Solar Impulse 2, the famous zero-fuel airplane is back home in Switzerland from the UAE.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer said today that one of the reasons New York City airport security lines are forcing passengers to stand idle and wait—and wait—is because New York City airports are short the necessary number of passenger-screening canines recommended to actually reduce overall wait times and improve security. Ahead of what is predicted to be a summer of long lines and continued waiting, Schumer is, today, calling for an immediate surge in canine teams at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to help speed up outrageously long security lines at New York City-area airports. Schumer wants the canine teams to work with new TSA agents the senator also wants deployed to New York City airports as soon as possible.
“As the dog days of summer roll on in, airport security lines need to roll along, too. But right now passengers are jammed in outrageously long delays. One simple, cheap and very effective way to speed up the long lines is by deploying a surge of highly-trained passenger-screening canines,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “As New York City airport wait times bog down, so waits the nation. New York City is a national hub and if we can reduce the wait times here, we can make the entire country move a lot faster. A canine screening surge in New York City could really take a bite out of time.”
Schumer added, “Coupled with a surge in actual TSA agents I am requesting here in New York City, highly-trained canine teams offer a unique way for the TSA to accurately and efficiently screen passengers standing in stalled security lines. That’s why the TSA should increase the number of canine teams at New York City airports as soon as possible.”
ISIS 1 over Metro Car 0
Following yesterday’s terrorist attacks at a Brussels airport and subway station, Amtrak and several major U.S. transit agencies increased their security efforts.
In response to the attacks — which left more than 30 people dead and injured hundreds more — Amtrak deployed extra officers at its stations. Additionally, the national passenger railroad’s police force is working with state, local and federal law enforcement partners to gather and share intelligence, according to a statement posted on Amtrak’s blog.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in New York City is working with the New York State Police and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) to elevate police presence at subway and rail stations, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press release.
Additionally, PANYNJ increased its police presence at all of its airports, bridges, tunnels and the World Trade Center, as well as the PATH and Port Authority Bus Terminal.
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority also beefed up police presence at three rail stations, including L.A.’s Union Station.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration announced it is deploying additional security to major U.S. airports and at various rail and transit stations, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson said in a prepared statement.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) encouraged riders to remain vigilant and report any unattended bags or suspicious behavior.
“We all need to work together to make sure that our public transit systems are as safe and secure as possible,” said APTA President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Melaniphy.
Yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Belgium left 31 people dead and more than 200 others wounded. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks, which were carried out by two suicide bombers.
One of the bombers targeted Brussels’ Maalbeek subway station.
In the last decade, most of the big U.S. airlines have shifted major maintenance work to places like El Salvador, Mexico, and China, where few mechanics are F.A.A. certified and inspections have no teeth.
ot long ago I was waiting for a domestic flight in a departure lounge at one of the crumbling midcentury sheds that pass for an American airport these days. There were delays, as we’ve all come to expect, and then the delays turned into something more ominous. The airplane I was waiting for had a serious maintenance issue, beyond the ability of a man in an orange vest to address. The entire airplane would have to be taken away for servicing and another brought to the gate in its place. This would take a while. Those of us in the departure lounge settled in for what we suspected might be hours. From the window I watched the ground crew unload the bags from the original airplane. When the new one arrived, the crew pumped the fuel, loaded the bags, and stocked the galley. It was a scene I’d witnessed countless times. Soon we would board and be on the way to our destinations.
As for the first airplane, the one with the maintenance problem—what was its destination going to be? When you have time on your hands, you begin to wonder about things like this. My own assumption, as yours might have been, was that the aircraft would be towed to a nearby hangar for a stopgap repair and then flown to a central maintenance facility run by the airline somewhere in the U.S. Or maybe there was one right here at the airport. In any case, if it needed a major overhaul, presumably it would be performed by the airline’s staff of trained professionals. If Apple feels it needs a “Genius Bar” at its stores to deal with hardware and software that cost a few hundred dollars, an airline must have something equivalent to safeguard an airplane worth a few hundred million.
About this I would be wrong—as wrong as it is possible to be. Over the past decade, nearly all large U.S. airlines have shifted heavy maintenance work on their airplanes to repair shops thousands of miles away, in developing countries, where the mechanics who take the planes apart (completely) and put them back together (or almost) may not even be able to read or speak English. US Airways and Southwest fly planes to a maintenance facility in El Salvador. Delta sends planes to Mexico. United uses a shop in China. American still does much of its most intensive maintenance in-house in the U.S., but that is likely to change in the aftermath of the company’s merger with US Airways.
As officials struggle to obtain funding to bring SunRail farther into Volusia County, another train might be poised to rumble into the area, a congressman said.
U.S. Rep. John Mica, R-Winter Park, said that a planned rail service, All Aboard Florida, could soon look to expand into Daytona Beach using the Florida East Coast Railway that runs through Volusia and Flagler counties.
It’s just a matter of time before they build it, Mica said.
“This is going to happen, and it could happen very quickly,” he said.
Mica’s overture seems to indicate a willingness by officials at All Aboard Florida to take another look at Volusia County as a possible landing spot after deciding years ago to take an alternate route to Orlando. A spokeswoman at the private company wrote in an emailed statement that “All Aboard Florida does not have plans to expand at this time.” Local leaders who previously worked to lure the service here said they have not heard of any new developments on the project.
Volusia County Councilman Josh Wagner, who has advocated to build an inter-modal center at Daytona Beach International Airport to be used by SunRail and All Aboard Florida, said the area needs to be ready for when the rail industry looks to service the region.
“You have to have enough people to show them the stop makes sense for them,” he said.
All Aboard is now focused on building four stations for the planned project to connect Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Orlando International Airport. The service is expected to begin in 2017, according to the company.
Though he offered few details, Mica said he would work to bring the rail service here in five years. He pointed out that people could use the rail to connect to Daytona Beach International Airport, spend a day at Daytona International Speedway or visit the beach.
The Regional Transportation District of Denver (RTD) will provide commuter-rail service from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport starting April 22, 2016, the transit agency announced yesterday.
The agency made the announcement after receiving an official notice from Denver Transit Partners, the concessionaire in the public-private partnership that’s building what will be called the University of Colorado A Line, according to an RTD press release.
The line is 23 miles of new electric commuter-rail service, which is part of the Eagle P3 project, the nation’s first public-private partnership for transit. The $2.2 billion project is being funded with local RTD taxes, a $1.03 billion federal grant and $450 million from Denver Transit Partners.
“The opening of the University of Colorado A Line is a historic milestone towards the completion of RTD’s FasTracks program and continues our success rate of opening major infrastructure projects,” said Dave Genova, RTD’s interim general manager and chief executive officer. “We continue to transform the region and the University of Colorado A Line will connect the Denver metro area to the world.”
The University of Colorado A Line got its name as a result of the first sponsorship through RTD’s naming rights program.
Trains on the new commuter-rail line will travel at a top speed of 79 mph, RTD officials said. The line will serve eight stations, including Denver Union Station and the airport stop, which will be located at the south terminal.