring system that identifies available airports for a flight affected by weather, and it has invested in ground-service equipment, he said.

“We remain committed to fully meeting all DOT rules and will continue identifying and implementing improvements in how we manage difficult operating conditions while maintaining the safety of our customers and employees,” the spokesman said.

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New FAA Technology Aims to Speed Takeoffs of Planes Idling on Runways

Aviation regulator plans to roll out tools meant to cut down delays before departure

The top U.S. aviation regulator is betting a new suite of software will help ease a longtime frustration for airline passengers: being stuck on a plane that is waiting to get to a runway for takeoff.

The Federal Aviation Administration plans to deploy in the next several years new software at airports that is meant to make it easier to calculate when a plane can travel out to a runway and depart, agency officials said Tuesday.

At Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, the system reduced delays by more than 900 hours in all during a four-year testing period, or an average of 15 minutes of wait time each for around 3,600 departing flights, according to the FAA. Carriers also saved on fuel and lowered carbon emissions by avoiding idling, the agency said.

The FAA plans to incorporate the new tools into a system for managing plane traffic at airports the agency had developed as part of its efforts to modernize air transportation, officials said.

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What Science Knows Now About the Risk of Covid-19 Transmission on Planes

New research has uncovered when chances are higher, including during meal service. Overall risks appear to remain relatively low, but newer variants may change that equation.

Fliers have yearned for reliable data on the risks of air travel since the pandemic began. Recent research on Covid-19 transmission on flights suggests that airlines could adopt new policies to better protect their passengers.

Scientists have found a sharp increase in possible spread during in-flight meal service when everyone has masks off. They’ve also learned more about the importance of precautions during boarding and deplaning.

The chances of viral spread aboard planes remain very low. But papers published in medical journals suggest they may not be as low as suggested earlier in the pandemic.

“It’s still, at this point, safe to travel if you take proper precautions,” says Mark Gendreau, chief medical officer at Beverly Hospital near Boston and an expert in aviation medicine. “I do think it could be safer.”

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