F.A.A. Orders Closer Engine Inspections After Southwest Airlines Failure


Photo

Federal investigators in Philadelphia examined damage to the turbofan engine on Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 that failed on Tuesday, leading a passenger’s death.

Credit
Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday issued an emergency order instructing airlines with the same type of engine as the one that failed catastrophically on Tuesday on a Southwest Airlines Boeing 737 to more thoroughly inspect the engines’ fan blades.

The agency told airlines to perform ultrasonic inspections — which can detect flaws or cracks not visible to the unaided human eye — within the next 20 days on fan blades of engines with more than 30,000 cycles. A cycle includes an engine start, takeoff, landing and shutdown.

The F.A.A.’s order came shortly after the manufacturer of the engines, CFM International, issued guidelines for the ultrasonic inspections. CFM, a joint venture of General Electric and the French company Safran Aircraft Engines, went further than the F.A.A., recommending that fan blades with 20,000 cycles be inspected by the end of August. It also recommended inspections of all other fan blades when they reach 20,000 cycles, and repeating the inspections every 3,000 cycles, which, it said, “represents about two years in service.”

The F.A.A. said it was acting because it determined that fan blade cracking “is likely to exist or develop in other products of the same type design.”

The agency’s order does not address those lesser-used engines, but said it was “considering further rule making to address these differences.” Airlines are not legally bound to follow a company’s guidelines. They are bound by the F.A.A. directive.

Continue reading the main story

Sale at Heathrow Terminal 1. Everything Must Go.


More functional and bulky objects will be sold later. Among them: 110 check-in desks with scales and baggage belts, 11 baggage reclaim carousels, 15 escalators, gates, piers and complete air bridges.

Photo

The auction house was hoping to attract bids from smaller airports for some of the bulkier and more practical items.

Credit
CA Global Partners

Security equipment like full-body scanners and automatic passport gates will be available through private treaty sales after a security check of the buyers.

One may wonder who would want to buy reminders of sometimes frustrating moments spent lining up at the “U.K. Border” sign or staring at an empty luggage carousel.

“Some of the larger items in future auctions will be more popular with other airports,” Ms. Macquisten wrote. “We are also thinking some bars and clubs might be interested in the seating if they want some retro memorabilia in their establishments.”

Photo

Stefan Knapp created artwork for the terminal. His murals will be part of the auction.

Credit
CA Global Partners

Most of the artifacts are mundane, to be sure. But observers with imagination can find intriguing messages in the signs saying, “Nothing to declare” or “All Departure Gates.” Or they may find nostalgia in airline signs for Aer Lingus, TAM, Icelandair, US Airways, Air New Zealand, El Al and others.

Most of the items date to after the 1960s, but there are some exceptions, like enamel murals specially commissioned for the airport and created by Stefan Knapp, a Polish-born artist who lived and worked in Britain.

The most popular items in the early bidding wars were the clocks and a departure sign, which had attracted 141 bids by midday on Friday.

By contrast, few people seemed to want a keepsake from airport security: A foot stool used to check shoes had three bids on Friday.

Photo

“We are also thinking some bars and clubs might be interested in the seating,” a spokeswoman for the auctioneers wrote.

Credit
CA Global Partners

The auction could well be a hit over all if past sales linked to air travel are any guide. After Germany’s AirBerlin — the country’s second-largest airline — went bankrupt last year, a sale of its assets attracted bids from 45 countries.

The chocolate hearts the airline used to hand out to passengers went for as much as 352 euros ($435) for a box of 100.

In addition, decommissioned parts of Concorde, the supersonic passenger aircraft, have been sold at several auctions. The catalog for a charity sale in 2003 in London by Bonhams included everything from flight instruments to cutlery and a case of wine served on board.

Photo

Heathrow’s Terminal 1 opened as a slick passenger terminal. It didn’t age well. Baggage reclaim in 1969, to the left, and 2014, to the right, a year before the terminal closed.

As for Terminal 1, it did not age well. By the time it shut down, it was handling 17 flights and 1,700 passengers a day. Its shiny, neon-lit interiors with slick lines and fixtures gave way to a patchwork of old and new surfaces.

For travelers, in the final years, the terminal was more of a drab point of transit to rush through than a place to linger.

The fate of the building, at the center of one of the busiest airports in the world, was sealed long before the coming auction. It will be demolished and the site used for the expansion of the redeveloped Terminal 2.

Queen Opens New Airport Building (1969) Video by British Pathé

The original Terminal 2, known at first as the Europa Building, was the airport’s first terminal building when it opened in 1955. It was closed to the public in 2009 and demolished in 2010, with its replacement opening in 2014. The hope is that with its expansion, it will handle about 30 million passengers.

Continue reading the main story

Engine on Southwest Jet Not the Only One to Develop Cracks


He said that in the past, engines were designed with an abundance of precaution. “They don’t do that anymore. They’re trying to whittle down every last bit of material, every bit of weight. Thrust is king.”

But, Mr. Giannotti said, “there is such a thing as pushing things. We try to get right to the edge, with as little edge as possible, without stepping over.”

Photo

An engine, made by GE Aviation, came apart in 2016, igniting a fire that destroyed an American Airlines Boeing 767. That incident was the result of a previously undetected manufacturing flaw.

Credit
Jose Castillo, via Associated Press

In the case of the Southwest engine failure this week, investigators say they are not only considering why a fan blade broke but why the engine housing failed to contain it. The shrapnel punctured a window in the plane, and a woman seated by it was partially sucked out. She was later pronounced dead.

The Federal Aviation Administration had already been close to ordering airlines using that particular engine, the CFM-56B, to conduct ultrasonic inspections. The agency appears to have been prompted to act after another Southwest 737 engine came apart in 2016, sending debris into the plane’s fuselage, wing and tail. The investigation into that incident is ongoing.

Late Wednesday, the F.A.A. said it was ordering those ultrasonic inspections. The engines on both Southwest planes, were manufactured by CFM International, a joint venture of General Electric and Safran of France.

The National Transportation Safety Board concluded that visual inspections between flights were insufficient to detect flaws in the disk of a CF-6 engine on an American Airlines Boeing 767 in late 2016. The plane was gaining speed on the runway in Chicago when the engine broke apart, sending metal fragments into the fuel tank and igniting a fire. The engine was manufactured by General Electric.

The chairman of the transportation safety board, Robert L. Sumwalt, said on Wednesday that the problems with the Southwest engine were worrisome because the agency had already discovered in the Chicago incident that some engine flaws were undetectable. “We are concerned about it,” Mr. Sumwalt said.

Inspections have also been ordered for the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines that power a quarter of Boeing’s newest wide-body, the 787 Dreamliner, after cracks were found on rotor blades. But the F.A.A. went further and rescinded the operators’ approval to fly the airplanes any farther than 2 hours and 20 minutes from an emergency airport.

International long-haul carriers like United Airlines, Qantas Airways, Japan Airlines, Air New Zealand and British Airways purchased the Dreamliner over the past decade specifically for the plane’s ability to carry fewer people on longer routes more fuel efficiently. On extended flights over water, an airline could schedule flights on routes of up to five hours flying time from an emergency airport.

Photo

In the case of the Southwest flight this week, a shard of the engine broke a window, causing cabin depressurization that pulled a passenger halfway out the window.

Credit
National Transportation Safety Board, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

American and European regulators now say that cannot be safely accomplished. Should one Rolls-Royce engine fail, the higher power demand on the remaining engine could cause the second engine to fail.

“It’s pretty frightening,” said Mr. Giannotti, the aerospace engineer. “What is very clear is, there is a design flaw in the engine.”

LATAM Airlines, British Airways and Norwegian Air are three airlines that must now lease substitute airplanes or reassign other model aircraft to certain destinations, an expensive disruption.

“We are carrying out detailed precautionary inspections on Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines on our Boeing 787s to ensure we meet all the relevant regulatory requirements,” said Michele Kropf, a spokeswoman for British Airways. She declined to provide details of how the carrier was handling transoceanic routes on which it flies its 787s.

Although engine failure is not common, the bigger risk is when pieces of the motor fly out. “There’s a lot of mass behind them,” said Robert Benzon, a former investigator with the transportation safety board. “Because of the centrifugal forces involved, if they shoot out in the wrong direction, they can do anything.”

For more than a half-century, jet engines have taken the lead in advancing the capabilities of airliners, with each engine more powerful than the newest plane. The Dreamliner engines, for example, generate enough energy to power 30 homes. They do more than just propel the plane through the sky; they provide power to the airplane’s demanding and complex systems.

The recent engine failures have certainly been disruptive and attention-getting, but do not necessarily indicate a trend, though Mr. Benzon said it might.

“It’s up to the industry and the entities, the investigators, the certification people, the F.A.A. in our case, to see if there is a trend and rectify it,” he said.

Continue reading the main story

Meet Me in Mongolia: How Aging Aircraft May Dictate Kim-Trump Venue


“It’s really hard if you only have a 2,000-mile radius,” said David H. Rank, who previously served as the acting United States ambassador to China.

Locations in the United States and Europe were in the running, a senior administration official said on Wednesday, though the situation was fluid. Here are some options being discussed:

Europe

In theory, a neutral location like Sweden or Switzerland would be ideal. Both maintain diplomatic relations with the United States and North Korea and have signaled a willingness to facilitate the meeting.

Those locales have been the sites of some of the most significant diplomatic achievements in history — Geneva hosted the 1985 meeting between President Ronald Reagan and the Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev. It could provide the dramatic backdrop that both leaders appear to crave.

But to get there, one needs a plane.

“He’s not going to fly commercial,” Ms. Terry said of Mr. Kim.

American Territory

With the expected range of Mr. Kim’s planes, a trip to Hawaii or Guam, the closest United States territory to North Korea, would almost certainly require a refueling stop or a borrowed plane. Korea experts call that an indignity that Mr. Kim would not accept.

“I have trouble believing they would do that. It would be embarrassing,” said Joel S. Wit, a senior fellow at the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University. “They’ve got to borrow an airplane? I mean, what does that look like?”

Photo

Mr. Kim rode a private train to Beijing last month for his first known trip abroad since taking power in 2011.

Credit
Korean Central News Agency

The Korean Peninsula

Two locations in the Korean Peninsula have been floated as options. The Demilitarized Zone, a 2.5-mile-wide, 150-mile-long stretch of land dividing the peninsula, already has a facility that could serve as a meeting site: the Peace House in Panmunjom, a border village that is the only place in the contested strip where North and South Korean soldiers operate in proximity. The Peace House lies just across the demarcation line on the South Korean side.

It would be about a three-hour drive for Mr. Kim — no planes required. The stark setting, though, is hardly Trumpian.

“You have to think from Trump’s perspective,” Ms. Terry said of Panmunjom. “It’s just not sexy.”

Pyongyang best serves Mr. Kim’s interests. The Americans would be coming to him — the first official visit by a sitting American president to the capital.

But such a trip has obvious pitfalls for Mr. Trump. Bowing to Mr. Kim’s needs puts him in a weaker negotiating position and is unlikely to sit well with the president, whose bellicose foreign policy leaves little room for deference.

Foreign policy experts fear that a visit to Pyongyang risks legitimizing the authoritarian government of Mr. Kim, whose country has not had diplomatic relations with the United States since establishing itself as a separate state in 1948. But that argument could lose credence if the meeting moves forward.

“One could argue you have already legitimized the regime by having a summit,” Ms. Terry said.

The senior administration official said the two sites were probably out of the running.

Elsewhere in Asia

A venue in Asia might be the easiest compromise. It frees Mr. Kim from the political headache of traveling by plane and keeps Mr. Trump away from North Korea. The options are limited if he wants to maintain his own political capital, though. Vietnam and Singapore are being considered rather than more obvious choices like China or Japan.

China is politically problematic because of the rocky relationship between Mr. Trump and Beijing. Seeking Chinese help in arranging such a historic event would do little to polish the Americans’ credibility, and Mr. Kim’s own relations with the Chinese are tenuous at best.

“The politics of doing this kind of summit under the protective wing of the Chinese just strikes me as pretty implausible,” Mr. Rank said.

Japan is not an option given its longstanding historical tensions with North Korea. Russia presents a similar problem to China; amid tensions with the Kremlin, Mr. Trump would be ill-served in relying on Russia to host what could be a crowning diplomatic achievement.

A long shot, Mongolia, could serve all parties, and its government has offered to play host to the meeting in its capital of Ulan Bator.

“At least politically, the easiest place for everyone would be Mongolia and Ulan Bator,” Mr. Wit said, “because the Mongolians like to think of themselves as the Switzerland of Asia.”

Continue reading the main story

Inside Southwest Flight 1380, 20 Minutes of Chaos and Terror


Over the next 20 minutes, the depressurized cabin air swirled with wind and debris, panic and prayers as the pilot rerouted the plane to Philadelphia for an emergency landing.

“I grabbed my wife’s hand and I started praying: ‘Dear Jesus, send some angels. Just save us from this,’” said Timothy C. Bourman, 36, a pastor from Woodside, N.Y., who was on his way to a church retreat in San Antonio. “I thought we were goners.”

In the cockpit, Tammie Jo Shults, a veteran Navy pilot, flew on with one engine, displaying what one passenger would later call “nerves of steel.”

Video

Southwest Passengers Recount a Harrowing Experience

Passengers who were on the Southwest Airlines plane that had a deadly engine explosion mid-flight share what their experience was like.


By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.


Photo by Amanda Bourman.

Watch in Times Video »

Ms. Shults was well trained to handle stress in the cockpit. She had flown supersonic F/A-18 Hornets as one of the Navy’s first female pilots at a time when women were still barred from combat duty, before leaving active service in 1993. Ms. Shults calmly radioed air traffic controllers in Philadelphia to discuss her approach. She told them the flight was carrying injured passengers and needed emergency medics on the ground.

“Is your airplane physically on fire?” an air traffic controller asked Ms. Shults, according to audio captured by LiveATC.

“No it’s not on fire, but part of it is missing,” she responded. “They said there’s a hole and, uh, someone went out.”

It had all started so normally on Tuesday morning.

When the Boeing 737 took off from La Guardia Airport, it was fresh off an inspection on Sunday night, though investigators on Wednesday said the likely cause of the explosion was metal fatigue in an engine blade.

Its passengers were New Yorkers heading to San Antonio or Dallas, for a meeting or a technology conference. They were Texans and New Mexicans heading home after a magical first visit to New York City, an education conference in Midtown Manhattan, or a trip to see family.

Photo

Timothy C. Bourman, a passenger and pastor, spoke with Tammie Jo Shults, the flight captain, after an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

Credit
Amanda Bourman

They spent the morning at the airport making jokes about bag-check fees, snapping selfies on the plane, even getting into a tiff with another passenger about who got to board first. Just another day of air travel in America.

But by 11:10 a.m., as the flight descended toward Philadelphia, those same passengers were scrambling to put on oxygen masks and buy internet access so they could send a last message to their children and families. Marty Martinez, 29, of Dallas, held a yellow oxygen mask to his face as he live-streamed the descent on Facebook. “It appears we are going down!” he wrote.

Pastor Bourman said he could not figure out how to use his mask, and decided it would not save him if the plane crashed. Instead, he sat and prayed as his wife, Amanda, managed to connect her phone to the plane’s Wi-Fi. They began texting Pastor Bourman’s father to tell him what had happened and to convey a message to the couple’s three daughters, 6, 4 and 2 years old:

Pray.

Plane blew an engine.

We are going to try to land.

Tell the girls we love them and that Jesus is with them always.

Across from the blown-out window, Sheri Sears, 43, thought about her 11-year-old daughter, Tyley. Ms. Sears’s own father had died when she was 7, and she kept thinking to herself: I’m not going to be there for her.

Ms. Sears said she offered a thin prayer for mercy: “If this is your will, God, please let me go quickly. Don’t let me suffer.”

Her friend and travel companion, Tim McGinty, reassured his wife and Ms. Sears that they would be fine, and tightened their seatbelts. Then he sprang up to help drag the injured passenger, Jennifer Riordan, back into the plane.

Ms. Riordan was unconscious and bleeding as Mr. McGinty and another passenger, a firefighter from north of Dallas, laid her across a row of seats. A retired nurse and flight attendants rushed up and helped Mr. McGinty perform CPR all the way to Philadelphia, but it was no use.

Ms. Riordan, 43, a Wells Fargo executive and mother of two from Albuquerque, was pronounced dead at a hospital of what medical examiners later called blunt trauma to her head, neck and torso. News of her death rippled through Albuquerque, where the Chamber of Commerce held a moment of silence and ranks of nonprofit leaders, arts advocates and others across the city mourned.

Courtney Padilla, 34, a passenger from Albuquerque who was traveling home with her wife, mother, grandmother and aunt, said she had not met Ms. Riordan personally, but knew her by name and her reputation as a community supporter.

Ms. Padilla and her family were sitting at the front of the plane when the engine exploded, and like other passengers, they stayed in their seats and held onto each other as the desperate attempt to save Ms. Riordan’s life played out just rows behind them.

What Happened on the Plane

Passengers recalled their terror after an engine exploded on a Southwest Airlines plane on Tuesday morning.






“I just sat there and prayed.” – Timothy Bourman

“I thought I was going to die.” – Matt Tranchin

“There was blood everywhere.” – Marty Martinez

“You hear the large explosion, screeching, squealing, yelling.” – Sheri Sears

Jennifer Riordan was partly sucked out of a shattered window after the explosion. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Investigators said there was metal fatigue where a fan blade separated from the engine.

“I just sat there and prayed.”

Timothy Bourman

“I thought I was going to die.”

Matt Tranchin

“There was blood everywhere.”

Marty Martinez

“You hear the large explosion, screeching, squealing, yelling.”

Sheri Sears

Jennifer Riordan was partly sucked out of a shattered window after the explosion. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Investigators said there was metal fatigue where a fan blade separated from the engine.

“I just sat there and prayed.”

Timothy Bourman

“I thought I was going to die.”

Matt Tranchin

“There was blood everywhere.”

Marty Martinez

“You hear the large explosion, screeching, squealing, yelling.”

Sheri Sears

Jennifer Riordan was partly sucked out of a shattered window after the explosion. She was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Investigators said there was metal fatigue where a fan blade separated from the engine.






A stranger beside Ms. Padilla assured her that she had just celebrated her 76th birthday, and that they would not be dying that day. Ms. Padilla, in turn, made eye contact to support a younger girl sitting diagonally in front of her.

“You were holding on to whoever was next to you,” Ms. Padilla said.

On the right side of the plane, over the wing, Jim Demetros, 55, watched flight attendants carrying portable oxygen bottles thread along the aisle to make sure the passengers — who included a number of children — were secured.

As they approached Philadelphia International Airport, Mr. Demetros said the plane vibrated as it made a slow turn. About two minutes before they landed, Matt Tranchin’s phone got reception, so he called his wife and told her they were about to hit the ground. He figured they had a 50-50 chance of surviving.

Over the intercom, the crew sternly told passengers to put their heads down and brace themselves. Ms. Sears held onto her friend in the seat next to her and wondered, “Will it stop? Will it crash? Will it explode?”

It landed.

It landed gently at around 11:20, and with whoops and applause, the passengers pulled out their cellphones to text and call their families to report that they were all right.

The cabin went quiet as medics climbed on board and carried Ms. Riordan out on a stretcher, and flight attendants checked on seven other passengers who suffered minor injuries. They talked with the captain and crew and walked off the plane to talk to investigators, watching the story of Flight 1380 saturate the television screens around the airport as they waited for their new flights home. It was hard to grasp.

“We were really on that plane,” Ms. Sears said. “It’s unbelievable we made it through that.”

Continue reading the main story

Southwest’s Fatal Accident Prompts Scrutiny of Engine Inspections


The chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Robert L. Sumwalt, said a blade in the engine had broken in two places — where the blade attaches to the main hub and higher up, approximately at the midpoint of the blade. He said that a crack “was on the interior of the fan blade,” and that it was “more than likely not detectable from looking from the outside.”

But Mr. Sumwalt said it was too soon to reach conclusions on the cause of the engine failure. The board, he said, had not yet examined maintenance records, and was still examining the plane and interviewing its crew. He did say parts of the exterior of the plane’s engine had been recovered on the ground in a rural area outside Philadelphia.

The authorities are still finishing up their investigation of a similar incident on a Southwest flight in 2016, when a fan blade separated and debris ripped a 16-inch-long hole in the fuselage. No one was injured.

Photo

Exterior engine parts that landed in Penn Township, Pa., were photographed by an investigator from the safety board on Wednesday.

Credit
Bill Uhrich/Reading Eagle, via Associated Press

That was when CFM International recommended that airlines conduct ultrasound inspections of the blades. In the United States, carriers aren’t required to follow manufacturers’ guidelines.

The Federal Aviation Administration said a directive that it proposed last year to compel airlines to perform such inspections would take effect within the next two weeks. The European Aviation Safety Agency established such regulations for European carriers in late March.

Finding flaws isn’t always easy.

Metal fatigue, which investigators suspect is a factor in this week’s engine failure, can be a visible or an invisible weakness that is the result of bending, vibration or other stress. While it is often associated with older airplanes and engines, it can sometimes be the result of manufacturing flaws that cannot be seen.

“The forces in the engine are extraordinary,” said John Gadzinski, a 737 pilot and the founder of Four Winds Aerospace Safety, an aviation consultant. “Those small cracks that you may only see with an electron microscope will go from small to catastrophic failure in an instant.”

What occurred midair on Tuesday — a failure in which the engine parts are not contained in the housing and threaten the integrity of the airplane — is exceedingly rare, aircraft analysts said. The fact that it happened twice with the same airline in such a short time span makes it even more worrisome.

“It’s unusual that a fan blade would fail twice on the same engine model, with the same carrier, over two years,” said Kevin Michaels, the president of AeroDynamic Advisory in Ann Arbor, Mich., who has worked as a gas turbine engineer.

In the 2016 incident, a fan blade and another component separated from the engine. The debris did not enter the cabin. It did produce a gash in the aircraft’s side, causing depressurization, according to a preliminary report from the transportation safety board.

Photo

The Boeing 737 window that the Southwest plane’s engine debris shattered.

Credit
Marty Martinez, via Associated Press

The Boeing 737 involved was on its way to Orlando, Fla., from New Orleans and made an emergency landing in Pensacola, Fla.

If it turns out that this week’s engine failure had the same root cause, said Robert W. Mann, an airline analyst based in Port Washington, N.Y., the need to inspect 737 engines could be much more urgent.

“It could drive a significant event industrywide, but it’s hard to tell at this point,” he said. “It could be a defect of design, which would mean it’s subject to fatigue failures.”

In February, a United Airlines Boeing 777, which uses a different kind of engine, also experienced a blade separation and loss of other engine parts. That flight landed in Honolulu virtually on schedule, with no injuries reported and only minor damage, according to the safety board.

Aircraft experts say there’s no reason to worry about Southwest in particular, or about what this might say about the safety of flying in general. Southwest got into the aircraft business to “compete with the family car, which means they have saved tens of thousands of lives,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aviation analyst at the Teal Group in Fairfax, Va., alluding to the statistical fact that flying is safer than driving.

“The extreme worst-case scenario from these two incidents is that it might be prudent to inspect slightly more often,” he said.

Gary C. Kelly, Southwest’s chief executive, said in a news conference on Tuesday that the accident had not caused him to doubt the 737.

“The airplane, in my opinion, is proven,” Mr. Kelly said. “It’s very reliable. It has the greatest success of any other aircraft type.”

Continue reading the main story

A Southwest Airlines Engine Explodes, Killing a Passenger


Soon after the explosion, a woman near the window was partially sucked out, Mr. Kraidelman said.

“The top half of her torso was out the window,” he said. “There was a lot of blood because she was hit by some of the shrapnel coming off the engine after it exploded.”

Mr. Kraidelman said passengers and flight attendants struggled “to drag her back into the aircraft.” When they did, she was unconscious and seriously injured, and flight attendants and passengers tried to revive her. Upon seeing the scene, one flight attendant began to cry, Mr. Tranchin said.

“They were doing CPR on her and using the defibrillator while we were landing,” Mr. Kraidelman said. “They were working on her while everyone else had their oxygen mask on.”

Mr. Tranchin said that one of the passengers helping had at one point placed his lower back up against the opening in the plane, in an apparent effort to help with the compression. The man did this for the next 20 minutes, Mr. Tranchin said, adding that the man later told him that the pressure at his back had been extreme.

In the meantime, passengers wept and screamed for roughly 10 or 15 minutes, oxygen masks strapped to their faces, Mr. Kraidelman said.

Mr. Tranchin said he spent those precious minutes texting goodbyes to people important in his life.

“It’s a wild experience,” he said. “It’s not a couple minutes of freaking out and frantically saying goodbye; it’s 25 minutes of sustained fear that this was the end.”

“What do you say to your pregnant wife and your parents in your final moments?” he added. “That’s what I was trying to figure out.”

Mr. Tranchin said he wanted his wife to tell his son how important it is to follow his dreams; he wanted to tell her to find love again.

About two minutes before the plane landed, passengers got cellphone reception, so he called his wife and told her they were about to make the an emergency landing.

As the craft descended, “it was shaking, it was vibrating, it was tilting to one side,” Mr. Kraidelman said.

“At that point,” Mr. Tranchin said, “I thought I had a better than 50-50 chance of surviving.”

“You can see the ground, we’re level,” he continued. “It’s crash landing, but it’s doable.”

That the landing ended up being smooth was “nothing short of extraordinary,” he said.

As the injured woman was taken off the plane, it became especially clear just how serious her injuries were, Mr. Tranchin said.

“There was a significant amount of blood,” he said.

Officials later said that one person had died in the episode and that seven had minor injuries.

While federal transportation officials did not release the name of the woman who died, on Tuesday night, an official with the New Mexico Broadcasters Association, the mayor of Albuquerque and a spokesman for Wells Fargo identified the woman who died as Jennifer Riordan, of Albuquerque.

Photo

Jennifer Riordan

Credit
Marla Brose/The Albuquerque Journal, via Associated Press

Colleagues and friends said she was a community relations leader with Wells Fargo. They also said she was a wife and mother of two who had been a scholarship winner at the University of New Mexico and had served on a school board.

“Today, Albuquerque lost a thoughtful leader who has long been part of the fabric of our community,” the mayor, Tim Keller, said. “Her leadership and philanthropic efforts made this a better place every day and she will be terribly missed.”

Gary C. Kelly, the chief executive of Southwest Airlines, said in a video posted to YouTube,“This is a sad day, and on behalf of the entire Southwest family I want to extend my deepest sympathies for the family and the loved ones of our deceased customer.”

The flight, which was on its way from New York’s La Guardia Airport to Dallas Love Field, was a Boeing 737 with 144 passengers and five Southwest employees on board, the officials said.

The crew initially reported that they had an engine fire, Mr. Sumwalt said. They later clarified that there was no fire, but said that the plane was operating with a single engine — and that parts of it were missing.

Mr. Sumwalt said an engine cowling was later discovered in Bernville, Pa., about 70 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Once the plane was on the ground, investigators discovered that a fan blade was missing from the plane’s operating engine. It appeared to have been separated at what Mr. Sumwalt called “the hub.”

“Our preliminary examination of this was that there’s evidence of metal fatigue where the blade separated,” he said.

Mr. Sumwalt said he had spoken with Mr. Kelly, who said Southwest Airlines will begin “enhanced inspection procedures” on their entire fleet.

“We are taking this event very seriously,” Mr. Sumwalt said. “This should not happen.”

Continue reading the main story

Square Feet: Stewart Airport Adopts a New Identity: New York Area’s Budget Flight Hub


Some of the optimism about the airport’s future is attributable to Norwegian Air International, a low-cost carrier based in Ireland that offers flights to the United States with one-way fares that often dip below $100. The domestic budget airline Allegiant Air offers four daily flights to Florida and South Carolina.

Allegiant and Norwegian Air are seen as trailblazers to officials at the Port Authority, because if their service succeeds, it will encourage other airlines to offer flights at Stewart.

“Stewart has enormous potential to be a real gateway airport to the New York area,” said Rick Cotton, the authority’s executive director. The agency has spent $200 million over the past decade to improve the airport, and an additional $30 million has been set aside for the construction of a 20,000-square-foot hall for international arrivals. When complete in 2019, the hall will be able to process 400 passengers an hour.

By focusing on a low-cost carrier identity, Stewart is part of a growing trend among airports in the United States. It is following a pattern established in Europe and Asia, where budget airlines have reinvigorated smaller airports on the outskirts of major cities, said Matthew J. Cornelius, vice president of air policy at Airport Council International, an industry group.

“They’ve had the ability to strengthen their power, and now the Europeans are coming across the Atlantic,” Mr. Cornelius said, adding that the international airlines were seeking smaller airports like Stewart, as well as those in Hartford and Providence, R.I. “They’re used to operating at secondary airports, so it’s a natural.”

This attracts passengers like Gavin Bamford of Northern Ireland, who arranged to visit family in Pennsylvania after finding a $364 round-trip ticket to Stewart Airport on Norwegian Air’s website. Before he returned to Belfast, he said that if fares remained low, he would come back to Stewart, rent a car and drive 400 miles to see relatives in Toronto.

“Stewart was not just about New York City for us,” said Anders Lindstrom, Norwegian Air’s director of communications for North America. “We see a lot of customers from upstate New York who will drive for hours to get there, as well as from northern New Jersey and Connecticut.”

Several former military airports on the periphery of large metropolitan areas in the United States have been repurposed. Their prime location, along with assets like long runways and underlying infrastructure, can help communities keep up with increasing demand for air travel.

Traffic jams are frequent on the sole highway leading to Seattle Tacoma International Airport, which has grown over the past few years to become one of the nation’s busiest airports. Sea-Tac, as it is known, served nearly 47 million travelers in 2017, a 25 percent increase over five years.

But 12 miles north in Snohomish County, away from the congestion on Interstate 5, a former military airfield called Paine Field was being used by Boeing for test flights and general aviation. It was ripe for commercial flights, said Brett Smith, chief executive of Propeller Airports in New York, which is developing a passenger terminal at the airport with county officials.

The Alaska Airlines subsidiary Horizon Air, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines have announced that they will offer multiple daily flights at Paine Field while continuing service at Sea-Tac.

“The fact they’re splitting their operation shows how much Seattle needs this,” Mr. Smith said. The airlines are not shifting business, but they “are adding capacity to the market in Seattle,” he said.

Like Seattle, Phoenix had an opportunity to alleviate congestion at Sky Harbor International Airport, Arizona’s busiest airport. In 2007, a former Air Force base 30 miles southeast of the city was renamed Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport, and Canada’s WestJet and Allegiant began offering flights.

Gateway’s master plan calls for an investment of $722 million to accommodate growth. The plan relies in part on federal money set aside for the repurposing of joint-use or no-longer-in-use military airfields.

Photo

A shuttle bus is available to take travelers to Manhattan for $20.

Credit
Meredith Heuer for The New York Times

Photo

Geraldine Wright runs the currency exchange booth at the airport.

Credit
Meredith Heuer for The New York Times

“Twenty, 30 years ago, we were a military base on the outskirts of civilization, but the growth has continued to move east,” said J. Brian O’Neill the airport’s executive director and chief executive. “We anticipate this market will continue to grow and will require service from two full-service airports.”

This is not the first time municipalities have pegged commercial and economic development plans to the business decisions of airlines. In the 1990s, Texas-based Southwest Airlines favored smaller airports, choosing to fly into Providence over Boston and Baltimore over Washington. Customers traveled to these secondary airports to take advantage of Southwest’s lower fares. The term “Southwest effect” is still used in the airline industry, but now it could also be called the Norwegian or Allegiant effect.

Still, in his job monitoring airports around the world, Mr. Cornelius of the Airport Council said communities needed to be cautious that capital and time-intensive airport development did not hinge too heavily on airlines.

Not only can airlines be fickle in their route planning, but bad publicity can have an impact on travelers’ confidence. Allegiant was the subject of a “60 Minutes” report this month that showed the airline had a higher rate of safety events than other American carriers. Now, three senators are calling for an investigation into the airline, which could affect passenger numbers at the airports where Allegiant operates.

“If you build it, they won’t necessarily come,” Mr. Cornelius said. There has to be a need.

“You have to have the traffic to sustain all those elements at the airport, to fund the concessions, to create a parking lot,” he said. “You have to have the demand.”

Continue reading the main story

Advertising: Air France Reminds Travelers What Their Flight Could Be Like


And, Ms. Wood said, those ultralow fares are not always as cheap as they seem.

“We are quite convinced that most of the low-cost carrier’s clients don’t know that they pay nearly the same price when they travel with the low-cost company because when they have the luggage, the meal, the drinks, the entertainment, at the end of the day it’s very similar to the all-included price they could pay with Air France,” Ms. Wood said. “As we have the image of a quite premium airline, it’s not obvious for them to understand that.”

The Air France campaign will mostly be a digital one, but visitors to the Grove mall in Los Angeles on Saturday can win pairs of round-trip economy tickets. The Sudoku puzzle tape, gummies and scratch-and-sniff patches will also be given away, and will be available in an online sweepstakes.

American low-cost airlines do not compete directly with Air France, but they use some of the same advertising techniques that its less-expensive international competitors do.

“Obviously, we promote our low fares heavily — it’s the price point that will be successful at getting attention,” Tyri Squyres, the vice president of marketing at Frontier Airlines, said in an email. “And then we educate customers on all the options they have with us.”

She added: “Our goal is to simply let people get off the couch and go. Our low fares enable more people to travel and do it more often.”

Fare-based advertising has been a popular tactic for decades, but as travelers have become more price conscious, in part because researching cheap tickets has never been easier, they sometimes gloss over the fine print. Many ultra-low-cost carriers charge extra fees for services like selecting a seat before departure, checking a bag and receiving onboard drinks and snacks.

Photo

A late-1960s print ad from United Airlines’ ”Fly the Friendly Skies” campaign.

This, Ms. Squyres said, is where the company’s branding becomes even more important.

“The last thing we want to do is have a customer surprised at the airport,” she said. “We have invested heavily in all of our touch points to ensure customers understand our product and all of their options.”

Frontier’s website recently had an overhaul, which emphasized making the fee structure more clear.

Henry Harteveldt, the founder of Atmosphere Research Group and a former marketer at a number of airlines, said Air France’s and Frontier’s marketing strategies were both good examples of how airline advertising has changed over the decades.

“Airlines don’t do a lot of advertising anymore,” Mr. Harteveldt said. “They focus a substantial amount of their media investment now in search engine optimization.”

He noted that American carriers were some of the least likely to advertise. “When you have four very large airlines, they don’t have to market as aggressively as they once did,” he added.

That’s a big change from a few decades ago. From T.W.A.’s “Up, Up and Away” to United’s “Friendly Skies,” commercial branding was central to an airline’s image.

One of Mr. Harteveldt’s favorite ads was British Airways’ “Manhattan” commercial, which emphasized how each year the company flew more people across the Atlantic than the population of Manhattan.

British Airways’ “Manhattan” commercial from 1983.

That kind of creativity can still be fun to see in retrospect, but it’s no longer necessarily the best way to attract customers.

“The challenge is that an airline today, with its advertising, needs to think beyond just the media portion of it,” Mr. Harteveldt said. “Will they be running the ads on price comparison sites and on social media? Those are critical now — to reach travelers of all ages, frankly — when people are in that phase of dreaming of travel before they have selected an airline.”

And when carriers do choose to advertise more traditionally, they have to pick their message carefully. “Airlines have to strike the balance between image-based advertising and very hard-hitting retail or tactical advertising,” Mr. Harteveldt said.

But it makes sense, he said, for Air France to be investing more in advertising in the United States than some of its American competitors.

“The foreign-flag airlines tend to be more aggressive in advertising because they’re not as well known and in many cases are promoting destinations beyond their home market,” he said.

The “take a chance or fly Air France” campaign stands out because of its emphasis on in-flight service.

“As airlines have unbundled their product, they almost don’t want to remind you of what it’s like to fly them,” Mr. Harteveldt said. “What Air France is doing is a smart marketing move, but it’s also a brave marketing move.”

Continue reading the main story